Terrance Heath

Wingnut Week In Review: Slouching Towards Cleveland

For four days, the Republicans convened in Cleveland, officially nominated Donald Trump for president, and wingnuttery abounded. A Paler Shade of White Remember when the Republican National Committee issued its post-mortem of the 2012 election? In a rare moment of clarity, Republicans told themselves some hard truths. “ Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the Party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country. When someone rolls their eyes at us, they are not likely to open their ears to us. Fast forward to 2016, and it’s clear that no lessons were learned. Even before the convention started, reporter Byron Tau tweeted a picture of some of the signage going up in preparation for the RNC. Spotted at the #RNCinCLE. I’m told it’s being replaced for obvious reasons.

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Miles Mogulescu

A Clinton Campaign In Big Trouble Must Make An Audacious Choice

Democratic primary voters, who chose Hillary Clinton because they believed she was the most electable Democrat against Donald Trump, may be in for a rude awakening. They may have picked the least electable Democrat and placed the country and the world in jeopardy of a proto-fascist President Trump. Very simply, the Clinton campaign is in big trouble, and she seems on the verge of compounding the problem by choosing a boring, corporate centrist running mate like Tim Kaine or Tom Vilsack, who will only emphasize the status quo nature of her candidacy, rather than a populist like Sens. Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown, or possibly Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who could put some energy and enthusiasm into her campaign. Picking a corporate centrist would just double down on Clinton as a status quo candidate when Trump’s challenge is as an agent of change.

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Jeff Bryant

What’s Taking Little Rock Back To Its Segregated Past?

Stories about historic efforts to address racial segregation in American public education often start with Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. But the story of Little Rock and segregation badly needs updating. Central High became one of the first practical tests of principles established in Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruling that overturned racially separate public schools. When nine black students showed up for opening day of the historically all-white school, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called in the National Guard to prevent them from entering. President Dwight Eisenhower responded by calling in federal troops to escort the students into the school, and Faubus eventually backed down. But the story of racial integration in Little Rock shouldn’t be confined to Central High.

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Dave Johnson

Ailes Out, Trump In

On the day Donald Trump gave his speech accepting the nomination of the Republican party, Roger Ailes left Fox News. Ailes’ work here was done. Trump’s speech was the culmination of the Fox News project. One con man has left the scene, a new con man enters from stage far-right. Trump’s candidacy is the direct and inevitable consequence of decades of Fox News pumping out its propaganda, hate and outright lies, every single day, conning its audience into supporting the agenda of an elite few. Every delegate in that convention hall and every Trump voter is the product of Fox News and the rest of the conservative media machine, products packaged up and delivered to billionaires. Fox News presents its audience with an alternative world full of terrifying enemies.

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Richard Eskow

Trump’s Terrifying Pitch: It Was Better Than You Think

The Gettysburg address, it wasn’t. Donald Trump’s acceptance speech clocked in at one hour and 15 minutes, and that’s not counting the time dilation effect demagoguery can produce in some observers. Lincoln’s speech lasted less than two minutes. A columnist in the New York Post said that Trump gave “the speech of his life.” Actually, he gave several of them. Abe Lincoln’s grace and humility were nowhere to be found. But then, the self-effacement of Lincoln’s words – “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here” – would hardly suit Trump’s oversized persona. To be fair, this speech needed to be long. Trump needed to present a number of false and contradictory identities to the electorate, and that takes time. He was both a firebrand populist and a rock-ribbed Republican.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Last Chance to Make Corporations Come Clean on Tax Havens

People who want multi;national corporations to be held accountable for their tax-dodging tactics only have a few more hours Thursday to tell the Security and Exchange Commission to support a tough rule that would go a long way toward making that happen. The SEC is soliciting comments until 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on a new business and financial disclosure rule that would require corporations to make public more information about their overseas subsidiaries. This rule would affect the estimated $2.4 trillion in profits that corporations ranging from Apple to Walmart have shunted offshore in order to avoid paying U.S. corporate taxes. Right now, the rules for disclosing corporate use of offshore tax havens is, as the tax code itself, riddled with loopholes.

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Jeff Bryant

How Mike Pence’s Extremism May Divide Democrats On Education Policy

Soon after the announcement that Indiana Governor Mike Pence would be the vice presidential candidate for the Republican Party, word came from Democrats that he was an extremist – and not just your garden-variety extremist. “The ‘most extreme’ vice presidential pick in a generation,” an article in USA Today quotes a statement from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. Podesta elaborates, according to the reporter, calling Pence, “an early supporter of the Tea Party” and someone who “‘personally spearheaded’ a religious liberty bill that ‘legalized discrimination’ against gays and lesbians (which he later revised); and he was a leader in the effort to defund Planned Parenthood as a member of the U.S.

