Art offers his perspective as a movement progressive activist.
Our government is hated because it does not give an iota for those in need. NOT ONE. Case in point- this latest budget deal slashes 25pct of funds for those needing heating oil this winter. And yes, this is an improvement sadly because WH wanted 45 pc cut. Occupy DC.
In this budget deal the GOP got in it a mandate for POTUS to rule on the Keystone XL Pipeline in 60 days. Of course SoS Clinton already said it is NOW under a extended review and it won’t be finished in time for this new demand. Thus many say Obama has no choice but to reject the pipeline because there is no other recourse. Jane Kleeb’s awesome Bold Nebraska sent this out with action for us to take:
While local groups including Bold Nebraska want the President to sign the bill helping middle-class families, we also want to be clear he must deny the pipeline permit.
“Republicans have bullied their way to get a reckless rider attached to a bill that was supposed to be about helping middle-class families,” stated Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska Director. “Fine, you won that unnecessary fight. Now, President Obama must do the right thing for our land, water and families’ health by denying the pipeline permit.”
The pipeline in Nebraska has no established route, landowners are under threats of eminent domain, there are outstanding questions on how tar sands affects our water supply, Nebraska still has no oil spill liability law in place and, worst of all, there continues to be no guarantee from TransCanada that this oil will stay in the United States.
“The pipeline is an export pipeline, giving us no energy security or job security,” said Amy Schaffer, who’s family raises cattle in the Sandhills. “They suggest over and over that rushing this project through is about job generation. Are 2,000 or 5,000 or 20,000 temporary jobs–or whatever number they are throwing around really worth risking our families’ small farms and ranches? We hope the President, or any member of Congress for that matter, would walk a day in our boots before making a decision.”
Both the Obama Administration and the State Department have signaled that the pushing of the Republicans to attach this rider will result in a denial of the pipeline permit.
Action: Call the White House, 202-456-1111, ask President Obama to come to Nebraska and work a day in our boots. Continue to stand with our families and deny the pipeline. Or you can tweet @barackobama work a day in our boots, come to NE and deny risky pipeline, http://boldnebraska.org/signbill_denypipe #noKXL.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Or) has become one of the best liberals in the Senate, voting against indefinate detention in the NDAA passed this week. He talks about his courageous vote and what this bill means here:
Progressives introduce legislation for the rest of us:
The Progressive Caucus is introducing legislation called the Restore the American Dream for the 99% Act . There has been communication with some Occupy protestors who clearly helped shape this major bill. And it is one for the 99 percent. Some items in it of note:
Direct job spending to hire 2.2 million public safety, education, maintenance and construction workers. There’s also an infrastructure bank to leverage private capital on more construction projects, with a $50 billion up-front investment in infrastructure.
• A Buy America provision for all government-contracted materials.
• The Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans would expire, saving $800 billion.
• Ending “unnecessary” weapons programs and other defense spending for $280 billion, and accelerating withdrawals from foreign wars to save $1.2 trillion.
• Canceling fossil fuel subsidies for the oil and gas industry.
• A financial speculation tax to capture $350 billion with a tiny 0.03% tax on all trades.
• Changing the payroll tax extension to a Making Work Pay refundable tax credit, similar to what was in the original Obama stimulus, and extending it for two years.
• Instituting a robust public option to compete in the exchanges with private insurance.
• Allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on the price of prescription drugs.
• Scrapping the Social Security payroll tax cap (with a donut hole between $106,800 and $250,000) to fully fund Social Security over the long term.
Read the whole overview here . This is like a progressive Contract with America. And all items are those strongly supported by the American public for some time now.
Atty General Harris in CA has the WH in a tizzy. She won’t tow the line on the big bank foreclosure deal, and now is fighting the WH on closing marijuana dispensaries:
Harris also found herself at odds with the Obama administration in a very public way when U.S. attorneys signaled in early October that they were about to crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries. The feds indicated that they were prepared to shut down clinics, seize assets and seek criminal prosecutions against what they regarded as criminal enterprises masquerading as suppliers of medicine.
Harris nodded affirmatively when asked if she was caught off guard by the sudden change of heart by an administration that once suggested it would take a hands-off approach to medical marijuana operations that were in compliance with state law.
“We didn’t receive any notice that it was coming,” she said.
Her office eventually issued a statement that questioned the federal government’s priorities with limited law-enforcement resources.
“For the feds to come in, who don’t agree with the very premise (that marijuana can be medicine), and then tell us which dispensaries can be open or not doesn’t make sense to me,” she said.
She said her office was working with key lawmakers, most notably Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, on legislation that would clear up the “confusion and ambiguities” about medical marijuana regulation. “I don’t see a role for the feds on this issue once it is addressed by the California Legislature,” she said.
In MA we got state lawmakers having hearings on establishing a public option and or consideration of single payer:
The Joint Committee on Health Care Financing has scheduled a public hearing Thursday on the bill that would create a public health insurance plan to compete with private insurance plans.
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. James Eldridge, said the so-called “public option” would give consumers more choice while increasing competition and reducing insurance costs.
A second bill also filed by the Acton Democrat would create a so-called single-payer health care system for Massachusetts, guaranteeing health care coverage for every resident.
Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, a firebrand progressive, has launched a 3rd party and is organizing in many states. Called the Justice Party it hits on themes OWS has been hammering. Here is an interview with him on Democracy Now this week:
Even the Pope is channeling Occupy it seems. He gave a speech backing taxing the rich this week. More here.
In Right wing laughs we got a cool one: turns out Governor Rick “I’m Tebow” Perry has “retired.” Ah but retired to get an early 8k a month pension and a 150 k a year governor’s salary.You read right- double dipping while blasting “entitlements”. No kidding.