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.


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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Maddow Features VanderSloot Story


Progressive talk superstar Rachel Maddow reported on Glenn Greenwald’s Frank VanderSloot story last night.
Jody May-Chang writes over at her site,”Rachel did a brilliant job of describing just how Melaleuca’s CEO, Frank VanderSloot, has used his power and wealth to silence his critics, like the bloggers at 43rd State Blues, The Idaho Agenda and recently my four year-old posts on my former blog PrideDEPOT.com.”
You can watch the segment below.

http://idahoagenda.com/2012/02/21/greenwalds-vandersloot/

Monday, February 20, 2012

Billionaire Romney Donor

Frank VanderSloot, left, and Mitt Romney
VanderSloot may be one of the reasons Romney doesn't appear overly-concerned about his inability to connect with voters. Between VanderSloot and the LDS Church--not to mention his own fortune--Romney has enough $$ to buy the election. Is the fix already in?


Frank VanderSloot is an Idaho billionaire and the CEO of Melaleuca, Inc., a controversial billion-dollar-a-year company which peddles dietary supplements and cleaning products; back in 2004, Forbes, echoing complaints to government agencies, described the company as “a pyramid selling organization, built along the lines of Herbalife and Amway.” VanderSloot has long used his wealth to advance numerous right-wing political causes. Currently, he is the national finance co-chair of the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, and his company has become one of the largest donors ($1 million) to the ostensibly “independent” pro-Romney SuperPAC, Restore Our Future. Melaleuca’s get-rich pitches have in the past caused Michigan regulators to take action, resulting in the company’s entering into a voluntary agreement to “not engage in the marketing and promotion of an illegal pyramid”‘; it entered into a separate voluntary agreement with the Idaho attorney general’s office, which found that “certain independent marketing executives of Melaleuca” had violated Idaho law; and the Food and Drug Administration previously accused Melaleuca of deceiving consumers about some of its supplements.
Read the entire article at Salon.com:  http://www.salon.com/2012/02/19/billionaire_romney_donor_uses_threats_to_silence_critics/

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Save the Bees

Take Action!
A message from CREDO Action:

Since 2006, U.S. honey bee populations have been in precipitous decline, with some estimates suggesting losses as high as 30% per year.1 While that's terrible, the problem is far greater than just the destruction of a species. Without bees, a big piece of our food supply is in serious danger. Pollination by honey bees is key in cultivating the crops that produce a full one-third of our food.
Scientists have been scrambling to understand the crisis — termed Colony Collapse Disorder — but have yet to find a single, definitive cause. There are likely multiple interacting causes, and mounting evidence suggests that one widely used class of pesticides may be a critical factor.
One such chemical, called clothianidin, is produced by the German corporation Bayer CropScience. It is used as a treatment on crop seeds, including corn and canola, and works by expressing itself in the plants' pollen and nectar. Not coincidentally, these are some of honey bees' favorite sources of food.
Clothianidin was approved by the EPA in 2010 — but now the EPA is deciding whether to renew this approval. The deadline to submit a comment is Tuesday.
Shockingly, no major independent study has verified the safety of this pesticide. While clothianidin has been used on corn — the largest crop in the U.S. — since 2003, it was officially approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 on the basis of a single study, conducted by Bayer. However, leaked documents show that the study was actually debunked by the agency's own scientists, so the pesticide was effectively approved with no scientific backing.2
It is outrageous that the EPA is putting a vital species, the livelihoods of farmers and beekeepers, and our very food supply at risk just so Bayer can peddle its pesticide.
Last year, CREDO delivered more than 200,000 petition signatures urging the EPA to ban clothianidin. Now that its approval is up for review, this is a crucial opportunity to protect bees.
When clothianidin first came to market, there was little or no scientific review of its effect on the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allowed "conditional registration" in 2003 but requested additional study to establish the safety of the chemical. Bayer, the producer of the chemical, conducted one such study, and without public notice, the EPA granted unconditional use in early 2010.
But leaked EPA documents3 expose a more sordid story. Agency scientists who reviewed Bayer's study determined that the evidence was by no means sound, and even downgraded the study to a level at which it should not have been allowed as the basis for an unconditional approval of the pesticide.
Additional independent studies have shown that neonicotinoid pesticides like clothianidin are highly toxic to honey bees, providing compelling evidence that they should not continue to be approved by the EPA.
This appears to be a case of the EPA catering to the needs of a large chemical corporation at the expense of a lynchpin species in our ecosystem. France, Italy, Slovenia, and Germany — the home of Bayer — have already banned clothianidin.
The stakes are simply too high to continue the use of this chemical in the absence of any scientifically verified evidence that it is safe to use.
Thanks for working to protect bees.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Friday, February 17, 2012

"Blunt Amendment" Update

A vote on the Blunt amendment, which would allow all employers to deny their employees access to ANY form of health care they claimed a personal "moral" objection to, has been pushed back until after next week. 

