Friday, November 22, 2013

Senate filibuster long targeted by greens and other left groups NEA, SEIU, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, NWF, NAACP, CAP, CWA. Then will focus on adding 'same day voting' states-Mother Jones

1/9/13, "Revealed: The Massive New Liberal Plan to Remake American Politics," Mother Jones, Andy Kroll

"A month after President Barack Obama won reelection, top brass from three dozen of the most powerful groups in liberal politics met at the headquarters of the National Education Association (NEA), a few blocks north of the White House. 

Brought together by the  

Sierra Club,  
Communication Workers of America (CWA),
and the 

the meeting was invite-only and off-the-record. Despite all the Democratic wins in November, a sense of outrage filled the room as labor officials, environmentalists, civil rights activists, immigration reformers, and a panoply of other progressive leaders discussed the challenges facing the left and what to do to beat back the deep-pocketed conservative movement."...

[Ed. note: Where is this "deep-pocketed conservative movement"? It doesn't exist.]

(continuing): "At the end of the day, many of the attendees closed with a pledge of money and staff resources to build a national, coordinated campaign around three goals: getting big money out of politics, 

expanding the voting rolls while fighting voter ID laws, and 

rewriting Senate rules to curb the use of the filibuster to block legislation. 

The groups in attendance pledged a total of millions of dollars and dozens of organizers to form a united front on these issues—potentially, a coalition of a kind rarely seen in liberal politics, where squabbling is common and a stay-in-your-lane attitude often prevails. "It was so exciting," says Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's executive director. "We weren't just wringing our hands about the Koch brothers. We were saying, 'I'll put in this amount of dollars and this many organizers.'"

The liberal activists have dubbed this effort the Democracy Initiative. The campaign, Brune says, has since been attracting other members—and also interest from foundations looking to give money—because many groups on the left believe they can't accomplish their own goals without winning reforms on the Initiative's three issues. "This isn't an optional activity for us," Brune tells me. "It is mission critical."...

The Democracy Initiative may be the first time so many groups teamed up to work on multiple issues not tied to an election. "This is really the first time that a broad spectrum of groups have come together around a big agenda that impacts the state and national level," says Kim Anderson, who runs the NEA's center for advocacy and outreach and attended the December meeting.

The Democracy Initiative grew out of conversations in recent years among Radford, Brune, CWA president Larry Cohen, and NAACP president Ben Jealous....Brune says the four men bemoaned how the dysfunctional political process was making it impossible for their groups to achieve their goals....

Greenpeace's Phil Radford notes that for decades conservatives have aimed to shrink local, state, and federal governments by reforming the rules so they could install like-minded politicians, bureaucrats, and judges. Radford calls it "a 40-plus-year strategy by the Scaifes, Exxons, Coors, and Kochs of the world…to take over the country."

So last spring Brune, Cohen, Jealous, and Radford called up their friends on the left and, in June, convened the Democracy Initiative's first meeting. A handful of groups attended, and they began to focus on the triad of money in politics, voting rights, and dysfunction in the Senate....

Other attendees at the December meeting included top officials from the  

League of Conservation Voters,  
Friends of the Earth, Public Campaign, the
Common Cause, 
Voto Latino,
the Demos think tank, Piper Fund,  
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, [CREW], People for the American Way,  
National People's Action,
National Wildlife Federation, the  
Center for American Progress, the  
United Auto Workers, and  
Color of Change. (A non-editorial employee of Mother Jones also attended.)

According to a schedule of the meeting, the attendees focused on opportunities for 2013. On money in politics, Nick Nyhart of Public Campaign, a pro-campaign-finance-reform advocacy group, singled out 

Kentucky, New York, and North Carolina as potential targets for campaign finance fights. 

In a recent interview, Nyhart said the Kentucky battle would likely involve trying to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Public Enemy No. 1 for campaign finance reform, who faces reelection in 2014. 

In New York, Nyhart said, activists are pressuring state lawmakers, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to pass a statewide public financing bill in 2013. 

And in North Carolina, the fight is more about countering the influence of a single powerful donor, 

the conservative millionaire Art Pope, whose largesse helped install a Republican governor and turn the state legislature entirely red. 

On voting rights, a presentation by a Brennan Center for Justice staffer identified 

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, and Minnesota as states where efforts to modernize the voter registration system and implement same-day registration could succeed.

But the most pressing issue right now for Democracy Initiative members is Senate rules reform. At the December meeting, attendees heard from Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) on rule changes to curb the spiraling use of filibusters to block legislation. The use of the filibuster has exploded in recent years, 

and Republicans now block up-or-down votes on nearly everything in the Senate,

requiring Democrats to muster 60 votes to conduct even the most routine business.

Liberal groups in the Democracy Initiative want to fix that, and they used the December meeting to plan a coordinated push to urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to rewrite the rules. Democrats have until January 22

when the window closes on easy rules changes, to get the reforms they want."...


If you're into power, destroying the US two party system and selling out millions of defenseless Americans has to be exhilarating:

1/16/13, ATTN Gun Owners: McConnell & Reid Cutting Deal on the Filibuster,” Erick Erickson,

The Senate Republican Leader and Senate Democratic Leader are cutting a deal on the filibuster.

You may think it is over and done with, but it is not.

Harry Reid, through Senate procedure, has kept the first day of business in the Senate going on. This allows the rules of the Senate to be changed with just a majority vote if he decides to claim the Senate’s business does not continue and constitutes itself as a new body every two years (it’s a Parliamentary thing). Meanwhile, behind the scenes Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid are cutting a deal to drastically curtail the filibuster. The left is fully on board and gearing up for this fight because they think they can get gun control through the Senate and other liberal initiatives.

Don’t relax and say, “Oh well, we have the House,” because we may have the House, but John Boehner is in charge of it.

This is serious. Republicans should be prepared to fight as hard as they can and, should the Democrats use the so-called “nuclear” option, grind congress to a halt. Likewise, Senate Democrats should be reminded of the number of seats they have up for re-election in 2014.”

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