Terrance Heath

Wingnut Week In Review: The Sting

This week, wingnuts attacked Planned Parenthood, with deceptively edited video that would make James O’Keefe proud, got “trumped” again by presidential candidate and xenophobe Donald Trump, and freaked out over the Iran anti-nuke deal. The Sting Remember those heady days (for conservatives) of the George W. Bush administration, in late 2004, when Bush was on the cusp of winning a second term? A Bush aide, now believed to have been Karl Rove, dismissed New York Times reporter Ron Suskind as a member of the “reality-based community,” and informed Suskind of the new “New World Order”: …“we create our own reality”? While the rest of us were basing our opinions on observed reality, right-wingers would shape reality to suit their agenda. Remember? Well, they’re at it again.

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Dave Johnson

Unions Are One Answer To Making The Economy Work For The 99 Percent

A Friday panel at Netroots Nation in Phoenix, “Unions as the Answer to the Defining Issue of our Time,” made the point that empowering unions is about more than just the workers having a path to the middle class; it is about strengthening the entire economy. The panel was moderated by Seema Nanda, deputy chief of staff to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. On the panel were Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; Frank Piccioli, President of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2960 with the City of Phoenix and Arizona EMS Workers United; Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress, and Naomi Walker, who serves as an assistant to the president of AFSCME.

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Bill Scher

Republicans On Track To Lose The Latino Vote, And The Election, Again

Ann Coulter is telling Republicans Latino voters are immovably Democratic, and so, there is no point trying to woo them with immigration reform. She argues the only swing voters are “working-class whites are the only swing voters” who, she implies, “detest” immigration reform. Last month in Real Clear Politics, I crunched the numbers and proved Coulter wrong. While neither Latinos or white working-class voters are a true swing constituency — Latinos lean Democrat and white working-class voters lean Republican — Latinos swung more between 2004 and 2012 than the white working-class did. In 2004, George W. Bush scored 40 percent of the Latino vote while campaigning on immigration reform — the only time a Republican presidential candidate won the popular vote since 1988.

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Dave Johnson

Student Loan Debt Will Be A Huge 2016 Campaign Issue

The Thursday Netroots Nation panel, “Student Debt Crisis: How We Can Help Stop the Next Economic Bubble from Bursting,” discussed ways to deal with the more than $1.2 trillion in student loan debt carried by 43 million Americans – and examined the implications for elections. On the panel: Robert Cruickshank, Senior Campaign Manager at Democracy for America; Natalia Abrams, co-founder of Student Debt Crisis; Melissa Byrne (@mcbyrne), founder of Project Springboard; Kayla Wingbermuehle of Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC); and Angela Peoples, President of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club. A Generational Change Colleges used to have relatively low tuition, and a part-time job once paid enough to get by while in school. But now college tuition can be very high, while wages continue to decline after inflation.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Signs That Transportation Bill Is Moving In the Wrong Direction

Congress is finally giving due attention to task of forging a surface transportation authorization bill, but is still stymied on how to pay for it. Rushing into that vacuum is at least one good idea – but also a host of bad ones. Unless progressives amp up the pressure over the next few weeks, we’re highly likely to end up with a bill that not only doesn’t meet all of our needs but covers its cost in horrendous ways. The latest wrinkle comes from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose role in this debate is proving to be a mixture of potentially good and demonstrably bad. McConnell has been agitating for a long-term bill – important because the string of patches that last anywhere from a few weeks to two years at the most does not allow states and municipalities to plan big, multiyear projects with the knowledge that the federal support they need will be there.

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Emily Schwartz Greco

Lighting a Legal Fuse

Climate action is finally gaining ground in Washington. No, not that Washington. Following their victory in a Seattle court, eight children are pressing Washington State’s Department of Ecology to crack down on carbon pollution. The agency has until August 7 to reach an agreement with the youths, who sued after the department rejected their petition. Otherwise, the kids will go back to court. “I hope our voices are heard,” said Aji Piper, a 14-year-old and one of the plaintiffs. Judge Hollis Hill, for one, is listening. She agreed with the teens and tweens in a first-of-its-kind ruling, citing a “historical lack of political will to respond adequately to the urgent and dire acceleration of global warming.” Climate change mashes up environmental, moral, meteorological, economic, political, scientific, and industrial challenges.

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Terrance Heath

The GOP Sugar Daddies of 2016

When Republicans finally choose their nominee for president, he or she will be already bought and paid for by one or more of the GOP sugar daddies of the 2016 election. Never before have so many with little chance of — and even less interest in — being president, declared themselves candidates for the job. In a field of 15 candidates, it’s a given that most of the GOP hopefuls haven’t a prayer of even making the short list of potential nominees. It’s a safe bet that most of them know this. So, why are they running? For some Republicans, it’s a no-brainer, because they win even if they lose. Running for president, or even having second billing on a losing ticket, can make one rich, famous, and influential. Mike Huckabee’s failed 2008 bid helped him get a Fox News show. Sarah Palin (and family) parlayed her failed vice presidential candidacy into realty-television stardom.

