Richard Eskow

Americans Like the Resistance a Lot More Than They Like Trump

For Donald Trump, this has got to hurt: Less than two weeks after his inauguration, the people who took to the streets to protest his policies have outstripped him in popularity. And, given his rich history of “locker room banter” and other sexist comments, it must be especially humiliating for Trump to know that the biggest mobilizations of protesters who bested him were led by women. A Popular Front The numbers are irrefutable. Trump’s approval rating has sunk to a historically low 42 percent, according to Gallup, yet 60 percent of the public approved of the women’s marches, a Washington Post poll found. Only 29 percent of those polled disapproved of the anti-Trump marchers yet 54 percent disapproved of Trump’s performance as president.

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Dave Johnson

The Enormous, Humongous Trade Deficit Got Bigger in 2016, Action Needed

The United States ran the most enormous, humongous trade deficit last year since 2012. The gap between our exports and imports widened by 0.4 percent to $502.3 billion in 2016, the Census Bureau reported today. The government also found that the trade deficit amounted to $44.3 billion in December, down $1.5 billion from a revised $45.7 billion in November. The goods deficit with China alone hit $30.2 billion in December, up $1.8 billion from the previous month. The shocking trade deficit our country ran last year includes the services surplus. What happens if we separate services from goods? Exports of services decreased $1.3 billion to $749.6 billion in 2016. Imports of services increased $13.1 billion to $501.8 billion in 2016. Services ran a surplus of $247.8 billion. Exports of goods decreased $50.5 billion to $1,459.8 billion in 2016.

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Leo Gerard

Make American Jobs

President Donald Trump had Harley-Davidson executives and employees over to lunch at the White House last week and reiterated his promise to end wrong-headed trade policies that enable foreign countries to eat American workers’ lunch. Trump reassured the Harley workers from the United Steelworkers (USW) union and the International Association of Machinists (IAM) that he would renegotiate NAFTA and other trade deals. “A lot of people [have been] taking advantage of us, a lot of countries [have been] taking advantage of us, really terribly taking advantage of us,” he said as news cameras clicked. “We have to be treated fairly.” No promise could be more heartening to workers as corporations like Carrier and Rexnord continue to move jobs to Mexico.

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Jeff Bryant

#Holdthefloor: Senate Democrats’ All-Night Vigil Against DeVos

This is going down to the wire. Senate Democrats, channeling public opposition to Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education while venting their own outrage over her lack of qualifications for the job, are occupying the Senate floor for 24 hours ahead of the chamber’s vote on her confirmation at noon. Every Democrat in the Senate plans to vote against Trump’s nominee, joined by two Republicans. Vice President Mike Pence may cast the tie-breaking and deciding vote in a historical first for a cabinet confirmation. “Democrats — who planned to stay up through the night debating DeVos’ nomination — made it clear that they weren’t ready to give up the fight,” Education Week reports.

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Dave Johnson

Nationwide Protests Continue, Now Targeting Lawmakers

The post-inauguration wave of protests  is continuing and morphing. Over Super Bowl weekend, some of the biggest took place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort  in Palm Beach, Florida and Roseville, California. Many of these protests are aimed at pressuring lawmakers in addition to expressing disapproval over President Donald Trump’s policies. They are becoming more focused and following some of the tactics that proved successful for the tea party. It looks like they may be starting to get results. Roseville, California In Roseville, California, Tom McClintock was met by a large, “intense” crowd, the Los Angeles Times reports regarding the Republican who represents the Sacramento suburb in the House. The scene inside and outside Rep.

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Sam Pizzigati

What Made the Great Recession ‘Great’?

Another new study on the devastating impact of the Great Recession — on the middle class — has just come out, this one from the Hudson Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank. America’s richest 10 percent, this latest analysis shows, lost 7 percent of their wealth between 2007 and 2013. The bottom 90 percent lost 22 percent, over triple the top 10 percent’s loss. In 1929, just before the Great Depression, the top 0.1 percent share of America’s wealth hit a record 24.8 percent. The top 0.1 percent share was peaking again just before the Great Recession. The Great Recession essentially wiped out virtually every cent of the new wealth that middle class households had added between 1983 and 2007. In the earlier of these two years, the typical American household held, after adjusting for inflation, a modest net worth of $80,200.

