David Dayen's News Roundup from Monday night, November 14, 2011[...]
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Colin Moynihan reports on the confusion at Zuccotti Park shortly after 8 a.m. as a judicial order appeared to allow protesters to return pending a hearing later in the morning… Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in a news conference that there had[...]
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Congress moved a big step closer Monday to approving $50 million that Tampa needs to provide security at next year's Republican National Convention.
The funds, plus another $50 million for the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., are included in a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded through Dec. 16. The key work on the appropriation was done by a conference committee that included U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
Past national political conventions have received up to $50 million, which goes to the cities and not the parties. The appropriation is separate from the $55 million in private funds the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee is trying to raise to help stage the convention and promote Tampa Bay.
The continuing resolution is scheduled for a vote in the House Thursday and Young expects it to pass. It may also pass the Senate the same day. - St Petersburg Times
Jarrod Ownbey, of Mullins Law Firm, P.A., has officially announced his candidacy for the South Carolina House of Representatives District 108 seat currently held by Rep. Kevin Ryan (R). Ownbey will run as a Democrat for the District that covers a portion of Georgetown and Charleston Counties.
Mr. Ownbey, along with Randall K. Mullins, represents approximately 60 depositors in the Bahama Island Resort and Marina cases currently pending in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Common Pleas. Ownbey has been a member of the South Carolina Bar Association for almost 5 years and is additionally licensed to practice in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
?I hope to build upon the progress made by former Rep. Vida Miller (D). I have to first commend her on her service and dedication to the people of this District,? Ownbey said. ?It is imperative that we return to that level of leadership in order to improve the lives of the people of District 108; and in doing so, we need to first focus on creating and sustaining jobs and giving our educators the tools necessary to provide our youth with a competitive education.?
Mr. Ownbey, 32, resides in Pawleys Island with his wife Stacy and their three daughters. He is a 2006 graduate of the Appalachian School of Law, located in Grundy, Virginia and a 2002 graduate of the University of South Carolina, Spartanburg campus. Ownbey, originally from Spartanburg, SC, relocated to Georgetown County in 2008.
For further details or comment, please contact Jarrod Ownbey at (843) 272-8902; (843) 467-6694; or at Ownbey4SCHouse@yahoo.com. Mr. Ownbey can be reached via facsimile at (843) 272-3075.
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Mitt Romney wants to privatize veterans? care and benefits with vouchers, reported Steve Benen last week on Veterans Day.
Is consumer advocate and Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren the biggest rock star candidate in the 2012 Senate races?
Judging by the turnout at her campaign events, the answer so far, is yes.
The Democrat drew a crowd of about 1,000 people at a campaign rally in Roxbury on Sunday, NECN reports. And, as the Boston Globe notes, it's not her first campaign event to draw a large number of people. Warren has also held volunteer events that have consistently drawn hundreds of people.
On November 3, she drew 500 supporters to an event. The event was not in the populous Boston metro area; rather it was in Pittsfield, a city in Western Massachusetts. On November 6, she spoke to a crowd of about 200 at a similar event.
Those are numbers even the presidential candidates wouldn't turn up their noses at.
(Publisher's Note:) She's a Blue America candidate and you can donate to her campaign here.
This is what Democracy looks like–
Thursday, November 17 ∑ 6:00am – 8:00am
OCCUPY CITY HALL
6pm General Assembly :: 7pm City Council Meeting
25 Dorrance St., Providence
On Thursday, join Occupy Providence to show that City Hall belongs to the 99%. We will meet in the lobby at 6pm for a brief General Assembly before entering the City Council meeting at 7pm to show our support for a pro-Occupy Resolution, as well as for an Ordinance that will lift the curfew on Burnside Park and expand free speech rights for all. We will then return to Burnside Park together to celebrate more than one month of Occupy Providence!
I was present at the City Council meeting in 2003 when the City of Providence passed a resolution opposing the pending Iraq War. I saw the faces of the council members, and the impression it made on them when the council room filled to the rafters…
Lead by newly elected Green Party city council member David Segal
Providence Journal-”Activists lobbied members with calls, letters”
BY GREGORY SMITH
Journal Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE — Adding their voices to a chorus of doubts across the
nation, City Council members last night declared themselves opposed to a U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The council adopted a resolution calling for a diplomatic strategy to
deal with “the Iraq situation” and a reliance on world courts and
international justice to promote international and national security.
