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Bold Roundup: Dec 19-23

The Nebraska Farmer’s Union exhibited real leadership in dealing with the Humane Society of the United States. While Governor Heineman and Jon Bruning painted HSUS as a conspirator in the state, NeFU showed that there is much to gain by working with the organization. Watch a video from the NeFU convention addressing the collaboration.  Here’s your Roundup:

Boehner Caves: The House and Senate passed the payroll tax cut extension less than an hour ago. It’s on its way to President Obama who is expected to promptly sign it. This was a giant retreat by House GOP members and a win for the President, after a bi-partisan Senate agreement faced unexpected disapproval by House members. Boehner stated that the right thing to do wasn’t right politically. He’s wrong about that. This was a time when the right thing to do for Americans was also the right political move. It was the House GOP who chose to put politics before middle class families. Read here

Step in the Right Direction: The new EPA restrictions on mercury, arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium, cyanide, and other pollutants is a victory for environmentalists in a year when the environment has suffered severe blows from Republicans and even President Obama. These new measures will save the lives of those directly in contact with companies emitting these toxic pollutants. This is good work from the EPA and a good step by the president’s administration. The President’s greatest task will come within the next 60 days. His responsibility for guaranteeing greater environmental safety lies in the denial of the Keystone XL permit. We’ll be watching Obama and hope he makes the right move. Read here

Xenophobic Past? With Ron Paul’s ascension to the front runner in the Iowa caucuses he is now facing the criticism that naturally follows. For Paul, it’s a familiar controversy regarding overtly racist writing in his newsletter from the 80s and 90s. Paul fervently denies writing these texts or even knowing about them. Recently, the congressmen even walked out of a CNN interview after saying he wasn’t aware of the deplorable writings until 10 years after they were sent out. Something doesn’t add up. In 1996 he addressed the controversy, and in 1995 he touted his newsletter on C-SPAN. If Paul didn’t give such advise as how to kill a black youth and get away with it and critiques on Martin Luther King Jr., then who did? He should be angry about these writings and his standing as a front runner means he should take ownership of the issue and fully address it. Read here

Cut the Losses: Heineman’s obstruction to the changes in Nebraska’s child welfare system is much like the House GOP’s recent payroll tax cut defiance. He knows he’s wrong but just can’t accept it. The privatization of the child welfare system was disastrous, costly, and put those that matter the most at risk. Heineman was in favor of the privatization and all signs show that he was even in cahoots to cover up early failures of the process. Now that the state legislature has realized the problem and moved to address it, the Governor is still playing games with the well being of Nebraska kids. He is raising questions about the costs of the legislature’s plan, even when privatization has already cost the state too much. Read here

Finally, a very merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of you celebrating this weekend. We want to thank those of you who have helped many of Bold’s holiday wishes come true. Work still remains, but the season is a lot brighter because of you.

 

Thursday, December 22nd

Ah, Sarah Palin. The former governor has come out with another pathetic critique, this time about the president’s Christmas photo. Apparently a cute picture of the Bo Obama is highly offending. Of course, a quick Google search of former White House Christmas photos from previous presidents are commonly void of any classic Christmas symbols as well. Bah Humbug! Here’s your Roundup:

Waistline Subsidies: Like many other things in the U.S., the farm bill isn’t working for the majority of Americans. Rather, it’s another bill that exists as an aid to corporate interest. The bill should be working to help small, family-owned farms and those that grow fruits and veggies. However, more than half of the billions we spend goes to 10% of the agriculture sector. These agri-giants don’t need tax subsidies to make money. Instead of helping farmers who need assistance, we’re helping exacerbate the obesity epidemic. Meanwhile small farms are dying off day after day, growing the corporate ownership of our agriculture. Read here

#40Dollars: Twitter was ablaze yesterday, bashing a Republican claim that the two month extension of the payroll tax cut was only $160 or $40 a paycheck. The hashtag that caused the barrage of tweets was started by the White House, asking people what $40 meant to them. Even some of our state senators got in on the action. This is another example of how out of touch the House GOP is with needs of average Americans. Meanwhile, when House Democrats tried to bring out the Senate bill to extend the tax cut, Republicans just walked out, and C-SPAN eventually cut coverage. Read here C-SPAN here

