Richard Eskow

From Secret McConnell Audio, 12 Destructive Things a GOP Senate Will Do

If Republicans take the Senate next month (and if he wins his own reelection race), Sen. Mitch McConnell will be that body’s next majority leader. Then what happens? McConnell’s been frank about what the GOP would do with the Senate – at least when he thinks nobody’s listening. This quote comes from audio, obtained by Undercurrent’s Lauren Windsor, of a talk McConnell gave to a Koch Brothers group in August: “Most things in the Senate require 60 (votes) … but not the budget. So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. What does that mean? “… No money can be spent to do this or do that.

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Kitty Lan

Here’s What Women Want: The Economy Unrigged So It Works For Them

An Associated Press-GfK poll published this week indicates that women are shifting to favor the Republican party. “Women have moved in the GOP’s direction since September,” the AP reported. Just a month ago, 47 percent of female likely voters favored a Democratic-controlled Congress, the AP reported. “In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women; 44 percent prefer the Republicans, 42 percent the Democrats.” Is this a sign that Democratic candidates are failing to address what women need and care about? In “Women Voters: The Base of the New Populism,” the latest memorandum published through the Campaign for America’s Future’s Populist Majority project, we aggregate the polling that shows what women want to hear from congressional candidates this election cycle.

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Jeff Bryant

Will Education Save The Democrats?

When evidence emerged a month ago that education is the top “turnout message” for the Democratic Party in the upcoming election, some candidates may have chosen to act on that information. Indeed, Democratic-leaning activists have stepped up their ground game to make support for public education a wedge issue in campaigns around the country. And the fate of some Democratic candidates could rely on how they play an education card in their contests. Should the actions of grassroots public schools supporters help bail out the campaigns of some Democratic candidates, there are lessons to be learned and potentially intriguing shifts in how the Democratic Party treats education policy ahead.

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Jim Hightower

Wal-Mart Scrooges Us All

Gosh, time flies when it’s pushed along by a jet stream of greed. It seems like only yesterday that Wal-Mart announced, with much self-congratulatory fanfare, that the super-rich retailing colossus wasn’t a scrooge after all. Photo Credit: robertrazrblog via Compfight cc Indeed, while the world’s largest purveyor of stuff was not about to raise its poverty-level wages, it benevolently decided to provide a barebones health insurance plan for some of its 600,000 part-time employees, who make up nearly half of its total workforce. But quicker than you can spell avaricious, the $476 billion-a-year giant has now decided to renege, saying that as of January 1 it will terminate coverage for employees who work less than 30 hours a week.

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Dave Johnson

Et Tu, Massachusetts? China Deal Undercuts U.S. Jobs

Massachusetts is awarding a contract to build rail cars to CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles, a Chinese state-owned company, a subordinate of China CNR Corporation Ltd. The company will do final assembly of the cars in Massachusetts. “This is the preeminent manufacturer of rail cars in the world. And they want a presence in Western Massachusetts,” Patrick said. Changchun wants to bid on rail and transit projects all over North America. The East Springfield facility will be Changchun’s North American headquarters. The company was able to bid low enough to get this contract because of Chinese government subsidies such as grants, tax breaks, loans, and debt forgiveness. This deal is a problem for two reasons. First, US companies cannot compete on a level playing field against companies that are subsidized by governments.

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Dave Johnson

Iowa TV Station Refuses To Run “Cuts Kill” Ad

The country has been subjected to weeks of ebola fear/terror/panic/propaganda going out over the airwaves – and from one network in particular — just in time to drive fear into the election. Now a group has put together an election ad making the case that the country would have less to worry about if we hadn’t been stampeded (also by fear) into austerity budget cuts. But after running weeks of ebola terror-fear, some broadcast stations apparently are not ready to allow the other side of the story to be told. A new ad has been produced by the Agenda Project Action Fund. It is titled “Republican Cuts Kill Part II: Joni Ernst Wants to Cut.” The ad makes the case that Republicans forced cuts to the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S.

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Robert Borosage

The Economy: What is the Democrats’ Closing Argument?

How should Democrats make their case on the economy? In the last days of the election, this isn’t a rhetorical question. For all the furor about Ebola, ISIS, Ferguson, the Secret Service, and Obama, the economy will remain the determining issue in this election. Two challenges remain for candidates. They must ignite their base voters and get them out to vote, and they must appeal to the low-information, undecided voters or, rarer, true independents who are just now making up their minds. President Obama offered his closing argument earlier this month in a speech at Northwestern.