The declaration was met with cacaphonous applause, cheering and
foot-stomping by a crowd of 150 or more antiwar activists who filled the council chamber in City Hall.
A great array of placards and signs were held aloft by the activists,
some of whom sat on the floor in the main aisle or wore costumes.
“Providence City Council: No War for Oil,” one sign said. “Let Iraq
Live,” read another. And one sign proclaimed, “Bush’s Bottom Line is
One man carried what looked like a cardboard missile and one woman was
costumed as if a rocket had gone through her head, with each end showing.
She wore a bib that was dotted with peace symbols.
The vote for the resolution was 10 to 1, with 4 abstentions. In favor
were Councilmen David A. Segal, Miguel Luna, John J. Lombardi, Josephine DiRuzzo, Luis A. Aponte, Kevin Jackson, Rita M. Williams, Balbina A.Young, Peter S. Mancini and Joseph DeLuca.
Councilman Patrick K. Butler voted no and members John J. Igliozzi, Carol A. Romano, Ronald W. Allen and Terrence M. Hassett were recorded as not voting.
A campaign in favor of the resolution, organized in part by the American Friends Service Committee, had bombarded members with telephone calls, letters and e-mail, to some effect.
DeLuca, for example, made it plain that he was voting to uphold the
convictions of his constituency rather than his own beliefs in supporting the resolution. He called Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein “a horrible threat to the world.”
The council also received a petition bearing the signatures of 226 people — all but about 25 gave Providence addresses — asking for an anti-war resolution.
Hassett said he abstained because it is too soon to say what the correct course of action will be until the next report from the United Nations inspectors is submitted. Igliozzi said the resolution is premature.
Segal sought to bring the question home when he said that the issue is
not war versus no war, but the expending of national resources on war
that are badly needed in Providence and other places.
He quoted a figure produced by a group called the National Priorities
Project asserting that a war and post-war occupation of Iraq would
conservatively cost the nation $100 billion and would divert $28 million in federal aid from Providence.
Luna cited a Vietnam-era quote from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “Poverty, urban problems and social progress generally are ignored when the guns of war become a national obsession.”
So far, 69 state legislatures and city and county councils, including
Providence, have adopted resolutions opposing war with Iraq, or a
majority of their memberships have signed letters to that effect,
according to a coalition called Cities for Peace.
[from The Providence Journal, . Visit them at ProJo.com and support our one statewide newspaper and treasure of Rhode Island history.]
Recently Facebook lit up with agitation about the proposed resident permit parking fee, but I went to the hearing and less than a dozen people showed up, all of them apparently supporting permit parking.
The comments section in the Providence Journal is full of hostile remarks about the Occupiers, mainly of the ‘dirty hippie’ vintage. I’ve visited and talked with them at Burnside Park and it’s a very diverse group, united– as far as I can see– to say ‘NO’ to the escalating economic injustice built into our current way of life. I trust the Occupiers to exercise their rights to participate in the City Council meeting with dignity and effectiveness, because I saw this happen in 2003.
Brad Miller is a measurably better representative for the 99% than David Price
There are several tools I use every single day in my work at DWT and Blue America and Progressive Punch is a major one. So much so that I wrote them a check out of my personal account to thank them for their great work. It would be immeasurably harder to do my own without theirs. The Progressive Punch system helps me figure out which incumbents are doing a good job in terms of working for the interests of the 99% instead of doing what most politicians do in toiling in the fields of the 1%. But Progressive Punch is by no means the end of any story. It's a useful tool to start a story.
Recently a group I'm involved in decided to take a look at the relative merits of the two Democratic incumbents who-- thanks to partisan GOP gerrymandering in the North Carolina legislature-- will be pitted against each other next November, Brad Miller and David Price. The group deduced from Progressive Punch that the two congressmen are about equal and decided to leave it to the North Carolina primary voters and not take a stand. As you may know, Blue America has already taken a strong stand in favor of Brad Miller. But this is what the raw Progressive Punch numbers show:
Brad Miller is the 122nd most progressive member of Congress based on his lifetime of votes on crucial roll calls and David Price is the 126th most progressive, a negligible difference. A more nuanced examination of their respective voting records paints a very different picture, one that shows why Brad Miller is the far better candidate in the most important sense of the issues most important to progressives-- like the very people in the groups I was arguing with. Let's start with an issue that is core to what ails the American economy, trade policy.
