Snark: to annoy or irritate

"Snark" has been in English language dictionaries since at least 1906, and Lewis Carroll used the word to describe a mythological animal in his poem, The Hunting of the Snark (1874). Most recently, the word has come to characterize snappish, sarcastic, or mean-spirited comments or actions directed at those who annoy or irritate us.

At first, this blog was just going be a place to gripe, but because it's more satisfying to take action than it is to merely complain, now most of the posts/reposts suggest ways to get involved in solving problems.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tell the EPA: Protect Our Air

Take action!
A message from CREDO Action:

How can it be that on some days, the air in rural Wyoming is smoggier than the worst days in Los Angeles?
Oil and gas drilling in 30 states releases a slew of dangerous and toxic air pollution like smog-forming ozone, benzene and formaldehyde.
Despite the serious dangers, the clean air rules governing drilling pollution haven't been updated since the 1980's. And many of the worst chemicals still aren't regulated at all.
The EPA has proposed long-overdue updates to oil and gas air pollution rules and is accepting public comments until November 30th. Amidst mounting industry pressure, and mounting political pressure from within the Obama administration to cave to polluters ahead of the 2012 election, it's really important that the EPA hears our strong support.
With the rapid expansion of oil and gas drilling — especially the controversial gas drilling process known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — these rules need to be implemented without delay.
But the EPA has been under enormous pressure to delay or derail one clean air rule after another, as the agency works through the backlog of legally required clean air updates left in the wake of eight years of inaction and backsliding from the Bush Administration.
Unfortunately, many of President Obama's advisers have gotten into the game too. This was detailed in a blockbuster article in this week's New York Times, which chronicled the decision by President Obama and others to torpedo the EPA's life-saving ozone rule.1
Many of these oil and gas drilling facilities operate in close proximity to homes or schools, where residents report severe headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing, nosebleeds, rashes and even trouble walking or speaking.
The proposed rules are an important first step to limit toxic air pollution, using cost-effective, readily available technology. Unfortunately, the rules fail to address methane released from oil and gas, the most potent greenhouse gas pollutant — and should be strengthened to do so.
The oil and gas industry has been unaccountable for their pollution for far too long.As the President continues to approve expansion of oil and gas drilling, we need to show that the EPA has strong support for this rule to limit some of its toxic effects.
Thanks for fighting for clean air.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. "Re-election Strategy Is Tied to a Shift on Smog," The New York Times, November 16, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

5 FOX Myths

A message from

Americans are talking about the economy—a lot. They're talking about Occupy Wall Street and the Super Committee, about an economy that only works for the 1% and about unemployment.

But thanks to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, lots of talk about the economy means lots of misinformation about the economy.

So if you're spending this Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family, and want to be ready with the facts to gently correct any myths you hear (they are family and friends, after all), we put together a short guide with five common myths you might hear and easy-to-remember facts to respond to them.

Remember that you're the most important source of information for your family and friends, so check it out and then share it on Facebook or Twitter, or just forward this email. Happy Thanksgiving, and of course, thanks for all you do.

MYTH #1: The congressional Super Committee failed because both sides refuse to compromise.

REALITY: The Super Committee failed because Republicans' number one, non-negotiable priority is to protect millionaires and billionaires from paying even one more penny in taxes.1 Democrats repeatedly offered to make deep spending cuts—far deeper than most progressives would like—in exchange for raising taxes on the wealthy and closing corporate loopholes, only to be refused again and again.2 So even though the vast majority of Americans say they want to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits, and raise taxes on the rich and corporations,3 that won't happen until Republicans put aside their extremist stance.

MYTH #2: Nobody knows what Occupy Wall Street is about.

REALITY: Occupy Wall Street may not have a formal list of demands, but anyone who's been paying attention understands the core problems that occupiers are protesting—that corporations have far too much power in our political system, that Wall Street banks crashed our economy but were never held accountable, and that the richest 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans—156 million people—combined.4

MYTH #3: Occupiers should stop protesting and just get a job.

