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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NAACP JAILED FOR PRAYING…Gitmo Prisoners Starving for Justice…EMILY’s List Seeks ‘Madam President…’ Exclusive TBTF Scoop from Top Wonk Simon Johnson: Davis Polk “Completely Wrong,” Brown-Vitter is “Perfect Timing”

SCARLET LETTER  Americans for Financial Reform, Campaign Legal Center, CREW, Common Cause, Democracy 21, League of Women Voters, and Public Citizen sent the President a powerful letter, calling on him to step up and reform the “scandalous campaign finance system,” including the “dysfunctional” FEC. The letter urges the President to exercise his executive authority to nominate individuals who are committed to properly enforcing the laws to the FEC and other agencies dealing with campaign activities.

STARVING FOR JUSTICE – Reacting to a mass hunger strike led by 100+ starving detainees, the President renewed his promise to shut down Guantánamo Bay’s prison – a promise he has failed to keep due to legislative flack piling up from his first term. ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero advises:“There are two things the president should do. One is to appoint a senior point person so that the administration’s Guantánamo closure policy is directed by the White House and not by Pentagon bureaucrats. The president can also order the secretary of defense to start certifying for transfer detainees who have been cleared, which is more than half the Guantánamo population” (ACLU cited by NYT ed-board).

Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar also tells PP: “It’s disappointing that it has taken the president so long to finally acknowledge the crisis that’s been going on at Gitmo and that reflects the increasing desperation of the detainees there. But it’s wonderful that he’s finally talking about it, reaffirming that the prison needs to be shut down, and promising to do everything in his power to make that happen. Now we just have to hold him to those promises.”

FACTS: Gitmo has 166 detained prisoners. 86 prisoners have been approved by the administration to return home. So far, none of them have returned home. (HRF)

READ: Gitmo is Killing Me by detained prisoner Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel (NYT) & Obama can close Guantanamo by Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar (Reuters)

A HUFFPO EXPOSÉ – Why Are Senate Republicans Blocking Judicial Nominations? “It’s Disingenious…” Jen Bendery Finds Process “Gummed Up” Using Alliance for Justice’s Data.

JAILED FOR PRAYING – North Carolina NAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber was handcuffed and led to jail with 16 civil rights leaders, ministers, and students on Monday night for singing and praying in the state capital in protest of recent Republican legislation. The state has rejected funding to expand Medicaid to half a million North Carolinians without health insurance, cut the payroll tax credit for 900,000 poor and working people, and is on the brink of passing a package of extreme voter suppression laws. These voting laws include a $2,500 tax penalty on parents of college students to be levied if students vote in a precinct that is not in their home residence and a strict photo-ID law at the polls, which cleared in the state House last week.

“They are pursuing a cruel, unusual and unconstitutional agenda reminiscent of the Old South policy agenda of the white Southern strategy,” said Rev. Barber. The protestors were charged with second degree trespassing for singing and praying too much in the state capital, failure to disperse, and carrying placards in the General Assembly. See video footage; click here and here for pictures.

The prayer protest was organized and led by NC NAACP, and supported by a coalition of state groups and national organizations like Advancement Project.                      

READAdvancement Project’s one-pager on states trying to pass voter-suppression laws in 2013.

ECONOMIC FOOTNOTES  new fact-sheet from Citizens For Tax Justice shows the President’s proposal to cap itemized deductions for the wealthy at 28 cents to the dollar would lead to tax increases next year for only 3.6% of Americans at roughly less than 1% of their incomes (or $5,950). Percentage of Americans whose taxes would increase under this proposal state-by-state: DC 8.9%, NY 5.1%, CA 5.1%, MA 5.7%, TX 3.6%.

TAKING ON THE NRA NEVER LOOKED THIS GOOD  Have You Seen The Gun Show Gallery?

MADAM PRESIDENT – EMILY’s List, the 2M member PAC dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women candidates, will mobilize its energy and resources in battleground states to build a new voter base committed to electing the first female President in 2016. EMILY’s List announced today it will begin targeting efforts in IA, NV, and NH. A new poll commissioned by EMILY’s List found that 72% of battleground voters believe a woman will win the next presidential election. Watch: Madam President.

EXCLUSIVE…ON OUR AGENDA…MEGA-BANKS, MEGA-DEAL – Today, former Chief Economist of the IMF and Top Wonk Simon Johnson slays the Davis Polk critique of Brown-Vitter. On substance, David Polk is “completely wrong.”

