Libero Della Piana

Tuesday Senate Protests Mark The Next Step In The Resistance

The massive Women’s March in Washington last Saturday started off with a bang the resistance to the incoming administration of Donald Trump and his policies. The breadth and scale of the myriad sister marches held around the country and the globe, from big cities to small towns, amplified that even more. But everyone is asking, what now? How do we harness the energy, excitement and momentum of that day of protest into an organized and ongoing resistance needed to constrain the political options of the new administration and block its worst plans? The answer won’t be a single organization or effort. There is no magic bullet. But Tuesday, January 24 marks a key next step in the resistance.

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Sam Pizzigati

Searching for Dignity at Davos

The world’s richest and most powerful will go to great lengths to have a good time. They’ll even pretend they relish waxing philosophical — about humanity’s future and fate. Last week, at the annual World Economic Forum high up in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos, the pretenders included — for the first time ever — China’s top-ranking leader. Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, turned out to fit in quite nicely. He pronounced Davos 2017 “a cost-effective brainstorming event.” The plushest hotel in Davos quadruples its staff to provide for the care and feeding of deep pockets attending Switzerland’s annual World Economic Forum. For the swells who show up at Davos every year, that description rated as pure music to their ears.

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Robert Borosage

Trump’s Perverse Populism

Donald Trump’s inaugural address stunned Washington elites.  The New York Times, Washington Post and others commented on its unbridled populism, its accusatory tone.  The Post’s antiquated conservative, George Will, scorned it as “the most dreadful inaugural address in history.” Although Trump carefully read it off teleprompters, it was barely a step above his stump speech. Yet it deserves attention for it reveals how Trump’s right-wing populism distorts America’s populist tradition. The differences are clear in each element of Trump’s story. Who Done It? Trump begins with an indictment of the “Washington establishment:” For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth.

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Miles Mogulescu

From March To Movement

The Women’s March (or should I say Marches) were among the most inspiring events of my lifetime.  As a middle aged man who has been marching for social and economic justice since I was very young, I was proud to follow the leadership of strong women expressing not only their determination to protect, defend and advance the rights of women, but the rights of people of all races, religions, classes and sexual orientation. The March sent a message to the nation, the world, to Congress, and most important, timid Democrats who might be tempted to acquiesce to Trumpublicans in the name of fake bipartisanship, that there are millions of diverse women and men throughout America and the world who are ready, willing, and able to stand up to the Trumpublican assault on decency, democratic values, and the social and economic well-being of the majority of Americans.

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Dave Johnson

Momentive Workers Strike As Trump’s “Jobs Forum” Pick Cuts Wages

More than 700 Momentive Performance Materials chemical plant workers in Waterford, NY have been on strike since November 2. The Albany Times Union explains why, in a report about the striking Waterford chemical plant, Workers rejected a contract offer that would cut vacation time, reduce 401(k) benefits, increase health insurance costs and slice retiree health insurance and other benefits. The union had approved earlier cuts in pay and benefits in contracts with Momentive in 2010 and 2013, but workers said a third consecutive contract to cut benefits for workers and retirees, some of whom have ongoing health problems linked to years of working with toxic chemicals, is unfair.

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Robert Borosage

The Poisonous Politics of David Brock

The following was originally published in The Nation   David Brock is the darling of Democratic Party millionaires and billionaires. Donald Trump’s inauguration has sparked rallies in defense of Medicare and Medicaid, women’s marches across the country, protests against mass deportations and more. Brock, meanwhile, is using the occasion to convene over 100 deep-pocketed Democratic Party donors to a weekend retreat at Miami’s Turnberry Isle resort for a “Democracy Matters 17” conference. It will be three days of strategy sessions to bolster his multimillion-dollar nonprofit political machine. Brock’s empire, including Media Matters, American Bridge, ShareBlue, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, served as a hit squad for the Clinton campaign last year.

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Richard Eskow

Inauguration Day: Letter to a Trump Voter

We don’t know each other. But today, on the occasion of Donald Trump’s inauguration, there were some things I wanted to say to you as one American to another. (I’m willing to listen, too.) Let’s get this out of the way first: I think Donald Trump is dangerously unstable, morally objectionable, and has tendencies that represent a threat to our democracy. You may be starting to feel the same way, like this Trump voter, but chances are you still feel pretty good about him. I’ll be honest about something else, too: It’s hard for me to accept the idea that so many of my fellow Americans voted for somebody who bragged about sexual assault, especially when so many women came forward to say that he assaulted them.

