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Teamsters join other foes of fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty in presenting a petition to Sen. Ron Wyden, who is a key backer of TPP.
Congress is back from Memorial Day recess—and will vote very shortly on whether to pass fast-track legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade deals.

Speaker Boehner & Paul Ryan are whipping House Republicans to get behind it, while the White House is hoping to lure just enough Democratic votes to eke it through.

But railroading a corporate trade deal that we aren’t allowed to read is bad politics and terrible policy, and Daily Kos is determined to help defeat it.

With Congress back in town—and the GOP leadership prepared to bring it to the floor once they have the votes—it is on us to make sure enough members hold the line and oppose it.

On June 3rd, Daily Kos is teaming up with CREDO, MoveOn, Democracy for America, PCCC, SumOfUs and Fight for the Future to generate a wave of constituent phone calls—regardless of party.

What’s really exciting is how many more House Democrats are coming out against Fast Track as the day progresses. Less than two hours after we sent initial versions of our e-mails, The Hill reported that six more Democrats had come out against it. We hope to keep this going.

Please check here to see if your House member has taken a position on Fast Track. Then, call the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and leave a message with their office.

If your House Democrat is a confirmed “no,” please keep in mind that they are under a lot of pressure right now from the White House to buckle and could use some positive vibes:

As one of your constituents, thank you for your opposition to fast-track legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I am counting on you to vote “no” when it gets to the floor.
If your House Democrat is planning to vote for Fast Track, is openly undecided or we simply lack information, we really need you to call them and leave them the following message:
As a constituent, I expect you to represent me—and as a Democrat, I am counting on you to to do the right thing. Please vote “no” on fast track as it comes to the House floor. It is wrong to ram through a secret corporate trade deal that will undermine basic worker protections.
And if your member of Congress is a Republican, we can really use our help too. Please call them, remind them that you vote in their district, and leave a message like this:
I live in your district, and expect you to do the right thing and vote “no” on fast track. I will remember how you vote on this come election time.
It’s been fun keeping track of how many House members are moving into the “no” column, and it’s because of concerted efforts from people like you. So, please keep the calls coming!
Elizabeth Warren, 2013
Elizabeth Warren wants Hillary Clinton to say "no" to Fast Track
Congress is likely to vote on “fast-track” in the next few weeks—allowing this president (and his successor) for the next six years to railroad secret corporate trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

House Democrats are skeptical, but there’s one person whose opposition could be a real game-changer and effectively kill it: Hillary Clinton. And Elizabeth Warren wants her to come out:

As the fight over a massive international trade agreement heats up on Capitol Hill, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said on Tuesday that she wants to see Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton "weigh in on trade."

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Warren declined to say whether she would endorse Clinton. “Right now I think it's important for her to have a chance to lay out her views on a whole host of issues, including trade,” she said.

As the Fast Track debate pits President Obama against the vast majority of House Democrats, Hillary Clinton has been coy on the subject. In her book Hard Choices, she expressed opposition to certain parts of the TPP—but when pressed, has only said she has been for “some trade agreements” and “against others.”

Congress may vote on it soon after Memorial Day weekend, and the White House is pulling all stops to pressure House Democrats—much like how Bill Clinton lobbied Congress to pass NAFTA in 1993.

Daily Kos and allies have been asking Nancy Pelosi to publicly oppose fast track (to date, she says it’s up to House Republicans to get the votes), but a strong statement from Hillary Clinton would be far more decisive.

Would Hillary Clinton oppose fast-track, given that her husband made corporate trade agreements such a central part of his presidency? She has already distanced herself from Bill Clinton’s “law-and-order” policies that have led to mass incarceration. The Clintons are smart, and are slowly realizing that the Democratic Party of 2015 is not the Democratic Party of 1995. With labor, environmental and consumer groups in overwhelming opposition to fast track, it is time for Hillary Clinton to lead and say “no.”

The vote on fast-track will come down to wire. Please sign and send an e-mail to your member of Congress, urging that they vote "no."

Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco chief of staff Dan Bernal meets with our coalition against fast track to accept the petitions.
Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco chief of staff Dan Bernal meets with Daily Kos, CREDO Action, Sum of Us, Electronic Frontier Foundation & Corporate Accountability International
As House Republicans and the White House whip votes to pass fast-track legislation for the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, passage depends on House Democrats—and everyone knows it.

