LeeAnn Hall

Trump’s Gift for the Unemployed: Kicking Them Off Health Care

Imagine telling a laid-off employee they won’t have Medicaid to fall back on. On January 11, the Trump administration issued this cruel announcement: If you can’t find a job, don’t count on being able to get health care. Under an unprecedented new policy, the administration will let states kick people off Medicaid for the crime of being unemployed. Instead of providing good jobs to struggling people, the administration is offering threats and tougher times. Those hurt could include the Carrier plant workers from Indiana, whose jobs Trump promised to save when he was campaigning for the presidency. Last year, the company announced 600 layoffs. Now the last of these employees are being pushed out the door. One worker says she’s “a lost paycheck away from homeless.” Imagine telling her Medicaid won’t be there for her on top of everything else she’ll lose.

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Jeff Bryant

Trump Fills The Swamp To Exploit College Students

President Trump ran on promises to “drain the swamp” of special interests and corporate lobbyists in Washington, DC, but higher education policy in his administration is a quagmire of Okefenokee proportions. Just to review the latest developments to emerge from the dismal places in his administration: • His Department of Education contracted with a college student loan service company with financial ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, • His Department of Justice sided with a college loan service firm that a state attorney general says has violated college student loan debt forgiveness rules, and • His Department of Veterans Affairs gave a reprieve to a for-profit college that also has ties to personnel deep in the muck of DoEd headquarters in L’Enfant Plaza.

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Cindy Garcia

A New American Dream for Jorge Garcia and All Of Us

It was a crisp day in November when my husband Jorge and I drove from our home in Lincoln Park to Detroit for our annual check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We were hopeful that after twelve years of paperwork, Jorge would finally be approved to stay in this country. He loves the United States, where I and our two children, Soleil and Jorge Jr., were all born, and where he’s built a beautiful life over thirty years. We had every reason to hope. When we got married, in 2005 we applied for permanent status for Jorge. It should have been easy, right? I’m a U.S. citizen, born in Michigan, and Jorge didn’t have a speck on his record – not even a traffic ticket – in the years since he’d been brought here from Mexico at the age of ten. He works, pays taxes, and contributes to our community.

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Sam Pizzigati

Enormously Lucky Man? Or Ultra-Deserving Deep Pocket?

Eric Schmidt, a top executive at Google ever since he joined the company as CEO back in 2001, is stepping down later this month. He’s leaving his latest executive slot about $14 billion richer than when he began his Google career. Expect a digital avalanche of praise for Schmidt over the next few weeks. The breathless encomiums have indeed already begun. Wired magazine has just lauded Schmidt for his “mindboggling impact” on the world’s high-tech scene and his “brilliant” realpolitik behind Google’s closed doors. Many observers of Corporate America simply see Schmidt as, in effect, a real-deal “very stable genius.” And they’ve thought that way for quite some time. Not many executives entered the twenty-first century more widely respected within American business circles. Schmidt’s vita back then shouted merit on every page.

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Alan Jenkins

Our President, the White Supremacist

The President of the United States is a white supremacist. He is not just a defender or apologist for bigots and hatemongers. He is one of them, and no one who’s been paying attention can be shocked to learn this. What’s more, when the President of the United States candidly speaks the vitriolic and despicable thoughts that are in his head, it’s not “going rogue.” It is an unadulterated expression of hateful ideology from the highest office in our land. It is the position of the Executive Branch of our government, and we must start treating it that way. The implications are moral, constitutional, and intensely practical. White supremacy is a dangerous contradiction of our nation’s highest values that places our very democracy at risk.

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Miles Mogulescu

Norway to Trump: Keep Your Gold-Plated Sh*t Hole

So the Donald wishes more Norwegians would emigrate to America, instead of people from supposed “sh*thole” countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and Central America. I happen to have spent two weeks visiting beautiful, democratic socialist Norway last summer. And I’ve got news for the Donald. Norwegians are not exactly lining up to escape their democratic socialist country for an increasingly neoliberal America.  Do you want to know how short the line is? Well, out of 763,060 green-card holders who became US citizens in 2016, exactly 93 were Norwegian. And, by the way, Donald, not all Norwegians are the blond-haired, blue-eyed Caucasians whom you seem so hot for. 16.8 percent of Norway’s population are immigrants, many from countries you would call “sh*tholes” like Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, and Pakistan.

