Republicans Are Opposing Responsible Natural Gas Operations – Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a means of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and props open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well. Horizontal fracking differs in that it uses a mixture of 596 chemicals, many of them proprietary, and millions of gallons of water per frack. This water then becomes contaminated.
In 2005, the Bush/ Cheney Energy Bill exempted natural gas drilling from the Safe Drinking Water Act. It exempts companies from disclosing the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing. Essentially, the provision took the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) off the job. It is now commonly referred to as the Halliburton Loophole.
The FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness to Chemical Act) is a House bill intended to repeal the Halliburton Loophole and to require the natural gas industry to disclose the chemicals they use. The bill has 58 co-sponsors and none of them are Republicans. Please support the FRAC Act by signing the petitions at the link above.
Top Republican Says Raise Social Security Retirement Age to 70 – A Republican-held Congress might look to raise the retirement age to 70, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggested Monday. Boehner, the top Republican lawmaker in the House, said raising the retirement age by five years, indexing benefits to the rate of inflation and means-testing benefits would make the massive entitlement program more solvent.
(Those Republican suggestions are all things that would negatively affect middle-class and working-class Americans. They would not be felt by the rich. There is a cap on the Social Security tax so that once you make a little over $100,000, you pay no more tax. Raise or eliminate that cap, and Social Security funding is fixed. But Republicans don’t want to burden the rich, but they don’t mind sticking it to the rest of us. – JLV)
Republicans Choose Tax Cuts for Billionaires Over Jobs Bill – Senate Republicans by a 41 to 57 margin on Thursday again filibustered the Democratic $112 billion jobs bill. As it turns out, most of the roughly $35 billion still needed to pay for it could largely come from a single source: the estate tax. The estate tax is only paid by the super rich. In 2009, only 1 in 500 American estates paid estate taxes. But thanks to the same Republican obstructionism, Republicans have chosen a one-year windfall for a handful of billionaires over millions of Americans in the throes of financial crisis.
Already scaled back from its original $200 billion price tag, the $112 billion jobs package includes tax cuts, critically needed aid to states and the extension of unemployment benefits. On Sunday, Maine Republican Olympia Snowe wrote to Harry Reid suggesting Democrats cut further by offering a stand-alone unemployment insurance bill. For a Republican Party which had no problem with deficit spending during the Bush years.
Of course, as they made crystal clear with the perpetual effort to kill the estate tax, Republicans’ commitment to the rich trumps everything else.
Republicans Bash “Saint” – As confirmation hearings opened Monday afternoon, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee took the unusual approach of attacking Kagan because she admired the late justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked more than two decades ago.
It was, to say the least, a curious strategy to go after Marshall, the iconic civil rights lawyer who successfully argued Brown vs. Board of Education. Did Republicans think it would help their cause to criticize the first African American on the Supreme Court, a revered figure who has been celebrated with an airport, a postage stamp and a Broadway show? The guy is a saint — literally. Marshall this spring was added to the Episcopal Church’s list of “Holy Women and Holy Men,” which the Episcopal Diocese of New York says “is akin to being granted sainthood.”
With Kagan’s confirmation hearings expected to last most of the week, Republicans may still have time to make cases against Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Gandhi.
The lack of a coherent attack on the nominee became apparent when Texas Senator John Cornyn began his opening statement with a quotation that he said he received in an e-mail: “Liberty is not a cruise ship full of pampered passengers. Liberty is a man of war, and we’re all the crew.”
“I don’t know why I thought of that,” Cornyn told the perplexed audience.
Conservative George Will Blames the Poor for Not Finding Jobs – George Will apparently doesn’t think that those receiving unemployment benefits spend their checks because he claims that another extension would not stimulate the economy. Another typical mean spirited Republican basically telling unemployed Americans “let them eat cake”. I’m sure George thinks that once you cut those benefits off all of those lazy unemployed people will finally have to get off of their butts and magically find those non-existent jobs out there.
I assume George won’t have to worry about actually being around any of those tiresome whiners from his perch at his $1.9 million mansion in Chevy Chase, Md. since they probably keep that type of ‘riff-raff’ out of his neighborhood.
Dell Tried to Cover Up Faulty Computers – Dell Computer sold millions of computers riddled with faulty electrical components that were leaking chemicals and causing malfunctions from 2003 to 2005 to major companies and small businesses.
Documents recently unsealed in a three-year-old lawsuit against Dell show that the company’s employees were actually aware that the computers were likely to break. Still, the employees tried to play down the problem to customers and allowed customers to rely on trouble-prone machines, putting their businesses at risk.
Dell employees went out of their way to conceal these problems. In one e-mail exchange between Dell customer support employees, a Dell worker states, “We need to avoid all language indicating the boards were bad or had ‘issues’ per our discussion this morning.”
In other documents about how to handle questions around the faulty OptiPlex systems, Dell salespeople were told, “Don’t bring this to customer’s attention proactively” and “Emphasize uncertainty.”
“They were fixing bad computers with bad computers and were misleading customers at the same time,” said Ira Winkler, a former computer analyst for the National Security Agency and a technology consultant.
You Can Help Record Bad Deeds – For too long, our politics has been poisoned with misinformation, lies and double-speak. The most powerful way to combat these tactics is to drag them into the light of public scrutiny.
The Accountability Project is a volunteer platform to document Republican candidates and their public statements at local events, as well as their campaign tactics. The Accountability Project allows you to submit videos, recordings, and other items for publication online, so that candidates see that there’s a cost to their dishonesty.
If you have a video camera of any kind, or even a cell phone that records video, you can document Republican candidate public events, including speeches, forums, and public meetings to share.
You can submit copies of candidate mailers, emails, and attack ads.
You can also report upcoming public events in your area, so that other volunteers can document them.