Tag Archives: Conservative

The Progressive President and the American Middle Class…

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I have been accused of being hard on this President when it comes to privacy, chained CPI, Larry Summers and intervention in Syria. However I have been a tireless supporter of this President. I have never given up hope on his agenda. That does not mean that as an Independent Progressives I will not speak up when his agenda may hurt the freedom and liberty of Americans. I believe in this man and I know his accomplishments. This “BLACK” President has done more for the American Middle Class in four and a half years than the Republican Party has done in 30:

1. Passed the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare’s)
2. Passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
3. Earned Income Tax Credit. Under current law, working families with two or more children currently qualify for an Earned Income Tax Credit equal to 40 percent of the family’s first $12,570 in earned income. The stimulus set the rate at 45 percent for families with three or more children and made other adjustments. The fiscal cliff bill extends these provisions for five additional years, through 2017.
4. Child Tax Credit. The stimulus set a new threshold for refundability of the credit, and the fiscal cliff bill extends that for five years, though 2017
5. Marriage penalty. A “marriage penalty” describes what happens when a couple pays more income tax if they file jointly as a couple than they would if they had remained single and filed as individuals. The fiscal cliff bill permanently extended marriage penalty relief for the standard deduction, the 15 percent bracket, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
6. Dependent Care Credit. The dependent care credit benefits taxpayers who have child care expenses for children under 13 and disabled dependents. Under Bush, the amount of eligible expenses was increased. The fiscal cliff bill makes those changes permanent.
7. Adoption tax credits. Taxpayers who adopt children can receive a tax credit for adoption expenses and can exclude adoption expenses paid by an employer from the calculation of their income. Under Bush, the terms of this credit became more generous, and under Obama’s health care law, these benefits were extended and the credit was made refundable. The fiscal cliff bill extends these provisions permanently.
8. Increase minority access to capital
9. Implement “Women Owned Business” contracting program
10. Create a consumer-friendly credit card rating system
11. Establish a credit card bill of rights
12. Expand loan programs for small businesses
13. Close the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug plan
14. Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions
15. Provided tax credits to Americans who need help to pay health premiums
16. Require large employers to contribute to a national health plan
17. Require health plans to disclose how much of the premium goes to patient care
18. Reinstate executive order to hire an additional 100,000 federal employees with disabilities within five years
19. Increase the Veterans Administration budget to recruit and retain more mental health professionals
20. Expand Veterans Centers in rural areas
21. Fully fund the Veterans Administration
22. Expand housing vouchers program for homeless veterans
23. Fully fund the Violence Against Women Act
24. Increase funding for national parks and forests
25. Expand Pell grants for low-income students
26. President Obama signs hate crimes bill, Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 President Barack Obama has signed a bill to expand the federal hate crimes law. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, named after two men who were killed more than 10 years ago because of their sexual orientation, was included in a defense bill that Obama signed on Oct. 28, 2009.
27. Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy
28. Strengthen the levees in New Orleans
29. Toughen enforcement for Internet exploitation of children
30. Send first-time nonviolent drug offenders to rehab if appropriate
31. Create new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud
32. Reduce dependence on foreign oil
33. Reverse restrictions on stem cell research
34. He is bringing home “OUR” Sons and Daughters from Iraq and Afghanistan
35. He brought Osama Bin Ladin to justice for his attacks on 911

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Today is the anniversary of the “March on Washington”. As Americans we have been told throughout history that minorities were inferior, that they could not accomplish what White Americans could accomplish. It took over 230 years for a Black man to become the President. To prove that this Black man was not up to the task White Conservatives would not lift a finger to help this man make things better for the American Middle Class. They threw every obstacle at this President, they said “NO” to all of his ideas. They were intransigent and destructive to democracy. They mocked this man, they ridiculed him. They behaved less than Statesmanlike. But this Black President stood proud and he faced this Nation with incredible grace and dignity that no Republicans has exhibited since his election in 2008.


I have never been more proud of “MY” President and never more proud of the Progressives of all Races, Ethnicities, Religions, Sexual Orientation and social classes. On this day I salute the first African American President, Barack Obama. So many Americans have sacrificed throughout our history to make this possible and he has not disappointed that effort. I dare say that no White Males, Progressives or Conservative could have maintained such dignity in the face of the behavior and disrespect showed to him by the right wing of this Country.
But today I have a dream that this will not be the last African American President, that a Woman will be given her chance to lead, that “ALL” Americans will be given the chance to fulfill the “American Ideal”….ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL…

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A Sincere Thank You to the Progressive White American-from your Latino Brother…

They are all around us, the heroes and heroines of the “GOOD FIGHT”.  They have been there from the beginning, they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that gave “We the People” our voice. They championed the values of Liberty, Freedom and Equality.  They have come from all walks of life and from “BOTH” Political Parties. Champions of Democracy, guardians of the poor, the disenfranchised and the minority.  They march in every movement, loyal, selfless, protecting and noble risk-takers they defend the rights of others as the other’s cause becomes their own. They are not only tolerant, but embrace the cultures of the world. Secure, righteous and always on the right side of history…history rewards them with success and legacy. Who are they? They are the progressive liberal White Males and Females of history and these United States.

