Posts from Robert Creamer

What Now for Progressives?

Robert Creamer Political organizer, strategist and author

It will take some time for Progressives - and for America as a whole - to process the electoral disaster represented by Donald Trump’s victory last night.

Strategists and commentators will inevitably engage in endless hours of second -guessing. And it will take months before we can really assess what this political earthquake means for the future of democracy in America and American leadership in the world.

But as we engage in that process, there are several key principles that should guide us.

First - we can’t sugar coat the magnitude of the disaster. Trump’s election has the potential at least, to be the single most catastrophic event in modern American political history. The implications for our economy, for peace in the world, for the welfare of millions of ordinary people are staggering.

That is especially true for the most vulnerable members of our society - for immigrants, for Muslims, for the poor, for all of those who desperately need health insurance, for those who need protection from gun violence - for the victims of sexual harassment and abuse.

Trump’s victory will in fact do more than allow him to implement policies that inflict harm on millions. It will legitimate the worst instincts of white supremacists, bigots and misogynists.

And of course, Trump will control the nuclear launch codes.

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Why Trump And The White Supremacist Alt-Right Are Threats To Democratic Values — And Our National Security

Robert Creamer Political organizer, strategist and author

I recently returned from an international seminar where one of the scholars argued a point that is very important for every American to hear before November 8th.

He said that democracies come in many different forms with various structures and systems. But authoritarian regimes all have four characteristics in common:

  • Grievance-Driven Nationalism.
  • The narrative that the majority of people have been victimized by enemies - foreign and domestic.
  • The legitimation of conspiratorial thinking.
  • The argument that only the one strong man can come to the people’s rescue.

These things are true whether they describe the authoritarian regimes of history like Mussolini and Stalin, or those of the current period, like Kim Jong-un in North Korea, or Putin in Russia - both of which Donald Trump apparently admires.

And those four characteristics practically define the Trump political message. Trump argues that he will make America “Great Again” — that he will address the legitimate grievances of those whose incomes have stagnated by throwing out the immigrants, the Muslims, the “others” that have made it so — none of which has anything whatsoever to do with the economic pain he alleges to address.

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Should America Entrust the Nuclear Launch Codes to Someone Who is Unhinged?

Robert Creamer Political organizer, strategist and author

I’m not a psychologist, but after watching Donald Trump’s thirteen-month Presidential campaign, it certainly appears that he is unhinged.

He is erratic, eager to pick a fight with anyone for pretty much any perceived slight or affront. He is probably the most narcissistic person we have ever encountered - in his mind everything appears to be about him.

His inability to restrain his own anger at being attacked leaves him embroiled in battles that are not in his own interest - the ongoing fight with the Khan family and his gratuitous refusal to endorse his own party’s Speaker of the House being the latest examples.

There was a time when his pursuit of crazy conspiracy theories - like the idea that half a century ago someone plotted to create a fake birth certificate for Barack Obama so that he could one day run for President - were political ploys. Increasingly, it seems likely that he actually believes them.

In some respects Trump appears delusional. He may actually believe it when he assures everyone to “believe me” the Mexicans will pay for his giant wall, or that he is “the only one” who can fix the country.

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Why a Man Like Donald Trump Should Never Control the Nuclear Launch Codes

Robert Creamer Political organizer, strategist and author

You hear a lot of commentary about how American presidents are consistently prone to stretch the bounds of their constitutional power. But we tend to forget that everyday the president of the United States controls the most awesome power ever invested in a single human being in the history of humanity: the power to launch a nuclear attack that could conceivably destroy much of humanity.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1963, America came perilously close to cataclysmic nuclear exchange that would have killed tens of millions. During that confrontation between President John Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, the world was spared disaster by the creative diplomacy of Kennedy — and his steadfast refusal to follow the advice of generals who recommended actions that would have led to a nuclear exchange.

Kennedy’s cool, deliberate temperament — his commitment to progressive values — and his personal unwillingness to respond impulsively to provocation saved humanity from catastrophe.

Imagine Donald Trump in the same situation.

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Warning: CEO Class' Next Big Attack on the Incomes of Ordinary Americans

Robert Creamer Political organizer, strategist and author

Warning: CEO Class' Next Big Attack on the Incomes of Ordinary Americans

If you're like most ordinary Americans, you're not thrilled that ever since George W. Bush came into office 15 years ago your income has flat lined.

It probably doesn't make much sense to you that CEO pay and Wall Street bonuses have exploded while most Americans can't keep up with the rising cost of living.

Bush came into office with a mandate from the CEO class to change the rules of the economic game, and ever since ordinary people have paid the price while Wall Street banks, big corporations, CEOs and billionaires have wallowed in their increasing wealth.

Well if you didn't like the way the CEO class used their huge political donations and fleet of lobbyists to manipulate the economic rules last time, wait until you see what they've cooked up now.

An outfit called the "Center for Individual Rights" -- which is a front group for the notorious Koch Brothers financial network and other mega-wealthy right wing CEOs -- has filed a lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme Court to substantially weaken the ability of working people to negotiate together for better wages and working conditions.

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House GOP Votes to Take Food From the Mouths of Hungry Children to Give Huge Tax Break to Children of Multi-Millionaires -- Really?

