IN TRAYVON’S NAME…SMARTER, OLDER, AND UNDERPAID…93 Priests…The Employer of Last Resort…

IN TRAYVON’S NAME – The Dream Defenders announced plans to hold their own special legislative session to honor the life of Trayvon Martin after Florida Governor Rick Scott denied their demands in a meeting last Thursday. The group has been camped out in front of the Florida Statehouse since July 16th and is supported by the Advancement Project, the Florida NAACP, and the League of Women Voters. They hope to examine factors contributing to Trayvon’s death, including the school-to-prison pipeline, racial profiling, and Stand Your Ground legislation. Dream Defender Executive Director Phillip Agnew: “Florida is in a state of emergency. In failing to recognize the gravity of the need for change in this moment, Governor Scott is not exercising real leadership. So we’ll do it for him.”

Support the group HERE. On Twitter, use #TAKEOVERFL.

Opportunity Agenda has compiled an action kit that addresses racial profiling. Color of Change has also created a petition demanding elected officials end all “Shoot First” laws. Sign HERE.

ALL ABOVE ALL – All Above All held a briefing on the Hill yesterday to launch their new campaign directed at repealing anti-abortion legislation and the need for accessible abortion coverage for low-income women. The group is joined by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).

Check out the group’s Facebook page HERE. On Twitter, use #StandwithDCWomen or #WeAreDC and tweet @AllAboveAll.

93 PRIESTS – 93 prominent Catholic university presidents, aided by Faith in Public Life, urged Catholics in the House of Representatives last week to pass comprehensive immigration reform. In a letter, which also ran as a full-page ad in Politico Magazine, the signers warned: “Our immigration system is so deeply flawed, and in such need of repair, that inaction is unacceptable.”

SMARTER, OLDER, AND UNDERPAID – The Center for Economic and Policy Research published a series of charts that show that low-wage workers are increasingly smarter and older, yet underpaid due to the falling value of the federal minimum wage. The findings come after Mcdonald’s released a “McBudget” that inadvertently proved employees could not live on their minimum-wage salaries. Find out more about the true cost of a family budget with the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator, available HERE.

WE DO – The Campaign for Southern Equality ended its week-long “WE DO” campaign for marriage equality last Thursday after touring five Mississippi cities. The group chose their visits in places where local LGBT couples had applied for marriage licenses. Much of the support for the campaign came from Massachusetts, where church members donated $30,000 to the cause. Reverend Laura Ruth Jarrett: “Until people in the South are free, we are not free up here.”

REFORMING TAX EXPENDITURES – Tax breaks for investment income such as capital gains and stock dividends are among the most regressive forms of tax expenditures, according to a new report by Citizens for Tax Justice. The study evaluates the ten costliest individual expenditures based on effectiveness in achieving their stated policy goals. READ: “Reforming Individual Tax Expenditures.”

FROM THE WONK WIRE …

… NOT SO BUBBLY: Case-Shiller Index Author and Top Wonk Robert Shiller thinks most people have a misunderstanding of speculative bubbles, fueling irrational economic thinking.

… REACH FOR THE SKY!: Senior Roosevelt Fellow and Top Wonk Thomas Ferguson argues that Spitzer’s bid for New York City Comptroller is a direct threat and challenge to status quo financial regulation.

… THE EMPLOYER OF LAST RESORT: INET Director Marshall Auerback and Top Wonks Stephanie Kelton and L Randall Wray believe the government can and should be thr employer of last resort during economic downturns and slumps.

Find out more at www.topwonks.org.

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JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON?…SAVE CITIZEN KOCH…Moral Mondays Continue…17 Senators Are Still Protecting Rapists…

JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON? — The NAACP and MoveOn.org created a joint petition addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that the Justice Department open a civil rights case against George Zimmerman in the wake of his acquittal for the murder of Trayvon Martin. The petition has already garnered over 1 million signatures since its creation last Saturday night. Sign HERE.

On Twitter, use #JusticeForTrayvon or share the petition on Facebook.

SAVE CITIZEN KOCH — Over 2,300 backers have raised $117,000 on Kickstarter to fund the release of Citizen Koch: A Film About Money, Power, and Democracy. The documentary by Academy Award nominated filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin had been green-lit for funding by public television until PBS changed its mind last fall so as to not to upset donor David Koch. President of People for the American Way Michael Keegan: “The process that led to ‘Citizen Koch’ being pulled from the airwaves illustrates exactly the point that Lessin and Deal’s film makes: Money can not only buy action in our democracy, it can also buy silence.” Help fund the film HERE

There will also be a free screening and panel with the filmmakers at noon tomorrow, Friday, July 19, at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington D.C. Click here to RSVP.

MAKING CENTS OF IMMIGRATION REFORM — The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) estimates an annual influx of $2 billion in tax revenues to state and local budgets if immigration reform passes. Undocumented immigrants already pay $10.6 billion a year in state and local sales, excise, income and property taxes but legalizing their citizenship status would fully incorporate them into the income tax system. READ: “Undocumented Immigrants’ State and Local Tax Contributions.”

INEQUALITY 273 TIMES OVER — CEOs make 273 times the earnings of the average worker, according to a recently released report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). READ: “CEO Pay in 2012 Was Extraordinarily High Relative to Typical Workers and Other High Earners,” co-authored by EPI President and Top Wonk Lawrence Mishel.

MORAL MONDAYS CONTINUE  – An eleventh week of “Moral Mondays” continued this week in Raleigh, NC to protest regressive Republican-led policies and legislation. This latest wave of demonstrations comes on the heels of an 11,000 signature MoveOn.org petition delivered last week to Governor Pat McCory and members of the legislature asking them to reverse their recent austerity measures and an editorial in the New York Times entitled “The Decline of North Carolina.” Arrests now total 800 since the Moral Monday protests began in April.

CONGRESS FOR iOS — The Sunlight Foundation has released a free iOS app that allows users to stay up to date when Congress is in session. Features include live updates on floor activity, voting breakdowns, and legislation details. DOWNLOAD: iOS and Android.

FROM THE WONK WIRE

SMALL ENOUGH TO FAIL: Former IMF Chief Economist and Top Wonk Simon Johnson believes Senator Warren’s 21st century Glass Steagall Act makes megabanks simpler, safer, and smaller by separating high risks activities from traditional banking.

