Robert Borosage

In the First Debate, Trump Failed to Achieve the Reagan Effect

The following was originally published in The Nation Marketed for days like the Super Bowl, last night’s first presidential debate inevitably failed to live up to the hype. The favorite, Hillary Clinton, won as expected, coming off as prepared, experienced, and tough. The underdog, Donald Trump, jabbed and floundered as predicted. He probably benefited simply by being able to stay in the fray for 90 minutes. The debate took place with Democrats reeling from polls showing the race in a dead heat. Unimaginably, momentum—“mighty mo”—was on Trump’s side. CNN’s post-debate snapshot poll suggested that Clinton succeeded in reassuring her own voters and gaining an edge with independents. Surely, African Americans, women, and young people will come away from the debate with further doubts about Trump’s retrograde views.

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Leo Gerard

Donald Trump: Welfare King

Donald Trump puts on a show of being rich. There’s that private jet stamped Trump. He assures everyone, ad nauseam, that he’s really, really rich. But apparently it’s all a sham. The Washington Post revealed last week that Trump is a charity case. Over the past several years, he repeatedly turned to a non-profit organization to pay his bills for him – more than a quarter million dollars in bills. (#Sad) If Donald Trump really is a $10 billionaire as he repeatedly claims, there would be no reason for him to beg a foundation to foot his bills. It was fine for Trump to exaggerate his personal wealth while he was nothing but a reality TV star firing contestants for fun. But now that he’s a candidate for president of the United States, he’s got real responsibilities. And one of them is to release his tax returns, like every other presidential candidate for the past 40 years.

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Richard Eskow

In the First Debate, The People’s Issues Came Second

This was undoubtedly the first presidential debate in history to include a mention of Rosie O’Donnell. Even grading on a curve – something the press tends to do with Donald Trump – the Republican fared poorly. Democrat Hillary Clinton took him down on one character issue after another, from his tax returns to his business practices. Unfortunately, that was not her most important mission on Monday night. Clinton’s fate largely rests on her ability to turn out key Democratic voters in large numbers, especially young people and minorities, by persuading them that she understands their concerns and has an inspiring vision for the future. There was probably little Clinton could have done to change the nature of the debate, given the media feeding frenzy and the personality-driven nature of our political process. But it was unfortunate.

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Terrance Heath

Native Youth Demand A Senate Hearing On Dakota Pipeline Impact

Until recently, most of the voices raised in protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline have been those of adults and elders. That’s starting to change, as Native American youth make their voices heard in opposition to the pipeline. That’s no coincidence, according to Layha Spoonhunter, a youth leader and representative of the International Indigenous Youth Council. “Native youth are very proactive in the movement,” Spoonhunter says. “This is something that has been foretold through prophesies and prayed for by our elders; that our nations would come together as one, and you’re seeing people from all over the world coming and standing in solidarity.” There may be something to those prophesies, too. The movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline has unified Native people from across the continent.

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Jeff Bryant

Protestors Plan To Target ‘Corporate’ School Policies At Debate Tonight

During tonight’s much anticipated debate between presidential candidates Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, education may not get much attention, but outside the debate hall, throngs of public education advocates will urge the contestants to address what they see as a calamity befalling their neighborhood schools. Specifically, the protestors plan to single out “school privatization, public education cuts, and their impact on minority students” as targets for their grievances, according to a report in a Chicago news outlet, where many of the protestors are coming from. Between 750 and 800 protestors are expected to attend the event.

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Dave Johnson

You Can Help CFPB Regulate Payday Lenders

You saw what happened recently with Wells Fargo. They scammed some of their customers some of the time. Payday lending is about scamming all of the customers all of the time. At Ourfuture.org, we have long been warning about and exposing the payday lending debt-trap scam. The payday loan industry business model is to make unaffordable loans that entrap low-income people into a cycle of debt so the amounts owed grow and grow, and they say so. Last month’s post, “Help Stop The Payday Loan Debt-Trap Scam,” explained: The “debt trap” is the actual business model, and they say so.

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Richard Eskow

We Need a Real People’s Debate, Not the “Fight of the Century”

We’re told that Monday night’s confrontation between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could draw 100 million viewers and “rank among television benchmarks like the finales of ‘MASH’ and ‘Cheers.’” We’re not being told that it will be a debate on the issues of greatest concern to the American people. But then, it may not even really be a debate at all. A debate, according to Merriam-Webster, is “a regulated discussion of a proposition between two matched sides.” Given Trump’s cheap theatrics, and the media’s sensationalist bent, we’re more likely to see a “pageant” – which is defined as is defined as “a mere show” and “an ostentatious display” – instead. That would be tragic – for the democratic process, and for the country.

