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It's like a scene from the 1960s — a Black mayor stepped out of line with powerful White politicians in a small Louisiana town, and it cost him his freedom. Now it's up to us to help win it back.
Bobby Higginbotham, mayor of Waterproof, LA, started making policies intended to bring the town more revenue and give it more control over police matters. In doing so, Higginbotham misstepped, but he corrected the errors. District Attorney James Paxton took advantage of the situation to arrest Higginbotham on 44 trumped-up charges and install a political ally in his place.
After essentially being forced to represent himself in trial, Higginbotham was convicted before a nearly all-White jury in a parish where the majority of residents are Black.
This isn't the first time a Louisiana prosecutor has abused his power against Black folks who don't "know their place" — a similar scene played out in the case of the Jena Six. But if enough of us speak out, we can expose his behavior and help free the former mayor. Please join us in calling on Paxton to end his bogus prosecution of Bobby Higginbotham, and then ask your friends and family to do the same:
Waterproof is a town of only 800 people in Louisiana’s Tensas Parish, the last parish in the state to allow Black folks to vote. The parish is more than 55% Black, but it’s the wealthy Whites who hold the power there. Journalist Jordan Flaherty writes that “Waterproof is 'reminiscent of the bygone days of southern politics,' with a White power structure maintaining political power over a black majority...”1 Even with a minority of citizens, Whites controlled the wealth, the jobs, and the politics.
Soon after Bobby Higginbotham took office in tiny Waterproof, LA the new Black mayor began challenging the area’s most powerful White officials — namely Sheriff Rickey Jones and District Attorney James Paxton — by establishing a local police force that would provide better local service, in effect competing with the parish Sheriff. Before Higginbotham took office, the Waterproof police force was anemic. According to former Waterproof Police Chief Miles Jenkins, "[If] You called the Waterproof police for help before, [they] would say, 'wait 'til tomorrow, it's too hot to come out today.'" Under Higginbotham and Jenkins, Waterproof's new police force grew in size and collected its own traffic tickets — siphoning revenue and influence from the Sheriff.
A Black deputy sheriff warned not to push against the system too hard: “You’ve got to adapt to your environment. You can’t come to a small town and do things the same way you might in a big city. Like the song says, you got to know when to hold ’em, and know when to fold ’em.”
Mr. Higginbotham didn't fold. Instead, he brought a direct, some say in-your-face, attitude that rubbed figures like the Sheriff and DA the wrong way. According to Waterproof resident Annie Watson,“The Mayor and the Chief said you can’t treat people this way, and the Sheriff and DA said you got to know your place. If you’re educated and intelligent and know your rights in this parish, you are in trouble. They are determined to let you know you have a place and if you don’t jump when they say jump you are in trouble.”2
As a result, Higginbotham and Jenkins endured major harassment by Paxton and Jones — Jenkins alleges being beaten by Sheriff's deputies, while both Waterproof officials claim that Paxton and Jones had them arrested under false pretenses on several occasions. The harrassment culminated with Higginbotham's arrest on bogus, trumped-up corruption charges. With Higginbotham out of the way, Paxton pulled levers to replace Higginbotham with a political ally.
It’s clear to us that Higginbotham made mistakes as mayor, mistakes pointed out in a 2008 Louisiana legislative auditor’s report. But what also seems clear is that Higginbotham's errors as mayor did not rise to the level of the criminal. In the wake of the report, the mayor sought to correct all issues highlighted by the audit, including hiring an independent auditor to review the town's financial records. That didn't stop the District Attorney from charging Mr. Higginbotham with 44 counts of corruption, all but two of which were later dropped.
Higginbotham was charged with felony theft for giving himself what the DA claims is an unauthorized raise. But this raise was in the budget passed by the Board of Aldermen, along with raises for themselves which they received, just as he did. Higginbotham was also charged with malfeasance in office for allegedly using a town credit card for personal charges — an honest mistake that Higginbotham immediately corrected. Both of these charges are the result of an intentional distortion of facts based on a personal vendetta against Higginbotham.
