This week, in the 26th district of New York, an outstanding precedent was established when Democrat Kathy Hochul took home the Congressional seat previously held by Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY). In one of the most conservative, Republican districts in the country, she defeated the opposition despite being heavily outspent. Her message was clear: Medicare cannot be diminished and the middle class must be
HuffPosts Amanda Terkel Discusses GOP Efforts To Restrict Union Rights On MSNBCs The Rachel Maddow Show VIDEO
Amanda Terkel, Senior Politics Reporter at The Huffington Post, appeared Monday on ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ to discuss new anti-union measures being proposed by Republicans in Congress.
“They’re going right now after air and rail workers. The way it works right now is if you want to form a union, you just need to get a majority of the workers who turn out to vote. But the way that Republicans would like to do it, and the way that it’s been for many years, is you need to get a majority of all workers, even ones who don’t turn out to vote.
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There seems to be a growing tide of GOP buyer’s remorse sweeping the country.
Republicans campaigned in 2010 on creating jobs and cutting spending and the deficit. But once in power, both in the U.S. House of Representatives and in numerous states, all those promises went out the window. Instead they’ve offered a steady stream of items from the traditional far-right wish list: union busting, blocking abortion, redefining rape, limiting voting rights, going after public radio,
Are Democrats starting to play some offense? Three reports seem to lead to this conclusion, although at this point it is too early to tell what sort of effect this will have on the political landscape, for both the near future and for the 2012 election season. For now, it is refreshing to see Democrats pushing back on a few key issues, whatever their chances of legislative (or political) success happen to be. And the Democrats have picked three pretty good issues with which to launch this particular offensive — the mortgage crisis, gay marriage, and taxing millionaires.
Let’s take these one at a time. The Obama White House is apparently pushing hard for a quick settlement over the mortgage
Polls show that on the major issues of our time — the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Wall Street bailouts and health insurance — the opinion of We the People has been ignored on a national level for quite some time. While the corporate media repeats the myth that the United States of America is a democracy, Americans, especially Wisonsiners and Ohioans, know that this is a joke.
On March 3, 2011, a Rasmussen Reports poll declared that “Most Wisconsin voters oppose efforts to weaken collective bargaining rights for union workers.” This of course didn’t stop Wisconsin Governor Walker and the Wisconsin legislature from passing a bill that — to the delight of America’s ruling class — trashed most collective bargaining rights of public employee unions. Similarly in Ohio, legislation to limit collective bargaining rights for public workers is on the verge of being signed into law by Governor Kasich, despite the fact that Public Policy Polling on March 15, 2011 reported that 54 percent of Ohio voters would repeal the law, while 31 percent would keep it.
It is a myth that the United States of America was ever a democracy (most of the famous founder elite such as John Adams equated democracy with mob rule and wanted no part of it). The United States of America was actually created as a republic, in which Americans were supposed to have power through representatives who were supposed to actually represent the American
We must begin by acknowledging two current political realities. First, voters strongly believe that Washington needs to fundamentally change the way it does business. This manifests itself, in the abstract, in a robust appetite for fiscal discipline and cuts to government spending. A recent Gallup poll shows that a plurality of voters believe that even Republican proposals to cut spending do not go far enough (and just 25 percent think they have gone too
Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) recently commented that Republicans have “an allergy to science and scientists” during a congressional hearing targeting the EPA. This observation is significant not because of its insight, as Inslee was doing little more than stating the obvious. It is, however, unusual to hear a member of congress make these kinds of matter of fact statements. While debate in congress is often quite intense, Democrats seem uncomfortable saying these kinds of things even when they are painfully
In the past several weeks election reform laws have been introduced in 31 states including North Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Maine and Nebraska. Three main kinds of reform legislation are being floated in these states: elimination of same day registration, elimination of pre-registration, and the creation of mandatory voter ID cards. The enactment of these reforms has long been seen by political scientists as primarily detrimental to turnout among young voters.
All of these efforts are being led by Republicans — who following the 2010 midterms control the majority of state legislatures around the country — at the state
Do you bow down before you chow down?
Do you say grace before mealtime? (By grace I mean saying any prayer from any faith tradition before you eat.) Do you? Turns out this is a major indicator of your political bent, Republican or Democrat, according to authors Robert D. Putman and David E. Campbell in their colossal tome American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. I’ll try to keep some suspense here by not immediately revealing which party does which, but I can feel myself already objecting to being so quickly categorized.
