The Mason Moment, March 21, 2021

I speak today on the shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people, mainly Asian-American women; the need to combat racism; and the need to resist voter suppression.
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The PRO Act

Up for debate in Congress is HR 842, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which President Biden publicly endorsed. The purpose of this bill is to:

penalize corporations that try to bust unions;

protect workers engaged in organizing drives;

allow workers to take employers to court if they violate collecting bargaining laws;

override “right to work” (for less) laws, which several states have implements;

prevent companies who use gig workers, like Uber, from classifying their employees as “independent contractors,” so they couldn’t organize;

and support workers’ rights as they’re engaged in strikes and boycotts.

For decades, corporations have done everything they can to prevent workers from organizing, and the result is the decline of union density, and with it the decline in wages and their ability, since just after the Second World War, to take care of their families with just one paycheck; now, both spouses have to work just to barely get by. Meanwhile, the wages of CEOs have risen, since late in the 1960’s to approximately 415 percent higher than the wages of a front-line worker. In spite of the propaganda from advocates of neo-liberal “free market”, workers and consumers have not benefitted tax breaks and other government handouts to corporations, but have only used the extra money to buy up their own stock to raise the value, and stash it on foreign bank accounts, as shown in the case of the Panama Papers.

No meaningful change for working and low-income people will take please without the ability of workers to organize into unions for their benefit; their grandfathers and great-grandfathers, who fought and sometimes died for the right to organize, knew this. We can’t let them down. Please contact your Congress-members and senators and urge them to vote for the Pro Act. This bill will be another step in bringing America forward to a better place.

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The Gilded Jackass

Recently, we have studied to Torah portion Ki-Tissa, Exodus 30:11-34:35. This is the portion where the Israelites, upset that Moses had not come down from Mt. Sinai, and with the agreement of Aaron, gave up their gold objects to construct a calf of gold for them to worship. Moses sees them and, furious, throws the tablets of the Law down at them , orders them to grind up the calf and put it in the water, and drink it as punishment.

Now we have donald trump; at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC),, a gold-ish statue of trump, made in Mexico and of Fiberglass, was trundled onto the lobby, and the attendees adored it, with a picture of one man bowing down to it like it was an idol.

This comes from evangelical Christian political movement, supposedly a religion banning the worship of a graven image. But it latched onto donald trump as their candidate, so that legislation hostile to LGBTQ people, people of color, and immigrants could be enacted. this is the false god they now worship; and just as the Israelites threw their gold away to construct the original Golden Calf, the followers of the multi-million-collar evangelists donate their money, even their entire fortunes, to the false messiahs on TV, hoping for something better to come to their lives.

These religious charlatans are perfect allies for donald trump, who made his fortune selling false hopes with his “university;” who kept talking about himself as a business whiz, after the bankruptcies of his casinos, and whose fathers money bailed him out; and whose other business ventures-trump Steaks, trump Shuttle Airline, trump World magazine, trump Vodka, trump Steaks, etc.-were one failure after the next.

This is the false god that the conservative movement, the evangelical Christian movement, and the Republican Party bow down to. Just as the Israelites were punished for their sin of worshiping the Golden Calf, so will these movements face disaster, and a well-deserved one at that.

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The Mason Moment, March 6, 2021

I speak about the passage of the COVID relief package, the “Democratic” senators who voted against the $15/hour minimum wage, and the need for grassroots organizing to advance a people’s social and economic agenda.

#grassroots #republicanparty #democraticparty #grassroots

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The Grow Together Snow Foundation

My good friend, Michelle Snow, is an excellent career coach; she has helped my along in my media career, guiding me, encouraging me, and helping me grow my own network. I never cease to talk up her work and her enthusiasm for helping small entrepreneurs along their way to success.

Michelle has now begun the Grow Together Snow Foundation, https://thegtsf.org/#:~:text=The%20Grow%20Together%20Snow%20Foundation,succeed%20in%20business%20and%20life., which helps small business operators attain support, initial funding, and skill to further develop their businesses. This endeavor is worthy of support. Please consider making a donation to the Grow Together Snow Foundation. Thanks.

cheerful multiethnic students having high five with teacher
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The Mason Missile, February 23, 2021

Greetings, Americans!

I have just received my first COVID-19 vaccine injection (Pfizer) at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center in West Philadelphia (https://www.philadelphia.va.gov/). I get my next one in the middle of March. When your turn come, please get it, and we can beat this plague that has killed now over 5000,000 of our fellow Americans-our friends and loved ones.

The deterioration of the Republican Party is going on; Pat Toomey, of my home state Pennsylvania, is facing censure for voting to impeach trump-Toomey, for had voted 85 percent for trump’s actions. Dave Ball, Chair of the Washington County Republican Party, said it all when he said, “We did not send (Toomey) there to vote his conscience, we did not send him there to do the right thing…we sent him there to represent us.” (https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/02/15/western-pa-republican-county-chairs-oppose-sen-toomeys-vote-to-convict-trump-but-disagree-on-censure-resolutions/)

This is the same Pat Toomey who was poised to run against Arlen Spector in the 2010 Republican primary for the Senate from Pennsylvania. This caused Spector to move to the Democratic Party, but he was defeated in the Democratic primaries by Joe Sestak; Toomey run the general election, as part of the shift of the Republican Party further to the right. (https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Retirement/sen-arlen-specter-loss-joe-sestak-pennsylvania-senate/story?id=10669683) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_Senate_election_in_Pennsylvania) Thus, the Republican Party is now the party of Donald trump, white supremacists, religious bigots, science deniers, and conspiracy-theory devotees, and Toomey isn’t right-wing enough for them.

