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Member since: Wed Jan 9, 2008, 10:31 AM
Number of posts: 10,001

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I gotta rant on the pension cuts in the funding bill, it made my 77 year old mom cry!

My dad worked for Bethleham Steel for 30 plus years, long hours, stressful and hard, but he was lucky because he dearly loved his job. The company went belly up right before he was to retire. He had given his best years, and by that time his health was starting to go. The the big shots did something that would soon become all to familiar, they stole the pension money and left! My dad's $1,100 a month went to $50! Fifty lousy bucks! He tried for two years to get a job, even joining a group called "Forty Plus" which tried to help older Americans to get another job. He practiced at interviews, he wrote and rewrote and rewrote his resume. The man could do calculus in his head and anything could be done with his slide rule, but no job. They sunk all that they had to by a muffler shop that had been losing money and he turned it around. I quit my job as a young attorney to save the business after his third hear attack. They eventually sold it, but his medical expenses ate up the bulk of their money.
My mom is a very proud, tough lady, who has lived on her own since his death. She has recently had to move in with me because, even though her house and car were paid off, she doesn't get enough to live on. That $1,100 is the difference!
I came home tonight to find her crying because she heard that her $50 a month was being cut by a third in this spending bill. Really? Has it come to that? All so some 1% SOB can have more! The next time some idiot yells that America is the Greatest country in the world I may just slap them!

I had disagreed with the leaderless part of OWS. It needed someone to express what the movement

was about and why. Also, it had way too many issues to be effective. Most of the things they were complaining about stemmed from the same root problem, the buying of our Representatives. In other words, institutional, legalized corruption! Don't get me wrong, OWS did a ton of good and exposed some of how far they are willing to go to protect their control over our government and the media.
My thoughts on what we need to do, while fairly general, are a good start. There are many of us out their with different skill sets that could refine my basic suggestion and add in ideas to maximize our effectiveness.
It will take massive support from the 99% in the form of protests, donations to Bernie's campaign, and letters to politicians and the media. To start to build a necessary coalition to be large enough to have an effect, I was thinking, why not engage the groups that are fighting their own, independent battles for women's rights, immigration, environment/climate change, LGBTV, militarization of police, GMO crops... and obviously, financial reform to name a few. They are all fighting the symptoms of this legalized bribery and making little headway because of it. There is definetely strength in numbers.
We can also try to make some inroads to the dark side and try to recruit Republicans, Tea Party members, and Libertarians. Many of them do not like having money from corporations deciding their fate either. Just tell them George Soros or some Hollywood elites will be buying their Representative! Lol.
For the protests, I was thinking that we start by appearing at campaign events with signs showing that politician's most recent campaign financial report and ask, "What do you have to do in return for the $$$?" and similar messages. We tell the rest of America what they already know, but give them specifics of just how much money, or junkets, or ALEC sponsored bills they introduced. Put the corruption right out front and name names!
We offer them the solution, Publicly Funded Elections and an end to campaign contributions and the revolving door. We get the politicians to sign our pledge to fight for these things in return for our money and support. If we have a lot of people, we will get a lot of politicians. They will go with whatever looks likely to keep or get their butts in office!
I am sure that here on DU are members of many of these other organizations fighting for the issue closest to their hearts. They can help recruit their organization, the PTB can no longer keep us divided because they have finally gone to far! The trick is convincing others that we can actually do this, they already know about the corruption. Open for suggestions on that one, but that is where Bernie will have to come in and help in a big way. If he would approach the leaders of these groups and help to bind us together we can do this, I am convinced! Besides, what have we got to lose.
Lastly, once we have a full head of steam we drop the big one and insist that the politicians bust up the banking and media oligopolies. That is when the real shit will hit the fans!

I have a suggestion!

