AlterNet … reminders

Undercover Cop Pulls Guns and Threatens Oakland Police Brutality Protesters

Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

Another example of why the protests continue. READ MORE»


Cop Mistakes Pill Bottle for Gun and Another Black Man Dies

Terrell Jermaine Starr, AlterNet

Numerous witnesses challenge the cops’ version of events. READ MORE»



Walmart Manager Allegedly Wanted to ‘Shoot Everyone’ Organizing for Better Working Conditions at Store

By Alyssa Figueroa, AlterNet

Walmart has been ordered to stop making illegal threats against OUR Walmart members. READ MORE»


Cop Mistakes Pill Bottle for Gun and Another Black Man Dies

Terrell Jermaine Starr, AlterNet

Numerous witnesses challenge the cops’ version of events. READ MORE»


The 10 Most Offensive and Tasteless Things Sold in 2014

Cliff Weathers, AlterNet

Further proof that capitalism has run amok. READ MORE»


Plan on Protesting? What You Should Know About Your Rights and the Powers the Police Have

Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

Advice and reminders from experts for citizens protesting abusive policing. READ MORE»


Jim Hightower: Frightening SWAT Team Raid Called in on Business for ‘Barbering Without a License’

By Jim Hightower, AlterNet

Armament giants have discovered a new market: the militarization of our local and state police agencies. READ MORE»


The Corporate State Gets Stronger Every Time a Cop Kills a Citizen with Impunity

By Chris Hedges, Truthdig

Mass acts of civil disobedience, now being carried out across the country, are the only mechanism left. READ MORE»



How Millionaires Buy Up Farmland And Hoard All Our Water

By Karen Piper, University of Minnesota Press

When FOX News stands up for “family farmers,” they are really fighting for Murdoch’s rich friends. READ MORE»

American Jobs Act(s) ….

Are Americans willing and ready to tell members of Congress to stop the bs already and do something besides inserting poison pills in these JOBS BILLS

  • Immediately Invests in Our Roads, Rails and Airports ($50 Billion):  The Senate bill provides $50 billion in immediate investments for highways, transit, rail and aviation, helping to modernize an infrastructure that now receives a grade of “D” from the American Society of Civil Engineers and putting hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job.  This investment will put people to work upgrading 150,000 miles of road, laying/maintaining 4,000 miles of train tracks, restoring 150 miles of runways, and putting in place a next-generation air-traffic control system that will reduce travel time and delays. The plan includes $27 billion to rebuild roads and bridges, $9 billion to repair transit systems, $5 billion for projects selected through a competitive grant program, $4 billion for construction of the high-speed rail network, $2 billion to improve airport facilities and $1 billion for a NextGen air traffic control system.  The call for greater infrastructure investment has been joined by leaders from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue.
  • Establishes a National Infrastructure Bank ($10 Billion):  The Senate bill establishes a National Infrastructure Bank capitalized with $10 billion that will leverage private and public capital to help fund a broad range of infrastructure projects. The Bank would be based on the model Senators Kerry and Hutchison have championed, which has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce while building on legislation by Senators Rockefeller and Lautenberg and the work of long-time infrastructure bank champions like Rosa DeLauro and the input of the President’s Jobs Council.
  • Asks Millionaires to Pay Their Fair Share Without Adding a Dime to the Deficit. In order to create or save hundreds of thousands of construction jobs, the Senate bill imposes a 0.7% surtax on modified adjusted gross income in excess of $1 million for both single filers and married couples filing jointly.  The surtax is effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012.


CNN/ORC Poll: 72% of Americans, 54% of Republicans Support Rebuilding Our Infrastructure. According to a recent CNN/ORC Poll, 72% of Americans support “increasing federal spending to build and repair roads, bridges and schools,” while only 28% oppose. This is up from 64% from September of this year. 70% of Independents and 54% of Republicans support funding our infrastructure. [CNN/ORC Poll, 10/17/11]

Rockefeller Foundation: 72% of Americans Support Infrastructure Bank. The Rockefeller Foundation infrastructure survey, conducted in February 2011, found that 72% of Americans support “Creating a National Infrastructure Bank that helps finance transportation projects that are important to the whole nation or large regions and that funds projects based on merit, not politics.” [Rockefeller Foundation, 2/14/11]