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Terrance Heath

Roger Ailes: How The Russ Meyer of the Newsroom Sped His Own Demise

The ouster Thursday of Fox News chief Roger Ailes, brought on by a long history of sexual harassment, portends big changes for the network he created — and the party it has consumed. A sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Ailes by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson sprouted a Bill Cosby-esque crop of similar allegations against Ailes. Not long ago, that wouldn’t have been enough to dislodge Ailes as king of the Fox News mountain. But the ejection of Ailes’ old ally Rupert Murdoch from his media throne left Fox News parent company in the hands of a younger generation of Murdochs, who have the future of the network to think about, and no particular love for Ailes. The Mogul Image via Donkey Hotey @ Flickr.

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Dave Johnson

Is Trump Changing His Tune On Trade?

Is Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump changing his tune on trade, or was he just making it up all along? This year, working-class voters are high-intensity opposed to trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and Trump figured that out early. Trump dominated the primaries in part because of his vocal opposition to the TPP and previous trade deals. (Trump calls TPP “ObamaTrade.”) Thursday’s Morning Trade hints that Trump is “softening his position” on trade: … [A] pair of Trump economic advisers told POLITICO that Trump is softening his position on trade.

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Bill Scher

This Is What a Broken Party Looks Like

America saw a divided party Wednesday night, though what it was divided over wasn’t evident if you haven’t been paying close attention. What everyone saw was Ted Cruz humiliating the Republican Party’s nominee Donald Trump by ignoring the chants from delegates of “endorse Trump” after cheekily telling the audience to “vote your conscience.” But Cruz made that historically unprecedented declaration after delivering a speech that was perfectly in line with Donald Trump’s campaign. He backed building a border wall, refusing Syrian refugees, and “trade policies that put the interests of American farmers over the interests that are funding the lobbyists.” Cruz doesn’t disagree with Trump. He thinks Trump is a pretender to the cause, or he remains angry at how Trump personally insulted him, his wife and his father – or both.

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Chuck Collins

The American Dream Moved to Canada

Does your family aspire to the American Dream of a decent paying job, a few weeks of paid vacation, a home of your own, and the hope of retiring before you die? Maybe try Canada. Our country has historically prided itself on being a socially mobile society, where your ability is more important than the race or class you’re born into. Indeed, during the three decades after World War II, social mobility increased — particularly for the white working class. That mobility became part of our self-identity, especially when juxtaposed with the old “caste societies” of Europe and their static class systems. Today, however, that story has been turned on its head. If you forgot to be born into a wealthy family, you’re better off today living in Northern Europe or Canada, where social safety nets and investments in early childhood education have paid big dividends for ordinary citizens.

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Richard Eskow

Clinton Must Go Bold – and Go Left – For VP

Word is that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will announce her vice presidential choice on Friday, and rumors that she’s going with a “safe” pick should worry Democrats. In this political climate, a search for “safety” could put her candidacy in serious danger. Change vs. the Status Quo The GOP chose Mike Pence as its vice presidential nominee in part because his extremist views will reassure the Republican base. Pence is also a seasoned politician whose nomination is meant to reassure voters who worry that presidential nominee Donald Trump has no experience in statecraft or governance. (Note to readers: Yes, I just used the words “Trump” and “statecraft” in the same sentence. It feels as strange to me as it does to you.) Clinton’s needs are different.

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Dave Johnson

Republicans Want To “Make America Work Again”? That Would Be Real Change

Tuesday was “Make America Work Again” day at the Republican National Convention. But this day wasn’t about making America work again for working people. This was, as always with conservatives, all about tax cuts for the rich and corporations, deregulation of oil and coal companies (and other paying corporate clients) and austerity cuts in the things government does to make people’s lives better. There was nothing about how to actually make America “work again.” Truth is, the economy has added 14.8 million private-sector jobs since the big Bush/Republican downturn of 2008.

