Student Loans, National Debt & Congress- An Infographic

 

 

banking-on-education-OPTIMIZED

 

Here are just a couple key points:

– Since 2002, student debt in America has quintupled from $200 billion to $1.1 trillion
— 62% of workers aged 30-39 have insufficient resources for retirement — meaning less money on critical necessities like housing, food, and medicine
— If Congress doesn’t act by July 1st, the average student will owe an extra $2,564 — but if  Congress passes Sen. Warren’s plan, they’ll save $6,552

 

In One of His First Acts as Congressman, Daines Supports Unconstitutional DOMA

DainesToday, the country bid a not-so-fond farewell to the 112th Congress (including Denny Rehberg), and swore in the new 113th Congress with Steve Daines.

What was the first thing this shiny new Congress did?

Well, Daines, who ran on a “more jobs, less government” platform, cast one of his first votes in favor of the House continuing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) which denies hundreds of benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

Apparently when Daines said “more jobs” he meant “more jobs for lawyers defending blatantly unconstitutional archaic laws.”

DOMA is the Clinton-era law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions. This law denies benefits to the same-sex partners of military members killed while fighting for our country. It also prohibits the federal government from recognizing bi-national same-sex couples in immigration cases, which has led to several high-profile deportations. It also refuses to acknowledge same-sex spouses in relation to Social Security survivor benefits.

This law is clearly unconstitutional, which is why in early 2011 the Obama administration’s Department of Justice announced they would no longer defend the law. Our illustrious House members though chose to pick up the torch of bigotry and continued to defend the law at the taxpayer’s expense. Thus far, Steve Daines, John Boehner and the Republicans in the House have spent more than $1.7 million defending this law.

The latest expenditure in support of DOMA was actually buried within the House of Representative rules that the new Congress approved today. Generally these rules simply lay out the process for how the House will run. To bury an appropriation inside this bill is an unprecedented abuse of the process.

This is just the latest example of the clear hypocrisy of Daines and his tea party colleagues advocating for smaller government except for when they don’t.

DOMA, ruled as unconstitutional ten different times in seven different cases, will face the US Supreme Court later this year.

 

Help Strengthen American Service!

AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps (Photo credit: St. Bernard Project)

Last week, 40 Montana Conservation Corps members deployed to New York City to help with hurricane recovery efforts.  In Montana, last year AmeriCorps members mentored 10, 970 youth. 10, 306 adults received legal support from Justice for Montanans, and 76,676 pounds of were collected for food banks. Since 2005, more than 10,000 homes have been weatherized by AmeriCorps members in all 56 counties and 7 reservations and since 1994 more than 11 thousand miles of trail have been built or maintained by Conservation Corps.

We know there are amazing community impact stories behind these numbers.  Let’s tell our Members of Congress and President Obama that service should be part of the strategy to strengthen our country.

Please sign this petition. 

We know that Montana Conservation Corps, Food Corps, Energy Corps and VISTAs positively impact our communities and our economy, now we have to let our elected leaders know.

Please post this or forward this link in an email to others who support service.

http://www.onemillionnewjobs.org/112-2/

Do Tell

It’s the first anniversary of official integration of openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the military. I can think of no better way to observe it than by the words of Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen as he testified before Congress last year:

“No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me, it comes down to integrity – theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.”

What many don’t understand is that lies create shame- and shame creates pain. For many LGBT people, lying on a daily basis is dehumanizing and debilitating over the long term, destroying integrity, creating depression, increasing anxiety and lowering significantly a person’s quality of life.

On the other hand, telling the truth and being accepted can greatly minimize depression, anxiety and shame, increasing quality of life significantly.

I think the military’s embracing of honesty sends an important message to Americans- one that should have been sent from the beginning:  lying is bad. In fact, it’s bad policy.

Obvious, isn’t it?

And here’s to the many members of the military who survived- who “served in silence” before truth was finally policy (including my husband). Thank you for your service.

In fact, maybe today should be Gay Veteran’s Day….

 

Another Congressional Candidate For Marriage Equality

Could you imagine this even two years ago? We have two very public videos about marriage equality by Montana Congressional candidates. You’ve probably seen Dave Strohmaier’s video- but here’s another one from Rob Stutz:

Cool.

Limbaugh, Sinking To New Low, Calls Women ‘Sluts’- Wants To See Them Having Sex

The man arrested with an unprescribed packet of Viagra, the man arrested for prescription drug fraud, a man who has never testified before Congress, a man whose enormous ass sits in a booth behind a golden microphone and never has the balls to speak to someone’s face, a man who loathes homosexuals but has them sing at his wedding, in other words a fraudulent clown, now sinks to a new low- telling women he wants to get something back- he wants to see them having sex:

Limbaugh’s message to ‘feminazis’, posted with vodpod

I know this is probably preaching to the choir, but this man needs help- like straitjacket help.

The Call For Cebull To Step Down Gets Louder- Petition Edition

Thanks to the folks at the Montana Human Rights Network, there’s now a petition. From The Great Falls Tribune:

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for...

Image via Wikipedia

Travis McAdam, executive director of the Montana Human Rights Network, said citizens from throughout Montana and across the country are flooding the organization’s phone lines and email inbox with angry calls for Cebull to be removed from his post as the state’s top federal judge.

“People are really angry and motivated and wanting to do something,” McAdam said Thursday.

The Montana Human Rights Network and other groups are now circulating online petitions calling for Cebull to resign.

“On February 20, the chief federal judge in Montana, Richard Cebull, forwarded an email to six individuals that included racist and misogynistic content. The content of this email dehumanizes people of color and women. People of color and women appearing before Judge Cebull will have valid concerns about his ability to treat them fairly,” the network petition reads in part.