First of all, saying grace before you eat is healthy for
In their quest to defeat President Obama and hold a White House Tea Party, Republicans and their corporate allies have a new youth outreach message: Don’t Vote. While our troops fight and die for the rights of young Afghanis and Iraqis to vote and our leaders call for a freedom agenda across the Middle East, our Republican opponents seek to deny those rights to young Americans here at home.
The contrast is quite striking: in the Middle East, from Tunisia to Egypt to Lybia to Yemen, millennials are fighting for the right to have a stake in their own future. And while Republicans cheer them over there, they suppress millennial Americans here at home. From New Hampshire where the GOP House Speaker says http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011701139913 you should not register to vote in your college community unless you or your parents lived there before matriculation to Colorado, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where there are photo ID bills to ban students from using in-state university- or college-issued IDs for proof-of-residency when voting and/or end same-day voter registration at the polls to the Koch-funded corporate entity American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that set up “model” legislation to disenfranchise young voters http://campusprogress.org/articles/conservative_corporate_advocacy_group_alec_behind_voter_disenfranchise/ the radical right is organized, methodical, and determined to keep young people home.
The motives for tea party Republicans are obvious: young people propelled President Barack Obama to victory in 2008 with a 22% margin and supported Congressional Democrats in 2010 by a solid 17% http://www.civicyouth.org/youth-voters-in-the-2010-elections/
It’s called ransom. That’s what Republicans are demanding from the White House and congressional Democrats for not pulling the plug on the government.
Problem is, when you pay ransom once, you’re almost begging to pay it again. And that’s exactly the pickle the Obama administration is finding itself in.
In order to avoid a shutdown last week and buy time until March 18, the White House agreed to more spending cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year than it originally put on the table. Now, in order to get past March 18, Republicans want even
Robert Reich, in his HuffPost article of March 2nd, eloquently and passionately wrote about the irrelevant Democrats in Washington not fighting for the middle class. His post “How Democrats Can Become Relevant Again (And Rescue The Nation While They’re At It)” hit the mark repeatedly. Democrats have failed to show spine ever since the new, weeping sheriff took over in the House, exemplified by their failed request for 4 weeks more of government funding so they could continue to work on the budget before a possible shut down; the Republicans said “2 weeks,” and the Dems caved, further tarnishing the Democratic brand in the process.
Reich presented a compelling roadmap for what needs to be done to get our fiscal house in order, by overhauling our tax codes so that we are asking the richest at the top to pay their fair share and stopping the inequity of shifting higher taxes to a middle class that is already rapidly disappearing. He also suggested we bring back the estate tax and tax all
The GOP is vainly searching for a qualified Presidential Candidate!
With the elections less than two years away Republicans are still sifting through a tired list of potential candidates with very little luck!
The list of potential Presidential candidates reflects the uncertainty and unrest in the new Republican Party.
It seems like every few weeks a new prospect rises within the party and another on the list loses their lustre.
The list, since Obama’s defeat of McCain in 2008, has been in flux with no less than 18 potential stars. Some have already gone supernova, permanently fading from the list. Others are soon to follow.
The current list, which includes recirculated hopefuls like Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Sarah Palin, and Presidential wannabe’s like Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Michele Bachmann, is a study in both inanity and insanity.
Which Republican Presidential Candidate can challenge President Obama?
As described in an article in July 2009, “Is That All You’ve Got?” some rising stars eliminated themselves before the ink was dry on their endorsements. That was the case with Bobby Jindal, Mark Sanford, and John Ensign, the latter two involved in widely publicized sex scandals.
The same is true of recently canonized Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, who derailed his chances with a self-convicting punk phone
In September 2009 conservative activists Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe released a video of ACORN employees allegedly giving the pair advice on how to run a prostitution ring and avoid taxes, among other activities. This led to a massive backlash against ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a network of organizations that focused on voter registration and housing issues for those in low- and middle-income neighborhoods. This “scoop” led to a move to defund ACORN at both the federal and state level. A Republican legislator in Florida said, “The gig is up for ACORN.” He was right.
ACORN is now defunct, thanks to the effort following the release of Giles and O’Keefe’s
Democratic legislators are hiding out in Illinois as they stall votes on anti-union bills and other measures supported by Republicans, reports the Associated Press. As Americans debate the issue – and the Democrats’ stand – a California man has offered the fleeing Wisconsinites to stay there while they delay proceedings. As the politicians weigh their options,they say “most people from their home districts still seem supportive, and their families, if confused as the days dragged on, still seemed patient,” reports The New York Times. Their courage is debatable, though, as some oppose these stalling
A little over two weeks ago, Carl Gibson, a 23-year-old former Mississippi Public Radio reporter fired over protesting a pro-BP cover-up, was inspired by the grassroots protests of poor and middle-class British citizens facing deep budget cuts.