3 Party System: While skepticism about their donors and fundraising techniques still exists, Americans Elect has reached another important milestone in getting a 3rd party candidate on the ballot. Americans Elect has earned a spot on the California ballot, making it more and more likely that the online nomination process could offer a legitimate and viable candidate. The candidate chosen would have to choose a running mate that is not within his or her party. The success of this movement is an indicator of the disgust Americans have for the partisanship in Washington, so much so that they are finally willing to take action to address it. Read here

Flip-Flop Mitt: Another day, another switch-a-roo for ol’ Mittens. First he backtracked on his support for the Iraq War given that we now know weapons of mass destruction were not in the country. Then, while trying to downplay President Obama’s foreign policy successes, he backtracked on his stance that he would have never entered another country to retrieve known terrorists. But these flip flops probably won’t matter too much to the Republican base as the former governor prepares for Iowa. What will however is a little mistake (or was it?) by Fox News. Take a look at “Romney’s” picture here

Insider Shame: The Affordable Care Act was monumental in helping to make health care a possibility for millions of Americans. However, news that a group of hedge fund managers were let in early on news that a Senate agreement had been made before an announcement by the president is a key indicator of what is wrong with our government. These hedge fund managers stood to make millions on the advanced info, which is why they are willing to pay for it. No matter who saw this through, Republicans or Democrats, the fact that this practice is legal doesn’t make it right. Read here

 

Wednesday, December 21st

The far right extremists in the House have finally become so unreasonable that they are drawing criticism from Republicans in the Senate and conservative columnists around the country. The House GOP continues to play a game of chicken with our finances after denying the Senate plan’s to extend the payroll tax cut. Here’s your Roundup: 

On the Right Track: Obama delivered the right message earlier this month when he spoke of the need to grow the American middle class. The challenge now, as hard as Republicans will make it, is to follow through with this plan. Despite GOP members having previously blocked a bill to add 1.9 million jobs in 2012, Obama must continue to push for the type of public infrastructure funding that can spur jobs creation. No matter how Republicans want to frame it, the Keystone XL pipeline is not that type of project. As the NY Times editorial notes, “oil addiction and the failure to invest in new energy sources will be far bigger job killers.” Real medium income for working families in 2000 was $61,600. Now in 2010 it is $55,300 showing a lack of commitment to the foundation of our economy. It certainly is time for a New Nationalism. Read here

Not to His Credit: Newt Gingrich is enduring a rough fall in the polls after being the Republican Presidential candidate flavor of the month. While this is due to the negative ads airing across the country, we wish it was due to people coming to their senses about Newt’s dubious claims. A favorite of his: that it was his leadership as Speaker that led to the budget surplus of the ‘90s. Former President Clinton reminds us that’s not really true. In fact, Gingrich’s role was more akin to the obstructionism of the House GOP now. Watch Clinton’s fact check here  

A Broken System: We have a broken immigration system in this country. To address the issue of immigration ,we have more to consider than the economic impact. Human impact is what deserves attention and what is currently the most neglected. Families are being torn apart, leaving children to be wards of the state instead of with their families. Much praise should be given to Nebraska Appleseed for reuniting one women with her children after years of separation. Sadly, organizations like Appleseed cannot help every family, leaving the 22 % of 2011 deportees who are parents to live in limbo. Read here 

API Punked: The oil industry wishes they had the grassroots support and energy that their opponents do. In an attempt to improve their image, the American Petroleum Institute intended to create a TV ad showing their public support. API’s call to volunteers backfired when one participant turned out to be a Greenpeace activist. Before blowing his cover, the real grassroots organizer recorded API instructing those involved in the ad on what to say and how to dress. So much for authentic support. Read here

 

Tuesday, December 20th

We are very proud to announce the Obama campaign published the health care story of our very own board member and former intern, Emily Schlichting! The Affordable Care Act takes the spotlight today. Here’s your Roundup:

Most Anticipated: The Supreme Court announced yesterday when the “showdown” over the health care reform law would take place. The culmination of a lawsuit brought by 26 states (including Nebraska) will be three days of arguments from March 26-28th. The court will hear arguments on whether or not the court has authority to rule on the constitutionality of the law, if the individual mandate is constitutional, and whether the Medicare expansion is constitutional. We look forward to this debate being settled once and for all, and for the health care law, which is already benefitting millions of Americans, to reach its full potential without politically-motivated setbacks. Read here

