Robert Kraig

Walker and Trump’s Foxconn Deal May Be Worst in American History

Governor Scott Walker and Donald Trump claim their $3 billion subsidy to Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn will create thousands of jobs in Wisconsin. But when you dig into the numbers, the Foxconn deal looks like one of the biggest swindles in American history, a scandal waiting to happen. While it is Governor Walker and not Trump who is really cutting this deal, it sets a dangerous precedent, which could affect every state. To understand how big the threat is, it is important to understand just how bad the Foxconn deal really is, and to look closely at what they’re proposing. The magnitude of the public expenditure is stunning. It is not really a tax break, but a direct public subsidy of $3 billion dollars.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Massachusetts Mourns The Loss Of A ‘Warrior For Justice’

People’s Action members around the country today are mourning the death of Jafet Robles, 33, an organizer with People’s Action member organization Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts. Robles’ body was found Monday morning in a park in Chicopee, Massachusetts, near Springfield. He was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound, and local police have launched a homicide investigation. “We have lost a warrior for justice,” said People’s Action co-director George Goehl. “We are so saddened by this horrible event and incredible loss to Jafet’s family, his community, and the movement to end mass incarceration and replace it with solutions that actually help communities be safe and thrive.” Robles led the “Jobs, Not Jails” campaign for Neighbor to Neighbor and was lead organizer for the Springfield, Massachusetts area.

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Richard Eskow

What Matters Is What Happens Next, Not ‘What Happened’

“Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.” Remember when Bill Clinton used this Fleetwood Mac nugget as a theme in his 1992 campaign? Today, as Hillary Clinton’s campaign memoir goes on sale, the Democratic Party Clinton and his fellow “centrists” remade in their image seems unable to stop thinking about yesterday. Can the Democratic Party truly reject its past mistakes and look to the future? Don’t Look Back The past shouldn’t be off limits, of course. We’re supposed to learn from our mistakes. Nevertheless, Democratic Party operative Paul Begala tweeted, “New rule: Nobody is allowed to comment on Hillary’s book until… they have read the book.” Why does it seem like Democratic insiders are always trying to police the discourse? Politics is public property. People can talk about whatever they want.

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Jeff Bryant

The Sad Story of Public Education in St. Louis

“This is a disaster.” Walker Gaffney and I were at the entry of Cleveland High School in St. Louis. Broken glass speckles the floor. Black mold crawls up the sides of the stone walls. Rotted plaster hangs from the high arched ceiling. “It’s worse every time I come here,” said Gaffney, who is the school district’s real estate director. “I once found a dog-fighting operation in one of these old schools.” Gaffney led the way, first to the majestic swimming pool with its ornate tiled walls smeared with graffiti – the Olympic-size pool shrunk to a black, fetid puddle in the deep end. Next stop, the cavernous auditorium whose darkened mezzanine and decorative chandeliers are barely visible in the motes of daylight piercing through holes in the high ceiling. Then on to the gymnasium, its hardwood floors now warped and buckled from rot.

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Brian Haghighi

Help Every Small Business Have a Chance for Success

America loves entrepreneurs, right? Like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford or Steve Jobs? Think again. It’s incredibly hard for new businesses in this country to get the financing they need to get great ideas off the ground. And unless we act now, Republicans in Congress will make it even even harder. Since the near-meltdown of the financial system in 2008, banks have consistently given fewer loans to small businesses than they did before the crisis. It doesn’t matter how great your ideas are, or even how well your business is doing. These are lessons my brother Alan and I learned, fast, when we launched our company, FruitCraft Fermentery and Distillery, in San Diego in 2009. Brian and Alan Haghighi and the FruitCraft team, San Diego, CA We make craft spirits and wines, and everyone – even bankers – loved our products when they tasted them.

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Leo Gerard

Canadian Mounties to the Rescue of American Workers

The Canadian Royal Mounties have offered to ride to the rescue of beleaguered American workers. It doesn’t sound right. Americans perceive themselves to be the heroes. They are, after all, the country whose intervention won World War II, the country whose symbol, the Statue of Liberty, lifts her lamp to light the way, as the poem at the statue’s base says, for the yearning masses and wretched refuse, for the homeless and tempest-tossed. America loves the underdog and champions the little guy. The United States is doing that, for example, by demanding in the negotiations to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that Mexico raise its miserable work standards and wages. Now, though, here comes Canada, the third party in the NAFTA triad, insisting that the United States fortify its workers’ collective bargaining rights.