The UK Uncut movement targets corporate tax dodgers and was spread largely by social media, as were the protests in Cairo and Tunisia. The template for bringing that model of grassroots direct action to the United States was described in an essay by the Nation’s Johann Hari, “How to Build A Progressive Tea Party.” Gibson’s father sent the article to him as something he ought to look into himself.
“Dammit,” he recalls saying, “if no else is going to do it, I will.” Beginning with friends in Jackson and his home state of Kentucky, he started a Facebook page and Twitter stream, and borrowed some pointers and a web template from the British organizers for the debut of US Uncut. It’s a loose network that doesn’t depend on top-down leaders and invites activists to create their own protests timed to national days of action. This Saturday, nearly 50 protests are scheduled, targeting primarily the Bank of America, which has paid no income taxes while receiving $2.3 billion from the federal government in 2009, along with other corporate tax
The protests in Wisconsin are at the apex of the fight for American labor, public-sector jobs and unions: the latter constituting a significant length of the Democratic Party backbone. And if circumstances on ground turn in the favor of Scott Walker and the tea party Republicans, middle class workers are in jeopardy of being rolled up like an outflanked and outgunned army — rendered ineffectual, defenseless and subsequently crushed with prejudice. Much is at stake there and if the right to collectively bargain ultimately wins the day, it will have been achieved as the consequence of liberal persistence and toughness.
We need that persistence and toughness elsewhere.
But I’m afraid the progressive movement is too singularly focused on Wisconsin. Now, I hasten to note that I’m definitely not diminishing the gravity of
Let’s be clear: When Republicans announce what cuts are needed because of America’s budget deficit — they do not actually care about the budget deficit.
Before people can have a rational discussion, they have to agree on certain basic facts. And that’s one of them.
Republicans in Congress do not care about the budget deficit.
Yes, I know there’s going to be a lot of squealing now. How that’s not true at all, how only Republicans care about fiscal
Just as the US Constitution required, and Congress paid for, the Bureau of the Census headed out into the country to do the hard and seemingly impossible work of counting everyone living in the country during 2010. That elusive number is a constantly moving target: People move in. They move out. They die, and start lives as newborn citizens in the great American enterprise.
The work of the Census Bureau keeps scholars, reporters, and economists in work for
In some respects, the biggest surprise about Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to take away public employee unions’ right to bargain collectively is why it took so long. Public employee unions are an understandably irresistible target to right wing Republicans. Public employee unions work for the government which, in Republican minds, is already one strike against them. They also reflects efforts by ordinary people to succeed not through feats of individualism, but through working together and cooperating, which, inevitably, feels too close to socialism for most
Anyone who has played pick-up basketball as a kid knows this familiar scenario: the ball owner’s team loses, he takes it too personally, and, in a huff, grabs his ball and goes home, preventing the other kids from playing. This, in essence, is what Democrats are trying to do in Wisconsin, where Republican governor Scott Walker has proposed a plan that would make public workers contribute more to their health plans and pensions, end government collection of union dues, allow workers to opt out of unions, and force unions to hold re-certification votes annually.
So just how bad are these changes? According to the New York Times, Walker’s proposal, which has significant support in the state’s Republican-led Senate, would force public workers to contribute 5.8% of their pensions (as opposed to the less than 1% they contribute today) and increase their health care plan contribution from 6% to 12.6%. Compare that to the non-federal public and private employer average of 30% health care contribution for family plans and 19% health care contribution for single plans. Pension comparisons are more difficult because of the 401(k) system the majority of private employers opt for, where the employee decides how much to put into his retirement fund (with or without employer matching).
While the changes to the government employee plans are stark, they still fall below national
The next time you hear the word “bipartisan,” think coward. If no one notices, word substitution can be a very effective persuasion device. Someone says to you, “You’re stubborn,” and you reply, “I am persistent.” It’s a useful technique and can be a respectable one — but not when used to manipulate and lie to the American people.
It’s clever. You have to give those touting bipartisanship
When speaking about the Arab uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond, the language used here in the U.S. is euphoric. Expressions like “nothing will ever be the same again” and “the existing order is being swept away” are common. But when the conversation comes home, the exuberant rhetoric is pushed aside and hard-nosed practicality becomes the order of the