For the Sake of the Union: Change Congress in November

February 15, 2006

The State of the Union is in grave danger. President Bushs uninspiring State of the Union speech was a smokescreen to conceal this administrations criminal actions. It was a cover for feeding corporate greed as oil, gas and other corporations report record profits. Bush said the nation is addicted to oil. The real story is: oil corporations are addicted to profit.

Bush is an outlaw president. His violations of international and U.S. law, his trampling on democratic safeguards, his continued justification of illegal spying in the name of national security and war on terrorism, are leading to a constitutional crisis.

As public support falls, this administration is moving to consolidate right-wing power in all branches of government. The appointment of Samuel Alito tilts the Supreme Court to the right. Therefore the fight to take back Congress from Republican domination becomes crucial to protection of labor rights and workers livelihoods, civil rights, civil liberties, the environment, and to ending the Iraq war.

Bush arrogantly called for continuing his disastrous course in Iraq, and issued threats to a number of countries, including Iran. Ignoring the growing economic crisis facing the American people, Bush called on Congress to further attack living standards. He used fear and terror to justify extension of the anti-democratic USA Patriot Act and illegal wiretapping.

The real State of the Union was invisible in Bushs speech. But Congress has the power to stand up for the people.

Our country and world are less safe than ever. Neither the Iraq war nor Bushs spying program makes us safer. The hundreds of billions being spent on the war are urgently needed to meet domestic priorities. Congress must support our troops by adopting a plan for speedy withdrawal.

For the half million survivors still displaced by Hurricane Katrina, words of compassion cannot hide this administrations deeds of racist, inhuman indifference. Congress should redirect billions from the war to rebuild the Gulf Coast with community involvement, and enact the Hurricane Katrina Recovery, Reclamation, Restoration, Reconstruction and Reunion Act, HR 4197.

Bush outlined an American Competitive Initiative, a disastrous attack on working people:

For the 48 million with no health coverage, the glitter of health savings accounts cannot hide the cold reality that this proposal will only enrich the medical industrial complex. Congress must enact HR 676, Medicare for All, to provide universal health coverage including prescriptions.

For the thousands of young people who depend on federal financial assistance for their college education, Bushs proposed additional cuts, in order to preserve and extend tax cuts for the wealthy, will push many out of school. Congress must reject any further cuts to human needs programs, and reinstate taxes on the rich.

For the tens of thousands being downsized out of auto and other jobs and for those stuck in low-wage jobs, forced to choose between paying for food or for housing, the call to open up global markets cannot hide the fact that this free market drive has contributed to the loss of one-quarter of U.S. manufacturing jobs and the economic ruin and dislocation of millions of workers and farmers in Latin America and throughout the world. Congress must require labor and environmental protections in all trade agreements and pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

For millions facing unaffordable, escalating energy costs, and for our country as a whole, Bushs Advanced Energy Initiative is misleading flim-flam. The Kyoto Treaty should be ratified to reduce global warming. Congress should reject corporate subsidies, impose an excess profits tax on energy corporations, and increase low-income heating assistance. Energy needs must not be an excuse to destroy the environment with projects like Arctic drilling.

For all workers, immigrant and native-born, Bushs militarization of the border and separate and unequal guest worker program offer no gains. They pit immigrant and non-immigrant workers against each other, lowering wages and benefits for everyone. Congress must reject this punitive approach in favor of legalization, family reunification, respect and labor rights.

Our country needs a Congress with the courage and patriotism to resist Bushs demands, oppose his illegal acts and, yes, to consider impeachment.

Bushs calls for hope are hollow. Our countrys real hope is in the growing mass struggles for health care, to save Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, for public education and for ending the war.

The hope in our country is labor, religious, civil rights, women, youth, environment and community groups coming together for the common good, African American, Mexican American, Latino, Asian Pacific, Native American, Middle Eastern and white. Millions are finding fulfillment in these struggles for social responsibility, to create the opportunity for every individual to achieve his or her potential.

This all-peoples movement has the potential to organize a groundswell of great strength to break the Republican grip on the House and Senate. That will open up new possibilities for an even bigger grassroots movement to push Congress to enact a long overdue labor and peoples program.

Nothing could be a more fitting tribute to Coretta Scott King and the civil rights movements leadership in the struggle to end militarism, racism and corporate greed.

The battle for Congress begins now. All out for November!


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