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Tuesday, 08 July 2014 20:00

A National Call to Link Arms for Detroit: Stop the Water Shut Offs and Restore Democracy – July 18th Protest

Written by  Ben Ptashnik and Victoria Collier

On July 18th thousands of activists and dozens of organizations will converge on downtown Detroit to protest the privatization of the city’s assets, and the disconnection of water to tens of thousands of low-income residents; what the UN has called a human rights violation. Demonstrators from around the country will rally in Hart Plaza at 1PM, linking arms with the citizens of Detroit to protest the hostile corporate takeover by Wall Street banks and their ALEC-led political allies in the Michigan Statehouse, including Governor Rick Snyder.

July 18th marks the 1-year anniversary of the announcement by the corporate "Emergency Manager" Kevyn Orr of the filing for Detroit's bankruptcy - a decision that County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina immediately ruled  violates the Michigan Constitution and state law and must be withdrawn. I have some very serious concerns because there was this rush to bankruptcy court that didn’t have to occur and shouldn’t have occurred,” Aquilina stated. Orr and Snyder managed to circumvent her ruling and the bankruptcy proceeded. The next few months will determine how successful they will be.

Today the activist community of Detroit put out this call to action:

They called for a rally and march to fight the dictatorship of emergency manager Kevyn Orr, appointed by millionaire Republican Governor Rick Snyder, and backed by Wall Street bankers and the 1%. Under a state-imposed bankruptcy, the City of Detroit workers face severe cuts to their pensions and tens of thousand people face water shut-offs.

Detroit Moratorium Now and Freedom Fridays Coalition

Starting July 15th, the Federal Bankruptcy Court in downtown Detroit will be holding hearings, and the people of Detroit will be speaking out against the Emergency Manager's economic "Plan of Adjustment."

The people of Detroit – 83% African American - know that their crisis was manipulated to force bankruptcy. In 2012, they fought to get a public initiative on the Michigan ballot, which overwhelmingly defeated Public Act 4, the anti-democratic law that granted the Emergency Manager complete authority over local officials, the power to nullify public rulings and bodies, and to strip unions of collective bargaining rights and health benefits.

 But so intent was the right-wing legislature and Governor Rick Snyder to subvert the will of the people, that in a lame duck session immediately following the referendum, the legislature issued a newer version of the law, Public Act 436, which they attached to an appropriation bill; a parliamentary trick that eliminated the possibility of another referendum.

Many Detroiters believe that the aggressive foreclosures and water shut–offs are a deliberate scheme to shock the population, drive long-time residents out of the city center, seize property, and gentrify downtown Detroit and the waterfront. This game-plan was played out in Benton Harbor, Michigan, also forced into emergency management, where corporate vultures grabbed a chunk of the city’s waterfront to build a golf course.

Detroit was no more “bankrupt” then many American cities suffering post 2008-loss of their real estate tax base; a crisis caused directly by Wall Street and the very same banks now promoting Detroit’s bankruptcy. Motor City was particularly devastated by the sub-prime mortgage schemes, which targeted African-Americans, who the banks knew could not afford the loans they promoted. Detroit had the largest percentage of sub-prime victims per capita of any city in the U.S. Foreclosures continue at one of the highest rates in the country.

The 2008 Ponzi scheme market collapse also led to $1.5 billion in budget-fix loans foisted on Detroit by a bank consortium led by Bank of America; loans connected to the LIBOR interest rate manipulation crimes, for which the banks were indicted and fined. According to Bloomberg News, these faulty loans were coupled with unnecessary default insurance schemes sold by disreputable brokers to a corrupt Detroit mayor, who saddled the city with over $474 million dollars in default swap costs. The mayor was later convicted and jailed on charges of racketeering and bribery.

But the banks were given a free ride, and now demand full payment. Many cities with almost the same financial red ink as Detroit - like Chicago - renegotiated bad loans with help from their state capitols, but Detroit is being held hostage. After the right-wing takeover of Michigan’s legislature in 2010, and the election of Governor Snyder, the Tea Party-led Republicans repealed the business tax so that the state lost over a billion dollars in revenue in 2013 alone, replacing it with 1.8 billion in cuts to schools. The Statehouse backed out of previously allocated revenue-sharing funds to the city.

The long-term solvency of the city pension obligations was then deliberately confused with short-term cash flow to accentuate the appearance of a financial crisis, according to Tom Barrow, mayoral candidate, CPA and former head of the Michigan Licensing Board of Accountancy.

