If former Senator Russ Feingold’s latest effort -- ProgressivesUnited.org -- is any indication, the initial mission is quite focused, as indicated by the following Mission Statement:
“In January of 2010, the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision greatly expanded the corrupting influence of corporate special interests. It's time we fought back. Launched one year after that decision, Progressives United will:
--Empower Americans to stand up against the exploding corporate influence in Washington, especially since the Citizens United decision.
--Hold our representatives accountable to every constituent, regardless of economic class or insider access.
--Support national, state, and local candidates who stand up for our progressive ideals.
Progressives United aims to build a massive grassroots effort dedicated to mitigating the effects of, and eventually overturning, the Citizens United decision. It is an organization that works to provide means for individuals to stand up to the big money special interests ruling Washington. We will work to ensure that elected officials are held accountable to their constituents and are not beholden to corporate interests. Additionally we will work to elect leaders at all levels of government who will stand up for progressive ideals.
We will also closely monitor all elected officials, calling them out when they are acting against what is best for their constituents in order to benefit a special interest. And we will ensure that campaign finance is a prominent issue in the 2012 campaign; we want all candidates to take a strong public stand on campaign finance reform.
Progressives United is dedicated to opposing corporate dominance over our elections. We will work every day to ensure Abraham Lincoln’s words that we are ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’ remain true.”
Right now, there is a website connected to Progressives United that is asking people to help build an agenda for this new endeavor. Strangely enough, there are many items suggested there that this Blog has advocated in past publications, and there are others worth mentioning, as well. The following list is a summary of what I regard as the most plausible and interesting of these proposed Progressive agenda items.
1) Overturn Citizens United decision.
--a constitutional amendment
--outlaw corporate spending on election process
--pass the DISCLOSE ACT requiring corporations to reveal their contributions
2) Campaign Finance and electoral reform.
--limit amount that can be spent on all elections
--public funding of all elections
--abolish the Electoral College
3) Restrict Lobbying.
--prevent all lobbyists from interacting with members of Congress (unrealistic)
--prevent monetary inducements for members of Congress
Comment: I find little of substance in these proposals. I have called for constitutional amendments that would:
--prevent members of Congress from receiving any compensation, privilege, emolument, gift or any other form of contribution from any entity that could benefit by particular legislation or committee process.
--I believe this needs expansion into preventing any influence on the writing of regulations
--restrict the revolving door of legislators becoming lobbyists or legislative consultants for a period of five years after leaving elective office; and this needs to be expanded to cover civil servants and appointees, as well as judges.
4) The rich -- individuals and corporations -- must be made to pay their fair share.
--the richest 2% must pay their fair share
--rescind the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000
--remove the FICA tax cap
--establish a Minimum Tax for corporations at about 20-25% (my recommendation)
--close corporate loopholes and tax shelters
5) Turn the attack on the middle class into an assault on the power of the rich.
--pass the Employee Free Choice Act
--recall Wisconsin Republican Senators
--reform Wall St. and investment banking by stricter regulation
--put bankers, investors, mortgage CEOs, etc. on trial for criminal offenses
--eliminate Big Oil subsidies
--no more tax breaks for companies who outsource
--restrict subsidies and low-interest loans to large agricultural conglomerates
--raise awareness of corporations that avoid paying taxes or receive large tax breaks
--expose the activity of the Koch brothers to put a ‘face’ on corporate corruption
--use media to fight back against right-wing lies and distortions
--boycott products of corporate supporters of right-wing agenda
6) Fight for single-payer universal health-care for everyone.
--stop corporate efforts to block real health care reform
7) End foreign wars and bring our troops home.
--stop sending money and arms to dictators and thieves
--cut defense spending
8) Make education reform a priority.
--divert defense spending cuts to education
9) Use media to promote Progressive agenda and to promote fair and factual information.
--reinstate the Fairness Doctrine to stop corporate propaganda
--use media, social media and DVDs to influence young people for the future
--protect the internet from government intervention
--break up corporate mass media ownership
--strengthen the hand of the FCC
--develop a website and our own media sources
--promote media sources that promote in-depth reporting and analysis
--enact a ‘Truth in Broadcasting’ law like that in Canada
10) Progressive groups need to unite
This is a Ten Point Program that most progressives (at least on this particular website) seem to endorse. What’s holding us back from working together and forming a Progressive Coalition? If you want to help, please go to the website below (by copying or typing it into your browser) and add your own agenda item(s), or vote for those already listed (and don’t forget to check out ProgressivesUnited.org).