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99er’s Petition Delivered to Washington

Washington, D.C. – After much confusion surrounding the events to take place last Thursday, the meeting with Senator Reid’s staff occurred as promised. Both the rumor mongering and misunderstanding of responsible parties as to what a public petition is, caused much commotion and confusion however, the petition was delivered.

Following Issa Decker’s original arrangements with Vaughn Bray, Legislative Correspondence Manager for Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), and WorldNewsVine, I met with both Vaughn, and Maria Urbina, Legislative Correspondent to discuss the petition, the merits of it along with the plight of America’s unemployed.

The confusion surrounding the petition was neither on the part of Senator Reid’s office, nor on the part of WorldNewsVine. The confusion was a matter of, or to better word it, a lack of working knowledge of exactly what a “Public Petition” truly is. Thusly, WorldNewsVine was refused full access to the public petition for the 99er’s created by Issa Decker. There was reference to a “legal department” from the site that hosted the petition however, no contact was made, nor was direction on how to contact same provided as well.

This much can be assured from our visit. The Democratic Leadership is astutely aware of the plight of not only America’s jobless but also, the American workforce as a whole. The Senate Democrats, led by Senator Reid have tried, and continues to work towards a resolution to this crisis. The roadblock as we all know is the obstructionist attitude of the Republican Party.

As stated, due to the nature of the Public Petition found online, the signatures of the state of Nevada will be verified as a matter of processing this petition. Once, this process is completed and contact has been established, the petition will be considered validated in the state of Nevada.

Each state represented on the petition will need to be addressed, and the same process placed into motion. Change.org had refused to release the, Public Petition in its entirety for publication stating legal reasons. I would suggest someone look up and understand the meaning of a Public Petition next time.

Myself, felt as always, that this petition was a genuinely well thought out plan.  However, with WorldNewsVine being the sole source of online media to present Issa Decker’s story, and the fact that the petition on the site it was being hosted was fairly buried, it would be wise to have this petition hosted on a site that will give the utmost publicity it deserves. The petition generated roughly 20,000 signatures that upon initial review appeared valid represented less than 1 percent of the total numbers listed or claimed to be listed as “99ers”.

This is not once again, to state that this petition did not prove its cause whereas, the Democratic Leadership has always been aware of the plight of the American unemployed.

Moving forward on this petition it would be best to have the petition located on a site that would give it the recognition it deserves. Next, make certain that the rules of a public petition are observed, and that the members of the petition begin to focus their attention on those members of Congress, the Republican Party, that are refusing the assistance to the unemployed as they deserve. In essence, most of those calling are “barking up the wrong tree”. You will need to convince and win over support, committed support of the Minority Leaders office, Mitch McConnell, and at least four additional Senate republicans to prevent the further stalling of existing legislation, and the blocking or creation of any further legislation.

Once again, I cannot stress this any further than what I have here in this article, and the plethora of articles written on WorldNewsVine that reflect the factual information provided in covering the plight of the unemployed. The Democratic Leadership is not to blame for this crisis. The Democratic Leadership has done everything in their power to assist in this crisis. The Senate Democrats specifically, are not responsible for blocking aid to America’s unemployed, and continues to work towards a solution to this crisis.  Those members and supporters of this effort need to concentrate your efforts on the Minority Leaders office to stop the obstructionism, not the Democratic leader’s office for they are there to assist.

99ers need to concentrate your efforts on the Senate republicans, the party of “No” to achieve what your petition sets out to achieve. Efforts have already been attempted and the GOP keeps blocking every move, the refusal to use recaptured TARP funds from their wealthy campaign contributors, is a prime example of the power the minority is using to kneecap these efforts.

I will attempt to answer questions as commented below. The meeting was held in confidence; we have questions submitted to the Press Secretaries office, and again the confusion regarding Arleen’s arrangements with the Senator’s office and these other blog sites, does not represent a true picture of the arrangements Arleen had originally planned with Senator Reid’s Correspondence Manager.