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Richard Eskow

Trump Stands Up for Bad Bankers

The best way to spot a con artist is by paying attention to what you don’t see, as well as to what you see. Donald Trump says he represents working people, but he has already moved aggressively to tilt the scales in favor of Wall Street’s criminal elite. As Trump moved to rob Americans of some basic financial protections, his choice of companions only added insult to injury. Now You See It, Now You Don’t Last year Wells Fargo became enmeshed in scandal when it was learned that 2 million false accounts were opened in its customers’ names without their knowledge. It turned out that the bank’s employees, many of whom are poorly paid and dependent on bonuses and commissions, were being threatened with loss of income or termination if they fell behind on production. Those who complained to higher-ups or authorities risked retaliation.

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Dean Baker

Donald Trump Wants Taxpayers to Subsidize His Payoffs to Politicians

During his presidential campaign Donald Trump frequently talked about how he used campaign contributions as payoffs to advance his business interests. He boasted that if you give politicians money they have to do what you want. In an apparent effort to further advance his business interests, Donald Trump is pushing a plan that would allow him to get taxpayer subsidies for these payoffs. According to The New York Times, he’s proposing a plan that would overturn current law, so that tax-exempt churches could get directly involved in political campaigns. (The Times’ article is inaccurately headlined, saying that Trump would end “law banning political endorsements by churches.” There is no law that blocks churches from making political endorsements.

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Richard Eskow

Are We Heading Toward a Constitutional Crisis Over Immigration? [video]

As the third week of Donald Trump’s presidency gets underway, his administration’s war on immigrants, especially Muslims, continues unabated. In the first weekend following his “Muslim ban” decree,  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers defied court orders. They have continued to do so on a routine basis since then. What exactly is going on? Are we headed for a constitutional crisis? To explore these questions, I spoke with Slate legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern. Mark was in Virginia’s Dulles International Airport last weekend as lawyers attempted unsuccessfully to speak with detained clients. CBP’s behavior at Dulles and elsewhere raises concerns about the agency’s willingness to abide by the law and calls into doubt the administration’s respect for the Constitution’s system of checks and balances.

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Jeff Bryant

Will the Senate Reject DeVos?

Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of education, got awful reviews for her performance during her confirmation hearing. But no one predicted her confirmation was anything less than a sure deal. Now, suddenly, she’s in big trouble. The DeVos unraveling started late Wednesday when two Republican Senators who voted DeVos out of committee, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said they can’t back DeVos in a full Senate vote.

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Kathy Mulady

Dispatches from Week 2 of #ResistTrumpTuesdays

More than 2,000 people jammed Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Penn Square on Tuesday, the chanting crowd overflowing into other streets as the protest against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban grew. By some estimates the event, organized by Keystone Progress and other groups, was the biggest rally ever held there. The action was one of many gatherings held in more than 120 cities and towns around the country as people continue to rise up against Trump’s bullying. A week earlier, more than 15,000 people nationwide participated in peaceful rallies outside hometown congressional offices. On this second round of #ResistTrumpTuesdays turnout grew due to outrage over Trump’s Muslim ban, his cabinet nominees and expectations for his Supreme Court pick. People’s Action, Working Families Party and MoveOn.org are coordinating #ResistTrumpTuesdays.

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Jeff Bryant

Betsy DeVos May Want Quack Science Taught Instead of Real Thing

Betsy DeVos had a rocky Senate confirmation hearing in committee before the panel split along party lines while voting to send Trump’s nominee for education secretary to the full Senate. Subsequently, two Republicans who took part in the hearing, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska,  say they won’t back DeVos again. According to Education Week, a final vote has been called for next week. No Democrats are on record saying they will vote for her and activists are targeting GOP senators, such as Deb Fischer of Nebraska, whom they suspect might join Collins and Murkowski in opposing the nominee. Senators who say they will reject DeVos most often say their opposition comes from her lack of qualifications and her poor grasp of policy issues. But there’s lots more to DeVos’s wacky views on education.

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Libero Della Piana

Trump Makes a Mockery of Black History Month

I was a high school student in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1986, the first year Martin Luther King Day was observed as a federal holiday. Just not in Utah. Utah voted that year to observe “Human Rights Day” on the third Monday in January instead, because of opposition to honoring Dr. King. Prominent Republicans at the time attacked King, accusing him of being divisive and extremist. We students marched and walked out of schools. We protested because that was the lesson King taught us. Ultimately Utah became the last state to officially celebrate the legacy of the most recognized moral figure in U.S. history in 2000, when the legislature finally changed Human Rights Day to Martin Luther King Day. The 20-year struggle to win a state holiday for a Black historical figure demonstrates that Black history is highly political and contested.

