Sports

Time to Occupy Voting?: Progressive Upsurge Faces Tough Test in Ohio

In the first major election since Occupy Wall Street swept the nation, Ohioans have a chance on Tuesday to repeal draconian restrictions on labor rights. A victory for the " No on 2 " forces would mark the first sign that the new upsurge in progressive energy is capable of impacting electoral outcomes. If you are in Ohio or can get there today or tomorrow, the good folks fighting for repeal could really use your help on the ground right now. Extreme right-wing Gov. John Kasich and conservatives in the Ohio legislature passed an anti-labor bill in the spring which destroyed collective bargaining rights for the state's public workers. It would jeopardize the pay, benefits and even jobs of thousands of Ohioans. Together with Kasich's budget, the offensive legislation would cut 51,000 jobs in the state. Instead of finding ways to help Ohioans in hard times, the Kasich crew is finding new ways to cut jobs. Left intact, the anti-worker legislation puts everyone at risk. Police and firefighters wouldn't be able to come together to demand better equipment to protect Ohioans. Nurses wouldn't be able to ask for the proper number of caregivers to handle all the incoming patients in our hospitals. Teachers wouldn't be able to push for the best teaching methods or student-teacher ratios to optimally educate our kids. Victory is essential. It would demonstrate that progressives and labor can repudiate and punish Tea Party overreach - in an electorally important swing state. It would show that the partially successful recalls in Wisconsin were a part of a general move away from GOP extremism. And it would offer proof that newly-energized progressives are willing to occupy public parks - and ballot booths, too. We know that our opponents are sweating bullets about this race. At the last minute, shadowy corporate forces have stepped in to dump in millions of dollars to pass. It's no secret why. They've delivered body blows to labor rights and restrictions on Wall Street over the last generation. Their wealth has risen exponentially over the last decade, while at the same time, middle class incomes have shrunk. They need to win in this key battleground state to keep the ball rolling. But the gig is up. Millions of Americans have seen the awful outcome of policies that benefit the top 1 percent, at the expense of the rest of us. Now we want to return to our grandparents' wisdom: in the wake of the Great Depression, they passed major labor reforms that allowed men and women to collectively bargain for better pay and working conditions. Our forebears also passed major financial reforms to keep speculators and big Wall Street firms from ripping off average investors and entrepreneurs. Those two reforms helped American build the greatest middle class that the world has ever seen. If Ohio repeals Senate Bill 5 by voting " No on Issue 2 " on Tuesday, the victory will validate the thousands who rallied at the state capitol in Wisconsin in February, the hundreds of thousands who rallied against austerity in every congressional district over the summer, and the inspirational crowds who gather every day at Zuccotti Park and Occupy sites around the country. More importantly, we take a step toward recovering our grandparents' wisdom - and rebuilding the American Dream.

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Sharpton: “It’s Time We Take Our Country Back”

It’s high time we, the majority, take our country back: When certain individuals began chanting their mantra of ‘take our country back’, the rest of us hoped that it wasn’t a subliminal message to strip away this nation’s advancements and take us back to some sort of Jim Crow era. But in such a short span of time in office, many conservative elected officials have proved that their goal is precisely to implement regressive measures that begin to chip away at the core of the fundamental constructs of the civil rights movement. The latest enactment of voter ID laws across the country are a prime example of how the right is attempting to wrong us all. See Also: Want To Read More Sharpton Pieces? Click Here See Also: Black Travel: Visit The Black Mecca Of America, Harlem For those who like to pretend that racism never existed in our past, here’s another quick reminder: years after slavery was abolished, there were systematic ways to still deny African Americans civil liberties – not the least of which was a poll tax. After the 14th Amendment guaranteed equal protection for all, a poll tax was enacted as a prerequisite to voting. Because African Americans (and poor Whites for that matter) found it difficult to come up with the money required to vote, many were covertly disenfranchised from the process. It was a new measure, but it held the same underlying notion of racism and oppression of an entire group of citizenry that slavery itself did. Today, thankfully, a poll tax does not exist, but as Republican leaders continue to champion and implement voter ID requirements, they are establishing a new form of voting prerequisites and voter suppression. When nearly 25% of African Americans lack ‘appropriate ID’ in order to vote, it’s clear who their target is. When college students are barred from voting in the state where they attend school and instead must return to their home state, it’s clear who their target is. And when the process of obtaining this ‘appropriate ID’ isn’t free by any measure, it’s distinctly clear who their target is. Imagine you’re a hard-working American who holds two or three jobs just to put food on the table, and now you’re required to take a day (or more) off in order to obtain an ID. Not only does this person accrue lost work wages, but he/she also has to factor in the cost of traveling to obtain the ID, as well as fees associated with getting copies of documents like passports or birth certificates. For the individual enduring such difficult times as so many Americans today are, is all the hassle and extra expenses going to be worth it in their eyes? Or will they simply say, I wish I could vote, but I simply can’t afford it? And let’s not forget the long enduring lines, procedures and bureaucracy that will likely arise for folks in the process of receiving ID cards. It may not be a poll tax, but these new voter ID laws are just a polished version of the same oppressive measures designed to keep people of color and the poor out of the electoral process. There are currently 13 states across the country that have adopted voter ID requirements, with more pushing for similar legislation. When so many Americans do not possess a driver’s license due to an inability to purchase a vehicle or because it’s simply not necessary in an urban environment, the amount of Americans without valid ID for the polls is staggering. Once again, African Americans, Latinos, the poor and other disenfranchised groups will clearly be impacted the most by these voting requirements. And it should come as no surprise that this sector of society votes Democratic a majority of the time. If Republican officials and those who support them are so upset by the direction of the country and so insistent on the fact that we are a center-right nation, why don’t they prove it with fair elections? By conjuring up ridiculous requirements that are obviously designed to reduce the number of voters, they only validate the fact that their Party and their vision for the future is antiquated and the majority is not on their side. Instead of playing dirty politics, perhaps they should just run an election on the facts and allow everyone to freely vote. After all, what are they so afraid of? Maybe it’s high time we, the majority, take our country back.

