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The New Book, Nation On The Take, Shows The Real Corruption In Washington

The New Book Show Just How Corrupt Washington Has Become, How Corporations Are Fleecing American Taxpayers, And What We Must Do To Take Our Democracy Back.

Our system of government has been corrupted by money. This corruption goes much deeper than just funneling millions of dollars into election campaigns from Super PACs and billionaires like the Koch Brothers.

A new book, “Nation on the Take,” takes an in-depth look at how big money has stolen our democracy.

The real corruption lies in how legislation gets tanked or amended by Congressmen at the will of the corporations.

nation-on-the-take-issue-oneThis could be something as simple as, naming a specific manufacturer in the proposed legislation, thereby guaranteeing that all the money from the government contract goes directly to them.

Or, it could be something much larger.

Lobbyists convinced Congress (with campaign donations) to include language in the Affordable Care Act that would prevent Medicare from negotiating prescription drug prices. This small amendment to the ACA allows Big Parma to continue to price gouge the American taxpayer for years to come.

In 2013, the U.S. paid “40% more than Canada” on prescription drugs and “twice as much as many European countries including France and Germany.”

Healthcare is not area of the government that lobbyist have bought and paid for legislation to protect their profits or steamroll the American people.

Wendell Patter and Nick Penniman, the authors of Nation on the Take, show examples ranging from Wall Street reform, climate change, and EPA health regulations.

“This marriage of great wealth and political influence has strangled the political process, leaving us unable to address our most pressing problems as a nation, from climate change to the wealth gap. It defines the terms of our daily concerns: from the cars we drive to the air we breathe, even to the bodies we occupy.”

Just when you have read enough to take the book and toss it across the room in disgust, Patter & Penniman sweep in with solutions on how we can take our government back.

Republicans, Democrats, and Independents all agree that our government has been hijacked by Big Money and it is time for us to take it back. It is not going to be easy but nothing worth doing is ever easy. It will take time and dedication if we want to take back our democracy.

 

You can read an excerpt and pick up, Nation on the Take: How big money corrupts our democracy,  by going here.

 

Trump’s NAFTA Baloney

trump-lies-720By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Either Donald Trump is flat fibbing about the North American Free Trade Agreement or he’s clueless about the deal unions say has cost thousands of American jobs.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee wants voters—especially working stiffs–to believe he’ll ditch the trade deal when he’s president.

Trump is short on specifics about how he’d put the kibosh on NAFTA. So let’s get specific.

A President Trump couldn’t repeal NAFTA by himself. Only Congress could. So is Trump just trying to dupe John and Jane Q Citizen into voting for him, or does he really not know how government works?

Either way, the odds of getting rid of NAFTA—or successfully renegotiating the trade pact—would be better under Hillary Clinton, Trump’s almost certain Democratic foe–or Bernie Sanders should he somehow edge Clinton at the finish line.

First some background: Republican President George H.W. Bush finished completing the deal with Canada and Mexico about three months before the 1992 presidential election. Bush was seeking a second term, but he lost to Democrat Bill Clinton.

The spouse of this year’s all-but-certain Democratic presidential nominee, Clinton got behind NAFTA. In 1993, Congress passed the trade deal, and he signed it.

The Democrats enjoyed majorities in the House and Senate, but the Republicans got the NAFTA bill passed. Most Democrats voted against it. The House endorsed NAFTA 234-200; the Senate 61-38.

In the House, 156 Democrats voted “nay” and 102 voted “yea.” Republicans favored the NAFTA bill 132-43. (The naysayers included an independent Vermont congressman named Sanders.)

The Senate split similarly: 28 Democrats opposed the legislation, and 27 were for it. Republicans favored NAFTA 34-10.

Okay, back to the present, where the GOP controls both houses of Congress. Most House and Senate Republicans still favor trade pacts like NAFTA, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which unions also vehemently reject. 

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, favors the TPP, which he says will really create more jobs. Most Democratic lawmakers side with unions and against the president.

Here’s the bottom line: If Trump is elected president, the GOP will almost certainly retain its majorities in both chambers, if not boost them. So the chance of NAFTA’s demise with a Trump presidency is virtually zero.

On the other hand, if Clinton or Sanders wins, the Democrats are apt to increase their House and Senate numbers. If the she or he wins big, the Democrats might take back the Senate and the House—or at least significantly whittle down the GOP’s margin the lower chamber.

The TPP would be toast, and NAFTA would be in big trouble.

Admittedly, Hillary Clinton backed NAFTA when the Big Dog was president. She has since changed her mind.

“Hillary has said for almost a decade that we need to renegotiate NAFTA, and she still believes that today,” maintains a Clinton campaign online Factsheet. “And she would review all of our trade agreements with the same scrutiny.”

The Factsheet also declares that Clinton would “say ‘no’ to new trade agreements that don’t meet her high bar – including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Hillary will hit pause and say ‘no’ to new trade agreements unless they create American jobs, raise wages, and improve our national security. After looking at the final terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, including what it contains on currency manipulation and its weak rules of origin standard for what counts as a car that can get treaty benefits, she opposed the agreement because it did not meet her test. And she will hold every future trade agreement to the same high standard.”

