fresh voices from the front lines of change








Tom Conway

In Praise Of Scabby The Rat

Giant balloons apparently terrify Peter Robb, Donald Trump’s hand-picked general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Big balloons shaped like rats, cats, pigs and cockroaches so frighten Robb that he has used his office to take extraordinary steps to outlaw them. He won’t criminalize SpongeBob SquarePants, Mickey Mouse or other Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons. Only the somewhat smaller balloons floated by labor unions offend him. He wants the NLRB to trample labor unions’ First Amendment right to buoyant protests, which symbolizes just how far the Trump administration will go to crush the very workers Trump constantly pledged to protect during his campaign. In 2.5 years, his administration has refused to raise the minimum wage, diminished the number of workers eligible for overtime pay, petitioned to decertify the immigration judges’ union, and weakened the unions for federal workers. There’s no doubt a judge will once again rule that unions have the right to fly protest balloons. But it may take until Labor Day 2020 for that decision to arrive.

AFL-CIO's Trumka Denounces Trump On Labor

AFL-CIO chief denounces Trump's broken promises to labor. Common Dreams: "In an interview ahead of Labor Day, AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka said workers across the nation are suffering under President Donald Trump's supposedly 'booming' economy and slammed the White House for refusing to raise the minimum wage, pushing for cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, and gutting workplace safety regulations. 'He came to our members and said, 'I'm going to change the rules of the economy,'and they believed him. And, quite frankly, I wish he would have changed the rules of the economy,' Trumka told Fox News's Chris Wallace on Sunday. 'Unfortunately, the rules he's changing has hurt them,' said Trumka. 'He's opposed every increase in the minimum wage. He's changed the regulation to take overtime away from a couple of million people. He's proposed a trillion dollar cuts to Medicare and Medicaid... He's rolled back health and safety standards towards workers.'"

Booker Unveils $3t Climate Plan

Booker unveils $3T climate plan. The Hill: "Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) would invest $3 trillion dollars by 2030 to fund a transition to a 100 percent carbon neutral economy by 2045 if he is elected president, based on a plan unveiled Tuesday. Central to Booker’s climate change plan is a focus on environmental justice, or what the campaign calls 'putting people over polluters.' 'Because we can’t move forward into a clean energy economy without righting the wrongs of decades of pollution and corporate greed in marginalized communities, and without an informed commitment to not repeating these wrongs,' it says. His plan includes a $400 billion community-based investment across the U.S. to research clean energy technologies and solutions. It also proposes a $100 billion investment by 2030 through existing U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation program to make farms more climate resilient. Booker would also take executive action to reverse many of the Trump administration’s moves, including reinstating and strengthening CAFE standards for fuel economy, revoking Trump’s orders to approve the Keystone Pipeline and Dakota Access Pipeline and rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement."

Trump Campaign Targets Journalists

Trump allies raise money to target reporters. Axios: "President Trump's political allies are trying to raise at least $2 million to investigate reporters and editors of The New York Times, The Washington Post and other outlets, according to a three-page fundraising pitch reviewed by Axios. Trump’s war on the media is expanding. This group will target reporters and editors, while other GOP 2020 entities go after the social media platforms, alleging bias, officials tell us. The group claims it will slip damaging information about reporters and editors to 'friendly media outlets,' such as Breitbart, and traditional media, if possible People involved in raising the funds include GOP consultant Arthur Schwartz and the 'loose network' that the N.Y. Times reported last week is targeting journalists. The operations are to be run by undisclosed others. The prospectus for the new project says it's 'targeting the people producing the news.' The New York Times exposed an extremely improvisational effort that had outed a Times editor for past anti-Semitic tweets. This new group is now using the exposure to try to formalize and fund the operation."

Consumers Hit By China Tariffs

In escalating trade war, US consumers may see higher prices. CBS: "The United States and China on Sunday put in place their latest tariff increases on each other's goods, potentially raising prices Americans pay for some clothes, shoes, sporting goods and other consumer items before the holiday shopping season. President Donald Trump said U.S.-China trade talks were still on for September. 'We'll see what happens,' he told reporters as he returned to the White House from the Camp David presidential retreat. 'But we can't allow China to rip us off anymore as a country.' The 15% U.S. taxes apply to about $112 billion of Chinese imports. All told, more than two-thirds of the consumer goods the United States imports from China now face higher taxes. The administration had largely avoided hitting consumer items in its earlier rounds of tariff increases."

U.S. Teens Join Thunberg In U.N. Climate Protest

Greta Thunberg joins hundreds of teenagers in climate protest in New York. The Guardian: "Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg was joined by swelling and excited crowds of American teenagers at a protest outside the UN headquarters in New York on Friday, in a further blossoming of the youth environment movement given extra thrust by the Swede’s transatlantic boat crossing. Some US children said they were at their first ever climate demonstration; others said they had been passionate about the environment for a while but had been galvanized to act by Thunberg’s rising profile. On Friday afternoon, Thunberg and two young activists were spontaneously invited inside the UN for a meeting with a senior leader, described as 'very supportive.' Just two days after Thunberg disembarked from a yacht in New York, following two weeks on rough seas crossing from the UK, young protesters dominated the crowd of up to 1,000 outside the United Nations skyscraper in Manhattan. They came together to demand politicians and older generations take urgent and comprehensive action to reverse the climate crisis."

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