35,000 PFAW supporters have already signed our petition to stop that and similar bills. We now have another week to DOUBLE that number -- will you help us? 

Please sign the petition now and tell the Religious Right they are not above the rules.
 

Yesterday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) held a sham hearing about the contraception debate that was dominated by male, religious conservatives. 

Another desperate attempt to frame their culture war on women's health as a fight for "religious liberty," the title of the hearing even included the question, "Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion?" But even more outrageous, in a hearing about women's access to preventative healthcare, only two of the ten witnesses were women. On the first panel, exactly zero witnesses were women. 

Three Democratic committee members walked out in protest, while one right-wing member, Congressman Walberg (R-MI) argued the contraception rule would lead to the collapse of America by quoting Stalin! This is what we're up against. 

Please sign the petition now and help spread the word. Thanks! 

-- Ben Betz, Online Strategy Manager 


Phony Religious Liberty Argument


A message from PFAW:

Republicans are trying to attach an amendment to the highway funding bill this week that could deny countless women and men access to all sorts of lifesaving healthcare, simply based on the stated beliefs of their employers. 

The Right is claiming to stand up for the religious liberty of employers, but this attack is really meant to unravel healthcare reform from within. They want to give employers the power to impose their own religious beliefs on their employees, getting in between Americans and their doctors and taking life and death decisions away from the people who should be making them. 

The vote in the Senate this week is just the start. Republican leaders in both the Senate and the House have signaled that this is an election year fight they want to have, and they will be pushing for such utterly extreme legislation repeatedly. 

Tell them, "NO." Join our emergency petition now to stop far-right congressmen from giving your employer the power to deny you important healthcare.
 

Imagine your employer could deny you access to healthcare altogether on the grounds that their religion was opposed to modern medicine and they believed prayer was the best medicine. No exaggeration -- that's how far this amendment by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) goes. 

The Obama administration announced a reasonable accommodation on this issue, providing that in the Affordable Care Act mandate for contraception coverage, religiously affiliated institutions that object to contraception as a matter of religious doctrine did not have to pay for that coverage for their employees -- instead, insurance companies would cover the cost. That compromise satisfied the majority of those critical of the mandate before it included that exemption, and has been widely hailed as striking the right balance between religious liberty and women's access to important healthcare. 

The GOP and its Religious Right allies have not only moved the goal post with their new overreaching proposal, they have abandoned any pretense that their concern was ever really "religious liberty." This is about the Right's ongoing war on women's health ... about primarily male lawmakers and institutions making decisions for women about their bodies ... about giving employers undue power over their employees' lives ... about granting special privileges to the Religious Right that says the rules shouldn't apply to them ... and it's about trying to destroy healthcare reform. 

Tell Republicans you aren't buying their phony "religious liberty" argument. Speak out and make sure Congress stops these attacks on Americans' healthcare. 

Thank you for your activism. The country has never needed it more. 

--Ben Betz, Online Strategy Manager


P.S. This is one more example of how far the Right is willing to go in its anti-choice zealotry. The right-wing decision makers inside Susan G. Komen for the Cure were willing to deny millions of women access to breast cancer screenings in order to hurt Planned Parenthood ... now Republican lawmakers are attacking all Americans' basic access to healthcare and rights so they can deny women contraception. Don't let them.

Extend Emergency Unemployment Benefits

Take Action!A message from CREDO Action:  We're still in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Jobs are scarce, and unemployment is still sky-high.