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Terrance Heath

Wingnut Week In Review: Don’t Know Much About History

This week, a Donald Trump supporter managed to somehow surpass even Donald Trump himself in sheer, unadulterated ignorance of our nation’s history regarding race. Meet Kathy Miller. She is — or was, until this week — Donald Trump’s campaign chair for Ohio’s northeast Mahoning County, and she’s got something to tell you about America and American history: Racism is a relatively new thing. It’s only been around for the last 12 years or so, and that’s President Barack Obama’s fault. That’s right. The nation’s first African-American president is the one who’s really to blame for racism. …“If you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your own fault. You’ve had every opportunity, it was given to you,” she said. “You’ve had the same schools everybody else went to.

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Digby

Nothing Left But The Dog Whistle

I wrote about the conservative movement’s last breaths for Salon today: That day 15 months ago when Donald Trump descended that escalator to announce his candidacy, it was obvious to me that whether or not he won, he was going to turn the race into something we had never seen before. He had massive celebrity and a lot of money, and he was tapping into a groundswell of anger over immigration that had shocked the political world just a year earlier when the incumbent House majority leader (Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia) was defeated in a primary largely because of that issue. It was foolish for political insiders to laugh at the possibility that Trump could go all the way. But they did. And they’ve had to play catch-up ever since. The mainstream Republican establishment was knocked for a loop.

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Richard Eskow

Immigrants Don’t Steal Jobs or Wages. Billionaires Do.

With the advent of Donald Trump, what was once covert in the Republican message has become overt. Yesterday’s dog whistle is today’s screaming siren. Case in point: anti-immigrant bigotry, which was most recently expressed in Donald Trump Jr.’s recent “Skittles”-themed Twitter attack on Syrian refugees. Think about that. Don Jr. compared people who are fleeing horrific violence to … tiny candies. This emotional inability to distinguish human beings from inanimate objects, and therefore to empathize with their suffering, seems to border on the sociopathic. Even Wrigley, the candy’s manufacturer, distanced itself in a statement that said: “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it is an appropriate analogy.” But anti-immigrant arguments aren’t always based solely on fear or dehumanization.

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Jeff Bryant

Solutions To The Teacher Shortage Crisis Even Republicans Will Like

A new report is making big headlines for showing that public schools across the nation are experiencing severe problems with teacher shortages that are apt to develop into a “crisis” if left unaddressed. The report from an education think tank called the Learning Policy Institute took off from last year’s widespread news stories that reported how schools were “struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science, and special education.” Where this new report goes way beyond last year’s news stories is that it draws from a deep well of statistical validity, meticulous analysis, and wise counsel.

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Dave Johnson

How Clinton Can Use The Debate To Change The National Discussion

Everyone has an opinion on what Hillary Clinton should do in the Monday’s debate, and this is mine. Hopefully I will be wrong enough to earn a regular column on the New York Times op-ed page. This election season so far has been about Donald Trump, and not about the real problems facing the country and We the People. The national discussion certainly has not been about things that can be done to make people’s lives better. Donald Trump talks about Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton talks about Donald Trump. The news media talks about Donald Trump, even breaking into news shows to cover live anything Donald Trump might be saying. As a result everyone talks about Donald Trump. Clinton and issues and ideas are almost invisible. In Monday’s debate, Hillary Clinton should be a model of how the country should be treating Trump and his deplorable campaign.

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Terrance Heath

Trump Promises Nationwide Stop-And-Frisk Policing

Leave it to Donald Trump to stand in black church, before a somehow still overwhelmingly white audience, and promise to implement New York City’s racist, unconstitutional stop-and-frisk policing nationwide. In the past week, Donald Trump has insulted an African American pastor who dared bring him back into line when he visited her church, used a cynical attempt to brush aside his years of race-baiting birtherism (a ploy that not even his fellow birthers actually bought) to promote his new hotel, and joked once again about assassinating Hillary Clinton. It was hard to imagine how he might top himself, but once again Trump proved it’s never a winning bet to assume he can’t go any lower. This week, Trump managed to outdo himself again. On Monday, the Trump campaign dropped a television spot featuring Ted Nugent.

