2012 Earth Charter Summit on Economic Justice
Quad Cities 5th Annual 2012 Earth Charter Summit:
Saturday, September 15, 2012
9:00am – 3:00pm
Western Illinois University
3300 River Drive, Moline, IL
Ellen Augustine, M.A., notmypriorities.org
Ellen is a speaker and author on creating a just, peaceful, and sustainable world. She founded/co-founded four nonprofits on environmental regeneration, media violence, international citizen diplomacy, and mentoring at-risk youth. She is a contributing author to A Game As Old As Empire: The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption. She is co-author of Taking Back Our Lives in the Age of Corporate Dominance (as Ellen Schwartz). She has presented “Stories of Hope” at universities and associations-profiles of people who are creating businesses which increase profits by incorporating eco-initiatives, and communities and schools which truly nurture and renew us. Ellen has been featured in Utne Reader and Hope Magazine, received the Women of Achievement and Thread of Hope Awards, and was named one of 21 Visionaries for the 21st Century. She serves on the board of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Northern Alameda County. She holds a Masters Degree in Speech Communication.
The Pentagon, the Economy, and the 99%
Most Americans do not know that the Pentagon consumes more than 60% of our discretionary budget, which equals the military spending of all the other countries of the world combined! This takes an enormous toll on quality of life for the 99%: there is insufficient money for health care, education, affordable housing, environmental restoration, and green job creation, to name but few. Ellen will reveal why the military is a poor jobs program, where cuts can be made, what true security looks like, and why science is on our side for the triumph of the Common Good! You will leave with a plethora of ideas for actions.
Passion in Action: Enhancing YOUR Idea for a World That Works for All
In Eastern philosophy, each person is here for a unique purpose, and if you do not do what is yours to do, there is a hole in the universe. Do you have a vision for the common good that just won’t let go of you? Ellen will support participants in coalescing ideas for a more vibrant, joyful, and sustainable world. This workshop is both for people who already have a project in motion as well as for those with a new idea. In this workshop participants will learn to:
- Brainstorm initial steps and prioritize actions
- Write clear and compelling copy for promotional flyers
- Stimulate thinking on generating revenues from fundraising
- Organize a public outreach campaign
- Craft timely and engaging press releases
- Liaison with other stakeholders
- Overcome potential objections
- Develop one-page fact & action sheets
- Lunch provided at 12 noon -
Cost is only $10, $5 for students
(Goodwill donations will be accepted based on ability to pay; full stipends are also available)
Tabling is available to organizations interested in participating at this event
Please share this with your friends, family members, coworkers, civic groups, rotary clubs, etc, to help us reach as many citizens as possible in our effort to promote this event!
To Register, Print/Complete the – REGISTRATION FORM HERE. Space is limited and we expect to fill every seat so register today! Make checks payable to PACG and mail to:
c/o Earth Charter Summit
1212 W. 3rd St, Suite 3D
Davenport, IA 52804
If you would like to volunteer to help with this event or to reserve a table for your organization, please contact Caroline at Progressive Action for the Common Good:
It’s time for some Progressive Street Theater in this year’s East Moline Labor Day Parade!
Calling all Cultural Creatives!
The PACG Corporate Reform/Economic Justice forums will be marching in this year’s parade to raise awareness about our nation’s lop-sided budget priorities and to promote the Robin Hood Tax on Wallstreet. This is a great opportunity to promote & perform for a captured audience!
We need your help!
We are seeking 12 – 15 individuals willing to don a Robin Hood hat and mask and to hand out cards that will promote the Robin Hood tax and the notmypriorities campaign – telling people how they can get involved in both as well as promoting the Earth Charter Summit on September 15th.
A giant dollar bill that has George Washington wearing a robin hood hat and mask and the words, “www.robinhoodtax.org.”
In addition, we need 2 Friar Tucks to carry a giant pie chart of the federal budget, which will state,
“The budget is a moral document; these are not our priorities!”
If you are interested in exposing your inner “hoodlum” for a good cause, please call me asap! We can’t pull this off without your help!
Reflections On A Community Garden
by Jade Kai
My next trip to the PACG Progressive Action for the Common Good Community Garden at 13th and Grand will be bittersweet. I won’t be going home with bowls of tomatoes, green beans, or zucchini. I will be pulling up my tomato cages and plant stakes. I’ll be chopping up my dead plants for compost. And I’ll be picking up the little pieces of glass and plastic that I found during my time digging around in my 10×10 plot.
