Politics:Main Street Rage


At town hall events across the country, Americans are confronting members of Congress who voted for the House Republicans’ radical budget, which effectively ends Medicare, slashes Medicaid, hacks away at domestic spending, and extends tax breaks for the wealthy. The entire House GOP caucus except for four lawmakers voted for Rep. Paul Ryan‘s (R-WI) budget earlier this month, claiming a mandate from the November elections to drastically reduce domestic s pending. But Republicans went beyond any semblance of responsible budget tightening to a radical deconstruction of core pillars of the health, safety, and security of the country. Recent polls show Americans are firmly opposed to Ryan’s budget proposal, with over 70 percent of Republicans opposing cuts to Medicare, while over 80 percent of Americans overall disapprove of cuts to the social safety net program. And Americans are clearly demonstrating their displeasure with their GOP lawmakers, who are in their home districts for this month on recess from Congress. Last week, as lawmakers began holding town hall sessions in their districts, a number of Washington commentators wondered, “If the Ryan budget is so unpopular, where are the town-hall meltdowns?” This week,&nb sp;in the Washington commentariat got their answer as town hall anger went from a few isolated incidents to a daily deluge of passion and temper from Americans frustrated with their out-of-touch representatives. The town halls, like the opposition to the GOP budget more generally, were slow to begin in part because Ryan was so quick to act. While President Obama and congressional Democrats allowed for over a year of debate, study, and discussion on their health care reform law, House Republicans unveiled and voted on their plan to radically transform Medicare in a matter of weeks, giving opponents almost no time to mobilize against it or educate Americans about its effects. Moreover, those opposed to Ryan’s plan don’t have the constant cheerleading of right-wing talk radio and Fox News, which directly helped organize and promote the 2009 town halls. Nonetheless, as part of what the Progress Report has dubbed a Main Street Movement of average Americans upset that conservatives want to cut social services and public investment for everyday people while lavishing tax breaks on the wealthy and corporations, Americans are standing up to their lawmakers on their own.

MEDICARE: Many of the town hall protests this month have targeted freshmen Republicans from swing districts who were voted into office in last November’s GOP wave. While voters may have wanted to send a message to Washington by electing a Republican, they have been dismayed by how radically right-wing their new congressmen have turned out to be. One of the first documented town hall protests last week was at a stop of freshman Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA). During the campaign, Meehan assured his future constituents that he wouldn’t vote for Ryan’s “agenda,” but once in office, he did just that. “Meehan was asked about entitlement reform and Medicare at nearly every town hall he went to” last week, with constituents’ anger visible. By the weekend, freshmen Reps. Robert Dold (R-IL), Charlie Bass&nb sp;(R-NH), Sean Duffy (R-WI), and Lou Barletta (R-PA) had all faced constituent anger of their own over the GOP’s Medicare privatization plan. At a town hall in Hillsborough, NH, the first six questions Bass faced from constituents were about his vote to privatize Medicare. One attendee pointed out that what the Republicans are doing is pursuing a “divide and conquer”strategy by eliminating Medicare for future generations while keeping it for current seniors. At a town hall in Shell Late, WI, Duffy got into a heated exchange with constituents when he insisted that Ryan’s plan does not effectively replace Medicare with a voucher system, but attendees repeatedly corrected him. Later, Duffy got huffy; frustrated by his constituents’ questions about his presentation, he told attendees, “When you have your town hall you can stand up and give your presentation.” Yesterday, cons tituent anger reached a boiling point at a town hall in Orlando for freshman Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) when “bedlam” erupted as constituents angrily peppered him with questions about his vote for privatizing Medicare. Webster tried to avoid answering many of the questions, and eventually, conservative hecklers fired back at those trying to hold Webster accountable. Police officers flanked Webster and had to tell the crowd to quite down.

