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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Monday, May 21, 2012

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)


A message from Feminist Majority: 
We are determined to defeat the outrageous and dangerous GOP Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization, which rolls back protections for victims of violence, and passed the House last week on a nearly straight party line vote of 222-205. Only six Democrats voted yes for the GOP bill, but 23 Republicans joined Democrats in voting against it. The bill now goes to a House/Senate Conference Committee along with the real VAWA passed by the Senate. We must keep the pressure up to make sure that the dangerous provisions in the House bill do not prevail and that the expanded protections under the Senate version are included in the final law.
For the first time in history, the House GOP passed a VAWA reauthorization that rolls back rather than expands protections for victims of domestic and workplace violence. The House VAWA reveals the depth of the GOP war on women's rights. The House GOP buckled under the pressure of the, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, the Eagle Forum, SaVE and other right wing groups and passed a badly flawed VAWA that some 200 law enforcement agencies as well as more than 300 women's rights, human rights, civil rights, religious organizations and victim advocacy groups vigorously opposed.
Republicans made some last minute changes to try and make their bill palatable. But even with the changes, the House GOP version of VAWA is a dangerous bill. Thanks to the action of thousands of Feminist Majority supporters as well as thousands of other activists, the Republican leadership, feeling the pressure, took out of the bill the heinous provision that immigration officials had to notify the abuser of the victim's complaint. However, the House GOP VAWA still rolls back current protections for immigrant women who are suffering from domestic abuse and workplace violence.
The House GOP version does not extend protections to Native American women when they are abused by non-native spouses on tribal lands. It does not give Native American authorities the power to prosecute these non-Native abusers. More than 50 percent of Native women have non-Native spouses.
Critically needed protections for LGBT victims that were included in the real VAWA passed by the Senate were also left out of the House GOP VAWA. The House GOP VAWA simply does not recognize that violence is violence and all victims deserve protection.
The narrow margin in the passage of the House bill when coupled with the two-thirds margin in the Senate reveals that the work of the massive coalition for the real VAWA has had an impact. The coalition is redoubling its efforts to ensure that we do not go backwards and a real VAWA reauthorization is enacted.
Thank you for your support - together we are making a difference for women.
For equality,
Ellie Smeal Signature
Eleanor Smeal
President
Feminist Majority

Fight Back with Obama

A 54-page, $10 million proposal by top Republican strategists titled "The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama" shows in vivid and gruesome detail what the President and all of us are up against.

The proposal laments that voters "still aren't ready to hate this president" but lays out a plan to portray him as "slick" and "cocky" -- and notes that they need to hire an "extremely literate conservative African-American" to insulate against charges of racism.

It says the President ran as a "metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln" and includes plans to spend millions on inflammatory TV ads using everything from Rev. Jeremiah Wright to images of the September 11th attacks to show the truth about Obama's alleged secret plan to destroy America.

In the words of one of these guys, they want to "do exactly what John McCain would not let us do" in the last election. And the plan was for it to be financed by a single billionaire.

This is going to be worse than we could have imagined. President Obama needs your help to stop it before it starts.

Pitch in today to fight these attacks and show them this only makes us stronger:

https://donate.barackobama.com/Help-Fight-Back

Thanks,
Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Gotta Vote

Get your voting checklist.
Flash forward to November 6th. Some people you know just didn't make it to the polls. Either they didn't register in time or they didn't know where to go. That could mean victory or defeat. And it's in your hands.

Do something about it today: Make sure you -- and everyone you know -- knows exactly how to vote in your state.

Take a minute right now to check out GottaVote.org, a new site loaded with all the voting info folks need.Then pass this email on to your friends, family, and coworkers.


The site provides information on how to register, what to bring to the polls, important deadlines, and more.

Once you take a look, be sure to bookmark the site -- believe me, it's something that's only going to become more useful as we get closer to November 6th.

Right now, we're all determining what Election Day looks like. I don't know about you, but when I'm in line at the polls, I don't want to be wondering if I could've done more. Each of us needs to go after every single vote. No regrets.