Boon for Small Businesses: One segment of the population benefitting from the Affordable Care Act is small business owners. A business owner from Michigan reflects on a tax credit for small businesses to provide comprehensive health plans, and he finds that thousands of dollars were added to the economy because of the credit. Unfortunately, more than half of small business owners don’t know about the job-creating, economy-boosting credit. Read here

Scrambling for Cover of Light: The House GOP postponed their plans for a Monday night vote on the payroll tax cut extension, not wanting to vote down the Senate bill under “cover of night” and a day full of bad portrayal in the media. So, instead they will vote to increase taxes on 160 million Americans, cut Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors, and cut the legs out from under recipients of unemployment benefits in the daylight. Talk about starting out the day in a terrible way. Read here

Record Breaking Bonuses: Nothing should really be surprising when reading news about the financial industry in America, but our jaws couldn’t help but drop when a new report came out showing that bonuses at seven of the biggest U.S. banks–Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, US Bank, and Wells Fargo–will beat last year’s record breaking number, coming out at about $156 billion. Read here

This Home is Occupied: Occupy Atlanta has successfully saved an Iraqi war veteran’s home from foreclosure. Before Occupy set up tent on Brigitte Walker’s home, JP Morgan Chase had set an eviction date for January 3rd. Chase came to the bargaining table with Walker and offered a modification on her loan, meaning she will get to stay in her home. For the rest of the compelling story, Read here

 

Monday, December 19th

The promo preview for the next season of 30 Rock came out, making us impatient for January 12th. Thousands of Czechs list Star Wars as their religion on the National Census, and the majority of Americans are hopeful for the future of the economy. This and other news in this morning’s Roundup: 

The Best Christmas Gift: Thousands of young veterans and National Reservists are unemployed, and thousands more will be coming home from Iraq by year’s end. Not only are young veterans twice as unlikely to find a job as other vets, but they are much less likely than civilians their own age, even if the civilian does not have a college degree. Despite their many marketable skills, such as leadership and discipline, employers may not be hiring because they don’t see transferable skills. Making the transition back into civilian life is hard enough, but living in an unpredictable environment undoubtedly makes the transition much more difficult. A few large companies have made pledges to hire veterans, but many more need to do the same. This Christmas season, business owners could do something great–hire a vet. Read here

Political Games: As predicted, the Senate OK’ed the two month payroll tax cut extension Saturday with all the riders attached–including the requirement that a decision is made on the KXL within 60 days. But now the House is unlikely to pass the Senate version. The House GOP supposedly wants the payroll tax cut extension to last a full year rather than the two months that was approved by the Senate (and the House only days ago). Rather than accepting that they have the long term welfare of those who benefit from the tax cuts in mind, we see this as a political ploy to cause the bill to fail. Congressional leaders need to stop playing with American citizens’ welfare; our reality should not be their game. Read here or get it in cartoon form

Boehner’s Fantasy: Republican Majority Leader John Boehner said on Meet the Press yesterday morning that Obama doesn’t need more time to make a decision on the KXL, he can make it now. He claimed the decision was about to be made last summer and that the American people support the project. We wonder how Boehner could possibly know the final route the pipeline will follow before any route has even been announced in Nebraska and wish he would visit Nebraska before he says “the American people support [the pipeline],” when thousands of Americans have made it clear they don’t want it at all. Read here

No Longer Impossible: The HuffPost reports on the condition of the Russian tundra, dotted with oil spills seeping from decommissioned, outdated pipelines. Russia has a terrible environmental track record, with spills equivalent to the size of the Deepwater Horizon spill occurring every two months. Partially to blame is the lax environmental standards the Russian government has in place, while oil companies are also to blame for sharing the same motive of every other oil company in the world, “making profits rather than using the resources rationally.” Fishing and hunting are gone, and people suffer from respiratory diseases. It was once hard to imagine a similar scenario happening in Nebraska, but with a company like TransCanada wishing to transport tar sands oil through our spotless terrain, and no guarantee that they will continue to take care of their pipeline after it has been decommissioned, the nightmare comes closer to home. Read here

Breaking News: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died Sunday, and is expected to be succeeded by his son. Kim Jong Il has been in power since 1994, after he took over after the death of his father, the founder of communism in North Korea. Read here

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208 S. Burlington Ave., Ste 103, Box 325, Hastings, NE 68901