Trump, too has changed his tune. Before he ran for president, he was fine with outsourcing. While he never tires of trashing U.S. companies that ship jobs and production abroad, he’s a big-time outsourcer himself.

Trump flip-flops almost every time he opens his mouth, but he’s shown uncharacteristic consistency on unions. He’s anti-union.

He says he prefers “right to work” states to non-RTW states. Both Clinton and Sanders are staunchly anti-RTW.

While Trump insists union members love him, he’s determined to keep his hotel workers in Las Vegas from having a union. Clinton and Sanders support workers’ right to unionize.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called Trump “a bigot. From his anti-American proposal to ban Muslims to his horrendous comments about women and immigrants, Trump is running on hate. It seems the only group he won’t criticize is the KKK.”

Added Trumka, a former president of the United Mine Workers of America: “Those statements and positions are bad enough. But what’s getting less attention is how Donald Trump really feels about working people…

“First, Trump loves right to work. He said it is “better for the people” and his position is ‘100 percent.’ Meanwhile, he is fighting tooth and nail against workers at his hotel in Las Vegas.

“Second, Trump was a major financial backer of Scott Walker and says he admired the way Walker took on public unions in Wisconsin.

“Finally, and most disturbingly, Trump says our wages are already too high. Can you believe that? Trump is advocating the polar opposite of our raising wages agenda.

You see, Trump says he’s with the American working class, but when you look close, it’s just hot air.”

Postal Workers Take Case To Save USPS To The Nation’s Largest Stamp Collection Trade Show

You’ve Got Mail Today, Will You Have it Tomorrow? 

Postal Workers, Supporters Urge 250,000 Stamp Collectors At NYC Trade Show to Join Campaign to Support USPS 

NEW YORK – The mail always seems to get through somehow, but how do you get a crucial message about mail through to the public?

Start with the world’s largest stamp show.

Members of the American Postal Workers will reach out to stamp collectors at the upcoming World Stamp Show in New York City this week to issue a warning: The future of the public Postal Service is threatened by a congressionally-manufactured financial crisis and efforts to privatize the 240-year old national treasure.

“We can’t wait to talk with stamp collectors, who understand as well as anyone how a strong Postal Service connects our country,” said Dennis O’Neil, a retired postal employee. “They can be a key constituency in efforts to protect our public Post Office.”

More than 250,000 people are expected to attend the eight-day World Stamp Show, which begins on Sat., May 28, and runs through Sat., June 4, at the Jacob Javits Center at 655 W. 34th St. in New York City. The show is held in the U.S. once every 10 years.

For the first time, the American Postal Workers Union – with more than 200,000 members at the heart of the world’s largest postal system – will have an official presence at the show. APWU members will distribute informational handouts and souvenir items, joined by supporters of an advocacy group, A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service.

The Grand Alliance includes more than 130 national and local senior advocacy coalitions, civil rights organizations, labor unions, environmental groups, and other groups concerned about the future of the U.S. Postal Service.

Priorities of the Grand Alliance include:

·      Standing up for postal standards, including door-to-door mail delivery six days a week.  USPS management is currently pursuing a failed and self-defeating strategy of downsizing and service cuts, including a nationwide downgrade of delivery standards in 2015.

·      Restore standards to July 2012 levels: According to news accounts, the USPS is not even meeting its own lower standards, with late mail having a significant impact on small businesses, senior citizens, consumers awaiting mail-order medicines, and other postal patrons.

·      Addressing a costly, inappropriate retiree health benefits pre-funding mandate, which will solve a manufactured “financial crisis” at USPS; A 2006 law created an artificial financial burden for the Postal Service with an unreasonable requirement to pay in advance for retiree health benefits. This mandate, which costs billions each year, does not exist for any other public agency or private company.

·      Adoption of a permanent moratorium on plant closings and consolidations.  Postal management can save money and enhance productivity and efficiency by using existing personnel and resources, instead of continuing to outsource key functions – including its retail operations – to for-profit companies like Staples, which are not accountable to the people.

·      Expanded services – including longer office hours, enhanced package delivery, low-cost digital access and postal banking.

·      A full and functioning Postal Board of Governors, acting as champions of the public postal service:  At present, there is only one confirmed member of the Board; eight seats remain to be filled.

“We’re at a pivotal point,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “We can allow privatizers to destroy our beloved U.S. Postal Service and leave millions of businesses and residents with second-class service – or none at all – or we can boost service, expand hours, take advantage of the booming ecommerce sector, and offer new services, such as postal banking.  

“We believe the public, starting with these stamp collectors, will favor a stronger USPS.”

The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 employees of the United States Postal Service, and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. For more information on APWU, visit www.apwu.org.

Why Is Sen. Ayotte Holding the Vacant Supreme Court Seat For Donald Trump to Fill?

By Lindsay Jakows

Lindsay Jakows

Lindsay Jakows

Soon after Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Sen. Kelly Ayotte said that she will support him in the general election. Since Sen. Ayotte has repeatedly indicated her opposition to providing fair consideration to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, she has now made clear that her position is that the Supreme Court vacancy should be left open until a President Trump can fill it. I find this to be deeply troubling.

