Hitting Ted Cruz in Iowa: General (Ret.) Wesley Clark … a repost


VoteVets.org

Earlier this year, over 100,000 veterans, military family members, and VoteVets supporters added their names to a letter calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to save the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
I added my signature, as well.
We understand the cost of our dependence on foreign oil is not just measured at the pump, or in the form of a changing climate, but also in the lives lost and changed through deployments to protect the flow of oil in the Middle East.
Because of tremendous response to the first few emails about the RFS, VoteVets decided to take the next step and hit Ted Cruz on the issue ahead of his visit to Iowa yesterday.
Cruz would dismantle the RFS, something many Iowa families depend on, and he constantly avoids talking about it while campaigning in the state.

So VoteVets took the issue right to him.
Look at the full page ad VoteVets took out in the Des Moines Register and contribute to keep the pressure on Ted Cruz as he campaigns to become our next president.

There’s still a long way to go in this campaign, but taking the fight to the potential presidential candidates like Ted Cruz who oppose developing renewable sources of fuel at home is the next step in our efforts.

Thank you for contributing,

General (Ret.) Wesley Clark
Advisor, VoteVets.org

Fight Toxic Pesticides and Save the Bees


Because we know you’re committed to this battle, we also want to share with you this recent interview with an Earthjustice attorney about our critical fight to save bees from a newly-approved pesticide, called sulfoxaflor.

In this short audio clip, Earthjustice attorney Greg Loarie explains how we’re fighting in court to force the EPA to take immediate action to protect bees from pesticides, and to get the toxic pesticide sulfoxaflor taken off the market.

Thanks again for all that you do,

Raviya Ismail Earthjustice

Fair Employment Protection Art


AAUW Action Network

The Supreme Court has gotten it wrong again, and it’s up to us to get Congress to fix their mistake. In fact, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has specifically asked us to!

In a 5-4 ruling last year, the court created an artificial distinction between types of workplace “supervisors.” This decision creates an extra hurdle for workers suing their employers for workplace harassment, unequal pay, and other forms of discrimination.

Here’s the problem: The court’s ruling doesn’t mesh with the realities of the modern workplace!
Millions of workers are overseen by other employees who don’t have the authority to hire or fire them, yet still shape their day-to-day work experience through actions such as making their schedule, giving them time off, or assigning them projects and tasks. This wrong-headed decision virtually gives a green light to sexual harassment as long as it doesn’t come from “the boss.”

Under the 2013 ruling, known as Vance v. Ball State University, this “overseeing” type of employee is now classified as a co-worker, meaning that any harassment from them is subject to a lesser standard – despite the obvious fact that they have power over other workers. This problematic decision is of particular concern to women – a national poll found that 25 percent of women have experienced workplace sexual harassment, as have one in 10 men.

Tell Congress: We need laws that reflect what it’s like to work in the real world. We need the Fair Employment Protection Act, which would restore longstanding workplace protections the Vance ruling took away. We must return to a reasonable definition that reflects the modern workplace.

Think about your own experiences at work. You knew who set your schedule and gave you assignments, but did you know who could make the decision to fire you? Was it your direct boss? Was it the HR manager? Was it the company president that you met only once? Under the court’s standard, if your boss doesn’t have the power to fire you, he/she isn’t considered your “supervisor.” And that’s just silly.

The Fair Employment Protection Act was just introduced today, so it’s time to make your voice heard: Tell Congress to support the Fair Employment Protection Act to protect all workers from harassment.

Social Security cuts: The clearest explanation anywhere


a repost

Dear MoveOn member,

If you want to understand the fight over Social Security cuts that ended last week (we won!), you’ve got to hear this podcast.

We’ve put together what might be the clearest and most entertaining explanation of the battle that you can find anywhere. It’s a story that goes a lot deeper than what you might have read in the paper. And it’s online now, free.

Yes! I want to hear the inside story of the Social Security battle.

If you like this podcast, subscribe on iTunes for more! Or you can listen on our website here, with Stitcher (an Android and iOS app), or by subscribing via RSS.

This is no dry policy debate. This is a story of Wall Street billionaires, Tea Party obstructionists, grassroots progressives—and an Obama administration trying to find its way. It’s the real story behind the constant clashes over the debt ceiling, the deficit, and the so-called grand bargain. And it’ll leave you cheering.

Joining us is a guy who was at the center of it all. We interviewed Alex Lawson, the charmingly fired-up wonk-activist who, working behind the scenes, led a citizen coalition—including MoveOn members like us—to challenge the idea that there was any good reason to propose Social Security cuts. In fact, we argued, Social Security should be expanded.

You’ll love not only Alex’s energy but also his bracingly insightful point of view. Even on an issue that might feel intimidating or complex, things look pretty clear when you’re David aiming your slingshot as you look up at Goliath.

Click here to open iTunes and check out the podcast (and subscribe and review!) … or listen at our website here.

This is a story that all of us are part of. MoveOn members and our allies have stood strong in the conviction that nobody in this country should have to work for a lifetime and wind up in poverty. The fight goes on, of course, as it always does. But there’s something deeply gratifying about being on the right side of history.

Thanks for all you do.

