Posts from Isaiah J. Poole

Trump’s Bid to Pit Black and Brown Workers Against Each Other

Isaiah J. Poole Executive editor, OurFuture.org

President Trump has resurrected an old canard in his effort to sell a new effort to restrict immigration into the United States. The legislation he backs, he said at a White House ceremony, was necessary in part to protect “minority workers competing for jobs against brand-new arrivals” under the current immigration system.

This theme is a hardy perennial in right-wing media and think-tank reports, often featuring members of a small but persistent cadre of conservative black people willing to be the face of the pernicious idea that in order to boost the fortunes of African Americans, we have to keep new immigrants out of the country.

This notion keeps getting debunked, but Trump trotted it out anyway as his administration launches key assaults against the core concerns of African-American people.

This comes the same week as news reports that the Justice Department is gearing up a new assault on affirmative action programs at colleges, based on the lie that these programs discriminate against white and Asian college applicants.

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Get Back Your Right To Take Your Bank To Court

Isaiah J. Poole Executive editor, OurFuture.org

Wall Street, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and right-wing Republicans are ganging up again this week against consumers who want to hold financial institutions that rip them off accountable.

The target this time is a rule issued this week by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that is designed to restore the ability bank and credit card customers, as individuals or as a group, to take a financial dispute to court.

“Our new rule will restore the ability of groups of people to file or join group lawsuits. In some cases, not only will companies have to provide relief, they will also have to change their behavior moving forward,” said a statement issued by the agency. “People who would otherwise have to go it alone or give up, will be able to join with others to pursue justice and some remedy for their harm.”

However, unsurprisingly, it took less than a day for the guardians of Wall Street profiteering to attack the rule. They are the same people – like Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., in the Senate and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, in the House – who are working to either get rid of the CFPB entirely or render it toothless.

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Trumpcare Is Wrong For You. It’s A Toxic Prescription For Health Care

Isaiah J. Poole Executive editor, OurFuture.org

As medicine for our health care system, it’s worse than a placebo. It will do active harm to millions of people, particularly low-income people and seniors. It cuts taxes for the wealthy and corporations and dangles paltry tax credits to working people. It leaves consumers facing higher health care prices and will force many of them to forgo needed care.

This is the toxic prescription that the Trump administration and the Republican Congress wants to give the American public in place of the Affordable Care Act.

The House Republican plan was injected into the political debate Monday evening, while the country was still recovering from President Trump’s latest Twitter seizure. With much of the media preoccupied with Trump’s other democracy-destroying antics, the extreme nature of what the House Republicans have proposed has yet to hit home. But when it does, expect more of the condemnation of the Republicans’ “repeal and replace” wrecking ball that we saw when members of Congress were in their home districts during the February congressional recess. People’s Action was a leader in those town hall confrontations and protests, and now that the details confirm the worst fears of working people, the poor and the elderly, People’s Action affiliates will intensify its resistance.

A key feature of the Republican plan is the replacement of the premium subsidies that were available through the Affordable Care Act health care exchanges with a tax credit that ranges for individuals from $2,000 to $4,000 a year, based on age. The tax credits would go toward policies purchased on the open market that would be very different from what’s offered on the exchanges. Those policies would be much less regulated, so they would cover less and be free to charge more. Meanwhile, some $600 million in taxes, largely on the health care industry and wealthy Americans, that were raised to cover the cost of the Affordable Care Act subsidies would be eliminated.

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

Isaiah J. Poole Executive editor, OurFuture.org

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. Attorney in Alabama in the 1980s.”

Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color Of Change, said in a statement, “There’s no other way to say it: Jeff Sessions is a racist. He has opposed the Voting Rights Act. He has taken extreme views on immigration and free speech that threaten black communities and other communities of color. He makes jokes about the Ku Klux Klan and referred to a black federal prosecutor as “boy.” As attorney general he represents a threat to the legal rights of black people across the country, and the Black prosecutors and civil servants he will oversee in the Department of Justice.

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Good News In The Reported Collapse of U.S.-Europe Trade Talks

Isaiah J. Poole Executive editor, OurFuture.org

News out of Germany that U.S. trade negotiations with Europe similar to the one that produced the Trans-Pacific Partnership have collapsed is another sign that an organized grassroots is successfully putting the multinational corporate trade agenda on its heels.

Britain’s Independent, in an article published Monday, quotes Germany’s Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel as saying free trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States have failed, but that “nobody is really admitting it.”

The trade deal is called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP. It is being negotiated between the U.S. and the members of the European Union. Discussions have been going on at the same time the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation deal that includes several Asian countries as well as Western Hemisphere nations, was being forged.

The BBC published an article on its website Monday with a headline framing the TTIP collapse as a question rather than a declarative fact, but noted in its story, “There are many critics who hope Mr Gabriel’s assessment is right.”

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One Democratic Convention Speech Nailed The Progressive Vision

Isaiah J. Poole Executive editor, OurFuture.org

When Rev. William Barber, best known in progressive circles as the leader of the Moral Mondays protests against the right-wing governor and legislature in North Carolina, was brought to the stage at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night, there was cheering from the North Carolina delegation but polite applause from the rest the hall. They did not know who Barber was, and then they not know what was coming.

