Wings and Weights
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Wings and Weights
Work of Progressives to move us forward and the people and attitudes that weigh us down.
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Labor Unions' Fight for the 99% Goes Way Beyond Raising Campaign Dollars | | AlterNet

Labor Unions' Fight for the 99% Goes Way Beyond Raising Campaign Dollars | | AlterNet | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

Labor is an integral part of the progressive coalition, one of the only forces capable of acting as a counterweight to the organized money that's taken over our politics.

"...unions represent millions of working Americans, struggling under the weight of austerity policies and a stagnant economy, who are getting increasingly fed up with their treatment by politicians.
 

“The labor movement has always given money to candidates,” Damon Silvers, policy director and general counsel at the AFL-CIO, told AlterNet. But when it comes down to winning elections, their greatest contribution is boots on the ground. “

And not just any boots, but people who are plugged into their communities, who are trusted. They're the backbone of America's civic culture, the people who are the poll watchers, the people who volunteer at food banks, local leaders in unions, the shop stewards, the people who pound the pavement. They are the core of civil society in the United States.”

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NRA Becomes Toxic When Exposed to Light

NRA Becomes Toxic When Exposed to Light | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

When exposed to the light, the NRA's agenda becomes toxic. And Americans want nothing to do with those who conspire to bring about the gun lobby's dangerous "guns everywhere" vision they saw played out that February night in Sanford, Florida.
 

ALEC's abrupt abandonment of the conservative agenda's gun plank wasn't caused by sympathy for Trayvon or the 32 killed by gunfire each day in America. ALEC's corporate sponsors are a bottom line bunch, and for years were happy to push for NRA laws to force guns on college campuses, deprive cities of the authority to reasonably regulate guns, and, most notably, Stand Your Ground or "Shoot First, Ask Questions Later" laws that embolden and immunize killers.
 

But then the public noticed.
 

You see, the NRA and its political minions like to work in the shadows. They cannot credibly explain to voters why they support loopholes that allow criminals to buy guns without background checks, or allow terrorists to buy all the AK-47s they desire. Secrecy and cynicism are their greatest allies.
 

But the media did not just focus on Zimmerman's culpability for Trayvon's death. They also shone a spotlight on other fingerprints found at the crime scene: the NRA's, and the politicians who do its bidding. Americans learned that NRA laws (supported by ALEC) entitled a vigilante with an arrest record and a violent past to carry loaded hidden handguns anywhere, and almost prevented him from even being charged with a crime after he shot an unarmed teenager.
 

Far more than other high-profile shootings, the Trayvon Martin tragedy has shown the American people the complicity of the NRA, and its political lackies, in our shameful epidemic of gun violence.
 

The people can now easily "connect the dots" between the gun lobby and mayhem on our streets.

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The Man the Banks Fear Most

The Man the Banks Fear Most | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it
For three years, President Obama refused to launch a criminal investigation of Wall Street for its role in wrecking the economy—until New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman compelled him to change course.
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Gov Walker (R-small Govt) Takes money from Teachers, hands it to his Government Cronies – FreakOutNation

Gov Walker (R-small Govt) Takes money from Teachers, hands it to his Government Cronies – FreakOutNation | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

Governor Scott Walker (R-ALEC) has apparently figured out a way to hand out bonuses and not add to the state deficit– just give public school and community college teachers even less money.
 

On January 1 of this year, Gov. Walker reinstated a bonus system that had been suspended by the previous governor, Jim Doyle (D-WI). On Friday, we learned that approximately $765,000 in bonuses had been handed out to 220 of Walker’s government cronies since January.

A day later, we learn that Walker has changed the rules on teachers’ cost-of-living raises, such that those raises are now lower than what was expected with his budget bill. Specifically, the cost-of-living increases would not be calculated on a teacher’s actual salary, but a salary number that could be much lower and not take into account such things like the educational background of the teacher.

Huh?!?
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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

These basic human rights were guaranteed to every human on the planet by the United Nations.  We may need to fight to keep them, but understand that the rule of law is on our side.

Stand up against the violations of our rights as humans. 