I agree with the OP. I have tried myself to convince people here at DU to attack the root problem that causes most of our problems, including this one, torture. I even set up dates to mobilize protests, asked people here to help spread the word. To actually do something more than complain here. I was told by one that he agreed, but that many here including himself would do nothing because they didn't think anyone else would do anything. He was absolutely right!
I know that our election system, which openly invites corruption with legalized bribery of our elected officials needs to be radically changed. We need to get rid of campaign contributions, a Super PACs, the revolving door, and institute Publicly Funded Elections (PFE's). Everyone already agrees that Washington is totally corrupt, but when you tell them that Democrats are too, they take A LOT of corporate money now, they deny it is true! "Not Obama!" "Not Hillary!" Yet we see that Wall Street is above the law. The media and banking oligarchies lie, steal, manipulate... Yet there is zero talk of reigning them in or busting them up, with the exception of a few Democrats and one Independent. The courts, both Houses of Congress, the Executive Branch, the banks and the media are all working for the same people (corporate people)!
Bernie Sanders has said that PFE's and getting rid of campaign contributions is his number 1 issue. He is contemplating a run for POTUS, but waiting to see if there will be enough support from us to be able to compete with all of the money and power that will be allied against him. Unfortunately, he will not get what he needs to save us from our own apathetic, disillusioned, and lazy selves. We will support the lessor of two evils, again, which means we will vote for the PTB's Democratic candidate instead of their Republican bogeyman. They own both so what do they care! We believe that the next Democratic President will help to set things right everytime! We act just like an abused spouse who believes their abuser's promises to "do better!" We go back time and again and will not vote for the a guy like Bernie who stands for what we want because he is not "electable" and we cannot have a Republican President or the world will end!
Meanwhile, the media will pump us up with BS because the Courts of Appeals said that it is ok to lie to us. Like a little kid at a Harlem Globetrotter's game, we will believe that all the posturing in Washington is real! That they really are different, even down below the surface. Problem is, for some reason Democratic politicians have congenital defects in their spines that make them spineless! It can't be that they are being paid to throw the fight, oh no!
Bush and Cheney lied us into war for their oil company and MIC friends, with help from Democrats and Republicans alike, as well as the media which played us like a fiddle! So go ahead, flame me! Don't do anything but read stories, offer opinions, and bitch, but don't tell me you care when you are not willing to do what you can to change this before it gets too late, if it's not already. Send more Democrats to Washington and act surprised and outraged when they sell us out. Be grateful when they throw us a social issue bone even while they are forgiving JP Morgan from stealing our money again. Meanwhile, my Lemming ass will be fighting all the way to the cliff!

Horse shit! Ask yourself why Bill Clinton did what he did what he did. Ask yourself why they cut

back on grass roots politicking in favor of campaign ads. It's the campaign money!!! They have been bought off and now represent donors/plutocrats, not working folks! Stop deluding yourself with 3rd parties which will never be able to compete under their rules. You know what their rules are, $$$$$$$$$!!!
Until we make campaign contributions illegal we will continue to be abused like a battered spouse! And like a battered spouse, we keep going back because they promise they will be and do better!


K&R!!! +1,000,000,000!!! This is what I have been talking about for the last 3 years!

I would add one thing to the emphasis on local change, I believe we build our consensus locally, but we join to fight nationally. We focus on one small, but all important area for the fight for all the marbles. We attack the root of the problem where corporations gain their control over our government. That is their ability to legally buy our politicians and judges. As Bernie Sanders says, it is the number one issue, and I believe it has to be to the exclusion of all other issues, Publicly Funded Elections! Outlaw campaign contributions! That is it. If we could get a very large and committed movement going, we would attract politicians who would see that their prospects of getting and staying in office would be better if they joined and helped lead the masses in this effort. Local work, by itself will not work. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce already plows large amounts of money down to the local levels.
Other than backing Bernie, I don't know how to motivate and organize people to do this. I have tried here at DU and even here among Progressives few believe or were committed enough to join this fight. They would rather come here and bitch about the symptoms created by the corruption than get off of their asses and do something.
Plus, there is a very large number that say we "must back Hillary or Republicans will get the White House." They are afraid to risk it for the kind of dramatic change that is imperative. Many fool themselves, like I did with Obama, that he was going to be this transformational President. Hillary is part of the big money class, they have been her friends for years. She will sell us out much like Obama has. This article does an excellent job of explaining this, we keep doing what we have always done, we will get what we always got! I for one will not play that game anymore! Sure if Bernie runs as a Democrat and loses to Hillary, I will vote for her before a Republican. If he runs as an Independant I will vote for him all the way! He is the only national figure that gets it and that makes him someone to rally around. It will take millions of committed people and there will be violence directed at us from all sides, but this, in my view is the fight for our very survival! Climate Change will not be addressed in any meaningful way unless we do this and win. If you care about your pet issue, jobs, environment, inequality, NSA... you must put them aside and join this fight. If we win we can then fix these other issues, otherwise we all lose!

Tomorrow, around the country, is the annual "Buddy Walk" to benefit kids with Downs Syndrome!

Google National Downs Syndrome Society and see a list of cities where the walk will be held, or go online and donate if you can't walk!
These children and grown ups are special as they are without guile. While they are not always happy, they usually are the sweetest examples of the good in human nature! My grandson Logan is one such 4 year old. He is called "The Mayor" at his school because he always greets everyone with a wave and a 1,000 watt smile!
My daughter brought the walk to our community and had over 3,000 show up the first year. They won an award for fastest start up of a Buddy Walk and were flown to NY and to D.C. (Proud Papa)!

