Libero Della Piana

Football Unites Against Trump

President Donald Trump has done something no one else could do until now. He has united the National Football League around the National Anthem protest of quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Photo credit: KeithJJ / CC Friday, Trump went on a tirade aimed at Kaepernick and other professional athletes who have been protesting police violence by kneeling during the National Anthem or supporting those kneeling. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’” said Trump at an Alabama rally for Senate candidate Luther Strange. Trump went on to condemn recent NFL rules aimed at reducing head trauma. “Because you know, today if you hit too hard — 15 yards! Throw him out of the game. They had that last week, I watched for a couple of minutes.

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Julie Chinitz

We Can Stop the GOP’s Dash to Destroy Health Care

Republican leaders in the Senate are hurtling toward a repeal vote that will shred federal protections in the Affordable Care Act, kill the ACA’s subsidies and Medicaid expansion, and suffocate the fifty-year Medicaid program that benefits everyone from newborns to seniors in nursing homes. That’s the bad news. The good news is we can stop them, if we act now. This bill is even worse than Jimmy Kimmel is saying, which means there are plenty of reasons for us all to heed his call and tell our senators to vote NO! on Cassidy-Graham. It’s the most heartless bid to repeal health care we’ve seen from the GOP so far. But it’s not a done deal; there’s still no guarantee they’ll get the fifty votes they need, if we make our voices heard in time. Here are three more reasons to call your senators.

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Miles Mogulescu

If Republicans Repeal Obamacare, Will Medicare For All Come Sooner?

Senator Lindsey Graham — who is fast becoming the gravedigger of the Senate, with his last-ditch attempt to resurrect the Republican’s zombie “repeal and replace” of Obamacare — is strangely framing his action as a bid to kill Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All bill, which is being sponsored by 19 Democratic Senators. Graham has boasted that his repeal legislation, co-sponsored by Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy, is the best alternative to Medicare For All, saying “Hell no to Berniecare.” “Bernie, this ends your dream,” he added.

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Robert Borosage

Hillary Clinton Tries to Explain ‘What Happened’

Hillary Clinton’s book-length reflection on the 2016 presidential race, What Happened, struggles to answer the haunting question of how a highly experienced candidate with a massive political machine lost to Donald Trump and his vile clown campaign. The book is less interesting when it talks about the campaign, and much more so when Clinton is assessing the future. Clinton accepts responsibility for her loss, and allows that she might have “missed a lot of chances.” Most of the book, however, is about casting blame and settling scores: Putin did it, Comey did it, and so did Bernie, the media, Fox News, sexism, Clinton fatigue, Electoral College, partisan loyalty, voter suppression, and many other factors.

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Josh Crandell

How You Can Help Small Businesses Thrive

Banks are trying to score another victory over hardworking Americans, this time by refusing to lend to minorities, women, and rural residents who own and run small businesses. When President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law in 2010, it required the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to collect information from banks on the types of customers who received loans. This data now shows that businesses run by women, minorities and in rural areas don’t have the same access to capital as other businesses. But there’s still not enough being collected on small businesses, and without quality data, it is difficult to formulate and advocate for policy solutions to support them. Why Data Matters Now, some community banks want to be exempted from reporting on their lending practices. It’s too much of a burden, they say, and would force them to reduce lending.

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Julie Chinitz

New Health Repeal Shows GOP’s Reckless Disregard for Our Lives

How cruel and inhumane can a piece of legislation get? The latest Republican proposal to repeal health care – yes, GOP leaders are at it again – takes us to a new low, with a revised version of repeal analysts are calling even more damaging than a “repeal-without-replace.” Republican leaders in the Senate are making a last-ditch effort to pass legislation that will throw tens of millions of us off coverage – and they want to do it before September 30, so they can get away with repealing our care with only 50 votes. And they’re gunning for that deadline with their worst repeal bill to date. The Worst Health Bill So Far The main sponsors of this new bill, Sen. Bill Cassidy and Sen. Lindsay Graham, have been busy pitching their legislation as a friendlier, more moderate health care repeal than the package the GOP tried and failed to pass in July.

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Paul Engler, Sophie Lasoff

How to Sustain the Resistance to Trump and Win

The Resistance Movement against Trump has been powerful —  but how do we keep it going? We are in the midst of one of the largest social movements of our time, with record numbers engaged after decades of demobilization. The Women’s March was the largest single day of protest in American history, with about four million people participating. To help the tens of thousands of people who are eager to resist Trump, we’ve developed Resistance Guide, a short handbook with the analysis, skills, and tools to sustain a resistance powerful enough to win. Erica Chenoweth, a leading scholar in the field of civil resistance, has collected data showing that nearly every month since Trump’s inauguration, there have been thousands of protests involving millions of people across the country.