At trial, Higginbotham was essentially forced to represent himself. It also appears that the record of the meeting where the mayor's raise was approved, which could clear him, is now "missing." He was convicted by a jury containing five White members to only one Black member — in a parish where Blacks make up nearly 60% of the residents. The judge gave the jury polling slips that had "guilty" pre-selected. Higginbotham was not told of the error until a week after he had been convicted and sent to jail without bond. Higginbotham wants to appeal, but the court reporter failed to keep a trial record during several of the prosecution’s key witnesses.
Mayor Higginbotham has been denied bail at every turn since his conviction — a consequence usually reserved for violent offenders and flight risks — and he's been sitting in jail for nearly a year awaiting final sentencing.
This isn't right. Please join us in calling on District Attorney Paxton to drop all charges against Bobby Higginbotham and to allow his release on bond pending an appeal — and when you do, please ask your friends and family to join the effort. It takes just a moment:
Thanks and Peace,
-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
February 24, 2011
by Peter Colavito
This week, 600 homeowners and community leaders from around the country shut down a Washington, DC branch of Bank of America. There they delivered a bill demanding that the company who helped bankrupt our country pay its fair share to rebuild it.
It was an amazing day. But it was only the beginning. And now you can get in on the action too.
Go to www.makewallstreetpay.org to find out how much the big banks cost you and your state, and then tell Congress it's time banks pay their fair share!
Wall Street crashed the economy, causing millions of families to lose their jobs and homes.
A recent report uncovered that the six big banks--Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley--avoided paying their full income taxes in 2009 and 2010. Had they paid the full amount, the federal government would have received an additional $13 billion in tax revenue. This would cover more than two years of salaries for the 132,000 teacher jobs lost since the economic crisis began in 2008
So when politicians talk about the budget crisis and tell you they need to make cuts, remember that the money needed to restore our economy is not in Grandma's pension, it's not in the homes of families fighting off foreclosure and it's not in the pockets of American schoolchildren.
It's on Wall Street.
Go to www.makewallstreetpay.org and let our Congressional leaders know that we're done picking up the tab. It's time for Wall Street to pay.
by Claude Chaney
There should be no doubt that Wisconsin is ground zero in the US class war. The rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is becoming jobless. While many of us among the middle class have become too complacent and trusting of those who have robbed us blind, others are ready to do battle in Wisconsin, in Indiana, in Ohio, in New Jersey and in the rest of the United States. The major task at hand is to get the word out. We cannot and will not trust the mainstream media to tell us the truth about ANYTHING remotely political when it comes to the middle class. When I say "mainstream media" I mean ALL of them, not just FOX. When over 100,000 union workers and their families were in and around the Wisconsin State Capitol, NBC, ABC and CBS all had conservative guests comment on the situation on their Sunday talk shows. FOX continues to be outlandish. When one of their huge strapping commentators entered the Wisconsin State Capitol, he was immediately greet with the chant "FOX LIES, FOX LIES". This commentator and Geraldo Rivera tell the audience that this is an example of the hatred and intolerence of another point of view present among the demonstrators. Have you ever heard a guest of Sean Hannity or Bill O'reilly attempt to present another point of view on their shows? Usually they are not permitted to get a word in edgewise and in many cases there are at least two or three consevative guests to the one progressive guest. I am not aware of anything FOX said about the female Move.on representative who entered a conservative function who was attacked and even kicked by males. This is just another example of how FOX is so "UNfair and UNbalanced". When the Tea Party manages to get 5,000 people at any event there is immediate coverage, but when the unions mass tens of thousands in Wisconsin or Ohio you get late or little or no coverage at all. There was no attention given to the Wisconsin demonstrations until the sixth day of it existence and even then it was by the Associated Press.