Check out GottaVote right now, get your voting checklist, and then share it with everyone you know -- you'll be glad you did:

http://www.GottaVote.org

Thanks,

Marlon Marshall
Deputy National Field Director
Obama for America

Women Are Breadwinners, Too

Earth to Congress: Women are Breadwinners Too!      Take Action!
It's time to do something about unequal pay.
Last month, Wisconsin repealed its Equal Pay Enforcement Act. In the run-up to that vote, a state legislator said:

"You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious."

Oh, really?

Women aren't breadwinners? And it's okay to discriminate because women are expecting to be taken care of? So much so that Wisconsin doesn't need a strong fair pay law?

Sorry, pal; Wisconsin DOES need better fair pay laws -- in fact, women across the nation need stronger fair pay laws. We need the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 797).

In the next few weeks, we expect a vote on this important bill. The vote could come at any moment, so we need you to contact your Senators today. Tell your senators to support fair pay: Cosponsor and support the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 797)!

The Paycheck Fairness Act would deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and barring retaliation against workers who disclose their own wages to coworkers. Without this bill, employers can penalize and even fire employees for talking about their salaries. This egregious practice leaves workers in the dark, preventing them from ever finding out about pay discrimination in the workplace.

So send a message today to help make unequal pay a thing of the past! To send a message, visit AAUW Two-Minute Activist or click on the "Take Action" link in the upper right hand corner of this email.

Tweet this alert!

Remember: You can always help strengthen AAUW's efforts to fight sexual violence and assault by making a tax-deductible donation to AAUW's Public Policy Fund!

Double your impact! 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 connect@aauw.org or call 800/326-2289 between 10 am and 5 pm Eastern, Monday through Friday.

New Poultry Inspection Plan

Stop USDA's dangerous new poultry inspection plan.
A message from CREDO Action:

Three chickens per second.
Under a new plan proposed by USDA, that's how fast inspectors would have to conduct quality control inspections in poultry factories — six times the current rate.
Worse, USDA's proposed rules privatize these inspections, letting the industry police itself by replacing highly trained USDA food inspectors with poultry facility employees who have no required training.1
Salmonella in our meat and poultry makes nearly a million people sick every year in the US — it's our number one cause of food-borne illness. USDA's new plan could make the problem even worse, and we have just days to stop it.
Food safety groups are opposing the standards and veteran poultry inspectors are calling them "a big step back," and "a very, very bad idea."2
Current rules provide for three inspectors to examine 140 birds per minute. Under the new rules, inspections would speed up to 200 per minute — with only one inspector on the line. Even the professionals say that is way too fast.
With far less time to inspect each chicken, unsanitary, defective poultry meat has a higher chance of making it into our supermarkets. And while USDA says it would save less than $30 million per year on poultry inspection costs, it could cost the agency (and us) far more to deal with potential increases in foodborne illness.
Speeding up the poultry line isn't just hazardous to our health — it's also hazardous to those who work in poultry factories. Poultry workers already have an alarming rate of workplace injury from conditions which include a workplace full sharp objects like knives and scissors, and from the repetitive nature of poultry factory tasks. Speeding up the chicken line will only make conditions even more hazardous.3
But while food and worker safety will undoubtedly suffer, the new rules are expected to result in a quarter of a billion dollar windfall to poultry companies.
The safety of our food, especially poultry which has such a high incidence of contamination, should be the highest priority of USDA. If their answer is less quality control inspection, more dangerous workplace conditions, and allowing an industry with a horrible safety record to police itself, it's probably time to go back to the drawing board.
Click below to submit a comment to the USDA before the May 29th deadline:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=3912&id=40316-2593817-tRzqtxx&t=9
Thank you for fighting for safe and healthy food.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. "Poultry Inspectors Protest Inspection Proposal at USDA," Food Saftey News, April 3, 2012
2. Privatized Meat Inspection Experiment Jeopardizes Food Safety," Food and Water Watch, March 7, 2012
3. Civil rights group: Stop speedup in poultry plants!," People's World, May 10, 2012

Bernie Sanders' CNN Interview

A message from "Friend of Bernie Sanders":  I wanted to make sure that you saw Bernie’s CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer this week talking about Wall Street and the need to break up the huge financial institutions that dominate our economy. Here’s an excerpt:

Click here to watch Bernie on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer
Bernie believes that at a time when the six largest financial institutions have assets worth $9 trillion, which is the equivalent of two-thirds of the GDP of the United States, and when the top six banks provide half of the mortgages in America and over two-thirds of the credit cards, it is clearly time to break them up.

