Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tired of the Trickle Down: Where Are the Jobs? (video)

PDA Tucson and local MoveOn activists protested Congress' focus on the debt ceiling and disregard for Main Street in August 2011. Here is a video by Pamela Powers.

Friday, August 19, 2011



When Bill McKibben asked me to protest the Keystone XL pipeline, I was concerned what might happen if I did. I might look like an enemy of every worker who might gain a much needed pipeline job – denying them the very opportunity that let me support myself and pay for my own education. I also feared it would strain my ties with some of the unions supporting the pipeline. But if I was silent, wouldn’t my silence equal consent to something I knew would be devastating to the planet, its people, and to the labor movement itself? I was talking the talk, but would I walk the walk?

I’ve decided to walk the walk. And here is what I will tell my friends about why I am doing it:

To my friends in the labor movement I say: We can’t build our future by destroying our future. If labor is to have a sustainable future, it must be as a central player in the sustainability movement. We must fight for jobs for our members that will truly “pave the way for better days” rather than destroying their and their children’s futures. Support deep reductions in the burning of fossil fuels, support the measures climate science says are necessary to protect people and the planet, and rebuild the labor movement around the jobs of the future.

To those who might get a job on the pipeline I say: We’re blocking the pipeline to save your future too. But I know I won’t be able to look you in the eyes if I and those I am marching with don’t fight to make sure there are decent jobs for you and your kids — building the kind of world we need.

To my friends in the climate protection, environmental, and sustainability movements I say: We can’t let climate protection make victims of workers who happen through no fault of their own to be in the way of changes that are necessary to protect the climate. Work with us in the labor movement to better understand that sustainability starts at the kitchen table. Support full employment policies, support Blue-Green Alliance’s Jobs 21 campaign, support the AFL-CIO’s program for full employment, and fight for a just transition that protects the wellbeing of workers and communities who may be hurt by side effects of climate protection policies through no fault of their own.

And to myself I say: I am marching not against the labor movement but for the labor movement, for the labor movement to be what I have always in my heart believed it to be. To be the “community in operation” my parents fought for; the labor movement I have spent my life building; the labor movement that makes it possible for working people to fight for what they really need.

The time to begin drastic reductions in carbon emissions is past – we haven’t a moment to waste. So, If not now, when? If not this issue, what issue?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ask Senator John McCain Where the Jobs Are: Town Hall in Tucson, Aug 9

Arizona Senator John McCain will venture into Pima County tomorrow-- Tuesday, August 9-- for a rare local town hall.

This is your chance to ask Senator McCain where the jobs are, what the heck is going on in Washington, what he's done for workers lately... or whatever else you want to ask.

Here is the information from about the town hall and a related demonstration on Wednesday...

Senator John McCain Town Hall
St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, Fellowship Hall
Tuesday, 9 Aug 2011, 9:00 AM
1431 West Magee Rd (Map)
Tucson, AZ 85704

Republicans in Congress have been repeating the mantra that "tax cuts result in job growth" since well before the last election season. While corporations and the wealthiest 2% of America have enjoyed unprecedented tax breaks and industry subsidies, the rest of us are left wondering "where are the jobs?" We need to mobilize to let Congress know that we won't continue to foot the bill for more tax breaks and no job growth! The August recess is a perfect time for our movement to make our voices heard loud and clear across the country.

On Tuesday, we will join Senator McCain's Tucson town hall to ask "Where are the Jobs?" and demand that Congress make corporations and the wealthiest Americans play fair pay their share!

On Wednesday at 5pm, we will join together at the corner of Speedway & Campbell for a rally to once more ask "Where are the jobs?"

Message from [MoveOn] host: We will need two teams of volunteers to attend this event: Some members should attend the town hall as constituents and ask Senator McCain point blank why tax cuts and subsidies have not brought job growth. Where are the jobs? We also welcome a few folks to gather with signs outside the event to make sure that people see and hear our message and that any media that attend know where we stand.

Here's a map to the town hall location.

News from the Economic and Social Justice IOT

We will devoting the entire meeeting to the possibility of creating a state bank for Arizona similar to the Bank of North Dakota. For further information, please check our minutes on our IOT's page!

Helpful materials for learning about the Bank of North Dakota and a similar proposal in Oregon:

Next Economic and Social Justice IOT Meeting:

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, 7 – 9 PM,
Ward 1 Council Office
940 W. Alameda

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dear Friend,

Here is an op-ed I wrote in today's Arizona Republic about the important issue of protecting the Grand Canyon and the surrounding area from the threat of mining. The impact of uranium mining on this national treasure cannot go unchallenged, and we must continue to make our voices heard.

Peace, US Congressman Raúl Grijalva

GOP Lawmakers have Canyon Under Siege

It's not too dramatic to say the Grand Canyon has been under siege from mining claims for several years now. Unfortunately, several of my Arizona congressional colleagues have taken stands that would make sure that siege continues.

As I wrote in a May 4 letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, there are at least 8,500 mining claims near the Canyon, up from the 100 claims on file in January of 2003. That's why June 20 was such a big day in the history of American conservation.

In a ceremony I was proud to attend, Salazar said he will recommend withdrawing more than 1 million acres around the Canyon from mining claims for the next 20 years. It was, in every sense, a huge deal.

That announcement, unfortunately, wasn't the end of the discussion. Salazar's proposal won't be formalized until the end of the year; and, in the meantime, Republicans in Congress - including Republican Reps. Jeff Flake, Trent Franks and Paul Gosar - have been busy.

The most important issue to watch is an unusual amendment to this year's Interior Department funding bill. The amendment says Interior can't implement Salazar's withdrawal of those acres around the Grand Canyon. Even though this is a spending bill, which isn't allowed to make policy, it just goes ahead and says Interior can't do its job.

Who wrote this amendment?

According to his own July 12 press release, it was Rep. Flake. Just as bad, Reps. Franks and Gosar wrote a May 16 letter to House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., calling Salazar's proposal "a serious national-security threat." I'm betting they'll support the Flake amendment when they get the chance.

What makes Rep. Flake's effort especially strange is that American corporations, or even our nuclear-power sector, wouldn't really benefit if it passed. Much of the uranium extracted by Denison Mines Corp., a Canadian company with multiple mining leases in the Grand Canyon area, is exported to South Korea, where Korea Electric Power Corp. has an ownership stake.

How will protecting the Grand Canyon from a South Korean-owned Canadian mining firm create a national-security crisis? The Franks-Gosar letter doesn't really say. It does say that withdrawing the land from mining claims is "political gamesmanship." I'll let readers decide how they feel about that.

Action on this amendment will probably come soon. The funding bill has been approved by the House Appropriations Committee but hasn't been to the full House for a vote. If it passes, it will almost certainly include this language. Unless someone in the Senate works to get it taken out, it will be in the final bill that goes to the president.

This is all part of a bigger ideological campaign to eliminate environmental protections Republicans disagree with in principle. It isn't about helping the economy. It's about not believing the government should protect the environment, period.

Arizona doesn't want to open the Grand Canyon for mining, drilling or any other kind of disruption. The Canyon isn't just a pile of rocks or a vein of minerals waiting to be turned into cash. It's the crown jewel of our national-parks system and one of the most beautifully recognizable features of the entire planet.

This amendment would put the needs of millions of Grand Canyon visitors - not to mention the Canyon itself - somewhere below the needs of mining CEOs.

I'm squarely against this tactless, unnecessary corporate giveaway. I think the people of this state, and this country, agree with me. I'd like to know from Rep. Flake what his proposal is supposed to accomplish and who he's earmarking this for. Let's end the siege on the Grand Canyon once and for all.