They defended the defenseless Colonist against taxation without representation; championed the pursuit of Happiness, Liberty and Freedom that we all cherish today.  Our Founding Father’s set the tone for the next 237 years.  These White Males defined the “GOOD FIGHT” risking life and position for the sake of a new Nation and a new way of life. They wrote the mission statement that defines America.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”

Amazing words from amazing men.  The “Good Fight” is continuous, never ending, ad infinitum, many have sacrificed to move this Country forward.  From the American Revolution to the striking down of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) progressive White Males and Females have been the key to moving us closer to a more perfect Union. I am a Latino, I understand the arithmetic.  Without these selfless White champions of “MY” freedoms, I would simply be invisible.

White men and Women in the abolitionist movement tirelessly campaigned for the immediate emancipation of all slaves and the end of racial discrimination and segregation. By the early 1830s, Theodore D. Weld, William Lloyd Garrison, Arthur and Lewis Tappan, and Elizur Wright, Jr., had taken up the cause of “immediate emancipation.”  Fighting the times, there was no question in their mind, the morality of their cause. White Quaker women and female slaves, together took a strong moral stand against slavery. Some of these White women educated Blacks, both free and enslaved, and some of them joined the American Anti-Slavery Society and founded their own biracial organization, the Philadelphia Women’s Anti-Slavery Society. Hand in hand Black and White working together for an end to a grave injustice forward to a more perfect Union.

The Quaker abolitionist Lucretia Mott, was instrumental in organizing what would be the first gathering to fight for Women’s rights in the United States at Seneca Falls. Lucretia Mott and about 100 people attended the convention; two-thirds were women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton drafted a “Declaration of Sentiments, Grievances, and Resolutions,” that echoed the preamble of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.” Among the 13 resolutions set forth in Stanton’s “Declaration” was the goal of achieving the “sacred right of franchise.” With a progressive eye toward equality Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and 100 Americans with “liberal” intention did begin the arduous journey toward Women’s Suffrage and the fight for civil rights.

Will D. Campbell, a towering figure of the U.S. civil rights movement who was the only white person present at the meeting that led to the creation of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. A minister, Campbell was a larger than life figure who broke with his own Baptist Church to champion civil rights beginning in the 1950s. His colorful speeches and writings angered many white Southerners. But his commitment to the “Good Fight” was unassailable and undeterred. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. Said of Campbell “He was a gift to America who never received the recognition he truly deserved. He will be deeply missed.”  Campbell was a key player in most of the important events of the civil rights movement:

  • He was one of the four White Americans who escorted the black students who integrated the Little Rock, Ark., public schools in 1957.
  • He was the only White minister among about 60 pastors invited to attend the meeting in Atlanta that same year where King laid the foundations for the SCLC.
  • He joined the Freedom Riders who worked to integrate buses in Alabama in 1961.
  • He walked with Martin Luther King on the “March on Birmingham” in 1963.
  • He was also with King for the “March on Selma”, Ala., in 1965.

Michael Schwerner was one of the White CORE field workers killed in Mississippi, by the Ku Klux Klan in response to the civil-rights work he coordinated, which included promoting registration to vote among Mississippi African Americans.  Andy Goodman was only 20 when he died on Rock Cut Road on June 21, 1964, near the end of his first full day in Mississippi.  Both of these men were killed alongside a Black associate, James Cheney, working on the Mississippi Summer Project.  Taking on the cause and paying the ultimate sacrifice to help bring voting/civil rights to the Black Citizens of Mississippi.

William Lewis Moore, a White postman from Baltimore, was shot and killed during a one-man march against segregation. Moore had planned to deliver a letter to the governor of Mississippi urging an end to intolerance.

Rev. Bruce Klunder was among civil rights activists who protested the building of a segregated school by placing their bodies in the way of construction equipment. Klunder was crushed to death when a bulldozer backed over him.

Rev. James Reeb, a White Unitarian minister from Boston, was among many white clergymen who joined the Selma marchers after the attack by state troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Reeb was beaten to death by white men while he walked down a Selma street.

