Archive | Action Alert

S.O.S.

Just got off a conference call with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and she practically begged for our help in getting people to flood their local senators’ offices for the jobs bill now being filibustered by Republicans.

“We don’t have even one Republican willing to help us break this filibuster,” she said. “We have every anticipation that we will not have the votes. It’s become very clear that the Republicans in the Senate want this bill to fail.”

She said every time the Republicans raised an objection, and the Democrats responded, they changed their objections again.

“It’s a cynical move, because it doesn’t serve them in terms of their elections this fall. They have decided they want this economy to fail, and they’re willing to take the country down with them,” she said in an emotional conference call.

Republicans have claimed that the extended unemployment benefits can’t be covered as an emergency. “If 15 million people without jobs isn’t an emergency, I don’t know what is,” she said.

Stabenow said Democrats have paid for the job provisions in this bill. “When you look underneath, they [Republicans] are protecting wealthy investors who are sending jobs overseas and the big oil companies,” she said. The Democratic bill removes tax incentives for sending jobs overseas, and increases the charge per barrel for cleaning up oil spills.

“We desperately need to keep this economic recovery going. Unemployment benefits help people keep food on the table, and a little gas in the car to go look for work,” she said.

“The Republicans are counting on the fact that no one’s going to know what’s going on here. It would help us if offices were flooded with emails, and phone calls and outrage when we come back next week.”

“What we really need an echo chamber, and that’s why I’m asking for your help. They may think this is a game, but it’s not a game. If they think it’s a game, shame on them.”

She said the Democratic leadership is working on a public appeal.

“The inability to get Republican votes on this does not bode well for any future bills,” the Michigan senator said. “They are purely just into election mode for the fall, and think if they can create as much pain as possible, people will not vote at all or vote for those who are not in the majority.

“But we’re not giving up. We’re determined, and we will continue to fight. This is not some cynical game here, this is about real people.”

Speak Out

Look, I know it’s summer and you have things to do. But we really need as many people as we can get out to attend this national town hall Saturday:

This Saturday an organization called AmericaSpeaks is sponsoring a “National Town Meeting” on the budget deficit in twenty cities. Although organizers claim to be non-partisan, a review of their materials reveals an ideological bias in some key sections — a bias that’s likely to manipulate attendees into “spontaneously” deciding that the social safety net must be cut (with some limited tax increases possibly thrown in for camouflage.)

AmericaSpeaks (the odd formatting is theirs) is part of a well-coordinated media campaign. It’s no coincidence that the self-described centrist group Third Way sponsored an event this week in Washington, just before this “town meeting,” which also emphasized “defeating the deficit.” That event was called “Back in Black,” which happens to be the name of a song by rock group AC/DC. Given what’s likely to happen if we slash spending even more in this troubled economy, they might have done better to name it after another one of the band’s favorites: “Highway to Hell.”

The “town meeting” is being touted as a politically-neutral chance for people to be heard but, while their materials are genuinely objective in some places, the presentation is manipulative in others. “America” may “speak” on Saturday, but organizers seem to be writing its script, encouraging participants to make the right statements for media consumption. The objective may be to promote the idea that “ordinary Americans” are more worried about the deficit than they are about jobs, health coverage, or financial security. Consider this table:

That Social Security figure looks shocking. But the table doesn’t tell you that Social Security is a separate program, an independently-financed social insurance fund that can pay all of its planned benefits until 2037 or 2042 (depending on which assumptions are used), after which it can pay 75% of those benefits. For attendees who don’t have that information – that is, most of them – it will look as if this self-funded and independent program is eating the Federal budget alive.

[…] The workbook repeats stale, misleading talking points from the health reform debate. It doesn’t explain that “Single Payer”/Medicare For All would be no more intrusive on medical decisions than today’s extremely popular Medicare plans, or that it would eliminate profit-driven corporate decision-making from the health process.