Our judicial system is meant to be above partisan politics, and our Founders laid out a clear process for filling Supreme Court vacancies when they occur. Article II of the Constitution is straightforward about the duties of both the president and the Senate: the president nominates a judge and senators provide “advice and consent.” There is no asterisk in the Constitution to say this does not happen during the final year of a presidency. There is no asterisk saying this does not happen when the Senate is controlled by a different political party than the president and the majority leader prefers for his party to do the nominating. That is simply not how the system works, and for good reason. 

Senate Republicans’ insistence on casting aside a well-established, Constitutional process is threatening the functioning of our democracy and the promise of an impartial judiciary — a fact that should be concerning to all of us. 

Nonetheless, Republican senators, including Sen. Ayotte, are doing just that, blocking the fair consideration of a nominee who is universally known to be even-tempered, hardworking, eminently qualified, and committed to the unbiased interpretation of our laws. Chief Judge Merrick Garland has more federal judicial experience than any prior Supreme Court nominee. He has gained the admiration of people across the political spectrum, including Republican senators like Orrin Hatch who once called Garland “a consensus nominee.” Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, a former colleague of Garland’s on the D.C. Circuit, once said that whenever Judge Garland disagrees with you, “you know you’re in a difficult area.” Former Solicitors General from Democratic and Republican administrations alike, spanning the ideological spectrum, agree that Judge Garland is “superbly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.” 

This is the judge President Obama has put forward: a moderate and exceptionally qualified nominee. On the other hand, if Donald Trump were to be elected, he would be the one making nominations, which is a truly frightening prospect. Trump’s proposals can be described as erratic and dangerous, at best. This is a candidate who has advocated killing the family members of terrorists, despite the Geneva Convention; supports a “total and complete” ban on Muslim people coming into the country; wants to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants by force; and has pledged to “open up” libel laws in order to attack news organizations. The list he released recently of his potential Supreme Court picks only underscores just how dangerous it would be for Donald Trump to be the person nominating our high court’s justices. 

It also makes it all the more distressing that our state’s senator has taken a stance against giving Judge Garland fair consideration, instead working to hold the seat open for our next president, who she hopes will be Trump. 

I believe Americans deserve better than this. Without a fully-staffed Supreme Court, the justices will likely continue to deadlock in 4-4 split votes, leaving important legal questions unresolved. Creating a precedent of unnecessarily obstructing Supreme Court nominees is harmful for both the Court itself and for Americans who should be able to rely on a working democracy. Sen. Ayotte should fight for a fully-functioning judiciary, not attempt to delay filling the Supreme Court vacancy so that a President Trump can do so.

Lindsay Jakows is the New Hampshire Campaign Organizer with People For the American Way.

Governor Hassan And NH DOT Accept Federal Transportation Infrastructure Funds

$200 Million Agreement will Allow New Hampshire to Complete I-93, Fix 23 Red List Bridges, Pave Nearly 1,100 Additional Miles of State Roads

CONCORD – Continuing her efforts to build a stronger, more modern transportation infrastructure that will help New Hampshire’s people and businesses grow and thrive, Governor Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) Commissioner Victoria Sheehan accepted $200 million in federal funds from a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan from the United States Department of Transportation at an event today overlooking an Interstate 93 construction project. 

The long-term, low interest federal loan – which is backed by the bipartisan transportation funding plan that Governor Hassan signed in 2014, Senate Bill 367 – will allow the State to complete the remaining construction of Interstate 93, fix 23 Red List bridges across the state and pave nearly 1,100 additional miles of State roads.

“A solid, modern transportation infrastructure is critical to the success of our people and businesses, and this loan agreement with the federal government will build on our bipartisan progress over the last three years by allowing us to complete the expansion of Interstate 93, fix nearly two dozen Red List bridges across the state and pave approximately 1,100 additional miles,” Governor Hassan said.

Because the additional paving will help NHDOT pave approximately 40 percent of the State’s rural roads, New Hampshire qualified for the rural interest rate on the TIFIA loan, which is one half of the Treasury rate or 1.09 percent. During the first nine years of the TIFIA loan, NHDOT will pay only interest, saving approximately $20 million in taxpayer funds as opposed to financing through capital markets, which will allow NHDOT to invest the majority of the revenue from Senate Bill 367 in other parts of the state. 

“This is a fiscally responsible, low-interest loan agreement that will save New Hampshire taxpayers $20 million while also allowing us to reinvest in critical road and bridge projects in every corner of the state,” Governor Hassan said. “I want to thank Commissioner Sheehan and our hard-working employees at the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, as well as our Congressional delegation and the Executive Council for their efforts to make this agreement possible.” 

“In transportation many times the expansion of major facilities comes at the expense of investing in existing infrastructure”, said NHDOT Commissioner Sheehan.  “TIFIA is allowing us to do both.  Due to the low interest rate and structure of the debt service, this loan will allow us to complete I-93, replace nearly two dozen ‘Red List’ bridges and pave over 1,100 miles across New Hampshire.  We are the first state to use TIFIA in this manner, with the 1.09 percent interest rate resulting in approximately $20 million in financing savings.”

