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Obama Picks 3 for Top Appeals Court, Setting Up Battle

June 05, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Corrupt Legislature

From NYT:

In a formal Rose Garden ceremony normally reserved for Supreme Court nominees and prominent cabinet members, Mr. Obama announced plans to nominate three people to fill the remaining vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The president called on Republicans to abandon what he called partisan obstruction of his judicial nominees and approve his nominees quickly.

“This is not about principled opposition. It’s about partisan obstruction,” Mr. Obama said. “What’s happening now is unprecedented. For the good of the American people it has to stop.”

“What I’m doing today is my job,” Mr. Obama said as he announced the nominations. “What I need is the Senate to do its job.”

By nominating the judges as a group, the president is trying to restore what his allies consider to be ideological balance on a crucial court that has overturned some important parts of his first-term agenda. And he hopes to heighten public anger at Republicans for repeatedly using the threat of filibuster to block his choices for the cabinet and the courts.

The president named Cornelia T.L. Pillard, a law professor; Patricia Ann Millett, an appellate lawyer; and Robert L. Wilkins, a federal district judge, as his choices to fill the three open spots on the 11-member court. The three joined Mr. Obama in the Rose Garden on Tuesday morning.

Reid Outlines Filibuster Changes

January 23, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Corrupt Legislature

From Roll Call:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has outlined a set of changes to the Senate rules he would like to enact in the coming days, even as senators in both parties said negotiations continued between the Nevada Democrat and his Republican counterpart.

At Tuesday’s Democratic caucus luncheon, Reid presented a package that would eliminate filibusters on motions to proceed and require the minority to muster 41 votes in order to block other agenda items, among other things. Reid said he is prepared to move forward with a simple-majority vote if there’s no agreement with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on a separate compromise proposal.

Reid told reporters Tuesday afternoon that he hopes to have a bipartisan agreement on changes to the filibuster rule within the next 24 hours to 36 hours, but emphasized that he was prepared to use the blunt object known as the “nuclear” or “constitutional” option if needed.

“If not, we’re going to move forward on what I think needs to be done. The caucus will support me on that,” he said. When asked if that meant he would take action with 51 votes, the Nevada Democrat said, “yes.”

Obama Lays Out Second Term Agenda in Booklet, Download “A Plan for Jobs and Middle Class Security”

October 23, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Consumer Rights, Eco-Justice, Economic Development, Education, Housing, Immigration, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Poverty, Science/Technology, Workers' Rights

Download Obama’s Second Term Agenda Booklet here.

From The National Journal:

The Obama campaign plans on printing 3.5 million copies of the plan and it will be distributed to campaign field offices, Politico reports. The 20-page “Blueprint for America’s Future” booklet will be released at a campaign event in Florida on Tuesday morning.

Like the ad, the report highlights American energy production, improving education and private sector growth; continuing to strengthen the health care system and tax code; and protecting safety nets like Social Security.

Capitol Assets: Congress’s Wealthiest Shielded from Effects of Deep Recession

October 07, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Consumer Rights, Corrupt Legislature, Economic Terrorism, Intersectionality, Poverty, Workers' Rights

From WP:

The wealthiest one-third of lawmakers were largely immune from the Great Recession, taking the fewest financial hits and watching their investments quickly recover and rise to new heights. But more than 20 percent of the members of the current Congress — 121 lawmakers — appeared to be worse off in 2010 than they had been six years earlier, and 24 saw their reported wealth slide into negative territory.

Those findings emerge from an ongoing examination of congressional finances by The Washington Post, which analyzed thousands of financial disclosure forms and public records for all members of Congress.

Most members weathered the financial crisis better than the average American, who saw median household net worth drop 39 percent from 2007 to 2010. The median estimated wealth of members of the current Congress rose 5 percent during the same period, according to their reported assets and liabilities. The wealthiest one-third of Congress gained 14 percent.

Because lawmakers are allowed to report their holdings and debts in broad ranges, it is impossible for the public to determine their precise net worth. They also are not required to reveal the value of their homes, the salaries of their spouses or money kept in non-interest-bearing bank accounts and their congressional retirement plan.

