Planned Parenthood Facilities Raided by TX Governor’s Goons

368Anna, Victoria, Bobby, Manny, and the rest of the team

Officials from Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s administration have raided Planned Parenthood health centers across the state, demanding the confidential records of women who visited the health centers, including ultrasound records.  The news is especially alarming for a state with an extensive history of criminalizing abortion.

And the raids came just three days after Gov. Abbott announced that the state will end the one remaining source of government funding for Planned Parenthood—funding to provide health care for families earning less than 19 percent of the federal poverty level, or $3,760 for a family of three.

In total, seven states have eliminated funding for Planned Parenthood since the summer despite having done nothing wrong. And the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a special budget bill to defund Planned Parenthood that cannot be blocked in the Senate using the filibuster, which is how other bills have been stopped from attacking the organization.

MoveOn.org has put together a plan to fight back:

  • Turn up the heat on vulnerable Republican senators running for re-election next year by holding events outside their in-state offices and running powerful social media campaigns targeting them for waging a war on women.
  • Run a hard-hitting media campaign to expose the attacks on Planned Parenthood for what they are: propaganda designed to close down health clinics and ban abortion.
  • Ramp up campaigns in the next set of states where Republicans are going after Planned Parenthood funding.

We simply cannot allow anti-abortion extremists to destroy an organization that helps so many people—or to roll back women’s rights and access to health care. 

Click here to chip in and stand with Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is under an all-out assault. But our fighting back has made a huge difference, including helping stop bills to defund Planned Parenthood in the U.S. Senate. Specifically:

  • I recently traveled to Washington, D.C., where I met in person with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Harry Reid to bring them 1.2 million signatures from MoveOn members and key partners supporting Planned Parenthood.
  • We flooded Senate offices with 10,000 phone calls.
  • We ran ads highlighting how Planned Parenthood has helped individual MoveOn members.
  • We partnered with Planned Parenthood to organize 138 rallies and other visibility events across the country on #PinkOut Day last month.
  • And, on the state level, we supported numerous MoveOn members in leading petition campaigns and other organizing to stop their states from defunding Planned Parenthood.

Now, we need to show that attacking Planned Parenthood is a political loser and will cause vulnerable Republicans running for re-election next year to lose support among women. We know this strategy can work because Planned Parenthood is enormously popular. And we’ve used this strategy before and won: The Republican War on Women is a big reason why Todd Akin and Mitt Romney lost their elections in 2012.

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Rep. Amodei Hath Definitely Become Sharron Angle

Our federal government is being held hostage by a band of Republican extremists who want to radically reshape our country. But while Republicans have made high-profile attempts to defund President Obama’s signature healthcare law, that’s not their only target.

Fifty House Republicans, including Rep. Mark Amodei, just sent a letter to Speaker Boehner urging him to make cuts to Social Security benefits before the debt ceiling is raised and our government is reopened. That’s why I started my own campaign on CREDOMobilize.com, which allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to Rep. Amodei and the other 49 House Republicans who signed the letter, says the following:

Stop irresponsibly and recklessly demanding cuts to Social Security benefits as a precondition for ending the government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling. End the hostage-taking and leave Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits alone!

We can’t let them get away with it. Click here to tell Rep. Amodei that our Social Security system is not a ransom.

Sign-the-Petition-blu.fw

The letter Rep. Amodei sent to Speaker Boehner reads like a wish list straight out of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s playbook:

  • raising the retirement age
  • slashing annual cost-of-living adjustments through a new formula known as “chained CPI”
  • means testing for Social Security recipients
  • asking the wealthy to pay even less into the Social Security trust fund

Cutting benefits for those most in need just to give the very wealthiest Americans another tax break is outrageous enough. Demanding them as a precondition for funding the government and ensuring we don’t default on our national debt obligations is both reckless and irresponsible.

Our Social Security system needs to be expanded, not cut. Cost-of-living adjustments already struggle to keep up with the rising costs that seniors face every day. If these Republican extremists get their way, everyone who receives Social Security now — or who will receive it in the future — will see less and less in return for what they paid in over their lives.

I hope you’ll speak out today and tell these extremist Republicans to stop their hostage-taking.

