Tell The U.S. Senate: Reject The China Bilateral Investment Treaty


Excerpt from: CREDO Action

Have you heard of the China Bilateral Investment Treaty (China BIT)? If you’re like most people, you haven’t. And there’s a reason for that.

Described by one trade expert as “more secretive than the TPP,” the China BIT is the latest in a series of corporate-sponsored, closed-door-negotiations trade deals that threaten to essentially give veto power over our own domestic laws and protections to foreign corporations, while exporting American jobs overseas.1

This is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) all over again – a trade deal that’s come under major fire for giving away America’s jobs and consumer and worker protections – but negotiated directly with a country that’s perhaps the most notorious in the world for its own human rights violations, repression of free speech, and anti-democratic crackdowns.

The activism of CREDO members, along with our friends in the labor and progressive community, over the past year has put enormous pressure on TPP, and its passage through Congress is in question. We can help generate the same pushback against the China BIT, but only if we speak out and lay the groundwork right now. While the Obama administration continues its secretive, behind-the-scenes negotiations, we need to make a very public statement to the U.S. Senate that this deal must be dead on arrival.

Despite the tortured arguments we’ll hear from its supporters about why the China BIT should be ratified, treaties like the China BIT are gifts to multinational corporations, hedge funds, and private equity firms, and they have little to do with stimulating the economy for average Americans.

In fact, the China BIT would have the opposite effect. America’s judicial and regulatory systems and our respect for the rule of law are powerful incentives for keeping American companies, and American jobs, here at home. But with treaties like the China BIT and TPP, corporations would be allowed to challenge laws or settle legal matters in foreign countries through extra-judicial tribunals.2

With that power, corporations would have the freedom to freely move jobs and operations to countries with much lower wages, and fewer worker protections and regulations, with much less risk to their profits. And what do we get in return? The ability for foreign corporations –many of them state-owned in the case of China – the ability to challenge our own laws, protections, and regulations through those very same tribunals.

Supporters of the agreement argue that the China BIT would promote more foreign investment in America, but that ignores the fact that America already attracts more foreign investment than any other country in the world3 – much of it from countries who have no special ability to challenge and overturn American laws and regulations. Furthermore, the China BIT itself undercuts one of the main arguments for passing TPP: That it’s a necessary and strategic counterweight to China’s growing economic influence.

It’s clear that the arguments for passing deals like TPP and the China BIT are just a cover for what we know they’re really about: Giving corporations and investment firms increasing power to pump up their profits at the expense of American workers, the economy, and the regulations and protections that keep us safe.

Once the administration agrees on a deal, it’s up to the U.S. Senate to ratify it. But we can step in and put the Senate on notice right now that, just like with the TPP, a major fight awaits anyone willing to give a pass to secretive, pro-corporate deals like the China BIT.

  • Tell the U.S. Senate:
    “Reject the China Bilateral Investment Treaty. Say no to corporate trade deals that kill American jobs and give corporations veto power over domestic laws.”
  • Go to the below to sign the petition:

http://act.credoaction.com/sign/China_BIT?t=7&akid=17852.7785905.9tyIWO

Thank you for your activism.

Murshed Zaheed, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

David Dayen, “The Job-Killing Trade Deal You’ve Never Heard Of: The China Bilateral Investment Treaty,” The American Prospect, March 18, 2016.
Elizabeth Warren, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose,” The Washington Post, February 25, 2015.
“List of countries by received FDI,” Wikipedia.

© 2016 CREDO. All rights reserved.

Tell President Obama: Block The Biggest GMO-Chemical Merger In History


Excerpt from: CREDO Action

If you thought Monsanto was bad, this could be even worse: Chinese chemical giant ChemChina has begun a $43 billion merger with Swiss-based seed and pesticide company Syngenta to create one of the largest chemical and GMO seed companies in the world.

