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January 10, 2013

Disarm The Hostage Bomb -- Stop Governing Based On Threats, Intimidation And Lies

A nation whose constitution begins with the words "We, the People" should not be governed through threats and intimidation and lies. It is time to defuse the hostage-taking bomb. Do not negotiate with hostage-takers -- and that includes shutdown threats. The "fiscal cliff' was the result of the last debt-ceiling hostage-taking and threats and lies, which was enabled by earlier capitulation to hostage-taking and threats and lies, which was enabled by earlier capitulation to hostage-taking and threats and lies, which was enabled by earlier capitulation to hostage-taking and threats and lies...

The Last Few Years Of Hostage-Taking

I took a look back at what I have written about the various hostage-taking threats of just the last few years. Remember the 2010 "tax deal," when the GOP took unemployment benefits hostage to win an extension of the Bush tax cuts (thereby increasing deficits)? Winning that way only fed their appetite for even more hostage-taking...

December, 2010, The Debt-Ceiling Threat To Gut The Things Government Does For Us,

The country’s huge debt was caused by tax cuts for the rich and increases in military spending. But debt-cutting recommendations from the D.C. Elite never suggest restoring taxes on the rich and cutting military spending. Go figure. Instead they suggest cutting the things government does for We, the People. The D.C. Elite is not We, the People. Let’s stop this in its tracks.

January, 2011, Prevent Hostage-Taking Add Debt Ceiling To Tax Deal,

They are going to do this. They are going to take the biggest hostage ever. You can stop this. Democrats in the House are at the maximum leverage point. You can stop this. You can literally save the country by demanding the debt ceiling be increased in exchange for this tax-cut deal and the huge amount of debt it adds.

March, 2011, Budget Fight Why Are Republicans Forcing a Shutdown,

If you read their websites and magazines you know that they hate government and talk about ways to get rid of it. They have said they just want government to go away and have been running strategies to get it small enough that they can drown it in a bathtub. If you are a Republican who doesn’t think destroying government is the best approach you are called a RINO and shunned.
They don’t talk about governing, they talk about killing government, and when they get power they don’t govern they destroy government. They appoint industry lobbyists to agencies that are supposed to oversee their own industries. They appoint polluters to the agencies that are supposed to protect us from pollution. And they appoint people who have called for getting government out of areas like education, medical care, etc. to head up and dismantle those departments.
... And unspoken in all of their anti-government arguments is just what will replace government, namely the big, powerful corporations and the wealthy few behind them.

April, 2011, Republican Shutdown Shuts Down The Economy — So Do The Cuts They Demand

Here we are only four months into Republican control of the House of Representatives and the government is shutting down! When you give power to people who hate the government, what do you think they’re going to do? Since the election the Republicans have been itching to gut or shut the government. It has been a drumbeat that they either get everything they want or shut it down. And getting everything they want guts the government.
Either way our economy takes a big, big hit.

Sept, 2011, ANOTHER Hostage-Taking Threat To Shut Down Government,

Just weeks after the “debt-ceiling” hostage-taking, forcing trillions to be cut out of the economy, the hostage-takers are at it again. Now they are threatening a government shutdown, demanding even more cuts in the “continuing resolution” that keeps the government operating. This time they even want to cut the disaster-relief spending that helps people hit by wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
[...] So this will come down to the wire. Again. And the public’s faith in government will be further eroded. And the economy will take yet another hit as our government’s paralysis is even more apparent.

Dec. 2011 Republican Hostage-Taking Threat Again Guess Who Benefits,

Once again, Republicans are holding government hostage, trying to force through unpopular cuts to the things We, the People — “the 99%” — do for each other and our economy, while giving handouts to the 1% who pay for their campaign ads and smears. Once again they are threatening to just shut down the whole government if they don’t get their way This time the hostage is unemployment benefits for 2 million people and the payroll tax cut that is the only stimulus left to keep the economy going. Here’s the thing, they say they want “cuts” but what they are really doing is shifting costs from the 1% on to the rest of us.

Haven't we learned yet?

But it's actually not just these last few years that we have been government by hostage-taking, threats, lies and intimidation.

