Leo Gerard

GOP Defrauds Voters

The GOP is working desperately to deny the right to vote to citizens it doesn’t like. You know, poor people, black people, Hispanic people, old people, female people, especially people it believes are inclined to vote for Democrats. Republican politicians have hatched a multitude of schemes in states across the country to accomplish this gambit, passing laws demanding specific voter identification at polling places, eliminating early voting days and purging voters from registration rolls. The right-wingers on the U.S. Supreme Court last year gave Republicans a hand in this effort by striking down key protections in the Voting Rights Act. Joining them this month were three Republican judges on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Richard Eskow

100 Zephyrs: Why The Left Must Challenge Corporate Democrats

Writing on our blog and in Real Clear Politics, my Campaign for America’s Future colleague Bill Scher dismisses Zephyr Teachout’s call for progressive primary challenges against conservative Democrats. Scher argues the left should focus instead on “gaining influence without launching a civil war,” arguing that “unlike the dynamic in the Republican Party, disagreements within the Democratic family are not debilitating.” This idea has been raised before: that infighting between the party’s left and right wings are nothing more than a set of relatively minor policy differences within the “Democratic family” (to use Scher’s words), and that they’re best solved with genteel discussion and issue-oriented campaigns rather than “war”-like primary challenges. It’s an attractive vision.

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Bill Scher

No, Zephyr, Democrats Don’t Need to Have a Civil War

Zephyr Teachout, fresh from her better-than-expected showing against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York’s gubernatorial primary, now is urging similar challenges against other Democrats across the country. In a Politico Magazine opinion piece titled “The Dems Need a Kick From the Left,” co-written with her running mate Tim Wu, Teachout wrote, “We hope a new crop of Americans runs against other Democratic governors, members of Congress and local politicians who have abandoned their constituents.” On MSNBC’s “Krystal Clear,” she pledged to run for office again, but was mum as to whether it would be a primary challenge to Sen. Chuck Schumer. No politician deserves immunity from primary challengers. Anyone has the right to run and make the case that he or she has superior ideas and positions.

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Dave Johnson

The Cost To Our Economy From Republican Obstruction And Sabotage

The Republican political strategy has been to obstruct efforts to help the economy for everyone but the wealthiest few, and then campaign on complaints that the economy isn’t helping anyone but the wealthiest few. It’s working. In President Obama’s July 12 weekly address he said, “So far this year, Republicans in Congress have blocked every serious idea to strengthen the middle class.” He could have said, “Since 2009.” Since the 2009 “stimulus,” Republicans have obstructed pretty much every effort to help the economy. In the Senate they have filibustered hundreds of bills, and since the “stimulus” they have managed to keep anything from passing that might help the economy.

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Dean Baker

The Mysteries of Inequality are Only Mysterious to Elites

Developing explanations for the growth in inequality over the last three decades has been a huge growth industry in economics and policy circles. Many economists have made their careers with a novel explanation of how the natural development of technology and the market has concentrated income and wealth in the top one percent. It’s even better if you can show that inequality hasn’t risen. While the explanations that blame inequality on technology can get complicated, there were three items in the last week that painted the picture very clearly for the rest of us. First, we got new data from the Federal Reserve Board and the Census Bureau, both of which showed that typical families are still seeing very little benefit from the recovery to date.

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Lynne Stuart Parramore

How Ayn Rand Brought You the Cult of Self-Obsessed Celebrity

Just about any philosopher or religious leader, not to mention nearly anyone you meet walking down the street, could tell you that selfishness is not a virtue. If you are old enough to apply for a driver’s license, you can probably work out that selfish behavior has detrimental effects on all of us. Even if you’re not quite ready to give it up. But not Ayn Rand. The 20th-century doyenne of destructive capitalism, dear to self-centered college sophomores and those, like Paul Ryan, who have not yet grown out of their me-first phase, declared aloud what a lot of jerks tend to keep to themselves: the idea that selfishness is awesome. Rand even wrote a book on the theme, The Virtue of Selfishness. In Rand’s vision of individualism gone wild, total selfishness is transformed from a vice into the highest aim of human existence.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Beyond Ferguson: If You Want Our Vote, Mind The Black Wealth Gap

This past Sunday was declared “Freedom Sunday” by a coalition of civil rights and religious organizations to rally African Americans and others to register to vote. That’s all to the good, but Maya Rockeymoore, CEO of the Center for Global Policy Solutions, is concerned that the African-American community is being asked to register to vote without being given policies to vote for that will address the chronic and widening gap between black and white wealth. “To the extent to which you have people getting out the vote over and over again to elect people who are not responsive on the policy side, you will get that level of frustration and the sense that none of this matters,” she said in a video interview with OurFuture.org.

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Robert Borosage

Campaign 2014: Will Democrats Get the Message?

As the election heads into its home stretch, regular people start to tune in. In contested states and districts, they have little choice, as their TV shows are overrun with campaign spots, almost all of them negative. Much of what we’ve heard about the election is now in question. Here’s a brief field guide to the coming weeks: Voters Aren’t Buying What Republicans are Selling This should be a Republican year. The incumbent party generally fares poorly in a bi-election in the sixth year of a presidency. The contested Senate seats are virtually all in red states that President Obama lost in 2012. The economy is still lousy, with nearly half of Americans thinking it is still in recession. Two-thirds of the country thinks we are on the wrong track. Obama’s approval numbers are in the pits.

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Terrance Heath

Wingnut Week In Review: Return to the “Appalahchian Trail”

With one bizarre Facebook post Rep. Mark Sanford (R, SC) dis-engaged his “Appalachian Trail” “soulmate,” and went from being a comeback kid to being punchline, again. And that’s not even the crazy part. Dumping someone via Facebook isn’t new. Countless teenagers do it every day. It’s just not something you’d expect from a grown man. Then again, Mark Sanford doesn’t do the expected. Back in 2009, nobody expected then South Carolina governor Mark Sanford to go MIA for more than four days over Father’s Day weekend, leaving his hapless staff to tell the media that Sanford was “hiking the Appalachian Trail.” The Daily Show Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Indecision Political Humor,The Daily Show on Facebook No one expected one of the top 10 modern political sex scandals, or one of the longest, most painfully awkward press conferences ever.

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Richard Eskow

“Think Locally, Act Globally”: 6 Takeaways From The Scotland Vote

Scotland’s independence vote has been cast, and its citizens chose overwhelmingly to remain part of Great Britain. But this historic vote should be studied by all those who want to affect political and economic change around the world, because there are important lessons to be learned. They include: 1. Strength and unity are needed to resist the growing power of large corporations. This is the point Robert Reich was making when he made the following Facebook comments about the upcoming Scottish vote: “The only real beneficiaries will be large global corporations. They’ll have more bargaining leverage over a separate Scotland.

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Isaiah J. Poole

The GOP Social Security Deception Game Is On. Here’s How To Fight Back.

The Social Security deception game that Republican candidates have resorted to playing in recent election cycles is back. But, at a rally on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) showed how candidates and activists can defeat the gamesmanship and be true champions of strengthening Social Security. The deception game is showing up in ads such as one now being aired in New York’s 21st congressional district, in which Republican Elise M. Stefanik is running against Democrat Aaron G. Woolf for a seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Bill Owens. The ad claims that Wolff supports policies that would dramatically cut Social Security benefits, while Stefanik says that she is committed to policies that “protect and preserve Social Security.” The ad is blatantly false.

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Bill Scher

Start Climate Summit Week Right: March.

The White House will be applying a “full-court press” on the climate during the United Nations Climate Summit next week. In addition to President Obama’s address to the summit, which will detail all that he is trying to accomplish by executive action, the Cabinet will be unleashed. The Treasury Secretary will speak to the Brookings Institute about how we can cap carbon and grow the economy. The Environmental Protection Agency will be meeting with corporate executives to win commitments to reduce emissions. The heads of Agriculture, Interior, Transportation and Office of Management and Budget all will be speaking on the importance of averting a climate crisis. All of this activity is to show the 120 nations attending the summit that the United States has stepped up, and now it’s the rest of the world’s turn. You can help send that message to the world.

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Dave Johnson

Full Employment Is More Than Possible. It Is Essential.

Progressives have not only been able to beat back the D.C.-elite effort to cut Social Security, we put the idea of expanding Social Security on the table instead. We pushed LGBT rights and gay marriage and have won significant victories. Sunday’s Climate March will force climate onto the map. We got the discussion of income inequality going. We have achieved minimum wage increases and paid sick days in several cities and states. The National Labor Relations Board is functioning and we even saw labor-movement gains in the South this week. We have held back (so far) the drumbeat for big cuts in corporate taxes they’re calling “tax reform.” Now it’s time to put our demand for full employment policies on the table.

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Jeff Bryant

What’s The Matter With Kansas Education Policy?

