Dave Johnson

As Trump Meets Tech CEOs, “Silicon Valley Rising” Calls For Resistance

“Millions of families — undocumented workers, union members, women, Muslim Americans, low-wage workers who could lose healthcare or affordable housing — are living in fear of what comes next. ” – Silicon Valley Rising Silicon Valley Rising is a coalition of community, faith-based and labor organizations that represent tech’s service workers.

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Larry Cohen

Why Would Perez Challenge Ellison for Democratic Party Chair?

I first met Keith Ellison soon after he came to Congress in 2007. We were beginning the push for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Ten years ago it was already clear that collective bargaining rights in the US were at the bottom of global democracies and many Democrats saw the link between bargaining and economic inequality. Keith Ellison jumped right in, creating and funding his own radio spot promoting the Employee Free Choice Act, just weeks after taking office. He didn’t ask for credit or funding support he just did it. Keith has been leading ever since, as co-chair of the progressive caucus, a great advocate on economic, racial and environmental justice. Keith offers us a unique opportunity to support a DNC chair that is an organizer and a leader. Voter turnout in his district is among the highest in the nation.

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Richard Eskow

By Picking Tillerson and Perry, Trump’s Pretty Much Just Trolling Us Now

When it comes to Cabinet-level appointments, Donald Trump hasn’t lost his ability to astonish and dismay. At this point his staffing process has pretty much turned into an extended exercise in trolling, a test to see how much humiliation the American people will endure. Rick Perry for the Department of Energy? Perry will be running an organization he doesn’t even think should exist. By that logic, I should be the CEO of Citigroup. Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, for Secretary of State? Negotiating a peace treaty requires a different skill set than getting a permit to drill in the Black Sea. The New York Times published a thoughtful op-ed by physicist Lawrence M. Krauss noting that the current Energy Secretary is also a physicist (a Nobel Prize-winning one) and outlining a number of critical issues facing the department.

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Bill Scher

Purging Career Civil Servants? That’s The Conservative Playbook.

When the Trump transition asked the Energy Department to name employees that attended climate change conferences, many people — especially Energy Department employees — reacted in horror, concluding that the incoming administration wants to purge career civil servants from the government. As the Washington Post has reported, some Trump advisers are counseling him to weaken civil servant protections and make purging easier: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) urged Trump to take on unions by “getting permission to fire corrupt, incompetent and dishonest workers,” declaring in a New Yorker magazine article, “you have to end the civil-service permanent employment.” Reuters quoted New Jersey Gov.

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Dave Johnson

Dirty Energy Rules A Dark, Dirty Administration. We Must Resist This.

Trump got fewer votes in an election where millions were denied their right to vote. Republicans control the House of Representatives through gerrymandering, not votes. Democrats got millions more votes for Senators but Republicans have the majority. Nonetheless, Republicans are going to try to force through radicals changes in how our government operates and who is operates for. Much of this will clearly at the service of Dirty Energy. Big oil has control of our government now. Donald Trump nominated Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). How oil-dominated is this nomination? See the Hill, Former Bush EPA head blasts Trump’s pick: Pruitt has sued the EPA under President Obama over most major environmental regulations and has been a top crusader against the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule.

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Isaiah J. Poole

The Catastrophic Oil Spill in Trump’s Cabinet

The two latest Cabinet nominations announced by President-elect Donald Trump are the equivalent of a middle finger to the planet. It would be almost impossible to come up with a more offensive combination of epithets shouted in the face of those of us who care about halting the advance of climate change and environmental degradation than the names of Rex Tillerson, the head of Exxon-Mobil, and Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas and current board member of Energy Transfer Partners, the firm behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. Tillerson is nominated to be secretary of state, where he will be able to demolish international agreements on climate change and focus foreign policy on protecting multinational fossil fuel interests.

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Leo Gerard

False Hope Hurts More

            All Chuck Jones was trying to say is that Presidential-elect exaggeration is a killer when it involves jobs. It’s one thing for a candidate to inflate stuff like personal wealth. But when a President-elect tells the country he’s saved 1,100 jobs at a Midwestern manufacturing plant, and it’s really only 800, that hurts real human beings. Chuck Jones is president of the United Steelworkers (USW) Local Union 1999, which represents 1,330 workers at the Carrier furnace plant in Indianapolis. He’s the guy who had to tell them the bad news: 1,100 jobs hadn’t been saved. Only 800 workers would be spared, 730 union and 70 management. When President-elect Donald Trump announced 1,100 jobs saved, he included 300 research and development employees who Carrier never intended to move to Mexico.

