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Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Even if you have never done anything like this before, figuring that your one little voice doesn't matter much (and who hasn't felt that way at some point in their lives?), please do this now because it really and truly DOES matter! Yesterday I meant to post this, but we were so busy all day running errands that we just never got a chance to do so. Looks like it wouldn't have done much good anyway of the phone line went mysteriously down. Okay, please stick with me here. Take the time to read this whole post and please take action. White or black (or any other race - doesn't much matter), middle-class or poor, disabled, veteran, or just a regular citizen, this post directly affects YOU!
Really. It will affect every single person in this country for generations no matter who you are.
Read on to find out why.
See, it's like this. I get this newsletter called "The Pen" (subscribe here) that alerts me to things needing my attention. I am sure that most of you reading this blog have received alerts from just about every organization, like MoveOn.org and many others. It seems that just about every single social group is fighting this man! Why?
Well, as today's newsletter states:
If you were listening to Thom Hartmann on his widely syndicated radio program today, you know he was breathing fire in opposition to John Roberts. You also know from your own experience that the primary toll-free telephone number for Congress (877-762-8762) is mysteriously and suddenly out of commission with just a fast circuit busy signal (try it yourself), even in the middle of the night. Yes, Thom thought that was extremely odd also, especially with so many of us calling to declare our strong opposition to John Roberts.
WHAT WE MUST NOW DO is create a permanent record of this situation and use that to generate even more messages and phone calls to the Senate in the next 24 hours. If you are a member of any BLOGS go to ALL of them overnight and start a new thread or article, and/or leave a comment on an existing one. In your own words there are three simple key points we need to make in any order you like:
1) Whether we have in fact overloaded the primary toll-free number with our calls or whether someone deliberately cut the line to slow down the calls, it is in FACT down now.
2) There is a growing ground swell of opposition to the stealth reactionary Roberts that can no longer be ignored.
3) To take action there are two alternative toll-free numbers still working, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588, plus an action page that will give you all the direct phone and fax numbers of your own senators, http://www.millionphonemarch.com.
What we want to accomplish is to create as many entries on as many blog threads as possible, to reach as many people as we can who wish they knew what to do to stop this administration from scuttling our Supreme Court, but who just don't where to start. Feel free to make your own arguments as to why Roberts must be stopped, just as you do when you send your personal messages to your senators. If you would like some additional ideas, this piece from OpEd News might be useful (don't know why there is a big gap here, but the info is below, so just scroll down):
Leahy, Feingold and Kohl have been excoriated on the blogs for their judiciary committee votes, which even they admit were "close calls." All we have to do is get one or two of them to heed the voice of the people and the MOMENTUM is on our side. All they simply need to say is that they have been hearing from their constituents, and while they may have been initially inclined to support Roberts, they can no longer do so.
And you can also send your friends who want to know more about why Roberts must be stopped to the one click congressional email and letter to the editor action page, where there are many informative links, at
Take heart that we have achieved a lot of radio visibility in the last couple days. More and more people are starting the question why Roberts is being hustled through the process without even a proper examination of what he really stands for. Will it be enough? That is entirely up to us alone. First we must BELIEVE we can win. After that the rest is easy.
We must reach out to our fellow citizens every way we can. Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this message to everyone else you know.
Here was what MoveOn had to say:
Tomorrow morning at 11:30 the entire Senate will cast the final vote on the nomination of John Roberts to be the next Chief Justice of the United States.
While the vote count doesn't look promising, Democrats still have the opportunity to show the country that they will defend core values--like equal voting rights, reproductive choice, and basic protections for workers. Every Democratic Senator who comes out against Roberts strengthens that message, and every vote counts.
This week Senators Reid, Obama, Clinton, Kerry and others all came out against Roberts. We can still get a solid majority of Democrats to join them, but only if the last holdouts like Sen. Lincoln step up to do the right thing. With only hours remaining, your voice can make a real difference.
Just tell whoever answers the phone something like:
"Hi, my name is (YOUR NAME) and I live in (YOUR TOWN). I'm calling to ask (SENATOR) to vote against John Roberts's nomination to the Supreme Court. I'd also like (SENATOR) to know that I'm counting on (HIM/HER) to stand firm during the next nomination, and do whatever it takes to protect our basic rights. Thank you."
The reality is tomorrow's vote count doesn't look good. Strong Republican support and division amongst the Democrats makes Roberts's confirmation appear certain. But this is not a time to stay silent. The issues at stake here are worth fighting for till the very end.
In the last week many Democratic Senators have joined leading progressive advocates for civil rights, womens' rights, workers' rights, the disabled and privacy to oppose Roberts' nomination.1 Senator Obama's statement explaining his opposition was particularly powerful:
"[In many of the most important Supreme Court cases]... Legal process alone will not lead you to a rule of decision. In those circumstances, your decisions about whether affirmative action is an appropriate response to the history of discrimination in this country or whether a general right of privacy encompasses a more specific right of women to control their reproductive decisions or...whether a person who is disabled has the right to be accommodated so they can work alongside those who are nondisabled--in those difficult cases, the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart...
The problem I had is that when I examined Judge Roberts' record and history of public service, it is my personal estimation that he has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak. In his work in the White House and the Solicitor General's Office, he seemed to have consistently sided with those who were dismissive of efforts to eradicate the remnants of racial discrimination in our political process. In these same positions, he seemed dismissive of the concerns that it is harder to make it in this world and in this economy when you are a woman rather than a man...
