Leading off, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities addresses the GOP's Super Congress tax proposals, and if the graph at right isn't an illustration of the war on workers, I don't know what is. A little explanation:
The first component ? the large reductions in tax rates ? would cut taxes disproportionately for high-income people; the second component would raise taxes disproportionately on lower- and middle-income people (that would be the effect of the basic Feldstein proposal, as Feldstein has acknowledged). The combined result of such a package would be tax increases for lower- and middle-income people to finance further tax cuts (beyond those that the Bush tax cuts already provide) for wealthy people, with a small contribution to deficit reduction.
Moreover, by locking in tax rates that are lower than the Bush rates and using most of the revenue from tax expenditure reform to pay for those rate reductions, the plan would effectively take both tax reform and the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts off the table for the future rounds of deficit reduction that policymakers will need to make.
After negotiations with the employer broke down, they filed a lawsuit against the company in May. But instead of merely securing the stolen wages, they used the employer?s illegal actions and the staggering sums stolen as leverage. The amount owed to the workers was enough to bankrupt the business, but the workers agreed to settle for well below the total amount in exchange for continued employment under a union contract.
?There wasn?t much the employers could do because we were hitting them from both sides,? says Lucas Sanchez, an organizer with NYCC. ?We had the workers organized in the union and we had the workers organized as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The employer tried to retaliate by cutting some hours, but we responded immediately. We had rallies, the support of local elected officials, and press coverage. There wasn?t much he could do except try to negotiate the best settlement possible.?
[S]ent letters Tuesday to 20 lawmakers, including the three most senior Republicans in Congress, demanding that they reveal any ?corporate benefits? they have received from the airline, including access to its ?VIP hotline? or ?special elite status.?
"Pro-lifers" really do hate women.
How else can you possibly explain the increasingly creative and despicable tactics they invent to harass, terrorize, shame and punish women who don't think their bodies are God's incubators? Sure, they say that all of the obstacles they invent to strip women of their reproductive rights are really intended to protect women, but they don't care about women. They really, really don't.
Take, for example, the latest tactic from the oh-so-caring Vigil for Life terrorists in Wisconsin:
?Have you seen the pregnant mom? The young pregnant woman, probably in her 20?s, had a darker complexion with dyed red hair and tattoos on her neck and right shoulder. She also had some facial piercings. The woman looked obviously pregnant?.please let us know immediately if you have seen a woman with this description.?
After reading this plea you may grow worried ? what could have happened to this woman? Certainly this must be a call for help from the pregnant woman?s family, desperate to locate her. You can?t be blamed for thinking that ? but you would be dead wrong.
This is an All Points Bulletin ? an APB! ? issued by radical Wisconsin anti-choice group Vigil for Life to track down a pregnant woman seeking services at Planned Parenthood. Yes, you read that correctly.
Oh noes! Alert the authorities! A woman was seeking medical care! Quick, track her down, shove a rosary in her face and call her a baby killer?for her own good, of course.
And then there's this: Michigan Proposes Helpful Law To Harass Women Who Miscarry. The headline is snarky, but the story is anything but funny:
Last year a group of rabid little anti-choice trolls in Michigan pretended to find a bunch of ?fetal remains? while they were rummaging through a dumpster behind a women?s clinic, which, right, TOTALLY PRETEND. [...]
[S]o they are working to pass a new ?dignified disposal of fetal remains? law commanding hospitals and clinics to immediately send someone in to force women who just have suffered first-trimester miscarriages to get them to make some ?funeral plans? for the cell blobs? mostly to help rub it in, we guess?
Funeral plans for miscarriages. Laura Berman at The Detroit News explains:
Women who have miscarriages in hospitals would have to sign forms deciding how the hospital should handle the remains, by cremation, interment or burial.
These options would newly involve funeral directors, or the option of using them, in situations where women aren't necessarily emotionally prepared to think they've "lost a baby," and where historically there's little precedent for doing so.
It also introduces the potential for new costs, not likely to be covered by insurance. [...]
Patients would be handed Kleenex, as well as a form to sign, requesting the remains be cremated, buried or interred.
