Tag Archives: Civil Rights

Congressional Reform Act of 2011 Revised

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Early this year I received a spam email about “The Congressional Reform Act of 2011.” I looked at it and thought that most of it sounded like good suggestions to me, but what were the facts. After a bit of research I found out that FactCheck.org had vetted the email pretty throughly and had done a good job of showing where the original person, who started the email, was uninformed on parts of their Act. While I make no claim to know much about politics, I was interested and decided to look into the parts of the “Act” that FactCheck did not make specific comments about. Specifically Term Limits, Pay Raises and Health Care. What follows are my suggestions from the viewpoint of a past government employee. -U.S Army Infantry, Sniper.

The first part of the Act covers Term Limits. In the Federalist Papers #57 either Alexander Hamilton or James Madison wrote. (the Federalist Papers were all signed “PUBLIUS” so we cannot be positive of the authorship)
“The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust. The elective mode of obtaining rulers is the characteristic policy of republican government. The means relied on in this form of government for preventing their degeneracy are numerous and various. The most effectual one, is such a limitation of the term of appointments as will maintain a proper responsibility to the people.” You can read here that when our great Nation was newly formed it was understood that if you allowed individuals to stay in government for an extended period the would most likely become disconnected with the populous and start to favor the “elevation of the few on the ruins of the many.”
The next three sections are self explanatory as I added the comments to the individual sections for the sake of brevity.
  1. Term Limits.
    12 years only, one of the possible options below..
    A. Two Six-year Senate terms
    B. Six Two-year House terms
    C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
  2. No Tenure / No Pension.
    A legislator collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office. They currently can receive up to 80% of their salary after one term, how much they receive depends on many factors. A soldier who serves less than 20 years and does not get injured gets no pension why should our legislatures get better consideration?
  3. Pay Raises -Currently they get an automatic raise to match COLA, unless they vote against it.
    Our legislatorsĀ  will no longer get a COLA (Cost Of Living Allowance) adjustment if the Country in is debt. If Social Security, Armed Forces, and Disabled Veterans do not get it why should they?
  4. Our legislators should participate in the same health system as the Military and Veterans since they all work for the same government it only makes sense. Also, this might improve the quality of care and treatment of Veterans in the VA hospitals.

I feel that we need to overhaul the system. For me it was an honor to serve in the U.S Army and so serving in Congress should be an honor. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

How do we decide on WHO should represent “We the People” for that I close with a quote from the Federalist Papers #57

Who are to be the electors of the federal representatives? Not the rich, more than the poor; not the learned, more than the ignorant; not the haughty heirs of distinguished names, more than the humble sons of obscurity and unpropitious fortune. The electors are to be the great body of the people of the United States.

sources:
http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/fedindex.htm
http://factcheck.org/2011/03/congressional-reform-act/
http://www.snopes.com/politics/socialsecurity/pensions.asp

PBS’s Mr. Rogers speaks with compassion to Senate.

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In 1969, Mr. Rogers appeared before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications. He spoke in defense of funding for PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in response to significant proposed cuts by President Nixon. Where is the next Mr. Rogers? Would Senator Boehner and others even listen to him now? Mr. Rogers speaks with such love and kindness in his delivery that during his speech the tone of the senate changes from one of anger to a tone of understanding and willingness to listen. I urge everyone to speak up, ask Congress the Senate and the President to listen to “We the People” with an open heart.

Full Speech from Jobs with Justice and US UnCut Rally with Montage.

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April’s “First Friday” Jobs with Justice and US UnCut Video

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Video of the Jobs with Justice and US UnCut “First Friday” There are four speakers but the video is only 3 minutes. Take those few minutes to learn about Jobs with Justice and US Uncut. I start at 1:30 into it.

US UnCut Chicago’s Bank of America on April 2nd Photo’s

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Today US UnCut Chicago went to voice its displeasure with Bank of America the tax dodgers. Next week we will team up with AFL-CIO, Jobs With Justice for a nationwide protest. In Chicago, statewide events and mobilizations will culminate in a “We Are One” rally on **Saturday, April 9th at 1 PM in Daley Plaza, 118 N. Clark St.

Please plan to join this rally with “thousands” of your brothers and sisters from community and labor organizations.*

The Illinois AFL-CIO and the Chicago Federation and allies across the state will be gathering for this statewide massive rally in support of workers and workers’ rights! Following the events in Madison and in response to copycat legislation being introduced in other states, we are mobilizing to let our elected officials know that here in Illinois support workers’ rights and organized labor!

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“First Friday” Rally Photo’s

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Photo’s from Aprils “First Friday” Rally.

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April 1st “First Friday” Rally: “Jobs with Justice” and “US UnCut Chicago”

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This week I was asked to speak on behalf of US UnCut at the Jobs with Justice monthly rally at the James R Thompson Center in Chicago. There were four speakers including Susan Hurley of Jobs with Justice. After the speeches we marched up Lasalle Ave, in a noisy but orderly fashion to the Bank of America where we protested outside the bank for while. Please come out and see us next “First Friday” May 26th 2011.

  • What is “First Friday?”