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Joshua Ferrer

Obama’s Criminal Justice Reform Push Must Come With Economic Justice

President Obama will make history today when he becomes the first sitting president to visit a federal prison. The visit is the latest in a series of speeches and events this week aimed at drawing attention to the need for criminal justice reform. On Monday, Obama commuted the sentences of 46 people. And on Tuesday he gave a rousing address calling for an end to America’s mass incarceration system and bringing to light persistent racial inequities. Delivered at the NAACP national convention in Philadelphia, the speech has been praised on both sides of the aisle. However, the bipartisan push for criminal justice reform will be inadequate if it fails to also address the rampant and systemic inequalities that continue to put African Americans at a disadvantage. “There is a long history of inequality in the criminal justice system in America,” Obama said.

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Donald Kaul

Smashing the Austerity Idols

I’d like to apologize to the people of Greece. I’ve been pretty hard on them over the years. I’ve made fun of their freewheeling spendthrift habits, their unwillingness to pay their taxes, and their early retirement ethos. When they were given membership in the Euro zone, I made fun of that too, or at least of the rest of Europe’s willingness to cast its lot with the Greeks. “That’s like going mountain climbing with your safety rope tied to the town drunk,” I said. Image via desbyrne @ Flickr. Nor did I let up when the Greek economy went blooey and was forced to go, worry beads in hand, to Europe’s banks and ask for a bailout. “You might as well contribute to Bernie Madoff’s Defense Fund,” I said. Shame on me. Not that what I said was factually wrong, but it was insensitive to the people who invented democracy and whom we’ve treated shabbily.

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Jacob Woocher

Here’s What Hillary Gets About Economic Growth That Jeb Doesn’t

In a major speech Monday outlining her economic policy, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton effectively illustrated the contrast between progressive priorities and those of her conservative counterparts. In her address, Clinton focused not just on economic growth, but on fair growth that benefits everyone. Her emphasis on public investment and an increased role for the federal government in aiding struggling workers and families, she said, would strengthen the middle class and achieve durable, lasting growth. Meanwhile, her Republican competitors are sticking to their faith in trickle-down economics, arguing that a rising tide will lift all boats, while ignoring the reality that for the past 30 years the vast majority of economic gains has gone to those at the very top of the income ladder. Jeb Bush, perhaps Mrs.

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Bill Scher

Why Republicans Can’t Stop The Iran Deal (And Shouldn’t Want To)

Click here to sign our petition and tell Congress: No war with Iran. As Donald Rumsfeld might say, you can’t start a war with the Republican Party you wish to have. Republicans in Congress may want to stop the international nuclear deal with Iran. They may prefer to provoke a war with Iran than break bread. But they can’t. And it’s their own fault. I mean that literally. President Barack Obama can only hold up his end of the deal by waiving sanctions passed by Congress. Obama has that waiver power because both parties in Congress gave it to him. As I noted in a piece for Real Clear Politics earlier this year: “All the various sanctions bills passed by Congress, including those passed with bipartisan votes during Obama’s presidency, grant waiver authority to the executive branch.

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Larry Cohen

United Flight Attendants Picketing Around the World for 24 Hours

Beginning in Guam and moving with the sun to Frankfurt, London, Newark, Chicago, Denver and across to California and Hawaii, United Airlines flight attendants on Thursday will be putting management on notice that this is “Our Time” and “If not Now, When?” They will be picketing at all United Airline hubs. The merger between United and Continental is approaching five years, yet the battle for a decent contract now escalates. AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson has stated simply that the 24,000 flight attendants have waited too long and “we are going to stand up to make it clear to management that we expect a real increase in our standard of living, especially as management compensation and profits soar.” CEO Jeff Smisek’s compensation is up 32 percent since the merger and operating profits are now exceeding $5 billion annually.

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Cormac Close

These Loans ‘Should Most Definitely Be Illegal’

For Djuan, it all began when he left his job at the Los Angeles Film School to go take care of his ailing mother in Wichita, Kansas. When she died last March, he had no job or income, and the bills were piling up. That’s when he turned to a payday lender for help. “I knew payday lenders were terrible,” he said in an interview with OurFuture.org. “But I didn’t want to have to ask my family.” Djuan, who asked that his last name not be used, was one in 12 million Americans who took out a payday loan in 2014. Payday loans, officially known as “cash advance loans,” are advertised as a way ”to help a borrower’s unexpected expenses such as bill payments, car repairs, household emergency repairs or other financial emergencies.“ In reality, seven in 10 borrowers were like Djuan and weren’t covering for a crisis; they just needed money to get by for the next two weeks.

