Tell Congress: Oppose the Schumer-Portman corporate tax giveaway

Excerpt from: CREDO

Fresh off of advocating for war with Iran, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer is teaming up with Republican Rob Portman to give a massive handout to multinational corporations.1

Multinational corporations owe nearly $770 billion in taxes on nearly $2.2 trillion that they have been hiding offshore. Senators Schumer and Portman have a proposal to let companies bring back that money at a much lower tax rate – and then, going even further by lowering the tax rate on all future income earned overseas.2

As a Democrat joining with Republicans to promote this proposal Senator Schumer is undercutting Democratic Leader Harry Reid on the eve of negotiations to avert a government shutdown. While the current leader of Senate Democrats has gone on the record demanding the super-rich pay their fair share to keep the government running, the leader-in-waiting has sided with multinational corporations at the expense of domestic companies and everyday Americans, even earning praise from the likes of Rep. Paul Ryan.3,4

Even if the proposal does not become part of a highway bill deal, it will be dredged up again in future negotiations unless we raise such an outcry right now that we kill it for good.

Senators Schumer and Portman claim that letting corporations bring money back to the US at a one-time, lower tax rate would result in new revenue to fund a long-term extension of the highway bill, instead of the recent regular short-term extensions. But corporations already owe that money anyway – at the full 35% corporate tax rate. Letting multinationals bring money back at 14% or lower would be rewarding companies for dodging taxes for years.5

Not only would the proposal result in a massive one-time giveaway, it would create a permanent “territorial” tax system that taxes profits earned overseas at a lower rate. Companies that actually do business here in the U.S.A. would be at a permanent disadvantage to multinationals who can dispatch a team of lawyers and financial wizards to pretend that profits from selling to U.S. customers were actually earned elsewhere. Putting local businesses at a disadvantage and creating a new incentive for companies to outsource jobs makes no sense, especially in order to fund funding job-creating infrastructure.6

The bipartisan proposal by Senators Schumer and Portman proposal would reward the most successful tax dodgers and create a permanent incentive for multinational corporations to move jobs overseas. We need to expose this handout in a massive way and make it absolutely clear to Congress that such a plan is unacceptable.

Corporations like to whine that the 35% U.S. corporate tax rate puts them at a competitive disadvantage, but the reality is that the actually, effective tax rate after loopholes and deductions is equivalent to other nations.7 More importantly, while the rest of us have suffered through cuts that cost jobs and hurt our health and our communities, corporations have been failing to pay their fair share.8 And despite tenacious activism from CREDO members, multinationals recently managed to drag fast track trade approvals through Congress.

Another massive giveaway to corporations should be dead on arrival in Congress, and the presumed frontrunner for Senate Democratic leader should not be lending his name to it. Dozens of national organizations have already spoken out against this proposal.9 We need to show Congress where the American public stands right now.

  • Petition to Congress:
    “Oppose the Schumer-Portman international tax proposal, a massive giveaway to corporate tax dodgers that would permanently disadvantage companies that create jobs in the U.S.A.”

Go to the below site to sign the petition:

Thank you for speaking out,

Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Jon Schwarz, “Chuck Schumer and Rob Portman Unite to Screw Domestic Business and Regular Americans,” The Intercept, July 9, 2015
Dave Johnson, “Next Big One: Repatriation Tax Holiday Giveaway to Corporations,” Huffington Post, July 14, 2015.
Harry Reid, “Avoiding the Next Budget Crisis,” New York Times, August 11, 2015.
Committee on Ways and Means, “Ryan Welcomes Portman-Schumer Framework for New International Taxation System,”, July 8, 2015.
Americans for Tax Fairness, “Tax Fairness Coalition Expresses Deep Disappointment with Schumer-Portman International Tax Reform Framework,”, July 8, 2015.
Jonathan Berr, “Expert debunks claim U.S. corporate taxes are too high,” CBS News, August 19, 2014.
Americans for Tax Fairness, “Fact Sheet: Corporate Tax Rates,”, 2014.
Americans for Tax Fairness, “56 National Organizations Tell Senate They Object to the Portman-Schumer International Tax Reform Framework,”, Juy 31, 2015.

© 2015 CREDO. All rights reserved.


Defend Planned Parenthood against Republican attacks

Excerpt from: CREDO Action

Republicans in the Senate failed in their attempt to defund Planned Parenthood this month. But while Congress is on recess, the attacks on women have moved to the states. Five states — Alabama, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Utah and Arkansas — have stripped funds from Planned Parenthood health clinics. And more states, particularly ones with Republican governors like Nevada, may be getting ready to line up behind them.

Planned Parenthood does invaluable work providing health care for millions of women a year. It’s shameful that Republican governors would be willing to put women’s health at risk in order to score political points with their extremist Republican base.

Tell Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval not to defund Planned Parenthood by illegally canceling Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid contracts.

Republican governors are defunding Planned Parenthood by canceling their Medicaid provider contracts. The contracts provide low-income women with access to cancer screenings, prenatal care, STD testing, and birth control — health care services that are under constant attack by the radical right. Politicians in each state are trying to downplay the damage they’re inflicting on women’s health by claiming that women will be able to access services elsewhere, but the reality is that more than 50 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are in rural or underserved areas, places where there just aren’t other options for care.

The Department of Health and Human Services warned Alabama and Louisiana that ending Planned Parenthood’s contracts is a violation of federal law, which prohibits states from restricting patients’ access to qualified Medicaid providers. It’s clear that Republican governors like Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Alabama’s Robert Bentley don’t care about the law, or about women. They are simply jumping on an opportunity to pander to their extreme right-wing base.

The states are also launching baseless investigations that have no other purpose than to harass Planned Parenthood and force the organization to tie up resources that should be going to health care in countless political fights. The investigations, as expected, have not turned up wrongdoing on Planned Parenthood’s part. Yet, Planned Parenthood funding is still at risk in states where Republican governors can gain politically from attacking women. These governors need to hear from constituents who expect more from them than political grandstanding.

Tell Governor Sandoval that defunding Planned Parenthood would be an unacceptable attack on women’s health. Click the link below to sign the petition:

CREDO is proud to be the largest corporate donor to Planned Parenthood, with more than $3 million dollars in contributions, including $80,000 last month. Thanks for standing with us to defend them.

Heidi Hess, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

“Repeal the Oak Flat land exchange and stop the transfer of this sacred Native American land to a foreign mining giant.”

Excerpt from: CREDO Action

In what many believe is a first in U.S. history, Congress has decided to give away a sacred Native American site to a massive foreign mining company.1 We’re joining a last ditch effort to save this land before copper mining begins and this land is irreversibly destroyed.

Republicans in Arizona have been attempting for years to trade away the beautiful national forest lands at Oak Flat in Arizona, which are considered holy by the Apache tribe. And until recently, they’ve failed for lack of support. But last December, in a deeply cynical and undemocratic move, Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake snuck last minute language into a must-pass defense bill transferring the land directly to the Rio Tinto mining company.2

Apache tribal leaders are planning a caravan to Washington, D.C. this month to protest this outrageous land giveaway. We’re joining thousands of activists to help amplify their message and pressure Congress to stop the Apache land grab.

  • It’s hard to imagine politicians in Washington making the same deal for this land if it were considered sacred and holy by any other major religious group. But it’s sadly in keeping with a history of Native American mistreatment and dislocation.

And this land isn’t just important to the local Apache tribe – it’s important to historians, archaeologists, and all Americans who care about preserving a crucial piece of U.S. and Native American culture. When asked about the significance of the land at Oak Flat, a professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada stated, “this is the best set of Apache archaeological sites ever documented, period, full stop.”3

Foreign-owned mining giant Rio Tinto has repeatedly sought control of this copper-rich land over the past decade, lobbying Congress more than a dozen times since 2005.4 And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Senators McCain and Flake were behind this unprecedented corporate giveaway. McCain has received campaign contributions from Rio Tinto subsidiaries for years, and Flake – before being elected to Congress – actually lobbied for a Rio Tinto subsidiary in support of a massive uranium mine in Namibia.