Since “The Wizard of Oz,” the term “we’re not in Kansas anymore” has been shorthand for saying we’ve changed the usual surroundings for a new, disorienting terrain. For school children who actually live in Kansas, that would likely be a relief. Since the nation’s Great Recession, public education in Kansas has seen state funding cut repeatedly since 2009. This has left students and teachers in that state bereft of what would normally be viewed as “the basics” by anyone who has a modicum of understanding of how to run an effective school system, with swelling class sizes and elimination of basic programs like art, music and athletics. Unfortunately, Kansas is not the only place in America where public school conditions are causing students to wish they could be transported to the yellow brick road.

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Terrance Heath

Beyond Ferguson: Ending Racial Profiling In America

America must stop “following tragedy with embarrassment” and pass the End Racial Profiling Act, before the next city that’s “one dead black teenager away from burning to the ground” catches fire. “How many more Michael Browns will we have?” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) asked at the “Ferguson and Beyond – Profiling in America” briefing on Tuesday morning. “How many more Trayvon Martins? We all know racial profiling is un-American and wrong. We also know that it is a waste of time and resources. We know it turns communities against law enforcement. But we also know it can be deadly, and therefore has to end,” Cardin said. (Full video of the briefing is available on YouTube.) The End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA), introduced by Sen.

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Dave Johnson

Airline Workers Win Big In Union Vote — In The South!

Airlines have been notoriously following the typical American capitalist business model of (literally) squeezing the customer into smaller and more uncomfortable seats, literally starving their customers, extorting cash for a bit more comfort on long trips, charging more for less – and then, to top things off, adding hidden fees. They notoriously have also been squeezing their employees, downgrading working conditions, demanding givebacks and fighting unionization. The squeeze on employees is finally turning around. Passenger service agents at American Airlines on Tuesday voted to be represented by a union. The vote was described as “overwhelming,” with 86 percent voting in favor.

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Richard Eskow

Want to Save the Planet? Flood Wall Street.

This is a critical week for the planet. A United Nations conference on the climate will be followed on Saturday by the People’s Climate March, which is expected to be the largest environmental march in history. But it would be a grave mistake, for the planet and for ourselves, to overlook another event that is to take place on Sunday. That’s when the Flood Wall Street rally will target the role of global capitalism in our environmental crisis. The profit economy is a root cause – make that the root cause – of climate change. Wall Street is, in a very real sense, the epicenter of our environmental crisis. To ignore that fact is to risk dooming our other climate efforts to failure, or to use them merely as palliatives for troubled consciences. There’s no other way to say this: Capitalism, as practiced on Wall Street today, is an existential threat to humanity.

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Dean Baker

The Myth that Sold the Financial Bailout

Monday marked the sixth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The investment bank’s bankruptcy accelerated the financial meltdown that began with the near collapse of the investment bank Bear Stearns in March 2008 (saved by the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan) and picked up steam with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac going under the week before Lehman’s demise. The day after Lehman failed, the giant insurer AIG was set to collapse, only to be rescued by the Fed. With the other Wall Street behemoths also on shaky ground, then–Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson ran to Capitol Hill, accompanied by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and New York Fed President Timothy Geithner. Their message was clear: The apocalypse was nigh. They demanded Congress make an open-ended commitment to bail out the banks.

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Emily Schwartz Greco

A Simpler Solution to Climate Change

Even if climate science is complicated, author Naomi Klein wants you to know that finding a solution to global warming is easy. In her powerful new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, the Canadian globalization expert drills through the noisy climate debate and finds that humanity has no choice but to ditch its fossil fuel-driven global economy for a local model powered by renewable energy. Out with oil, gas, and coal. In with wind, sun, small-scale hydro, and other things that don’t make the climate problem worse. Period. A Change in the Weather, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib Throughout the book, Klein sticks to her promise to stay out of the scientific weeds.

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Dave Johnson

Surprise! House Passes Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation

Monday the House of Representatives passed the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (H.R. 2996) (RAMI). The RAMI bill, part of House Democrats’ Make It In America jobs plan,  was sponsored by Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Joseph Kennedy (D-MA) in August 2013. The bill had 50 Democrat and (remarkably) 50 Republican co-sponsors. The Senate version of RAMI, (S. 1468) was introduced at the same time by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). If the RAMI bill is not filibustered by Senate Republicans it will be signed by President Obama. RAMI will create a network of regional institutes across the country, along the lines of the “manufacturing hub” idea that the Obama administration has advocated. According to Rep.

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