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“Democracy Has Been Stolen And We Have To Take It Back”

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“Democracy has been stolen and we have to take it back.” – Senator Merkley (D-OR) at Netroots Nation.

We have to end the filibuster, at the very least for nominations, if not for everything. This has to happen because Republicans are now obstructing everything, and agencies of our government are going to start shutting down over this summer. Without action the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) closes its doors at the end of August and not long after that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will be without a director. These are just some of the nominations being obstructed — filibustered — in order to block these agencies from operating.

It is not right that anyone is able to just keep our government from operating, for any reason. It is time to end the flibuster. Visit Fix the Senate Now.

Also please visit Communications Workers of America (CWA)’s Give Us Five! news page and GIVE US FIVE! campaign.

Reclaiming Our Democracy

The Netroots Nation session, “The Three Keys to Reclaiming Our Democracy” took a look at the filibuster and other structural impediments to democracy. On the panel were CWA President Larry Cohen, NAACP President Ben Jealous, Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford, Citizen Action NY Executive Director Karen Scharff and Senator Jeff Merkley. The panel was hosted by Salon’s Joan Walsh

Larry Cohen: Jobs, Health Care, Retirement and Rights

“Your senators need to hear from you in the next 3 weeks.” Go to

CWA’s Larry Cohen begins at 7:40 in the video above, use the slider.

Cohen said that every key issue we care about, we hit a dead end. “How long can we hold on to our health care, job, retirement, rights?” The key issues for CWA are jobs, health care, retirement and rights, so they set out to move that agenda with partners.

More from Cohen:

“Despite the win in 2008, we saw that at the federal level nothing ever even got discussed.”
“The 111th congress passed over 400 items, but they were not discussed on the floor of the senate.”

“This is a demcoracy issue, not just about senate rules, money in politics and voting rights were at the core of why economic justice is beyond our reach.”

“If we don’t build a democracy movement we’re not going to have economic justice here.”

“If we stick together we can achieve the real American dream”

“If the NLRB closes, workers have no floor to walk on in terms of their rights.”

” In the next 3 weeks, a mass campaign, all working together, Mobilization in every state with a Democrat senator. Senators need to hear loud and clear, even in California. Your senators need to hear from you in the next 3 weeks.

“We’re not going to stand for a Democratic majority that sits back and says we couldn’t get 4 of our colleagues to stand with us. They need a push and they need it now, if a push doesn’t work they need a kick.”

Cohen’s list of who most needs to hear from constituents: Senators Levin, Pryor, Jack Reid, Feinstein, Landrieu, Boxer, Baucus, Leahy, Carper, Nelson, McCaskill, Hagen, Donnelly, Heitkamp.

“The other 40 need to help us get that done, too”

Please see Larry Cohen at HuffPo, Give Us Five: A Fully Functioning NLRB Needs All Five Members

Merkley: “Democracy has been stolen and we have to take it back.”

The American dream is under such assault. Living wage jobs are disappearing. 80% of the jobs lost but only 40% coming back are living wage.

In a democracy a legislature is supposed to figure out problems, discuss, try a response. But right now what happens is … we need a supermajority just to get a vote. In Harry Reid’s first 6 years he had to file 391 petitions, they take 6 weeks, each need 60s votes, the Senate has been brought to its knees.

The Disclose Act had 59 votes.
The Dream Act got a majority
Replace the sequester got a majority.
None even got a vote, We need to get rid of the filibuster.

If you are fighting for the 99% the 1% uses the paralysis of the Senate to block a vote on things that will take American forward.

Make them stand up and make their case.

In Q & A: “Democracy has been stolen and we have to take it back.”

Here is Daily Kos’ Joan McCarter intervieing Sen. Merkley on this:

Click here to view the video on YouTube.


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