Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sen. Bernie Sanders Steps Up In Defense Of Main Street America


In the last post the infograph from “AmericanProgress.org”   showed a breakdown of the $44 billion in GOP budget cuts, cutting services that would negatively impact millions of Americans on Main Street. We also saw the breakdown of the $42 billion in tax cuts for the rich and big corporations that they fought so hard to push through. 

Today an article by Eric W. Dolan on The Raw Story “Sen. Bernie Sanders calls for eliminating corporate tax loopholes and tax breaks”   outlines legislation introduced by Sen. Sanders that would cut the deficit by about $50 billion. 

”Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called for closing corporate tax loopholes and eliminating tax breaks for oil and gas companies Sunday after reports that General Electric and other giant corporations pay nothing or almost nothing in federal income taxes.”

“The Emergency Deficit Reduction Act would accomplish this by raising taxes by 5.4 percent on annual income over $1 million.”

“Sanders said it was grossly unfair for Republicans to propose massive cuts to Head Start, Pell Grants, the Social Security Administration, nutrition grants for pregnant low-income women and the Environmental Protection Agency while ignoring the fact that many corporations pay nothing in federal income taxes.”

Indeed the report done in the New York Times by David Kocieniewski published 3/24/11 “G. E.’s Strategies Lets It Avoid Taxes Altogether”  is absolutely shocking, and definitely on the must read list. It’s quite long, but necessarily so, do to it’s complexity and the unfolding events involved. I would urge you to print it off if necessary and read it later if you’re short on time, but it is well worth a read. 

From the article:

“General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, has a very good year in 2010. The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.

Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.”

“Transforming the most creative strategies of the tax team into law is another extensive operation. G.E. spends heavily on lobbying: more than $200 million over the last decade, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Records filed with election officials show a significant portion of that money was devoted to tax legislation. G.E. has even turned setbacks into successes with Congressional help. After the World Trade Organization forced the United States to halt $5 billion a year in export subsidies to G.E. and other manufacturers, the company’s lawyers and lobbyists became deeply involved in rewriting a portion of the corporate tax code, according to news reports after the 2002 decision and a Congressional staff member.” 

 I guess their lobbying efforts paid off, if looking at the GOP continued tax cuts is any indication. But the fact that this kind of thing is being done at the expense of American taxpayers is unforgivable. When legislators can be bought by special interests, what good are they to the American citizens they were elected to represent? Making cuts to healthcare, education, job training, childhood programs, and life or death assistance to our sick and our poor, does nothing to support citizens this country, but it has been made quite clear who these elected officials have chosen to support, and it’s not the people that elected them.

It’s clear they publicly support Hate Crime organizations like the American Family Association. The GOP has become “God’s Own Party” in pushing the Teavangelical agendas of religious oppression, open bigotry against homosexuality, and stripping away women’s rights.

Obviously its support also goes to the highest bidder. I certainly wish Senator Sanders luck.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

GOP Budget Breakdown

From AmericanProgress.org “Infographic: Tax Breaks v Budget Cuts”  does a chart comparison of “Programs at risk” and “Tax breaks for the wealthy”. 

What’s being cut?

$11.2 billion Early childhood programs
$8.9 billion Low-income housing programs
$7.6 billion Supplemental nutrition for poor families (WIC)
$4.6 billion Teacher training and after school programs
$4.1 billion Job training for unemployed and new workers
$2.5 billion Low Income Home Energy Assistance grants to poor families
$2.5 billion Community health centers
$2.0 billion Homeless Assistance Grants
$420 million Legal services for the poor
$317 million Title X Family Planning

Total: $44 billion

What’s being granted?