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The Bully Backlash: How the Christian Right Is Attacking Efforts to Help Kids | Education | AlterNet

The Bully Backlash: How the Christian Right Is Attacking Efforts to Help Kids | Education | AlterNet | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

Even as states and schools try to put in place anti-bullying policies, the Christian right is mobilizing to undo them.

Ed. Note:  I see them as psuedo-Christian.  Real followers of the tenets of Christ would not condone this behavior. 

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How One Local Official in North Carolina Is Trying to Hold Wall Street Giants Accountable for Widespread Fraud | Occupy Wall Street | AlterNet

How One Local Official in North Carolina Is Trying to Hold Wall Street Giants Accountable for Widespread Fraud | Occupy Wall Street | AlterNet | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

When Wall Street hustlers figured out a scheme to make a fortune trading home mortgages in the 1990s, they faced some legal obstacles. In some cases, like dealing with the Depression-era law that kept commercial and investment banking from mixing, they overcame those obstacles with tens of millions of dollars of lobbying.

 

But having gotten their deregulation, they simply broke other laws. What the banks and a compliant media often euphemistically refer to as a series of “paperwork errors” in transferring deeds ("robo-signing”) was in fact widespread fraud – fraud that undermined bedrock property laws dating back for centuries.

 

When Jeff Thigpen, the Register of Deeds in Guilford County, North Carolina, looked at his own records, he found 6,100 questionable titles that were “signed in the names of known robo-signer aliases: 'Linda Green,' 'Christie Baldwin,' 'Pat Kingston,' 'Korell Harp,' 'Jessica Ohde,' 'Rita Knowles,' 'Linda Thoresen,' and 'Brent Bagley'” – and that was in just one county in one state.

 

Thigpen has a strong belief in the rule of law, and thinks it should apply to everyone, including the titans of Wall Street. Earlier this month, he filed a suit against some of the nation's biggest banks, demanding that they clean up the mess they created. “For me, the question is clear,” said Thigpen, “Do we want land records in America to be governed by major banking conglomerates on Wall Street or the people and laws of the United States of America?”

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Military cancels Ted Nugent show citing anti-Obama comments

Military cancels Ted Nugent show citing anti-Obama comments | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

Citing inflammatory language while expressing his displeasure with President Barack Obama, the military has uninvited rock star and conservative political activist Ted Nugent from performing at Fort Knox in Kentucky, according to the U.S.

Ed. Note:  I thought they were being open minded by inviting a person who bragged about ducking the draft and insulting those who placed their lives on the line in the first place.  But threatening the Commander-in-Chief will definitely get you kicked off the invitation list. 

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John Edwards facing start of trial - Telegraph

John Edwards facing start of trial  - Telegraph | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

John Edwards, the disgraced former Democratic presidential candidate, goes on trial today on charges of using campaign funds to hide his secret mistress.

Ed. Note:  Seriously, this man is an amazing disgrace and embarassment, not just to Democrats.  To humans in general.  His wife deserved better. 

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How Republicans get Americans to vote against their own best interests

How Republicans get Americans to vote against their own best interests | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

The Republican party and the pundits who support them, use an agenda of fear, channeling the ways of former Republican senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy. In the 1950s, McCarthy had accused hundreds of Democrats in the United States of being members of the communist party without having any proof of his claims. As the years went on, the American people took McCarthy and his fear agenda as a sad and pathetic joke. The current Republican party goes further than McCarthy did, using what conservatives hold close to them against them, their religion. Republicans push the fear of gays, Muslims, atheists and others who aren't evangelical Christians onto conservatives voters, using those fears to bypass many economic issues that could normally work against them.

 

Whether it's religion, fear or simply a case of misinformation, conservative voters have been getting the wool pulled over their eyes for years and it's not only affecting them, but the entire country. The Democratic party is far from perfect, but more often than not, their policies represent the best interest of the majority of the American people. Until the media becomes accountable for the truth in their reporting and Americans start to think outside the box and accept that others might have some good ideas, the American people will have to continue to weather the storm of Republican destruction.

 

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Raising a Transgender Child: A Star is Born

Raising a Transgender Child: A Star is Born | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

Eight months ago, my 9-year-old son tearfully shared with me that his whole life, he had wanted to be a girl.

Ed. Note:  A wonder story of a seriously strong young lady and her freakishly great parents.  The world is better for having them in it. 