Adding insult to injury, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase who recently presided over a $2 billion “goof," sits on the Board of the New York Federal Reserve, which is charged with regulating the banks. Bernie will be introducing legislation next week to end this “fox guarding the hen house” situation.

Just wanted to keep you up to date on Bernie’s work taking on Wall Street.

Thanks for your support and for all you do.

Ben Eisenberg
Friends of Bernie Sanders

Dump Citizens United

A message from MoveOn.org:  Corporations already have so much power. But what happens to our democracy when ExxonMobil, the oil baron Koch brothers, Bank of America, and all of Wall Street can spend unlimited amounts to influence a presidential election?
We're about to find out in our first presidential election year sinceCitizens United. And because the limitless spending has been protected by the Supreme Court, the only way we can stop it is by amending the Constitution to reverse Citizens United and get big money out of politics for good.
Passing an amendment isn't easy—we need to get overwhelming support at both the state and federal levels. But we have a powerful opportunity right now, in an election year, to flex our political muscle as MoveOn members. We can use the election to help convince politicians up and down the ballot to get on board if they want to earn our votes.
So we're starting today by launching a new petition asking every state legislator, governor, and member of Congress who hasn't yet declared their support for a constitutional amendment to undo Citizens Unitedand permanently get big money out of politics.
Will you add your name?
The plan is to deliver the petitions to state capitols and governors' mansions in all 50 states and to the local offices of every member of Congress who hasn't yet joined the call for an amendment.
And we aren't, by any means, starting from scratch. MoveOn members and our allies have been working hard ever since Citizens United to build a movement for an amendment—and there's already a lot of grassroots momentum.
President Obama is on board, along with more than 25 U.S. senators, at least 80 members of the U.S. House, and hundreds of state-level lawmakers.1
It's an impressive start, and this year, we have the opportunity to help massively increase those numbers. Polling shows that Americans are fed up with the 1% flooding our political system with cash and getting get lax regulation, rollbacks of workers' rights, huge bailouts, and tax giveaways in return.2
Nearly all of the economic impacts that the 99% movement has mobilized around are tied to the overwhelming influence of big money in our democracy. So once we know who's with us, we're going make the issue personal, confront politicians who won't take a stand with stories of the real-world consequences of a system run by corporations and the 1%, and demand that every last one of them chooses a side. 
When President Obama announced his support for marriage equality last week, we all saw how powerful it can be when our political leaders stand behind an idea that—just a short time ago—seemed "unrealistic" or "politically impossible."
It's time, again, to change what's "politically possible" in America.
Will you sign the petition and ask every one of your state and federal lawmakers who isn't on board yet to declare their support for a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United and get big money out of our democracy? 
Thanks for all you do.
–Robin, Elena, Victoria, Emily, and the rest of the team
Sources:
1. "Endorsing Public Officials" list, United for the People, accessed May 17, 2012
http://www.united4thepeople.org/endorsers.html
2. "Survey: Money in Politics Can Drive Voters to Polls," National Journal, May 9, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=275603&id=41692-18623853-AwArclx&t=5 
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 7 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, http://pol.moveon.org/. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. 

Stop Wall Street Gambling

Bring back Glass-SteagallA message from CREDO Action:  The recent news that JP Morgan Chase lost at least $2 billion in a matter of weeks on hugely risky bets shows once again that we need to rein in Wall Street and stop the banks from gambling with our money.

For over half a century, the Depression-era law known as the Glass-Steagall Act kept commercial banks (where we have our checking accounts, saving accounts and the like) separate from high-risk investment banks.
The government agreed to insure the deposits we make in commercial banks through the FDIC, but banks weren't allowed to turn around and use these deposits as stakes in the Wall Street casino.
That all changed in 1999 with the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which paved the way for the financial crisis and the massive Wall Street bailouts.
If private investors want to use their own money to make risky bets on Wall Street, that should be up to them. Ultimately, they're risking their own money.
But when these giant banks take on more risk than they should, they do so knowing that they can keep any profits they make if things go well, but that ultimately U.S. taxpayers are on the hook if things go terribly wrong. That creates a perverse incentive for them to be massively irresponsible.
When Congress passes Wall Street reform in 2010, it was supposed to end precisely this type of "heads they win, tails we lose" scenario. But the Volcker Rule that was supposed to address this, still hasn't been finalized and looks like it will be riddled with loopholes.
Tell Congress that we need a new Glass-Steagall Act that reinstates the firewall between the banks we use to keep our money safe and the Wall Street banks that make risky investments. Click below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Reverse Citizens United