Viola Gregg Liuzzo, a White housewife and mother from Detroit, drove alone to Alabama to help with the Selma march after seeing televised reports of the attack at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She was driving marchers back to Selma from Montgomery when she was shot and killed by a Klansmen in a passing car.

Jonathan Myrick Daniels, a White Episcopal Seminary student in Boston, had come to Alabama to help with black voter registration in Lowndes County. He was arrested at a demonstration, jailed in Hayneville and then suddenly released. Moments after his release, he was shot to death by a deputy sheriff.

We must never forget the sacrifices made by these brave and heroic White progressives in the name of the “Good Fight” all men are created equal.

Many new activists consider the Stonewall uprising the birth of the gay liberation movement and it sparked the formation of many gay’s rights groups. The gay rights movement is complex, emotional and on-going as are the fights for equality among Women and African Americans.

The Stonewall is a bar in Manhattan’s West Village that has become a true landmark in gay history. Forty years ago, the New York gay community rose up there in a riot that sparked the modern gay rights movement. In the 1960’s gay bars were regularly raided by the police. But on June 27, 1969, the patrons of The Stonewall Inn had had enough. A crowd 2000 strong chanted “Gay Power” and a new civil rights struggle was born.

The gay rights movement has faced challenges on many fronts, but none as tragic, demoralizing or devastating to the movement as the AIDS crisis.

As an intern in New York City during the early 1980s, Alan Greenberg, MD, MPH walked into the exploding HIV epidemic. Since then, he has devoted his career to HIV/AIDS prevention, research, and treatment. As a recognized leader in this field, Greenberg’s early studies and research have had an enormous impact in preventing HIV transmission and reducing the morbidity and mortality rates of HIV-infected adults.

C. Everett Koop, the Ronald Reagan-appointed surgeon general who would go on to become a hero to AIDS activists. Koop, who was both a pediatric surgeon and evangelical Christian, part of his legacy the one that I trust will last the longest is his efforts to draw attention to the then-emerging AIDS epidemic. Koop said he realized later that the Reagan administration had been slow to address the disease because the election had brought to power people who were antithetical to gay people, then thought to be its only victims. As the epidemic worsened, reaching drug addicts infected with contaminated needles and hemophiliacs who had received a contaminated blood-clotting factor, Reagan, in 1986, asked Dr. Koop to prepare a special report. Dr. Koop proceeded cautiously, knowing the report would be unpopular with many in the administration, with conservatives in Congress and with church groups opposed to homosexuality. He wrote 17 drafts. In that 1986 report Koop didn’t mince words, promoting the use of condoms for safe sex and calling for sex education to begin in school as early as third grade. Koops statement, “Americans, especially young people, must not die because they were deprived of explicit information about how HIV was transmitted.” This statement especially noteworthy, because at the time the Reagan Administration would rarely even utter the word AIDS.  C. Everett Koop, was a portrait in courage fighting the “Good Fight” the progressive fight from the right.

One of the country’s most visible and admired physicians and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., has led the fight against AIDS and, in the process, won the trust and respect of his one-time opponents. Dr. Fauci accepted criticism, and he accepted that someone must absorb the anger and terror that AIDS had spawned.  “I was on a C-SPAN program a couple of months ago with Tony, and I attacked him for the entire hour,” said Larry Kramer one of the earliest ACT UP AIDS activists. “He called me up afterwards and said he thought the program went very well. I said, ‘How can you say that? I did nothing but yell at you.’ He said, ‘You don’t realize that you can say things I can’t. It doesn’t mean I don’t agree with you.’” Fauci’s calm and less than hysterical thoughtful steering of HIV policy, was instrumental in moving gay rights and health privacy forward.

The LGBT Movements newest and most recent Straight White progressive Heroes, pushing for marriage equality, have been California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies.

California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom knew back in 2004 that marrying same-sex couples as Mayor of San Francisco, would lead to litigation, but he said, “Discrimination and inequality is as much about people as it is the law…” After the Court decision on Prop. 8, Newsom said he “took a moment to savor this final step in the long march towards justice. It is truly an emotionally staggering day.” This Straight White male, feeling pride and joy for a cause in which he has no horse in the race. That is the progressive heart.

Ted Olson a Republican and David Boies a Democrat, one time Courtroom adversaries in Bush v. Gore, teamed up to forward civil rights.  Again with no horse in the race, these two men from opposite political spectrums took a progressive stand for marriage equality.

