Terrance Heath

Wingnut Week In Review: Call It What It Is, Or Be Complicit

Even as the rest of the country reeled from the horror of the shooting that killed nine at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the right-wing began its shameful spin of what can only be called an act of terror. Those familiar with the long history of violence against black churches in the South felt a deep sense of foreboding at the news that a gunman killed nine people, during a Bible study at a historic black church in Charleston. But, as Isaiah J. Poole noted, as the rest of the country grieved, the cast of “Fox & Friends” tied themselves in knots to spin the shooting as “an attack on faith.” African-American minister E.W.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

Clinton Says No To Current Senate Fast Track Plan

Candidate Hillary Clinton has spoken up about the fast track trade promotion authority (TPA) that is currently headed for a Senate vote as early as Tuesday. After the first fast track vote failed in the House last week, Clinton said Obama should work with Democrats to get a deal that was better for workers. On Thursday she added that she would “probably not” vote for fast track if she were still in the Senate. On June 14 Clinton said said that the failure to pass fast track (last week) was an opportunity for Obama to work with Democrats and make the trade deal more acceptable. The former first lady said any trade deal should protect U.S. jobs, increase wages and improve the nation’s security.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

Senate Fast-Track Vote Tuesday – What We Must Do Now

Now that the House passed a stand-alone fast track trade promotion authority bill Thursday, the action shifts to the Senate and a likely Tuesday rush vote. Fast track in essence preapproves the still-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and future corporate-deregulation and government-privatization agreements by setting aside the normal processes and procedures of our representative government. With fast track, Congress agrees to severely limit debate over these agreements. It agrees to vote very soon after TPP becomes public so the public does not have time to read and analyze its implications and rally opposition. Congress also agrees not to “meddle” with these corporate-written agreements by amending them, no matter what is found to be in the agreements. Finally, the Senate agrees not to filibuster these agreements.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

Not Colorblind, Just Plain Blind, To The Roots Of Racist Terror

It was not a matter of if, but from where, some disgusting and barbaric reaction would come to Wednesday night’s terror attack at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. in which nine people died. Not surprisingly, Fox News was among the first out of the gate. The “No More Mister Nice Blog” captured a segment Fox and Friends aired this morning in which the shooting was branded as an “attack on faith.” “It didn’t matter that, by the time of the broadcast, the police chief of Charleston had already declared the shooting a hate crime, or that a reporter had interviewed a survivor who said that the shooter had told victims, ‘You rape our women and are taking over our country and you have to go,'” the blog author wrote.

Continue Reading...
Emily Foster

Exposing The College Accreditation Ripoff

Colleges and universities depend on positive ratings from private accrediting organizations to not only attract students but to be eligible for the federal loans and grants those students receive. But too often, those ratings don’t reflect reality; top ratings go to schools that are actively ripping off taxpayers, and leaving students with worthless degrees and mounds of debt. That prompted Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Wednesday to ask sharp questions of a representative of the college accreditation business about the shady practices of the accreditors and their private interests. The issue is central in the Corinthian College debacle, in which the for-profit chain of colleges went bankrupt after students rang up millions in student debt for degrees that were virtually worthless.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

Now That The House Has Passed Fast Track, Here’s What’s Next

When Wall Street and the giant corporations want something from Congress, Congress finds a way to give it to them. With only a few hours notice, the House of Representatives snuck in another fast track vote, and it passed 218-208. The bill now must return to the Senate. During the pre-vote discussion, Rep. Paul Ryan gave a speech claiming that we need fast track to restore America’s credibility “after the foreign policy failures of the last few years.” Twenty-eight Democrats agreed and voted to pass fast track, preapproving the still-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and future trade bills. This time there was no trade adjustment assistance (TAA) bill accompanying the fast track bill. TAA would provide minimal assistance and retraining for some of the workers who will be directly laid off as a result of the offshoring that is encouraged by TPP.