REALITY: As anybody who's looked for a job in the last few years knows, there just aren't jobs out there. That's a big part of why occupiers are protesting. In September, there were four times as many unemployed people as job openings.5 And for those who are lucky enough to find a job, median wages today are lower than they were a decade ago.6

MYTH #4: Occupy Wall Street is intent on provoking violence, especially against banks and the police.

REALITY: Occupations across the country have committed themselves to nonviolent protest, in the greatest traditions of protest movements. Some of their protests have been met with acts of police violence—tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets7—but in many cases, protesters have reminded police that the police officers are part of the 99%, too.8 And in the few cases when people have shown up at Occupy demonstrations and committed acts of vandalism, other protesters have even repaired their acts of vandalism.9

MYTH #5: The biggest crisis facing our country is out of control government spending.

REALITY: The two biggest drivers of our deficit—by far—are the economic crash and the Bush tax cuts.10We have millions of people out of work, corporations hoarding cash, and factories sitting idle. If we put all those people back to work—rebuilding infrastructure, educating our children, and researching new technologies—it'll shrink the deficit and make our economy stronger for the long haul. And we can easily afford it if we make sure the rich—who are taking home a larger percentage of income than any time since 191711—pay their fair share.


1. "No, 'both sides' aren't equally to blame for supercommittee failure," The Washington Post, November 21, 2011

2. "Wonkbook: In supercommittee, Dems moved right and Republicans moved righter," The Washington Post, November 22, 2011

3. "CNN Poll: What The Super Committee Produced Is...Exactly What We Don't Want," Talking Points Memo, November 21, 2011

"Medicare, Social Security & The Deficit," National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, September 2011

4. "Michael Moore says 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined," Politifact Wisconsin, March 10, 2011

5. "Fact: 4 job seekers per opening in U.S.," CNNSeptember 12, 2011

6. "Median household income," Wikipedia, Accessed November 22, 2011

7. "Occupy movement: police reaction in pictures," The Guardian, November 21, 2011

8. "Occupy Demonstrators Mark Two Months of Protests," NPR, November 17, 2011

9. "Occupy Oakland protesters assist in cleanup efforts," News 10 ABC, November 3, 2011

10. "Economic Downturn and Bush Policies Continue to Drive Large Projected Deficits," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 10, 2011

11. "Income Inequality Is At An All-Time High: STUDY," The Huffington Post, September 14, 2009
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 5 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What Free Speech Looks Like

Here's what free speech looks like in America today:
 Woman sprayed directly in face.

