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Put Pentagon Bloat on the Table to Pay for Domestic Infrastructure

The Washington Post claims today that Hillary Clinton won't be able to fulfill her promise to increase domestic infrastructure spending, because House Republicans will insist on cuts elsewhere to pay for it. But that would only be the end of the story if we assumed - as the Washington Post apparently does - that the bloated Pentagon budget is sacrosanct.

Not every House Republican votes in lock-step with the Pentagon. Forty House Republicans - many of them members of the House Liberty Caucus - voted with the overwhelming majority of House Democrats to stop the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Urge Democrats and Republicans in Washington to put cuts to the bloated Pentagon budget on the table to pay for domestic infrastructure spending by signing our petition at MoveOn.

Urge your State Senator to kill "anti-BDS" bill

The Los Angeles chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace reports that on Thursday, the California Senate Appropriations Committee will vote to either send the "anti-BDS" bill AB 2844 to the Senate floor for a full vote or leave it in the suspense file, where it would expire.

Regardless of how you feel about "BDS," this bill is a terrible idea. The Los Angeles Times said passage of the proposed law would be a "mistake," calling the bill "convoluted, redundant and most likely ineffectual."

Your State Senator is on the California Senate Appropriations Committee. Call your State Senator now at http://senate.ca.gov/senators. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:

"I urge you to vote to kill AB 2844."

When you've made your call, please report it below.

Tell Congress: Break Up the Big Banks!

They may not agree on much. But both Democrats and Republicans included reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act - separating traditional commercial banking from Wall Street financial speculation - in their official party platforms.

"Too big to fail" banks are a threat to our economy. But they're also a threat to our democracy - and not only to our democracy, but to other people's democracies.

For twenty years I've supported efforts to reform U.S. foreign policy at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank - in particular, to stop IMF "bailouts" that transfer bad bets from big banks onto public balance sheets, planning to pay for these bailouts with democracy-smashing "austerity" policies.

It's painfully obvious - after the "Asian financial crisis" in the 1990s, after Argentina, after Greece, after Puerto Rico - that we're never going to have a decent chance to meaningfully reform IMF policies until we break the political power of the big banks. And one of the best ways to start doing that is to break them up.

A yuge coalition of groups, including the AFL-CIO and Daily Kos, is working to do just that. Join us by signing our joint petition.

Unions want one thing from Hillary tonight: a stake in TPP’s heart

"Unions want one thing from Hillary tonight: A stake in TPP’s heart," The Hill reports. If Hillary denounces the TPP tonight in her acceptance speech at the DNC in Philadelphia, "labor officials believe it would kill any chance of moving the pact in a lame-duck Congress after the election."

Call your Senator now at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:

"I urge you to press Secretary Clinton to clearly state her opposition to the TPP in her acceptance speech tonight."

When you've made your call, please report it below.

And if you haven't yet signed our petition to Senate Democrats, urging that they press Secretary Clinton to oppose the TPP in her speech tonight, you can do that here.

Tell Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Stand With Democrats Against TPP!

Roll Call reports: "Because of the strength of [Sanders'] campaign, his opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership has now become accepted Democratic policy, even as President Barack Obama continues to support it."

Call Debbie Wasserman Schultz now at 202-225-7931. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like,

"I urge Debbie Wasserman Schultz to stand with Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and other Democrats in publicly opposing the TPP and opposing any lame duck vote on the TPP after the election."

When you've made your call, please report it below.

Politico reported:

In his prime-time moment on Monday night … Sanders went one by one through the platform’s central provisions, including its “strong opposition to job-killing free trade agreements like the TPP.”

The crowd cheered, and some began chanting “No TPP! No TPP!” Sanders tried to move on, but the chanters kept at it; many waved anti-TPP signs.

Sanders started again, then stopped; then pointed at the crowd, laughed, gave a thumbs up — and finally made his second TPP point: “We’ve got to make sure that TPP does not get to the floor of the Congress during the lame duck session.” (More cheering.)

