On the Ground in Afghanistan – FUBAR

war2009‘We’re pinned down:’ 4 U.S. Marines die in Afghan ambush

Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: September 08, 2009 09:17:09 PM

GANJGAL, Afghanistan — We walked into a trap, a killing zone of relentless gunfire and rocket barrages from Afghan insurgents hidden in the mountainsides and in a fortress-like village where women and children were replenishing their ammunition.

“We will do to you what we did to the Russians,” the insurgent’s leader boasted over the radio, referring to the failure of Soviet troops to capture Ganjgal during the 1979-89 Soviet occupation.

Continue reading On the Ground in Afghanistan – FUBAR

Civil Disobedience for National Healthcare at Aetna Death Panel Office in New York City

17 Held in Protest Outside Health Insurer’s Offices
By Colin Moynihan
September 30, 2009
Published by The New York Times.

…in Midtown Manhattan on Tuesday morning, a different sort of health care protest took place, led by left-leaning groups who accused insurers of greed and called for nationwide, single-payer health insurance.

Continue reading Civil Disobedience for National Healthcare at Aetna Death Panel Office in New York City

Congressional Progressive Caucus Stands Firm for Robust Public Option

Public option — accept nothing less

By Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

09/22/09 05:26 PM ET

Reforming healthcare is more than angry town halls and political rhetoric thrown around cable news shows and in the halls of Congress. It is a serious matter that requires serious solutions. Members of Congress have an obligation to make access to healthcare affordable and accessible and take control of the ballooning costs. These skyrocketing costs are consuming budgets, overwhelming families and crippling our nation’s resources.

For decades, this country has endured a broken system that restricts and denies coverage when individuals need it most. Everyday, my office hears heartbreaking stories of individuals and families losing their insurance due to pre-existing conditions, bankruptcies and the exorbitant cost of care. Even for those with “good quality” healthcare coverage, the premiums alone force many to choose between medication or food on the table.

Continue reading Congressional Progressive Caucus Stands Firm for Robust Public Option

Why the Current Bills Don’t Solve Our Health Care Crisis

headshotby Michael Moore

Sept. 29, 2009

Now we know why they’ve stopped calling this health care reform, and started calling it insurance reform. The current bills advancing in Congress look more like rearranging the deck chairs on the insurance Titanic than actually ending our long health care nightmare.

Some laudable elements are in various versions of the bills, especially expanding Medicaid, cutting the private insurance-padding waste of Medicare Advantage, and limiting the ability of the insurance giants to ban and dump people who have been or who ever will be sick.

But, overall, the leading bills and the President’s proposal are, like the dog that didn’t bark, more notable for what is missing.

Here are 13 problems with the current health care bills (partial list):

Continue reading Why the Current Bills Don’t Solve Our Health Care Crisis

South Heights Borough Council Resolves to Support HR 676 Medicare for All

by Randy Shannon
Sept. 28, 2009

The Borough of South Heights, PA recently passed a resolution calling on Congress and PA 4th CD Congressman Jason Altmire to support HR 676 – the National Health Care Act.

The resolution was introduced by Borough Council President Robert Schmetzer. It was signed by Mayor Richard Tranter. Mr. Schmetzer said: “There are numerous residents of South Heights who have cancer and other serious illnesses and cannot afford to pay for medicine.

Other residents have pre-existing conditions that make it difficult to buy a decent insurance policy. Those who are not rejected outright will be rated which will raise the cost of a policy up to $2,100.00 per month.”

“The insurance companies have everything set up in their favor. The people have to win one. We need national healthcare now.”

Continue reading South Heights Borough Council Resolves to Support HR 676 Medicare for All

Pittsburgh First-Hand G20 Reports: Day Three


Photo: PDA’s Randy Shannon with banner, center, next Michael McPhearson of Vets for Peace with Rick Kimbrough, right.

10,000 Marchers Beat Back
The Steel City’s ‘State of Siege’

By Carl Davidson

Beaver County Blue

Nearly 10,000 protesters marched through the streets of Pittsburgh on the last day of the G20 this Sept. 25 afternoon, delivering a powerful message for global justice that was expressed with a brilliantly colored display of unity, militancy and diversity.

Peace and justice groups demanded an end to wars and occupations and healthcare for all, trade union contingents demanded green jobs and fair trade, women and people of color raised the banners of equality and empowerment, and young people called for a sustainable and liberated future in a new world.

