Saturday, August 26, 2017
Friday, August 25, 2017
A newsletter of workplace safety and labor issues
God, Does it Ever End?
Russert last night on Larry King:RUSSERT: One other political point: The Republicans achieved control of the United States Congress for the first time in 70 years, of both houses, under Ronald Reagan.Look, I'm fine with the Peggy Noonan footworshipping. I'm fine with all the "Reagan destroyed the Soviet Union singlehandedly" nonsense. I'm fine with all of these types of things because they're opinions. Some are silly opinions, and there should be some balance to them, but they are still opinions.What I'm not fine with is all the factual errors that creep into the coverage by supposedly "unbiased" reporters.
- The House and Senate did not both come under Republican rule during Reagan's time.
- The Berlin Wall did not come down when Reagan was in office.
- Reagan is not the president who left office with the highest approval rating in modern times.
- Reagan was not "the most popular president ever."
- Reagan did not preside over the longest economic expansion in history.
- Reagan did not shrink the size of government.
- Reagan did preside over what was at the time the "biggest tax cut in history" but it was almost instantly followed up by the "biggest tax increase in history."
- Reagan was not "beloved by all." He was loved by some, liked by some, and hated by some with good reason.
Those concerned about the safety and health of Americans who go to work every day believing in their freedom to come home alive and healthy have good reason to hate Ronald Reagan.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
There aren't shortcuts to building true power so we aren't taking any in our DC work to win this simple policy change: the US should treat Palestinians and Israelis as equal people entitled to equal rights.
And this month, we crossed a major milestone for our still young Legislative Organizing Program: our 100th in-person legislative action of 2017! That means almost 3 times a week Congress is hearing from you at town halls, in-district meetings, and protests.
And during this August recess we've flexed the power of that simple message to re-shape the debate over AIPAC's Israel Anti-Boycott Act that seeks to criminalize boycotts of Israel or the illegal settlements, and shield the Israeli government from international grassroots pressure to abide by basic precepts of international law and human decency.
The best case scenario? The Senate might not even take up this bill at all, meaning we win (or rather, free speech and the movement for Palestinian human rights wins).
But there's definitely also a worst-case scenario: Republicans in Congress, increasingly desperate for any legislative win they can muster, force this unconstitutional attack on free speech and Palestinian human rights through to a vote as quick as they can when they get back to DC after Labor Day.
I trust this won't surprise you to read: we can't match AIPAC's legislative firepower... yet. If they really, really want this to pass, I'm not sure we can stop them today. But I believe we definitively won the August Recess already, in no small part thanks to you.
And we've increased the cost to AIPAC dramatically, by peeling back progressive support for this terrible legislation.
We've turned Members of Congress and Senators against the bill through basic organizing: working the phones, generating media, and most of all, showing up again and again at town halls.
Working with partners at the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, here is some of the progress we've made:
- Convinced Senator Elizabeth Warren to take a public position against the bill, the first time (!) this progressive giant has taken a stance with us and against the status quo in Israel/Palestine.
- In a town hall exchange at the end of July, a JVP member took Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to task for co-sponsoring the bill. Audience support was so loud (and pressure from activists up and down the state so strong) that she did the unprecedented and nearly unbelievable: as a Democratic Senator from New York State, she took her name off this AIPAC-sponsored bill.
- At a town hall in Seattle, there was also enough pressure that Representative Adam Smith pledged to take his name off the bill too.
- Finish Town Hall outreach strong with hundreds more outreach phone calls to help drive turnout. One of the most impressive facets of these town halls hasnâ€™t just been JVP members getting up there to speakâ€” itâ€™s been the applause afterwards, showing these elected officials that equality in Israel/Palestine is something the progressive movement is getting behind.
- Be ready in September to continue pushing our representatives in DC with Capitol Hill visits, phone calls, emails, and moreâ€” making sure Gillibrand, Warren, Smith, and everyone else whoâ€™s woken up to the dangers of this bill stays firm in their commitment to free speech and the right to boycott.
- Get in front of progressives who should know better than to keep their names on this legislation and show them the changing tideâ€” Senators like Richard Blumenthal (CT) and Maria Cantwell (WA), and Representatives like Ted Lieu (CA 33) and Richard Neal (MA 1). They need to hear from you that as they position themselves to claim progressive credibility, sticking with AIPAC is a bad choice.
Because that's what this is really about: creating an alternative power base that elected officials can lean on when AIPAC comes knocking with their tired proclamations that support for Israeli policy is somehow a bipartisan issue.
We're building a progressive movement around the simple idea that Palestinians and Israelis are equal people, entitled to equal rights, and everyone is invited to join in.
But we're also not doe-eyed idealists here. We know that elected officials will get on board, just as soon as we apply enough pressure to make it worth their time.
Thanks for all you're doing,