More scenes from Jobs Not Cuts rallies

Throughout the week, especially on Wednesday, Americans have been visiting congressional offices and public squares around the country to voice their support for government job creation measures financed by making the rich pay their fair share. It's not surprising to see action across such broad swathes of the United States; pollsters have found for months that Americans overwhelming support increasing taxes rather than cutting spending. Here's a sample of what's going on out there. This is just the tip of the iceberg right here - there are so many people demanding change around the country that we can't include them all here. In Houston, about 200 stood outside in the heat chanting "Good Jobs Equals A Great Houston" in front of Sen. John Cornyn's (R-TX) local office. In Fort Worth, several dozen braved the Texas heat at the county courthouse. One speaker wondered if the rich have argued for ten years that we need to keep cutting their taxes to spur job creation, where are the jobs at? In Louisville, Kentucky, protestors demanded real solutions for jobs from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

Local residents angered by the recent debt deal gathered outside U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's office Wednesday.

The group of unemployed and underemployed demanded McConnell focus on job creation rather than cuts to programs.

The participants said the cuts to the programs affect the middle class, but asks nothing of big corporations and millionaires.

We are sending a strong message," said Keith Rouea of "We need to focus on job creation and put deficit reduction on the back burner, and we can deal with it once we have a stronger economy." In Newton, NJ, dozens showed up at Rep. Scott Garrett's district office.

Virginia Heatter, the coordinator for the northwest office, said the group presented a copy of the contract to staff members at Rep. Scott Garrett's office in Newton before the rally.

"We are here at the unemployment office to make the point that Americans need jobs, not cuts to the budget that will only hurt job growth," Heatter said. "America is a great country, and we need our leaders to stop their fighting and work to restore this nation." In Concord, New Hampshire:

The $10.2 billion two-year budget that took effect July 1 also cut payments to hospitals for caring for the poor by $115 million; lays off as many as 500 state workers once lump-sum agency budget cuts are implemented; increases workers' pension costs to reduce employers' pension costs; and raises health care premiums for retirees under 65, in addition to other cuts.

At the rally, Gagnon filled out an "Application for Good Jobs for the Granite State" that urged the state Legislature to support middle-class families and not cut education and essential services.

"The comment I put down was that when you cut public-sector jobs: teachers or police, firefighters, court workers ... it essentially also results in a cut in private-sector jobs because the laid-off public workers now don't have money to spend in their community," she said. In Lawrenceville, Georgia:

If he thinks that it's better to deal with things that don't have anything to do with the real people that are voting...and just make the corporations happy, then he is not representing me," said Glenda Poindexter, council coordinator for MoveOn Gwinnett. "I call on him today to make jobs happen in this state."

"It's not right that they balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the disabled and those that don't have," said Iris Basham, a MoveOn activist. "Once you have a job, you start spending. Once you start spending, the economy starts working... but the government's got to take that first step and employ all of us." In Loma Linda, California:

Members of the Democratic Club and Citizens Action for Peace joined MoveOn members at the intersection of Brookside Avenue and San Mateo Street near Congressman Jerry Lewis’ Redlands office.

For just over an hour, they waved signs, chanted and cheered as vehicles honked. Members spoke and then the group delivered a jobs contract with a list of demands for the congressman that included: Invest in the country’s infrastructure, offer Medicare for all, and fix Social Security. In Marlborough, Massachusetts:

Rubenstein told Patch that he was new to protesting. "I felt like I had to do something. I'm not happy."

Wagner said, "I am angry with the manipulation by the oligarchy - the few privileged elite - that hold the majority of the wealth and they manipulate our government and policy at the expense of everyone else." In Springfield, Pennsylvania:

Strong political opinions were aired Wednesday during a demonstration by outside the Springfield office of U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby.

“I don’t believe (Meehan) is a bad person,” said Tim Brew. “But I do think that he has little or no idea what people like me and the people here have to go through.”

“It’s 10 simple points that people can rally around,” said Brown. “Basically, it creates jobs and it protects our basic rights for Social Security and Medicare.”

The demonstration drew a group of 40 or 50 anti-Meehan individuals. Most were from Delaware County, but some came from nearby counties. In Erie, Pennsylvania:

Jobs, jobs and more jobs.

That was the message to Congress from about 60 protesters who rallied outside U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly's office on Erie's bayfront.

The rally was organized by the local chapter of the liberal organization but included participation from unions, religious leaders and former political officials.

Among those who spoke were former Erie Mayor Joyce Savocchio and Bishop Dwane Brock of Victory Christian Center. Former Erie County Executive Judy Lynch was among those in the crowd.

Another speaker was Erie resident Lisa Stark, 48, who said she's been unemployed for one year and has tried to find work. Stark said she went to college, worked hard, paid off her student loans and tried for the American dream of owning a home.

But to pay for health insurance, Stark said she's had to dip into the savings account for her future home's down payment.

Stark said she's one of 140 million Americans looking for jobs. "That's tough competition,'' she said.

Joshua Atkinson, president of the Erie-Crawford Central Labor Council, told the crowd that "CEOs and the superrich have never had it better,'' while the middle class loses jobs and faces home foreclosures. In Mercer Island, Washington:

Islanders and non-Island residents gathered near Reichert's office at noon, some coming specifically for the event and others joining the cause after seeing the group on the sidewalk. Island resident SaraLee Kane said she has attended several MoveOn events and came to Wednesday's demonstration because she's concerned that there is not enough awareness about what is happening to the general public.

Another Island resident, Ellen Jeffcott, who has lived here for 37 years, said she feels Reichert has become a puppet for the Republican cause and that she doesn't see enough independent thinking from him or concern for the local people, even though they are who he is representing. In Olympia, Washington:

About 100 people gathered at the Tivoli Fountain near the state Capitol today to protest the debt-limit deal last week and urging Congress to focus on job creation instead of spending cuts. 
 Signs in the air had messages like “Infrastructure is vital to national security,” “Stop the war on workers,” “End Bush Tax Cuts,” and “More Jobs Now! – Call Congress.”

Sherri Goulet, a founder of the Thurston County Progressive Network, spoke of many people’s lives being “on the margin, even of those who are working’’ in the jobless economic recovery. 

One man, Carl Cannon of Gig Harbor accused the so-called tea party, which advocates cuts and opposes new taxes, of treason its work to tie up Congress over the debt-limit bill and cut spending. Cannon told me he is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army and a “Reagan Republican” but he considers the tea party “the new red menace” to the nation. 

Jim Blakeley of Olympia and others complained that Congress, in their view, represents the rich. Congress can expect to hear more from the American people until either they actually bring jobs back to this country or until they get lose their own jobs in upcoming elections.

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