Republican Budget in Brief

Ryan Budget Would Crush the American Dream

Robert Borosage's picture

By Robert Borosage

March 20, 2012 – 6:06pm ET

The Republican budget – released by House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan – is a remarkably revealing document. The budget document says it is time for America to choose. And with this document, Republicans choose to be the tribunes of the 1 percent, willing to destroy basic elements of the American dream in service of that cause.

Consider:

  • At a time of extreme inequality – with the top 1 percent capturing a staggering 93 percent of all income gains in 2010 – Republicans would dramatically lower taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and by definition raise them on working families.They don’t actually admit to that, of course. But they lower top income tax rates and sustain lower rates on wealth (capital gains, dividends) while claiming their reforms will raise as much money (be revenue neutral) by eliminating unspecified loopholes and tax breaks. That means they must go after the biggest deductions – either limit the mortgage deduction for middle class homeowners or cut the tax benefits for employer provided health care, both reforms that would directly hit working families.
  • With health care costs soaring and employers cutting back on health insurance benefits, the Republican budget would add millions to the rolls of the uninsured by eliminating the health care reforms, with no program in its place.

Continue reading Republican Budget in Brief

Congressional Progressive Caucus Prepares Response to Republican Budget for the 1%

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2012
3:15 PM

CONTACT: Congressional Progressive Caucus

Adam Sarvana (Grijalva), 202-225-2435

Jennifer Porter Gore (Ellison), 202-225-4755

Jack d’Annibale (Honda), 202-225-3327
Congressional Progressive Caucus Holds Emergency Meeting in Response to the Republican Budget for the 1%

WASHINGTON – March 20 – The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow morning, Wednesday, March 21st, to set its budget priorities in the aftermath of the Republican budget proposal released today.

This year’s Republican budget compounds last year’s mistakes: reckless cuts that slash millions of jobs, an endto the Medicare guarantee, and higher health costs for America’s seniors. The GOP scheme gives more tax breaks to billionaires, Big Oil, and corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Continue reading Congressional Progressive Caucus Prepares Response to Republican Budget for the 1%

Our Infrastructure Emergency Can Be a Source for Green Jobs

Locked and Dammed: The Region’s 23 Locks and Dams Are on the Brink of Failure

By Len Boselovic
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
This is the first of a four-part series.

March 18, 2012 – Pittsburgh’s three rivers, an economic engine since Lewis and Clark departed the city for their epic exploration of the West, are flirting with disaster.

The region’s 23 locks and dams, which annually move 33 million tons of coal, petroleum and other commodities that fuel the local economy, are on the brink of failure, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency charged with maintaining them.

Continue reading Our Infrastructure Emergency Can Be a Source for Green Jobs

Judge Issues Permanent Injunction against Wisconsin Voter Suppression Law

by Amanda Terkel

WASHINGTON — A Wisconsin judge declared a state law requiring people to show photo ID in order to be allowed to vote unconstitutional on Monday, issuing a permanent injunction blocking the state from implementing the measure.

“Without question, where it exists, voter fraud corrupts elections and undermines our form of government,” wrote Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess in his decision. “The legislature and governor may certainly take aggressive action to prevent its occurrence. But voter fraud is no more poisonous to our democracy than voter suppression. Indeed, they are two heads on the monster.”

The decision comes less than a week after another judge temporarily halted the implementation of the voter ID law.

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network filed suit in Dane County Circuit Court in October. Lester Pines, an attorney with the firm Cullen Weston Pines & Bach who is working on the case, told The Huffington Post at the time that their argument against the voter ID law was quite simple: It violates the provision in the Wisconsin constitution that determines who can vote.

Niess agreed with this argument:

Article III is unambiguous, and means exactly what it says. It creates both necessary and sufficient requirements for qualified voters. EveryUnited States citizen 18 years of age or older who resides in an election district in Wisconsin is a qualified elector in that district, unless excluded by duly enacted laws barring certain convicted felons or adjudicated incompetents/partially incompetents.The government may not disqualify an elector who possesses those qualifications on the grounds that the voter does not satisfy additional statutorily-created qualifications not contained in Article III, such as a photo ID.

He added that a “government that undermines the very foundation of its existence — the people’s inherent, pre-constitutional right to vote — imperils its legitimacy as a government by the people, for the people, and especially of the people.”

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed the voter ID bill into law in May, calling it a “common sense reform” that would “go a long way to protecting the integrity of elections in Wisconsin.”

“It’s a shame activist Dane County judges continue to stand in the way of common sense,” said Cullen Werwie, a spokesman for Walker. “We are confident the state will prevail in its plan to implement photo ID.”

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) he plans to appeal the decision.

“In its rush to enact a Voter ID law, the Wisconsin Legislature failed to pay attention to the Wisconsin Constitution. Luckily, the League of Women Voters had the courage to stand up and defend the fundamental right of to vote that our constitution guarantees,” said Pines. “The proponents of Voter ID assert that it is meant to prevent fraud. We all know the truth: it is designed to suppress voting by poor people and students. Now, in Wisconsin, that will not happen.”