Daily Kos members have been very engaged on pressuring Congress to reject Fast Track, and we have been working with coalition partners like CREDO Action, Public Citizen, Sum of Us, Corporate Accountability International, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Food & Water Watch.

Today, I joined a delegation from these groups—all of whom are San Francisco constituents of Nancy Pelosi—to the House minority leader’s office as we delivered 160,000+ signatures against fast track.

“In 2014, Leader Pelosi said no to fast track for the TPP and now she has a chance to be a hero again,” said Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director at CREDO Action. “If Leader Pelosi uses her power and influence to lead Democrats in the House to stop Fast Track, that will mean the end for the TPP.”

President Obama is meeting with 30-odd House members today from the conservative “New Democrat Caucus,” hoping to peel off just enough Democratic votes to pass fast-track. That is why our petition delivery today was so important.

Since Friday, Daily Kos has generated over 1,400 constituent phone calls to House Democrats. If your member of Congress is a Democrat, please call the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121 today or tomorrow and leave the following message with your member’s office:

I am one of your constituents. As a Democrat, I am urging you to stand up for working people and say NO to a secret corporate trade deal that will ship jobs overseas and endanger our environment. Please vote NO on fast-track approval for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
House Democrats are under a lot of pressure, so we need to keep enough in line. Please make a quick phone call.
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Baltimore police in 2015, Washington DC cop in 1957
The photo on the left has been circulating on Facebook, was presumably taken in the last couple days and is from the Baltimore riots. While riot police swarm the city, a little African-American boy hands out water bottles to the cops.

The photo on the right was taken in 1957, and first appeared in the Washington Daily News. Taken during the Chinese Merchants Association parade in D.C., the cop gently cautions the white kid to step back from getting too close to the parade route.

The latter photo—titled “Faith & Confidence”—won the Pulitzer Prize, and is one of the most famous photos in American history.

It is quite a contrast, given what is going on in Baltimore right now.

UPDATE (4/29): Bishop M. Cromartie, senior pastor at Prophetic Deliverance Ministries in Baltimore, took the photo of the little boy handing the water bottles and had this to say:

Cromartie first noticed the little boy in the photo because no one else — not even adults — were trying to help the police like he was, he tells Bustle. The boy was doggedly persistent, trying over and over again to hand water to the police officer in the picture. Finally, after numerous attempts, he got the officer’s attention, and that was when Cromartie snapped the photo. The pastor says he sees the picture as “a way to show that Baltimore is not as bad and that the people who riot are just a handful, that clearly you have, statewide, people who actually care.”
Joint petition by Daily Kos and partners that generated over 185,000 signatures.
Daily Kos & partners collected over 185,000 signatures and generated an additional 40,000 constituent e-mails.
While the GOP accuses Hillary Clinton of being a one-percenter, the Republican-controlled House today voted to eliminate the federal estate tax—a sweetheart deal for the richest 0.2 percent of Americans.

Only households with a net worth of over $5.4 million pay this estate tax (or 2 out of every 1,000), so it’s good to see which taxpayers they truly care about.

It passed the House with all but three Republicans supporting it, and only seven Democrats voted in support. These are the seven Democrats who voted with the richest 0.2 percent.

Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Daily Kos and our coalition effort collected over 185,000 signatures, and yesterday we generated an additional 40,000+ constituent emails to members of Congress.

President Obama has pledged to veto the bill (if it also passes the Senate, which is unlikely), but we will hold all Democrats who vote the wrong way accountable.

It’s infuriating that seven Democrats voted with Republicans to gift the richest 0.2 percent, but the good news is 176 House Democrats voted “no.”

Do you live in one of the seven districts represented by these "Democrats"? Click here to give them a piece of your mind.

Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia
Most of you have known me since I was a small child. And while I moved to California 19 years ago, the Windy City will always be my hometown and I care about it deeply. Today, you get to vote in the Mayor's race — and I urge you: please vote for Jesus Chuy Garcia.

One of my first political memories as a kid was when Harold Washington was mayor. He gave voice to the voiceless in Chicago, and stood for open and honest government. I still remember that moment in 4th Grade, sitting in Mr. Polakow's math class, when I learned that he died of a heart attack. Chicago has not had a mayor who cares about all Chicagoans ever since.