Stop Attacking Protesters

A message from CREDO Action:Take action!
This is outrageous and unacceptable.
Last week at the University of California at Davis, campus police dressed in riot gear sprayed nonviolent protesters with chemical agents. A dramatic video captures the scene. The protesters kneeling. Arms linked. They posed no threat to the officers. The officers standing above them. Dousing them with pepper spray.1
Social movements in this country have a long tradition of using civil disobedience to challenge injustice. Protesters with a deep commitment to social change peacefully disobey an order to disperse and the police must make mass arrests in order to end the protest.
What the authorities at the University of California have done is employ the use of chemical agents to stop protesters from exercising their First Amendment rights. They clearly fear that the size, commitment and growing power of the Occupy protests is so great that they will fill up their jails — not on one day, but every day — if they want to put a stop to the movement.
Outrageously, the chancellor of the University of California at Davis, Linda P.B. Katehi, initially defended the actions of the officers but today finally placed the chief of the campus police on administrative leave pending a review. The UC Davis faculty association is calling for Katehi's resignation. 2
This is not just happening at the campus in Davis. In Berkeley, Robert Hass, a 70-year-old former poet laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner, described how he and his wife were beaten by police while peacefully assembling in solidarity with campus Occupy protesters.
In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Hass notes that the violent actions against peaceful protesters on the Berkeley campus are thrown into particularly high relief as the protests there are taking place where the Free Speech Movement was launched almost 50 years ago, quoting Mario Savio's famous call to action: "There is a time ... when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part." 3
The University of California Board of Regents has ultimate responsibility for the actions of authorities at all University of California campuses, including Davis and Berkeley. The president and chairperson of the this board must take decisive action to protect the First Amendment rights of student, faculty and the campus communities — rights that are so clearly under violent attack.
From Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King, Jr. to Mario Savio, nonviolent civil disobedience is a time-honored form of protest. If authorities allow police in riot gear to simply use chemical agents and violence, instead of arrests, to remove peaceful protesters who respectfully decline to follow an order to disperse, then they will not only be taking away our fundamental rights, they will implicitly be encouraging more violent forms of resistance.
The community response to the events in Davis have been overwhelming. In the coming days we may see resignations at the highest level. But what's at stake is not just the job of the chancellor of the University of California at Davis or its campus police chief. It's about whether the right to free speech on campus will endure. That's why we need the president and the chairperson of the UC Board of Regents to protect the rights of protesters on every UC campus, and to set a precedent for universities not just in California but nationwide.
Thank you for joining me in taking action today.
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis. YouTube. November 18, 2011.
2. UC Davis Pepper-Spraying: Police Chief Put On Leave, Chancellor To Speak. NPR. November 21, 2011.
3. Poet-Bashing Police. New York Times. November 20, 2011.

John Pike's Casual Stroll of Shame

The UC-Davis pepper-spraying cop strolls through art, entertainment, and history.

Cut Health Care for Congress

A message from
Below is an email from Michael Morrill, a MoveOn member who created a petition at that is getting a lot of attention and may be of interest to you. 

In April, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid. And this month, even Democrats on the so-called Super Committee have offered deep cuts to these vital programs.
Essentially, Republicans in Congress are telling senior citizens and the poor that tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires are more important than providing a health care safety net for our most vulnerable.
But did you know that members of Congress get great taxpayer-funded health care? In fact, they have one of the best health care plans in the world.
It strikes us as the height of hypocrisy to be accepting government-provided, taxpayer-subsidized health insurance while denying seniors, the disabled, and the poor the basic coverage that Medicare and Medicaid provide.
That's why we're circulating this petition demanding that members of Congress who voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid stop accepting taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for themselves. If they believe our most vulnerable citizens should buy insurance on the corporate, for-profit market, shouldn't they do the same?
The petition is addressed to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and says:
If you voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid, you must stop accepting taxpayer-funded health care for yourself and your family.
Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:
–Michael Morrill
The text above was written by Michael Morrill, not by MoveOn staff, and MoveOn is not responsible for the content. 

Occupy the Highway

A message from
Last week, a courageous group left the Occupy Wall Street camp in New York City and started marching to Washington, DC. Their goal was to bring the outrage and energy of the 99% directly to Capitol Hill. They're marching to call out the congressional Super Committee, which could cut a deal before Wednesday slashing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to protect tax breaks for the 1%.

The marchers' stories are powerful, and Congress needs to hear them before they slash programs that so many people rely on.

So we met up with the marchers yesterday and filmed a short video to help spread their story. It's critical that as many people as possible see this, as the Super Committee nears its critical deadline. Can you share it right now with your friends and family?

If enough of us share this video we can help the march get more attention, get more coverage in the media, and ultimately, put more pressure on Congress and the Super Committee. 

After marching nearly 200 miles through the winter cold, they'll cross through Baltimore and prepare for their final push into Washington on Tuesday, just before the Super Comittee's deadline. Dozens of supporters have joined the march along the way. But it's up to all the rest of us to help share their story and make sure that by the time they get to Washington, Congress—and the rest of the country—is expecting them.

Thanks for all you do.

–Justin, Elena, Laura, Robin, and the rest of the MoveOn team

Friday, November 18, 2011

Where is the ACLU? Where are the Lawyers?