The Republican/Tea Party coalition may have some minor disagreements among themselves but they are both very determined to DESTROY the middle class. They have diverted the blame from the financial crisis from Wall Street (where is rightfully belongs to public sector workers). Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gave millions of dollars of tax breaks to corporations: that is why there is a problem with revenue. Chris Christie ended the millionaire's tax in New Jersey as well as rejecting a federal project that would have provided 6,000 needed construction jobs to the residents of New Jersey;: that is why there is a problem with revenue.
People For The American Way is starting a petition to expediate the removal of the Wisconsin Republicans who support Governor Scott Walker's war on the middle class of that state. I wholeheartedly suggest that YOU follow my example and support this campaign with your dollars. You may not live in Wisconsin, but the same elements determined to destroy the middle class in Wisconsin are trying to do the same thing in your state if YOU let them. An attack on a union member anywhere is an attack on a union member everywhere. Please read about the PFAW petition......
In a move that many are contending is in direct violation of the state constitution and a departure from normal Senate rules, Republicans in the Wisconsin State Senate yesterday approved an order for the state's police to detain the Senate Democrats, who have left the state to block Gov. Scott Walker's attack on the middle class and workers' rights, and bring them to the Senate chambers. Gov. Walker also threatened that he would start sending layoff notices today to state workers.
Now they're running roughshod over state law and the rules of their own chamber ... and Gov. Walker has gone from simply acting like a dictator to acting like a hostage taker, with state jobs as his hostages. Unwilling to even consider compromise on his proposal to gut workers' fundamental rights, he is now threatening to start eliminating those state jobs if he doesn't get his way.
Perhaps the most outrageous part is that the layoffs are completely unnecessary to address the state's budget problems ... the same way his plan to destroy collective bargaining for public employees and make the middle class bear the entire economic sacrifice in fixing the state's budget is completely unnecessary.
If you're like me, you are wishing more than anything right now that Gov. Walker was eligible for recall this year -- especially since polling shows he would lose in an election between him and his 2010 gubernatorial opponent. Unfortunately, he can't be recalled until 2012, but eight of the Republican Senators backing his extreme power grab are eligible to be recalled now, including:
Randy Hopper, who won his last election by just 184 votes ...
Alberta Darling, who won her race by just over 1,000 ...
And Glenn Grothman, who on MSNBC's The Last Word, called protesters at the Wisconsin state capitol "slobs," and insisted that they were just a bunch of "college students having a fun party."
Here's what you can do today:
1. If you have not already done so, sign our petition indicating your support for the recall effort now underway in Wisconsin. If you have signed, make sure to spread the word! Share on Facebook and ask others to visit www.pfaw.org/Recall.
2. If you live in or near Wisconsin, you can start volunteering to help gather recall petition signatures. We have 60 days to get enough signatures to hold recall elections and our friends at the SEIU will be sending out a sizable wave of canvassers this weekend to get us off to a good start. Sign up here: http://action.seiu.org/page/s/wisconsinrecall
3. If you know ANYONE in Wisconsin, please call or email them as soon as you can and urge them to support the recall effort.
4. Make a contribution to PFAW's work on the recall campaign.
by Jiad Zilani - Think Progress
Last week, 14 Wisconsin Senate Democrats inspired the nation when they decided to flee the state rather than allow quorum for a vote on a bill that would have decimated the state’s public employee unions and dealt a crippling blow to the state’s hard-working teachers, sanitation employees, and other middle class union members. Since then, tens of thousands of Wisconsinites have taken to the streets in even greater number than before the walkout in support of the fleeing legislators and in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-middle class agenda.
Inspired by the events in Wisconsin, thousands of Americans all over the country are taking action to battle legislation that would attack their labor rights, defund their schools, threaten their health and safety, and decimate the American middle class. Here are just some of the places across the nation that are taking part in this new “Main Street Movement” to defend and rebuild the American middle class:
- GEORGIA: Hundreds of workers demonstrated outside the Georgia capitol yesterday, declaring their solidarity with striking Wisconsin workers. Some demonstrators wore “cheesehead” hats, a clear reference to a cultural tradition in Wisconsin.
