Archive for January, 2014

No War or Sanctions on Iran!

ALERT from the Gay Liberation Network who are holding a rally and march in Chicago this Saturday February 1, at 1:30 PM.  Meet in front of the ABC-7 Studios at 190 N. State Street.

Here is Ct. one of the co-sponsors of this bill is Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Demand that Sen. Blumenthal drop his co-sponsorship of the bill and pledge to vote against it.

From the Gay Liberation Network

Just when negotiations between Iran, and U.S and other countries appear to be making progress towards easing tensions-and stopping a new war- some in Congress, like Illinois’s Sen. Mark Kirk, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and 57 other Senate co-sponsors, are intent on wrecking the peace negotiations.  Most others haven’t summoned the courage to stand up to the war makers by publicly denouncing their bill and pledging to vote against it.

The new bill S. 1881, would effectively torpedo peace talks with Iran by imposing harsh new sanctions on that nation. Worse, it would commit the United States in advance to militarily supporting Israel if that country decided to unilaterally attack Iran. Put simply, it is a blank check for war.

From Iraq to Afghanistan to Libya, over the lat few years we’ve learned something of the horrors and the uselessness of war, and we refuse to repeat them. Support a peace agreement with Iran.

Please join and share the Facebook event!

The march and rally in Chicago is Co-sponsored by American Friends Service Committee, Antiwar Committee Chicago, Civilian Soldier Alliance-Chicago, Gay Liberation Network, Illinois Coalition Against Torture, Iraq Veterans Against the War-Chicago, Pakistan Federation of America, Veterans for Peace-Chicago, Vietnam Veterans Against the War-Chicago, Voices for Creative Non-Violence.

 

In from Solidarity: a Socialist, Feminist, anti-racist organization.

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant responds to Obama’s state of the union address. All we can say is Yes Sister, Yes! Thank you!!

In from Freedom Socialist

Susan Williams, MD

February 2014


The U.S. is 1st in healthcare spending per person*

AND YET

39th in infant mortality rate

37th in overall performance

30th in life expectancy


*Among the 194 World Health Organization member states. Most current figures shown. Source: www.who.int.

Every year in the United States, 45,000 people die from one eminently treatable condition — healthcare coverage that’s nonexistent or inadequate. That’s more than die from automobile accidents or breast cancer.

On the other hand, over 50 countries, both wealthy and not, guarantee medical services to all. They include Rwanda, Thailand, and Mexico.

The U.S. leads in medical technology, but has disparities in care the size of the Grand Canyon. These are created by race, gender, language, and immigration status. But, above all, they are due to lack of money to pay for healthcare — which, under capitalism, is a commodity like any other.

The shocking truth. About twice as much is spent per person in the U.S. as in any other industrialized country. Yet, in overall health quality, the U.S. ranks 37th, just ahead of Slovenia. It is 30th in life expectancy, and 39th in infant mortality.

Why is the U.S. medical care dollar getting so little bang for the buck?

Conventional wisdom is that Americans are driving up costs by getting fatter and older. But the real culprit is private insurance corporations. On average, they claim 14 percent for administrative costs and a whopping 17 percent for profits, leaving only 69 cents on the dollar spent on actual health needs.

By contrast, Medicaid and Medicare hold their overhead to about 3 percent, with 97 cents of every dollar paying for hospital stays, lab tests, medications, etc.

The government pays 60.5 percent of all health costs through its subsidies and programs, including medical coverage for its employees. A basic problem is that its dollars flow mostly into the private pockets of healthcare profiteers like drug companies and insurers.

The result? Pfizer and United Healthcare are in blooming health — poor and working people not so much.

Evolving history. Some federally guaranteed medical care has existed in the U.S. since its founding, when it provided services to soldiers; later, veterans were included.

Federal services were temporarily provided for slaves freed during the Civil War, when four and a half million became refugees in their own country. Hundreds of thousands fell prey to exposure, starvation and epidemics. The Freedmen’s Bureau established 30 medical facilities before being stripped of support with the dismantling of Reconstruction.

