Leo Gerard

Happy Halloween from the GOP

Republicans have adopted a Halloween-themed campaign strategy that they hope will incite voters to run screaming from Democrats. The GOP message: Americans should be very, very afraid because the homeland is under attack from ghouls and goblins manifest as Ebola and ISIS. Republicans even threaten boogeymen in the form of ISIS suicide agents strapping themselves with Ebola virus vests and sneaking across the southern U.S. border. This embrace of Halloween tricks is not surprising from the party pushing voter suppression while masquerading as a democracy-loving founding father.  The GOP is warning Americans that they should be scared witless of impending government disintegration because a guy with a knife got into the White House. This “caution” comes from the political party that favors government disintegration.

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Robert Borosage

Celebrating America’s Future: Light in Dark Times

Ferguson; ISIS; Ebola; accelerating climate change; growing inequality; deepening poverty; an election likely to worsen, not reduce paralysis – pessimism of the intellect is easy these days; optimism of the will takes some work. The Campaign for America’s Future on Tuesday will honor three progressive heroes for their work to improve the lives of working people. Get tickets to the 2014 Awards Gala on our gala page.Tonight at its annual Gala, the Campaign for America’s Future will honor sources of light in this dark time. (To get tickets go here.) New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio won a sweeping victory with a populist campaign in the heart of Wall Street. And in office, despite getting blindsided by Governor Andrew Cuomo and assailed by the corporate school reformers, he’s forcing change.

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Dave Johnson

Democrats – There’s Still Time

“It is hard to understate the intensity of the response to the role of big money.” Mike Lux, writing at The Huffington Post in “Four Weeks Out: What Will Be the Narrative of Election 2014?,” echoes something that we have been pounding on here at OurFuture.org: Democrats who campaign with a populist message will do better than Democrats who support the “centrist” – big corporate, Wall Street – positions. In his post, Lux writes: In a fascinating memo from Stan Greenberg and James Carville’s Democracy Corps and Page Gardner at Women’s Voices Women’s Vote Action Fund, they suggest that there is a modest but nonetheless quite significant trend toward Democratic candidates in the battleground Senate races.

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Richard Eskow

Populism: A Light Against Republican Darkness

The Campaign for America’s Future on Tuesday will honor three progressive heroes for their work to improve the lives of working people. Get tickets to the 2014 Awards Gala on our gala page.As autumn descends on the nation’s capital, people are saying there’s a darkness on the edge of town. It’s born of the fear, pessimism and uncertainty that have become the Republican political brand. And if the polls are right, there’s every chance that its shadow will fall upon Capitol Hill and envelop both houses of Congress. Here Comes the Night This onrush of conservative gloom was featured prominently this week in the New York Times, in language so shadow-haunted it could’ve come straight from the pen of the 1980s-era Springsteen.

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Terrance Heath

The Five Worst Things Republicans Have Promised To Do To Americans

The GOP is rolling out a list of “principles” and pretending to have a “positive agenda,” because Republicans can’t tell Americans what they really want to do. Twenty years after Newt Gingrich launched the “Contract With America,” Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus presented a pablum of 11 vague “principles.” There’s a reason Republicans have gone milquetoast. It’s not that Republican’s aren’t for anything. It’s that Republicans can’t tell Americans what they are for — not if they want to have a shot at governing. Here are the five worst things Republicans have promised to do to Americans. Slash Spending Republican majorities in the House and Senate will team up to make sequestration look like amateur night. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said as much to a roomful of billionaires, at a secret meeting convened by the Koch Brothers.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Pelosi Is Right: We Shouldn’t Have To Wait For A Minimum Wage Increase

Advocates for workers have declared today “Minimum Wage Day,” as the 10th day of the 10th month calls attention to the demand for an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, from the current $7.25. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi marked the day by calling on Congress to drop its campaigning and come back to Washington to vote on a minimum wage increase, as well as an authorization for combat operations against the Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria. The Hill reported: “The American people deserve an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected,” Pelosi said Friday during a press call.

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Terrance Heath

Wingnut Week In Review: Forever Hold Their Peace

The Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court boosted the number of gay marriage states to somewhere between 30 and 35. Needless to say, the floodgates of wingnuttery opened wide. On Monday, the Supreme Court let stand lower court rulings striking down same-sex marriage bans in five states, effectively making same-sex marriage legal in 30 states. On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit Court reaffirmed same-sex couples right to marry in Idaho and Nevada, and cleared the way for same-sex couples to marry in Alaska, Montana, and Arizona. The sound of wedding bells ringing across the country was punctuated by the sound of wingnut heads exploding on Twitter.