But Congress is mired in negotiations about extending emergency federal unemployment insurance, which is set to expire at the end of the month.
Never before has it been controversial to extend this vital lifeline to hardworking Americans who are struggling to find work.
Yet in a remarkably cruel and shortsighted move, some in Congress are trying to prevent an extension to the program unless benefits are scaled back or absurd restrictions are added to the program.
We need to make sure Congress doesn't cut a deal that undermines unemployment insurance as a sop to the heartless legislators who want to cut it.
That is why we are joining with our friends at the AFL-CIO to show strong public support for fully extending emergency unemployment insurance, without cutting benefits or adding burdensome requirements on workers.
Unemployment insurance is a vital part of the social safety net.
Recent census figures show that federal unemployment insurance helped keep nearly three million Americans from falling into poverty in 2010 alone.
Congress has never cut back on federally funded unemployment insurance when unemployment was anywhere near this high for this long.
And for good reason.
The people who are out of work these days didn't create the economic crisis we're in — they're just among those most directly affected by it. If there was ever a time to help them stay afloat while they look for work, it's now.
We spent hundreds of billions bailing out the banks on Wall Street, but now that people on Main Street are suffering, we're told that we can't afford unemployment benefits. It's appalling, and we need to push back.
Tell Congress: Extend emergency unemployment benefits. Click below to automatically sign the petition:

Thank you for speaking out. Your activism matters.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Monday, February 13, 2012

National Popular Vote Bill


The Electoral College needs fixing.

Your action NOW can make the difference because the many state legislatures will soon be considering legislation to reform the Electoral College.

Under the National Popular Vote bill, the Electoral College would be reformed so that presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC will become President.

Presidential campaigns routinely ignore some states because electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most popular votes within each separate state. The result is that candidates ignore states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind.
 
In 2008, two-thirds of the campaign events and money went into six closely divided "battleground" states.  98% went to just 15 states. Thus, voters in many states are mere spectators to the presidential election.  The same is true for 35 other reliably red or reliably blue states.

Learn more at www.NationalPopularVote.com

Under a national popular vote, every voter in every state would matter in every presidential election. A vote in your state would matter as much as a vote in a closely divided battleground state such as Ohio, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, or Colorado.

The states have the constitutional authority to change the method of awarding electoral votes and thereby establish a national popular vote for President. The National Popular Vote bill has already been enacted into law by New Jersey, Maryland, Vermont, Illinois, Washington state, California, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and Hawaii.  The bill has also been approved by at least one legislative house in an additional 12 states.

The National Popular Vote bill would mean that the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC) would become President.  The current system has elected a second-place candidate in 4 of 56 presidential elections.

The National Popular Vote bill is endorsed by the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, FairVote, Sierra Club, the Brennan Center for Justice, NAACP, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, ACLU, the National Latino Congreso, Asian American Action Fund, DEMOS, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Public Citizen, U.S. PIRG, and Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

The bill has been endorsed by newspapers such as the Hartford Courant, New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, Sacramento Bee, and many more.  

As the Sarasota Florida Herald Tribune said: "The most compelling and practical alternative is promoted by a bipartisan group called National Popular Vote. The NPV proposal calls for legislatures to pass bills committing their state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes nationwide; the bill would take effect only when enacted by states that together have enough electoral votes to elect a president."

Paid for by Demand Progress (DemandProgress.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. Contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

Learn more at www.NationalPopularVote.com.

Thank you.

Demand Progress 

Make Every Idaho Vote Count


The Electoral College needs fixing.

Your action NOW can make the difference because the Idaho State Legislature will soon be considering legislation to reform the Electoral College.

Under the National Popular Vote bill, the Electoral College would be reformed so that presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC will become President.
Idaho residents:
Please take a moment to e-mail your Idaho state legislators to tell them to support the National Popular Vote bill in Idaho.

Presidential campaigns routinely ignore Idaho because electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most popular votes within each separate state. The result is that candidates ignore states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind.
 
In 2008, two-thirds of the campaign events and money went into six closely divided "battleground" states.  98% went to just 15 states, not including Idaho. Thus, Idaho voters are mere spectators to the presidential election.  The same is true for 35 other reliably red or reliably blue states.

Under a national popular vote, every voter in every state would matter in every presidential election. A vote in Idaho would matter as much as a vote in a closely divided battleground state such as Ohio, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, or Colorado.

The states have the constitutional authority to change the method of awarding electoral votes and thereby establish a national popular vote for President. The National Popular Vote bill has already been enacted into law by New Jersey, Maryland, Vermont, Illinois, Washington state, California, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and Hawaii.  The bill has also been approved by at least one legislative house in an additional 12 states.

If you believe that a vote cast in Idaho should count as much as a vote cast in a battleground state, please take a moment to e-mail your Idaho state legislatorsto tell them to support the National Popular Vote bill.