Simon Johnson Tells PP Why Brown-Vitter Matters: ”Brown-Vitter has changed the terms of the debate on financial reform. We are finally discussing the importance of much higher levels of equity financing for banks. Naturally, bank executives like the current arrangement – in which they get the upside when things go well and the downside is someone else’s problem (i.e., yours). They are generating high levels of systemic risk pollution because they are allowed to operate with such high debt levels. The Federal Reserve must act to rein in this irresponsible excess. Brown-Vitter pushed the Fed in exactly the right direction – and with perfect timing.”

The Progressive Movement celebrates the President’s recent decision to dump acting Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Ed DeMarco and nominate Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC) as his official replacement.

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VOTEVETS.ORG KNOCKS MARK SANFORD FOR ABANDONING POST…Buffalo Board of Ed. Eliminates Cruel Discipline Policies…Media Matters Pulls Trigger on NYT…Why is Slick Hill’ STILL Quiet about Arkansas Oil Spill…?

RED STATE DEMOCRAT SITS ON WAD OF CASH – Sunlight Foundation’s Reporting Group criticized Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (M) for not seeking re-election next year when he has close to $ 5 million stored in his campaign bank account ($1.6 million of it raised from January-March). Note from Sunlight: “While it is illegal for senators to use campaign funds for their own personal expenses, there are many avenues available to Baucus for spending the funds, such as contributing to other politicians or charities – even charities set up by the candidates themselves as former Rep. Allen West has done.” More on Baucus: Citizens for Tax Justice published a Politix op-ed criticizing the Red State Democrat for sidelining revenue in his tax overhaul. Baucus was one of the four Democrats to oppose the gun control measure to expand background checks last week.

ABOUT THEM GUNS – Why did Sen. Heidi Heitkamp  (D-ND) back out of serving her constituents? Occupy the NRA’s Silent No More march to hold gun lobbyists accountable is happening today at noon.

WOULD YOU ABANDON YOUR POST? VoteVets.org launched a new TV ad attacking Republican Mark Sanford for his leave of absence in 2009 to carry out an illicit affair abroad during his term as Governor of South Carolina. “If I had abandoned my post, I could be court-martialed,” says retired National Guard Colonel Barry Wingrad, featured in the ad. See ad coverage in CBSThe HillNational Journal, and Politico.

VotesVets.org Co-Founder and Chairman Jon Soltz tells PP: “It’s pretty simple – Mark Sanford went AWOL, as Commander-in-Chief of the South Carolina Guard. Republicans in the state charged that long before we did. In the military, that could get you a Court Martial. It’s not just a violation of the rules, it’s violation of trust put in you. And Mark Sanford broke that trust.”

Sanford is running against Democratic contender Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the South Carolina special election on May 7th. Following press attention around a trespassing violation, the Republican National Congressional Committee withdrew financial support from Sanford’s campaign last week. Sanford and Colbert Busch are slotted for a radio debate on April 29th – their only scheduled joint appearance (See Sanford’s newly emerged full-page ad defending himself to SC voters – h/t NBC’s Ali Weinberg).

STAT OF THE WEEK Two-thirds of small business owners support increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 and tying it to inflation (Business Majority).

EDUCATION VICTORY– On Tuesday night, the Buffalo Board of Education passed a new code of conduct aimed at eliminating harsh discipline policies bearing a disproportionately negative impact on students of color. The code was developed by Citizen Action of New York and Alliance for Quality Education, in partnership with Buffalo Public Schools.

“The new discipline code eliminates suspensions for minor misbehaviors and instead focuses on the use of intervention and prevention strategies known to work, such as referrals to support staff, conflict resolution, and restorative justice,” said Advancement Project’s Jason Sinocruz, who helped to draft the code.

FACTS: In the 2009-10 school year, 20% of all Buffalo students were suspended. Black students were 56% of the total Buffalo student body population, but made up 72% of total students suspended (NYSED). In 2010, Jawaan Daniels was sent home on an out-of-school suspension for wandering around school halls. Later that day, he was a victim of a drive by shooting at his local bus stop in Buffalo.

BY THE WAY –The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent $10.1 million on lobbying so far this year. (The Hill)

DID NYT ‘MISFIRE?’ — Media Matters Challenges NYT for Characterizing Failed Gun Vote As ‘White House Loss.’