Four years ago, I was horrified that Rahm Emanuel — who represents all that is wrong with the Democratic Party — left Washington DC to become Mayor of Chicago. But while I have always despised Rahm, even I was not prepared to expect Mayor 1% would so completely sell the City — ignoring wide swaths of the South Side & West Side, shredding the safety net of mental health services & public schools, selling the City to his cronies.

A vote for Jesus Garcia is a vote for a better Chicago that gives opportunity to everyone. Every time I come back to visit, I am blown away at how much Downtown has transformed with high-priced condos and corporate office buildings while the neighborhoods remain stagnant and bereft of hope. Today is a rare opportunity to fight back against the Machine. Vote CHUY!

UPDATE (04/08/15): In the end, Chuy Garcia came up short last night and did not defeat Rahm Emanuel. It was always going to be an uphill battle. Back in February, he came up 10 points behind Rahm Emanuel—a big difference to make up.

As I said six weeks ago, the 2015 Chicago Mayor's race reminded me a lot of the 1999 San Francisco Mayor's race—which I was very involved in. Like Rahm Emanuel, Mayor Willie Brown was a corrupt & arrogant asshole who was also an effective politician. Like Chuy Garcia, Tom Ammiano was an earnest progressive who ran a last-minute insurgent grassroots campaign.

But all the excitement around "making the runoff" obfuscated the fact that Tom Ammiano finished 15 points behind Willie Brown in the first round of voting, and the overwhelming financial edge was going to be difficult. Rahm & Willie both had challengers who were much more likable than them, so they went negative by attacking them as "ineffective" or repeating right-wing talking points on taxes.

I warned Chuy Garcia's people six weeks ago that—win or lose—they had to figure out a way to make sure the energy from this campaign outlasts this election, and that they can use that to build real political power in Chicago.

In San Francisco, progressives were able to use the Ammiano campaign to win back control of the Board of Supervisors a year later. In Chicago, Rahm Emanuel may have been re-elected last night—but a lot of his City Council allies lost in various wards. That's the first step to winning back your city.

Mike Honda speaking with constituents in Cupertino, California.
Congressman Mike Honda
They say that Facebook has ruined April Fool's Day, and you can see why.

But Thank God for Congressman Mike Honda (D-Calif), whose social media team has been circulating this press release today:

Rep. Honda Introduces Acronym Act to Clean up Bill Names

Bill Would Prevent Excessive Words Just to Make an Acronym

Washington, DC – Fighting what he calls “an avalanche of verbiage in the name of every bill,” Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA17) today introduced the Accountability and Congressional Responsibility On Naming Your Motions (ACRONYM) Act of 2014.

This bill will prohibit the addition of words to the title of any bill just to create an acronym. “It’s gotten ridiculous,” Congressman Honda said. “We’re getting bills that have over 10 words in the title just so they can spell something that’s supposed to be clever. The last straw was The Pension And Social Security Measuring Equivalence Permanent Linking of Everyone’s Actual Savings Environment (PASS ME PLEASE) Act, which only corrected a typo on Page 346 of the tax code.” The bill failed in a House vote along party lines.

And yes, folks. It's an April Fool's joke. But it's one of those things that we wish were true. So kudos to Mike Honda, you definitely won the Internet today.

Read the rest of the press release below the fold.

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Senator-elect Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is interviewed by a Reuters reporter at Sanders' office in Burlington, Vermont November 28, 2006. Sanders, a 16-year veteran of the House of Representatives who swept 65 percent of the vote in Vermont running as an inde
Senator Bernie Sanders got all Democrats voting today to support a budget amendment that would fix our crumbling infrastructure by cutting absurd tax breaks for the wealthy.
As Congress votes on the federal budget this week, the Senate nixed a measure on Tuesday by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges and support millions of good-paying construction jobs—by eliminating absurd tax loopholes for the wealthy.
The tax loopholes targeted by Sanders' amendment let corporations and wealthy Americans shift jobs and profits overseas, often to offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands. Nearly $100 billion is lost annually to offshore tax dodging, according to the U.S. Treasury.
But here’s the good news: every Senate Democrat present voted in favor, making it a 45-52 party-line vote in the Republican-controlled Senate. This is important, because way too many Democrats vote with Republicans on awful bills like gutting Wall Street reform—or kill good legislation like restoring food stamp cuts—that it gives cover to Republicans who can claim with a straight face that they are being “bipartisan.”

It will be a very long two years in Congress with Republicans in control of both chambers, and it’s our job at Daily Kos to hold Democrats accountable to keep up the public pressure. More votes like today’s in the Senate is good, because it proves that ideas like eliminating tax loopholes to rebuild our infrastructure are popular. But roll-call votes where many Democrats defect and join Republicans only make it harder for us to build progressive political power.

On Wednesday, the House is expected to vote on the People’s Budget—an alternative budget proposed by co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. It would create 8 million new jobs, raise the minimum wage and protect vital services like Social Security.

Daily Kos worked with allied organizations last week to collect over 140,000 signatures for an online petition in support of the People’s Budget. But with the vote this week, we need to target House Democrats with phone calls from their constituents.

Every year, the Progressive Caucus submits a budget like the People’s Budget—and every year, too many House Democrats vote against it. We need you to call your Democratic congressmember today, and then report back to us how the call went.

Keep in mind: Congress will be voting on several budget alternatives, and it’s not like your member of Congress can only choose to vote for one and not another. A House Democrat can still vote for the People’s Budget, and then vote for the Blue Dog budget (for example).

This Republican Congress will not likely pass the People’s Budget, but as many Democrats voting “yes” will send a powerful message for the budget priorities that must be on the table.

Donald Trump arrives for the premiere of the film
I was sick and tired of hearing about Ted Cruz running for President today, when this news just totally made my day. And yes, it was in the Hill, not the Onion.
Real estate tycoon Donald Trump cast doubt Monday on whether Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) can run for president, because Cruz was born in Canada.

"It’s a hurdle; somebody could certainly look at it very seriously," Trump said during a phone interview Monday on My Fox New York.

"He was born in Canada. If you know and when we all studied our history lessons, you are supposed to be born in this country, so I just don't know how the courts will rule on this."

To recap, Barack Obama was born in the United States to an American mother. Ted Cruz was born in a foreign country, but because his mother was American this arguably makes him a "natural-born citizen" under the U.S. Constitution.

I expect Donald Trump to be just as dogged as demanding Ted Cruz's birth certificate, as he was for Obama.

Christopher Casey of the Consumer's Union runs a de-brief of activists opposed to the Comcast merger after the CPUC hearing on March 12, 2015
Christopher Casey of the Consumer's Union leads a de-brief after activists attended a hearing at the C.P.U.C. to oppose Comcast's merger with TimeWarner.
This morning, I attended the California Public Utilities Commission hearing in San Francisco to oppose Comcast’s merger with TimeWarner. If the merger is approved, Comcast would control every major cable and broadband market in California—serving up to 84 percent of all households.

Daily Kos and other independent websites could not exist without a diverse and decentralized media, and it’s a threat that we take seriously. Which is why we joined the Consumer’s Union, Courage Campaign, Media Alliance and others today to oppose the merger–and have collected over 22,000 signatures from Daily Kos members in California.

The C.P.U.C. has a long history of being cozy with the industries it regulates, with its former President possibly facing criminal charges—and its public hearing process is less open than other bodies I have spoken to in my career.

That’s why today’s hearing was so important to get our voices heard.

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In blatant defiance of the Obama Administration's attempts to reach a diplomatic agreement with Iran, House Speaker John Boehner had Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu speak to a joint session of Congress this week.

While Netanyahu spoke, the Daily Kos community had something to say as well. Over 58,000 Daily Kos members sent more than 175,000 emails to their members of Congress to demand: No new sanctions on Iran. Give peace a chance.

Add your voice here. Please take five minutes to make a phone call to your member of Congress, urging them to reject sanctions on Iran. Let diplomacy work.

To reach your members of Congress, call the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121. After you're done, please fill out this form to let us know how the calls went.

Please head below the fold for more.

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Verizon publishes its statement blasting the F.C.C.'s decision on net neutrality
Wow!! Verizon is so pissed at the vote by the Federal Communications Commission to pass strong net neutrality rules that they tried mocking the decision by calling it a throwback to 1930s-style regulation. As if the New Deal were a pejorative, not an amazing legacy.

And to illustrate how preserving an open democratic system to stop corporations from gouging us all is a 1930s ideal, Verizon published their statement: in Morse code.

It's in Morse code, so no one can read their arguments—unless you click on their translation at the bottom of the blog post. Which takes you to a PDF of their opposing statement.

Which means that practically no one will bother to read their lame arguments.

As a friend of mine quipped: "Verizon publishes statement against net neutrality in Morse code—and their wireless networks still cannot handle the bandwidth to download it."

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