– IDAHO: Hundreds of teachers marched against legislation that would layoff 770 teachers and leave schools severely understaffed.
– INDIANA: In Indiana, House Democrats fled the state, preventing a vote on legislation that would enact “right-to-work” laws that would’ve crippled the right to organize. After the House Democrats took off, hundreds of workers and students marched into the capitol building and staged a massive sit-in, pledging not to leave until the radical legislation was withdrawn. Yesterday, Indiana’s Main Street Movement scored its first victory as Republican lawmakers withdrew the anti-union bill. Indiana Democrats are refusing to come back until right-wing legislators withdraw legislation to undermine the state’s public education system.
– MONTANA: More than a thousand “conservationists, sportsmen, firefighters, teachers, correctional officers and others” descended on the Montana capitol to protest against “unprecedented GOP attacks on public services and education and laws that protect land, air, water and wildlife.” Students carried signs that read “Keep Us In School,” protesting crippling cuts to the state’s education system.
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– OHIO: In Ohio, thousands of ordinary Americans who rely on the right to organize to earn good, middle class incomes are facing off with Wisconsin-style legislation backed by Gov. John Kasich (R). Nearly 10,000 protesters demonstrated in Columbus, Ohio, gaining the support of former Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). So many demonstrators showed up that the Ohio Highway Patrol was ordered to lock the doors of the state capitol to stop more demonstrators from getting into the building.
– TENNESSEE: Hundreds of Tennesseans gathered to protest a bill that would completely strip Tennesee teachers of collective bargaining rights. “What you have right now is 300 or so of us, standing and asking the state legislature to focus on what the priorities are right now, instead of attacking working people,” said Mary Mancini, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action. “If they listen to us, well then that’s great. … If not, I can see this thing growing.”
– WASHINGTON: 2,000 demonstrators in Olympia, Washington, marched against the state’s proposed budget cuts that would harm students and middle class Washingtonians and in solidarity with workers in Wisconsin. “If Scott Walker succeeds in ending worker rights in Wisconsin, the birthplace of public servants’ liberty, it could happen here,” said Federation of State Employees President Carol Dotlich.
ThinkProgress has put together a video compilation highlighting protests by ordinary Americans all over the nation to defend the middle class from this unprecedented assault.
Even larger demonstrations are planned this Saturday, as thousands more Main Street Americans plan to take to the streets to protest the ongoing assault against the middle class. Moveon.org is organizing protests at every single state capitol in the country, aiming to “Save the American Dream.” Meanwhile, US Uncut, an activist group inspired by United Kingdom’s UK Uncut, plans to protest against American tax dodgers, asking why the rich in the country have been able to get off easy on their taxes while low- and middle-income Americans continue to be asked to sacrifice.
Protests against union-busting state bills are sweeping the Midwest today, with thousands packing the Capitol in Ohio, Indiana's House Democrats staging a walkout and Wisconsin Democrats remaining in hiding outside the state.
In Indiana, Gov. Mitch Daniels signaled this afternoon that he was ready to drop the so-called "right to work" bill after only three of the state's 40 House Democrats showed up this morning, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Jay LaPrete, AP
Demonstrators display signs during a protest against Senate Bill 5 outside the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday in Columbus.The rest were reportedly on their way to Illinois and Kentucky, stopping the legislative process in its tracks by denying their chamber the 67 members required for a quorum.
Daniels told reporters he thought the Democrats would return to work if the bill dies, the Star reported.
As in Wisconsin and Ohio, the Democrats in Indiana are protesting legislation that critics call a bid to rein in the power of unions by eroding collective bargaining. The "right to work" bill would keep companies and unions from negotiating contracts that required nonunion members to pay representation fees.