Jones Day, a Wall Street-connected law firm, which stood to gain $100 million in fees for the bankruptcy, was complicit in the fabrication of Detroit's crisis. The firm's report on behalf of the State, which deviated wildly from a routine municipal budget statement, was rife with subjective, editorializing subheads such as UNSUSTAINABLE RETIREE BENEFITS and HIGH LABOR COSTS AND RESTRICTIVE EMPLOYMENT TERMS. Bond market expert Kate Long indicated that the Detroit pension fund was actually "reasonably well funded according to national standards.”

Emergency Manager Orr, coincidentally also a former Jones Day partner, claimed he only made the “tough decision to file bankruptcy reluctantly after thorough negotiations with creditors, pension trustees and public sector unions.” In fact, Orr, Snyder, Detroit’s Democratic mayor, and the powerful financial interests behind them, had conspired for months to use federal bankruptcy laws to circumvent legal obstacles regarding pensions, according to the leaked emails dating back to January, 2013, provided by Robert Davis, a local political figure associated with AFCSME.

Tom Barrow described how Orr and Snyder surreptitiously rushed to preempt an injunction filed by pension trustees and public-sector unions who were seeking to block bankruptcy on the grounds that it would lead to unconstitutional pension cuts. While in court, attorneys for Snyder asked for a courtesy five-minute delay, during which Orr’s attorneys surreptitiously filed the bankruptcy petition, preempting the injunction.

The bankruptcy continues to slog through the courts, even though it became evident that Detroit's financial “emergency” was as blatant a fabrication as the WMDs - the weapons of mass “distraction” contrived as the rationale for the privatized invasion and occupation of Iraq. Detroiters are witnessing the same "shock" strategy used internationally by right wing ideologues who employ corrupt political, military and police power to advance the so-called "free market reform." This long-term agenda of the Milton Friedman Chicago School of Economics is actually a formula for aggressive public asset seizure.

In her seminal book, Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein explains how historically a "softening up" process of collective shocks have been employed by the Chicago School internationally to stun the populace, paralyze their democratic process, and force austerity and mass-privatization down their throats through Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) (see Detroit's Emergency "Plan of Adjustment") that literally sap the lifeblood and wealth of nations.

"Coming unraveled by hyperinflation, and too indebted to say no to demands that came bundled with foreign loans, governments accepted 'shock treatment' on the promise that it would save them from deeper disaster."

Such vulture capitalism attacks were perpetrated in Chile and Argentina with the aid of corrupt dictators. In Russia and China, political suppression “shocks” preceded a privatization of public assets by Russian oligarchs and Chinese Communist Party “Princelings." After the austerity and privatizations, average citizens inevitably found themselves poorer as excessive debt was serviced off their backs, and lacking in basic public services and education.

Now "shock doctrine" has come home to the U.S. Detroit has become Ground Zero for a massive new wave of asset seizures, repression, and corporate exploitation that is beginning to sweep US communities and states; privatizing our schools, water assets and government services. With the end of the Iraq war, and as Latin American democracies reject bank induced debt and austerity, these parasites who prey on civil society have turned their attention from neo-colonialist exploitation, to cannibalism at home.

Many in Michigan believe the city could have managed its financial troubles on its own, but Motown was defamed and derided by repeated newspaper editorials, the outstate right wing, and the controlling majority in the Legislature, as profligate and promiscuous financially. Detroit's citizens were stripped of their right to local political control by democratically elected representatives.

Many Detroiters believe that the August 6, 2013, Mayoral Primary recount uncovered massive ballot box fraud, which was deliberately ignored. The race featured a white carpetbagger candidate connected to the Wayne County political machine and the State's powerbrokers: Mike Duggan was disqualified from the ballot after a judge ruled him ineligible due to residency. But Duggan eventually won with 40% of the vote by waging an historically improbable write-in campaign marred by overwhelming evidence of fraud, including duplication of ballots, and the breaking of a number of ballot box seals. This evidence should have led to an investigation, but it was never conducted by the Wayne County Board of Canvassers during their cursory response to recount petitions from other Mayoral candidates. (The Republican State Attorney General later wrote a letter to the Board, excoriating their failure to comply with their statutory responsibility).One community activist told us, “We do not recognized Duggan as the Mayor, because of the facts uncovered during the recount.”