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Jeff Bryant

Beware Back-to-School Stories Celebrating Online Education

This year, there’s a certain type of “back-to-school” news story you’re bound to see in local newspapers. The stories typically start with: “[Student A] goes to school in her pajamas, and [student B] often does her lessons with a pet dog or cat on her lap.” Instead of attending “typical schools,” these students get their education via a computer connected to the internet. The internet-based schools have different names – cyber, virtual, online – but the gist of these stories is that “thousands of students head back to class without leaving their homes,” and it’s all good. “It’s the first day of school for Sophia Riella, but the 8-year-old never had to change out of her pajamas. All she had to do was log on to her computer at her Northwest Reno home,” a Nevada news outlet gushes.

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Sam Pizzigati

New Data on Tax Havens and Income Reveal America’s Great Divide

Sometimes a headline writer can get carried away. Way away. “Paychecks hit high for middle class,” shouted out the front-page headline of this past Wednesday’s Washington Post print edition. In fact, “paychecks” in the United States — the wages workers receive for their labor — are not rising, as the actual article under the Post front-page headline makes clear. The U.S. Census Bureau’s just-released latest annual report on American incomes, that article notes, furnishes “little evidence that employers are rushing to offer raises to those who already are employed.” In 2016, the new Census stats show, the take-homes of America’s full-time workers ended up “not statistically different” from their 2015 levels. Take-homes, overall, remain essentially stagnant.

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Jeff Bryant

Betsy DeVos’s Back-To-School Message At Odds With What Parents Want

While the vast majority of American parents are addressing Back to School season by buying supplies, readying their children, and joining with other families in preparing for a hopefully successful new year, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is traveling cross-country in a bus to spread a very different message completely at odds with the hope, anticipation, and resolve parents and their communities feel about public education. Just how far at odds DeVos’s views about public education are with the average American parent’s views became apparent in a new survey released during her bus tour. DeVos, who says she fully supports “great public schools,” christened her bus tour with the theme “Rethinking Schools,” which somewhat assumes there’s something wrong with public schools to begin with.

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Mark Trahant

‘Medicare For All’ Would Fully Fund Indian Health for First Time

Bernie Sanders has introduced his version of health care reform, a plan he calls “Medicare For All.” At least fifteen Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors to the single-payer plan. “This is where the country has got to go,” Sanders told The Washington Post. “Right now, if we want to move away from a dysfunctional, wasteful, bureaucratic system into a rational health-care system that guarantees coverage to everyone in a cost-effective way, the only way to do it is Medicare For All.” Sen. Bernie Sanders proposed “Medicare For All” bill would fully-fund the Indian Health system for the first time in history. (Senate photo) Sanders’ bill has no chance in a Republican Congress. Yet the Vermont Democrat is adding to the richness of the debate. He is showing a clear alternative to Republican plans (the latest is one by Sens.

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Robert Borosage

Donald Trump Is Just the Latest Republican to Stoke Racial Division

First came Donald Trump’s threats to build a massive wall on the U.S .border with Mexico. Then the Muslim ban, his disgraceful response to Charlottesville, and his pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Now Trump has amped up his racially divisive politics by rescinding the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals program, which shieldsfrom deportation hundreds of thousands of US residents who came to the country without documentation as minors. This remarkable record has led Chris Cillizza and David Brooks to suggest Trump is destroying the modern Republican Party. At CNN, Cillizza declared “DACA decision confirms it: Trump has killed the Bush version of the GOP.” Brooks, in his New York Times column in late August, predicted a brutal battle for the party’s soul.

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Bernie Horn

Never Say Tax Reform, Say Fairness

We are about to embark on a nationwide debate over taxes. Newspapers want to call this a debate over “tax reform.” It is not. Progressives should never say “tax reform” and never accept this phrase as the basis for debate. Whether it’s a matter before federal, state or local governments, progressives champion tax “fairness,” not “reform.” The one word sets us up for victory and the other for defeat. The word “reform” is a value that telegraphs that it refers to something positive. “Reform” means to make changes in something – typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice – in order to improve it. The word “fairness” is an entirely different value and one that is more specific. It announces that something is unjust and that our intention is to address the injustice.

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Richard Eskow

Medicare For All Can Reshape the ‘Art of the Possible’

Bernie Sanders unveiled his Medicare for All bill this week, and 16 Democratic senators signed on as cosponsors. The last time he introduced a bill like it, not one senator was willing to join him. They considered the idea impossible, utopian. Times have changed. The senators who shared a podium with Sanders understand this bill won’t pass in today’s Republican-dominated Congress. They signed on because it’s a good idea, and because they recognize that by doing so they can both reflect and reshape a shifting political landscape. They’re aware that Sanders’ presidential campaign triggered a wave of energy and activism that continues today. They recognize that this nascent political movement is a powerful political engine, and its diverse millennial base makes it the Democratic engine of the future.