These little fragments were a nuisance, but also a reminder of the formerly vacant lot’s past. Whenever I would uncover some new treasure in the dirt, I would think about how a grocery store once stood here. I would think about the lives circulating and interacting in the store, perhaps in the very spot where my squash was now growing. I was thankful that a new and different life was continuing to sprout in the same spot now. And I am hopeful for the life that will circulate there in the future. During the course of the growing season, I met many people – neighbors, fellow gardeners, and a cat. I shared the fruits of my plot with friends, my family, complete strangers, and an animal that always got to the kale before I could.
I have been a gardening girl ever since my mom helped me plant my own little 3×4 section of earth when I was too young to understand that I would not get an ear of corn in a week even if I watered the not-yet-sprouted seeds every day. But gardening in a public space was coming out of my comfort zone. Strangers would be able to see all the things I was doing wrong. They would see if I neglected to weed or if I failed to pick the beans before they were overripe. People driving by would see me in my sweaty, dirty glory while I posed in unflattering, and unladylike body contortions so I could reach the ripe tomatoes while not crushing the cucumber vines. But my desire to facilitate positive change is more important than my desire to be comfortable.
The garden’s purpose is to promote more than just gardening. Imagine my horror when I read Barbara Kingsolver’s anecdote about a friend who never realized that potatoes were the roots of the potato plant in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. The garden is here so that kids can walk by see a tomato ripening in the sun and make a connection to the shrink wrapped tomatoes that they see in the grocery store. It’s here to serve as a place for community members to gather. It’s here to promote local, healthy food-growing practices. It’s here to make a vacant lot more beautiful, and provide a space for good, clean, outdoor fun and exercise. It’s here to feed ourselves, our friends, a few strangers, and, to a lesser degree, the rabbits and the groundhogs. With time and care, this community garden will be around for years to inspire people to learn how to garden, try a new vegetable, or even just wave to the neighbors as they drive by.
The garden is also here for some reasons that are harder to articulate, but maybe the most important reason for the garden’s existence is because a small group of optimistic people are committed to positive change. Like society, our garden isn’t perfect. We need more gardeners and less weeds. But what is a gardener if not an optimist who believes in the spirit of new life and positive change and creation?
Next year I believe the garden will be even more successful, thanks to gardener spirit. Maybe our legislative leaders at all levels could take a little inspiration from gardeners the next time they want to slander an opponent. After all, gardeners know mud isn’t for slinging – it’s for growing things. And change isn’t something to be scared of – with a little care and good weather something delicious is bound to sprout up.
If you live in Davenport and would like to become part of our gardening community by reserving a plot for next spring, call Caroline on the PACG cell at: 563-676-7580 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Yes, Yes, Yes” on Iowa Supreme Court Judicial Retention
Guest Blog from Alan Egly, Rev Mary Moore & Judge Jim Kelly
Three branches of government were established to assure the possibility of good governance of our great nation. The judicial branch serves as a balancing agent to assure the ideal of a democracy under the constitution. The judicial branch is expected to serve the entire population and is not to be subservient to any lobbying special interest group. The current negative retention efforts in Illinois and Iowa reflect a narrow point of view that would subvert the intention of the founders of our nation.
A sitting judge should not be faced with losing his home, his salary and his respected position because of a vote interpreting the state constitution.
The retention concept is a protection from those judges who might be incompetent, who might fail to give due diligence in reviewing cases or who might be proven to have received bribes to influence a vote. The concept was not intended as a reprimand for failure to interpret the constitution as demanded by any religious ideology or business interest.
A vote against retention of a specific person based on self-interest or on individual belief is a vote against the judicial system.
Alan L. Egly
Iowans are coming together in a Homegrown Justice movement to vote YES, YES, and YES to retain the three Iowa Supreme Court justices on the ballot this November. They work hard to defend our Constitution with fairness and integrity. We're taking the high road in an effort to ensure our judicial system has the interest of all Iowans in mind.
We will continue to counter the rhetoric of out-of-state extremists (and their “Judge Bus” which will be stopping in 20 Iowa communities) with the voices of everyday Iowans.