For weeks, after reading reports of the (name a city) police officers attacking and arresting Occupy protesters, I've wondered about the possible lawsuits against the city in question.

Where is the ACLU?  To answer my own question, I Googled "ACLU" and "Occupy" and found several informative sources. Here's an example:

Where are the lawyers?  I'm a person who doesn't hold negative attitudes toward lawyers. So, lawyers:  Wouldn't a bunch of tort claims have any kind of impact on a city government? If each lawyer in an Occupied city took on only one pro bono case of an unprovoked attack on an Occupier, what would/could happen?  

To Occupiers: collect and organize your evidence. If your city's Occupy Movement doesn't yet have an evidence website where witnesses can post details of arrests, links to videos they've taken, contact information, etc., start one now.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Occupiers Swarm Brooklyn Bridge

Can't Stop the 99% Movement

A message from Democracy for America:

They can take away the tarps and the tents. They can arrest peaceful protesters and shut down the occupations. But they can't stop Occupy Wall Street and the 99% movement.

In recent days, cities and politicians acting on behalf of the 1% have shut down or raided occupations in Oakland, CA to Burlington, VT, from Portland, OR to Chapel Hill, NC. And, of course, they raided New York's Zuccotti Park -- the place this movement started -- in the middle of the night while everyone was sleeping.

But just as no one person or organization leads the movement, no one mayor -- or even 100 mayors -- can stop it. The future of the movement is in the hands of the 99%, not the hands of those who stand against us.

So what's next? As the movement continues beyond sustaining 24-hour encampments and into other avenues of direct action, we're looking for your ideas on how to keep taking it to the next level.

Please take a minute to vote on some possible actions we're considering -- and provide your own ideas right now.

We'll share your ideas with our friends organizing and shaping future actions with Occupy Wall Street participants on the ground. And, of course, your feedback will guide Democracy for America's campaign supporting the 99% movement as we keep moving America forward.

Make no mistake about it. The 99% movement has already created a seismic shift in our national debate -- from austerity and cuts -- to jobs, inequality and our broken economic system.

The increasing attempts to shut it down prove that it's working. The message has broken through and the 1% are afraid of what we may accomplish. Let's make sure we do our part to keep the pressure up.

Please vote and voice your thoughts now.

Thank you for everything you do to stand up for the 99%.

- Charles Chamberlain, Political Director
Democracy for America

Democracy for America relies on you and the people-power of more than one million members to fund the grassroots organizing and training that delivers progressive change on the issues that matter. Please Contribute Today and support our mission.
Paid for by Democracy for America, and not authorized by any candidate. Contributions to Democracy for America are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

If Just One Democrat Caves

A message from

All it takes is one Democrat on the supercommittee caving and Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security could be gutted, and there is a very real chance of that happening right now.

If one Democrat out of six total on the supercommittee goes along with the Republican's plan for massive cuts to crucial programs, it passes. Then their proposal gets fast-tracked through Congress, without amendments, filibusters, or other good ways to stop it. That's why we have no choice; we have to pull out all the stops over the next six days to stop a bad deal and protect the 99%. 

We are directly lobbying the Democrats on the supercommittee to make sure they don't strike a bad deal. MoveOn leaders in Massachusetts are going right after Sen. Kerry, who amazingly may be the Democrat most likely to cave.1 The phones are ringing off the hook in all of the committee members' offices. And we are keeping the pressure on the ground in all of the supercommittee members' states and district with our "We are the 99%" events today. 

But we also want to launch polls in battleground states to prove how deeply unpopular the Republicans' proposal is. And we already have a TV ad in the can, ready to go.

The reality is that we can't do all we can with the ad and the polling unless we can raise $200,000 by Friday. Can you chip in $5 right now to help us reach our goal? 

It's not just potential cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that have us concerned. Things have gotten much worse over the last week.