Actually, It Has Been Decades Of Government Through Hostage-Taking, Threats, Intimidation And Lies

Our country has a sad history of policy-making that resulted from hostage-taking, threats, intimidation and lies. The Vietnam and Iraq wars are two examples of the tragic consequences of allowing these tactics to succeed rather than following a transparent, informed, reasoned, systematic and democratic process. Paul Rosenberg takes us through the decades-long history of GOP hostage-taking in an excellent, must-read post at AlJazeera, GOP terrorism - and Democratic complicity,

The GOP is a hostage-taking organisation. That's not just what I say, it's what the Wall Street Journal says, on its own editorial page. And for decades now, the Wall Street Journal editorial page has been a leading propaganda organ of the Republican Party.

Paul writes about the harm done by this sort of governing,

"Okay," you may say. "But that's only a metaphor. No one's actually going to die." But that's clearly false. People die during recessions. People die when they suffer from long-term unemployment. There are studies clearly showing this (here, here and here, for example).
People die from gun violence that GOP, along with its NRA allies and its ALEC allies have both passively and actively helped spread. (A recent report shows that states passing "stand your ground" laws have higher gun homicide rates, for example.)
People die from lax worker safety regulations and lax enforcement, which the GOP and ALEC also support. People die from fossil fuels - both greenhouse gas and particulate pollution combine to cause millions of deaths a year worldwide.
And people die prematurely from the effects of the GOP's economic policies, too - policies that it's now enforcing as a minority party by threatening even more intense and immediate harm - the possibility of another world-wide recession, which would no doubt cause many more premature deaths, along with all the other sub-lethal suffering it would bring.

The history of GOP governing through hostage-taking, lies, threats and intimidation goes back decades, (click through for links and more):

First, consider Harry Truman. In March 1947, three years before Senator Joe McCarthy burst onto the national stage with his Wheeling speech denouncing Communist infiltration in government, Truman tried to pre-empt such attacks by instituting his own witch-hunting internal security program by presidential executive order.
Both Truman and McCarthy were following in the footsteps of the young master, Richard Nixon. Of course, Truman ended up encouraging McCarthyism, preparing the way for it, rather than pre-empting it - but at least he had the excuse that he didn't have the failed example of Harry Truman to learn from.
As if this first rightward lurch didn't turn out badly enough, Lyndon Johnson then repeated the exercise in even more bloody form. As I've written before ("George McGovern: The road not taken"), we now know from White House tapes that Johnson never actually believed in the Vietnam War. He fought it because he thought he'd be impeached if he didn't fight it. This is the clearest possible admission that he was implementing GOP policies out of fear - out of terror.

Rosenberg takes us through the Carter and Clinton years, the lies that brought us the Iraq war, and so much more. Click through and read his post, GOP terrorism - and Democratic complicity.

How long have we been governed through hostage-taking, threats, intimidation and lies? Vietnam, Iraq and the more recent tax fights should make it clear that governing in reaction to hostage-taking, lies, threats and intimidation doesn't turn out well in the long run. We need to govern through an open, transparent, considered, informed, reasoned, systematic and democratic process.

It is time to put a stop to government-by-lies, threats and hostage-taking. Disarm the hostage-taking bomb. Stop giving in and these terrorists what they want. What they want hurts We, the People, always just to further-enrich some already-wealthy billionaires. It is time to just stop it. Do not negotiate with terrorists.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:30 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Why DC Ignores Real Problems And What You Can Do About It

How many real and serious national problems can you list? And how many obvious solutions can you come up with literally off the top of your head? Now an experiment: list how many of them are being worked on by our DC elites or even discussed my our elite media? The answer is none. Why is this? And what can you do about it?

Real And Serious Problems

Start with climate change, clearly the most serious problem facing the world. If you think this is something that won't do serious damage until way off in the future, consider what could happen this year if our country's terrible drought continues, and then other climate-related disasters hit other agricultural regions around the world. Oh, right, mass starvation. Never mind the storms and storm surges, huge wildfires, heat waves, etc. that we are already experiencing.