Healthcare was promised to Native Americans in many treaties and executive orders, but long amounted to little more than counting the dead from epidemics and starvation. The medical system developed side by side with Indian schools designed to “assimilate” Native American children. Appalling conditions improved only gradually, in response to activism. Today the Indian Health Service provides care to just over half of Native Americans and Alaskans. (more…)

It was back in the early 1960s that we first heard Pete Seeger sing. It was on a record that my friend Freddie’s older brother had purchased in NYC a recording of Pete Seeger live at Carnegie Hall. Eddie’s brother Sam was at that time going back and forth to Greenwich Village guitar in hand hoping to become a folk singer like his idol Leadbelly. We sat there listening amazed to hear a glimmer of light coming through aimed right at us. See, we were, according to the other kids in the neighborhood, sissy’s. My name was Sissy ni##er lover, and his name was Ni##er sissy lover. How they loved to push us two gay boys around, and make our growing up lives a living daily hell. But we listened to Pete Seeger as he sang, We Shall Overcome and we believed it. We Shall Overcome, We Shall Overcome, We Shall Overcome someday. Now we didn’t care all that much for walking hand in hand with those who made our lives miserable but the idea of overcoming somehow someday was what turned us on. We heard other classic songs on that album, What did you learn in school today? Oh Freedom, Little Boxes, A Hard Rains Gonna Fall and other songs that to this day I remember all the verses to. Yes Freddie and I knew that even though there was this injustice that we faced, that folks who looked just like Freddie were being beaten, attacked by dogs, jailed, and killed for fighting for their rights. We knew it the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, the day folks were beaten in Selma, the day the little girls were killed at church, we knew it when we heard of the lunch counter sit ins and we knew it when thousands marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, (a delegation from our town included) that others out there faced grave injustice but together there was hope that together folks were doing something about it. When it was time to march together against the injustice of the war in Vietnam Pete gave us songs as we marched along, as we fought to end this war and perhaps just hopefully all wars in our lifetime. Yes stand up, stand up against all that was and is just plain wrong. We continue today with Pete Seeger in our hearts.

We here at furbirdsqueerly wish to do a musical tribute to Pete Seeger, a man who so influenced many of us and whose songs will continue to influence generations to come. Influence in many different ways in many different situations, in many different lands, but all in all, with all,  in the fight for justice, equality, peace, and against that which is just plain wrong. This is just a small sampling of songs which inspired us and continue to do so. So let’s listen to the man who will live on in the songs of the people and who will always be in my heart.

We Shall Over Come

Solidarity Forever

Bring ‘Em Home

We Shall Not Be Moved

Which Side Are You On?

Guantanamera

(more…)

A comrade of ours published a very interesting article over on our facebook page. The article published in Red Pepper, Gates Unmasks The Real Face Of Davo caught our eye right away. Furbird said, “Ah here we go again words of wisdom from one of those nice rich people for all the rest of us.” “Yeah right,” old Furbird finished the sentence. We here at furbirdsqueerly stand firmly against the global elite. We want to first publish a response to the global elite by one of our comrades over on the facebook page and then will give you the article to read or if you prefer just click on the article above and read away.

Arvey Jones wrote and we publish:  “Its so past time for folks to stop slobbering over “nice” rich people. No such thing in my book. The elite of any stripe have never had the people’s interests at heart those who think so are just falling for one tool of the ruling class. But let’s get real and I don’t care to hear its a start ( another tool) raising the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour as some call for is really peanuts and more tooling up the asses of the lower classes. Let’s see $15 per hour is $600 a week if one works 40 hrs. Out of that comes taxes, Social Security, Medicare, Health Insurance if you are lucky to have it so you take home maybe $460 or so. Well hardly enough to really get by with the prices of everything these days. If all of those on the top and here let’s not fall for it is only 1% make as much as they do then it is our duty to grab all we can from them any way that we can. Let’s never be satisfied with crumbs shaken from the masters table cloth and think that is all that we deserve or be fooled by this is all that we can get or do right now.”

Thanks Arvey and now a thought  “So if you are so inclined to join in demonstrations demanding that the minimum wage be raised to $15.00 per hour, stand up and say bull shit, we want $20.00. Let’s not put band aids on gaping wounds. Let’s not fool ourselves that we are being so radical when we say $15.00 per hour. Folks can barely live on that, so don’t let leaders of top down unions, or of left groups tell us what we need. Like all good thoughts which go astray once master and master’s helper get in on it you’ll be lucky if you get $11.50. Your job now is to go out and ask the people. You can start by asking me as $15.00 per hour is what I make.