Continue Reading...
Jeff Bryant

Political Parties Present Clear Choices For Education In 2016 – So Far

For years, there’s been an agreement – a “Washington consensus” – among Beltway policy makers and political elites that America’s schools are in “crisis” and only a punitive program of standards, testing and accountability can remedy it. Both Republicans and Democrats bought into that narrative and adopted it into their party platforms. So, as seasoned edu-journalist Jay Mathews of The Washington Post has long observed, “Republican and Democratic presidential candidates have been happily copying each other” on education policy and political rhetoric. This phenomenon started, according to Mathews, when “a group of Democratic governors (including Bill Clinton) started the school accountability movement in the 1980s and several Republican governors (including George W. Bush) joined in.” But there are signs this era may be coming to a close.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

Walmart’s Huge Tax Dodge

A new report released Wednesday that Walmart is dodging taxes by stashing $76 billion of profits outside of the country using 78 subsidiaries in 15 tax havens raises a question: Why is Congress and the White House considering policies that reward tax dodgers like this? You may have heard that Walmart pays its workforce so little that they qualify for government assistance like food stamps and Medicaid. That costs taxpayers billions (and raising their minimum pay to only $9 per hour isn’t going to change that very much). You may have heard that the Walmart heirs have more wealth than 42 percent of Americans combined. That was a 2012 figure – it has only gotten worse since. You may have heard that the Walmart heirs helped finance an effort to cut estate taxes in 2006. That cost taxpayers billions.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

They Are Trying To Sneak Fast Track Past Us Again

Wall Street and the big corporations don’t like to lose. It looks like The Money has told the Republicans to try again to get fast track through and they are preparing to vote before we can rally and organize people to try to stop it again. News reports say the House plans to vote today! Call your representative in Congress right now. You can use ClickToCallCongress.org if you don’t know the number to call. In this week’s post “Sea Change: Citizens Beat Wall Street And Multinationals In Congress,” I wrote about how Wall Street and the big corporations use these rigged “trade” deals to get around democracy, and use the rigged “fast track” process to get the trade deals through.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Can The Pope Give Republicans Religion On Climate?

Twenty years ago Pope John Paul II delivered an encyclical, an authoritative letter to all Catholic bishops, that urged them to champion a “culture of life,” by opposing abortion, contraception, euthanasia, war and capital punishment. Republican politicians quickly embraced the Pope’s message. For the next several years, they wrapped their social conservatism around the “culture of life” concept (conveniently leaving out the parts about bombs and executions). Today, Pope Francis delivers another encyclical, urging bishops to speak out on the moral imperative to stop climate change.

Continue Reading...
Cormac Close

We Must Write A Different Ending To This Greek Tragedy

Greece’s negotiations with its creditors are approaching a climax accompanied by dire headlines of impending collapse, but meanwhile most Americans feel that the economic drama unfolding across the Atlantic, while lamentable, is not really our problem. Three representatives from leftist European parties were in the United States this week to say otherwise and to explain the need to press the United States to play a more constructive role in resolving the crisis.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

How Walmart Evades Taxes: 78 Subsidiaries in 15 Tax Havens

Walmart got a modest lift to its reputation when it announced that it was lifting wages for many of its 1 million-plus employees. But a report released today by Americans for Tax Fairness reminds us that Walmart is still a tax cheater, robbing the public of revenue that would cover the cost of the vital services that Walmart customers, employees – and, yes, Walmart itself – use every day. “This report reveals that Walmart has placed at least $76 billion worth of assets in 78 subsidiaries located in 15 tax havens in which it has no retail stores,” the report said. These are subsidiaries that have not been previously reported because Walmart has not disclosed them in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The only plausible reason for their existence, the report says, is to avoid U.S.

Continue Reading...
Terrance Heath

Why Donald Trump’s Campaign Might Really Be A Tawdry Reality Show

After threatening to run for years, real estate mogul and reality television star Donald Trump on Tuesday announced his candidacy for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. For real, this time. For years, Donald Trump has been one of the most famous non-candidates for the presidency, always pretending to run just long enough to drum up sufficient press to ensure interest in his next business or reality television venture. So, when Trump started teasing about a 2016 run, lots of people who remembered 1988, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 were skeptical. Even when Trump launched an exploratory committee, there was doubt. Well, doubt no more. Now that even Republicans can’t stand him anymore, Trump is running. In the early phase of the 2012 campaign, Trump was leading in the GOP primary polls. Now, about four years later, most Republicans don’t want him.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

