Abby Frerick

Iowans for Glasson: We Are What Democracy Looks Like

Iowans do things their own way – especially when it comes to politics. I know: I’m born and raised in Cedar Rapids, and am a first-generation freshman at Grinnell College, a liberal arts school in the center of the state whose progressive roots reach back to the Underground Railroad and the New Deal. Canvassing for Cathy Glasson. Photo credit: ISA / cc But in recent years, Iowa has become a sea of red: our governor and all but one of our representatives in Congress are Republicans, who trade family farms for tax cuts to the wealthy. All too often, they’re anti-immigrant, anti-labor, and in the pocket of of big agriculture, the Koch brothers and other special interests. So together with fellow students, I’m taking Iowa back for progressives – one vote at a time, starting with my own. We’re going to elect officials who actually represent us and our true values.

Continue Reading...
Luz Sosa

Join Us To Keep Families Together

It’s not right. Infants are being taken from their mothers. Families are being separated, and parents charged as criminals for sheltering children from violence. These courageous parents are doing the right thing. They’re protecting their children the only way they can: by taking them out of harm’s way, and seeking refuge – they hope – from the persecutions they face in Mexico and Central America. And they’re following the law: when they reach the border, they’re voluntarily asking agents to consider their requests for asylum. The U.S., like every civilized nation, is required to do this by international law. But since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his “zero tolerance” policy against immigrants, hundreds of children – some only months old – are being snatched up.

Continue Reading...
Jeff Bryant

New Charter School Plan Should Alarm the Nation

Charter schools already have a segregation problem. But a new law about to pass in North Carolina would direct even more taxpayer money into funding charter schools that by design, if not by intent, lead to more racial segregation of school children. This is not only an alarming development in the Old South, where schools made substantial progress on integration since the landmark Brown v. Board Supreme Court case made racially separate schools illegal in 1954. It’s also a wakeup call to the nation on how a campaign to re-segregate public schools is being carried out in the name of “school choice” and “local control.” A ‘Design for Segregation’ The bill, House Bill 514, would allow suburban communities outside Charlotte to create and fund their own charter schools.

Continue Reading...
Sam Pizzigati

U.S. CEOs Are World’s Best – For Themselves

No single statistic, in isolation, tells us particularly much. Numbers only gain real meaning when we compare them. Take, for instance, the figure for the increase in CEO pay last year at major American corporations. A statistic for this increase — 6.4 percent — appears in the just-released 2018 edition of the AFL-CIO’s annual PayWatch report on corporate compensation. Does that 6.4 percent increase rate as a big deal — or nothing to get worked up about? We can’t reasonably answer that question without putting the 6.4 percent figure into some sort of broader perspective. The new PayWatch report, thankfully, provides that context: Average worker pay in the United States last year increased just 2.6 percent. In other words, as the PayWatch study notes, “the imbalance in our economy between the pay of CEOs and working people is worsening.” That is a big deal.

Continue Reading...
Richard Eskow

How Trump and the GOP’s SCOTUS Screw Workers

Many  have observed, correctly, that the Supreme Court’s recent 5 to 4 decision upholding forced arbitration for employees is a “devastating blow” to the rights of working people. This decision by the court’s conservative majority will affect an estimated 60 million workers, who will now be unable to band together to fight the legal and financial power of their employers when they have been mistreated in the workplace. Judges in the Machine Americans have traditionally viewed the Supreme Court as an unbiased, apolitical institution. But today, more than ever, this is an illusion. The court’s conservatives are now an openly partisan cadre. They’re political operatives, not jurists. They’re part of a vast and well-funded Republican machine that seeks to screw American workers so it can further enrich its wealthy patrons.

Continue Reading...
Jake Jacobs

Cynthia Nixon Takes On the Test-And-Punish Regime

Cynthia Nixon’s upstart challenge to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic Party Primary highlights a major theme of the 2018 midterms: progressive candidates forcing establishment Democrats further left on education. One way Nixon is moving the needle? Pushing to end the unfair and inaccurate rating of teachers based on how their students score on standardized tests. Nixon blasted the state’s embattled test-based teacher evaluation system, issuing a statement in late April signed by dozens of New York educators, calling for a full repeal of the evaluation policy. The statement also called for “a rich and balanced curriculum, rather than one oriented around standardized tests,” delivering on long-promised aid to needy schools, and restoration of cuts to state universities.