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Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Chuck Collins

Racial Inequality Is Hollowing Out America’s Middle Class

America’s middle class is under assault. And as our country becomes more diverse, our racial wealth gap means it’s also becoming poorer. Kenneth Worles, Jr. / Institute for Policy Studies Since 1983, national median wealth has declined by 20 percent, falling from $73,000 to $64,000 in 2013. And U.S. homeownership has been in a steady decline since 2005. While we often hear about the struggles of the white working class, a driving force behind this trend is an accelerating decline in black and Latino household wealth. Over those three decades, the wealth of median black and Latino households decreased by 75 percent and 50 percent, respectively, while median white household wealth actually rose a little. As of 2013, median whites had $116,800 in wealth — compared to just $2,000 for Latinos and $1,700 for blacks.

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Robert Kraig

Walker and Trump’s Foxconn Deal May Be Worst in American History

Governor Scott Walker and Donald Trump claim their $3 billion subsidy to Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn will create thousands of jobs in Wisconsin. But when you dig into the numbers, the Foxconn deal looks like one of the biggest swindles in American history, a scandal waiting to happen. While it is Governor Walker and not Trump who is really cutting this deal, it sets a dangerous precedent, which could affect every state. To understand how big the threat is, it is important to understand just how bad the Foxconn deal really is, and to look closely at what they’re proposing. The magnitude of the public expenditure is stunning. It is not really a tax break, but a direct public subsidy of $3 billion dollars.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Massachusetts Mourns The Loss Of A ‘Warrior For Justice’

People’s Action members around the country today are mourning the death of Jafet Robles, 33, an organizer with People’s Action member organization Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts. Robles’ body was found Monday morning in a park in Chicopee, Massachusetts, near Springfield. He was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound, and local police have launched a homicide investigation. “We have lost a warrior for justice,” said People’s Action co-director George Goehl. “We are so saddened by this horrible event and incredible loss to Jafet’s family, his community, and the movement to end mass incarceration and replace it with solutions that actually help communities be safe and thrive.” Robles led the “Jobs, Not Jails” campaign for Neighbor to Neighbor and was lead organizer for the Springfield, Massachusetts area.

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Richard Eskow

What Matters Is What Happens Next, Not ‘What Happened’

“Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.” Remember when Bill Clinton used this Fleetwood Mac nugget as a theme in his 1992 campaign? Today, as Hillary Clinton’s campaign memoir goes on sale, the Democratic Party Clinton and his fellow “centrists” remade in their image seems unable to stop thinking about yesterday. Can the Democratic Party truly reject its past mistakes and look to the future? Don’t Look Back The past shouldn’t be off limits, of course. We’re supposed to learn from our mistakes. Nevertheless, Democratic Party operative Paul Begala tweeted, “New rule: Nobody is allowed to comment on Hillary’s book until… they have read the book.” Why does it seem like Democratic insiders are always trying to police the discourse? Politics is public property. People can talk about whatever they want.

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Jeff Bryant

The Sad Story of Public Education in St. Louis

“This is a disaster.” Walker Gaffney and I were at the entry of Cleveland High School in St. Louis. Broken glass speckles the floor. Black mold crawls up the sides of the stone walls. Rotted plaster hangs from the high arched ceiling. “It’s worse every time I come here,” said Gaffney, who is the school district’s real estate director. “I once found a dog-fighting operation in one of these old schools.” Gaffney led the way, first to the majestic swimming pool with its ornate tiled walls smeared with graffiti – the Olympic-size pool shrunk to a black, fetid puddle in the deep end. Next stop, the cavernous auditorium whose darkened mezzanine and decorative chandeliers are barely visible in the motes of daylight piercing through holes in the high ceiling. Then on to the gymnasium, its hardwood floors now warped and buckled from rot.

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Brian Haghighi

Help Every Small Business Have a Chance for Success

America loves entrepreneurs, right? Like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford or Steve Jobs? Think again. It’s incredibly hard for new businesses in this country to get the financing they need to get great ideas off the ground. And unless we act now, Republicans in Congress will make it even even harder. Since the near-meltdown of the financial system in 2008, banks have consistently given fewer loans to small businesses than they did before the crisis. It doesn’t matter how great your ideas are, or even how well your business is doing. These are lessons my brother Alan and I learned, fast, when we launched our company, FruitCraft Fermentery and Distillery, in San Diego in 2009. Brian and Alan Haghighi and the FruitCraft team, San Diego, CA We make craft spirits and wines, and everyone – even bankers – loved our products when they tasted them.

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