Posts filed under ‘We the People’
Ann Romney said this this morning in an interview with ABCNews:
Ann Romney stood firmly by her husband’s commitment to release only two years of tax returns in an interview airing Thursday, saying the information already disclosed was plenty of transparency for the presumptive GOP nominee.
“There are so many things that will be open again for more attack, and you just give more material for more attack, and that’s the answer. We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life,” Mrs. Romney said on ABC.
“You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life, and where he’s been financially,” Mrs. Romney said. “He’s a very generous person. We give 10% of our income to our church every year. Do you think that is the kind of person who is trying to hide things, or do things? No. He is so good about it.”
You people? YOU PEOPLE? They really do look down on us.
Oh, and as for giving 10% of their income to their church — as if they’re giving to charity — I’m pretty sure Mormons are required to give 10%.
Can you imagine this happening in the corporatocracy also known as the United States? Me neither.
For most Europeans, almost nothing is more prized than their four to six weeks of guaranteed annual vacation leave. But it was not clear just how valuable that time off was until Thursday, when Europe’s highest court ruled that workers who happened to get sick on vacation were legally entitled to take another vacation.
“The purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure,” the Court of Justice of the European Union, based in Luxembourg, ruled in a case involving department store workers in Spain. “The purpose of entitlement to sick leave is different, since it enables a worker to recover from an illness that has caused him to be unfit for work.”
The Court of Justice had previously ruled that a person who gets sick before going on vacation is entitled to reschedule the vacation, and on Thursday it said that right extended into the vacation itself.
So humane. So sane.
Look at this amazing crowd at a demonstration in Montreal on May 22:
Beginning in February, students throughout Quebec began protesting against a proposed 75 percent hike in the cost of their tuition. Demonstrators staged strikes, sit-ins, and marches, in some cases drawing hundreds of thousands of participants and incurring hundreds of arrests. Quebec’s government responded by passing a controversial emergency law, Bill 78, that places strict limits on free assembly, including a provision that requires demonstrators to submit protest plans and receive police approval. Reacting to the new law, hundreds of thousands more took to the streets to join the broadening protest. Now, four months later, nightly demonstrations continue across Montreal. These marches are called “casseroles,” as participants use pots and pans to create noise and call for attention.
See a larger version of the photo above and 38 more, here.
Notice how the ahem, “liberal media” is all over this?
When you hang out solely with people who share your beliefs and you get your “news” from Fox and winger hate radio, you think you live in a vacuum:
Florida Governor Rick Scott’s Approval Rating Free Falls, President Obama Now More Popular In The State
Here’s a lesson for Republicans: When you try to strip voters of their rights, it pisses them off. Governor Rick Scott’s attempts to purge eligible voters from the rolls has angered the citizens of Florida. Even Republicans have a problem with this clearly unconstitutional and devious plot to weaken democracy. In fact, Scott has managed to find himself with an incredibly low approval rating in the wake of the voter purge scheme. The newest PPP Poll hands Scott a 31% approval rating, while 56% disapprove. His numbers are so bad that Republicans would rather see a little known Democrat named Nan Rich defeat Scott in the next election.
In other good news for Democrats, President Obama now enjoys a six point lead in Florida over his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, according to an NBC Marist Poll. … So overall, Democrats are seeing very positive numbers in Florida. Keep up the good work, Rick Scott! You’re the best player on the Democrat’s team.
Then again, what voters think might not matter. After all, despite being warned by the Attorney General’s office to stop purging the voter rolls, Scott is still doing it. Maybe they figure they’ll rig the election, flood the airwaves with deceitful ads due to their unlimited money and their guy will “win” anyway.
You may have heard about the huge protests in Montreal last week:
Protests that began in opposition to tuition fees in Canada have exploded into a political crisis with the mass arrest of hundreds of demonstrators amid a backlash against draconian emergency laws.