HOT OFF THE PRESS – Americans for Financial Reform reacted to Republican attacks of CFPB Director Richard Cordray during his semiannual report before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, arguing that Republican reforms would “subject the bureau to partisan gridlock and endless political domination.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) slammed Republicans for blocking Cordray’s renomination: “This is about a minority that doesn’t want a watchdog that will keep an eye on the big banks to make sure they don’t cheat their customers.” See: CFPB’s new white paper illustrating that payday and deposit-advance loans often serve as debt traps

Center for Effective Government’s new analysis shows that the President’s proposed 28% limit on itemized deductions would reduce charitable giving by $4.7 – $9.1 billion a year, whereas the House Republican budget plan would reduce it even more – by $6-11 billion - hurting nonprofits. The analysis concludes that charitable deductions are under threat from both plans and should be turned into a tax credit that would apply equally to everyone, regardless of income or whether they itemize their deductions. See this infographic showing that the top 1% now receive a much higher tax subsidy than the total amount they give to charity. “A tax credit would address that inequity and also protect charities,” said the report’s author, Patrick Lester, CEG Director of Fiscal Policy. 

ON OUR AGENDA… A message from The Patriotic Millionaires on the long lines at the airportHillary Clinton…still hasn’t said a THING…about the Arkansas Oil Spill…Former Chief Economist of the IMF and Top Wonk Simon Johnson hits deeply flawed Oxford Economics report on the relationship between higher capital requirements and economic growth.

The progressive community is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Common Cause President Bob Edgar this week.

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GANG OF 8 IMMIGRATION BILL PRODUCES MIXED REACTIONS…2.3M Activists Demand White House Unchain CPI…Fiscal Austerity Under Fire as Top Wonks Uncover Reinhart & Rogoff Miscalculations, Unusual Errors….

IMMIGRATION BILL EXAMINED – Progressive groups evaluated the bipartisan Gang of Eight’s copious, 844-page immigration bill filed yesterday morning:

PROS: Center for American Progress published ten strengths of the bill including an expedited five-year path to citizenship and permanent residency for DREAMers and farmworkers. Economic Policy Institute praised the bill for granting Registered Provisional Immigration status (RPI), which will legally enable many undocumented immigrants to work (see: RPI explained). Human Rights First said  the bill could protect thousands of persecuted refugees by improving the asylum system. Progressive leaders from the AFL-CIO, Center for American Progress, SEIU, and National Council of La Raza have agreed to endorse the bill

CONS: Human Rights Watch reproached the bill for increasing funds to expand criminal prosecutions of migrant border-crossers when current laws already call for deportation. ACLU also questioned expansive border control spending and described the new e-verify system as “job-killing, costly and privacy-invasive.” Human Rights Campaign criticized the bill for failing to protect LGBT immigrant couples and denying family visas to 40,000 same-sex foreign national spouses of U.S. citizens.  Sign HRC’s petition to get the uniting american families act into the bill. 

WHAT TO FIX: Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund proposed four revisions including visa sponsorship for siblings and a shorter waiting period for applied citizenship (<13 years). The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights stressed  the bill must equally promote wage protection and economic advancement for US born workers including “low-income African-American workers whose high unemployment is often exploited by restrictionist groups.”

NEW MUSIC VIDEO – ”El Hielo“ by La Santa Cecilia & produced by National Day Laborer Organizing Network, as part of the NotOneMoreDeportation project. On Twitter, use hashtag: #NOT1More.

CLASH OF THE WONKS – On Tuesday, Top Wonk Michael Konczal wrote about a new UMass Amherst study that  found an Excel coding error in Reinhart-Rogoff’s highly influential austerity report, leading to a contentious re-evaluation of the Austerity report’s results. FYI: The Austerity report informed the Ryan budget and has served as the key pillar for fiscal austerity in the developed world. Note: Konczal’s post about the coding error draws directly from the research of  a UMass Amherst study conducted by Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin. Their study documents further fatal methodological problems in the Reinhart-Rogoff report. Read Pollin’s latest FT article, “Austerity after Reinhart and Rogoff” (*subscription needed).

For expert reactions to Reinhart-Rogoff’s flawed report, click on these links from: CEPR’s Dean Baker, NYT’s Paul Krugman, Slate’s Matt Yglesias, and Top Wonk Arindrajit Dube.

CPI UNCHAINED —  Progressive organizations continue to attack the inclusion of a chained consumer price index in the President’s new budget, which will cut social security benefits for senior citizens. Activists from AFL-CIO, MoveOn.org, Campaign for America’s Future, and Rebuild the Dream have delivered a petition with 2.3+ million signatures to the White House rejecting the President’s adoption of chained CPI. Center for Economic Policy and Research has reported that for an average worker retiring at 65, chained CPI would amount to a cut of $650 by age 75 and another $1,130 by age 85.