$11.5 billion Per-year cost of recent tax cuts for millionaires’ estates
$8.9 billion Cost of allowing mortgage interest deduction for vacation homes
$6.7 billion Cost of “estate planning” techniques used by wealthy to avoid taxes
$5.2 billion Cost of removing limit on itemized deductions for high-income taxpayers
$4.1 billion Cost of tax breaks for offshore operations of U.S. financial companies
$2.5 billion Tax breaks for oil well costs
$4.9 billion Cost of extending alcohol fuel tax breaks
$2.3 billion Tax loophole for managers of hedge funds and private equity funds
$312 million Cost of allowing companies to write off punitive damages
$303 million Cost of special tax breaks for the timber industry

Total $42 billion

The GOP intends to take $44 billion in services away from Main Street America, and give $42 billion of it in tax breaks to the rich, and the tax breaks are not even included during any budget negotiations.

From the article:

“Most Americans would be surprised to learn that tax breaks are not on the table during any budget negotiations. In fact, Congress has the Congressional Budget Office prepare an official spending estimate for the cost of all programs or their expansions. Meanwhile, Congress enacts and continues tax breaks without any requirement that the cost of tax breaks be calculated and shared with members before a vote.”

“Click Here”  to read the entire article.


Creationism In The Classroom

Legislators in 7 states have put forth bills to have creationism taught in public schools. From 

“State governments are grappling with massive budget deficits, overburdened social programs, and of mountains of deferred spending. But never mind all that. For some conservative lawmakers, it's the perfect time to legislate the promotion of creationism in the classroom. In the first three months of 2011, nine creationism-related bills have been introduced in seven states—that's more than in any year in recent memory:”

Texas Legislation HB 2454
Kentucky Legislation HB 169
Florida Legislation SB 1854
Tennessee Legislation HB 368 and SB 893
Oklahoma Legislation SB 554
New Mexico HB 302
Missouri Legislation HB 195

Read the entire article by Josh Harkinson on “Mother Jones” 


With all the massive cuts being made to education in many states, how is it that states can find funding to force religious beliefs and ideologies into public education? I guess it’s the same way they must make cuts to healthcare, but not to funding of NASCAR.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mike Huckabee At The Rediscover God In America Conference


 
David Barton is a Christian right-winger who has claimed that the U.S is a Christian nation and that the founding fathers were Evangelical Christians. He also claims that separation of church and state is a liberal myth.   


Spiritual Warriors? 

The only way to save us from these Teavangelical Jihadists is to make sure and vote for someone else!

Bryan Fisher Claims Muslims Have No 1st Amendment Rights

Bryan Fisher of the American Family Association (AFA) is without question a religious extremist. He’s also one of the driving forces behind the GOP’s Teavangelical agenda, and has been called by PoliticalCorrection.org “one of the most hateful public figures in the country.” He regularly spews his venom on his blog “Renew America”, and on his daily radio talk show “Focal Point”. The group itself, AFA, has been designated a “Hate Group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for its outrageous attacks on the LGBT community. If you search Bryan Fisher on YouTube you will find an almost endless list of videos where he repeatedly says things like:

Christians need to control Government, not Atheists and Pagans.
Native Americans need to convert to Christianity
No More Mosques Period
Muslims should be deported
Muslims can stay if they accept Christ
Every Muslim is guilty of treason.

In his “latest attack on Muslims”  he makes this statement in part:

“The First Amendment was written by the Founders to protect the free exercise of Christianity”

“Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam. Islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy.”

”Our government has no obligation to allow a treasonous ideology to receive special protections in America, but this is exactly what the Democrats are trying to do right now with Islam.”

”From a constitutional point of view, Muslims have no First Amendment right to build mosques in America. They have that privilege at the moment, but it is a privilege that can be revoked if, as is in fact the case, Islam is a totalitarian ideology dedicated to the destruction of the United States.”

Unbelievable!

In addition to his list of hate filled videos on YouTube, you can also find his list of interviews with GOP leaders. As hard as it is to believe that any elected official, or public leader would have anything to do with Fisher, or the AFA, it seems some have no shame with whom they will associate and support. Among a few of his interviewees we see:

Mike Huckabee
Tim Pawlenty
Rep. Michele Bachmann
Rep. Steve King
Sen. Jim Inhofe
Sen. Jim DeMint
Rep. Lamar Smith
Rep. Chris Smith
Rep. Jack Kingston
Rep Alan Nunnelee


“A nonprofit group led by former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich channeled $125,000 through a hard-line anti-gay organization to support a 2010 campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices who voted to legalize same-sex marriage in that state, The Associated Press (AP) reported Tuesday. The donation to the American Family Association (AFA), which was designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) earlier this year, was part of a total of $350,000 Gingrich reportedly helped steer to Iowa for Freedom, which led the successful campaign against the justices, the only ones on the court who were up for reelection.”