A message from MoveOn.org:  There's only one reason corporations keep getting away with dodging taxes, abusing workers, polluting our communities, illegally foreclosing on homes, and so many other despicable practices.
They buy our elections—in secret and with no limits since the Citizens United ruling.
There's only one way to solve this once and for all: Amend the Constitution to reverse Citizens United, declare that corporations aren't people, and get big money out of politics for good.
Passing a constitutional amendment isn't easy, but progressives have done it before in moments when the fundamental rules of our country needed to be changed. We have an incredible chance during this election year to make real progress towards an amendment. There are 7 million MoveOn members, and together we can ramp up the process with a huge nationwide campaign to create a mandate for action by the end of the year.
We have an amazing group of MoveOn volunteers ready to go, but to support them and run a serious campaign, we need to raise about $1.5 million total—starting with $200,000 of it this week. Can you chip in to help get big money out of politics for good?
Here's how we can use this election to put ourselves in position to pass an amendment:
  • Make this year's election a teachable moment. Over the next six months, people will be *inundated* with negative ads, which they hate, and are a daily reminder that our democracy is busted. We can use every ad to build support for an amendment that would get rid of the money behind the ads.
  • Force thousands of candidates to take a stand. Politicians are coming to voters—and often to MoveOn members in particular—hat in hand, asking for our support. We need to turn right back around and demand they support a constitutional amendment first. 
  • Make candidates who support Citizens United pay a price at the ballot box. We need to use every resource at our disposal to make Mitt "Corporations Are People, My Friend" Romney regret ever uttering those words—and we need to take down candidates everywhere who won't support a constitutional amendment and replace them with ones who will.
We're ready to go with a major campaign to reverse Citizens United. We just need the resources to pay organizers, print materials, build websites, and run ads.
Thousands of dedicated folks have already been laying the groundwork for a constitutional amendment. But MoveOn members can help grow the campaign like no one else—and this year, right now, we need to commit ourselves to actually winning an amendment, no matter how long it's going to take. We have a chance to create a tipping point this summer, during this election, where the amendment we so desperately need becomes possible.
By inauguration day next January, our goal is to have thousands of office-holders backing the call for an amendment—and enormous crowds on the steps of Congress and every state capitol rallying to demand an end corporate control of our democracy. 
Committed Americans have amended our Constitution before when they recognized that our laws weren't in line with our values. And they were able to do it at a time when the pony express was the fastest form of communication.
Today, we have 7 million members across all 50 states, connected online and within communities. If the last 10 years have taught us anything, it's that we should never underestimate how fast political realities can shift in America. Together, we do have the power to make real a constitutional amendment ending corporate domination of our political process.
Click here to chip in:
Thanks for all you do.
–Justin, Robin, Elena, Victoria, and the rest of the team
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 7 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, http://pol.moveon.org/. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Stand Up to Karl Rove

Tell the IRS: Crack down on Karl Rove's shady political organization.
A message from CREDO Action:

Since the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, a shadowy organization co-founded by Karl Rove called Crossroads GPS has raised tens of millions of dollars from big-money donors.
Rove's group has spent the lion's share of its money on vicious attack ads targeting candidates for federal office like Elizabeth Warren.1
But now the group is trying to illegally exploit a loophole in federal election law to hide the identity of its donors.2It's up to the IRS to stop them.
According to election law, certain tax-exempt organizations (those organized under Internal Revenue Code section 501c4) may spend money supporting or opposing candidates for federal office without disclosing their donors.
But to qualify for the 501c4 status, an organization "must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare" and one of its primary purposes cannot be "direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office."3
The idea that Crossroads GPS qualifies for this status is laughable.
But the group has applied to the IRS for that designation, hoping that doing so will allow it to keep the identity of its donors (which may include both corporations and wealthy individuals) secret.
The IRS has every reason to deny that designation and penalize Rove's organization for failing to disclose its donors in the interim, but the IRS has bowed to political pressure before.4
We need to speak up to make sure the IRS does not bow to pressure again.
Tell the IRS: Crack down on Karl Rove's shady political organization. Don't let it hide the identity of its big-money donors. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. "Crossroads GPS Argues Ads Attacking Candidates Aren't Political," Dan Froomkin and Paul Blumenthal,Huffington Post, 05-07-12.
2. Ibid.
3. "IRS To Take On Karl Rove? Tax Laws Could Take A Bite Out Of Secret Political Spending ," Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post, 05-25-11.
4."IRS Buckled To GOP Pressure On Secret Donations, Lawyer Says," Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post, 08-08-11.