This proposed merger could have huge ramifications in the U.S. and across the entire global food system, where only six companies now control 75 percent of the world’s seed and agricultural chemical business.1 Further consolidation would put our food production system in the hands of even fewer multinational corporations, with the potential of unchecked use of more toxic chemicals and GMOs in our food supply.

A bipartisan group of members of Congress is calling on the Obama administration to more aggressively scrutinize the merger, with the potential of stopping it from moving forward.2 We must act now to pressure the Obama administration to stop this dangerous merger before it’s too late.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which is made up of 16 separate agencies from across the Treasury, Homeland Security, and Defense Departments, is preparing to review this proposed mega-merger for potential risks to national security. A group of lawmakers has voiced their concerns that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have been left out of the oversight process. It makes little sense to exclude from this vital investigation these agencies tasked with overseeing our food system.

The slow, yet persistent takeover of the U.S. food system presents a huge risk to food security and food safety, as many Chinese food companies are government-owned and operate with fewer safety guidelines than American companies. Just in 2014, a Chinese company bought the world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Farms, in a massive $4.7 billion deal – the largest acquisition by a Chinese company of a U.S. corporation in history. The ChemChina-Syngenta merger is a further consolidation of the corporate stranglehold on our food chain.3

The risks to the American food system are far too great, and that’s why the Obama administration must do whatever it can to prevent this merger from going through and threatening our fragile food system any further.

Tell President Obama: Stop the ChemChina-Syngenta merger.

  • The petition to President Obama reads:
    “The unprecedented merger of ChemChina and Syngenta will put much of American and global food production in the hands of a single major multinational corporation. Block this proposed merger and protect our food system.”
  • Go to the link below to sign the petition:

http://act.credoaction.com/sign/chemchina_syngenta?t=6&akid=17732.7785905.vSU88_

Thanks for all you do.

Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

References

“Sino-Genta?” ETC Group, February 4, 2016
Jacob Bunge, Lawmakers Raise Concerns About ChemChina’s Purchase of Syngenta,” Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2016.
“Who’s behind the Chinese takeover of world’s biggest pork producer?” PBS Newshour, September 12, 2014.

© 2016 CREDO. All rights reserved.

Tell Google and Microsoft Not To Sponsor Trump’s Hate


Excerpt from: CREDO Action

Donald Trump’s victory in this week’s New York primary puts him within striking distance of the Republican nomination. It also means that companies like Google and Microsoft are even closer to sponsoring Trump’s divisive and bigoted platform at this summer’s Republican National Convention (RNC).

CREDO activists have been pushing back against Trump’s racism, fear-mongering and hate by pressuring corporations such as Coca-Cola and Walmart to disassociate their brands from Trump’s hate. We’ve already had major progress with Coca-Cola and there are reports that other corporations are becoming increasingly nervous about sponsoring a Trump-led convention.1

We are now working to turn up the pressure on tech titans Microsoft and Google, both of whom made major contributions to help fund the convention in 2012 and seem poised to do so again this year.2, 3 It is irresponsible and dangerous for corporations like Google and Microsoft to promote Trump’s hate by sponsoring the Republican convention. Can you add your voice to ramp up the pressure today?

It’s important for Google and Microsoft to be reminded that sponsorship of a Trump-led convention helps legitimize and normalize Trump’s hate. The platform they will be funding and helping to champion includes:

  • Trump’s characterization of Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals;
  • Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims, including U.S. citizens, from entering the United States;
  • Trump’s rhetoric encouraging his supporters to target protesters at his rallies with violence and his justification and endorsement of the violence his supporters commit;
  • Trump’s consistent misogyny and his commitment to end abortion access for women;
  • Trump’s threat that there will be riots if he gets the most votes but does not win the Republican nomination.

CNN recently reported that a number of high profile Republican politicians are considering skipping the convention because they’re “fearful of a potential melee in Cleveland this summer.”4 If the Republican convention is too divisive and violent for Republican leaders to show up, then there is no reason corporations like Microsoft and Google should be sponsoring it.