President Obama Should Make Rebuilding America His Legacy

The severe damage that President Obama’s obstinate pursuit of fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership did to his relationships with the labor movement and his progressive base, and his loss of face with the business community when an overwhelming majority in his own party turned against him on Friday’s trade votes in the House, are not irreparable. He could go a long way toward repairing his legacy through a bold campaign to rebuild America’s infrastructure, starting – but by no means stopping – with a long-term surface transportation bill that is currently stuck in Congress.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

The Fed Should Wait For Wages To Rise

The Federal Reserves Open Market Committee started a two-day series of meeting today, and on Wednesday Fed Chair Janet Yellen is expected to announce the latest verdict on if, and perhaps when, interest rates will begin to rise. The conventional wisdom is that as the unemployment rate has neared 5 percent, the time is fast approaching for the nation’s unprecedented period of near-zero interest rates to end. But Josh Bivens, economist at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, writes this week that the unemployment rate is the wrong number to watch. Instead, the Fed should be looking at wages. As Bivens notes, the compelling reason to raise interest rates is to make sure that inflation does not get out of control.

Continue Reading...
Robert Borosage

Who’s The Real Populist In This Presidential Campaign?

In the early stages of any presidential campaign, the race for money is accompanied by an “ideas primary” as candidates begin to frame the purpose and platform of their campaigns. What’s striking about the salad days of the 2016 race is that populism is leading the ideas primary of both parties. Republican and Democratic candidates are invoking populist tropes to make their case. One Democrat, for example, launched his campaign with this populist broadside: “The CEO of Goldman Sachs let his employees know that he’d be just fine with either [Jeb] Bush or [Hillary] Clinton. Well, I’ve got news for the bullies of Wall Street. The presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth by you between two royal families.” Growing inequality, the candidate said, is shattering the American dream.

Continue Reading...
Emily Foster

Justice Gets Delivered To FedEx Workers

FedEx says it “lives to deliver.” Last Friday, more than 2,000 of its workers finally received a delivery of justice from a federal judge. A settlement in the case filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of the workers, Alexander v. FedEx Ground, means the company will pay $277 million to resolve the claims of FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery workers who were victims of worker misclassification since the year 2000. These are workers FedEx classified as “independent contractors” but treated largely as if they were on the company payroll. We first wrote about this last August, when the 9th U.S.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

Sea Change: Citizens Beat Wall Street And Multinationals In Congress

Something unusual happened Friday. Regular Americans were able to beat Wall Street and the giant corporations in Congress, winning a battle over “fast tracking” so-called “trade” agreements. This sort of thing just doesn’t happen very often, but it has been happening more and more lately. A sea change is taking place. What Politico described as “strong progressive winds” are blowing more and more politicians into the progressive corner. There is broad public opposition to the corrupt, corporate-dominated politics of our country, people are speaking out and making their wishes known, and that is starting to make a difference. This time The Money didn’t win. Sea Change – Wind At Our Backs The public is fed up with a government that pushes policies that enrich a few but don’t work for most of us.

Continue Reading...
Cormac Close

Here’s Another Great Thing From The Agency Mitch McConnell Wants to Kill

Chances are, if you are a woman, African American or Latino and financed an automobile at a dealership, you paid more than a similar white customer. Even in 2015. It’s essentially a “black tax” of around $500 on many vehicles purchased by women or people of color. And while it’s obviously illegal and unjust, dealerships found it lucrative to “mark up” loans to profit off black customers in a way they did not often do to whites. That is why the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau moved last week to impose new rules on auto financiers in order to put more teeth on anti-discrimination laws. Since 1991, studies have shown that dealerships select people of color for “special treatment,” marking up loans to black, Latino and women customers twice as often.

Continue Reading...
Jeff Bryant

Calls Mount For A National Moratorium On Charter Schools

Making public education more accountable has been the solemn pledge of government officials for years, including the Obama administration and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Yet that same level of accountability doesn’t seem to apply to the fastest growing sector of K-12 education – charter schools. That has to stop, says a coalition of labor, community, and public education advocacy organizations. The coalition, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, has written a letter to Secretary Duncan raising concerns about his department’s continued funding of charter schools – $1.7 billion in grants since 2009, according to an article in The Washington Post – while providing little to no oversight over what schools did with the money.

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 466