Thursday, September 18, 2014

Solidarity and the US Anti-War Movement

The US peace movement has a solidarity problem. As I write this, the progressive, anti-imperialist forces of North Kurdistan are fighting for their lives against a vicious attack by both the Turkish military and the ultra-rightist ISIS forces. I cannot do justice to the struggle in a short blog post; therefore, I implore readers with even the barest shred of internationalist solidarity in their heats to visit the Kurdistan Communities Union blog and educate themselves.
Suffice it to say, the people of North Kurdistan are on the front lines of the struggle against imperialism. Yet, not one major US peace organization has anything to say about North Kurdistan or the struggle taking place there beyond the usual shallow calls for 'no war'. Of course, any sane person would wish to put an end to war! However, too many in the US peace movement never think beyond their distaste for armed conflict and grapple with its root cause: imperialism. Imperialism, whether conducted via military organizations like NATO and the US armed forces, or through 'peaceful' means by finance capital organizations like the World Bank is war. It is a rapacious war of conquest waged by the global 1% (or more precisely, the 0.0001%) against the global 99% and it will not end until every last drop of wealth is brought securely under the control of the global capitalist class, or that class is finally brought low by revolution. So long as the US peace movement refuses to consider the question of imperialism, and continues to limit its analysis to moralistic, pacifist bromides, it will remain globally isolated and utterly ineffective. While some may find my criticism too strident, it is commensurate with the seriousness of the crisis facing the US anti-war movement, and offered in the hope that some in that movement might find it useful. Whosoever may come across this post, whether your peace organization is large or small, national or local, or if you belong to no organization at all, I ask you to stand in solidarity with the people of North Kurdistan, and all other anti-imperialist fighters around the world. Their need is great and even the smallest measure of aid is welcome.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

9/9/2014 Event - Salem, Oregon: Paid Sick Leave for all Oregonians

Family Forward Oregon will hold a meeting in Salem on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 at 6:00 PM.

Location is at the Salem SEIU 503 office (1730 Commercial St SE, Salem).

Organizers will lay out their statewide campaign for paid sick days for all Oregonians.

They will answer questions, have materials on hand and engage on the issue.

9/7/2014 event - Albany, Oregon: Why Aren't There More Black People in Oregon?: A Hidden History

After months of hard work and planning, Albany will host a conversation project on Why Aren't There More Black People in Oregon?: A Hidden History, presented and facilitated by organizer and educator Walidah Imarisha.  On September 7, the tour will visit Albany after traveling to Grans Pass, Redmond, and Astoria before traveling to Newport and Bay City.

Following the presentation, we will kick off a discussion about how we can begin to break down some of the obstacles we face when building the community we want to live in -- a community where everyone is able to live their lives fully with safety and dignity.

Sunday, September 7th at 4:00PM
Albany Public Library, 2450 14th Avenue SE

Sponsored by Occupy Albany, Albany PeaceSeekers, the Albany Human Relations Commission and Linn-Benton Community College Department of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Have you ever wondered why the Black population in Oregon is so small?
 Oregon has a history not only of Black exclusion and discrimination, but also of a vibrant Black culture that helped sustain many communities throughout the state -- a history that is not taught in schools.
ROP is thrilled to be working with Walidah, the Oregon Humanities, and local leaders across the state to pull off this tour in rural Oregon, and we hope you'll join us Sunday afternoon in Albany!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Where was Oregon's Rep. Kurt Schrader when it really mattered to working familes?

Oregon progressives have many issues with one of our Democratic Party Congressional Representatives.  Here is a message to folks represented in Oregon by Rep. Kurt Schrader regarding his voting record:

Here is a short list of Congressman Schrader’s votes.

Kurt Schrader turned his back on long-term unemployed. The Murray-Ryan budget deal last December did not include an extension of unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed. 1.3 million jobless workers had their benefits cut off on December 28th, and nearly another 1.9 million lost their unemployment benefits over the first half of 2014. This was a devastating blow for millions of Americans who were already struggling, but it also hurt our economy. 174 House Democrats wrote to Speaker John Boehner urging a vote on the extension of unemployment insurance before Congress went on Christmas break. Schrader was one of 29 Dems who didn’t sign on.

