Saturday, June 06, 2015

Democrats Who Vote For The Toxic Republican Agenda Are About To Get A Lesson They Will Never Forget


How would you like to see 3 or 4 of these billboards up along the 99 between Fresno and Merced?

The conservative building trades unions have been handing out checks as usual. In the last cycle their biggest contributions went to 5 conservative Democrats:
Donald Norcross (NJ)- $171,499
Stephen Lynch (MA)- $89,300
Gary Peters (New Dem-MI)- $82,250
Nick Rahall (Blue Dog-WV)- $81,000
Steve Israel (Blue Dog-NY)- $80,500
Even worse, here's part of a letter Terry O'Sullivan, the conservative shill who runs LIUNA, sent to members in Jan Schakowsky's Illinois district last year, where she was facing a crackpot Republican who wants to abolish unions altogether.
As we head into the 2014 election season, I want to bring your attention to an issue of critical importance to our Union; your member of Congress is trying to destroy job opportunities for our LIUNA brothers and sisters. Representative Jan Schakowsky recently signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline, a vital infrastructure project that would create millions of hours of work for LIUNA members, increase U.S. energy independence, and safely transport a resource that will be developed with or without the pipeline.

To all proud, strong and united LIUNA brothers and sisters, I say, enough is enough! Our members and their families are angry, disappointed and disillusioned with out-of-touch, job-killing politicians who choose to side with environmental extremists over work for our members. There so-called "friends" of ours are destroying good-paying work opportunities with family-supporting benefits, at a time when LIUNA members are trying to put food on their tables, keep roofs over their heads, and maintain middle-class lifestyles.

For every action, there is a reaction, and our reaction to this frontal assault on our way of life needs to be loud and clear. If you do not stand with us, we sure as hell will not stand with you.

…[Your] member of Congress has chosen to side with hard-core anti-Keystone organizations rather than with hard working LIUNA members and their families. Please keep that in mind when Congresswoman Schakowsky seeks your vote this fall, and be sure to let her know how angry and disappointed you are that she is trying to keep your brothers and sisters from working.

If Congresswoman Schakowsky and other politicians continue to stand in the way of jobs for Laborers, let's make sure they "feel the power" and fury of LIUNA this November.
The AFL-CIO, on the other hand, announced a different kind of campaign contribution boycott in March. They've halted contributions to all House Democrats and the DCCC as a weapon in the fight against TPP/Fast Track. That's hardball and Democratic politicians are flipping out.
“I could understand withholding money from people who are on the fence-- sure, great,” said one House Democratic chief of staff who asked not to be identified. “But for the people who are with them who also really need the help, I just don’t know that’s a smart strategy. I think that there’s plenty of people who they trust to be with them who could really use their help in deterring an opponent by showing some strength at this point in the cycle, and they’re not helping with that.”

Other Democrats are beginning to lose trust in unions coming through with campaign contributions at all, as House Democrats look to make inroads into a historic House majority.

“We’re getting close to the end of the second quarter now … and now the answer they give us is, ‘Even if you vote no on TPA and no on TPP, you still may not get checks because we may be trying to take out people who did vote for it,’ ” said one House Democratic aide. “It’s not like they are going to reward good behavior. Now they’re saying, ‘We may have to take our money elsewhere.’"

Democrats were reluctant to speak on the record about their frustration with the finance freeze. But others said publicly that fundraising over the past few months could have been better without unions’ embargo on campaign contributions.

...There are also Democrats who say they’re being treated unfairly for taking an unpopular stance on one bill when they’ve been loyal to labor on nearly every other important issue.

On Wednesday, a group of nearly 20 House Democrats, most of whom are learning toward voting “yes” on TPA, met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for nearly an hour to discuss the matter.

During the closed-door meeting, Pelosi made it clear she has already expressed her concern about the AFL-CIO tactics directly to the people who need to hear it. But Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., chairman of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, said later Wednesday he was still worried leadership wasn’t prepared to go far enough to shield members from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who he referred to as “the bully.”

“We certainly overall represent labor’s interests,” Schrader told CQ Roll Call. “We’re solid on labor issues and to have this become a litmus test for one individual issue, I think that’s demeaning.”

“To actively campaign against you when you’re with them 80 percent of the time-- I don’t take kindly to bullying. That gets my dander up. And I hope it gets the dander up of most every single member of my party,” he said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama will come to the aid of any Democrat who finds themselves in primary peril because of backlash for supporting the “fast-track” bill.

