Like a Samurai sword catching a silk scarf full of dung, President Obama eloquently separated the silk from the shinola in his speech to Congress on health care reform. To the Joseph Goebbels style slanders and phony hysterics fomented by creepy talk show hosts and Republican leaders like Sarah Palin, he “called them out”. And he promised to keep it up until much needed reform is enacted.
The circumstances that led to the resignation of Van Jones should be strongly protested. Mr. Jones was a victim of the current racist and red baiting attack aimed at bringing down the Obama administration.
Armed attendees have been allowed at town hall meetings and public rallies where the President and other national officials were speaking. Paradoxically, Cindy Sheehan wore an anti-Bush t-shirt to a Bush rally and was arrested! Other protesters were herded off to remote protest areas.
A university survey of 4,387 low-wage workers showed that over two-thirds were cheated on their last week’s pay. They were cheated, on average, $51 out of their pay of $339. Thefts included paying less than minimum wage, “working off the clock” and no extra pay for overtime.
President Obama’s speech to Congress last night reset the debate and struggle for real health care reform. No one thought that the reform of our nation’s health care system would be easy to begin with, but what transpired recently – the fierce counter attack by the right-wing extremists, the letting loose of the demagogues of hatred, fear, racism, and division, and the digging in of private insurance companies and other sections of corporate America – proved to be a sobering reminder that the political terrain and initiative can shift in the direction of one’s foes, as it did this summer.
Doors were scheduled to open at 6:00 and though I arrived by 4:15, 300 people were already in line. A certain tension was in the air, as Rep. Gary Peters, a first-term Democrat in Michigan’s 9th C.D, a district that has not been represented by a Democrat for several decades, has been the target of several right-wing rallies. This time, pro-reform forces vowed not to be out organized.
On Labor Day, the working people of the U.S. and all their allies stand poised to win two historic battles — one that ends the national shame of 50 million people living without health insurance, and another that strengthens U.S. labor law so that every man and woman who wants a job has a good paying one in which he or she has a real voice.
A year ago on Labor Day, the nightmare scenario described in the headline above was still a real possibility. Labor and its allies went on to make sure that something quite different unfolded, but what if it had actually happened the way the headline says it did?
Two “lions” died last week. One was known, adored by millions, and a life-long Democrat. Born to a privileged life, he could have done anything, including choosing a life of relative leisure. Instead, he turned into a tireless liberal warhorse for justice in all its many forms.