Jobs. We have an absolute and continuing jobs emergency and people are suffering. And it is the reason we have a big budget deficit. Is there an economic problem that is more serious than jobs? Imagine if we had full employment, and companies had to actually pay well to get the employees they need, and provide training, etc. Imagine how LOW the budget deficit would be. The high budget deficit is a flip side of all the benefits businesses are getting from the low wages, long hours, etc. that come from high unemployment. The budget deficit is literally the government subsidizing WalMart's low wages.

Our huge, huge trade deficit - the actual deficit that is actually draining our economy and killing jobs and factories and industries and our ability to make a living in the future. The budget deficit is money spent on each other, things that make our lives better. The trade deficit is money that just bleeds out, making us all poorer and less able to take care of each other.

Infrastructure - our country's infrastructure is seriously in disrepair. Never mind that we don't have modern things that could be seriously boosting our economy, like high-speed rail and fiber-internet to every business and home -- things are falling apart.

Education, the cost of universities and resulting student-loan debt, the need for more community colleges, etc. They are pretending to talk about this but all the solutions being discussed take money away from our schools and universities and only benefit the Wall Street types...

You can name dozens of other serious, major national problems that are not even on the DC-elite agenda!

OK, they appear to be talking about guns. That's good. But not if they are talking about even more guns.

Many Problems Have Obvious Solutions

We can start attacking the climate problem with a big carbon tax. People will start using alternatives, which will cost less than using carbon-based energy sources. (PS the revenue also helps fix the budget problem.) Refund some of the money collected to those who are hit hardest by the tax, like low-income people who have to drive to work.

Infrastructure and jobs are two of our most serious problems. But obviously if we start fixing the infrastructure problem we are also fixing a lot of the jobs problem. (Especially if we have strict "Buy American" requirements for the materials, steel,etc.) (PS this also helps fix the budget problem because people with jobs are paying taxes, not using the safety net, and the economy becomes more competitive in the long run.)

Etc, with the obvious solutions. I don't have to put them here, they're obvious.

So why do they ignore the real problems and the obvious solutions that help We, the People?

Why Do They Ignore The Real Problems?

So WHY do our DC-elite geniuses ignore our real problems? We all know the answer: the influence of big money. Big money dominates. Big money steers the discussion. Big money buys the politicians. Big money lobbies the rule-makers. Big money uses the "revolving door" to reward the officeholders and staffers and regulators with high-paying jobs after they leave government -- if they play ball while in government.

And big money rigs the game so only the really big money -- those who already have it -- can win.

But the problem extends so far past the direct bribery, especially in the way it dominates the country's information channels. This means the major media (all of it dominated by only 6 companies), and all of the ways that our national discussion gets shaped.

Using the climate problem as an example, we all understand that big money from the fossil-fuel industry is being used to keep us from attacking this problem. But how?

Looking at how the information channels are influenced illustrates how far big money reaches. They don't just bribe politicians, and hire them and staffers later, etc. They also use their big money to influence how we talk and even think about this. Aside from the huge money spent on lobbyists, there are the dozens and dozens of so-called "think tanks" and "institutes" and other organizations that get money from these companies to pay people to go on TV and radio and write articles and op-eds, etc, to influence the nation's discussion of this. They also have their "studies" and "reports" etc. that get in the news. If you want a major-media career you had best not get on the wrong side of these companies. They totally dominate and intimidate and do what it takes to get their way.

(A few - just a few - resources on this: Frontline: Climate of Doubt, Meet The Climate Denial Machine, Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine, Climate Skeptic's Debunked Report Exposes How the Denial Industry Works, How climate change denial lets the fuel industry run politics, in one handy chart)

The information sources of our democracy are controlled by the big money. Another example (of so many) of how the corporate money machine influences what we as a country talk and even what we think about: How often do you see a labor leader on your TV talking about the benefits of unions?

Then there are the other information channels. Did you hear about FreedomWorks paying Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh huge money to promote the Tea Party? Or the other stories about how they get and use their money? (FreedomWorks is one of the organizations that bused in thugs to disrupt Congressional town hall meetings a few years back.) This is just one of the dozens and dozens of well-funded outfits that is getting huge money to influence our national political climate.

