Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Defend the Dream" Video, Public against Nuclear, No Fracking

1. New Video! Thanks to Ilene Cutler who made this video from our recent Defend the Dream Rally. Great job!

Update! Dade County, WI Judge Maryann Sumi put a hold on Walker's bill to strip bargaining rights form public workers, saying Republicans violated the states open-meeting laws to pass it! Another poll showed that if people had  known what Gov Walker was going to do, they would not have elected him! RECALL!

2. Nuclear Power is Inherently Dangerous
Our hearts go out to the people of Japan who are suffering so much. Seeing the nuclear nightmare unfold each day reminds us of why we have to support renewable green energy in our country! A new poll shows that over half of Americans want a moratorium on new reactors and would support "a halt to extending the operating lifespans of older nuclear reactors." About three fourths: oppose tax payer loan guarantees for new reactors (President Obama asked for $36 billion for that purpose) favor a shift from nuclear to renewables and would make companies liable for Fukushima- style disasters.

Demand a permanent shut down of all US GE Mark I reactors. There are 23 in the US. There are fundamental flaws in them that the industry has been warned about for 40 years!

Here is an informative map that measures radioactivity in our country in real time.

3. Fracking Update from Rosalyn Cherry
There is an environmental crisis in New York State and together we can take action
to prevent it. With only a few months until the moratorium on horizontal hydraulic
fracturing is lifted --- and with vertical fracking already causing problems across Western
NY --- we need to seize current momentum and widespread public concern to advocate
loud and clear for a statewide ban on fracking.

When the public hears the truth about fracking, the vast majority of the population will
stand with us in calling for a ban. We must not let the failure of imagination of what is
politically possible hold us back from calling loudly for what is necessary. If we make
our case to the citizens of New York, and work to create strong alliances in our
communities, we believe that we can win --- and win overwhelmingly.

If you share this vision, we invite you to join us on March 27th at the SUNY
Albany Lecture Center from 10AM to 6PM. Details below about car pooling.

Share this summit with friends on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/fU5URV
Register here: http://bit.ly/e5v9iG

And mark your calendars!
On Monday May 2nd, 2011, we're marching in Albany to demand a statewide ban.
Full march and rally details TBA.
If you would like to help mobilize for the march, join us at the summit on March 27th!

Carpools and caravans (all sharing gas and tolls):
Leaving NP Village Hall (25 Plattekill) at 7:45AM returning at 8PM. Contact Rosalyn
Cherry --- rosalyn@clutterkit.com
Leaving Kingston Park & Ride near the circle at 8AM. Contact Alexander Lines  ---

Sponsored by Frack Action ( http://www.frackaction.com)
Goals and agenda at http://frackaction.com/content/summit-win-ban

Urgent Flash
We are sitting on top of Utica Shale in Sullivan, Ulster, Greene and Albany counties and
many counties to the west. Map at http://tinyurl.com/4jf3m3a
Gas drillers are eying the Utica Shale! Read about it at http://tinyurl.com/4S6ukok
Together we WILL ban fracking in New York State and keep our water unpolluted.


And I just read that fracking emissions are thousands of times higher than first reported according to the EPA and that New Jersey is getting close to a ban on fracking! Power to the people!

4. 113 Arrested at White House Protesting Wars protests led by veterans
Watermelon Slim of Vietnam Veterans Against the War is taken into custody March 19. Photo by Ellen Davidson

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spirited "Defend the Dream" Rally in New Paltz!

New Paltz, 3/15 : A Good Day for Workers                              B Upton
Well over one hundred people (overflowing to all four corners!) took to the streets in New Paltz Tuesday to Defend the American Dream! They were joining thousands in MoveOn demonstrations across the country to protest the GOP attack on hard working American families and demand that the wealthy elite pay their share in these tough economic times.

People everywhere are rising up against the GOP agenda of busting unions, making painful cuts to vital programs, further enriching the rich and claiming new authoritarian powers. Take just one example: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder wants to cut the corporate tax rate by 86% or nearly $2 billion while increasing the state income tax by 31% with the largest burden being on the poor. Snyder also wants kingly powers to fire elected officials in cities and towns and replace them with his handpicked "emergency town managers" who could break all existing contracts, including collective bargaining ones. 

Lansing protesters chanted "This is our House" in the Capitol Building the day after our rally. They are not taking this lying down!