The National Popular Vote bill would mean that the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC) would become President.  The current system has elected a second-place candidate in 4 of 56 presidential elections.

The National Popular Vote bill is endorsed by the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, FairVote, Sierra Club, the Brennan Center for Justice, NAACP, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, ACLU, the National Latino Congreso, Asian American Action Fund, DEMOS, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Public Citizen, U.S. PIRG, and Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

The bill has been endorsed by newspapers such as the Hartford Courant, New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, Sacramento Bee, and many more.  

As the Sarasota Florida Herald Tribune said: "The most compelling and practical alternative is promoted by a bipartisan group called National Popular Vote. The NPV proposal calls for legislatures to pass bills committing their state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes nationwide; the bill would take effect only when enacted by states that together have enough electoral votes to elect a president."
 
Paid for by Demand Progress (DemandProgress.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. Contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Jail Wall Street Crooks

Take action!
A message from CREDO Action:

Wall Street banks fraudulently and illegally foreclose on your house. You get $2,000. The bank gets let off the hook. We'd call that a bad deal.
And yet yesterday, at the urging of the White House, federal regulators along with 49 state attorneys general announced a settlement deal for mortgage servicer abuse that does essentially that. It lets banks off the hook for widespread foreclosure fraud.
Press releases have trumpeted a $26 billion deal which may sound like a lot, but it's a paltry sum when you break down the numbers.
With an average mortgage of $180,000, and loan instruments executed illegally, a family that lost their home will get a check for just over 1% of the value of the mortgage.1 That is not a victory. The amount of money this deal makes available to help homeowners is an order of magnitude too small and incommensurate with the harm done by the banks.
The estimated $10-$20 billion in the deal for principal reduction would reduce only about 2% of the $700 billion in equity destroyed during the financial crisis. And the banks themselves will only pay $5 billion out of their own pocket. By far the lion's share of the cost will be borne by investors and taxpayers, who had no part in the robo-signing scandal. 2
No doubt the deal is far better than the deal that was offered months ago. And this most certainly is a result of activism from members of CREDO and many of our allies in the progressive movement who worked with progressive attorneys general like New York's Eric Schneiderman, California's Kamala Harris, Delaware's Beau Biden, Massachusetts' Martha Coakley and Nevada's Catherine Cortez Masto to fight a bad deal.
But the final deal, while better, still can't be characterized as a good deal or even as a good first step towards real accountability for Wall Street banks.
The reported $26 billion settlement will not come close to inflicting any real pain on the banks all of which have already reserved the full amounts required from them under the deal. As Robert Reich said, the "$26 billion settlement with banks over mortgage fraud is far short of what they should pay and distressed home owners deserve."3
One in five Americans with mortgages owe the banks more than their homes are worth, and these home owners are underwater by an average of $50,000 each. This is a collective negative equity of nearly $700 billion.4
Consider the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street paid for by U.S. taxpayers5 and the more than $1.2 trillion in loans6 provided by the Federal Reserve to Wall Street banks. Or another way to put the deal in perspective is to compare it to the tobacco industry settlement in 1998 — the largest previous multi-state agreement. That deal was worth $350 billion in today's dollars — more than ten times the size of the mortgage deal.7
And that's not even all that's wrong with this deal. The federal government's track record for enforcing settlement terms with Wall Street banks is abysmal. Furthermore, even if the banks follow the terms of the deal, it's quite possible than when all is said and done, not only will the banks have suffered no pain, they may actually come out having profited from their illegal schemes to rip off homeowners. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the largest mortgage banks saved $20 billion by taking illegal shortcuts — an amount far greater than the $5 billion out of pocket they will be required to pay in this deal.8
All of which adds up to a scenario in which this settlement does literally nothing to deter the banks from engaging in the same fraudulent behavior in the future.
Senator Dick Durbin famously said the Wall Street banks own the politicians in Washington, DC. Today, this could not be more clearly true as we closely examine the deal that the Obama administration cut with Wall Street and pressured state attorneys general to sign.
There has yet to be a full investigation of the robo-signing scandal despite what Reuters called "copious evidence" of "widespread forgery, perjury, obstruction of justice, and illegal foreclosures...." 9
By establishing settlement terms before there has been any meaningful investigation, the deal whitewashes the widespread lawlessness of the banks and virtually ensures that no bankers will be held criminally responsible for their part in the robo-signing scandal and foreclosure fraud.
Though the exact terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, we understand that it will not cut off other important avenues to hold the banks accountable. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is co-chairing a federal task force that if fully resourced and left to operate unhindered by the White House could achieve hundreds of billions in reduced principal for underwater homeowners and criminal indictments for bankers who broke the law and helped drive our economy off a cliff. And other state attorneys general can continue investigating Wall Street's role in causing the housing crisis to ensure that the banks that caused the crisis are held accountable for their wrongdoing.
This is the biggest case of fraud in our history. Homeowners deserve justice for crimes committed against them by Wall Street banks that in many cases literally stole their homes from underneath them. Unfortunately, yesterday's settlement doesn't even provide anything close to a down payment on justice.
As the election season heats up, we must be insistent about real accountability for Wall Street crooks. Pressure from activists like us will be even more important in the days to come if we are to achieve any real measure of accountability for Wall Street bankers who profited from their crimes and left the 99% to pay to the price for their reckless disregard.
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. "The Top Twelve Reasons Why You Should Hate the Mortgage Settlement," Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 02-09-12
2. "The Servicing Settlement: Banks 1, Public 0," Adam Levitin, Credit Slips, 02-09-12
3. Twitter, 02-09-12
4. "Mortgage Plan Gives Homeowners Bulk of the Benefits," Nelson D. Schwatz and Shaila Dewan, New York Times, 02-09-12
5. "Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Secret Loans," Bradley Keoun and Phil Kuntz, Bloomberg, 08-22-11
6. "The Wall Street Bailout Plan Explained ," David Stout, New York Times, 09-20-08
7. "FAQ: The foreclosure settlement ," Sarah Halzack and Sarah Kliff, WashingtonPost.com, 02-09-12
8. "Big Banks Save Billions As Homeowners Suffer, Internal Federal Report By CFPB Finds," Huffington Post, 03-28-11.
9. "
U.S. AG Eric Holder, DoJ Head Lanny Breuer Linked To Banks Accused Of Foreclosure Fraud ," Reuters, 01-19-12.