Continue Reading...
Leo Gerard

Trade Negotiations Require a Steel Spine

President Donald Trump dealt himself a strong hand before negotiating with China. He held three aces. He’d placed tariffs on imported aluminum and steel in response to unrelenting Chinese overproduction. He’d threatened tariffs on $150 billion in Chinese imports in retaliation for theft and forced transfer of American intellectual property. And for trade violations, he forbate U.S. companies to sell parts to Chinese cell phone giant ZTE, forcing it out of business. And then, inexplicably, his lead negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, quickly folded in talks in Washington, D.C.,  last week. He left two days of negotiations with top Chinese officials with what amounts of an unenforceable letter of intent.

Continue Reading...
Jeff Bryant

Will Teacher Uprisings Change Democrats?

Anyone wondering whether teacher uprisings this spring will influence party politics and elections in November should look at what’s happened in this year’s primaries so far. Most prominent among primary contests involving education issues was an improbable win in Kentucky, where a first-time candidate, math teacher R. Travis Brenda, knocked off the state’s House Republican Majority Leader Jonathan Shell. Brenda had joined with his colleagues earlier this year in staging sickouts that closed schools across the state to protest Kentucky lawmakers’ handling of state public employee pensions and inadequate school funding. Shell “was part of the legislature’s Republican leadership team that crafted and passed pension, tax, and budget bills,” a Louisville news outlet reports.

Continue Reading...
Adrienne Evans

Idaho Voters Rise Up Together

I was recently in Washington, D.C., when a woman from Arizona came up to me on the street. She noticed the button I was wearing for our campaign, RiseUp Idaho. “What’s that?” she asked. “It’s about restoring our democracy,” I said, “It’s not about party politics.”  I then explained how we’re recruiting grassroots candidates and holding them accountable to what people really want in our state. She then asked, “Is that coming from a Liberal, or a Conservative perspective?” I said, “Tell me what those labels mean to you – because it seems to me that neither party, or those labels, mean much of anything anymore.” The Issues So we started talking about the issues on our RiseUp Idaho platform. First, guns. We believe in banning assault rifles, and doing everything we can to make sure our schools are safe and our kids are no longer targets.

Continue Reading...
Richard Eskow

Real Corruption: Mick “Pay and We’ll Talk” Mulvaney

It’s not just that Mick Mulvaney has no scruples; he has no shame. It has become commonplace to see Trump administration officials, up to and including the president, abuse public resources for personal gain and comfort. But private planes, $31,000 dining room sets, and other lavish expenditures at public expense are the petty rewards of narcissists. The corruption that matters most is the kind that  hurts millions of Americans to enrich the tiny class of billionaires that is this regime’s true constituency. When it comes to this kind of deep corruption, which perverts government’s role for the benefit of the privileged few, Mick Mulvaney is a master of the art. In fact, he’s made it his ideology. Mulvaney’s Way Mulvaney is Trump’s Budget Director.

Continue Reading...
Jeff Bryant

NC Teachers Shout ‘Listen to Us!’ to Lawmakers

Teachers in North Carolina made a huge statement when they shut down schools in at least 42 districts and thronged the state capital in an all-day march and rally that drew an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people – way more than the 15,000 the state teachers’ association, that organized the event, promised. Photo credit: Jeff Bryant / CC While their list of grievances was long and varied – from unmanageable class sizes to inadequate funding to stressed out work schedules – there was one theme that recurred when asked to explain what they hoped to accomplish. “We hope our state legislators listen to us,” said Courtney Brown, a teacher at River Bend Elementary School in Wake County.

Continue Reading...
Daniel Doubet

There’s No Political Machine That Can’t Be Beat

When they started their race for the Pennsylvania State House, everyone told Summer Lee, Sara Innamorato and Elizabeth Fiedler they could never win. It was a longshot, people said. They faced enormous odds, and would face enormous money and opposition. But these three powerful women took those odds, and bet against them. Why? Because they know there are plenty of Pennsylvania voters who are just like them: tired of politics as usual, who want better choices in elections – people  who will fight for real outcomes in their lives. So they ran. And guess what? They won. Not by a little – by a lot. That’s why we’re so proud of Summer, Sara and Elizabeth, and why they’re now poised to take seats in our statehouse this November.

Continue Reading...
Miles Mogulescu

Yes, Collusion

A large proportion of Donald Trump’s tweets and speeches vehemently claim there was “no collusion” between Trump and/or his campaign and agents of the Russian government. (The Washington Post counts 146 such denials — 2.4 for every day of Trump’s Presidency — as of January 11, 2018 — and climbing.) Trump is lying. What is already publicly known makes a prima facie case that  a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States government and the American people was formed between Russian operatives and the highest levels the Trump campaign, perhaps including Donald Trump himself. Hundreds of denials from Trump and the White House can’t erase this truth.