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Stunning Number: Big Banks Set to Lose 70,000 Accounts on Move Your Money Day

Just this week, Rebuild the Dream (an organization that I helped to found) launched a Move Your Money website , where people are pledging to close their accounts at Wall Street banks in protest of their outrageous behavior before, during, and after our nation's financial crash. I am stunned to report that as of this morning at 9am Pacific, people have pledged to close 69,127 accounts at big banks, and the number keeps climbing. Tomorrow is a big day. Saturday, November 5 is a huge " Move Your Money " day. Tens of thousands of people all over the country will leave the big banks and move their money to community banks and credit unions -- where people remember things like customer service and loyalty. For the past decade, our economy has been hijacked by Wall Street banks. Banks that knowingly made bad loans to homeowners and sold them as "can't miss" investments. Banks that took our tax money to bail themselves out, while handing out billions in bonuses to their executives. Banks that have so far escaped accountability for their role in our nation's economic crash. If you use a big bank, like so many of us, now's the time to make a change. We need to stop feeding what we are fighting. Let's fund banks that will fund our American dreams, not our American nightmares. Within our own wallets, we have the power to hold Wall Street banks accountable. We can move our money to community banks and credit unions, institutions that are responsive and accountable. to the communities we live in. Community banks know that they depend on the well-being of local residents and the local economy. Credit unions know that they thrive only if their account holders thrive. In other words, they put people before profit. Wall Street banks have it backward, sacrificing people's life savings and homes just so they can prop up their stock price. We already know that the big banks are paying attention. Just this week, after public outcry over proposed monthly debit card fees, the big banks backed off. This is good news. Now let's make sure they know they need to do a lot more than just give us back our $5. Already, tens of thousands have pledged to move their money this weekend. I'm proud to count myself among that number -- I'm in the process of moving our family's money out of a zombie mega-bank and into a community bank. The more people that join in the exodus from Wall Street banks, the louder the message that the banks will pay for the damage they've caused to our economy. Does it sound hard to switch banks? It's true, it's not always simple. Sometimes, the hardest part is getting started. Here are some resources to make it easier. - To find a local bank to switch to, you can search for a community bank or credit union in your area here . - Read a complete guide to closing your account from our friends at the New Bottom Line . - When you decide to Move Your Money, don't forget to tell the world . Stand up and be counted! - And if you're inspired and want to do more, the New Bottom Line is organizing people nationwide to start campaigns to get institutions like churches, municipal governments, and universities to move their money out of the big Wall Street banks. You can find out more and get involved locally here .

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I Wish I Could Vote, But I Simply Can’t Afford To

