Miles Mogulescu

Will Trump ‘Wag The Dog’ to Gain Support?

It’s starting to look like a credible scenario that an increasingly unhinged Donald Trump might start a war, fire special counsel Mueller, and then argue, along with his Republican allies, that you can’t impeach a wartime President/Commander in Chief without jeopardizing national security. It’s sometimes called the “Wag The Dog” strategy. In the 1997 movie of the same title, Dustin Hoffman stars as an unpopular President facing dubious reelection prospects as he faces a sex scandal. Robert DeNiro, starring as a Hollywood producer, encourages him to stage a fake war and run on the campaign slogan “You Can’t Change Horse in Mid Stream.” President Hoffman snatches electoral victory from the jaws of defeat. It’s often been said that Pres.

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Jeff Bryant

Now Watch Republicans Blame Obama for Test Scores

One of the more interesting stories about the recent release of scores on the 2017 National Assessment of Education Progress (aka. The Nation’s Report Card) is not about the scores themselves but the way conservative education policy operatives are spinning them. The scores themselves were disappointing. As US News reports, fourth- and eighth-graders, the only two grades tested, “made little to no gains in math and reading since 2015,” the last year the NAEP was conducted.

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Tara Raghuveer

Restoring the Promise of the Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act, passed fifty years ago today, was a critical victory of the Civil Rights era and an effort to address generations of systemic racism in housing policy. The law intended to prohibit discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, or sex. President Johnson signed the Act in large part to stem the tide of anger that rose in cities after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but it was regular people who won the Act, through a years-long struggle to demand fair and equal access to housing. Photo credit: Warren K. Leffler, U.S. News & World Report – LOC / CC Segregating Our Cities The Fair Housing Act was indeed a victory – but it wasn’t perfect, and didn’t come close to rectifying the injustices that, by 1968, were already ingrained in American communities.

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Jeff Bryant

What Teacher Strikes Can Teach Democrats About Education Politics

The momentum of this spring’s teacher uprising is growing, as Oklahoma teachers extend their walkout into a second week and teachers in Kentucky and Arizona are increasingly eager for some kind of disruptive action. It’s too early to gage the full impact of this movement, but that hasn’t stopped pundits and reporters from commenting on what the strikes mean for education politics and policy. Because the rebellions are occurring in “red states,” Democrats are already capitalizing on any perceived advantage the strikes could give their party. “Democrats nationwide are hoping to turn momentum from recent teacher protests into political gains this fall,” reports Education Week.

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Sara Alcid

Equal Pay Day at Your Local Coffee Shop!

It’s Equal Pay Day, America. That’s the day when women’s wages finally catch up with what men were paid in the previous year. How much more, you ask, did men receive? $840 billion. That’s a lot of lattes. What would you do with your share of that $840 billion? I can think of a few things! If your answer doesn’t involve coffee, here’s some math to consider: Each year, the average woman would be able to afford 15 more months of child care, or 78 more weeks of food for her family. Women of color and LGBTQ women are hit hardest by this wage gap, so these disparities in access to resources are even greater for them. Do The Math Women’s wages fuel our businesses, economy, and most importantly – many working families. This disparity not only hurts their purchasing power and upward mobility; it also hurts our economy.

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Richard Eskow

As the World Watches Syria, Don’t Forget About Yemen

In the time it takes to read these words, a child under the age of five will probably die in Yemen. And, as this is being written, the U.N. Security Council is meeting to discuss a gas attack in Syria. President Trump, with newly-appointed National Security Advisor John Bolton at his side, says he will decide on his course of action within 24 to 48 hours. The Syrian people’s tragedy is enormous. So is the possibility for military confrontation between two nuclear powers. But while the headlines focus on Syria, and as a multitude of voices call for increased military involvement there, don’t forget the tragedy in Yemen. We can save lives much more easily there. We don’t have to send troops or launch missiles. All we have to do is leave. Empathy and Intervention Political scientists at the University of Toronto have linked empathy to left-leaning political views.

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Madison Hardee

How Trump’s Immigration Policies Harm Children

The Trump administration has attacked immigrant communities from day one with a range of misguided proposals and executive orders that undermine civil rights and terrify families. Photo credit: CLASP These efforts are having devastating effects – right now, as well as potentially long term – on the health and well-being of our nation’s youngest residents. Documenting the Harm Two new reports issued by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) examine how the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy priorities are wreaking havoc in the lives of young children. Through interviews with more than 100 child care and early education professionals in six states, along with focus groups with dozens of parents, CLASP found pervasive effects of these threats on children.