The New York Times reported this week that members of the congressional supercommittee are looking for ways to agree to deep cuts to social programs now but defer any decisions about how to raise taxes until next year.2

That's a recipe for total disaster. Congress already slashed programs that the middle class relies on by almost $1 trillion this past summer.3 What's needed now is for the rich and corporations to pay their fair share—not for the 99% to suffer more so the 1% can keep their tax cuts.

The only way that we can stop a bad deal from happening is with a massive push to pressure the six Democrats on the supercommittee not to cave. Everything we have planned—calls, events, lobbying, TV ads, and polls—costs money and we make it happen it without your help. We need to raise $200,000 by Friday to pull it off.

Can you chip in $5 right now?
Thanks for all you do. 
–Daniel, Amy, Julia, Elena, and the rest of the team
1. "Debt panel gives Kerry chance to shine," The Hill, August 11, 2011
2. "Deficit Panel Seeks to Defer Details on Raising Taxes," The New York Times, November 13, 2011
3. "Budget Control Act of 2011," Wikipedia, accessed November 14, 2011
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 5 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. 

Send a Pro-Choice Message

Vote Yes ButtonYour action is urgently needed. Please tell President Barack Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius not to give in to demands from the Conference of Catholic Bishops that would expand the religious exemption and deny birth control coverage with no-copays for millions of women.

One of the most popular benefits of health care reform, the Affordable Care Act, is preventive care for women – requiring health insurers to cover birth control, mammograms, and PAP tests without any co-pays. Voters resoundingly support this benefit, including 77% of Catholic women.
Yet this benefit could be lost for millions of Americans and their families, and the decision will be made by the Obama administration in the next few days. Please take action now by sending a message to President Obama and to pro-choice members of Congress, asking them to weigh in with the administration.
The Catholic bishops want to exempt the health insurance of every religiously-connected institution from this requirement, and millions of Americans would lose this benefit – students, teachers and staff at religiously-connected schools and universities; social workers, nurses, and other staff (and their families) at religiously-affiliated hospitals that employ thousands of people, federally-funded social service organizations like Catholic Charities, and many more – regardless of the religious beliefs of those employees and students.
This coverage was recommended by the non-partisan Institute of Medicine, and there is no reason to take this benefit away from millions of Americans. Your action right now will make a difference.
Ellie Smeal
Ellie Smeal
Feminist Majority Header

Support No-Cost Birth Control

NARAL Pro-Choice America

Can you imagine if your employer were allowed to tell you your insurance plan couldn't cover contraception?
Opponents of no-cost birth control are working hard to make this happen.
Anti-contraception groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, are leading the charge against the health-care law’s requirement that women receive access to prescription birth control with no copay.
We need to stand strong in support of no-cost birth control.Please send your emergency message to the White House today. The White House will make its decision soon, so we need your message by Friday, November 18.
In the past few weeks, bishops have mobilized thousands of people to demand a policy that allows certain religious employers to opt out of the requirement to cover birth control at no cost.1
If the anti-birth-control forces succeed, many women who work for a corporation — like a hospital or a university — will be denied no — cost birth control. I'm talking about professors, nurses, and administrative staff who rely on their employer for their insurance — just like millions of us.
Birth control is basic health care for women. It's so integral to mainstream culture that 98 percent of women use birth control at some point in their lives. That's nearly all women.
Shouldn't women who happen to work at a Catholic hospital or religious college have the same access to affordable birth control that millions of other women soon will have?
The Obama administration is being flooded with letters from people who oppose birth control, so your message today will make a big difference.
Nancy Keenan
My best,

Nancy Keenan
President, NARAL Pro-Choice America

1 "Health secretary criticizes anti-abortion advocates for opposing birth control access," The Florida Independent, October 6, 2011

Jobs, Not Cuts!

