Dave is a good friend and always fun to talk to. He’s also scary smart under that grin, and has lots of useful things to say about progressive politics. As always, call in to 646-200-3440 with your questions and comments.
Nurses from across the U.S. will stand up to Wall Street on Wednesday, June 22 to demand the high rollers in the finance capital of the world pay to rebuild the economy of a nation they have done so much to destroy.
Join us for a march and rally that begins at 12 noon on the steps of the Federal Hall across from the Stock Exchange in New York City.
Nurses have grown increasingly alarmed with the health deterioration they see daily among their patients that is ripping at the fabric of so many in our nation today.
They are appalled at the silence from policy makers who seem to care much more about slashing budgets than in addressing the crisis, and from so many in the media who are more focused on the seedy than the needy in our communities or the greedy who put them there.
The Wall Street action is part of an International Days of Action called by European unions which is part of a worldwide campaign to make the corporate finance thieves pay to rebuild the global economy. In the U.S. that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars from a sales tax on the buying and selling of stocks, bonds, derivatives, credit default swaps, and other financial machinations that are not untaxed and have put so many families in peril.
Other nations are, once again, ahead of us. The UK already has what is called a Financial Transaction Tax, and the proposal was endorsed this week by the French National Assembly and the Brazilian Congress. The protests next week are intended to press all the European Union member nations to adopt the fee.
Endorsers of the Wall Street protest include the AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers, National Jobs with Justice, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition, Bakery, Confectionary, and Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 53, Amalgamated Transit Union, New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Right to the City, Vocal NY, Transport Workers Union Local 100, UNITE HERE Local 100 and Working Families.
They expect one million public workers to strike in the UK on June 30th – and, as I pointed out to a union group at Netroots Nation, not only is the U.S. not seeing any planned actions in solidarity, I’ve barely heard a whisper here. Why?
Gov. Tom “Secret Agent Man” Corbett is pursuing many of the same draconian budget and union-busting measures as more high-profile Republican governors, but since he so rarely holds unscripted press conferences or answers questions, I suppose the state’s media gang figures there’s nothing to cover!
Since taking office in January, Gov. Tom Corbett and his allied Republican majorities in the state House and Senate have been guided by two principles as they approach crafting a new budget: no proposal may exceed the $27.3 billion originally proposed by Corbett regardless of specific spending; any revenue derived from the booming natural gas industry must be dedicated to specific purposes rather than deposited in the general fund.
Corbett and legislative leaders view the general fund as a swirling, voracious black hole. Once public money enters the vortex, it is lost forever.
So any new revenue must be put in funds dedicated to specific purposes. Curiously, however, the rule does not seem to apply to existing funds with dedicated revenue streams.
One of the first acts of the administration, with tacit approval from the legislative majorities, was to eliminate state subsidized health insurance coverage for more than 40,000 low-income working adults under the adultBasic program. Instead, the state directed those needy workers to far less affordable skeletal plans offered by private insurances. Far fewer than 10 percent of the newly uninsured workers opted for the private plans, for which premiums range up to 500 percent of the premium under adultBasic.
Yet, a major part of the funding for adultBasic came from a dedicated revenue stream – Pennsylvania’s share of the master settlement that states reached with the tobacco industry. In 2001 the state Legislature passed and Gov. Tom Ridge signed a law creating the Tobacco Settlement fund and dedicating the revenue solely to health-related purposes – including adultBasic.
This year the state is scheduled to receive $315 million in settlement funds. But instead of using the money for the dedicated purposes established by law in 2001, the administration plans to divert some of the fund for other purposes, including $220 million for a business loan fund.
Rachel Maddow went on a tear Thursday, condemning Democrats for forcing Anthony Weiner to resign and warning them that they have damaged themselves “probably for a generation” because of their actions.
Maddow has repeatedly decried what she views as a double standard: Weiner was forced out because of his sexts and pictures, but Republicans like David Vitter and John Ensign managed to stay in office even though they broke the law.
“Democrats have not only refused to hold Republicans accountable for the double standard, but they have joined with Republicans in piling on with the demands that Anthony Weiner had to resign even as David Vitter stays in the Senate,” Maddow said. She then went on a long monologue, listing all the Republicans and Democrats who were not forced out of office even after admitting to more serious ethical violations than Weiner.
“Anthony Weiner, who was not accused of corruption, who does not appear to have done anything illegal, who does not even appear to have had sex with any of the women with any of the people with whom he had scandalous talk and picture-taking, for him a line was drawn,” Maddow concluded, her voice bristling with anger. She then turned her focus on the media, saying that the story was actually “the media covering the media ending a man’s career.”
Maddow ended by addressing Democrats. She issued a dire warning.
“Congratulations, Democrats,” she said. “In an era of unhinged, ideological, big money conservative media that is wholly and admittedly divorced from the precepts of journalism, in hounding Anthony Weiner into resigning … you have just fed and unleashed this beast onto yourselves, probably for a generation.”