Terrance Heath

Wingnut Week In Review: From Russia, With Love?

While Hillary Clinton was shattering that glass ceiling, Donald Trump pulled off a first of his own: the first presidential candidate to invite a cyber attack against the United States. This presidential election long ago entered the realm of “You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up,” but Donald Trump has once again gone where no presidential candidate has gone before.

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Dave Johnson

Latest Senate Food Workers Victory Highlights Perils of Privatization

The long-abused cafeteria workers of the U.S. Senate, who risked their jobs to fight to earn a living wage only to have the private contractor that runs the cafeteria renege on an order to increase their pay, won a key victory this week. The Labor Department declared that the contractor had engaged in wage theft from 674 of its workers, deliberately misclassifying them so that they would earn less than their actual work entitled them to earn. The contractor also forced employees to do unpaid work “off the clock.” As a result, the multinational conglomerate Restaurant Associates and a subsidiary will have to give the workers back pay totaling $1,008,302.

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Isaiah J. Poole

One Democratic Convention Speech Nailed The Progressive Vision

When Rev. William Barber, best known in progressive circles as the leader of the Moral Mondays protests against the right-wing governor and legislature in North Carolina, was brought to the stage at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night, there was cheering from the North Carolina delegation but polite applause from the rest the hall. They did not know who Barber was, and they did not know what was coming. Ten minutes later, when Barber finished his address, the entire convention hall was on its feet.

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Bill Scher

Can Hillary Get Away With Hugging Obama?

Despite continually being charged by Republicans for representing “Obama’s Third Term,” at the Democratic National Convention Hillary Clinton literally hugged President Barack Obama on Wednesday, and showered him with praise on Thursday. With more than two-thirds of Americans saying we’re on the “wrong track,” did she hug him too tight? I explored the meaning of “the hug” at Politico Magazine today. Being associated with “the status quo” is no doubt a risk. Obama avoided being dragged down by a high “wrong track” number in 2012, but as Clinton is more identified with the hated “Establishment” she will have a tougher time making the case that she’s a change agent.

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Robert Borosage

Hillary Clinton and the Choice

Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday night confidently accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party to be president of the United States. This was history. Our money-laden, poll-driven politics is a tawdry business. The Clintons are burdened by a lot of history on the national stage. The packaging of the moment was over the top. But all that aside, the moment is worth celebrating. And while we’re not supposed to comment, Hillary Clinton looked dazzling as she stepped up to that moment. Clinton’s address came at the end of a long, successful Democratic convention. Democrats drew bigger audiences, offered more star power, featured better speeches, more moving moments, and presented more of America than Republicans. Clinton’s address put Donald Trump’s rambling remarks at the Republican convention to shame.

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Terrance Heath

Trump’s Not Fooling LGBT Americans

Donald Trump seriously thinks he can woo LGBT voters with empty rhetoric about “protecting” us from terrorist attacks. But who’s going to protect us from his religious extremist friends, and his party’s anti-LGBT platform? Last week,in his acceptance speech at the RNC, Donald Trump said, “As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. Believe me.” Believe him? Believe this: LGBT lives only matter to Trump if they’re victims of a terrorist attack. Here’s how meaningless that is. First, the president’s job concerns the protection of all Americans. Second, our chances of being killed in a terrorist attack is about 1 in 20 million. So, there’s not much chance we’ll need that kind of protection.

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Bill Scher

What Republicans Can Learn From The Democratic Convention

Some have observed that the Democratic convention floor has been less unified than the Republican one last week. This is true. But I suspect the Democrats are going to be better off for it. The Republicans achieved their unity the cheap way. Many Republicans who were queasy over Donald Trump stayed away. And non-Trump delegates who did show up mostly kept their mouths shut. The big discordant note from Ted Cruz was his and his alone, greeted with boos from the floor led by Trump aides. In contrast, the Democrats acknowledged their political diversity. Bernie signs have been handed out. Bernie t-shirts are sold in the official DNC merchandise store, as are buttons featuring both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. More importantly, the speakers are confronting the political reality in the hall, and from every possible angle.

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Dave Johnson

Strong Rules Needed On Abusive Debt Collection Practices

I have been hounded for months by a company attempting to collect money for a gym membership that I canceled more than 15 years ago. I was paying $150 a year for the membership before I correctly canceled the membership in writing. That “fitness center” was bought by a national chain that is known for hounding people for unpaid memberships, even if the membership has been canceled and nothing is actually owed. In my case, they say I owe $2,500, but they will “settle” for less. And I can’t stop the calls. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is now proposing new rules that would put a stop to this kind of behavior and give consumers who have been victimized options for relief. The CFPB is a new agency of the government that protects regular people from scams, frauds and abuses by the financial industry.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Meet Some Sanders Delegates Who Plan To Turn Anger Into Positive Action

Luz Sosa came to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as a disappointed Bernie Sanders delegate. But she is leaving fired up to take on big political fights in her home town of Milwaukee. “This election was never about Bernie Sanders. These elections were about issues the American people care about,” such as “families struggling to put food on the table,” said Sosa, who is Latino outreach organizer for Citizen Action Wisconsin and an economics professor at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

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Robert Borosage

Obama “Passes the Baton”

Democrats rolled out the big guns Wednesday night in Philadelphia: Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg and Tim Kaine warmed the crowd for what culminated in an emotional farewell by President Obama. Before the network hour, they were preceded by a martial display on the stage and in video, as generals and captains, neoconservatives (even Charles Krauthammer!) and liberal interventionists, diplomats and intelligence officials paraded through to salute Hillary Clinton’s experience and steadiness or to indict Trump’s lack of knowledge and temperament. The tenor got so muscular, peaking with former CIA Director and former Defense Department head Leon Panetta, that it elicited chants of “no more war” from some delegates and observers. Some observations from the evening: 1. A Contest of Insults, not Ideas Donald Trump offers postures and not policies, attitude and not vision.

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Dave Johnson

TPP Opposition: Make Them Do It And Hold Them To It

Elites take “globalization” as a given because “trade” deals have pushed sovereignty off the table and locked governments out of decision-making over things like stopping offshoring of jobs and protecting domestic industries. They smirk knowingly and wink and nod when politicians respond to citizen complaints about the disastrous effect this is having on populations, regions and economies. They assume the politicians are just saying what they need to say to get votes and will rejoin them after they get that pesky election out of the way. But times are changing. The public has caught on. “Brexit,” the rise of Donald Trump and other reactions to globalization are forcing politicians to come down on the side of the people instead of the corporations.

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Terrance Heath

Mothers of the Movement: Out of Grief, Unity and Hope

The Mothers of the Movement brought the audience at the Democratic National Convention to its feet, and hushed it with the staggering losses that brought them there. It was one of the most powerful moments of the convention, that should never have been necessary. Nothing in the lives of Gwen Carr, Sybrina Fulton, Maria Hamilton, Lucia McBath, Lezley McSpadden, Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, and Geneva Reed-Veal should have led them any closer to the stage of the Democratic National Convention than their living rooms. And it was clear that’s where they’d rather have been, at home close enough to see, reach out and touch, or at least hear the voices of the children they have lost to gun violence, and to police violence.

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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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