How about that huge fight over taxes on billionaires? Do you know about the huge influence of Grover Norquist and his organization? Look at this: Grover Norquist's Budget Is Largely Financed by Just Two Billionaire-Backed Nonprofits.

This flood of corporate and billionaire money goes well beyond just paying politicians. And it is the reason it seems like we are helpless to do anything about the real and serious problems our country faces.

What You Can And MUST Do

We have to counter this money, and that takes money. We have to get money to use to fight back. We can't just all be doing what we can in our spare times, and signing online petitions, or quitting our jobs and living in poverty so we can work on these problems.

There are millions of us and if we all give even a small amount of money to help out, we can get things done!

The most important and effective thing you can do, even before you get active online and then on the streets is to contribute money to progressive organizations, and make it a habit. Seriously, they have corporate funding and all We, the People have is We, the People. There are a lot of us and if everyone who agrees with progressive values started to actually put some money where our values are, we could make up for that corporate money.

If you have to start small, that is fine. 20 million people starting small can make a huge difference.

Try it, click here and give $3 to the organization I work for, Campaign for America's Future.

Click these links and give $3 to Progressive Congress, or Media Matters.

How about giving $3 to help Netroots Nation or Crooks and Liars or Daily Kos, or Blue America or Firedoglake, or AMERICAblog.

You can also give a donation to Center for American Progress here, or to the National Council of La Raza here, or to Demos here, or to the Economic Policy Institute here, to the Center for Community Change here, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights here, to People For the American Way here, and there are so many other organizations that are working in their own way to help. (I'll add them as they read this and write to yell at me for leaving them out.)

Go through the ActBlue directory, and give $3 here and $3 there.

We really need for progressives to understand this need, and the difference between this and election campaign contributions. Think about it, and help spread the word. Help fund it, and help others understand this need. We can beat back the conservative machine by building a machine of our own that is strong enough to do the job. This takes money.

And to keep that machine answerable to US, we have to fund it democratically, with each of us stepping up and contributing what we can. It has to be lots of people giving small and medium amounts, not depending on a few large donors. ANY organization or candidate is going to dance with the ones that brung ‘em, so WE have to bring them to the dance together. Go give $3 or $10 or $100 to any of those organizations now, and keep doing it, and get others to do it.

If you want to help be part of the SOLUTION this is a great way to start. This is the most important thing you can do. AND you should be online and on the streets. But the most important thing is to give some money to help counter the huge flood of corporate money.

PS See also Republicans Again Use Race, And It’s OUR Fault That It Still Works

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:21 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

January 4, 2013

Don't Feed The Debt Ceiling Trolls

Bloggers have learned some hard lessons about engaging with right-wing nutcases who leave nasty comments: "Don't feed the trolls." Starve them of the attention they seek. Ignore them and move on. This advice also applies to the right-wing nutcases threatening to bring down our economy by refusing to raise the debt-ceiling limit. They won't get any traction on this unless Democrats engage with them. So ignore them, isolate them and scorn them but do not engage with them. Their billionaire & Wall Street funders will stop them and the pubic will see them for what they are, but only if we all just leave them alone. They aren't really going to hold their breath until we all die.

And if they actually did take down the economy (they won't), the country will be better off in the long run because it means the end of the radical right as a force in our politics.

So let them hold their breath until the country turns blue.

Crisis To Crisis, Destruction As A Tactic

Our country is now governed by crisis. We go from crisis to crisis because causing a crisis and making everyone panic works. But it only works if we let it work.

Look at the obstruction and destruction of the last few years. Obstruction has kept us from hiring millions to modernize our infrastructure, making our buildings and homes more energy efficient, helping people with things like the Dream Act and Medicare-for-All, sufficiently stimulating new industries like wind and solar energy production, and SO MUCH more.

And the accelerating, destructive hostage-taking has cost us so much! Giving in to hostage-taking in the first place has only meant more and more of it, with bigger and bigger costs. We gave in when they held back from authorizing unemployment benefits for millions. We gave in when they threatened to shut down the government, including denying elderly people their Social Security checks. The fiscal cliff "crisis" was just more hostage-taking.