The bottom line is this: I will be voting against John Roberts' nomination."2
The NAACP Legal Defense fund put it this way:
"...it is now apparent that Roberts played a key role in the retrenchment on civil rights during what can only be called the most destructive period for civil rights enforcement in the second half of the 20th century.3
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) cited Roberts's:
"consistent insensitivity to the rights of women, minorities and immigrants and hostility to the role of congress and the federal government in protecting these rights."4
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) said:
"As a lawyer in private practice, John Roberts almost invariably sided with the rich and powerful against workers. This included auto workers crippled by carpal tunnel syndrome, poultry workers fighting for a decent wage, and coal miners striking to ensure the preservation of health care benefits for retired miners."5
Senator Diane Feinstein summarized her opposition this way:
"Simply put, I didn't find the argument that he was just an employee doing what his boss wanted him to do to be credible."6
It's not too late for our Senators to do the right thing and stand up for core progressive values. And whatever happens tomorrow, with the next nomination days away our Senators need to know that the Supreme Court is still worth fighting for. Please call today http://www.supremecourtwatch.org>
(they gave me the number for Senator Lincoln's office, but you have the toll-free numbers above to refer to, but if you happen to live in Arkansas and want her number, it is 202-224-4843):
For more quick facts on John Roberts see:
For In-depth analysis on John Roberts see:
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund report: (PDF)
The National Women's Law Center report:
The People for the American Way report: (PDF)
1 For a complete listing of organizations officially opposing Roberts, see:
2 Remarks of Senator Barack Obama on the Confirmation of Judge John Roberts
3 Report on the Nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court of the United States , p 2.
4 Official statement of the Service Employees International Union, September 20th 2005
5 Official statement of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, September 20th 2005
6 Statement by Senator Dianne Feinstein in Opposition to the Nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to be Chief Justice
So, you see, just about everyone is against this guy. he is a true stealth candidate, and I have yet to read even one single good thing to say about him. They won't release the documents they usually release on Supreme Court candidates (much less for the Chief Justice, which definitely set alarm bells going off in my head!) He wouldn't answer pertinent and relevant questions posed to him by Congress. He is just not the man for this job, unless of course you are a multi-millionaire making huge bucks off of the rest of us Americans. That much we have been able to glean from the very small amount of information we have found on this man, as he has fought against just about all of the rest of us, if not ALL of the rest of us time and time again.
How does this tie in to the normal writings on this blog? Well, that ought to be obvious. He is anti-environment, anti-animal, and he even fought against poultry workers being properly compensated. I can't tell you how many people I saw working at Tyson that got carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and other ailments and just struggled to get by - many of them two-parent households and on food stamps to feed their children. It's a given if you work there long enough that you WILL have health problems that will last you the rest of your life. I have just started really seeing it show up greatly recently, just as I have arthritis in my hands, back, and knees (although, to be fair, some of that happened in the military from too many parachute jumps ad from cutting one of my knees with a chainsaw - Tyson just made it worse - way worse). According to my doctor I have the body of a man over ten years older than me, and it will only get worse as I get older. He has seen a lot of that from Tyson workers. After looking at my chart, he said that even if I hadn't gotten out for the reasons that I did, I wouldn't have made it much longer and that I can now rule out working any more hard labor jobs. He saw that I had not used the doctor much in the past ten years, but then the last year or so there, I was in to see a doctor from every week to every month, including many trips to the ER, which were not reported as on-the-job injuries to Workman's Comp.
And he is right. Companies like that use you up and spit you out, so they would have been looking for a way to get rid of me even before the OSHA thing came up. That's the way they have been able to get the numbers down showing that there are fewer injuries, too. There aren't, as Human Rights Watch so aptly proved, but they convince you to go in under the insurance, argue that your condition could have happened at home, and always throw the drug test at you, which you have to pass in order to get Workman's Compensation benefits. So, from a statistical point of view, it looks like the injuries are falling because they aren't being reported, when in fact, they are going up.
And John Roberts was one of the men representing the poultry industry to make sure these people didn't get their much-needed and much-deserved help.
Is this who you want representing your rights and your children's and grandchildren's rights as an American for life???!!!!!!
I don't think so.
Please call one of the numbers ASAP - as soon as you read this. Then pass it along to as many people as possible. Even if we don't win, perhaps we can get the democrats to take a stand (maybe even a few Republicans who will be facing re-election battles next year!), but the least we can do is to make sure that our voices are heard loud and clear.
Because there is still one more vacancy. And you can bet that BushCo and the GOP will be watching to see how may of us take the minute or so to even make that one little call. It's time to get off our collective apathetic butts and take our country back! EVERY single call DOES matter!!! It's too late for emails and petitions, which we have both signed repeatedly. It's down to phone calls. Make them now. Right now. 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588 or go to http://www.millionphonemarch.com/ for the direct numbers to call like I did. It was worth ten or twenty cents to us to make sure that our Senator heard from us, isn't it to you?????
Tomorrow I will post about our newest residents - we got the two new foster dogs today. Spaz (a sweet and loving brindle) and Bill (a terrier mix), who has been abused. I will post their pics and write them up tomorrow. This took precedence over that.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION AND TAKE IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!