The 23 Red List bridges that will be fixed through this agreement are in communities across the state, such as: Tamworth, Acworth, Conway, Ossipee, Lancaster, Allenstown, Troy, Warner, Shelburne, Pelham, Claremont, Deerfield, Swanzey, Nottingham, Thornton, Woodstock, Littleton, New Boston and Marlow. 

“Safe, reliable transportation infrastructure is critical to the economic well-being of the Granite State,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “Many of our citizens, communities and businesses rely on Interstate 93 and on rural roads and bridges, and it’s our job as elected officials to ensure they are maintained. I’m glad to see that years of hard work will benefit the reconstruction of I-93, a critical thoroughfare for our state, and allow us to direct funds towards our rural roads and bridges in need of repair. This will have a lasting impact for New Hampshire.”

“A robust and well maintained transportation network is essential to the health, safety and economic well-being of the Granite State,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster, who worked for nearly two years to ensure these federal funds for New Hampshire.  “From the completion of the I-93 expansion project to the restoration of rural roads and bridges, these TIFIA funds will have a deep impact all across the state for years to come.  I am proud to have worked from the start with the N.H. Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and Governor Hassan to bring the TIFIA program to New Hampshire, and I look forward to continuing our work together in support of our transportation system and the Granite State economy.”  

Powerful New Coalition Aims To Advance Bold Wall Street Reform Agenda

Labor organizations and community groups representing 25 million Americans unite behind tough agenda: closing Wall Street tax loopholes, making banks smaller and simpler, curbing predatory lending, and more 

Senator Elizabeth Warren (image by Ninian Reid FLIKR)

Senator Elizabeth Warren (image by Ninian Reid FLIKR)

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today headlined an event in Washington, DC, where membership organizations, policy experts and elected leaders launched a new campaign for bold reforms to overhaul the country’s broken financial system. The Take on Wall Street coalition represents approximately 25 million Americans, including members of labor organizations like the AFL-CIO, AFT and CWA; grassroots community organizing networks like People’s Action and the Center for Popular Democracy; and others, including faith based organizations, MoveOn.org and the Working Families Party.  

As the 2016 campaign season has demonstrated, Americans across the political spectrum remain angry and frustrated with Wall Street and the Big Banks, which they see as both drivers and beneficiaries of a rigged system.  Wall Street billionaires continue to rake in outrageous profits through business practices that hurt working families—families that are still struggling to recover from the crisis Wall Street greed and recklessness precipitated eight years ago. Poll after poll demonstrates that most Americans strongly favor financial reform to support a fair economy.  

The Take on Wall Street campaign will advance a set of ambitious policy goals for a more equitable and inclusive economy.  The coalition members aim to convert the anger about Wall Street’s growing political and economic dominance into concrete, bold and lasting legislative gains at the state, local, and federal levels. 

“Hardworking men and women across the country want a fighting chance to build a real future for themselves and for their children,” Senator Elizabeth Warren said. “I’m glad to stand alongside the Take on Wall Street coalition to push for changes to make our financial markets safer and to create an economy that works for all our families. These are tough fights, but I know that if we get out there and stand together, we can win.” 

At the launch event, Take on Wall Street unveiled a five-point agenda to rebalance the economy so it is no longer rigged against working Americans: 

1.    Close the carried interest loophole which permits private equity and hedge fund managers pay a lower tax rate than most working Americans.

2.    Introduce a Wall Street speculation tax on sales of derivatives, stocks, bonds, and other financial products that would raise billions of dollars, bring banks closer to paying their fair of taxes, and stop some forms of destructive high-frequency trading outright.

3.    Make banks simpler, smaller and safer. End ‘too big to fail,’ and reinstitute the Glass Stegall separation between commercial and investment banks.

4.    Close the CEO bonus loophole, which permits corporations to pay less in taxes the more they pay their executives.

5.    End Predatory Lending and expand access to fair safe financial services by supporting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and expanding access to fair and equitable banking through Postal Banking. 

This is a rare moment in history to achieve fundamental change. This campaign is about rewriting the economic rules. The proposals at the heart of this campaign will drastically improve the way financial services function and mean more money in the pockets of working families, and hundreds of billions of dollars to boost our economy,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. 

“Finance has become the master of the economy, rather than a tool to serve it. And the outsized influence of the financial industry defends and extends rules that reward the already extremely wealthy but leave everyone else behind,” said Lisa Donner, Executive Director of Americans for Financial Reform, a broad-based coalition that was formed to work for financial reform and create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “This campaign is about moving people into action to demand change that will unrig the game and build a financial system that works for working people.” 

“Predatory lenders and tax-avoiding corporations work in concert to extract wealth from my community, leaving my customers, the lifeblood of my business, trapped in a perpetual cycle of debt and absorbing a larger share of our mutual tax responsibility. We must usher in a set of rules that reins in predatory lending, holds corporations accountable to pay their fair share in taxes, and returns the wealth of communities to the hands of local consumers,” said David Borris, owner of Hel’s Kitchen Catering in Chicago and member of the Main Street Alliance Executive Committee.   