More than 500 people were arrested in a demonstration in Montreal on Wednesday night as protesters defied a controversial new law – Bill 78 – that places restrictions on the right to demonstrate. In Quebec City, police arrested 176 people under the provisions of the new law.
Demonstrators have been gathering in Montreal for just over 100 days to oppose tuition increases by the Quebec provincial government. On Tuesday, about 100 people were arrested after organisers say 300,000 people took the streets.
But what began as a protest against university fee increases has expanded to a wider movement to oppose Bill 78, which was rushed through by legislators in Quebec in response to the demonstrations. The bill imposes severe restrictions on protests, making it illegal for protesters to gather without having given police eight hours’ notice and securing a permit.
According to the NationalPost.com, “Among other things, the law requires organizers of protests of more than 50 people to submit their demonstration route to police eight hours ahead of time.”
So, they did:
Something to think about and be aware of:
Via the U.S. State Department:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey from May 31-June 7.
On June 3, Secretary Clinton will travel to Stockholm, Sweden, for meetings with senior Swedish officials to discuss a range of issues, including green energy, Internet freedom, Afghanistan and the Middle East. In Stockholm she will also participate in a Climate and Clean Air Coalition event on short-lived climate pollutants.
On Sunday a woman wearing this T-shirt was kicked off an American Airlines flight because it offended the crew:
In this country, you see, fundamentalist right-wing male legislators in every state can take away your rights. They can deny you access to contraception, breast exams, Pap smears, and other primary preventive care. They can deny you access to safe emergency contraception and safe medication abortion. They can force any woman in need of a safe abortion to listen to lies about outcomes of the procedure long disproven by medical science and public health professionals. They can mandate that you to listen to religious dogma at crisis pregnancy centers, force you to look at an ultrasound or hear a heartbeat, make you wait 24-, 36-, 72-hours before you can get a safe, legal abortion, just because they feel like it, and just because they feel like it, they can raise the costs of that abortion — in terms of travel, childcare, medical expenses and time — to really shame you good. Moreover, they feel empowered to coerce you into procedures like trans-vaginal ultrasounds, which I maintain is a form of state-sponsored rape.
But protest these laws and the War on Women with a t-shirt that gets right to the point? Let people know the basis of all of it, the people that “want government out of our lives” want to place it directly into our bodies? In a country supposedly founded on freedom of speech and expression, in which protestors can stand outside clinics harassing and threatening women and doctors, and run through every public square with gory doctored photos? A country in which other protestors can stand outside the funerals of gay soldiers killed in duty and scream disgusting insults, and still have their rights protected?
Oh, no. You can’t do that.
So true. So true.
I spent a good part of my day yesterday standing outside my local grocery store asking people to donate one or two cans of food to my local food bank in conjunction with the National Association of Letter Carriers‘ nation-wide food drive. (Bless their hearts.)
Old ladies, students and people who didn’t look like they had all that much went into the store and came out with a can or two. One kid — I swear, he couldn’t have been older than 19 –giddily handed me a whole bag of food. He was amazing. You should have seen his smile.
But what sticks with me tonight is a woman who drove up to the door with her husband at the wheel of their Mercedes-Benz station wagon. A car like this:
It sells for — this is the bare bones price — $52,000.
She and her 9-something-year-old-daughter got out of the car, acknowledged our plea for a can or two and walked into the store.
Ten minutes later they walked out and walked past us without making a donation. Nothing. Not even a 10c bag of ramen soup.
A family that owns a car — a car — that cost at least $52,000 — walks away from people who can’t afford food?
The HHS sets the yearly income poverty level for a family of eight — eight — at $38,390. (Can you imagine?)
Again, thanks to all who gave but geeze Louize, what’s with that mom and her daughter?
Hey, I think I know: #IGotMine.
On May Day, 2012, I honor these brave souls:
Hundreds of workers at Joliet’s Caterpillar facility went on strike Tuesday morning after they turned down a proposed contract offering no pay raise and more expensive health benefits.