The Magic of Bain Capital's Profits

A message from MoveOn.org:
It's official: Mitt Romney is a bully.

He bullied classmates as an entitled high school senior,1 and he bullied workers by wrestling away their jobs and benefits to make himself a millionaire.

We've got a great video from Robert Reich that explains how Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, and other private equity firms, stomp on workers and skip taxes to fill their wallets. It's so good that a group dedicated to defending Wall Street firms like Bain has attacked Reich over the video.

So let's hit back at them by sharing this video even further to let your friends and family know who Mitt Romneyreally is, and how he really got rich.
Professor Reich explains that when people in the 1% like Mitt Romney and his fellow private equity raiders scheme to fire people, cut benefits, and duck taxes, the 99% has to foot the bill.
But we can change that. The first step is making sure that as many people as possible know the problem. That's why sharing this video in your social network is so important. Will you share it today?

Click here to share this video in your social networks.

Thanks for all you do.
–Justin, Garlin, Emily, Laura, and the rest of the team


Sources:
1. "Mitt Romney's prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents," The Washington Post, May 10, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=275512&id=41372-18623853-f3CUaJx&t=4

Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 7 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, http://pol.moveon.org/. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Romney's Qualifications


Obama - Biden
Friend --
On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney points to his business experience as his chief qualification to be president -- pointing often to that background to explain how he'd boost the economy, how he'd create jobs, how he'd fix the budget.

Watch this video we put together featuring people affected by Mitt Romney during his time in the private sector, and help hold him accountable by passing it along.

It's important that you understand exactly what Romney did as a businessman, and whether the lessons and values he drew from that experience really do qualify him to be our president.

In a career of buying and selling companies, Romney's pattern was to reap quick profits for himself and his investors, but often at the expense of workers and communities. Sometimes it meant outsourcing jobs to places like China and Mexico. Other times, it would mean reducing wages and benefits.

At times, his firm would buy companies, load them with debt and pocket millions, even as the companies went bankrupt, costing workers their jobs, health care, and pensions.

In Romney's world, CEOs and wealthy investors prosper by any means they can get away with, even when that means companies fail and workers are left behind. Two sets of rules -- one for people like him, another for the rest of us.

It's our job to let people know the truth about Romney's record, and what it says about the economic vision and values he would bring to the presidency.

The real strength of the economy is a growing, thriving middle class, not simply a band of successful financial engineers, and Romney doesn't get that.

I sent the note below to the Truth Team, a group of grassroots supporters who've signed up to be on the front lines of doing just that.

So check out this video:
http://my.barackobama.com/Romney-Economics
And consider becoming a part of the Truth Team -- we'd love to have your help.
Thanks,
Stephanie Cutter
More than 1.9 million people like you power this campaign. If you can, please donate today.

Say No to Austerity

A message from Vermont's Senator Bernie Sanders:
As, perhaps, the most progressive member of the U.S. Senate I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your support for my re-election as Vermont’s senator. I also want to update you as to what is going on in Washington and the progress we are making on the campaign.

The good news is that our Vermont campaign is off to a great start. In the last month I have been speaking to rallies around the state in support of workers’ rights, the environment and women’s rights. I’ve also been marching in a number of parades which, in Vermont, is a great way to reach out and talk to people.

