Art offers his perspective as a movement progressive activist.

Progressives are pushing on the Hill to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. In wake of the Supreme Court ruling against women in the Walmart case we need now more than ever the ERA. Rep. Maloney (D-Ny) and Sen. Menendez (D-Nj) have reintroduced it again.

You need 38 states to approve it. In 1982 it fell 3 states short ,which was the year of the deadline to ratify ERA. Congress gave 10 years to ratify the amendment. But many scholars say if 3 more states ratified it today ERA would be part of our Constitution because the Constitution gives no deadlines for ratification of amendments. Maddow had a must see piece on ERA this week and how we need it more than ever and that ERA would lead to equal rights for gays also:

Key civil rights and poverty advocacy groups have written to the WH and Congress warn against cutting any social programs. La Raza, NAACP and many more are part of this push. Here are some statements:

Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director, Center for Community Change

“Our families are struggling to make ends meet and our communities are suffering from record levels of unemployment and increasing poverty. It’s time to get the country back on track and that means focusing on job creation and supporting our families. Protecting the programs that serve families in need is a vital component of any budget negotiations. It’s time to move beyond the partisan gridlock and to the real solution, good jobs for unemployed and underemployed workers and adequate support for families in need.”

Nancy Duff Campbell, Co-President, National Women’s Law Center

“Unless programs for low-income people are protected in the budget negotiations, women and their families will bear the brunt of deficit reduction. Women are more likely than men to be poor because they still face discrimination on the job and take on more of the responsibility for unpaid caregiving. So women disproportionately rely on Medicaid, SNAP (Food Stamps) and other safety net programs to meet their own and their children’s basic needs “” and on programs like child care assistance and Pell grants for a chance to get ahead and give their children a better life. Maintaining supports for low-income women and their families isn’t just fair “” it’s a smart investment in our common future.”

Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense Fund

“Children are the poorest age group in America and hunger, homelessness and poverty have risen dramatically for them in the last two years. Two-thirds of the 15.5 million poor children live in families in which at least one person is working. We must protect children, their families and other vulnerable people while finding ways to reduce the deficit that reflect moral sense, common sense and economic sense. We urge the President and Congress to reject all cuts that would increase poverty and inequality to ensure children and other vulnerable people are better off tomorrow than they are today. We all need to stand together for what’s morally right; the future and soul of our country is at stake.”

Vicki Escarra, President and CEO, Feeding America

“With more of our nation’s men, women and children facing hunger today than ever before, it would be unconscionable for the Congress and the Administration to cut the first line of defense against hunger in America. Feeding America food banks are already overburdened as we struggle to keep pace with historic levels of need for emergency food assistance and private charity cannot fill the gap if nutrition assistance programs are cut. We must recognize the reality that federal nutrition programs are the difference between having enough to eat and not for one in four Americans, and we must find solutions to our nation’s economic challenges that do not send millions more people into the grips of hunger and poverty.”

Ambassador Tony P. Hall, Executive Director, Alliance to End Hunger, United States Congressman, Retired

“America faces tough choices about its long term fiscal health. We owe it to future generations to cut the deficit, which threatens future prosperity for all, and especially the poor,” said Ambassador Tony Hall, a former Member of Congress and Executive Director for the Alliance to End Hunger. “But how you cut a budget or reduce a deficit is also a moral issue. Poor and hungry people didn’t get us into the current mess and hurting them isn’t the right way out of it. It’s not only morally wrong, it ignores the bigger problem.”

Robert Greenstein, President, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

“President Obama and Congress should enact a plan sooner rather than later to put the nation on a sustainable fiscal course, and the recent history of deficit reduction makes clear they can reduce deficits without increasing poverty and hardship ““ as policymakers did in 1990, 1993, and 1997. That’s particularly important now, with inequality in the United States at its highest in over 80 years and poverty considerably higher here than in most other wealthy nations. In designing deficit reduction plans, policymakers should follow a core principle of the Bowles-Simpson Commission “” to design them in ways that protect low-income people and do not increase poverty.”

Wade Henderson, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

“With millions of low-income Americans struggling to gain economic stability “” including millions of women, minorities, and people with disabilities “” reducing the deficit in ways that increased poverty or added to their hardships would be contrary to our national values. Our leaders would be wise to follow the precedent of previous administrations and Congresses and refuse to cut any programs that strengthen economic security for low-income families.”

Alan Houseman, President and Executive Director, CLASP

“The current debate over the nation’s deficit is incomplete,” said Alan W. Houseman, executive director of the CLASP, the Center for Law and Social Policy. “We have to make tough choices about how the nation spends and raises money to keep the government functioning, but we also must consider deeper questions such as what kind of nation we want to be now and in the future. As lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said, deficit reduction should protect the truly needy. Lawmakers must do more than pay lip service to this principle. They must commit to it, and they must ensure that the decisions they make don’t increase poverty and inequality.”

John Podesta, President and CEO, Center for American Progress

“Long-term deficit-reduction is a critical goal, which can, indeed must, be accomplished in a way that strengthens the middle-class and ensures adequate protections for the most vulnerable.”

