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The White House created a petition site one week ago called "We the people: Your voice in our government". With this new online tool, anyone 13 or older can create or sign a petition on WhiteHouse.gov asking the administration to address important issues facing our country.

Once a petition gets 150 signatures, it becomes visible so that anyone can sign it. If a petition gets 5,000 signatures within 30 days, it will then be reviewed and the administration will issue an official response to it.

All responses will be posted in this section of the "We the People" section of the White House website, and if you signed the petition that is being responded to, you'll get an email from the White House with the response.

As of this morning, there are 101 petitions that have passed the 150 signature threshold at the site. There are also 18 petitions that have been created by fellow Kossacks which have not yet reached that 150 signature threshold. This diary is an update on their status, with brief summaries of the petitions where needed.

One petition, on ending the death penalty is only ONE signatures away from being now the first Kossack initiated petition to become publicly visible on the White House website (it just passed the 150 threshold after this update got posted!).

A new group has been created, Kossack Initiated White House Petitions. This group's purpose is to announce, explore, coordinate, develop, publicize, and aid in signature gathering to Kossack initiated petitions. If you'd like to join or edit, please PM me or the group.

Kossack Initiated White House Petitions

Thursday September 29, 2011


The following is a list of Kossack initiated White House petitions, listed in order of signatures gathered as of the morning of Thursday September 29, 2011:
1) Stop the Death Penalty Now in Memory of Troy Davis

Summary:  A call to abolish the death penalty.


Signatures:  148 — We only need ONE more to get this one publicly viewable on the White House website! We did it! This one is now passed 150 signatures, but needs many more signatures to reach the 5,000 mark.

2) Make Social Security solvent without cutting benefits or raising the retirement age.

Summary:  Asks that the cap on wages be lifted and that capital gains be subjected to FICA withholdings to allow Social Security to become more secure, and to allow increased benefits to recipients. For more info on this petition, visit this diary.

Signatures:  65

3) Stop all military operations and withdraw all combat forces from Afghanistan by October 1, 2012.

Summary:  A call to stop the war in Afghanistan and try a different approach.


Signatures:  49

4) Abolish the death penalty.

Summary: As stated, and yes, this is a second one — it's bound to happen when the petitions are invisible until the 150 sig threshold is reached.  For more info on this petition, visit this diary.

Signatures:  47

5) Save the Postal Service


Summary:  Calls on the President to, "Return the $82 billion in funds the United States Postal Service has been forced to overpay into Civil Service (CSRS) and Federal Employee Retirement (FERS) funds, so they can balance their budget without having to lay off employees, close post offices, cut service, and destroy the best Postal Service in the world." For more info on this petition, visit this diary.

Signatures: 43

6) Demand that Congress identify all legislative text that was drafted by industry lobbyists rather than elected officials.

Summary:  Asks the President to insist that congress identify language in bills that was not written by congresspeople, and to identify the actual authors.


Signatures:  38

7) Create a Victory Garden 2.0 Initiative to tour the USA and showcase home veggie gardens and community gardens.

Summary:  Proposed to help Americans save money, eat more healthfully, live more independently, use space more efficiently, and wisely.

Signatures:  35

8) Adopt the Progressive Caucus Peoples' Budget

Summary:  "The Peoples' Budget creates jobs, pays down the deficit, creates a public option in health care, brings our soldiers home, creates better tax system, safeguards Social Security."  For more info on the People's Budget (truly a progressive budget), please visit this website

Signatures:  35

9) Listen to educators & parents not billionaires who stand to profit from education "reform"

Summary:  As the title implies, it is a call to listen to educators, scholars, and involved parents instead of for profit education "reform" interests.


Signatures:  31

10) Propose and initiate a financial transaction tax

Summary:  The tax is proposed to raise revenue as well as make high frequency trading and certain speculative behaviors less attractive.

Signatures:  25

11) Investigate George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for war crimes.


Summary:  As the title implies, investigate former president George W. Bush and former vice-president Dick Cheney for war crimes.

Signatures:  25

12) Issue an Executive Order barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for federal contractors.

Summary:  As stated in the title. This would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in Federal contracting, by Executive Order (which means the divided Congress would not have to pass anything)

Signatures:  24

13) Increase the minimum wage.

Summary:  Asks for an increase in the minimum wage to $10.00/hr.

Signatures:  24

14) Allow every American Citizen the right to directly purchase Medicare or Medicaid health care coverage as a public option

Summary:  As the title implies, it calls for changes to Medicare/Medicaid to allow people to buy into the program early as a public option.