We need to fight back against this deeply undemocratic move and show Washington that Americans won’t stand by as our legislative process is twisted and sold off to the highest bidder.

  • Go to CREDO Action Action to sign the petition: Protect Native American holy land from mining.

Thank you for your activism.

Lydia Millet, “Selling Off Apache Holy Land,” The New York Times, May 29, 2015.
Zach Zorich, “Planned Arizona copper mine would put a hole in Apache archaeology,” Science, December 10, 2014.
Serene Fang, “In Arizona, a controversial federal land swap leaves Apaches in the lurch,” Al Jazeera America, February 20, 2015.

CREDO Action is a publication of Working Assets |

The Observer view on Turkey and the Middle Eastern struggles for power

Excerpt from: The Guardian
Observer editorial

The prominent players in the region recognise that disparate agendas will result in destruction

If all goes to plan, Turkey will call new elections this week, opening the way for the ruling party to make another claim on majority power. Such a move, widely predicted by officials, would come two months after the last poll, in which Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK party lost much of its lustre. At home, the Kurds got under Erdogan’s guard, with the pro-Kurdish HDP party getting more than 10% of the national vote, crossing a threshold that made it both a force in national politics and a major irritant to the Turkish leader. Elsewhere in the region, the result has been even more profound.

Within a month, Turkey had reopened a front with the Kurdish separatist movement, the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), with whom a truce had mostly held for more than two years. It also invited the US to use one of its air bases to launch attacks on the Islamic State terror group across the border in Syria – a move it had refused, despite two years of pleas from its ally.

At the same time, Turkish jets started bombing PKK positions in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG that, under the cover of US jets, had done much of the ground fighting against Isis. And to cap it off, Turkey declared the Kurds to be an even bigger threat than Isis, whose rampage across the centre of the Arab world is now incontestably a huge threat to regional stability and a direct challenge to the global order.

At every corner, the Middle East is now more combustible than at any time in the past century, with Isis continuing to erode the authority of Iraq and Syria especially and the post-Ottoman state system more generally. Yet to Ankara, ground zero of the region’s disintegration remains its south-eastern mountains where the subversive Kurds are using the chaos to advance their own goals.

A look at who now holds ground inside Syria has affirmed Turkey’s worst fears. The YPG, which along with the Peshmerga forces of Iraqi Kurdistan, has been the only credible fighting force against Isis, now controls a swath of land just south of the Turkish border, from the Iraqi frontier to the north-eastern edge of Aleppo.

The Kurdish militia also has a stronghold in Syria’s north-west. And it is in the gap between the two that Turkey is now insisting that a no-fly zone be established. The move is being sold as a safe haven for Syrian civilians and fighters. The reality is that it would prevent the Kurdish militias from linking up and, in the view of Ankara, changing the geopolitics of the border.

Where this leaves the alliance with the US, which, without the Kurds, could not fight a war with Isis, is one of many riddles of a tumultuous political time regionally. For now, Washington has taken up the offer to use the Incirlik air base, but is balking at a no-fly zone, while urging, with limited success, that the attacks on the various Kurdish interests be curtailed.

In Iraq, the US and Iran continue to dance, pretending that they’re not co-operating in the fight against Isis while US jets fly in support of Iranian-backed militias.

Elsewhere, new curiosities have emerged. Earlier this month, Russian officials flew to Riyadh for discussions with Saudi defence minister, Mohammed bin Salman. Syria’s spy chief, Ali Mamlouk, was widely reported to have been on the plane, a suggestion the Saudis haven’t denied and a move that would have been inconceivable in the past three years that war has ravaged Syria.

Add to that a reciprocal visit by the Saudis to Moscow, an Iranian delegation to Oman, the US-backed nuclear deal with Iran and Russian support for a UN tribunal to get to the bottom of the chemical weapons attack near Damascus two years ago, which has widely been blamed on the Assad regime. Diplomatically, there have been more stirrings in the past month than at any time in the past five years.