How could a politically active, lifelong Republican, a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, challenge the “traditional” definition of marriage and press for an “activist” interpretation of the Constitution to create another “new” constitutional right? Ted Olson explains it this way, “My answer to this seeming conundrum rests on a lifetime of exposure to persons of different backgrounds, histories, viewpoints, and intrinsic characteristics, and on my rejection of what I see as superficially appealing but ultimately false perceptions about our Constitution and its protection of equality and fundamental rights. Olson goes on to say, “Americans who believe in the words of the Declaration of Independence, in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, in the 14th Amendment, and in the Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and equal dignity before the law cannot sit by while this wrong continues. This is not a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American one, and it is time that we, as Americans, embraced it.”  Ted Olson, proves my point, even a conservative can be progressive.

David Boies said, “”Our collective journey tells of a crucial and historical civil rights movement that brings us closer to the ideals on which our country was founded,”  Surprisingly, Boies has not been a lifelong liberal. In the 1960’s he was the President of the Young Republicans, but says he realized he “was on the wrong side” of the battle for civil rights. Later becoming a Democrat, he honed his skills on civil-rights litigation and defending civil-rights. Boies says on marriage equality “I think this is the most important civil-rights issue in the country now,”.

As the House of Representative embarks on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill (CIR), one can only hope that Conservative Republicans with progressive ideas and honorable ethics will fairly and justly follow the examples of those White Americans that have sacrificed everything to move this Great Nations ideals forward, to expand rights, not exclude humanity from enjoying the fruits of Liberty.  In the Senate Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), John McCain (R-Arizona), Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Michael Bennett (D-Colorado) have personally made the decision to put their reputations on the line for the greater good of this Country, following in the footstep of “GREAT” men that have made their mark in history. Some may say that these men are not being selfless, but self-serving. I say their decision has risk, their calculation not sure, but their efforts will not be forgotten and do not go unappreciated.

No one will build monuments, to bigotry, greed, intolerance. Great men are honored for the “GOOD” they do, the great societies they create and nurture. The Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, FDR Memorial, JFK Eternal Flame, Mount Rushmore and the Jefferson Memorial honor men of honor and integrity.

History has not been kind to Benedict Arnold, Joe McCarthy, George Wallace, Ayne Rand, Tom Metzger or Timothy McVeigh.  I dare say that no Statues or Monument will be erected on the Washington Mall for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Laura Ingraham, Tom Tancredo, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Pat Buchanan, Steve King, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, John Cornyn or Jim DeMint. What “Good” have they done?  What great deed can be attributed to them?

There is a great good to advance, men of honor are all around us. I want to dedicate this piece to my best friend of 30 years Scott Waldon, a progressive White Male, tolerant, secure, engaged and supportive. He is a good man. I heard that the GOP feels that “the bottom has not been reached on White resentment, and that will be their new strategy for the elections of 2014 and 2016. How cynical it that?  How disrespectful to White America is it to assume the worst of them?  I want to thank EVERY progressive White Male and Female in America, Democrat, Independent and Republican alike, for bravely standing up for what it right; for turning away from actions and thought that would divide us; for taking on the causes of African Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native American, LGBT Americans and Women’s Rights; for fighting the good fight; for standing up and not being silent to the destructive voices of intolerance, greed and exclusion; and for moving this Country “FORWARD” in to the 21st Century and leaving no one behind.  You are the spirit of America…I am a Latino American, and I thank you.

Violating Privacy is the Cost Worth it to Corporate America? Could it Cost You a Job?

Can you give me your user name and password, to your Facebook and Twitter Account?

Can you give me your user name and password, to your Facebook and Twitter Account?

During the past few years more and more employers are using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, My Space and LinkedIn to vet prospective candidates for positions in their organizations.  According to an article in the Social Media Examiner there are now more than 800 million active Facebook users, with over 200 million added in 2011.  There are over 300 million Twitter accounts and over 80% of Americans use a social media network.

In another survey taken by DLA Piper a global law firm, “For Employee’s that us Social Media for Personal use”; 39% had “friended” a colleague or business contact on Facebook or LinkedIn; 14% had posted a status update or “tweeted” about their work; 22% had posted a status update or “tweeted” about a colleague; 28% had posted photo’s of colleagues and business activities and 1% had disclosed confidential business information.

In that same DLA Piper survey, research found that 21% of employers had taken disciplinary action because of information an employee had posted about a co-worker; 25% had taken disciplinary action because of information an employee has posted about workplace business activities; 31% had taken disciplinary action because of information an employee had posted about the organization and finally 30% had taken disciplinary action because of the level or amount of social media used by the employee on work time.  The survey also found some disturbing information, only 14% of U.S. companies reported having a written social media policy that regulated the us of social media inside and outside the workplace; which can also be interpreted as 86% of companies are taking disciplinary actions on employees without a clearly written HR policy, clearly creating a liability for the organization.

