Robert Borosage

Democrats Shouldn’t Be Trying to Banish Tulsi Gabbard

Donald Trump’s feverish tweeting appears to be contagious. Amid a chorus of praise for the administration’s cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase last week, Neera Tanden, the head of the Center for American Progress, dashed off a tweet calling on voters in Hawaii to oust Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard for expressing skepticism about the Syrian government’s responsibility for the chemical attack that provoked the U.S. military strikes. Former presidential candidate and former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean piled on, and tweeted that Gabbard’s comments were a “disgrace” and that she “should not be in the Congress.” Gabbard had good reason to ask for proof. By his own account, Trump struck rapidly after seeing gruesome televised pictures of dying babies.

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Richard Eskow

The Secret Republican History of Sean Spicer’s Holocaust, in 7 Steps

It’s possible to get carried away with outrage. Sometimes people mean to say relatively innocent things and they come out sounding wrong. Politics doesn’t need to become an indignation factory, and not every Republican gaffe is a sign of incipient fascism. But Sean Spicer’s Holocaust comments are important, not just for their shock value – for their sheer, breathtaking WTF-ness – but for what they tell us about the architecture of the modern Republican mind. “I should have stayed on topic,” Spicer lamented later to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Fair enough. But these remarks were more than just a digression. Spicer reflects his entire party, not just himself or the man for whom he works. And his most disturbing words – the passing phrases that revealed so much – got less attention than they deserved. 1.

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Dave Johnson

Deplaning of United Passenger Shows Why We Need Corporate Regulation

In a democracy, We the People are in charge. We are the boss of the corporations. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work. Apparently, that isn’t so much the way it is anymore. The United States used to regulate corporations to protect people from concentrated power. Now concentrated power has taken over our government, which fights the people for the benefit of corporate profits. Or, to paraphrase John Kenneth Galbraith: In democracy, We the People regulate corporations. In deregulated America it’s the other way around. The Face Of Deregulation This is what can happen to you now in the United States if you get in the way of something a corporation wants: We’ve all seen the videos. A guy gets beaten and dragged from his paid seat on a United Airlines flight because, in essence, he was interfering with corporate profits just by being in the seat.

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Jill Richardson

Trump’s Budget: Feeding One Kid, Starving the Family

Imagine a parent who starves his children and fails to do any number of basic parental duties, but then buys one of his kids a healthy meal. Well, that’s good. Great, really. But it’s not enough. An act of goodness directed at one child cannot feed an entire starving family. That’s essentially what Trump has done by donating his first paycheck, $78,333, to the National Park Service. Photo credit: Jill Richardson/Flickr Don’t get me wrong. Our national parks sorely need the money, and I believe this might be the very first thing Trump has ever done that I approve of. But consider the bigger picture. The National Park Service is one starving child among many. Trump’s paycheck will go to maintain our nation’s historic battlefields, and they alone are $229 million behind in overdue maintenance.

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Sarah Warner

Our Fight for Health Care During Recess and Beyond

It’s time to ramp up our resistance to the Trump-Ryan agenda on health care. We scored our biggest legislative victory so far on March 24, when Speaker Paul Ryan called off his bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), because he didn’t have the votes. This was an inspiring, hard-fought win for everyone who believes health care is for all. But Republican leaders in Congress are still gunning for our health care; their radical plans for our economy leave them no choice. Without gutting healthcare and other essential economic benefits, how else will they pay for the massive tax giveaway for corporations and billionaires that they’ve set their sights on? During Resistance Recess, now until April 23, as lawmakers visit their home districts, we will let them know we’re still fighting to make sure everyone in the country gets the care they need.

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Mark Trahant

The New Deal for Tribes: Resource Extraction & Toxic Waste, Minus Jobs

No coal here. The Native Village of Tyonek, Alaska, celebrated the suspension of a nearby coal project by PacRim Coal. The tribal community is located some 45 miles west of Anchorage. PacRim estimated the project to include some 242 million tons of coal. Trahant file photo   A couple of years ago, a tribal leader showed me an abandoned lumber mill near the village of Tyonek. The company promised jobs. And, for a time, for a couple of decades, there were those jobs. But after the resource was consumed, the mill closed, the company disappeared, and the shell of the enterprise remains today. This same story could be told in tribal communities across North America. Sometimes the resource was timber. Other times gas and oil. Or coal. The lucky communities were left with a small toxic dump site. More often, there was major cleanup work required after (plus a few more jobs).