In coming weeks, the campaign will host a tele-town hall with leading champions of reform, and launch a wave of direct actions and media events to call attention to some of the worst Wall Street practices that call out for reform, with particular emphasis on closing the carried interest loophole, which campaign leaders describe as a particularly glaring example of the corrupting influence of Wall Street campaign and lobbying dollars.  

Campaign partner organizations say that they will continue to press elected officials, regulators, and candidates at all levels of government throughout the summer and into the fall. The coalition will focus on naming the executives, legislators, and big banks and financial companies who continue to put our economy in jeopardy – while also shining a light on those champions who are taking action to make Wall Street accountable to working families.  

Current partners in the campaign include:  

  • AFL-CIO
  • Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action
  • American Family Voices
  • American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • American Postal Workers Union
  • Americans Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO
  • Americans for Financial Reform
  • Campaign for America’s Future
  • Catholic Alliance for the Common Good
  • Center for Popular Democracy
  • Citizen Action NY
  • Communications Workers of America
  • Consumer Action
  • Courage Campaign
  • Daily Kos
  • Democracy for America
  • Economic Policy Institute
  • Friends of the Earth
  • HedgeClippers
  • Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project
  • International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
  • The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • Media Voices for Children
  • MoveOn
  • National Education Association
  • NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
  • NYC Communities for Change
  • The Other 98%
  • People for the American Way
  • People’s Action Institute
  • Presente
  • Public Citizen
  • Rootsaction
  • Service Employees International Union
  • Strong Economy for All Coalition
  • The Nation
  • The Rootstrikers at Demand Progress
  • UNITE-HERE
  • Working America
  • Working Families Party

Donald Trump Is Nothing More Than An Old Kentucky Mule Trader

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

hypocrisy-thy-name-donald-trump-donald-trump-hypocrisy-china-politics-1457579539You’re at the bargaining table.

The lead management negotiator slides over a piece of paper. “You’re going to love what I’m proposing,” the guy says.

“Honest. It’s so good you don’t even have to check it out. Don’t read it. Just trust me. You know I want to do right by my workers.”

What’s that you say? “That dog won’t hunt?” (Or you might use a two-word phrase that connects an uncastrated male bovine and what he plops in the pasture.)

Well, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is shooting unions the same “trust me” line.

Where to start? How about Trump’s oft-repeated promise to stop outsourcing, which he had no problem with before he ran for president. Oh, yeah, he’s a big-time outsourcer himself. Click hereherehere and here.

Trump says he’d make American firms quit sending jobs and production to cheap labor countries by smacking them with hefty tariffs, or import taxes. He’s proposed a 45 percent tariff  on goods imported from China and a 35 percent tariff on Ford cars and parts made in Mexico and sold stateside.

Here’s the problem: A president can’t impose any federal tax. Only Congress can. (Remember “No taxation without representation” from history class?)

The odds of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan going for an import tax—or any tax hike—aren’t even slim and none. They’re none and none.

If Trump wins, the Republicans will almost certainly hold the House and Senate and, more likely, enhance their majorities in both chambers.

I’d bet the farm Trump realizes a president can’t levy a tax. So he’s free to bloviate about sticking up for American workers by sticking it to outsources with punitive tariffs knowing there’s no way he can do it by himself and no way a GOP Congress would pass them.

But he’s counting on working stiffs, especially those who’ve lost their good union jobs to outsourcing, to trust him and to swallow his sucker bait, hook, line and sinker.

Oh, Donald Trump brand suits andt ties are made in China.  Does anybody think he really wants a tax that would hit hit him hard in the wallet?

Anyway, Trump also says union members love him. Never mind that he’s fighting, tooth and nail, to keep his Las Vegas hotel workers from unionizing. Forget that Trump prefers “right to work” states to non-RTW states.

Boosting the minimum wage? Trump was against it. Now he wants to “let the states decide” whether to raise it. Here, the guy who claims to be a straight shooter is passing the buck, big time.

Trump is a lot like the Kentucky mule trader of old. He’s happy to show his teeth, but not the mule’s.

Vast Differences Between Republicans And Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates On Raising The Minimum Wage

Republican Candidates For Governor Of New Hampshire, Reject Overwhelming Voter Support For Raising The Minimum Wage.

Whether or not to raise the minimum wage in New Hampshire will undoubtedly be one of the biggest issues in this year’s Gubernatorial race. Large majorities of both, Republicans and Democrats, support raising the minimum wage. However as we have routinely seen in the New Hampshire Legislature, the elected representatives have made raising the minimum wage a completely partisan issue.

On Thursday, WMUR reported that all of the Republican candidates for governor—Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, State Senator Jeanie Forrester and State Representative Frank Edelblut—oppose the establishment of a state minimum wage, despite the fact New Hampshire is tied for the lowest minimum wage in the country at $7.25-an-hour.

“State Sen. Jeanie Forrester said clearly during her economic rollout news conference on Monday that she opposes the establishment of a state minimum wage,” wrote John DiStaso.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas “does not believe in increasing the minimum wage nor establishing a state wage,” spokeswoman Alicia Preston told WMUR. Gatsas voted against raising the minimum wage when he was a State Senator in 2007.

