Dave Johnson

Koch Network Takes On Export-Import Bank

In an interesting juxtaposition from Monday’s New York Times, a Times article explains a Times op-ed. The op-ed calls for killing the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), because it helps American companies compete globally. The news story reports that the anti-government Koch brothers network is behind the campaign. From the article, “Koch-Backed Group Bolsters Effort to Shut Down Export-Import Bank”: A trade association linked to the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch will begin a new lobbying effort pressuring lawmakers to shut down the Export-Import Bank, a top target of conservative activists and outside groups that will cease to exist after June 30 if it is not reauthorized by Congress.

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Leo Gerard

The GOP Has Money to Kill

Shock and awe describes the budgets issued last week by Republicans in the House and Senate. The shock is that the GOP never stops trying to destroy beloved programs like Medicare. Awe inspiring is their audacity in describing their killing plans as moral. When the House released its budget last Tuesday, Georgia Republican Rep. Rob Woodall said, “A budget is a moral document; it talks about where your values are.” His chamber’s spending plan shows that Republicans highly value war and place no value on health care for America’s elderly, working poor and young adults. The opposite of win-win, the GOP budgets are kill-kill. Despite the GOP’s successful demand in 2011 for spending caps, Republicans now want more money for the military. War kills, as too many families of troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan know.

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Richard Eskow

Hillary’s Challengers – and the Anti-Wall Street Wave

Former governor Martin O’Malley and former senator Jim Webb spoke at a firefighters’ union event earlier this month. Both are the subject of renewed press interest as they contemplate entering the presidential race. Sen. Bernie Sanders has been publicly weighing a run. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is being encouraged to enter the race. All four have criticized Wall Street’s unethical practices and undue political influence. Leading contender Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has not.

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Bill Scher

The Republican Budget Is Killing The Republican Party’s Soul

Over at Real Clear Politics, I explain why Republicans are taking a big risk by committing themselves to balancing the budget in a nine-to-10 year timeframe, without raising revenue or significantly affecting the military. The result is a budget that would completely decimate the federal government, gutting essential programs that support college grants and school lunches. Unlike the radical Paul Ryan budgets of recent years, this one will likely pass both chambers of Congress, effectively becoming the party’s platform, yoking to it blue- and purple-state Republican senators up for reelection next year. The budget is so insane that even deficit hawks concede it will never happen.

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Terrance Heath

Ted Cruz is Running For President. Here Are the Crazy Things He Believes

Image via Donkey Hotey @ Flickr. In a speech at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Va. — a right-wing school established by the Rev. Jerry Falwell — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2016. The announcement makes Cruz the first Republican, and the first major candidate to throw his had into the ring for 2016. A campaign launch is sometimes carefully staged to send a subtle message to a core constituency about where a candidate really stands. Sometimes the message is not so subtle, as when Ronald Reagan launched his campaign with a speech touting “states’ rights” in Neshoba County, Mississippi — where civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman were murdered in 1964. It’s no coincidence that Cruz chose Liberty University as the site for his campaign. (Cruz was guaranteed a full house.

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Dave Johnson

Fast-Track Fight Accelerates As Vote Approaches

As Congress prepares to consider fast track legislation to essentially pre-approve (without reading) the still-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) opponents are working to get the word out and register opposition. Seattle’s city council is preparing to vote on a resolution opposing fast track, and a number of organizations sent an open letter spelling out what an acceptable fast track process would do. Seattle Resolution Against Fast Track The Seattle city council is preparing to vote next Monday on a resolution opposing fast track. The Washington Fair Trade Coalition is requesting that Seattle residents email and call City Council to support a strong resolution against fast track. They would also like people to come to the City Council meeting on Monday, March 30, from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. People should show up by 1:45 p.m.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Fair Trade Is a Racial Justice Issue

Khalil Bendib, OtherWords The work of repairing the racial fissures that broke wide open in Ferguson, Missouri last year goes beyond the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. It also goes beyond ending the practices highlighted in a Justice Department report that criticized Ferguson cops and courts for shaking down the city’s poor, black residents for revenue. What else will it take? Good jobs. Unfortunately, an upcoming Senate bill could make the underlying economic crisis faced by communities like Ferguson even worse. That legislation would “fast track” the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment pact through Congress. What’s the connection to racial unrest? Simply put, it’s the lack of economic opportunity that results when bad trade deals lead to the disappearance of good-paying jobs.

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Robert Borosage

The Populist Challenge: Moving On Up

The editors of The Boston Globe called on Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for president this weekend, joining over 300,000 “Run Warren Run” activists who have already built the largest field operation of any candidate in Iowa. The Globe argues that it would be a “mistake” for Hillary Clinton to be allowed to “coast to the presidential nomination without real opposition.” The editors point to big issues that deserve a serious debate: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), enforcement of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, and the strategy for dealing with extreme inequality and the decline of the middle class. The Globe editorial is yet another indication of the populist moment.

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Roger Hickey

Students Need Bail and Support After Protesting GOP Cuts to Pell Grants

The following are statements issued by the U.S. Student Association and the Education Trust. From: Maxwell Love, President, U.S. Student Association Alexandra Flores-Quilty, Vice President, U.S. Student Association FRIDAY, MARCH 20th, 2015 As you might have heard, Republicans this week unveiled budgets in the House of Representatives and Senate that are devastating to American families. The cuts to student aid programs are especially vicious, with $150 billion in cuts to the Pell Grant, subsidized loan program, and income-based repayment. USSA believes that public higher education should be free! This budget is clearly headed in the opposite direction. Our students, staff, and supporters decided that this is the time to take a stand.

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Terrance Heath

Wingnut Week In Review: A Schocking Turn of Events

Last week, Rep. Aaron Schock (R, Illinois) was defiant. “I’m not going anywhere,” the 33-year-old congressman assured everyone, despite the growing scandal over his lavish spending habits and questionable business dealings with his donors. This week things got so bad that Schock’s own father even joined the pile-on. The Justice Department launched a formal criminal investigation into Schock’s office and campaign expenses, as well as his personal business dealings with political donors. Apparently, Schock even billed taxpayers for 170,000 miles logged on a Chevy Tahoe that only had 80,000 miles on it when Shock sold it. Schock’s father, Dr. Richard Schock, gave his son this ringing endorsement: “Two years from now he’ll be successful, if he’s not in jail.” The attention focused on Shock’s finances resurrected old rumors about his sexuality. Dr.

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Isaiah J. Poole

A Platform for People and the Planet, and a Budget That Makes It Real

A new progressive platform for “Building a Movement for People and the Planet” was published this week by the Campaign for America’s Future and National People’s Action. That platform lays out 12 key planks of a progressive agenda that the two organizations expect to become the foundation of independent progressive political organizing over the next two years. This platform is the backbone of the “Populism 2015″ conference in Washington April 18-20 that CAF is co-sponsoring with National People’s Action, USAction and Alliance for a Just Society.

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Richard Eskow

Social Security Reversal in Md. Senate Race: Six Lessons For Democrats

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, is running for the Senate seat currently occupied by Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski. He is also running from his record – as a supporter of the “Simpson-Bowles” plan to cut Social Security and top tax rates, a once-favored economic agenda among Washington insiders and some wealthy private interests. That’s a smart move – but Rep. Van Hollen has more ground to cover. As we reported last week, progressive groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America strongly encouraged Rep. Donna Edwards to enter the Senate race. She did – with a video announcement that directly challenged Van Hollen’s support of recommendations named for the leaders of the 2010 White House deficit commission, Republican ex-senator Alan Simpson and Democratic operative Erskine Bowles.

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Dave Johnson

TPP Tradenado – Talking Trade On The Zero Hour

I took on the “TPP Tradenado” this past weekend when I joined my OurFuture.org colleague Richard Eskow on his radio show, The Zero Hour with RJ Eskow. The topic was trade, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trade Promotion Authority, popularly know as “Fast Track” and the astruturf campaign designed to trick people into thinking there is a “Progressive Coalition” that supports TPP and fast track. On trade I recently explained in “How Our Trade Policies Kill Jobs,” how trade is great but our corporate-dominated trade-negotiating process has led to rigged, one-sided trade deals that enrich an already-wealthy few at the expense of the rest of us.

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Jeff Bryant

The Education Spring Goes To College

A nationwide rebellion to K-12 education policies that emerged in the spring of 2013 brought to the fore widespread grievances that students, parents, teachers, and citizens have with top down mandates that are ruining public schools. This Education Spring was fueled by unified concerns arising from every corner in the country that neighborhood schools are being deprived of essential resources, low-income children are being victimized by unequal distribution of education supports they need, parents and voters are locked out of school governance, and new education policies being put in place are driven by corruption. Since then, the groundswell has grown and spread to become an influential factor in electoral contests and governmental decision-making.

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Dave Johnson

So IS Media Reporting The People’s Budget?

Last week’s post, Will Media Continue Its Blackout Of Progressive Budget? made a simple point: the media just will not let the public know that there is a progressive budget alternative and what it includes. I asked, “Next week, progressives in Congress will release their annual budget proposal. They do this every year, and every year the national news media largely ignores it. Will the elite media report on it this year?” Wednesday The Progressive Caucus held a press conference releasing their budget proposal, The People’s Budget: A Raise for America. This budget would, among other things create 8.4 million good paying jobs by 2018 and invest $820 billion infrastructure and transportation improvements. One way this can be done: “Eliminates the ability of U.S.

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Bill Scher

Republicans Opt For Fiscal Suicide

Last week I asked “Are Republicans Insane Enough To Propose a Balanced Budget?” Because to do so in a 10-year window, especially without raising taxes or cutting military spending, simply devastates everything our government does to benefit the middle-class, lift people out of poverty, support our health and protect the environment. In fact, Republicans were warned by one the biggest Beltway deficit hawks not to do it. They did it. The House budget cuts $5.5. trillion over nine years, the Senate $5.1 trillion in ten. What does that mean? The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities details the carnage. Less health care: “The budget repeals health reform, under which 16.4 million uninsured people have gained coverage so far, and converts Medicaid to a block grant while cutting it by roughly another $400 billion over the next decade.

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Richard Eskow

A “Moral Document”: GOP Again Targets Social Security, Medicare

It’s not often that I find myself agreeing with a congressional Republican on fiscal matters, but it’s hard to argue with a recent statement from Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) of the House Budget Committee. “A budget is a moral document,” said the Georgia Republican. “It talks about where your values are.” That’s certainly true. So what are we to make of this year’s House and Senate Republican budgets? They harm seniors, use the disabled as pawns, punish the needy, pamper the wealthy, and employ deceit – all to promote a selfish agenda for the wealthy and powerful. There’s a lot to say about these two proposals, but for now we’ll restrict ourselves to two important subjects: Social Security and Medicare. False Alarms On Social Security, both the House and Senate documents mislead readers about the state of the program’s finances.

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Miya Pontes

Trumka Takes Opposition to a TPP Fast-Track to the Peterson Institute

A trade agreement created to benefit American corporations is being fast-tracked in secret, leaving economists and labor activists concerned. And today, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka took those concerns to an audience of economic and foreign-policy elites at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “The American labor movement has long said, loud and clear, that good trade agreements must improve wages and working conditions for workers around the globe, not just here in the United States. We have insisted, and will continue to insist, that has to be the yardstick we use to measure trade deals.” Trumka said.

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Isaiah J. Poole

The People’s Budget Seeks Citizen Co-Sponsors And Democratic Support

The Congressional Progressive Caucus officially released its “People’s Budget: A Raise for America” today outside a chilly Capitol, as representatives of key progressive supporters stood beside Progressive Caucus co-chairs Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.). In response, the Campaign for America’s Future launched its effort, in concert with Daily Kos and nine other progressive organizations, to sign up citizen co-sponsors for the budget. The goal is to get a majority of House Democrats to vote for the budget when it comes up for a vote next week. “The number that you should keep in mind: 8.4 million good-paying jobs by 2018. That’s pretty good, right?” said Ellison, highlighting one of the main goals of the budget – and one of its sharpest contrasts with the House Republican budget.

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Dave Johnson

Why Is SEC Refusing To Follow The Law And Issue CEO Pay-Ratio Rules?

One part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law requires the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to set up rules requiring companies to disclose the median annual total compensation of all employees, the total annual compensation of the chief executive officer, and the ratio of the median employee pay to the CEO’s pay. It’s 2015 and the agency still has not done so. In December, 16 Senators sent a letter to SEC Chair Mary Jo White asking for the SEC to vote on the final pay-ratio rule before the end of the first quarter of 2015. From the letter: Pay ratio disclosure helps investors evaluate the relative value a CEO creates, which facilitates better checks and balances against insiders paying themselves runaway compensation.

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