Within the next month, utilizing volunteers and paid staff, we will collect all of the signatures we need to officially get on the ballot. We will also begin our extensive door-to-door efforts and start holding our own campaign rallies around the state. Some of these rallies (which include food and music) will be in the largest towns in the state, and some will be in communities as small as 300 people. We will likely do over 100 of them. I have always believed that a serious progressive campaign is about educating and organizing on a person-to-person level. In Vermont, I hope we can mount the strongest grass-roots campaign in the state’s history, geared to the issues of importance to working families. If we accomplish what I hope we can, we can become a model for other progressive candidates in this election cycle as well as into the future.

The financial help that many of you have provided my campaign is what makes all this possible, and I look forward to your continued support. In this era of Citizens United, when billionaires and corporations can drop huge sums of money into a campaign at a moment’s notice, your support is making all the difference.

Together, through strong grass-roots activity in Vermont and around the country, we can change the direction of this country. Please don’t ever forget that, even in these difficult times.

As an example of what can happen, and happen quickly, the recent elections in France, Germany and Greece are sending a shock-wave throughout the globe -- including the United States. At a time when much of the middle class around the world is collapsing, while many of the wealthiest people, big banks and large corporations are doing phenomenally well, ordinary people are standing up and saying loudly and clearly: NO MORE AUSTERITY FOR WORKING FAMILIES. IT’S TIME FOR AUSTERITY FOR THE TOP ONE PERCENT.

In the United States today, we have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income since the 1920s. Today, the wealthiest 400 individuals own more wealth than the bottom half of America -- 150 million people. Today, the top one percent own forty percent of all wealth, while the bottom sixty percent owns less than two percent. Incredibly, the bottom forty percent of all Americans own just 3/10 of one percent of the wealth of the country.

The distribution of income is even worse. If you can believe it, the last study on this subject showed that in 2010, 93 percent of all new income created in the previous year went to the top one percent, while the bottom 99 percent of people had the privilege of enjoying the remaining seven percent. In other words, the rich are getting much richer while almost everyone else is falling behind.

Not only is this inequality of wealth and income morally grotesque, it is bad economic policy. If working families are deeply in debt, and have little or no income to spend on goods and services, how can we expand the economy and create the millions of jobs we desperately need? There is a limit as to how many yachts, mansions, limos and fancy jewels the super-rich can buy. We need to put income into the hands of working families.

This week, I will be speaking at a rally in DC with other progressives to fight against the proposed cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that Republicans (and some Democrats) are demanding. It is absurd to be talking about austerity for the elderly, the sick, the children and the poor -- people who are already experiencing great financial hardship -- while protecting the interests of the rich and the powerful. This will be the pivotal issue of the next six months and we must be prepared to fight back vigorously.

When we talk about the national debt and the deficit, let us never forget that the current deficit was primarily caused by Bush’s unpaid-for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and huge tax breaks for the rich. Even more importantly, the deficit is the result of a major decline in federal tax revenue because of the high unemployment and business losses that we are experiencing as a result of this recession -- caused by the greed and recklessness of Wall Street.

Click here to watch Bernie discuss Wall Street greed on MSNBC
If we are serious about dealing with the deficit and creating jobs in America, the wealthy are going to have to start paying their fair share of taxes. We also have to end the massive tax loopholes and subsidies that exist for major corporations (In that regard, Rep. Keith Ellison and I introduced legislation last week that would end all tax breaks and subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, government giveaways that total $110 billion a year over ten years). At a time when the United States now spends more money on defense than the rest of the world combined, we also have to cut back on military spending.

Most importantly, we have to address the unemployment crisis in this country which now finds 23 million Americans without jobs or under-employed. And we know how to do that.

We know that the fastest way to create decent paying jobs is rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure (roads, bridges, rail, airports, water systems, wastewater plants, deteriorating schools, etc.). We also know that we can create a great deal of employment by transforming our energy system away from foreign oil and coal and into energy efficiency and such sustainable energies as wind, solar, geo-thermal, bio-mass and other clean technologies. We also know that, as our country fights fierce global competition, it is absurd to be laying-off educators and making college unaffordable.

While we continue to do everything we can during the next six months to defeat Republican right-wing extremism, it is also important that we never lose sight of the progressive vision that we are fighting for. If we don’t know where we want to go, it will be impossible to get there. Some of the issues that I intend to raise during my campaign are:

Not only must we resist cuts in Social Security, we must lift the cap on taxing higher incomes so that Social Security will be strong for the next 75 years.

