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Drug Test the Rich!

This could get interesting. AFter Republicans passed laws to Drug Test the poor as a condition of receiving SNAP, an enterprising Democrat turns it around.

Drug Tests for the 1 Percent?

The poor must prove they’re clean before they can receive benefits from the government. Why not hold the rich to the same standard?

Ever since the earliest days of government benefits, when social workers would inspect the homes of welfare recipients for cleanliness, the poor have been asked to prove their worth in order to receive help from the state.

Now, a Wisconsin Congresswoman is asking: Shouldn’t the wealthy have to prove their worth for all the government benefits they receive, too?

Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) is introducing the Top 1% Accountability Act of 2016, which would require drug testing for all tax filers claiming itemized deductions totaling over $150,000. Moore’s bill would require those with the higher itemized deductions to submit a clear drug test to the IRS or take the standard deduction, which is lower. The bill is intended to highlight the fact that it’s not just the poor who receive aid, even if they’re the ones asked to prove their standing. Aid to the wealthy comes mostly in the form of tax breaks, which allow them to keep money that they would otherwise be required by law to pay to the government.

“We don’t drug test wealthy CEOs who receive federal subsidies for their private jets, nor do we force judges or public officials to prove their sobriety to earn their paychecks,” Eric Harris, a spokesperson for Moore told me. “Attaching special demands to government aid exclusively targets our country’s most vulnerable individuals and families.”

The number of government tests and requirements for poor people receiving government aid has grown in recent years. Utah in 2012 passed a law requiring drug testing for recipients for Temporary Aid to Needy Families, Alabama passed a similar law in 2014, and Arkansas followed in 2015. Other states, including Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Kansas require drug testing if “reasonable suspicion” exists.

These drug tests target people with almost no income who, in the case of states such as Arkansas, receive as little as $204 a month. And the drug tests hardly ever turn up positive. In 2014 Governor Rick Snyder signed a law in Michiganimplementing a pilot program to drug test welfare recipients in three counties; none of the people in the pilot program have tested positive for drugs.

Middle-class and wealthy Americans may not be getting housing vouchers, but they are getting tax deductions, which come when people itemize their taxes rather than take the standard deduction. Itemizing taxes isn’t worth it unless you’ve spent more on tax-deductible items (including mortgage interest, charitable giving, and also the odd luxury item, such as a yacht) than the standard deduction, which was $12,600 this year for a married household filing jointly. According to one report, more than 95 percent of tax filers making over $200,000 itemized their deductions in 2011, compared to just 13 percent of those with incomes of $50,000 or less….Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2016 in Great American Rip-Off

 

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Georgia Governor Does a Drop Kick on Anti-Gay KKK Bill

Spurred on by threats by everyone from Disney to the NFL to take their business elsewhere, Republican Georgia Governor, Nathan Deal got the message.

Governor Rejects a Religious-Freedom Bill

Nathan Deal sides with corporations and gay-rights advocates who objected to the legislation backed by conservative evangelicals.

As an expansive religious-liberty bill moved through Georgia’s Republican-dominated state legislature this winter, Governor Nathan Deal found himself caught in a pitched battle over gay rights, with conservative evangelicals on one side and major corporations on the other.

On Monday, he sided with big business by announcing he would veto legislation that he said could lead to state-sanctioned discrimination against gay people. “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith based community in Georgia of which my family and I are a part of for all of our lives,” Deal, a Republican, said at a news conference declaring his decision. “Our actions on H.B. 757 are not just about protecting the faith-based community or providing a business-friendly climate for job growth in Georgia. This is about the character of our State and the character of its people.”

He added:

Our cities and countryside are populated with people who worship God in a myriad of ways and in very diverse settings. Our people work side-by-side without regard to the color of our skin, or the religion we adhere to. We are working to make life better for our families and our communities. That is the character of Georgia. I intend to do my part to keep it that way.

The governor’s rejection of the bill is the latest twist in a war over religious liberty and gay rights that has played out in conservative states during the nine months since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Public outcries followed similar efforts last year in Indiana and Arkansas to pass legislation that would allow pastors and vendors to cite religious objections in denying services to gay couples.

The Georgia version, which was itself viewed as a compromise designed to win broader support, would not only have allowed faith-based groups to deny “social, educational, and charitable services” to people based on their religious beliefs—but in some cases, would also have preserved their right to fire people for the same reason. A corporate coalition that included Disney, Time Warner, and other major employers threatened to boycott the state if Deal signed the legislation into law. The NFL hinted the law could affect its decision to hold a future Super Bowl in Atlanta.

