Rise Of Th Right: Cross-Atlantic Extremism

Rise of the right: Cross-Atlantic extremism (via The Economist)

I HAVE long had a sneaking suspicion that Tea Party voters and eurosceptics are more or less the same sorts of people, born on different sides of the Atlantic. Both are traditionalist movements driven by economic anxiety and mistrust of centralised…

United Unions Call for Diamond’s Removal from DPOC Leadership Post

Greg Diamond ( Photo : Chris Prevatt )

Greg Diamond ( Photo : Chris Prevatt )

Two independent sources tell TheLiberalOC that at Wednesday’s special Executive Board meeting of the OC Labor Fed, that all 90-plus unions represented by the LaborFed united with the 20-plus Building Trade unions in demanding that the Democratic Party of Orange County remove Greg Diamond from his North OC Vice Chair post or organized labor will withhold support of Democratic candidates in the coming June primaries and November elections. Diamond, a candidate for District Attorney and a blogger for the Orange Juice Blog, also represents CATER, a secretive organization suing the city of Anaheim over the Convention Center expansion and alleged Brown Act violations concerns negotiations with the Angels. And its the lawsuits that represent thousands of union jobs that has raised the ire of organized labor.

“Organized labor was united in declaring Greg Diamond to be anti-Labor no matter what Greg Diamond says he is,” said a source granted anonymity by this blog.

The Building Trades sent the DPOPC a letter on march 31 calling for Diamond’s removal or else. Representatives told the Liberal OC then that the letter was “the tip of the iceberg” and they would be seeking support from other OC unions to join their effort. The Building Trades were successful in convincing the OC Labor Fed and its 90+ unions to sign on in support. We’re told each labor union at the meeting in Orange County as well as labor connections in Sacramento stood united and joined the Building Trades of OC and Los Angeles in demanding the Party remove Diamond. It is also highly unlikely Diamond will receive any labor support in his race to defeat Tony Rackauckas including LaborFed support he sought. Diamond’s campaign website currently posts no endorsements, no events and no issues.

The prospect of tight Democratic races in AD-65 and SD-34 without Labor support would be devastating to Sharon Quirk-Silva and Jose Solorio chances in November.

It takes two thirds of the DPOC Central Committee to remove someone from a leadership post; it’s unclear if Diamond has enough votes to defeat a motion to remove him from his party position. But fighting his removal from Party leadership in the wake of a unified labor move to demand his ouster holds serious consequences for the Party and our candidates. If he were to fight his removal, doing so with so much at stake is simply the height of arrogance that places his own interests ahead of those interests of Democratic candidates, the Democratic Party’s interest, and the interests of organized labor.

If Diamond can claim credit for anything, it was the ability to unite organized labor groups that are sometimes at odds, and bring them together. He’s a uniter and not a divider.

Diamond needs to be a team player here and do the right thing. He should resign his Party leadership position effectively immediately. This would free him to continue his lawsuit against the city of Anaheim on behalf of CATER, maintain his campaign for DA, and continue his long winded posts and commentary on the Orange Juice Blog.

I don’t speak for Chris Prevatt who publishes this blog and is a union member. But I call on Diamond to resign from the DPOC North Vice Chair and Central Committee. Make amends with Labor. Don’t hurt our candidates. Do the right thing and resign.


Wingnuts Rush To Make The Case That Kansas Shooter Wasn’t Republican

Wingnuts Rush To Make The Case That Kansas Shooter Wasn’t Republican (via Liberaland)

The most important thing to do when three people are dead because of racism and antisemitism is to make sure that the shooter isn’t a member of your political party and is, in fact, a Democrat. That way, all Democrats can be defined as antisemitic…

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State GOP gets to vote on secession at convention

State GOP gets to vote on secession at convention (via Journal Sentinel)

April 14, 2014 4:00 a.m. To secede or not to secede. That will be the question for Wisconsin Republicans at next month’s convention. Earlier this month, the party’s Resolutions Committee voted in favor of a proposal that says the state party “supports…

Gaining on Mississippi

While doing a lot of reading on a recent vacation, I couldn’t help but notice how often our once proud progressive state gets mentioned these days in the same breath with those that are typically among the laggards in everything from the economy to the environment.