Detroit is not the first predominantly Afro-American city subjected to fraudulent exploitation. Post-Katrina New Orleans (60% Afro American) was also abandoned and exploited by the political class. In Birmingham Alabama (74% minority), JP Morgan was convicted of bribing local power brokers and extracting millions in fees that turned a $250 million dollar sewer project in Jefferson County into a $3 billion dollar debacle.  While the county slashed services and laid off almost a thousand workers, JP Morgan settled in court for 1.6 billion, their profits soared, and their municipal-debt underwriting business - over $64 billion dollars, including Detroit - remained mostly unscathed by the scandal.

“Emergency Management” in Detroit just another term for “hostile corporate takeover” whose major targets are:

  • The tens of billions of dollars in value represented by the city’s huge water systems infrastructure, which supplies 40 % of Michigan, and sits on 25% of the fresh water supply of the US.
  • The billions of dollars in Detroit property that could be gentrified and developed once the cronies of the real estate vultures have pushed out its Afro-American residents.
  • An art museum with a collection valued at billions of dollars.
  • The hundreds of billions of invested capital that are promised to the city pension plans.

The clear attack on pensions is why many Detroit pensioners are voting “No” to the insidious “grand bargain” being offered right now in the enforced bankruptcy. Pensioners and current employees are being threatened with deeper cuts, if they don’t vote to accept a set of long-term reduction in payments and health benefits, and sign away their right to sue later.

Pensioner Cecily McClellan, sees the struggle for pensions as the battle of a lifetime. “We aren’t getting a ‘sense’ of what they’re doing. We know that’s the move. And Detroit is the template. If they are successful here, then they’re going to use it. They have 90,000 municipalities with pensions in the United States. And they’re going after every one. I think that the pension is going to be a form of new wealth for some people. It’s a new market. Just like we had the mortgage bubble and the dotcom bubble, we’re going to have them exploiting pensions.” 

The pawns in this crisis, the impoverished residents of Detroit, have already suffered the globalization of this rust belt region, as corporations took their production south, and then abroad. Motor City’s population has been reduced from 1.5 million at its apex in the 50s, to just over 700,000. Half the housing stock is abandoned or set on fire and looted, while city services operate at a fraction of past accommodations – crippling citizen's ability to work, and care for their children. The last thing they need is to be viciously set upon by the Governor and his “Manager” who now threaten their health by the shutting off of water, often without notice, of any resident who is overdue 60 days, on as little as $150 dollars.

Millions of dollars are still owed to the city water department by golf courses, sports arenas and other businesses, and by thousands of homes foreclosed and now owned by banks or corporations - but these have not been subjected to water shut off, even with bills months or years overdue.

As we write this story, on the 4th of July, we believe the people of Detroit have the right to refuse their "consent" to be governed by a vicious regime foisted on them by an imperialist Governor. They would be well within the bounds of justice to demand their “unalienable rights," starting with water for their families, and to keep their pensions, which are protected by the Constitution of the State of Michigan.

Detroit is part of the heart and soul of America. Its path should be decided by the people of Detroit themselves, who deserve basic respect, human dignity, and enough water to plant and grow the seeds of their future.

All of you out there in the American heartland, in Michigan and the Midwest, in Chicago, Madison, Toledo, we implore you to “do the right thing” - get in your cars, on buses and trains, and come to Detroit on July 18th 2014.

For more info on the Demonstration go to;

http://moratorium-mi.org and

http://www.democracymovement.us/michigan

 


Ben Ptashnik is a former State Senator from Vermont, and a lifelong human rights and democracy activist. He and Victoria Collier are co-directors of the National Election Integrity Coalition- www.democracymovement.us

Read 4234 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 July 2014 20:19

Trans Pacific Partnership Fast Track - Where Does Your Legislator Stand

Click your state to see your Senators and Representatives

Green = Most Legislators Oppose Fast Track, Yellow = Some Opposition, Orange = Oppose TPP, Gray = Unknown
DeLauro 13 - Signed 2013 DeLauro/Miller letter
Pocan - Signed Freshman Letter Opposing Fast Track
W/M - Signed Ways and Means Letter opposing TPP
Gibson - Signed Rep. Chris Gibson letter opposing TPP
SOPA - Oppose Stop Online Piracy Act - voted against
Currency - Oppose Currency Manipulation (Signed Michaud Letter)
Textile - Oppose changes to "First Yarn" (Signed Textile Industry Letter)

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    The release of the White House’s 2014 budget in April 2013 was a stomach-churning occasion for American seniors who depend on Social Security. In an effort to woo the austerity-now crowd, President Barack Obama included in his proposal a new formula to calculate Social Security cost-of-living adjustments: the chained consumer price index, or chained CPI. Presented as a harmless technocratic fix, chained CPI would have hit America’s retirees in the pocketbook by reducing their Social Security cost-of-living increases.