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Richard Eskow

Would Dr. King Take a Knee? 6 Ways His Radical Spirit Lives Today

This Monday, the nation celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. If he hadn’t been murdered, he would be 89 years old. How would Dr. King view today’s activists? Would he join them to walk picket lines for a higher minimum wage, or take a knee as the national anthem is played? The words to his “I Have a Dream” speech will be repeated from podiums and in classrooms across the country. But many of the people repeating these words have never heard other King quotes, like this one: “I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.” King’s Answer To those who condemn idealism, who preach the quiet cynicism of self-limiting “pragmatism” and insist it’s “how the world works,” Dr.

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Jeff Bryant

Why America’s School Funding Crisis Is A Race And Gender Justice Issue

Two news stories that recently went viral tell an important story about America today and the nation’s misbegotten values. The first image comes from Baltimore, Maryland, where students and teachers recently had to wear coats, gloves, and blankets in classrooms because their schools weren’t adequately heated for winter weather. Pipes froze and burst and boilers broke down. About a third of schools were initially affected, and when an intense winter storm sent temperatures plunging further, the city had to close all schools. The second image is a video from Vermillion Parish, Louisiana, showing a school teacher who politely questioned her school board about teacher pay and working conditions was escorted out of the meeting by an armed guard and then thrown to the floor, handcuffed, taken into police custody, and charged with a crime.

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Leo Gerard

Fat Cat Tuesday: A Commemoration of CEO Excess

Fat Tuesday is Mardi Gras, a day of revelry, gluttony, intoxication and showers of shiny plastic beads. It is the party to end all parties because it’s followed by Ash Wednesday, when Lenten sacrifices commence. Fat Cat Tuesday is the day – Jan. 2, 2018 – on which the boards of directors of America’s biggest corporations handed their CEOs more money than those same CEOs would deign to pay their workers for an entire year of labor, 260 days. It was a day of revelry, gluttony and private jets for CEOs and worthless shiny plastic beads for workers. The occasion is commemorated in Britain as well. There, though, it took CEOs three days to accrue more compensation than the total annual wages of the typical worker.

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Stanley Fritz, Jess Wisneski

Time to Hold Democrats’ Feet to the Fire 

New Yorkers face grave threats as Trump and GOP lawmakers try to punish states that don’t endorse their divisive agenda. But there is a way we can survive this current crisis, and emerge stronger as a state and a country, if we stand together. Here’s how we can accomplish this. Days after Trump’s electoral college victory, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote about the storm he saw coming, and proposed a path to defeat it. States need to step up, he said, to actively defend voting rights, health care, and public education from federal efforts to undermine them. Ordinary people, too, need to step up and defend progressive values by running for and retaking public offices at every level.

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Richard Eskow

When Will Democrats Start #Resisting GOP Voter Suppression?

Remember all those pictures of smiling Iraqi citizens proudly holding up their blue, ink-stained fingers when they voted for the first time after the fall of Saddam Hussein? The Republicans – and far too many Democrats – who had supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq hoped those vivid images would appeal to the democracy-loving instincts of the American people. Photo credit: U.S. Army, Sgt. Jerry Saslav Americans do love democracy, at least in principle, although they’ve long abandoned their support for that misguided war.

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Mark Trahant

What It Takes to Manage the Indian Health System

What qualifications are needed to manage (and possibly reform?) the Indian health system? It’s Indian Country’s largest employer with more than 15,000 on the payroll and many, many more people who work in health care for tribes, non-profits and other related agencies. The IHS budget is $6.1 billion. Yet it’s also the least funded national health care delivery system, operating in a political atmosphere where critics ask, why can’t it do more? The Wall Street Journal published a story last week that raised questions about Robert Weaver, the Trump Administration’s nominee to head the Indian Health Service. The Journal challenged Weaver’s history at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., from 1997 to 2006. However it quoted Jennifer Talhelm, an HHS representative, saying “any suggestion Mr.

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Robert Borosage

The Orange Menace and the Even More Dangerous Party That Stands With Him

As he marks the end of his first year in office, Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed “very stable genius,” stands astride the political world like a cartoon dybbuk, an orange menace of terrifying impulsiveness. With his tweet-spasms spewing venom on adversaries, his reckless fomenting of racial division, his unending lies, and his predilection for vulgar schoolyard taunts, Trump fuels rage and resistance. Already his act is losing whatever appeal it had for his supporters. Even Trump’s closest aides, as Michael Wolff reports in his new book Fire and Fury, doubt that he has the temperament or the capacity to be president. Remarkably, despite a stock market at record heights, unemployment down, wages beginning to rise, low inflation, and ISIS on the run, Trump’s approval ratings remain at record lows. Trump’s erratic immaturity makes him a constant peril.