Jim Alexander Posted by on May 23, 2010. Filed under Opinion Editorial,WorldNewsVine. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to 99er’s Petition Delivered to Washington

  1. T. Cahill

    May 23, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    NOTE: MAY 24, 2010 – Below you will read the closing remarks I made personally last night. What you won’t see are the nasty comments and the back and forth arguing that appeared prior to me checking in on what was going on. Straight up, I have made an “executive decision” to remove all comments. It’s unfortunate that the very first “comment” set off a change reaction – including a gut reaction from admin – and spirled out of control after that. So it was agreed upon by the administrator of this site that I be allowed to come in, once again open this to be read, continue to keep the commenting closed, and be the only person to “comment”.

    Issa Decker also knows the “whole truth and nothing but the truth” and said she would be sending me an email clarifying that the above was agreed upon ahead of time, etc., that what is reported she was aware would take place “as is”.

    In the meantime, above you can read what happened for the trip to Washington. Below you can read why I will no longer be covering anything to do with Tier V.

    For those who have been nothing but supportive I thank you and I’m sorry that what I’ve written below even needed TO be stated, but there it is…

    =========================================
    UPDATE: MAY 25, 2010 – Since Issa Decker started
    the petition it seems only right and fitting that she be
    given a voice in the comments below mine. Below is
    the exact copy of the email sent out to those who
    signed her original petition.
    =========================================

    ORIGINAL COMMENT WRITTEN May 23rd – late PDT

    As everyone is aware, with no agenda on the table regarding anyone on unemployment, this undertaking to bring the 99ers situation to Washington was a quickly put together affair. It had to be, there was and remains too little time.

    As many of the 99ers remarked, it was very clear who knew what about what was happening, and those that must have been picking up, yet again, rumor about this, that and the next thing yet choosing to believe unsubstantiated rumors.

    Issa’s petition was one I found buried at Change.org. Upon finding it, at the time I started posting about the troubles the 99ers, having already received fully allotted benefits, were going through.

    My idealistic belief was I thought it was the “right thing to do”. I thought it would be of help to not only cover H.R. 4213 and it’s stall for those currently about to run out of help, but to bring news to the world of the distortion in unemployment figures. Those still unemployed and not receiving aid seemed like a worthwhile cause to try to “champion” so to speak.

    What it has turned into is a nightmare. I can personally say that I am shocked at the reactions all around. I am shocked that something meant to be good now is questioned by those very people this whole affair is an attempt to help.

    The admin of this site, doing his best with what he was given to work with (not Issa’s fault nor are we “blaming” her in anyway), took the 99er’s cause to Washington.

    No one else volunteered, maybe some said they would but nothing was being arranged and time is running out on even the H.R. 4213 bill.

    I take full responsibility for attempting to bring to light the plight of so many who are voiceless in our government. I also am, unfortunately, sorry to have even done so.

    With nothing but the best of intentions, limited funds (those that could not donate did not donate, many who are employed funded this trip in large donations). Every penny was used strictly to get the petition to Washington as quickly as possible.

    Now to see the reaction all around is totally dismaying.

    Where there is cohesiveness, there is the potential for action. Yet, even among the very group needing help there are hateful remarks and insinuations that cannot be tolerated.

    Issa Decker is to be commended for attempting to help all 99ers. The petition delivery, at the very least, makes it known in Washington that there are hundreds of thousands (millions?) doing without financial aid, and doing without proper representation.

    However, since the tone of this “update” to let everyone know what and who and when and where and how is turning so ugly, as a reporter, editor and helpful “administrator” I am turning off the comments to this update.

    You all asked for an update. The person who made the trip has done so, given you solid advice on who to contact that might stand in your way. Yes, it is heavily tilted toward the GOP, but if you do not acknowledge that it is the party that wants to pay first, give you benefits later, then you will never be heard.

    They have no care in the world on spending unrelated to the 99er plight. Read the paper, it is more than true. If you choose to not believe it, we cannot change your mind. If you take the advice for what it is, and run with it as a team you may stand a chance.

    However, nothing I’ve seen, with the exception of some (thank you) is there any teamwork involved.

