Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Not So Fast, Congress

Not So Fast, Congress

Instead of the plodding turtle he's normally satirized as, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is all cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof about Trade Promotion Authority, better known as Fast Track.

He said as Congress convened this month that he wants to fast track Fast Track. He intends to ’git ’er done so fast no one notices that with it, Republicans will provide, as McConnell put it, “an enormous grant of power. . .to a Democratic President.”

Fast Track is nothing more than Congress pulling a fast one on the American people. It’s a plan for lawmakers to abdicate their Constitutional responsibility to regulate international trade. With Fast Track, Congress shirks its duty to subject trade deals to lengthy line-by-line scrutiny, fulsome public hearings and amendment.

While gratifying Wall Street and multinational corporations, past Fast-Tracked trade deals have battered American workers as factories fled off shore, wages stagnated and layoffs multiplied. Fast Track is an outmoded strategy for indolent politicians. Workers in the 21st Century deserve in-depth deliberation over trade proposals to ensure jobs, the environment, food safety and national sovereignty are protected. Mitch needs to back track on Fast Track. 

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A Blue-Ribbon Panel’s Inequality Blindspot

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

The Commission on Inclusive Prosperity, a project of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for American Progress, has just released what journalists like to call a “blue-ribbon panel report.”

This commission certainly rates — by any standard — as “blue-ribbon.” The commissioners range from Larry Summers, a former treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, to current and former high-ranking treasury officials in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia.

Also serving on the panel: the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, assorted transatlantic business and labor leaders, two influential journalists, and various top-flight academic analysts.

A distinguished collection, in other words, of public policy heavyweights. But not a random collection. Most of the Commission’s panelists appear to circle in the Bill and Hillary Clinton orbit. The report they’ve produced, a New York Times analysis observes, amounts to “the first draft” of an agenda for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

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Why Elizabeth Warren Strikes Such a Chord

Mike Lux Co-founder , Democracy Partners

Why Elizabeth Warren Strikes Such a Chord

It seems like just about everyone these days is talking about Elizabeth Warren. I saw Jay Leno -not a very political guy or especially progressive- the other day on Bill Maher's show, talking about how shocked he was that Elizabeth Warren was only 18 months younger than Hilary because of how vital and energetic she seemed. A focus group of swing voters, who traditionally don't follow politics very closely, in Colorado a couple of weeks back were disdainful of the politicians they had heard of like Jeb Bush and Hillary who were likely running for president, but loved what they were hearing about Elizabeth Warren. The Sunday "Doonesbury" this weekend was a plea to "run, Lizzie, run" because "she hears the voices no one else hears". The Washington Post print addition on Sunday had a front page article whose headline asked "What does Elizabeth Warren want?"

Why is a first-term Senator in the minority party, a wonky college professor who had never held elective office before 2013, a woman who insists to everyone who asks that she is not running for president, striking such a chord in American politics right now? Why are hundreds of thousands of people and some of the biggest organizations in American politics begging her to run for president despite her apparent lack of interest? Where did she get the political power to stop the president's political nominations and almost bring down budget bills that seemed destined for easy bi-partisan passage? Why is the media obsessed with her?

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Get Ready for TPP

100 Years Old Today: The Story Behind ‘Solidarity Forever’

Jonathan Rosenblum

Jonathan Rosenblum

On a windblown, gray Chicago day exactly 100 years ago today, Ralph Chaplin left his home on the city’s South Side for a raucous poor people’s rally at Hull House, the famed settlement house co-founded by Jane Addams. He asked a visiting friend he'd met organizing coal miners with Mother Jones to listen to the lyrics of a new tune he had been working on:

“Solidarity Forever,

Solidarity Forever,

Solidarity Forever,

For the union makes us strong!”

The self-described Chicago “stiff” and “rebel editor” merely wanted to write a song that could be for workers what “John Brown's Body” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic” were for abolitionists. In fact, he borrowed the very melody.

One hundred years later, despite the rise and precipitous fall of workers’ movements in the U.S., Chaplin's song is a classic still widely sung with fists raised and demands for justice submitted. It's an international and national anthem, regularly belted out by “Occupy” and sung every weekday by crowds from 20 to 100 protesters at the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda.

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Because Republicans Hate Science (Think Climate Change) and Can't Do Math

Because Republicans Hate Science (Think Climate Change) and Can't Do Math

Union Matters

ALEC, Meet SiX

After the recent midterm elections, Politico reported on what it dubbed an ALEC-killer.

According to Nick Rathod, a Democratic operative, Progressives are looking around to figure out where to go to push back, and there has not been a vehicle to do that at the state level…. 

For that reason, Rathod started, and has been tapped to run, SiX, the State Innovation Exchange.  SiX is intended to be a competitor with ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.  ALEC is an organization that has for years promoted and even written pro-business, anti-regulation legislation in a plethora of states.

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