TAXES: The other main theme constituents have been pressing their lawmakers on this month is tax fairness. Ryan’s budget would preserve the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans while cutting corporate tax rates — a proposal even Ryan’s own constituents are not happy about. During a town hall meeting in Milton, WI, last week, a constituent who described himself as a “lifelong conservative” asked Ryan about the effects of growing income inequality in our nation. The constituent noted that huge income disparities contributed to the Great Depression and the Great Recession, and thus wanted to know why the congressman was “fighting to not let the tax breaks for the wealthy expire.” Ryan responded by saying, “we do tax the top,” eliciting a a chorus of boos and grumbling from attendees. Yesterday, Ryan faced chants of “Ryan stop lying!” at a town hall in Kenosha, WI, which drew a capacity crowd inside and over a 100 protesters outside. “Do not renew the Bush tax credit for the wealthy,” one man demanded. Meanwhile, at a town hall in Salem, NY, Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) faced similar outbursts. In answering a question, Gibson said that Americans pay higher taxes because “here are people in the country that are not paying taxes because they’re illegal [immigrants].” At this point, a town hall attendee cried out, ” You mean like GE?! ” forcing the congressman to say that he agreed that the company needs to pay its fair share. Audience members at Dold’s town hall said they “don’t believe chopping 10 percentage points off the highest corporate tax rate will create jobs.” At Duffy’s town hall, one attendee said she agrees with Ryan’s concerns about the deficit and “that’s why we have to raise taxes on the rich, and raise taxes on the corporations who have never been richer than they have now. And you guys just cut their taxes again.” “Oh yeah!” another constituent responded.

‘EVERY RIGHT TO SPEAK’: During the 2009 town halls, which mostly targeted Democrats, Republican lawmakers repeatedly praised tea party activists for their disruptions at town halls, saying it was important to let them have their voices heard. But now that they’re on the receiving end of constituents’ anger, it’s unclear how much Republicans will embrace this democratic process. Ryan abruptly left a town hall yesterday ahead of schedule, citing “security concerns” from hecklers. But Ryan went through with a tow n hall in 2009 despite credible threats against union members at the event. At a town hall in 2009, when a heckler disrupted Ryan and promoted boos from other audience members, Ryan told the crowd, ” She has every right to talk , every right to speak.” In an interview with Fox News at the time, Ryan said Obama’s policies had driven people to the town halls, which he praised as a grass roots outpouring of “people up in arms” about bad policies. “[T]his is amazing,” Ryan told a largely supportive town hall in Aug. 2009. Meanwhile, conservatives are trying to drown out progressives at today’s town halls, with American Action Network — a relatively new conservative front group founded by a group of Wall Street bankers — loading up conservative activists& nbsp; with softball questions and talking points to bolster Republican lawmakers on the Ryan plan.

Bankrate.com


Here are stories published today

Are you a good fit for a credit union? | 2011-04-27

A credit union may be a better option than a bank for certain depositors. Are you one of them? http://www.bankrate.com/finance/checking/5-consumers-tailor-made-for-credit-unions-1.aspx?ec_id=brmint_newsalert_20110427

Cut card fees on purchase abroad | 2011-04-27

Planning a trip overseas? Trim the expense of foreign transaction fees on your credit cards.

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/minimize-foreign-transaction-fees-1.aspx?ec_id=brmint_newsalert_20110427

Check currency exchange fees before trip | 2011-04-27

Compare currency conversion fees on credit cards and take those with the lowest overseas.

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/check-foreign-transaction-fees-before-trip.aspx?ec_id=brmint_newsalert_20110427

How Fed policy affects your finances | 2011-04-27

Whether buying a car, house or a book online, Fed policy affects what you’ll pay. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/federal-reserve/how-fed-policy-affects-your-pocketbook.aspx?ec_id=brmint_newsalert_20110427

wicked Wednesday …&some News


As Discrimination breaks out all over the U.S., which we can apply to so many things right about now. In a place that has always welcomed and or cared for like the poor, single mom’s with kids, The constitution; specifically the 14th Amendment, immigration, women’s rights, senior citizens, worker rights. Now has a new look called the Republican Tea Party with even more ugly Colonial ways and ideologies on old issues like – Race, Religion and the rights of its people, equal rights. I use to think all we had to worry about was what side of the political aisle these righties stood on. Now, it is all about why they are pitting the middle class against the working class and eliminating those in need. If you listen to them speak the lines of fair and or balanced behavior becomes so blurry and if they get their way, if they complete their mission, the only ones standing in any kind of line will be those who claim to be a member of the Republican Tea Party