The union workers told NBC Chicago the contract offer was so unfair they’d rather be picketing outside the plant’s main entrance. They reported for work at 11 p.m. Monday then walked off the job at 12:01 a.m.
Union leaders said 94 percent of the approximately 780 machinist union workers voted to strike after the contract offer was voted down Sunday.
The deal was six years with no pay increases, and workers would be required to pay twice as much for health care. The workers say it’s unfair, especially given Caterpillar’s $1.5 billion first-quarter profit.
Oops. Somebody leaked the NYPD’s plans for potential May Day protests tomorrow. They’re filed under “NYPD Shield — Countering Terrorism Through Information Sharing.”
See the six page “Shield” plan here (pdf). It’s incredible what they’re freaking out about: a few bicyclists here, a high school walkout there. They’re afraid of their own shadow and their goal is to protect the corporatocracy.
The old farts who run the University of Colorado at Boulder failed in their attempt to stifle the annual 4/20 smokeout today:
Bravo to all the people who pulled themselves up by their boot straps (h/t GOP) and participated!
Another photo I like from Occupy Rhetoric (love that concept — something we’ve got to do):
Remember this in November people!
A proposal to implement the Buffett Rule was blocked in the Senate on Monday, but proponents of the millionaire tax vowed to keep the issue alive in the months ahead.
Republicans, as expected, garnered enough support to reject Democrats’ attempt to bring up the proposal for debate. The Democrats fell nine votes short.
Got that? Republicans blocked a debate, not a vote. Chicken shit ass bastards. They don’t want to talk about it because they don’t want to have to argue — all of it documented on C-SPAN — why people who make a $1 million or more a year should pay less than you and me.
The GOP put the kibosh on the bill known as the “Paying a Fair Share Act,” which embodies President Obama’s proposed millionaire tax.
The bill would impose a minimum 30% effective federal tax rate on those with adjusted gross incomes above $1 million, although it phases in for those making between $1 million and $2 million.
Meanwhile there’s this:
According to a CNN/ORC International survey, 72% favor the bill, which is named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has argued that it’s unfair that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Twenty-seven percent oppose the measure.
The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell to a four-year low last week.
Weekly applications dropped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the fewest since April 2008.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 361,750, also lowest in four years. The average has fallen nearly 13% in the past six months.
When unemployment benefit applications drop consistently below 375,000, it usually signals that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.
On Friday, the government issues its March jobs report, which is expected to show a fourth straight month of strong hiring.
Being employed “at will” means employers can fire employees for any reason absent an employment or union contract. Employees work for employers “at [the] will” of employers. For all intents and purposes, employees have no rights whatsoever. Every state in the United States operates under the “at will” doctrine (with some minor exceptions) meaning that unless a worker has a union contract, they’re screwed:
They weren’t wearing sagging pants or revealing clothing. But dressing in an orange shirt is apparently enough to get fired at one Florida law firm, where 14 workers were unceremoniously let go last Friday.
In an interview with the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, several of the fired workers say they wore the matching colors so they would be identified as a group when heading out for a happy hour event after work. They say the executive who fired them initially accused them of wearing the matching color as a form of protest against management.
Orange is widely considered to be one of the most visible colors to the human eye. Orange vests are worn by most hunters as a safety precaution and by school crossing guards. Most prisoners are required to wear orange jump suits.
The color orange is arguably Florida’s defining color. The self-described “Sunshine State” is widely known for its orange juice exports.
The law offices of Elizabeth R. Wellborn, P.A. offered “no comment” to Sun-Sentinel reporter Doreen Hemlock, but four ex-employees tell the paper they were simply wearing their orange shirts to celebrate “pay day” and the upcoming Friday group happy hour.
Hate unions? If so, you’re a good little sheeple. The corporate media wants us to hate unions because, as the propaganda arm of corporate America, they want to maintain this system. If American workers were unionized they’d actually have a voice but of course, the powers that be don’t want that. They want to be able to treat us this way because that keeps us docile and quiet and scared and willing to put up with just about anything. Hey, they have it made.