Price voted for several of the "free trade" deals, including the worst ever-- NAFTA, and just a few weeks ago, he voted for the horrible deals with Korea, Colombia and Panama. Brad Miller voted against every trade deal that's come up with the exception of one with Australia, a country with a similar enough standard of living to ours that it would not put American workers into competition with very poorly paid workers. There are objections that are specific to†each trade deal, such as the history of state-sponsored murders of labor leaders in Columbia. More important, however, whatever the arguments for trade in the abstract, during a period of increasing income inequality and government policies that increase that inequality, trade acts as one more accelerant, increasing corporate profits and driving down wages. David Price has consistently been on the wrong side. Brad Miller has consistently been on the right side.
Sticking with the economy, let's move over to financial reform, Brad's strong point, an area where he has been not just a good voter, but a tenacious advocate for working families and the leader among progressives on the Financial Services Committee. Tragically, Price voted for all the financial deregulation in the nineties, which allowed banks to become too big to fail, erased the separation of commercial and investment banking (Glass-Steagall), and prohibited any regulation of derivatives. Other Members of Congress have told me that Brad has been the leading critic among members of bank practices, and introduced the House version of the Kaufman-Brown bill that limited banks' total assets to two percent of the GDP. That would have allowed banks with more than $300 billion in assets, which are†huge banks,†but would have required the six biggest banks to split into more than 30 entities (not all would be banks). He has also been a tireless advocate for separating certain bank functions to avoid conflicts of interest and he introduced legislation to prohibit servicers of mortgages owned by others (securitized mortgages) from holding second liens on the same homes. That effectively would have required the largest banks to spin off their servicing affiliates. Most recently he introduced the legislation to make it easier for bank customers to move their accounts to create effective competition in consumer banking.
And speaking of banking, let's look at bankruptcy. Price voted for the God-awful bankruptcy bill that became law in 2005, which made it almost impossible for middle-class families to seek bankruptcy relief from overwhelming debt, and made it impossible ever to reduce student loans in bankruptcy. There are peer-reviewed academic publications by economists that find that the bankruptcy law changes fueled the explosion of subprime mortgages because families had no way out of debt, so they borrowed against their homes. Also, lots of young people are now unemployed and have crushing student loan debt that†will almost certainly be with them for most of the rest of their lives.†Brad Miller voted against that bankrutpcy bill and he was the first Member of Congress to introduce the legislation to allow modification in bankruptcy of home mortgages ("cramdown"), and was one of the leaders of that fight throughout. That had a lot to do with why Alan Grayson, also then a member of the House Financial Services Committee told Blue America that "Brad Miller is exactly what people hope that their representatives will be: thoughtful, independent, selfless, smart, and completely committed to their well-being. There are very few Members of Congress who are willing to tell a well-connected lobbyist to get lost; Brad is one of them."
Brad I voted against extending all of the Bush tax cuts last December, and signed a letter circulated by Barbara Lee to the "supercommittee" to oppose any cuts to Medicare or Social Security to reduce the deficit. Price voted to extend the Bush tax cuts, and signed the opposite letter to the supercommittee urging that "mandatory spending"-- in other words, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security-- be "on the table" to reduce the deficit.
Moving away from purely economic issues for a moment, health care reform is an important place to look for what makes one of these candidates so much better than the other one. Brad voted to allow prescription drugs manufactured in the United States and sold cheaply in Canada to be brought back into the United States, which would lower prescription drug costs. Makes total sense, right? Price voted against it, which achieves exactly one thing-- protects drug company profits at the expense of consumers. And Price has gotten lots of contributions since then from drug companies, the most of any member of the North Carolina House delegation ($275,392). Miller... not so much ($25,750). Two Democrats from North Carolina with similar Progressive Punch scores. But Big Pharma values David Price 10 times more than Brad Miller, who's too busy fighting for a fair shake for middle class families to stick with the corporate agenda that brings in the big campaign contributions.
You don't get a vote on the panel of the DC groups that decide who to endorse. And unless you live in North Carolina, you don't get a chance to make sure Brad Miller is reelected next year. But you do get a chance to help him get his message out that there is a difference-- a very real one. And one way to do that is to contribute to his campaign through our Blue America ActBlue incumbents page. Another would be to send this post to everyone you know who's remotely interested in this kind of information.
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