Signatures:  21

15) Use the EPA to crack down on CO2. Utilities will borrow from banks (with $ trillions of QE cash) to create green jobs.

Summary:  As the title states.

Signatures:  18

16) Create a program to assume the mortgage debt of homeowners who are underwater, allowing them to sell their homes.

Summary:  As stated in the title. This would help homeowners who are underwater in their mortgages due to the housing crisis.

Signatures:  16

17) Get out of Iraq completely

Summary:  Calls on the President to, "Completely withdraw all troops AND defense contractors from Iraq. If the Iraqis want US to help them with training, let them pay all expenses for it."

Signatures:  19

18) Ask Congress to increase the age limit to 30 for young adults to stay on their parents' health insurance.

Summary:  As stated in the title. This would increase the age at which young adults can stay on their parents insurance, as defined in the healthcare reform act.

Signatures:  12

Let's all do what we can to get our fellow Kossak initiated White House petitions over the 150 signature threshold as quickly as we can.

So if you could sign them, and share a links to them on your Facebook, and help actively encourage friends and family to sign the petitions as well, that would great.

Thanks in advance if you sign, and help spread the word!

Update 8:57AM PDT: The first Kossack initiated petition crossed the 150 signature threshold. Keep going everyone!

Discuss

The White House created a petition site six days ago called "We the people: Your voice in our government". With this new online tool, anyone 13 or older can create or sign a petition on WhiteHouse.gov asking the administration to address important issues facing our country.

Once a petition gets 150 signatures, it becomes visible so that anyone can sign it. If a petition gets 5,000 signatures within 30 days, it will then be reviewed and the administration will issue an official response to it.

All responses will be posted in this section of the "We the People" section of the White House website, and if you signed the petition that is being responded to, you'll get an email from the White House with the response.

As of this morning, there are 86 petitions that have passed the 150 signature threshold at the site. There are also 14 petitions that have been created by fellow Kossacks which have not yet reached that 150 signature threshold. This diary is an update on their status, with brief summaries of the petitions where needed.

A new group has been created, Kossack Initiated White House Petitions. This group's purpose is to announce, explore, coordinate, develop, publicize, and aid in signature gathering to Kossack initiated petitions. If you'd like to join or edit, please PM me or the group.

Kossack Initiated White House Petitions

Wednesday September 28, 2011


The following is a list of Kossack initiated White House petitions, listed in order of signatures gathered as of the morning of Wednesday September 28, 2011:
1) Stop the Death Penalty Now in Memory of Troy Davis

Summary:  A call to abolish the death penalty.


Signatures:  141

2) Make Social Security solvent without cutting benefits or raising the retirement age.

Summary:  Asks that the cap on wages be lifted and that capital gains be subjected to FICA withholdings to allow Social Security to become more secure, and to allow increased benefits to recipients.
 For more info on this petition, visit this diary.

Signatures:  53

3) Abolish the death penalty.

Summary: As stated, and yes, this is a second one — it's bound to happen when the petitions are invisible until the 150 sig threshold is reached.

Signatures:  44

4) Stop all military operations and withdraw all combat forces from Afghanistan by October 1, 2012.

Summary:  A call to stop the war in Afghanistan and try a different approach.


Signatures:  41

5) Create a Victory Garden 2.0 Initiative to tour the USA and showcase home veggie gardens and community gardens.

Summary:  Proposed to help Americans save money, eat more healthfully, live more independently, use space more efficiently, and wisely.

Signatures:  32

6) Demand that Congress identify all legislative text that was drafted by industry lobbyists rather than elected officials.

Summary:  Asks the President to insist that congress identify language in bills that was not written by congresspeople, and to identify the actual authors.


Signatures:  31

7) Adopt the Progressive Caucus Peoples' Budget

Summary:  "The Peoples' Budget creates jobs, pays down the deficit, creates a public option in health care, brings our soldiers home, creates better tax system, safeguards Social Security."  For more info on the People's Budget (truly a progressive budget), please visit this website

Signatures:  29

8) Save the Postal Service


Summary:  Calls on the President to, "Return the $82 billion in funds the United States Postal Service has been forced to overpay into Civil Service (CSRS) and Federal Employee Retirement (FERS) funds, so they can balance their budget without having to lay off employees, close post offices, cut service, and destroy the best Postal Service in the world."
 For more info on this petition, visit this diary.

Signatures: 29

9) Listen to educators & parents not billionaires who stand to profit from education "reform"

Summary:  As the title implies, it is a call to listen to educators, scholars, and involved parents instead of for profit education "reform" interests.


