[COMM-ORG] Blame the NRA

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Sat Aug 11 10:31:57 CDT 2012

[ed:  Moshe responds to Peter's post with the strategis organizing 
question of how to choose a target.]

From: Rabbi Moshe ben Asher & Magidah Khulda bat Sarah 
<kharakim at sbcglobal.net>

I don't disagree with Peter Dreier about blaming the NRA, but my 
organizer's instinct tells me that if gun-control issue-organizing is 
going to "keep its eye on the ball" in the OWS era, it's important to 
recognize that the NRA is a shill for the gun and ammunition industries, 
which instead should be made the focus of public outrage and targets of 
organizing campaigns. These two hugely profitable industries can't raise 
the same "principled" objections to gun-control initiatives as the NRA, 
since profit is virtually the only reason for their existence.

On 8/6/2012 9:37 AM, Discussion list for COMM-ORG wrote:
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> From: Peter Dreier <dreier at oxy.edu>
> Blame the NRA; Schools Names for Radicals; Today's "Deportees";
> Conservative Class Warfare; Beating the Banks; Bruce Springsteen and Tom
> Hayden
> An occasional message from Peter Dreier
> Is this email not displaying correctly?
> View it in your
> browser<http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=c40570a87c&e=f59b27099f>. 
> *
> **Dear Friends and Colleagues,***
> *An occasional message from Peter Dreier ***
> *Yes, Blame the NRA: * NRA leader Wayne LaPierre didn't pull the trigger,
> but he has the blood of the Aurora, Colorado shooting victims on his 
> hands.
> I explain why in this July 25 Truth-out article, “Yes, Blame the NRA for
> the Movie Theater Shootings in
> Colorado<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=0a79f22331&e=f59b27099f>”. 
> Andy Borowitz has a poignant and hilarious send-up of the NRA’s 
> delusional
> defenses in his article “The NRA Proposes a Sweeping Ban on Movies”
> <http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=9734b99e1c&e=f59b27099f>in 
> the New Yorker.
> *A Saul Alinsky Elementary School?: * Can you imagine sending your 
> children
> or grandchildren to an elementary school named for Saul Alinsky, the
> radical community organizer. What about a Gloria Steinem Middle 
> School? Or
> a Pete Seeger High? Seem far-fetched? You'd be surprised by all the
> radicals and progressives whose names adorn public schools, as I 
> report in
> this article, “How We Honor America’s Radicals and
> Reformers,”<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=4ef421cb5a&e=f59b27099f>in 
> the July 24 Huffington Post.
> *Woody’s “Deportees” Today: *Woody Guthrie wrote his haunting song
> "Deportee" in 1948 after reading a New York Times article that identified
> the victims of an airplane crash simply as "deportees" without names.
> Tuesday’s New York Times did the same thing, identifying the 14 dead
> victims of a truck crash in Texas as “illegal immigrants.” I wrote about
> this striking parallel in the Huffington Post “64 Years Later, Dead
> Undocumented Immigrants Are Still Nameless in the New York
> Times<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=1065871c61&e=f59b27099f>.” 
> Workers in America’s food system – from migrant farm workers to 
> waitresses
> and waiters -- are the nation’s most exploited people. Sally Kohn has a
> great article in Salon, “Do Foodies Care About Workers?”
> <http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=150b4c1038&e=f59b27099f> 
> If
> food lovers are serious about bettering the world, she says, they should
> pay more attention to the people who serve them.
> *Time to RAISE the Minimum Wage: * Farm workers and waitresses/waiters 
> are
> not covered by the federal minimum wage. They should be. A strike by
> janitors in 
> Houston<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=fea386fea1&e=f59b27099f>has
> now spread to six other cities. They are demanding an increase in
> their
> poverty-level wages. The minimum wage should be increased so that no
> full-time workers earns below the poverty level, as Mary Kay Henry
> (president of SEIU) and Christine Owens (head of the National Employment
> Law Project) point out in “Hardworking Americans should not be living in
> poverty.” The federal minimum wage in 1968 would be almost $9.22 an hour
> in today's dollars. Instead, it is now $7.25. As Dean Baker points out in
> this Huffington Post
> article<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=eda44d19d2&e=f59b27099f>, 
> at that rate a full-time year-round worker would have gross pay of less
> than $15,000 a year. This is less than half of what the average 
> Fortune 500
> CEO makes in a day. The minimum wage hasn’t been increased in three 
> years,
> while CEOs and the 1% have been getting huge raises and bonuses. Even so,
> business groups persist in warning that raising the minimum wage is a bad
> idea.
> *The Other NRA: * One of the business lobby groups that always opposes
> raising the minimum wage is the National Restaurant Association (the 
> other
> NRA, and almost as dangerous). In 1960, it argued against raising the 
> wage
> from $1 to $1.25. They argued that it wasn’t needed because restaurant
