Harvey J Kaye

Who Says ‘It Can’t Happen Here’?

Donald Trump’s candidacy, and now, presidency, have resurrected a public conversation not heard in the United States since the Great Depression – about the possible triumph of a fascist-tinged authoritarian regime over liberal democracy. It’s a fear Sinclair Lewis turned into his 1935 bestselling novel, It Can’t Happen Here, which has suddenly become a bestseller again. As Lewis told it, it sure as hell could happen here. But it did not happen, however. Our parents and grandparents, by electing Franklin Roosevelt as president and taking up the labors of the New Deal, not only rejected the sirens of authoritarianism, they actually extended and deepened American freedom, equality, and democracy.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

The Enormous, Humongous Trade Deficit Hits 5-Year High in January

The Census Bureau reports the U.S. deficit on trade with other countries rose in January to $48.5 billion, the highest level in five years. It is up 9.6 percent from December’s $44.3 billion, and 11.8 percent from January of 2016. January exports rose $1.1 billion to $192.1 billion, while imports grew $5.3 billion to $240.6 billion. The U.S. deficit on trade of goods with China remained at $30.2 billion. A trade deficit exports our economy’s “demand.” It represents how many people and businesses wanting goods and services in this country turn to non-U.S. sources. This means U.S. factories and businesses lose out, and U.S. workers are not hired or are laid off. $48.5 billion is a lot of demand loss to hit factories, businesses, paychecks, taxes and general economic well-being in a single month.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

Trumpcare Is Wrong For You. It’s A Toxic Prescription For Health Care

As medicine for our health care system, it’s worse than a placebo. It will do active harm to millions of people, particularly low-income people and seniors. It cuts taxes for the wealthy and corporations and dangles paltry tax credits to working people. It leaves consumers facing higher health care prices and will force many of them to forgo needed care. This is the toxic prescription that the Trump administration and the Republican Congress wants to give the American public in place of the Affordable Care Act. The House Republican plan was injected into the political debate Monday evening, while the country was still recovering from President Trump’s latest Twitter seizure. With much of the media preoccupied with Trump’s other democracy-destroying antics, the extreme nature of what the House Republicans have proposed has yet to hit home.

Continue Reading...
Bill Moyers

Our President Is Up to No Good

President Trump let fly a stunning poisoned-tip tweet this weekend: Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism! He offered no evidence, not an iota of proof to back up the astonishing allegation against his predecessor – a charge that if true would constitute a constitutional crisis of the first order. Where did he get his information? CIA? FBI? NSA? Breitbart News? Sean Hannity? He did not say. Instead, he continued to rant: Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jeff Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone. Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

Regulation Repeals Show ‘The Swamp’ Is Rising

Time and again, Candidate Donald Trump promised to “drain the swamp in Washington.” He swore to curb lobbying of government by special interest groups to procure favors for their clients. But instead, President Trump has cut out the middleman – he’s gone directly into the business of of corporate giveaways. He’s already gutted most of the regulations on a “wish list” submitted to him by the Business Roundtable, a $6 trillion lobby of top executives. And this is just the first wave of pro-business actions: Trump has pledged in an executive order to remove two existing regulations for every new one. He’s already removed 90 in his first weeks in office, and if his record thus far is any guide, there are more giveaways to come.

Continue Reading...
Sarah Warner, Cynthia Ward Wikstrom

Recess Actions Spur Health Care Accountability

Citizens have refused to take no – or no-shows – as answers when elected officials sidestep questions at town hall meetings about Republican plans to cut health care and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “They have a right to hear what policy proposals are on the table, and how they will be impacted before any vote,” says Mary Clark, Regional Director at Citizen Action of New York (CANY). New York, Nevada, Wisconsin and Maine are among the states where People’s Action affiliates organized over eighty events to publicly challenge officials during the Congressional recess in February. They will do so again when representatives return to their home districts April 10th through 23rd. “Given how much heat there was this recess, I can’t imagine what April will be like if the House votes on these life and death matters before people get a voice,” says Clark.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

Trump’s Spectacle Misdirects Us From Our Government’s Destruction

Making people “Look over there!” is a classic magician’s trick. The magician misdirects the audience’s attention, while palming a coin or putting a dove in a pocket. Misdirection is also used by con men far and wide. The Trump Spectacle The public is being misdirected by the spectacle thus far of Trump’s presidency. While we recoil from his latest nasty tweet, count how many lies he put into a speech or wonder if the teleprompter will keep him from biting the head off a bat, Trump’s loyalists are busy rushing to roll out his far-right agenda, destroying our government out from under us.