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Did Fox News Fabricate An Obama Quote?

Did Fox News Fabricate An Obama Quote? | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

In a recent campaign-trail speech, President Obama delivered a line that was widely construed as a jab at Mitt Romney. But it turns out part of what crystallized that portrayal appears to be a fabrication.

Ed. Note:  Fox News, lie or make something up? Clutch the pearls, what a sneaky thing to do!  They've never done THAT before! 

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Gov Walker (WI-Corp) promised 250,000 jobs but lost 23,900 (and gushes over Ted Nugent in a video) – FreakOutNation

Perhaps the real reason, aside from the monetary ones, that Gov. Scott Walker (W-Corp) was missing for so long is that when he opens his mouth, both feet dive right in — like a boss!

Walker, in a fight for his political career, used Illinois’ economic problems as a “contrast” Tuesday to bolster his chances in the June recall election — jobs lost in March are reported at 4,500; Illinois in “contrast”, added 9,100 jobs in March. When Walker ran for election, he promised to create 250,000 jobs during his first term in office — 23,900 jobs have been lost since this time last year.

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Governor Slashes Aid For Rape Victims During Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Governor Slashes Aid For Rape Victims During Sexual Assault Awareness Month | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) shocked the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence this week when he vetoed $1.5 million in funding for 30 rape crisis centers in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Ed. Note:  So much for no 'War on Women'. 

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Daily Kos: Gallup daily tracking ... from BREAKING NEWS to crickets

Daily Kos: Gallup daily tracking ... from BREAKING NEWS to crickets | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

In case you still were under the ridiculous impression that the media is liberally biased.

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Why Would Dems Take Money from an Organization That Wants to Behead Them?

Why Would Dems Take Money from an Organization That Wants to Behead Them? | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

How can any Democrat take money from the NRA or accept their endorsement? It's bad enough that the NRA has been in bed with Republicans for decades.

How do you sleep at night knowing you're doing business with a money-making hate machine targeting your own?

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6 Cut-Through-The-Bullsh_t Reasons To Support The 99%

6 Cut-Through-The-Bullsh_t Reasons To Support The 99% | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it
In case you needed to see them in black and white.
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Republicans to Slash Food Stamps

Republicans to Slash Food Stamps | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

Republicans began rolling out a new wave of domestic budget cuts - but less for debt reduction and more for future Pentagon spending.

 But what's more explicit in this round is the real shift of resources from the domestic side of the ledger to military spending. Caught in the middle are not just Obama's ideas but the working poor and long-term unemployed forced for the first time to rely on programs like food stamps in the current recession.

Ed. Note:  Not sure that the DC Republicans understand that folks getting food stamps come in both Democratic and Republican flavor and that if they aren't happy with Congress and not thrilled about Romney, taking food out of their mouths may convince them to either stay away from the voting booths in Nov. or vote Democratic. 

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A Courageous Former Naval Officer Stands Trial for Speaking Up for the 99% | Activism | AlterNet

A Courageous Former Naval Officer Stands Trial for Speaking Up for the 99% | Activism | AlterNet | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it
Leah Bolger, 54, could receive a six-month jail sentence for interrupting a congressional hearing with a message from the 99%: End the wars and tax the rich to fix the deficit.
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'Is This the Country We Want to Keep?': Whistleblower Threatened with 35 Years in Prison, Warns of Developing Tyranny | Activism | AlterNet

'Is This the Country We Want to Keep?': Whistleblower Threatened with 35 Years in Prison, Warns of Developing Tyranny | Activism | AlterNet | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

Thomas Drake blew the whistle on a massive domestic information gathering scheme and was called "an enemy of the state."

Ed. Note:  This is the attitude that we need to weed out. 

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Republicans Concerned Over State Focus on Social Issues

Republicans Concerned Over State Focus on Social Issues | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

Some Republicans, eager to focus attention on fiscal issues, fear that a flurry of socially conservative legislation in states across the country could hurt the party in the fall.

 

The recent flurry of socially conservative legislation, on issues ranging from expanding gun rights to placing new restrictions on abortion, comes as Republicans at the national level are eager to refocus attention on economic issues.
 