> employees already had great benefits! Back then, George Lesauvage,
> chairman of the NRA’s Government Affairs Committee, said: “Wages, of
> course, in the restaurant industry are low for several reasons. One of 
> the
> most important is the fringe benefits that a restaurant worker gets in 
> the
> form of free meals which in terms of value to the employee are most
> significant. Another fringe would be free uniforms.” Amazing!
> *Those Terrible “Job Killers”: *Corporate lobby groups insist on warning,
> without any solid evidence, that the minimum wage is a “job killer.” They
> are Crying 
> Wolf<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=175da9216b&e=f59b27099f>,
> just as they are when they argue that other government regulations that
> protect workers, consumers, and the environment are bad for the economy.
> - For example, a
> report<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=ed0c3ea813&e=f59b27099f>issued 
> last week by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities delivers a
> devastating blow to Republican claims that allowing tax
> cuts<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=8239e6b7d5&e=f59b27099f>to 
> expire on the top two marginal tax rates will harm job creation.
> - Romney wants to get rid of another so-called “job killer” -- the
> Dodd-Frank banking regulations and particularly the new consumer 
> protection
> agency. But this
> article<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=ee32ca9245&e=f59b27099f>from 
> the Los Angeles Times, about the agency’s efforts to protect consumers
> from credit-card rip-offs, shows why we need it.
> - The Republicans even label regulations to protect children from
> disease as “job killers.” But what about the children who will suffer 1.4
> million additional asthma attacks if the GOP succeeds in blocking new
> protections, as the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards points out in
> this fact
> sheet<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=7ceb3ea5f8&e=f59b27099f> 
> .
> *Beating the Bank Lobby: *Progressive activists in California scored a
> major victory over the state’s bank, business, and real estate lobby. My
> July 20 op-ed in the LA Daily-News, “Well Organized People Can Beat
> Well-Funded Interests,”
> <http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=1ebb3f660e&e=f59b27099f> 
> explains
> how grassroots community, consumer, and labor activists beat Big Business
> to win the Homeowner Bill of Rights. A
> story<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=fdf56823ab&e=f59b27099f>in 
> the July 19 New York Times, reported the following: “Josephine
> Tolbert,
> 76, was temporarily evicted from her house in San Francisco for two 
> weeks.
> Protesters from the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
> staged a sit-in at Bank of America, and eventually Ms. Tolbert was 
> able to
> renegotiate her loan. ‘At my age, I don’t know what I would have done,’
> she said. ‘But let me tell you, it was a fight.’” ACCE’s sit-in at the 
> Bank
> of America is the kind of direct action we need to force the banks to
> change their predatory practices. Kudos to ACCE, National Peoples Action,
> and other groups leading the movement to challenge Wall Street.
> *Your iPhone is made in a Chinese sweatshop: *Apple promised to clean up
> the Chinese sweatshops that make its products. Mother Jones magazine
> says<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=c8ea51b285&e=f59b27099f>it 
> hasn't done so. The Apple sweatshop may not be far from the
> sweatshops
> that make Walmart's toys and that produced the uniforms that will be worn
> this week by the US Olympic team. My friend Bob Ross had a great
> op-ed<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=476b20723b&e=f59b27099f>in 
> the Los Angeles Times about the controversy over the US Olympic team
> uniforms being made in China, and what we can do to fix the problem.
> *Speaking of Sports... * Bob Creamer, a founding writer for Sports
> Illustrated, the author of many books (including great bios of Babe Ruth
> and Casey Stengel), and one of the great sportwriters in modern history,
> died Wednesday night. I was lucky to know him, through my friendship with
> his son, Jim, a buddy from my Boston days. Bob was not only a graceful
> writer but a gracious person, a generous individual, and a wonderful
> story-teller with a big heart and a contagious sense of humor. There will
> be many obituaries and remembrances of Bob in the coming days, weeks, and
> months. This
> <http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=d3e7a49ecf&e=f59b27099f>interview 
> provides just a glimpse of this wonderful man. Like Bob, Dave Zirin is a
> sportswriter who loves sports but is able to see them in their broader
> context. Zirin’s blog and books are required reading for sports fans 
> with a
> political edge. His recent
> column<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=b52c4a01af&e=f59b27099f>in 
> The Nation about the NCAA’s punishment of Penn State for its child
> abuse
> cover-up, is the best thing written on the topic.
> *How Conservatives View “Class Warfare”: * The right-wing magazine Human