Now they are actually threatening again to take the entire economy hostage, if we don't give in and hurt our people even more.

Crisis to crisis. Hostage to hostage. Destruction to destruction. And always obstruction and destruction of the things We, the People to do make our lives better.

Again and again. They hold their breath and threaten to do damage, and we give in and let them hurt us a little so they don't hurt use a lot. And so they do it more.

Crisis to crisis. As long as we engage, it works for them. Each time a bigger hostage, demanding that we hurt ourselves even more before they will take the gun away from the hostage's head.

Now the biggest hostage, the debt ceiling.

What The Debt Limit Is

The process of raising the debt ceiling is basically a mistake in the law. Raising the debt ceiling authorizes Congress to pay the bills that Congress has already committed to paying. But since the Reagan tax cuts and then the 'W' Bush tax cuts the country has not had sufficient revenue to meet the needs of our people without borrowing, so the debt keeps increasing.

What the Republicans are threatening to do is refuse to honor our debts and pay the bills that the United States has already promised to pay. They would default on our bonds - most of which are held by Americans. This would ruin the credit of the country, dramatically increase all future borrowing costs, and forever end America's status as a "safe haven" place to keep money. It would end our status as the "reserve currency." It would be a vote to tell the world that the US dollar is not worth the paper it is printed on.

This would crash our economy and take the world's economy down with it.

That is what they are threatening to do. They are literally threatening to hold their breath until they die because we are afraid we will die, too.

What Is Their Real Power?

The Republican Party is threatening to take us all down with them unless we hurt ourselves even more. But they only have power on this IF we engage. If we don’t engage on this they have no power. If we don't engage they are just a bunch of crazy people threatening to kill themselves if we don't kill ourselves, and that's crazy.

They can’t be serious, so don’t take them seriously. Ignore them. Don't feed the trolls. They have no power this time if we just ignore them.

And ignore the corporate media that feeds on crisis and feeds panic, and the "Fix the Debt" corporate-funded propaganda that tries to convince us to engage.

The debt ceiling is not a crisis unless we help them make it into a crisis. If we ignore them they have to go away.

Not A Crisis Unless We Make It One

This is not a crisis unless we make it a crisis.

Are we really afraid the 2-year-old will actually hold its breath until it dies? Seriously?

And haven't we learned yet what happens later, after we give them what they want when they hold their breath?

Do we really believe the Republicans would take down the whole economy? Really? Do we really believe Wall Street and their billionaire funders will let them do this?

They only have power if we engage with them on this. Their only power is making us afraid.

What To Do This Time

Ignore them. No negotiations, not even any conversations. Don’t fall for it this time. If someone even says the words "debt ceiling" just tell them to go away, you have things that need doing, that deserve attention. Just let them spout their nonsense and don’t respond. Like the crazy guy who stands up at the city council meeting and talks about how UFOs are shooting energy waves into his brain, when he gets done say “Thank you” and just move on to the next item.

Seriously, they threaten to destroy the economy if they don't get what they want? And what they want is things that make our lives harder and less healthy? Really? Then just let them shout it, and let the voters see it, and hold them accountable.

They won't really do that. And if you think they will actually vote to do that -– and the people who fund the Republican Party won’t stop them at the last minute -– then just let them this time. And let them own the reaction. Because if they do that, our country’s minority-party obstruction/destruction/hostage-taking/extortion/intimidation problem will be over.

If debt-ceiling day comes and they are still threatening to do it, just sit back and watch their Wall Street and billionaire funders panic.

Do not engage. Let them hold their breath until the country turns blue.

--

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:08 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Need Armed Guards For Police

I see that a lot of police officers get shot. So I guess we need armed guards for the police. And when they start getting shot we will need armed guards for the armed guards for the police. And when they start getting shot ...