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Kathy Mulady

The People Organize To Stop Mnuchin

Treasury Secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin is having his hearing today in the U.S. Senate. Will you make a quick call to your senators to oppose his candidacy? When Donald Trump nominated Steve Mnuchin for U.S. Treasury Secretary, a nightmare Debbi Adams thought she had left behind was suddenly back. The Michigan woman who once fought with all she had to save her home from foreclosure, is now fighting again – to stop the appointment of the former Goldman Sachs partner. Adams, an activist with Michigan United, is just one of the many Americans organizing in the streets to prevent Wall Street from complete control of the federal government. One of the more dramatic protests taking aim at “Government Sachs” is a group of 50 protesters with VOCAL-NY who have endured three nights of cold and rain, camping and sleeping in front of the Goldman Sachs headquarters in New York this week.

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Jeff Bryant

Does Betsy DeVos Care About Racial Equity? We Still Don’t Know.

So Betsy DeVos doesn’t know much about education policy. Didn’t we already know that? Nevertheless, the hot takes coming after her rocky confirmation hearing for the US Secretary of Education nominee read as if people are genuinely surprised that someone who has never been a teacher, never run a school, never served as a public official overseeing education, and never been engaged in scholarly work on education is not terribly well versed in education policy. When peppered with questions about complicated policy issues like assessment methodology and federal enforcement of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, “DeVos’s inexperience in the realm of public education appeared at times to be a liability,” observes Emma Brown for the Washington Post.

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LeeAnn Hall

Why This Price Is Wrong

The following was originally published in OtherWords.org For most people, prescription drugs are a lifeline. For Representative Tom Price, Donald Trump’s health secretary nominee, they’re a source of profits. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug and health corporation investments line the pockets of the Georgia Republican Trump picked to lead our nation’s health care policy. That’s an unacceptable conflict of interest. Life-saving drugs are priced out of reach for far too many Americans, with millions skipping needed medications because of drug corporation price-gouging. Take the case of insulin, which people with diabetes depend on for their survival. Drug corporations have raised the price of this medication by more than 200 percent over the past eight years. “It feels like they’re holding my kid ransom,” the mother of a diabetic son told NBC News in November.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Millions of Reasons – Plus One Big One – To Block Tom Price’s Nomination

A school bus driver living in Slatington, Pa., writes that three years ago she was beginning to feel ill, but thought nothing of it until one morning, while checking the bus before starting her route, her fingers went numb. She had just signed up for a health insurance plan through the Pennsylvania-run marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. She dropped her “old, useless insurance” a few months earlier because even with sky-high premiums she could no longer afford, “the insurer denied every claim I sent in because they said it was due to a pre-existing condition.” “That January I had a Highmark Blue Shield silver plan. I paid $55 for the premium with the tax credit. I almost cried when I saw it,” she wrote. “I thought ‘Oh my god, I can actually afford this.

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Leo Gerard

Speak Loudly and Carry a Big Aluminum Bat

During this very month last year, aluminum smelters across the United States were closing, one after another. It was as if they produced something useless, not a commodity crucial to everything from beverage cans to fighter jets. In January of 2016, Alcoa closed its Wenatchee Works in Washington State, costing 428 workers their jobs, sending 428 families into panic, slashing tax revenue counted on by the town of Wenatchee and the school district and devastating local businesses that no longer saw customers from the region’s highest-paying manufacturer. That same month, Alcoa announced it would permanently close its Warrick Operations in Evansville, Ind., then the largest smelter in the country, employing 600 workers, within three months. Then, Noranda Aluminum fell.