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Isaiah J. Poole

‘Not One Penny’ of Tax Cuts for The Rich or Service Cuts for the Poor

The surprise deal President Trump struck this week with Democratic congressional leaders is an agreement to continue the status quo on federal government funding through December. That means three more months to fight against the Republicans’ budget proposal, which would be truly devastating for ordinary families. When combined with their’ plan to overhaul taxes, this plan will literally take away from poor and working-class families and give to the rich.

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Miles Mogulescu

Donald Trump Jr. Just Admitted He Committed a Crime

Memo to Donald Trump, Jr. from counsel: A bungled crime is still a crime. If you don’t believe me, ask tens of thousands of inmates living behind bars. Planning a crime and failing to successfully pull it off can still be a crime. And Donnie just admitted it, on Capital Hill, to members and staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee in a copy of his prepared testimony obtained by The Washington Post. Referring to his July, 2016 meeting with Kremlin associates, in which he, Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner agreed to meet on a promise of damaging information on Hillary Clinton illegally obtained by Russia, Don Jr.

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Jeff Bryant

Betsy DeVos’s Silence On DACA Speaks Volumes About Her Education Values

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proclaims her agenda is to “focus everything about education on individual students,” but if she really cared about the welfare of students she would speak out about what her boss President Trump is doing to hundreds of thousands of undocumented students whose fate he has cast to the wind by ordering an end to the Obama-era program shielding young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Trump’s decision to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, also has an immediate impact on thousands of teachers whose DACA deferral made it possible for them to enroll in teacher preparation programs, earn certification, and gain employment in schools. For students with undocumented parents, cancelling DACA throws them into a state of fear that while they’re in school their mother or father could be deported.

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Richard Eskow

Disaster Recovery Should Heal, Not Divide, Our Communities

Houston has barely begun to recover from Hurricane Harvey, as Irma devastates the Caribbean and heads towards Puerto Rico and Florida. Its hard to imagine all the grief, effort, and cost it will take to rebuild from one of these thousand-year storms, much less two. But we better get used to it. Climate science tells us more superstorms are coming. We should learn how to recover from them in a smart, humane way – one that promotes economic and social justice, so people, families and communities can truly heal. Trump and the Republicans are about to do it the other way. Money From Misery The devastation of Houston was made worse by poor planning and deregulation. That wasn’t an accident: it was greed. Wealthy individuals and corporations want to keep their taxes low, so they blocked government spending for preparedness and recovery.

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Jeff Bryant

Like Her Boss, Betsy DeVos Makes a Disaster All About Herself

While President Trump’s boastful comments about crowd size at his tour of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in Houston struck some as egotistical and self-aggrandizing, his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had a similar performance in Florida, where she robotically recited her favorite talking points against a backdrop of a slow-motion catastrophe striking the state’s public schools. Like her boss avoided interacting with people who bore the brunt of the hurricane, DeVos avoided public schools, going to a privately-operated charter school and a voucher-receiving private school instead. What’s hitting Florida’s public schools may not directly endanger lives as Hurricane Harvey did, but it will surely exact a heavy toll on the Sunshine State’s education infrastructure.

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Gerardo, COPA

Trump Wants to Steal 800,000 Immigrant Dreams

My name is Gerardo. I am a proud undocumented immigrant and a grassroots leader at Colorado People’s Alliance (COPA), where we fight for racial justice in our state and nationwide. I want you to know my story. Members of Colorado People’s Action I am one of the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects hundreds of thousands of people from deportation who, like me, who arrived in this country as children. Growing up, I knew I shouldn’t tell other people about my immigration status. I thought it was shameful to be undocumented, but I didn’t quite understand why. That changed when I turned 19. I was pulled over one day because my license plate light was burnt out. When the officer saw that I’m Latino, he racially profiled me and questioned my right to be in this country.

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Robert Borosage

When the Parades Are Over, Who Stands With Unions?

The Labor Day parades are over. The bands have packed up. The muscular speeches celebrating workers are finished. The trash is getting collected from parks across the country.  And now conservative politicians from Trump on down will revive their systematic efforts to weaken unions and undermine workers. First U.S. Labor Day Parade, September 5, 1882 in New York Trump – despite all the populist bunting that decorates his speeches – sustains the deeply entrenched Republican antipathy to organized workers. Their attack is relentless. Trump’s budget calls for deep cuts in the Labor Department, eviscerating job training programs and cutting – by 40 percent – the agency that does research on workplace safety. It would eliminate the program that funds education of workers on how to avoid workplace hazards.