In announcing his veto, Deal acknowledged threats by interests on both sides, but he said they were not a determining factor in his decision.

Some of those in the religious community who support this bill have resorted to insults that question my moral convictions and my character. Some within the business community who oppose this bill have resorted to threats of withdrawing jobs from our state. I do not respond well to insults or threats. The people of Georgia deserve a leader who will made sound judgments based on solid reasons that are not inflamed by emotion. That is what I intend to do.

Deal was reelected to a second term as governor in 2014 and cannot run for a third, so electoral considerations may have been less of a factor for him than for other Republican governors facing similar decisions….More

 

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Republican Senator Puts Hold on Water Bill Designed to Combat Lead in Drinking Water

It only impacts black folks…Right.

The bill is designed around helping cities and towns with lead contamination…Not just Flint.

The portrait of yet another racist Republican asshat

Senator puts hold on lead bill, says Flint doesn’t need fed aid

A U.S. senator from Utah who put a hold on a bill to provide federal aid to Flint, Michigan, amid its water crisis said Friday he did so because the federal money is unneeded.

“The state of Michigan has an enormous budget surplus this year and a large rainy-day fund, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars,” Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican, said in a statement Friday.

“Gov. [Rick] Snyder has requested $200 million of that from the state legislature for Flint this year. Relief and repair efforts are already in the works,” Lee said. “The people and policymakers of Michigan right now have all the government resources they need to fix the problem.”

The residents of the city of nearly 100,000 were exposed to lead poisoning when the city switched water sources in a bid to save money. Lead poisoning can destroy brain tissue and cause irreversible developmental problems in children.

The $220 million bill would provide funds to help Flint and cities like it fix and replace lead pipes, as well as prevent and address lead poisoning.

Lee’s “hold” on the bill only stops the speedy consideration of a bill, and can be bypassed procedurally.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., a key sponsor of the bill, said she was surprised and disappointed that Lee would hold up a bipartisan measure that would “help communities across the country, including in his home state of Utah.” She said if Lee is opposed, he should vote against the bill rather than try and hold it up

Lee accused lawmakers of “political grandstanding” and of using the water crisis in Flint to send federal dollars to their home states.

As introduced, the legislation would provide $100 million in “drinking water state revolving funds” available to any state with a drinking water emergency; provide $70 million to back water infrastructure loans; and provide $50 million to prevent and address lead poisoning.

 

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Georgia Senate Debate and Pro-KKK Legislation

You can’t expect people who hate the government to run it. Here what would be under the most favorable terms described as a poorly written Bill…

Gets blown up.

WATCH: Black Georgia lawmaker forces sponsor of ‘religious liberty’ bill to admit it would protect the Klan

Prior to the Georgia State Senate passing a “religious freedom” bill designed to offer protections to people who oppose same-sex marriage, a black lawmaker was stunned when one of the authors behind the bill blithely dismissed the fact that it would also protect the Ku Klux Klan.

The Georgia First Amendment Defense Act was sponsored by GOP Sen. Greg Kirk, who was asked on the floor of the senate by black State Senator Emanuel Jones, if he understood the implications of the bill he authored.

“We’re all familiar with the terms KKK, meaning the hate organization Ku Klux Klan,” Jones asked Kirk.

“I’ve read about them, yes,” Kirk responded.

“Some of my heritage have done a lot more than just read about them,” Jones bluntly stated. “My concern is, couldn’t that organization — if they chose to do —  so identify themselves as ‘faith based’?,” Jones asked, referring to the hate group which has a history of calling itself faith-based.

Stating that he was “not an attorney,” Kirk conceded, “I guess they could, Senator,” before adding, “I’m not sure.”

“So there’s nothing in your legislation that would stop them, is that correct?” Jones pressed.

“That’s right,” Kirk said.

“Does that present a problem for you, Senator?,” Jones continued.

Kirk paused before conceding, “No.”

The white senator then added “I’ve read about those groups [but the bill] certainly isn’t directed towards them, it’s directed towards churches, towards ministers, and towards organizations that provide adoptions and organizations that provide help to the homeless, and so forth. It’s for equal protection as well.”

Continuing to ramble, Kirk bizarrely used the dancers accompanying singer Beyonce at the Super Bowl to point out that the Black Panthers would also be protected.

“I guess that’d be kind of a similar group that we’re talking about, and I guess they could fall under this as well,” he explained.

