fresh voices from the front lines of change








Leo Gerard

American Workers Are Not Happy

Americans are not happy. And for good reason. They continue to suffer financial stress caused by decades of flat income. And every time they make the slightest peep of complaint about a system rigged against them, the rich and powerful tell them to shut up because it is all their fault. One percenters instruct them to work harder, pull themselves up by their bootstraps and stop bellyaching. Just get a second college degree, a second skill, a second job. Just send the spouse to work, downsize, take a staycation instead of a real vacation. Or don’t take one at all, just work harder and longer and better. But if Americans would just work harder, everything would be dandy, right? No. Not right. Americans work really, really hard. A third of Americans work a side hustle, driving an Uber or selling crafts on Etsy. American workers take fewer vacation days. The highest number of workers in five years report they don’t expect to take a vacation at all this year. Meanwhile, Corporations got the biggest cut in history, their rate sledgehammered down from 35 percent to 21 percent. The rich reap by far the largest benefit from those tax cuts. So no wonder American workers are unhappy. The system is working against them.

China Hits Back With Tariff Hikes

Markets face 500-point drop after China retaliates with tariff hikes. CNBC: "U.S. stock futures pointed to sharp losses on Monday after China decided to raise tariffs on some U.S. goods as the ongoing trade war between the world’s largest economies intensifies. China will hike tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports, starting on June 1. The goods targeted include a broad range of agricultural products. This comes after President Donald Trump raised tariffs on Chinese imports last week. China said in a statement that the U.S.′ decision jeopardized the interests of both countries and does not meet the “general expectations of the international community,” according to a Google translation.

U.S. Consumers Will Pay For Tariffs, Kudlow Admits

Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow admits tariffs hurt Americans. Vox: "White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow signaled on Sunday that the tariff war with China could keep going for a while longer — and he argued Americans are not alone in paying the consequences of it. President Trump announced an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods last Sunday, raising tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese-made products. That increase went into effect Friday, hours before the Trump administration announced the latest round of trade talks with China ended without the two countries reaching a deal. The uncertainty caused by the talks and the new tariffs led to stock market upheaval and a promise from China that retaliatory measures will soon be announced. As Vox’s Emily Stewart has reported, President Trump has made a number of inaccurate statements about the tariffs, including that they help to 'make our country richer than ever before.' (FOX Anchor Chris) Wallace played Kudlow video of Trump making a similar incorrect statement about the tariffs Thursday at the White House, when the president claimed that tariffs are, 'paid for mostly by China, by the way, not by us,' and said, 'Larry, that isn’t true. It’s not China that pays tariffs. It’s the American importers, the American companies that pay what in effect is a tax increase and oftentimes passes it on to US consumers.' 'Fair enough,' Kudlow responded. 'In fact, both sides will pay. Both sides will pay in these things.'"

Trump Embraces Hungarian Ultranationalist Orban

'America First' meets 'Hungary First'at White House. Politico: "When Donald Trump became president, Europe’s fiercest anti-immigration leader saw an opportunity to garner international legitimacy for his policies. While Orbán’s restrictive immigration policies and skepticism about international institutions mirror Trump’s own rhetoric, the Hungarian leader has faced criticism from the European Union, the State Department and civil society groups, which argue that Orbán’s leadership has eroded democratic values. Publicly, Orbán has heaped praise on Trump. 'We have enthusiastically applauded the president of the United States for thinking precisely as we do when he says 'America First.' We say the same: 'Hungary first, and then everyone else,' the Hungarian leader said in a 2017 speech."

Build-The-Wall Crowdfunder Buys $1m Yacht

Wall GoFundMe Guy Just Got Himself A $1 Million Yacht. Crooks and Liars: "Doubtless, the Trump cult will admire this guy's pluck and ingenuity in bilking millions off of them, right? I'm not exactly sure, but the boat in question looks like a Jupiter 41SB, which if new would set you back around a million dollars. Nice work if you can get it, eh? A source close to the Florida man who raised over $22 million on GoFundMe in the 'We The People Will Build the Wall; campaign just revealed today that the money has been diverted to pay for a 'million dollar' yacht and high-flying lifestyle. This article draws on the use of an anonymous source whose identity is being protected because they stepped forward to expose what they believe is a wrong-doing or possibly criminal fraud by the Wall GoFundMe campaign that received over 300,000 individual donations. According to the source, Brian Kolfage personally confided that was 'broke' last year after his 'really fake' news empire collapsed and Facebook 'deplatformed' him."

Pharmaceutical Lawsuit Alleges Price Rigging

Colorado joins 43 other states in lawsuit alleging generic drug manufacturers conspired to inflate prices. Denver Post: "Colorado is one of 44 states that filed a lawsuit Friday against generic drug manufacturers alleging they violated state and federal laws by conspiring to fix prices and stop competitors, resulting in generic drug costs significantly going up. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, alleges that 20 pharmaceutical companies — including Teva Pharmaceutical, Sandoz, Mylan and Pfizer — 'embarked on one of the most egregious and damaging price-fixing conspiracies in the history of the United States.' Teva and other companies raised prices between July 2013 and January 2015 on about 112 generic drugs — some with price increases of more than 1,000 percent, according to the complaint. The lawsuit called it an overarching conspiracy that attempted to thwart competition in the generic drug industry and resulted in inflated drug prices. 'This conduct has resulted in many billions of dollars of overcharges to the Plaintiff States and others, and has had a significant negative impact on our national health and economy,' the lawsuit stated. The state of Connecticut began investigating the skyrocketing drug prices, leading to the lawsuit and other states signing onto it. The lawsuit asks for a stop to the alleged illegal practices, civil penalties and an unspecified amount in damages."

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