Top 5 Progressive News – April 4
Written by Natalie Davis on April 4, 2016
With the April 5 Wisconsin primary looming, there is a lot going on in progressive news. Among the biggest peace-prog stories from the weekend: Bernie Sanders calls attention to another tragic outcome of US income inequality, hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin voters may be diseferanchised due to a voter suppression law (nope, it’s not just Tennessee and the south), war is on again in the embattled Nagorno-Karabakh, female US soccer stars speak out against gender pay inequality, and the Tennessee legislature’s newest shafting of the poor gets national attention. Get informed. And if you are in Wisconsin, VOTE.
The report shows low-income USians tend to die sooner than rich citizens and they also lose out on Social Security benefits they deserve.
The life expectancy disparity between the rich and poor has eroded the progressive effect of Social Security, the report shows. American men earning about $20,000 a year expect to lose 11-14 percent of their lifetime Social Security benefits, while men earning about $80,000 a year expect to see their benefits increase as much as 16-18 percent due to their longer life expectancy, according to the report.
“Poverty should not be a death sentence,” Sanders, the ranking member of the Primary Health and Retirement Security Subcommittee, tweeted.
There is a clear racial disparity in terms of who is most impacted by the law, [which goes into effect just in time for the April 5 primary election]. In 2012, African-American voters in Wisconsin were 1.7 times as likely as white voters to lack a driver’s license or state photo ID, and Latino voters were 2.6 times as likely as white voters to lack such ID. More than 60 percent of people who’ve requested a photo ID for voting from the DMV have been black or Hispanic, according to legal filings.
The law also targets students. Student IDs from most public and private universities and colleges are not accepted because they don’t contain signatures or a two-year expiration date (compared to a ten-year expiration for driver’s licenses). “The standard student ID at only three of the University of Wisconsin’s 13 four-year schools and at seven of the state’s 23 private colleges can be used as a voter photo ID,” according to Common Cause Wisconsin.
Heavy fighting in disputed Nagorno-Karabakh on Friday night and into Saturday left at least 33 people dead, including 18 Armenian and 12 Azerbaijani soldiers. The fighting was the worst since 1994’s ceasefire, and despite Azeri calls for a unilateral truce, fighting is continuing throughout the weekend. …
A resumption of the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia could seriously threaten regional stability, as their conflicts have tended to take on a religious tone. Armenia is overwhelmingly Christian, while Azerbaijan is vast majority Shi’ite Muslim.
[S]tars of the United States women’s national soccer team — Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Hope Solo — filed a federal complaint on behalf of the entire team charging that they’re paid nearly four times less than their male counterparts and calling for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigate US Soccer for wage discrimination. …
[E]xcuses [from the powers that be] don’t hold much water when it comes to US soccer. The women’s team is unquestionably, objectively better than the men’s team. And in a country that — despite the sport’s ever-growing popularity — still doesn’t exactly have a strong soccer culture, the women have, as the NYT puts it, been “the sport’s standard bearers.” While the women have scored three World Cup victories and four Olympic gold medals, “the men’s most notable achievement in the past half-century was a quarterfinal appearance at the 2002 World Cup.” As Hope Solo bluntly said, “The U.S.M.N.T. get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”
From In These Times: Nashville outrage makes national indie news when right-wing legislature votes to usurp voter will to give poor people and locals new construction jobs
Last summer, with the backing of regional labor leaders and community groups, the city of Nashville approved an ordinance requiring large, municipally funded construction projects to devote 10 percent of their hiring to low-income residents. The ballot initiative, which also stipulated that 40 percent of such hires should reside in Nashville’s Davidson County, came amid an historic surge in building projects in the city’s downtown area.
… Yet within weeks of the ordinance passing into law, Republicans in the state legislature introduced a bill to roll back Nashville’s new law and prevent other cities in the state from implementing anything like it.
And last month, the cool, cool conservative men at the Tennessee Statehouse passed the anti-populist measure.