Not only must we oppose cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, we must see health care as a right of all and continue the fight for a Medicare for All Single Payer health care system.

Not only must we oppose placing the burden of deficit reduction on the backs of working families, we must demand a progressive tax system in which the wealthy and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes.

Not only must we oppose those who deny the reality of global warming, we must demand the transformation of our energy system away from fossil fuels into energy efficiency and such sustainable energies as wind, solar, geothermal and bio-mass.

Not only must we oppose cuts in unemployment compensation, we must fight for a jobs program that creates the many millions of jobs our country desperately needs.

Not only must we vigorously oppose the war against women, we must fight to end all forms of discrimination and prejudice in this country.

These are pivotal times in the history of our country. I have been extremely proud to have represented Vermont in the Senate for the last five years and to have worked with you in the fight to protect and expand our progressive vision.

I would very much appreciate your continued support in my re-election effort.

Sincerely,


Senator Bernie Sanders












Why Wisconsin Matters

A message from Democracy for America:  Our campaign to recall right-wing Gov. Scott Walker and his anti-union, anti-middle class cronies in the State Senate has caught the attention of Republicans across the country.

Republicans see Walker as a leader. They see his War on Working Families -- smashing unions, defunding Planned Parenthood, and passing harsh voter ID laws to keep students, seniors and the poor from voting -- as a blueprint to follow in states across the country. They see it as a plan to crush Democrats and turn blue states red -- and Walker basically admitted as much in a video put online last week.

We need to send a message to Scott Walker and his Republican fan boys across the country -- attack the middle class and you will lose.

All the polls are split dead-even and there are virtually no undecided voters left -- that's why we're on the ground knocking on doors in Wisconsin right now. This race will come down to Getting Out The Vote. Whoever best turns out their base on Election Day wins. It's that simple.

Can you chip in $10 to the DFA Wisconsin recall campaign and help turn out Democrats to vote in the June 5 recall?

Make no mistake about it -- this isn't going to be an easy fight.

Walker and his right-wing backers like Karl Rove and the Koch brothers are outspending Democrats five-to-one in Wisconsin. They're drowning us in vicious attack ads.

That's why we're knocking on doors. There is nothing more effective than talking to voters face-to-face and we're on track to hit 127,353 doors across the state as part of our campaign.

We're going to win this campaign and we're going to do it with people-power.

Please contribute $10 to the DFA Wisconsin recall campaign right now.

Thank you for all that you do.

-Michael Langenmayr, 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.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Obama Supports Gay Marriage

Here's a message from our President, of whom I'm very proud. To those who call this a flip-flop, I would say that changing one's mind after careful consideration and/or new information is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of thoughtfulness. 


Friend --
Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:

I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I hope you'll take a moment to watch the conversation, consider it, and weigh in yourself on behalf of marriage equality:

http://my.barackobama.com/Marriage

I've always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

But over the course of several years I've talked to friends and family about this. I've thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, I've gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

What I've come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.

So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

If you agree, you can stand up with me here.

Thank you,

Barack

More than 1.9 million people like you power this campaign. If you can, please donate today.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Obama Campaign Video

Friend --
Today, we're launching a powerful new ad about President Obama.

We know that people who see this commercial become more likely to vote for the President -- what we don't know is how often we can afford to put our ads on the air.

That's up to you.

Watch the new ad. Then will you chip in $3 or more to support the campaign and help get our message out?




Over the next week and a half, one outside group backing Mitt Romney is spending $4.3 million on ads in nine battleground states.

Over the course of this campaign, we know they will spend even more trying to smear Barack Obama and everything we've accomplished together.

Our best bet is to stay on offense.

Thanks for making it possible:

https://donate.barackobama.com/Our-New-Ad

-Messina

Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America






Contributions or gifts to Obama for America are not tax deductible.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Obama TODAY


Friend --

The crowd's starting to form in Columbus, and they're ready to go.

In a little while, I'll go on stage for the first rally of 2012.

I know not everyone can be there, but you can watch live here, starting at 12:45 p.m. Eastern Time:

http://my.barackobama.com/Watch-Live

Ready?