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Terrance Heath

Rev. William Barber’s New Book Reminds Us Why We Must Vote

With Election Day just two weeks away, the words of Paul Wellstone Citizen Leadership Award  recipient and Moral Mondays movement leader Rev. William Barber remind us, “If we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now!” His new book reminds us of the moral power of progressive values when we march “forward together.” Rev. Barber’s words come from his 2012 address to the NAACP, but as timely as ever with so much at stake in this election, as Denise Oliver Velez writes: Election Day 2014 is on Tuesday, November 4, a little over two weeks away. This election will make a profound difference in the lives of many of our citizens. For some, it is a matter of life and death—given the refusal of some states to accept Medicaid expansion.

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Lynne Stuart Parramore

Shocking New Report: Superrich Have Grabbed Half the World’s Assets

Photo Credit: HikingArtist.com via Compfight cc According to a new report, the richest one percent have got their mitts on almost half the world’s assets. Think that’s the end of the story? Think again. This is only the beginning. The “Global Annual Wealth Report,” freshly released by investment giant Credit Suisse, analyzes the shocking trend of growing wealth inequality around the world. What the researchers find is that global wealth has increased every year since 2008, and that personal wealth seems to be rising at the fastest rate ever recorded, much of it driven by strong equity markets. But the benefits of this growth have largely been channeled to those who are already affluent. While the restaurant workers in America struggled to achieve wages of $10 an hour for their labor, those invested in equities saw their wealth soar without lifting a finger.

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Dave Johnson

Does Democracy Let ‘The Poor’ Dominate?

Hong Kong’s leader/chief executive Leung Chun-ying slammed pro-democracy protesters, saying that democracy would allow the poor too much of a voice. Leung said that a Chinese-style government appointed from the top allows for more business-friendly policies. I suspect Leung’s comments echo the view of elites worldwide. This week The New York Times reported on Leung’s comments, writing, “Mr.

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Richard Eskow

5 Reasons Why Democrats Should Push Social Security Expansion – Now

In two weeks voters will go to the polls in a race that looks increasingly dire for Democrats. It’s not that voters agree with Republicans on the issues. On the contrary, polls show that a majority of voters across the political spectrum agree with core Democratic principles and programs. The problem is that Republicans keep changing the subject, and Democrats keep letting them. Rather than letting themselves be kept on the defensive – about President Obama, the Affordable Care Act, Ebola, or the Middle East – Democrats would be wise to pick one or two key issues and keep hammering away at them. The Democrats should be using Social Security expansion as a key part of their 2014 election strategy. (See “Democrats Can Win on Social Security – By Fighting to Increase It.”) A few of them have, and in recent days Social Security has been raised in several more Democratic races.

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Robert Borosage

Being The ‘Indispensable Nation’ Is Killing American Democracy

  America — proudly dubbed the “indispensable nation” by its national-security managers — is now the entangled nation enmeshed in conflicts across the globe. President Barack Obama, scorned by his Republican critics as an “isolationist” who wants to “withdraw from the world,” is waging the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan, boasts of toppling the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya, launches airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State and picks targets for drones to attack in as many as eight countries, while dispatching planes to the Russian border in reaction to its machinations in Ukraine, and a fleet to the South China Sea as the conflict over control of islands and waters escalates between China and its neighbors.   The indispensable nation is permanently engaged across the globe. But endless war undermines the Constitution.

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Leo Gerard

Retailers, Bankers and Democrats Agree

Income inequality is killing the economy. Retailers, bankers and Democrats agree on that. Really. It’s only Republicans who continue to insist that income inequality is great, so no one, least of all them, should make any effort to constrict the abyss between America’s struggling 99 percent and Americans who indulge themselves in $475,000 bottles of House of Creed Bespoke perfume. Now that Wall Street and Main Street have endorsed Democratic economic principles to reduce inequality for the sake of the economy, voting Nov. 4 is easy. Vote Democrat. That’s the party both bankers and retailers say has the solution to economic revival. Admittedly, this is all a little hard to believe after Republicans have diligently depicted themselves as business and bank huggers for so long. Turns out, though, that’s a sad, one-sided relationship.

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Lindsay Koshgarian

Three Winning Ways to Create Jobs

With the election nearing, Americans still know what they want: job creation. Unemployment is still elevated near 6 percent, and underemployment – including people who have given up looking for work, or who are working part-time when they want to be full-time – was still above 13 percent at last count. And America’s employment problems precede the recession. That’s important because it suggests that this problem isn’t going away on its own. Underemployment hasn’t dipped below 8 percent in the last 10 years. Consider the decades-long stagnation of middle-class wages and the fact that it often takes two incomes to make ends meet, the long-term decline of union membership, the decimation of manufacturing, and the fact that higher education is becoming more of an economic necessity while also being less affordable.