“From the time story broke online (Wednesday) to this morning we had gotten dozens of emails through our website, and phone calls from people who are really wanting some way to register their real displeasure with the email the judge sent around and also really talking about ‘how can we lend our names to something to try to get the judge to resign?’” McAdams said.

The network also plans to file a formal ethics complaint with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The MHRN petition is here. 

UPDATE: CONGRESSIONAL TRI-CAUCUS CONDEMNS MONTANA JUDGE’S RACISM TOWARD OBAMA

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Tester Meets with Constituents, Rehberg Continues Invisibility Plan

From The Montana Democrats:

While multimillionaire Congressman Dennis Rehberg continues to hide from the public (see ‘Related Articles’ below), Jon Tester  hosted his 10th public small business workshop, following months of meetings with Montanans across the state.

Denny Rehberg - Caricature

Denny Rehberg - Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

As for Congressman Rehberg?  He cancelled his latest scheduled appearance–at a Republican Party fundraiser he was supposed to headline Sunday in Havre.  And Congressman Rehberg has held virtually no public meetings with Montanans since November.

After 35 years in politics, Congressman Rehberg no longer thinks he’s accountable to Montana,” said Ted Dick, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “Congressman Rehberg gave himself five pay raises in Congress, but he votes to cut funding for our public schools, cut Pell grants, and cut health care for our veterans.  His 35-year career in politics is marked by irresponsible decisions like tax breaks for fellow millionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas—at the expense of Montana families, education, Medicare and Social Security.”

Congressman Rehberg has avoided accountability for the last year, hiding the donations he takes from lobbyists, refusing to meet with Montanans, and giving his full endorsement to the Citizens United ruling that allows big corporations to spend unlimited money on dishonest political attack ads.  Here’s more:

Hiding Campaign Cash from Lobbyists:  An investigation by the Associated Press found Congressman Rehberg refused to disclose the identities of 189 lobbyists on his financial disclosure reports. Rehberg hid more than $20,000 he took from Washington lobbyists.

Dodging Public Meetings with Constituents:  Congressman Rehberg went 6 months without holding a public townhall meeting, and when he finally scheduled one, he watched a Sheriff removed someone from the meeting.

Siding with Anonymous Corporate Cash in Elections:  Following his endorsement by Citizens United, Congressman Rehberg gave his full endorsement to the secretive organization’s Supreme Court Ruling, which allows big corporations to spend unlimited to buy elections.

A Rehberg Tax Reminder

…from The Montana Democrats:

Rep. Denny Rehberg (MT)

Image by republicanconference via Flickr

Congressman Dennis Rehberg again turned to his trusted talking points, telling Montana businesses (yesterday) what they want to hear.  But Rehberg’s record as a 11-year Congressman tells a much different story.

In a speech to the Montana Chamber of Commerce, Rehberg said businesses need more certainty and fewer regulations. Yet less than a month ago, Rehberg voted for more uncertainty when he voted against a payroll tax extension and against the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“In just the last year, Dennis Rehberg voted to raise taxes on middle-class families, he voted to shut down our government twice, and he voted to default our nation’s economy,” said Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Ted Dick.  “That’s one of the worst things that could have happened for business certainty.  Congressman Rehberg ought to know that Montana businesses want real solutions, not partisanship in Congress.”

Rehberg criticized regulations that hurt small businesses, but in 2010, he voted against the Food Safety Modernization Act.  Senator Jon Tester, a Montana farmer, successfully amended the law to ensure that family farmers and food producers were protected from federal regulations they don’t need and can’t afford.

“Congressman Dennis Rehberg has a long record of irresponsible decisions that have hurt Montana businesses and helped his fellow millionaires,” Dick said.  “After a career in politics that stretches back to 1977, Dennis Rehberg has lost touch with Montana.”

Here’s a quick look at Rehberg’s record of hurting Montana’s businesses and helping himself:

  • In his first year in Congress, Rehberg squandered a $236 billion surplus
  • During his 11 years in Congress, Rehberg has given himself FIVE pay raises while voting to raise the debt ceiling TEN times.
  • Rehberg was named the Tea Party Caucus‘ top earmarker
  • Rehberg voted against an extension of the payroll tax holiday and against the Keystone XL pipeline
  • Rehberg voted for a three-percent tax on contractors
In December 2010, Rehberg voted for the largest tax increase in history on Montana families and businesses.

Rehberg: Local Governments Richer Than The Feds

Rep. Denny Rehberg (MT)

Image by republicanconference via Flickr

After earning the title of the Tea Party Caucus’s top earmarker, and after giving himself five pay raises in Congress, Montana’s millionaire Congressman is now telling Montanans that they should turn to their local governments if they need any help.

“I always find it a little bit ironic when somebody comes to me and says we need money at the local level from the federal government,” Rehberg recently told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (onlineHERE).  “I say, well, why don’t you ask the local level, because, you’ve got more money than we do.”

What Rehberg forgot to mention was that the last time Congress approved earmarks, he earned the title of “tea partier with his name on the most earmarks” — requesting more than $100 million for Montana.

Rehberg, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, also failed to mention that while he was spending millions in taxpayer money, he gave himself five pay raises during his 12 years in Congress–at a time when hardworking Montanans were nation was struggling.  Hmmm.

“Congressman Dennis Rehberg is desperately wants Montanans to forget his long, irresponsible record of giving himself pay raises while spending their money in Congress,” said Ted Dick, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party.  “Now his message to Montanans is ‘tough luck.’  We join all Montanans in demanding more responsible decisions from Congress than Dennis Rehberg’s.”

Rehberg’s Pay Raise Votes:
Votes to RAISE his own pay in 2006200520042003, and 2002 (NOTE: The 2006 pay raise was later blocked by the Democratic Congress in 2007).