Labor groups step up pressure on Trump to deliver

The following article by David Weigel was posted on the Washington Post website August 20, 2017:

Credit:  AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Labor leaders, once courted by President Trump, are stepping up their campaign to turn workers against the White House if it does not deliver more on jobs and trade — and if it does not stop undoing Obama-era regulations.

The most visible effort, which starts in Indianapolis on Monday afternoon, is a two-week tour organized by the coalition Good Jobs Nation that ropes in labor-friendly politicians. The coalition, launched in 2013 to pressure Barack Obama’s White House on trade and wage issues, is organizing rallies throughout the Midwest through Labor Day.

“Trump ran as a working-class hero, so let’s look at the results,” said Joseph Geevarghese, Good Jobs Nation’s executive director. “We’re seven months into his administration, and wages are flat. People are still getting pink slips.” Read More

The Trump administration just disbanded a federal advisory committee on climate change

The following article by Juliet EIlperin was posted on the Washington Post website August 20, 2017:

President Trump speaks about the U.S. role in the Paris climate change accord in the Rose Garden of the White House in June, 2017. (AP)

The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government’s climate analysis into long-term planning.

The charter for the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment — which includes academics as well as local officials and corporate representatives — expires Sunday. On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting administrator, Ben Friedman, informed the committee’s chair that the agency would not renew the panel.

The National Climate Assessment is supposed to be issued every four years but has come out only three times since passage of the 1990 law calling for such analysis. The next one, due for release in 2018, already has become a contentious issue for the Trump administration. Read More

Warning signs of mass violence – in the US?

The following article by Max Pensky, Co-Director of the Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Binghamton University, State University, of New York and Nadia Rubaii, Co-Director, Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention, and Associate Profession of Public Administration, Binghamton University, State University of New York was posted on the Conversation website August 21, 2017:

Protesters with opposing views face off at a ‘Free Speech’ rally in Boston. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

There are those who say that comparing President Donald Trump’s rhetoric to that of Adolf Hitler is alarmist, unfair and counterproductive.

And yet, there has been no dearth of such comparisons since the 2016 presidential election. Many commentators have also drawn parallels between the conduct of Trump supporters and Holocaust-era Nazis.

The comparisons continue today, and Trump’s comments in the wake of the Charlottesville attack show why. The president’s reference to violence on “both sides” implies moral equivalence, which is a familiar rhetorical strategy for signaling support to violent groups. His comments give white supremacists and neo-Nazis the implied approval of the president of the United States. Read More

Deconstructing the symbols and slogans spotted in Charlottesville

The following article by the Washington Post staff was posted on their website August 18, 2017:

As well-coordinated and meticulously organized white nationalists converged to rally in Charlottesville, they brought with them chants, banners, slurs, shields and flags. Counterprotesters, including anti-fascist groups and local residents, church groups and civil rights leaders, had their own symbols and slogans. Each of the icons spotted carried its own political context and history.

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A Stomach-Turning Percentage of Republicans Agree with Trump’s Handling of Charlottesville

The following article by Kali Halloway was posted on the AlterNet website August 17, 2017:

A new poll indicates the GOP’s rank-and-file still have the president’s back.

Credit: YouTube/Vice

An overwhelming majority of Republicans think Donald Trump’s response to the horrifying events in Charlottesville is right on the money, according to a new CBS poll. The survey found that 67 percent of GOP voters say they approve of Trump’s response to the attacks, while 82 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Independents say they disapprove. The survey was conducted during a time span stretching from Monday night to Wednesday.

Asked specifically about Trump’s speech Tuesday in which he declared that racist neo-Nazis are as problematic as those who oppose them, most Republicans said they agreed with the president’s statements. Nearly 7 in 10 GOP voters, 68 percent, said that “Trump’s description of who’s to blame” is correct, while only 21 percent disagreed. Eighty-three percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Independents said that Trump was off the mark in suggesting “both sides” are equally culpable in the violence in Virginia this weekend. Read More

Just How Many Neo-Nazis Are There in the U.S., Anyway?

The following article by Julia Flasphaler was posted on the AlterNet website August 16, 2017:

Credit: Youtube screencap / Vice News

Neo-Nazis suddenly seem highly visible following this weekend’s Unite the Right riot in Charlottesville that left counter-protester Heather Heyer dead. The protest was largely void of Klan hoods, suggesting that neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan are feeling more emboldened. With the renewed visibility of these groups, many may be wondering: How many people do hate groups count as members, and where are these groups located?

Data from the Southern Poverty Law Center suggests the number of hate groups is currently near the country’s all-time recorded high, in 2011. The SPLC reports that as of 2016, there are 917 active groups. (That’s 100 fewer than the 1,108 groups reported in 2011.) The SPLC’s hate map identifies groups by tracking their publications and websites. Of those 917, more than 90 are neo-Nazi groups. California has the highest number with 79, followed by Florida with 63 and Texas with 55. Read More

It Has Always Been About Slavery

The following article by Cynthia Tucker was posed on the National Memo website August 18, 2017:

“Our new government is founded upon … the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”
— Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy, 1861

Credit: Reuters

As if he had not already dumped enough fuel on a raging inferno, President Donald Trump has now taken up common cause with the Lost Cause: the historically inaccurate, myth-driven campaign to sanctify the Confederacy. The president was apparently not satisfied with merely showing his sympathy for white supremacists, insisting that their ranks include some “very fine people.”

A day or so later, he went on Twitter to bash the movement to take down Confederate monuments and statues — though he had previously said those decisions should be left to local authorities. Trump tweeted that he was “sad” to see the “history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.” Read More

DFL Chair Statement on Fifth Anniversary of DACA


[ST. PAUL, MN] – Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Chairman Ken Martin released the following statement on the fifth anniversary of the enactment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). There are about 800,000 DREAMers in the U.S., including about 6,000 here in Minnesota.
“In Minnesota, we have seen firsthand how our communities are strengthened by welcoming immigrants and refugees. Five years ago today, DACA gave thousands of young immigrants in our state a fair chance at the American dream. These DREAMers, many who were brought here as children, were given the opportunity to come out of the shadows, contribute to their communities, and stand up proudly as the Americans they are.”

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What does ‘antifa’ mean?

The following article was posted on the Star Tribune website August 17, 2017:

When President Donald Trump said this week that there were “very fine people” at the white power rally, he cast “blame on both sides” including the “alt-left” antifa.

First bursting into the headlines when they shut down far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos in February at the University of California, Berkeley, anti-fascists again captivated the public imagination by battling the fascists assembled at the “Unite the Right” white power rally in Charlottesville, Va. Read More

The Trump Premium Tax Will Increase Premiums Up to $2,500 Next Year

The following article by Sam Berger and Emily Gee was posted on the Center for American Progress website August 16, 2017:

Credit:  Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo

Since he entered office, President Donald Trump has taken numerous steps to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by driving up costs and driving out insurers. With the failure of ACA repeal in the U.S. Senate, Trump has threatened to accelerate his efforts. In particular, by undermining enforcement of the ACA’s individual coverage mandate and threatening to stop billions of dollars in cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments that help lower consumers’ deductibles and copayments, Trump will significantly increase 2018 premiums.

The evidence from insurers’ initial rate filings show that individual insurers have added as much as 20 percent to account for lax enforcement of the mandate and as much as 23 percent to account for the lack of CSR payments. The end result is higher premiums for consumers and higher costs for taxpayers. The Center for American Progress estimates that uncertainty around CSRs and mandate enforcement will raise 2018 premiums for benchmark coverage an extra $1,061 annually for a 40-year-old and $2,491 annually for a 64-year-old. Read More