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Jeff Bryant

Education ‘Reformers’ Have Lost Their PR War, So Now What?

Americans have become accustomed to seeing the figureheads of big-money interests distort reality to suit their needs and get a lot of well-meaning folks to agree with them in turn. Recall, if you will, as Jonathan Chait recently did in New York magazine, how Wall Street-backed elites “fomented panic” about the national debt and influenced policy leaders to promulgate devastating austerity measures. Now we know their forecasts of imminent financial disaster were wrong and their judgment was in error. Yet their well-honed PR machine continues to buoy their influence forward despite the evidence. But every once in a while, there are exceptions to the supremacy of wealth-driven messaging, and you see foundational, progressive beliefs that remain resilient among Americans despite what they have been told again and again by the spokespeople of the 1 percent.

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Dave Johnson

Tuesday’s Awards Gala Celebrates The Populist Revival

Politicians who make a case for regular people get regular people to come out out to vote for them. Unfortunately, very few are making a case for regular people, with the result that many regular people ask, “Why bother to vote?” There is an American populist revival underway. After years of jobs being hard to find – resulting in wage and benefit cuts – the people are in a populist mood, and want action on jobs, wages, jobs, climate, jobs and … wait for it … jobs. They also understand that much of what government does is about making our lives better. Polls show programs like Social Security, maintaining the infrastructure, education, health programs, job training, scientific research, housing programs, the “safety net,” food security, and so much else are very popular.

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Emily Schwartz Greco

The Not-So-Good News about the Border Crisis

Did you notice that all that fuss over those Central American kids who were crossing the U.S. border alone suddenly died down? As recently as June, more than 10,000 children fleeing unchecked gang violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala made it here over the course of a month. Then, a major security crackdown in Mexico slowed the pace of their arrivals down to about 3,000 in August — the lowest rate since January and about the same as the pace of arrivals last year. It’s what passes for “normal” in this sad situation. jonathan mcintosh @ Flickr Customs and Border Protection chief Gil Kerlikowske calls this decrease “good news.” He’s only right if you believe that putting a problem out of sight and out of mind constitutes solving it.

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Joshua Holland

The Three Million Forgotten Victims of the Great Recession

Washington greeted the latest jobs numbers with enthusiasm. In September, the unemployment rate fell below six percent for the first time since July, 2008. We’ve netted 2.64 million jobs over the past 12 months, and are on pace to add more jobs in 2014 than in any year since 1999. But today, five years after the economy officially went into “recovery,” three million people remain among the ranks of the long-term unemployed — jobless for 27 weeks or more. That number is down from its 2010 peak, but as the Economic Policy Institute’s David Cooper noted earlier this year, it still “far exceeds pre-Great Recession levels in virtually every state.” About a million Americans have been unemployed for two years or longer, and approximately 100,000 have been jobless for at least five years.

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Richard Eskow

Bill de Blasio: From Education to Poverty, Leadership by Example

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will receive the Progressive Champion Award at the Campaign for America’s Future 2014 Awards Gala on Tuesday, October 14. See the awards gala page for information and tickets. Progressives who are elected to executive office have a unique opportunity to highlight neglected issues and stimulate much-needed debate, by taking actions that challenge the “conventional wisdom.” They can change the political landscape by employing a principle that might be called “leadership by example.“ The mayor of New York City is uniquely positioned to play this role, thanks to that city’s prominence, and so far Bill de Blasio has done exceptionally well at it.

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Isaiah J. Poole

The Deficit Is Falling, But Where Are The Jobs?

The deficit scolds are getting what they wanted: Today the Congressional Budget Office announced that the federal deficit for this fiscal year is the lowest it has been for any year in the Obama presidency – $486 billion, or 2.8 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. The rest of us, though, aren’t getting what we were promised. Conservatives have repeatedly told us that cutting federal spending, and reducing deficits, would unleash economic growth and create jobs. Instead, what we have to show for it is a languid economy at best, with only enough jobs for half the people who are unemployed and looking for work. Economic growth is weak enough that the Federal Reserve, at its September meeting, agreed that it was not ready to signal that an interest rate increase would come soon, for fear of further hindering economic growth.

