Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Amazon – and 56 Other Corporations – Took Your Tax Dollars

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Bernie Sanders, castigator of the one percent, is a millionaire now. So are Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Big whoop. There’s a crucial difference between these candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination and the super wealthy – particularly 60 gigantic, massively profitable U.S. corporations. The candidates faithfully pay federal taxes. The corporations don’t.

That’s right. Sixty profitable corporations paid no federal taxes in 2018, twice the number that typically paid nothing in the years before the 2017 tax breaks took effect. In fact, it’s worse than that. Fifty-seven of these corporations demanded rebates from the government – which means taxpayers like you and me paid them to exist. These are corporations on the dole. They claim to hate socialism if it means Medicare for All, but they sure as hell love socialism when it’s welfare for them.

Sanders, Harris, Warren and other candidates seeking the Democratic nomination paid their taxes because they are patriots. Most working Americans pay a fair share to support their country. True citizens pay so that their nation can thrive. They pay so that the United States can afford to educate its citizens, pave its roads, operate its courts, care for its vulnerable and sustain its military. They pay because they understand they have a duty to the country that nurtured them, that protects them and that they love.

But too many U.S. corporations, which the U.S. Supreme Court has anointed with human rights, refuse to acknowledge their concomitant obligations. Corporations and the super wealthy pushed hard for the tax breaks Republicans bestowed on them in 2017. Fat cats paid untold tens of millions to dark money groups that served as cash cows for GOP candidates who, once elected, shepherded those tax breaks.

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FTC Commissioner Calls for Tougher Penalties Against False “Made in USA” Claims

Cathalijne Adams

Cathalijne Adams Researcher/Writer, AAM

It’s truly dismaying to see companies exploit the value and integrity of the “Made in USA” label in their marketing all while importing their products from countries like China. But, even more upsetting, is that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been letting these companies off the hook with little more than a slap on the wrist for decades.

Four companies, including Patriot Pucks and Sand Piper, came under scrutiny for their false “Made in USA” labeling this year, but they join a horde of others that have abused the label in the past.

We’ve had more than enough of this deception and complacency, and so has FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra.

Following a FTC vote Tuesday to offer Patriot Pucks and Sand Piper no-money, no-fault settlements despite the fact that these companies were found to have violated federal lawregarding labeling, Chopra issued a statement outlining how the FTC can actually defend the “Made in USA” label.

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Activists vow to fight back as Tennessee lawmakers attempt to criminalize some voter registration

Addy Baird

Addy Baird Reporter, ThinkProgress

Activists are vowing to fight back after the Tennessee House of Representatives advanced a bill Monday that would impose fines on voter registration organizations that turn in incomplete forms.

The legislation would impose fines ranging from $150 to $2,000 if groups turn in between 100 to 500 unfinished forms. If a group turns more than 500 incomplete forms, they could face fines up to $10,000. Additionally, the legislation would require the groups to submit voter registration forms within 10 days and would also prohibit poll watchers from out of state.

Voting rights activists mobilized quickly to demonstrate their opposition to the measure. “Everyone was all hands on deck,” Tequila Johnson, statewide manager of the Tennessee Black Voter Project, told ThinkProgress Tuesday. “We got as many supporters as we could to come and show support and there were probably 200 people [there].”

Protesters gathered inside and outside the state capitol building, Johnson said, including inside the chamber, where they were told they needed to be silent. The legislators themselves, however, were cheering and clapping, she said.

“They were antagonizing us… It shows how divisive our state legislature is,” she said, adding that she felt the lawmakers were treating the bill like a competition, rather than thinking “about what’s right for our state.”

The bill was originally put forward by Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett (R). According to a Nashville Public Radio report, Hargett’s office said the legislation was prompted by attempts led by the Black Voter Project to quickly register thousands of people in Memphis, Tennessee, before the registration deadline last year.

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Ten Solutions to Bridge the Racial Wealth Divide

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The Making of the Masters Green Jacket is Shrouded in Mystery. But is it Made in America?

Before hitting his first tee shot on Thursday at The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., defending champion Sergio Garcia spoke of playing well and “defending the green jacket.”

The green jacket is synonymous with a win at The Masters, arguably the most prestigious of professional golf’s four major tournaments. Every year since 1949, The Masters winner has been presented with his own green jacket in a ceremony shortly after the final putt is made.

The green jacket that Augusta National Golf Clubhas awarded its Masters winners and club members has historically been as American-made as the tournament itself.

Since 1967, the Augusta National green jackets have, for the most part, been produced by the Hamilton Tailoring Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. In more recent years, the tropical-weight wool blazer has also been supplied by Bobby Jones Apparel, located in Duluth, Ga., and the historic Poole & Co. on Saville Row in London.

In keeping with the conservative nature of Augusta National members, exactly where each individual jacket is manufactured is a close-kept secret. Hamilton Tailoring began producing the green jackets in 1967, but founder Ed Heimann would not confirm the Ohio-based retailer still supplies them. Augusta National staff members also refused to talk, although a 2017 article on the club's website confirmed Hamilton Tailoring makes the jackets.

So, we consulted an expert on the green jacket, Ryan Carey, who along with partner Bob Zafian, launched Green Jacket Auctions in 2006 to capture the golf memorabilia market.

“Historically, they’ve all been made in the United States, but I have seen some green jackets with the Henry Poole name on them,” Carey said. “Of the other 15 or so producers that have made them over the years, all of them are in the U.S.

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A Moral Imperative

A Moral Imperative

Union Matters

Fighting to Fix the New NAFTA

From the AFL-CIO

For the better part of a generation, our global trading system has been rigged to enrich corporations at the expense of working people—and no deal has done more damage than NAFTA. We are hungry for a North American trade deal that lifts wages and improves livelihoods. The new NAFTA, also known as the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), as proposed falls short, and that’s why America’s working families will keep fighting to fix it.

Here are three reasons why the labor movement opposes the new NAFTA:

  1. There is nothing in the current deal to fix the outsourcing of good-paying American jobs to Mexico and other low-wage countries. 851,000 U.S. jobs were lost already due to NAFTA.
  2. Unless Mexico finishes and implements full labor reform and stronger rules and enforcements are added to the NAFTA text, Mexico’s workers will continue to face wages as low as $2 per hour or less and receive no protection from threats and violence when trying to unionize.
  3. Monopoly rights for Big Pharma would keep drug prices sky high, and new rules would undermine protections such as workplace safety.
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