> Events published an interesting
> article<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=7fdcc833bb&e=f59b27099f>accusing 
> President Obama of engaging in class warfare. The article
> identifies and summarizes the key elements of Obama’s radicalism, 
> including
> “attack capitalism," "tax the rich," "demonize the corporations," 
> "unleash
> the unions," and "spread the wealth around." These ideas have a long and
> proud tradition in the United States, as I recount in my new book, The 
> 100
> Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of
> Fame,<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=696506c885&e=f59b27099f>which 
> Nation Books just published.
> *The Real Class Warfare: * In this new Gilded Age, the richest 
> one-tenth of
> one percent are engaged in a real class war that involves hijacking our
> democracy with outrageous campaign contributions (made worse by the
> Citizens United Decision), reducing taxes for the very rich, slashing
> funding for basic government services for the poor and middle class
> (including public universities and public schools), bashing unions, and
> surpressing voting among young people, minorities, and others. In
> California, several cities have already declared bankruptcy and others 
> are
> on the brink. In this new
> column<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=07fea9ea86&e=f59b27099f>in 
> the Los Angeles Times, Harold Meyerson points out that, contrary to
> business and conservative rhetoric about bloated public salaries and
> pensions, greedy public employees and their unions are not the cause of
> this urban fiscal crisis. In his latest Washington Post
> column<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=5c7ecad443&e=f59b27099f>, 
> Harold considers what might happen if Romney wins a narrow victory due to
> the GOP’s efforts at suppressing voter-turnout among likely Democratic
> voters. In this
> article<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=abfd7e7e53&e=f59b27099f>from 
> The Progressive, Senator Bernie Sanders identifies the 26
> billionaires who have donated more than $61 million to super PACs and are
> trying to buy this election. But assuming that, despite being outspent,
> Obama wins, Drew Westin, in this fantastic
> column<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=0662434fbd&e=f59b27099f>in 
> the New York Times, offers some good advice on what activists should
> do,
> starting next January, to clean up the current legalized bribery 
> system we
> call “campaign finance.”
> *Ode to Bruce Springsteen: *An otherwise insightful
> article<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=5024a59fad&e=f59b27099f>in 
> the British newspaper, the Guardian, calls Springsteen the last of the
> protest singers. Not true. Bruce is part of a great tradition of
> troubadors for justice, including Joe Hill, Woody Guthrie, Florence 
> Reece,
> Pete Seeger, Guy Carawan, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Utah Phillips,
> Bernice Johnson Reagon, Holly Near, Gil Scott-Heron, John McCutcheon, 
> Steve
> Earle, Ani Difranco, Tom Morello, and many others. He may be the most
> commercially successful, but is he certainly NOT the last of the protest
> singers. Don't miss this great profile of
> Springsteen<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=fec6af8ddb&e=f59b27099f>by 
> David Remnick in the current issue of the New Yorker. I also discuss
> Springsteen, Guthrie, Seeger, Dylan, and Baez in my book.
> *Tom Hayden at 72: * The Washington Post recently published an 
> interesting
> interview<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=753a0e8200&e=f59b27099f>with 
> Tom Hayden, who provides insightful political and personal lessons.
> But the headline, which identified Tom as a "1960s radical, " is 
> terrible.
> Tom (like many others) has been a radical in EVERY decade since the 
> 1960s.
> As an activist, writer, and elected official, he’s never lost his
> commitment to fundamental change and grassroots movement-building.
> *Progressive All-Stars: * On Monday, Huffington Post published my article
> – with an accompanying slide show -- "The Greatest Americans of the 20th
> Century"<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=a6d666c6f4&e=f59b27099f> 
> drawing
> on some of the people I write about in my book. The article triggered 
> more
> than 500 comments that reflect an interesting diversity of viewpoints,
> including quite a few attacks on my list. Jack Rothman, a retired UCLA
> professor and a veteran activist, wrote a generous
> review<http://100greatestamericans.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=4e4bad6210&e=f59b27099f>of 
> my book in Huffington Post.
> follow on Twitter <http://www.twitter.com/PeterDreier/> | *friend on
> Facebook* | forward to a
> friend<http://us2.forward-to-friend.com/forward?u=58aa5ddbd58e183ba415d8433&id=c40570a87c&e=f59b27099f> 
> *The opinions expressed are mine alone and do not reflect the opinions of
> Occidental College or its employees. Occidental College is not 
> responsible
> for the content of this communication.*
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