Now is the right time to make clear to Google and Microsoft that they have a choice: either stand up for their declared commitment to diversity and back away from Trump’s hate or publicly align their brands with Trump’s toxic candidacy. That’s why we’re working with our friends at ColorOfChange and other progressive allies to increase the pressure today.

Tell Google and Microsoft: Pledge not to sponsor a Trump-led Republican convention.

  • Tell Google and Microsoft CEO’s:
    “Ensure that you do not help provide a platform for Donald Trump’s harmful and bigoted rhetoric by pledging not to sponsor the Republican National Convention if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee.”

Go to the link below to sign the petition:

http://act.credoaction.com/sign/Trump_Google_Microsoft?t=7&akid=17777.7785905.Ju5LCl

Thanks for standing up to Trump’s racism, misogyny and xenophobia,

Heidi Hess, Senior Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

References:

Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman, “Corporations Grow Nervous About Participating in Republican Convention,” New York Times, March 30, 2016.
Ibid.
Joseph Tanfani, “With Trump’s rise, Big donors and companies hesitate to commit money to the GOP convention,” Los Angeles Times, 4/8/2016.
Manu Raju and Deirdre Walsh, “Top Republicans may skip GOP convention,” CNN, April 12, 2016.

© 2016 CREDO. All rights reserved.

Tell Congress: Audit The Pentagon


Over $1 trillion for a fighter jet that’s been in production for over a decade that has yet to see the light of day, and $150 million spent on private villas in Afghanistan for a “handful of staff and visitors” — those are just two examples of the waste, fraud, and abuse that led a story from U.S. News and World Report to call this the “Golden Age of Pentagon Waste.”1

The Department of Defense (DOD) receives more than half of the country’s entire discretionary budget — an astounding $500 billion in taxpayer money per year. But unlike other government agencies, the DOD is the only government agency that cannot be audited, and it has never produced a financial statement that can pass an independent audit.

In the wake of the recent and tragic terrorist attacks in Turkey, Belgium, Pakistan, and Afghanistan it’s more important than ever for elected officials in Washington to realize that the security of Americans can’t be bought with billions in unaccountable taxpayer dollars being thrown at defense contractors and weapons programs that can’t be justified. And when they do that, it comes at the cost of the strategic priorities and programs that will actually keep us safe.

With almost 60 cents of every taxpayer dollar going toward defense spending, it’s a situation that’s ripe for waste and fraud. The Pentagon’s spending deserves the same careful scrutiny as other government programs, and it’s time to do something about it. Fortunately, progressive champion Rep. Barbara Lee has been spearheading legislation in the House of Representatives to audit the Pentagon and impose a fee on any unit that remains unauditable. The Audit the Pentagon Act would cut by 5 percent the budget of any federal agency that does not produce a financial statement for the previous year that can be audited by an independent auditor.

Auditing the Pentagon already has bipartisan support. When Rep. Barbara Lee introduced her Audit the Pentagon Act of 2015, she had several Republican co-sponsors. And when Rep. Lee introduced the bill in 2014, even Grover Norquist, the conservative founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, was there to voice his support.2

In 2013, the Pentagon’s own Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction revealed that the Defense Department had “lost” at least $8 billion in Iraq and that it was impossible to track how a large portion of the $53 billion the U.S. spent rebuilding the country.3

It is outrageous for the Pentagon to evade the same standards we apply to other programs. This double standard contributes to the Pentagon’s out-of-control budget and culture of waste by sending the clear message that the Department of Defense department won’t be held accountable for its wasteful spending. It’s time for that to end.

  • Stand with Rep. Barbara Lee: Tell Rep. Mark E. Amodei to co-sponsor the Audit the Pentagon Act.
  • Tell your member of Congress:
    “Co-sponsor Rep. Barbara Lee’s Audit the Pentagon Act. Defense and military spending deserve the same scrutiny as other government programs.”

Go to CREDO Action to sign the petition.

Thank you for your activism.