Politico also reported:

43 HOUSE DEMOCRATS URGE SECRETARY KERRY TO CALL FOR DEMOCRACY IN BRAZIL (updated)

Reps. Conyers and others put out the following press release on the letter. A PDF of the letter is here.

UPDATE: since the below press release was sent out, three Members of Congress signed on to the letter - 
Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)Karen Bass (CA-37), and Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-7).
An updated PDF of the letter is here.

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For Immediate Release:

Call your Rep.: End "security aid" to Honduras!

Today, July 14, there is a National Call-in Day in support of the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (HR 5474). The bill would cut off U.S. funding and training of the Honduran "security" forces, as called for by the AFL-CIO and many human rights groups.

See if your Rep. is a co-sponsor of the bill.

If your Rep. is not, please call them now at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:

"So-called U.S. security aid to Honduras is hurting Hondurans, not helping them. I urge you to co-sponsor HR 5474 to cut off U.S. funding and training of Honduran security forces."

When you've made your call, please report it below.

If you haven't yet signed our petition in support of the bill, you can do that here.

Tell Sen. Jack Reed to Renounce Cluster Bombs

Just Foreign Policy's Robert Naiman is in Providence with Rhode Islanders delivering a petition to Senator Jack Reed urging him to renounce his support for cluster bomb sales to Saudi Arabia. Here are 3 quick reasons Sen. Reed should do this:

  1. Cluster bombs often kill civilians, sometimes years after a conflict ends.
  2. Although the company that makes US cluster bombs, Textron, is based in Rhode Island, both of Rhode Island's House Representatives voted to ban cluster bomb sales to Saudi Arabia.
  3. Human Rights Watch reported that Saudi Arabia has used U.S. cluster bombs in civilian areas in Yemen, in defiance of US law.

Join today's action by calling Sen. Reed and urging him to renounce his support for cluster bombs sales to Saudi Arabia!

Call his Providence office NOW at (401) 528-5200. When you reach a staffer, you can say something like:

“I urge Sen. Jack Reed to join Rhode Island Reps. David Cicilline and Jim Langevin in opposing sales of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. We should not be selling this weapon to a country that targets civilians.”

When you have made your call, please report it below.

Luis Gutierrez, Elijah Cummings, and Barbara Lee Voted for TPP & Israeli Settlements?

On the TPP and settlement expansion in the West Bank, we mostly lost the first round of the fight over the Democratic Platform. The Platform Drafting Committee rejected an amendment opposed to the TPP and rejected an amendment opposed to settlement expansion in the West Bank.

There were five Sanders appointees on the fifteen-member drafting committee. There were also three other "progressive" House Democrats on the committee: Barbara Lee, Luis Gutierrez, and Elijah Cummings. Five plus three is eight; eight is a majority of fifteen. If these three "progressive" House Democrats had voted the right way, we would have won amendments against the TPP and settlements.

Call Luis Gutierrez at 202-225-8203, Elijah Cummings at 202-225-4741, or Barbara Lee at 202-225-2661. When you reach a staffer, you can say something like:

"I am very disappointed by the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee's rejection of amendments against the TPP and against the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. I demand that you publicly explain your votes."

Please ask the office for a written response.

When you've made your call, please report it below.

Sen. Reed: Renounce Your Support of Cluster Bombs

On June 16, the House of Representatives narrowly failed to approve an amendment sponsored by Rep. John Conyers [D-MI] that would have blocked the transfer of U.S. cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, which has used U.S. cluster bombs in civilian areas in Yemen, in defiance of U.S. law.

Textron, based in Providence, Rhode Island, is the last North American producer of cluster bombs, and has the contract to supply cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. Some opponents of the amendment cited this as a reason for their opposition - banning the transfer of U.S. cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia might hurt the profits of a U.S. company. Rhode Island's Representatives in the House, David Cicilline and Jim Langevin, rejected this argument - they did the right thing and voted yes on the Conyers amendment.

But Rhode Island Democratic Senator Jack Reed is leading the charge to keep the flow of U.S. cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia going. Textron has been one of Reed's top campaign contributors.

Urge Jack Reed to do the right thing and renounce his support of cluster bombs by signing our petition at MoveOn.