Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Power to the People- Protests, Amendments, State Banks!

1. Reclaim Your Future from the 1%
Tomorrow, Feb 29, there will be a national day of nonviolent, direct action targeting corporations that are a part of ALEC, The American Legislative Exchange Council. It is a corporate-funded, right-wing organization that wines and dines republican legislators and sends them home with "model legislation" that benefits corporations at the peril of people and the earth. ALEC brags that 1,000 of their bills have been introduced across the country.

ALEC is behind some of the most repressive new legislation in our country, like Arizona's anti-immigration law and the rash of voter ID laws that will disenfranchise millions of minority and elderly Americans. Their "model bills" attack workers' rights, deregulate environmental protections, deny climate change (they want to mandate teaching climate change denial in the classroom) undermine public education, fuel the prison industrial complex, privatize medicare, dismantle consumer protections and more.

Actions are planned in over 70 cities- join one near you!

From our Defend Democracy Rally in April 2010- to Oppose Citizens United
2. Corporations Are Not People My Friend!
Most know by now how disastrous the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United is for our democracy.
Instead of one person - one vote, we now have corporations with their vast wealth backing candidates who will do their bidding and obliterating the voice of the people. But there are signs of hope on this front. There are currently 13 proposed amendments to reverse Citizens United and to get money out of politics once and for all!

One, by Rep Ted Deutch (D- FL) is the OCCUPIED Amendment- Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in Our Elections and Democracy.  Los Angeles just passed a resolution demanding Congress pass a Constitutional Amendment saying that "only living, breathing human beings are afforded Constitutional rights." May many other cities and towns do the same.

Also, interestingly, today the Supreme Court is hearing a case that asks if corporations, like real people, can be held liable in American courts for international human rights violations. Three out of four appeals courts have ruled yes. Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum is being brought by about a dozen Nigerians who contend that Shell Oil's parent company helped their government torture and murder environmental and human rights protesters. How can the Court argue that corporations are people when it benefits them and that they are not if they have committed human rights abuses and serious crimes? Stay tuned.

3. Banks By and For the People
Seventeen states have introduced bills to create state-owned banks as an alternative to investing in the big banks of Wall Street. Many are looking to the Bank of North Dakota as a model. It has been in existence for 100 years and has helped that state thrive during the current recession. Instead of investing in Wall Street, that uses state revenues to speculate, invest abroad and buy up local banks, state banks can return money to local communities in loans and help renegotiate mortgages to stem the foreclosure crisis.

4. A Couple of Graphs that Say It All

Next time- the Right to Know- Label GM Food movement- it is growing and may reach a tipping point this year! Join us on Facebook- GMO? OMG! Hudson Valley for No GMOs

Keep Faith.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The GOP's Misogyny Problem

What on earth is happening to the Republican Party? I go away for a month and come back to find they are firmly planted in the Dark Ages about women's rights. Here are just a few of the anachronistic, absurd and dangerous ideas they have been espousing of late.

Iconic photo of GOP's arrogance and misogyny- the men only- panel on birth control.
  • Santorum says free, prenatal care (that saves women's and babies' lives) increases abortions and should not be provided. This comes on top of him saying that birth control "harms women and society" and that he would be for states being able to ban all contraception.
  • Santorum's sugar daddy said "gals" should just put an aspirin between their legs- then they wouldn't need contraception.
  • The Republican House Oversight Hearing Committee began with an all male, religious panel to make a case for denying access to birth control. Two women were added later- but not one of the witnesses was in favor of birth control.
  • Not one Republican on the Senate Judiciary Com voted to reauthorize The Violence against Women Act. The reason? It protects too many women from domestic violence. They wanted to remove protections for lesbians, Native American women and immigrants. To those groups the GOP says, literally "Drop dead."
  • Twenty Republicans Senators are co-sponsoring the Blunt/Rubio amendment that would allow any employer to come between you and your doctor. It would allow an employer to deny insurance for any medical treatment that conflicts with their "moral code".
  • Virginia's Republican controlled Legislature is considering  a law mandating a medically unnecessary vaginal probe for any woman seeking an abortion.
  • Rush Limbaugh, the voice of the right, asked what Democrat (not Democratic) women have against pregnancy.
  • Just today, a Republican legislator from Indiana refused to sign on to a resolution honoring the 100th anniversary of the Girls Scouts- calling it a "radicalized agency" that supports abortion and a homosexual agenda. He added, having First Lady Michele Obama as its honorary president should give lawmakers "pause".
  • Of course, this has been going on for awhile- Last February, Republicans tried to eliminate funding for Title X that provides contraception, HIV testing and cancer screenings. Title X has helped in the  early detection of over 55,000 cases of cervical cancer, but that did not stop the GOP from trying to abolish it.
Sadly, I could go on and on. Particularly disturbing are the pronouncements from Santorum World - that he thinks birth control "gives license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." Really, there are things consenting adults are not supposed to do behind closed doors? I wonder how long it will take him to say that certain sex acts must be banned too.

There is no government as big, as intrusive, as threatening to everyday Americans as the so-called "small government" of the radical right.