Funniest Romney-Related Headline (so far)


Fact That No One Likes Him May Be Hurting Romney
Could Foil Bid to Become First Openly Assholic President (posted 2-8-2012)


DENVER (The Borowitz Report) – Exit polls from last night’s Republican contests reveal that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s key obstacle to gaining the GOP nomination is the fact that voters cannot stand him.
According to Davis Logsdon, who conducted the polls for the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, “Despite his superb organization, funding, and ground game, Mitt Romney is having trouble overcoming the perception among voters that he is a ginormous dick.”
Mr. Logsdon said that these obstacles “could prove fatal to his historic bid to become the nation’s first openly assholic President.”
Exit polls taken last night bear out that theory, with a majority of voters agreeing with the statement, “I think Mitt Romney is so odious, I would rather vote for a random doofus I’ve never heard of who goes around in sweater vests.”
The beneficiary of that sentiment last night was former Sen. Rick Santorum, who told supporters at a victory rally in Missouri, “I support the rights of the unborn child until it’s born and wants a gay marriage.”
Speaking to supporters in Denver, Mr. Romney uttered what some political experts are calling a possible gaffe: “I don’t care about all the people who didn’t vote for me. They just envy my massive wealth. And poor people? They can curl up and die, and I won’t lose a wink of sleep. I bet you a million crisp dollars from my vault in Geneva.” GET A FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO THE BOROWITZ REPORT

See original article at: http://www.borowitzreport.com/2012/02/08/fact-that-no-one-likes-him-may-be-hurting-romney/

Monday, February 6, 2012

Catholic Bishops vs. Birth Control

Washington Post
A message from Feminist Majority:

The Washington Post is supporting the Catholic Bishops by repeatedly (and one-sidedly) attacking the Obama administration's decision to maintain contraception access for millions of women, without deductibles or copays, under the Affordable Care Act. The Bishops demanded that the administration, which has already exempted houses of worship, also exempt businesses owned by religious interests, such as hospitals, universities, insurance companies, and social service agencies. And the Post is backing them up.
Tell the Washington Post they got it wrong this time.
Not only has the editorial board of the Post opined that the administration should have accommodated the "deeply held views" of those institutions, but the Post has printed other editorials in support of the Bishops, while refusing to print opposing viewpoints in favor of access.
Tell the Washington Post that one-sided coverage doesn't reflect well.
If the administration had exempted every university, hospital, or business with a religious connection, it would have meant that millions of women of all faiths – students, teachers, nurses, social workers, marketing and administrative staff and other employees of those schools and businesses – would have been singled out to lose access to this important coverage, without regard to their own needs, beliefs and conscience.
The Bishops aren't letting up, and the Washington Post is helping them put pressure on the administration to reverse course. The Post wants to put the Church hierarchy ahead of the right of individual women to be free from discrimination in their health care plans. That's where the Post is just wrong.
Tell the Washington Post that women have a right to religious freedom, not just businesses or religiously affiliated institutions.
For Equality,
Ellie Smeal
Ellie Smeal
President

