Last fall, a fellow disability activist and close friend of mine introduced me to Bernie Sanders. From the moment I first heard his platform, I was hooked. After living abroad several years in a country with socialized medicine and heavily subsidized education, I was thrilled an American politician was proposing these policies here. Due to my own disabilities, the cost of healthcare has become exorbitant and becoming chronically ill forced me to leave my career in public service litigation to collect meager social security benefits. So, Bernie’s message resonated strongly with my own personal experience of being in the 99%.
I was so moved by his message that I began volunteering for the campaign, be it through phonebanking, texting or simply bringing his message to everyone I knew. I believed so strongly in the change he could effect that I even donated more money than I could otherwise afford to…
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“Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then there’s no reason to list it as anything other than a duck.” — Desert Beacon
Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) doesn’t like being categorized as “anti-public land,” or more precisely lumped in with the Bundy Boys. However, his sponsorship of legislation and other activities have him on the Anti-Public Land list:
“Amodei landed on the list for sponsoring legislation that would give the state control of 7.2 million of the approximately 58 million acres of federally controlled land in Nevada, opposition to the creation of the Basin and Range National Monument, membership in Federal Lands Action Group and a statement about the Malheur occupation.
The statement, attributed to Amodei and two other members of the action group, said the lawmakers didn’t condone the Oregon action but added, “we do understand their frustration with increasingly heavy handed federal agencies that continue to violate the rights of hardworking American farmers and ranchers.” [RGJ]
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The U.S. House Armed Services Committee (HASC) added a rider late Wednesday evening to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that transfers control of more than half of Nevada’s sprawling Desert National Wildlife Refuge to the U.S. Air Force.
— by Ian Millhiser
When the Supreme Court met last January to hear an aggressive attempt to defund public sector unions, the news looked grim for organized workers. All five of the Court’s conservatives seemed ready to accept the plaintiffs’ legal arguments, a result that would have potentially had catastrophic financial consequences for many unions.
Then Justice Antonin Scalia died, and the anti-union litigants lost the fifth vote they needed to prevail.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court announced the widely expected consequence of Scalia’s encounter with his own mortality. In a single-sentence order, the Supreme Court announced that the judgment of a lower court rejecting this effort to defund public sector unions “is affirmed by an equally divided court.” Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is dead. A four-decade-old opinion protecting public sector unions shall live to see another day.
Friedrichs was an attack on what are alternatively called “agency fees” or “fair share fees.” As ThinkProgress previously explained,
Unions are required by law to bargain on behalf of every worker in a unionized shop, even if those workers opt not to join the union. As such, non-members receive the same higher wages (one study found that workers in unionized shops enjoy a wage premium of nearly 12 percent) and benefits enjoyed by their coworkers who belong to the union.
Absent something else, this arrangement would create a free-rider problem, because individual workers have little incentive to join the union if they know they will get all the benefits of unionizing regardless of whether they reimburse the union for its costs. Eventually, unions risk becoming starved for funds and collapsing, causing the workers once represented by a union to lose the benefits of collective bargaining.
To prevent this free-rider problem, union contracts often include a provision requiring non-members to pay agency fees.
The purpose of these fees is to ensure that non-members do not get something for nothing; they require those non-members to pay their share of the costs of obtaining the benefits of being in a union.
Prior to Friedrichs, the Court took two incremental steps in the direction of an eventual decision abolishing agency fees. Friedrichs was widely expected to be that decision. Instead, with the Court split 4-4, Friedrichs will have no effect and the Court’s previous precedents permitting agency fees will remain good law, binding on all lower court judges.
Ultimately, however, Tuesdays’ non-decision in Friedrichs only heightens the stakes in the battle to replace Scalia. If Scalia is replaced by a relatively liberal justice, whether that new justice is Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland or someone else, then it is exceedingly likely that agency fees will continue to be legal. Should Scalia be replaced by another conservative, however, then Tuesday’s order will likely provide to be only a brief stay of execution for public sector unions.
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
That whole “In God We Trust” thing? That is nothing more than a Republican Fascist McCarthyism by-product of the 1950s.
Reader Will called my attention to a new piece in CNN News describing the auction of the first U.S. one cent coin for a cool 1.2 million dollars. Now that’s a pretty penny! It’s the famous “Birch Cent,” made in 1792, and apparently only ten of them are in existence.
But what’s nice about it is what Will imparted in his email:
The interesting part is the motto on the coin: “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry”. Now we all know that the “In God We Trust” motto is a relatively recent innovation, but I was surprised to find (although I shouldn’t have been) that the founders rated science as one of the boons of liberty. And nary a mention of the creator. Just another little nail in the coffin of “America founded as a Christian nation.” I’ve attached the image.
Sure enough, on the face it clearly says “Liberty Parent of Science…
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Much is at stake in a Supreme Court case over a Texas abortion law. The nation’s highest court heard oral arguments last week in Whole Woman’s Health v. John Hellerstedt. The case challenges restrictions placed on Texas abortion clinics under a law known as HB2. That law uses medical arguments to restrict women’s access to abortion in a state that has already decimated clinics.
EU member states and the European Parliament will be “sidelined” in favor of big business and U.S. interests should the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) go through, according to a leaked document revealed Friday.