Kurt Schrader voted to exempt private equity firms from financial regulations enacted by the 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (aka "Dodd-Frank").
The House voted 254 to 159. The so-called Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act (H.R. 1105) would exempt many private equity fund advisers from a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law which required advisers with more than $150 million in assets under management to register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Kurt Schrader joined 36 other Democrats who don't think that Private Equity should have to play by the rules.

Kurt Schrader voted to block coal ash regulations. Last year, the House passed legislation (H.R. 2218, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act) that takes the authority to regulate coal ash away from the EPA and gives it to the states. The EPA has been hedging on coal ash regulations throughout the Obama administration, likely because of industry pressure. However, independent studies have proven that coal ash regulation--like many other EPA regulations--would create jobs. Even though the EPA has been slow, whom would you trust more to regulate coal ash: coal states like WY and WV or the EPA? Schrader was one of 29 Dems voting to weaken these regulations.

Kurt Schrader voted to Cut $8.7 Billion from Food Stamps, when the House passed the 2014 Farm Bill 251 to 166. 162 Republicans voted for it. 63 voted against it. 103 Democrats voted against it. 89 voted for it. Schrader, of course, was one of the 89. The Farm Bill contains $8.7 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. This translates to a $90 per month cut to beneficiaries. This cut follows November's $5 billion cut from the program, the "hunger cliff" that the Democrats themselves created.

Kurt Schrader voted to eliminate Clean Water Act protections. H. R. 935 would eliminate protections for waterways that are being sprayed with pesticides. The bill was designed to make the life of polluters easier at the expense of your health and the environment. 216 Republicans and 37 Democrats voted for it. 148 Democrats voted against it. 37 Democrats voted for it. Kurt Schrader was one of the 37.

Kurt Schrader voted against a $10.10 Federal Minimum Wage Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-09) offered an amendment to the 2015 financial services appropriations bill that would require the federal government to pay employees at least $10.10 an hour. The House voted it down 230 to 193. What was disappointing was that 5 Democrats joined the full Republican caucus in voting against it. Rep. Kurt Schrader was one of the 5.

Kurt Schrader voted for corporate tax breaks. In June, the House voted to extend a number of expired corporate tax breaks. The House first voted to remove a sunset provision in Section 179 of the tax code in order to allow businesses to continue to write off up to $500,000 worth of investments a year. It would cost roughly $73 billion over the next decade. It passed 272 to 144. 219 Republicans and 53 Democrats voted for it. 142 Democrats and 2 Republicans voted against it. Schrader was one of 53 Democrats that went along with it.

Kurt Schrader voted to weaken regulations on Wall St., hurting Consumers. 46 House Democrats joined the GOP in trying to prevent the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) from doing its job. The Customer Protection and End User Relief Act requires the CFTC to conduct burdensome cost-benefit analyses of proposed regulations, which will cause further delays in rule-making and open up more opportunity for industry lobbying. It also restricts the CFTC’s ability to oversee the derivatives market. It also continues the chronic problem of underfunding that has plagued the CFTC for years. The House passed the Act by 265 to 144. 143 Democrats and 1 Republican voted against it. 219 Republicans and 46 Democrats voted for it; Schrader was one of the 46 voting for it.

Kurt Schrader voted to weaken regulations on oil and gas pipelines. In June, the House passed the North American Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 3301), a bill designed to open up the export market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and reduce environmental review for oil and natural gas pipelines, making it easier for pipelines like Keystone XL to get approved. Schrader was one of 17 Dems to vote to weaken regulations on oil & gas pipelines.

Kurt Schrader supported efforts to kill net neutrality. Rep. Schrader pleased his corporate friends such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon by signing his name to an industry-backed letter telling the FCC to kill net neutrality.

It seems Wall St. and other powerful corporate interests have a reliable friend in Kurt Schrader. Sadly, the working people of Oregon do not.