But that’s what happens when the voters decide to turn state government completely over to a governor and a lapdog Legislature intent on dismantling decades of laws and programs that were long hailed as models for the rest of the nation.

States that are making it harder for citizens to vote? Wisconsin, once a model for getting high turnouts at election time, now ranks right up there with the worst. States that have made the biggest cutbacks in education aid for local school districts? Take a bow, Wisconsin. States that have the worst record in job creation over the past two years? Wisconsin is in 32nd place. States that have done the most to weaken environmental regulations? Again, Wisconsin can proclaim it’s doing well in that race.

The ideologues have control and they’re doing everything possible to take advantage of it, no matter the long-term damage it does to the state.

During the past couple of weeks, Governor Scott Walker has been crisscrossing the state touting his minuscule tax cuts as proof positive that his programs are “working.” Frankly, any governmental body can cut taxes if it cuts back on programs designed to support the citizens and their kids.

Mississippi shows how easy it is. The state ranks last in local and state tax burden. It also ranks among the worst states for education and the number of people who live in poverty. Emulating Mississippi, however, doesn’t appear to be a concern for this crew of Republicans now running our state government.

Dan Kaufman’s piece in a recent New York Times Sunday Review headlined “The Fight for Wisconsin’s Soul” said tons. He pointed out how the state has been an environmental leader since 1910, when the progressives made sweeping reforms in state government and powerful conservationists like Theodore Roosevelt influenced forward-looking politicians to act.

Wisconsin is the home of the founder of Earth Day, former Democratic governor and longtime U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, a national icon of preserving nature for future generations. Nelson and Republican Warren Knowles, who became governor a few years after Nelson, are the namesakes of one of the country’s most admired stewardship programs to preserve Wisconsin land. Wisconsinites once were proud of what they had done.

That has been all turned upside down by a batch of reactionary Republicans, supported by Walker, to weaken the state’s time-honored conservation and environmental standards in an effort to carve a four-mile-long iron ore mine into one of the state’s most pristine landscapes.

Frankly, even Mississippi might have second thoughts about such a rape of the land.

Wisconsin isn’t getting many plaudits recently for its cutting edge programs and creative ideas, which once ranked Wisconsin as a laboratory of good state government. But it is winning the race to the bottom, something our kids and grandkids will be saddled with for a long, long time.

(A version of this article originally appeared in the opinion section of the Capital Times.)

Author – Dave Zweifel

Democratic California state senator indicted on corruption, gun trafficking charges

This is absolutely apalling.

A prominent Democratic California state senator and gun-control advocate was indicted by a San Francisco grand jury on charges of corruption and conspiracy to traffic in firearms, according to court documents released on Friday.

The indictment adds to the troubles facing state Senator Leland Yee, who was arrested last week and criminally charged along with two dozen others in the same case. He has since been suspended with pay.

Yee, 65, is the third California state senator to face criminal charges this year in separate cases that have cost Democrats a cherished two-thirds legislative majority in an election year and prompted them to cancel a major fundraiser planned for this weekend.

In a 31-page indictment that sharpens but does not materially change the allegations against Yee, he is charged with six counts of corruption and one count of conspiracy to traffic in firearms. His lawyer said he plans to plead not guilty.

Among the allegations contained in the indictment is that the one-time San Francisco mayoral candidate accepted cash from an undercover FBI agent seeking to purchase illegal weapons.

If Leland Yee is guilty, I hope they throw the book at him.

Author – Zach Wisniewski

Right wing vs. far right-wing

Congressman Tom Petri will feel the Koch boys’ whip. Right-wing–indeed far right-wing–Glenn Grothman will challenge right-wing so-called-moderate-conservative Petri for the congressional seat Petri has held for 36 years. Why so long? Why gerrymandering of course! His district looks like a child’s drawing as it stretches from Lake Michigan to Tomah.

Petri is worried because the Koch kids are going to pour lots of cash into the race for Grothman. Now that the Supremes have all but eliminated caps on contributions Petri will predictably see tens of millions spent in the race. Petri doesn’t need a job so don’t fret. He is independently wealthy so he fits the GOP mold. After Charles Koch’s absurd op-ed in the Wall Street Journal yesterday where he accuses us of being collectivists, maybe he will break the bank this year.