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Leo Gerard

Working on Labor Day to Recover from Harvey

Watching helplessly as flood waters rose was not an option for Brandon Parker. This Texas refinery worker and member of the United Steelworkers (USW) union has a jacked-up Suburban and a friend with a boat. There was no way he was going to let family members, neighbors or strangers drown. Like Brandon, many union members couldn’t sit still through the storm. One drove her high-riding pickup truck two hours to find baby formula for co-workers rescued from their roof with a newborn. Another used his pickup truck to rescue people whose cars got caught in fast-moving water. These are among the many workers across Texas and across the United States whose sense of community drove them to respond to the crisis created by Hurricane Harvey. Brandon’s most harrowing rescues occurred on Sunday, Aug.

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Krista Sperber, Rae Breaux

Harvey Won’t Be The Last Thousand-Year Storm

All our eyes have been glued to the devastation that is Hurricane Harvey. Here in New Jersey, we are still waiting on the help we were promised to fully recover from Superstorm Sandy, so we know the road home will be long and full of challenges. We feel heartbroken at the sight of thousands of Gulf Coast families displaced by the storm, which dumped over 50 inches of rain in just four days. As the storm was hitting, Houston experienced over 56,000 calls to 911 in just 15 hours. Texas National Guard evacuating families from Hurricane Harvey More than 32,000 people evacuated their homes and crowded over 300 shelters at double their capacity. Over 8,500 people were and are being rescued by boat from their homes after being stranded on rooftops, attics, and anywhere they could find higher ground. Painfully Familiar All of this is painfully familiar to us in New Jersey.

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Robert Borosage

Trump’s Tax Plan Is a Confidence Scam

Donald Trump traveled to Springfield, Missouri to kick off the administration’s next big initiative: cutting taxes. Here was the essential Trump, the confidence man, peddling a plan that does not yet exist on paper. Populist bluster was deployed to cover for what will be a one-percenter’s elixir. Each of the four principles Trump claims will inform what he calls “tax reform” is actually mocked in the plans the administration is cooking up behind closed doors. The only question is whether Americans are gullible enough to buy what Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republicans are selling. And whether Democrats will unite to expose the con and demand progressive tax reforms that are long overdue. Simplicity? Trump’s first principle is simplicity: the tax code should be “simple, fair and easy to understand.” But Republicans aren’t interested in simplicity.

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Alan Jenkins

Our President, the White Supremacist

The President of the United States is a white supremacist. He is not just a defender or apologist for bigots and hatemongers. He is one of them, and no one who’s been paying attention can be shocked to learn this. What’s more, when the President of the United States candidly speaks the vitriolic and despicable thoughts that are in his head, it’s not “going rogue.” It is an unadulterated expression of hateful ideology from the highest office in our land. It is the position of the Executive Branch of our government, and we must start treating it that way. The implications are moral, constitutional, and intensely practical. Our Highest Values White supremacy is a dangerous contradiction of our nation’s highest values that places our very democracy at risk.

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Richard Eskow

Grow Up and Apologize, Ted Cruz

People whose lives have been destroyed by floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters face a special kind of anguish. The things they trusted the most – the ground beneath their feet, and the sky above – have turned against them. Their most personal spaces have turned to ruins, and their most precious belongings have been destroyed. Their private misery has become a public spectacle, as cameras in circling helicopters put them on display to the entire planet. Their world has betrayed them, and they feel they have nowhere left to turn. That’s why millions of people have offered support and compassion to the people of Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

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Isaiah J. Poole

The Destruction Left By Hurricane Trump

President Trump has planned a visit to the Texas Gulf Coast on Tuesday to survey some of the devastation done by Hurricane Harvey since it hit landfall on Friday. As he is doing that, let’s survey the devastation left behind by Hurricane Trump since Friday to our basic human values. On Friday, Trump sent a directive ordering the secretary of defense to implement a ban on transgender people serving in the military. The Defense Department will be allowed to make individual judgments on the status of transgender people already serving in the military. Nonetheless, the message is clear: Transgender people are not worthy of the task of defending the nation, and they are not worthy of being defended by the nation.

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Sam Pizzigati

Wisconsin’s Foxconn Deal Enriches Billionaires With Taxpayer Cash

Taiwanese billionaire Terry Gou every once in a while likes to think “outside the box.” Back in 2010, for instance, the giant electronics manufacturer that Gou runs — Foxconn — was facing what corporate flacks like to call a major “PR problem.” Working conditions inside Foxconn’s massive Chinese factories had become so incredibly stressful that workers were committing suicide in shockingly large numbers. They were leaping out factory windows to their deaths. And what did Gou’s Foxconn do to try to calm the worldwide outrage? The conventional corporate move would have been to dial back the pressure on workers. Foxconn’s move under Gou? The company stretched safety nets in those places where workers would be most likely to leap.

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