LeeAnn Hall

Millions of Lives at Risk as GOP Lets CHIP Expire

Nine million children in this country are at the brink of losing health coverage. What do our lawmakers say about this? Not a damn word. Why? Because they care more about themselves than our children, and our country’s future. But if they won’t speak up, we will. On Saturday, Congress allowed CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, to expire. CHIP is a partnership between states and the federal government that since 1997 has extended health care to millions who would otherwise have no access to care. As an organizer in rural Idaho in the nineties, I saw with my own eyes the difference CHIP makes in the lives of ordinary people. Thousands of children and expectant mothers in our state got access, many for the first time, to everything from checkups and healthy care to treatments for chronic asthma and cancer.

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Julie Chinitz

Let’s Stop the GOP’s Biggest Grift of All

Republican leadership isn’t subtle with their looting of the public treasury these days. Last Friday, Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, resigned for sticking the public with a more than $1 million bill for his personal use of private charter and military planes. This bit of malfeasance surprised no one. Price’s brazen trading of drug corporation stocks while pushing legislation on their behalf as a congressman should have derailed his confirmation. It didn’t. Yet Price is far from alone. Plenty of other Trump administration officials, not least Trump himself, have been lining their pockets with perks – if not cash outright. It now seems that more government appointees have been riding high on the public dime: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke all face similar allegations.

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Robert Borosage

Bernie Sanders Opens a New Foreign-Policy Debate

Senator Bernie Sanders received rapturous applause from progressives for his recent foreign-policy speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. “One of the finest speeches of his career,” wrote The Nation’s John Nichols. “The progressive foreign policy speech we’ve been waiting for,” said Stephen Miles. Jacob Heilbrunn of the more conservative National Interest suggested Sanders was bringing “regime change” to the liberal interventionism of the Democratic establishment. The reaction was understandable: The speech was like a thunderclap breaking the silence of any serious foreign-policy challenge from the left. The Sanders speech indeed opened a new debate and offered the first steps towards a fundamentally different policy, but it also leaves many questions unanswered.

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Mark Trahant

Indians Don’t Pay Taxes? Or Why the Upcoming Tax Debate Matters So Much

The Senate has given up on destroying Medicaid and much of the health care system and is now focused on restructuring the federal tax system (and destroying entitlement programs in the process). House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate leaders announce their framework for Tax Reform. (Photo: Speaker.Gov) Here is what Speaker Paul Ryan said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation:  “We’re going to double that standard deduction. We’re going to make it so he can fill out his taxes on a postcard. We’re going to lower his taxes. That’s really important. So he has more tax-home pay.

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Richard Eskow

How Do You Say “MAGA” in German?

The eastern German state of Saxony is a long way from Ohio, but the two places have a lot in common. Abandoned factories are falling into ruins in both places. There is fear, anger, and despair in the cities and countryside. People are dissatisfied with the status quo and the politicians who represent it. Germany’s recent election results are alarming to many, as they mark a strong return of the extreme right, which now enters Germany’s Bundestag, or federal parliament, as the country’s third-strongest political group. But a deeper global phenomenon is at work, and it has implications for the American future. The political phenomenon known as “centrism,” whose policies reflect the worldview of long-entrenched global and political elites, is collapsing.

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Jeff Bryant

Little Rock’s Struggle Lives On 60 Years Later In Jackson, Mississippi

This week’s 60th anniversary of the day nine African American students braved violent backlash and racist insults from whites in Little Rock, Arkansas to integrate Central High School, is prompting a wave of articles on the struggle for racial justice in American public education. But while news outlets recall valiant efforts to integrate schools in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, they frame those efforts as mostly futile given the resurgence of segregation today: black communities, and now brown ones too, still have little control of their education destinies for very specific reasons. Yet attempts to call out these reasons by name are all too rare.

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Libero Della Piana

Trump’s Axe Turns From Health to Taxes

Fresh off their failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Congressional Republicans are aglow with the hope of passing sweeping tax cuts. It’s as if Trump has cast himself as the villain in a cheap horror film. In this B movie, he flails around with an axe, trying to hack unsuspecting victims in their sleep. First the GOP turned on Medicaid and Medicare, seeking to push millions of children and the poor off health coverage. Now, after being thwarted from that goal by massive public pressure, they hope to carve out rich rewards for their billionaire friends and benefactors. Their aim is poor, and thus far they’ve failed to land a blow. But don’t be fooled: an axe can be deadly. The True Cost of Tax Cuts On Wednesday in Indianapolis, Trump announced details – or really, broad outlines – of the GOP’s new tax plan.

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Leo Gerard

Unfair Trade, Uncertainty Killing American Aluminum and Steel

Kameen Thompson started his workday Sept. 15 thinking that his employer, ArcelorMittal in Conshohocken, Pa., the largest supplier of armored plate to the U.S. military, might hire some workers to reduce a recent spate of overtime. Just hours later, though, he discovered the absolute opposite was true. ArcelorMittal announced that, within a year, it would idle the mill that stretches half a mile along the Schuylkill River. Company officials broke the bad news to Kameen, president of the United Steelworkers (USW) local union at Conshohocken, and Ron Davis, the grievance chair, at a meeting where the two union officers had hoped to hear about hiring. ArcelorMittal wouldn’t say when it would begin the layoffs or how many workers would lose their jobs or which mill departments would go dark. The worst part for everyone now is the uncertainty, Kameen told me last week.

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Robert Borosage

GOP Health Repeal Is an Immoral Affront to the American People

The Republican health care bill slated for vote this week is an astounding immoral affront to the American people. It would strip tens of millions of health insurance and raise the costs for millions more, while claiming to protect them. It’s so bad, even its authors can only defend it with lies, evasions and flimflam. The bill, known as Graham-Cassidy for its lead Senate co-sponsors, would savage Medicaid, leaving the most vulnerable in our society – the poor, the disabled, and the elderly – at grave risk. It does nothing to address the obscene price gouging by drug and insurance companies. It has no support from Democrats. With a third Republican Senator – Maine’s Susan Collins – announcing her opposition, it may lack the votes. Yet 49 Republican Senators still are lined up to vote for this misbegotten bill, which was cooked up behind closed doors.

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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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