Mark Trahant

Trump Reality Show Distracts From Dismantling Medicaid

The best moment for the new Trump administration was the one where the president smiled in Saudi Arabia and said only 26 words in public. This was terrible reality TV, but we all watched knowing that it was likely just a pause. Something outrageous must be coming up next. Meanwhile, beyond the distraction, Republicans work to dismantle the most successful government health insurance for the poor, Medicaid. Photo credit: White House Reality TV works for one simple reason: The antics of the characters are beyond what’s believable in fiction. It’s compelling drama because normal people do not do such things. So part of watching is to find out when the story arc ends, to discover when the situation becomes “normal” again. Even though the story does go on and on and on. That’s why the presidency of Donald J.

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Isaiah J. Poole

The Time Is Now to Stand Up for the CFPB

Mark Feuer, the Los Angeles City Attorney who helped hold Wells Fargo accountable for creating millions of fake accounts without customers’ knowledge, now warns against efforts by the Trump administration and Congress to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “I’m appalled at the spectacle of the House attempting to dismantle or at least severely diminish the CFPB,” Feuer told CNNMoney in a recent interview. He was referring to a bill disingenuously called the CHOICE Act, which would neuter the now-independent CFPB so that it no longer serves as a watchdog against the predatory practices of financial institutions. People’s Action is asking for signatures on a petition calling on Congress to vote “no” on the CHOICE Act, which in expected to come up for a vote in the coming weeks.

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Yue Maggie Zhou

How U.S. Firms Offshore Production, Then Pollution

On April 22, as protesters swelled Earth Day rallies in U.S. cities and around the world, President Trump tweeted that he was “committed to keeping our air and water clean but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter!” His message was eerily similar to assertions by governments in developing countries that environmental standards are less important than attracting jobs. Heavy gray smog blankets northeastern China, including Beijing and Tianjin, on Dec. 18, 2016 during a five-day air pollution ‘red alert.’ Photo credit: NASA Earth Observatory Indeed, over the last few decades many developing countries have adopted loose environmental standards to lure foreign firms to move production there. However, an emerging body of research shows that policies like this also bring heavy pollution to the host countries.

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Maureen Miller

Trump’s Global Gag Order: 5 Questions Answered

Three of the biggest killers in the developing world are AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Currently 36.7 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, a third of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis and more than one million people die from malaria each year. Eunice Adhiambo, an HIV-positive Kenyan woman, and her HIV-negative daughter Jyll. Riccardo Gangale/USAID Kenya Trump’s executive order endangers $6.8 billion in annual funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Former President George W. Bush created this initiative, known as PEPFAR, to help save the lives of people suffering from HIV/AIDS. The U.S. put $1.35 billion of that money into the the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria last year. This independent organization is the largest entity dedicated to preventing and treating these diseases.

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Sam Pizzigati

How We Can Get Walmart’s $237-Million-Man to Pay His Own Freight

How much does the typical employee earn at Walmart, America’s largest private employer? We don’t know exactly and won’t until next spring, when corporations begin disclosing figures on their median — most typical — worker pay. Federal regulations that went into effect just before Donald Trump took office now require this disclosure. In the meantime, we do already know how much Walmart’s highest-paid people are making. Publicly traded companies like Walmart have to disclose what they pay their top execs. Most of what they pay comes in the form of stock, and calculating the value of these stock awards can get tricky. Accounting experts regularly disagree on which execs are actually making the most. Earlier this month, business analysts at Bloomberg chimed in with their latest executive pay scorecard. In 2016, Bloomberg reports, four U.S.

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Jeff Bryant

Trump Cuts Student Aid to Feed School Privatization

The vision of “education reform” coming from the Trump administration and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos entails cutting direct aid to students, especially those from low-income families, in order to expand the private sector’s financial footprint in education. That at least is what’s reflected by a leaked budget document obtained by the Washington Post. As the Post reports, deep spending cuts – a net $9.2 billion, or 13.6 percent – called for in the document sever funding to many “long-standing programs” and federal government supports that largely serve children and youth from low-income households. At the same time, more money would go to incentivize “alternatives to traditional public schools” at the K-12 level and increase the costs of college loans, a federal program with significant ties to the financial services industry.

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Lauren McCauley

Warren Skewers Mnuchin for Doublespeak on Breaking Up Banks

Calling his comments and attempted explanations both “bizarre” and “crazy,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) slammed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a hearing on Thursday for backtracking on repeated promises by the Trump administration that it would support breaking up the big banks by reinstating a new version of the Glass-Steagall Act. The tense exchange came as Mnuchin, a former executive at Goldman Sachs and OneWest before being picked by President Donald Trump to lead the Treasury, explained to the Senate Banking Committee the administration policy does not favor breaking up too-big-to-fail banks or separating their commercial banking side from their riskier investment banking operations.

