Jeff Bryant

Is Tim Kaine A Sign Democrats Are Leaving The ‘Education Reform Camp?’

An education “reform” establishment that has enjoyed the complete support of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush may be getting nervous. The policy outline for K-12 education coming from the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign remains vague, but supporters of Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders have substantially altered how public education is framed in the Democratic Party platform, and Clinton has become more strident in her attacks on “for-profit” charter schools and vouchers that allow parents to transfer their children to private schools at taxpayer expense.

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Robert Borosage

The Democratic Convention: The Big Dawg Still Can Howl

“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl…” Thus began Bill Clinton’s charming, personal portrait of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and a speech that showed a master at the top of his skills. There were no particularly memorable lines, but a compelling story. All his signature gestures – the pointed finger, the bitten lip, the cocked head, the flirtatious smile – were on display. He talked intimately to the millions watching on TV, rather than declaiming to the thousands in the hall. The speech went too long, the story was airbrushed, the Big Dawg often seems frail now, but anyone who loves politics had to enjoy an artist still at the top of his craft.

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Sam Pizzigati

In Brazil, a Pre-Olympics Folly

Hardly anything about the Olympic dream these days is feeling particularly dreamy. The Rio de Janeiro games, some are charging, have already turned into “a large-scale catastrophe,” with everything from massive evictions and expenditures billions over budget to doping scandals and degraded environments. Have the Olympics become, asks veteran sportswriter Sally Jenkins, anything more than a “an unwieldy cash-and-corruption-engorged monster that descends on the host country with a ravenous maw and leaves a swathe of human and economic casualties in its wake”? My, how things have changed since 2009, the year Rio celebrated winning the hosting rights for this summer’s games. The 2016 Olympics, Brazil’s proud leaders figured, would amount to a spectacular “coming out party” for the world’s newest economic powerhouse.

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Miles Mogulescu

Imagine Waking Up On November 9 to President Trump

I’m a lifelong democratic socialist and a die-hard supporter of Bernie Sanders and the political revolution he’s embodied. I have long-standing objections to the Clintons and the way in which they’ve triangulated the Democratic Party rightward through the years. But after a brief thought experiment—imagining what it would feel like to wake up on November 9th to the news that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States—it becomes a no-brainer to state that I’ll vote for Hillary Clinton and do all I can to prevent her being defeated by Donald Trump. I humbly suggest that my “Bernie or Bust/Never Hillary” friends (of which I have several) try the same thought experiment: Are you ready? Close your eyes and imagine: You wake up the day after the elections to discover that Donald Trump will be the next President.

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Terrance Heath

Mothers of the Movement Address the Democratic Convention

Tonight, the Mothers of the Movement will leave no doubts about to which party black lives truly matter. In a historic moment, the mothers of seven African-Americans who died at the hands of police, in police custody, or in extra-legal killings will address the Democratic convention tonight. Their own names may not be familiar, but the stories of how they lost their children, and the mournful journeys that brought each of them to the stage tonight commanded the nation’s attention, and launched a movement that shifted the national discourse. There was little sympathy for black victims of police violence at the Republican convention last week. The overwhelmingly white audience heard a line-up of speakers that repeatedly mocked or ignored African-Americans’ frustration with police violence. There were few references to the growing list of black victims of police brutality. Sen.

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Bill Scher

Remembering The First Clinton Bounce

The first Democratic convention that nominated a Clinton also began with pockets of dissension. It was 1992, and Jerry Brown was refusing to endorse the Arkansas governor. His delegates chanted “Let Jerry Speak” on the first night, and Brown eventually seized the podium on the third night to declare, “We have to save our souls as Democrats.” But was it “Democrats in Disarray?” Not exactly. The rest of the convention was scripted elegance. Independent Ross Perot suddenly dropped out, citing a “revitalized Democratic Party.” And Bill Clinton left Madison Square Garden with the biggest poll bounce in history. I recounted this is in a recent piece for Politico, though my tale was a cautionary one: despite the big bounce, the party still wasn’t perfectly unified. Many Democrats ended up voting for Perot who re-entered the race in October.