OREGON PAYS IT FORWARD: Demos Fellow and Top Wonk Robert Kuttner lauds Oregon’s higher education reform initiative, Pay It Forward, a revolutionary program designed to provide state-wide free tuition for students attending public universities and colleges.

SNOWDEN ENDGAME: Columbia Law Professor and Top Wonk David Pozen laments the ramifications of prosecuting NSA leaker Edward Snowden if he is apprehended by U.S. authorities.

Find out more at www.topwonks.org.

ON OUR AGENDA

TIME FOR ACTION — Yesterday Time Magazine quoted AP President Erica Payne’s reaction to Kristen Gillibrand’s bipartisan bill to curb sexual assault in the military. Watch our video 17 SENATORS HERE.

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PROGRESSIVES SUE THE NSA…ADVANCEMENT PROJECT CONFERENCE…Disorder in the Courts…Trading Away Public Interests…

PROGRESSIVES SUE THE NSA The First Amendment Coalition filed a brief on Monday in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court supporting motions by Google and Microsoft that would allow them to publish records of government data requests. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and TechFreedom all co-filed the brief.

Daniel Ellsberg and CREDO have also drafted a petition urging Congress to create a Church Committee to investigate and publicize the actions and abuses of the National Security Agency. Ellsberg blasted the lack of oversight in the aftermath of the allegations made by whistleblower Edward Snowden: “The existing Intelligence Committees in House and Senate, gagged by secrecy and co-opted by the intelligence community they supposedly oversee, have failed to check dangerously excessive surveillance of Americans’ communications.” Sign HERE.

WHY COURTS MATTER — The Center for American Progress (CAP) and their Legal Progress project launched Why Courts Matter, an interactive website aimed at educating policy experts, advocates, and the public on the impact of judicial vacancies due to conservative obstructionist policies in Washington. The site also features a state-specific Action Center providing tools for constituents to sign petitions and write their senators. Watch an informational video HERE.

On Twitter, tweet @legalprogress and use #WhyCourtsMatter.

COME OUT FOR FREEDOM — On the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s invalidation of DOMA, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has announced “Out for Freedom,” an ad campaign urging Republicans to help legalize marriage equality throughout the country. Out for Freedom hopes to increase the number of states that allow same-sex marriage from thirteen (plus the District of Columbia) to 20 by 2016. The ACLU is currently pursuing federal marriage cases in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Virginia.

VOTING RIGHTS WRONGED PART II — Alliance for Justice President and Top Wonk Nan Aron analyzed the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and the Voting Rights Act: “By simultaneously moving in opposite directions on fundamental principles of civil rights, this Court has torn a hole in our political fabric, and once again left the nation part equal and part unequal… it’s important to remember the prophetic words of civil rights pioneer Fannie Lou Hammer: ‘Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.’”

READ: “The Supreme Court Takes With One Hand, Gives With the Other” and “What the Supreme Court Doesn’t Understand About the Voting Rights Act

EDUCATION PAYOFF? — Despite a 16.2% increase from 1979 to 2011 in the number of black workers with a four-year college degree or more, black workers at every age and education level are less likely to be in a good job – i.e., recieving a $19.00 per hour salary or higher – today than in 1979, according to a new report by the Center for Economic Progress (CEPR). READ: “Has Education Paid Off for Black Workers?,” co-authored by CEPR Senior Economist and Top Wonk John Schmitt.

A CONVENIENT TRUTH – 210,000 jobs and an average decrease of $.90 per month on electrical bills are both possible while simultaneuosly reducing carbon pollution, according to a new climate analysis by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Director of NRDC’s Climate and Clean Air Program Dan Lashof: “The nation must curb the largest source of climate-changing pollution pouring into the skies, without any limits, from coal-fired power plants.” READ: “Economic Impacts of the NRDC Carbon Standard.”

WE CAN DO BETTER — Advancement Project is hosting a conference entitled “We Can Do Better: Collaborating to Reform School Discipline and Accountability” tomorrow through Saturday in Washington, DC. It will be the nation’s first ever gathering of school administrators, educators, law enforcement, community activists, and students to discuss the school-to-prison pipeline exacerbated by overly rigid school disciplinary policies.

Find out more about the Advancement Project’s Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track program and check out the full agenda of events HERE. There will be a blogger briefing and press availability tomorrow, Thursday July 11, at 11:00 am in the Capital Ballroom of the Marriott Wardman Hotel, located at 2600 Woodley Road, Washington, DC.

RSVP to Jennifer Farmer at jfarmer@advancementproject.org or participate via conference call: 1.800.434.1335 / Conference Code: 249421#

FROM THE WONK WIRE

THE ACTIVIST COURT: Stetson University Professor and Top Wonk Ciara Torres-Spelliscy marvels at the Robert Court’s repeated ability to render bipartisan election reforms toothless.

TRADING AWAY PUBLIC INTERESTS: Nobel Prize Winner and Top Wonk Joseph Stiglitz thinks that trade agreements often sacrifice public interests for the sake of corporate interests.

ROOM FOR PESSIMISM: CEPR Co-Director and Top Wonk Dean Baker breaks down the sorry state of the labor market and the economy in light of the June jobs report.

Find out more at www.topwonks.org

ON OUR AGENDA

COMING SOON — Top Wonks: The Environment to suggest an expert for inclusion, e-mail TW editor Dan Kelske at dkelske@agendaproject.org.

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VOTING RIGHTS WRONGED…PROTESTING THE PIPELINE…National Popular Vote Gains Momentum…American Bridges Falling Down…

VOTING RIGHTS WRONGED– Advancement Project Co-Director and Top Wonk Penda D. Hair reacted to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act yesterday, which had enabled Section 5 to regulate discriminatory voting laws: “[The] decision threatens the promise of equal access to the ballot…We have essentially lost an effective tool today to stave off voter suppression this year, because states like Virginia and North Carolina will not have to submit their photo ID laws for preclearance.” Advancement Project released a series of maps detailing the implications of the decision in key voting states.

U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) have authored the Right to Vote Amendment that would definitively guarantee the right to vote to all citizens. Pocan and Ellison: “As disappointed as we are by today’s decision, it demonstrates why we cannot wait to enact [the] constitutional amendment.” Pledge your support for a voting rights amendment HERE.

The New York Times, Reuters, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, CNN, and NPR also covered the story.