Learning Deficit? — GOP: “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”

PBGCGee, I’ll bet you thought that when Romney lost the election, his philosophies died along with the end of that race.  You might also have hoped that the GOP might have learned that a clear majority of Americans didn’t care for their brand of leadership.  Well, you would be wrong.  That famous Romney quote, “Let Detroit go bankrupt” has risen once again from the dead and GOP senators like Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are espousing legislation that would ensure Detroit does go bankrupt and that they get absolutely NO federal help (other than, of course, to ensure the big money interests get their rake right off the top) as Detroit goes through bankruptcy.

Judicial activity at both the State and Federal levels presently seems skewed in favor of large investors and against public workers (teachers, police, firemen, etc.) who face losing pensions for which they worked their entire lives.  Loss of their main source of income will force those pensioners onto State and Federal safety net programs.  Please keep in mind that, while the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation insures private-sector pensions, it does not insure state, county, or city plans. So, when there’s no money in the bankruptcy settlement to pay pensions, Detroit’s public worker pensioners may find themselves penniless, lest they have alternate income sources.  That’s because,according to Herb Perone from Perone Communications, “there is no equivalent to the PBGC for public sector plans. Public sector plans are backed by the full faith and credit of the state.” And of course, Detroit is bankrupt.  Thus, the GOP leadership of Michigan has no faith that those retirees might vote for them, so in their book, they’re expendable. There are bigger corporate fish to fry instead, through which they can secure their political futures.

Also keep in mind, this bankruptcy filing and potential pension filching is occurring at the same time that the House of Representatives just passed a bill totally zeroing out all funding for SNAP funds (food stamps) and when they’re pumping up their chests boasting to once again shut down government if they’re not allowed to kill Obamacare, the EPA, the Consumer Protection Bureau and Dodd-Frank financial reform so they can let Wall Steet to do whatever damage they chose to create on any given day to the overall worldwide economy.

This vision of selfish anarchy and governmental impotence espoused by the GOP has to end.  We have got to get active, we’ve got to get involved, and we’ve got to get them out of our government both at the State and Federal levels if our nation is to survive.  We need to actively work at removing these vermin from public office.  If we don’t, it will be the end of our great nation, and not even the “Lord” will be able help us if the GOP manages to succeed in their efforts to dismantle the America in which we grew up.

The Swinging Electorate

Despite formidable efforts to disenfranchise African Americans in 2012, a larger percentage of black voters than white voters turned out at the polls to assure Obama’s victory on Election Day.

Marc MorialBy 

It’s official: African Americans are the nation’s most important swing state.

Last summer, I predicted that the African American vote would tip the scales in the 2012 election of Barack Obama. My organization, the National Urban League, foresaw a continuation of a trend that proved to be a decisive factor in Obama’s 2008 campaign.

The Census Bureau has now confirmed our analysis. Not only did the 2012 black vote make the difference in several key swing states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the biggest prize of all, Ohio, but black voters turned out a higher rate than white voters.

Since 1996, black voter turnout rates have risen 13 percentage points, and the number of blacks who voted in 2012 rose by about 1.7 million over 2008. This is even more remarkable given that overall voting among eligible citizens declined last year.

This boost in turnout also demonstrates that, in the face of a widespread voter suppression campaign, a record number of blacks heeded the National Urban League’s call to “Occupy the Vote” — a campaign that reached 10 million people through traditional and social media, phone banking, and grassroots and community outreach. In fact, all Census divisions where voting rates of blacks exceeded those of whites included states that introduced major voter suppression tactics in the year leading up to the election.

While the National Urban League doesn’t endorse individual candidates, we do encourage civic engagement, and our affiliates have always played leading roles in voter registration drives. That’s why we are also pleased that African Americans registered in record numbers last year. The registration rate for blacks rose from 69.7 percent in 2008 to 73.1 percent in 2012 — the highest registration rate ever recorded.

In Ohio, where Obama won 96 percent of the African-American vote, the black registration rate was 74.4 percent. In North Carolina, a state he lost this time around, African-American registration increased from 71 percent in 2008 to 85 percent in 2012 with 80.2 percent of eligible black voters going to the polls, up from 68.1 percent four years ago.

The increase in black voter participation is a turning point for several reasons.

First, it’s clear that Mitt Romney would have eked out a victory in 2012 if voters had turned out at 2004 levels. White turnout was higher and black turnout was lower in that presidential election.

Second, due to an increase in overall minority voting, people of color will be wielding even more electoral clout in the coming years. According to the demographer William Frey, “by 2024, their vote will be essential to victory.”

Third, this demographic shift is prodding both major political parties to increase their outreach and appeal to minority voters and to reassess the impact their policies are having on those communities.

