Dave Johnson

Trump’s Infrastructure ‘Plan’ Is Really Just A Privatization Scam

In a democracy We the People pitch in and build public infrastructure that We the People all get to use equally. So when people talk about our country’s infrastructure, they usually mean our public roads, bridges, mass transit, water and sewer systems. All of these are good for all of us and our economy. We share in the investment and we share in the return on that investment. Likewise, when people think of infrastructure projects, they think of government projects hiring people, purchasing supplies and building or maintaining something. They think of lots of good, union jobs with good benefits and lots of good, local American construction companies and American suppliers getting contracts. This is what Republicans have obstructed since they got enough votes in the senate to obstruct with.

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Sam Pizzigati

Why We Need to Worry about Wilbur

The billionaire Wilbur Ross, the Donald Trump adviser who may well become our next U.S. secretary of commerce, loudly opposes NAFTA and other trade pacts that ship U.S. jobs abroad. Does that opposition make Wilbur Ross a corporate good guy? Not quite. Wilbur Ross has made his private equity billions the old-fashioned way — by exploiting American workers right here in the US of A. For private equity king Wilbur Ross, pensions and benefits for workers have a nasty habit of getting in the way. Ross has been working the financial industry’s bankruptcy beat since the mid 1970s. His specialty: scouring America’s economic landscape for failing companies in down-and-out industries, buying them up cheap, and then “flipping” them for big profits. Those profits typically come right out of the hides of workers.

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Robert Borosage

Taking on Trump: Lessons from the Reagan Years

How do Democrats respond to the coming of Donald Trump? The tens of thousands in the streets across the country provide one answer: no business as usual. Trump’s first appointments – a retired general as national security advisor whom Colin Powell privately terms “right-wing nutty,” a Senator as Attorney General who was previously rejected for a judicial appointment because of his racist views, and a former Goldman Sachs media mogul as “chief strategist” who peddles white supremacist and misogynist tripe – suggest the same. This will not be business as usual. Democrats might learn something from the experience of an earlier Democratic Congress facing a shocking victory by an unlikely candidate. In 1980, Ronald Reagan was scorned as too inexperienced and reactionary for the presidency. Like Trump, Reagan ran a populist campaign laced with clear racial posturing.

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Isaiah J. Poole

In The Basket Of Bad Trump Appointees, Jeff Sessions Is Uniquely Awful

In what can rightfully be described as a “basket of deplorables” being offered up to lead the Trump administration, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) stands apart. And we are going to have to unite to stand up against the nomination of Sessions to be attorney general. “Like the Confederate general he is named after, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has long been a leading voice for the Old South and the conservative white backlash vote Trump courted throughout his campaign,” writes Ari Berman in The Nation. “Sessions, as a U.S. senator from Alabama, has been the fiercest opponent in the Senate of immigration reform, a centerpiece of Trump’s agenda, and has a long history of opposition to civil rights, dating back to his days as a U.S.

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Julie Chinitz

Cleaning the Corporate Dirt from the GOP Budget

While Donald Trump is busy appointing corporate lobbyists and white supremacists to key positions on his staff, Congress remains in session. Lawmakers are now working on a budget that could make or break the balance sheet for families. Yet again, the GOP Congress failed to pass a budget in early fall, passing a continuing resolution that funds the federal government only through Dec. 9. With Congress back in session after the elections, lawmakers are tasked once again with drawing up a budget. On Wednesday, the Clean Budget Coalition visited every member of Congress to defend that budget against right-wing giveaways to corporations and vicious attacks on the rights of women and people of color. To date, the GOP has attached hundreds of riders to fiscal year 2017 funding legislation.

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Jeff Bryant

What Student Protests Tell Us About America Under Trump

While it may be President Obama’s job to ease the country through the change in leadership to a President Donald Trump administration, the rest of the country doesn’t have to go along with it. At least, that’s the message coming from a massive show of protest and resistance in cities and towns across the nation. An outpouring of opposition coming from students in k-12 public schools and college campuses is especially significant. Why? Public schools have long been the frontline of many of the nation’s most important societal battlegrounds. Much for the class conflict that ignited during the Great Depression and spawned the New Deal was foretold by the challenges schools faced in educating the massive influx of poor, uneducated immigrant children into the country in the early decades of the 20th century.

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Bill Scher

A Timeline of Ford Motor Co. Debunking Trump On Sending Jobs To Mexico

Tonight, Donald Trump tweeted that he “Just got a call from my friend Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford, who advised me that he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky – no Mexico” and “I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky. I owed it to the great State of Kentucky for their confidence in me!” There’s one problem with those statements. Ford Motor Company never was planning to shutter a Kentucky plant and send those jobs to Mexico. Ford’s plan all along has been to shift small-car production from Michigan to Mexico, but without eliminating any American jobs in the process. (UPDATE: 11/18/16 2:12 AM — The New York Times reports that Ford had planned — but had not previously announced — the Kentucky production of one SUV line to be shifted to Mexico. Ford is now not going ahead with that shift.

