In Washington, austerity-hungry Republicans called the sequester’s “across the board” spending cuts a “victory” – until their districts feel them. Then they complain about the cuts, but still demand cuts somewhere else and add new demands that someone ELSE decide what should be cut. This is because Republicans talk about cuts, but the American Majority doesn’t want cuts.
Please send us examples of sequester supporters in Washington who go home and cry about how it is hurting their constituents.
Some people think the “sequester” has something to do with racing horses. But it’s a technical word for the “across-the-board” budget cuts resulting from when the Republicans took the “debt ceiling” hostage, demanding big cuts in government or they would force the country to default on our promises to pay our debts, which would crash the economy.
They demanded these cuts, and they called the cuts a victory. That is, until the citizens who voted them into office started feeling the cuts.
The wholesale slaughter of children sparked an unprecedented opening for change in this country. Killing children broke something fundamental in our culture. On that sad day, it felt as if there was a giant ripping in our society — yielding a gaping hole in all that was sacred and right. It was like watching the Twin Towers collapse all over again, but now it was our children. Many have asked if we have waited too long for action, the answer is simply no. Babies and guns do not belong in the same sentence. Assault weapons must never again be used to kill children.
It’s that opening – the gaping wound — that is inspiring our President Obama and Vice President Biden. This unlikely duo appear to be fueled by the fire of what is possible, and are driving a Mack truck through this opening right now — whether it is to push through the broadest gun safety legislation; or enact comprehensive immigration reform; or to raise the minimum wage; or end violence toward women; or to support gay marriage.
Watching our President Obama the evening of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School – it was clear that he would leap tall buildings to save the children and people of this country. It had become a Holy Crusade and compromise is off the table. Witness the fervor with which this team is working to move their Cabinet nominations forward even for beleaguered Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel. Republican shenanigans are not being tolerated even on their home turf, the House of Representatives. These folks can rant and rave for the cameras (and they do), but are falling flat with no run way. The President’s approval ratings are soaring even in the shadow of the latest, manufactured financial machination of the ‘sequester.’ And it is this fundamental lack of empathy and understanding that may be the down fall of the Republican Party as we know it today.
Frankly, the President is done turning himself into a human pretzel and for this we must rejoice. You just can’t compromise with folks that hate you and all that you stand for. It’s a travesty that it took this horrific loss of lives in Sandy Hook to galvanize the American people – but it did. Unbelievably, today one child still “dies every three hours from gun violence in the United States.” Everyone knows that gun safety legislation is not about the Second Amendment, but rather about sustaining a modern civilization.
The winds of change are upon us. Just witness the President’s news conference today on the impasse over what is called sequestration. He’s not backing down.
Senators, before you vote today on the “make them talk” proposal, go ask members of the public what a filibuster is.
The public thinks a filibuster is senators talking all night. It is not a “nuclear option” to change the rules to what the public thinks the rules already are.
The purpose of the filibuster is to allow senators to hold up legislation that they think is just wrong. Standing in the senate chamber and talking lets senators make the case, and argue why they think the legislation violates the rights of a minority. This gives their supporters time to rally their forces. This dramatic act gets news, and alerts the public to pay attention. Then the public can contact their senators and let them know if they should go ahead or stop.
This is all these rule changes will do, bring back this system that protects the minority in a way that makes it a rare event. It is the rarity of the event that gives it its value.
Once again: The public thinks a filibuster is senators talking all night. It is not a “nuclear option” to change the rules to what the public thinks the rules already are.
The Senate is completely broken, with a minority obstructing everything. Minority. Obstructing. Every. Thing.Everything. There were more than 380 filibusters in just the last few years! In a few days the Senate will vote on fixing this and making them talk if they feel it is important to block a bill, instead of just blocking bills. If we are going to fix the Senate so the majority will can get things done, your senators need to hear from you immediately. Tell them to make them talk.
Next week is the only chance for two years for the Senate to change the rules and Fix the Filibuster. So today is a day of action, asking people across the country to call your senators.
Call your senators at 1-866-937-5062 and demand change. Tell them to make them talk.
Make Them Talk
The idea behind the filibuster is that when the minority thinks a new law violates their rights they can hold it up and give themselves and their supporters time to rally the public and make their case. They used to take to the floor of the Senate and talk, and talk, and talk, keeping any action from proceeding. This was an important tool that gave the minority a real voice in the Senate.
How many real and serious national problems can you list? And how many obvious solutions can you come up with literally off the top of your head? Now an experiment: list how many of them are being worked on by our DC elites or even discussed my our elite media? The answer is none. Why is this? And what can you do about it?
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi wants members of Congress to sign what is known as a “discharge petition” to force a vote on keeping taxes at current levels for people making under $250,000. Call your member of Congress to let them know you support this. The more noise and publicity this gets, the more it puts pressure on hostage-takers to stop taking hostages.
Here is what is going on. At the end of the month the “Bush tax cuts” expire. While most of the cuts go to people at the high end of the income ladder, there are some cuts for people making less than $250K that will also expire. The President and Democrats as asking Republicans to go ahead and approve this, since they say they agree. But Republicans are trying to keep the Bush tax cuts for their wealthy backers and and willing to prevent extending these tax cuts for middle in order to do it. In other words, they are holding the middle class hostage. A “discharge petition” can force this bill to come up for a public vote.