    Written on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 00:00 Read more...
  • 'Better Off' Budget Attacks Status Quo with Bold Progressive Vision
    'Better Off' Budget Attacks Status Quo with Bold Progressive Vision

    Economic blueprint by Congressional Progressive Caucus makes commanding argument for what's possible, but will it again be ignored by nation's powerful elite?

    Written on Thursday, 13 March 2014 22:09 Read more...
  • Why I Didn’t Make it to Gaza for International Women’s Day
    Why I Didn’t Make it to Gaza for International Women’s Day

    When I boarded the plane to Cairo, Egypt, to make sure everything was in place for the women’s delegation headed to Gaza, I had no reason to think I’d end up in a jail cell at the Cairo airport and then violently deported.

    Written on Thursday, 13 March 2014 18:51 Read more...
  • UDC Law School - Social Justice Law
    UDC Law School - Social Justice Law

    The public service-oriented UDC David A. Clarke School of Law (www.law.udc.edu) is the public law school of the nation’s capital. Unlike most other law schools in America, all UDC-DCSL students receive a high-quality, practical, hands-on program of legal study. In addition to the traditional law curriculum, each UDC-DCSL student, under the close supervision of attorney-professors, provides 700 hours of much-needed legal service to low-income Washington, DC residents in one of the School’s eight clinics.

    Written on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 19:20 Read more...
  • I was brutally attacked.
    I was brutally attacked.

    Just the other day I hopped on a plane to Egypt, eager to join the international delegation of 100 women headed to Gaza for International Women’s Day. Little did I know I would be stopped at the Cairo airport, detained, held overnight in a cell, then in the morning brutally assaulted by Egyptian authorities. 

    Written on Thursday, 06 March 2014 21:42 Read more...
  • Bernie Sanders: ‘I Am Prepared to Run for President of the United States’
    Bernie Sanders: ‘I Am Prepared to Run for President of the United States’

    Bernie Sanders says he is “prepared to run for president of the United States.” That’s not a formal announcement. A lot can change between now and 2016, and the populist senator from Vermont bristles at the whole notion of a permanent campaign.

    Written on Thursday, 06 March 2014 21:24 Read more...
  • 2 Million People Cut Off Unemployment Benefits
    2 Million People Cut Off Unemployment Benefits

    WASHINGTON – The number of people who have lost their unemployment benefits as a result of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program’s expiration has surpassed two million this week, according to a new analysis from Ways and Means Committee Democrats.

    Written on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 17:01 Read more...
  • Egyptian Police Detain, Assault, & Deport Peace Activist Medea Benjamin
    Egyptian Police Detain, Assault, & Deport Peace Activist Medea Benjamin

    On route to a women’s conference in Gaza, Code Pink founder and peace activist Medea Benjamin was detained by Egyptian police and held in an airport prison cell for several hours without being charged. During her detention, the petite Benjamin said she was “jumped on” by Egyptian police and “violently handcuffed” resulting in a  fractured my arm, dislocated my shoulder, torn ligaments.

    Written on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 21:20 Read more...
  • CODEPINK Co-founder Medea Benjamin Detained, Brutally Attacked and Deported from Egypt en route to Gaza with International Delegation of Women
    CODEPINK Co-founder Medea Benjamin Detained, Brutally Attacked and Deported from Egypt en route to Gaza with International Delegation of Women

    CODEPINK Co-founder Medea Benjamin Detained, Brutally Attacked and Deported from Egypt en route to Gaza with International Delegation of Women

    Written on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 16:45 Read more...
  • The Progressive Movement Continues to Mature and Grow
    The Progressive Movement Continues to Mature and Grow

    In case you hadn't noticed, the debt ceiling was raised several days ago, so quietly that it barely made a ripple in the press. No threats of shutting down the government or hostage-taking emanated from Senator Mitch McConnell -- or from his even more radical right-wing cronies in the House -- this recent go around.

