This week’s audio netcast; On the anniversary of American independence, journalist and First Amendment expert David Shipler says there is a mixed picture of free speech. Legally, you can say anything you want, but there are sometimes invisible cultural limits. Political reform advocate Lee Drutman says the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision is not helping corporations run Congress as much as old-fashioned lobbying is. And Bill Press interviews New York Congressman Paul Tonko, an opponent of TPP.
Politicians may top the list of people that say one thing but do another. As the Presidential election heats up we will hear much about how this candidate or that love America, the American people, and the American Way. Of course, most readers of this blog, having an interest in politics will take these pronouncements with an appropriate degree of salt. That said let’s use a simple barometer for measuring their rhetoric against their actions.
It seems logical to think someone wanting to lead America to a more prosperous future would support the basis for that goal – American jobs. What have they done, specifically, to create jobs with their campaign? The Alliance for American Manufacturing has compiled this list of candidates that are offering American made campaign merchandise.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: All of Clinton’s campaign merchandise appears to be Made in America.
Our favorite: The Everyday Pantsuit Tee
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt): All of Sanders’ campaign merchandise appears to be Made in America.
Our favorite: Blue Honk Bumper Sticker
Of course, anyone wanting to make Amerca stronger can do so by buying American. A powerful place to start is with your vehicle, typically the second largest purchase most folks make. The Kogod School of Business has released their list of the Most American Made vehicles for 2015.
The 2015 Buick Enclave SUV, Cadillac CTS coupe, Chevrolet Corvette, GMC Acadia and Acadia Denali SUVs and Chevrolet Traverse SUV rank as the most American-made car models, according to this year’s Kogod Made in America Automotive Index.
The six GM models tied with a score of 87.5 out of 100 to top the list of 332 vehicles on the third annual index developed by Associate Professor Frank DuBois, an expert in global supply chain management at American University’s Kogod School of Business in Washington.
According to the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA) all passenger vehicles manufactured after October 1, 1994, are required to display labels specifying their percentage of U.S. and Canadian parts content, as well the country of assembly and countries of origin of the engine and transmission.
While the Kogod Index incorporates AALA data into its score, it also takes into account such factors as the location of the automaker’s global headquarters (to determine where the profits go); the location of the manufacturer’s research and development activities; and the origin of some components that the federal government may not otherwise require to be specified.
“This index is an alternative ranking system that provides the public with perhaps the most accurate reflection of the true country of origin of a car and the impact of its purchase on the U.S. economy,” said DuBois in a statement. “Hopefully, it holds vehicle manufacturers accountable for the claims they make in marketing to U.S. consumers.”
Interestingly, the next group of vehicles on the 2015 Index, all with a score of 83, also come from GM: the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pickup, Chevrolet Express van, GMC Canyon pickup and GMC Savana van.
The Colorado, Express, Canyon, and Savana are all made in Wentzville, MO. As we celebrate America’s 239th birthday, support America in both word and deed.
This article includes: “…a quick history lesson. The declining relevance of unions in workforce development has several causes, other than the decline of the labor movement itself, and it starts in the 1930s.”
It’s a challenge for the involved American citizen to find out what’s what!
Two 2014 studies by Sunlight Foundation, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses the tools of civic tech, open data, policy analysis and journalism to make our government and politics more accountable and transparent to all, show the influence of money on politics and government:
Fixed Fortunes: Biggest corporate political interests spend billions, get trillions by Bill Allison and Sarah Harkins Nov. 17, 2014, 9:26 a.m.
Look who’s benefiting from Citizens United: Unions wrote more big checks than corporations in 2013 by Jacob Fenton Feb. 6, 2014, 2:58 p.m.
One shocking finding from the corporations study is: “After examining 14 million records, including data on campaign contributions, lobbying expenditures, federal budget allocations and spending, we found that, on average, for every dollar spent on influencing politics, the nation’s most politically active corporations received $760 from the government.”
To sift out some ‘truth’ from any of this, see also:
NPR: Top Spenders On Capitol Hill Pay Billions, Receive Trillions November 17, 2014 3:48 AM ET
AlterNet: Sweet Deal: Corporations Get $760 from the Government for Every Dollar They Spend on Elections – Is this the corruption the Supreme Court said would not occur because of the Citizens United decision? By Alex Ellefson / AlterNet December 8, 2014
Washington Post: How unions trumped corporations in big donations, in one chart By Sean Sullivan February 7, 2014
For general information about Campaign Finance, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campaign_finance
from Education Votes
Koch Brothers vs. the GOP: A fight for control
by Brian Washington
New reports suggest that things are getting ugly between the Republican Party and the Koch Brothers, the billionaire siblings who serve as two of the biggest threats to quality public education.
It appears key members of the GOP, who have often sought the Koch Brothers’ support, now see the infamous duo as a threat to the party’s political power.