Image s-VOTING-mini.jpg

It's high time we, the majority, take our country back: When certain individuals began chanting their mantra of 'take our country back', the rest of us hoped that it wasn't a subliminal message to strip away this nation's advancements and take us back to some sort of Jim Crow era. But in such a short span of time in office, many conservative elected officials have proved that their goal is precisely to implement regressive measures that begin to chip away at the core of the fundamental constructs of the civil rights movement. The latest enactment of voter ID laws across the country are a prime example of how the right is attempting to wrong us all. For those who like to pretend that racism never existed in our past, here's another quick reminder: years after slavery was abolished, there were systematic ways to still deny African Americans civil liberties - not the least of which was a poll tax. After the 14th Amendment guaranteed equal protection for all, a poll tax was enacted as a prerequisite to voting. Because African Americans (and poor Whites for that matter) found it difficult to come up with the money required to vote, many were covertly disenfranchised from the process. It was a new measure, but it held the same underlying notion of racism and oppression of an entire group of citizenry that slavery itself did. Today, thankfully, a poll tax does not exist, but as Republican leaders continue to champion and implement voter ID requirements, they are establishing a new form of voting prerequisites and voter suppression. When nearly 25% of African Americans lack 'appropriate ID' in order to vote, it's clear who their target is. When college students are barred from voting in the state where they attend school and instead must return to their home state, it's clear who their target is. And when the process of obtaining this 'appropriate ID' isn't free by any measure, it's distinctly clear who their target is. Imagine you're a hard-working American who holds two or three jobs just to put food on the table, and now you're required to take a day (or more) off in order to obtain an ID. Not only does this person accrue lost work wages, but he/she also has to factor in the cost of traveling to obtain the ID, as well as fees associated with getting copies of documents like passports or birth certificates. For the individual enduring such difficult times as so many Americans today are, is all the hassle and extra expenses going to be worth it in their eyes? Or will they simply say, I wish I could vote, but I simply can't afford it? And let's not forget the long enduring lines, procedures and bureaucracy that will likely arise for folks in the process of receiving ID cards. It may not be a poll tax, but these new voter ID laws are just a polished version of the same oppressive measures designed to keep people of color and the poor out of the electoral process. There are currently 13 states across the country that have adopted voter ID requirements, with more pushing for similar legislation. When so many Americans do not possess a driver's license due to an inability to purchase a vehicle or because it's simply not necessary in an urban environment, the amount of Americans without valid ID for the polls is staggering. Once again, African Americans, Latinos, the poor and other disenfranchised groups will clearly be impacted the most by these voting requirements. And it should come as no surprise that this sector of society votes Democratic a majority of the time. If Republican officials and those who support them are so upset by the direction of the country and so insistent on the fact that we are a center-right nation, why don't they prove it with fair elections? By conjuring up ridiculous requirements that are obviously designed to reduce the number of voters, they only validate the fact that their Party and their vision for the future is antiquated and the majority is not on their side. Instead of playing dirty politics, perhaps they should just run an election on the facts and allow everyone to freely vote. After all, what are they so afraid of? Maybe it's high time we, the majority, take our country back.

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Tax the One Percent — Make Wall Street Fund America

The giant cries of protest sweeping across the country are starting to reverberate in the halls of Congress. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) are proposing a Wall Street Tax. Their bill would establish a tiny financial transaction tax of 0.03% on every single trade of stocks, bonds, options, futures, swaps, and credit default swaps. I think this is a great idea, and Congress should pass the bill. Rebuild the Dream and MoveOn.org started a petition so you can show support for the Wall Street Tax. Notably, a Wall Street Tax is in the Contract for the American Dream , the 10-point plan to fix our economy that more than 131,000 people created earlier this year, through a grassroots, bottom-up process. To date, more than 300,000 people have signed the Contract for the American Dream. In other words, the idea of a Wall Street Tax is already popular. The Wall Street Tax would be a tiny cost for those of us socking away our savings for retirement or our children's education -- the average person paying into a 401(k) would pay only one dollar per year. But Wall Street traders could no longer bet thousands of times a second for free. Much of the risk in today's market comes from rapid-fire "flash trading," where financial firms use computer algorithms to make thousands of trades per second. This doesn't add any real value to the market or to our economy. When we buy something of real value, like a winter coat for our kids, we pay a sales tax, and rightly so. Yet these Wall Street speculators pay zero taxes while making a fortune passing electrons back and forth millions of times a day, all the while destabilizing our economy. The Harkin-DeFazio Wall Street Tax is common sense. The concept has been around for a while. Hundreds of economists and responsible investors have long called for it, including Nobel Laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, plus stock market billionaire Warren Buffett and former Goldman Sachs Chairman John Whitehead. This idea is already law in several countries, including financial centers like the UK and Hong Kong. And the European Union is currently considering a much steeper version of what's on the table in the U.S. The Wall Street Tax would raise somewhere between $700 billion and $1.2 trillion over ten years, critical funds we need to create jobs and protect vital programs. Meanwhile, the Super Committee has been charged with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions and has floated the idea of targeting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Notice: the Wall Street Tax would cover nearly all of the Super Committee's mandated deficit reductions. Congress is about to face a telling choice. Will they vote to tax Wall Street gamblers in the 1%, or cut the Social Security checks of senior citizens in the 99%? Members of Congress should take note: If they vote against the 99% on this bill, they should be prepared for the 99% to vote against them next November. Go here to learn more about the bill and what citizens can do.