–Ben Wikler

P.S. “The Good Fight” is a MoveOn-backed podcast and radio show about people changing the world. Since launching a few months ago, we’ve hit the No. 1 spot on the podcast charts, been named one of Apple’s best podcasts of 2013, and interviewed guests from Senator Al Franken to Sister Simone Campbell, the nun who helped save Obamacare. Our goal: tell the inside stories of the fights behind the headlines, introduce you to the heroes and villains shaping politics, and inspire more people to get involved.

If you like the show (every episode is on iTunes!), help us spread the word! And we’d love your feedback. Tell us what you like and how we can get better, and pitch stories, at show@thegoodfight.fm.

A Threat To Women And Workers


By

What you Need To Know About Today’s Supreme Court Rulings

The Supreme Court issued two important rulings this morning: one that makes it harder for women to exercise their right to choose, and a second that effectively eliminates a President’s ability to make recess appointments and could imperil unions down the road as a consequence. The remaining decisions this session are expected to come next Monday, including Hobby Lobby (can owners of a for-profit, secular corporation impose their religious beliefs on their employees?) and Harris v. Quinn (are public sector unions’ fair share fees that ensure all employees, regardless of whether they are members of the union, receive the collectively bargained-for benefits constitutional?)

The decisions today were both handed down unanimously by the High Court. Here’s more on what the implications are for each:

McCullen v. Coakley

The decision: The Court struck down a Massachusetts’ law establishing a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion providers, ruling in favor of anti-choice protesters who argued that being required to stay that far away from clinic entrances is a violation of their freedom of speech. The decision rolls back a proactive policy intended to safeguard women’s access to reproductive health care in the face of persistent harassment and intimidation from abortion opponents.

The argument: The Justices argue that the 35-foot zone in the Massachusetts law restricts “access to ‘public way[s]‘ and ‘sidewalk[s],’ places that have traditionally been open for speech ac­tivities.” Therefore, the opinion states, the law burdens “substantially more speech than necessary to achieve the Commonwealth’s asserted interests.” The justices do not categorically deny the right for states to set up buffer zones protecting abortion clinics, but do effectively remove the Massachusetts law and threaten other similar safety measures around the country.

The implications: The decision is a blow to women. Since 1993, eight clinic workers have been murdered. There have been 6,400 reported acts of violence against abortion providers since 1977. According to the National Abortion Federation (NAF), which closely tracks threats and violence against abortion providers across the country, buffer zones have had a measurable impact improving safety in the areas where they’re in place.

BOTTOM LINE: The Supreme Court itself has a buffer zone around it’s 252-by-98-foot plaza, preventing protesters from demonstrating too close to the entrance. Surely it can see the need for abortion clinics, the subject of frequent and sometimes violent intimidation from their opponents, to have a reasonable buffer zone as well.

National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning

The decision: The Court effectively eliminated the president’s power to make recess appointments in all but the most unusual circumstances. It limits the president’s constitutional duty to appoint leaders that keep our country working for all Americans, from making sure our elections are fair to protecting workers’ and consumer rights.

The argument: Prior to Noel Canning, a federal appeals court — the highest legal authority to weigh in on the question — confirmed that a president does indeed have the power to make recess appointments. Specifically, it ruled that sham sessions known as “pro forma” sessions held by the Senate every three days in order to defeat a president’s attempts to make these appointments were in fact not enough to stop him. Every single justice on the Supreme Court, however, disagreed with that ruling and voted against recess appointments today, although the Court split 5-4 on rationale. Five justices, overturning the appeals court, opined that these “pro forma” sessions were in fact enough to block a president from making recess appointments because “the Senate is in session when it says it is.” The four conservative justices went even further, with an opinion that could have retroactively invalidated thousands of recess appointments made by presidents past if it had garnered just one more vote.

The implications: The impact of this ruling goes beyond a legal technicality. President Obama took the risk of making recess appointments in the first place to fill a minimum number of seats on the National Labor Relations Board, a government agency with exclusive authority to enforce much of federal labor law. NLRB members serve five year terms, and unless at least three seats on the board are occupied, it is powerless to act. Therefore, the fullest impact of this decision will likely be felt in 2018, when the five year terms of the NLRB’s current slate of members expire. Even if the president at that time supports allowing federal labor law to function in 2018, he or she will be unable to keep the NLRB functioning if a majority of the Senate is determined to shut down federal labor protections.

More broadly, the decision underscores the importance of the Senate’s action last November to allow executive nominees to receive an up or down confirmation vote. Without last year’s change to the Senate rules, today’s decision would have empowered a small, but vocal minority, to use arcane procedure to block the government from being able to function properly.

BOTTOM LINE: In a technical ruling, the Supreme Court took away the president’s power to make recess appointments. While today’s court decision will have little immediate impact, its long-term effects remain unclear and could threaten the rights of workers across the country if the NLRB is dismantled. The House and Senate must find new ways to ensure that the politics of obstruction and shutdown do not limit the ability of our nation to function properly.

Stay tuned for more Court decisions on Monday. If you are in the Washington, D.C. area, RSVP to join a rally hosted by NARAL in front of the Supreme Court that morning.