Out-of-state special interests are attempting to hijack Iowa’s courts. We are speaking as Quad City folks to urge fellow Iowans to stand up for our justices, turn the ballot over, and vote YES, YES, and YES to protect homegrown Iowa justice! As of Monday, Oct. 25, polls showed 40% planning to vote not to retain and only 44% voting to retain!!
Rally attendees gathered nearby the “Judge Bus” group. Pro-retention signs simply read, “YES YES YES!”
Once the “Judge Bus” group had left, 2 Homegrown Justice speakers addressed the crowd and the media with messages about the importance of protecting our courts from deep-pocketed out-of-state interests. The program lasted 15-20 minutes.
The goal is to provide a positive message about our courts and the justices and judges who work in them to counteract the negative message of the “Judge Bus” group.
More information can be accessed on the Homegrown Justice website.
Thanks to Joyce Wiley who scheduled Forum on this issue at UUCQC this past Sunday and to Judge Jim Kelley who gave an excellent presentation at the Forum.
UUCQC voted at a Congregational Meeting back on May 2 to support marriage for all Iowans without regard as to gender. This was as it should be since it is a local congregational matter as your Interim Minister and your Minister Emeritus, Rev. Alan Egly, with the authority of this congregation perform marriages for all Iowans.
Below is an informational handout from Jim Kelley from last Sunday's Forum regarding criteria to use when deciding to retain judges or justices in Iowa:
SUGGESTED CRITERIA TO USE WHEN DECIDING TO RETAIN JUDGES OR JUSTICES IN IOWA
* Integrity – is the judge honest, upright and committed to the rule of law?
* Professional Competence – does the judge have a keen intellect, extensive legal knowledge and strong writing abilities?
* Judicial Temperament – is the judge respectful, composed, decisive and impartial?
* Work Ethic – is the judge prompt with rulings and decisions?
* Service – is the judge committed to public service and the administration of justice?
Rev Mary Moore
More coverage on this issue:
Campaign to oust judges puts system on trial.
Bruce Braley Shares our Values
By Caroline Vernon
As you all know, election time is right around the corner, and once again, we will all make choices about who will best represent the people of Iowa.
I'm sure most of you will agree, this is a very critical time in our country. We continue to see a shift in wealth with the top 2% of Americans already owning over 90% of all wealth while rising unemployment robs middle class families of the ability to meet basic needs, let alone plan for the future. The future for many of us has become quite uncertain. Meanwhile the “the party of NO” with incredulous audacity, willfully blocks the extension of unemployment benefits to Americans who are struggling to feed their families while fighting for extending the tax cuts for the predator class at the top of the food chain – the richest 2%. We hear the argument that they are the ones who will create jobs in this country, which begs the question, why haven't they? They already have all the money… where are the jobs??? This shift in wealth just didn't happen overnight.
After the SCOTUS ruling on the Citizens United case, corporate America has been given the green light to flood our political process with unfettered amounts of money, further eroding the integrity of our elections. We are literally fighting for our democracy. This is why we need someone in the halls of Congress who is not afraid to stand up to these entrenched special interests and fight for the common people of this country (the other 95%). That someone is Representative Bruce Braley. Bruce continues to demonstrate he is not afraid to tackle the tough issues head on, speak truth to power, build coalitions to find common ground, and offer creative solutions to the many difficult issues we face today.
Bruce has been fighting to introduce legislation to help our veterans and troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, fighting to boost investment in Iowa's clean energy economy and working to create more opportunity for Iowa's families and small businesses. In March of 2010, President Obama signed into law a tax cut Bruce introduced to encourage small businesses to create jobs and hire previously unemployed workers.
Bruce fought the Pentagon bureaucracy when nearly 600 Iowa National Guard soldiers returning home from Iraq were denied full GI Bill education benefits. He took on the Pentagon again when more than 700 Iowa National Guards were denied their Respite Leave benefits, introducing legislation that resulted in thousands of National Guard troops across the country receiving the benefits they had earned.
To increase transparency and make government more accountable, Bruce introduced and passed legislation to simplify government forms like tax returns and benefit applications.
Currently, Bruce sits on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. As Vice-Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Bruce works to hold corporations accountable and protect families from unsafe food and drugs and defective products.
This past summer, Bruce took on BP CEO Tony Hayward exposing their “willful” safety violations as a matter of policy. You can watch the exchange here:
In short, Congressman Bruce Braley shares our Iowa values. I am proud to call him my congressman. If you live in the 1st district of Iowa, please cast your vote for Bruce and send him back to Washington to do the people's business. We need him.