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It’s Time for the Solutions: Hundreds of Thousands Support Big Plan to Fix Economy

America and the world owe a great debt to Occupy Wall Street for making the problem of economic inequality impossible to ignore. The tiny spark that began in Zuccotti Park just six weeks ago has triggered a major shift in the national dialogue on inequality, our economy and our democracy. Now it's time to begin a conversation about solutions -- solutions big enough to fit the scale of the problems that Occupy Wall Street has highlighted. Fortunately, the American Dream Movement spent this last summer taking on this very challenge. We are a vast, growing network of progressive organizations and individuals. We are fighting to renew the American Dream and return our country to the principle of liberty and justice, for ALL (not for some). We launched in June 2011, with the support of more than 70 national organizations, including MoveOn.org , Planned Parenthood, Center for Community Change, Campaign for America's Future, SEIU and AFL-CIO. Since then, more than half a million people have joined our ranks and become members on www.RebuildtheDream.com . We now have membership in every congressional district of the country. In July, the American Dream Movement created an inclusive process to forge a jobs agenda that would put the country back to work without hurting essential programs like Medicare and Medicaid. More than 131,000 people got involved, both online and in person (NOTE: That is nearly three times the number of people who helped craft the Tea Party's famous"Contract from America.") Participants generated more than 20,000 ideas, then rated and ranked them to identify the best ones. The outcome was our 10-point program: the Contract for the American Dream . The common sense remedies in the Contract are based on the fundamental idea that a functioning U.S. economy requires opportunity for all and responsibility from all. Here are the ten items: I. Invest in America's Infrastructure - Rebuild our crumbling bridges, dams, levees, ports, water and sewer lines, railways, roads, and public transit. Invest in high-speed Internet and a modern, energy-saving electric grid. These investments will create good jobs and rebuild America. II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs - Invest in American businesses that can power our country with innovative technologies like wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal systems, hybrid and electric cars, and next-generation batteries. And put Americans to work making our homes and buildings energy efficient. We can create good, green jobs in America, address the climate crisis, and build the clean energy economy. III. Invest in Public Education - Provide universal access to early childhood education, make school funding equitable, invest in high-quality teachers, and build safe, well-equipped school buildings for our students. This is critical for our future and can create badly needed jobs now. IV. Offer Medicare for All - Expand Medicare so it's available to all Americans, and reform it to provide even more cost-effective, quality care. The Affordable Care Act is a start, but it's not enough. We can save trillions of dollars by joining every other industrialized country -- paying much less for health care while getting the same or better results. V. Make Work Pay - Grant all Americans the right to fair minimum and living wages, to organize and collectively bargain, to enjoy equal opportunity, and to earn equal pay for equal work. Corporate assaults on these rights must be outlawed. VI. Secure Social Security - Keep Social Security sound, and strengthen the retirement, disability, and survivors' protections Americans earn through their hard work. Pay for it by removing the cap on the Social Security tax, so that upper-income people pay into Social Security on all they make, just like the rest of us. VII. Return to Fairer Tax Rates - End, once and for all, the Bush-era tax giveaways for the rich, which the rest of us -- or our kids -- must pay eventually. Outlaw corporate tax havens and tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas. And with millionaires and billionaires taking a growing share of our country's wealth, let's add new tax brackets for those making more than $1 million annually. VIII. End the Wars and Invest at Home - Bring home our troops. They've done everything asked of them, and it's time to bring them home to good jobs. We're sending $3 billion each week overseas that we should be investing to rebuild America. IX. Tax Wall Street Speculation - Make Wall Street pay. A tiny fee of a twentieth of 1% on each Wall Street trade could raise tens of billions of dollars annually with little impact on actual investment. This would reduce speculation, "flash trading," and outrageous bankers' bonuses. X. Strengthen Democracy - Hold clean, fair elections -- where no one's right to vote can be taken away, and where money doesn't buy you your own member of Congress. We must ban anonymous political influence, slam shut the lobbyists' revolving door in D.C., and publicly finance elections. Immigrants who want to join in our democracy deserve a clear path to citizenship. We must stop giving corporations the rights of people when it comes to our elections. And we must ensure our judiciary's respect for the Constitution. Many elements of the Contract are already under consideration in various forms in Congress, even as we speak. The idea of taxing Wall Street speculation at this moment in history should be a no-brainer. Let's bring all ten points through the political system. There's always a danger that even mass protest will not result in concrete policy change or real-life improvements for ordinary Americans. The challenge we face is critical: It is time to turn this unleashed energy into power. We must go beyond changing the conversation on inequality to also changing the conditions under which millions of Americans are suffering economically. Let's use this pivotal moment in history to make America work for the 99%

