The greatest problem in Washington is not polarization but lying. The legislative machinery has ground to a halt not because of the great divide between liberals and conservatives but because of the great divide between the lobbyists and the people. The lobbyists want things that are against the public interest, and they use lies and secrecy to try to win. The collapse of the Obamacare repeal demonstrates the limits of this corruption.
Six months ago today, Donald Trump took the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States. Since then, numerous actions by his administration and its congressional allies have undermined the vital role science plays in policy decisions, according to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
A recent series of articles by a Washington Post reporter could have some consumers questioning the value of the USDA organic seal. But are a few bad eggs representative of an entire industry?
Consumers are all for cracking down on the fraudulent few who, with the help of Big Food, big retail chains and questionable certifiers give organics a bad name. But they also want stronger standards, and better enforcement—not a plan to weaken standards to accommodate "Factory Farm Organic."
"It's time Rex Tillerson step down or be removed," said Gigi Kellett of Corporate Accountability International, following an announcement on Thursday that ExxonMobil will pay $2 million for violating U.S. sanctions against Russian officials while the now-secretary of state was the company's CEO.
"This is nothing more than a parking ticket."
—Gigi Kellett, Corporate Accountability International
With the collapse of the dismal Republican healthcare bill, some Democrats are reviving talk of a public option as the cure for the holes in the Affordable Care Act that opened the door for the GOP attack.
Some even project the public option as the path to real transformative reform, an improved and expanded Medicare for all. It's not. The public option bears more in common with fool's gold. It may look shiny, but it will still leave you broke.
The Attorney General is determined to revive failed policies from the past.
Over the past several days, Trumpcare has suffered a series of crushing defeats, leading many to pronounce the death of GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But while Trumpcare is certainly on the ropes following Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's announcement that the bill lacks the votes required for passage, progressive groups are warning against complacency and urging activists to keep up the pressure.
The Republican health care bill is dead. Good riddance. The bill was so harsh that even Donald Trump called the House version “mean.” And yet, this legislation was stopped at a time when Republicans control both houses of Congress and the presidency. How?
The answer is ordinary people, acting without a lot of credit.
Finally it comes down to this: Some people are expendable.
In certain parts of the world — where we and our allies are waging war — the expendable people come in two categories: terrorists (good riddance!) and civilians, whom we only kill if and when necessary, and whose deaths often elicit official apologies (if there’s no way to deny it was our fault).
Finally. After months of appalling, obsequious silence by a prostrate media more focused on access to an obsessively secretive autocrat than the First Amendment, one lone journalist who none of us have heard of broke ranks at Wednesday's so-called press briefing - where live audio/video coverage is banned and not much is said - to livestream what in fact are its public proceedings. She was hailed as a "hero" and "patriot." Now we need more of them.
Earlier this week, human rights group Amnesty International issued a lengthy report accusing US-backed forces of “repeated violations of international humanitarian law, some of which may amount to war crimes,” in Mosul, Iraq, causing the deaths of at least 3,700 civilians. Neither this report, nor the broader issue of the civilian toll in the US war against ISIS, has come close to penetrating US corporate media.
A pair of bipartisan bills targeting boycotts of Israel and Israeli settlements appear to have widespread support in Congress, to the dismay of civil rights advocates who say the proposals are an attack on free speech.
The Israeli Anti-Boycott Act targets the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement aimed at ending Israel's occupation of the West Bank through a refusal to economically support the country. The law would specifically ban support by any U.S. citizen for international boycott efforts against Israel.
In CEO pay remains high relative to the pay of typical workers and high-wage earners, EPI President Lawrence Mishel and research assistant Jessica Schieder examine trends in CEO compensation using two comprehensive measures—tracking the value of both stock options realized and stock options granted.
TrumpCare is NOT DEAD. Repeat: TrumpCare is not dead. Far from it. This is starting to look like a kitchen sink strategy from Senate Republicans: use every tactic you have at once, and maybe something will work. It won’t—as long as you don’t let up.
Here’s what we think Mitch McConnell is trying to do.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hosted former Democratic vice president Al Gore for a live interview on Thursday morning.
In addition to talking about Inconvenient Sequel, Gore's forthcoming follow-up to his groundbreaking 2007 documentary An Inconvenient Truth—both centered on the issues of climate change and energy—Gore credited Sanders with proving that a presidential campaign built on small-dollar donations could actually succeed. That's what is needed, Gore said, "to revolutionize our politics."
President Donald Trump's decision to decline an invitation to attend the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's 108th annual convention, "underscores the harsh fact: we have lost—we've lost the will of the current Administration to listen to issues facing the Black community," said Leon Russell, the group's board chairman.
The NAACP issued the following statement after President Trump announced that he will not attend the NAACP’s 108th Annual Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.
"Policy institutions need to work hard to hammer out the details of a single-payer plan, and the Democratic party needs to stop fumbling around incompetently for a positive vision and instead unify behind the one already supported by the overwhelming majority of its voters."
Dan La Botz
I was asked at a recent meeting of the NYC DSA Immigration Justice Working Group to say a few words to put our work in historical context and then asked me to write up my brief talk, because it might be useful to others. – DL
Our sanctuary work is in a great national and global tradition of humanitarianism and it is consistent with our social internationalist principles. Our work, while fighting for the reform of the immigration system, has as its goal the abolition of the capitalist system that causes involuntary mass migration. And while using existing law to defend immigrants and fighting for better laws, we stand opposed to the concept of the national state, which will never respect and defend immigrants as equals in our society.
