Jeff Bryant

Charter School Chain Wants Profits From Detained Children

Separating refugee and immigrant children from their parents at the border isn’t just a cruel injustice to the families affected; it’s also good business, and the latest enterprise wanting in on the action is a Texas-based charter school chain connected to the operator of detention centers reaping the biggest share of federal government contracts.

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Richard Eskow

How to Cover a Revolution

“RED ALERT,” read the New York Post’s headline after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory over high-ranking Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley. They competed in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th congressional district, which covers parts of Queens and The Bronx. The subhead read: “Young socialist upsets King of Queens, shocking Dem establishment.” Powerful Democrats were undoubtedly rocked by the unabashed left-populist’s triumph over one of their own. But theirs was not the only “establishment” to be caught off-guard by the outcome. The mainstream political press had all but ignored Ocasio-Cortez and her groundbreaking campaign.

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Sam Pizzigati

New York, New York, What a Less than Wonderful Town

The ultimate real-life test of “trickle down” — the notion that we all prosper when the rich get richer — may well be New York. The Big Apple, after all, certainly abounds in rich getting richer. No city in the world now hosts more of humanity’s super rich. Researchers at Wealth-X last month put the New York billionaire total at 103, ten more than Hong Kong. Top 1 percenters in New York overall are now taking in over 40 percent of the city’s income, about double the top 1 percent’s income share nationally in the United States. Numbers like these don’t happen by accident. Local and state officials in New York have worked diligently for decades to make their city as attractive as possible to the ten-digit set.

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Larry Stafford

Go Bold, Ben: A Progressive Earthquake Shakes Maryland

Last night, a Progressive earthquake shook Maryland’s establishment politics to their core. Ben Jealous’s primary victory puts Maryland within striking distance of the progressive governor we deserve and need. His victory marks the ascendance of a movement that’s grounded in progressive values, led by women and people of color, to shape a new direction for politics that breathes new life into the electoral system, in our state and beyond. At Progressive Maryland, we’ve been on board with Ben from the start – and he with us. Back in December, he let us know where he stands on key issues: the $15 minimum wage, workers’ right to organize, women’s rights and Medicare for All. As with all of our candidates, before we knocked on a single door, we shared his public commitment to us on these issues with you.

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Richard Eskow

For Immigrant Children, Empathy Is Not Enough

There’s no “civil” way to say it: The Trump administration is torturing immigrant children. A liberal television personality wept openly for these children a few days ago, and I’m glad she did. But it’s important to remember that these terrible events reflect more than the profoundly amoral nature of the Trump administration. The suffering of these children aren’t an isolated incident. Their fate is shaped by decades of precedents, through forces that were too often shaped by the same government that torments them today. As I write these words, my family is welcoming its newest member into this world. The joy of a new child’s birth heightens our natural human instinct for empathy. It makes it even more shocking that we now witness the brutality of a government – our government – as takes children, some as young as eighteen months old, from their parents.

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Jeff Bryant

Supreme Court’s Janus Ruling Will Hurt Children

If the Supreme Court rules against workers in Janus vs. AFSCME, it will hurt children at a time when it’s become shamefully commonplace for our government to abuse those of a tender age. Pushing the Janus case to a compliant Supreme Court is the conservative movement’s counterpunch against the collective power of working people. But as is so often the case, when rightwing billionaires take a swing at a progressive cause, they hit children too. The case targets public employees – such as teachers, custodians, cafeteria employees, and daycare workers – and the so-called “agency” or “fair-share” fees they pay to their unions in 22 states. The defendant, AFSCME, wants to preserve the union’s right to charge the fees to workers who choose not to join but are still represented by the union in collective bargaining.

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Jacqueline Bediako

Imagining a Safe Haven for Our Children

Arrive on the scene. Shoot. Bang. Dead child. Gone forever. Mother crying. Blood pressure, spiked. Doom, imminent. Siblings, distraught. Funeral. This predictable chain of events is what seems to happen when police officers arrive on the scene. Calling the police doesn’t seem to protect Black children, in fact it does quite the opposite. We’ve seen children killed by police. Back in 2014, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot while playing with a toy gun in a park in Cleveland, Ohio. The officer opened fire within seconds of arriving on the scene. In 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot by a neighborhood watch officer near his home in Sanford, Florida. At the time of his murder, Trayvon was unarmed and carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona Iced Tea.