“First Friday” is the first Friday of the month when a number of people give up part of their lunchtime to come downtown, show public solidarity with the nation’s unemployed and underemployed workers.

  • Why “First Friday?”

We take action on the “First Friday” of every month because that’s the day the Labor Department releases its report on the previous months’ job creation (or lack thereof). Not to mention it’s fair, practical and just the right thing to do!

  • What happens on “First Friday?”

We gather to demand the following: a federal jobs program, jobless benefits (including health care) for ALL of the unemployed, and making Wall Street pay for it!

  • How can I get involved?

Next month come out and be seen engaging the public discussing the kind of jobs program the country needs. Comment for Internet TV and radio. Exchange experiences related to job finding and job improvement, and housing, food, and health care issues. Petition lawmakers. Sign up to receive information about future actions. Pick up a sign. Come early, spend some time. Take a stand with our unemployed activists and allies for a federal jobs program so all of our loved ones, friends and neighbors who struggling can get back to work!

Please join us to help make common sense more common!

For more information, call (312) 738-6161 or send an email to susanh@jwj.org. Also visit the Chicago Job With Justice website to learn more.

Why I became involved in US UnCut’s Action in Chicago March 26th

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Yesterday, for the first time in my life I decided to participate in an Civil Action. I did not make this decision lightly! As I dug into the history books in my personal library, watched the news, read the newspapers, and listened to NPR I slowly came to realize that our Nation was under attack; when I joined the Army I swore to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Years ago when I took this oath I never once imagined that the domestic enemies would be elected officials and corporations!
In my studies I saw that the actions of such people and businesses is widening the gap between the rich and poor and shrinking the middle class and weakening this great Nation.

I feel as did William Henry Harrison when in 1840 he said. “I believe and say… that all measures of the government are directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer” it also seems to me that instead of a democratic government the aforementioned people want our current government to become an Oligarchy. In his book The Republic, Plato defined Oligarchy as “A government resting on a valuation of property, which the rich have power and the poor man is deprived of it.” It seems that the Rich have been greedy throughout history and even though we are 10 years into a new millennium, our society is no better than it was in the far past.

Furthermore, all over the world people are rising up, saying “enough is enough” and yet it is falling on deaf ears -unless they have oil-. The people of the United States, too, have been patient long enough, hoping in vain, that those we elected would wake up and put a stop to the long running abuses and despotic behavior. Our patience has run out and time for words has ceased, it is time for action, we must act now to work for the benefit of all Americans, not just the privileged few.
My resolve was further strengthened when, in my library, I came across the following quote that Abraham Lincoln, wrote in is his Notes for speeches in Ohio “The people– the people are the rightful masters of both congresses and courts– not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.”

Thus I was moved to action, so I acted. I was surprised at all the people at the action. It first started off with two, brave souls, going in and distracting the managers by asking questions about opening an account. Then, people came in with checks that were for 1,500,00.00 (the amount that Bank of America should have paid in taxes) and trying to cash them. When the tellers told them “No” the Uncutter’s gave a quick speech about how the American people were owed this money and that in 2009 Bank of America made 4.2 Billion in profits and paid ZERO taxes to which the tellers seemed speechless about. I personally spoke to two Managers of Bank of America and was told by them that Bank of America “Pays their taxes.” If you combine this with what the tellers said we can draw two conclusions.

  1. The Tellers and Managers are lying.
    or
  2. The Tellers and Managers do not know what their employers are doing.

Either way the American People are hurting and the Truth needs to be told. It seems to me that our current laws are creating a rapid accumulation of property and wealth in a few hands, and thus rendering the rest of the population dependent, poor and hungry. I ask you the following question, “How much are you, and your children, willing to sacrifice so the Rich get richer?” Please get involved in any way you can and at what level you are comfortable with. My next posting will discuss ways you can get involved at various levels.

Bank of America refuses to close customer’s account.

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It seems that todays Action by US UnCut reached at least one person and that person was so moved that they proudly walked into the Bank of America to close her account. But, when she came out of the bank she was in shock and near tears. When asked why? The response was “The manager asked me why I wanted to close my account. I told him it was because Bank of America pays no taxes. The manager then refused to close my account and said if I did not leave he would call the police.” The person has asked that her name not be used but has sworn that she will go to another branch and close her account on Monday.

I say that we ALL close our accounts and move our accounts to a Credit Union or a locally owned bank; I will be doing this first thing tomorrow. Dr. Martin Luther King and Gandi both taught us to speak “with your money” and they both talked about Boycotts. This is something that we as Americans need to do!

I am not asking you to do something that I am not willing to do, I am asking you to do what myself and others are doing, including the Wisconsin Firemen and Policemen, and bring your money back to your local banks, credit unions and savings and loans. It may not seem like much but every dollar you take back is one less they can earn interest on and buy politicians!

Dr King said it best and I will close with a quote from his “Mountaintop Speech”

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.

US UnCut Chicago March 26th Action (Photo’s)

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Today I went to the US UnCut Chicago action and took some photo’s. I enjoyed seeing so many people out on such a cold day exercising their First Amendment Right!

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