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Richard Eskow

While Democrats Chase Russians, Republicans Keep Rigging Elections

What does it tell us when leading Democrats are more upset about alleged Russian election-rigging than they are about proven Republican election-rigging? After all, American oligarchs like the Koch Brothers have no more right to undermine our democracy than Russian oligarchs do. GOP voting laws systematically discriminate against minority voters and working people. Yes, leading Democrats have lodged pro forma protests against them, but they should be shouting about it from the rooftops. They seem more comfortable challenging Russians than they do challenging a party that’s undermining the electoral process much closer to home. Maybe voters in places like North Carolina and Texas were “hacked” by the wrong people. The CIA said last week that the Russian government was trying to help Trump win. They certainly stood to gain, as Trump’s Secretary of State pick proves.

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Dave Johnson

Trump Labor Secretary Nominee Sees People As Throw-Away Commodities

“As we have learned before, when we are under attack, together we must stand up and fight back.” – Larry Cohen Before we accept the threatened destruction of our government as “normal” or “just politics,” here is something to think about. Our government is supposed to work for us, We the People, for our benefit, to make our lives better. Take the Department of Labor. The mission of the Department is “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.” Think about that. We once had a government with a mission to work for We the People, helping us get better jobs, better wages and better working conditions.

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Richard Eskow

Through the GOP, the Wealthy Are Waging War on the Old

If you’re an older American — or expect to be someday — and you aren’t wealthy, you may have concluded that the Republican Party is at war with you. If so, you’re not wrong. Republicans are pushing proposals that protect and expand the wealth of the wealthy at the expense of the elderly. (The disabled, working people, and the poor are also targets.) Some progressives are troubled by metaphors of war. But this assault will claim lives, through hunger and inadequate medical care. Not every wealthy person supports it, of course, but those who do have plenty of Republican footsoldiers in Washington. The motive, to a large extent, is tax avoidance. Taxes in the US are actually low compared with other countries, especially for the wealthy and corporations.

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Dave Johnson

Will Trump’s US Trade Representative Be Another Pro-NAFTA, Pro-TPP Type?

Outgoing Louisiana Republican Congressman Charles Boustany is being talked about as a contender for becoming Donald Trump’s US Trade Representative (USTR). Politico wrote about this in “Boustany making bid for top trade spot,” summing up his qualifications as mostly being against the things Trump campaigned on. Of course, Trump is doing the same since the election… Rep. Charles Boustany voted for every single trade deal President-elect Donald Trump considers terrible, but that isn’t stopping him from seeking the next administration’s top trade spot. The Louisiana Republican’s star could be rising as a possible pick for U.S. trade representative, with the outgoing lawmaker engaged in talks with Trump’s transition team about the position, said a source close to the talks. [. .

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Diane Archer

Drug Prices Likely to Rise in Trump Administration

The price of drugs remains out of control, and President-elect Trump has vowed to address high drug prices. But, the Republican Congress is set to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which means that the drug companies will lose millions of customers with drug coverage, many of whom will no longer be able to afford their drugs. Because drug companies have the power to set drug prices and will want to make up for their lost revenue, drug prices are likely to rise in a Trump administration. Since passage of the ACA, the drug industry has seen enormous profits. Regardless, according to StatNews, Pharma is claiming that the ACA didn’t help drug companies as much as pharmaceutical executives expected. Drug makers had to pay billions in fees under the ACA. They also were required to give drug discounts and rebates to people with Medicare through the Part D drug benefit.

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Robert Borosage

How to Expose Trump’s Dastardly Bait-and-Switch

Donald Trump is a masterful con man, and his presidency will be a bait-and-switch of epic proportions. He will, on one hand, appeal to the populist temper of the time—as he did this week with his “thank you tour”—and with stunts, as he did with the Carrier deal or his series of tweets purporting to hold Boeing to account for overcharging the Air Force. The switch comes in Washington, with what David Axelrod dubbed a “Monster’s Ball” of Wall Street and right-wing ideologues in the cabinet. Republican majorities in Congress will work to further rig the economy for the wealthy few. Trump’s opening speech of his “thank you tour” in Ohio laid out the bait. While putting forth his “action plan to make America great,” Trump dished out nationalist and populist themes with a characteristic mix of racist signaling.