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LeeAnn Hall

This Doesn’t Sound Like Our Voice

We’re already starting to see how America’s gamble on Donald Trump will pay off: with gifts to the corporations and billionaires he swore he’d put us above. One of Trump’s first priorities is to repeal one of the only federal laws standing between us and Wall Street. That law created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal office created to look after consumers’ interests. Since its founding, the bureau has returned $11.8 billion that big banks essentially stole from 27 million of their customers. The agency recently uncovered rampant fraud at Wells Fargo and hit the bank with a $100 million fine. It also acted to rein in the predatory payday lending industry, which catches 12 million people in its debt trap each year. Our president-elect now wants to eliminate that agency, and the Republicans running Congress will be all too happy to accommodate him.

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Dave Johnson

Today’s Broken Trump Promise: “I Won’t Cut Medicare”

President-elect Donald Trump made a number of promises to his voters. Here is today’s post about a promise that he has already broken. This is already becoming a regular series. Pre-Election Trump: “We Can’t Do That” Donald Trump campaigned on a promise not to cut Social Security or Medicare. Because who would campaign by saying they’re going to cut or change those incredibly popular and successful programs? During the primaries Trump said, “Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, they want to do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid. And we can’t do that. And it’s not fair to the people that have been paying in for years.” Variations of his promise were repeated at rallies and in interviews throughout the campaign.

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Richard Eskow

Finally, A Chance to Remake the Democratic Party

For the first time in a quarter-century, we’re about to see a vacuum of political and intellectual leadership in the Democratic Party. An entire generation of leaders – including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Bill and Hillary Clinton – will be leaving the political stage. With them will go an entire infrastructure of policy advisers, political strategists, associates, friends, and hangers-on. The party will have to remake itself. The question is, as what? “I think there’s going to be a fight in the Democratic Party about which direction to go in,” political consultant Joe Trippi told the Washington Post. “That’s healthy for the party long-term, but it’s going to be painful over the next few years.” Painful for some, perhaps, but not for everybody.

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Bill Scher

The Climate Is In Deep Trouble. Here’s How to Fight Back.

Last week, the hot debate in progressive circles was how a carbon tax should be properly constructed. No more. Donald Trump is planning a massive assault on President Obama’s climate protection legacy. He as tapped climate science denier Myron Ebell to head the EPA transition, and he may well become the EPA’s Administrator. Unless the private sector can miraculously overcome deliberately debilitating public policy, and the rest of the world can somehow compensate for America’s failing, the climate is sure to get worse over the next four years, and time to prevent irreversible damage was already short. What can climate hawks do? We can’t stop all the damage. But we can prevent Trump and the congressional Republicans from eradicating the pillars of U.S. climate policy.

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Robert Borosage

How We Can Fight Trump

The following was originally published at The Nation   In the wake of Donald Trump’s unimaginable
 victory, the traditional rituals were observed. Hillary Clinton gave a graceful concession speech; President Obama and Trump called for Americans to come together. The only true response was provided in the streets, as young activists from the civilizing movements of our time mobilized by the tens of thousands against fear and hate in cities across the country. They put Trump on notice: He has won the White House, but not the country. Trump and the Republican Congress will set the agenda, but there will be no free pass. On his road to victory, Trump upended the establishments of both parties, dispatching the Bush and Clinton dynasties.

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Sam Pizzigati

In California, a Tax-the-Rich Triumph

If you want to see the future, political analysts used to say, look at California today. That certainly held true back in the Reagan years. In 1964, after arch-conservative Barry Goldwater’s colossal defeat in the 1964 Presidential election, Californian Ronald Reagan deftly organized a winning “New Right” that swept first to state and then national power. The “Reagan Revolution” of tax cuts, privatization, and deregulation — and virulent union busting — would leave the United States the most unequal developed nation in the world. At a campaign press conference for California’s tax-the-rich Proposition 55, an easel carries the basic story That inequality has, in turn, left tens of millions of Americans in debt, insecure, and incensed. And now that same inequality has ushered in the Epoch of the Donald.