Barack


-----
More than 1.9 million people like you power this campaign. If you can, please donate today.
Paid for by Obama for America
Contributions or gifts to Obama for America are not tax deductible

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tell Pelosi: Don't Cut Medicare

Take Action!We need to speak out now to stop House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi from agreeing to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Recently, Leader Pelosi expressed support for the Bowles-Simpson plan that would have slashed Social Security benefits — a plan that when it came out she rightly deemed "simply unacceptable."1
And the Washington Post reported that last year she agreed to a "grand bargain" President Obama negotiated with John Boehner that would have slashed benefits not just for Social Security, but for Medicare and Medicaid too.2
We've learned from past battles that preemptive concessions by Democrats can lead to disastrous outcomes.
That is why we're joining with former Senator Russ Feingold and Progressives United, the group he started, to help get Nancy Pelosi back on track.
For years, Republicans in Congress have waged a crusade to end these programs, either by privatizing them or simply defunding them. And sadly, far too many Democrats have bought into the rightwing propaganda.
The fact of the matter is that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are three of America's most successful social programs, and are especially critical to poor and working families, seniors and the disabled. These vital programs also enjoy strong support virtually everywhere except Washington, D.C.
With President Obama and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer on the record in favor of benefit cuts, it's crucial that Nancy Pelosi, the most progressive member of the Democratic Leadership, stand strong and draw a line in the sand on cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
There's no reason for Democrats to be playing defense on these issues.
These programs continue to exist because Democrats have vocally defended them. And that strategy has worked, time and again.
Nancy Pelosi has previously played a critical role in stopping benefit cuts. We hope she will do so again.
Tell Nancy Pelosi: Draw a line in the sand on cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets


Keep Political Ads Off PBS & NPR

Imagine turning on your local PBS station and hearing them say, "Today's episode of Sesame Street was brought to you by Mitt Romney. Up next, Downton Abbey, but first, a word from the Priorities USA Super PAC."
This is no joke! Last week a U.S. appeals court struck down a ban on political ads on public broadcasting.That means your local PBS or NPR station could start running nasty political attack ads right away. 
Many Americans turn to public TV or radio to escape the offensive political ads that have flooded commercial stations. Polluting public programming with these misleading and negative ads is not in keeping with the original vision of noncommercial broadcasting.
We need to invest in public media, not open it up to dirty Super PAC money. That's why I created a petition on SignOn.org urging NPR and PBS to keep their stations free of nasty attack ads. The petition says:
Don't pollute public broadcasting stations with political attack ads. Americans rely on PBS and NPR for programming that's free of the negative and misleading commercials that have flooded commercial airwaves. Don't open up public broadcasting to dirty Super PAC money.
Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:
Thanks!
–Candace Clement
This petition was created on SignOn.org, the non-profit petition site that pledges to never sell your personal information to anyone. SignOn is sponsored by MoveOn Civic Action, which is not responsible for the contents of this or any petition posted on the site. Free Press did not pay for this—we never sell or rent the MoveOn list.
Want to support our work? MoveOn Civic Action is entirely funded by our 7 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.

Stop the Online Spying Bills

Stop the online spying bills!We need to speak out to stop the Senate from greatly expanding the power of the federal government and big corporations to spy on us as we use the Internet.

The House has already passed "Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act" (CISPA), a horrible bill that shreds our online civil liberties.
Supporters of CISPA cynically used the legitimate need to protect our vital national interests from cyber attacks as an excuse to give the government and private companies the authority to read, watch and listen to everything we do on the Internet.
Now the fight moves to the Senate, where several CISPA-like bills are under consideration.
Among other things, CISPA would give the NSA — the spying agency controlled by the Department of Defense — additional power to snoop on our texts, our emails, our web history and everything else we do online.
It would also make it easier for the government to get information about us and what we do online from private companies without a court order.
The folks behind CISPA claim that national security interests make this surveillance necessary. But the bill's language is so vague and overreaching that it opens the door for rampant abuse of our online rights.
Various CISPA-like bills are under consideration in the Senate. While they differ from CISPA and each other in various ways, they all could potentially sacrifice our online civil liberties in the name of national security.
We need to send a clear message to everyone in the Senate that we won't stand for that.
Senators who are with us need to know their constituents support them. And senators who aren't with us need to be put on notice that their constituents don't want them to sell us out.
Tell the Senate: Stop the online spying bills. Click below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for standing up for our civil liberties.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets