ALEC: Paying for Corporate Lobbying With Our Tax Dollars

My careful and objective analysis, based on 35 years in political life, is that ALEC is one of the sleaziest organizations in modern American political life. I know that sounds like a dramatic thing to say, but when more than 100 major corporations find it too embarrassing to be associated with you anymore, you know things have to be pretty bad. And what drives me crazy is that my tax dollars are subsidizing ALEC’s corporate lobbying. Check out this new video from a web-show called The Undercurrent that my organization, American Family Voices, sponsors. It’s a new investigative journalism collaboration called The Undercurrent: Uncovered with one of my very favorite organizations, the Cente

Is the TPP Okay With Slavery? Really?

So the fast track plan to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership has run into a new wrinkle after an amendment passed in the Senate debate: slavery. Yes, really, slavery: the Senate voted for an amendment that would make it more difficult for countries that engage in slavery to be in the TPP, and the Obama administration objected. This is bizarre stuff, folks, but welcome to the world of international trade deals. From Ryan Grim’s article the day Fast Track was passed, about the amendment in question: That measure would bar governments considered to be complicit in human trafficking from receiving the economic benefits of a fast-tracked trade deal. Menendez, the author of the provision, has desc

A Libertarian Dream: The ‘Sharing Economy’ headshot

Regulatory agencies do a ton of hearings and other discussions and events that don’t get a lot of attention at the time, but turn out, in retrospect, to be important turning points in economic regulatory history. The FTC has what they are calling a workshop coming up on June 9 to discuss the “sharing” economy (the quotation marks are in the official document) that could well turn into one of those critical moments. Companies like Uber and Airbnb are seeking not just to disrupt existing industries with their new technology — they want to disrupt the whole nature of regulation in the modern economy. They are a libertarian’s dream in terms of creating economic models without rules. No rules, th

Trade and the Enforcement Issue

The trade debate is a thoroughly engrossing saga full of intriguing story lines, as both parties find themselves in civil wars as the strange bedfellows of Obama, McConnell, and Boehner, and the combined might of corporate America, try to ram home a deal that, with such an alliance, should be easy to ram. But the fight goes on, and the story lines keep getting more interesting: Will the tea party faction in the House finally trust Obama with the kind of unlimited power on trade he is asking for? Will Hillary take a stand? Will Obama keep taking pot shots at Elizabeth Warren? Will Pelosi rally the Democratic troops in the House to be against Obama the same way Warren and Harry Reid have in th

Exciting Ideas Driving Progressive Organizing

There is a lot of great thinking about policy that is driving progressive movement organizing right now. While policy discussion in the traditional media confines of D.C. conventional wisdom is depressingly narrow, the progressive movement is bubbling with not only big and bold policy ideas but energy as to how to push them even in the face of Republican control of many of the levers of government power, including presidential executive orders, ballot initiatives, issue campaigns in big cities and states still controlled by Democrats, and in corporate campaigns that force big business to the bargaining table to make concessions on a variety of issues. There are three big areas that progressi

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