In Wisconsin, Senate Democrats walked out last week rather than vote on Gov. Scott Walker's bill that would force public workers to pay more for their benefits. He also wants to cut collective bargaining for nearly all workers.
In Ohio, thousands of protesters rallied inside and outside the Capitol building in Columbus to oppose a bill that would effectively end collective bargaining for state workers and significantly reduce bargaining for local workers.
While the protests in Ohio have largely mirrored those in Wisconsin and Indiana, Democrats in Ohio's Statehouse don't have the same ability to stymie legislation by walking out on the process. Republicans in the Ohio Senate have a 23-10 majority and an 8-4 majority on the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee.
Indiana Democrats Follow Wisconsin Strategy, Run Away
Beyond Wisconsin, This Could Be the End of Labor Unions
Union leaders and Democratic opponents interpret the bills as political power plays, while Republican supporters of the various bills say they are a way to give government leaders control over their budgets in a time of fiscal crisis.
Ohio's Senate Bill 5 was introduced Feb. 8 by Republican Sen. Shannon Jones and is supported by Gov. John Kasich. Ohio is facing an $8 billion budget deficit, which amounts to 11 percent of its budget. (In contrast, Wisconsin faces a $3.6 billion deficit and Indiana a $300 million deficit.)
"Let me be clear: I am not doing this to punish employees who serve this state day after day," Jones said during testimony Feb. 8, according to The New York Times. "I am doing this because I want to give the government flexibility and control over its work force."
The leaders of Ohio's police and firefighters unions this morning called for the government to slow down the progress of the bill to allow time for discussion, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Meanwhile, in Indiana, Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker told the Star that Democrats would return when Republicans drop the legislation they see as an "assault on the middle class."
This article orignally appeared in AOL News, February 24, 2011
National tea party groups like Americans for Prosperity have been bussing conservative activists to Madison, WI to confront protesters there standing up to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) union busting. But Tea Party Nation and Mark Williams, the disgraced former chairman of Tea Party Express, who was forced to resign after making offensive racial comments, are calling for a more radical approach. In an email alert to supporters sent last night, Tea Party Nation promotes Williams’ “great idea” to impersonate SEIU organizers at upcoming labor rallies in an attempt to embarrass and discredit the union.
Williams lays out a highly dishonest and fairly involved scheme to have “plants” sign up on the SEIU website to be organizers for an upcoming rally, dress up in SEIU shirts, and to then make outrageous comments to reporters covering the events in order to “make the gathering look as greedy and goonish as we know that it is”:
That link will take you to an SEIU page where you can sign up as an “organizer” for one of their upcoming major rallies to support the union goons in Wisconsin. Here is what I am doing in Sacramento, where they are holding a 5:30 PM event this coming Tuesday: (1) I signed up as an organizer (2) with any luck they will contact me and I will have an “in” (3) in or not I will be there and am asking as many other people as can get there to come with, all of us in SEIU shirts (those who don’t have them we can possibly buy some from vendors likely to be there) (4) we are going to target the many TV cameras and reporters looking for comments from the members there (5) we will approach the cameras to make good pictures… signs under our shirts that say things like “screw the taxpayer!” and “you OWE me!” to be pulled out for the camera (timing is important because the signs will be taken away from us. [...]
Our goal is to make the gathering look as greedy and goonish as we know that it is, ding their credibility with the media and exploit the lazy reporters who just want dramatic shots and outrageous quotes for headlines. Even if it becomes known that we are plants the quotes and pictures will linger as defacto truth.
Williams is even hoping to make a few bucks off the idea, asking readers to “Please contribute!!!” as “I need to travel beyond Sacramento to the other SEIU rally cities and then Madison, and in short order!”
And Williams has no qualms about employing this treachery, telling his “plants”: “Chances are that because I am publishing this they’ll catch wind, but it is worth the chance if you take it upon yourself to act.” In an update, Williams say activists in Iowa, Colorado, Massachusetts, “and several other states” were already on board, and he said “Tea Party Patriot groups and individuals are flooding me with emails vowing to participate and come up with their own creative ruses!”