Author – Ed Garvey

After McCutcheon Case Our Democracy Is Dead! Or Is It?

An American flag festooned with dollar bills and corporate logos flies in front of the Supreme Court during oral arguments in the case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. Image by JayMallinPhotos.com

An American flag festooned with dollar bills and corporate logos flies in front of the Supreme Court during oral arguments in the case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.
Image by JayMallinPhotos.com

Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States issued their ruling on the McCutcheon vs. Federal Elections Commission deregulating personal spending on political campaigns.

“This ruling is an unwelcome sequel to the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United which will further erode the ability of 99 percent of our citizens to meaningfully participate in the political process and to have their voices heard in the governance of our country,” said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.

“Today’s Supreme Court McCutcheon decision is the worst affront to democracy since Citizens United,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter in a one-minute speech on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster echoed Shea-Porter’s comments by stating, “Today’s Supreme Court decision further erodes our campaign finance laws, which were already in desperate need of reform.”

It was only four years ago that the conservative majority on the bench of the Supreme Court ruled the ‘corporations are people’ and with that could donate vast amounts of money to political campaigns. This was evident in the 2010 and 2012 elections as corporations spent hundreds of millions of dollars funding corporate friendly candidates.

The McCutcheon case was not about how much corporations could spend, but how much one individual can spend on political campaigns. The new ruling did not change the amount of money that one person can spend on an individual candidate ($2,600 in the primary and another $2,600 in the general election), but it changed how much one individual can publicly spend on the overall election.

Image by JayMallinPhotos.com

Image by JayMallinPhotos.com

McCutcheon’s lawyers argued that Mr. McCutcheon wanted to give more donations to multiple candidates, and to the national party, than the current cap allowed, and that was a limit on his free speech. It should be noted that the individual cap prior to the recent decision, was $126,000. That is three times the average workers annual salary.

The SCOTUS lifted the cap to $3.6 million per election cycle. This means that one wealthy individual could spread $3.6 million dollars, publicly, to over 1300 candidates without exceeding the $2,600 per candidate cap.

North Carolina AFL-CIO Secretary -Treasurer MaryBe McMillan said, “Today’s ruling in McCutcheon makes clear that in our battle against organized greed, working people cannot count on the Supreme Court to deliver justice.”

This ruling signals that our highest court has just put our democracy up for sale to the highest bidder.

“By striking down individual aggregate limits on First Amendment grounds, the Court has further tilted our political system in favor of corporations and the wealthy and against working people,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Our founding fathers did not intend for our electoral process to be the façade for political auctions.”

“The Supreme Court has once again struck a blow to our democracy,” said the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) in a written statement. “This decision is a gift to billionaires like the Koch brothers that want to unduly influence public policy and an affront to working families who are having their voices drowned out by a monsoon of big money. Elections should not be like auctions—for sale to the highest bidder.”

“With this ruling, the voices of everyday Americans have gotten squashed again. We once had rules that allowed everyone a fair shot at the American dream and access to democracy, but now access to government is reserved for the most powerful and influential with millions and millions of dollars to buy elections,” stated American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. “The avalanche of money spent on elections would be better spent creating jobs, improving our neighborhood public schools, fixing our disintegrating infrastructure and building a better future for our children.”

Our voice, in our democracy, is being stolen. Without obscene amounts of money the working-man will not be heard in Washington or in our state capitols. The problem compounds when you add in the unlimited amounts of money pushed from corporations after the Citizens United decision.

“Taken together, these two decisions will effectively drown out the voices of working people in the political process and deny them access to their elected officials,” stated SEIU President Henry. “To a Supreme Court which equates speech with money, only the voices of the rich are entitled to protection under the First Amendment.”

“This action opens the floodgates for even more outside spending and undue influence on our elections, and underscores the need to pass new legislation to reduce the role of special interests in our political system,” said Rep. Annie Kuster.

Supreme Court Hears Arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC

So that is it, our democracy, as we know it is dead. Money is speech, and the middle class cannot compete with business and the ultra-wealthy 1%. If you truly believe there is nothing we can do, then yes our democracy is lost, however I do not think this is the end. We have options.