Continue Reading...
Jeff Bryant

School Vouchers Are a ‘False Road,’ and There’s Data to Prove It

“We’ve not done enough to help kids at the lower end of the socio-economic rungs,” says labor economist and Stanford University professor Martin Carnoy. It’s not an accident these families, particularly in the African American community, are demanding vouchers, charters, and other forms of choice. But it’s a false road, and one that’s more apt to result in proponents of choice, when faced with the negative consequences of their ideas, turning back on these lower-served communities and saying to them, ‘Well, we gave you a choice. It’s your own fault if you chose the wrong one.’ With President Donald Trump’s appointment of billionaire “school choice” champion Betsy DeVos as U.S.

Continue Reading...
Richard Eskow

Resign, Jeff Sessions. It’s Not About Russia, It’s About Justice

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is a man out of time, a holdover from an age when some people believed that certain groups were exempt from the rule of law.  He may be out of time in another way, too: His days as Attorney General might be numbered. Even in the Senate, Sessions was something of a fringe figure on the far right.  Then he had the foresight or good timing to be one of the first politicians to get on board the Trump train. Sessions quickly moved, in the words of one headline, “from the fringe to prime-time.” How extreme is Jeff Sessions? The head of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, Heidi Beirich, reviewed Session’s comments about Muslims and immigrants and concluded he had engaged in “hate speech.” She calls the new extent of Sessions’ influence “a tragedy for American politics.” Sessions once described the N.A.A.C.P.

Continue Reading...
Robert Borosage

Democrats Can’t Be Distracted By Trump’s Russian Circus

  Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign sensibly concluded that Donald Trump was so obviously unfit for office that he could not be elected. He was shockingly unprepared, corrupted, juvenile, poisonous, and often simply repugnant.   Clinton chose to make Trump the issue. Her closing ads defined the choice: between a “steady hand” and a “loose cannon,” “common sense and unity” or “drama and division,” someone with “deep understanding” or someone “unprepared,” someone who spent a life fighting for “mothers and children” or someone who spent it “helping himself” The argument was surely true, but not sufficient. It focused the campaign on personal character—not a Clinton strong suit. It left voters without a clear sense of what Clinton was for, other than more of the same.

Continue Reading...
Jeff Bryant

Trump’s School Choice Plan: Religious Fundamentalism at Taxpayer Expense

President Donald Trump is being praised for a change in tone in his recent address to Congress, but his belligerent attitude toward public education hasn’t changed a bit. While it’s true he stopped short of repeating his claims that public schools are “broken” and a “government monopoly,” what Trump chose to highlight in his remarks about public schools was a story about a student who left them. During his education remarks, Trump called out a guest of his in the audience, Denisha Merriweather, who, he said, struggled in school and failed third grade twice. But then she was able to enroll in a private center for learning, with the help of a tax credit scholarship program. Today, she is the first in her family to graduate, not just from high school, but from college. Later this year she will get her masters degree in social work.

Continue Reading...
Mark Trahant

Trump’s Budget Cuts Deliver Financial Blows to Native Americans

President Donald J. Trump is set to deliver a financial blow to Indian Country. His first budget will propose cuts of at least $54 billion and an amount that he will add to Defense Spending. The president will check off his promises from the campaign (even those that make no sense), according to Politico.  “He’s doing what he said he was going to do.” The budget cuts will come on top of already lean federal spending based on the budget deal that Congress made in 2011 resulting in the sequester. The budget specifics have not been released yet, but to give you an idea about how steep these cuts are, the entire Interior Department budget is $14 billion. So to reach the $54 billion total there would have to be federal programs eliminated. And that math is a problem.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

Stop Trump’s Privatization Agenda

President Trump is said to be preparing to privatize key public services, including the Veterans Administration (VA), public schools, and public broadcasting, expanding private prisons and launching a privatized infrastructure program. Republicans in Congress want to go even further, to privatize Medicare, the Postal Service, National Parks, air traffic control and other functions of our government. This is on top of previous privatizations of military contracts, and even the Senate cafeteria. What exactly is privatization, and why is it such a priority for the Trump administration? Public Investment, Common Ownership, Public Gain Back when our government was run by ‘We the People’, the people would make a public investment and share gains from that investment.

