Saturday, May 15, 2010

Enact Tier 5 Extension NOW!!!

My newest letter to the Senate:

99 weeks of Unemployment is NOT enough!!!

The point of the benefits is to make is possible for the workers to pay their bills, feed their families, and keep a roof over their heads until they can work again.

My husband and I -- both separately and together -- have been writing to you and your colleagues for months.

Apparently, nobody listened.

My husband's Tier 4 unemployment completely ran out in February. Congress has passed two one-month extensions, but that doesn't help the tens of thousands who are in the same boat with us. Those extensions only apply to those still in their 1st through 4th tiers of benefits.

Congress has failed to enact a new 5th tier of benefits. So my husband and I -- along with the thousands and thousands of others who can't find jobs -- now have NO income. We are in danger of losing our Internet and phone, which will make it that much harder to look for work.  We're also in danger of losing our homes.

There are no full-time jobs here that will hire my husband at age 57 -- despite the fact that he's a Viet Nam era veteran.   He scraps metal with our neighbor -- when the landlord will loan us the truck that used to be ours (the landlord accepted it as payment for one month's rent).  Our car doesn't run -- so my husband rides his bike seven miles into town to the day-labor office.  In the last week, he has earned less than $30 because there's not enough day-labor work. 

That's barely enough to buy toilet paper, shampoo, and dish soap.  No way will it get the car fixed.

Unless a new tier 5 is enacted, we'll be evicted -- and homeless -- at the end of the month.  We have already received an eviction notice. 

I'm disabled and can't work -- yet I'm my third go round of being denied SSD benefits.  I also have a compromised immune system and suffer from recurring abcesses.  Losing our home and moving to a tent is liable to kill me.

Enact a Tier 5 Unemployment now!!!  If you don't... My blood will be on your hands.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Are You an Enemy Belligerent?


You, Average American, are walking out of the hardware store, where you've just bought a fire extinguisher for your home. On the way to your car, you have to pass a police car, with the officer sitting in it.

You trip, lose your hold on the fire extinguisher, and it falls through his open window and lands in his lap. He jumps out of the car, arrests you, calls his superiors and tells them you're a terrorist with a bomb. You are whisked off into military detention. You don't have Miranda rights. No phone call. No lawyer. They can keep you as long as they want to.

You're now an "enemy belligerent." I hope you said good-bye to your family because they might not see you again for years, and no one has to even tell them where you are.

That's what a bill now in Congress allows, and that's what so dangerous about it.

A Proposed Bill You Should Read More Closely

McCain and Lieberman's "Enemy Belligerent" Act Could Set U.S. on Path to Military Dictatorship | Civil Liberties | AlterNet

The Most Important Sentence In McCain/Lieberman's Nightmare Detention Bill: "An individual, including a citizen of the United States ... may be detained without criminal charges and without trial"

Full text (pdf)

Here are the actual House and Senate bills from The Library of Congress:

H.R.4892 : To provide for the interrogation and detention of enemy belligerents who commit hostile acts against the United States, to establish certain limitations on the prosecution of such belligerents for such acts, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep McKeon, Howard P. "Buck" [CA-25] (introduced 3/19/2010) Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Intelligence (Permanent Select); House Armed Services; House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 3/19/2010 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Intelligence (Permanent Select), and in addition to the Committees on Armed Services, and the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

S.3081 : A bill to provide for the interrogation and detention of enemy belligerents who commit hostile acts against the United States, to establish certain limitations on the prosecution of such belligerents for such acts, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen McCain, John [AZ] (introduced 3/4/2010) Cosponsors (9)
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 3/4/2010 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.


I am a 59-year-old, female, Caucasian, native-born citizen of the US. At present, I have no health care other than AZ Medicaid.

I have spent my working life employed at jobs making about 150% of the poverty level. I have not been able to afford health care insurance for over 30 years. I am one of the "needy" dependent for my health care on our Medicaid program. Indeed, if not for Medicaid, I would not be writing this to you today because I would have died last August.

I have just had to apply for a renewal of my Food Stamps and Medicaid, and have not yet heard if I'll qualify. Yet even I would be willing to pay a little extra in sales and other taxes if it would help poor people keep these needed benefits.

So I'm sick and I'm tired, too.

Tired of being demonized by those equate "providing help to the poor" with "sharing the wealth" and "socialism."

Tired of hearing my own Senator (Kyl) say that Unemployment Benefits are "not a job enhancer, a disincentive."

Tiired of hearing the farcical idea that most legal Americans won't do jobs like mowing lawns, roofing homes, bagging groceries and serving Big Macs with fries. I've worked at all these jobs and worse -- including dipping out a stopped up portapotty with a pail, by hand, for minimum wage. Why did I do these jobs? Because the illegal immigrants had all the good, high-paying construction jobs. My husband and I were once evicted from a trailer park owned by a construction contractor because he would only allow his illegal employees to live there.

My husband John and I have been married for over 15 years. We've been homeless several times, and in three states. We've been homeless - with or without a vehicle to sleep in - for nearly half our marriage. We are now facing the prospect again.

I was born in Covina, CA and grew up in the Los Angeles area. In 1988, I moved to Grants Pass, OR. That's where I met my husband, who was born in Medford, OR. Having both lost jobs, we were homeless when we met, at the Gospel Rescue Mission. We got married in 1995. With Oregon's economy crumbling, we once lived for several weeks on the nickel deposit on aluminum cans, and on glass and plastic bottles. We lived by recycling scrap metal. We lived on day-labor. We lived out of dumpsters. We camped in the woods, and lived on nature's provender. Finally, we had to leave Oregon to find work, traveling from town to town on recyclables we found by the roadside. We tried Las Vegas, and spent five weeks there, surviving by recycling and day-labor. But they wouldn't hire the homeless for fulltime work. So we moved to Prescott, AZ, in 1997, where we still live.