In one recent employer action, (Rayburn, 2012) New Journal in Delaware rescinded an offer to reporter Khristopher J. Brooks after he announced his new position with the journal via a mock press release on his “Tumblr” account.

Did the newspaper overreact to what was a candidate’s excitement of his new appointment with the News Journal? Should this have only merited a reprimand and request for it to be taken down? Did the Journal act fairly in taking back their offer of employment and did they communicate their expectations and policies to the candidates during the interview process?

This is certainly a grey area in the recruitment process, and clearly spells out the need for a comprehensive and clearly written policy on the use of social media in the hiring procedures. It also points out the apparent lack of awareness, understanding, uniformity and consensus on the subject of social media protocols in the recruitment and hiring practice for both the candidates and the employers.

According to Career Builder (Forty-five percent, 2009), “Last year alone, two percent of employers said in their 2009 survey that polled managers and human resource personnel that they terminated workers for content posted on these social media sites, and one percent of workers were terminated due to videos they posted on media sharing sites like “YOUTUBE”.

An employee’s problems regarding the discovery of embarrassing or questionable material on social media sites are many and well-publicized, but the employers are also on dangerous ground when seeking to vet possible applicants using today’s social media networks; employers do not have immunity from the law when they rummage through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, E-Mails, Blogs and Web-pages of the applicants. In fact, the likelihood that an employer may run afoul of anti-discrimination and privacy laws when they take a peek at photo’s or tweets or recent blog posts is troubling at best and creates substantial financial liability at its worse.

According to G L. Dayton Esq., (G.L.Dayton, personal communication, May 20, 2012), “My first apprehension when it comes t employers pulling up Facebook accounts, Twitter feeds, E-Mails and personal Blogs is for the prospective employees’ privacy. Intrusion upon a party’s seclusion or solitude is a tort, and such a cause of action might arise in the instance of an employer looking around online and digging up information on a prospective candidate.”  Dayton adds, “The employer may argue that the employee has “NO” expectation of privacy for material posted online, but the violation of privacy is certainly an issue the employer needs to be aware of when developing a social media policy for their organization.”

In the past couple of years employers have begun the practice of asking prospective candidates for their Facebook sign-in passwords and some employers are even asking for E-Mail passwords. “This practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends,” wrote Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer on the company’s privacy blog. “It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability.”

An employer’s investigation of potential candidates’ social network sites may provide the basis for claims under employment discrimination statutes.  Several examples come to mind; one of the first things employers look for upon successfully locating a prospective candidates’ Facebook page is pictures. Facebook allows users to upload a large amount of pictures and arrange them into albums.  From these pictures, as well as the default “Profile Picture” that is displayed with every user’s name (unless privacy settings are modified) and on every user’s main page, an applicant’s race or ethnicity is immediately apparent.  Facebook also has an information input field for religious affiliation, and many users include that as part of their profile.  As the employer combs through the pictures he might see a prospective candidate at the Gay Pride Festival, holding up an Obama/Biden 2012 poster, a Catholic Baptism, a racially mixed couple, Bat Mitzha or a 50th Birthday Party.  Disqualifying a candidate for any of these pictures would be considered discriminatory and increase the liability of the organization.  That may comfort the user’s of Facebook, but proving discrimination is difficult at best and there is no Federal Legislation that protect online privacy.

With employers pushing the boundaries in technology, these action potentially create new pressures  and questions for job seekers.  Ethical questions are posed of employers requesting  a job applicant’s private, social media passwords and log-ins to check a candidates background.  “In order to prevail on the facts, an employee must allege an intentional intrusion (physical or otherwise) on his or her solitude or seclusion, private affairs or concerns, which would be highly offensive to the reasonably prudent person” says Dayton.

One could argue that asking for a “private” password to your social media page or E-mail password would be highly offensive and intrusive to the reasonably prudent person.

In the opening pages to President Barack Obama’s “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” the President says, “”Americans have always cherished our privacy. From the birth of our republic, we assured ourselves protection against unlawful intrusion into our homes and our personal papers. At the same time, we set up a postal system to enable citizens all over the new nation to engage in commerce and political discourse. Soon after, Congress made it a crime to invade the privacy of the mails. And later we extended privacy protections to new modes of communications such as the telephone, the computer, and eventually email.”

According to the California Constitution, article 1, section 1; All people are by nature free, independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness and “PRIVACY’

The current conversation regarding the privacy of the American Citizen goes far beyond “NATIONAL SECURITY” concerns, but is crucial and has an impact on the everyday lives of the American Citizen and to the liability and workings of American business…It is a conversation Americans must take seriously and not just passively disregard…If for any other reason it could affect your livelihood.