Calling All Iowans! Corporations are Not People! – PUBLIC PROTEST
By Caroline Vernon
The Corporate Reform forum of Progressive Action for the Common Good and other partner organizations invite you to attend a PUBLIC RALLY in PROTEST of the recent Supreme Court decision that money = free speech.
For More Information Call
Citizens will address, and demand justice, from our nine Supreme Court justices…
Abraham Lincoln will be there, reciting his prophetic quote about an impending future crisis that caused him to tremble for the safety of our country…
You will see the US Constitution, laying in rest, as a member of our faith community gives the eulogy and speaks to our inalienable rights as endowed by our Creator – if you listen carefully I believe you'll hear a trumpet in the distance, playing TAPS on the wind…
Will it mark the death of our constitution or the death of a political system mired in corruption?
Will our citizens recoil, overwhelmed by the weight of power corrupted, or will they organize, join forces, and magnify each others voices?
Does it not fall upon us to set things right? Will you join me in speaking truth to power in this fight? We're all in this together – you know that to be true… you stand with me and I'll stand with you.
So just in case you're feeling weary and tired, we really need your help to get our Supreme Court fired!
Oh wait.. that's not all… I'm not done yet… to right this wrong we must never forget… democracy requires vigilance and toil… if we don't pay attention, we'll be owned by big oil.
As if that's not already the case, we now can be certain who will win the next race… it won't be Obama or even Joe Biden, it will be Exxon, Monsanto and Pfizer, I'm certain – 'cuz some Supreme Court judges say they are a person.
Now, if you agree with that assessment, with all due respect, I cannot understand, how a corporation can be equal to man.
Does it eat? Does it breathe? Does it live? Does it love? Does it laugh? Does it Cry? Is it blessed from above? Does it recognize, or even see, the inalienable rights of humanity?
How can they say corporations are persons when in spite of their profits, our plight only worsens.
They only care about profit & loss… and giving huge bonuses to the corporate boss.
Do they have a mother who taught them to share, with the workers that they must entrust to their care?
Or does the corporate ladder only provide for those who are willing to tread upon others, instead of treating them as sisters and brothers?
Do we as a culture really want to see, the end of our democracy?
If not, I suggest we all do what we can, to reinforce the brotherhood of man. To stand with each other against corporate might, to say “hell no, you won't win this fight!”
And lo and behold, we'll begin to see, a rising consensus upon the land that a corporation does not equal a man.
So now, once again, I beseech you all, to push past the comfort zones we experience, and take to the streets because this is serious!
After all, if we don't do it, who will? I shudder to think about my children's future… and that's why I know we must do all we can to ensure democracy is safeguarded again.
“We the People” call on our elected representatives to support 6 2 3 5 4 2 8 4;
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Congresswoman Donna Edwards Constitutional Amendment to Undo SCOTUS Ruling:
Sign the petition at: www.freespeechforpeople.org
Please RSVP and share this event with everyone you know. Attached is a flyer (or click here) – please print it and post it at your neighborhood book store, coffee shop, library, YMCA, union hall, community center, university, store windows, and anywhere else you can think of that will reach as many people as possible!
We're all in this together. It's time to rock… for those about to rock, I SA-LUTE you!
Report on SEIU/Change That Works
Health Care Affordability Summit
By Caroline Vernon
Washington, DC – On January 13th, SEIU/Change That Works and health care reform coalition partners mobilized labor members and health care advocates from across the country for a national day of action, calling on legislators to adopt 3 essential aspects of the House & Senate bills; The 3 A’s: Affordability, Accessibility, and Accountability.
Before a crowd of 150, many pro-reform legislators spoke passionately about the need to make health care more affordable, as the conference committee decides the fate of meaningful health care legislation.
Everyone in attendance agreed, our #1 priority should be making real reform affordable for working families and setting premiums and out-of-pocket costs at levels that are fair and reasonable. Adequate subsidies are seen to be essential to the fundamental goal of guaranteeing quality affordable health care to all Americans. SEIU and coalition partners, PICO, Families USA, and other community groups called on legislators and the Obama administration to adopt the following 5 components of the House & Senate bills:
• The safety net for the most vulnerable in our communities is stronger in the House through an expansion of Medicaid to those making 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) or less.