INEQUALITY ON DISPLAY– The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) launched Inequality.is, an interactive website offering a comprehensive picture of inequality in America and different ways citizens can take action. EPI economist Elise Gould: “Inequality is not an abstract issue. It affects the vast majority of Americans, who have seen wage growth slow to a crawl even as productivity has increased. Inequality.is shows people that income inequality is personal and affects them in very real ways.”

PROTESTING THE PIPELINE — Twenty-two people – many of whom are former Obama campaign staffers and donors – were arrested at the State Department’s downtown Chicago office last Monday while peacefully protesting the controversial Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline. The NoKXL campaign, backed by CREDO Action, Rainforest Action Network, and The Other 98%, organized the demonstration after already accruing over 62,000 signatures in a Pledge of Resistance to the border-crossing pipeline, which would pump heavy crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Texan refineries.

Since 1990, pipelines in the U.S. have spilled more than 110 million gallons of crude and petroleum. Oil from tar sands is 15 to 20 percent dirtier than conventional petroleum and the extraction process is significantly more resource-intensive.  Former Vice President Al Gore: “This whole project is an atrocity.”

Learn more about NoKXL HERE. On Twitter, use #nokxlpledge.

NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE GAINS MOMENTUM — The New York Assembly passed the National Popular Vote Plan Bill last week by a 100-40 margin, sending it to the state Senate for approval. If successful, New York will join California, Washington DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington in a compact that commits their electoral college votes to the presidential candidate with the national popular vote. Rhode Island also recently passed a similar bill (SB 346/HB 5575) in both houses. READ: Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote

IMMIGRATION WALL OF SHAME — MoveOn.org has started the Immigration Wall of Shame, a member-led campaign exposing elected officials for using racist language in opposing comprehensive immigration reform. The site will be updated whenever public officials make derogatory comments about immigrants in the ongoing deliberations.

AMERICAN BRIDGES FALLING DOWN — More than 66,000 bridges throughout the country are considered structurally deficient, according to a new report by Transportation for America. $12.8 billion is currently allocated to fix the bridges every year, despite the fact that the Federal Highway Administration estimates that it will cost $76 billion to fix the already crumbling infrastructure, plus an additional $20.5 billion annually until 2028. READ: “The Fix We’re In For: The State of Our Nation’s Bridges 2013.”

HUMAN CHAIN TO COMBAT CUTS — On Tuesday July 2nd, The Alliance for Retired Americans will sponsor a day of action in over 40 cities across the country in support of enhanced retirement security. The Human Chain Against the Chained CPI Cuts to Social Security hopes to elevate grassroots efforts to combat the proposed cut to Social Security, which would result in an annual benefit that is roughly $1,000 lower by the time a beneficiary reaches age 85.

TIME, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Hill, and The Nation covered the cuts.

Find events in your area HERE.

FROM THE WONK WIRE

…  FAUX FREEDOM: Former regulator and Top Wonk Bill Black uncovers faulty analysis and intellectual hypocrisy in Heritage’s latest freedom index.

LESSONS FROM GREENSPAN?: CEPR Co-founder and Top Wonk Dean Baker believes Ben Bernanke can learn a thing or two about unemployment, tapering and interest rates from his predecessor, Alan Greenspan.

BEAT THE CLOCK: Roosevelt Institute Fellow and Top Wonk Michael Konczal says that Commodities Future Trading Commissioner Gary Gensler is in a race against time and congress to finish one of the most important pieces of financial reform: regulating cross border derivative exposures.

Find out more at www.topwonks.org

ON OUR AGENDA

INEQUALITY FOR ALL — Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich investigates the correlation between the widening income inequality gap and the country’s economic health in the new documentary Inequality For All. Venture Capitalist and Patriotic Millionaire Nick Hanauer is also featured. Find out about upcoming festival screenings HERE.

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CALLING OUT BIG BROTHER, PART II…PROGRESSIVE GROUPS APPLAUD VOTING RIGHTS…Justice For Sale…17 Senators Protect Rapists…

CALLING OUT BIG BROTHER, PART II — Progressive organizations continue to demand government transparency in the wake of realizations that the National Security Administration (NSA) is pushing the limits of the PATRIOT Act. Human Rights First sent a letter urging companies implicated in the PRISM program including Apple, Facebook, Google, Skype, and YouTube to disclose information requests from the NSA to the general public.

People for the American Way created a petition insisting Congress repeal the most ambiguous sections of the PATRIOT Act, including Section 215, from which Verizon’s phone records were recently confiscated. SIGN here.

SCHOOLHOUSE BLUES, JAILHOUSE ROCK — The Teacher Action Group launched “Faces of The Layoffs,” a website dedicated to documenting the ramifications of Philadelphia’s continued austerity measures against their public schools. The campaign follows Mayor Michael Nutter’s (D) decision last week to lay off almost 4,000 school employees. This latest cut comes after a March ruling by the Philadelphia School District’s state-run School Reform Commission to close 23 – about 10 percent – of the city’s schools. Philadelphia is just the most recent in a string of state and local governments across the country slashing education budgets, yet this fails to explain how they have $400 million to build a prison currently being built outside of the city.

PROGRESSIVE GROUPS APPLAUD VOTING RIGHTS — Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis commended the U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) ruling that Arizona’s Proposition 200, which required people to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote, was unconstitutional: “With the tremendous success of the National Voter Registration Act in boosting participation through the mail-in voter registration form, as well as safeguarding the process against fraud, there is simply no need for laws like Prop 200 that only restrict access to the ballot.” While the majority’s decision invalidated by Arizona’s attempt at voter suppression, it left the door open for Election Assistance Commissions (EAC) to require additional proof of citizenship in the voting registration process.

Alliance for Justice, American Civil Liberties Union, American Constitution Society, The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Demos also released statements in support of the ruling.

SCOTUS is still scheduled to rule on affirmative action and gay marriage before the end of the month. United for Marriage is planning rallies across the country on DOMA and Prop 8′s decision day. Find out more HERE.

TAX CUTS = INCOME EQUALITY? — The Economic Policy Institute has found that policymakers’ decisions to cut taxes over the past 40 years have significantly contributed to the perpetually growing income divide between the top 1 percent and the rest of the country. READ: “Rising Income Inequality and the Role of Shifting Market-Income Distribution, Tax Burdens, and Tax Rates.”

JUSTICE FOR SALE — In light of debates concerning the increasing politicization of the justice system, the American Constitution Society found a significant correlation between campaign contributions and judicial rulings for the 89 percent of all state court judges elected by voters. Author of the report and Emory University Law School professor Joanna Shepherd: “We have found an increasing role of money in influencing judicial decisions.”

