Newsletter: The State Of The Union And Movement

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. The United States is a failing empire: the domestic economy has fallen to a level equivalent to a developing nation for most of us while the stock markets, especially for weapons-makers, are at record levels. It has taken decades for the US to get here. Long-term mis-leadership created the environment where a “Make America Great Again” presidential candidate, whose fame came from being a reality-TV star and someone who put his name in giant gold letters on every business he ran, could con his way into office in large part because he is not a politician. Trump’s election woke a lot of people up and sparked new levels of activism. As we reach the one-hundredth day of this new administration, it’s a good time to reflect on the state of the union and of the movements for peace and justice.

Obama's $400,000 Speech Shows Depth Of Corruption

Credit Reuters, Kevin Lamarque

By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. Former President Obama seems to be cashing in or receiving a payoff for his policies as president. He will be receiving a $400,000 payment from a mid-size investment firm, Cantor FItzgerald to speak at a healthcare conference in September. Obama had the chance when his party controlled the House and Senate to actually solve the healthcare crisis by putting in place improved Medicare for all (and don’t fall for the BS that he could not have done it). Instead he put in place the failed Affordable Care Act whose centerpiece was to force people to buy inadequate health insurance. The ACA has failed to control the cost of premiums, co-pays and deductibles while providing shrinking health coverage. It was a gift to the insurance industry, pharmaceutical industry and investors who profit from healthcare. Cantor Fitzgerald is one of those healthcare profiteers that benefits greatly from the ACA.

Now The Republicans Want To Screw The Ill

Trump and Ryan together with US flags

By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. The Republicans are taking another try at a healthcare law to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) after their stunning failure to even vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Under the new bill, which has yet to be drafted, the current national requirements for what insurance must cover would be left up to the states to determine; and people with a serious illness could face a massive increase in premiums, putting insurance out of reach for many who need it most. The White House is pushing because a two-week spring recess begins at the end of the week, creating a sense of urgency for Republicans. Seek to rush the bill to the House Floor, without new committee review and without a Congressional Budget Office evaluation, by substituting the new bill for the failed ACHA. They need to rush this through because the more this is examined; the more people will see this bill is another terrible deal.

Translating Trump's Healthcare Promises & Plans

Replace ACA with Medicare for All. Photo from FOX13 Salt Lake City

By Staff for Popular Resistance. The only way to achieve President Trump’s goals of lowering costs, giving people choice and improving the quality of healthcare is to put in place a National Improved Medicare for All. The policies the Republicans and the administration have been describing will lower the quality of healthcare, decrease people’s health coverage and while they may lower premiums, they will not lower costs. Achieving that outcome requires elected officials to stand up to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries as well as investers in for-profit healthcare. To achieve that people need to join the Health Over Profit campaign and work together over the next several years to achieve a historic change or putting in place a real health system in the United States that covers everyone with high quality healthcare from birth to death.

Trump’s ‘Jobs Czar’ Defeats Workers After 105 Day Strike

Trump flanked by the Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, a Momentive investor and Trump’s ‘jobs czar’, and the General Motors CEO, Mary Barra. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By Dominic Rushe and Tom Pietrasik for the Guardian. Momentive’s workers are not alone in their grievances. In 2016 dollars, the average hourly wage of a high school educated worker was $18.29 in 1973, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Last year it was $17.25. Ignoring minor bumps and dips, it’s fair to say that a quarter of the US workforce (those with no more than high school education) have seen their wages barely keep up with inflation for more than 40 years – a period that enjoyed decades of spectacular economic growth, particularly for the top 1%. Chatting over a beer after a day on the lines, Benny Patrignani, Dominick’s brother, says he has hope that Trump will bring change. “Both parties are so busy hitting each other, they haven’t been interested in us,” he says. The choice, he said, was: “Do you want to die by drowning or die by fire?”

Newsletter: Privatization vs. The People

Privatization protest

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The essence of privatization today is to turn a public good into a profit center for Wall Street. US economic policy has created a wealth class that is grotesquely wealthy and under-taxed so that it has the money government needs to provide public services. This forces the government to borrow money from or sell a public service to the privateers or to create a public-private partnership (disguised corporate welfare and crony capitalism) in order to provide essential services. There is another way. We’ve reached a tipping point, as evidenced by the worldwide revolt through Occupy, the Arab Spring, the Indignados and other movements. We can reverse the trend toward privatization and inequality by claiming the commons for our mutual prosperity. If we believe in a more just, sustainable and democratic world, a world based on the common good, we will build the foundation for a world in which people work together to solve common problems and create an equitable economy that betters the lives for all.

Newsletter: Protest Is Working & Growing

Resist banner flies over the Donald Trump White House by Greenpeace.

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. People are recognizing that they have power to protest in a lot of areas. Some see the potential for protest at work, such as the resistance and non-cooperation among federal workers. And, many are planning on building toward a general strike, something unheard of in US history. State officials are even talking about protesting by not paying federal taxes. Early in the Trump era, protest is working and the potential ahead is for an even larger resistance movement. The dysfunctional nature of government will add to protest movements, making the country ungovernable. We can defeat the oligarchy, as currently represented by Trump, but which began long before him, by remaining independent of the corporate parties and fighting for the changes we need.