Signatures:  27

10) Propose and initiate a financial transaction tax

Summary:  The tax is proposed to raise revenue as well as make high frequency trading and certain speculative behaviors less attractive.

Signatures:  19

11) Issue an Executive Order barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for federal contractors.

Summary:  As stated in the title. This would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in Federal contracting, by Executive Order (which means the divided Congress would not have to pass anything)

Signatures:  18

12) Increase the minimum wage.

Summary:  Asks for an increase in the minimum wage to $10.00/hr.


Signatures:  17

13) Investigate George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for war crimes.


Summary:  As the title implies, investigate former president George W. Bush and former vice-president Dick Cheney for war crimes.

Signatures:  16

14) Use the EPA to crack down on CO2. Utilities will borrow from banks (with $ trillions of QE cash) to create green jobs.

Summary:  As the title states
.

Signatures:  15

15) Create a program to assume the mortgage debt of homeowners who are underwater, allowing them to sell their homes.

Summary:  As stated in the title. This would help homeowners who are underwater in their mortgages due to the housing crisis.

Signatures:  13

16) Get out of Iraq completely

Summary:  Calls on the President to, "Completely withdraw all troops AND defense contractors from Iraq. If the Iraqis want US to help them with training, let them pay all expenses for it."

Signatures:  11

17) Ask Congress to increase the age limit to 30 for young adults to stay on their parents' health insurance.

Summary:  As stated in the title. This would increase the age at which young adults can stay on their parents insurance, as defined in the healthcare reform act.

Signatures:  10

Let's all do what we can to get our fellow Kossak initiated White House petitions over the 150 signature threshold as quickly as we can.

So if you could sign them, and share a links to them on your Facebook, and help actively encourage friends and family to sign the petitions as well, that would great.

Thanks in advance if you sign, and help spread the word!

Update: Added the three Kossack initiated petitions mentioned in the comments that were not included in this mornings update.

Discuss

In recent years there has been a hue and cry about the "dire" situation "entitlement" programs such as Social Security are in. Even among non-right winger moderates, there is a belief that Social Security is simply not sustainable long-term.

This is to say nothing about the patently absurd claims by high-profile GOP candidates such as Rick Perry, who have gone so far as to claim that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme".

Even more unsettling than Rick Perry's mind-boggling assertion is by itself, it's that he is not alone in making this reality-challenged claim. More than a few other lights in conservative circles have publicly signed on to this false bit of nonsense.

Of course there is nothing even close to being true about it.

Yet concern among voters about the solvency and long-term health of the most successful New Deal program persist. Despite the bamboozlement of such people as Rick Perry, there is a factual basis for concern about the ability of the program to meet its full benefit obligations in the long-term. Particularly while the trust fund is spent out (which it was intended to do in order to deal with the baby-boomers retiring).

So what's the problem?

As the CBO showed in its Social Security Policy Options report (PDF) which was published last summer:

Because the earnings of workers in the highest income groups have grown faster than average earnings in recent decades, the share of all earnings from jobs covered by the Social Security program that were below the taxable maximum has fallen from about 91 percent in 1983 to about 83 percent in 2009.

In short, more of the money in the economy has shifted upward, beyond the current maximum amount of earned income which is subject to FICA withholding (currently $106,800 per year).

Not only is it an issue of almost 9% of total earnings in the entire nation moving into the pockets of people making above $106,800 per year, but it is also the kind of income they "earn" which is affecting the overall revenue of Social Security.

Since unearned income such as dividends, capital gains, etc. are not at all subject to FICA (unlike actual wages) every dollar the investor class gets in the form of unearned income doesn't have a single penny withheld from it to be put into the Social Security trust fund like wages do.

A rather simple set of changes to the current system would not only make the program solvent in perpetuity, but can even be made to run at a profit in a fair an equitable manner. The first change is simply removing the cap on how much earned income (wages) are subject to FICA (the withholding tax that funds Social Security).

The CBO report shows that by removing the cap, Social Security’s total revenues would increase by 0.9 percentage points of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2040, or by 19 percent relative to current law, and outlays would increase by 0.3 percentage points of GDP, with further increases in subsequent years. This option would improve the 75-year actuarial balance by 0.6 percentage points of GDP (almost the entire amount to close the funding gap) and extend the trust fund exhaustion date to 2083.

The second is to subject unearned income to FICA withholding which gets us the rest of the way there.