SANDY HOOK’S LEGACY –  Following the six month anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report yesterday revealing the ways that Congress has hindered efforts to thwart theft by gun dealers. “Lost and Stolen Guns from Gun Dealers” urges Congress to remove an existing appropriations rider that blocks the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from enforcing gun dealers to perform annual audits on their inventories. CAP senior fellow Arkadi Gerney: “Legislation to expand gun background checks remains the top priority in Congress, but another step [they] can take to help law enforcement keep guns out of the hands of criminals is removing the antipolice budget rider that contributes to the epidemic of lost and stolen guns.” Roughly 14 percent of gun-trafficking investigations involve guns stolen from gun dealers.

FROM THE WONK WIRE

NEW YORK STATE OF MIND: Top Wonks Benjamin Jealous and Nick Nyhart argue that New York State is uniquely positioned to lead on campaign finance reform, starting with its donor matching fund.

THE PRIVACY GAP: Harvard Law Professor and Top Wonk Lawrence Lessig tells Bill Moyers that privacy guards and protections have not kept up with sophisticated technology, raising the potential for flagrant abuses of our civil liberties.

GOLDEN CONCESSION: Former Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund and Top Wonk Simon Johnson says that Goldman Sachs’ latest report acknowledges Too Big To Fail exists.

Find out more at www.topwonks.org

ON OUR AGENDA

THEY PROTECT US, LET’S PROTECT THEM — On Tuesday, the Agenda Project Action Fund released a new video skewering 17 U.S. Senators who gutted a proposal by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) which would have removed the adjudication of sexual assault cases from the military chain of command. The video – which names the 17 Senators who voted against the Gillibrand proposal – features several military rape survivors testifying that the chain of command failed them. WATCH: 17 Senators.

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CORP. TAX CUT = GROWTH? Um, Not So Much…$1 TRILLION STUDENT LOAN CRISIS…A TARHEEL TASTE PART II…50 Years After the Equal Pay Act…Coming Soon To Our Agenda…

CORP. TAX CUT = GROWTH? Um, Not So Much — Contrary to popular conservative dogma, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has found no substantial correlation between corporate tax reductions and economic growth since 1947.

SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL5.4 million LGBT men and women in the U.S. workforce regularly experience higher unemployment and workplace discrimination than their heterosexual counterparts. READ: “A Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits and More Taxes for LGBT Workers,” co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project, Human Rights Watch, and the Center for American Progress.

$1 TRILLION STUDENT LOAN CRISIS — The Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report detailing the dire consequences if Congress fails to reauthorize the Higher Education Act on July 1st. Unless action is taken, Stafford student loan rates will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, adding to the already heavy burden of rising college tuition costs for the 10.6 million Americans under the age of 25 currently already unable to find full-time work. National student debt has already passed the $1 trillion mark, exceeding both credit card and automobile debt for the majority of borrowers.

CAP also joined Campus Progress to launch a campaign emphasizing the need for refinancing student loans. READ: “It’s Our Interest: The Need to Reduce Student Loan Interest Rates.” On Twitter, use #ItsOurInterest.

Check out an infographic by Demos on the true size of the student debt crisis here.

The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Hill, and AlterNet also covered the story.

PLAN B CHALLENGE HALTED — The Obama Administration halted its efforts this week to keep age restrictions on sales of Plan B, a widely used morning-after contraception pill. The change of course came after months of setbacks in federal courts and claims by New York U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman that the restrictions were “politically motivated” and “scientifically unjustified.” President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Cecile Richards applauded the decision: “This is a huge breakthrough for access to birth control and a historic moment for women’s health and equality.”

A TARHEEL TASTE PART II — A sixth week of Moral Mondays continued this week in Raleigh, NC in protest of the Republican State Assembly’s regressive and oppressive policies. Bishops of five major denominations led the crowd of thousands, including members of the Episcopalian, Catholic, Lutheran, United Methodist and Presbyterian churches. 89 people were arrested, including a seventh grade teacher, a professor of divinity, a blogger, and Charlotte Observer reporter Tim Funk. This latest wave comes as Republicans desperately attempt to delegitimize and quiet the burgeoning movement.

The Advancement Project has been working with North Carolina’s NAACP chapter throughout the Moral Monday demonstrations. Advancement Project Co-Director Penda Hair tells PP: “The ballot box is supposed to be the one place where every citizen – rich or poor, young or old, and of every race – has an equal voice. But make no mistake about it. Everything from banning same-day registration and Sunday voting, which African-American voters are far more likely to use, to pushing for the most restrictive felony disenfranchisement law in the country, has been carefully crafted to restrict full participation in North Carolina.”

ACLU CHALLENGES BIG BROTHERThe American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a joint motion in Washington DC on Monday requesting that the Foreign Intelligence Court publish its opinions on Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The section ambiguously grants the FBI permission to obtain “any tangible things…to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities” from a citizen or entity without evidence of probable cause. It is also the basis for the NSA’s questionable surveillance of countless e-mails and millions of Verizon phone lines, recently leaked by Edward Snowden. ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer: “In a democracy, there should be no room for secret law. The public has a right to know what limits apply to the government’s surveillance authority, and what safeguards are in place to protect individual privacy.”

The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, Salon, Free Press, and Policy Mic follow up the original report by The Guardian.

FROM THE WONK WIRE ..

NOT WHAT WE WAGERED: Economic Policy Institute Economist and Top Wonk Heidi Shierholz uncovers that a big chunk of the shrinking wage gap between men and women since 1979 is due to men’s wage losses, not to women’s wage gains.

50 YEARS LATER, STILL UNCONSCIONABLE PAY: Founder of Women’s Voices and Top Wonk Page Gardner argues that the wage gap disproportionately affects unmarried women.

THE STATE OF AMERICA: Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich pins the root of the sequester on the growing policy divide between red and blue states, warning: “…America is splitting apart without going through all the trouble of a civil war.”

Find out more at www.topwonks.org

ON OUR AGENDA

COMING SOON — Top Wonks: The Environment … to suggest an expert for inclusion, e-mail TW editor Dan Kelske at dkelske@agendaproject.org.