Also, you can't use a handgun to overpower a crazed gunman with an assault rifle and wearing body armor. So those armed teachers will need assault rifles and body armor.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:46 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

January 3, 2013

Teslas Everywhere

I was driving through town today and saw three Tesla Ss. I was thinking "Wow, I saw three Teslas on one trip" when a white Tesla S passed me.

Jeeze, really beautiful car. All electric.

model-s-sigred-front3qtr_960x640_0.jpg

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:55 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

How Does Cutting Everyone's Take-Home Pay 2% Help?

The "fiscal cliff" deal cuts everyone's take-home pay by 2% (but cuts inheritance taxes on billionaires). Not sure how that helps us...

Before the elections Republicans wanted the economy to tank so people wouldn't vote for Obama. But now? Why? Is it just out of spite, they lost so they are forcing everyone to have less?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:20 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

Bait And Switch

One day after complaining about too much deficit reduction ("fiscal cliff") they're back to complaining about deficits: Moody's: Credit Rating At Risk If U.S. Doesn't Address Deficit | TPM LiveWire

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:43 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

So Can We Focus On Jobs NOW?

Congress and the media paid homage to the agenda of the billionaires and Wall Street, with the manufactured "fiscal cliff" PR campaign frenzy that just ended. So now can we get back to the country's priorities? Can we talk about jobs now?

Jobs Fix Deficits

Now that the idiotic "fiscal cliff' is out of the way, maybe we can start to get around to doing something that will actually help We, the People, fix the economy and reduce the borrowing. Namely, invest in modernizing our country's infrastructure and reducing our economy's reliance on burning fossil fuels for energy.

We are $2 trillion behind in keeping our country's infrastructure up to date. Imagine how our economy would be humming if we finally got started on that work that has to be done sooner or later anyway -- modernizing all the roads and bridges, modernizing the electrical grid, bringing fiber internet lines to businesses and homes, building high-speed rail across the country and all of these things using American-made supplies, steel, rail cars ... Et. Cetera. Et. Cetera.

Imagine our economy (and the health of the planet) if we didn't depend on burning oil and coal for our energy. We could retrofit all buildings and homes to be energy-efficient. We could build more (American-produced) wind farms and install (American-produced) solar everywhere. Everything would cost so much less, our trade deficit would be lower, Et. Cetera.

Imagine how many more people would be working if we did those things. They would be paying taxes, patronizing stores, Et. Cetera. They would not be collecting food stamps or unemployment. Et. Cetera.

And imagine how all of that would help our government's budget situation. More people working = less govt assistance, more people paying taxes, more businesses being patronized... Modernized infrastructure = more competitive economy creating more new opportunities. Energy efficiency = lower energy costs, lower trade deficits... This is because jobs fix deficits.

The Plutocrat Agenda Is Cuts

The agenda of the plutocrats is to get government -- We, the People -- out of their way.

The billionaires tell us that the biggest problem we have is too much government. Think about who benefits if we cut government. If we cut government We, the People get less of the things that We, the People do for each other, the billionaires get less of We, the People in their way.

If we cut government we get less regulation of their banks, and they get less regulation of their banks.

If we cut government we get less worker safety rules protecting us on the job, and the get less worker safety rules making them pay for those protections.

Et. Cetera.

The agenda of the billionaires is also to limit competition. Government regulations work to increase competition. The billionaires are on top and they want to stay on top. A thriving, competitive, opportunity-creating economy is not important to them, their economy is thriving -- they are already billionaires.

Et. Cetera. So of course the billionaires want less government. Less We, the People making the decisions means less We, the People in their way.

The Agenda of We, the People Is Jobs

We, the People want good jobs that pay well and provide benefits. We want a modernized, competitive, opportunity-creating economy. We want modern infrastructure that enables our smaller businesses to thrive and grow. We want plentiful good-paying jobs. And when an economy is humming and there are plenty of jobs, more of us can do well.

Do billionaires create jobs or do jobs create billionaires? Why would a billionaire want to "create jobs," anyway? This is about who has the power. If you believe that billionaires create jobs, you want the billionaires in charge and making all the decisions. But if you believe that jobs create billionaires then you want We, the People in charge, doing things that create lots of good-paying jobs and improve the economy for all of us.