Tell Senators: Stand With Unions

Take action!
A message from CREDO Action:

For months, House Republicans have been trying to use the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a way to attack labor unions.
And until recently, Senate Democrats along with their colleagues from the House and the White House, have been standing strong and fighting back.
But now, Senate Democratic leadership is poised to cave to the rightwing and anti-worker Republicans in the House, and allow what should be a bill about aviation safety and security to become one that unilaterally changes labor law to the detriment of working people.
It might not surprise you that this fight began with the House Republicans following their tried and true tactic of holding a vital bill hostage to their extremist demands.
In August, House Republicans even caused a temporary shutdown of the FAA after inserting a poison pill provision that attacked labor rights into the FAA reauthorization bill, and then skipped town for the August recess.
Members of the Senate Democratic leadership are acting as though they've won something because the current deal on the table does not include that specific anti-labor provision that caused the FAA shutdown. But our friends in the labor movement aren't buying it. And neither are we.
What appears to be happening is this: In exchange for Republicans giving up the poison pill, Senate Democrats have agreed to significant changes to the rules that govern unionization in the rail and airline industries — changes that have not been vetted through the legislative committee process and that will make it easier for corporations to engage in union busting.
The labor movement stands with progressives on civil rights, immigrants rights, women's rights and a host of other issues. Progressives need to stand with labor and tell Senate Democrats to reject anti-worker provisions in the FAA reauthorization bill.
Tell Senate Democrats: Stand with unions. Don't cave to Republicans.
Click below to automatically sign the petition:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=5528028&id=34447-2593817-0AxPf7x&t=9
Thank you for standing up for working people.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

The FOX Effect




A message from Media Matters for America:
It’s no secret that we at Media Matters have spent the majority of our efforts over the past two years focusing on Fox News. It was impossible -- and would have been imprudent -- to ignore its attacks, smears, lies, and misinformation.

Now, Media Matters Chairman David Brock and Vice President Ari Rabin-Havt, utilizing the extensive research of Media Matters, have authored our ultimate indictment of the network.

Their new book, The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine, tells the story of how Fox News became the communications arm of the Republican Party, and its consequences for our democracy.

You can pre-order your copy of The Fox Effect today by visiting: http://amzn.to/FoxEffect

From tracing the career of Fox News founder Roger Ailes as he learned to manipulate racial politics while working on the presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush, to visiting a cruise ship in the middle of the Mediterranean where a senior Fox News executive admitted to telling Fox News viewers that Barack Obama was a socialist even though he did not believe the charge to be true, The Fox Effect dismantles once and for all the notion that there’s any genuine meaning behind the network’s “fair & balanced” slogan.

Using leaked internal emails and Roger Ailes’ own writings, including a never-before-seen private letter, there has never been a more compelling summation of Fox’s dangerous and destructive role in our democracy. I guarantee that this is not your standard media criticism book -- it’s the definitive answer to every cousin, brother-in-law or neighbor who ever told you that Fox was their go-to place for news.

You can pre-order your copy of The Fox Effect at:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/FoxEffect
Barnes and Noble: http://mm4a.org/BarnesAndNoble_FoxEffect
Indie Bound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780307279583

The Fox Effect offers new insights into Fox News and powerfully describes the harmful consequences of this political operation masquerading as a news network. You won’t be able to put it down.