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Dave Johnson

Republicans Will Pass Worse NAFTA-Like Trade Deals If They Take Senate

Trade deals like NAFTA have helped create terrible inequality by outsourcing jobs to low-wage countries so “investors” can pocket the wage difference. These corporate trade deals also create “corporate courts” that bypass the borders of democracy and place billionaires and their corporations beyond the reach of governments when it comes to deciding on laws and regulations that protect citizens. There are more of these “NAFTA-style” being negotiated right now. These are much bigger than the trade deals that have already created such inequality and corporate hegemony. If Republicans take the Senate and keep the House they will pass these new trade deals and clinch this deal worldwide – and President Obama has already indicated he will sign them. This is serious so try to talk a few non-voting friends into showing up this time.

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Richard Eskow

Senior Regulator Says Bank CEOs Meant Well. Documents Say Otherwise.

The head of one of Wall Street’s most important regulatory agencies argued recently that big-bank CEOs never intended to break the law or engage in foreclosure fraud. Instead, Thomas Curry of the Office of Comptroller of the Currency tells us they weren’t cautious enough. Internal documents obtained from a bank-backed venture several years ago seem to directly contradict this claim. These documents, which include training materials, PowerPoint presentations and videos, suggest that the industry made a conscious attempt to bypass local jurisdictions and automate processes – in what can best be described as a fraud-friendly way. As Comptroller of the Currency, Curry runs one of the agencies charged with keeping our banking system safe, ethical and crime-free. It’s not an enviable task, but it’s critical to the safety of our economy.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Wealth Inequality And Middle-Class Decline Is Worse That We Think

We know how bad income inequality has gotten in the past few years in America, thanks largely to the work of economist Emmanuel Saez and his colleagues at University of California at Berkeley’s Center for Equitable Growth. But Saez’s latest paper finds that the share of the nation’s wealth going to the bottom 90 percent of Americans has declined to where it was in the 1940s, erasing decades of hard-won gains due to pro-worker, pro-middle-class economic policies. Meanwhile, the top 0.1 percent of Americans – the 160,000 families with net assets in excess of $20 million in 2012 – now hold 22 percent of the nation’s wealth, up from 7 percent in 1978. That monopolization of a large share of national wealth by an elite few hasn’t been seen since the late 1920s.

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Dean Baker

Ebola Hysteria Fever: A Real Epidemic

Thus far, the Ebola virus has infected three people in the United States that we know of, however Ebola hysteria seems to have infected somewhere close to 300 million. There are reports of kids being pulled out of schools and even some school closings. People in many areas are not going to work and others are driving cars rather than taking mass transit because they fear catching Ebola from fellow passengers. There are also reports of people staying away from stores, restaurants, and other public places in order to avoid the deadly plague. This would all be comic if there were not real consequences. People not going to work are going to lose needed paychecks. Our kids need to go to school to get an education. And the cost of the hysteria may grow enormously depending on how the government reacts.

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Bill Scher

Why Republicans May Still Lose The Senate

Over at Real Clear Politics, I explain “How Republicans Can Blow It.” While we shouldn’t assume the outcome in any of these close Senate races, it’s true that Republicans have inched ahead in many of the contested states where Democrats currently hold seats. However, it’s also true that Republicans have lost ground in the three states that nearly everyone assumed Republicans had in the bag: Georgia, Kansas and South Dakota. If the electorate was experiencing a swing to the right, this split dynamic wouldn’t be happening. In Georgia, the Republican David Perdue is wobbling after making a full-throated defense of outsourcing and deference to the wisdom of CEOs. In South Dakota’s four-way race, the two left-leaning candidates are the ones polling above 50 percent combined. And in Kansas, Sen.

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Dave Johnson

Promised Republican Economic Austerity Plan Will Ruin The Economy

The economy is at stake in this election. If Republicans take the Senate, they promise to impose severe austerity — even as austerity is proven to kill economies. Europe’s economy is suffering because of its harsh austerity, and our economic recovery has been hampered by cuts in spending and layoffs of civil employees. But to true believers, austerity cannot fail; it can only be failed. So pay attention and be sure to vote and bring one reluctant voter with you. Republicans Promise To Impose Severe Austerity Republicans promise to impose severe, severe austerity if they take the Senate. Having the House – which they already control – and Senate means they can pass budgets and send them to the president. They say they will give the President a choice, sign the severe austerity budgets or let the government just shut down with no budget.

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