Friday, July 29, 2011

Tea Party Madness

John Sherffius                                                                              Tribune Media Serivces

"A good chunk of the Republican caucus is either stupid, crazy, ignorant, or craven cowards afraid of the Tea Party people." Bruce Bartlett, former Reagan Policy Advisor

Yes, even former Reagan officials are denouncing House Republicans for their intransigence in addressing raising the debt ceiling to stave off economic calamity that will once again hit America's middle class and poor the hardest. The Tea Party radical ideologues in the House would rather see our country humiliated by losing its triple A credit rating, see markets crash (already down a whopping 4%) and allow a deep global depression rather than compromise one iota. They are an embarrassment and disgrace. Are some voters finally having voters' remorse? Maybe they will if they do not get their Social Security check in August.

Any serious, rational attempt to deal with our nation's deficit will have to include increased revenue- there is almost unanimous agreement on that- except for the Teapublicans. They are more concerned with protecting the 400 richest families in our country that make on average $270 million a year and pay at a tax rate similar to the poor- about 18%  (armed with the best tax lawyers money can buy- they often pay far less than that). They say we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem- but they are lying. Tax revenue is the lowest it has been since the 1950's! We are still in a painful recession and to not ask the very rich to pay their fair share, as we are all being asked to sacrifice so much, is an abomination. A recent Washington Post poll showed that the vast majority (72%) of Americans, Democrat and Republican think that taxes should be raised on all making $250,000 and more a year. Yet, that provision is missing from any of the proposals on the table.

If you are feeling as frustrated as I am, please join us Monday night at the Rosendale Community Center at 7PM to work on building the movement to Reclaim the American Dream and letting Washington know

"Enough is enough. Make the rich pay their share. Protect the social safety net that has made American strong  for decades. End the wars, create jobs, invest in infrastructure and a new clean energy economy!"

We have to come together to be effective in protecting our rights, because there is an extremely well-funded, organized corporate-led movment to eviscerate them.  Write to me at for more information about the MoveOn-led peoples' movment to fight back.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The American Dream Revolution Has Just Begun!

New Paltz House Party- one of 2,000!
About 25,000 Americans attended house parties this past Sunday to launch a new movement to reclaim the American Dream for the everyday working people in our country. We gathered to protest the growing plutocracy; government of. by and for the rich and to restore economic fairness and democracy to America.

At the New Paltz gathering, that Linda Abbott and I co-hosted, here are some of the priorities for the American Dream agenda we agreed upon-

Good Jobs Now!
Move toward a clean, green independent energy future
End the huge waste of wars and invest in job-creation
Put Americans back to work through a public jobs program (relying only on the private sector would take at least a decade for us to reach full employment)
Make Them pay!
Return to fairer tax rates
End all Bush-era tax cuts
Make corporations pay their taxes
Make Democracy Work!
Put elections back in the hands of the people with clean elections
Eliminate corporate personhood (roll back the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, by constitutional amendment if necessary)
Stop the assault on unions and workers' rights
Build Strong Communities!
Medicare for all
Invest in public education
Substantially reduce military spending

MoveOn is busy calculating results from about 2,000 gatherings and we will all get behind the top rated priorities. There will be rallies before every congressional district's representative on August 10 at noon, including Rep Hinchey's office on Wall St in Kingston. More info to come.

There is also a meeting planned for Monday, August 1 at 7:00PM at the Rosendale Community Center. Sign up to be a part of really taking our country back by writing to me at, or Linda at You can also rate ideas for the American Dream agenda here.

Thank you to Mike Compain, Saugerties; Jodiah Jacobs, Red Hook; Judith Simon,Woodstock; Helen Harkasti, Kerhonkson; and others for also hosting gatherings Sunday! What is powerful about this movement is that the major unions and progressive groups are lining up behind it! We are united in our efforts to make the American Dream of equality, liberty and justice for all a reality once again.

Watch this video and you get a sense of what we are fighting and how important this movement by the people is. Please join us and be a part of history.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekly News- Some Good!

1. Good news! 
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced a strong new clean air rule that will slash air pollution from power plants, save lives, and make the air healthier to breathe for 240 million people across the eastern U.S.

Activists Won! Thanks to Roots Action and other groups the Senate has removed language from a bill that would have given the president unchecked power to authorize war. Back to the Constitution Sen McCain, who wanted to have Congress abdicate its authority to be the only body that can declare war.

2. From The Other 98%
We're writing because we face an emergency. There are reports that Obama is considering cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits as a giveaway to Republicans on the debt ceiling - and the White House has yet to convincingly respond.
This is simply not acceptable. This President needs to know that he was not elected to threaten the New Deal - he was elected to help us craft a Better Deal. If we can't expect him to stand up for the most basic progressive achievements of the last 100 years, then it's going to be tougher and tougher to stand up for him.
Sign our emergency letter to President Obama today: Protect Social Security and Medicare benefits - or don't ask for grassroots help.

Also, please sign up for a Rebuild the American Dream house party near you for next weekend. It is time for the Other 98% of Americans- those of us without lobbyists and oodles of cash stand up to the growing plutocracy in this country. Save working families and the middle class!

Van Jones is leading this movement and has an article on it here.

3. The Assault on Women's Health
Republican governors.and legislators across the land are waging a wholesale assault on women's reproductive health. In Indiana, Gov Mitch Daniels and Indiana Republicans are excluding all Medicaid patients from seeking any care at Planned Parenthood facilities; including cancer screenings, HIV tests and physical exams. NO federal funds are used for abortion services. Eight Planned Parenthood clinics have been forced to close in the last month. Stand up for poor women's health!

4. Emergency Labor Network RATS Tax Program
While the nonsense in DC continues- with the Republicans threatening economic Armageddon unless Dems cave to draconian cuts to vital services and keep their hands off tax loopholes and subsidies that benefit the super rich- it's good to see some common sense remedies to our economic woes from the Emergency Labor Network, a new group in the American labor movement.

For example, in 1980 corporate income tax made up 20% of federal tax revenues- today it accounts for only 10%. Many corporations with billions in profits pay little or NO taxes! In the meantime over the same period, individual income tax has doubled (representing 40% of federal tax revenue, instead of the 20% of 1980).

Also, according to the IRS, the rich in this country have $4 trillion in offshore tax havens! Repatriate that money and make them pay their fair share.

Tax burdens have shifted dramatically to the middle class, but Republicans and the moneyed elite they represent, want even more tax cuts for themselves! It is time to stand up for  hard working American families- join a house party to Rebuild the American Dream today!

5. Rupert Murdoch's scandal widened even more today- as "as new reports emerged that papers beyond the News of the World were also involved in criminal behavior." Murdoch is head of News Corp the parent company of Fox News. There were also allegations that News of the World journalists tried to hack into the phones of victims of the 9/11 attacks.