Madison. Occupy… Now in North Carolina it’s Moral Mondays. In Texas it’s a filibuster, hundreds of thousands watching online, and the spectator gallery goes nuts when Republicans try to shut down the speaker. In Pennsylvania low-wage workers are sleeping in teh capitol. In Nebraska it’s Pipeline Fighters. What’s happening in your state?
Corporate-funded Republicans took over in Wisconsin and passed laws restricting democracy and unions. People turned out at the state capitol in protest. Here are Wisconsin protesters chanting: “Tell me what democracy looks like. THIS is what democracy looks like!”
Then people started showing up for Occupy. All over the country in late 2011 people were showing up at thousands of Occupy events across the country.
I was in Oakland when tens of thousands of people turned out for a day of protest in that city.
“Democracy has been stolen and we have to take it back.” – Senator Merkley (D-OR) at Netroots Nation.
We have to end the filibuster, at the very least for nominations, if not for everything. This has to happen because Republicans are now obstructing everything, and agencies of our government are going to start shutting down over this summer. Without action the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) closes its doors at the end of August and not long after that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will be without a director. These are just some of the nominations being obstructed — filibustered — in order to block these agencies from operating.
It is not right that anyone is able to just keep our government from operating, for any reason. It is time to end the flibuster. Visit Fix the Senate Now.
The Netroots Nation session, “The Three Keys to Reclaiming Our Democracy” took a look at the filibuster and other structural impediments to democracy. On the panel were CWA President Larry Cohen, NAACP President Ben Jealous, Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford, Citizen Action NY Executive Director Karen Scharff and Senator Jeff Merkley. The panel was hosted by Salon’s Joan Walsh
You really should give some money to progressive organizations now, and candidates at election-time. But giving money to progressive organizations now is like giving that amount of money to each and every progressive candidate come election-time.
Seriously, give $10 or $100 today to an organization that helps reach the public to increase understanding and support of progressive ideas, and it is like giving $1,000 to each and every progressive candidate come election time. This is because these organizations work all the time to lay the groundwork for all of those candidates as well as all legislative initiatives.
All the smartest people in the executive suites just knew that the taste of Coca-Cola needed “reform.” Rival Pepsi was advertising to the “New Generation” and Coke’s executives came to believe their product wasn’t what the “cool” people wanted to drink. Everyone they talked to at the executive-level strategery seminars, and all the other executive-level geniuses they spoke with daily agreed. They were the elites, and they all knew better than their old-fashioned, uncool customers what the company needed. So they all drank the Kool-Aid and came up with “New Coke.” We all know what happened next. (Hint: it was bad.)
It couldn’t have gone better for Pepsi if Pepsi had placed those executives there themselves.
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.