As the Associated Press put it, “The findings represent a tipping point for blacks, who for much of American history were disenfranchised and then effectively barred from voting until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.”

There’s no doubt that the opportunity to re-elect America’s first black president contributed to record black turnout last year. But, no matter who is on the ballot in 2014 and 2016, we must continue to exercise our voice and Occupy the Vote.


Marc Morial is the president and CEO of the National Urban League and the former mayor of New Orleans. http://www.nul.org
Distributed via OtherWords (OtherWords.org)

Heritage’s Fatally Flawed Study Doubles Down on Romney’s 47 Percent

By Marshall Fitz, Philip Wolgin, and Patrick Oakford

Even though the 2012 presidential election put an end to Mitt Romney’s idea that 47 percent of Americans were moochers “who are dependent upon government,” the Heritage Foundation on Monday doubled down on that thinking, releasing a report that claimed that immigration reform could cost the country $6.3 trillion.

But to believe the Heritage Foundation is to believe—as they say on page 10—that just under 70 percent of all Americans are moochers, taking more from the American economy than they pay in. Only from a starting point that claims 70 percent of Americans “take” from the economy rather than pay into it, can Heritage claim that legalized immigrants would also cost the government trillions of dollars:

 

Unsurprisingly, a bevy of conservative voices, including Paul Ryan, Doug Holtz-Eakin, Grover Norquist, the Cato Institute, and the Bi-Partisan Policy Institute’s Immigration Task Force (co-chaired by former governor Haley Barbour) have all come out against the study.

The fact of the matter is that Heritage’s study is fatally flawed, failing to account for any changes that might occur after legalization. Here are three examples of how Heritage misses the mark:

1. They do not account for increases in wages after legalization: Previous empirical studies of legalized immigrants (particularly the seminal 1996 Department of Labor study of the nearly 3 million unauthorized immigrants who gained legal status under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986,) have found that legalized workers see a 15.1 percent increase in their wages within 5 years. Recent research has also found that citizenship leads to an addition 10 percent increase in earnings. And yet the Heritage study only includes a 5 percent increase. Higher wages and citizenship means more tax revenue, and a lower fiscal cost because immigrants will pay more taxes on their increased earnings and their increased earnings will lower the need and likelihood of using social programs.

2. They count children only in the “benefits-received” column: Heritage includes even native-born U.S. citizen children of unauthorized immigrants in their calculations, leading to large expenditures on things like public K-12 education. And yet they fail to consider any taxes that these children will pay, simply noting that “the odds that the children of unlawful immigrant, on average, will become strong net taxpayers are minimal.” But all children are “costly” when it comes to getting a public education—the implicit bargain is they pay back into the system once they graduate and become taxpayers. By discounting any of these future payments Heritage artificially inflates their overall costs.

3. They undercount current and future education levels: The Heritage Foundation report is premised on the idea that people with lower levels of education use more in benefits than they pay in taxes. So the percentage of people that Heritage counts as less educated matters. But they do not account for the fact that once legal, people have a strong incentive to get more education and training, now that they can legally work in better jobs. So even if the current undocumented population is skewed more toward people without a high school degree, the incentives to get more education in the future (especially for people who might need this education to qualify for things like the DREAM Act provision) will mean a more-educated future immigrant population. Past experience indicates that these aspiring Americans would likely take the steps needed to invest in their education. For example, a Department of Labor study that followed the cohort of immigrants that gained legal status in 1986 found that just five years later, immigrants at all levels had made investments in their education.

Taking each of these changes into account would significantly raise the amount of tax revenue paid by legalized immigrants, and minimize their costs. By failing to account for them, Heritage gives a skewed picture of the ‘cost’ to Americans from immigration reform, one that defies logic and believability.

And beyond just the direct costs and benefits from immigration, the report casually discards any possibility of indirect benefits from immigrants, as the newly legalized take their higher wages and spend them in the economy, growing demand for goods and services, helping grow businesses, and creating more economic value — all of which helps the economy. In fact providing legalization will boost the U.S. GDP by a cumulative $832 billion over ten years, creating on average 121,000 new jobs in each of those years. These are benefits Heritage does not even begin to consider, instead attempting to resurrect the divisive “moochers and makers” arguments of Romney.

Our guest bloggers are Marshall Fitz, Philip E. Wolgin, and Patrick Oakford, who study immigration at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.