Legally Married and Legally Fired

— by CAP Action War Room

The Fight For Equal Rights For LGBT Americans Does Not End At Marriage

We’ve been talking a lot about a certain Supreme Court case over the past month, with the Affordable Care Act under attack for a second time. Next up, the Supreme Court will hear another important case in April on whether to legalize marriage for committed same-sex couples throughout the country. While proponents of equality are hopeful for a historic decision to finally ensure marriage equality nationwide, regardless of the outcome, the fight for LGBT equal rights will not end in June. One aspect of that fight is securing basic non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community.

While the fundamental right to marry the one you love has been extended to Americans in over thirty states, we still have a ways to go in enacting meaningful anti-discrimination laws across the country. As the graphic below demonstrates, LGBT Americans are still vulnerable to discrimination in many other ways. And click here to learn more about all the protections that LGBT Americans don’t have.

LGBT-Discrimination

BOTTOM LINE: While the Supreme Court may soon rightly decide that marriage equality is constitutional, the fight for fairness and full equality will not be over this summer. Congress and the States need to act to ensure equal protections for LGBT Americans.


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.  Like CAP Action on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

The NRCC Stoops to New Fraudulent Lows (Updated)

The National Republican Congressional Committee is tricking would-be Democratic campaign donors into making donations to defeat the candidates they support — with Republican websites that look like they could easily be the campaign pages of Democratic candidates.  Unless site visitors read the fine print on the landing pages and the donation forms, it’s very easy to see how they could think these web sites were those of the Democratic candidates.

As ThinkProgress reported on Monday:

“Ray Bellamy of Florida says he was tricked by the page and accidentally made a donation to the NRCC. “It looked legitimate and had a smiling face of Sink and all the trappings of a legitimate site,” Bellamy told the Tampa Bay Times. The look-alike page uses the same colors as Florida candidate Alex Sink’s campaign, with the URL sinkrocongress2014.com. Once entering information, the person is redirected to an NRCC thank-you page.”

The NRCC launched the mock sites to target Democratic candidates they say are “frauds,” but if this is some sort of lame attempt at satire it’s way off the mark. It’s nothing more than a dirty trick and it’s reprehensible.

The NRCC is making a mockery of democracy and they’re swindling people.  As this year progresses, be extremely careful not to be duped by fraudulent activities committed by members of the Republican party.

NOTE: PFAW (People for the American Way) has started a petition demanding that the NRCC take down their fraudulent campaign sites AND refund any and all donations that have been received via those sites.  You can sign their petition here:

Sign-the-Petition-blu.fw

 

UPDATE:

When you come across a site such as these, take time to READ exactly what the page is saying.  Then, file a phishing complaint with Google and with the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) if you feel the donation page is deceptively and/or fraudulently soliciting donations.  And please, by all means, scroll to the bottom of the page to see “who” is sponsoring the page.  Here’s what you’ll find at the bottom of the page seeking donations on the NRCC’s “Sink4Congress” page:

SinkforCongress

 

Clue #1 — Alex Sink is a DEMOCRAT, not a REPUBLICAN

Google: http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/report_phish/

Email a complaint to US-CERT at phishing-report@us-cert.gov

These are the URLs known as of now :

http://contribute.AnnKirkpatrick.com
http://contribute.SinemaForCongress.com
http://contribute.RonBarber2014.com
http://contribute.sinkforcongress2014.com/
http://contribute.johntierney2014.com/
http://contribute.martha-robertson.com/
http://renteria4congress.com/

Please feel free to report any or all of them, as well as any others you may come across

7 Deadly Amendments That Would’ve Protected Dirty Energy And Trashed The Climate

— by Ryan Koronowski, Tiffany Germain, Guest Blogger, Dan Weiss, Guest Blogger and Jessica Goad

Over the weekend, Senate Democrats passed a federal budget for Fiscal Year 2014. In order to do so, Senate rules allow for consideration of any amendment that is brought to the floor. Senators introduced hundreds of amendments, which resulted in a “vote-o-rama.”

Many conservatives offered amendments to undermine existing and potential public health safeguards, particularly those that would attempt to reduce climate pollution. Below are seven deadly amendments to curtail protection for our children’s health and heritage. As usual, these conservatives are focused on protecting dirty energy companies profits at the expense of public health.