Do We, the People still have the power to do the things that benefit our lives and each other? Again, if democracy creates billionaires then you want democracy to be in charge. If billionaires create jobs then you want billionaires to be in charge.

Who do you think should be in charge? We, the People? Or the billionaires?

--

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:26 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

January 2, 2013

Filibuster Day Of Action Thursday - Call Senators

The filibuster used to be an important tool that gave the minority a voice in the Senate. But the Senate made a mistake and changed the rules, which enabled an obstructionist minority to block ... everything. There have been more than 380 filibusters in just the last few years! It is time to change the rules back to the old "make them talk" system. Thursday, Jan. 3rd, is a day of action demanding that the Senate fix the filibuster and make them talk. So pick up the phone right now and urge your Senator to support Senate Rules Reform. Call 1-866-937-5062 or text FIXTHESENATE to 69866.

Filibuster Has Become Tool Of Obstruction

In recent years Senate Republicans have used the filibuster to block over 380 bills and nominations. There has been a terrible cost to the country as Republicans blocked bill after bill, solution after solution, nomination after nomination.

For too long now, this tactic has been misused and abused. Congress has stopped legislating effectively, with Senators using ridiculous dodge tactics to block real progress. They have used filibusters to block jobs, judges, disaster relief, the Dream Act, health care, and almost everything else. They have even filibustered their own bills!

As the new Congress convenes this month another effort is underway to reform the filibuster. This new proposal in front of the Senate to reform the filibuster returns to the form of filibuster that the public understands, namely talking all night.

Fix The Filibuster

We have a chance to restore the filibuster to its original purpose, but we need your help to do it.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rLAL5ngX40[/youtube]

(Visit http://on.fb.me/RqcQW7 to share this video.)

They should make them talk. This is a pro-democracy move. First, it stops the obstruction. Second, it allows senators with serious and honest problems with a bill to bring this to the attention of the public by holding a real, honest-to-goodness talkathon. Third, this would engage the public and give We, the People a chance to weigh in and agree or disagree with the objection.

Pick up the phone right now and urge your Senator to support Senate Rules Reform. Call 1-866-937-5062 or text FIXTHESENATE to 69866.

A number of organizations are engaged in a battle to restore the old "make them talk" rules

Things You Can Do

Pick up the phone right now and urge your Senator to support Senate Rules Reform. Call 1-866-937-5062 or text FIXTHESENATE to 69866.

Here is a sample tweet to use on Twitter: Silent. Invisible. The shocking truth of the U.S. Senate today and why we fight for Senate rules reform: http://on.fb.me/RqcQW7 #fixtheSenate

Click to Tweet: http://clicktotweet.com/W5m_2

Send an email. Click here for a sample email you can use as a template.

Visit Fix the Senate Now and sign up for updates.

There is a Fix the Senate Now Facebook page. “In the US Senate, back room deals and filibuster rules allow a handful of senators to stop the rest from making any progress. Let’s fix the Senate, now.”

Follow @FixTheSenate on Twitter.


Member Organizations

Here is a list of organizations in the FixtheSenateNow.org coalition:

AAUW
Action for the Common Good
AFL-CIO
AFSCME
Alliance for Justice
Americans for Democratic Action
Association of Flight Attendants - CWA
Brennan Center for Justice
Business and Professional People for the Public Interest
Campaign for America’s Future
Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Science and Public Interest
Clean Water Action
Common Cause
CREDO
CREW
CWA
Daily Kos
Democracy 21
Demos
Fair Action Alliance
Feminist Majority
Friends of the Earth
Gamaliel
Greenpeace
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Jobs with Justice/American Rights at Work
League of Conservation Voters
League of Women Voters
LULAC
NAACP
National Action Network
National Council of Women's Organizations
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund
Natural Resources Defense Council
NEA
NOW
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Population Action International
Progressive Congress
Public Campaign
Public Citizen
SEIU
Sierra Club
Tides
TWU
UAW
UFCW
United Steelworkers
USAction
Voices for Progress
Woman's National Democratic Club
Women's Research & Education Institute

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:17 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos