The big corporations and the Obama administration are trying to push through a giant new trade treaty that gives corporations even more power, and which will send even more jobs, factories, industries and money out of the country. This is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and they are pushing something called “fast track” in Congress to help push it through.
We have to stop this, and we should take the momentum we have generated in our push-back on this to demand Congress and President Obama instead fix NAFTA first. Then fix all of our trade relationships to help working people on all sides of our borders.
TPP, Fast Track And NAFTA
There has been a lot of news about the upcoming TPP trade agreement. The agreement is being negotiated in extreme secrecy in a corporate-dominated process that appears to be leading to an agreement that would give corporations even more power than they already have. Now there is a push to pass a process called fast track through Congress in order to enable the large corporations to strong-arm TPP into law mobilized organizations around the country to sound the alarm.
“The answer is not to threaten to withhold your vote when you don’t get everything you want. The answer is for all of us – every single alienated, ignored, disillusioned citizen – to promise to always vote. Then the people you would actually want to vote for will have some assurance they can win, and take the risk of running, even if they can’t raise a poop-load of corporate cash.”
Don’t withhold your vote. Instead pledge to always vote. It’s collective power, and we can beat the corporations if we all pledge to always vote.
Madison. Occupy… Now in North Carolina it’s Moral Mondays. In Texas it’s a filibuster, hundreds of thousands watching online, and the spectator gallery goes nuts when Republicans try to shut down the speaker. In Pennsylvania low-wage workers are sleeping in teh capitol. In Nebraska it’s Pipeline Fighters. What’s happening in your state?
Corporate-funded Republicans took over in Wisconsin and passed laws restricting democracy and unions. People turned out at the state capitol in protest. Here are Wisconsin protesters chanting: “Tell me what democracy looks like. THIS is what democracy looks like!”
Then people started showing up for Occupy. All over the country in late 2011 people were showing up at thousands of Occupy events across the country.
I was in Oakland when tens of thousands of people turned out for a day of protest in that city.
“Democracy has been stolen and we have to take it back.” – Senator Merkley (D-OR) at Netroots Nation.
We have to end the filibuster, at the very least for nominations, if not for everything. This has to happen because Republicans are now obstructing everything, and agencies of our government are going to start shutting down over this summer. Without action the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) closes its doors at the end of August and not long after that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will be without a director. These are just some of the nominations being obstructed — filibustered — in order to block these agencies from operating.
It is not right that anyone is able to just keep our government from operating, for any reason. It is time to end the flibuster. Visit Fix the Senate Now.
The Netroots Nation session, “The Three Keys to Reclaiming Our Democracy” took a look at the filibuster and other structural impediments to democracy. On the panel were CWA President Larry Cohen, NAACP President Ben Jealous, Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford, Citizen Action NY Executive Director Karen Scharff and Senator Jeff Merkley. The panel was hosted by Salon’s Joan Walsh
You really should give some money to progressive organizations now, and candidates at election-time. But giving money to progressive organizations now is like giving that amount of money to each and every progressive candidate come election-time.
Seriously, give $10 or $100 today to an organization that helps reach the public to increase understanding and support of progressive ideas, and it is like giving $1,000 to each and every progressive candidate come election time. This is because these organizations work all the time to lay the groundwork for all of those candidates as well as all legislative initiatives.
All the smartest people in the executive suites just knew that the taste of Coca-Cola needed “reform.” Rival Pepsi was advertising to the “New Generation” and Coke’s executives came to believe their product wasn’t what the “cool” people wanted to drink. Everyone they talked to at the executive-level strategery seminars, and all the other executive-level geniuses they spoke with daily agreed. They were the elites, and they all knew better than their old-fashioned, uncool customers what the company needed. So they all drank the Kool-Aid and came up with “New Coke.” We all know what happened next. (Hint: it was bad.)
It couldn’t have gone better for Pepsi if Pepsi had placed those executives there themselves.
In Washington, austerity-hungry Republicans called the sequester’s “across the board” spending cuts a “victory” – until their districts feel them. Then they complain about the cuts, but still demand cuts somewhere else and add new demands that someone ELSE decide what should be cut. This is because Republicans talk about cuts, but the American Majority doesn’t want cuts.