Williams’ plan appears to have been taken down from both Tea Party Nation and Williams’ own site, suggesting they perhaps realize this plan is entirely in the wrong, but view a cached version here, and screen grabs here and here.
Update In a statement to ThinkProgress, SEIU spokeswoman Michelle Ringuette condemned Williams' plot, saying: "At a time when Americans are standing up and courageously speaking out, these guys are playing the same old dirty tricks. Last week we learned about the Chamber trying to create phony research to debunk and hack into our computers, this week the Tea Party dons purple. It's like the emperor has no clothes: they have to rely on subterfuge because they do not really represent the majority of people."
Thousands Converge on Koch Brothers Billionaire’s Caucus; 25 Arrested
By: David Dayen Sunday January 30, 2011 4:34 pm
Twenty-five protesters were arrested in Rancho Mirage, California today, at a protest in front of the Rancho Las Palmas resort, site of the “Billionaire’s Caucus,” an annual meeting put on by the Koch Brothers and other corporate entities and conservative movement operators.
Riverside Sheriff’s deputy Melissa Nieburger said that the sheriff’s department did have contacts with protest organizers, which included the California Courage Campaign, CREDO, MoveOn.org, 350.org, the California Nurses Association, United Domestic Workers of America and the main sponsor, the good-government group Common Cause, prior to the event, and that they were aware that some protesters would seek to be arrested for trespassing. She would not guarantee that all 25 who were arrested were part of that coordinated operation. The police, who wore riot gear, batons and helmets, did put the arrested into plastic handcuffs. Nieburger described them as “passive restraints.” They were being processed at press time, and Nieburger would not say whether they would be released or would spend the night at the jail in Indio.
Nieburger estimated between 800 and 1,000 activists at the “Uncloak the Kochs” event. Event organizers chartered buses from several locations around Southern California and claimed 1,500 people signed up for those buses, on top of any local activists who attended. It appeared from the ground that well over 1,000 protesters were there.
While the sheriff’s deputy claimed no knowledge of who called out the Riverside County sheriffs and the Palm Springs police department to the proceedings, Common Cause was contacted by the sheriff to see what they were planning and coordinate appropriate resources. The city of Rancho Mirage contracts with the Riverside County sheriff’s department for their law enforcement needs.
Van Jones, the former green jobs deputy in the Obama Administration and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, described the anti-Koch rally as “the beginning of our fight back.” The leadership of Common Cause, generally a far more congenial organization, was a bit unusual, part of a new aggressiveness and penchant for direct action from the group. “I think you’re going to see a new Common Cause.”
The Koch Brothers, billionaires who have generously funded conservative and libertarian causes for over a generation – including the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and tea party groups like Americans for Prosperity – put together an annual meeting, typically held in the California desert, with fellow corporate CEOs and conservative operatives, to plan the year ahead. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain were reputed to attend the gathering at the sprawling Rancho Las Palmas resort. The Kochs bought out the entire resort for Saturday and Sunday. Some activists who stayed at the resort Friday night and booked dinners at their restaurants on Saturday had their reservations canceled by the resort, and were given $150 each for their trouble.
Common Cause organized the protest weeks ago, and set up a stage in the parking lot across the street from the Rancho Las Palmas resort. But from the beginning, activists were far more interested in the resort site, and they massed themselves across the street and then eventually in the driveway of the resort. The police, in their riot gear, came out very early to guard the resort, only letting in authorized personnel. Hotel guests, presumably attendees to the Koch Brothers meeting, looked on, holding smart phone cameras and taking pictures of the display. In addition, conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart, resplendent in shorts and roller skates, mulled around the crowd with a couple lackeys and a small video camera, talking to (and arguing with) attendees. I asked Breitbart exactly who necessitated the riot police, the lady with the papier-maché puppet or the Code Pink lady’s umbrella, and he claimed to have seen unspecified “internal emails” proving the potential for violence and the need for security. Surely that will come out in the next few days. I didn’t want to keep him from his workout, so I wrapped up the interview.
