Posts Tagged Congress

Next Week in Corporate Congress: Energy Attack

Corporate States of America


Read this:  The following article found in CitizenVox, by Angela Bradbery, is well done and timely.  Not particularly because Congress is starting again next week, but instead because these actions to “undermine the public interest” happen at all and we allow it to happen.  Too many of us don’t seem to know this is how the game is played as multinational corporations and the super wealthy virtually own our governmental process.  Read the article and check out some of the embedded links for more details on what really goes on.


Amid the chaos of House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation, the Corporate Congress next week still will find time to undermine the public interest, with a particular emphasis on energy: At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee will pick apart President Barack Obama’s efforts to make our air cleaner. According to …

Source: Next Week in Corporate Congress: Energy Attack

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U.S. Says Welcome Back To The 19th Century

New Guilded Age


Read this:  Funny how rewarding it is to discover an article that travels over ideas that you thought privy to only your own thoughts.  Particularly, when those thoughts go beyond your own.  You start to feel part of something that is, maybe, a lot bigger than just you and you are on to something.  This article in The Daily KOS, by gjohnsit, did exactly that for me.  As I have watched, read and studied the right wing control of the U.S. government, slowly undoing social accomplishments that took decades to enact, I heard others talking about the “rolling back” of the New Deal.  But, although the specifics of the New Deal are probably the easiest to identify, what is happening seems to be bigger and more devastating.  As gjohnsit says in this article, there are “trends which show the 21st Century is going to look a lot more like the 19th Century than the 20th Century.”  The article focuses on these specific trends:  Big Labor, The Second Gilded Age, The New Asylums, Worse than Slavery, Return of the Debtor Prisons, The Return of Preventable Diseases and The Return of Monopolies.  The end goal becomes a “Return of Gilded Age Politics” which has “several distinct qualities: 1) blatant corruption, 2) excessive influence by corporations, and 3) neither political party distinguishing themselves from the other, especially in areas that involve significant reforms.”  It sure starts to sound familiar to me.  Click the link below for more details.


https://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/09/30/1242221/-The-Return-of-the-19th-Century?detail=emailclassic

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Abuse of Overtime Pay

 Labor - Overtime  Sign the petition:  Robert Reich is combining here with the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) on a change to the ceiling ($23,600 a year) beyond which corporations don’t have to pay their employees overtime.  This has trapped people into working excessive hours with no O/T compensation for years.  This has been an effective cost control mechanism for corporations but is a change that is way overdue.  Corporate CEOs and many other employees have continued to see their salaries increase exponentially.  But not those on the bottom.  Once again corporations are trying to dodge the bullet on this one, a popular tactic.  The proposed change is simple: “President Obama and the U.S. Department of Labor are proposing to raise the overtime threshold — what you can be paid and still qualify for ‘time-and-a-half’ beyond 40 hours per week — from $23,600 a year to $50,400. This is a BIG deal. Because of it, about 13 million workers will get a raise.”  To get this passed, however, we must defeat the “National Retail Federation …including Walmart” and that won’t be easy.  Help solidify fair labor practices and sign the petition.


http://www.epi.org/action/dont-delay-overtime-pay/

 

 

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Killing Environmental Actions Via Spending Bill Riders

Congress - Bill Killer


Sign the petition:  One of the most disgusting tools used by our congressional representatives is the policy rider that seeks to undo or block an unrelated bill by tying it to another popular bill, often a spending bill needed for some part of government to simply continue.  This is a favorite of the most cynical members of congress.  Environmental policy bills are a very popular target for this exact purpose.  Recently “the Senate Appropriations Committee has voted out the FY2016 environmental spending bill, S.1645—and it’s riddled with anti-environmental policy riders that seek to undo or block protections for clean air, clean water and wildlife. The Senate has not yet scheduled a date for floor votes on the bill.”  This article and petition by EARTHJUSTICE identifies many specific “draconian cuts to the budgets of the EPA and other agencies that the FY2016 environmental spending bill contains”.  Read and then please sign the petition asking “your senator to vote NO on the FY2016 environmental spending bill and keep anti-environmental riders out of budget and spending bills.”


https://secure.earthjustice.org/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=4F9C47AFF248F901D81E5D90D5F3F9F2.app338b?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1739&utm_source=crm&utm_content=Droughttitle

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So Do You Need Numbers On Minimum Wages

 Wages - Immoral Min Wages Wages - Inflation  Check this out:  This is a really cool tool related to any discussion on minimum wage in the USA.  The Economic Policy Institute has developed what they call the “Minimum Wage Tracker”.  As their recent email said “In the absence of congressional action, more and more states and localities have been stepping up to address wage stagnation and raise the pay of workers in their areas. See how your state stacks up.”  How about your state?  Also notice the difference related to “tipped wages”.  Play with this excellent tool and use it for your debates and discussions related to minimum wages.