The Hill sums it up succinctly, in House Dems try to force vote on extending middle-class tax rates,
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday announced Democrats would circulate a discharge petition to force a House vote to extend current tax rates only on annual household income below $250,000.
The Senate has already approved the extension, but Republicans are objecting because they want all of the Bush-era rates to be extended, including on income above $250,000.
Pelosi called on House Republican leadership to bring that legislation to the floor next week and threatened that if they do not schedule a vote on the Senate bill, Democrats will file what’s known as a discharge petition on Tuesday to force a vote on the measure in her chamber. If Democrats successfully obtain 218 signatures on the discharge petition, it would automatically force the middle income tax cut bill to the floor for a vote.
“We believe that not [bringing the Senate bill to the floor] would be holding middle income tax cuts hostage to tax cuts for the rich,” Pelosi said. “Tax cuts for the rich which do not create jobs, just increase the deficit, heaping mountains of debt onto future generations.”
You can help change the economy! Big companies use their size and the fear of losing our jobs to force us to accept no raises or even lower pay and benefits. They can use their size to force communities, states and even the federal government to lower their taxes. You can help change the economy by standing with Walmart workers next week. They have the money but we have the people. Continue reading →
A new web video unveiled today by the National Education Association and Americans for Tax Fairness vividly shows how extending the Bush tax cuts for CEOs and the richest 2 percent of Americans would be paid for by cutting education funding for kids.
If you have a chance, please book mark this for weekend reading: Prosperity For America, and their Prosperity Economics report.
“Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All
Prosperity economics concludes that there is no trade-off between creating a strong, dynamic economy and fostering a society marked by greater health, broader security, increased equality of opportunity, and more broadly distributed growth.”
The 99% Spring movement is starting to make itself heard at corporate shareholder meetings around the country. And next week it really gets started and will be big. (I’ll be reporting from the GE shareholder meeting next week in Detroit.)
Did you know that shareholder protests shut down the annual shareholders meeting of energy-company EQT Corp. yesterday?
Our country is at a crossroads. We have a choice to make. Greater wealth for a few or opportunity for many. Tax breaks for the richest or a fair shot for the rest of us. A government that can be bought by the highest bidder, or a democracy that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.
The choice is in our hands. This spring we will act on that choice.
In the tradition of our forefathers and foremothers and inspired by today’s brave heroes in Occupy Wall Street and Madison, Wisconsin, we will prepare ourselves for sustained non-violent direct action.
From April 9-15 we will gather across America, 100,000 strong, in homes, places of worship, campuses and the streets to join together in the work of reclaiming our country. We will organize trainings to:
Tell the story of our economy: how we got here, who’s responsible, what a different future could look like, and what we can do about it
Learn the history of non-violent direct action, and
Get into action on our own campaigns to win change.
This spring we rise! We will reshape our country with our own hands and feet, bodies and hearts. We will take non-violent action in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi to forge a new destiny one block, one neighborhood, one city, one state at a time.
Starting this spring with corporate shareholder season, the 99% Power coalition—workers and retirees, families fighting foreclosure and the unemployed, students, immigrants and environmentalists—have united together to build an economy and a democracy that works for all us, not just for the 1%.
Thousands of people will be inside and outside more than three-dozen corporate shareholder meetings across the country, including Wells Fargo, GE, Verizon, Sallie Mae, Wal-Mart, Bank of America, Verizon and more. We will directly face and challenge the 1% board members and executives that have only served to expand inequality, threaten democracy, destroy our environment and have put their desire for profit in direct conflict with the survival of families and communities.
99% Power will mobilize well over 10,000 people, from all walks of life and representing the diversity of the 99%, to engage in nonviolent direct action. All told, there will be more demonstrations connected to corporate shareholder meetings than at any point in American history. Together we fight to build a political and economic system that offers equal opportunity for all.
MARCH 22: VERIZON DAY OF ACTION
Verizon has made tens of billions in profits and its top executives walked away with $283 million in the last four years. But when it comes to the 45,000 workers who made Verizon’s success possible, suddenly the company cries broke.
Verizon has sent thousands of American jobs overseas and wants to outsource even more jobs, gut pensions, charge current and retired employees thousands of dollars more for health benefits, and cut disability benefits for workers injured during their jobs.
On March 22, CWA and IBEW workers and thousands of others will be rallying around the country to support good jobs and the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act. Join us.
About The Call-Center Bill
The U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act is a bipartisan bill to help fight the offshoring of call-center jobs and protect consumers. This proposed legislation would let the public know which companies are engaging in sending jobs out of the country, let customers ask to use an American call center instead, and ban federal grants or guaranteed loans to American companies that move call center jobs out of the US.
Today many call-center jobs are being moved out of the country, mostly to India and the Philippines. This costs American jobs, and can be very frustrating to consumers who have to speak to people who they cannot understand because of language problems or cultural differences. The U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act gives consumers the right to ask where the person they are speaking with is based, and ask for an American-based representative instead. Among the things this bill would accomplish:
Require the Department of Labor to publicly list firms that move call center jobs overseas.
Make these firms ineligible for any direct or indirect federal loans or loan guarantees for five years.
Require 120 day advance notification of a proposed move off-shore.
Require call center employees to tell U.S. consumers where they are located, if asked.
Require that call centers transfer calls to a U.S. call center if asked.