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Antonia Juhasz

Why Do Senators Believe Rex Tillerson Is Such a Great Businessman?

It’s official: Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson will serve as secretary of state. The Senate voted 56-43 to make the Texan multi-millionaire the nation’s top diplomat just one day after ExxonMobil reported its lowest profits in almost 30 years. The oil major’s weak performance raises the question of whether Tillerson’s business leadership is as stellar as both the public and elected officials tend to believe. Under then-CEO Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil’s profits fell by more than 50 percent to $7.84 billion in 2016 $16.15 billion a year earlier. Those 2015 profits, in turn, were half of the $33 billion the company earned in 2014. Even though oil prices climbed higher by the end of the year, the oil giant’s $1.7 billion in fourth-quarter profits in 2016 were 40 percent lower than its profits earned the same period in 2015.

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Dave Johnson

Connecting Dots: a Sluggish Economy and Millions of Jobs Lost to China

Economic growth is slow, the trade deficit is too big, and these dots are connected. First, the stalling economy. As Wonkblog recently reported on what it called “a long period of tepid expansion under the Obama administration,” GDP growth has averaged about 2.1 percent since 2010. The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times both blame the trade deficit for some of this sluggishness. How did we get here? With Bill Clinton’s help, China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. China had what the business world considered a comparative advantage: a government that allowed low wages with scant labor rights or environmental protections. During George W. Bush’s administration, U.S. companies closed as many factories as they could here.

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Richard Eskow

Trump’s Supreme Court Pageant: a Silly Show to Fill a Stolen Seat

The 45th President of the United States just handled one of his gravest responsibilities, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice, with his trademark vulgar and vaudevillian vapidity. Only 11 days into his presidency, Donald Trump’s shtick has become as boring as it is dangerous. If a president’s only duty were to entertain his audience, Trump would already be facing impeachment. Despite his best efforts, there was no suspense in Trump’s announcement. As predicted, he nominated someone for the Supreme Court whose right-wing notions of “originalism” would suspend our living Constitution in ancient prejudices of race, ethnicity, religion, class and gender. But cheap tricks like Trump’s live, prime-time Supreme Court announcement do serve a purpose: They distract the public from everything else he’s doing.

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Robert Reich

Trump and Bannon’s ‘America First’

Donald Trump has reorganized the National Security Council—elevating his chief political strategist Steve Bannon, and demoting the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Bannon will join the NSC’s principals committee, the top inter-agency group advising the President on national security. Meanwhile, the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will now attend meetings only when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed,” according to the presidential memorandum issued Saturday. Political strategists have never before participated in National Security Council principals meetings because the NSC is supposed to give presidents nonpartisan, factual advice. But forget facts. Forget analysis. This is the Trump administration.

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Dave Johnson

Voice Your Opposition to Puzder for Trump’s Labor Secretary on Wednesday

As the CEO of the company that owns fast-food chains Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s, Andy Puzder has championed replacing human workers with robots and sexist advertising while racking up labor rights, health and safety violations. He’s now on the brink of running a government department with a mission to “foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.” Given his penchant for wage theft and his leadership of a company routinely charged with sexual harassment, this Trump nominee isn’t qualified for this job.

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Isaiah J. Poole

As the Trump Train Derails, We Must Keep Up the Pressure

It’s now abundantly clear that the Trump administration has planted and sown the seeds of its own destruction. The evidence keeps mounting. There’s the billionaire-packed cabinet that Donald Trump assembled in betrayal of his populist campaign themes. There’s the petulant and lie-laden reactions by Trump and his aides to the protests against his policies, such as the White House’s rants against the record crowds at the Women’s Marches that erupted nationwide the day after his inauguration and the tantrum he threw as he fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Then there’s the rush of executive orders dictating policies for which he has no mandate, such as the immigration ban against refugees and all citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries that spurred legal chaos as hundreds of foreign travelers were ushered off airplanes or detained at U.S.

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Jeff Bryant

There’s Still Time to Tell Your Senators to ‘Toss DeVos’

  As protests swept the nation this weekend, you may have overlooked the wave of pushback against Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Education Department. From Los Angles to Washington, D.C., students, teachers, parents and public school advocates are demanding that the Senate reject her nomination. Critics are objecting to her lack of qualifications, her numerous conflicts of interest, her connection to dark money influence in politics and her lack of knowledge about the basics of education policy. As I report for Raw Story, DeVos’s background, stated views, and charitable giving represent a political and cultural extremism incompatible with the federal government’s role in education. The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on her nomination.

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