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Yesterday’s UWAG 99er rally on Wall Street was a success regardless of the fact that amplification devices were not allowed. An energetic, determined crowd of about 100 staged the first organized 99er – benefit exhaustee – rally. I want to personally thank all the UWAG organizers; those that were able t attend the rally and those that supported the rally by contacting their representatives and media outlets. This was an important first showing that is bound to grow in strength as it moves forward.
Since amplification devices were not allowed at the rally, Ed Schultz wasn’t able to address the rally as he had hoped, but he did spend the time interviewing some 99ers and he took his commentary to a new level in his “Fired Up” segment last evening on his MSNBC Ed Schultz Show.
It is certainly worth your time to watch Schultz’s show to see his impassioned plea to help the long-term unemployed.
Ed Schultz has plenty to say about the rally and congressional inaction, and especially, Republican obstructionism:
Professional Americans who have been displaced by corporate greed and out of touch politicians” was how Schultz described the rally crowd.
He blasted the Republican party for numerous misdeeds:
The Republican Party has fought every jobs bill, every unemployment bill and every social safety net that the 99ers have looked for and Americans need.
Republicans care about the people inside these buildings on Wall Street; they don’t give a damn about the middleclass and folks that are out of work.
I couldn’t agree more with Ed Schultz’s sentiments. He was equally harsh on the Democrats for failing to push aside the Republican roadblocks to relief for the middleclass and the unemployed, but his sharpest jabs landed directly on the jaw of the Republican Party.
Thanks for your support Ed Schultz. You can contact Ed to thank him for his support at:http://www.bigeddieradio.com/emailEd/, or if you have a facebook account, you can visit the Ed Show at http://www.facebook.com/#!/edschultzshow?ref=ts
Annie Lowrey of the Washington Independent had a realistic view of the rally:
Despite its small size, the 99ers’ rally accomplished an important goal: It got the attention of the press, and advocates for the 99ers see the press as the key to creating pressure for legislation. “Two months ago, nobody knew who the 99ers were,” LaDona King, a 99er and major figure in the 99er netroots told me. “Everybody thought it was some city’s AAA baseball team.”
But with growing awareness, they hope, will come political action. To that end, a volunteer at the rally took journalists’ names and numbers, and ensured that any reporter wanting access to a 99er for her story got easy access to several. Late in the event, Ed Schultz — the MSNBC and radio host who has devoted countless programming minutes to the 99ers, and for that reason holds nearly beatific standing among them — stood in a pair of khaki shorts at the back, conducting interviews and shaking hands. (He planned to address the crowd, but could not because of the noise permit issue.)
According to the New York Daily News:
The 99ers took a stand on Wall Street Thursday.
A throng of desperate job-hunters — who’ve been out of work so long their unemployment benefits ran out — staged a protest rally on the steps of Federal Hall.
Are you going to tell us, President Obama and Congress, that our lives are not worth saving?” asked 99er Connie Kaplan.
She had to move in with her daughter in Astoria, Queens to survive and gets food from food banks.
The grassroots political group, which sprang up after jobless Americans started commiserating online, is demanding that unemployment benefits be extended to include them. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) co-sponsored a recently introduced bill that would create extensions in states with unemployment rates of 7.5% or higher.
Yvonne Fitzner attended the rally and was featured on a New York Daily News story that discussed the planning of the rally that was held yesterday.
“What’s wrong with our situation is if we were all in one long bread line, people could see our suffering,” said Yvonne Fitzner, 67, an out-of-work personal assistant whose unemployment benefits ran out in March. “We’re invisible.”
Yvonne, you are not invisible any longer. The efforts of you and many others gave the 99ers a face that can no longer be ignored, Yvonne was also shown at the rally and was shown on the Ed Schultz Show saying “Where are the jobs?” That’s the big question, Yvonne. Where are the jobs?
MSNBC’s Dylan Rattigan “Verdana”,”sans-serif””> also had a good 99er piece on his show yesterday:
Keith Olbermann interviews an unemployed couple
Keith Olbermann also addressed long-term unemployment on hisCountdown show, but I was less impressed with this interview because it has the potential to be twisted by those that don’t support extending unemployment benefits.
While the person interviewed, Mike Hatchell, had some rational reasons for not accepting various positions offered him, such as $7.75 an hour offers, he acted as if he wouldn’t accept any job that didn’t pay near what he was making prior to job loss. Their sacrifice of giving up one car seemed rather minor, since everyone needs to cut back when they lose their steady job and paycheck. He also said that the reason why some machinists turned down work was that the jobs only paid $13 an hour. I know of many unemployed that would love to have a full-time job that pays $13 an hour plus healthcare benefits. This interview is not going to help 99ers and long-term unemployed who need additional benefits.
I may be a little harsh about this interview, so please give me your opinion. Was this a helpful interview or one that could be twisted by those that oppose extending unemployment benefits?
FOX News slams unemployment benefits
An absolutely cocky Neil Cavuto on Fox News said that “everyone wants an check,” everyone being the unemployed, car buyers, home buyers, etc. He offered no solution, but he bashed the system as it stands. I some regard he is absolutely correct. I thought ‘Cash for Clunkers” was a reward for the least responsible drivers. It rewarded those that drove gas hogs and it punished those that drove responsible vehicles. But unemployment is different, since jobs are not being created in the numbers needed to put nearly 8 million people who have lost jobs back to work.
You need to know where the enemy stands, so you can deal with the criticism and fight back. Their FOX News poll showed that their viewers are 90.5% against extending unemployment benefits.
While most stories painted a good picture of yesterday’s rally, there were so others that weren’t so generous. If the worst news comes from FOX then it can be considered a successful rally.
President Obama cuts a check for $3 billion to help unemployed homeowners
The Obama administration announced Wednesday that as part of an effort to stabilize housing markets it will send a $3-billion lifeline to jobless homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments.
Tapping into resources from the $700-billion Wall Street bailout, the Treasury Department will add $2 billion to its Hardest Hit Fund, assisting the 17 states that have unemployment rates higher than the national average, along with Washington, D.C.
I’m not sure how many reputable banks will be negotiating with unemployed homeowners to lower their payments, but unless unemployment benefits are extended indefinitely how is it possible for banks negotiate knowing that those benefits could end any day. Mr. President, the country needs jobs. While this $3 billion is likely to help some, if it’s anything like the other housing bailout schemes, it won’t help many. Spending $3 billion on jobs creation would have been money better spent.
It was a very busy news day for the 99ers – benefit exhaustees. That’s a major victory on its own, since without media attention, Congress will not act responsibly or quickly for the long-term unemployed. Keep contacting your congressional representatives and media outlets.
Here’s the daily list
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Congress.org has a great media contact list:http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/media/
Another media contact list is located at:http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_oet&address=358×1903
Keeping the Tier 5 and extended unemployment issues alive is going to be up to you, so be sure to contact your congressional representatives as often as you can. You need to continue to pressure Congress to act responsibly and to extend benefits for those unable to find work. Send your representative a fax using FaxZero.com. As has been mentioned in the comments section, you can send up to two free faxes a day.
Here’s a great site where you can find both state and federal contact information: http://conservativeusa.org/mega-cong.htm
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