Please send us examples of sequester supporters in Washington who go home and cry about how it is hurting their constituents.
Some people think the “sequester” has something to do with racing horses. But it’s a technical word for the “across-the-board” budget cuts resulting from when the Republicans took the “debt ceiling” hostage, demanding big cuts in government or they would force the country to default on our promises to pay our debts, which would crash the economy.
They demanded these cuts, and they called the cuts a victory. That is, until the citizens who voted them into office started feeling the cuts.
The wholesale slaughter of children sparked an unprecedented opening for change in this country. Killing children broke something fundamental in our culture. On that sad day, it felt as if there was a giant ripping in our society — yielding a gaping hole in all that was sacred and right. It was like watching the Twin Towers collapse all over again, but now it was our children. Many have asked if we have waited too long for action, the answer is simply no. Babies and guns do not belong in the same sentence. Assault weapons must never again be used to kill children.
It’s that opening – the gaping wound — that is inspiring our President Obama and Vice President Biden. This unlikely duo appear to be fueled by the fire of what is possible, and are driving a Mack truck through this opening right now — whether it is to push through the broadest gun safety legislation; or enact comprehensive immigration reform; or to raise the minimum wage; or end violence toward women; or to support gay marriage.
Watching our President Obama the evening of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School – it was clear that he would leap tall buildings to save the children and people of this country. It had become a Holy Crusade and compromise is off the table. Witness the fervor with which this team is working to move their Cabinet nominations forward even for beleaguered Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel. Republican shenanigans are not being tolerated even on their home turf, the House of Representatives. These folks can rant and rave for the cameras (and they do), but are falling flat with no run way. The President’s approval ratings are soaring even in the shadow of the latest, manufactured financial machination of the ‘sequester.’ And it is this fundamental lack of empathy and understanding that may be the down fall of the Republican Party as we know it today.
Frankly, the President is done turning himself into a human pretzel and for this we must rejoice. You just can’t compromise with folks that hate you and all that you stand for. It’s a travesty that it took this horrific loss of lives in Sandy Hook to galvanize the American people – but it did. Unbelievably, today one child still “dies every three hours from gun violence in the United States.” Everyone knows that gun safety legislation is not about the Second Amendment, but rather about sustaining a modern civilization.
The winds of change are upon us. Just witness the President’s news conference today on the impasse over what is called sequestration. He’s not backing down.
Senators, before you vote today on the “make them talk” proposal, go ask members of the public what a filibuster is.
The public thinks a filibuster is senators talking all night. It is not a “nuclear option” to change the rules to what the public thinks the rules already are.
The purpose of the filibuster is to allow senators to hold up legislation that they think is just wrong. Standing in the senate chamber and talking lets senators make the case, and argue why they think the legislation violates the rights of a minority. This gives their supporters time to rally their forces. This dramatic act gets news, and alerts the public to pay attention. Then the public can contact their senators and let them know if they should go ahead or stop.
This is all these rule changes will do, bring back this system that protects the minority in a way that makes it a rare event. It is the rarity of the event that gives it its value.
Once again: The public thinks a filibuster is senators talking all night. It is not a “nuclear option” to change the rules to what the public thinks the rules already are.
The Senate is completely broken, with a minority obstructing everything. Minority. Obstructing. Every. Thing.Everything. There were more than 380 filibusters in just the last few years! In a few days the Senate will vote on fixing this and making them talk if they feel it is important to block a bill, instead of just blocking bills. If we are going to fix the Senate so the majority will can get things done, your senators need to hear from you immediately. Tell them to make them talk.
Next week is the only chance for two years for the Senate to change the rules and Fix the Filibuster. So today is a day of action, asking people across the country to call your senators.
Call your senators at 1-866-937-5062 and demand change. Tell them to make them talk.
Make Them Talk
The idea behind the filibuster is that when the minority thinks a new law violates their rights they can hold it up and give themselves and their supporters time to rally the public and make their case. They used to take to the floor of the Senate and talk, and talk, and talk, keeping any action from proceeding. This was an important tool that gave the minority a real voice in the Senate.
How many real and serious national problems can you list? And how many obvious solutions can you come up with literally off the top of your head? Now an experiment: list how many of them are being worked on by our DC elites or even discussed my our elite media? The answer is none. Why is this? And what can you do about it?