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LEFT V. LEFT PART DEUX…EVEN MEGYN KELLY IS PISSED…OHIO VOTER FRAUD FRAUD…WAM! Checks Facebook…AlterNet Calls Out Greenspan…Top Wonk and Patriotic Millionaires Question Tax Breaks for the Top 20%…

LEFT V. LEFT PART DEUX The Nation’s Ken Silverstein continued to argue on Thursday that the Center for American Progress–Washington’s leading liberal think tank–is under the influence of its corporate donors, including Comcast, Wal-Mart, General Motors, Boeing, and General Electric. CAP responded: “We are fiercely and proudly independent in our work and strongly refute any inference to the contrary.” Silverstein maintains: “It’s not complicated. CAP should disclose its donors, corporate and otherwise.”

EVEN MEGYN KELLY IS PISSED — Fox News host Lou Dobbs and his conservative guest Erick Erickson caused a huge wave of backlash this week after claiming on Lou Dobbs Tonight that female breadwinners were “destroying” America. Both men wouldn’t budge even when Megyn Kelly, a working mom herself, called them out on her show for their offensive and sexist remarks such as “emo liberals are whining” and “we’re watching society dissolve around us.” The controversy stemmed from a recent PEW study that found women are the primary breadwinners in 37% of American households. Media Matters covered the story and UltraViolet is taking action by gathering support and drafting a petition demanding Fox News to get rid of Lou Dobbs and his misogynistic guests.

FACEBOOK FINALLY AGREES: RAPE ISN’T FUNNY — 60,000 tweets, 240,000 petition signatures, and 15 company suspensions later, Facebook has issued a policy change to buckle down on content objectifying women. #FBRape, a huge campaign by Women, Action, & the Media (WAM!) and the Everyday Sexism Project, prompted the policy change. WAM! previously released an open letter to the social media giant ordering the company to take a stance on rape content promoting domestic violence found on its pages. WAM! Executive Director Jaclyn Friedman says: “We are reaching an international tipping point in attitudes towards rape and violence against women. We hope that this effort stands as a testament to the power of collaborative action.”

Find out more at The New York Times, NPR, ABC News, Forbes, Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, and The Nation.

On Twitter, use #FBrape and tweet @womenactmedia.

OHIO VOTER FRAUD FRAUD – Advancement Project Staff Attorney and Top Wonk Donita Judge responds to Ohio Secretary of State John Husted’s latest attempt to perpetuate the voter fraud myth that conservatives are using to suppress the vote: “We are extremely concerned that the investigation will have a chilling effect on future voters and is being used as a scare tactic… We will continue to oppose these investigations.” Husted’s tie-breaking vote in the Board of Elections referred 39 cases of double voting to the Hamilton County Prosecutor for criminal investigation. Franklin County’s Board of Elections also voted on Monday to refer 90 additional cases for prosecution, despite the fact that not all members of the board had time to fully review all of the information. Current Ohio voting law permits voters to cast both an absentee and provisional ballot. In almost all of the 129 total cases, the double votes were discovered and thrown out so no actual fraud affected the election. Out of roughly 5.63 million votes cast in Ohio during the November 2012 presidential election there were a mere 156 cases of possible voter fraud, or 0.002 percent.

CRUEL AND UNUSUAL? — 12,000 prisoners are currently incarcerated in solitary confinement and other segregated housing units, according to a new ACLU report on the Federal Bureau of Prisons. These prisoners are locked in their cells for up to 24 hours a day, sometimes for years on end without any concern for the psychological implications on the inmates. Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project David Fathi: “It’s astonishing that the Bureau has steadily increased its use of solitary confinement and other segregated housing while failing to assess whether this expensive and inhumane practice has any effect on prison safety.” READ: the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s full report “Improvements Needed in Bureau of Prisons’ Monitoring and Evaluation of Impact of Segregated Housing.”

STOP THE KOCHSOn Tuesday, the Save Our News Coalition composed of progressive organizations like Greenpeace, Free Press, Common Cause, and The Other 98% led a day of action to oppose a potential Koch Industries takeover of the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. The buyout would be a financial steal for the infamously conservative brothers Charles and David Koch, not to mention a platform to further espouse their libertarian agenda.

Koch Industries claims that while it is their “longstanding policy not to comment on deals or rumors of deals” any newspaper they acquire “would be a marketplace of ideas.” Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy Executive Director Roxana Tynan reminded hundreds at the Los Angeles protest: “These are the folks who underwrite the Tea Party … who think that the gap between the rich and the poor is a good thing …” 

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Hill, The Daily Beast, Rolling Stone, Salon, and Variety covered the story.

THE COST OF LOW WAGES — Wal-Mart’s low wages and lack of benefits for its employees will cost taxpayers $900,000 in food stamps and other government funded aid programs at just one Supercenter in Wisconsin alone.

A TARHEEL TASTE OF THINGS TO COME?? — Over 150 people were arrested Monday in Raleigh, NC at the fifth “Mega Moral Monday” protest spearheaded by the NAACP to rally against the Republican-led General Assembly’s reckless austerity. NAACP North Carolina chapter President Rev. William Barber told the demonstrators: “The people are awake now and we have decided to stand up. We are a movement. This is not a moment.” AlterNet Senior Editor Lynn Parramore‘s 80-year old mother was among the arrested. See her interview HERE.

Earlier this month Rev. Barber was jailed for praying.

FROM THE WONK WIRE

WILLFUL BLINDNESS SETS STAGE FOR FUTURE CRISIS: Finance and Economics Professor at Stanford and new Top Wonk Anat Admati co-authors a report on the real problem with the IRS scandal.

THE GREAT DEMORALIZER: Case-Shiller Index author and Top Wonk Robert Shiller fears that austerity induced fiscal policy is damaging our nation’s collective morale. Shiller proposes a debt-friendly stimulus as a solution. 

FRAUDSTERS, PLUTOCRATS, and OPPORTUNISTIC CRIMINALS … oh and ALAN GREENSPAN: Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Top Wonk William Black blames Greenspan for the three most recent financial crashes.

Find out more at www.topwonks.org

ON OUR AGENDA

TOP WONK AND PATRIOTIC MILLIONAIRES QUESTION TAX BREAKS — Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Top Wonk Michael Konczal reports that over half of the $900 billion in tax breaks from this year will go to the top 20 percent of income earners. The Patriotic Millionaires react:

Chair of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good Fred Rotondaro: “We have sadly another example of how public policy continues to help the well connected while ignoring average Americans and turning our nation into a two tiered society”

CEO of NuCompass Mobility Frank Patitucci: “The recent CBO report about ‘Tax Expenditures’ clearly documents the unfairness of our tax code. I am a relatively successful businessman that pays a 35% marginal tax rate on my annual income. Why? Because I earn regular income, rather than dividends or capital gains, and I haven’t figured out how to qualify for one of those tax expenditures. The tax system today favors the very wealthy, like Mitt Romney and Warren Buffet, at the expense of the small and medium sized business owners like myself. As a result job creation lags, and the economy continues to sputter.”