AAUW Action Network
Oppose the "Balanced Budget Amendment"
The House of Representatives will vote this week on a balanced budget amendment (H.J.Res.2) to the U.S. Constitution. While this doesn't sound so bad on paper, an amendment like this would actually hurt millions of ordinary Americans and have a lasting, detrimental impact on America's economy. Although AAUW recognizes that these are tough budgetary times, a balanced budget should not come on the backs of vulnerable Americans.
CALL TODAY and tell your representative: Oppose the "Balanced Budget Amendment," which would hurt millions of Americans and further weaken our economy!
This amendment would threaten our economy's ability to recover from recession and volatility, create serious problems for the solvency of Social Security, and very likely force enormous cuts in programs that millions of Americans depend on, such as welfare, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Additionally, the amendment would impose drastic cuts to federal student aid. Due to the recession, more students are seeking aid and additional people are returning to school to retrain, making additional Pell grant investments crucial.
According to many renowned economists (including several Nobel Laureates), amending the U.S. Constitution to require annual spending be offset by annual revenue and that a supermajority of both houses vote to raise the federal debt, is unsound economic policy that will have harmful unintended consequences. 
CALL TODAY! You can view your representative's contact infomration by visiting AAUW's Two-Minute Activist, then typing in your zip code.
Remember: You can always help strengthen AAUW's efforts to protect critical government programs by making a tax-deductible donation to AAUW’s Public Policy Fund!
Double your impact! Tweet, Facebook, and forward this action alert to friends and family. 

Follow AAUW on Twitter, and read our award-winning AAUW Dialog Blog for discussion, information, and advocacy for women and girls!
General AAUW questions? Please contact or call 800/326-2289 between 10 am and 5 pm Eastern, Monday through Friday.

Fracking in the Delaware River Basin

Don't frack the Delaware!
A message from CREDO Action:  The fracking boom is rapidly expanding, endangering waters supplies around the country with this controversial method of gas drilling.

One of the largest watersheds currently at risk is the Delaware River Basin, which provides drinking water to 15 million people in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
On Monday, the Delaware River Basin Commission will vote on a plan to open the Delaware watershed to fracking.
President Obama has a vote on the commission, along with the four state governors. Can you make a quick call to urge President Obama to reject this plan?
There is simply no doubt that fracking is seriously dangerous. The Department of Energy's fracking panel, despite significant industry ties, announced just last week that as currently practiced, fracking poses "a real risk of serious environmental consequences."1
And a separate government investigation found high levels of cancer-causing compounds, and chemicals commonly used in hydraulic fracturing, in an aquifer in a heavily fracked area of Wyoming where residents have been complaining of water pollution for almost a decade.2
If they aren't rejected, the Delaware River Basin Commission rules would allow nearly 20,000 wells to be drilled and fracked in the Delaware watershed.
This vote could set a precedent for the rapid expansion of fracking across the country. So we need to show strong, opposition from across the country to the irresponsible, dangerous expansion of natural gas drilling.
Thank you for fighting dangerous fracking.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Help Defeat the Radical Right

A message from PFAW:
The 2012 election cycle is well underway, with the effort to recall right-wing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker officially kicking off TODAY and the Republican presidential candidates duking it out for the title of Biggest Extremist.

The GOP presidential candidates spent the last debate advocating for “good” torture like waterboarding. Imagine what radical policies the Tea Party candidates for Senate and House will pursue!
The GOOD News: the Voters Alliance has already raised nearly HALF the $25,000 in early money we need for key, make-or-break 2012 political campaigns. But the BAD NEWS is we haven’t heard from YOU yet. Won’t you please help us get the rest of the way there by donating now?
Today we need core supporters more than ever. Here’s why:
  • Early money is the key to building support for our progressive candidates.
  • The PFAW Voters Alliance is supporting progressive champions like Tammy Baldwin (WI),Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH) in key battleground Senate races. Progressive champions like these are our last, best hope to overcome unprecedented Republican obstruction in the Senate, rein in Wall Street and corporate greed, and level the playing field for the middle class.
  • The right-wing attack machine is ALREADY on the air against our progressive candidates -- Karl Rove’s corporate-funded front group Crossroads GPS is running an ad in Massachusetts right now smearing Elizabeth Warren.
We must expose the smear tactics and lies of the Radical Right and support our progressive candidates! Please make your online gift to the PFAW Voters Alliance right now.