    Written on Friday, 28 February 2014 02:55 Read more...
  • What a Victory: How a $40 Million Attack on the Middle Class Went Up in Smoke
    What a Victory: How a $40 Million Attack on the Middle Class Went Up in Smoke

    It’s debt ceiling time, and the United States economy is once again on the brink, held hostage by extremists hell-bent on forcing cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Oh, wait. That was last year. In 2014, for the first time in three years, the vote to extend the nation’s debt ceiling did not bring the United States to the brink of default in a high-stakes game of slash and burn.

    Written on Sunday, 23 February 2014 16:37 Read more...
  • The United States of Poverty and Inequality
    The United States of Poverty and Inequality

    New report shows that no matter which state you live in, the 1% are making even more gains as the rest fall back

    Over the last three decades the wealth of the nation's very richest 1% has grown ten times that of the average worker and over that time period that same tiny elite has captured more than half of the entire income increases, leaving the bottom 99% to divide the remaining gains.

    Written on Saturday, 22 February 2014 16:11 Read more...
  • Michael Sam stands tall
    Michael Sam stands tall

    “I’m a football player, and I’m gay.” With those words, Michael Sam, an All-American defensive end from the University of Missouri, demonstrated courage far beyond that demanded on the football field. And America may, for the first time, witness an openly gay man playing professional football.

    Written on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 03:20 Read more...
  • Preserve social programs that work
    Preserve social programs that work

    I started a chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America in Springfield a few years ago. Since then our chapter has grown to include the Greater Springfield Area. At an event last fall in front of U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin’s office we had 75 folks attend from various unions and organizations, many of them traveling from Normal, Bloomington, Peoria, Jacksonville, Morrisonville and Champaign.

    Written on Friday, 07 February 2014 03:25 Read more...
  • Conversations with Great Minds P1 - Rep Keith Ellison - My Country 'Tis of Thee
    Conversations with Great Minds P1 - Rep Keith Ellison - My Country 'Tis of Thee

    Congressman Keith Ellison(D-MN, 5th District) / Author of the new book, My Country 'Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Future joins Thom Hartmann.

    Written on Thursday, 06 February 2014 22:36 Read more...
  • JESSE JACKSON: Response to President Obama's 2014 State of the Union Address
    JESSE JACKSON: Response to President Obama's 2014 State of the Union Address

    The country seems turned off and tuned out to the Congress, politics generally and the federal government in particular. The good news is the emerging grass-roots movement exemplified by The Dreamers and the burgeoning campaign among low income workers around the nation, offering a clear challenge to the political gridlock, the inaction and non-work by Congress. Seeking to respond to this grassroots energy and to combat the frustration many people are feeling around the country, President Obama presented an optimistic tone, an uplifting message and a new plan of action to move America forward.

    Written on Thursday, 30 January 2014 20:01 Read more...
  • State of the Union: Right on Wages, Wrong on Trade
    State of the Union: Right on Wages, Wrong on Trade

    President Obama wants 2014 to be a “year of action” in which the country finally begins to address a wealth gap that has made the term “income inequality” the catchphrase of the moment. And he framed the crisis well in his fifth State of the Union address:

    Written on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 17:32 Read more...
  • House passes $956B farm bill
    House passes $956B farm bill

    The House on Wednesday approved a mammoth, $956 billion farm bill in a bipartisan vote.

    Members approved the House-Senate agreement on farm policy in a 251-166 vote. A majority of Republicans backed the bill, with 63 GOP no votes. But a majority of Democrats opposed it, with 103 voting no.

    Written on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 16:45 Read more...
  • Pete Seeger: This Man Surrounded Hate and Forced it to Surrender
     Pete Seeger: This Man Surrounded Hate and Forced it to Surrender

    When some of the greatest musicians in the world gathered five years ago to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of the musician who inspired them all, Bruce Springsteen told Pete Seeger: “You outlasted the bastards, man.”

    And so he did.

    Written on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 16:30 Read more...
  • State of the Union: It doesn’t have to be this way
    State of the Union: It doesn’t have to be this way

    President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night will focus on inequality, on the reality that this economy does not work for working people. Given the obstruction of House and Senate Republicans, the president faces the reality that little of what he proposes can pass this Congress. He has vowed to use his “pen” and “phone” to act unilaterally where he can. But the real challenge is to explain to the American people what the reality is, what must be done and who is standing in the way.

