Dave Johnson

The Missed Opportunity On Trade – And What We Must Do Next

The candidates discussed “trade” for a few minutes during the first presidential debate on Monday. Once again the opportunity for a meaningful dialogue on an important issue slipped away. Where do we go from here? That was the subject of a teleconference Wednesday night between activists from around the country and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). The call was titled “Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership: bad for workers, bad for democracy, bad for People and the Planet.” On the call, Sen.

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Ben Ishibashi

Activist Confront Clean Power Opponents In D.C.

Activists assembled outside the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday as the court began hearings on the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. Eighty People’s Action leaders from seven states took to the steps of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and to the offices of Koch brothers-funded lobbyists on Tuesday to demand racially and economically just implementation of the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration initiative for lowering carbon emissions from power plants. We came to D.C. to defend our right to act on climate through the Clean Power Plan (currently stayed in federal court) and to fight the corporate interests suing to stop its implementation.

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Bill Scher

The One Crazy Thing Donald Trump Doesn’t Want To Admit He Said

Donald Trump revels in making offensive comments. “I don’t have time to be politically correct,” is practically his slogan. Accused at the debate of insulting a Miss Universe winner for gaining weight, afterwards he made no apologies: “She was the worst we ever had … she gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem.” But there was one thing he previously said that he ran as far away from as possible during the debate: global warming is a hoax. When Hillary Clinton said, “Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it’s real,” Trump immediately interjected, “I did not. I did not. I do not say that.” Of course, he has called global warming a “hoax” on multiple occasions.

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Terrance Heath

Clinton Is The Clear Choice On Race And Criminal Justice Reform

Little Zianna Oliphant, speaking through her tears at a city council meeting in Charlotte, said more about what’s really happening with policing in black communities than Donald Trump did in 90 minutes at Monday nights debate. The candidates had a lot to say, at last night’s debate, when the question turned to police involved shootings of African-Americans, and the problem of inherent racism in our criminal justice system.

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Frank Clemente

5 Wrong Things Trump Said About Taxes In The Debate

As usual, Donald Trump stretched, distorted and outright denied the truth in the debate Monday night. Some of his biggest whoppers were about taxes: both his own and his plans for everyone else’s. Here are the five most wrong-headed things Trump said about taxes: Under my plan, I’ll be reducing taxes tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses. That’s going to be a job creator like we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan. It’s going to be a beautiful thing to watch. This is the definition of trickle-down economics. Trump claims that by giving big tax cuts to the rich—like himself—the benefits will trickle down to everyone else. This self-benefitting economic philosophy has been proven false time and again. It’s an old canard from conservatives and corporate CEOs.

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LeeAnn Hall

As Judges Debate Climate Policy, Lives Hang In the Balance

  The Clean Power Plan, President Barack Obama’s effort to cap carbon emissions from dirty power plants, came before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday. The panel of 10 judges asked tough questions of both defenders and challengers of the EPA program. While CNN noted that “[t]he challengers’ constitutional arguments did not appear to to get much traction with the judges,” the statutory questions received considerable scrutiny. Still, USA Today struck a hopeful note for climate protectors: “The lengthy debate, while technical and at times inscrutable, pointed slightly in the government’s favor for several reasons: Six of the 10 judges were named by Obama or his Democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton, and most sharply questioned state and industry opponents.

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Michael Winship

A Good Night for Hillary Clinton

And so, after all the anticipation, the rampant sports metaphors and the breathless, sensationalized buildup (MSNBC’s headline in the minutes before the event was “Clinton/Trump Showdown”), the first debate is over. Scorecards may be odious, but overall, it has to be said that Hillary Clinton had a very good night. In the first half hour, Donald Trump seemed to be doing his best to appear presidential and keep his Trumpiness under control but soon it came bursting out of him like Roger Rabbit, unable to resist a goofy sight gag, no matter the consequences. In those beginning minutes, Trump got in his licks, especially when he went after Clinton on trade policy, criticizing her husband’s support of NAFTA and her initial support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a position she has since publicly reversed.

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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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