Independent Action on Jobs

Conservatives in Congress and their echo chamber have backed President Obama, and the American people, into a dangerous corner.  Private sector job creation is desperately needed for our national recovery and to begin rebuilding the economic security of our people.  

Yet for a mix of political and ideological reasons, conservatives are blocking two of the critical steps necessary to achieve that goal: federal investment in private sector job creation and increased tax contributions from the wealthiest and most privileged Americans.  Both are needed in order to get Americans back to work and grow the economy while beginning to reduce the deficit.

The President, however, still has some cards to play.  His constitutional power includes the ability to expend existing federal resources in ways that best meet our national challenges, while calling on Congress to do the same.  Specifically, the President should issue an executive order directing federal agencies to prioritize job creation in transportation, housing, and other programs already funded by Congress.  He should focus those efforts on states and communities with the highest unemployment rates, and through the lens of equal opportunity.  And he should separately urge Congress to prioritize employment in pending legislation like the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act that both parties agree must be passed soon.  As I’ve recommended before, federal agencies should begin using an Opportunity Impact Statement and requiring Opportunity Action Plans to ensure that federal funds are used most effectively to create greater and more equal opportunity.

These tools should be used to amplify the kind of strategies proposed by the President's jobs council, led by CEOs like American Express's Kenneth Chenault, who have called for measures to cut red tape, provide more loans, invest in energy efficiency and attract more tourists to the United States, among other things.

These efforts, most of which the President can take on his own, should be part of a broader narrative on what government can and cannot do to spur private job growth, and why doing all it can right now is crucial to getting our country on the right track.

Paul Broun: The Sugar Plum Tea Bagger

The average American’s concept of government workers is that they lounge all day on comfy divans while being fanned by servants who peel grapes in return for fabulous riches and a retirement plan bigger than Bill Gates’. Oh, and they have guaranteed lifetime employment and don’t have to pay taxes either.

In other words, with the taxpayers all snug in their beds, visions of fairy tales dance in their heads.

Government Slackers
Where do the fairy tales come from? Why, from people like Tea Bagging, “Stupidest Member of Congress” nominee Rep. Paul Broun. In his words:

“We’ve got to stop the outrageous spending that’s going on. We hear the CBO says, well if we don’t raise the debt limit, it’s going to put so many people out of work. I don’t remember the number, I think it’s 250,000 or something, are gonna be put out of work. Well, those are gonna be government employees that are put out of work.

There aren’t many people who’d argue cuts are unneeded. Private sector workers – who apparently have “real jobs” -  are losing them, unlike their company’s top executives. It’s only fair that true inefficiencies in government be rooted out and with it, unfortunately, their jobs. Sharing the pain at moments like this can’t be helped.

However, choosing the “250,000 or something” candidates based on the assumption they’re goldbrickers is arrogant as hell. Who exactly are these people and does Broun know one damn thing about them or their jobs? Well, if he can’t remember whether there are 2 or 250,000 lazy government sponges it seems he’s maybe a little fuzzy on the details.

Broun apparently thinks cutting government is easy – as easy as pulling out his trusty chainsaw and going all Paul Bunyan on it. He could come up with the whole deal by simply cutting the military. They have 3 million troops, what could be easier? Hey, needlessly getting your ass shot off to protect some crapulent Afghan thieves and Congressional goobers is about as cushy a federal job there is. Just ask the troops. But, make sure they’re unarmed first.

DIY Flowbeeing
What about the personal Congressional staffers and Capitol police? We can do without them. I don’t have a staff and still have enough time to watch Broun embarrass himself on C-SPAN. Hey, just for good measure lets can the Capitol barbers and lazy ass Congressional Dining Room staff too. I’m sure Broun’s hoi polloi would be more than agreeable to Flowbeeing their own hair, bussing their own tables, and washing their own dishes. They might even have enough time to take calls from lobbyists when they’re done with their effortless tasks.

But perhaps the greatest savings would be to cut just one supremely indolent government employee. I believe his name is Paul Broun. The savings on his perks, free healthcare, and better than private sector pension could finance the Global War of Error for about 6 minutes. His free franking privileges are probably worth a couple thousand, easy. Besides, he and his cronies have control of the purse strings and are clearly honest enough to make these mandatory cuts. I trust ‘em, don’t you?

I know it’s a lot to ask of politicians these days, particularly one bagging so much tea the Lipton Tea Taster would get a hard-on, but could they please understand what they’re saying before they say it? I imagine government employees would really appreciate it.

And, so would the rest of us.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Kucinich Calls the Question on Libya War Powers

Last week, voting on amendments on the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, the House of Representatives began taking action to limit U.S. military involvement in Libya's civil war.

Now the House leadership has agreed to a vote on House Concurrent Resolution 51, introduced by Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich, which would direct the President, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution, to remove U.S. armed forces from the Libya war. The vote could come as early as Wednesday afternoon.

 

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Momentum is building for immigration reform

From our Restore Fairness blog-

Could the conversation about immigration finally be changing?

Following the Obama administration's determination in February that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples, Attorney General Eric Holder last week requested that the immigration appeals court consider granting legal residency to an Irishman in a civil union with an American man. A Newark judge also suspended the deportation of Henry Velandia of Venezuela-- who is married to  American, Josh Vandiver-- in order to allow time for the court and the Department of Justice to determine under what circumstances a gay partner might be eligible for residency. These recent steps are a welcome indication that the Obama administration is working toward a fair and just policy towards bi-national same-sex couples.