State Representative Frank Edelblut “opposes raising the minimum wage and voted against establishing a state minimum wage in the current legislative session,” added DiStaso.

Executive Councilor Chris Sununu is attempting to play both sides.

“I oppose establishing a state minimum wage. I am open to a responsible increase in the federal minimum wage, provided there is a strong economic and moral case for it,” Sununu told WMUR.

Given the current political environment in Washington against raising the minimum wage, Sununu can safely say that he is “open” to an increase at the federal level knowing it will probably not happen anytime soon.

“The Republican candidates’ steadfast opposition to establishing a minimum wage highlights how vastly out-of-touch they are with New Hampshire’s working families,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “Everyday Granite Staters are hurting, but Republicans continue to stick with the failed trickle-down economic policies of the past. It’s clear the GOP primary is deteriorating into a race to see who can run the farthest to the right, and they’re all tied.”

The Democratic candidates for governor—Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, former State Securities Bureau Chief Mark Connolly and former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand—all support establishing a state minimum wage.

“New Hampshire has the lowest minimum wage in the country. As governor, I’ll fight to establish a state minimum wage that rewards hard work and grows our economy,” said Executive Councilor, Colin Van Ostern.

“A full-time employee making the federal minimum wage earns just over $15,000 a year—it’s simply not enough. I strongly support establishing a state minimum wage in New Hampshire, because every Granite Stater deserves to be paid a fair, living wage for their hard work,” said Mark Connolly.

minimum wageAcross the board, 76% of Granite Staters surveyed supported raising the minimum wage. Even more astounding is that 59% of New Hampshire Republicans surveyed said they would support current proposals to raise the New Hampshire minimum wage.

Raising the minimum wage is not a partisan issue nationally or here in New Hampshire. Nationally, 63% of those surveyed support a $15 minimum wage by 2020, and 71% support the elimination of the tipped minimum wage.

Research from the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute shows that just increasing the state’s Minimum Wage to $9 an hour would benefit over 76,000 people. That money would almost immediately be pushed right back into our local economies as low-wage workers spend almost everything they bring home in their paycheck.

“No matter who wins the primaries, voters will have a clear choice this November between a Republican who opposes raising the minimum wage and a Democrat who supports it,” Buckley added.

Roger Tilton To Run For New Hampshire Senate To Unseat Senator Gary Daniels

RHT MainWe have just learned that Roger Tilton of Milford will be announcing his candidacy for New Hampshire Senate, District 11 (Milford, Merrimack, Amherst and Wilton) on June 10th.

Currently, the District 11 Senate seat is held by, Gary Daniels, who is no friend to labor. From his time as chair of the Labor Committee in the NH House and now in the Senate Daniels has repeated voted against raising the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage would lift the wages of over fifty thousand hard working Granite Staters.

Daniels also co-sponsored SB 107, which would have prohibited “collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union,” the official description of his so-called Right to Work bill.

Tilton has been a long time supporter of organized labor including a stint as a union organizer. Tilton helped AFTRA organize production workers at KING5, Seattle’s NBC affiliate in the late 80’s. As a former union organizer, Tilton understands the true power unions and collective bargaining.

“The past 40 years have not produced fair gains for the people who put the economy in motion, and without taking steps in the other direction we will not change anything. I know first-hand the immediate and long-term beneficial impact that organizing workers has on their working conditions and standards of living. I will support both those who have organized, and those who need help in doing so,” said Tilton in a recent interview.

Tilton said he opposes so-called Right to Work legislation and any other attacks on workers rights to form unions and collectively bargain.

“So-called ‘right to work’ legislation has been shown to reduce wages, decrease worker safety and protection, and slow regional economic development. ‘Right to Work’ makes sense for big businesses taking big profits out of the local area, but it makes no sense for the people in towns like Wilton, Milford, Amherst, or Merrimack,” added Tilton.

Tilton also plans to announce his own legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour in 2017, with a goal of $15 by 2021.

“Since 1938 the federal minimum wage has been increased 22 times, and our economy has never suffered because of it. Keeping New Hampshire’s minimum wage down has reduced consumer demand, which keeps local businesses from growing. We need a $10 per hour minimum wage right now, and increases to $15 an hour in reasonably short-order,” Tilton explained.

Sen. Daniels has also been a long time supporter of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, which has come under serious scrutiny over the last few years. Daniels was first selected as the NH Co-Chair when he was a State Rep a number of years ago and continues to be a NH Co-Chair as a State Senator.

ALEC is well known for allowing corporate sponsors to supply legislators with lavish gifts and vacation getaways and in return the legislator introduces model legislation in their home state that benefits the corporate sponsors.

In 2013, leaked documents showed that corporate special interest lobbying group ALEC asked state chairs, including New Hampshire State Rep Gary Daniels, to sign a pledge stating: “I will act with loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.”

“It is unbelievable that these politicians participate in an organization that asks them to pledge allegiance to corporate special interests over their constituents,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress who first reported on the ALEC pledge in 2013.

“We are being invaded and undermined by big corporate money. ALEC is buying elections in exchange for candidates’ pledges to put outsiders’ interests ahead of the locals. Gary Daniels took that pledge, and we must stop him from selling out New Hampshire,” added Tilton.

