Elections and Election Related
For information on election reform initiatives from Public Citizen, click here.
Fight back against corporate influence in elections (includes organizing tips)
We are the 99% video from The Guardian:Click Here
Take Action Amend the Constitution to Prevent the Corporate Takeover of Elections: Sign the Petition! Tell Congress: Give Shareholders a Say in Corporate Political Spending Urge Congress to Support Fair Elections Now
Workers and Jobs
American Jobs Act Fact Sheet link: Click Here.
The Book of Jobs by Joseph Stiglitz, Vanity Fair, January 2012
American Workers: Working More, Earning Less
Thirty Years Ago: The Day the Middle Class Died
What the Union Fight is Really About: The GOP’s new three-part plan to starve the Dems. Defunding the Left
Social Security & the Health Care System
Health Insurers Make Record Profits as Many Postpone Care (The New York Times)
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Reform Dose of Reality, by Neil Davis
The “Front Group” Hall of Shame . . . .According to the Playbook, these are the initial actions of industries under attack: (1) “Hire a big and well-connected PR firm, and (2) “Have your PR firm set up and operate a coalition or front group, which, if at all possible, should have words like ‘American’ or ‘freedom’ or ‘choice’ in its name.”So, as you see, the creation of the Choice and Competition Coalitionis coming straight from the Playbook. And it undoubtedly will have some big money behind it. . . .Republican proposal would abolish Medicare Here’s the most important thing you need to know about the new Republican federal budget plan: It abolishes Medicare within 10 years. (See “A Conservative Vision, With Bipartisan Risks,” The New York Times, April 5, 2011.) The budget plan would eliminate guaranteed medical care for senior citizens; it would replace Medicare with vouchers that seniors would use to pay big insurance corporations; and if the vouchers aren’t enough to pay for their care—and the Congressional Budget Office says they won’t be—too bad. (See “CBO: Seniors Would Pay Much More For Medicare Under Ryan Plan,” Kaiser Health News, April 5, 2011.) Please contact all your representatives, let them know what you think, and ask them where they stand. The new plan is a wholesale privatization that abolishes the guarantee of care that defines Medicare. In fact, by 2030, the CBO estimates the average senior would be paying the insurance industry more than $20,000 each year out of pocket. (See “Representative Ryan Proposes Medicare Plan Under Which Seniors Would Pay Most of Their Income for Health Care,” Center for Economic and Policy Research, April 6, 2011.) And seniors aren’t alone—the plan also includes devastating cuts to Medicaid, repeals the health care reform we all fought so hard for, and gives millionaires huge tax breaks. (See “Tax Plan From GOP Promises Rate Cuts,” The Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2011.)
Republican Plan to End Medicare (talking points, key facts: pdf download)
Click here. for more from Don’t End Medicare
Individual Mandate Controversy: Dose of Reality The requirement that each American must carry personal health insurance is the lightning rod attracting almost hysterical attack from right-wingers. Davis responds. He’s the author of Mired in the Health Care Morass (Ester Republic Press). More on health care issues can be found at The Neil Davis blog.
National Budget, Taxes, Deficit
“This country does in fact have a serious deficit problem. But the reality is that the deficit was caused by two wars – unpaid for. It was caused by huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country. It was caused by a recession as result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street. And if those are the causes of the deficit, I will be damned if we’re going to balance the budget on backs of the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor. That’s wrong.”–– Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Senate Budget Committee, Nov. 18, 2011.
D.C. Republicans target most vulnerable To check out what moveon.org rates as the top ten worst budget cuts in the Republican federal budget proposal, click here, then contact your representatives and senators. For more on the consequences to Michigan of the Republican’s proposed cuts, click here.
Government spending is not out of control:
Those familiar with arithmetic know that government spending had increased by little as a share of GDP prior to the downturn caused by the collapse of the housing bubble. In 2007, the last year before the onset of the recession, spending as a share of GDP was 19.6 percent. That is 1.1 percentage points less than the 20.7 percent share 30 years earlier in 1977. So the idea that there is a long-term trend of out-of-control spending is simply not true, or what they call outside of Washington, a lie’
The Republican Plan with Lipstick by Robert Reich, the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton.
Report of the Sustainable Defense Task Force
Debts, Deficits, and Defense: A Way Forward. For a pdf copy of the report, click here.
