Lobbying

Image via RNS/The Catholic University of America/Dana Rene Bowler

For much of its long history in the U.S., the Catholic Church was known as the champion of the working class, a community of immigrants whose leaders were steadfast in support of organized labor and economic justice – a faith-based agenda that helped provide a path to success for its largely working-class flock.

In recent decades, as those ethnic European Catholics assimilated and grew wealthier, and as the concerns of the American hierarchy shifted to battles over moral issues, such as abortion and gay marriage, traditional pocketbook issues took a back seat.

Elizabeth Palmberg 6-29-2012
Elizabeth Palmberg / Sojourners

Screenshot of spreadsheet, Elizabeth Palmberg / Sojourners

It's a honking long list of insiders — 605 names long, give or take a few duplicates. What do all of them, mostly from corporate America, know about the secret playbook U.S. trade officials are using next week in San Diego to negotiate a potentially huge international agreement?

Five U.S. senators and 132 members of the House of Representatives wish they knew. They've been asking U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the official in charge of such negotiations, to pretty-please let all members of Congress see the working text, or at least chapter summaries, of the deceptively benign-sounding Trans-Pacific Partnership, now in the works. 

So far, Kirk has said no. (In his defense, last month House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., leaked a draft of the "intellectual property" chapter of TPP, just because it's a "secretive agreement" that could “undermine individual privacy rights and stifle innovation." Leaking, whistleblowing--potato, potahto).

RNS photo courtesy Secular Coalition of America

The Secular Coalition for America's new leader Edwina Rogers. RNS photo courtesy Secular Coalition of America

Their issues are predominantly liberal and their constituency strongly leans Democratic, but a leading secularist group hopes a high-rolling Republican lobbyist is just who they need to open doors on Capitol Hill.

The Secular Coalition for America on Thursday (May 3) hired Edwina Rogers, who has worked for two Republican presidents and four Republican senators, as its new executive director. The SCA has 11 member groups -- many of them officially at odds with Republican politicians and policies -- including American Atheists and the American Humanist Association.

Duane Shank 11-03-2011

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With the opening of the G20 Summit in Cannes, France today, an idea that's been around for awhile is in the news again and gaining more attention as a result of the #OWS movement: The so-called "Robin Hood tax," a minimal tax on all financial transactions with the resulting revenue dedicated to anti-poverty programs....Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, in his response to the occupation of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, endorsed the Vatican proposals. Williams observed that "people are frustrated beyond measure at what they see as the disastrous effects of global capitalism," and urged a full debate on "a Financial Transaction Tax

Bryan Farrell 3-16-2011
Corporations have long used the false rhetoric of "jobs versus the environment" to pit what would be natural allies -- environmentalists and labor activists -- against one another.
Elizabeth Palmberg 2-21-2011
If corporate fronts designed to look like grassroots efforts are known as http://blog.sojo.net/2009/08/10/who-lit-the-fire-under-the-right-wing-po..." target
Elizabeth Palmberg 1-21-2011

Last summer's financial reform bill included something the world has long needed: a requirement that electronics manufacturers disclose whether their products include conflict minerals from Congo. Money from conflict minerals helps fund militias' reign of terror and rape in the country's eastern region. (See activist site Raise Hope for Congo's listing of how 21 leading electronics companies are doing at voluntary disclosure -- no one gets a gold star, but some are worse than others. Yeah, we're talkin' to you, Nintendo.)

Chuck Collins 12-14-2010
In 2010, the moral measure of tax policy choice is: Does it further concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few?
Chris Rice 6-18-2010
We rarely slow down to create the sacred space needed to discern the "signs of the times" and who we are as Christians in this time of America.
Good news: Now corporations can buy democracy direct at huge discounts!
John Gehring 2-05-2010

Former President George W. Bush receives a pro-life award this weekend from Legatus, an organization of Catholic business professionals.

Juliana Schnur 1-22-2010
While the recent crisis in Haiti has spurred many Americans to action -- through donations, public service, humanitarian aid, etc.
Elizabeth Palmberg 11-11-2009
Here's what the news stories aren't telling you about the bill Senator Dodd brought out yesterday: it could spell life or death for http://stopgamblingonhunger.com/" href="https://sojo.net/%3Ca%20href%3D"http://stopgamb">http://stopgamb

From my up-close-and-personal perspective as a cancer survivor, I couldn't agree more with LaVonne Neff's main point: it is the system, rather than insurance corporations, that is to blame for 18,000 unnecessary deaths a year

Rose Marie Berger 8-10-2009

By now, we've all seen the angry "regular Americans" who are rising up to resist health-care reform. They are demonstrating loudly at town hall meetings. They are holding rallies.

Troy Jackson 5-05-2009

Last week my son and I spent three days in Washington, D.C., as part of the Mobilization to End Poverty. We heard challenging speakers.

Elizabeth Palmberg 4-29-2009
Live from the halls of the Mobilization, here are a few more quotes about faith and justice work from some of the fantastic people who are here!

Ed Spivey Jr. 4-28-2009
This is the day. The day that the entrenched powers on Capitol Hill come face to face with the horde of advocates from the Mobilization Against Poverty.

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