Given that this bill is the work of Right to Life of Michigan, and sponsored by "pro-life" Republican state Sen. Rick Jones, I think it's fair to say that concern for women is not the primary motivation behind this bill. No, something far more cynical is at work here: the growing push to define eggs as people and to legislate the religious belief that life begins at conception. Which, ultimately, is about depriving women of their right to make decisions about their own reproduction, including whether and when to have a baby. Because if that cell inside your womb is a "person," entitled to the same rights and protections as any actual, full-grown person, you surrender your right to make decisions about your own womb. For your own good, of course.
It's the logical continuation of the state-mandated guilt trips doctors in some states are already required to deliver to their patients under the guise of "informed consent." Sure, you can have an abortion, but not before you look at this ultrasound and listen to this heartbeat and review this booklet about how cute your baby will be if you don't kill it, which you shouldn't do because that baby will be so cute?with arms and legs and everything!?if you don't kill it. Which you shouldn't do, because that's a real person in there, and if you have an abortion, you're terminating "the life of a separate, unique living human being." But hey, it's your right, you heartless bitch.
So miscarriages?which are an extremely common, natural biological occurrence?become an opportunity to further push a religious and political agenda, not to mention a boon to the funeral home industry, forcing an already traumatized patient to sign on the dotted line of fundamentalist rhetoric. Oh, sure, you can decline to buy a casket and hold a funeral for your miscarried microscopic clump of cells. But really, what kind of a heartless bitch would allow the hospital to dispose of medical waste when she could prove she's a grieving mother by purchasing an itty-bitty casket for her miscarriage?
No pressure, ladies. It's totally up to you. Just sign on the dotted line: grieving mother or heartless bitch? Here, have a tissue.
This week's good, bad and ugly below the fold.
Rick Santorum reiterated his support for a federal marriage amendment denying marriage to gays and lesbians at Iowa’s Thanksgiving Family Forum and promised to campaign against marriage equality in all 50 states. Santorum warned that “the family is the bedrock of our society, unless we protect it with the institution of marriage, our country will fall.” Watch it:
This past week, ThinkProgress said goodbye to two wonderful teammates who had provided our readers with interesting and insightful content for many years — Matt Yglesias and Lee Fang.
Matt Yglesias joined ThinkProgress in August 2008. He was already a well-accomplished blogger before he arrived, but over his tenure here, his influence only grew further. Because he has so many eclectic interests, Matt offered keen insights on everything from John McCain’s houses to the Miami Heat to urban infrastructure. Among his numerous accomplishments, Yglesias should be credited for having focused national attention on the obscure and not-well-understood role that the Federal Reserve plays in our economy. He frequently called for greater accountability of the Fed and implored progressives to focus more attention on monetary issues. He will now take that cause and his wealth of knowledge on the issue to Slate, where he will have both a regular column on economics and a blog focused on the same issue.
Lee Fang was a former intern for ThinkProgress. After working as a researcher at Progressive Accountability in 2008, he re-joined ThinkProgress in February 2009. Over his tenure here, Fang broke one big story after another — among them, the role of the Kochs in influencing the political debate, the Chamber of Commerce’s acceptance of foreign funds, Darrell Issa’s questionable earmarks, Newt Gingrich’s extensive lobbying efforts, and a thorough documentation of stimulus hypocrites. Armed with a flip cam, Lee had a number of entertaining run-ins with powerful officials such as Roy Blunt and Mitt Romney. At the beginning of next year, Lee will join UnitedRepublic, a new progressive advocacy outfit that will fight the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics.
We wish Matt and Lee continued success in their next chapters. We’ll be rooting for them and promoting their work here on ThinkProgress.
As for us, we’re working on plans to find new talent to deliver the news and information that you’ve come to rely on. If you’re interested in working in DC with us, send along a resume. As always, thanks for reading ThinkProgress.
Michele Bachmann claimed that the Affordable Care Act would allow Planned Parenthood to perform “chemical abortion,” during Saturday night’s Thanksgiving Family Forum hosted by the FAMiLY Leader. The claim is a complete misreading of health reform’s regulations, which would require insurers to cover women’s preventive health services without additional cost sharing. Watch it:
The rule is based on recommendations from experts at the Institute of Medicine and would provide services like well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, sexually-transmitted infection counseling, and FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling at no additional costs. Bachmann is referring to two emergency contraceptives — Plan B and Ella — that don’t disrupt a pregnancy that has already begun. The medication works by primarily inhibiting ovulation (it can also theoretically prevent implantation of a fertilized egg). Conservatives argue that this is an early form of abortion, although the medical community disagrees and sees theses kinds of contraceptives as birth control devices.