A Voter ID law was also blocked in Texas on Monday. The Justice Department’s civil rights division objected to the requirement, arguing that many Hispanic voters lack state-issued IDs.

Go here to read the ruling.

Elder Vogel Was “99% Against” Voter Restriction but Votes Yes!

Senator 99% Liar Vogel

When 99% Is Not Enough to Trust a Republican

by Randy Shannon

The Pennsylvania Senate has approved a bill to restrict citizens’ access to the ballot. The bill was originated by a right-wing think tank called the American Legislative Exchange Council. An estimated 22,000 PA voters will not be able to vote under this new law. Republican legislatures in other states are passing the same law in hopes of influencing the outcome of the November election.

In late January concerned community, labor and civil rights leaders met with Sen. Elder Vogel (See story here.) and urged him to oppose the Republican voter ID law. He was told that several thousand elderly, young and poor voters would be disenfranchised by the new law. The new law is unnecessary because there have been no incidents of voter fraud. It is also an extra financial burden on the state and local election bureau’s at a difficult fiscal time.

Sen. Vogel’s aide Joe Weidner was present at the meeting. He stated “I’m against the bill.” When Vogel was asked his position he stated: “I’m 99% against this bill.” Vogel also assured the group that the bill would not come up for a vote this year. He also promised to meet again before deciding on his vote.

The Roll Call on this vote shows that Vogel voted for the bill that he was 99% against. This is instructive to community leaders who choose to believe the words of this Republican legislator. Is Senator Vogel a liar? One can only be 99% sure that he is a liar.

Pennsylvania Senate approves Voter ID

Photo identification could be required to cast a ballot starting in April.

March 07, 2012|By John L. Micek, Call Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG — — Legislation that would require state residents to show photo identification every time they vote has moved a step closer to Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk.

Continue reading Elder Vogel Was “99% Against” Voter Restriction but Votes Yes!

Progressive Democrat Wenona Baldenegro May Be First Navaho Woman in Congress

Wenona Baldenegro Addresses PDA Conference

by Randy Shannon

The Progressive Democrats of America 2012 leadership retreat at Winslow, Arizona on April 25 gave Wenona Baldenegro a standing ovation. She welcomed PDA back to Arizona. Her speech was a moving account of the struggle of her single parent household to survive on the reservation and her determination to educate herself and work to uplift the poor and working class people of her district. As a candidate for Congress she pledged to fight for jobs, national healthcare, and a tax system in which the wealthy pay their fair share. The article below on her candidacy is from Huffington Post. Baldenegro is endorsed by PDA and the USW among others.

Democratic Shift: Arizona Turns to New Leadership in Historic Congressional Campaign

With a 9-point Democratic voter edge in the newly redrawn District 1, an extraordinary alliance of resurgent Arizona Democratic Party leaders and rural, Latino, Native American and environmental groups has placed Navajo attorney Wenona Benally Baldenegro’s historic Congressional campaign into the national spotlight as a bellwether in the state’s new politics.

Since incumbent U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar’s (R-AZ) decision to run in neighboring District 4 last month, bipartisan support for the Harvard-trained public interest advocate’s bid to become the first Native American woman in Congress has surged across the vast rural district, which includes Flagstaff and 10 Native American tribes, historic labor towns and an estimated 40 percent Native/Latino electorate. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has placed District 1 in its Red-to-Blue program.

Continue reading Progressive Democrat Wenona Baldenegro May Be First Navaho Woman in Congress

End Game: Time to Leave Afghanistan—the Sooner, the Better

Blown Away: How the U.S.

Fanned the Flames in Afghanistan

By Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse
Beaver County Blue via Tomdispatch.com

Feb. 28, 2012 – Is it all over but the (anti-American) shouting — and the killing? Are the exits finally coming into view?

Sometimes, in a moment, the fog lifts, the clouds shift, and you can finally see the landscape ahead with startling clarity. In Afghanistan, Washington may be reaching that moment in a state of panic, horror, and confusion.  Even as an anxious U.S. commander withdrew American and NATO advisors from Afghan ministries around Kabul last weekend — approximately 300, military spokesman James Williams tells TomDispatch — the ability of American soldiers to remain on giant fortified bases eating pizza and fried chicken into the distant future is not in doubt.

No set of Taliban guerrillas, suicide bombers, or armed Afghan “allies” turning their guns on their American “brothers” can alter that — not as long as Washington is ready to bring the necessary supplies into semi-blockaded Afghanistan at staggering cost.  But sometimes that’s the least of the matter, not the essence of it.  So if you’re in a mood to mark your calendars, late February 2012 may be the moment when the end game for America’s second Afghan War, launched in October 2001, was initially glimpsed.

Continue reading End Game: Time to Leave Afghanistan—the Sooner, the Better