Robert Creamer Political organizer, strategist and author

House GOP Votes to Take Food From the Mouths of Hungry Children to Give Huge Tax Break to Children of Multi-Millionaires -- Really?

Last month the House Republicans took an amazing vote. They literally voted to take food from the mouths of hungry children in order to give a huge tax break to children who were born with a silver spoon in theirs -- the sons and daughters of multi-millionaires.

I am not exaggerating. The GOP voted to eliminate the estate tax. But the estate tax only applies to estates larger than $5.4 million for an individual and $10.9 million for couples. Eliminating the estate tax would benefit only 5,500 families in America (.02 percent of the population). And 75 percent of the benefits would flow to children who inherit estates of $20 million or more.

And some of those are huge fortunes. Eight Americans earned $10 billion in income in 2013 alone. That's enough income to pay 200,000 average American workers.

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Meet IL Governor Bruce Rauner -- Poster Boy for War on Middle Class

Robert Creamer Political organizer, strategist and author

Meet IL Governor Bruce Rauner -- Poster Boy for War on Middle Class

Last fall, Illinois GOP candidate Bruce Rauner spent $63.9 million -- $27.3 million of his own money -- to buy the right to occupy the Illinois Governor's mansion.

Now that he's in office his first moves have confirmed that he is the poster boy for the War on the Middle Class.

Rauner is a hybrid of the worst traits of Mitt Romney and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In fact, you could say he personally embodies the reason why -- even though our economy has grown 77% in the last 35 years -- the wages of ordinary Americans have been stagnant or actually declined.

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If You Think the GOP Is 'Refocusing' on the Wealth Gap, I've Got a Bridge to Sell You

Robert Creamer Political organizer, strategist and author

The New York Times reported last week that in the closed-door Republican Senate Caucus retreat, Republican Leader Senator Mitch McConnell "encouraged the Republican troops to refocus policy on the stagnant middle class."

That would be like asking the wolves of the world to stop hunting and refocus on cultivating asparagus.

But, of course, McConnell didn't really mean he wanted his fellow Republicans to do something about the wealth gap. He wanted them to look like they were doing something about the wealth gap while they actually deliver the goods for the owners of the Republican Party.

The Republican Party, after all, is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the .01% and doing something meaningful about the gap in wealth and income in America -- revitalizing the middle class -- requires taking wealth and income that is now being siphoned off by the .01% and giving it to the people who earned and created it -- the vast majority of ordinary Americans.

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Republican Right Embraces Its Long, Hypocritical Tradition of Pandering to Fear

Robert Creamer Political organizer, strategist and author

They're back. Like the fourth sequel to a bad horror movie, the Republican Right has once again chosen to embrace its long ignoble, hypocritical tradition of pandering to -- and stoking -- fear.

As the election nears, their ads are filled with images of ISIL terrorists, Ebola viruses, Secret Service breaches, and "porous" borders through which knife-wielding Muslim extremists are surely infiltrating every corner of our society.

It's not just disgusting. It's also hypocritical. The fact is that the Republicans have an abysmal record when it comes to defending the security of ordinary Americans.

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Walgreens May Face Consumer, Political Backlash if It Elects to Become a 'Corporate Deserter'

Robert Creamer Political organizer, strategist and author

Within the next several weeks Illinois-based Walgreens drug store chain is set to decide if it will become what President Obama referred to last week as a "corporate deserter" by - in essence - tearing up its U.S. Citizenship in order to cut its corporate taxes.

Walgreens recently bought a 45 percent stake in the Swiss drug chain, Alliance-Boots. It is now considering whether to complete a merger with the Swiss firm, so it can move its official corporate headquarters to lower-tax Switzerland, while maintaining most of its operations in the United States.

Forty-seven American corporations have used this this tax trick - known as an "inversion" -- over the last decade and the maneuver is increasingly favored by corporations that apparently have no loyalty to the United States - and instead have pledged allegiance entirely to their own bottom lines.

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Union Matters

Powering America

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

Fierce thunderstorms, heavy snows and unusually powerful hurricanes ravaged America’s fragile power grid and plunged millions into darkness this year.

And even as these natural disasters wreaked havoc across the country, COVID-19 stay-at-home orders sparked a surge in residential electrical demand, placing new stress on a failing system.

A long-overdue overhaul of the nation’s electrical infrastructure would not only ensure America continues functioning during a crisis but help to reinvigorate the pandemic-shattered economy.

Built in the 1950s and 60s, most of America’s electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure lives on borrowed time. Engineers never designed it to withstand today’s increasingly frequent and catastrophic storms fueled by climate change, let alone the threats posed by hackers and terrorists.

To ensure a reliable power supply for homes, schools and businesses, America needs to invest in a more resilient, higher capacity grid.

That means either burying electrical lines or insulating above-ground wires and replacing wooden utility poles with structures made of steel or concrete. Other strategies include creating a battery-storage system to provide backup power, building coastal barriers to protect infrastructure against storm surge and further diversifying into wind and solar production.

Also, a shift toward more localized generation and distribution networks would limit the impact of any one power outage.

Making these upgrades with U.S.-made materials and labor will both stimulate the economy and protect national security. American steelworkers, tradespeople and manufacturing workers have the expertise to build a power grid strong enough to weather whatever storms come America’s way.

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Stronger Together

Stronger Together