In the excellent article, Gates Unmasks The Real Davo, (which should really read, The Unmasking of Bill Gates, Not Such A Nice Rich Person After All,) Nick Dearden has this to say, ” The Global elites meeting at the World Economic Forum must not get away with pretending they have the interests of the worlds majority at heart.”

Yeah what else is new, stormy in the east, looks like rain.

But it is these lines that furthers our inspirations and imagination for class war, can we all say together RUN THEM OFF THE PLANET!!!

“Bill Gates is worried – too many people are talking about raising the minimum wage. Appropriately, the world’s richest man spoke on the eve of the World Economic Summit in Davos. Gates is a great symbol of the Davos summit, an annual away day for global capitalism, at which the world’s 1% mouth concerns about poverty and climate change, while working on policies which fuel inequality.

Despite a fair bit of evidence that a reasonable minimum wage doesn’t cost jobs, Gates is picking up on a regular Davos theme. In 2012, Tidjane Thiam, chief executive of Prudential, called the minimum wage a ‘machine to destroy jobs’.

Last year Gates increased his wealth by $15.8bn and has now once again become the world’s richest man, worth about $78.5bn. He’s not alone – as a whole the world’s millionaires got 11% richer last year. For the rest of us, the decades-long trend of stagnating income continues. In some countries – Greece, Spain and Britain – median household income fell sharply.

The policies dreamt up by those who meet in Davos are a direct cause of these historically unprecedented rates of inequality.”

And here folks is it all in a nutshell: “The corporate elite represented at Davos cannot be allowed to meet in luxury and pretend they have the answers to the world’s problems. They are the world’s problems.”

So yeah check out the whole story. Don’t weep, get mad and organize counter actions to these creepy wolves in sheep’s clothing!

go left queer go left…..

We at furbirdsqueerly hadn’t planned on writing a part three but didn’t want to leave us all in the past. So we have to ask, where do we go from here? It is hard to raise up an army of concerned lesbian and gay folks now that the ding dong of wedding bells ring everywhere in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Some still fight for that right no matter what we think of such a misguided adventure and I am sure some around here in the land of steady habits have been convinced to send all of their hard earned cash to support the right to marry in all the states that are still saying no deal. Never mind that our youth group, our health collective,  need money no matter if we agree or disagree with them politically, even if we shake our heads in disbelief that they have fallen for and into what is called straightitudes, rather than building a revolutionary united front against power they seek to become power.  We here at Furbirdsqueerly send our hard earned cash to our favorite left groups, the groups that have long stood up for lgbt folks and others for that matter, who fight on a multi issue, multi racial, multi-cultural bases in a united front against the oppressor no matter what or who he is oppressing at the time. Yes this is the place for your hard earned cash, your time, and your talents not one issue straight gay concerns. (more…)

From Solidarity via In These Times 1/24/2014 by Andrew Mortazavi

Chicago Socialist Camp.

Nearly 100 people packed the Hull House Dining Room on Wednesday January 22 for the founding meeting of the Chicago Socialist Campaign. (photo: Isaac Silver)

If a socialist can win an election in Seattle, why not Chicago? That was the spirit at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Jane Addams Hull House Museum on Wednesday night, where close to 100 Chicagoans gathered for the founding meeting of the Chicago Socialist Campaign.

Drawing on the example of Seattle’s Kshama Sawant—who in November became the first socialist in recent memory elected to a city council—the campaign seeks to run a socialist candidate for alderman in Chicago’s 2015 city council race. Activists also plan to use the electoral effort to amplify the demands of popular movements in Chicago, such as the call for a $15 minimum wage.

The January 22 meeting drew members of several socialist organizations—including Solidarity, Socialist Alternative and the International Socialist Organization—as well as members of community organizations and unions, such as Chicago Teachers Union, AFSCME and Service Employees International Union. Overall, the mood was hopeful. Shaun Harkin, a member of ISO, called the campaign “an exciting opportunity,” and his sentiment appeared to be shared by an ebullient crowd.

Inspired by Sawant’s victory, Chicago organizers first held an impromptu meeting last month to gauge interest in a similar effort in the Windy City. They emerged with a vision statement that calls for building a “people-centered” movement to “make real and lasting change” to the system. (more…)