So the next time you hear anti-union stuff on “the news,” remember these 14 workers. My rule of thumb is, if the corporate media is against it, I’m probably for it.
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD), the department-store chain controlled by hedge fund executive Edward Lampert, plans to close 62 retail stores in the first half of this year to reduce expenses.
The closings include 43 Sears Hometown stores, 10 Sears Hardware stores and 9 The Great Indoors stores, the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on March 14. The company, which also owns the Kmart chain, had 4,010 stores as of Jan. 28.
Sears fell 1.1 percent to $82.55 at the close in New York. The shares have more than doubled this year after plunging 56 percent in 2011.
The only mention in the article above about job losses is this: “Brathwaite said in an e-mail that he didn’t know how many jobs may be affected because most of the closing stores are independently owned and operated,” and of course, the wimpy reporter let him get away with that BS. Hey, how about asking for a guesstimate?
U.S. retail giant Sears Holding Corp. said it paid its top executive, Lou D’Ambrosio, $9.9 million in 2011.
That was D’Ambrosio’s total pay package, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Crain’s Chicago Business reported Saturday D’Ambrosio received $793,000 for “personal use of chartered aircraft,” which covered, essentially, his commute from the Philadelphia, where he lives, to Chicago.
People bought everything from towels to homes and cars from the Sears catalogue. I remember — this is probably more than you want to know about me — sitting on the toilet leafing through the 500-some-page Sears catalogue as a kid in the 60s. It was like the Amazon.com of its time.
Sears’employees didn’t drive the company into the ground, the managers and owners did. Yet while the honchos are raking in millions workers are being laid off and fired.
But hey, Wall Street’s happy so we should be too, right?
More dangerous, deranged wingnutery:
To many in the South, Waffle House is a family-friendly restaurant that serves up some of the best grits and hashbrowns around. But behind that iconic sunny yellow sign is a corporate agenda aimed at stripping Americans of their rights.
State Senator Don Balfour of Snellville, Georgia — a Waffle House vice president who serves on the board of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce — is pushing a bill in his state’s legislature that would effectively outlaw picketing outside of private homes. Although the bill is aimed at suppressing union protests at the “private residences” of business executives, its scope is actually much further reaching.
The bill is written to make it illegal for picketers to take part in actions that would be “interfering with the resident’s right to quiet enjoyment.” But historically, one group of activists took part in protests aimed at private residences intended exactly to disrupt the peace to make their point: the Founding Fathers.
If Balfour and Georgia’s Big Business titans have their way, these protests would be illegal, and Adams and many of the other Founding Fathers would’ve been arrested.
Ah yes, the corporatocracy trying to pass laws to protect and insulate itself from we the little people.
Last I knew, We the People own the streets (via the taxes we pay to buy and maintain them) and thus, they are free speech zones:
Some Georgia lawmakers want to make legitimate union picketing and other common protest activities felonies that not only could result in one-year jail terms but up to $10,000 in fines.
The bill, SB 469, would clamp down on free speech and workers’ rights in several ways. First, it would outlaw picketing outside the home of a CEO or other top company officials, such as rallying outside the home of a sweatshop owner.
It also would allow businesses to ask a judge to halt the protests outside of a business. If the judge orders a halt and the picketing continues, the union members or protestors from other groups could each be slapped with a $1,000 fine.
In addition, any union or organization which “continues to sponsor or assist in the prohibited activity” would be subject to $10,000 fine. Businesses which think they suffered damage from the picketing could ask for a cut of that cash.
We’re heading toward a society that looks something like this:
A homeless man robbed a Louisiana bank and took a $100 bill. After feeling remorseful, he surrendered to police the next day. The judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison.
Federal authorities are struggling to find evidence to support a criminal case stemming from the collapse of MF Global, even after a federal grand jury in Chicago has issued subpoenas.