• The House bill offers lower premiums and caps out-of pocket costs at levels that lower income families earning less than 250% of the FPL (less than $41,000 for a family of 3) can better afford.
• The Senate bill makes care more affordable for families who are between 250% and 400% of the FPL.
• The House surtax impacting only the wealthiest Americans, is more favorable than the Senate’s excise tax that would adversely impact millions of middle class families, resulting in benefit cuts, increasing premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.
• The House approach to ensuring employers share responsibility and contribute to the coverage of part time workers. If not, employers will have a strong incentive to reduce the number of hours for full time workers so they are not penalized for not offering coverage – there must be accountability.
Reformers also advocated on behalf of seniors having expanded access to affordable medications by closing the gap or “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug coverage.
Overall, the House bill makes coverage much more affordable for working families. To give you an example of the difference, a single worker earning only $17,500 per year will pay 16% of their annual income for health insurance ($2,801) under the Senate bill, while paying only 8% ($1,416) of their annual income for insurance under the House bill – a very substantial difference. Additionally, under provisions found in the Senate bill, a low income family of 3 that earns $41,000 a year would pay an annual average of $7,000 or 17% of their annual income on healthcare; $2,134 more than under the House bill. The same family could pay a maximum of $9,000 a year on healthcare; $2,175 more than the maximum under HR 3962.
SEIU members who were interviewed during the day of national action spoke about why they and their families need affordable, comprehensive coverage as a part of reform. Their personal accounts are truly moving. Watch it here.
Some of the Congressmen and women who spoke at the Health Care Affordability Summit included, Congressman Ensign from New York, Donna Edwards from Maryland, Christopher Murphy and Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut, and Congressman Dingle from Michigan who put the fight for health care justice in historical perspective by reminding us, the fight to enact Social Security and Medicare in this country was as intense and controversial as our current struggle to pass meaningful health care reform legislation in 2010. Congressman Dingle, has been a member of Congress for 54 years.
After the summit, advocates lobbied their members of congress on affordability. SEIU Iowa President, Cathy Glasson, and I had an opportunity to meet with Congressmen Loebsack and Braley who both said they were in agreement and supported adopting the 5 key components we had outlined from the House and Senate bills that would make health care more affordable. Both Congressmen indicated they had met with President Obama just the day before to discuss compromises in the House and Senate bills. When we addressed the issue of favoring the House surtax over the Senate’s excise tax as a funding mechanism, both congressmen expressed disappointment that the president was “bent” on adopting the Senate’s version which would place the burden on working families rather than the wealthiest Americans. As you may recall, this is NOT what Obama campaigned on.
Since our visit, we know organized labor has fought for acceptable compromises which would tax cadillac plans costing over $8,900 rather than $8,000 as outlined in the Senate bill.
I also addressed the need to fix the 2 year waiting list for individuals who qualify for Social Security Disability with our Iowa congressmen. As it stands today, recipients are told they must wait 2 years before becoming eligible for Medicare. This is nothing short of cruel. Why would anyone deny disabled individuals access to healthcare? I have to wonder, what was Congress thinking? Why would anyone intentionally withhold health care from people who have met all the many difficult requirements to demonstrate they have a serious medical need which resulted in disability? Is it their hope that folks will just die off or what? Do they not understand what kind of impact this has on people’s lives or the amount of damage that can ensue if a chronic condition goes untreated for 2 years? Neither the House or Senate bill addresses this issue. I ask you to please raise your voice and advocate on behalf of these individuals who arguably have the greatest need for care.
Congressman Braley also shared with us his concerns that pro-reform advocates have not countered the “tea baggers” or anti-reform protestors who he and others see everyday on the steps of the Capitol and outside House and Senate offices. Unfortunately, they also garner ALL of the media’s attention, since there is no “visual” pro-reform presence on the Hill. Congressman Braley expressed frustration over the fact that progressives and pro-reform advocates have not mobilized a massive demonstration and show of support for health care reform, countering anti-reformer claims that they are in the majority.
I know there are so many of you who have worked long and hard on meaningful health care reform but NOW is the time to step up the pressure on our elected leaders and hold them to their word — that includes President Obama. I believe it is also long past time to demonstrate a massive show of support for our elected leaders who continue to work hard for health care reform on behalf of ALL Americans.