Read More »

It’s Time for the Solutions: Hundreds of Thousands Support Big Plan to Fix Economy

America and the world owe a great debt to Occupy Wall Street for making the problem of economic inequality impossible to ignore. The tiny spark that began in Zuccotti Park just six weeks ago has triggered a major shift in the national dialogue on inequality, our economy and our democracy. Now it's time to begin a conversation about solutions -- solutions big enough to fit the scale of the problems that Occupy Wall Street has highlighted. Fortunately, the American Dream Movement spent this last summer taking on this very challenge. We are a vast, growing network of progressive organizations and individuals. We are fighting to renew the American Dream and return our country to the principle of liberty and justice, for ALL (not for some). We launched in June 2011, with the support of more than 70 national organizations, including MoveOn.org , Planned Parenthood, Center for Community Change, Campaign for America's Future, SEIU and AFL-CIO. Since then, more than half a million people have joined our ranks and become members on www.RebuildtheDream.com . We now have membership in every congressional district of the country. In July, the American Dream Movement created an inclusive process to forge a jobs agenda that would put the country back to work without hurting essential programs like Medicare and Medicaid. More than 131,000 people got involved, both online and in person (NOTE: That is nearly three times the number of people who helped craft the Tea Party's famous"Contract from America.") Participants generated more than 20,000 ideas, then rated and ranked them to identify the best ones. The outcome was our 10-point program: the Contract for the American Dream . The common sense remedies in the Contract are based on the fundamental idea that a functioning U.S. economy requires opportunity for all and responsibility from all. Here are the ten items: I. Invest in America's Infrastructure - Rebuild our crumbling bridges, dams, levees, ports, water and sewer lines, railways, roads, and public transit. Invest in high-speed Internet and a modern, energy-saving electric grid. These investments will create good jobs and rebuild America. II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs - Invest in American businesses that can power our country with innovative technologies like wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal systems, hybrid and electric cars, and next-generation batteries. And put Americans to work making our homes and buildings energy efficient. We can create good, green jobs in America, address the climate crisis, and build the clean energy economy. III. Invest in Public Education - Provide universal access to early childhood education, make school funding equitable, invest in high-quality teachers, and build safe, well-equipped school buildings for our students. This is critical for our future and can create badly needed jobs now. IV. Offer Medicare for All - Expand Medicare so it's available to all Americans, and reform it to provide even more cost-effective, quality care. The Affordable Care Act is a start, but it's not enough. We can save trillions of dollars by joining every other industrialized country -- paying much less for health care while getting the same or better results. V. Make Work Pay - Grant all Americans the right to fair minimum and living wages, to organize and collectively bargain, to enjoy equal opportunity, and to earn equal pay for equal work. Corporate assaults on these rights must be outlawed. VI. Secure Social Security - Keep Social Security sound, and strengthen the retirement, disability, and survivors' protections Americans earn through their hard work. Pay for it by removing the cap on the Social Security tax, so that upper-income people pay into Social Security on all they make, just like the rest of us. VII. Return to Fairer Tax Rates - End, once and for all, the Bush-era tax giveaways for the rich, which the rest of us -- or our kids -- must pay eventually. Outlaw corporate tax havens and tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas. And with millionaires and billionaires taking a growing share of our country's wealth, let's add new tax brackets for those making more than $1 million annually. VIII. End the Wars and Invest at Home - Bring home our troops. They've done everything asked of them, and it's time to bring them home to good jobs. We're sending $3 billion each week overseas that we should be investing to rebuild America. IX. Tax Wall Street Speculation - Make Wall Street pay. A tiny fee of a twentieth of 1% on each Wall Street trade could raise tens of billions of dollars annually with little impact on actual investment. This would reduce speculation, "flash trading," and outrageous bankers' bonuses. X. Strengthen Democracy - Hold clean, fair elections -- where no one's right to vote can be taken away, and where money doesn't buy you your own member of Congress. We must ban anonymous political influence, slam shut the lobbyists' revolving door in D.C., and publicly finance elections. Immigrants who want to join in our democracy deserve a clear path to citizenship. We must stop giving corporations the rights of people when it comes to our elections. And we must ensure our judiciary's respect for the Constitution. Many elements of the Contract are already under consideration in various forms in Congress, even as we speak. The idea of taxing Wall Street speculation at this moment in history should be a no-brainer. Let's bring all ten points through the political system. There's always a danger that even mass protest will not result in concrete policy change or real-life improvements for ordinary Americans. The challenge we face is critical: It is time to turn this unleashed energy into power. We must go beyond changing the conversation on inequality to also changing the conditions under which millions of Americans are suffering economically. Let's use this pivotal moment in history to make America work for the 99%