At the rally, we were thrilled to have great union representation! A big thank you to speakers: 
Jodie Jacobs and Jude Purnow, American Federation of Teachers, Beth Soto, coordinator for the Hudson Vally Area Labor Federation (HVALF); Gerard Lyons III, vice president of SEIU Local 200 and vice president of HVALF; Mike Lonigro, secretary/treaurer of the SEIU Local 200 and Anthony M Adamo, president of the CSEA SUNY New Paltz Local 610. They gave rousing talks and had the crowd going! Thanks to them, to all the union members and to everyone who came out for this rally! 

Linda Abbott, Ulster County MoveOn Council Coordinator, said that 45,000 jobs would be lost in New York State if Republican cuts to the federal budget were enacted, which is totally contrary to the goal of reviving our economy and creating jobs. She also thanked Rep Hinchey for consistently being on the side of the people.

A resounding theme was that politicians should not balance the budget  on the backs of the middle class and working poor, who had nothing to do with the economic recession we are in. Rather that they should get the money from tax dodging corporations, in the bloated Pentagon and in the vaults of the richest 400 who have more wealth than over 150 million Americans combined! Not letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest expire is costing us $830 billion over the next ten years! As Micheal Moore and others have said, "We are not broke!" It is just in the hands of an ever dwindling few.

Here is an article from the Kingston Freeman and front page coverage from the New Paltz Times on our rally. Forward!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Our Freedom Is at Stake - Rise Up against the Corporate Coup!

Firefighters at Madison after the Senate GOP Broke a Law to Pass Walker's Bill
 Defend the Dream Rally
Tuesday, March 15, 5:15PM
In front of Elting Library, 93 Main St, New Paltz

We are witnessing a hostile, corporate take over of our democracy and the longest undeclared war in America's history - the war on the middle class. When adjusted for inflation the middle class has less money today then in 1971, while America's richest have made out like the bandits they are. And no one has done better than the nation's richest 1/10 of 1% . Four hundred individuals now have more wealth than half of the American population- over 150 million people combined! Republican governors like Walker, Scott, Christie, Corbett and others are not out to only bust unions, but to also replace democracy with autocratic rule and do the bidding of their corporate benefactors; the well being of their constituents be damned.

Consider Corbett in PA, who wants to install a coal company executive (and large contributor) who would be given unilateral authority to override all state agencies, nullifying PA citizens protections (think fracking). Corbett also wants to cut $1billion from preK through college, while increasing the state's $2 billion prison budget by 11%. His call to cut state colleges and universities by 50% could close two of our country's oldest, black colleges. He refuses to impose an extraction tax on gas companies that could raise $200 million a year, but he wants to cut almost $50 million from state environmental programs charged with overseeing  the Marcellus Shale industry, already charged with polluting drinking water in the state.

The Republican governor in Michigan, Rick Snyder claims authority to fire elected officials in cities and towns and install his own person to dictate how those municipalities are run. Under the guise of financial emergency, these "Emergency Managers" would also have the power to nullify all contracts, including collective bargaining ones. Snyder can even hire a private company to declare a city is in a financial emergency and let that company take over the city, including its state contracts. All of this can be without any input from the voters. This is the antithesis of democracy and big government at its very worse.

Corporate dollars are fueling this antidemocratic agenda. In Wisconsin, Walker's bill also allows him to sell off state power plants and heating and cooling facilities, in a no- bid, Halliburton style way. Forbes identified the three companies that could most benefit from this stipulation and surprise- they are all owned by Koch Industries, that pumped over $1 million into Walker's campaign.

Forbes called this part of the bill "highly irregular" and added, "If governors begin giving away public utilities in exchange for campaign support, we are all in big trouble."

Meanwhile, back in DC, Republicans are trying to slash vital programs like food for needy women, children and infants, home heating oil help for seniors, eviscerating the EPA and other cuts that could cost up to one million jobs! Tax cuts for billionaires continue. Tax dodging by corporations  continues. Republicans want to balance the budget on the backs of hard working American families who have already sacrificed enough and have been hurt the most by an economic mess they did not create! The GOP wants to share sacrifice as long as it doesn't involve them or their rich friends.

Join us tomorrow night for a national day of action to Defend the Dream! We will be standing in solidarity with Wisconsin and all American workers and to demand that the rich and corporations pay their fair share! There are hundreds of these rallies planned for Tuesday, March 15, organized through MoveOn. Sign up to attend the one in New Paltz  here, or find one near you here. Or you can sign up on FaceBook. We hope to have many members of local unions joining us! We all need to stand strong together to Defend the American Dream!

"  If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I'll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner."   Remind President Obama of his campaign speech in 2007. 202 456-1414.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Then They Came for the Trade Unionists

Thursday 10 March 2011

by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed 

Excerpts from Mr Pitt's article

On this day, it behooves us to remember the words of Martin Niemoller.
"First they came for the communists," he wrote, "and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me."

