Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Marian Wright Edelman's Thanksgiving Prayer

A Thanksgiving Prayer to End Poverty in Our Lifetime

God help us to end poverty in our time.

The poverty of having a child with too little to eat and no place to sleep, no air, sunlight and space in which to breathe, bask, and grow.

The poverty of watching your child suffer and get sicker and sicker and not knowing what to do or how to get help because you don't have a car to get to the emergency room or health insurance.

The poverty of working your fingers to the bone every day taking care of somebody else's children and neglecting your own, and still not being able to pay your bills.

The poverty of having a job which does not let you afford a stable place to live and being terrified you'll become homeless and lose your children to foster care.

The poverty of losing your job and searching and searching and searching for another amidst an epidemic scarcity of work.

The poverty of working all your life caring for others and having to start all over again caring for the grandchildren you love.

The poverty of earning a college degree, having children, opening a day care center, and taking home $300 a week or even month if you're lucky.

The poverty of loneliness and isolation and alienation -- having no one to call or visit, tell you where to get help, assist you in getting it, or care if you're living or dead.

The poverty of having too much and sharing too little and having the burden of nothing to carry.

The poverty of convenient blindness and deafness and indifference to others, of emptiness and enslavement to things, drugs, power, money, violence, and fleeting fame.

The poverty of low aim and paltry purpose, weak will and tiny vision, big meetings and small action, loud talk and sullen grudging service.

The poverty of believing in nothing, standing for nothing, sharing nothing, sacrificing nothing, struggling for nothing.

The poverty of pride and ingratitude for God's gifts of life and children and family and freedom and country and earth and not wanting for others what you want for yourself.

The poverty of greed for more and more and more, ignoring, blaming, and exploiting the needy, and taking from the weak to please the strong.

The poverty of addiction to drink, to work, to self, to the status quo, and to injustice.

The poverty of fear which keeps you from doing the thing you think is right.

The poverty of despair and cynicism.

God help us end poverty in our time in all its faces and places, young and old, rural, urban, suburban and small town too, and in every color of humans You have made everywhere.

God help us to end poverty in our time in all its guises -- inside and out -- physical and spiritual, so that all our and Your children may live the lives that You intend in the richest nation on earth

Sunday, November 21, 2010

from Daily Kos - some tactics for Democrats

From Chris Bowers, the following article is posted today on Daily Kos

Bowers writes,

Over the last two years, those of us engaged in legislative fights in Congress repeatedly saw the Senate either water down the decent bills passed by the House (such as the stimulus, the housing bill, health care) or just block those bills entirely (such as the energy bill, or the series of measures collectively known as the second stimulus).

There was, however, one time when the Senate actually passed a stronger version of a piece of major legislation than House: the financial reform bill. Even with all of the shortcomings of the financial reform bill kept in mind, passing a stronger, more progressive version of a major piece of legislation through the 60-vote threshold of the Senate is a remarkable achievement.

As such, with Republicans about to take control of the House, and see their numbers significantly increase in the Senate, it's time for a review of the tactics that allowed for this success. There are many lessons we can learn from these tactics that will be of use in all legislative fights to come.

Some useful insights, and pathways to push our representatives on in the months ahead.

PRESS CALL ADVISORY: The Power of the President—Recommendations to Advance Progressive Change

Thanks to Nancy Heilmann for posting this and for her suggestion

From Center for American Progress

Washington, D.C.—November's midterm election aftermath has caused both pundits and politicians to predict overwhelming deadlock and stalemate in the upcoming 112th Congress that will prevent President Barack Obama from advancing his policy priorities. Additionally, there is an ongoing debate as to whether Obama's administration should move to the left or to the center and compromise with the new House leadership.

Despite all this banter and politics, the U.S. Constitution and the laws of our nation grant the president significant authority to create and implement policy. This is an opportunity for President Obama to demonstrate strength, resilience, and a capacity to get things done in order to improve our nation. The following authorities can be used to ensure progress on key issues facing the country today:

* Executive orders
* Rulemaking
* Agency management
* Convening and creating public-private partnerships
* Commanding the armed forces
* Diplomacy

Join the Center for American Progress in a press call to discuss the grave importance of using executive orders and other authorities to take our nation forward on the issues of energy, the economy, healthcare, education, foreign policy, and national security.

Nancy's suggestion:

I think we could be helpful in finding out which aspects of the Obama agenda can be implemented through executive order. We can contact the "expert advice" folks listed on the side of the page. Find out what efforts are already in place for putting pressure on the Obama administration in these areas and figure out a plan for the next two years.

It is essential that Obama do whatever he can, both for the dire need of these policies and to keep the Republicans from taking the presidency in 2012.

Let's come to the next meeting prepared to discuss these issues.

Nancy Heilmann

Petition to break up the big banks

From a New Way Forward,

follow the links to sign this petition

Many candidates and political leaders need an economic vision with concrete proposal plans to get us there. We are helping to develop this vision – we need a less speculative, sustainable, growing, vibrant economy – and we have 5 questions you can ask your local candidates to get them there.