Some Republican strategists and officials, reluctant to be identified because they do not want to publicly antagonize the party’s base, fear that the attention these divisive social issues are receiving at the state level could harm the party’s chances in November, when its hopes of winning back the White House will most likely rest with independent voters in a handful of swing states.
 

One seasoned strategist called the problem potentially huge. But others said that actions taken by a handful of states would probably have little impact on the national campaign.

Ed. Note:  Must be rough when you realize that attacks on workers, the poor, the elderly and women have a blow back.  Conservatives were shocked to discover that these people vote.   

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Trinity Broadcasting Network's alleged tax dodging and financial fraud

Trinity Broadcasting Network's alleged tax dodging and financial fraud | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

Earlier this year, Paul Crouch, owner of the mega attraction theme park, "The Holy Land Experience" and the non profit Christian organization, Trinity Broadcasting Network, applied for two religious tax exemptions on two separate multimillion dollar mansions. As the Orlando Sentinel reports, if accepted, the tax exception would have saved Crouch and TBN over $50,000. Orange County's Property Appraiser's Officer declined the application, for the second year in a row, stating that the property doesn't fit the qualifications for a religious exemption.
"the property is being used more as a substitute for hotel accommodations rather than as a parsonage for religious purposes."


This isn't the first time that the Christian network has been involved with alleged scandals. In March of 2012, Brittany Koper, the granddaughter of TBN's owner, Paul Crouch, went on the record alleging that Crouch used "shame loans" to illegally make money to support his lavish lifestyle. The Los Angeles Times reports that not only did Couch use illegal funds, but also fired Koper once she showed concern over the financial practices of the company.
"The lawsuit alleges that Paul Crouch Sr. obtained a $50-million Global Express luxury jet for his personal use through a "shame loan," and that TBN funds paid for a $100,000 motor home for dogs owned by his wife, Janice Crouch, a network director."

The Trinity Broadcasting Network is known for their evangelical Christian beliefs and far right wing conservative political ideology. One of the most popular programs on the station, the 700 Club, is hosted by controversial television evangelist and ex-Baptist minister, Pat Robertson. Robertson is a staunch supporter of the Republican party, failing to gain the party's presidential nomination in 1988. 

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GOP Set to Double Student Loan Interest Rates

GOP Set to Double Student Loan Interest Rates | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

This week the GOP is set let Stafford student loans interest rates double to 6.4% on July 1.
 

Why?
 

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., and chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce said: “We must now choose between allowing interest rates to rise or piling billions of dollars on the backs of taxpayers.”
 

The logic is simple. We can pile billions on the backs of taxpayers to help millionaires pay tax rates lower than firefighters and nurses but college graduates need to pay more now.
 

We are now in the midst of a highly symbolic battle. Who will we ask to sacrifice first? Those who can afford to do so, or the 99% of us who can’t afford lobbyists to negotiate our special tax breaks. And whom do we trust to make these decisions? Mitt Romney, who merely had to sell stock to pay for college. Or Barack Obama who just in the last decade finished paying his student loans.

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Sioux City Journal, Iowa Newspaper, Devotes Front Page To Fighting Bullying

Sioux City Journal, Iowa Newspaper, Devotes Front Page To Fighting Bullying | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

-- In a rare and forceful act of advocacy, an Iowa newspaper devoted the entire front page of its Sunday edition to an anti-bullying editorial after a gay teen committed suicide. 

Ed. Note:  Mazel tov!

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New Romney Spokesman Erases Tweets, Posts Attacking Women And Media

New Romney Spokesman Erases Tweets, Posts Attacking Women And Media | Wings and Weights | Scoop.it

Richard Grenell, Mitt Romney's brand new spokesperson on national security and foreign policy, has deleted hundreds of tweets in which he made condescending and sexist remarks about several women and Democratic politicians, including Hillary Clinton, Michele Obama and Callista Gingrich.

On Friday afternoon, Grenell still featured a link to his personal site (http://www.richardgrenell.com) on his Twitter profile, which then showed that he had tweeted 7,577 times, according to a screenshot taken Friday by The Huffington Post. By Sunday morning, Grenell’s Twitter feed only listed 6,759 tweets and his personal site is no longer available. 

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