Word on the street is that the pro-"free" trade caucus in Congress is getting closer to getting the votes it needs to pass the "fast-track" bill the Senate passed a few weeks ago. See? Congress can-so get things done, if those things are horrible things. Just so happens that Tom Tomorrow, who writes the marvelous This Modern World cartoon, has (as is his wondrous habit) summarized everything wrong with TPP fast-tracking in a mere six panels. "They don't have specific objections to the trade agreement they're forbidden by law from discussing specifically" would be hilarious, if I were less spiritually-advanced (or maybe more spiritually-advanced, I can't decide). Of course, Our Glorious Elites attack us without disclosing the rules they've written, like making it illegal to keep the TPP a secret (which sure has deterred Wikileaks, I notice!) or preventing our members of Congress from taking any notes about the TPP when they go in to read it. What do they have to hide, you wonder? Public Citizen, Food and Water Watch, Sum of Us, CREDO, and the Union of Concerned Scientists all help you tell your House Rep to oppose "free" trade "fast-tracking," while CREDO helps you call House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and tell her to declare her opposition to "fast-track," if indeed she does oppose it. She voted against it back in 1998, and doesn't seem to be whipping votes for it this time, but we should pressure her to do more.
Meanwhile, Congress also seeks to lay waste to the Endangered Species Act -- but should it be a cautionary tale that Rep. Richard Pombo tried that in 2005, only to lose re-election in his heavily Republican district in 2006? The only caution we should take is this: politicians who want to get rid of the Endangered Species Act won't come out and say so; they'll say they want to "reform" it, mainly by making the regulatory process more convoluted and giving politicians the option of just ignoring scientists whenever they want to let their cronies seize a plot of land so they can turn it into a money-making graveyard. Politicians love to add more hurdles to a regulatory process and then turn to you and say "see? The regulatory process doesn't work!" It's a little like an arsonist demonstrating that housing just doesn't work by setting your house on fire. At least half a dozen bills that would in some way cripple the Endangered Species Act have already been introduced in this Congress, so CREDO helps you tell your Congressfolk to stop screwing around with the Endangered Species Act.
Finally, H.R. 2654, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, has been reintroduced in the House, and both the National Women's Law Center and Moms Rising help you tell your Congressfolk to support it. H.R. 2654 would prevent employers from refusing to make reasonable workplace accommodations for pregnant employees unless the employer can prove it would significantly impact the business's operation; the bill would also prevent employers from denying employment strictly on the basis of pregnancy, retaliating against employees who become pregnant, requiring pregnant employees to take unnecessary leaves, or shunting pregnant workers off to other functions as a punishment for getting pregnant. I mean, we know corporations are basically anti-family -- since having a family interferes with the corporation's bottomless hunger for money -- but as civilized people we know we should not be making it harder for people to get pregnant, and we shouldn't be making it harder for them to keep their jobs, either. So let's be civilized, and too bad if being "civilized" is the opposite of being corporate.