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Robert Borosage

Embracing the New Populist Moment

The Bernie Sanders campaign is the latest and largest wave of a rising populist tide, gaining force from the Occupy movement, the Dreamers, Black Lives Matter, the Fight for $15, the Wisconsin showdown, and more. The failure of the political establishment has been exposed, but the center still holds. So what’s next? First, Sanders is right: Beating Donald Trump is vital to ensuring that bigotry and nativism do not poison and discredit the new populist moment. Once Trump has been defeated, the progressive movement should focus on defining issues and politics from the bottom up. The next movement waves—climate change, student debt, protests against systemic inequality and brutal policing—will continue to shake the establishment. Battles over these defining issues will deepen the understanding that there is an alternative.

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Sam Pizzigati

Big Headlines for a Tiny Wage Hike

Lloyd Blankfein, one of America’s most powerful bankers, a few years ago told a reporter that his Goldman Sachs financial colossus was doing “God’s work.” That offhand comment would provoke an instant uproar. An embarrassed Blankfein had to quickly calm the waters. He meant his quip, the Goldman CEO assured us all, only as a joke. Last week, one of Blankfein’s high-finance peers, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, made some headlines of his own.

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Leo Gerard

Donald Trump: The Divider

The man Republicans will nominate this week as their presidential candidate sees himself as a U.S. generalissimo. Donald Trump would be, he said last week, the law-and-order president.  He’d be a tough guy at a time when crime is down. He’d strong arm at a time when reconciliation is required. What Trump didn’t say, because he lacks the insight to know it, is that he’d also be the nation’s most self-involved, egotistical president ever. Rather than bearing the important mantle of consoler-in-chief after tragedies like those in Orlando, Dallas and Baton Rouge, a President Trump would be Tweeter-in-chief, bragging about how he, and only he, had predicted it would happen. Precious few Americans want a bully as a leader, someone who barks, “You’re fired,” who calls people names, ridicules the physically handicapped, and builds walls between races.

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Miles Mogulescu

Trump on Making America Safe Again: Talk Loudly and Carry a Small Stick

Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, hardly anyone’s idea of a dove, famously proclaimed that in exercising diplomatic and military power, the U.S. should “talk softly and carry a big stick.” In contrast, each time there’s a terror attack or other violent incident anywhere in the world, Donald Trump speaks loudly, while his small fingers are firmly wrapped around a tiny, small stick. In response to the tragic attack in Nice by a deranged man of Moroccan descent, Trump’s first response was to promise that “if we’re elected, we’ll be very strong and very smart.” Speaking by phone to Bill O’Reilly, Trump then called for a congressional declaration of war on ISIL, also known as the Islamic State or ISIS.

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Terrance Heath

What Rudy Giuliani Did For New York Would Make America More Unsafe

What Rudy Giuliani did for New York City as its former mayor, and what Donald Trump promises to do for America, will only make things more dangerous for Americans — both for the police, and for those being policed. Giuliani’s speech on the opening night of the Republican National Convention — themed “Make America Safe Again” — quickly turned into a rant about Black Lives Matter and the policing of black communities. The speech came a day after three Baton Rouge, La., police officers had been shot and killed and three days after the funeral of Alton Sterling, a black man whose shooting death by police in Baton Rouge sparked a wave of protests.

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Dave Johnson

Paul Ryan Says Poor Are Victims, But Blames Them For Being Poor

House Speaker Paul Ryan in an NPR interview Monday acknowledged that the poor are victims of our economic system. The interview sounds reasonable, almost soothing, until you examine what Ryan is really saying. After acknowledging that poverty is systemic, he turns around and blames the poor themselves as being personally – even morally – responsible for being poor. He implies the poor are just lazy. He cited addiction, lack of skills, and, of course, government handouts as the real causes of poverty. He said raising the minimum wage would not help. His soothing-sounding words are actually quite radical and extreme. The Interview Ryan was interviewed on Monday’s NPR’s Morning Edition by Steve Inskeep about his ideas on helping people get out of poverty.

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Jeff Bryant

Rally for Education Justice – Are We Winning?

With the sound of jet engines booming overhead, a crowd of about 800 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial last week to advocate for “the people’s education.” The People’s March for Public Education and Social Justice took place in the middle of a political “no-fly zone” in Washington. Democrats and Republicans alike have largely avoided the issues raised by the People’s March. But at the grassroots level, the backlash against bipartisan, corporate education reform has grown too big to ignore. High-stakes testing, crackdowns on teachers unions, and the massive growth of privately controlled charter schools that undermine local neighborhood schools—especially in low-income, non-white communities—drove hundreds of activists to come out and protest.

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