Best Regards,Matt Butler
@matthewsbutler
President and CEO
Media Matters for America

Ban Congressional Insider Trading

Take action!
A message from CREDO Action:

It's outrageous that members of Congress are currently allowed to engage in insider trading.
Members of Congress regularly receive sensitive information about the state of the economy and get advance notice on the actions of corporations, but they don't have to adhere to the laws that prohibit buying or selling stock based on that information — laws that everyone else in America must abide by.
Rep. Louise Slaughter has introduced legislation to ban insider trading by members of Congress, known as the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act.
But Republican leadership is blocking a vote on this bill. In order for this legislation to come to a vote, a discharge petition must be launched and signed by at least 218 representatives.
Idaho residents, your representative, Rep. Simpson, has yet to sign on.
Rep. Louise Slaughter has long led the fight against Congressional insider trading, first introducing the STOCK Act in 2006. But thanks to recent news attention on Congressional insider trading, this bill has gained momentum and has 282 co-sponsors, including 97 Republicans.
Although there are many co-sponsors of this bill, not all of the STOCK Act's supporters are doing everything they can to get this legislation up for a vote by signing the discharge petition. We need at least 218 of the bill's 282 co-sponsors to sign the petition so there can be a vote on this bill.
The Senate already passed the STOCK Act — so now it is even more critical that the House acts quickly so that this important legislation becomes law.
With extreme right-wing Republican leadership like Reps. Eric Cantor and John Boehner at the helm of the House of Representatives, we need as many representatives as possible to sign the discharge petition to ensure that this legislation can be voted on.
Stopping insider trading by members of Congress isn't a partisan issue. There are already 97 Republicans who are co-sponsors of the legislation and the legislation passed with nearly unanimous support in the Senate. Every member of Congress should recognize that they should be held accountable to the same laws as their constituents and support this bill.
It's time to ban insider trading in the halls of Congress. And we need you to tell Rep. Simpson to sign on to allow a vote on this bill.
Idaho residents: Tell Rep. Simpson to allow a vote on the STOCK Act to make it illegal for members of Congress to engage in insider trading.
Click below to automatically sign the petition:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=5530470&id=34596-2593817-Yl0z12x&t=9
Thank you for taking action.
Ali Rozell, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Good & Bad Planned Parenthood News

A message from MoveOn.org: 

Did you hear Susan G. Komen for the Cure's announcement? There's good news and bad news.
The good news is that Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced that they are reversing their decision to ban grants to organizations under politically-motivated investigation.1 This shows the power we have to create change—Komen backed down quickly because hundreds of thousands of people immediately stood up for Planned Parenthood, with petitions and phone calls, and on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.2
The bad news is that it's not yet clear that they will continue funding Planned Parenthood beyond this year. In fact, a Komen board member said yesterday that Komen refuses to commit to funding breast screening and mammogram referrals at Planned Parenthood in future grant cycles.3 And the anti-choice, anti-gay vice president they recently hired, Karen Handel—whom many believe drove the push to stop funding Planned Parenthood—is still a top organizational leader.4
We can't let Komen sweep their problems under the rug with this announcement.
We're joining with a new organization, UltraViolet, to deliver the petition to the Susan G. Komen foundation headquarters in Dallas on Tuesday, and we need as many signatures as we can get before then.
What has happened in the past four days is truly remarkable. Not only have we moved Komen in the right direction, but we made it clear: if you attack Planned Parenthood's services for women's health care, we will fight back.
The radical right has been trying to damage Planned Parenthood using the same methods that were used to take down ACORN, both groups with long legacies of providing crucial services directly to communities in need.
That's why it was so important that we stood up for Planned Parenthood when the Komen foundation and the radical right tried to use a politically-motivated investigation as an excuse to cut off funding. And that's why we'll keep the pressure on until the Susan G. Komen foundation promises to fully continue to fund breast health services through Planned Parenthood.
We need to show that there are hundreds of thousands of us standing behind Planned Parenthood when we deliver it to the Komen headquarters on Tuesday.
Thanks for all you do.
–Elena, Wes, Robin, Joan, and the rest of the team

AAUW Cancels Komen Foundation Event


AAUW Cancels Service Learning Event with Susan G. Komen Foundation
 
WASHINGTON–The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is disappointed with the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to strip funding for cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood. As a result, AAUW will not offer the Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure as an optional pre-conference community service opportunity at the upcomingNational Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL). NCCWSL is an annual leadership event, now in its 27th year, attended by hundreds of college women from across the nation.
 
“This is an opportunity for AAUW to demonstrate leadership on a vital women’s health issue: cancer screenings and mammograms for poor and underserved women,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “Taking a stand now is an excellent example of what the NCCWSL conference is all about: empowering college women as leaders and informed decision makers.”
 
To its credit, Komen has made advances in women’s health. This optional service learning activity has been part of previous conferences.
 
