Robert Borosage

The Populist Uprising Isn’t Over; It’s Only Just Begun

The summer ends with a growing lament among progressives. Tom Frank’s cutting voice sums it up: “And so ends the great populist uprising of our time, fizzling out pathetically in the mud and the bigotry stirred up by a third-rate would-be caudillo named Donald J Trump. So closes an era of populist outrage that began back in 2008, when the Davos dream of a world run by benevolent bankers first started to crack. The unrest has taken many forms in these eight years – from idealistic to cynical, from Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party – but they all failed to change much of anything.  And now the last, ugliest, most fraudulent manifestation is failing so spectacularly that it may discredit populism itself for years to come.” Like many on the left, Frank has few hopes for Hillary Clinton.

Continue Reading...
Rae Breaux

The New Normal: Organizing to Break the Cycle of Climate Disaster

With Amanda Devecka-Rinear, New Jersey Organizing Project, and Gary Zuckett, West Virginia Citizen Action Group. The record-breaking floods in Louisiana are the latest example of what many working people already know all too well: climate change has already begun, and it is wrecking our communities. So far, over 30,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, 10,000 people are in shelters, and those numbers are rising. The shelters themselves are experiencing flooding, and some families have already been relocated multiple times. At this point, almost 30 parishes have been declared major disaster areas. Our communities are literally underwater due to the extreme weather and sea level rise brought on by climate change.

Continue Reading...
Terrance Heath

Wingnut Week In Review: Trump Takes “Alt” Out of “Alt-Right”

Donald Trump’s announcement of his new campaign team completes the process of bringing white supremacists and white nationalists from the extreme fringe into the mainstream of American conservatism and the GOP, which began when Donald Trump started his campaign. If establishment Republicans were hoping to finally make their candidate see reason, and halt his spiral into electoral oblivion, by finally executing a “pivot” away from his primaries persona, and towards less incendiary, more nuanced general election rhetoric, they were sorely disappointed. It turns out the mercurial, racist, xenophobic, wannabe fascist that enthralled GOP voters was not a facade, behind which waited the “real” Donald Trump, waiting to be revealed to the general electorate. What we saw in the primaries is what the Republicans got for the general election. Not that they didn’t try.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

Is Making Corporations Pay Wages “Burdensome Government Regulation?”

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Republicans in general say “burdensome government regulations” are holding the economy back. Phrases like that sure sound ominous, as does another Republican favorite, “big government.” But what do the words actually mean? Trump: “We’re going to get rid of all these ridiculous – everything is so bad – we’re going to get rid of the regulations that are just destroying us.” In Trump’s Detroit “economic speech” he said, “The U.S. economy today is twenty-five percent smaller than it would have been without the surge of regulations since 1980.

Continue Reading...
Richard Eskow

Trump’s Estate Tax: An Aristocrat’s Gift to His Friends and Family

“There is a myth out there that…at heart, he’s really on the side of the little guy,” Hillary Clinton said recently of Donald Trump. “Don’t believe it.” I agree. But I’ve never liked using the phrase “little guy” to describe America’s working men and women. A lot of people in this country are managing to survive against pretty long odds, and that’s a pretty big accomplishment in my book. I have nothing against anybody who was born rich. But if anybody is a “little guy” in this story, it’s Trump himself — and I’m not just talking about his hands. It takes a little heart to be born into such wealth and yet be filled with such self-regard and selfishness. It takes a little heart to want so much for himself and so little for others, to bring out the worst in our neighbors and be so cruel to the strangers at our door.

Continue Reading...
Richard Eskow

Will The “Fix the Debt” Manipulators Ever Reform Themselves?

I’ll say this for them: The Wall Street billionaires and corporate CEOs behind the “Campaign to Fix the Debt” have a lot of nerve. Once again they’re using cheap scare tactics, along with some manipulative “nudging,” to drum up support for cutting Social Security benefits. The money behind the latest scare campaign – “How Old Will You Be When Social Security’s Funds Run Out?” – also funds a TV ad that shows jobs, teachers, and roads and bridges vanishing, supposedly because the national debt wasn’t brought under control. That’s pretty cynical, since their own ideas have led to lost jobs, teacher layoffs, and a lack of funds to repair roads and bridges.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

Important Victory In The Fight Against Private Prisons

People fighting the private prison industry scored a huge victory Thursday when the Justice Department issued a memo announcing that it would begin the process of “reducing – and ultimately ending – our use of privately operated prisons.” That memo was written by Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates and was directed to the acting director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Thomas R. Kane. It contains a direct takedown of some key right-wing justifications for privatizing what should be exclusively a public function. “…[T]ime has shown that they compare poorly to our own Bureau facilities,” the memo said.