Read More »

It’s Time for the Solutions: Hundreds of Thousands Support Big Plan to Fix Economy

America and the world owe a great debt to Occupy Wall Street for making the problem of economic inequality impossible to ignore. The tiny spark that began in Zuccotti Park just six weeks ago has triggered a major shift in the national dialogue on inequality, our economy and our democracy. Now it's time to begin a conversation about solutions -- solutions big enough to fit the scale of the problems that Occupy Wall Street has highlighted. Fortunately, the American Dream Movement spent this last summer taking on this very challenge. We are a vast, growing network of progressive organizations and individuals. We are fighting to renew the American Dream and return our country to the principle of liberty and justice, for ALL (not for some). We launched in June 2011, with the support of more than 70 national organizations, including MoveOn.org , Planned Parenthood, Center for Community Change, Campaign for America's Future, SEIU and AFL-CIO. Since then, more than half a million people have joined our ranks and become members on www.RebuildtheDream.com . We now have membership in every congressional district of the country. In July, the American Dream Movement created an inclusive process to forge a jobs agenda that would put the country back to work without hurting essential programs like Medicare and Medicaid. More than 131,000 people got involved, both online and in person (NOTE: That is nearly three times the number of people who helped craft the Tea Party's famous"Contract from America.") Participants generated more than 20,000 ideas, then rated and ranked them to identify the best ones. The outcome was our 10-point program: the Contract for the American Dream . The common sense remedies in the Contract are based on the fundamental idea that a functioning U.S. economy requires opportunity for all and responsibility from all. Here are the ten items: I. Invest in America's Infrastructure - Rebuild our crumbling bridges, dams, levees, ports, water and sewer lines, railways, roads, and public transit. Invest in high-speed Internet and a modern, energy-saving electric grid. These investments will create good jobs and rebuild America. II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs - Invest in American businesses that can power our country with innovative technologies like wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal systems, hybrid and electric cars, and next-generation batteries. And put Americans to work making our homes and buildings energy efficient. We can create good, green jobs in America, address the climate crisis, and build the clean energy economy. III. Invest in Public Education - Provide universal access to early childhood education, make school funding equitable, invest in high-quality teachers, and build safe, well-equipped school buildings for our students. This is critical for our future and can create badly needed jobs now. IV. Offer Medicare for All - Expand Medicare so it's available to all Americans, and reform it to provide even more cost-effective, quality care. The Affordable Care Act is a start, but it's not enough. We can save trillions of dollars by joining every other industrialized country -- paying much less for health care while getting the same or better results. V. Make Work Pay - Grant all Americans the right to fair minimum and living wages, to organize and collectively bargain, to enjoy equal opportunity, and to earn equal pay for equal work. Corporate assaults on these rights must be outlawed. VI. Secure Social Security - Keep Social Security sound, and strengthen the retirement, disability, and survivors' protections Americans earn through their hard work. Pay for it by removing the cap on the Social Security tax, so that upper-income people pay into Social Security on all they make, just like the rest of us. VII. Return to Fairer Tax Rates - End, once and for all, the Bush-era tax giveaways for the rich, which the rest of us -- or our kids -- must pay eventually. Outlaw corporate tax havens and tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas. And with millionaires and billionaires taking a growing share of our country's wealth, let's add new tax brackets for those making more than $1 million annually. VIII. End the Wars and Invest at Home - Bring home our troops. They've done everything asked of them, and it's time to bring them home to good jobs. We're sending $3 billion each week overseas that we should be investing to rebuild America. IX. Tax Wall Street Speculation - Make Wall Street pay. A tiny fee of a twentieth of 1% on each Wall Street trade could raise tens of billions of dollars annually with little impact on actual investment. This would reduce speculation, "flash trading," and outrageous bankers' bonuses. X. Strengthen Democracy - Hold clean, fair elections -- where no one's right to vote can be taken away, and where money doesn't buy you your own member of Congress. We must ban anonymous political influence, slam shut the lobbyists' revolving door in D.C., and publicly finance elections. Immigrants who want to join in our democracy deserve a clear path to citizenship. We must stop giving corporations the rights of people when it comes to our elections. And we must ensure our judiciary's respect for the Constitution. Many elements of the Contract are already under consideration in various forms in Congress, even as we speak. The idea of taxing Wall Street speculation at this moment in history should be a no-brainer. Let's bring all ten points through the political system. There's always a danger that even mass protest will not result in concrete policy change or real-life improvements for ordinary Americans. The challenge we face is critical: It is time to turn this unleashed energy into power. We must go beyond changing the conversation on inequality to also changing the conditions under which millions of Americans are suffering economically. Let's use this pivotal moment in history to make America work for the 99%