Founder and CEO of Men’s Wearhouse George Zimmer says it best: “What else is new?”

READ: The Congressional Budget Office’s full report “The Distribution of Major Tax Expenditures in the Individual Income Tax System.”

E-mail tips, news, and reactions to Hannah Hendler at hhendler@agendaproject.org.

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‘JUST CALL ME DIMON’…NUNS ON THE BUS (AND EVERYWHERE ELSE)…Alliance for Justice Slams Republicans for Accusing President of Court-Packing… Lawrence Lessig: “You Don’t Get to Heaven by Sleeping with the Devil”…

“JUST CALL ME DIMON” — Over 500 underwater homeowners and their allies descended on the Department of Justice to protest the lack of Wall Street prosecutions over the mortgage crisis. 30 activists were arrested and provided the names of CEO mega-bankers Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, and John Stumpf when asked by law enforcement officials to identify themselves. Eyewitnesses reported multiple instances of police officials using tasers on nonviolent activists. Click here and here for pictures from the protest.

Led by Home Defenders League and Occupy Our Homes, the coalition of activists also issued a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. The letter blasts Holder for saying that some banks are “too big to prosecute” before the Senate in March. Wall Street employee turned activist Alexis Goldstein: “I want Eric Holder to uphold the rule of law, regardless of how much power the criminal has.”

Rolling Stone, Washington Post, Forbes, MSNBC, and Huffington Post covered the protest.

On Twitter, use hashtags: #j2j and #justice2justice. Tweet @HDefend and @OccupyOurHomes.

HIDING IN THE DESERT -- Conservative Arizona nonprofit Americans for Responsible Leadership hid $4 million in campaign donations for three months through a federal election law loophole uncovered by the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group. Two months ago, Americans for Responsible Leadership funneled a mysterious $11 million to a California PAC and was accused of campaign money laundering.

NUNS ON THE BUS (AND EVERYWHERE ELSE) — NETWORK Executive Director and Sister Simone Campbell and her fellow fierce nuns are hitting the road again, this time touring 40 cities in 15 states along the nation’s southern border to push for immediate immigration reform for 11 million American immigrants. Nuns from across the country will join Sister Campbell and her cohorts as they lead rallies at more than 50 faith-based agencies and local congressional offices. Last year, Nuns on the Bus toured the country in response to mounting criticism from the Vatican for their support of the President’s healthcare reforms. Nuns on the Bus departed yesterday from Ellis Island at Liberty State Park in New Jersey and will end their tour in San Francisco’s Angel Island on June 18. See Nuns on the Bus in The New York Times, Huffington Post and Colbert Report. Visit their Facebook page and donate to their tour.

Chairman of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good Fred Rotondaro tells PP: “The people who are hurt by the austerity budget and related economic policies are average Americans and children living in or just above the poverty line. Nuns on the Bus made us realize that if we have any sense of morality and decency, we have to look at the real human costs of the decisions we are making.” READ:Catholic Voices & Immigration Reform” by Christopher Hale & “Factsheet: Why Catholics Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform” (Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good).

WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND? — The United States is the only developed country that does not have a mandatory minimum annual leave for its workers. Nearly 1 in 4 Americans do not receive any paid vacation or paid holiday leave. The Center for Economic Policy and Research reports that while many private sector employers offer an average of 16 days of paid leave, other developed countries offer a minimum of 19 days. Newly proposed legislation from Rep. Alen Grayson (FL) requires US employers to provide at least one week of paid leave per year.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK — “You don’t get to heaven by sleeping with the devil. And you don’t get to govern by handing the keys to the republic over to interests who have no actual interests in governing.” – Havard Academic and Top Wonk Lawrence Lessig in “Can Democrats Get a New Party, Too?”

BALANCING THE SCALES OF JUSTICE – Alliance for Justice President Nan Aaron slammed Republicans for accusing President Obama of ‘court-packing’ by attempting to fill three vacant seats on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court – second in stature only to the Supreme Court – rules on a range of domestic issues including gun control, environmental regulation, and voting rights cases. Noting that 15 of the last 19 appointments to the court were made by Republicans, Aaron said: “Balance must be restored on that court, and the empty seats must be filled.”

INCONVENIENT TRUTHS — American taxpayers spent nearly $100 billion last year on extreme weather relief, while private insurers spent only $33 billion. A Natural Resources Defense Council analysis shows that American taxpayers will continue to drastically outspend private insurers on disaster relief, unless Congress takes serious action against climate change. READ: NRDC’s policy proposal to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon pollution to combat climate change.

FROM THE WONK WIRE …

…Drawing a Line in the Sand: Roosevelt Institute Fellow and Top Wonk Mark Schmitt thinks the IRS is ill-equipped to police the line between election influencing and political advocacy. Schmitt says the IRS’s recent attempt to identify 501 (c) (4) organizations engaged in heavy electoral activity is symptomatic of a bigger problem plaguing the system.

…The World is Taxing: Nobel Prize Winner and Top Wonk Joseph Stiglitz comments on the parasitic relationship between global corporations and their ‘host’ nations when its comes paying – or not paying – their taxes.

…It Ain’t Easy for Anyone: University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor and Top Wonk Nancy Folbre debunks the myth that entrepreneurialism is a viable alternative to a 9-5 in our slow economic recovery. With venture capital investment down and small business failures still relatively high, employment and entrepreneurship are equally impacted by a lack of consumer driven demand and austerity driven cuts in public sector spending.

Find out more at www.topwonks.org.

ON OUR AGENDA…WHAT IF APPLE HAD PAID THEIR TAXES?

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FARM BILL’S ROTTEN ROOTS…AFR IN FINANCIAL FISTFIGHT…TAKE A BITE (OR TWO) OUT OF APPLE…See Michael Konczal, Greg Anrig, Heather Boushey & more in WONK WIRE…Demos Identifies Good, Bad, and Ugly…Media Matters Asks ‘Question of The Week’…

THE FARM BILL’S ROTTEN ROOTS – The House Agriculture Committee’s new farm bill slashes food stamps for nearly two million poor Americans, according to a new report from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The bill also stops 21,000 children from receiving free meals at school.