  • Blunt #261: This amendment would have blocked future legislation to impose a carbon tax or fee to reduce industrial carbon pollution and raise revenue. Specifically, the amendment would create a “point-of-order” against any carbon tax measure that could only be overcome with a three-fifths vote of legislators. While it would have been a mostly symbolic move, the fossil fuel industry’s friends in the Senate are reiterating their opposition to government action on climate pollution. However, the impacts of climate change have already been felt across the country — in 2011 and 2012, the United States suffered from 25 climate related storms, floods, heat waves, drought, and wildfires that each caused at least $1 billion in damages, with a total price tag of $188 billion. The Blunt amendment would allow these damages and costs to grow unchecked. Result: FAILED 53-46
  • Coats #514: This amendment would have struck down key Clean Air Act protections by authorizing the President to exempt any industrial facility from complying with air toxics standards for two-year periods. Essentially, the amendment would have given a free pass to coal-burning power plants from EPA’s 2011 Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which were put in place due to the well-documented health risks of mercuryarsenic, and the millions of pounds of additional hazardous chemicals. Methylmercury from coal pollution accumulates in fish, poisoning pregnant women and small children. Mercury can harm children’s developing brains, including effects on memory, attention, language, and fine motor and visual spatial skills. Upgrades to the aged and dirty coal plants will also significantly reduce harmful particle pollution, preventing hundreds of thousands of illnesses and up to 17,000 premature deaths each year. “The ‘monetized’ value of these and certain other health benefits would amount to $37–90 billion per year,” the Environmental Protection Agency determined. Republicans are once again trying to protect the dirty energy industry over our children’s health. Result: FAILED 46-53
  • Alexander #516: This would “repeal … the wind production tax credit.” The PTC provides a tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity to encourage investment in clean wind energy. A CAP analysis determined that “wind power helps lower electricity prices.” Along with state renewable portfolio or electricity standards, the PTC has enabled “the wind industry … to lower the cost of wind power by more than 90% [and] provide power to the equivalent of over 12 million American homes.” A Navigant Consulting analysis predicted that eliminating the PTC would cost 37,000 jobs. Some argue that we should end tax provisions for clean technologies, including wind. However, this ignores the fact that the oil and gas industries have received $80 in support for every $1 for wind and other renewable energy sources over the past 95 years. In addition, the Alexander amendment would ignore the annual $4 billion in special tax breaks for big oil companies. Result: Did not come to the floor for a vote.
  • Inhofe #359: This amendment would “[prohibit] further greenhouse gas regulations for the purpose of addressing climate change.” This would have prevented the EPA from enforcing the Clean Air Act as interpreted by the Supreme Court, which ruled that EPA is required to regulate carbon and other climate change pollutants that endanger public health and welfare. EPA proposed the first carbon pollution standard for new power plants in 2012. After it is finalized, EPA must set limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants — responsible for two-fifths of U.S. carbon pollution. Such reductions are essential to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. Result: FAILED 47-52
  • Cruz #470: This radical amendment would have limited the amount of land owned by the federal government in each state. It is yet another attempt by Republicans to give federal public lands over to states or private companies so as to better exploit them, and is in line with recent efforts of House Republicans to sell off “millions of acres” of public lands to private companies. Despite what this amendment implies, public lands provide tremendous economic benefits to local communities. For example, recreation and other uses of the 500 million acres of public lands managed by the Interior Department contributed two million jobs and $385 billion in economic activity in 2011. Result: Did not come to the floor for a vote.
  • Vitter #544: This amendment would have dismantled the president’s authority to protect America’s historical and natural treasures under the Antiquities Act. Since it was passed in 1906, 16 out of 19 presidents have used the act to protect places like the Statue of Liberty, Muir Woods, the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Acadia. Just this week it was reported that President Obama would create five new national monuments including Delaware’s first-ever national park. The Vitter amendment would have kept the president from answering local communities’ calls to protect such places for future generations. Result: Did not come to the floor for a vote.
  • Murkowski #370: This amendment states that it would “increase oil and natural gas production on Federal lands and waters,” despite the fact that oil production is at its highest level in 20 years. Additionally, the Congressional Research Service noted that over the last four years oil production from federally-owned areas was higher than in 2008, despite the fact that companies are choosing to “follow the oil” to shale plays on non-federal lands. Murkowski’s amendment isn’t the only one that would have sought to fulfill the wish list of the oil and gas industry — Sessions #204 would have opened the economically and environmentally vibrant coasts of Virginia and North Carolina to dangerous oil and gas exploration. Result: Did not come to the floor for a vote.

On Monday March 18, the GOP released its “Growth and Opportunity Project” or “autopsy” report that tried to determine why Republicans lost in 2012, and how to prevent future defeats. While the report did not mention climate or energy — or deal with much policy — it did talk demographics and messaging. The report urged that the Republican Party should change its tone, “… especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters.” They need to “promote forward-looking, positive policy proposals that unite young voters,” and “be conscious of developing a forward-leaning vision for voting Republican that appeals to women.” And finally, they stress the importance of “addressing the concerns of minority communities.”