In this current legislative session Sen. Daniels introduced legislation interfering with a woman reproductive rights, including repealing NH’s “buffer zone” law around reproductive health care facilities.

Daniels also sponsored legislation to require specific licensing of outpatient facilities that provide abortion services. Other states have used similar legislation to “trap” women’s health clinics and force them to shut down, taking away a woman’s legal right to a safe abortion.

Tilton disagrees with Daniels when it comes to women’s reproductive rights.

“I believe in a woman’s right to make her own reproductive healthcare decisions,” said Tilton. “Senator Daniels sponsored multiple pieces of legislation attacking a woman’s right to choose and attacking women’s healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood, which provides thousands of women with quality healthcare options at little to no cost.”

Tilton will officially announce his candidacy for District 11’s Senate seat on June 10th.

As a Merrimack resident, I look forward to his candidacy and look forward to Tilton tossing Daniels out of office.

Tilton Sign 2014


P.S. Tilton is also a huge proponent of legalizing cannabis in New Hampshire like they did in Washington and Colorado. He believes this could be a strong revenue source for the state.

Granite Stater Among A Dozen Young Leaders In Washington Calling On Senate To “Do Your Job”

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Young Leaders Join Members of Congress to tell Senators: #DoYourJob

Yesterday, national youth-led and youth-serving organizations released an open letter to U.S. Senators calling for fair consideration for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

At the press conference releasing the letter today at the Supreme Court, young leaders from across the country joined members of Congress and discussed why Senator Chuck Grassley, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, needs to do his job and schedule hearings and a vote for Judge Garland instead of engaging in unprecedented partisan obstruction. Speakers also shared what’s at stake for young people in the Supreme Court vacancy fight.

“It’s energizing to see so many young leaders at the front of the growing chorus of voices urging Senate leaders to do their job and provide a fair process for the consideration of Chief Judge Merrick Garland,” said Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). “The decisions made at the Supreme Court don’t just impact us today, they impact generations to come. That’s why it’s so important that the Senate do its constitutional duty to provide advice and consent by giving Merrick Garland a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote.”

“It’s been more than three months now since a vacancy opened on the U.S. Supreme Court, and during that time, we’ve seen a whole lot of partisan bickering, obstructionism, and political maneuvering,” said Senator Al Franken (D-MN). “But you know what we haven’t seen: Senate Republicans doing their job as outlined by the Constitution. The President has fulfilled his duty by nominating Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the highest court in the land, and now, it’s the responsibility of us—the Senate—to fulfill our duty as well. That means we need Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, and ultimately, an up or down vote on Judge Garland’s confirmation. I was pleased to join these young American leaders today to remind Senate Republicans that it’s time to take off their political blinders. This is far too important to ignore.”

“As a member of Congress who was elected to do my job, I take my constitutional duty seriously,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego. “Senate leadership should stop their obstructionism and take their duties seriously, too. A lengthy Supreme Court vacancy can have severe and lasting consequences. It’s time for the Senate to do their jobs and give Judge Garland a fair hearing and a timely vote.”

“This Supreme Court vacancy is critically important for all Americans, but especially for Latinos living in the United States,” said Rep. Linda Sánchez. “We are an especially young community with more than 14 million millennials. So our message is simple: The President has done his job, now it is time for Republican Senators to do their job.”

Oscar R. Cornejo a junior at Dartmouth College studying Sociology and Native American Studies, was one of the many young leaders who traveled to Washington to urge the Senate to “Do Your Job.”

As an undocumented student from Mexico, Oscar co-founded Dartmouth’s first immigrant rights organization, advocating and raising awareness of the undocumented immigrant voice. During his three years at Dartmouth, Oscar has united campus stakeholders to cultivate inclusivity and access to undocumented students, organized the 2015 Collegiate Alliance for Immigration Reform conference, and lead a successful campaign to have the Library of Congress drop the I-word.

“I know some senators want to wait until after the election, until the next President is elected, to choose the next Supreme Court justice,” said Oscar Conejo, of Hanover, New Hampshire. “But the Senators need to do their job, not play politics with the Supreme Court. As an undocumented student, I know just how critical the decisions are that they make on important issues that affect me and my family, from education to immigration and so much more.”

The letter released today is signed by Young People For, Generation Progress, NAACP Youth and College Division, Sierra Student Coalition, the Roosevelt Institute, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Energy Action Coalition, American Constitution Society Student Chapters, the Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network, Student Debt Crisis, Advocates for Youth, and the Micah Leadership Council.

Text of the letter is below as well as selected remarks from some of the young leaders who spoke out yesterday.

Consuelo Hernandez, Tucson, Arizona: “I’m here today because I’m tired of conservatives in the Senate choosing politics over precedent and chaos over constitutional duty. On issues as wide-ranging as voting, reproductive justice, and economic justice, the day-to-day lives of young people are directly impacted by the decisions made at the Supreme Court. By choosing not to give Chief Judge Merrick Garland the fair and timely consideration afforded past nominees, conservatives are abandoning their constitutional duties and turning their backs on the constituents like me who put them in office.”