Removing the cap and including unearned income to FICA withholding would make the fund solvent in perpetuity. In fact doing both would allow for an across the board increase of Social Security benefits, a slight decrease in the amount of withholding most people would have to pay, or a combination of the two. All this without raising the retirement age, cutting benefits, or reducing cost-of-living increase formulas.

Sounds like a good idea, right? But how can we get the administration to take this idea seriously you may ask?

What we can do about it.

Fortunately there's an easy way we can get the ball rolling.

Recently the Obama administration created an online tool called "We the people: Your voice in our government" for people to petition the administration about important issues they would like to see the administration address.

Late this past Friday (September 23) I created a petition on the White House's website using this new tool. It is about proposing the simple fixes to Social Security I talked about above. The tool only allows a maximum of 800 characters and in whittling it down I managed to bungle the wording slightly, but the text is as follows:

Make Social Security solvent in perpetuity without having to cut benefits or raising the retirement age.

As more income in our economy has shifted to upper brackets and as income that's not subject to Social Security withholding. Furthermore, capital gains (income generated through investment) are not subject to withholding.

Combined with the Bush tax giveaways, the very wealthy pay an overall effective tax rate that is less than middle and lower income wage earners.

It's led to the Social Security being in trouble long-term. Instead of cutting benefits, or increasing the retirement age simply remove the cap (currently the first $106,800 wages) & subject ALL income to withholding.

Lifting the cap & subjecting capital gains to FICA withholding would increase the revenue enough to make it not only permanently solvent but would run at a profit & allow benefits to be increased (for everyone).

Now here's where you come in.

I would like to ask that everyone who cares about keeping Social Security solvent in perpetuity, and reintroduce basic fairness into the program at the same time, sign the petition so if it gets 5,000 signatures and thereby get looked at by the administration so they will issue an official response to the idea.

The link is: www.wh.gov/gLJ

There is a 150 signature threshold before it is publicly viewable on the White House website. So far, we have managed to get over a dozen signatures, even when my timing on launching the petition was less than opportune (late at the start of a weekend is not ideal).

If everyone could sign it and share the link (www.wh.gov/gLJ) on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else it might get exposure, that would be great. Actively reaching out to the people in your social networks and getting them to sign the petition as well getting them to share the link with their friends and family can make a real difference.

Thanks in advance if you sign, and help spread the word!

Discuss

Late Friday night I created a petition on the White House's website using a new tool the administration launched last week for petitioning the administration on important issues. Mine is about fixing Social Security:

Make Social Security solvent in perpetuity without having to cut benefits or raising the retirement age.

As more income in our economy has shifted to upper brackets and as income that's not subject to Social Security withholding. Furthermore, capital gains (income generated through investment) are not subject to withholding.

Combined with the Bush tax giveaways, the very wealthy pay an overall effective tax rate that is less than middle and lower income wage earners.

It's led to the Social Security being in trouble long-term. Instead of cutting benefits, or increasing the retirement age simply remove the cap (currently the first $106,800 wages) & subject ALL income to withholding.

Lifting the cap & subjecting capital gains to FICA withholding would increase the revenue enough to make it not only permanently solvent but would run at a profit & allow benefits to be increased (for everyone).

I would like to ask the favor of having you sign the petition so if it gets 5,000 signatures, it will get looked at by the administration and they will issue an official response to the idea.

The link is: Http://wh.gov/gLJ

There is a 150 signature threshold before it is publicly viewable on the White House website. So far, we have managed to get over a dozen signatures, even when my timing on launching the petition was less than opportune (late at the start of a weekend is not ideal).

If everyone could sign it, and share a link to it on Facebook and/or anywhere else to get exposure, and help actively encourage friends and family to sign the petition as well, that would great.

Discuss

Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 06:50 PM PDT

Make Social Security solvent

by Lestatdelc

I have created a petition on the White House's new tool for petitioning the administration on important issues. Mine is about fixing Social Security:

Make Social Security solvent in perpetuity without having to cut benefits or raising the retirement age.

As more income in our economy has shifted to upper brackets and as income that's not subject to Social Security withholding. Furthermore, capital gains (income generated through investment) are not subject to withholding.

Combined with the Bush tax giveaways, the very wealthy pay an overall effective tax rate that is less than middle and lower income wage earners.

It's led to the Social Security being in trouble long-term. Instead of cutting benefits, or increasing the retirement age simply remove the cap (currently the first $106,800 wages) & subject ALL income to withholding.

Lifting the cap & subjecting capital gains to FICA withholding would increase the revenue enough to make it not only permanently solvent but would run at a profit & allow benefits to be increased (for everyone).