Other News …

**Afghan Pilot Kills Foreign Soldiers in Airport Attack Claimed by Taliban

**Obama set to name CIA’s Leon Panetta as Defense secretary, officials say

**Orders for US Durable Goods Increase for Third Straight Month

**Crude Oil Futures Fluctuate Amid Increasing US Supplies, Economic Growth

**Boeing profit tops expectations, reaffirms outlook

** UN investigates alleged rights abuses in Libya

**Yemenis block port in protest against Saleh deal

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CSPAN

 Bernanke to Hold First Press Briefing as Fed Chief

To discuss FOMC decisions http://c-span.org/Events/Bernanke-to-Hold-First-Press-Briefing-as-Fed-Chief/10737421131/   

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2012 Presidential Campaign Moving Forward

Simulcast of Iowa Public Radio http://c-span.org/Events/2012-Presidential-Campaign-Moving-Forward/10737421132/

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Summit Looks Ahead to Aviation Advancements over the Next Decade

http://c-span.org/Events/Summit-Looks-Ahead-to-Aviation-Advancements-over-the-Next-Decade/10737421135/

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Examination of Al Qaeda

http://c-span.org/Events/Examination-of-Al-Qaeda/10737421161/

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NATO commander Charles Bourchard took questions on the latest military operations in Libya. He denied reports that Monday’s airstrike on Gadhafi’s presidential compound was an attempt to target the Libyan leader. The Libyan government has called the attack an assassination attempt on Gadhafi, but the NATO commander said it was attempt to bring an end to the violence.  http://c-span.org/Events/NATO-Briefing-on-Libya/10737421137/

Critical Abortion Vote Looms – Take Action Now


Defund Planned Parenthood? Failed. Eliminate family planning funds? Nope. Still attacking women’s health? You betcha.

Since the start of this Congress, House leadership has pursued an agenda seeking to reduce women’s access to reproductive health care services. Now they are pushing H.R. 3, a bill that proposes dangerous restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion.

It’s time to send Speaker Boehner and House leadership a message. Tell your Representative to stop the attacks on women’s health and vote NO on H.R. 3.

H.R. 3 would harm women’s health and would even raise taxes on individuals and small businesses to punish private health care decisions. Now we are hearing that this bill may come to the House floor for a vote as early as next week. We must stop them. Tell your Representative to oppose this harmful bill and protect women’s health.

www.nwlc.org

H.R. 3 reduces women’s access to abortion care in many ways, but here are some of its most outrageous provisions —Raises taxes and increases costs on many individuals and small businesses with insurance plans that cover abortion, which could force individuals and employers to drop abortion coverage from their health insurance plans. It could even shut down the entire private market for insurance coverage that includes abortion.

Writes into permanent law a ban on abortion coverage for ALL women who depend on the government for their health care. This includes low-income women currently covered under Medicaid, women who will become eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, women serving in the U.S. military, federal employees, residents of the District of Columbia, women in federal prisons and women covered by the Indian Health Service.

Unbelievably, H.R. 3 contains no exceptions for circumstances where a woman faces serious health consequences, even if continuing the pregnancy could cause permanent damage to her heart, lungs, or kidneys.

We refuse to stand by as they continue their outrageous attack on women’s health. Tell your Representative to vote NO on H.R. 3 and its dangerous restrictions on women’s health care coverage today.

Thank you for helping us protect women’s access to reproductive health services. We will continue to work tirelessly to defeat this bill.

Sincerely,

Judy Waxman

Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights

National Women’s Law Center

P.S. Your generous donation allows us to continue to stand up for women and their families. Support our work today.