“AAUW is disappointed that some are playing politics with women’s health and jeopardizing care for the most vulnerable among us,” said Lisa Maatz, AAUW director of public policy and government relations.
 
AAUW’s long-held position on health care is clear. The member-adopted Public Policy Program makes “increased access to quality, affordable health care and family planning services” a priority.
 
AAUW hopes that Planned Parenthood and the Komen Foundation, both iconic organizations well known for their efforts to improve and advance women’s health, can come to an agreement to restore this critically needed funding. Planned Parenthood health centers provide a wide range of safe, reliable health care, more than 90 percent of which is preventive, primary care. These clinics are often the only source of medical care for their patients, providing access to contraception, reducing sexually transmitted infections through testing and treatment, and screening for breast, cervical, and other cancers.
 
“This is a regrettable situation for all concerned but exactly the kind of circumstance in which we must strongly adhere to our principles. Those principles have guided us well for more than 130 years,” Hallman said.
 
###

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Since 1881, AAUW has been one of the nation’s leading voices promoting education and equity for women and girls. AAUW has a nationwide network of more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches, and 600 college/university institutional partners. Since AAUW’s founding 130 years ago, members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. AAUW’s commitment to educational equity is reflected in its public policy advocacy, community programs, leadership development, conventions and conferences, national partnerships, and international connections.

Monsanto Lobbyist Is FDA Food Safety Czar?

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A message from CREDO Action:  Why is a former Monsanto lobbyist currently serving as the FDA's food safety czar waging war on small dairy farms that produce fresh milk?
While factory farm operators are getting away with serious food safety violations, raw milk dairy farmers and distributors across the country have been subjected to armed raids and hauled away in handcuffs.
The Food and Drug Administration is running sting operations followed by "guns-drawn raids usually reserved for terrorists and drug lords" as part of a crackdown on unpasteurized milk.1 Meanwhile, the FDA is letting the highly consolidated industrial meat and factory farm industry off the hook despite growing problems.
Not surprisingly, the person responsible for prioritizing armed raids on small dairies over holding agribusiness accountable is a former Monsanto attorney and chief super lobbyist.Monsanto's Michael Taylor is the second highest-ranking official at the FDA, and as Food Safety Czar is responsible for implementing the day-to-day policies that govern the food safety laws for the U.S. 2
Whether or not you think unpasteurized milk is a good idea, it's clear that the FDA under Michael Taylor has its priorities wrong. When industrial agribusiness sickens thousands of people, it's absurd for the FDA to target Amish farmers producing fresh milk, much less to engage in "guns drawn" enforcement raids.
But this shouldn't be a surprise coming from Taylor, who worked at Monsanto to prevent the labeling of the rBST growth hormone in milk. And now that he's been appointed to the Obama Administration it should come as no surprise that President Obama hasn't honored his promise to label GMO foods, and has moved forward with approvals of GMO foods like alfalfa, sugar bets and sweet corn.
Michael Taylor seems focused on entirely the wrong aspects of food safety enforcement. Rather than making sure that food safety inspections are done properly at our nation's largest factory farms, where antibiotic resistance has run amuck, Taylor has been leading a departmental crusade against small raw milk dairy producers. So far several dairy farmers have been subject to a year-long undercover sting operation from the East Coast to California.
Incredibly, Michael Taylor and FDA inspectors have not arrested or fined the Iowa agribusinessman — Jack DeCoster — who was wholly responsible for the half-a-billion eggs that were recalled in 2010 salmonella-tainted egg recall.3 Though this industrial agribusinessman endangered the health of millions, Michael Taylor thinks Amish farmers producing fresh milk are more deserving targets of his FDA enforcement raids with guns drawn.
While CREDO recognizes the inherent risks that are involved in food production, it's time that the U.S. government start responsibly looking into the real origins of our nation's largest food safety recalls and stop harassing family farmers trying to survive in the excessively consolidated food and agricultural sectors.
Thanks for standing up for small farmers and taking our government back from Monsanto.
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
P.S.: CREDO supports the regulation of raw milk dairies. However, we believe that prioritizing raids on Amish dairies above holding agribusiness accountable for endangering the health of millions, is just plain wrong.
1 "Food safety chief defends raw milk raids", San Francisco Chronicle, June 7, 2011
2 "Monsanto's man Taylor returns to FDA in food-czar role", Grist, July 8, 2009.
3 "DeCoster Gets Warning, Hillandale Sales OK'd", Food Safety News, October 19, 2010.