U.S. Chamber of Commerce: President “Was Right to Call For” Transportation Infrastructure Investments. Thomas J. Donohue, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said after President Obama’s September jobs speech that the President “was right to call for… smart investments in our transportation infrastructure. The administration and Congress must now act on these priorities without further delay in order to save and create hundreds of thousands of American jobs.” [U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 9/8/11]

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials: $50 Billion For Infrastructure Projects Could Create or Protect Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs. “John Horsely, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said at its peak a year ago, the Recovery Act helped employ 64,000 workers on highway projects. He says a concentrated infusion of $50 billion now could lead to the employment of hundreds of thousands more. ‘The president wants to jump-start the economy and create jobs, and so if he could manage to get the authority to spend $50 billion all in one year, you would probably have a much higher number of jobs created, if it all happened in one year,’ Horsely said.” [ABC News, 9/8/11]

President of GOP Mayors and Local Officials Coalition: Infrastructure Spending “Puts People to Work,” Needs to Be “Higher Priority” for Congressional Republicans. Mick Cornett, the GOP mayor of Oklahoma City, welcomes the infrastructure spending that Obama has proposed in his jobs bill, explaining that mayors witness the impact of such investments on the ground level. ‘Mayors see up close the deferred maintenance that’s going on in nation’s cities…it’s just a ticking time bomb. We also know that it puts people to work,’ says Cornett, president of the Republican Mayors and Local Officials coalition within the U.S. Conference. Obama’s jobs plan proposes new infrastructure spending on everything from rebuilding schools to an infrastructure finance bank–all of which Cornett supports… Cornett says that, by contrast, Congressional Republicans have not put forward any substantial plans to revitalize the country’s infrastructure.”  [Washington Post, 9/20/11]

Associated General Contractors: “Should Congress Fail To Enact” President’s Infrastructure Plan, “Too Many Construction Workers Will Remain Unemployed, The Private Sector Will Suffer, And Taxpayers Will End Up Paying More.” Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, said, “Should Congress fail to enact the desperately needed infrastructure investments the President proposes, too many construction workers will remain unemployed, the private sector will suffer, and taxpayers will end up paying more, later, for infrastructure. Infrastructure projects don’t just create construction jobs… Investing in infrastructure is the most effective way to create good jobs, deliver great roads, build a strong economy and protect taxpayers. That is why the Associated General Contractors of America stands with the president and everyone else who is willing to make the investments needed to revive our industry and rebuild our economy.” [Associated General Contractors, 9/9/11]

American Society of Civil Engineers: Current, Insufficient Funding for Infrastructure Will Cost America More Than 870,000 Jobs and $900 Billion By 2020. Patrick J. Natale of the American Society of Civil Engineers wrote, “Obama’s call for infrastructure investment was not only about jobs but about our competitiveness in global markets. Both the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation and the Building America’s Future Educational Fund have released reports showing how we are rapidly falling behind our global competitors such as China, Japan, and South Korea when it comes to investing and modernizing our transportation systems… A recent economic study from ASCE found that even current investment levels in transportation infrastructure will cost the American economy more than 870,000 jobs and suppress the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product by almost $900 billion by the year 2020.” [National Journal, 9/12/11]

President Reagan Said Infrastructure Investment Was Common Sense. “Common sense tells us that it will cost a lot less to keep the system we have in good repair than to let it disintegrate and have to start over from scratch. Clearly this program is an investment in tomorrow that we must make today. It will allow us to complete the interstate system, make most — the interstate repairs and strengthen and improve our bridges, make all of us safer, and help our cities meet their public transit needs.” [Remarks, 1/6/83]


Earlier This Year, Two Republican Senators Co-Sponsored an Infrastructure Bank. According to the Washington Post, “Earlier this year, in fact, two Senate Republicans — Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) — had co-sponsored Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry’s infrastructure bank bill, which bears close resemblance to the proposal in Obama’s failed jobs bill.” [Washington Post, 10/13/11]