http://www.epi.org/minimum-wage-tracker/

 

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Big Banks Required To Be A Little More Responsible

  Dodd-Frank

A Small Step

 Read this:  This Mother Jones article, by Kevin Drum, explains some good news on the financial front, particularly regarding the big banks.  Basically, “the Fed has finally announced new capital requirements for large, systemically important banks that could devastate the financial system if they failed.”  Don’t get too excited because it is very modest and definitely not enough.  It will be fought every step of the way.  Additionally, if we look the other way for too long, members of congress will be creating shadowy ways to undue anything they can.  These modest changes simply require the big banks to “increase capital requirements” relative to the risks it is taking.  “It also applies only to ordinary banks, not to the shadow banking sector—which, in retrospect, appears to have been at least as big a contributor to the financial collapse as conventional banks.”


http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/big-banks-get-their-new-marching-orders-fed

 

 

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Corporate Congress Targeting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Again

 Corporate States of America  Read this:  Beware of our corporate congress.  They never stop trying to protect us (their corporate citizens).  Their methods are diverse and creative but essentially they always come down to “stop anything and everything that might hinder corporate short term profits or support the social good”.  Do not bend, no matter the environmental, health, safety, social or ethical consequences.  In this article from Citizen Vox by Angela Bradbery gives a classic / scary example for 2015.  “Before going into August recess – possibly even next week – the House will vote on the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (S. 226 and H.R. 427). This bad bill would require all new economically significant regulations – in other words, the big-ticket public protections that provide the most health, safety, environmental and economic benefits – to be approved by both chambers of Congress before taking effect.”  Wow, that would essentially make, almost every governmental regulatory agency subject to approval of both houses of congress before doing their job.  “In effect, the reigning dysfunction in Congress would endanger any important new regulation, no matter how uncontroversial it might be.”  Read the entire article for a better understanding of this very, very bad bill.  Additionally, watch and make sure to vote against any member of our Corporate Congress who supports this bill.


http://www.citizenvox.org/2015/07/17/next-week-in-corporate-congress-popular-consumer-agency-under-fire/

 

 

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19 Democrats Voted to Weaken Environmental Oversight of the Nation’s Forests

 Environment - Protecting  Read this:  This article from the Daily KOS, by a group called “Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees”, identifies 19 Democrats who voted to weaken environmental oversight of our nation’s forests.  Recently “the House moved forward with another anti-environment bill: the so-called Resilient Federal Forests Act.”  This bill (H.R. 2647):

  • modifies federal forest management practices to increase timber production
  • could result in timber harvesting with limited environmental review
  • would discourage American citizens from holding their government accountable and ensuring the Nation’s federal forests are protected
  • also requires that 50 percent of Secure Rural Schools Act Title II funding be spent on timber management projects rather than stream and watershed protection or road maintenance as required under current law.
  • Lastly, the White House has issued a SAP stating that the Administration strongly opposes H.R. 2647.

Check to see if your congressional representative is on the list and if so call, write, email and let them know you want them to support the EPA not weaken it.  If needed, don’t support them further.


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/07/10/1400952/-Which-19-Democrats-Voted-to-Weaken-Environmental-Oversight-of-the-Nation-s-Forests?

 

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A Reasonable Legislative Procedural Change: You Amend It, You Own It

 Transparency Read this:  Occasionally we are reminded what a juvenile game politics really is.  This Mother Jones article By Kevin Drum discusses a favorite tactic.  Like children they often hide from what they do to avoid taking responsibility.  “Last week Wisconsin Republicans tried to sneak language into a budget bill that would have gutted the state’s open records law … Republicans have refused to disclose who inserted the language into the budget legislation”.  This doesn’t only happen at the state level either.  Drum’s proposal for legislative transparency is simple: “every change in every law has to be attributed to someone … no virgin birth here.”  Pretty simple huh?


http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/todays-proposal-legislative-transparency-you-amend-it-you-own-it

 

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Never Again – Too Big To Fail Is Too Big A Risk

 Banks - Big Banks  Sign the petition:  We are supporting several enormous banks that have been classified as “To Big To Fail”.  So what does that mean exactly?  According to an article in The Roosevelt Institute it is “The term for financial firms whose liabilities are implicitly guaranteed by all of us, free of charge.”  The part of this definition that should jump out at you is “free of charge”.  We bailed out these banks with little or no strings attached in 2009 and that was our bad.  As Bernie has said, “It’s time to break up the largest financial institutions in the country! If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist!”.  Congress should be making sure the American public is never asked to do this again.  Please join Bernie by urging congress to do what is right, “break up the big banks and restore power to the American people — not the wealthy.”


http://act.endcitizensunited.org/Too-Big-To-Fail

 

 

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