Five fun facts about the $14 trillion national debt By Joshua Holland, AlterNet;
Posted on March 24, 2011, Printed on March 25, 2011. http://www.alternet.org/story/150371/
Big Oil subsidies (from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) “Un-American.” That’s what Big Oil CEO James Mulva called Democrats’ attempt to make big oil companies pay their fair share. That’s what Big Oil CEO James Mulva called Democrats’ attempt to make Big Oil companies pay their fair share. Meanwhile, as we all continue to experience painful increases in gas prices, Republicans insist on handing Big Oil BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars in subsidies. That’s $185 for every licensed driver to Oil companies already making record profits. It’s corporate welfare at its worst. Check out our new site: TheGrandOilParty.com and sign our petition to tell Speaker Boehner and House Republicans that you want your money back from Big Oil! At our action center, you can also write a letter to your Member of Congress, send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, and find the lowest gas prices in your area. Thank you for helping us hold House Republicans accountable.
Banks and Wall Street
Joseph Stiglitz: “A Banking System is Supposed to Serve Society, Not the Other Way Around” Forget monetary policy. Re-examining the cause of the Great Depression—the revolution in agriculture that threw millions out of work—the author argues that the U.S. is now facing and must manage a similar shift in the “real” economy, from industry to service, or risk a tragic replay of 80 years ago.
Big Bank Tax Drain
Wall Street banks caused the economic crisis that has left millions unemployed, foreclosed on, and without prospects (the worst economy since the Great Depression). This report analyzes data from the latest financial filings by the six big banks (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley) to exposehow they continue to avoid taxes and contribute to tax revenue shortfalls. Closing special tax loopholes on the financial sector and implementing revenue-raising initiatives could generate over $150 billion in federal tax revenue each year. To read the report’s excutive summary or download the full report, click here.
Regulation and Consumer Protection
Jobs Act (from Public Citizen). The jobs act won’t creat jobs; instead, it will let all but the largest newly public companies dodge regulations that protect investors (i.e., anyone with a 401k or similar retirement plan) from scams, tricks and traps.* Tell your senators to oppose the House’s bipartisan blunder.
The bill is headed for the Senate. Alarmingly, the White House is supporting this destructive bill set up to help companies avoid oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission. If this bill passes, the disclosure of out-of-control CEO pay that is now required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill would no longer be required at many companies.Even the disclosure of corporate political spending we have been fighting for would be on the chopping block. In other words, the bill is a wish list for corporate lobbyists — and it has nothing to do with creating jobs.
*The JOBS Act is a complex bundle of bills designed to gut investor protections in various ways. For more in-depth details about the JOBS Act, read this editorial from the New York Times
Reproductive Rights and War on Women
The GOP War on Women
MoveOn.org has recorded some of the recent aspects of the GOP War on Women. Click here for ten examples from DC and around the country.
H.R. 3 Passes: 251 extremists in the House of Representatives voted to approve an anti-choice bill that would significantly restrict women’s access to abortion services and even “redefine rape.” The Republican bill — which was supported by a handful of male anti-choice Democrats — represents a vicious assault on women’s rights. “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” or H.R. 3 goes far beyond any other anti-choice measure that has been proposed in the House, including the Stupak Amendment that passed the House last year. It’s so extreme it will even redefine rape in order to limit the number of women who can receive abortion care. We must let these politicians know that their constituents will not forget this vote. For more information and a way to take action, click here. (from credoaction.com).
The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives. Native American Sioux Proverb
(from NRDC) The Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, known as the FRAC Act, is an important piece of legislation that would repeal the exemption in the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) for an oil and gas technique called hydraulic fracturing. Now 160 organizations from across the country, including national, regional, state and local organizations, have signed a letter urging members of Congress to co-sponsor the FRAC Act (S. 1215/ H.R. 2766). The signers are not just environmental advocates; they include conservation, faith, sportsmen and community organizations. These groups come from 35 states and make clear that it is not just folks in Colorado or New York that are concerned about the risks to human health and the environment from hydraulic fracturing. Oil and gas production occurs in over 30 states (you can see how many wells are in your state in our latest map). Recent reports of contamination have come from Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wyoming, Texas, Ohio, and more. The FRAC Act continues to gain co-sponsors. If your Representative or Senator is not a co-sponsor, you can send them a letter asking them to support the FRAC Act from NRDC’s website. Along with your own letter, you can also send them the letter signed by 160 organizations from around the country.
Frac Act Focuses on Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing (National Wildlife Federation)