If you can't donate, just show up and walk. They have plenty of things for the kids and you can't help but leave with a smile on your face! Thanks to everyone who can help!

I worked for many years on we lawyers called the "Dust Docket," which was usually made up

of elderly men who worked with and around asbestos. This was how I picked my screen name. Many were in the Navy in WW II and Korea, a few from Vietnam. The diseases take 20-40 years to appear which is why they were older. I have heard some of the most amazing, terrifying, heroic, and sad tales of war, all told under oath, recorded by a Court Reporter, all in great detail. To be honest, most did not want to talk about it, one almost quit his case when I told him they would be asking about his time in the service. He later told a story so filled with bravery and pain it was almost unbelievable. He survived a land mine explosion, being bayoneted in the gut, and being shot with a 50 caliber in the arm. He for his troubles he received a Silver Star and a handful of Purple Hearts.
Battle of the Bulge, Omaha Beach, Iwo Jima, Battan Death March, Pearl Harbor..., were brought to life even though they were mainly about death. The names from history books now mean something real to me. These personal stories now gather dust in mini-storage buildings, warehouses, and office buildings, the men who testified to what happened in WW II are all dead.
The horror of war I witnessed through their eyes was enough that now when I see Dick Cheney, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham spouting off about attacking this country or that, with obviously no thought or concern to the actual human cost, the ruined lives, the fatherless children, the young widows and widowers, and the parents who have to bury their child, I just want to puke!
This brings us to now, to the last insult. After starting two wars for oil, (it was always about the damn oil), they cut VA budgets and blame Obama for the VA's problems! If we had a real, functional media and actual journalism, Cheney would be turned over for war crimes, McCain and Graham would never be re-elected in a million years, and soldiers would never, ever vote Republican again!

R.I.P. The Best of the Best!

Proof that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce cares only for Big Business, not Main Street!

Gulf Coast chambers of commerce told the U.S. Supreme Court this week that their mothership, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, does not represent them in its support of BP PLC's challenge to the class action settlement stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
In an unusual public display of disagreement with the national chamber, the local affiliates, said:
"The Chamber did not seek the input nor approval of the amici affiliates, nor to our knowledge any Gulf Coast area affiliate, prior to filing its amicus brief in support of petitioner’s petition for a writ of certiorari."
The U.S. Chamber, represented by Catherine Stetson of Hogan Lovells, filed an amicus brief in BP Exploration & Production v. Lake Eugenie Land & Development. Joining in its brief were the American Tort Reform Association, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber supports BP's argument that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit erred when it upheld certification of a class that included members who had not suffered any injuries related to the spill. The company, represented by Theodore Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, contends that the certification violated Rule 23 of the federal rules of civil procedure and the Constitution.
The Fifth Circuit decision, it adds, also conflicts with rulings by the Seventh, Eighth and D.C. Circuits.
In filing their amicus brief disputing the U.S. Chamber's views and representation, the local chambers "realized more clearly than most that the national organization does not in this instance and perhaps in other instances speak for them," said Thomas Young of Tampa, their counsel. "It's more than policy or political. It's a matter of great personal importance to the organizations and their members. They felt they had to say something at this stage."
The local chambers on the brief represent more than 7,000 businesses and 200,000 employees, Young said. As a group, they are fairly widely distributed, he added, representing Mobile and Pensacola in the northern Gulf; from Tampa towards Fort Meyers in southwestern Florida; and New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana.
"I had heard from several of the amici that they had reached out on their own to the national chamber through various avenues and were met with either silence or lip service," he said. "These are business people and they operate on a handshake, and when an agreement is reduced to paper and a contract, to them it's sacrosanct. It struck these several chambers and their thousands of members as odd to renege on a deal or an agreement that seems so clear cut."
A U.S. Chamber spokesman said in a written statement:
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides a national voice on behalf of businesses of every size in every sector on policy and legal issues affecting our country's economy, and that's the case here. From time to time local groups will take a different position on a particular issue and we respect their right to do so."
However, in their amicus brief, the local chambers suggest the national Chamber's interests are much narrower than it would have the high court believe.
Citing research by Public Citizen, the group told the high court that "only 1,500 entities (significantly less than 3 million) provided 94 percent of [the Chamber's] contributions in 2012. More than half of its contributions came from just 64 donors. So the bulk of the Chamber's funding appears to come from large, well-funded corporate concerns, not the 'mom-and-pop shops' the Chamber claims and certainly not these amici affiliates."
The U.S. Chamber spokesman said: "Some members of the plaintiffs' bar have seized on the settlement agreement as an opportunity to seek a windfall for persons who cannot show any injury caused by the spill. The Chamber's brief explains that this type of opportunism is inconsistent with the agreement's provisions and the settling parties' expectations."
However, the local chambers argue in their brief that—contrary to the national chamber's brief—BP designed the compensation system; lobbied for district court approval; attested to its adequacy and fairness under oath; and initially defended it before the Fifth Circuit.
By reinforcing BP's version of the facts, the local group said, the national chamber "serves the express interests of a foreign corporation at the expense of a very large number of its affiliates and individual business members."
Young, assisted on the brief by Jean Champagne of the Landson Response Group, an environmental and catastrophic-claims firm, said the local chambers have learned a harsh lesson: "The smaller local chambers are Main Street and the U.S. Chamber is Wall Street. And, like everyone else in America, they're realizing that Wall Street is not on their side."