Murshed Zaheed, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

William D. Hartung, “A Golden Age for Pentagon Waste,” U.S. News & World Report, February 3, 2016.
“Bipartisan Coalition Introduces Bill to Bring Greater Transparency and Accountability to Pentagon Spending,” Rep. Barbara Lee.
Neil Gordon, “SIGIR Says “At Least” $8 Billion Lost in Iraq,” Project on Government Oversight, March 8, 2013.

© 2016 CREDO. All rights reserved.

Six Years Ago A BP Oil Rig Began Spewing Oil Into The Gulf –  Act Now To Stop New Gulf Drilling!


Excerpt from: Greenpeace

Keep It In The Ground

Make a public comment to tell the Obama Administration to stop new offshore drilling in the Gulf and all of our coasts.

It’s been six years since BP’s offshore oil rig exploded on the water, creating a massive leak that spilled 210 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico and took 87 days to plug up.

It was the worst oil disaster in US history and for residents of the Gulf, it’s STILL not over. There are still tar balls washing up on beaches, dolphins dying, fishermen without jobs, and communities changed forever.

We can’t afford to forget the consequences of offshore drilling. Take action today to stop new drilling off our coasts!

Despite the lessons learned in the BP disaster and the growing threat of climate change caused by burning fossil fuels, the Obama Administration is STILL considering allowing new drilling off the Gulf Coast. Communities along the Gulf Coast are still cleaning up the mess BP made six years ago and new drilling would be disastrous for Gulf communities and our climate.

More drilling is the LAST thing the Gulf coast — or any of us — needs. The Gulf cannot afford another oil disaster, and a warming planet affects all of us.

Tell President Obama: Stop new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere, for the sake of our coasts, communities, and climate.

Thank you for remembering the BP oil disaster today. I hope you will continue to grow our powerful movement to keep ALL fossil fuels in the ground.

Thank you,

Kelly Mitchell
Climate Campaign Director, Greenpeace USA

P.S. If you have a few extra minutes to spare, call the White House at 1-888-369-5791 and tell the operator you want the administration to stop all new drilling for oil and gas in the Gulf and Arctic. Help the #KeepItInTheGround message get heard!

Greenpeace

702 H Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20001 | 1-800-722-6995

House Republicans Must Allow A Vote On The Voting Rights Amendment Act


Excerpt from: CREDO Action

It’s been nearly three years since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in the disastrous Shelby County v. Holder decision.

Restoring the Voting Rights Act would only require a simple fix from Congress, but Republicans have refused to allow any votes on either of the currently pending bills that would protect Americans from discriminatory voter suppression laws.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan recently told the Congressional Black Caucus that he supports the Voting Rights Amendment Act, a bill that would repair much of the damage done by the Supreme Court.1 But Speaker Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy are hiding behind the objections of House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte,2 who doesn’t think the Voting Rights Act should be restored at all.

On Tuesday in Arizona, we saw the direct consequences of the Shelby County decision. Election officials in the state’s largest county reduced the number of polling places by 70 percent between 2012 and 2016, forcing some voters to wait in line for as long as five hours. Under a fully-functioning Voting Rights Act with Section 5 intact, this reduction in polling places very likely would have been blocked before it was implemented.3

Speaker Ryan’s excuse for refusing to allow a vote on the Voting Rights Amendment Act is that he supports “regular order,” in which bills pass through the normal committee process before moving to the House floor. But as Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McCarthy are well aware, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, whose committee has jurisdiction over voting rights legislation, strongly opposes restoring the Voting Rights Act, claiming it is not “necessary.”4

In the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, the Supreme Court struck down the preclearance formula specifying which states with a history of voter suppression required Department of Justice approval to change their voting laws under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The court’s majority opinion made clear that Congress simply needed to update the preclearance formula to restore the power of Section 5 to protect voting rights.