Investigators, unable to find a smoking gun amid thousands of e-mails and documents, increasingly suspect that chaos and poor risk control systems prompted the disappearance of more than $1 billion in customer money, according to several people involved in the case.
My quote of the day:
The entire world seems to be one huge advertisement for The Shock Doctrine. Naomi Klein showed in her revelatory book how the corporate-political-military-media complex exploits crises to further impose their harsh right-wing agenda – even when they themselves created the crisis. In a sane world, the economic meltdown and deep recession of the past four years would have led at minimum to stringent regulation of financiers and speculators plus programs to assist their victims. But in this world, you have to be nuts to believe in a sane world.
If we didn’t click on headlines like this, “news” organizations wouldn’t publish them:
Geezus. Thoughts about the collapse of civilization come to mind.
Republicans think they have a lock on patriotism and the Constitution, but get a load of this:
As a Minnesota Senate committee approved voter ID legislation yesterday, more than 200 citizens lined the capitol building’s halls holding signs to oppose the measure.
Senate Republicans did not permit any citizens to testify on the legislation. It passed the committee along a party-line vote, 8-6, and now advances to the full Senate.
Sorry America. All our voices don’t count. As a matter of fact, none of our voices count when Republicans have their way.
Think about this:
In response to the Obama Administrations’ rules that insurance companies cover birth control of female employees who work with religiously affiliated organizations, Republicans are pushing legislation that would allow any employer to deny health services to employees on “moral convictions.” Among the Republicans pushing the legislation is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
On Sunday, during an appearance on Face The Nation, McConnell claimed that requiring employers to cover crucial health services for women is a violation of freedom of religion and admitted to Bob Scheiffer that he supports Roy Blunt’s legislation that would allow any employer in the nation to deny health services to employees if such services conflict with their “moral convictions.”
Are you serious Mitch? Fine. The thing is, you’re proposing going down a two-way street buddy.
Let’s say the Postal Service decides, ahem, based on “moral convictions” of course, it won’t deliver flyers from Republican candidates. Or let’s say a left-leaning telephone company decides it won’t — based on “moral convictions” — route campaign calls from a Koch-brother-funded organization to its customers. Or lets say a liberal-leaning bank won’t — based on “moral convictions” — cash checks deposited by people who belong to the Republican party.
Do we really want to go down that road? Really? REALLY?
Imagine having the wisdom to think things through and to bust out of your hermetically sealed Fox-encased brain and to think about the reality of what you’re proposing.
People in Greece are reacting to economic cuts along the lines of what Republicans want to do here:
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s parliament has approved an austerity and debt-relief bill, crucial for the country to avoid bankruptcy and remain in the eurozone.
Lawmakers voted early Monday in favor of the bill that imposes harsh new austerity measures in return for a euro130 billion ($171 billion) new bailout agreement and related deal with private creditors to shave euro100 billion ($132 billion) off the country’s national debt.
The vote occurred after extensive rioting and looting swept through the Greek capital.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Demonstrators set buildings ablaze and fireballs lit up the night sky in Greece’s capital on Sunday amid widespread rioting before a historic parliamentary vote on harsh austerity measures designed to prevent the country from going bankrupt.
The clashes erupted after more than 100,000 protesters marched to the parliament to rally against the drastic cuts, which will ax one in five civil service jobs and slash the minimum wage by more than a fifth.
At least 10 buildings were on fire, including a movie theater, bank and cafeteria, and looters smashed dozens of shops in the worst riot damage in years. Dozens of police officers and at least 37 protesters were injured, and more than 20 suspected rioters were detained.
See more photos here.
Rick Berman gives us all a big freakin’ finger:
Big-time lobbyist Rick Berman creates nonprofit front groups to push corporate interests. Now he’s in an anti-union ad pretending to be an auto mechanic.
This is how brazen the corporatocracy is getting. They’re buying elections and they don’t care if we know it because we can’t do anything about it. They have the money and we don’t. Period. We’re on the outside looking in. Welcome to Campaign 2012!