Hilary O. Shelton, Director, NAACP Washington Bureau & Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy

“A nation’s budget is, in its aggregate, a statement about the values and priorities of its people,” said Hilary O. Shelton, the Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and the Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy. “The NAACP fully believes that it is incumbent upon the federal government to meet the unique needs of the most vulnerable Americans among us and that they are allowed to engage in their Constitutional right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. We therefore strongly encourage everyone involved in the budget negotiations to do all they can to ensure that essential services are not cut and that no American goes hungry, is undereducated, underemployed or homeless or suffers from a preventable illness. Not on our watch.”

James Weill, President, Food Research and Action Center

“One in five Americans reported they were unable to afford enough food for themselves or their families in 2010. Given the economic struggles that Americans continue to face, our nation’s leaders must refuse to even consider reckless cuts that harm the most vulnerable. Any proposal to cut or otherwise restructure valuable safety net programs would roll back a generation of progress in this nation against very deep hunger and poverty, and would destroy a bipartisan compact that for two generations has developed and sustained a strong and effective safety net.” …

You can read the letter here.

Big news in Ohio. History has been made in one of the largest petition drives in American politics:

Opponents of Ohio Governor John Kasich’s push to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights”“as part of a national push by newly elected Republican governors to silence opposition to their cuts in funding for public education and services ““ needed to collect 231,000 valid signatures to force a referendum that would override anti-labor legislation enacted by Kasich and his allies.

That was a tall order. But the labor and community groups that have come together to defend public employees, teachers, schools and services have exceeded it ““by more than one million signatures. [1]

With petitions carrying 1,298,301 [2]signatures packed in 1,500 boxes carried by a semi-truck, organizers of the We Are Ohio [2]campaign and thousands of their allies marched to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office in Columbus Wednesday”“one day before the deadline”“to file the paperwork necessary to force a November vote on overturning Ohio Senate Bill 5 and Kasich’s attack on labor rights.

1.2 million people signed petitions to get a chance to vote to repeal Kaisch’s attack on unions. The election likely is in November and polls show voters 2 to 1 in favor of repealing the anti-union law. Democracy lives.

Poor Governor Walker. He went to New York City for a GOP fundraiser. And New York gave him a grand welcome- with giant inflated rats:

Riots have been sweeping Greece against austerity cuts. If Greece does not comply with austerity it defaults. It cannot get the loan needed from the EU otherwise. How did Greece wind up so troubled? Part of it is revenue and extra low taxes for corporations:

..the Greek corporate tax rate is very low, the corporate tax, is .. 25%, TEN PERCENT lower than the U.S.A.

On top of all of this tax information, low corporate taxes and tax dodgers that are rampant, the unemployment rate in Greece is 14.1%. According to the Republicans running for President here in the U.S. we need to lower corporate taxes to 25% or lower to increase employment. Seriously?

This brings me to the second country that is being watched for default, Ireland. Ireland has a corporate tax rate of 12.5%. The unemployment is Ireland is 14.7%. the European Union has been approached by Ireland asking for a bailout, but Germany and other countries have told them to essentially pound sand until it raises it’s corporate tax rate to the average percentage of all EU countries, which sits around 25%.

The conservatives continue to blame social programs for the financial troubles of these countries, but the one thing they DO NOT bring up is the fact that their tax rates are a lot lower than ours. They also never talk about their unemployment being higher than ours even though their taxes are lower. They won’t bring this up obviously because it runs contradictory to their talking points.

Democratic Senator Inouye of HI is not buying this austerity crap and says cutting domestic programs must be off the table in any debt dealings. Oh and he chairs the Appropriations Committee:

“Are we really spending too much on non-defense programs? The answer is clearly no. Non-defense discretionary spending levels are essentially unchanged from 2001. There is no reason we shouldn’t be able to afford them today,” Inouye said.

“The focus of our deficit talks should not be on domestic discretionary spending, but on the real reason why we are not running a surplus: historically low revenues, soaring mandatory spending, and the cost of war,” he added.

Inouye called for more investment in highways, rail, levees, bridges and dams.

“In short, domestic discretionary investments are not the problem; they are in fact a vital part of the solution to our economic and fiscal challenges,” he said.

Inouye told The Hill Thursday that there is waste that can be trimmed from domestic discretionary spending since “there is waste in everything,” but said it should not be the focus of the debt-ceiling talks.

And in the Right wing nut files is a funny. The author of Ohio’s voter ID bill would have just taken away his own voting rights if the bill were actually law:

On April 23, an Indiana state trooper pulled Rep. Robert Mecklenborg over for a burned out headlight on a 2004 Lexus he was driving. After failing three separate field sobriety tests, Mecklenborg allegedly refused to take a breath test and was placed under arrest. A blood test later revealed that he had recently taken a Viagra.

“Given that he likely is not in possession of his own drivers license (it should have been confiscated and suspended in accordance with Indiana DUI law and procedure), perhaps he will opt to arrest his drive to repress voting rights,” the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee’s Carolyn Fiddler wrote in a blog post.