The bill plans to cut a total of $21 billion from the SNAP (food stamp) program over the next decade. The proposed $21 billion cut falls on top of a planned reduction in food stamp benefits that will begin to affect all food stamp recipients in November when a temporary provision of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expires. CBPP pegs the planned reduction at $25 less for food stamps per month for a family of four. FACT - The average food stamp recipient currently receives $133.42 per month, barely enough to afford groceries for two weeks.

NYT, US News & World Report, ThinkProgress, and MSNBC covered CBPP’s report.

DOCUMENT THIS — If the 11.1 million undocumented immigrants in America received legal status and a pathway to citizenship, the cumulative economic benefits would include an $832 billion increase in GDP, $470 billion increase in personal income of all Americans, $109 billion increase in tax revenue, and 121,000 new jobs every year…Center for American Progress crunched the numbers.

BREAK THE SILENCE, RAISE THEIR STORY — Missing from the contentious debate on immigration reform are the 1.2 million undocumented Asians struggling to pay for higher education, exercise their rights in the workplace, and openly discuss their immigration status. The Asian American Legal Defense Fund’s youth group RAISE launched a new Tumblr featuring undocumented Asian immigrants describing their real experiences. THE PEOPLE WITHOUT THE PAPERS: Martiza Lam, age 23, New York: “During my sophomore year in high school, I realized I was “undocumented.” I was used to supporting myself and my family, but suddenly there seemed so many things I could not do…When it was time to apply for college it hit me that I couldn’t apply for financial aid because I didn’t have a social security number. I enrolled in community college and kept working to pay the bills, but my parents and younger sisters needed the money I was earning, too…I had to leave school, and I started working in restaurants.” See RAISE’s Tumblr in NY Daily News and Color Lines.

On Twitter, use hashtags #undocuAsians and #RaiseOutStory. Tweet @RaiseOutStory.

READ: Why I Share My Status” by Hong Mei Pang and “Hope for the Future” by Martiza Lam.

EXCLUSIVE PP TIP…NOW HEAR THIS – The influential members of Voices for Progress will meet with five senators and two chiefs of staff this Thursday to push for immigration reform, rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, stronger regulations against carbon pollution, replacing sequestration, and paying for new investments by closing tax loopholes that benefit wealthy corporations. Voices for Progress founder Sandy Newman tells PP: “Until we can get big money out of politics and big access out of policy, we need to provide a counterweight to all the greedy folks who are busy lobbying for their narrow financial self-interest instead of for the common good. The country, the planet, and especially the most vulnerable can’t afford for us to squander the influence we could be using on their behalf.”

To get involved in Voices for Progress advocacy, contact Mark Donovan: mark@voicesforprogress.org.

TAKE A BITE OUT OF THIS APPLE – Citizens for Tax Justice discovered Apple has paid close to zero income tax on $102 billion in offshore profits. CTJ also revealed that Apple’s $102 billion offshore profits were most likely shifted from the countries where they were earned into tax havens. CTJ believes Apple’s offshore profits were most likely earned here in the United States.

Yesterday, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations grilled Apple CEO Tim Cook on the company’s scandalous tax evasions. Cook weakly mustered: “We don’t depend on tax gimmicks.”

MEDIA MATTERS ASKS THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK – Why has Fox spent less than nineteen minutes covering major sexual assault cases in the military?

FINANCIAL FISTFIGHT (AFR IS ROLLING UP THEIR SLEEVES) — Americans for Financial Reform and its member organizations held a private call with Senator Warren on Monday to discuss future plans for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.The new consumer watchdog group has been under attack since it was created. In February, 43 Republican senators signed a letter refusing to allow an up or down vote on any director unless the Bureau is crippled first. The fight is just heating up. A vote was expected on the renomination of Richard Cordray as Director of the Bureau this week, but the vote has been postponed most likely till July. Without the CFPB’s consumer protection rules, aggressive lenders in the financial industry will continue to use abusive practices that harm regular Americans. READ: AFR’s “Ten Reasons We need the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

THE GOOD, BAD, AND THE UGLY-- Demos President Miles Rappaport has a candid opinion about the passage of the Motor Voter Law on its 20th anniversary.

FROM THE WONK WIRE…

….Banking with Blair: Roosevelt Institute fellow and Top Wonk Michael Konczal interviews former FDIC director Sheila Blair on Dodd-Frank’s Title II resolution authority, the end of taxpayer bailouts, the role of higher leverage requirements in preventing bank failures, and the need to keep swaps outside of FDIC insured banks.

…The Art of Leaking: Columbia Law Professor and Top Wonk David Pozen tells Forbes that the Obama administration’s power increases when the press leaks its classified information. Pozen says: “without leaks, we wouldn’t know much much about the workings of the national security state…because of all the leaks that come out, key constituencies feel sufficiently well served by the amount of information they acquire…they don’t feel compelled to demand additional reforms.” For more on the love-hate relationship between the government and the press, read Pozen’s article to be published by the Harvard Law Review.

…Take a Second Bite Out of Apple: CEPR Senior Economist and Top Wonk Eileen Appelbaum questions the benefits of a territorial tax system in light of Apple’s recent tax evasions. Under the terriotial tax system, corporate profits overseas would be slightly taxed and all overseas profits would be repatriated without any taxes paid – a repeat of the failed 2004 tax holiday. Appelbaum proposes ending tax deferrals permitted for overseas profits and levying taxes based on where the profits are physically earned for a more balanced tax code.

… Magic in the Middle: Center for American Progress Chief Economist and Top Wonk Heather Boushey says the best way to kickstart economic growth is to increase the size and strength of the middle class. Boushey’s top policy recommendations: incentivize colleges to limit the net price of secondary education to 15% of family income, invest $2 billion annually in high-skilled job training programs, encourage businesses to adopt profit sharing and worker cooperatives, provide automatic enrollment in the federal thrift savings plan, enforce market safeguards that protect against commodity price volatility, and stick a $120 billion stimulus injection into infrastructure. Read some of the best policy proposals at Policy Networks and Global Progress’ ‘Memos to the Left.’