Among the findings:

  • The estimated wealth of Republicans was 44 percent higher than Democrats in 2004, but that disparity has virtually disappeared.
  • The number of millionaires in Congress dropped after the Great Recession; the 253 who have served during the current session are the smallest group since 2004. The numbers are likely to be underestimated because lawmakers are not required to list their homes among their assets.
  • Between 2004 and 2010, 72 lawmakers appeared to have doubled their estimated wealth.
  • At least 150 lawmakers reported receiving more income from outside jobs and investments than from their congressional salaries of $174,000 for rank-and-file members.
  • Representatives in 2010 had a median estimated wealth of $746,000; senators had $2.6 million.
  • Since 2004, lawmakers reported more than 3,500 outside jobs paying their spouses more than $1,000 a year. The lawmakers are not required to report how much the spouses are paid or what they did for the money.
  • Lawmakers’ wealth is held in a variety of ways: 127 primarily in real estate, 117 in institutional funds, 7 in their spouses’ names, 51 in essentially cash, 36 in specific stocks and bonds, 32 in high-turnover trading, 30 in business ownership and 20 in agriculture. More than 40 had reported assets of $25,000 or less.

Does Mitt Romney Even Want to Be President?

September 21, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Economic Terrorism, Education, Immigration, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Poverty, Voting Rights, White Privilege

From The Nation:

That’s not just a rhetorical question: In Mitt Romney’s heart of hearts, maybe all he really wanted was the Republican nomination.

Every time Romney gets an opportunity to reset the narrative of the election, he makes some psychologically revealing mistake. Giving Clint Eastwood his spotlight, rattling a rubber saber over a tweet from the US embassy in Cairo while it was under attack, writing off half of all American voters as moochers—you only have to tilt your head to see each of these “gaffes” as a cry for help. And Republicans themselves are grumbling about Romney’s skimpy schedule of public events, where real voters might take his measure and enthusiasm for a ground campaign could be generated.

“There’s not really a campaign here,” one Republican close to GOP fundraisers complained to Real Clear Politics. “He’s getting ready for the debates, and he’s out fundraising. You’ve got enough money!” Lindsey Graham and Peggy Noonan have also bemoaned his semi-AWOL schedule.

I can think of three good reasons Mitt might be psychologically satisfied with attaining the GOP nomination alone: avenging his father, legitimizing his religion and, well, winning the Republican nomination is generally very good for business.

Republicans Block Veterans Jobs Bill

September 20, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Economic Terrorism, Intersectionality, Poverty

From WP:

The Senate blocked legislation Wednesday that would have established a $1 billion jobs program putting veterans back to work tending to the country’s federal lands and bolstering local police and fire departments.

Republicans said the spending authorized in the bill violated limits that Congress agreed to last year. Democrats fell two votes shy of the 60-vote majority needed to waive the objection, forcing the legislation back to committee.

Supporters loosely modeled their proposal after the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps used during the Great Depression to put people to work planting trees, building parks and constructing dams. They said the latest monthly jobs report, showing a nearly 11 percent unemployment rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, merited action from Congress.

Democratic lawmakers turned to the legislation shortly before they’ll adjourn for the finals weeks of this year’s election campaigns. The bill had little chance of passing the House this Congress, but it still allowed senators to appeal to a key voting bloc.

“(With) a need so great as unemployed veterans, this is not the time to draw a technical line on the budget,” said Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, the bill’s lead sponsor, who faces a competitive re-election battle.

Republicans said the effort to help veterans was noble, but the bill was flawed nevertheless.

Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said the federal government already has six job-training programs for veterans and there is no way to know how well they are working. He argued that making progress on the country’s debt was the best way to help veterans in the long-term.