Max Levy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “As the president of the College Dems chapter at the University of Pennsylvania, I know how important it is to work with organizations from across the political spectrum.  Even though we don’t always agree, we work hard to foster productive dialogue on our campus. Right now, some Senators are saying we shouldn’t even hold a hearing for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, and that’s just plain wrong. Dialogue is healthy for democracy. I know that’s true on my  campus, and it’s true for the Senate.”

Mary Marston, Concord, North Carolina: “Young people now make up the largest voting bloc in America and many are just becoming politically active. It is critical that our elected officials follow through on their constitutional commitments to keep young people engaged in the democratic process.”

Zach Wahls, Iowa City, Iowa: “I see the marriage between my moms—the possibility of their marriage—as our legal system keeping up its end of the American promise to a fair hearing and due process. Because the Court was able to act, and its decision was recognized as legitimate, my parents’ marriage is recognized in all fifty states—my parents’ sacred promise is recognized to mean the same thing in Iowa as in Alabama. We got a fair hearing, and we need to make sure that America can get a fair hearing, too.”

Peter Cheun, American Constitution Society Student Chapter President at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (Illinois): “Law students across the ideological spectrum may disagree on who their ideal Supreme Court nominee would be. But in my experience, they have been nearly unanimous in their agreement that the Senate should do its job: Give Judge Garland a fair hearing and an up or down vote.”

Max Eichenberger, American Constitution Society Student Chapter President at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (Illinois): “When employees fail to do their jobs, it is their business and consumers that ultimately suffer. For the U.S. Senate, their business is administering our representative government, and we are all the consumers. Give Judge Garland a fair hearing and keep this shop running.”

Joelle Gamble, National Director, Network at the Roosevelt Institute: “So far, in 2016, we’ve seen that young people just want the political process to work the way it is supposed to. If our leaders want us to participate, they have to ensure that the political process works in the first place. They must restore our faith in democracy.”

Karissa Gerhke, Sierra Student Coalition National Director: “Young people working for just, sustainable communities and the protection of the environment are not taking a back seat in this fight. We can’t and we won’t let obstructionists threaten everything we’re fighting for on our campuses and in our communities. The Senate should do its job to fill this vacancy.”

Stephen A. Green, NAACP National Youth and College Director: “Young people from across the country have courageously come together to call upon Congress to do their job or lose their job. We deserve a democracy that works for all people, give Judge Garland a fair hearing!”

Erik Lampmann, People For the American Way Foundation’s Young People For Public Affairs & Policy Manager: “Keeping the Court understaffed is simply indefensible. Until our Supreme Court is empowered to function as it was designed, we will not stop calling on Senators to “Do Your Job” and treat the Court, the Constitution, and us with respect.”

Layla Zaidane, Generation Progress Managing Director: “As a generation, Millennials have grown up amid partisan gridlock and politicians more interested in playing political games than doing their job. But the Supreme Court vacancy isn’t a game to us: from marriage equality to reproductive rights, the decisions the Court makes affect our lives, every day. Millennials overwhelmingly support a hearing and a vote on President Obama’s nominee—it’s time for the Senate to do its job and ensure a fully-functioning, fully-staffed Supreme Court.”


Open Letter to the Senate

Dear United States Senators,

We, the undersigned youth-led and youth-serving organizations, call on all U.S. senators to give fair and timely consideration to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Chief Judge Merrick Garland.

On issues as diverse as immigration policy, voting rights, and reproductive rights, the daily lives of young people are affected by what happens in our nation’s courts. We represent broad youth constituencies seeking to ensure that their rights are protected at the local, state, and federal level — including young immigrants, youth of color, trans* and queer youth, students, low-income youth, and differently-abled young people. We know the communities we work with are just some of the over 100 million people in this country who stand to be directly impacted by cases before the Court just this term.

A fully-functioning judiciary is essential to a flourishing democracy and critical to our ability to protect our rights and seek justice. Purposefully keeping the Supreme Court understaffed, as some senators are proposing, is indefensible.

Chief Judge Garland deserves the treatment traditionally afforded past Supreme Court nominees: prompt hearings and an up-or-down vote in the Senate. Senators who believe Chief Judge Garland should not serve on the Supreme Court are free to vote against him, but blocking the process entirely is an abdication of senators’ constitutionally-defined responsibilities and an insult to the people who elected them.

Young people are working each day to provide for themselves and their families; some are also studying for advanced degrees and vocational certificates or organizing their communities to create change. Across the country, young people are working hard at their jobs. They should be able to expect the same of their senators.

The undersigned organizations call on all senators to do their jobs and consider the President’s nominee to the nation’s highest court in a timely fashion. There are too many critical issues at stake for young people, and for all people, for ideologically motivated senators to play politics with our Supreme Court.

Respectfully,

Advocates for Youth

American Constitution Society Law Student Chapters

Energy Action Coalition

Generation Progress

Sierra Student Coalition

Student Debt Crisis

Micah Leadership Council

NAACP Youth and College Division

NARAL Pro-Choice America

Network at the Roosevelt Institute

Young Elected Officials Network

Young People For

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