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I think someone needs to explain to Karl Rove what the definition of fascism is. Poor Karl wasn't much happier when he appeared on Sean Hannity's show on Fox this Thursday than he was when interrupted by some Occupy Baltimore protesters the other night during a speech he gave at Johns Hopkins University.
Last night, former Bush official Karl Rove appeared at Johns Hopkins University to speak as a part of the annual Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium. Rove soon discovered that he wasn?t going to deliver his right-wing rhetoric unopposed, as a cry of ?Mic Check!? rang out among the audience. ?Karl Rove is the architect of Occupy Iraq, the architect of Occupy Afghanistan!? yelled the demonstrators. Occupy Baltimore had infiltrated the crowd and began chanting against Rove. ?Who gave you the right to occupy America?? asked Rove to the protesters, apparently unaware of the Bill of Rights. As they repeated their slogan, ?We are the 99 percent!? Rove petulantly responded, ?No you?re not!? He snidely added, ?You wanna keep jumping up and yelling that you?re the 99 percent? How presumptuous and arrogant can you think are!?
Here's the video from this Tuesday night of Rove being mic checked.
Santorum proposes government support for labor unions ... in Iran. [...]
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Tonight's Mitt-less GOP debate is underway. And we're bringing you every big moment at TPMLivewire. [...]
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Elaine Hirsch, Kmareka’s West Coast correspondent, sends a post about some of the professionals who volunteer their skills at Occupy Wall Street. Here in Providence the need is clear, and Occupiers with first aid skills have responded and in cooperation with Public Safety have helped people in need get to the Emergency Room. Health security for the 99% would free our workers from scrambling for a job with benefits or being one health emergency away from financial disaster. Small businesses would be the first to benefit, and I know some doctors who would welcome an integrated system that let them do what they went to school for– and I don’t mean billing.
Occupy Wall Street’s Healthcare
A number of sympathetic doctors, nurses, veterinarians, and other healthcare professionals have banded together to volunteer their time, seeking to provide free medical care for the Occupy Wall Street protesters. A number of the healthcare professionals involved in the endeavor identify with an informal group calling itself Doctors for the 99%. These caretakers’ assistance goes beyond merely supporting the Occupy protests, but in its way constitutes its own protest, adding dissatisfaction with the American healthcare system to college and master’s degree debt, bank bailouts, joblessness, and other woes.
Some of the doctors have occupied an abandoned hospital, while elsewhere round-the-clock care is available in a surplus medical tent reminiscent of an old M.A.S.H. Set. Most of the care being offered is relatively rudimentary. There have been reports of nurses stitching wounds and doctors providing over-the-counter medication, but most of the care seems to be basic first aid and preventive treatment.
A major goal seems to have been to limit the spread of contagious disease in the cramped conditions common in the protest camps. To that end, a number of doctors from Columbia Health Center and Doctors for a National Health program recently arrived to offer free flu shots. As winter approaches, another major focus of the medical team has been educating the protesters about warning signs that indicate the beginning stages of hypothermia.
According to Pauly Kostora, a licensed practical nurse from New Mexico, protesters will also be able to find free mental health treatment.
The healthcare system in place among the protesters is limited, and the professionals volunteering their time rely considerably on actual hospitals. No doctors have come forward to acknowledge providing prescriptions, and when protesters arrive with serious injuries, nurses are instructed to call emergency services.
The volunteers are either sympathetic to the movement or have joined its ranks outright. The doctors and nurses report anger over the state of healthcare in the United States, and view the assistance they’re offering to the protesters as a contribution to the fight for universal health care. The doctors and nurses appear to be working day jobs, and finding time to offer aid to the protesters during their off-hours.
Elaine Hirsch is kind of a jack-of-all-interests, from education and history to medicine and videogames. This makes it difficult to choose just one life path, so she is currently working as a writer for various education-related sites and writing about all these things instead. Currently, she writes for onlinephd.org.