FLASHBACK – In 2008, Sen. Obama clearly stated he would not cut Social Security cost of living adjustments.

HOT OFF THE PRESS: AFL-CIO released the latest edition of Executive Pay Watch, an online database comparing real CEO salaries at S&P 500 companies to the pay of US workers.  Last year, CEOs took home $12.3 million, or 354 x more than the average rank-and-file worker. That is the largest pay gap in the world. Sunlight Foundation also published an organized Google spreadsheet reflecting all of the reported donors for Organizing for Action, the President’s new nonprofit.

ON OUR AGENDA….A small note about the Boston Marathon Bombings… “The Good Outnumber You, and We Always Will…” (Daily Agenda)…

What Does Gabby Giffords Want You to Do at the Grocery Store? 

FACT: Over 90% of Americans support background checks for all gun buyers (Reuters). Shame on Congress.

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IMMIGRATION HITS CRESCENDO…SUNLIGHT CATCHES COLBERT-BUSCH DELETING TWEETS…CEPR Launching ‘Director Watch’…More Bobby Rubins Head to Wall Street…

IMMIGRATION CRESCENDO — Progressive groups intensified their calls for broad immigration reform in the wake of competing House and Senate legislation likely to surface next week.  Last Friday, the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Eight, AFL-CIO, and the Chamber of Commerce struck a rare deal to implement a new temporary foreign worker visa program which is modeled after a proposal from the Economic Policy Institute, as Slate’s Matt Yglesias has pointed out. On Tuesday, EPI endorsed the visa program deal and elucidated some of its key components, including U.S.worker protection. Top Wonk Robert Reich also supported the visa program deal, citing disagreement over foreign workers as one of the reasons immigration reform came to a halt in 2007.

More on Immigration: Center for American Progress launched a new website focused on the country’s 267,000+ LGBT undocumented immigrants (read CAP’s related report: Living in Dual Shadows). Color of Change issued an email demanding reform that protects all immigrants, including the 3+ million black immigrants who comprise 9% of the US foreign-born population and are often absent from immigration debates.  Sojourners President Jim Wallis appeared on ABC’s ‘This Week’ with George Stephanopoulos to advocate for a path to citizenship. PICO Network published a five point platform for immigration reform including a seven-year path to citizenship with no permanent underclass. Message Matters sent out a one-pager with language on how to respond to conservative attacks on immigration (see conservative attack: “Illegal immigrants are taking our jobs”).

PROGRESS –  Associated Press announced it was dropping the term ‘illegal immigrant’ and the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person. The New York Times is considering whether to follow suit. Sign Presente.org’s petition to get NYT to stop using the epithet ‘illegal.’ Credit the Applied Research Center for their Drop the I-Word campaign, which began advocating for the removal of ‘illegals’ from public discourse on immigration three years ago.

APRIL 10TH: Ten thousand progressive activists plan to swarm the West Lawn of the Capitol Building to Rally for Citizenship. On Twitter, use the hashtags #A10 and #TimeIsNow. Sign up here.

AD FEVER – 2013 is a non-election year, but political ads continue to hit major airwaves. Sunlight Foundation reported that at least 55 outside groups have bought airtime in 32 media markets for ads on 27 topics ranging from gun control to taxation. These outside groups spent $200,000 alone on TV ads derailing former Sen. Hagel’s Defense Secretary nomination. Click on this Google Map to see where the ads are running. In the last election cycle, outside groups spent more than $300 million on political campaigns. Twitter Purge: On Monday, Congressional candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch deleted more than 500 tweets from her official campaign Twitter account but Sunlight Foundation archived them. Read more of Sunlight’s deleted tweets from politicians.

HOT OFF THE PRESS – Americans for Financial Reform criticized a new measure which will exempt JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs from Dodd-Frank Act swap market rules when trading between their own affiliates (Bloomberg Businessweek).Center for Economic Policy and Research plans to launch a new website called Director Watch in partnership with The Huffington Post. From CEPR: “Director Watch will highlight directors who get large paychecks even as the companies they ostensibly oversee are going down the tubes.” Help CEPR raise $17,000 to build their website. Sequestration could strip 140,000 low-income families of housing assistance, according to an estimate from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

ON OUR AGENDA…Top Wonk Robert Reich explains why raising the minimum wage to $9 is a no brainer.  Who Just Pulled a Bobby Rubin Through Wall Street’s Revolving Door? Nobody Knows More About Minorities Than This Guy.

 

 

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