After a litany of speakers – including Jim Hightower, Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign, and Common Cause President and former Illinois Congressman Bob Edgar, the entire group of protesters moved to the setup across the street from the resort. Police helicopters buzzed overhead. After a while, the police agreed to shut down Bob Hope Drive, and the protesters streamed across the street and directly in front of the resort, just a few inches away from the phalanx of riot cops. The usual protest chanting and raising of banners ensued. More cops were brought in, traipsing over the flower beds. And 25 protesters were taken away in a paddy wagon. The protests were generally peaceful, and the police professional.
The protesters generally decried the Koch Brothers’ influence over American democracy, in particular their use of the Citizens United ruling to spend corporate money in elections. Koch Industries’ funding of climate denialism and other conservative causes was on the minds of the protesters as well.
After about 45 minutes, the cops opened the road again (the police originally said they would only shut the street for 7 minutes) and asked the crowd to disperse. Eventually, the crowd did so, chanting “This is just the beginning.”
Sheriff’s deputy Neiburger would not say whether this was the first time protesters had disrupted the Koch Brothers meetings, but up until last year and a series of articles by Lee Fang of Think Progress, they had not been well-publicized.
Bob Edgar, the President of Common Cause, said in a brief interview that he was happy with the turnout and the outcome. I asked him if this was evidence of a more aggressive organization. “Keep watching,” he said.
by Roy Ostroy/The Ostroy Report, August 25, 2010
House Minority Leader John Boehner (OH) is a hopeful man. He hopes that voters are both stupid and forgetful. He hopes they have no recollection whatsoever of the eight years of largely Republican rule during the Bush years; years that saw a loss of eight million jobs and the failed policies that led to the worst financial meltdown in America's history since the Great Depression over eighty years ago. And he's banking on this memory loss to propel his elitist, do-nothing party back into power in the November midterms. Boehner's GOP needs to have a net pick up of 39 seats to oust his political nemesis, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA), and re-take control of the House.
Boehner, the future-Speaker wannabe, challenged President Obama Tuesday to fire his economic team over what he called a failure to turn the economy around. "We do not have the luxury of waiting months for the president to pick scapegoats for his failing stimulus policies."
Boehner's disingenuous assertions ignore reality, and the huge economic improvements Obama's made since taking office. A new Congressional Budget Office report cited the president's stimulus package as having lowered the unemployment rate in the second quarter of the year; creating 1.4 million to 3.3 million jobs; and increasing productivity by approximately 4.5%. Boehner needs to remember where the economy was in January of 2009 as George W. Bush was preparing to exit the White House. The nation's output was contracting at an annual 6% rate, jobs were being lost at a 700,000 monthly clip, and American industry--from automobiles to banking to Wall Street to retail and housing--was on the precipice of disaster. While we still have a long way to go towards full employment and financial prosperity, America's economy has made monumental progress and is clearly headed in the right direction.
In response to Boehner's revisionist history, vice president Joe Biden came out swinging: "For eight years before we arrived, Mr. Boehner and his party ran this economy and the middle class into the ground. They took the $237 billion surplus they inherited from the Clinton administration and left us with a $1.3 trillion deficit, and, in the process, quadrupled the national debt — all before we had turned on the lights in the West Wing.
While acknowledging the GOP's Bush-era complicity in Congress's profligate spending, Boehner boasted of Republicans' near-unified opposition to Obama's stimulus bill, health care reform and environmental legislation. "We began to show people we are different." No, the only thing you're showing people is that your #1 goal as a party is to screw the poor and middle class while obsessively pursuing massive tax cuts for the rich. Sorry, Johnny, but you're singin' the same old Republican tune. The billion-dollar question is, will voters realize that come November....and remember why they kicked you and your useless party out of power in the first place.