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Jim Hightower

Revealing Corporate Largesse

Some people have a recurring nightmare of rising to give a speech, but realizing they know nothing about the topic — and then discovering they’re naked. It turns out that corporations also have such nightmares. OK, corporations aren’t people, no matter what the Supreme Court fabulists claim, so they can’t dream. But their top executives can, and several recently suffered the same chilling dream — only to discover that it was real. These are chieftains of brand-name corporate giants who have secretly funneled millions of their shareholders’ dollars into the “dark money” vault of the Republican Governors Association. In turn, the group channels the political cash into the campaigns of assorted right-wing governors. Image via Jeff Gates @ Flickr. This underground pipeline is a dream come true for corporations.

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Dave Johnson

Republican Campaign Is All Fear All The Time

In advertising they say, “If you don’t have anything to say about a product, sing about it.” In this election, Republicans are singing a song of fear. In this ad the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) says Arizona’s Ann Kirkpatrick wants to let terrorists into the country. The midterms are approaching, and Republicans have nothing to offer. Well, that’s not exactly true, they are offering tax cuts to billionaires and giant corporations, and to the rest of us they offer cuts in the things government does to make our lives better. But they can’t say that. So instead they distract, divert, misinform and mostly, mostly try to scare people. Oh, one more thing: they try to keep “those people” from voting. Republicans are throwing fear around. And distraction. And diversion. And misinformation. And dirty tricks.

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Bill Scher

Is This The Worst Gaffe of 2014?

Nine years ago, textile CEO David Perdue probably didn’t think he’d ever run for office. Which would explain why in a deposition he bluntly answered a question on outsourcing by saying, “Yeah, I spent most of my career doing that.” But after it was uncovered last week, you might think that the Republican Senate candidate in Georgia would find a way to explain his past, claim he’s changed, and has the know-how to create jobs in America. Nope. Instead he told reporters about his statement, “Defend it? I’m proud of it. This is a part of American business, part of any business. Outsourcing is the procurement of products and services to help your business run. People do that all day.” That is quite the doubling down.

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Richard Eskow

Geithner and AIG: Hard Lessons From the “Bailout Trial”

A lawsuit currently being tried in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims argues that AIG shouldn’t have been treated any more harshly than Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, or any of the other institutions the government rescued. There’s merit to that argument. It goes on to assert that AIG deserved the same kind of cushy deal the government gave to the other institutions it rescued. That’s a stretch. The goal of the lawsuit – to provide even more for AIG’s bailed-out shareholders – seems absurd. But at least this lawsuit, which has already seen testimony from two former Treasury secretaries, is finally giving the American people some hard lessons in the workings of the bailout process and the shortcomings of our current economic system. We don’t know who’ll win in the end. But we probably know who’ll lose.

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Isaiah J. Poole

It’s Still Hard Out There For Jobseekers: We Need to Tell The Story

Last week’s report that the unemployment rate had fallen below 6 percent for the first time since July 2008 sparked a wave of optimistic talk about the job market regaining its health. Today comes the reality check: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report on job openings and labor turnover shows that in August there were 4.8 million job openings. That same month, there were 9.6 million unemployed people looking for work. Bottom line: For every job opening, on average, there were two jobseekers. As Elise Gould at the Economic Policy Institute points out in her analysis of the report, “job seekers so outnumbered job openings that about half of the unemployed were not going to find a job in August no matter what they did.” This is clearly better than in previous months, where we reported jobseeker-to-job vacancy rations that exceeded three to one.

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Terrance Heath

Historic Court Decision Weds Marriage Equality To Economic Justice

Yesterday, the Supreme Court made history, by deciding not to make history. The Court rejected appeals in the marriage equality cases set to appear before it, and left intact appeals court rulings striking down same-sex marriage bans in Virginia, Utah, Wisconsin, and Indiana — effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in those states. The same goes for North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, and Colorado, which are under the jurisdiction of the same circuit courts. Almost overnight The number of marriage equality states jumped from 17 to 30.

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Dave Johnson

Amazon Responds To Wage Theft Post

Amazon has passed along the following response to Monday’s post, “Amazon Wage Theft Case Comes Before The Supreme Court“: I saw your story mentioning Amazon today. I wanted you to have our statement. We have a longstanding practice of not commenting on pending litigation, but data shows that employees walk through post shift security screening with little or no wait. Kelly Cheeseman Amazon Corporate Communications Two points on this. 1) Theft costs stores a great deal. If you go to Costco and some other outlets, they check your cart against your receipt on the way out. The Bloomberg story cited in Monday’s post notes that employee theft costs retailers billions. Employee theft costs retailers an estimated $18 billion in 2012, more than any other type of larceny, according to a study by Richard C.

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