Continue Reading...
Robert Reich

Aetna Shows Why We Need a Single Payer

The best argument for a single-payer health plan is the recent decision by giant health insurer Aetna to bail out next year from 11 of the 15 states where it sells Obamacare plans. Aetna’s decision follows similar moves by UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, and Humana, one of the other giants. All claim they’re not making enough money because too many people with serious health problems are using the Obamacare exchanges, and not enough healthy people are signing up. The problem isn’t Obamacare per se. It’s in the structure of private markets for health insurance – which creates powerful incentives to avoid sick people and attract healthy ones. Obamacare is just making the structural problem more obvious.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

These Are Your 28 TPP House Democrat Targets

President Obama is trying to get a vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the “lame duck” session of Congress that will take place after the election. We can help stop this by getting enough Democrats on the record as opposing the TPP. In particular, we need to get the 28 Democrats who – in spite of opposition from most Democrats and hundreds of labor, consumer, LGBT, health, human rights, faith, democracy and other civil organizations – voted for the “fast-track” trade promotion authority (TPA) bill that “greased the skids” for the TPP by setting up rigged rules that will help TPP pass. Now, along with all of those voters and organizations, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the rest of us need to start working on getting those 28 Democrats to oppose a vote after the election.

Continue Reading...
Miles Mogulescu

Sanders/Warren Wing Needs to Demand Seats on Clinton Transition Team

As Sen. Elizabeth Warren is fond of saying, “personnel is policy.” With a Hillary Clinton victory looking increasingly likely, the question of what types of personnel Clinton would appoint to top administration positions becomes increasingly crucial to defining what type of president Clinton would be. As Clinton herself wrote a year ago in an article co-authored with Sen. Tammy Baldwin in The Huffington Post, “Increasingly, American’s trust in government is eroding. And a big reason for that is the so-called revolving door between government and the private sectors.” But the proof is in the pudding. And looking at the people whom Clinton has appointed to her transition team, the progressive base of the Democratic party has good reason to worry that her administration would be stacked with Washington/Wall Street insiders who go back and forth through the revolving door.

Continue Reading...
Jeff Bryant

What Your Back-To-School List Reveals About Our Underfunded Schools

“You can exhale now,” the headline in Salon reassures, because “kids have more money than ever to spend on school stuff this year.” The reason for Salon’s celebratory tone is that a national survey every year by the National Retail Federation finds that preteens preparing for a new school year have a record-breaking average of $80.31 in personal spending money. The author leaps from that nugget of information to conclude this is a sign of a stronger economy ahead. (Disclosure: I’ve written about education for Salon.) But even if Salon’s analysis makes you breathe easier about the economy, you should understand those school kids aren’t going to keep their cash for very long, because their schools are going to need it.

Continue Reading...
Terrance Heath

Victory For Domestic Workers in Illinois

After years of campaigning and organizing, domestic workers in Illinois are celebrating victory. On Tuesday Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights into law, guaranteeing basic workplace protections. #DWDignityIL #Victory! Big TY to @AriseChicago @LatinoUnionChi @afirechicago & all who helped make this historic win pic.twitter.com/BPghs8GQ2n — Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) August 15, 2016 The law, which is the result of a five-year campaign by the Illinois Domestic Workers’ Coalition, guarantees nannies, housecleaners, homecare workers and other domestic workers a minimum wage, protection from discrimination and sexual harassment, and one day of rest for every seven days for workers employed by one employer for at least 20 hours a week. New York became the first state to pass such a bill in 2010.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Donald Trump’s Smear of Lyndon Johnson

Donald Trump has been routinely accusing former President Lyndon Johnson of silencing the political speech of churches because he viewed churches as political enemies. This is false. Trump’s presidential campaign may be doomed to defeat, but this smear may live on if it is not vehemently corrected. The trajectory of this smear is a case study of how conservative misinformation is often injected into the political bloodstream. It starts with a seed of truth then metastasizes into a grotesque lie. In Trump’s nomination acceptance speech, he said: I would like to thank the evangelical and religious community because I’ll tell you what, the support they have given me … has had such a big reason for me being here tonight … They have so much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