I call on organized labor, people of faith, community groups, grassroots organizations, and all other health care advocates to come together and organize/mobilize a Health Care for All March on Washington this Spring; if meaningful legislation is already passed, we can thank our leaders for making it happen, if not, we can address what we need in order to ensure meaningful health care reform. Either way, it’s a win-win and an opportunity to show media pundits and the American people that WE ARE the majority of Americans who overwhelmingly voted for CHANGE in November of 2008. So far, it’s been politics as usual. We need a change we really can believe in…
What do we need? HEALTH CARE! When do we need it? NOW!!!
2009 QC Earth Charter Summit
Building a Local Foods Movement
By Caroline Vernon
You’re invited to attend!
The 2009 Quad Cities Earth Charter Summit
“Building a Local Foods Movement”
Saturday, September 26, 2009, 9am-3pm
Augustana College – Wallenberg Hall
Local Food is the theme of the 2009 Earth Charter Summit, focusing on PACG’s Local Foods Initiative – Our goal is to promote and assist in the development of a healthy, sustainable, local food supply for our region, emphasizing sustainable agricultural practices.
The summit will include local and regional speakers and informative workshops focusing on our effort to develop a working partnership between individual citizens and those working within an institutional framework. There are opportunities for everyone on every level to become involved in the Healthy, Local Foods movement. People in communities all across our country, and in the world, are mobilizing around this effort.
· Community Gardens
· Local Food Coop
· Farm to Cafeteria
· The Economics of a Local Food Supply
· Information for Food Services, Municipalities, & Legislators
· Reducing the Carbon Footprint of our Diet
· The Importance of SEEDS in a local Foods movement
Director, University of Northern Iowa Center of Energy and Environmental Education
Enshayan launched Buy Fresh, Buy Local in Iowa and worked with Iowa communities to start chapters.
Recipient of the 2008 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award from Practical farmers of Iowa.
Augustana’s Food Service will be providing a delicious, healthy, local foods lunch!
Cost to attend the Summit is only $10 /$5 for students—scholarships are available
REGISTER TODAY!—Through our website: qcprogressiveaction.org or Call PACG at 563-676-7580, or REGISTER at the door!
HCAN “Health Care Can't Wait” Rally at the Iowa State Fair
By Caroline Vernon
Last Friday on August 21st, Eastern Iowans from Progressive Action for the Common Good, the Quad Cities Federation of Labor, and NAMI of Scott County boarded a bus and traveled to the HCAN “Healthcare Can't Wait” Rally outside of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. We joined others from the area and around the state. Senator Grassley was finishing up his Ambassadorial tour – we were hoping to get his attention somehow, but by dumb luck and a little synchronistic guidance by the Universe, a few of us stumbled right on top of him.
Shortly after we got into the fair, it started to rain so a few of us sought cover in the closest building. It turned out to be WHO radio/TV station. Surpisingly, we could hear Grassley's
voice coming out of the speaker system but we could
not see him anywhere. We finally realized he was inside the small glass
booth at the back of the room – they had been recording live. When he came out of the recording session, I called out to
him, raised my bag full of money and said. “Senator Grassley, I have your money!
Thank you so much for your support!” He immediately came over and started talking
to me as if I were his long lost friend. I actually appreciated his engaging us as his handlers could have swept him off immediately but there were many people around and I imagine he was attempting to save face, or perhaps he was just feeling frisky.
It bears mentioning that I was dressed in black business attire, sporting a lapel pin that read, “Wealth-Mark Insurance CEO.” I was carrying a black leather bag stuffed with $100 bills spilling out of the top. A picture of Senator Grassley was taped to the bag, framed by dollar signs.
Dan DeShane accompanied me. Farmer Dan was wearing his bib overalls and chewing on a stalk of grass when he walked up and joined our conversation while Vicki Walters took pictures of the exchange. Dan told the Senator he was
a farmer too and wanted the same health care as the senator — Dan also
said, “Oh by the way, I get farm subsidies too just like you and your son and your
grandson.” This put Grassley on the defensive, somewhat, as he replied, “oh, you don't want to listen.”