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Leo Gerard

Deep and Abiding Disrespect for Teachers

When coal-mine bosses said mules were more precious than men because dead miners could be replaced for free, but not dead mules, it demonstrated disrespect. That contempt from the top provoked pitched gun battles between workers and mine-owner militias in West Virginia a little over a century ago. Ill-paid, mistreated and insulted, what did the miners have to lose? The same was true for sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn., half a century later. Subjected to dangerous equipment that killed four workers in four years and paid so little they qualified for food stamps, more than 1,300 walked off the job on Feb. 12, 1968. They demanded respect, carrying signs stating, “I am a man.” The day after Dr. Martin Luther King marched to support these workers, he was assassinated in Memphis.

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Todd Zimmer

Standing Up for Rural Voters in North Carolina

Far-right radicals have made North Carolina the place to test their most extreme ideas. They redrew our voting maps, disempowered Black voters, shredded our safety net and are trying to pit rural and working people against each other. They rewrote the rules to benefit the rich and powerful at the expense of North Carolina’s poor and disenfranchised people. Photo credit: Down Home North Carolina We founded Down Home North Carolina in 2017 to build a different future for our state. We believe a progressive vision for North Carolina must include all of us, including rural communities, if we are to counter the influence of far-right donors who have captured our state government. Far-right ideologues like Art Pope have flooded our state with money, stoking racial resentments.

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Olivia Alperstein

It’s on Us to Stop the War in Yemen

We’re helping fight someone else’s war in Yemen — and the blood is on our hands. Since March 2015, the United States has supported a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that’s intervening in a civil war in Yemen. The war has resulted in massive civilian casualties and the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.   Photo credit: Julien Harneis / Flickr / cc The war has killed more than 10,000 Yemenis and wounded more than 40,000, the majority of them civilians. Over 3 million Yemenis are displaced, millions more have contracted cholera, and some 14 million are at risk right now of starving to death. These aren’t empty statistics. They’re crimes, which we’re enabling. American weapons — including American bombs — are helping to wage the war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is a close U.S.

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Jeff Bryant

Striking Teachers Are Fighting for Communities

Teacher strikes that started in West Virginia and are now raging in Oklahoma and whipping up in Kentucky and Arizona are being called a “nationwide movement.” But a nationwide movement for what? The Wall Street Journal calls the teacher rebellions a “response to years of steep cuts to state education budgets.” Similar articles in other outlets make the argument that because strikes are currently confined to “teachers in states governed by Republicans,” they are mostly about challenging “GOP austerity.” While there is much more than a grain of truth to these observations, they are short-sighted. These striking teachers, in saying “We’ve had enough,” are taking a stand  not only about their own financial situation, but also about the conditions of their students, their schools, and their communities.

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Libero Della Piana

Fifty Years On, MLK’s Call for Economic Justice Rings True

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down fifty years ago today on April 4, 1968. It was a turning point of the twentieth century, marking an ending and a beginning. It was the end of one phase of the Black Freedom struggle, and the beginning of one of the most volatile periods of U.S. politics since the Civil War. MLK Memorial, Washington, D.C. Photo credit: Ron Cogswell / flickr / cc Dr. King was a Baptist minister, a prophetic visionary, a great coalition builder, a moral pillar, a polarizing figure, a movement strategist, a practitioner of nonviolence, a radical reformer. King was arguably the greatest progressive leader of the past century. One the one hand, King’s life and his assassination seem distant after five decades. At the same time, it is haunting to know that King could be alive today had he lived on. He was only 39 when he was killed.

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Paul Harvey

Martin Luther King Jr. Was a True Radical

Martin Luther King Jr. has come to be revered as a hero who led a nonviolent struggle to reform and redeem the United States. His birthday is celebrated as a national holiday. Tributes are paid to him on his death anniversary each April, and his legacy is honored in multiple ways. But from my perspective as a historian of religion and civil rights, the true radicalism of his thought remains underappreciated. The “civil saint” portrayed nowadays was, by the end of his life, a social and economic radical, who argued forcefully for the necessity of economic justice in the pursuit of racial equality. Three particular works from 1957 to 1967 illustrate how King’s political thought evolved from a hopeful reformer to a radical critic. King’s Support for White Moderates For much of the 1950s, King believed that white southern ministers could provide moral leadership.