This doesn’t mean that an end to one of modern history’s greatest tragedies is in sight. Syria is in embers and its displaced and disenfranchised people’s suffering will endure for many years to come. It is difficult to see how any central authority can regain control of the country. And the same can increasingly be said for Iraq.

The remorseless quest by the region’s stakeholders for power and influence continues to fuel the Syrian war in particular. Common ground has been slow to emerge from entrenched vested interests. However, for the first time since the crisis began, there are signs that all the prominent players – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the US and Turkey – now recognise that prosecuting disparate agendas will eventually lead nowhere else but mutually assured destruction.

Russia’s surprise UN concession could ostensibly be read as having put Assad on notice that after having protected him with security council vetoes for so long, it could withdraw cover on the chemical weapons probe, a move that would cripple what remains of his authority.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have all insisted that Assad’s demise would give them room to move and would also deny Isis momentum. Russia’s messaging in recent weeks is that this is up for discussion, as long as they can secure their own interests.

In the meantime, though, Turkey’s principal preoccupation seems to be neither Assad, nor Isis. Erdogan hopes a new poll, after weeks of fighting the Kurds, will draw the support of nationalists attracted by the anti-terror narrative and splinter the HDP. Only then, with a restored majority, would Erdogan turn his attention to a groundswell that could define the region’s very future. The danger is that the increasingly mercurial Turkish leader is in danger of pursuing his own political and national interests at the expense of the search for a wider regional settlement that could at last offer peace to the region.

Pentagon Needs To Rethink Calling War Journalists ‘Belligerents’

Excerpt from: The Guardian
War reporters like the late James Foley could, under a new document circulated by the US Defense Department, be held liable for ‘engaging in hostilities’ – ambiguous language that worries many in the press. 
Alan Yuhas in New York
Tuesday 11 August 2015 18.04 EDT Last modified on Wednesday 12 August 2015 18.09 EDT

An international press freedom group has called on US defense secretary Ash Carter to revise “dangerous” language of a new Pentagon manual that says journalists can become “unprivileged belligerents” akin to spies or saboteurs.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB) published an open letter to Carter on Tuesday in response to the Department of Defense’s first Law of War Manual, which has provoked outrage among journalists for saying war reporters may be held liable for “engaging in hostilities” or “spying, sabotage and similar acts behind enemy lines”.

“This terminology leaves too much room for interpretation, putting journalists in a dangerous position,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire wrote in the letter.

“Likening journalistic activity to spying is just the kind of ammunition certain repressive countries like Iran, Syria and China would seek out to support their practices of censorship and criminalization of journalists.”

“It’s very threatening,” Vanessa Gezari, managing editor at Columbia Journalism Review who has reported extensively on the war in Afghanistan, told the Guardian. “I believe it contradicts at least the spirit of customary battlefield relationships, if not the letter.”

“The relationship between journalists and combatants has always been complicated,” she said. “The way the language about spying is placed in there is alarming to me in that it says, ‘journalism is a lot like spying’ and then it leaves that to people to make up their own mind. It gets at the commonalities but not the differences.”

“It’s really quite disturbing,” Frank Smyth, senior adviser for journalist security at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), said. Both RWB and the CPJ estimate that the majority of journalists killed in 2014 died in war zones.

“It’s speculative, it’s ambiguous, it’s arbitrary,” said Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association. “I don’t think it’s helpful at all.”

The editorial board at The New York Times echoed the criticism, deeming some of the manual’s arguments “ludicrous”.

The 1,180-page document only vaguely describes when a journalist might be held liable without protections of either a soldier or a civilian. “In general, journalists are civilians,” the manual reads, but “like other civilians, civilian journalists who engage in hostilities against a State, may be punished by that State after a fair trial”.

The manual then says that simple “relaying of information” may constitute such an act.

Army Lt Col Joe Sowers, a spokesman for the Department of Defense, said that such information relaying could include “acting as an artillery spotter” or as “a guide or lookout for combatants”.

The phrase “unprivileged belligerents” appears to derive from “unlawful combatants”, a legal term used by the George W Bush administration to describe some prisoners taken on the battlefield. Sowers said the difference between terms is “largely a stylistic one”.