Please consider signing the petition so if it gets 5,000 signatures, it will get looked at by the administration and they will issue an official response to the idea.

Thanks in advance if you sign, and help spread the word.

Discuss

For Kossacks in the Portland area, the Democratic Party of Oregon and OFA Oregon are working together to grow our statewide, grassroots volunteer operation in 2011.

Register now for a volunteer training that will give you the tools you need to organize your community, make you a more effective messenger when discussing the issues that are important to you, and so much more. Help to keep Oregon, and our country, moving forward this year!

Where:
IBEW Local 48 Union Hall
15937 NE Airport Way, Portland

When:
Saturday, February 19th
10am - 4pm

Discuss

In a front-page post about yesterday's primary results, it repeats the uncritical TradeMed "conventional wisdom" about the prospects of the Democrats retaining Evan Bayh's Senate seat. Yet there is a key tell that no real thinking has occurred about the flawed assumptions made in the race. Coats will not have key grass-roots support form the crucial GOP supporting special interest group (and voter segment) that the GOP has to have to win elections. The gun rights groups.

The NRA and other gun groups are a key base group that the GOP has to have to win but they won;t have it this time.

Continue Reading

Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 05:22 PM PST

What would you ask a Senator?

by Lestatdelc

This is a rather short diary, but thought it might be useful to put the question out there. I am attending a small gathering of local bloggers with my state's Junior Senator, Jeff Merkley-D OR,and thought it might be a good opportunity to ask what things you would like to ask of, talk about, or bring up with a Senator?

Think of it as a sort of blogger version of getting your questions asked at a press conference perhaps. But since this is a small gathering and will last an hour, a chance to dig into the answers and such in more depth. Anyway, I am leaving for the event in about an hour and a half, so let me know what questions you would have, or things you would like to be conveyed to Senator Merkley.

Update: Stepping away for a few to grab some dinner, but please keep submitting questions while I am gone. I will have my iPhone with me at the meeting, so I will hopefully be able to bring up what you guys want asked.

Discuss

Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 11:44 AM PDT

I hope AHIP's numbers are low-ball

by Lestatdelc

JUJITSU

There is currently a Sturm und Drang over the just released hatchet job of a report by AHIP aimed at the Senate Finance Committee healthcare reform bill (aka the "Bacus Bill"). While some, such as TPM are covering the "they mislead us over the timing" aspect, which I could give less than a shit about, what I posit is, I hope AHIP's numbers on how much private insurance companies would have to raise their rates by if a public option reform package is passed are low-balling it. I hope they raise their rates even more. Why? Follow me below the fold...

Continue Reading

Over at Talking Points Memo, they have a story up about lead birther conspiracy nut, hack lawyer, real estate agent and dentist (YRLY) Orly Taitz claiming the letter from her now 'ex' client, Army Capt. Connie Rhodes dismissing her as her lawyer is a forgery. Rhodes, whom she represented in the lawsuit, claims she didn't have to obey orders to deploy to Iraq because the President was not legitimately elected due to the crack-pot theory that he is not a naturally born citizen (and thus ineligible to be President). As if her claiming the letter from her "client" saying she no longer represents her in court is a forgery wasn't kooky enough, it gets even better. I actually started to read her re-filing for an emergency stay after the court already dismissed with prejudice the original filing with this court. And she went there.

(follow me down the rabbit hole below the fold)

Continue Reading

Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 06:19 PM PDT

The President's weasel words

by Lestatdelc

Update: corrected misspelled word in title.

I wish I had heard a line in the sand for the already compromised position of a public option, what we got was weasel words. While I did not see the speech live (at the office as I type this) I read the speech as prepared, and when it comes to the public option, the weasel words are there and bodes very ill for the public option.

Why is below the fold.

Poll

Did the line in the sand for the PO get drawn in the speech?

17%23 votes
9%12 votes
6%8 votes
13%17 votes
53%70 votes

| 130 votes | Vote | Results

Continue Reading

Painting

While debating healthcare reform, other government run programs such as Social Security invariably get brought up. In a recent debate in an online forum it came up and someone wrote me directly, in exercised language I might add, that Social Security is nothing but a Ponzi scheme. When I succinctly replied with, no you don't seem to understand how Social Security is structured. This person replied that "SS is nothing but a government-sponsered PONSE (sic) scheme, that has now reached the same crisis point that poor Bernie Madhoff's did. More withdrawals than entries, that is."

This finally seemed a good moment to put down in pixels a debunking of this meme, which comes up form time to time, and underscores how it seems many people simply don't understand how Social Security is actually structured and how it works.

Continue Reading
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