ANTI SUMMERS MOVEMENT GROWS — PBS NEWSHOUR questions Summers too cozy ties to Citibank and points out that Obama’s own ethics rule would require an unprecedented exemption for an appointee at this level. AND OVER 350 ECONOMISTS signed a letter urging the President to elect Janet Yellen, not Larry Summers, as Chair of the Federal Reserve. Petitioners include Top Wonks Dean Baker, Alan Blinder, Nancy Folbre, Heidi Hartmann, Lawrence Mishel, Jeffrey Sachs, John Schmitt, Robert Shiller, and Joseph Stiglitz. Institute for Women’s Policy Research and Top Wonk Heidi Hartmann: “Dr. Yellen’s credentials, skills and abilities are so outstanding, and I think women will view it as an insult if someone so qualified is passed over. This group of economists is trying to urge the President not to do that.” Read the full statement HERE. SUMMERS SPARKS FLEW — Former Treasury Department special inspector general Neil Barofsky and former Senator Ted Kaufman apparently blasted Summers’ credentials at the Better Markets conference today. This opposition comes on the heels of leading Republican Senator John Cornyn’s statement that he would not back Summers’ appointment. The Better Markets forum, entitled “Five Years On, Learning Lehman’s Lessons from the Panic of 2008: Are We Better Prepared for the Next Financial Crisis?,” was led by a panel of experts including Senator Elizabeth Warren. Discussion topics included Wall Street’s lobbying efforts and dangerous risk taking and the future of government bailouts. As Kaufman put it, the prospect of Summers as Fed chair should cause “rioting in the streets.”
NSA DECLASSIFIED — Fourteen NSA documents were declassified on Tuesday in response to a May 2011 ACLU lawsuit. The documents were made public under the Freedom of Information Act and related to the government’s interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which ambiguously grants the FBI permission to obtain “any tangible things” without evidence or probable cause for the sake of national security. ACLU National Security Project staff attorney Alex Abdo: “These documents show that the NSA repeatedly violated court-imposed limits on its surveillance powers, and they confirm that the agency simply cannot be trusted with such sweeping authority.”
FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHT TO VOTE – Weeks after North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law a sweeping and oppressive voter ID bill the state continued its attacks on voting rights, targeting students’ ability to vote on campus. The bill created rigid photo identification requirements, did away with same-day registration and reduced the early voting window, all of which particularly target minority voters, students, seniors, and other marginalized peoples. The North Carolina NAACP, Advancement Project, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice are currently working together to challenge the increasingly restrictive voting measures.
Advancement Project Co-Director and Top Wonk Penda D. Hair lambasted the recent measures: “It’s no surprise that state and local officials are focusing on youth voters, who are perennial targets when politicians manipulate election rules for their own advantage… The multifaceted plan here, from a statewide voter suppression law to the chilling actions of individual county election boards, is to make it harder for them to vote. It’s an ugly and arrogant strategy that threatens to fundamentally change democracy in North Carolina. These politicians will not get away with it.”
ANOTHER CITIZENS UNITED? — Demos drafted a petition urging the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to uphold campaign financing caps in the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission lawsuit. The lawsuit in question has the potential to expand campaign financing to allow direct campaign contributions of over $3.5 million from individuals. Earlier this summer Demos filed a joint amicus brief with the Communications Workers of America, Greenpeace, NAACP, Sierra Club, the American Federation of Teachers, Main Street Alliance, People for the American Way Foundation, Rock the Vote, U.S.PIRG, and the Working Families Organization. READ: “Stop the Next Citizens United: McCutcheon v. FEC and the Crisis of Confidence in American Democracy.“
Sign Demos’ petition HERE. On Twitter, use #McCutcheon.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD WEBSITE LAUNCH — Planned Parenthood launched a new site educating users about Obamacare. The site will soon contain a guide for women choosing insurance, and is in conjunction with their Obamacare Works campaign, featuring personal stories from women who have used Obamacare. Find out more and sign up for e-mail updates HERE.
FROM THE WONK WIRE …
… UNBALANCED BREAKFAST: New America Foundation Director of Markets, Enterprise, and Resiliency Initiative and Top Wonk Barry Lynn recommends “The Folks Who Sell Your Corn Flakes are Acting Like Goldman Sachs–and That Should Worry You,” authored by policy analyst Lina Kahn.
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TOP WONKS: THE ENVIRONMENT … The first ever complete on-line searchable directory of the most Important thinkers in the country on Climate Change and the Environment … COMING SOON … Stay tuned!