(With special thanks to the activist Republican judges on the Supreme Court who brought us Citizens United.)
Do you think every single business can be trusted to give their workers a lunch break without it being mandated by law? You know, out of the goodness of their heart? Republicans in New Hampshire do: New Hampshire Republicans Propose Bill To Eliminate Workers’ Lunch Breaks.
Folks, if you think there are” too many government regulations” and that those regulations are strangling businesses, vote Republican, because this is what they mean when they say they want to undo those “job killing regulations.” They want to make it so businesses can do anything they want, including screw you out of a lunch break.
You think corporations run things now? Just wait.
A year after the huge rallies in Tahrir Square, people in Egypt are still fighting and dying for freedom:
Here is a slide show of what went down there today.
My thoughts are with them ♥.
Occupy and other groups are rallying today in New York City to protest sanctions on Iran, the murder of Iranian scientists, and the increasingly hostile rhetoric coming from the United States and Israel concerning Iran.
The intrepid reporter Tim Pool is sending out pictures of some of the signs people are carrying (see them at his link above). This is my favorite so far:
Interesting isn’t it that the usual crowd that screams about cutting government spending isn’t screaming about not going to war again. When it comes to cuts, they only want to cut the programs that benefit we the people. Defense contractors? Not so much.
As part of their effort to pull us down, instead of lifting us up, Republicans in the House want to freeze pay for Federal workers:
The GOP-led House is ushering forward bills to freeze federal employee pay and ban welfare recipients from accessing their benefits through ATMs at casinos or strip clubs — moves intended to give Republicans leverage for including those proposals in negotiations to extend President Obama’s payroll tax holiday for the remainder of the year.
Republicans in the House also sought to freeze federal employee pay, confronting Obama’s proposal to lift the federal pay freeze that has been in effect since fiscal year 2010 and give federal workers a half-percent pay hike.
Thing is, I can’t find anything out there about Republicans committing to freezing their own pay:
Members of Congress have the only job in the country whose occupants can set their own salary without regard to performance, profit, or economic climate,” said Tom Schatz, president of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste in a press release.
Congress has now voted itself a total of $16,700 in raises over the last six years. Since 1990, congressional pay has increased from $98,400 to $154,700 in 2003.
This is horrifying. Welcome to police state USA folks:
In a stunning break with First Amendment policy on Capitol Hill, House Republicans directed Capitol Hill police to detain a highly regarded documentary crew that was attempting to film a Wednesday hearing on a controversial natural gas procurement practice. Republicans also denied the entrance of a credentialed ABC News news team that was attempting to film the event.
Josh Fox, director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “Gasland” was taken into custody by Capitol Hill police this morning, along with his crew, after Republicans objected to their presence, according to Democratic sources present at the hearing.
“Gasland” received strong critical acclaim and takes a critical eye toward the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a process in which several tons of highly pressurized water and chemicals are injected into the ground, allowing valuable natural gas to escape.
Fox had hoped to film Wednesday’s hearing for a follow-up to “Gasland.”
Fox did not have formal Capitol Hill credentials, but such formalities are rarely enforced against high-profile journalists. … The right to a free press is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Documentary crews are almost never denied access to public meetings of elected government officials.
A separate ABC News crew, which did have official Capitol Hill credentials, was also denied access to the publichearing.
Republicans to all journalists and to America: Fuck the First Amendment. I mean seriously. This was a public hearing being held in the United States Capitol, a building owned by We the People, and the hearing was being conducted by people who We the People elected and who work for us! What the hell is going on around here?
If this isn’t a form of terrorism I don’t know what is.
Who is Willard Mitt Romney campaigning for? You? Me? No. He’s campaigning for the folks who give to his SuperPAC, Restore Our Future, Inc.
Restore Our Future Inc.? A more appropriate name would be, Restore Rich People’s Future Inc.