Newsletter: The Problem Isn’t Trump, It’s Bigger

System is guilty

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The awakening of mass protests against Donald Trump’s executive orders and appointments could become a real movement, but it must realize a critically important point: Trump is not the problem, the system is. Illusion of Democracy hides oligarchyTrump is a symptom of a long-term trend of a failing democracy that is too closely tied to Wall Street and the war machine. Both the Republican and Democratic parties are part of this failed system that does not represent the people of the United States. We are all working to build a mass movement for economic, racial and environmental justice that is bigger than Donald Trump. As the extremist actions of the Trump administration are put in place we need to remember that extremism for the wealthy, for war and ignoring of environmental catastrophe is consistent with the actions of all recent presidents and the leadership of both corporate parties.

Large Anti-Trump Protests In Philadelphia At GOP Retreat

Trump protest in Philly at GOP retreat January 26, 2017 from Twitter

By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. On Thursday afternoon the protests grew filling the streets of downtown Philadelphia when Trump arrived at noon. People were protesting a host of extreme right wing issues that Trump and the GOP are pursuing including immigration, healthcare, women’s rights, the drug war and civil liberties, urged tolerance and love as an antidote to hate. Thousands of people filled city blocks around the Loews Hotel. People also protested his executive orders that seek to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone Pipeline as well as Trump’s threats to the environment.

GOP’s Healthcare Plans Awakened Wrath Of Powerful Constituency

By threatening Social Security and Medicare, Trump has awakened the wrath of older people. (photo: Cultura RM/SEB Oliver)

By Susan J. Douglas for In These Times – Donald Trump, at age 70, will be the oldest person to assume the presidency. He is part of a major demographic revolution—the aging of the baby boom—which received minimal attention during the campaign. But now Trump seems poised to declare war on his own generation, or at least the portion that doesn’t live in gilt towers in Manhattan. And judging from the comments section on the AARP website, his cohort is more than ready to fight back. In typical Trump fashion, the candidate who promised not to cut Medicare or Social Security now has a new pledge: to “modernize” Medicare, which in Trump-speak may mean “annihilate.”

Newsletter - Beyond Russia: The Work Ahead

Trump protest in NYC by Dustin Kirkpatrick

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. As the day that the Electoral College casts its vote for President draws near, so does the frenzy of accusations that Russians hacked the election to benefit Donald Trump and are spreading ‘fake news’ full of Russian propaganda. It seems like everyone is jumping on the anti-Russia bandwagon, including past Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and most of the organizations affiliated with the Democratic Party. Many are calling for the Electors to switch their votes to Hillary Clinton. Russian spying image from the Intercept Russian spying image from the Intercept The absurdity of the 2016 Presidential election doesn’t seem to have an end. We urge readers not to get drawn into the manufactured distractions of the day. We have real work to do, no matter who is elected, to organize across multiple fronts of struggle.

Newsletter: Turn Widespread Discontent Into Mass Movement

RiseUp

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. With the election of Donald Trump as president the struggle continues for economic, racial and environmental justice. We knew we would be in struggle no matter who was elected and have been calling for #NoHoneymoon protests for months. We also support calls made for protests in the days before the inauguration and after them. We expect to see a growing presidency of protest under Trump as the movement will grow and continue to demand justice, human rights and a people-based democracy. We need to build now, provide a vision and have conversations at the local level so when the attacks on our communities occur and false promises of Donald Trump are made obvious people know where they can turn. We can turn widespread discontent into a mass movement with the power to transform the nation.

Minimum Wage, Marijuana, Gun Control & Other Issues Win Voters’ Approval

Reminder to vote by Light Brigading used under CC BY-NC 2.0

By Liz Essley Whyte for the Center for Public Integrity. Despite massive losses for Democrats in races from the White House to governors’ offices Tuesday, those on the left celebrated some significant victories with state ballot measures. From marijuana to minimum wage to gun control laws, they won many key initiatives among the 162 statewide measures — part of a concerted plan put in motion more than a year ago to circumvent Republican-led legislatures and take policy questions directly to voters. Progressive advocates appeared to lose major healthcare initiatives in California and Colorado, however. The Center for Public Integrity tracked how those fighting over these measures shaped their messages with TV ads, typically an expensive yet far-reaching endeavor. Media tracker Kantar Media/CMAG estimates that more than $384 million was spent through Monday just to air TV ads about such measures this election.

Newsletter: Elections Expose the Oligarchs

Democracy Not Oligarchy

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The 2016 presidential election has shown how the duopoly, the two parties that represent big business interests and the wealthiest, are corrupted in ways that prevent the people’s voices from being heard, their necessities being met and the planet being protected from human greed. During the campaigns, leaks have given people a behind-the-scenes look at how the parties operate and research on the candidates shows their personal failures. They give voters an image of elites who behave as if the law does not apply to them and who put themselves ahead of the public interest. Last Friday was a day of embarrassment for both the Republican and Democratic Parties. A tape showing Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault in lewd ways has gotten the bulk of attention, but Wikileaks also released thousands of pages of The Podesta Emails, 2,060 emails and 170 attachments. John Podesta is the ultimate insider.

Rapid Burnout, Dissatisfaction Of U.S. Doctors Threatens Public Health Crisis

Tim Waclawski / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Alexander Reed Kelly for Truth Dig – Half of U.S. physicians are “disengaged, burned out, and demoralized and plan to either retire, cut back on work hours, or seek non-clinical roles,” reports MedPage Today, citing a new nationwide survey commissioned by The Physicians Foundation. “Many physicians are dissatisfied with the current state of the medical practice environment and they are opting out of traditional patient care roles,” said Walker Ray, MD, president of The Physicians Foundation, in remarks that appeared with the survey.