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Leo Gerard

A Shining ‘City On a Hill’ Must Treat Immigrants Humanely

By signing an executive order ending forced separation of immigrant families, President Donald Trump has admitted that this cruel practice was his administration’s policy and that he could have stopped it at any time. Despite having the power to stop taking children from parents, the Republican administration enforced the practice since April, splitting more than 2,300 youngsters, some just months-old babies, from their mothers and fathers. The administration continued to enforce it even after photographs showed toddlers wailing, audio recordings revealed young children sobbing and pleading for their Mami and Papa, a 30-year-old Honduran father torn from his wife and three-year-old son killed himself in a jail cell, and some parents were deported without their children and without information about how to find or reunite with them.

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Tim Wilkins

How I Met Detained Minors on My Flight to McAllen

I first saw them sitting as a group in Terminal B at Dallas International Airport. Clean-cut young teens in matching sweatsuits – must be a volleyball team from a private middle school, I thought. They looked weary, but so was I – we’d just found out that our American Airlines flight wouldn’t leave for McAllen until after midnight. Detained minors, McAllen Airport, June 17, 2108. Photo credit: Tim Wilkins / PA / cc Once we finally got on our plane, two of them sat down in row 26, immediately in front of me. When the young man in the window seat raised his hands to cradle his head, I noticed a green plastic wristband, with the last name “Lopez” written in Sharpie. That’s odd, I thought. Why would a volleyball player need a hospital wristband? Scanning the Cabin I scanned the plane, and noticed the six young people scattered around the cabin, seated in pairs.

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Jeff Bryant

New Report Reveals Which States Are Abandoning Public Schools

Having a democratically governed local school, accessible to all students and fully accountable to the public for how its spends taxpayer money, has been a given for most American families since segregated schools were outlawed, but a new report finds most states have been abandoning the traditional public system in favor of schools that are privately operated, less accessible to all children, and less accountable to taxpayers and democratic governance. The report contends the shift in emphasis from public schools to privately managed alternatives is not only an attack on public education, but also an attack on equal opportunity and civil rights.

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Brandy Brooks

How We Can Transform Our Communities Now

“What qualifies you to run for office?” That’s a question I get a lot as I meet voters in my campaign for Montgomery County Council’s at-large seat. To me, it hits at the heart of why I’m running. I’m a working class, Black Latina living in a multi-racial, multi-generational household. My family moved to Montgomery County to find an affordable home where we could live together and support one another. But it takes the full- and part-time incomes of four adults to make our housing “affordable.” I’ve been an executive director and senior manager at nonprofits, but I’ve also been a waitress, a secretary, and an IT help desk assistant. I’m a woman of color who has faced sexism and racism in the workplace. I’m a renter who uses public transportation. I’m the daughter of a single parent, and I had to work as a teenager to help support my family.

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Tim Wilkins

Children Say NO! to Family Separations by ICE

Every child understands the pain losing one’s loved ones – even for a moment – can cause. So children have plenty to say about the U.S. government’s separation of thousands of migrant families, with no promise to parents or children they’ll ever see each other again. “My message to these children, in these detention centers, is to stay strong,” said Leah, a twelve-year-old from Florida, outside the Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center in McAllen, Texas on Sunday. “Because I am out here, fighting for them to have the right to be with their families, to be happy.” Leah with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). Photo credit: Tim Wilkins / PA / cc Leah traveled to McAllen with other children to demand an immediate end to these detentions, and to meet with Congressional Democrats who traveled from across the country to observe conditions at the facility.

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Leo Gerard

Where’s that $4,000 Raise the GOP Promised Workers?