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Joshua Ferrer

Solar Power To The People: Getting Everyone In On Green Energy

The Obama administration has taken an important step toward ensuring that America’s poorest residents – those who stand to gain the most from reductions in their energy costs – are no longer left out of the green energy boom. Last week’s announcement of a number of actions by the White House to expand renewable energy access to low- and middle-income households continues a streak of executive actions by President Obama that tackle climate change, and comes in the face of continued Republican resistance to taking substantive Congressional action towards building a green economy. But what made the announcement noteworthy was its direct response to a missed opportunity for low-income communities highlighted in a recent study from George Washington University’s Solar Institute.

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Dave Johnson

Next Big One: Repatriation Tax Giveaway To Corporations

Here comes the next big one. Now that the corporations have fast-track trade authority in the bag, they are trying to push a huge, huge tax giveaway through Congress. We have to get the word out so this doesn’t just sneak through. We can’t let them continue to rig the system against us like this. Up To $770 Billion Is Owed On $2.2 Trillion In Corporate Profits Stashed In Tax Havens You might have heard about all that money the giant corporations have been stashing in tax havens so they can dodge paying their taxes. You might not have heard how much they owe us. Corporations have somewhere around $2.2 billion of “offshore” profits stashed in tax havens. They owe up to 35 percent in taxes on that money.

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Leo Gerard

Jeb! Cracks the Whip

Jeb! Bush, a boy born to wealth and privilege, whose family owns not a home but a compound of dwellings in Kennebunkport, Maine, and whose wife plunked down $25,600 for one pair of earrings, lectured last week that Americans should work longer hours. If Americans would just work harder, every one of them could own a $600,000 getaway cottage, like the one Jeb! is building on a $1.4 million site in exclusive Kennebunkport. And it’s not just longer hours. Jeb! believes Americans should work longer in life too. The rich boy wants to raise the retirement age to 70. But raising the federal minimum wage to help millions of struggling workers survive to age 70? No, Jeb! doesn’t see any need for that. His advice: Let working poor great-grandmas eat ramen! Image via Donkey Hotey @ Flickr.

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Robert Borosage

Hillary Clinton’s Economic Story: Stuff Happens

Campaign aides billed Hillary Clinton’s economic address as a demonstration of her populist commitments. And as she trudged through her text, she assiduously touched virtually every base in the progressive economic agenda. Invest in infrastructure, check. Raise the minimum wage, check. Day care, paid sick leave, paid family leave, wage theft, overtime, check. Protect “and enhance” Social Security, check. “More affordable college,” check. Invest in preschool and education, check. Trade, check. Wall Street, check. New energy, check. Comprehensive immigration reform, pay equity for women, investment zones for urban poor, check. Progressive tax reform, check. And she also included emerging ideas on curbing “quarterly capitalism:” tax credits for training workers, restrictions on stock buybacks and incentives for long-term investment rather than short-term trading.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Reaction to Greece Austerity Deal: “#ThisIsACoup”

There is a real sense that the deal that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has reached with European Union leaders is less a bailout of Greece’s economy and more of a prelude to an overthrow of the leftist Syriza majority running the country – hence the popularity Monday of the Twitter hashtag “#ThisIsACoup>” “The trending hashtag #ThisIsACoup is exactly right,” wrote New York Times columnist Paul Krugman on his blog, in reaction to the terms of the agreement. “This goes beyond harsh into pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief.

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Terrance Heath

Seven Things You Should Know About Scott Walker

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has scored the biggest sugar daddies in the GOP presidential primary, but it may not be enough to get him the Republican presidential nomination, or the White House. Everyone knows Scott Walker has been running for president since shortly after he was sworn in as governor of Wisconsin. Today, Walker officially became the 15th candidate to squeeze into the GOP presidential primary clown car, with a tweet, and a Facebook video teasing his candidacy ahead of his formal announcement. I’m in. I’m running for president because Americans deserve a leader who will fight and win for them. – SW http://t.co/DZG253QjfP #Walker16 — Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) July 13, 2015 Walker could have big money behind him.

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Cormac Close

For Dodd-Frank’s 5th Anniversary, GOP Launches Another War on Reality

Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee last Thursday celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act by inviting a panel of handpicked experts to parrot the view that the act has been catastrophic for the U.S. economy and that we will be lucky to get through the next decade without a regulation-spurred financial meltdown. The Republican narrative that unfolded through the hearing, “The Dodd-Frank Act Five Years Later: Are We More Stable?,” reveals that they still can’t seem to grasp what exactly caused the last financial crisis and are mistaken about the threats facing the U.S. economy today. They have, however, concocted some stories that conform to their worldview: The Federal Reserve According to Dr.

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