  • Sen. Hutchison: “A National Infrastructure Bank is an Innovative Way” to Address the Nation’s Water, Transportation, and Energy Infrastructure Needs. “The idea of a national infrastructure bank is an innovative way to leverage private-public partnerships and maximize private funding to address our water, transportation, and energy infrastructure needs. In our current fiscal situation, we must be creative in meeting the needs of our country and spurring economic development and job growth, while protecting taxpayers from new federal spending as much as possible.” [Hutchison Blog, 9/7/11]

Bipartisan BUILD Act Is Endorsed By Chamber of Commerce & AFL-CIO. “Amid growing concerns that the nation’s infrastructure is deteriorating, a group of Democrats, Republicans, and labor and business leaders called Tuesday for the creation of a national infrastructure bank to help finance the construction of things like roads, bridges, water systems and power grids. The proposal — sponsored by Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas — would establish an independent bank to provide loans and loan guarantees for projects of regional or national significance. The idea is to attract more infrastructure investment from the private sector: by creating an infrastructure bank with $10 billion now, they say, they could spur up to $640 billion worth of infrastructure spending over the next decade… To underscore the need for better infrastructure, two frequent rivals were on hand at the news conference: Richard Trumka, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., and Thomas J. Donohue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the main business lobby. With a nod to the strange-bedfellows experience of having a labor leader as an ally, Mr. Donohue said, ”He and I are going to take our show on the road as the new ‘Odd Couple.’” [New York Times, 3/16/11]

Alliance for American Manufacturing Said Infrastructure Bank Would Create Jobs.  Scott Paul, Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, provided a list of recommendations that would create more manufacturing jobs, including, “we need to invest in infrastructure and establish a national infrastructure bank”  [Testimony before the Joint Economic Committee, 6/22/11; The Hill, 8/15/11]

Mark Zandi: Infrastructure Bank Would Boost Manufacturing. Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics testified, “To lower the cost of transportation, telecommunications and energy, policymakers could provide consistent support to public investment in transportation networks, the internet backbone, and the electric grid. As a potential example of this support, Build America bonds issued as part of the recent fiscal stimulus efforts have been very successful. A national infrastructure bank, which could marry private capital with financial support from the government, would provide a substantial boost to this effort.” [Testimony before the Joint Economic Committee, 6/22/11]

Private Infrastructure Investment Could Create 1.9 Million Jobs. Sphere Consulting LLC reported, “Over $250 billion of private equity capital is currently available, and some additional legislative and administrative changes could accelerate infrastructure projects and enhance funding.” The firm found that private investment in infrastructure could generate 1.9 million U.S. jobs. They suggested that the U.S. “Create a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) that is authorized to lend at favorable terms to both the public and private sectors for qualified infrastructure projects.” [Sphere Consulting, July 2011]


Sen. Inhofe Said Conservatives Need To Recognize Transportation is a Place We Need to Be Spending More Money. “I think a lot of the people who are my good friends, and primarily over in the House, who came under the banner of the tea parties and all that, they recognize, yes, they can be a conservative. But when they got home, they said: Wait a minute. We want to not be spending on these big things, but we weren’t talking about transportation. So we have to single out transportation for my friends to recognize there is a place we need be spending more money, not less money.” [Floor Remarks, 10/20/11]

Sen. Johanns Said He “Can’t Imagine” Why Anyone Would “Stand in The Way” of States Working to Rebuild Infrastructure. “I can’t imagine why this body would stand in the way of states trying to rebuild their roads and bridges.” [Senate Floor Speech, 10/19/11]

Sen. Graham: Infrastructure Investments Translates to Job Creation. “So ifyou’re a Republican and you want to create jobs, then you need to invest in infrastructure that will allow us to create jobs.” [GOP Press Conference, 4/13/11]

Sen. Sessions on the Importance to Invest in Infrastructure: “Jobs Are Created As It’s Being Constructed and You Have a Permanent Improvement to Society That May Be There for a Hundred Years.” Sessions said,“Jobs are created as it’s being constructed and, second, you have a permanent improvement to society that may be there for a hundred years.” [Washington Post, 10/13/11]