If you still have any doubts that many in the GOP not only support the likes of Bryan Fisher, but are pushing the same kind of Teavangelical takeover of this country, lust have a look at


The first four faces on the web page are Michele Bachmann, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich.  

The mission? From the website:
“History is clear:  the founders of our country drew their inspiration, wisdom, and direction from the Bible. Beginning in colonial times, church leaders spoke to their congregations about the events and issues of the day in the context of Biblical truth. Rediscover God in America will lay a foundation of critical knowledge for your congregation. They'll learn how to interpret and assess current events in light of God's Word, as our founding fathers did, and how to respond Biblically and take action that aligns with His truth.”

Actually the founding fathers did not draw inspiration from the bible, and this is but one example of how religious right-wing extremists twist reality to fit their own Teavangelical agenda. It is an outrage that elected officials not only cater to people like this and organizations like AFA, but in many cases are pushing some of the same ideologies through proposed legislation that would affect every one of us.

Christians have the right to worship any way they choose, and I for one will be the first to stand up in defense of that right of choice. But on the same note, that choice applies equally to everyone in every denomination in this country. Any elected officials who attempt to push any kind of religious ideology on our secular laws should be publicly called out for their blatant attempt to violate the constitution, and the rights of all citizens who do not happen to believe as they do. 

And yet the GOP seems to be getting bolder and more blatant about it every day. I wonder if they have ever read the history books about how people came to this country to escape religious oppression and persecution in the first place.

Isn't that something most middle school kids know?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Top 6 Things On The Republican Agenda

Sadly jobs or the economy are not on the list. An article on
“The Raw Story”  outlines exactly where the GOP has focused all it’s energy since taking the house in the November elections.

1: Curtailing Abortion Rights
HR3 that raises costs for businesses by eliminating tax deductions on employee health insurance plans that cover abortion. 

2: Defunding Planned Parenthood
Republicans effectively voted to strip funding that will affect mostly low-income women for medical services like cancer screenings, breast exams and HIV testing.

3: Defunding NPR
Passed by a 228-192 partisan vote, though there was no mention of stripping PBS or any other public broadcasting service.

4: Investigating American Muslims
Just look at some of the bizarre statements by “Rep Peter King”  at the “Muslim radicalization hearing:

“Neo-Nazis don’t commit terrorist acts”
“Probing U.S. Muslims is just like probing Nazi war criminals, KKK”
“We’ve surrendered the constitution to the jihadists”
“Most Muslims just don’t understand the Koran”
“American couldn’t possibly ally with Muslim countries”
“Obama isn’t singling out Muslims enough”

5: Declaring English As America’s Official Language
According to “The Hill”  

“Part of this chapter would include a "uniform English language rule" holding that "all citizens should be able to read and understand generally the English language text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the laws of the United States made in pursuance of the Constitution."”

6: Reaffirming The “In God We Trust” Motto


“Reaffirming ‘In God We Trust’ as the official motto of the United States and supporting and encouraging the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions.”

Though the resolution does not specify whose God we are to trust, and choosing one God over any other would constitute the recognition of one religion over all others and therefore violate the constitution. 

The current republican leadership is blatantly committed to nothing more than violating the constitutional rights of American citizens. This cannot be tolerated. Where are all the efforts on creating jobs and the resurrecting the economy? Evidently these urgent issues were nothing more than election talking points as they are certainly not on the GOP legislative agenda. These elected officials are wasting time pushing this extremist Teavangelical agenda while stagnating and embarrassing this country. 