According to a recent article in the Washington Post, the two groups have had some heated exchanges–going back and forth over whether GOP candidates will use the party’s voter information file or a new system created by the Kochs’ political operation.
Since then, relations between the two sides have soured, turning into what one Republican operative described as “all-out war.” Interviews with more than three dozen people, including top decision-makers in both camps, have revealed that the Kochs’ i360 platform for managing voter contacts — which is viewed by many as a superior, easier-to-use interface than what’s on offer from the RNC — is becoming increasingly popular among Republican campaigns.
The RNC is now openly arguing, however, that the Kochs’ political operation is trying to control the Republican Party’s master voter file, and to gain influence over — some even say control of — the GOP.
“I think it’s very dangerous and wrong to allow a group of very strong, well-financed individuals who have no accountability to anyone to have control over who gets access to the data when, why and how,” said Katie Walsh, the RNC’s chief of staff.
Click here to read more about the tug-of-war between the Kochs and the GOP in the Washington Post.
MNEA Special Legislative Update – June 26, 2015
By Otto Fajen MNEA Legislative Director
This message is coming to you from the Missouri NEA Legislative Update listserv (firstname.lastname@example.org).
GOVERNOR VETOES STUDENT TRANSFER, VIRTUAL AND CHARTER EXPANSION BILL
Governor Jay Nixon announced on June 26 that he will veto CCS/SCS/HCS/HB 42. The veto was scheduled to be publicized at events in schools in Springfield and Ritenour school districts.
The Association opposes the final version of HB 42 and appreciates the action of the Governor to veto this harmful legislation. MNEA urges legislators to vote in opposition to the bill and sustain the veto, should the bill be brought up for an override attempt in the Veto Session this September.
The legislature has again missed the opportunity to directly address the adverse financial impact caused by the state’s accreditation policy and State Board intervention in conjunction with the student transfer law on districts such as Riverview Gardens and Normandy.
The State Board and the legislature must correct this failing state policy: lack of support and ineffective state interference in local schools. Failing to do so will consign other districts to suffer similar financial and educational harm if designated as unaccredited.
Unfortunately, HB 42 does little to improve the educational outcomes in struggling school districts and communities. The bill doesn’t fully address the student transfer issue. Instead, it undermines local control of schools across the state and enacts an expansion of charter and private virtual schools which is largely unrelated to student transfers and serves to divert public funds for the profit of private or quasi-private schools.
Stay tuned for further updates on opportunities to support the Association’s efforts to sustain the Governor’s veto of HB 42. The Association will need members to contact and meet with legislators to remind them of the many concerns with HB 42 and ensure that it does not become law.
About this veto in the News from progressmissouri.org
NIXON VETOES TRANSFER BILL. Governor Nixon said earlier today that he is vetoing this year’s school transfer bill because it doesn’t solve the problems of unaccredited school districts and creates new difficulties for public education in Missouri.
• Post-Dispatch: Nixon vetoes school transfers bill
• KWMU: Nixon vetoes school bill, saying it doesn’t solve transfer problems
• KC Star: Gov. Jay Nixon vetoes Missouri student transfer bill, blocking charter
• KMBC: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to veto school transfer bill
• KMOX: Nixon Vetoes Student Transfers Bill, Some St. Louis-Area Legislators frustrated
• KC Business Journal: Report: Nixon will veto school transfer bill
BOTH A COMMISSION WORKING SESSION AND A REGULAR MEETING
from the County’s website: http://franklincountymo.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx
you can download the agenda and agenda packet for this working session – they show that the ONLY agenda item is: “Proposed Amendments to Articles 2 and 10 of the 2001 Franklin County Unified Land Use Regulations”
Related to the Working Session, LEO, Labadie Environmental Organization, has posted this on their Facebook page:
FRANKLIN COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TO *DISCUSS* CHANGES TO FRANKLIN COUNTY UTILITY WASTE LANDFILL REGULATIONS THAT REMOVE PROTECTIONS FOR THE PUBLIC:
DATE: JUNE 29th – MONDAY
PLACE: Franklin County Government Center, 400 E Locust, downtown Union MO
TIME: 2:00 P.M.
from Representative Deb Lavender’s Bi-Monthly Newsletter
June 25, 2015 Year 1 Newsletter 11
Bills Signed by Governor Nixon
House Bill 514: provides tax breaks for a redevelopment project in Fenton. The bill allows for designated tax increment financing for the former Chrysler plant in Fenton that closed in 2007. The site will be developed as a business park with an emphasis on light manufacturing. The redevelopment is expected to help create up to 1,500 jobs within the first two years while adding as many as 2,000 additional jobs over time. Even though this bill diverts up to $12 million a year from general revenue, the jobs created more than make up for the tax incentive offered to developers.
The city’s drive to raise the minimum wage within its limits may have been dealt a death blow Friday.
Sidebar: Some board members were racing to pass the bill before Aug. 28, when a state law could kick in forbidding the city from taking such an action.