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Dave Johnson

‘No TPP’ Gets YUUGE Response At Democratic Convention

If you were watching the Democratic convention Monday night, you might have noticed a lot of “No TPP” signs in the crowd. (By Nomiki Konst via Twitter) These signs refer to the widespread opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). They were in evidence when Bernie Sanders took his place at the convention podium as the Monday keynote speaker, on national prime-time TV, facing what was probably his largest audience of the campaign.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Rev. Jesse Jackson Has Lessons for Progressives in Philadelphia

In a session that was both a trip back in time and a challenge for the future, the Rev. Jesse Jackson in Philadelphia on Tuesday schooled a new generation of political activists about the struggles that laid the ground work for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and about what it would take to keep the Sanders revolution alive. Jackson was invited to Progressive Central, a hub for progressive strategy and networking at the Democratic National Convention organized by Keystone Progress, to talk about his landmark 1984 and 1988 Democratic presidential campaigns. But Jackson, in answering a question by The Nation’s John Nichols about his first party convention, took the group to the Democratic convention of 1968. Jackson was then a close lieutenant to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who just months before had been with King when he was assassinated in Memphis.

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Leo Gerard

Voters Can Choose U.S. Forecast: Bright or Falling Skies

The dark and treacherous skies Donald Trump invoked at the Republican National Convention last week have lifted as Democrats begin their meeting in Philly Monday with a healthy dose of optimism. The Hillary Clinton team sees America differently. They recognize problems like stagnant wages, unfair trade closing American factories, insufficient support for working mothers, terrorism, and conflict between cops and communities of color. And they have concrete plans to deal with those. Image via Donkey Hotey @ Flickr. The Clinton team has a unifying vision calling for Americans to work together to solve problems and build a better future for everyone. Hillary Clinton believes a good president inspires the best in Americans and motivates them to display their cherished qualities of community, fairness, and equal opportunity.

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Robert Borosage

Sanders: The Struggle Continues

“Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here tonight.”— Bernie Sanders, in his address to the Democratic National Convention. The first day of the Democratic National Convention culminated in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ forceful endorsement of presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. The prime-time audience saw a compelling Michelle Obama address, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) preceding Sanders. For Clinton, it could not have gone better on a day that began with polls showing Republican nominee Donald Trump surging to a small lead after the Republican convention, and then careened into Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s self-immolation. Five observations from the convention’s first day: 1. Sanders supporters are still on fire.

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Dave Johnson

What To Make Of VP Pick Tim Kaine’s TPP Reversal

In a representative democracy, the idea is that the representatives should support the preferences of their constituencies. This is what is happening with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick, Tim Kaine has reversed his position from supporting TPP to opposing it. He had praised TPP as recently as Thursday. He has changed his position on TPP, and good for him for doing so. Kaine had to change his position immediately after being chosen as Clinton’s VP pick. This is what happens when people organize and make their voices heard. This is the power of the progressive movement. This is the new Democratic party — recognizing reality, and starting to listen to the voices of working people again.

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Richard Eskow

Watch Sen. Tammy Baldwin Talk Wall Street Reform [Video]

We recently spoke with Sen. Tammy Baldwin about three financial reform initiatives: ending Wall Street’s huge bonuses for employees who enter government service, reducing “vulture” capitalism’s impact on American jobs, and closing the tax loophole for hedge funders.

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Burning Issues Video

Burning Issues: The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Climate Change

“Our trade policies stand to undermine the very real progress we’re making on climate change,” warns Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, in this Burning Issues video. The Trans-Pacific Partnership would make it more difficult to implement the important policy commitments the United States made during the 2015 global climate change summit in Paris, Solomon says. For example, corporations could challenge laws designed to lower carbon emissions in corporate-dominated investor-state dispute settlement tribunals, she said. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both say they oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but Solomon says there are key differences in how they come to their opposition.

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Roger Hickey

Two Democratic Parties in Philadelphia: They Must Unite And Beat Trump.

Two Democratic parties will meet in Philadelphia this week. It is crucially important that they unite to defeat Donald Trump – and then work together to win progressive change for all Americans. A huge impediment to unity has been removed: Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced on Sunday she is resigning as chair of the Democratic National Committee. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and supporters had long complained she undermined him in setting primary rules. And leaked Democratic National Committee emails showed DNC staffers conspiring to sabotage his campaign. Only hours after Sanders renewed his call for her to resign, saying the emails confirmed their longtime complaints of DNC bias, Wasserman Schultz was gone – and unlikely to even speak at the convention.

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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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