Less than 50 Days to Go Before Election, House Republicans Plan Two Month Vacation, Leaving Key Bills Awaiting Action

September 17, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Consumer Rights, Corrupt Legislature, Economic Terrorism, Intersectionality, Poverty, Workers' Rights

From ThinkProgress:

House Republican Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced Friday that after next week, the House will stand in recess until November 13. His plan for a nearly two month vacation will undoubtedly allow more time for campaigning, but will leave several vital bills awaiting action.
Among the important legislation the House will likely not address before the November elections:

1. Violence Against Women Act re-authorization. Though a bipartisan Senate majority passed the a strong re-authorization bill in April, the Republican House leadership refused to allow a vote on the Senate version of the bill. The House passed a watered down version on a mostly-party lines vote, leaving victims to wait for House action.

2. The American Jobs Act. Republicans have been blocking President Obama’s jobs legislation for more than a year. Though House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) promised in 2010 that a GOP Congress would focus on job creation, he has blocked this bill’s immediate infrastructure investments, tax credits for working Americans and employers, and aid to state and local governments to prevent further layoffs of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public safety officials.

3. Tax cuts for working families. In July, the Senate passed a bill extending tax-cuts for the first $250,000 in annual income. The Republican House leadership has refused to consider the bill, holding it hostage to their demands for a full extension of Bush-era tax cuts for millionaires.

4. Veterans Job Corps Act. The Senate is currently considering bipartisan legislation to help America’s veterans find jobs. The Air Force Times reports that the Republican House has “shown no interest” in the legislation to support those who served the country.

5. Sequestration. A spokesman for Boehner said earlier this week that stopping budget cuts he voted for last August “topped our July agenda and remains atop our agenda for September.” While House Republicans have complained about the imminent spending reductions and passed a bill that would require President Obama to find offsets for spending cuts they don’t like, Republican Leader Canter could not name a single compromise he was willing to make to get a deal.

6. Farm Bill. Despite strong support for a 5-year farm bill from even conservative groups like the Farm Bureau Association — the House leadership has not scheduled a vote on the bill. The current law expires September 30. Without passage, 90 percent of the work of the Department of Agriculture could be defunded.

7. Wind tax credit. The Senate may act next week to renew an expiring wind energy tax credit. Despite bipartisan support — including from original author Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Examiner notes that the House is unlikely to pass the renewal. Despite GOP calls for energy independence, the expiration has threatened the wind energy industry and already led to job cuts.

Unhappy Anniversary: Republicans Have Blocked The American Jobs Act For One Year

September 08, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Consumer Rights, Corrupt Legislature, Economic Terrorism

From ThinkProgress:

On September 8, 2011, President Obama laid out a series of policy proposals known collectively as the American Jobs Act. The plan included stimulus spending in the form of immediate infrastructure investments, tax credits for working Americans and employers to encourage consumer spending and job growth, and efforts to shore up state and local budgets to prevent further layoffs of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public safety officials.

The American Jobs Act never became law, however, because Republicans opposed it from the start, blasting it as another form of “failed stimulus” that wouldn’t help the economy. (They ignored the fact that the first “failed stimulus,” the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, wasn’t a failure at all.) One month later, the GOP blocked the bill in the Senate, preventing the creation of more than a million jobs and the added growth that multiple economists predicted would occur if the bill passed:


–Moody’s Analytics estimated the American Jobs Act would create 1.9 million jobs and add two percent to gross domestic product.

–The Economic Policy Institute estimated it would create 2.6 million jobs and protect an addition 1.6 million existing jobs.

–Macroeconomic Advisers predicted it would create 2.1 million jobs and boost GDP by 1.5 percent.

–Goldman Sachs estimated it would add 1.5 percent to GDP.

The American economy has continued to recover since the American Jobs Act failed. It added 96,000 jobs last month, according to [yesterday's] Bureau of Labor Statistics report, making August the 30th consecutive month in which the private sector has grown. But growth could have been faster: the public sector shed 7,000 jobs in August, adding to the more 700,000 it has lost since 2009. That includes hundreds of thousands of teachers and educators, firefighters, and police officers. Had the public sector spent the last three years growing at its previous rate, unemployment would be at least a full point lower than it is now.