When Republicans in Congress passed a big, fat tax break bill in December, they insisted it meant American workers would be singing “Happy Days Are Here Again” all the way to the bank. The payoff from the tax cut would be raises totaling $4,000 to $9,000, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors assured workers. But something bad happened to workers on their way to the repository. They never got that money. In fact, their real wages declined because of higher inflation. At the same time, the amount workers had to pay in interest on loans for cars and credit cards increased. And, to top it off, Republicans threatened to make workers pay for the tax break with cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. So now, workers across America are wondering, “Where’s that raise?” It’s nowhere to be found. The U.S.

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George Goehl

Why I’m Going to the Border for Father’s Day

As more reports surface of children seeking asylum at our borders being separated from their parents, there has been much consideration of the impact and effect on children. As Father’s Day approaches, I can’t help but wonder how I would cope if my daughter was taken away from me. The thought of her feeling unprotected and abandoned is hard to fathom. Last weekend the Washington Post reported on the death by suicide of Marco Antonio Muñoz. Having crossed the border — fleeing violence and seeking asylum — Muñoz was forcibly separated from his wife and three-year-old son and detained. Within 24 hours, distraught and held in a padded isolation cell, the Honduran father had taken his own life. Many of us experience — and struggle with — a much more benign family separation.

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Sam Pizzigati

Wage Theft: To Fight the Crime, Address the Motive

The American economy rests ultimately on trust, a mutual understanding between employers and employees that each side, in the end, will behave honorably. A fair day’s wage, as the classic formulation puts it, for a fair day’s work. This covenant gets broken, of course, on a regular basis. The most damaging betrayals? They come when employees put in that fair day’s work and don’t get paid a full fair day’s pay. Labor market analysts today have come to call these betrayals “wage theft,” and this thievery is thriving. The employer culprits include the predictable fly-by-night operators we would expect. But the culprits also include, as an alarming new report details, veritable pillars of Corporate America, billion-dollar companies that can clearly afford to honor their side of our core employer-employee bargain.

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Jessica Juarez Scruggs

SCOTUS Just Took Away Your Right to Vote. Did You Notice?

The Supreme Court just gave a green light to racist voter purges. Their 5-4 decision to allow Ohio to take any voter off the rolls who hasn’t voted in two years and doesn’t return a postcard mailed to their house hands a dangerous new tool to the enemies of democracy in America. Granted, efforts to exclude the poor and people of color from voting – from only allowing white male property owners to vote, to poll taxes and night riders, are nothing new in the United States. But this Supreme Court decision will enable Ohio to disenfranchise thousands of voters every year – other states are sure to follow.

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Jeff Bryant

Congress Hosts Charter Schools Roadshow, Ignores Black Parent

One of the more disturbing aspects of the push to create more charter schools was on full display during a Congressional hearing this week when charter proponents stacked the agenda with biased testimony and completely ignored the lone witness who could attest firsthand to the real impact these schools have on communities of color. The lone dissenting voice in the battery of speakers lined up to give glowing praise to these privately operated but publicly funded schools was Jonathon Phillip Clark, an Iraq War veteran and Black Detroit parent with seven children in the public-school system.

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Miles Mogulescu

Why We Should Want Trump’s Hail Mary Pass on Korea to Succeed

Despite my contempt for Donald Trump, I’m rooting that his Hail Mary pass in the direction of Kim Jong-un succeeds. And I think other liberals and progressives should hope for the same. Yet even before Air Force One landed back in the U.S. from Singapore, much of the American left—including Democratic Senators and MSNBC pundits—attacked Trump’s Korean diplomacy, echoing many of the Republicans’ attacks on President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. Listen – I despise our corrupt, narcissistic, lying, ignorant, racist, woman-groping excuse for a President as much as anyone, and support Tom Steyer’s impeachment campaign over the objections of Democratic Party leaders who wish talk of impeachment would just go away. But hopes for a more peaceful world should trump (no pun intended) short-term party politics.

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Tim Wilkins

We The People: Watch Live

People’s Action joins Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and many others in Washington, DC at 8:30-12 on June 13th for ‘We The People,’ a gathering of more than 1,000 grassroots organizers from across the country. Join us to imagine, set the terms of the public debate and lift up the issues we believe are at stake. We will challenge. We will fuse our energy and take action. And the America we build together will be a true land of opportunity for all people.

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