We are at present working with the New Sanctuary Coalition in New York City. New Sanctuary’s method is—while never telling anyone to do anything illegal—to organize immigrant communities, the documented and the undocumented, to protect each other. In each community a place of worship is identified (a church, temple or mosque) as the local safe place. While places of worship have no special legal protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reluctant to raid such places because it will outrage the community and lead to bad publicity. Other places such as local business are also asked to become sanctuaries in an emergency and to refuse to open their doors except if there is a judge-signed warrant.
Working with the community, we in New Sanctuary, some of us immigrant ourselves, teach immigrants methods to protect themselves such as always showing a New York City ID, declining to offer information and avoiding revealing one’s birth place, speaking in one’s native language, and going inside one’s home and locking the door, opening it only if the authorities present a warrant signed by a judge. We ask: If you don’t need to have a passport, which is evidence of foreign birth, why keep it? If at some future date a passport is needed, one can go to the consulate and apply for a new passport. Legal techniques like these protect immigrants. Teaching these techniques we build community organization, political consciousness, and a movement of resistance to injustice.
A Great American Tradition
As I said, in doing this work we in the Immigrant Justice Working Group (IWJG) are in a great American tradition We can find the roots of a sanctuary movement in the Undergound Railroad organized by people such as Harriet Tubman which rescued black Americans from slavery and moved thousands of them to the North and then to Canada and to freedom. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, abolitionists lobbied for and passed personal liberty laws and activists organized to rescue runaway slaves from slave-catchers and federal marshals. The Supreme Court’s Dred Scott v. Sanford decision (1857), upholding the right of slave-owners to take their slaves in and out of free states only further enraged abolitionists, who continued to resist the U.S. government’s unjust laws.
In the 1980s, during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the United States government, working with rightwing forces in the region, carried out a war against the left in Guatemala and El Salvador and worked to overthrow the government of Nicaragua. The war displaced tens of thousands. Rightwing paramilitaries issued death warrants and carried out the assassination of leftist organizers. In Guatemala entire indigenous communities were targeted for extermination and thousands were killed. Thousands, then tens of thousands, fled to the United States, but not all were welcome. In response American churches, both Catholic and Protestant, organized a new underground railroad that brought undocumented immigrant activists or victims into the country and hid them, moving some on to Canada later. One of our Brooklyn DSA members provided sanctuary to one such person in that period.
A Great International Tradition
Our sanctuary work is also in a great international tradition. New Sanctuary’s method could be characterized as “non-cooperation,” that is, declining to cooperate with the immigration authorities. Non-cooperation, which may also become civil disobedience, has its roots of course in American Henry David Thoreau’s famous essay “On Civil Disobedience,” an essay and an idea was taken up by Mohandas K. Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement from the 1920s to the 1940. Indians refused to cooperate with the British in any way, while calling for independence. A movement at the origin of the non-cooperation tradition.
Non-cooperation was taken up in 1960 by Nelson Mandel and the African National Congress (as well as by he rival Pan-Africanist Congress), which organized an anti-pass campaign against the government’s requirement that black people carry passes. Mandela himself publicly burned his pass, for which he was imprisoned for five months, only part of his longer struggle and later decades long imprisonment. In doing our sanctuary work, we put ourselves in this tradition.
A few years ago my wife Sherry and I visited France and met with activists of the Rêseaux de éducation san frontières, the Education without Borders Network. Leftist high school teachers at the Jean Jaurès publc high school in Paris were the original organizer of the network. (Jaurès was, by the way, the principal leader of the Socialist Party in France at the beginning of the twentieth century.) They began to organize to protect the African and Arab and mostly Muslim children of their schools from deportation. They were not the first children be snatched from schools.
In France on many older school buildings you will see black marble plaques with gold lettering that remember and honor the Jewish students who were taken from the schools by the Nazis during the World War II occupation of France. The plaques typically say something like, “To the memory of the children – students of this school, deported from 1942 – 1944 because they were born Jewish.” The teachers of the network said, “Never again,” and organized to protect their Arab and African students. In France at the time the local prefect of police was responsible for the deportation of the children, so when the teachers got word or a possible deportation they would speak to the parents, offering to hide and protect their child until the network could pressure the local prefect not to deport the child. We joined them at a rally in Versailles to protest against a French airline for having fired a pilot who refused to fly such children back to their countries. We in the IWJG place ourselves in this tradition.
Capitalism the Source of the Problem
We work in the New Sanctuary Coalition with Latino or Haitian churches and other community groups who may not share our socialist analysis. As over time we get to know the leaders and activists in these communities we should let them know that we are socialists and what socialism means for us. We should be frank that we see capitalism and the capitalist government as the problem.
Capitalism is the cause of migration. For the last 150 years or more capitalist economic development and capitalist booms and busts have ruined the lives of millions of peasants and worker, forcing the to leave their countries in search of jobs and higher wages elsewhere. Capitalism and its imperialist wars have been another major cause of migration, though more recently drug cartels (the capitalism of contraband) and their violence have been perhaps a greater contributor to migration. And, finally, now we have climate change with rising waters in lowlands and higher temperatures everywhere making it impossible for some—and soon for many—to stay home.
We in DSA see immigrants simply as people who like ourselves who need a place to live, a way to make a living, and a decent life. We see most of the immigrants as coming to form part of our increasingly ethnically diverse working class. We are proud to join them in the fight for reforms to protect their communities from attack. As socialists we welcome them to join us in the struggle to end capitalism and in the fight to create an altogether different kind of government, a government of and for working people. We are happy to join with them and we welcome them to join with thus. That too is part of our great tradition.
Dan La Botz is a member of Solidarity and of the Democratic Socialists of America and a co-editor of New Politics.reposted from Democratic Left