    We (Issa and WNV and those who donated) pulled together in a fast-paced amount of time, presented what was available to be presented, reported on what takes place next, reported that there are cracks within petition collection online (not of Issa’s doing nor our own), and let you know its there in Washington.

    Whether those in Washington who receive it will follow up on it only you will know by continuing to maintain contact with your state representatives.

    BTW, my husband, too, could be just a week away so this was personal for our family, too.

    Again, enough. We did what we said we would do. I’m sure there are plenty of very nice people out there who, given the chance, would comment appropriately. But, since this was “my story” and Issa has also had enough grief over it, I personally choose to end this here and now.

    Good luck to everyone, and I truly mean that! United, citizens have a chance, divided it will never win. It is now time for someone else to pick up this cause, should they even have the nerve (I’m just giving you fair warning, you’ll find helpful and nice and mean and nasty so be careful), and continue to run with it.

    It’s too bad really, but this is outrageous from every direction. After reading down through this commenting thread, both initial commenting, reaction to comments, and back and forth and back and forth it is driving me insane. I do not like what I see nor what I’m hearing.

    I tried. Issa tried. WNV tried. Donators tried. Participators in good spirit tried. For those who will not be given a chance to express positive intentions to go forward to continue fighting for the 99er cause, I apologize.

    Grassroots movements can be very powerful, but you have to really want it and know how teamwork works.

    Speaking for myself, I am done. I’ve enjoyed covering stories about 99ers and trying to help, but this is just too much. I’ve spoken with Issa, and she, too, is tired.

    As a last word, should someone of insight and quality pick up the ball, be careful. It should not need saying, but “good manners” works much better than yelling and screaming. Firm and professional.

    Avoid crackpots. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll make headway. I sure hope so!

    Comments closed.

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  2. Issa Decker

    May 25, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    As many people know, when I saw that Congress would be debating the Unemployment Extender bill that did not include the 99ers, I decided it might be a good time to submit the petition to Senator Reid. I knew that many in Congress supported us, and I wanted to put some ammunition into their hands.

    Many people also know that I requested volunteers in the Washington, D.C. area to print and deliver the petition. I called Senator Durbin’s and Senator Reid’s office late on Friday to ask how I should go about the delivery because, obviously, the volunteers couldn’t just walk into the Senate Office Building. A staffer in Senator Durbin’s office told me that they ‘would always send someone outside the building to receive something like this,’ but there would be no opportunity to speak to anyone about the issue. Senator Reid’s office promised to get back to me on Monday.

    Sometime on the weekend, as word was getting out about the petition delivery, WorldNewsVine contacted me and asked if I would like their assistance. They were the first and biggest supporter of the petition from the outset. By the time they contacted me only one person had volunteered that they could ‘for sure’ both print and make the delivery. I was disappointed because I was hoping for a pool of several people who could take over if one person couldn’t complete the task at the last moment. It wouldn’t be cool to have a staffer standing on the front steps waiting for someone who couldn’t make it. Of course, this is no offense to the one volunteer. I was grateful for the one, and I would have gone ahead with it if WorldNewsVine hadn’t offered what I believe to be a better alternative.

    Although, Mr. Grone and I discussed the thought of my going to Washington, I believed that being represented by WorldNewsVine would give our efforts greater legitimacy. This proved to be correct as they were able to secure a ‘sit-down’ with Senator Reid’s political advisers that very week. I had been told that an appointment for me to meet with someone, probably just a staffer, would take at least three week’s. I thought it was important to try to make the delivery while the debate was happening. I never felt that the petition had the power to affect a congressional change, rather I felt it could be a significant tool for the senators to use to make our case. If not now, it will be there for them to use in the future. The day may yet come when we hear our words read from the Senate floor.

    I’m very glad I made the decision to join efforts with WNV. The campaign of raising money to send a representative of the press enhanced our grassroots effort. The Political Communications Executive, Vaughn Bray, who called me on Monday from Senator Reid’s office, was clearly impressed when I told him what was happening. He knew of WorldNewsVine and told me he would offer them whatever support he could, including a meeting with political advisers and press office. I put him in touch with the owner of WorldNewsVine, Chief Editor, and they made arrangements for an appointment for a sit-down in Senator Reid’s offices with his political advisers and his press office.