“Reporting on military operations can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even spying,” the manual continues. “A journalist who acts as a spy may be subject to security measures and punished if captured.”

Smyth criticized the manual in particular for its many referential footnotes, which he says “ignore the most basic cases” involving press freedoms and journalists.

One such footnote quotes a 2000 review on the Nato bombing of Yugoslavia: “Whether the media constitutes a legitimate target group is a debatable issue.

“If the media is used to incite crimes, as in Rwanda, then it is a legitimate target. If it is merely disseminating propaganda to generate support for the war effort, it is not a legitimate target.”

The manual suggests journalists avoid spying accusations by gaining permission to report from “relevant authorities”, but does not provide guidelines about chaotic conflict zones such as central Mexico, Syria and northern Iraq, and eastern Ukraine, where factions have attacked and captured accredited journalists.

“Anyone who’s been in a conflict zone knows that’s not how conflict zones work,” said Smyth, who was himself captured and accused of spying by Iraq during the Gulf war.

The Pentagon also implies that reporters should submit all their relevant work for review and possible censorship, “so that journalists do not reveal sensitive information to the enemy”.

Osterreicher and Smyth agreed that the language was overly broad, and said that the military and press have delayed reporting or kept major stories under wraps on request. “We’re not saying there should be no limits to reporting,” Smyth said. “Journalists have a responsibility to the public and safety.”

“There’s always been that tension between reporting on things that the military might not want reported,” Osterreicher said. “The military may complain that the reporting is too much but that’s the inherent nature of journalism. It’s gadfly of the government itself, and our forefathers recognized that.”

Sowers said that the Pentagon “supports and respects the protections afforded to journalists under the law of war”.

The manual “does not create new policy, nor is it directive in nature”, he said, framing it as “a resource on the laws of war primarily for the DoD legal community”.

He also disputed critics’ characterization that the manual affords military commanders any special discretion, saying that the manual “is not an authorization for any person to take any particular action related to journalists or anyone else”.

The manual includes a disclaimer about its limits. “The views in this manual do not necessarily reflect the views of those departments or the US government as a whole,” the authors write in the preface.

The disclaimer did little to allay Deloire’s fears. “Even if the authors of the manual have themselves disclaimed its legal value,” he wrote, “the nearly 2,000-page document still has the potential to influence the interpretation and application of the law to US military forces.”

The manual was issued by the office of Stephen Preston, then general counsel for the Pentagon and the former chief attorney for the CIA. Preston resigned in June after six years overseeing the Obama administration’s legal policy with respect to drones, the raid on Osama bin Laden and the war against Isis in Iraq.

The document’s authors also note that they received commentary and advice from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada – the allies known with the US as the Five Eyes for the close coordination of their security agencies.

During the Bush administration’s war in Iraq the US military detained several Iraqi journalists, some of whom worked for established international news organizations like the AP, Reuters and AFP. All were released without charges, though Pulitzer-winning photographer Bilal Hussein was held for two years.

Of more concern than US military action, critics of the manual say, is that authoritarian regimes – including not just countries like Russia but also US allies such as Egypt and economic bedfellows such as China – will use the manual as a justification to crack down further on journalists.

Sowers said the Defense Department does not believe such regimes will use the manual, “and that was certainly not our intent”, although at least one Kremlin-owned news organization has reported on it. Sowers added that the Pentagon welcomes the criticism.


Excerpt from:

Say Yes To Democracy.
Please read the letter addressed to your state Senators and Representative in Congress. You can edit the letter if you wish. Then fill in the blanks with your information. This is required information to confirm you are a constituent (meaning that you live in the district they represent). Then press the “SUBMIT” button to exercise your right as an American.

In 2014 more than $3 billion was spent by corporations, super PACs, lobbyists, unions, and special interest ‘dark money’ groups to influence the outcome of elections. It’s projected that the presidential election of 2016 will cost more than $5 billion.

The Democracy For All Amendment is a bold proposal being considered by the House and Senate that will overturn decisions like Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations and the super wealthy. The idea behind the amendment is simple: lawmakers should once again be able to set reasonable limits on money in elections so that all people can meaningfully participate in our democracy.