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Sam Pizzigati

Enormous Wealth and the Quest for Eternal Life

How many registered nurses fantasize about living forever? Probably not many. How many math teachers daydream about immortality? Probably not many there either. Traffic cops? Bartenders? Civil engineers? All likely the same story. Emerging new research on busting the bounds of our biology, warns historian Yuval Harari, could “lead to greater income inequality than ever before.” We have no evidence that any economic grouping in our society sports a significant number of folks who obsess over eternal life. With one exception. The ranks of the awesomely affluent, a new piece of New Yorker reporting details, include a growing cohort of those who believe we can “choose to make death optional.” In Silicon Valley, the epicenter of high-tech wealth, these “immortalists” are putting their money where they want their future to be.

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Dave Johnson

Did Trump Attack Syria for Personal Profit?

At any other time, this (fill in the blank) would be the scandal of the decade. Now, with Donald Trump as president, we call it Monday. Thursday evening, Trump attacked Syria, a sovereign country, with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles. This act of war was done without Congressional authorization, even after Trump’s August, 2013, tweet that “Obama needs Congressional approval” before attacking Syria in nearly identical circumstances. The following morning, headlines like this one appeared in the business press: Raytheon, maker of Tomahawk missiles, leads premarket rally in defense stocks: Defense and energy stocks dominated the list of premarket gainers on the S&P 500 Friday, led by Tomahawk missile-maker Raytheon Corp., after U.S. missile strikes against a Syrian air base overnight. Donald Trump apparently owns Raytheon stock.

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Dave Johnson

The Trump Economy Myth and Job-Killing Policies

Making America Great Again; every time a U.S. company hires a hundred people, or even a dozen, President Trump’s support network blasts out the message that this is what he’s doing. Now they’re crowing that unemployment fell to 4.5 percent in March, even though many say this number underrepresents how many people are actually out of work. Only 98,000 jobs were actually gained in the month, about half of what economists had expected. And even if these new jobs are something to crow about, it’s not as if they have anything to do with Trump. Propaganda is one thing, but Trump’s actual policies will hurt job and wage growth once they kick in.

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Robert Borosage

Trump’s Syria Strike Displays Arrogance, Not Toughness

The bombing of Syria is the most irresponsible act of Donald Trump’s circus presidency – yet it enjoys the greatest applause from the foreign policy and political establishment. Trump is doing what Obama refused to do – bombing a sovereign nation in response to a humanitarian horror, purportedly committed by the Assad government. Obama refused to retaliate after the Assad government was accused of crossing his “red line” and using chemical weapons on his own people. Obama couldn’t understand how a retaliatory strike would produce any result. Instead, his administration joined with Vladimir Putin to negotiate the dismantling of the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal. Our foreign policy establishment has condemned him to this day for his alleged “weakness.” Trump’s bellicosity is likely to prove the wisdom of Obama’s restraint.

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Robert Borosage

Don’t Let Trump’s Bedlam Distract from Betrayals

In his first 70 days in office, President Donald Trump is shedding his most popular populist economic promises with the ease of a confidence man. The “chaos candidate,” as Jeb Bush dubbed him, presented himself as a populist champion who would clean out Washington. As Stan Greenberg affirmed in his focus groups, many of his voters doubted Trump had the experience or the temperament to be president, but wanted to shake things up. Even those put off by his racism and sexism were attracted by his promises on jobs and trade, his scorn for Wall Street and corrupt politicians, his pledge to “clean the swamp.” As president, he’s promised repeatedly an administration that would put the “forgotten working men and women” first. That was then.

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Ken Grossinger

Gorsuch Wrong for Colorado’s Working Families

From Colorado’s legal elites, we’ve been hearing praise in the media for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. But for the majority of Coloradans — and Americans — who are everyday working people, Judge Gorsuch’s record bodes ill. I recognize that Sen. Cory Gardner has expressed support for Judge Gorsuch, while Sen. Michael Bennet has yet to express his view. But I urge both to look beyond the savvy publicity campaign promoting Judge Gorsuch and to examine his record, because there is still time before both must vote on Gorsuch’s nomination. The reality is that throughout his career, Judge Gorsuch has shown a pattern of siding in favor of employers, wealthy corporations and Wall Street — against working families in Colorado and around the country. I urge Senators to learn about the cases of Alphonse Maddin, Compass Environmental, Inc.

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Dave Johnson

Join The Resistance: Resistance Recess Starts This Weekend

After hearing from We the People, the Republican Congress didn’t take away our health care after all! Lesson learned: keep it up. So many people have been calling their representative and senators, showing up at their offices and especially at their town hall meetings, and it is having an effect. It tells Republicans not to follow through on the destructive Trump agenda, and it tells Democrats they have support when they resist Trump and fight for We the People. Resistance Recess April 7 to 23 Members of Congress are leaving Washington and heading home for their “spring break” recess from April 7 to 23. Many of them will be holding town halls, where you and others can ask questions, express your views and otherwise do your job of holding your representative and senators accountable face-to-face.