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Miles Mogulescu

Three Reasons John Lewis is Right That Trump Is Illegitimate

All praises go to John Lewis for becoming the first nationally recognized political figure to question the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. He will hopefully not be the last. Lewis dared to say out loud what millions of Americans have been thinking. Lewis—who studied at the American Baptist Theological Seminary; led the first Freedom Rides; registered poor southern African Americans to vote; was almost killed when Alabama State Troopers beat his head in while leading the historic Selma Civil Rights March; chaired the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee; and spoke at the historic March on Washington with Martin Luther King, before running for elective office—is the closest living figure America has to a Nelson Mandela or a Dalai Lama.

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Richard Eskow

Booker and the Big Pharma Dems Have No Excuse. This Vote Proves It.

It’s devastating, and potentially lethal, when Americans can’t afford life-saving drugs because their elected representatives are in thrall to Big Pharma. It’s disappointing when Democrats offer implausible excuses for their votes, as Sen. Cory Booker and twelve other senators did last week. And it’s downright outrageous when those same Democrats claim their votes were driven by drug safety concerns, since all twelve voted to lower drug safety standards when they supported the 21st Century Cures Act. If Booker and the others hadn’t broken with their party and ignored the needs of the American people, a budget amendment from Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar would have paved the way for the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, where they cost far less than they do in the United States. This was a rare opportunity for bipartisan progress.

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Sam Pizzigati

A Bold UK Echo of FDR’s Income Cap

In 1942, Franklin Roosevelt advanced what may have been the most politically daring policy proposal of his entire presidency. FDR called for the equivalent of a maximum wage. No individual American after paying taxes, Roosevelt declared, should have an income over $25,000, about $370,000 today. A half-century later, in 1992, Bernie Sanders — then a relatively new member of the House of Representatives — marked the 50th anniversary of FDR’s maximum wage initiative. Sanders placed a commentary on FDR’s 1942 proposal in the Congressional Record. UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn believes Britain needs “some kind of high-earnings cap.” This past Tuesday, in the 75th anniversary year of Roosevelt’s 1942 proposal, British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn gave FDR’s income cap idea a considerably wider public airing.

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Miles Mogulescu

Resisting the Trumpublican Shock Doctrine Blitzkrieg

The Trumpublicans are intent on manipulating the shock of Donald Trump’s victory  to roll back much of the New Deal and Great Society; ram through unvetted Cabinet appointments intent on undermining the legal mandate of the very Departments they are charged with leading; legitimize unprecedented conflicts of interest; and intimidate opponents, professional civil servants, and the press, in a rapid Blitzkrieg, before the opposition even knows what hit them. This is a classic case of what Naomi Klein termed “The Shock Doctrine” in her 2007 book of the same title.

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Jeff Bryant

Will Betsy DeVos Restart The ‘Education Wars’?

Education, which was hardly ever mentioned in the recent presidential election, has suddenly been thrust to the frontline in the increasingly heated conflict over President-Elect Donald Trump’s proposed cabinet appointees. The reason for that turn of events is his choice of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. Her nomination risks “reigniting the education wars,” according to Randi Weingarten, the leader of the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second largest teachers union. Weingarten stated that warning in an address this week at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, and broadcast live on the AFT Facebook page.

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Bill Scher

Republicans, Here’s Your Way Out Of the Obamacare Vise

The Republicans are in a jam. For the last six years, they’ve pledged to repeal Obamacare, but haven’t figured out a plan for replacing it. They are ideologically opposed to government involvement, but they know that taking away the health insurance of 20 million people is politically disastrous. They rail against high premiums, but they know taking away the individual mandate — and taking out younger, healthier customers from the risk pool — would only make premiums go even higher. But there is a way out. It requires Republicans to prioritize maintaining political power over sticking with ideological principles. But after swallowing Trump on trade, Russia and politically pressuring individual corporations, that should not be a problem. The solution is three-fold. One, encourage holdout Republican governors to expand Medicaid. Two, increase Obamacare subsidies.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Two Congressmen Nail The Problem With The Jeff Sessions Makeover

The face of Jim Crow wasn’t always the hooded Klansman, the defiant governor at the schoolhouse door or the club-wielding sheriff. It often smiled, uttered smooth words and offered a pat on the shoulder to quell the bubbling uprising. Racism, in other words, could wear the mask of congeniality, beckoning its prey into a can’t-we-all-just-get-along world in which members of every race could live peaceably in their assigned place – white people at the top, black people at the bottom.

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