In their effort to do the bidding of big oil and other major polluters, the authors of these seven deadly amendments blithely ignore the findings and recommendations of this autopsy. The groups most harmed by and concerned about climate change are most supportive of addressing the problem: young people, women, and minority groups.


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 forAmerican Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

GOP Rep. On Sexual Assault At Lackland AFB: There’s ‘No Evidence Of A Widespread Problem’

— By Annie-Rose Strasser on Jul 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Vice-chair of the House Armed Services Commitee Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) believes that there is “no evidence” of a serious sexual assault problem at Lackland Airforce Base even though 12 training officers there have been charged or are being investigated for sexual misconduct and there are at least 31 alleged victims of sexual assault.

Today, 78 members of congress led by fierce women’s advocate Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) are calling on the House Armed Services Committee to join the Air Force in investigating the vast allegations of sexual assault at Lackland.

One man has already pleaded guilty to having an improper relationship and is serving 90 days in prison. Another, Military Training Instructor, Staff Sergeant Luis Walker, will be court martialed early next week. According to a press release from Speier’s office, “He faces 28 charges of sexual contact with 10 women including sodomy and rape in technical and basic training.”

According to a local Texas paper, Thornberry doesn’t think it’s a huge issue and is putting his faith in the military to deal with the assaults:

Rep. Mac Thornberry, HASC vice chairman, recently discussed the Lackland issues with Gen. Edward Rice Jr., commander of Air Education and Training Command.

“My understanding is there is no evidence of a widespread problem,” said Thornberry, a Republican from Clarendon. “It seems to be very limited, and he seems to be moving out very aggressively to deal with it.

If the problem turns out to be limited, then the military system can probably best deal with it, Thornberry said.

Whether the the GOP controlled Armed Services Committee agrees to an investigation, the vice chair’s “no evidence” comment indicates that it will look no deeper into the base than whatever has already been uncovered by the Air Force.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta himself acknowledged the seriousness of the problem, and has issued a new directive to deal with such assaults which includes changing the reporting structure of sexual assault cases.

There were 6,350 reported cases of what the armed forces call “military sexual trauma” last year, but independent studies estimate (PDF) that there were 19,000 cases total last year, most of which went unreported.


This material [article] 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.

This article was originally published on ThinkProgress

Texas Voter ID Law, Which Accepts Gun Licenses But Not Student IDs, Challenged In Court

— By Aviva Shen on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm

On Monday, the Department of Justice and the Texas Legislature will square off in court over Texas’ contentious voter ID law. A three-judge U.S. District Court panel will hear the case, which could challenge the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Texas is one of nine states that must get any changes to their election law cleared by the DOJ under the Voting Rights Act due to a history of discrimination. Texas flunked the test; as Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez wrote in his letter to the Director of Elections, “According to the state’s own data, a Hispanic registered voter is at least 46.5 percent, and potentially 120.0 percent, more likely than a non-Hispanic registered voter to lack this identification.

The law, SB 14, requires voters to show one of a very narrow list of government-issued documents, excluding Social Security, Medicaid, or student ID cards. Gun licenses, however, are acceptable.

The DOJ found that Texas’s SB 14 will “disenfranchise at least 600,000 voters who currently lack necessary photo identification and that minority registered voters will be disproportionately affected by the law.”

As of the 2010 Census, non-Hispanic whites have become the minority in Texas, shrinking to 45.3% of the population from 52.4%, while Latinos accounted for 65% of Texas’s population growth over the past decade.

But Latinos are not the only people hurt by the restrictive bill. People who want to vote but don’t have an ID will have to pay a fee to get one, like Jessica Cohen, whose story ThinkProgress documented in November. After she lost her identification during a robbery, the only way to get a voter ID was to pay a fee to Missouri officials in order to obtain her birth certificate.

On Monday, Texas will defend the law as a necessary measure to prevent voter fraud. Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) argued that “Texas has a responsibility to ensure elections are fair, beyond reproach and accurately reflect the will of voters.” But the San Antonio Express-News reported that fewer than five “illegal voting” complaints involving voter impersonations were filed with the Texas Attorney General’s Office from the 2008 and 2010 general elections in which more than 13 million voters participated.

The Texas voter ID law isn’t the first the DOJ has had to combat. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder noted,

“The past two years have brought nearly two dozen new state laws and executive orders, from more than a dozen states, that could make it significantly harder for eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.”


This material [article] 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. Source: http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/07/06/512245/texas-voter-id-law-which-accepts-gun-licenses-but-not-student-ids-challenged-in-court/