fresh voices from the front lines of change








Sam Pizzigati

We Need What Canada Has: Economic Security

South of the border, here in the United States, we Americans tend not to pay much attention to our northern neighbors. Entire election cycles can come and go without anyone running for national office saying anything significant about Canada. But that’s all changing. Canada now looms much larger in our politics, mainly because many more of us now realize that Canadians enjoy a health care system far superior to our own. Canada’s single-payer approach to health care has become — for many American progressives — a guiding inspiration. We need what Canadians have. And we need what Canadians have on more than just health care: The lives average Canadians lead would appear even more economically secure, since Canadians today get much more substantial “transfers in kind” from their government than Americans do. Higher taxes do accompany Canada’s more generous social benefits, but the rich in Canada pay taxes at higher rates than the rich in the United States. This tax progressivity leaves ordinary Canadians even further ahead of their American counterparts once we factor in taxes and transfers. Let’s hope we hear a good bit more about Canada in the 2020 election campaign. We Americans have a lot to learn about how much more decent life in North America can be.

Trade War With China Escalates

China threatens new tariffs if Trump escalates trade war. NYT: "China said it would impose tariffs on $75 billion in American-made goods if President Trump carries through on his promise to escalate his trade war with Beijing, in a sign that neither side is ready to back down from an economic conflict that has already cast a shadow over global growth prospects. China’s plans to retaliate, which were announced late on Friday in Beijing, include putting tariffs on American agricultural products, crude oil and cars. The news was likely to unnerve investors who worry that the trade war between the world’s two largest economies will drag down global growth. Markets fell on the news in afternoon trading in Europe, and Wall Street opened lower. It also comes at a time of growing nervousness in the United States over the economy, which shows signs of becoming a liability for Mr. Trump as he seeks re-election."

Conservative Billionaire David Koch Dies

David Koch, billionaire conservative activist and philanthropist, dies at 79. NBC: "David Koch, billionaire conservative activist and philanthropist, has died. He was 79. David Koch stepped down last year from helping to run the family business, Koch Industries, a Kansas-based energy and chemical corporation. His brother Charles Koch is the company's chairman and chief executive officer. With the wealth from their business, the Koch brothers helped to build a massive conservative network of donors for organizations that work to mobilize voters and sway elected officials in support of libertarian-leaning economic policies. The network, led by the nonprofit Americans for Prosperity, has spent more than $1 billion over the past several elections to support candidates who adhere to their free-market, small-government, libertarian ideals."

Trump Wants End To Birthright Citizenship

Trump again says he is 'seriously' considering ending birthright citizenship despite 14th Amendment. Salon: "President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he is "very seriously" considering ending the right to citizenship for children born in the U.S. to non-citizens. 'We're looking at that very seriously — birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land. You walk over the border, have a baby,' Trump told reporters outside the White House. 'Congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen . . . It's frankly ridiculous.' The president's statement came on the same day that his administration announced a proposal to detain migrant families indefinitely, replacing a decades-old court agreement limiting the amount of time the government is allowed to detain a migrant child to 20 days. The right to citizenship for anyone born in the U.S. is guaranteed in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which states: 'All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.' The ability of a president to end birthright citizenship has been challenged by many lawmakers and legal scholars, including one of Trump's own judicial nominees."

DOJ Hid Report On Rise of White Nationalism

DOJ hid report on rise of white nationalist terrorism. Yahoo News: "Alleged white supremacists were responsible for all race-based domestic terrorism incidents in 2018, according to a government document distributed earlier this year to state, local and federal law enforcement. The document, which has not been previously reported on, becomes public as the Trump administration’s Justice Department has been unable or unwilling to provide data to Congress on white supremacist domestic terrorism. The data in this document, titled 'Domestic Terrorism in 2018,' appears to be what Congress has been asking for — and didn’t get."

DOJ 'Accidentally' Emails Attack On Immigration Judges

Justice Department says it mistakenly emailed link to white nationalist website. BuzzFeed: "An email sent from the Justice Department to all immigration court employees this week included a link to an article posted on a white nationalist website that 'directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs,' according to a letter sent by an immigration judges union and obtained by BuzzFeed News. According to the National Association of Immigration Judges, the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) sent court employees a link to a blog post from VDare, a white nationalist website, in its morning news briefing earlier this week that included anti-Semitic attacks on judges. The briefings are sent to court employees every weekday and include links to various immigration news items. BuzzFeed News confirmed the link to a blog post was sent to immigration court employees Monday. The post detailed a recent move by the Justice Department to decertify the immigration judges union. A letter Thursday from union chief Ashley Tabaddor to James McHenry, the director of the Justice Department’s EOIR, said the link to the VDare post angered many judges."

The Amazon Burns So We Can Eat Burgers

The Amazon is burning because the world eats so much meat. CNN: "While the wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest may constitute an 'international crisis,' they are hardly an accident. The vast majority of the fires have been set by loggers and ranchers to clear land for cattle. The practice is on the rise, encouraged by Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's populist pro-business president, who is backed by the country's so-called ;beef caucus.' While this may be business as usual for Brazil's beef farmers, the rest of the world is looking on in horror. So, for those wondering how they could help save the rainforest, known as 'the planet's lungs; for producing about 20% of the world's oxygen, the answer may be simple. Eat less meat. Brazil is the world's largest exporter of beef, providing close to 20% of the total global exports, according the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) -- a figure that could rise in the coming years. Last year the country shipped 1.64 million tonnes of beef, the highest volume in history, according to the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (Abiec), an association of more than 30 Brazilian meat-packing companies.:

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