    Here’s a note about Senator Reid’s ‘press office.’ Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. The title sounded to me and others like that’s where the press is. Actually, these are people who work for Senator Reid. They control the news that comes out of the senator’s office. At the last minute, they weren’t able to attend the meeting because the senator called them to the Senate to await a possible cloture on the Finance Bill. However, out of respect for Mr. Grone, WorldNewsVine and our petition, they agreed to hold the meeting as planned. Since the ‘press control’ wasn’t there and Mr. Grone is ‘the press,’ he had to agree to keep their meeting off the record until the press office gets back to him. The questions submitted by WNV and those submitted by me were discussed during the meeting. At the end of the meeting, Mr. Grone submitted the questions from him and from me in writing, and we are now awaiting the answers from the press office. If you have been following the news, they have been busier than usual this week and last.

    Because the questions were asked in the name of the petitioners, the petition has to be validated before the questions can be answered in the name of the petitioners. Change.org was not comfortable with the idea of sending the complete data base to me or WNV because it contains complete home and email addresses. They did, however, agree to send it to Senator Reid’s office. I believe it was on Thursday when they sent it to Vaughn Bray. In order to expedite things, Senator Reid’s office is first validating the names in his home state of Nevada. This means contacting those who signed or maybe a percentage of them, I don’t really know. When one state is validated we hope they feel they can answer the questions on the record in the name of that state.

    More on the petition: change.org sent a list of the petitioners to me and to WorldNewsVine that included the names, home towns, and zip codes of the signers. Both WNV and change.org each culled the list for invalid signatures. This turned out to be thousands of signatures. People who I’m sure believed they were helping the cause, signed multiple times. Others entered quaint names like “I am Unemployed.” In their vast experience and wisdom Congress has learned not to take petitions at face value until they are validated. That’s why they have all the rules regarding petitions. Another thing I’ve learned is that an officially submitted petition ends up in the Library of Congress. It may also be quoted on the floor of Congress by some of the members. They want to make absolutely sure it truly represents the people it says it does. If it were a letter from a constituent, they could call or email the person before quoting it. This is a letter from thousands.

    The fact that we haven’t gotten what we want yet does not mean Mr. Grone misspent the money WNV raised. He did exactly what he said he would do, which is what I asked him to do. He delivered the petition to Senator Reid’s office which is located in one of the most expensive cities in the world. He did this at a time when every lobbyist from the financial industry, and there are thousands of them, were booked into the entire DC area. I’m glad he was able to find a room and willing to buck the crowds, and a bonus for us was that he actually got to speak to knowledgeable people. They and he will answer our questions; however, I doubt the press office will answer them in writing until they feel they won’t jeopardize the bill that extends filing deadlines, even when Nevada signers are validated. If you have been following the news you know what I mean. I had hoped something could be added to that bill for us, but they’re having great difficulty passing it as it is. I’m disappointed, but I still believe our time will come.

    Here’s another note: it would be a tragedy for us if legitimate online newspapers and news sources decline to write about the petition or the 99ers. They read the blogs and the comments, and it’s simple for them to not enter a fray. Remember how much work it took for us to get them to start noticing us for the right reasons?

    I know I have a lot of support, I hear from you all the time, and I thank you. I know you are concerned about me because you haven’t heard from me in a few days. I’m here and I’m fine. I stay this way by not reading the comments. I’ve just heard about them from you! So, don’t feel you have to defend me. That just keeps the fray going. I am going to take a break for awhile, though. I need to focus on personal things I’ve neglected for the past 3 weeks.

    Finally, we have to keep our priorities straight. Getting an unemployment extension for those of us who have exhausted ours has to be our focus. We need to keep emailing and faxing our personal situations and request help, and not just to Democrats. They hear us, but they still have to work around the party of no.

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