    Written on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 15:56 Read more...
  • Ellison’s Steps to Income Equality: More Powerful Unions and Weaker Trade
    Ellison’s Steps to Income Equality: More Powerful Unions and Weaker Trade

    Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said that increasing the power of unions is key to addressing income inequality in America.

    “We need a comprehensive plan, but let’s start with increasing the right to collective bargaining,” Ellison said on MSNBC. “We’ve got to get workers on the job in a position to demand that the wealth that they create be shared by the company. That’s a key thing. If you look at how wages has stagnated in the United States and you look at how union did something that has gone down, the lines track right together. You got to get power in the hands of the workers. That’s key.”

    Written on Thursday, 23 January 2014 18:18 Read more...
  • Celebrating MLK: A drum major for justice
    Celebrating MLK: A drum major for justice

    As I went from event to event Monday celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King, I was struck by both the tribute and the distortion.

    The tribute is remarkable. Martin Luther King held no public office. He amassed no great fortune. He led no victorious armies

    Written on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 16:03 Read more...
  • Keith Ellison Blasts Inaction on Government-Backed Poverty: “The Most Remarkable Dodge I’ve Ever Seen”
    Keith Ellison Blasts Inaction on Government-Backed Poverty: “The Most Remarkable Dodge I’ve Ever Seen”

    One day after a top Obama administration official deflected a congressman’s call for executive action to raise labor standards for contractors, activists Wednesday announced the filing of a new Department of Labor complaint over alleged wage theft in a government building. The complaint alleges that dozens of workers in D.C.’s government-owned Union Station are owed over $3 million in back pay and damages for rampant failure to pay minimum wage or overtime.

    Written on Saturday, 18 January 2014 16:26 Read more...
  • King’s evolving Dream
    King’s evolving Dream

    It is that time to pause and think about the incredible life and contributions of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., oftentimes referred to as MLK. He was named Michael King Jr. after his father ­ who later changed both their names to Martin Luther, in honor of the religious reformer.

    Written on Saturday, 18 January 2014 15:37 Read more...
  • Moral Monday Movement Spreads Through the South
    Moral Monday Movement Spreads Through the South

    After drawing thousands of protesters to the state legislature and inspiring the arrests of more than 900 people for nonviolent civil disobedience, North Carolina's Moral Monday movement challenging the extreme conservative agenda of the state's Republican-controlled legislature and administration is gearing up for more actions in 2014.

    Written on Monday, 13 January 2014 13:30 Read more...
  • On 50th anniversary of 'War on Poverty' speech, Worcester Rep. Jim McGovern says cuts to SNAP are 'war on poor people'
    On 50th anniversary of 'War on Poverty' speech, Worcester Rep. Jim McGovern says cuts to SNAP are 'war on poor people'

    U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern says the "War on Poverty" has shifted from helping the poor to fighting them.

    McGovern, a Democrat who represents the 2nd district, spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives Wednesday about hunger in America and potential cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in the proposed Farm Bill.

    Written on Saturday, 11 January 2014 15:37 Read more...
  • War on Poverty wages on
    War on Poverty wages on

    Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon Johnson, lamenting that too many Americans “live on the outskirts of hope,” declared an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” This will not be “a short or easy struggle,” he stated in his State of the Union address to the Congress, “no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we will not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it.”

    Written on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 18:11 Read more...
  • Will New York City Lead the Way on Pre-K?
    Will New York City Lead the Way on Pre-K?

    At the Future of America Learning Center in the West Bronx, the pre-K curriculum is built around adult jobs—visiting real workplaces and then learning about the vocabulary and skills that grown-ups use every day.

    Written on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 01:24 Read more...
  • Advice for Young Women: Get a Union Job
    Advice for Young Women: Get a Union Job

    Back in the days before modern feminism, a young woman looking for work might typically be advised, politely, to “learn a trade,” with the implication that she wasn't bound for college or an elite career, but a humbler job as, say, a secretary or seamstress. Such a phrase might sound condescending today. Yet working in a trade might still be sound career goal for a woman, if she gets the right kind of job—in a union.

    Written on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 21:30 Read more...
  • Walmart Workers Will Make History on Friday As America Confronts Growing Inequality
    Walmart Workers Will Make History on Friday As America Confronts Growing Inequality

    This Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, tens of millions of Americans will travel to Walmart stores to look for holiday discounts on computers, toys, and cell phones as well as to buy groceries and basic household items.