Continue Reading...
Robert Borosage

Why Primary Fights Are Good for the Democratic Party

Primary season is underway, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has faced growing backlash to its heavy-handed interventions on behalf of some favored candidates. Texas Democrat Laura Moser is running in her state’s 7th Congressional District. (Photo from Laura Moser for Congress) A taped conversation in which Representative Steny Hoyer, a member of Democratic House leadership, pushed an insurgent candidate to withdraw sparked the latest furor, and it deepened when House minority leader Nancy Pelosi backed Hoyer’s intervention. In separate opeds, Jonathan Alter and longtime Democratic operative Elaine Kamarck argued that DCCC interference is essential if Democrats are to recapture a House majority in the fall.

Continue Reading...
Richard Eskow

Real Corruption: The Scott Pruitt Story

Question: Which of these scandals should result in EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s removal from office? A) his cushy, poorly documented, below-market rental deal on a lobbyist friend’s Capitol Hill townhouse; B) his extensive use of first-class air travel (to Europe, among other places), purportedly to avoid “vulgar” interactions with the lowly citizenry; C) his extravagant $43,000 soundproof phone booth, seemingly inspired by the “Cone of Silence” in television’s “Get Smart” series; D) his overspending on personal security, and then lying about it; E) his dinner at 5-star restaurant with a Roman Catholic cardinal who doesn’t believe in climate change and was under investigation for child abuse; or, F) his misuse of the Safe Drinking Water Act to give two aides massive raises, bypassing White oversight. Answer: None of the above.

Continue Reading...
Jess King

We Can Build an America That Works for All of Us

Jess King, candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s Eleventh District, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. for the launch of People’s Action’s Rural Strategy.  I’m a native of Lancaster County – born and raised in this community, never thought I’d be running for office in my own community, but here we are. I grew up in a small business family – my parents, neither of whom had college degrees, my stepdad never finished high school, decided to start a small business when I was just a kid.  I grew up working in that business with my older siblings, learned the values of hard work, sticking together as a family through thick and thin in a working family that had a lot of hard times getting by. I also grew up Mennonite, which is a deep tradition in this community.

Continue Reading...
Sam Pizzigati

Convenient Tales About Riches Within Reach

The world at large knew virtually nada about Sylvia Bloom for 96 years. Then she died in 2016. Now, just a little too late, Sylvia Bloom is getting her belated — yet richly deserved — 15 minutes of worldwide fame. The New York Times has just published a heart-warming story of the caring, upright life Sylvia Bloom lived, and the remarkable — and hidden — fortune she quietly accumulated over the course of her 67-year career as a Manhattan legal secretary. That fortune totaled, in the end, over $9 million. The bulk of that wealth, the Times account reveals, is going — per Bloom’s wishes — to help students from poor families advance their educations.

Continue Reading...
Paulette Jordan

Providing a Chance for a Better Way of Life

Paulette Jordan, candidate for governor of Idaho, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on April 24th, 2018. Jordan, a former member of the Coeur D’Alene Tribal Council, has served in the Idaho Legislature since 2014. I was born and raised on the Coeur D’Alene reservation; I’ll tell you that times are hard. You know, growing up, we had very little access to health care – we didn’t have any access to the best education that anyone could provide, and of course our economy is not that great. So the frustration for me was trying to figure out the best ways to address all these issues – because here we are, decades later, still with the same problems. Still facing the same grueling challenges. And unfortunately, we have a state that is ruled by a single party majority system.

Continue Reading...
Richard Eskow

Primary Day: Lessons for Democrats

Pundits should avoid, at all costs, the sin of “premature evaluation.” The May 7 primaries did not send a simple or unambiguous message. One thing remains clear, however: In November, the Democrats’ fate depends largely on turnout. Dems have a good chance of retaking the House of Representatives this fall, but that’s by no means certain, and the Senate is more of a stretch. With Democratic support reportedly falling among millennials and turnout a lingering problem for voters of color, complacency may be the party’s biggest threat. What other lessons can be drawn from May 7’s results? Ohio Richard Cordray, former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, defeated Dennis Kucinich for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Was that a victory of the “establishment” over populism, as some pundits argued? Not so fast.

Continue Reading...
Jeff Bryant

Charter Schools Threaten the Existence of Public Education

Proclaiming May 6-12 National Charter Schools Week, President Trump kicked off a huge public relations campaign by the charter industry to ballyhoo the supposed success of these schools, although that success is a matter of bitter and ongoing dispute. But one outcome these privately-run, mostly taxpayer-funded schools certainly produce is they financially harm the public education system. “The term ‘existential threat’ is way overused, but charters and vouchers really are a threat to the existence of public education,” Brad Miller tells me. Miller is a highly-rated practicing attorney and a former U.S. House of Representative from North Carolina.

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 582