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Richard Eskow

With Wrestling Pick, Trump Treats Voters Like “a Bunch of Jabronies”

Donald Trump’s recent cabinet picks have a history of being very good … to Donald Trump. Working Americans probably won’t be as lucky. His latest hire is wrestling billionaire Linda McMahon, who’s been tapped to lead the Small Business Administration. In the parlance of McMahon’s industry: Trump is treating voters like a bunch of jabronies. McMahon, a former executive with World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE), gave $6 million to Trump’s campaign. She and her husband, WWE CEO Vince McMahon, also gave $5 million to Trump’s foundation – whose funds Trump has used in highly questionable ways. (Linda McMahon served as WWE’s CEO during Vince’s trial on charges of distributing steroids.

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Dave Johnson

Trump’s Punch Down Strategy

“You better keep your eye on your kids. We know what car you drive.” That’s the kind of threats a local union official is getting after President-presumed-Elect Donald Trump tweeted something bad about him. “You gonna die. Death is coming to you real soon.” A Florida woman is arrested for threatening the parents of a child killed at Sandy Hook. Trump-tied “fake news” sites claim the shootings there were a “hoax” intended to push gun control. A guy shows up at a Pizza shop based on conspiracy theories — some pushed out by Trump insiders, others by the same Trump-related websites and radio shows that pushed the Sandy Hook hoax — claiming Hillary Clinton runs a child sex trafficking ring from its basement.

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Bill Scher

America Did Not Vote For This Cabinet

It’s a simple fact that most Americans did not vote for Donald Trump. But our republic is not designed to reward the top vote-getter. It’s designed to guard against tyranny-of-the-majority, and ensure that minority voices will help shape public policy. But the fluke of this election is that, despite Democrats winning the most votes for president and the Senate (Republicans won slightly more House votes), Democrats are nearly shut out of power. You can’t fault Trump for that. But he could have, perhaps more than any previous President-elect, shed ideological rigidity to build a Cabinet that reflected the vote, and the nation’s political diversity. And he certainly could have kept special interest influence out of his government, especially since he explicitly promised he would.

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Jeff Bryant

Principles To Guide The Vetting Of Betsy DeVos

President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Betsy DeVos for US Secretary of Education in his administration set off a firestorm of commentary on what her impact might be on furthering “school choice” ventures like charter schools and vouchers that send taxpayer money to private enterprises. In a much-circulated op-ed for the New York Times, economic professor Douglas Harris warns, “The DeVos nomination … should worry anyone who wants to improve results for children.” Specifically, Harris points to Detroit – where DeVos has been hugely influential – as a worrisome example of how more choice does not necessarily always lead to more quality in a school system.

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Dave Johnson

Workers Challenge Trump To Follow Through On His Promises

President-elect Donald Trump promised during his campaign “more jobs and better wages.” So on Wednesday several hundred workers gathered near the White House and challenged Trump to be true to his words. Speaking at the New York Economic Club in September, Donald Trump promised that in his administration, “Every policy decision we make must pass a simple test: Does it create more jobs and better wages for Americans?” Meanwhile, the U.S. Government is America’s top creator of low-wage jobs. The federal government pays for more than 2 million private sector poverty jobs through its contracts, loans, and grants – more than the number of low-wage workers at Walmart and McDonald’s combined. And already-low-paid federal contract workers lose up to $2.5 billion in pay each year to wage theft. Trump has an opportunity to show he meant what he said.

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Sam Pizzigati

Ike’s Rich vs. Trump’s Rich: No Contest

In every society, some people hold more wealth than other people. Every society, in other words, has a rich. But not every society’s rich has enough wealth to really dominate. Not every society’s rich has enough wealth — and power — to rig the rules at the expense of average people. In the United States today, our rich certainly does have enough. Researchers from the IRS have just delivered the latest evidence. These researchers last week released the latest annual breakdown on America’s 400 highest reported incomes. In 2014, their new IRS report notes, our top 400 collected incomes that individually averaged an astounding $317.8 million.

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Richard Eskow

Sorry, Donald. Taxes in the United States Are Actually Very Low.

Here’s Donald Trump, speaking at a presidential debate in October of last year (emphasis mine): “We’re already [the] highest-tax nation in the world. Just about. They can maybe find—every once in a while they’ll say, they’ll fact-check me, ‘Well, there’s a nation that you never heard of where it’s slightly higher.’ We are just about, of the industrialized nations, we’re the highest taxpayers in the world.” Wrong again, Mr. Trump. Newly published data confirms that, conservative rhetoric notwithstanding, Americans pay very little in taxes compared to residents of other developed countries. That includes US corporations, which pay less than the average for industrialized nations. The data compares the total tax rate paid in OECD member countries, which are primarily developed nations, with each country’s total gross domestic product.

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