Continue Reading...
Robert Borosage

Don’t Be Fooled by Trump’s Latest Reality Show

In his address to the joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Donald Trump showed he can play the role of president on television. He successfully read a long speech, using all the normal rituals – rhetorical optimism, calls for unity, big promises and small policies, tawdry use of heroes and casualties as props for applause. He received boffo reviews by exceeding low expectations. Snap polls showed viewers gave him high approval ratings. Van Jones, CNN’s progressive commentator, joined with Republican Majority leader Mitch McConnell in applauding Trump as “presidential” for his egregious exploitation of a widow’s grief to defend her husband’s death in a bollixed mission in Yemen. Trump was tethered by his text, but still recycled the themes of his campaign stump speech.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

Whoppers Big and Small in Trump’s Speech

This is classic dumb guy wedding speech writing: “The chorus of their dating became an earthquake of their love.” – Samantha Bee on Trump’s speech Donald Trump just gave a fact-free, and detail-free, speech to a joint session of Congress. Early on in the evening, the president – who has loaded his cabinet with billionaires and his administration with former Goldman Sachs executives – earned audible guffaws from the assembled lawmakers when he declared, in all seriousness, “We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption…”. With illegal border crossings at the lowest level since 1972, Trump devoted a good portion of his speech to spreading fear of undocumented immigrants. But only those from the south. There are twice as many immigrant visa “overstays” by Canadians as Mexicans.

Continue Reading...
Richard Eskow

Trump Offers ‘A Nation of Miracles.’ Your Move, Democrats

The bad news for Democrats in President Trump’s first speech to a joint session of Congress is that he exceeded expectations. A Washington Post headline called the speech “surprisingly presidential.” it’s likely to solidify Trump’s hold on his base, and will probably gain him some additional ground. Expectations weren’t very high, especially after the apocalyptic tone of his inaugural address. The fact that he didn’t announce the End of Days and call down hellfire on four-fifths of the globe probably caused sighs of relief all over the country. Still, Trump’s detractors forget that he has a gift for aspirational rhetoric that plays well among many Americans. It’s a gift many Democrats seem to have lost. A Nation of Miracles Trump was clearly chastened by recent criticism over his seeming indifference to racism.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

The Racism of ‘The Least Racist Person’ in Trump’s Speech to Congress

Usually when a white person feels compelled to declare themselves “the least racist person” you’ve ever met, black people know to duck. President Trump, who bestowed upon himself the “least racist” accolade at a bizarre news conference on February 16, flung an amount of cynical racial exploitation and manipulation during his speech before a joint session of Congress Tuesday night that was unprecedented in recent memory. It started with the very first words of the speech. “Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains,” he began, as it turned out, incongruously.

Continue Reading...
Miles Mogulescu

The Resistance and the Democratic Party

There’s a necessary and creative tension between the Democratic Party and the growing anti-Trump ‘Resistance’ evidenced by the massive outpouring of energy in the streets, airports, and Town Hall meetings since his election. If there was ever any doubt that the Resistance and the Democratic Party are not the same thing, it was made crystal clear by the  victory of the establishment choice, Tom Perez, as Democratic National Committee chair over the change candidate, Keith Ellison. This represented the last gasp of a broken neoliberal Democratic establishment that would rather maintain its institutional power than make the changes demanded by the grassroots necessary to begin winning again.

Continue Reading...
Leo Gerard

Trading Rules for Workers

President Donald Trump met with a bunch of CEOs at the White House last week, prompting the same old, tired and untrue round of assertions that America lost millions of manufacturing jobs because of automation, regulation, illegal immigration and lack of education. The real culprit is globalization – fostered by a series of bad trade deals. That’s not what the CEOs talked about, though, mainly because a huge portion of them already have moved factories from America to low-wage, high-pollution countries. Bad trade is, however, what President Trump talked about constantly on the campaign trail. He repeatedly assured cheering crowds he would stop corporations from offshoring factories. A new report from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation proves his diagnosis was right – bad trade caused the vast majority of the job losses.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

The Trump Infrastructure Plan Won’t Bridge the Nation’s Job Gap

President Trump on Tuesday night is expected to make what he told a meeting of governors on Monday would be “a big statement” on infrastructure spending. Democrats who have been fighting Trump fiercely on virtually every other issue have been eagerly awaiting an infrastructure plan from Trump they can sign on to, because they hear in Trump’s rhetoric their own calls to put people to work fixing the nation’s decaying roads, bridges and other public assets. But a report just released by the People’s Action Institute warns that if the goals are good jobs, boosting communities left behind by the anemic economic growth of the last seven years and slowing climate change, Democrats need to be wary of the fine print of any infrastructure plan coming out of the Trump administration.

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 552