Other senators voting for impeachment of trump include Mitt Romney of Utah, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, and Susan Collins of Maine; they have all faced censure resolutions from their states’ stae and county Republican organizations. ( https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/2/16/republicans-who-voted-to-convict-trump-face-censure-at-home) (https://www.voanews.com/usa/us-politics/republican-groups-censure-party-lawmakers-who-voted-impeach-convict-trump)

The old idea has popped up again: third party!   The idea is popular among some pro-trump Republicans. (https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/02/support-third-party-republicans-record-high-gallup.html) There is also talk among more main-stream conservative Republicans, people who worked in past Republican administrations, of forming their own third party. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-party-exclusive/exclusive-dozens-of-former-republican-officials-in-talks-to-form-anti-trump-third-party-idUSKBN2AB07P)

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Pennsylvania Republicans to invalidate vote cast during the 2020 elections. (https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/22/politics/election-pennsylvania-republicans-supreme-court/index.html) The Republicans continue their efforts to deny the ability to vote to those of us opposed to their anti-worker policies; state legislatures have been inundated with new bills trying to either limit voting by mail, purging voter lists, or more voter ID laws aimed at people who usually don’t have the “required” ID, such as minorities, seniors, and college students-Jim Crow redux. (https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/02/politics/voting-rights-state-legislation/index.html). This is not the work of a party confident in mass appeal, and popularity, but one clinging to power by whatever means. And of course there’s the old reliable, gerrymandering, redrawing legislative districts for the party’s benefit, to keep their members in power for nearly eternity.

With Donald trump as its spiritual leader, can you imagine the kids of bills emanating from such legislatures, becoming THE LAW? More deregulations of environmental controls on corporations, to allow them to pollute the air and water; more starving financially of schools, so that kids can’t learn and improve their lives; more discriminations permitted against LGBTQ people, in the name of “religious freedom”; more deterioration of our infrastructure, such as our highways, electric power grids, our railways, our water and sewage, and our bridges, for the sake of the almighty “free enterprise.” The list is endless. 

As enjoyable as the collapse of the Republican Party, and  of the trump empire is- like the implosion of the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City (https://www.cnn.com/videos/business/2021/02/17/trump-plaza-demolition-atlantic-city-implosion-orig.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-originals-counterprogramming/)- we progressives have a responsibility to work at the grassroots to advocate for our policies, and elect candidates who will act on them. They are:

A $15.00 an hour minimum wage (for a start);

A national health care system for every citizen in this country, “Medicare For All”:

Ending limitations on workers organizing into unions:

Resisting Republican efforts to gerrymander legislative districts for their benefit, to the exclusion of minorities, women, working and low-income people, and seniors;

Upgrading our infrastructure so we can truly enter the 21st century, economically; and

Upgrading our educational system and restoring respect for learning, as a way for personal advancement, and as a great thing for its own sake.

I might be missing some things, but this is a start, and knowing American history like I do, we CAN and WILL organize to bring these things about, for ourselves and our future generations. So let’s get busy on this.

Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together! America will be free! Bye!    

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Since this publication takes a good deal of work and time, I welcome any donations, and I am willing to discuss selling ad space. For a fee I will be happy to advertise your business on the Missile. Please contact me and we’ll talk about it, thanks.

I have just self-published my manifesto, Under The Workers Cap, printed by Minuteman Press (https://www.minutemanpress.com/), where I articulate my social and political beliefs, based on my study of American History and my activism in the Labor movement and the community. It’s on sale for $10.00 plus postage.

The Mason Moment, February 20, 2021

I speak today on the need for the COVID-19 vaccinations, the breakdown of the Texas electric system due to the snowstorm, and the need for grassroots activism for needed reforms, such as upgrading infrastructure, the $15.00 an hour minimum wage, and the elimination of student debt.

Moonstone Still Rocks!

I continue to be active in the activities of the Moonstone Arts Center, https://moonstoneartscenter.org/. They continue to hold their poetry readings and other events over Zoom, and they continue to publish poetry chapbooks and anthologies centered around important topics, such as the January 6 rampage on the Capitol, the former regime (whose leader doesn’t need mentioning), the Black Lives Matter movement, the #MeToo movement, the war in Iraq, and the COVID pandemic; they also publish poetry anthologies around famous poets, like Toni Morrison, Walt Whitman, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Amiri Baraka. They also continue their Poetry Ink celebrations, with the publication of the anthology and readings by poets in the anthology (like me), as well as the New Voices series honoring new and young poets.

On February 20, there will be a virtual poetry reading of New Voices, featuring the poets Wes Matthews, Colby Bellman, and Rose-Marie Athiley. (https://moonstoneartscenter.org/event/virtual-poetry-reading-for-new-voices-emerging-poets-rose-marie-athiley-colby-bellman-wes-mathews-with-larry-robin/) On February 21, there will be “Philly Jawns: For women Revisited,” a tribute anthology to Nina Simone. (https://moonstoneartscenter.org/event/virtual-poetry-reading-philly-jawns-for-women-revisited-poetry-anthology-tribute-to-nina-simone/) On February 24, there will be an online reading, featuring the poets Ahmad Amallah and Grant Clauser, and and Larry Robin, founder of Moonstone and proprietor of the old Robin’s Books chain in Philadelphia, which was a great outlet for non-commercial books. ( https://moonstoneartscenter.org/event/virtual-poetry-reading-ahmad-almallah-grant-clauser-with-larry-robin/)

Please check these events out, and support Moonstone and other local poetry programs. The arts, like poetry, are not a luxury, they’re for all of us.

stack of books placed on seat of wooden swing
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