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Jeff Bryant

The Schools Betsy DeVos Wants Parents To Choose

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos finally found a public school she could visit where there wouldn’t be protests. It’s on a military base, safely inside the compound of Fort Bragg in North Carolina. As a local news outlet reports, DeVos used her appearance at Kimberly Hampton Primary, a school operated by the Department of Defense and funded by the federal government, to make her usual pitch for “school choice,” in this case, in the form of vouchers parents can use to withdraw their children from public schools and send them to private schools at taxpayer expense. For DeVos to use this visit to a public school as an opportunity to tell parents they would do better for their kids by sending them to privately run schools suggests her leadership will continue to advocate for funding more alternative schools rather than for supporting traditional ones.

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Alejandra Gomez

What Shutdown of “Tent City” Jail Says About Grassroots Power

In Phoenix, Arizona, temperatures in the summer of 2016 reached a record high of 118 degrees. At least four deaths were attributed to the Arizona heat one particular weekend in 2016. Imagine being incarcerated in a jail that is entirely outdoors in such temperatures, while wearing a striped jumpsuit. Up until now, these were the exact circumstances of people incarcerated at “Tent City,” an outdoor jail in Maricopa County, Phoenix. But all of that has changed this week, as the newly-elected Maricopa Sheriff Paul Penzone has finally started listening to the voices of his community and announced that he will close the compound over six months.

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Richard Eskow

Filibuster Neil Gorsuch; Tradition Demands It

Senators love to talk about their history and customs. “The U.S. Senate relies heavily on tradition and precedent,” the Senate website says. “Many of its current rules, procedures, and traditions date from the First Congress in 1789.” But Republicans have been doing violence to those traditions for years. The nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is the fruit of their disrespect for tradition.  The GOP leadership has indicated they will force a vote to confirm Gorsuch’s nomination this week. If Democrats filibuster his nomination, as now seems likely, they have said they will abolish the minority’s traditional filibuster rights to confirm him. It’s time for all Democrats to say no.

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Richard Eskow

Koch Caucus Continues Its Assault on Healthcare

Last month, the Congressional “Freedom Caucus” was instrumental in defeating a health bill put forward by Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan. That bill would have deprived an estimated 26 million Americans of health coverage to provide a tax cut for the wealthy, but the Freedom Caucus’ far-right members were demanding even harsher provisions and they haven’t given up the fight. The travails of the bill known as “Trumpcare” have been covered extensively in the media, but another aspect of the story has not: the overwhelming majority of Freedom Caucus members have received campaign funding from a PAC funded by the Koch Industries. The Kochs’ unpopular and extreme agenda is reflected in Caucus efforts to make a bad bill even worse.

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Stanley Fritz

New York Must ‘Raise The Age’ For Juvenile Offenders Now

New York is one of only two states in the nation that charges sixteen and seventeen year olds as adults in criminal courts. This puts tens of thousands of teenagers in adult prisons. Our governor and legislature have a historic opportunity to right this wrong and end this archaic practice. For five years, Governor Cuomo along with State Assembly members and Senators have talked about the need to address this issue but nothing has come of it. While they grandstand on the topic, 40,000 New York teenagers sit in adult prisons every year. As the New York State budget battle continues, the time has come for Governor Cuomo and the elected leaders of our state to do the right thing and raise the age for criminal offenders. We should be investing in our youth, not locking them up.

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Dave Johnson

Enormous, Humongous Trade Deficit Measures Economy’s Problem

Our economy has a trade problem. Our trade deficit measures the extent of the problem. Our trade deficit continues to be enormous and humongous. February’s Enormous, Humongous $43.6 Billion Trade Deficit The Census Bureau reports the February U.S. deficit on trade with other countries fell to $43.6 billion, down $4.6 billion from a revised $48.2 billion. This follows January’s big increase. Our exports were up $0.4 billion from January, to $192.9 billion. Imports were down $4.3 billion to $236.4. The United States’ enormous, humongous trade deficit with China increased $1.6 billion to $31.7 billion. Any way you look at it, our economy bought $43.6 billion more in goods and services in February than it sold. $43.6 billion of our economy’s “demand” is translating into jobs, wages, and production elsewhere in the world.

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Sam Pizzigati

Trump Rolls Back Worker Protections on Federal Contracts

No strings attached. Con men love this simple phrasing. They use it all the time. They make an offer too good to be true, then assure their targeted victims that if they accept the offer and turn out not to like it, they can always walk away. No strings. Corporate executives who vie for lucrative federal government contracts love “no strings,” too. In fact, they’ve taken the “no strings” mantra to an entire new level. They’ve weaponized the concept: First they cheat, then they invoke “no strings” as an excuse to keep cheating. President Donald Trump has signed legislation that turns this corporate two-step into the law of the land. Under the bill Trump inked, corporate execs can violate federal worker-protection laws on wages, hours, and safety and still qualify for federal contracts.

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