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Jim Hightower

Union-Made Miracle on the Hudson

In their ongoing, all-out assault to crush labor unions, corporate forces have fabricated a cultural myth to undermine popular support for labor: Unions, they insist, are no longer needed. They tell us that in today’s entrepreneurial economy, workers must compete with each other, not cooperate. Before swallowing that wad of hornswoggle, let’s revisit Flight 1549. As it took off from New York City in 2009, the jet hit a flock of geese, lost all power, and had nowhere to try a crash landing. But Captain Sully Sullenberger knew what to do. He used the Hudson River as a landing strip. Amazingly, it worked. Dubbed the “miracle on the Hudson,” all 150 passengers were saved.

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Dave Johnson

Republicans ‘Working The Ref’ With War On IRS

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was forced to testify on Wednesday before a Republican impeachment committee. Republicans are doing this because the IRS (under a previous commissioner) dared to check whether organizations applying for special IRS nonprofit status were following the law or illegally promoting candidates. Republicans in Congress want to send the IRS and other government agencies a clear message: If government employees try to make corporate/conservative movement organizations follow the laws and rules, Republicans will make their lives miserable, bankrupt them and ruin their careers. And thanks to the huge sums of “dark” money flowing to Republican candidates from billionaires and corporations, they have the power to do it. “Targeting” There has been a big brouhaha over the IRS “targeting” conservative groups.

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Robert Reich

My Coffee with a Trump Supporter

I finally found a Trump supporter – this morning when I went to buy coffee. (I noticed a Trump bumper sticker on his car.) “Hi,” I said. “Noticed your Trump bumper sticker.” “Yup,” he said, a bit defensively. “I hope you don’t mind my asking, but I’m curious. Why are you supporting him?” “I know he’s a little bit much,” said the Trump supporter. “But he’s a successful businessman. And we need a successful businessman as president.” “How do you know he’s a successful businessman?” I asked. “Because he’s made a fortune.” “Has he really?” I asked. “Of course. Forbes magazine says he’s worth four and a half billion.” “That doesn’t mean he’s been a success,” I said. “In my book it does,” said the Trump supporter.

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Terrance Heath

When Will Black Lives Finally Matter To Donald Trump?

For all his bloviating about “law and order,” Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has yet to express any serious outrage over police killings of unarmed African-Americans. Will he now, after two more police-involved shootings of black men in the past week? Terence Crutcher was just trying to get home on Friday night. The 40-year-old father of four, who sang every week in his church choir, had just gotten out of his music appreciation class at Tulsa Community College. His SUV broke down in the middle of the road. Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby and her partner happened upon Crutcher en route to another call. Officer Shelby called for backup. Four more officers, including her husband, responded. A police helicopter hovered overhead.

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Bill Scher

Most States Suing To Block EPA Carbon Caps Have Nothing To Cry About

If you need any more evidence that knee-jerk obstructionism has ravaged the modern Republican Party, here’s one more data point. Twenty-one of the the 27 states suing the EPA to prevent implementation of its Clean Power Plan, requiring cuts in carbon emissions, are already on track to meet the plan’s requirements. In other words, they have literally no reason to complain, let alone sue. Yet sue they have. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the states’ trumped-up case next Tuesday. (If the appellate court decides the Clean Power Plan is constitutional, a probable 4-4 tie at the Supreme Court would allow the plan to survive.) Reuters reports: Already, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and South Dakota appear to be meeting the CPP’s early targets.

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Richard Eskow

Wells Fargo Had a Bad Day. That’s a Start.

People who came looking for drama in Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf’s Senate testimony on Tuesday did not come away disappointed. Stumpf was called before the Senate Banking Committee after his bank was fined $185 million for opening more than two million accounts in customers’ names, without their knowledge or consent, over a five-year period. We now know that these two million phony accounts, and the 5,300 employees held responsible, may not reflect the full extent of the wrongdoing. Stumpf announced that the bank had agreed to extend its review of its misconduct to 2009 and 2010, and said he would consider reviewing earlier years as well. Witness for the Prosecution Stumpf squirmed, shifted and shuffled under the relentless questioning of Sen.

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Leo Gerard

Morning in America, Delivered by Democrats

Nine years after the Great Recession began during the tax- and regulation-slashing Bush administration, some startlingly good economic news arrived from Washington, D.C., last week. The incomes of typical Americans rose in 2015 by 5.2 percent, the first significant boost to middle-class pay since the end of the Great Recession, and the largest, in percentage terms, ever recorded by the Census Bureau. In addition, the poverty rate fell 1.2 percentage points, the steepest decline since 1968.  Also smaller were the numbers of Americans without health insurance and suffering food insecurity. That sounds good, right? Especially after all it took to pull out of the Bush recession. During the month Bush left office, 818,000 Americans lost their jobs. Unemployment increased to 10 percent before President Obama’s stimulus programs started ratcheting it down to the current 4.9 percent.

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