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Tim Wilkins

Rev. William Barber, Dr. Liz Theoharis on New Poor People’s Campaign

Reverend William Barber and Dr. Liz Theoharis speak in Memphis, Tennessee about the “new and unsettling force” of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and legacy, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. Barber and Theoharis are co-chairs of the New Poor People’s Campaign, A National Call for Moral Revival, inspired by Dr. King’s movement at the time of his death in 1968.

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Tim Wilkins

The Fight for Health Care: In It to Win It

Eight years: that’s how long an American president can serve, and it’s the age at which children start to solve problems on their own. It’s also how long we’ve had President Obama’s signature reform of health care, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Obama achieved goals that eluded every one of his predecessors: the ACA cut the nation’s uninsured population by half, extending coverage to 24 million. It funded this expansion by increasing economic equity, through taxes on the nation’s wealthiest one percent. All across the country last year, thousands of activists flooded into streets, Town Halls and Congressional offices to beat back the GOP’s attempts to repeal the ACA and gut Medicaid. They succeeded in their defense, though the GOP’s efforts to undermine funding for health care continue.

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Richard Eskow

Is the ‘Liberal World Order’ Worth Saving?

Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, recently wrote a column entitled “Liberal World Order, R.I.P.” Haass sees the post-World War II order succumbing to centrifugal forces. He foresees a fragmented and chaotic world made up of “regional orders” or “disorders”, along with the return of great-power rivalries that some thought had ended with the Cold War. He’s offering a eulogy, but one he hopes will revive the deceased before the burial is final. An Inside View Haass has a distinguished resumé as a diplomat, Defense Department official, presidential advisor, author, and Harvard lecturer. Few people have achieved as much prominence in the current system of international relations. He writes with the authority of an insider who has stood near the epicenter of global power.

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James Haslam

Fighting for Our Health in New Hampshire and Vermont

Last week, I found myself where no parent ever wants to be: in a hospital emergency room, next to my big guy – he’s 7. On the way to school, he’d experienced severe abdominal pain and bleeding, so we rushed to the hospital. It happened so fast that we feared the worst. I sat next to his bed under the fluorescent lights, watching him lightly snore next to his favorite stuffy,  Penguin. Nurses came and went to check his vital signs, and I stroked his hair. A million thoughts passed through my mind. I love this kid more than anything in the world. I would do anything, make any sacrifice, to keep him happy and healthy. I needed to be there, because as much as he needs that medicine in the IV, he needs me and his mom, and every kid needs to be in their parents’ arms to heal.

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Leo Gerard

Energy Independence Requires Steel Independence

Shale oil and gas, now fracked from deep underground in two dozen states, is celebrated for delivering energy independence to the United States. But that goal can’t truly be achieved if America depends on China, Korea, even Brazil for the steel vital to drilling. Sustaining steel independence is a big part of what President Trump’s tariffs are about.  They’re intended to revive American steel production which has been hammered by illegal trade practices, particularly in China. Just this week, the tariffs helped secure a new trade deal with Korea that reduces by 30 percent the amount of steel and drilling pipe the Asian country can export to the United States. As fracking geared up across the United States, American steel makers invested in their mills to meet drillers’ needs, from pipe called Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) to plate for platforms.

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Sam Pizzigati

Getting Granular on America’s Income Distribution

Back in the 1980s, the decade that saw researchers start detailing America’s increasing concentration of income and wealth, flacks for the emerging Reagan economic order disdainfully dismissed the significance of the alarming new data. The United States isn’t getting more unequal, the Reaganites pronounced, and the middle class isn’t shrinking. Those economists claiming otherwise, the conservative pushback went, weren’t taking government welfare programs into account. Add in safety-net benefits, conservatives continued, and the increased inequality would disappear. Over on Capitol Hill, researchers at the Congressional Budget Office would eventually put that conservative case to the test.

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Jeff Bryant

Democrats Can Win if They Lead on Education

While progressives lament their recent failure in an Illinois primary to knock out Dan Lipinski – a conservative, anti-abortion, Congressional Democrat who voted against the Affordable Care Act – they mostly fail to note where and how they won elsewhere in the state. Zaid Jiani reports for The Intercept that there were numerous progressive “upstart candidates” further down the ballot in Illinois who beat more established Democrats, including Aaron Ortiz in a State House race, Fritz Kaegi for Cook County Assessor, and Brandon Johnson in a Cook County Commissioner contest. Delia Ramirez also won running as a progressive in a State House primary without an incumbent. These victors had a number of things in common, including endorsements from labor unions and progressive advocacy organizations.

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