Read More »

It’s Time for the Solutions: Hundreds of Thousands Support Big Plan to Fix Economy

America and the world owe a great debt to Occupy Wall Street for making the problem of economic inequality impossible to ignore. The tiny spark that began in Zuccotti Park just six weeks ago has triggered a major shift in the national dialogue on inequality, our economy and our democracy. Now it's time to begin a conversation about solutions -- solutions big enough to fit the scale of the problems that Occupy Wall Street has highlighted. Fortunately, the American Dream Movement spent this last summer taking on this very challenge. We are a vast, growing network of progressive organizations and individuals. We are fighting to renew the American Dream and return our country to the principle of liberty and justice, for ALL (not for some). We launched in June 2011, with the support of more than 70 national organizations, including MoveOn.org , Planned Parenthood, Center for Community Change, Campaign for America's Future, SEIU and AFL-CIO. Since then, more than half a million people have joined our ranks and become members on www.RebuildtheDream.com . We now have membership in every congressional district of the country. In July, the American Dream Movement created an inclusive process to forge a jobs agenda that would put the country back to work without hurting essential programs like Medicare and Medicaid. More than 131,000 people got involved, both online and in person (NOTE: That is nearly three times the number of people who helped craft the Tea Party's famous"Contract from America.") Participants generated more than 20,000 ideas, then rated and ranked them to identify the best ones. The outcome was our 10-point program: the Contract for the American Dream . The common sense remedies in the Contract are based on the fundamental idea that a functioning U.S. economy requires opportunity for all and responsibility from all. Here are the ten items: I. Invest in America's Infrastructure - Rebuild our crumbling bridges, dams, levees, ports, water and sewer lines, railways, roads, and public transit. Invest in high-speed Internet and a modern, energy-saving electric grid. These investments will create good jobs and rebuild America. II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs - Invest in American businesses that can power our country with innovative technologies like wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal systems, hybrid and electric cars, and next-generation batteries. And put Americans to work making our homes and buildings energy efficient. We can create good, green jobs in America, address the climate crisis, and build the clean energy economy. III. Invest in Public Education - Provide universal access to early childhood education, make school funding equitable, invest in high-quality teachers, and build safe, well-equipped school buildings for our students. This is critical for our future and can create badly needed jobs now. IV. Offer Medicare for All - Expand Medicare so it's available to all Americans, and reform it to provide even more cost-effective, quality care. The Affordable Care Act is a start, but it's not enough. We can save trillions of dollars by joining every other industrialized country -- paying much less for health care while getting the same or better results. V. Make Work Pay - Grant all Americans the right to fair minimum and living wages, to organize and collectively bargain, to enjoy equal opportunity, and to earn equal pay for equal work. Corporate assaults on these rights must be outlawed. VI. Secure Social Security - Keep Social Security sound, and strengthen the retirement, disability, and survivors' protections Americans earn through their hard work. Pay for it by removing the cap on the Social Security tax, so that upper-income people pay into Social Security on all they make, just like the rest of us. VII. Return to Fairer Tax Rates - End, once and for all, the Bush-era tax giveaways for the rich, which the rest of us -- or our kids -- must pay eventually. Outlaw corporate tax havens and tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas. And with millionaires and billionaires taking a growing share of our country's wealth, let's add new tax brackets for those making more than $1 million annually. VIII. End the Wars and Invest at Home - Bring home our troops. They've done everything asked of them, and it's time to bring them home to good jobs. We're sending $3 billion each week overseas that we should be investing to rebuild America. IX. Tax Wall Street Speculation - Make Wall Street pay. A tiny fee of a twentieth of 1% on each Wall Street trade could raise tens of billions of dollars annually with little impact on actual investment. This would reduce speculation, "flash trading," and outrageous bankers' bonuses. X. Strengthen Democracy - Hold clean, fair elections -- where no one's right to vote can be taken away, and where money doesn't buy you your own member of Congress. We must ban anonymous political influence, slam shut the lobbyists' revolving door in D.C., and publicly finance elections. Immigrants who want to join in our democracy deserve a clear path to citizenship. We must stop giving corporations the rights of people when it comes to our elections. And we must ensure our judiciary's respect for the Constitution. Many elements of the Contract are already under consideration in various forms in Congress, even as we speak. The idea of taxing Wall Street speculation at this moment in history should be a no-brainer. Let's bring all ten points through the political system. There's always a danger that even mass protest will not result in concrete policy change or real-life improvements for ordinary Americans. The challenge we face is critical: It is time to turn this unleashed energy into power. We must go beyond changing the conversation on inequality to also changing the conditions under which millions of Americans are suffering economically. Let's use this pivotal moment in history to make America work for the 99%