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Lev Hirschhorn

Five Reasons Why Krasner Won

At 9:45 p.m. Tuesday night, Larry Krasner was declared the winner of the Democratic Primary for District Attorney of Philadelphia. At his victory speech, the community organizers and activists who formed the backbone of his campaign cheered as Krasner said “this is not about a person… this is now and will always be about every person.” Photo credit: Lev Hirschhorn Krasner, a civil rights attorney whose candidacy was laughed at as a joke-candidacy by the political establishment only a few months ago, won decisively with a higher than usual voter turnout. His win is a major victory for social movements fighting for racial and economic justice. So what can progressives learn from Krasner’s win? Below are five reasons behind the victory; five lessons for organizing and winning in today’s political climate. 1.

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Robert Borosage

For Democrats, Resistance Trumps Ideas

Democratic Party luminaries and 2020 presidential mentionables gathered this week for an “ideas conference” organized by the Center for American Progress, the Democratic establishment’s premier think tank. Its stated purpose was to focus not on “what could have been,” said CAP Vice President Winnie Stachelberg introducing the day, but on “new, fresh, bold, provocative ideas that can move us forward.” Convened in a basement of Georgetown’s Four Season’s Hotel, the posh watering hole for Washington lobbyists, lawyers and visiting wealth, the conference quickly revealed how hard it is for Democrats to debate the future when Trump is taking all of the air out of the room. Virtually every speaker dutifully invoked the theme of the day: resistance is not enough; Democrats must propose what they are for.

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Nika Knight

Philly DA Candidate Seeking to End Mass Incarceration Wins Race

Larry Krasner, the most progressive candidate in Philadelphia’s seven-way Democratic primary election for District Attorney, won the race Tuesday in what supporters call “a revolution.” Krasner ran on an unprecedented campaign to end mass incarceration and stand up for people’s civil rights and liberties. Photo credit: Larry Krasner for DA A civil rights and criminal defense attorney, Krasner told The Intercept that “the criminal justice system systemically picks on poor people, and those people, at least in Philadelphia, are overwhelmingly black and brown people.” During his career, Krasner has sued the Philadelphia Police Department no less than 75 times. Krasner campaigned for DA with promises to end cash bail and not to lock up non-violent arrestees who don’t pose a threat to their communities.

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Richard Eskow

The Bradley Foundation’s Secret War on Gay Marriage and Liberal Sex

A trove of documents exposed by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that the right-wing Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation wants to build a right-wing “infrastructure” across the country to promote its extreme agenda. Unfortunately, the Foundation’s desire to police what happens in American bedrooms is part of that agenda. Graphic: Center for Media & Democracy To promote its socially conservative view of marriage and the family – especially its opposition to marriage equality – the Bradley Foundation has been pushing the work of a discredited researcher who thinks liberal women want more sex, porn-watching makes men support gay marriage, and gay marriage makes straight men both more promiscuous and more likely to … well, keep reading.

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Kathy Mulady

Why a Free Press Matters Now More Than Ever

Freedom of the press is at the very top of the Bill of Rights, our founders’ list of freedoms essential to democracy. That a reporter can now be arrested in the United States for doing his job, asking a public official about public business in a public place, should send a chill of dread through the heart of every person in this country. Dan Heyman, a radio reporter for Public News Service in West Virginia, asked Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to respond to a question just days after a narrow vote in the House to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which if passed will end health coverage for 24 million Americans.  When Price didn’t respond, Heyman asked again. He persisted. Then he was arrested. For asking a question and insisting on an answer.

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Leo Gerard

Stop China’s Stealth Invasion of U.S. Aluminum

A country claiming the greatest military on earth can’t be without some things. Steel is an obvious one. In the age of drones, aluminum is another. Aluminum is essential for flying machines like the F-35 joint strike fighter and Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, for armor plating on army vehicles and naval vessels and for countless infrastructure projects including bridges and roads. Obviously, then, for the United States to retain top ranking, it must protect its aluminum industry. That industry, though, is under a two-pronged stealth attack from China. For more than a decade, the Chinese have ramped up their own aluminum production and dumped the excess on the world market, depressing prices and bankrupting Western producers. Now, a corrupt Chinese company that is under investigation by three U.S. agencies is trying to buy an American aluminum firm.

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Richard Eskow

What Progressives Should Demand From the FBI

  Many Americans are rightfully outraged at the firing of FBI Director James Comey, just as they were shocked at Comey’s ability to influence political events. But what can we do about it? A political movement should do more than just react to the day’s events with outrage, although that’s important.  It should also offer the vision of a better world. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons Donald Trump will nominate the next FBI director. Barring something unexpected, his nominee will almost certainly be approved.  But that doesn’t mean the rest of us are powerless.  We have the power to imagine a nation run on principles of economic and social justice. We can create a vision so compelling that it brings new people into politics, encourages more activism, and compels our political leaders to fight for it. That vision can, and should, include the FBI.