    Written on Saturday, 30 November 2013 15:20 Read more...
  • McDonald's: Low-Paid Workers, High-Flying Execs
    McDonald's: Low-Paid Workers, High-Flying Execs

    He was CEO of the hamburger behemoth, McDonald's, pulling down a hefty $8.8 million in pay. Last year, though, Skinner retired, and, rather than getting a gold watch, he was given a load of gold — so large that even a Brink's armored truck would have been too small to haul it all away. His salary of $753,000 was the least of it.

    Written on Thursday, 21 November 2013 13:44 Read more...
  • Growing Movement: Expand Social Security or 'Pay a Price'
    Growing Movement: Expand Social Security or 'Pay a Price'

    Sen. Warren: 'Social Security is incredibly effective, it is incredibly popular, and the calls for strengthening it are growing louder every day.'

    With Social Security cuts once again on the table in closed-door congressional budget negotiations, a growing movement has taken the offensive, demanding that lawmakers strengthen, rather than stranglehold, our social safety net.

    Written on Thursday, 21 November 2013 13:36 Read more...
  • Paul Ryan Gets 700,000 ‘No’ Votes on Social Security Cuts
    Paul Ryan Gets 700,000 ‘No’ Votes on Social Security Cuts

    Ryan’s office on Wednesday received a petition signed by more than 700,000 people that said there should be “no grand bargain” in the budget negotiations being led by Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., “in exchange for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.”

    Written on Saturday, 16 November 2013 03:10 Read more...
  • House Dems Can Block GOP Food Stamp Cuts—By Killing the Farm Bill
    House Dems Can Block GOP Food Stamp Cuts—By Killing the Farm Bill

    The farm bill will almost inevitably include deep cuts to the food stamps program—unless House Democrats join with conservatives to kill the bill. The food stamps program—which helps feed one in seven Americans—is in peril. Republicans in the House have proposed a farm bill—the five-year bill that funds agriculture and nutrition programs—that would slash food stamps by $40 billion. But by taking advantage of House Republicans' desire to cut food stamps as much as possible, Democrats might be able to prevent cuts from happening at all.

    Written on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 15:28 Read more...
  • Food Stamps, Yes!
    Food Stamps, Yes!

    If you’re reading this column, you probably don’t participate in a government program such as SNAP, to help provide food for your family. If you can afford to have a newspaper delivered to your home, or if you have a computer and an internet connection so you can read online, you may have more than enough money for food.

    Written on Friday, 04 October 2013 01:50 Read more...

Does Your Legislator Support the Robin Hood Tax?

Join "Countdown to Coverage" Share TPP with your Daily Newspaper

CWA devised a simple plan for which they were uniquely suited: drag TPP out of the shadows and into the light - one city at a time - using a medium they understand intimately: Daily Newspapers!

Two CWA members - Dave Felice in Denver, CO and Madelyn Elder in Portland, OR have started the ball rolling. We just need to keep up the momentum leading up to a big day of petition deliveries.

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Hand Deliver a Letter to your Rep on Jobs

If your Representative is not currently a cosponsor of HR 1000 they may not completely understand how important full employment is to your community; click on your state at the bottom of this page to see all the cosponsors in your state. Nothing sends a stronger message to a Congressional member than a personal visit to a district office by a voter with a written request. Phone calls and emails are incredibly important but nothing gets attention like a personal visit. Our Educate Congress page has information and a sample letter. Print the letter, sign it, deliver it.

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Report on your TPP Contact

Please let us know your legislator's stance on Fast Track Authorization for the Trans Pacific Partnership as well as their stance on the TPP in General. Click here to report the response.

The Robin Hood Tax

Robin Hood Tax: John Nichols and Keith Ellison and Michael Lighty

Why The Robin Hood Tax

Rep. Jim McGovern on Protecting SNAP

Workers Speak Out on the TPP

PDA Labor Panel - Progressive Central III

Main Street NOT Wall Street

The Trans Pacific Partnership: Corporate Global Domination

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

Lori Wallach Leaked TPP Documents (Democracy NOW)

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of

Lori Wallach on Thom Hartmann (Great Minds) - The TPP

TPP Downloads

The following documents are available from the Oppose TPP Downloads Folder

June 29th TPP Powerpoint

CWA TPP Jobs Report

Endorse HR 1000

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