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It’s Time for the Solutions: Hundreds of Thousands Support Big Plan to Fix Economy

America and the world owe a great debt to Occupy Wall Street for making the problem of economic inequality impossible to ignore. The tiny spark that began in Zuccotti Park just six weeks ago has triggered a major shift in the national dialogue on inequality, our economy and our democracy. Now it's time to begin a conversation about solutions -- solutions big enough to fit the scale of the problems that Occupy Wall Street has highlighted. Fortunately, the American Dream Movement spent this last summer taking on this very challenge. We are a vast, growing network of progressive organizations and individuals. We are fighting to renew the American Dream and return our country to the principle of liberty and justice, for ALL (not for some). We launched in June 2011, with the support of more than 70 national organizations, including MoveOn.org , Planned Parenthood, Center for Community Change, Campaign for America's Future, SEIU and AFL-CIO. Since then, more than half a million people have joined our ranks and become members on www.RebuildtheDream.com . We now have membership in every congressional district of the country. In July, the American Dream Movement created an inclusive process to forge a jobs agenda that would put the country back to work without hurting essential programs like Medicare and Medicaid. More than 131,000 people got involved, both online and in person (NOTE: That is nearly three times the number of people who helped craft the Tea Party's famous"Contract from America.") Participants generated more than 20,000 ideas, then rated and ranked them to identify the best ones. The outcome was our 10-point program: the Contract for the American Dream . The common sense remedies in the Contract are based on the fundamental idea that a functioning U.S. economy requires opportunity for all and responsibility from all. Here are the ten items: I. Invest in America's Infrastructure - Rebuild our crumbling bridges, dams, levees, ports, water and sewer lines, railways, roads, and public transit. Invest in high-speed Internet and a modern, energy-saving electric grid. These investments will create good jobs and rebuild America. II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs - Invest in American businesses that can power our country with innovative technologies like wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal systems, hybrid and electric cars, and next-generation batteries. And put Americans to work making our homes and buildings energy efficient. We can create good, green jobs in America, address the climate crisis, and build the clean energy economy. III. Invest in Public Education - Provide universal access to early childhood education, make school funding equitable, invest in high-quality teachers, and build safe, well-equipped school buildings for our students. This is critical for our future and can create badly needed jobs now. IV. Offer Medicare for All - Expand Medicare so it's available to all Americans, and reform it to provide even more cost-effective, quality care. The Affordable Care Act is a start, but it's not enough. We can save trillions of dollars by joining every other industrialized country -- paying much less for health care while getting the same or better results. V. Make Work Pay - Grant all Americans the right to fair minimum and living wages, to organize and collectively bargain, to enjoy equal opportunity, and to earn equal pay for equal work. Corporate assaults on these rights must be outlawed. VI. Secure Social Security - Keep Social Security sound, and strengthen the retirement, disability, and survivors' protections Americans earn through their hard work. Pay for it by removing the cap on the Social Security tax, so that upper-income people pay into Social Security on all they make, just like the rest of us. VII. Return to Fairer Tax Rates - End, once and for all, the Bush-era tax giveaways for the rich, which the rest of us -- or our kids -- must pay eventually. Outlaw corporate tax havens and tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas. And with millionaires and billionaires taking a growing share of our country's wealth, let's add new tax brackets for those making more than $1 million annually. VIII. End the Wars and Invest at Home - Bring home our troops. They've done everything asked of them, and it's time to bring them home to good jobs. We're sending $3 billion each week overseas that we should be investing to rebuild America. IX. Tax Wall Street Speculation - Make Wall Street pay. A tiny fee of a twentieth of 1% on each Wall Street trade could raise tens of billions of dollars annually with little impact on actual investment. This would reduce speculation, "flash trading," and outrageous bankers' bonuses. X. Strengthen Democracy - Hold clean, fair elections -- where no one's right to vote can be taken away, and where money doesn't buy you your own member of Congress. We must ban anonymous political influence, slam shut the lobbyists' revolving door in D.C., and publicly finance elections. Immigrants who want to join in our democracy deserve a clear path to citizenship. We must stop giving corporations the rights of people when it comes to our elections. And we must ensure our judiciary's respect for the Constitution. Many elements of the Contract are already under consideration in various forms in Congress, even as we speak. The idea of taxing Wall Street speculation at this moment in history should be a no-brainer. Let's bring all ten points through the political system. There's always a danger that even mass protest will not result in concrete policy change or real-life improvements for ordinary Americans. The challenge we face is critical: It is time to turn this unleashed energy into power. We must go beyond changing the conversation on inequality to also changing the conditions under which millions of Americans are suffering economically. Let's use this pivotal moment in history to make America work for the 99%

Read More »