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Harvey J Kaye

Twenty Quotes for the #Resistance in 2018

We who will oppose tyranny in all its guises this year don’t yet have our own Thomas Paine, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, or Martin Luther King, Jr. – but we do have their words.  Keep them close.  Make them your own.  Speak them often.  Share with friends and family.  Remix at will.  And please add to this roster if you feel the urge!  The struggle continues.  We have it in our power to begin the world over again.

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Jeff Bryant

Betsy DeVos Harms Higher Ed More Than K-12 in 2017

The big surprise at the end of 2017 is that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been arguably worse for higher education than she has been for K-12, which is not what most experts predicted when she took the job. While protestors have dogged DeVos across the country to attack her support of “school choice” and call her out for neglecting the civil rights of K-12 students, she has been far more effective at gutting regulations protecting the rights of college students and college student loan borrowers. Although Congress has generally not been receptive to DeVos’s proposal for a nationwide school voucher program for K-12, and there are few signs of her building strong relationships with governors or state education leaders, she and her department seem to be working in lock-step with Beltway Republicans who favor the college loan and for-profit college industries.

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Richard Eskow

The GOP’s 100-Year War Is Bigger Than Taxes or Trump

The new year had barely started when the world got new grist for the ‘Trump-is-crazy’ mill, one of the few American industries to experience a boom since Trump became president. Michael Wolff’s profile of the current White House, “Fire and Fury,”  is filled with rumors and backbiting. But the book, and the president’s unhinged reaction to it, provide new evidence that Trump is cognitively and emotionally unfit for office. Wolff got headlines, even in the august New York Times, for saying Trump has “less credibility… than anyone who has ever walked on earth.” Hard news becomes indistinguishable from hyperbole and high school gossip. That’s understandably irresistible for a lot of people. And a person’s sanity becomes existentially important when they hold a nuclear button, regardless of its size.

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Sam Pizzigati

The Free Market Made Us Do It!

Apologists for the many millions in compensation that America’s largest corporations regularly dole out to their top executives have essentially one basic, all-purpose go-to defense. America’s corporate giants, this defense contends, are just paying the going “market rate” for top-notch executive talent. So chill out, America. Average Americans who complain about excessive executive pay, says Stanford Business School’s Nick Donatiello, simply do not realize “how much compensation is required, given the market for talent, to attract and motivate the right people.” Any company that tries to go cheap and get by without that “right talent,” America’s corporate wisdom continues, would never be able to successfully compete in our globalized marketplace. Does this defense hold any water? Not any more.

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LeeAnn Hall and George Goehl

We Can Take the Lead in Remaking America

We remember well the sense of horror we felt at the beginning of 2017. There was a sickness deep in our stomachs at the very mention of the words “Trump administration,” not to mention what that administration planned to unleash: a border wall, evisceration of health care, a Muslim ban, the violation of sacred lands for fossil-fuel profits, and more. But then came resolve – the kind of commitment to action by ordinary people that allows us to enter 2018 with what we might call “improbable hope.” As co-directors of People’s Action, which is now at the start of its second year as a new national organization, it has been extraordinarily moving to play a role in the growing resistance to Trump’s agenda, and to help create a movement that puts democracy where it belongs: in the hands of all the people.

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Leo Gerard

The Middle Class Is So Christmas Past

Republicans promised the American people a tax bill for Christmas, and this week they delivered. It’s definitely a bill for working people and the poor because by 2025, they’ll pay more. For them, poverty is the new black. By contrast, Congress bestowed 83 percent of the new tax law’s benefits on the richest 1 percent. For them, greenbacks are the new black. On the first day of Christmas The GOP gave to me A tax break for the wealthy The 1 percent have already roasted and eaten the partridge, the pair of turtle doves, the three French hens, the four calling birds, the six geese, even the seven swans. They are, after all, very rich. And now, with these tax changes, Republicans in Congress have swiped Tiny Tim’s turkey and handed it to the wealthy so they can gorge themselves on it too.

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Jeff Bryant

Republican Tax Plan Opens Back Door To School Vouchers

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos insists her lifelong support for school vouchers and other forms of school privatization will not lead the Trump administration to “mandate” these “school choice” policies. Nonetheless, her Republican friends in Congress have just put new provisions into their tax plan that will have essentially the same impact as a federally-supported school voucher program and will redirect millions of dollars from public treasuries to private and religious schools. Republicans and DeVos know that school vouchers are generally unpopular with voters and have been voted down at the ballot box every time they’ve been attempted through referendum. Betsy DeVos and her husband blew millions in funding an attempt to pass a school vouchers measure in their home state of Michigan, only to see it go down to defeat.

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