Randy Borntrager, PAC Director
P.S. Because of election laws, your contribution to the PAC allows us to do critical, specific work that PFAW cannot do with other types of donations. That’s why it’s so important that you take this opportunity to make a special PAC contribution today to help us elect progressive champions and keep the Right out of office.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Occupy Gettysburg Address

"Elevenscore and fifteen years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal. Now we are occupied with another civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. 
We are met on a thousand battlefields of that war, from New York City to Oakland, California. We may eventually dedicate these fields to those who were vilified, injured, and even gave their lives that our nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, because no one political or economic organization should have the power to stop us. No corporate or political entity can dedicate, can consecrate, can hallow these Occupied grounds. The brave people who now struggle here are consecrating them far above the corporations' poor power to add or detract. 
We hope the world will note and long remember what we say here, and, hopefully, it will never forget what we do here. It is for all the people of the world to remain dedicated to the never-ending work which we and our brothers and sisters around the world have thus far so nobly advanced. 
It is for all the people of the world to be dedicated to the great task before us--to pledge increased devotion to our cause, even if some may give the last full measure of devotion.  We here highly resolve that any of our vilified, injured, and dead shall not suffer in vain, that this nation under the power of its own people shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."
--Cheryl Lyda, 11-11-2011

Don't Cut Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security

Take action!
A message from CREDO Action:
The deficit deal Republicans fear the most is the one they already cut when they created the Super Committee.

If the Super Committee fails to pass a deficit reduction bill, a number of budget cuts will automatically be triggered. These cuts, which include defense spending but spare Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits, are much less damaging that what's on the table.
All the Democrats need to do to save our social safety net is stand strong.
But according to recent reports, Democrats on the Super Committee have floated a proposal that would not only make deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, it would also pave the way for the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to be made permanent.1
It's simply unconscionable.
Paul Krugman summed up the situation nicely when he wrote:
I thought I had worked out all the worst-case scenarios for the supercommittee (there was never a best-case). But this is even worse than my worst imagining: a deal to undermine key social insurance programs in return for a promise that Congress will come up with a plan for raising revenue at some future date. If you think that promise has any credibility whatsoever — if you have any doubts that the end result would be to gut Social Security and actually cut taxes for the wealthy — I have this Nigerian bank account that can be yours if you send me $100,000 in expenses.2

This is not mere pessimism from Mr. Krugman. Not only are the Democrats apparently poised to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits in return for promised but unspecified tax increases, under this proposal the tax reform in the House would be run by Republican ideologues, and in Senate would be determined in a committee chaired by Sen. Max Baucus, the Democratic senator most responsible for the Bush tax cuts.
The Democrats are structurally in a position of strength. Right now the best scenario would be for the Super Committee to deadlock, or barring that, for the Senate as a whole to reject a terrible deal.
Let's remember that Democrats still have majority control of the Senate.
In the face of massive unemployment, rampant foreclosures, a sputtering economy and widespread anger that the country is systematically prioritizing the needs of the ultra-rich and wealthy corporations over the needs of the other 99% of us, it should be easy for Democrats to reject a plan that makes it harder and more expensive for seniors and the less fortunate to get medical care or pay for their basic living expenses.
But the national discussion has gotten so warped, some are calling for benefit cuts to social insurance programs in the name of shared sacrifice as though the middle class and the working poor aren't already paying their fair share and suffering the most.
It's long past time to roll back the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest and ended corporate handouts. We don't have to pay for it by throwing the poor, seniors and women under the bus with benefit cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. "Deficit Panel Seeks to Defer Details on Raising Taxes," Robert Pear, New York Times, Nov. 13, 2011
2. "Superfraud," Paul Krugman, New York Times, Nov. 14, 2011