Mr. Niemoller wrote his poem decades ago. It might read like this today:
First they declared corporations were "people," and I didn't complain because I'm already a person.
Then they made unlimited money "speech," and I didn't complain because the American Dream says I'll be rich someday, too.
Then they commandeered the means of production by shipping our greatest strength - manufacturing - overseas, because they don't have bothersome unions over there, and I didn't complain because WalMart has cheap stuff.
Then they bought Congress so they could write the laws, and I didn't complain because I can’t be bothered to vote.
Then they bought the Supreme Court so they could cement their rule, and I didn't complain because I don't have time to pay attention.
Then they bought the news so they could convince everyone it's always been this way, and I didn't complain because it's always been this way.
Then they manhandled an election and I didn't complain because I'm not from Florida.
Then they lied us into wars and I didn't complain because I'm not a soldier, or an Iraqi, or an Afghani.
Then millions died for profit and I didn't complain because the graphics on the news were totally awesome.
Then they started locking people up because they said they could and I didn't complain because nobody locked me up.
Then they started spying on everyone because they said they could and I didn't complain because I'm a real American.
Then they came for the worker, but thanks to supply-side trickle-down economics, I don't have a job.
This truth is self-evident.
They are coming for you, and they are relentless.
Stand up.
For your country, for your family, for yourself.
Stand up.
Be heard.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Story of Citizens United v FEC...

...and how it is undermining our democracy. Corporations are NOT people. Money is NOT speech!  This ruling, by five activist justices on the Supreme Court, gives corporations the ability to overwhelm our elections with their vast wealth. Obama has called it   a threat to our democracy. Let's ban together to return power to "We, the People"!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Birth of a Main Street Movement, End of Fracking? & More

From one of the protests in all 50 state capitols organized by MoveOn on Saturday
 Rally in New Paltz Saturday in solidarity with Wisconsin 

Tens of thousands all over the nation stood in solidarity with Wisconsin workers and workers everywhere on Saturday! In addition to hundreds of actions by the new organization US Uncut, more than 50,000 rallied in the capitols of all fifty states! This is the birth of the Main Street Movement (also called the American Dream Movement) that says stop stealing from and attacking the middle class! Make the rich pay their share!

I was heartened to hear a popular pizza place in Madison is deluged with orders for pizza to go to the crowd from all over our country! If you'd like to make a donation send to: AFT Wisconsin State Solidarity Fund
ATT: Rob Russell, 6602 Normandy Lane, Madison, WI 53719 Also, sign the letter of support for the brave Wisconsin 14 here.

1. 10 Ways Scott Walker Is Selling Out His Constituents to Corporations
Walker’s assault on public employees is only part of a larger radical agenda that will hurt the poor and middle class. Receiving little coverage are his plans to slash Medicaid, allow no-bid sell offs of public power plants to corporations, eviscerate environmental laws - banning wind power, repealing the clean water rule (despite the fact that 104 died and 400,000 fell sick from Milwaukee water in '93) and destroying wetlands, disenfranchising voters, cutting jobs, stifling innovation and installing autocratic rule. And for the GOP, Wisconsin is just the beginning. Geesh, no wonder record numbers of Americans are taking to the streets.

2. Don't take food out of the mouths of hungry women and children- make corporations pay their taxes instead! Last year, I paid more taxes than Exxon Mobil, GE, Bank of America and Citigroup combined, and so did you! This was the main theme of US Uncut protests held Saturday. They modeled themselves after UK Uncut that began when the UK threatened to cut programs for the poor totaling $7 billion. UK citizens asked "Why not make Vodophone pay the $7 billion they owe in taxes instead?" Read more on the movement to make corporations PAY UP!

"Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers" NY Times 2/26
Thousands of EPA documents received by the New York Times "reveal that the wastewater, (from fracking) which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle. Thanks to Congressman Hinchey who got right on it! Add your name to halt fracking here

BREAKING- There were 2 earthquakes in Texas today close to fracking sites.This video uses satellite imagery to show the connection.

4. Clarence Thomas- Another Shocking Conflict of Interest Citizens United spent over $100,000 to attack Senators who opposed Thomas's nomination to the Supreme Court. Thomas must retroactively recuse himself from the Citizens United v FEC ruling! Join over 220,000 in signing the petition for him to do just that.

5. Baby Dolphins Dying in the Gulf
Baby and adult dolphins are washing up on shore in the Gulf at alarming rates. The BP oil spill happened at  the beginning of their gestation.