fresh voices from the front lines of change








Tom Conway

‘New’ NAFTA Fails Workers On Both Sides Of Border

When an American corporation, GM or Nabisco or Carrier, builds a factory in Mexico, NAFTA protects the company from tariffs when it imports the Mexican-made cars or Oreos or furnaces back into the United States. And in Mexico, the company can pollute freely, pay workers as little as $2 an hour, and establish company-controlled unions so workers can’t bargain for more. American workers get fired; Mexican workers get exploited. It’s a lose-lose for workers. Tire maker Goodyear is shifting much of its production to Mexico As their new plant in San Luis Potosi geared up, Goodyear laid off 175 workers in Gadsden, Al. and 60 at its plant in Danville, Va. Meanwhile, Mexican workers protested poor working conditions with a one-day strike not authorized by the company-controlled union. Goodyear solved that problem. It sent its Mexican workers a clear a message by firing 57 of the participants. This is why the USW, and the rest of organized labor, opposes the proposed new NAFTA. Without meaningful enforcement provisions, corporations like Goodyear will continue to invest in Mexico while closing American factories so they can get away with mistreating workers and the environment.

Title X Restrictions Will Harm Low-Income Families

Planned Parenthood to withdraw from Title X, unless court intervenes. NPR: "Planned Parenthood says it will formally withdraw from the nation's family planning program for low-income people within days, unless a federal court intervenes. In a letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, Planned Parenthood officials ask for a stay against new Trump administration rules that forbid organizations receiving Title X funds to provide or refer patients for abortion. If the court does not intervene, Planned Parenthood says it will be forced to pull out on Aug. 19 after decades with the program. Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood's acting president, said the impact on low-income patients will differ state by state. In some areas, she said, contraception and other services could become more expensive or wait times may be longer. 'It means that some people will not be able to afford the care; it means that some people will have to make a decision as to whether or not they have the time to wait in line. It certainly means that there will be, potentially, a delay in care — or they will decide to forgo the care altogether,' McGill Johnson said."

Portland Flash Point At Far-Right Rally

Portland far-right rally fizzles, but 13 arrested. WaPo: "With both the left and the right declaring victory following a long-hyped rally that had Portland, Oregon, on edge it seems the liberal city will continue to be a flashpoint in an increasingly divided country. City officials were mostly relieved that a downtown gathering Saturday of more than 1,000 far-right protesters and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators wasn’t as violent as feared. 'I’m grateful this was largely a peaceful event,' Mayor Ted Wheeler said. 'We were preparing for and planning for a worst-case scenario.' There were 13 arrests and police seized bear spray, shields, poles and other weapons. But by using barriers and bridge closures — and allowing a large contingent of right-wingers to leave when they asked to — authorities were able to mostly keep the two sides apart. Six minor injuries were reported."

Three Mass Shootings Foiled By Tips

There could have been three more mass shootings if these men weren't stopped, authorities say. CNN: "Authorities this weekend announced they had foiled three potential mass shootings after arresting three men in different states who expressed interest in or threatened to carry them out. All three cases were brought to authorities' attention thanks to tips from the public. Here's what we know about them. In Connecticut, 22-year-old Brandon Wagshol was arrested after authorities said he had expressed interest in committing a mass shooting on Facebook, according to a statement from the FBI and the Norwalk Police Department. Tristan Scott Wix of Daytona Beach, Florida, was arrested in a Winn-Dixie parking lot on Friday after he sent his ex-girlfriend a series of disturbing texts in which he allegedly threatened to commit a mass shooting And in Ohio, 20-year-old James Patrick Reardon was arrested for allegedly threatening to carry out a shooting at a Youngstown Jewish community center."

Stephen Miller's Shadow War On Immigrants

The Ghostwriter: how Miller drives Trump's immigration policy. WaPo: "At President Trump’s speeches and rallies, Stephen Miller often can be found backstage, watching the teleprompter operator. As other White House staffers chat or look at their phones, Miller’s attention remains glued to the controls The energy and crowd-thrilling parts of Trump’s speeches usually happen during his impromptu diversions from the planned address. When Trump veers, colleagues say, Miller sometimes directs the operator to scroll higher or lower through the speech, so when the president is ready to pick it up again, he will hit those passages and make those points. Miller knows where he wants the president to go. In Trump, Miller has found a champion for his ideological goals. He is the singular force behind the Trump administration’s immigration agenda — making him a crucial White House figure on an issue central to the president’s reelection campaign. Miller’s restrictionist immigration agenda has lent a degree of intellectual and ideological coherence to the gut-level animus that fuels Trump, furnishing a policy framework for the president’s “Make America Great Again” message. The public charge rule is a case in point. 'Does the president believe that poor immigrants who can’t support themselves should live off the public dole? No,' one senior official said. 'Did he have any idea what the public charge rule was before Miller? No.'"

Eliminating Public Safety Will Boost Jobs, Say Kochs

Koch Brothers’ anti-government group promotes allowing unlicensed, untrained cosmetologists. ThinkProgress: "A video posted by the Koch Brothers’ flagship anti-government organization presents a bold new strategy to break the “cycle of poverty” in America: Get rid of educational and licensing requirements for professionals, such as cosmetologists. Americans for Prosperity — a right-wing tax-exempt dark money group bankrolled by petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch — posted three videos in the past several days arguing against occupation licensing. These spots each feature Dick Carpenter, the director of strategic research for the Institute for Justice (another Koch-linked anti-government organization) arguing against government licensing of professionals, laws he claims are designed to ;'keep people out.' The group also created a website and petition urging government to 'stop burdensome licensing laws.' 'An occupational license is a government permission slip to work,' Carpenter says in one video. 'To work in an occupation of your choice, you have to satisfy the government … and you do so by prescribed education and experience, pay a fee, pass an exam before you can actually work in the occupation of your choice.' He acknowledges that the aim of these requirements is 'to weed out charlatans and quacks and other people who may not be skilled,' but claims that research shows
those presumed benefits simply have not paid off' and consumers 'pay more for their goods and services as a result of licensing.'"

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