“Will we make any difference?” Rick Kimbrough asked me a few hours earlier as we headed down a parkway heavily secured with police cars at every exit on our way into town. Kimbrough is an old high school friend, an African American steelworker with 37 years in a huge Beaver County mill that’s now shutdown and gone, Jones and Laughlin Steel. When I asked him to join me the day before, he was fired up to go already, until he heard a nephew had taken a bullet as a bystander in a senseless street fight. When he heard his nephew would do OK, he called back, ready to ride in with me and join the United Steel Workers contingent in ‘the People’s March’ at the close of the G20 sessions. Continue reading Pittsburgh First-Hand G20 Reports: Day Three

Pittsburgh G20 First-Hand Report Diaries: Day Two


Photo: USW Blue-Green Rally at G20 for Green Jobs, Clean Energy

Union Teach-Ins, a Nobel Laureate
Ninja Turtles and Steel City Rockers

By Carl Davidson
Beaver County Blue

One of the first things you see entering Pittsburgh from the Fort Pitt Bridge is that the United Steel Workers, headquartered in this working-class town, are determined to deliver a strong message to the G20 bigwigs.

“Jobs, Good Jobs, Greens Jobs Now!’ declared the huge five-story-tall banner draped from the top of the  even taller USW headquarters building that faces the Golden Triangle and its hotels. Despite squads of militarized police, some in their Ninja turtle outfits, no one anywhere near the downtown area can miss it.

Today I’m headed for the day-long ‘Teach-In on Human Rights, Global Justice and the G20’ organized by the USW at their 4th floor conference center. Later in the afternoon on this gray, drizzly and humid Sept 23 day, I plan to hear Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz speak in the low-income Hill District, and attend a labor-environmentalist rally and concert featuring local politicians and rockers. Continue reading Pittsburgh G20 First-Hand Report Diaries: Day Two

AFL-CIO Pres. Rich Trumka Challenges G-20 Leaders to Respect Workers and Environment

by Seth Michaels, Sep 24, 2009

Last night in Pittsburgh, at an event featuring former Vice President Al Gore and a broad coalition of environmental and union leaders, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka challenged the global heads of state attending the G-20 conference to build a new economic order that protects the dignity of workers and the planet.

The world cannot afford to continue with a globalization that works only for the very richest and leaves workers and the communities they live in behind, Trumka said. While the G-20 leaders meet, unions are issuing a declaration that calls for global action for good jobs:

Together, the labor movement and the environmental movement are a fighting force for change. This is our time—time to let the powers gathered here this week know exactly what we want, and exactly what we won’t stand for. We want a clean energy economy that creates good jobs, and we want a safe and healthy planet.

We need a new economic order that demands respect for both workers and the planet…globalization that benefits only the rich, the assault on workers and the planet and the devastation it breeds, has got to go.

Trumka noted that Pittsburgh wasn’t revitalized by the type of globalization that exports jobs—Pittsburgh’s growth came despite, not because of, the big banks and global corporations. In the real economy, Trumka said, it takes workers with good, safe jobs to build a lasting prosperity. We can’t go back to business, to the unfair economic system that caused our financial crisis, he said.

Trumka laid out a program of regulation of the finance industry, major public investment in clean energy and transportation, controls on carbon emissions and the freedom for all workers to form a union.

Medicare for All Town Hall Meeting Tuesday Sept. 29th







THIS “CARE-A-VAN” OF DOCTORS IS TRAVELING ACROSS THE COUNTRY DEMANDING SINGLE-PAYER FROM THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS.“We’re mad as hell because our health care system is run by people who profit from illness”, says Dr. Paul Hochfeld, “The rest of the civilized world has test driven single payer and it works. But elected officials in America won’t even allow a discussion.”




At the Letter Carriers Union Hall, (Branch 84), 841 California Avenue, on the North Side.

(On California Ave. between Brighton Rd. and the large Post Office Facility, off-street parking available.)



Sponsored in Pittsburgh by the
Western Pennsylvania Coalition for
 Single Payer Healthcare

For more information: 412-371-6650

Get Mad.      Stay Mad.     Make History.

First-Hand Report: Demanding Jobs at the G20


Pittsburgh Diaries: Day One
March for Jobs in ‘The Hill’

By Carl Davidson
Beaver County Blue

The ‘G20’ is a big deal in Pittsburgh, with multiple stories in the local press and TV, even though many everyday citizens are wondering what it’s really all about and whether it’s worth all the fuss and expense.

“I know all the big shots from around the world are coming, I see that on the news” my dad told me last week. “But what do they actually do behind all those guards and closed doors?”

It’s a good question. The ‘big shots,’ of course, are all the top political and economic leaders of the world’s nineteen largest economies, with the European Union added to make twenty. And lots of people would love to be a fly on the wall when they start wrangling over who’s really to blame for the latest financial meltdown and how to recover from it.

I told my dad, for starters, that they’re cooking up schemes to have the rest of us pay off the gambling debts of Wall Street speculators while they ship more jobs overseas. That’s why the unions are going to be in streets, along with the environmental people, the antiwar movement, and everyone else. He’s dubious that it will do any good, but I told him I’ll be in the thick of it, and I’d let him know what happens.

Continue reading First-Hand Report: Demanding Jobs at the G20