Today, big corporations and a handful of the wealthiest individuals hold outsized influence over our elections and our government. The voices of everyday Americans – who don’t have a corporate treasury to spend from or millions in their bank accounts — are becoming increasingly hard to hear over the roar of spending by corporations and billionaires.

Act now.

It’s time for you to ask the U.S. Representative and Senators who represent you to stand up for what you want.

If enough of us speak out, together we will restore democracy in the United States. Only we can hold our elected officials accountable. And we must. If our representatives in Congress are serious about fixing the money-in-politics problem, they will endorse this amendment.

By going to: you can tell your representatives in Washington that enough is enough!! Corporations and billionaires should not be allowed to buy elections in a democracy!!

Tell the U.S. Surface Transportation Board: Reject the dirty coal-hauling Tongue River Railroad

Excerpt from: CREDO action

We need to step in right now to help activists in Montana put the final nail in the coffin for a climate-polluting, dirty coal project they’ve been fighting for years.

Arch Coal, the second largest supplier of coal in America, has been pushing for the construction of a new railroad stretching from Southeast Montana to the Pacific Northwest.1 That’s because they’d like to open what could become the country’s largest coal mine in Montana and then haul that coal across the country to export to China, where it would add 2.5 billion tons of climate-warming pollutants to the atmosphere.2

They need the railroad to make this climate-polluting project work. Fortunately, we have a direct way to turn on the pressure and stop this. The Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Board is holding a crucial public comment period on the railroad project for the next few weeks. Let’s overwhelm it with opposition to this dirty coal-hauling railroad proposal.

The most devastating threats associated with Arch Coal’s reckless and irresponsible project would be to the climate. After being burned in overseas power plants, the coal that would be mined and hauled by the proposed railroad would release over 60 million tons of carbon pollution every year, doubling Montana’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.3

And if the Obama administration were to approve this project, it would undermine the modest gains in its just released carbon rule aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-burning power plants. We can’t allow that kind of hypocrisy to go unchecked.

This isn’t a fight Montanans should take up alone. Make your voice heard now and submit a comment to oppose this terrible idea.

CREDO activists in Montana have been fighting Arch Coal’s project from the start, having delivered over 1,000 comments against the proposed Otter Creek mine in an effort to stop a project that would be a disaster on both a global and local scale.

If built, the Tongue River Railroad would cut through precious agricultural land and wildlife habitat in Southeast Montana, while polluting and threatening the health of towns and communities along its route to the West Coast as it hauls dirty coal from the mine to proposed export terminals.4 That’s why local groups like Northern Plains Resource Council, the Blue Skies Campaign, EcoCheyenne, the Montana Environmental Information Center, and 350 Missoula have been leading the fight for years.

CREDO activists – working with the Power Past Coal campaign and others – have helped stopped several coal export terminal proposals in the Pacific Northwest already, but other proposals are still pending. Those fights will be ramping up this fall, and we’ll be in touch then with how you can get involved. Right now, stopping the Tongue River Railroad from moving forward is the best thing we can do to stop coal exports and keep dirty coal in the ground where it belongs.

Tell the U.S. Surface Transportation Board: Reject the dirty coal-hauling Tongue River Railroad by submitting the below  comment now! Go to CREDO Action and make your voice heard.

  • “I oppose construction of the Tongue River Railroad and urge the Surface Transportation Board to take the ‘no action alternative.’ The Tongue River Railroad’s transport of coal would pollute and threaten the health of communities along its route, while significantly contributing to climate change. Allowing this project to move forward directly contradicts the administration’s efforts to address climate change.”

Thank you for your activism.

Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

“Helena citizens sound off on Tongue River Railroad,” Helena Independent Record, June 16, 2015.

“Coal debate heats up as transportation board denies Missoula’s request for public hearing,” The Missoulian, June 2, 2015.

“Challenging the Otter Creek Coal Mine,” Earth Justice.

“Coal exports bad for Montana’s health, economy,” The Missoulian, October 10, 2013.
© 2015 CREDO. All rights reserved.