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Miles Mogulescu

Don’t Underestimate The Damage Stephen Bannon Can Do

  PREFACE: As someone who had briefly met Steve Bannon in the ‘80s when he was a Hollywood investment banker, I wrote an article about him back in August, as he was first being hired to help run Trump’s campaign, entitled “Don’t Underestimate How Much Steve Bannon Can Damage Hillary Clinton.” I warned then that, besides being an angry, racist, aggressive and inappropriately temperamental character, he’s also whip smart with a sophisticated understanding of how the media works, and could do serious damage to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. As I wrote, it was deep internet trackers, hired by Bannon, who originally uncovered Anthony Weiner tweeting photos of his crotch and released them to the mass media. If it weren’t for Bannon, the FBI would have had no reason to seize Weiner’s computer with its copies of emails from his wife and top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

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Dave Johnson

Today’s Broken Trump Promise: “Blind Trust”

President-elect Donald Trump made a number of promises to his voters. Here is today’s post about a promise that he has already broken. “Today’s Broken Trump Promise” is certain to be a regular series. During the campaign Trump promised again and again that he would separate his businesses from his presidency. On several occasions he promised to put his businesses into a “blind trust.” Dictionary.com defines a blind trust as “a trust in which a trustee controls the financial investments of a public official, without the beneficiary’s knowledge of how his or her affairs are administered, in order to avoid conflict of interest.” A blind trust is used to avoid conflict of interest.

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Dave Johnson

TPP Is Dead. What Did We Learn From This Great Progressive Victory?

On Friday the White House announced it was dropping its effort to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the “lame duck” session of Congress. It looks like TPP is really dead. Let this be a lesson to us. TPP “Buried By A Wave of Antitrade Political Sentiment” On Friday the White House announced it was dropping its effort to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the lame duck session of Congress. From the Wall Street Journal: “Obama Administration Gives Up on Pacific Trade Deal:” The Obama administration on Friday gave up all hope of enacting its sweeping Pacific trade agreement, a pact designed to preserve U.S. economic influence in fast-growing Asia that was buried by a wave of antitrade political sentiment that culminated with Tuesday’s presidential election.

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Richard Eskow

Welcome to Swamp Trump. Please Don’t Feed the Gators.

It’s already a Washington truism that Donald Trump, who promised to “drain the swamp” of lobbyists and others who exploit government for personal gain, has turned to it instead for his key appointments. It’s true. The reptiles are taking over. Let’s take a tour of the place while we still can. Welcome to Trump Swamp. Join us on the glass-bottom boat as we gaze on the denizens below. Keep your hands inside the railings – and please don’t feed the gators. It’s hard to get past the white nationalist in any discussion of Trump’s team. Sure, they call Steve Bannon’s worldview “alt-right,” but that’s deceptive. That makes it sound like something new, when hatred is as old as the hills.

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Richard Eskow

12 Notes From a Political Autopsy

Somebody once said that healing is the process of reclaiming our own biographies. Millions of people are trying to heal right now, but their stories remain unwritten. What killed the Democrats’ chances? People are still sifting through the data, but here are twelve notes from the ongoing political autopsy. 1. The people aren’t the problem. After all the voter suppression, after the sexism and racism, Hillary Clinton still won a healthy majority of votes. And yet, her opponent took the prize. That’s a bitter loss – one Congressional Democrats know all too well. Americans rejected Donald Trump. A broken electoral system anointed him anyway. Don’t condemn the voters. Condemn the system. 2. Even when you’ve been cheated, there can be room for improvement. Politics is a rough game.

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Miles Mogulescu

Resist! Reorganize! Revitalize!

The peaceful transition of power from one elected president to the next under the rule of law is a sacred hallmark of our Republic. None can deny that Donald Trump is the legally chosen president-elect. But that does not necessarily mean, as some in the media and the establishment Democratic and Republican parties would have it, that we who oppose Trump and most of what he stands for have any duty of loyalty to the man or his policies. Quite the contrary. Those of us who believe in social and racial justice, greater income equality, and the compelling need to combat climate change, among other things, have a duty to use all of the tools of an awakened citizenry to block Trump from taking us backwards and to lay the basis for future progress, including in Congress, the media, the arts, the courts, electoral politics, and, if it comes to it, through widespread peaceful civil disobedience.

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Dave Johnson

Is TPP Really Dead?

Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) dead or not? The President-elect says he is against TPP. TPP may be the thing that cost Clinton the election. The voters obviously were against it. The head of the Senate says he won’t bring it up for a vote. But House Speaker Paul Ryan hasn’t said a thing. And, of course, Wall Street and the giant multinational corporations want TPP and they want it bad. Trump, Senate Leaders, Voters Opposed To TPP Donald Trump campaigned and won on opposition to past trade agreements and the upcoming TPP. Because of this the leaders of the Senate are saying there won’t be a TPP vote in Senate during the “lame duck” session of Congress. This week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Obstruction) said that there will be no Senate vote on TPP before next year. Sen.

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