In 2009, Restore Fairness used the power of documentary to tell the story of one such family, who was facing separation because their domestic partnership wasn't recognized under DOMA. The video gives a voice to Shirley Tan, who came from the Philippines decades ago and built a life with her partner Jay, giving birth to twin boys and becoming a full-time mother. When we spoke to her, Shirley faced the biggest challenge of her life as she fought to stay on in the United States, crippled by laws that do not allow gay and lesbian couples to sponsor their partners.

Watch the Restore Fairness video of Two Moms Fighting to Stay Together.

In another positive step for immigration, the state of Illinois last week became the first state to entirely opt out of the so-called "Secure Communities," which requires local police to send fingerprints of all arrestees to federal immigration databases, with immigrants who are found "deportable" being directly pushed into the deeply flawed detention and deportation system. This costly program threatens to reduce trust between local law enforcement and communities, encourage racial profiling and separate families. However, despite Illinois Gov. Quinn's decisive announcement, and increased resistance from states and police departments across the country, the Department of Homeland Security has said that they will not allow Illinois to withdraw. In another indication that partnerships between ICE and local law enforcement are on the increase, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law on May 13, an immigration bill that would give local police the authority to question suspects about their immigration status. This law, which is being compared to Arizona's SB1070, could lead to decreased trust between local police and communities, and increase the occurrence of racial profiling. The law has been met with much criticism already. Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, reacted-

Today is a dark day for Georgia. Our concern stems from the very serious economic repercussions that will be felt against our state on numerous fronts and the very serious civil and human rights abuses that will also likely follow...

This trend of states being given greater control of immigration policies, which is actually a federal issue, signals a threat to the otherwise positive momentum in the immigration movement. Joining the opposition to the "Secure Communities" program 38 lawmakers earlier this week sent a letter to New York Governor Cuomo urging him to terminate Secure Communities in New York State. Religious leaders from many faiths, joined by advocates and community members, yesterday held a vigil outside Governor Cuomo's Manhattan office, to request him to stop unjust deportations. Speakers at the vigil applauded Illinois for withdrawing from Secure Communities and urged New York to protect New York's immigrant communities by doing the same. You too can take action against Secure Communities, contact your state Governor to help your state withdraw from the program.

In another update, Senator Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Reid (D-NV) yesterday introduced the DREAM Act in the 112th session of Congress. If passed, it could positively impact the lives of 2.1 million young people in the United States. Despite the regained impetus of the DREAM Act this year, the movement lost the support of its third and final Republican politicians. Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) abandoned his previous support for the DREAM Act and joins Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who have already denounced their support. Senator Lugar blamed President Obama's increased politicization of the issue for his withdrawal, even though it seems he has made the decision because of a rising Tea Party challenger in the Primary. However, many feel optimistic about the renewed chances of the bill this year. The DREAM Act's failure in Congress last December was a huge disappointment, but the movement, supported by President Obama, is only getting stronger. And with your support, we can take this step forward in ensuring that young people who have worked tirelessly to build their lives in America- and contribute to the society- enjoy the rights they deserve.

The passage of the DREAM Act would benefit people like Emilio, a young man who was brought to the U.S. by his parents at the age of six. Speaking about his American identity, the only one he has ever really known, Emilio said-

“I went through elementary, middle, and high school in North Carolina, and it is the only place that I call home.  I graduated from high school in 2010 as one of the top ten students in my class, as an honor student, an AP scholar with hundreds of hours of community service, and I was awarded a full-ride scholarship to my first choice university.  However, unless the broken immigration system is fixed, when I graduate from college in four years I won’t be able to use my college degree.  My dream is to give back to my community.”

Immediately prior to the re-submission of the DREAM Act in Congress came a speech by President Obama to border communities in El Paso, Texas earlier this week. Obama reiterated his commitment to fair and just comprehensive immigration reform. He expressed his support for the DREAM Act, for keeping families together, and for visa reform. While this is not the first time we have heard these commitments, there is no denying the positive momentum that is building toward preventing the injustices caused by a broken immigration system. When we deny fairness to some, we put all of our rights at risk. Join Restore Fairness in our commitment to telling stories, inviting conversation, and inspiring action that will help America move even further in the right direction.

We strongly believe in the power of using culture to change culture. We're using our new Facebook game, America 2049, to weave human rights issues-- especially racial justice and immigration-- into each week of game play. As we continue to tell these stories in the hope of changing the conversation, we ask that you play America 2049, and join the dialogue and action that will move us forward.

Learn. Share. Act. Go to restorefairness.org.

GOP Rep. Gets Sham Award from Drug Industry Front Org

Rep. Nan Hayworth's office sent out a press release last Thursday with a picture of the Congresswoman being handed an award beneath a sign saying, “Senior Citizens Thank You For Protecting Medicare and Social Security.” It sure looks like a perfect photo opportunity for the Congresswoman, being honored by a organization known as the “60 Plus Association” for protecting in their best interests.

However, there are two huge problems with this picture. First, Nan Hayworth just voted to kill Medicare, if you're one of the few that has forgotten. And second, the 60 Plus Association is not a senior citizen's group at all, it's just a front organization for the pharmaceutical industry. This is a crass attempt by Hayworth to once again deceive her constituents, particularly the elderly.

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Diaries

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