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Miles Mogulescu

Kris Kobach Can Irreparably Harm Our Democracy

Donald Trump’s choice of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to co-chair his new commission on “election integrity” is like asking Vito Corleone to crack down on police corruption or Vladimir Putin to defend human rights. It’s worse than a fox guarding the henhouse. Photo credit: Citizen Guardian Maybe that’s an exaggeration. But it’s no exaggeration to say Kobach, a hardline anti-immigrant operative who seeks out ways to undermine voting rights, may have done more to hand the 2016 elections to Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress than Vladimir Putin and James Comey combined. So there’s more than a whiff of payback in the air. And with Kobach now empowered to scrutinize the non-issue of “voter fraud” nationwide, the Republicans are gearing up to steal the 2018 and 2020 elections, unless we stop them.

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Martese Chism

From Selma to Springfield: Why We’re Marching in Illinois

Over fifty years ago, my great-grandmother Birdia Keglar marched in Selma with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Today I join two dozen others on a 15-day, 200-mile march from Chicago to Springfield to demand a “People & Planet First” budget for Illinois. Martese Chism I carry with me a promise I made to my great-grandmother  — because fifty years later, her fight is far from over. Portrait of Birdia Keglar My great-grandmother was a fearless activist who spent years demanding the right to vote in Mississippi. She was targeted by the Klan, and on her way home from giving testimony to U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy about poverty and denial of voting rights, her car was forced off the road. She and her 78-year-old mentor, Adlena Hamlett, were then brutally killed. I was five years old in 1966 when my great-grandmother was murdered.

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Richard Eskow

What Kind of FBI Do We Want After Comey?

  The firing of James Comey as Director of the FBI gives the nation more evidence of Donald Trump’s lack of fitness for the presidency. Whatever you thought of Comey, his removal showed the nation that Trump is impulsive, vindictive, and given to abuses of power. But it’s also important to reflect right now on some of the more fundamental issues raised by Comey’s firing. Why do we have a federal police agency? How should its mission be defined? And, what kind of person should run it? The Birth of the FBI First, some background. President Theodore Roosevelt and Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte created the “Special Agents Force,” the forerunner to the FBI, in 1908, to enforce federal law. Both Roosevelt and Bonaparte were progressives who believed that government positions should not be exploited for partisan political purposes.

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Xoai Pham

This Mother’s Day, Help Black Mamas Get Free

As families around the country prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day, thousands of mothers are sitting in jails before even having been convicted of a crime. Now Black-led groups are working together to bring these mothers home so they, too, can celebrate with their families. These mothers are victims of the money bail system. The way it works is simple: if you are arrested, you have to come up with cash to be bailed out. But this isn’t simple for mothers living in the margins. Mothers who are low-income, queer, trans, undocumented, or who are sex workers, all face conditions that make it more difficult to navigate a justice system that targets them for arrest in the first place. These conditions are what motivated Southerners On New Ground (SONG), an Atlanta-based LGBTQ rights group, to launch Mama’s Bail Out.

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Robert Borosage

Donald Trump Is Waging a War on Workers

Donald Trump has ginned up a continuous din in his first four months as president, with each outrage or grotesquerie immediately followed by another. Amid the furors, it is easy to lose track of the key standard by which Trump will be judged by his key voters: his oft-repeated campaign pledge that “the American worker will finally have a president who will protect them and fight for them.”  These pledges have continued since Trump became president. He told the Conservative Political Action Conference that “the forgotten men and women of America will be forgotten no longer.” In the flood of reviews of Trump’s first 100 days, which focused heavily on his scandals and gaffes, few noted that he failed on this measure. The working people who were crucial to Trump’s victory may not be impressed by more evidence that he’s a scoundrel.

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Ed Weberman

The ACA Is a Matter or Life or Death for Our Family

Health care saves lives, and real stories about this are pouring out at Town Hall meetings across the country. Ed Weberman, from White Lake, Michigan, explains how the Affordable Care Act saved his son’s life, and how it inspired him to fight for others. Ed Weberman at Town Hall meeting with Rep. Keith Ellison in Washington, DC The Affordable Care Act is a matter or life or death for our family. After being rushed to the emergency room two years ago, my son was diagnosed with lymphoma. He was 22. Because of the ACA, he had insurance and got treatment, which saved his life. On November 9, my wife and I woke up and said, “Okay, what now?” We’d always been informed, but not active. I wasn’t out attending meetings and speaking up. I left that to someone else. The election changed everything.

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