Their third medical choice was “More Regulation Under the Current System.” It reads in part, “Policymakers would regulate this system much more, with government boards providing stricter rules on the service (providers) must deliver …” Instead of presenting this mythical proposal, which no one has actually proposed, they could have described the real proposal from which this Frankenstein variation has been invented. It’s called “evidence-based medicine,” and it would involve discovering which treatments are most effective and encouraging their use. While there’s a genuine debate to be held about evidence-based medicine, it shouldn’t involve scare tactics.

Needless to say, there’s no mention of other popular cost-saving proposals, like the public option plan that would put the government and private insurance in competition. Polls show the public option was supported by 71% of Americans and more than half of all Republicans.

In other words, the workbook’s designed to manipulate attendees into rejecting “nutty proposals from the left and right” so they can be guided into conversations about cutting Social Security and raising premiums or out-of-pocket costs in Medicare and Medicaid.

ACORN Goes To Court Thursday

If you’re in New York this Thursday, here’s something useful you can do.

As you probably already know, ACORN is appealing this cutoff as an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder (the kind of thing the constitution-lovin’ Republicans would ordinarily protest, except that they demanded this one).

But it’s more than the legal issues. Liberals have to stand up for our allies, and few groups have done more to help the party base than ACORN. Show your support, either by attending the hearing, or by making a donation:

Please join the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) June 24, 2010 to take a stand against Congress’ unconstitutional defunding of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). ACORN, a community organization that serves poor and working class people across the U.S., was the subject of a targeted right-wing attack last year. CCR filed a case challenging Congress’ unconstitutional actions, and in March, a federal judgeordered the United States government and several federal agencies to rescind orders cutting off funding to ACORN and its affiliates and allies. The U.S. government has appealed this order. Join CCR for oral argument in Acorn v. U.S.A. to make the message loud and clear: give ACORN the federal funding it is undeniably due.

What: Oral Argument in ACORN v. U.S.A.
When: Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. (arrive by 9:30 a.m. for security and seating)
Where: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 500 Pearl Street, 9th Floor, Ceremonial Courtroom, New York, NY 10007Learn more about Acorn v. U.S.A.

Net Neutrality

Guess which PA Dems just sold us out?

Robert Brady (PA-01)
Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Kathleen Dahlkemper (PA-03)
Jason Altmire (PA-04)
Christopher Carney (PA-10)
Allyson Schwartz (PA-13)
Tim Holden (PA-17)

Via CREDO Action:

They signed industry-backed letters telling the FCC to abandon efforts to protect Internet users by prohibiting big companies from blocking Internet traffic.

Not only is this letter an attack on net neutrality, but by signing the industry letter, they are attempting to drastically undercut the FCC’s ability to make a fast, affordable and open Internet available to everyone in America. They are actually taking a position against the interests of rural and low-income communities.

This is unacceptable.

We need to make sure these members of Congress know that their constituents are paying attention and will hold them accountable when they undermine net neutrality protections.

Sign the petition here.

I just got off the phone with Allyson Schwartz’s office (second day in a row) and told the staffer I remember Allyson “back from when she used to be a liberal” and that if she didn’t stop acting like a Blue Dog, I’d not only give money to a primary challenger, I’d work for them, too.

The staffer: “Yeah, I hear you.” Yeah, honey, I’ll bet you did.

Register Now

America’s Future Now! — the biggest progressive conference of the year — convenes June 7-9 in Washington, DC. Register at www.ourfuture.org/now.

Join Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Alan Grayson, Arianna Huffington, Markos Moulitsas, Van Jones, Gov. Howard Dean, Rep. Donna Edwards,
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Richard Trumka, Andy Stern, Bob Herbert, Juan Cole, Digby, Deepak Bhargava, James Rucker, Drew Westen, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Robert Kuttner, Lizz Winstead and thousands more.

Be part of the great debate “Progressives In The Obama Era,” at which
everyone in attendance will get to participate.

Progressives must lead to make sure 2010 is not the year of the Tea Party. Jobs, clean energy, fair workplaces, immigration, health care and human rights are at all stake. Let’s show Washington how to fight!

Register today, and learn more about the conference at
www.ourfuture.org/now.

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