…Bearcats Don’t Cheat: Century Foundation Vice President and Top Wonk Greg Anrig finds the perfect ed reform story in the Cincinnati school district. Stepping away from aggressive market-based reform initiatives, Anrig praises Cincinnati for adopting a data-driven collaborative strategy that relies on the full cooperation of teachers, administrators, and the community for higher test scores and effective teaching.

Congratulations to Top Wonks Mark C. Alexander, Guy-Uriel Charles,Taeku Lee, Spencer Overton, and Ciara Torres-Spelliscy for their outstanding recognition in The Lawyers of Color 50 under 50 list.

Find out more at www.topwonks.org.

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TAXPAYERS FUND McECONOMY…BLACKROCK CEO NEW WELFARE QUEEN….From WONK WIRE: Simon Johnson, Sarah Anderson, Lawrence Norden, Barry Lynn..Patriotic Millionaires Suddenly HUGE in Czech Republic…

FACEBOOK UNFRIENDED — On Tuesday, Progressives United, MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, CREDO, Daily Kos, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, 350.org, and Presente announced they were boycotting Facebook ads for two weeks. The groups are protesting Mark Zuckerberg’s nonprofit FWD.us, which recently spent $1M+ on TV ads praising Sen. Lindsey Graham for supporting the expansion of the Keystone XL Pipeline and Sen. Mark Begich for supporting drilling efforts in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Zuckerberg’s FWD.us was founded last month to rally the tech community behind immigration and education reform. The FWD.us funded ads were reportedly designed to give vulnerable lawmakers political leverage among conservatives in their home states.

Anti-Facebook campaigns include: Hey Zuck (Progressives United & MoveOn), Seriously, Facebook? (Presente), Ditch Your Dirty Energy Ads Now; 70k+ signatures (LCV), FWD.us: Stop Running Ads Supporting Fossil Fuels petition; 20k+ signatures (CREDO), and Dislike and Share (Sierra Club). A coalition group including 350.org and CREDO also rallied outside Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park last Wednesday.

Politico, ABC, Mother Jones,WaPo, HuffPo, TPM, NYT, and LA Times covered the campaigns.

EPIC SEQUESTER FAILEconomic Policy Institute reported that the $2.4 billion sequester cut to emergency unemployment insurance compensation would lead to a loss of 30,000 jobs due its effect on the spending of long-term unemployed workers. The loss of 30,000 jobs is about $3.8 billion lost in economic activity – or $1.4 billion more than what this sequester cut is supposed to be saving the government.

FACTAmericans under the age of 30 spend $43.5 billion every year paying back student loans, which is enough to buy 155,413 new homes (Progressive Policy Institute).

TAXPAYERS FUND THE McECONOMY — Nearly two million American workers employed by private companies that receive billions in government funding through contracts, loans, healthcare spending, and property releases are paid $12 or less an hour ($24,000 a year), according to a new analysis released by Demos yesterday. That is more than the total number of low-wage workers employed at Walmart and McDonalds combined ($1.4 million). Unlike their low-wage employees, senior executives at these private companies can receive government reimbursements of up to $736,000 per person towards their executive salaries, says the report’s co-author Robert Hiltsonsmith.

Low-wage American workers employed by these private companies include: hospital staff supported by Medicare, security guards working in public buildings, and contracted employees hired to sew military uniforms. THE PEOPLE INSIDE THE NUMBERS: “My name is Guadalupe Rodriguez and I work for a janitorial company that cleans the commercial area of Union Station, a federal property. For 19 years I have cleaned this building, yet I only get $8.75 an hour – without benefits. Throughout all these years, I have received increases only when the federal government raised minimum wage, which helps, but is not enough to live on…I hope the company I work for would offer me health benefits someday.” See Demos’s wage analysis in WaPo and HuffPo.

LEAD THE FUTURE (COME TO THIS COCKTAIL PARTY) — What do a policy guru and a Marvel Comics Editor have in common? Both are coming to the New Leaders Council annual fundraiser next Wednesday, May 15th, at The Liberty in New York from 7 – 9:30 p.m. Buy your tickets before they run out tomorrow. Hosted by The Agenda Project and many others.*If you are a member of press who would like to attend, please send an email to ssehgal@agendaproject.org.

FROM THE WONK WIRE…

…Shareholders v. Jamie Dimon on May 21st: Former Chief Economist of the IMF and Top Wonk Simon Johnson says JPMorgan Chase’s upcoming shareholder meeting is likely to be “good news for Mr. Dimon…but bad news for the rest of us, again.” The bigger question is – can “a handful of traders and one inexperienced risk officer (with questionable authority)…effectively oversee a complex derivatives portfolio…”?

…BlackRock CEO is the New Welfare Queen: Director at the Institute for Policy Studies and Top Wonk Sarah Anderson discovers that Larry Fink’s compensation is subsidized by taxpayers. Fink used the ‘performance pay loophole’ to rake in $119 million in subsidized pay between 2009-2011. Insult to Injury: Queen Fink is lobbying for a 20% benefit cut to Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries. Read the full report by Institute for Policy Studies and Campaign for America’s Future.

…Gangs of New York: Deputy Director of Democracy Programs at the Brennan Center and Top Wonk Lawrence Norden barred from New York Senate hearing…Standing Committee on Elections denies Norden chance to expose the truth about Albany’s rampant corruption problem.

…Give Sam Walton the Nobel Booby Prize: Director at the New America Foundation and Top Wonk Barry Lynn shreds Charles Kenny’s praise for Walmart and calls for ending the mega-corporation’s “monopsony.” Barry Lynn tells PP why Walmart poses global political danger: “Indeed, what most worries me about Walmart is precisely it’s political sway. Here, after all, is a company that has real influence on 50 governors and most mayors, as well as on 100 senators and most members of Congress. It is also very adept at buying the support of non-profit community groups and even many environmental activists. We should pay a lot of attention to Walmart’s actions in Mexico – where it is apparently engaged in systematic subornation of officials at almost all levels of government.”

 Find out more at www.topwonks.org.

ON OUR AGENDA…THE PATRIOTIC MILLIONAIRES ARE HUGE IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC. NO REALLY, WE’RE SERIOUS – On Tuesday, newly elected Czech President Milos Zeman praised the Patriotic Millionaires in his first speech to the Czech Chamber of Deputies. Direct Google translation: “I know it’s a drop in the ocean, 60,000 crowns a month…. After all, one of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffett, urged the U.S. government to increase taxes… In the United States, the Club, is called Patriotic Millionaires…” See the full transcript (not in English).

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