First we must pass Constitutional amendments that remove the outside money from our political system. The people at Public Citizen are working to pass these types of amendments in state houses across the country. In New Hampshire over thirty towns have joined the fight calling for an amendment to the State Constitution.

We can also completely remove the influence that money has on our politicians by going back to publicly funded campaigns. Each candidate gets the same amount of money to run his or her campaign, and that is it. No outside special interest groups pushing lies and misleading advertisements. No more corporate super PACs buying politicians before they are even elected.

We as the 99% have one thing that corporations and the ultra-wealthy will never have, people. DEMOS is reporting that 60% of all individual super PAC donations, $360 million dollars, came from 132 wealthy donors. There are more politically motivated people in my town’s school board meetings. We have the ‘boots on the ground’; we just need to get them moving.

We need the middle class to rise up and take control of our democracy. Pulitzer Prize winning author Hedrick Smith talks about this in his most recent book, Who Stole The American Dream. He talked about how it was labor, civil rights leaders, and the middle class who pushed our country forward during the 1960’s. As he put it, “it was the middle class who were driving the political bus.” In the ‘60’s people believed they could make change, and they did. We can do that again.

We need more politicians like Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter who refuses to take money from corporate PAC’s and D.C. lobbyists. We need more leaders like Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who is calling on Sen. Scott Brown to take the ‘People’s Pledge’ to keep special interest money out of their Senate race. Something that Sen. Brown did when he ran against Sen. Warren in Massachusetts.

There is no way for the middle class to match the obscene amounts of money that the ultra-wealthy and corporations are dumping into campaigns but that does not mean the fight is over. Only together can we make the changes needed to keep the money out of politics forever, and all you have to do is vote. We outnumber them a million to one, and if we vote, their money will make no difference at all.

Stand up for our democracy, get out and make your voice heard!
You can start taking action by adding your name below to join the call for a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United, McCutcheon and related cases.

If you liked this post consider subscribing to the NH Labor News via email. There are more great articles to come.

Author – Matt Murray

Where is Christie: Catbird Seat or Rough Rumble Seat: Part III

In Part I we looked at why for the moment he might be able to portray himself in the catbird seat, and indeed with the bought and paid for Mastro report he has pulled out all the stops to convey that impression. (Nonetheless, in a Star-Ledger straw poll: “Is Chris Christie exonerated in Bridgegate scandal?” out of almost 9,000 votes 85% said “No.”) In Part II we looked at why he remains in the rumble seat. In Part III we look toward the future and his role as both Governor and Presidential candidate. Of course as investigations are ongoing, his position can worsen or improve depending on their outcome.
During his lengthy press conference on January 9 Christie said, “My job is to be governor of New Jersey. But I am absolutely in — nowhere near beginning that consideration process [of running for President]. My focus is on the people of New Jersey and the job that they gave me.”
This is what pollsters say about him:

Read More …

Casey Supporting Nomination of Tea Partier For Federal Bench

Sen. Bob Casey is supporting the nomination of a radical Tea Party member for the federal bench in a secret deal with Sen. Pat Toomey. David J. Porter is in the mold of a Samuel Alito and has extreme ties to right wing organizations such as The Federalist Society and the Center For Visions and Values. The nomination would have to be approved and made by President Obama. This can only be stopped by contacting both the White House and Senator Casey’s office. The nomination could be announced as early as Thursday.
Keystone Progress has a petition page set up where you can also express your shock at this move. For some reason the President has been nominating Republicans to the federal bench here in Pennsylvania. Do you think George W. Bush nominated any liberals? No.

Why Casey would accede to Toomey’s extreme ideological leanings is a question only he can answer. Normally federal judicial nominations go through a state’s U.S. Senators for approval before being announced by the White House. Casey can stop this move.

Porter has written an op ed for the Post Gazette calling for the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act which just provided almost 15 million Americans with health care. The Center calls for the Supreme Court to find for Hobby Lobby in the recent religious discrimination case. Such a far reaching decision would allow companies to deny you any health care they considered offensive according to their personal religious beliefs. In fact if you worked for a Christian Scientist you could be denied health care for any conditions at all.

The views expressed on the Center For Vision and Values are far right extremism at its worst. David J. Porter is an extreme ideologue who isn’t fit to sit on a federal bench.

Author – John Morgan