Tell Them: Co-sign! You can email Congress to tell them to co-sponsor the Brown/Kaufman SAFE Banking Act that puts hard caps on the size of banks.

Citizen Action of the Hudson Valley

Perhaps the MHPA might consider organizing an event in concert with the organization Citizen Action of the Hudson Valley?

Here is a statement from them.

Citizen Action of the Hudson Valley has been working towards expanding its reach into Dutchess County. At this time, CAHV has some members from Beacon, in Dutchess County, but most of its active membership is from Ulster County, the west side of the river. The CAHV steering committee decided to focus its Dutchess recruitment efforts on the City of Poughkeepsie. An important factor in this decision was the steering committee’s desire to recruit more people of color to its leadership and general membership. Working towards racial justice is central to Citizen Action’s mission. The local chapter also wants to ensure its steering committee reflects the diversity of the Valley.

CAHV is interested in involving more people from Poughkeepsie in the health care campaign and other important campaigns. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact me at (516) 749-1995. We need your energy, activism, and leadership. Don’t wait another day to advocate for yourself, your family, and your community – become an active member of Citizen Action today!

-Stephanie Ruggiero, CAHV Steering Committee Member

Citizen Action of NY offers the following description of itself and its goals.

Citizen Action of New York is a grassroots membership organization taking on big issues that are at the center of transforming American society – issues like:

* quality education and after-school programs for all our kids
* guaranteed quality, affordable health care
* public financing of election campaigns
* dismantling racism and promoting racial justice
* a more progressive tax system
* an end to the War in Iraq

New York Activist Groups

Here is a link to a variety of activist groups in New york State, courtesy of Activist Resource Dot Org.

I have updated their list for us to include this website as a place for folks to reach us.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

MHPA Survey of members

Dear MHPA members. I have created a survey for the MHPA so as to survey present and former members on their connection to our organization. The intent here, ultimately, is to strengthen progressive politics in our area by strengthening the MHPA and making it more responsive to the needs and wishes of the local progressive community.

Please take a moment to answer this survey. There are only ten questions and your answers will be anonymous.

Click here to take survey

Paul Wellstone, a Model of a Progressive Activist

Oh how I miss the late Paul Wellstone, a smart, principled, truly decent man who represented the people of Minnesota in the U.S. Senate and who, tragically, left this world at way too young an age. If we are looking for a reminder of what the word "progressive" might mean, we might consider looking to the legacy of Paul Wellstone.

Grover Norquist Wants another Govt Shutdown

The GOP is not even pretending that it will be pursuing a moderate course, as one of its modern day tax cutting architects, Grover Norquist, famous for the line about wanting to "reduce it (government) to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub," is openly cheering for another government shutdown, a battle that he and likely other Republican radicals believe will benefit the GOP.

Video: Women in Afghanistan

Nan Hayworth's Radical Right-Wing Agenda

Following today's MHPA meeting, it was decided that we should keep tabs on our various elected officials, starting with our soon to be Congressperson from the NY 19th district, Dr. Nan Hayworth, seen here with House GOP whip, Eric Cantor.

One question that came up at our meeting today was that of what Nan Hayworth stands for and what she will stand for once she is sworn in. Time will tell, of course, but in the meantime, we can hazard some educated guesses.

The website On the Issues gives us some indication, and it is, of course, some bad news for progressives, as well as for the citizens of the 19th district; in general, Dr. Hayworth looks to be positioning herself to represent a swing district while nonetheless taking a series of very radical right wing positions, including supporting the following statements and positions:

*Cap-and-trade has no impact on global temperatures
*Identify constitutionality in every new congressional bill
*Audit federal agencies, to reform or eliminate them
*Moratorium on all earmarks until budget is balanced
*Defund, repeal, & replace federal care with free market
*Taxpayer Protection Pledge: no new taxes
*Adopt a single-rate tax system
*Repeal tax hikes in capital gains and "death taxes"

In other words, an imbalanced political economy that benefits the economic elites!

The website Left of the Hudson has a series of links on Hayworth and her positions. One particular link that caught my attention raised the following concerns.

At last night's Congressional debate, Nan Hayworth refused to denounce the actions of exrteme Tea Party group, Tri-State Sons of Liberty, which notoriously brands Democrats as "socialists" and "communists" and brazenly flies the Confederate Flag at their rallies. She also refused the repudiate the Club for Growth, which is dedicated to destroying Social Security, pushes for a 23 percent National Sales Tax, which really means higher taxes for the poor and middle class and greatly reduced taxes for the rich, and refers to President Obama as "Comrade."

But Hayorth's no fool, she knows that in order to win this election, she needs to fool the Tea Party folks into thinking she's one of them while also working as a double agent for one of their objects of ire, the pro-TARP Wall Street interests that nearly destroyed our economy. This is a precarious tight-rope she's walking.

Clearly, progressives will need to keep up the pressure on Nan Hayworth so as to counter the far right wing proclivities that she has already clearly expressed.