Read more: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202672813833/Affiliates-Split-With-National-Chamber-on-BP-Settlement#ixzz3FergolH7

BP has manipulated this whole thing, and the icing on the cake is that they have the Chamber selling out the victims on the Gulf to a foreign corporation! The same Chamber that has secretly started and currently owns several Courthouse and online newspapers designed to brainwash bored jurors about to be picked for jury duty. Check out the Louisiana Record; Southeast Texas Record and West Virginia Record for starters. They are lower than the belly of a snake!

What is DU's Purpose?

Is it to entertain like minded Democrats and Progressives? Nothing wrong with that on its face I guess. I have enjoyed countless hours reading, watching videos, and conversing with some very smart and interesting people.

Is it to educate? Sure it is, I know because I have learned much here and still have much more to learn. There are many informational exchanges taking place that I would have missed altogether had I not been a regular reader.

Is it a place for charity? Absolutely. The people here are some of the most generous I have ever met! Much more so than most of the so called, "Good Christians" I have known.

Is it a place to organize, plan, and start Progressive movements that can benefit all Americans and that can make great, positive, and lasting changes in our politics, environment, and social welfare? Not so much I am afraid. As we are being dragged in another deadly, costly, war, our elderly and disabled are barely able to survive, wages have gone backwards (if you can even find and keep a job), and we are faced with starvation and mass extinction from unchecked climate change. All while our politicians continue to naturally due the bidding of those that sent them and keep them in Washington, their Donors! With the exception of a few brave DU'ers who participated in OWS, most here, if they do anything at all, will sign petitions that will be presented to these corrupt politicians who probably laugh as they toss them in the trash.

I have proposed fighting for Publicly Funded Federal, State, and Local Elections (PFE's) and outlawing campaign contributions. Certainly not an easy proposition, but one which will attack the root of the problem and put us in direct opposition to the PTB. Bernie Sanders has said that PFE's are his #1 issue! If enough of us here put our intelligence and efforts in getting out the message and supporting Bernie, other politicians will take notice and join the movement. Bernie doesn't have to win the election, or even the primary, to actually win by getting this battle started. You don't have to march and be arrested to help, just do what you can do to fix the one problem that is causing most of the others. Or, you can continue to complain that Republicans in the Senate filibustered immigration again. Boner in the House will not bring Equal Pay to a vote... The midterms are a great time to be asking these candidates what are they going to have to do for all of that money Wall Street gave them? Is anyone here willing to make a difference, instead of just bitching about how bad things are? I hope so because I am not good at this stuff, but I am willing to get out there peacefully and stare down riot police if I have you guys with me!

+1! For exposure (no pun intended). I took the name "Dustlawyer" because I used to work the

"Dust docket". I presented thousands of old men for deposition in asbestos and silica litigation and heard some of the most amazing war stories, as well as seeing first hand the terrible racism that existed in the military and industrial America.
I heard stories of battles I had read about in school, the Battle of the Bulge, Iwo Jima, Omaha Beach. I met veterans from WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam and heard things that were at times alternating between fantastic and horrifying.
I saw institutional racism where white men starting work at a refinery spent anywhere from a week to two months in the "labor gang" digging ditches and other back breaking labor, before being moved to a trade. The black men at the same plant spent 30 years or so in the labor gang before being moved to the warehouse when they physically could not do the work any longer. This one particular plant donated the land next to the plant for them to live on and build a school for their children. In the 1990's it was discovered they had buried toxic sludge underneath when it started to bubble up on the playground.
I hope that the men who decided to dump the radioactive waste in that landfill cannot sleep at night and dream of the dead children when they do sleep!
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