 

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Standing Tall – Texas Senator Wendy Davis

Another Progressive standing up for her beliefs -Texas Democrat Senator Wendy Davis staged an 11 hour filibuster last night bringing the Rethugly Senate to it’s knees in trying to pass the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation in the country…

So…When we’ve got folks with this kind of grit willing to stand up against Rethugly evil…

WTF can’t President Obama and Senator Harry Reid kick some Rethugly ass?

They can start by filling every single Federal Court Judicial vacancy, and dropping the nuclear option on Rethugly intransigence tying up the judicial appointments.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Domestic terrorism, General

 

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Rep, Gwen Moore Makes It Real in Speech for Violence Against Woman Act

Rep Gwen Moore recounts her own history of sexual abuse in floor speech in support of approval of Violence Against Women Act. Why does she have to do something that painful to force Republicans to do right?

Gwen Moore, Wisconsin Congresswoman, Recounts Her Rape Ordeal In House Floor Speech

As part of her floor speech pushing to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on Wednesday, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) told the story of her own history of being sexually assaulted during her childhood and then raped as a young woman.

“Violence against women is as American as apple pie,” she told colleagues. “I know, not only as a legislator, but from personal experience. Domestic violence has been a thread throughout my personal life, up to and including being a child repeatedly sexually assaulted, up to and including being an adult who’s been raped.”

The VAWA has been met with some resistance from Republicans. The bill would renew grants to U.S. domestic violence prevention and survivor support programs, would increase availability of legal assistance to victims and would extend assistance to battered undocumented immigrants and same-sex couples.

The House Judiciary Committee’s lack of support for the bill, Moore said, brought up terrible memories for her “of having boys sit in a locker room and sort of bet that I, the egg-head, couldn’t be had,” she said.

“And then the appointed boy, when he saw that I wasn’t going to be so willing, completed a date-rape and then took my underwear to display it to the rest of the boys,” she continued. “I mean, this is what American women are facing.”

Since Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have not allowed Democrats to bring up the VAWA as a standalone bill, Democrats tried to attach it to the vote on the GOP budget proposal on Wednesday afternoon. But Republicans voted unanimously to end debate on the budget bill before Democrats could do so.

While some Senate Republicans have pledged their support for reauthorizing the VAWA, others said the bill touches on too many controversial subjects, which distract from the bill’s purpose of protecting battered women. For instance, that it creates avenues for battered undocumented immigrants to claim temporary visas and extends domestic violence protections to same-sex couples makes it tough for some conservatives to support.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who opposed the latest version last month in the judiciary committee, told The New York Times that he thinks Democrats have politicized the bill on purpose to make the GOP look anti-women.

“I favor the Violence Against Women Act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition,” he said. “You think that’s possible? You think they might have put things in there we couldn’t support, that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?”

 

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Racial Profiling Bill in Senate

Racial profiling as a law enforcement tool has been discredited in just about every study – but it continues anyway…

Of course I doubt this bill has a prayer of making it through the Republican majority House.

Senate Introduces Legislation to Ban Racial Profiling

Yesterday, the Senate introduced a bill that would ban the use of racial profiling by law enforcement.

The End Racial Profiling Act of 2011, sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin, D. Md., would forbid any law enforcement agency in the United States from “relying, to any degree, on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion…except when there is trustworthy information, relevant to the locality and timeframe, that links a person of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion to an identified criminal incident or scheme.” The bill also requires law enforcement agencies to collect data on routine and spontaneous investigatory activities and authorizes the Department of Justice to provide funds for training on the proper and improper use of race, ethnicity, national origin and religion in policing.
Civil rights groups have long supported legislation banning racial profiling based not only on its discriminatory nature but on the fact that it simply doesn’t work and wastes precious law enforcement resources.

“Racial profiling robs people of their dignity, undermines the integrity of our criminal justice system, and instills fear and distrust among members of targeted communities,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “We know from experience that this is the wrong approach. Racial profiling makes us all less safe, by distracting law enforcement from the pursuit of individuals who pose serious threats to security.”

Research has consistently found that despite its ineffectiveness racial profiling is pervasive. A September 2010 Rights Working Group report, which was based on six public hearings held around the country, found that the use of racial profiling is pervasive. And a June 2009 report by Rights Working Group and the American Civil Liberties Union found that African-American and Latino drivers are more than twice as likely to be stopped, searched, or arrested by law enforcement officers as White drivers.

In March, The Leadership Conference released a report that documents how the consensus to end racial profiling has evaporated since 9/11, and how the use of racial profiling has expanded in the context of counterterrorism; fighting drug trafficking and other “street-level” crimes; and in efforts to enforce immigration laws, and called on Congress to pass ERPA.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2011 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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