We have bought and paid off three travel-trailer homes, only to lose them again to job losses. I suppose some would call us "po' white" or "trailer trash," and look down on us for all the stereotypic negatives that implies. But we're NOT trash, we're hard-working PEOPLE. We're not lazy. And we're not stupid, either. I got my BA in Philosophy in 1973, having worked my way through college tutoring Natural Deductive Logic. John was pre-med. When he enlisted in the Air Force during the Viet Nam era, he became a Med Tech.

We take whatever job we can find. Our full work history is quite varied.

My husband's letter to Congress

Re: Unemployment Extension Tier 5

I am a VietNam Era veteran.

I was laid off in 2008. I was the manager of a new recycling yard in Prescott Valley, AZ. I have run out of extensions and I am 2 months behind
on my rent. My last check was for $170.00 in mid Feb. I was making around $400 a week at my job, and expected more as the business grew, so the $192 a week unemployment checks were less than half of my wage.
Have I been looking for work?..Of course I have!..any job, even McDonalds, would pay far better than unemployment...there are just no jobs here right now.
I have been forced to put my car up for sale which will make it even harder to find work!..
If a new Unemployment extension doesn't come soon, I will be in a tent with a sick wife.
I am 57 years old and my wife is 59 and homelessness at our age would not only be very hard, it would likely kill my wife.
I really don't know what to do at this point...I am recycling scrap metal and aluminum cans and we are living on about 40 dollars a week that this provides, plus food stamps....
We are only paying $350.00 per month for our small rental, this includes utilities, so we are definitely not living beyond our means!..How do I tell my sick wife that we are losing the little that we have.
I have worked on ranches, in construction, managed 2 recycling yards, and cooked in restaurants. I never believed that a hard working, willing man
would ever be in the situation we are now in.

So to those who demonize the poor by equating "helping the poor" with "spreading the wealth" and "socialism", I suggest you take the:

The Socialist-Free Purity Pledge

"I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:

"Social Security - Medicare/Medicaid - State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP) - Police, Fire, and Emergency Services - US Postal Service -- Roads and Highways -- Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA) -- The US Railway System -- Public Subways and Metro Systems --Public Bus and Light Rail Systems -- Rest Areas on Highways -- Sidewalks --All Government-Funded Local/State Projects -- Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!) -- Public and State Universities and Colleges -- Public Primary and Secondary Schools -- Public Museums -- Libraries --Public Parks and Beaches -- State and National Parks -- Public Zoos -- Unemployment Insurance -- Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services --Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or Federal Government (pretty much all of them) -- Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them) -- Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions) -- Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking -- Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies -- Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies -- If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forgo my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care."

If you are NOT willing to take this pledge, then stop with the vitriolic rhetoric and behavior.

If you are NOT willing to take this pledge, fold it until it is all sharp corners, sit on it, rotate counterclockwise, and STRIP YOUR GEARS.

The Voters' Revolution - "Too Big to Fail"

"The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy."
Woodrow Wilson

"The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return."
Gore Vidal

"There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of
guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."
Robert Heinlein

Ninety eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hardworking, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them.
Lily Tomlin

I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. We are supposed to work it.
Alexander Woollcott

We surely must realize that the strangle hold Big Corporations have on the citizens of our country constitutes a greater threat to our security -- and thus the national security -- than the wars or even terrorism. The Corporate
Conglomerates continue to use the "too big to fail" model to destroy the jobs and lives of MILLIONS of Americans, while they feel entitled to use their strength and our taxpayer money to lobby for more benefits for themselves.

We could let them fail if our Congressional leaders weren't being paid in campaign donations to save them. It would be difficult and a bit risky, but it could be done. I've said this before and I'll keep saying it -- We the People demand swift
and forthright action. We the People come first. The Big Corporations fail to realize that by destroying us, they destroy their consumer base. This goes for the medical insurance and Big Pharma companies as well.

Breaking The Monopolies - That's the answer: Cut them down to size, so they are no longer "too big to fail." The United States of America is too big to fail.

They are killing us. It must STOP.

"The Voters' Revolution"

1) Use the Anti-Trust laws to break up AIG (and other corporate giants) so it is no longer possible to be "too big to fail."

2) Reinstate the Glass Steagall Act.

3) Repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1998 and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000.

4) Demand that the House and Senate set term limits for themselves. No elected legislator may serve more than four terms in office. This acknowledges that it does take some acquired experience to function effectively. They will be placed on probation for the first two years of each term. They will be judged on the basis of accomplishments and not on their rhetoric. A voter's referendum will then be held to determine their performance. If they fail, they will be replaced by a lottery from the pool of registered voters in their state.

5) Demand reform of the system of campaign contributions. Each Legislator may add to their individual "war chests" only the contributions of individuals. All corporate contributions must go into a general fund to be distributed equally to ALL candidates for election. This includes not just the Reps and Dems but the smaller parties as well. This would effectively level the playing field and give us voters more options. "Money talks" in campaigns. We voters must therefore control the money.

6) Eliminate using the filibuster as a threat to force a super-majority vote. Eliminate the filibuster "cloture vote." Make them actually DO a filibuster. Bring out the cots. Lock up the bathrooms. No food, no water. Make the filibuster so difficult to accomplish that Legislators will hesitate before thinking of using it.

7) Eliminate lifetime terms for Supreme Court Justices. Demand the right to recall them by referendum.

8) Repeal all laws or portions thereof which give rights to "corporate persons."