San Jose’s ‘Opportunity to Work’ Initiative Gets a Big Endorsement

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted this week to endorse Silicon Valley Rising‘s City of San Jose Opportunity to Work Initiative. If passed by voters, the initiative would require employers to offer additional work hours to their part-time employees before hiring more part-time or temporary workers. This enables workers to earn enough to pay their bills and put food on the table for their families. (Or as George W. Bush once said, to “put food on your family.”) It looks like the initiative will pass. A poll released by EMC Research says the initiative is supported by more than three-quarters of San Jose voters. The poll also found that: ● “A solid majority of 57 percent supported a potential measure in the telephone survey compared to 37 percent who oppose, and 8 percent who were undecided.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

Donald Trump’s Most Racist Speech Ever

Talk about dog-whistle politics. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gave a speech in Wisconsin Tuesday night that was virtually a textbook example of how to play race politics to win white conservative votes: Feign sympathy for black people while vowing to keep them in their place and shut down their talk of systems of institutional racism. It started with the setting of the speech – the Washington County Fairgrounds in West Bend, Wis., a community 25 miles northwest of Milwaukee that is 95 percent white and 1 percent African American. It’s known for being the community where right-wingers in 1999 wanted to ban from the public libraries books supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and wanted to include in a public book-burning a critically acclaimed book called “Baby Be-Bop,” a novel featuring a gay teenager.

Continue Reading...
Terrance Heath

Baltimore’s “Big Government” In Blue Uniforms

The lack of convictions in Freddie Gray’s death was not a vindication of Baltimore police. The Department of Justice’s scathing report of its probe of the Baltimore police force laid bare the structural racism that poisoned policing in the city, and ultimately led to Gray’s death. Freddie Gray knew what he was running from that April morning last year, when he made eye contact with a police officer, and started to flee. A resident of the Gilmor Homes housing project in Baltimore’s Sandtown neighborhood, Gray, 25, had already been arrested multiple times on charges ranging from drug possession to playing dice at a public housing project. The charges were almost always dismissed. But Gray’s luck was destined to run out.

Continue Reading...
Mehrdad Azemun

A Dangerous New Low – Even For Donald Trump

In a campaign that every week finds new ways to go beyond the pale, Donald Trump’s speech Monday on “radical Islam” and immigration in Youngstown, Ohio hit a new, dangerous low – even for Trump. The event was, in many respects, quite unremarkable. The candidate swiveled uneasily between two teleprompters and read the text, seemingly bored with the event, with himself, and perhaps with the idea of continuing to run for President. We can only assume that after multiple reports of low morale and chaos in his own campaign, he was forced to stay on message for just one day. However, all of this masked his bleak ideas about immigrant families. While much of the speech was packed with the talking points that we have come to expect from Trump about ISIS or NATO, it was the immigration policy section of his speech that got Trump – and the crowd – really going.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

New Clinton Transition Head Has Some TPP ‘Splainin To Do

Hillary Clinton has appointed Former Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, a big supporter of TPP, to lead her transition team, should she be elected President. Politico has more, in Clinton campaign transition chief has pushed for TPP: The new chairman of Hillary Clinton’s transition team has been an outspoken supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and works for a firm that lobbied for trade policy issues as recently as this spring, a review of congressional lobbying records and articles shows. [. . .] Salazar’s employer since 2013, the law firm WilmerHale, has also been an active participant in the debate on Capitol Hill over TPP and other trade policy issues.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

Check The Anti-TPP Concert Schedule

The administration is engaging in a month-long “blitz” to promote a lame-duck vote in Congress for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). At the same time Rock Against The TPP has launched a concert tour to drive public awareness of the implications of TPP. Which do you think will be more fun? Politico reports in “Obama to take trade battle to the heartland“: The White House is making an all-out push to win passage of the deal in the lame-duck session of Congress, organizing 30 events over the congressional recess to gin up support for the agreement, considered key to Obama’s strategy to counter China in the Asia-Pacific region. The strategy is to offer support and cover to the small flock of Democrats who supported legislation to fast-track the deal and to remind wavering Republicans that they oppose it at their own peril because of its strong business support.

Continue Reading...
Leo Gerard

Donald Destructo: The Danger Of Trump’s Wrestling-Ring Bluster

Donald Trump has perfected the swagger and boast of a professional wrestler. While a guy like World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon is full of fake bluster and brashness for the sake of TV ratings, Donald Trump is the real McCoy: A reckless bully. That violent, provocative behavior makes the Republican presidential nominee far too dangerous to get anywhere near nuclear codes. For Americans who want peace and security, not war, this man is too risky to inhabit the White House. That’s what 50 former national security officials whose careers span more than four decades said in a letter last week. They are Republicans. They include a former director of the CIA, the first director of national intelligence, and two former secretaries of homeland security. They warned Trump would be treacherous as president.

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 528