Within hours of Shelby County decision, several states in the South immediately announced that they would pursue discriminatory new voter ID laws that were clearly designed to make it harder for African-Americans and Latinos to vote. All told, 395 voting restrictions have been passed at the state and local levels in the past five years alone.5

Since its original passage in 1965, the Voting Rights Act has been reauthorized and strengthened by Congress five times with strong bipartisan support. In 2006, Congress reauthorized the bill for 25 years by a vote of 390-33 in the House and 98-0 in the Senate. But if Congress doesn’t act to update the preclearance formula, 2016 will be the first presidential election in more than 50 years in which voters don’t have the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.

Tell Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy: Schedule a vote on the Voting Rights Amendment Act.

  • Sign the petition to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy:
  • “No more delays. No more excuses. Bring the Voting Rights Amendment Act to the floor of the United States House for a vote.”

Go to CREDO Action to sign the petition.

Thanks for fighting to fix the Voting Rights Act.

Josh Nelson, Campaign manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

“Ryan backs voting rights bill — but tells black caucus it’s out of his hands,” The Hill, February 3, 2016.
“Paul Ryan Supports A New Voting Rights Act, But He’s Not Doing Anything To Pass It,” The Huffington Post, February 4, 2016.
“There Were Five-Hour Lines to Vote in Arizona Because the Supreme Court Gutted the Voting Rights Act,” The Nation, March 23, 2016.
“It’s Not ‘Necessary’ To Restore Key Part Of Voting Rights Act, Top Republican Says,” The Huffington Post, January 14 , 2015
Ari Berman, “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America,” August 4, 2015.

© 2016 CREDO. All rights reserved.

Tell the U.S. Senate: Stop The Right-Wing’s Assault On America’s Coastal National Parks


Excerpt from: CREDO Action

Republicans in Congress have been relentless in waging a war on America’s public lands – an attempt to strip away, bit by bit, the government’s ability to safeguard parks and public lands from private development.

But now, they’ve taken it one step further, with an assault on America’s coasts. A new Senate bill is threatening “Bundy-style” seizures of coastal national parks that would turn coastal marine management over to states, initiating a feeding frenzy of overfishing and development that could permanently destroy these pristine and environmentally delicate areas.1

The bill would replace the science-based, conservation-focused approach to managing these waters to one that prioritizes development, extraction, and the profits of the highest bidder. We need to tell the Senate to reject this latest salvo in the Republican war on America’s natural heritage.

Introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Cassidy, S. 2807 would give state governors the power to veto the decisions of national parks and overturn no-fishing zones that have been specifically created to help rebuild reefs and fish populations.2

Rubio and Cassidy’s bill is a nod to the extreme land grab movement best exemplified by Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who initiated a standoff with the Bureau of Land Management and has become a hero to right-wing extremists.

The bill would throw out the National Park System’s entire science-based land and wildlife management program – one that’s designed to preserve, protect, and restore parks. In its place, politicians and political appointees would have free rein to parcel out management and usage of these marine areas to the highest bidder.

The bill represents an escalation in the Republican war on our public lands. Republicans recently tried to repeal the 100-year-old law that allows presidents to designate national monuments, and they introduced a bill that would turn back ownership of all of America’s public lands to states for sale to the highest bidder. CREDO activists have successfully fought back against both. But while most of these attacks so far have specifically exempted national parks, this bill specifically targets national parks for turning over to state control and management.

We can send this horrible idea back to the trash heap in the same way we’ve done for all the others, but it will take an outpouring of push-back from Americans who believe our public lands and waters deserve protection.

Tell the U.S. Senate: Stop the assault on America’s coastal national parks.

  • Tell the U.S. Senate:
    “Reject Senate Bill 2807 and stop the assault on America’s coastal national parks. Protect America’s coast from those seeking to gut wildlife and land management regulations.”

Go to CREDO Action to sign the petition.

Thank you for your activism.

Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Jenny Rowland and Shiva Polefka, “New Senate Bill Brings Bundy-Style Land Seizure To The Sea,” ThinkProgress, April 22, 2016.
S.2807 – A bill to amend title 54, United States Code, to require State approval before the Secretary of the Interior restricts access to waters under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service for recreational or commercial fishing.

© 2016 CREDO. All rights reserved.