Ten minutes later, when Barber finished his address, the entire convention hall was on its feet.

“I come before you tonight as a preacher,” he began, and from that moment Barber took the convention delegates through the convergence of progressive populism and “faith and morality.”

“It may sound strange, but I am a conservative,” he said, “because I work to conserve a divine tradition that teaches us to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.”

The core of his speech was a challenge for the delegates at the convention to be “moral defibrillators” of the nation. “We must shock the nation with the power of love.”

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‘Good Jobs’ Clause Is Good News In The Democratic Platform

Isaiah J. Poole Executive editor, OurFuture.org

One of the unheralded victories in the Democratic Party platform victories puts the party officially on the side of workers in a big, concrete way.

The platform draft that is now on its way to the full platform committee, which votes on it at a meeting in Orlando, Fla., in early July, includes a call for a “model employer executive order,” or what is often called a “good jobs executive order.”

The language included in the draft says:

“Democrats support a Model Employer Executive Order or some other vehicle to leverage federal dollars to support employers who provide their workers with a living wage, good benefits, and the opportunity to form a union. The $1 trillion spent annually by the government on contracts, loans, and grants should be used to support good jobs that rebuild the middle class.”

A coalition of worker and grass-roots organizations has been pressing President Obama to sign such an executive order, which would cover an estimated 8 million workers employed by federal contractors. Many of these workers are in low-wage service jobs, such as preparing fast food for companies such as McDonald’s and Subway that have contracts to operate on federal facilities.

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A Chain Serves Good Pizza “&” Support for D.C.’s Fight for $15 Victory

Isaiah J. Poole Executive editor, OurFuture.org

While national pizza chains like Domino’s and Papa John’s have been targeted by Fight for 15 protests around the country because of their low wages and allegations of wage theft, a Washington, D.C.-based pizza entrepreneur has made his chain a champion of the $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Michael Lastoria is the owner of the 15-store &pizza chain, and one of his shops will be the site Monday evening of a ceremonial signing of legislation that will increase the minimum wage in the District of Columbia to $15 an hour by 2020 and afterward annually based on the cost of living.

The signing of the bill – the “Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment Act” – comes with warnings from conservatives and business groups that job creation and business investment in the city will dry up and that those who can will run across the Potomac River to Virginia, where the minimum wage will remain at the federal level of $7.25 an hour.

But Lastoria, in an interview with OurFuture.org, said that in fact he is expanding his chain, planning six new pizza shops this year. The reason, he said, is simple: “Allow your employees to thrive and your company will thrive.”

“We really have never seen a successful business where our employees didn’t feel appreciated, engaged and supported,” he said.

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President Obama Finally Gets It Right On Expanding Social Security

Isaiah J. Poole Executive editor, OurFuture.org

President Obama Finally Gets It Right On Expanding Social Security

President Obama on Wednesday did a remarkable 180-degree turn on Social Security, and since we have been dogging him for his earlier failed attempt at a “grand bargain” that would have cut Social Security benefits for future seniors, let’s give credit where credit is due.

Here’s what the president said at the Concord Community Elementary School in Elkhart, Ind.:

But look, let’s face it – a lot of Americans don’t have retirement savings. Even if they’ve got an account set up, they just don’t have enough money at the end of the month to save as much as they’d like because they’re just barely paying the bills. Fewer and fewer people have pensions they can really count on, which is why Social Security is more important than ever. We can’t afford to weaken Social Security. We should be strengthening Social Security. And not only do we need to strengthen its long-term health, it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous, and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they’ve earned. And we could start paying for it by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute a little bit more. They can afford it. I can afford it.

That is the message that members of the progressive Social Security coalition have been pressing for years, but this is the first time that we can claim President Obama as an ally on this issue.

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The Anti-Job-Creation Party Wants Welfare Recipients To Work

Isaiah J. Poole Executive editor, OurFuture.org

House Speaker Paul Ryan ended up overshadowing his own efforts Tuesday to highlight the Republican Party’s proposals for overhauling aid programs for low-income people by telling reporters that he was still planning to endorse and vote for a presidential candidate that had earlier uttered what he called “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”

The Speaker of the House shredding his moral credibility – in the heart of one of Washington D.C.’s historic African-American communities, no less – to remain loyal to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was indeed far more worthy of media attention than the ostensible purpose of his crossing the Anacostia River, which was to use a church-based substance abuse treatment center as a backdrop for his effort to rebrand the Party of the 1 Percent as the party that cares the most about the poor.

Nonetheless, the package of proposals that Ryan began unveiling this week, under the branding of “A Better Way,” should not be ignored, even though many of their tenets will be familiar to people who have followed what passes for anti-poverty policy in the conservative movement. What Ryan hopes is that at least Senate and House candidates will use the “Better Way” proposals to give the impression that the Republican Party is more than the “Party of No” and a party that thinks the solution to every economic problem is a tax cut for the wealthy.

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