“Those who are concerned about it I think do take a lot of solace in knowing that they can count on the support of President Barack Obama in a Democratic primary if they need it,” Earnest said.

The AFL-CIO declined to comment on the suspension of federal contributions, and whether it will be lifted even if Congress gives Obama fast-track authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Meanwhile, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, suggested Democrats ought not to complain about the funding freeze-- or be surprised, at that.

“Here’s the deal,” Grijalva said on Wednesday. “Everybody goes to the well of labor when they’re running for office in terms of contributions. … Early on in this process, anybody around in the last session knew that with [trade] coming up, that was going to be a litmus test, and so to say now that labor is being mean or over the top in terms of their criticisms of Democrats who are going to vote for [TPA] is kind of like a late realization when you’ve already taken the money and the support.”

As for the decision to withhold money from all House Democrats without discrimination, Grijalva also didn’t fault the AFL-CIO.

“There are some great pro-labor people with great records that feel [the AFL-CIO] should have been more selective,” he said. “But I understand that this upcoming vote is very important, and so holding their money until that vote is done, strategically, I understand. … They see this as a critical fight for their legitimacy and their survival and the fact that they reacted the way they have, I don’t find it unusual at all.”
On top of that, both the Sacramento Central Labor Council and CREDO Action have started running ads against Wall Street-owned New Dem Ami Bera for his role in pushing Fast Track and TPP.

New polling from the NY Times and CBS News shows that most Americans oppose Fast Track Authority to push through TPP. 55% are against Fast Track and only 42% favor it.
More than half of Americans oppose giving the President the authority to negotiate trade agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but not change-- sometimes called fast track authority. Views on this divide along partisan lines, with independents siding with Republicans.

Generally, more than six in 10 Americans think trade restrictions are necessary to protect domestic industries, while 30 percent think free trade should be allowed even if some domestic industries are hurt.

Majorities of Americans have supported trade restrictions since 1989, when CBS News and the New York Times began asking this question.

Support for restrictions on trade cuts across party lines, although Republicans are somewhat less likely to think restrictions are necessary.

Few Americans are paying attention to news about negotiations surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement involving the U.S. and Pacific Rim countries: only 22 percent have heard or read a lot or some about it.

However, on balance, more Americans think the TPP agreement would decrease the number of jobs in the U.S. rather than increase it. Twenty-nine percent don't think it will have much effect and a third doesn't have an opinion. Americans who have heard or read a lot or some about the TPP agreement are more likely to think it will decrease jobs.
Thursday, just as the poll numbers showing Fast Track's unpopularity were being released, one of its biggest proponents, Paul Ryan, was boasting that the GOP and other Wall Street allies are "within striking distance" of being able to pass the job-killing legislation. "We had a very good week," said the Ayn Rand fanatic from southeast Wisconsin. "We’re not quite there yet but we are picking up votes every day. The undecideds are falling the right way, so we are getting within striking distance... Candidly, I have never been as confident as I am right now. Two years ago, we said we were gonna need 50 Democrats to get this done. We won’t need that many, but we’re still going to need the president to deliver votes and more than they have right now. So we’re not quite yet there and getting there is going to require some progress on their side of the aisle."

Alan Grayson has been urging voters to call the 18 right-of-center Democrats who are leaning towards voting with Ryan and the GOP on Fast Track. Most are Wall Street allies from the New Dems and Blue Dogs-- plus a few crooks the White House is bribing. Ami Bera is the most likely to lose his seat next year over his tendency to back the reactionary Republican agenda, although Blue Dog Jim Costa, who barely managed to keep from an ugly defeat last year, could also lose over this vote. Costa went to sleep on election night thinking he'd been defeated by Johnny Tacherra, 42,199 (50.4%) to 41,458 (49.6%), but he was saved by a recount. In the end Costa won by 1,319 votes, 50.7 to 49.2%. The NRCC gave Tacherra no help at all. He spent $342,204 to Costa's $1,116,677. Tacherra plans to run against Costa again next year-- with help from the NRCC. Ads from progressive groups highlighting Costa's willingness to steal money from Medicare to smooth TPP passage are likely to finish him off once and for all. If you'd like to help fund billboards along the 99 in the Central Valley-- we'd like to do them in Fresno, Merced and Madera-- please contribute here.

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