I mentioned mental health parity and the need for a public option for
so many who have been systematically denied treatment by private insurers for decades. Grassley laid claim to the work he did on the Wellstone/Dominicci legislation (even though it took a Democratic Congress
to pass the bill last October and the provisions have yet to be implemented). Ultimately, Grassley said a public option would be rationed care, to which we replied, “We have rationed care now!” He rushed off right after that. Vicki took pictures of the
whole exchange – I will share them with BFI once they are developed.
Meanwhile, other rally participants were canvassing the neighborhood focusing their efforts on continuing to encourage Congressman Boswell to support Reform and a public option. The rally started at 2pm. I don't know what our final count was but I estimated about 50 of us were holding signs along the 30th St/Grand Ave entrance to the fair. Counter protesters showed up to join us — approximately 10 of them.
Farmer Dan got into a passionate debate with one of the “teabaggers,” who was complaining about the cost of health care reform and asking how we were going to pay for it. Here is a mock transcript of their exchange:
Teabagger: “We're spending too much money – where's it going to end?”
Farmer Dan: “Where were you guys when the Bush administration squandered the huge surplus left by Clinton — Where was your voice when they invaded and occupied two countries without even declaring war?”
Teabagger: “We are moving toward socialism – where is it going to stop?“
Farmer Dan: “Socialism? We just came out of eight years of fascism.”
Teabagger: “What do you mean?”
Farmer Dan: “Bush
fired federal judges for their political leanings, he started illegal wiretapping without an order from the FISA Court, he catered to big business – we
had a president that was basically a fascist.”
Teabagger: “That's the president's perogotive.”
Farmer Dan: “No. that's fascism, and he is still being investigated for all of his abuses.
If it weren't for social programs like Medicare which came out of the Johnson administration, my father would not have been able to retire – it gave him peace of mind so he could retire and it kept him on his property. By contrast Grassley is a rich farmer who gets subsidies whether he works the land or not – he's not really a farmer – he's a career politician.”
Teabagger: “Well, they all gotta go – Harkin, Grassley, Boswell – they all spend too much.“
Farmer Dan: “Our tax dollars pay for the sidewalks your standing on, the street out in front of us, the lights, fresh water, the sewers, our fire dept, public schools, our parks — all of these things are paid for through our tax dollars that provide us with the standard and quality of life that we enjoy. I don't know about you but I like 'em.”
The entire exchange was recorded live by Rob Dillard of Iowa Public Radio. Once we arrived home on the bus, a few of our fellow activists welcomed us back and reported hearing the exchange on NPR – unfortunately, we were unable to find it posted on their website.
Below are photos and some of the press coverage of the event. Thank you ICAN for taking the lead on this! It was well worth traveling across the state to join our voices with all of yours.
ICAN’s photos of HCAN demonstration:
NOTE: Caryn Unsicker asked the reporter for the Register to relay how many of us there were in contrast to the counter protestors – to which he replied,”No! That's not my job — my job is to report both sides!” Caryn said, “Your job is to report the facts.” The numbers went unreported. ACTION: Call the Register and tell them to report ALL of the facts!
Register coverage of HCAN action at the Fair:
Iowa Public Radio broadcast a story including a debate
between a health care opponent and a health care advocate (farmer Dan) from the
Quad Cities – but I have not found a link to that online.
There was passing mention of HCAN “protest” in Grassley
state fair interview with Radio Iowa:
4 Iowa Politics.com photos from HCAN demonstration in their
flickr coverage of the fair:
Advisory on IowaPolitics/com
Standard economic theory states that people are interested only in their own material gain. But new insights from behavioral economics show that altruism rather than avarice is our primary motivation.
Jeremy Mercer - http://www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=3716
It was evolutionary biologists, with their penchant for field observation, who started to explore the question in an empirical manner. It began with Charles Darwin, who was amazed by the cooperation among bees; moved to William Hamilton, who studied altruism among rabbits; and went on to include Robert Trivers’ work on sharing among vampire bats. Once altruism was established in the natural world, the same analytical eye inevitably turned toward the human sphere.
In 1973, a landmark experiment was conducted at blood banks in Kansas City and Denver. It was inspired by the “crowding out” theory of British social researcher Richard Titmuss, the idea that people perform certain tasks, such as donating blood, for the common good, but that their motivation would be “crowded out” if they were offered a financial reward. The two blood banks were ideal testing grounds because both had “willing” files bearing the names of previous donors. For the experiment, a control group was sent the typical letter ... Read the rest of this entry »