Sen. Thune Called Transportation Infrastructure “Critical to Our Nation’s Commerce” “This is a critically important subject for the entire country. Maintaining a transportation infrastructure is just critical to our nation’s commerce. We’ve got a $2.2 trillion backlog out there of infrastructure projects, a $12 billion projected shortfall in gas tax revenues versus current spending levels over the next two years.” [Senate Commerce Committee Hearing, 7/20/11]

Sen. Collins Called Transportation Infrastructure “Essential to Economic Recovery” “One of my highest priorities is to help ensure that our nation’s transportation infrastructure does not fall into disrepair. Safe and efficient transportation is essential to economic recovery and cannot be left solely to state governments, which are struggling with budget shortfalls.” [Press Release, 5/11/11]

Sen. Lugar Said Addressing The Aging Infrastructure Is “Critical To Our Nation’s Economic Viability” “Addressing the aging infrastructure of our roads, bridges and railways is critical to our nation’s economic viability. Indiana has developed a sophisticated rail network that is central to our state’s agricultural and manufacturing economy. It is important to enhance the existing railways in Perry County to provide a vital link and spur economic growth.” [Press Release, 9/10/08]

Sen. Rubio Called Infrastructure Investment “The Proper Role of Government” “And it is the proper role of government to invest in infrastructure. Yes, government should build roads and bridges, but it should do so as part of economic development as part of infrastructure.” [Speech, 8/24/11]

Sen. Shelby Called Infrastructure Spending “Essential” For Our Economy “Infrastructure spending is essential to our long term economic stability and growth.” [Remarks, 5/19/11]


The Age-Old Question: What’s Better for You, Coffee or Tea?

Larry Schwartz, AlterNet

Some surprising facts about coffee and tea will make you happy. READ MORE»


10 Economic Trends that Spell Doom for America’s Workers

Alex Henderson, AlterNet

We’re becoming an industrialized nation marked by an ultra-wealthy minority and widespread poverty. READ MORE»




Matt Taibbi and Bank Whistleblower on How JPMorgan Chase Helped Wreck the Economy and Avoid Prosecution

Amy Goodman, Juan González, Democracy Now!

A whistleblower reveals how JPMorgan Chase got away with cratering the economy. READ MORE»


Russell Brand: $4 Billion Spent on Elections, But Feeding the Homeless is Illegal

By Scott Kaufman, Raw Story

The British comic says homelessness can be ended with what Americans spend on Christmas decorations. READ MORE»


What the Midterms Mean for the Climate Movement

By Kate Aronoff, Waging Nonviolence

This election further demonstrated how intertwined the climate is with issues of economic and racial justice. Here’s what organizers need to do about it. READ MORE»


What the Midterms Mean for the Climate Movement

By Kate Aronoff, Waging Nonviolence

This election further demonstrated how intertwined the climate is with issues of economic and racial justice. Here’s what organizers need to do about it. READ MORE»

Just in: the new food revolution starts NOW

Tell President Obama it’s time for a National Food Policy.

Mr. President, we want a food revolution.

Our food and agriculture system is broken. A National Food Policy would transform our food system to ensure healthy, sustainably grown food for all.

Tell President Obama: It’s Time for a National Food Policy


Have you heard? In this weekend’s Washington Post, UCS joined prominent food leaders Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, and Olivier de Schutter in a call to President Obama. It urges the president to do something bold and necessary: issue an executive order establishing a National Food Policy.

We all know our food and agriculture system is broken. For decades, UCS has demonstrated the costs of diet-related disease, the environmental toll of industrial agriculture practices, and the iron grip corporate giants have on information about what we eat. Government policies have contributed to this mess, and legislative attempts to fix it have been disjointed, lacked a clear direction, and often just made the problems worse.

A national policy for food, health, and well-being would, for the first time, define a comprehensive vision for our health, the sustainability of agricultural lands, and social and economic justice. It’s the first step toward the massive overhaul that we need to transform our food system to ensure healthy, sustainably grown food for all.

This won’t happen overnight. But right now, the real work begins—with you.

Sign the petition today to tell President Obama that you want a National Food Policy.

Take Action

Ashley Elles
Ashley Elles
National Field Organizer
Food & Environment Program
Union of Concerned Scientists
Twitter: @acelles

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