Our only choice is to make our voices heard in 2012, by electing legislators who will concentrate on the urgent issues at hand and put forth legislation to take this country forward! We are a country of equal rights, not of oppression, and we cannot stand idly by while the rights of “some” are allowed to trample the rights of others. We are Americans, we are all equal, and we will be heard!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

GOP Bill Would Force IRS to conduct Abortion Audits

“Under a GOP-backed bill expected to sail through the House of Representatives, the Internal Revenue Service would be forced to police how Americans have paid for their abortions. To ensure that taxpayers complied with the law, IRS agents would have to investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. And one tax expert says that the measure could even lead to questions on tax forms: Have you had an abortion? Did you keep your receipt?”

Read the Bill: HR 3 

Read the whole story on: “Mother Jones”

“Bag The Tea” In 2012

The Tea Baggers and Birthers in this country have showered us all long enough with their ignorance, their waste of time and resources, and their bigoted racist agendas. I say it’s time to bag ’um all in the upcoming 2012 elections. We must use our votes to let elected officials, who kowtow to the uninformed among us, know that we’re tired of watching our country go to pot while they waste time focusing all their energy on repeal, obstruction and putting forth absurd legislations. We must also let it be known that Main Street America will no longer tolerate being sold out to special interests. 

We can’t afford to let anyone “take this country back”; in 2012 we must all come together and elect people that will take us forward, not back. We need elected officials that will focus on jobs, economy, and clean energy technology. 

We do not need legislators that say the only way to balance the budget is to cut spending for education, and jobs, infrastructure, healthcare, and women’s health while “refusing” to even consider cutting spending for “NASCAR” 

We do not need legislators that waste time pushing legislation to force presidential candidates to produce an original birth certificate in every state, simply to appease those that don’t believe President Obama is actually a US citizen. We need officials who will do their duty as elected officials and inform the public with factual information, and correct public misconceptions and hearsay.

We do not need legislators who would deny equal rights to American citizens because of gender, sexual orientation, or religion. Nor do we need elected officials who stand behind the agenda’s of extremist Christian religious groups who want this country and everyone in it ruled by the bible, and not by the constitution. The 1st Amendment of the Constitution states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”

We are a nation of many denominations and we have many citizens of no denomination. Every citizen is entitled to their own beliefs and is protected by the constitution from being forced to submit to any beliefs not their own. So why are elected officials violating our constitution and our laws by pushing agendas solely based on religious ideology?

Just look at some of this legislation and comments being put forth by lawmakers:

Bobby Franklin, the same GA Rep who wants to criminalize abortion and miscarriages, in reference to the repeal of DADT compared gays with criminals and unrepentant drug dealers. 

SC’s Senator Jim DeMint has said that “Gays” AND unmarried pregnant women should not teach in public school. 

Tennessee State Senator Stacy Campfield and Rep Bill Dunn proposed a ban on even mentioning LGBT people in public schools. 

Look at the outrage and boycotts at CPAC this year because GOProud was allowed to participate. The real outrage is that CPAC caved to the bigoted will of the GOP majority and gave the ax to GOProud. This is public acknowledgement that the GOP says, “No gays allowed”. 

And as far as Muslims are concerned, there are just too many examples to even choose from, but the bottom line is that if some had their way, to practice or even believe in Islam would become a criminal offence. The only thing currently standing in the way of that is the constitution. 

Do not stand by and let these right winged extremists strip us all of our rights. They have already stripped union workers of their rights, and it looks like voting rights are next on the list. The “Washington Post”   did an article about a conflict over voting laws in New Hampshire that would limit and restrict college student’s abilities to even vote. House Speaker William O’Brien was quite clear on what he thinks of college kids and the way they vote. He referred to them as “foolish”, and said, “Voting as a Liberal. That’s what kids do.”  So, not only do these extremists want to restrict workers rights, woman’s rights, religious rights, the rights of the LGBT community, now they want to restrict the rights of liberals to vote?

We have to put a stop to this, and we need to start now. Lets “Bag The Tea, and Take Our Country Forward”!

Click the link on the right and share this on Facebook. This Is America! We will not be oppressed; we will not be taken back, or ruled over by someone else’s extremist agenda.