The GOP Is Now Bragging About Voter Suppression

(Photo: Beanbag Amerika; Edited: LW / TO) Voting, Thomas Paine once said, “is the beating heart of democracy.” It’s what makes our democracy possible. Without it, Paine said, “man would be reduced to slavery.” It’s for this very reason, of course, that conservatives have worked since the founding of our republic to make it harder or downright impossible for people who are not part of the political and economic elite to vote. This conservative war on voting has taken on a number of different forms, Jim Crow being just the most obvious example, but it has always been based on one simple idea: conservatives lose elections when more people vote, and win elections when fewer people vote. As American Legislative Exchange Council founder and Reagan advisor Paul Weyrich put it back in 1980, “our leverage in the elections… goes up as the voting populace goes down.” This has been […] Read More

The Lies Change but the Murder Never Stops

“Bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity,” as the old phrase goes. Once again our imperial elitists are “making the case” to utilize instruments of death and destruction against a country thousands of miles away that has not attacked us. In order, we are told, to bring about more peace and less death. Let us ponder that logic once more. Western powers — who are already steeped in historical and contemporary blood-letting of monstrous magnitude — are once again trying to justify their latest illegal imperial venture in noble terms: of military necessity and moral superiority. And that we — who have no right to interfere in another country — will bring less murder and destruction through engaging in more murder and destruction. Even though a year of such apparent bombing in Iraq and Syria has not only not brought peace, it has made the situation worse, and […] Read More

1965: Immigration Act: Its Legacy and Lessons

Image: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Immigration Act as Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Lady Bird Johnson, Muriel Humphrey, Sen. Edward (Ted) Kennedy, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and others look on, at Liberty Island, New York, October 3, 1965. (Photo: LBJ Presidential Library) Following the national origins quota system that denied immigrants from certain countries admission into the US, the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act transformed US immigration policy. It allowed more Asians in, but denied many Latinos, resulting in increased undocumented immigration into the US.  October marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law at a public ceremony held at the base of the Statute of Liberty. The act is rightly celebrated for dismantling the infamous “national origins” quota system that gave special preference to immigrants from Western Europe while effectively barring newcomers from […] Read More

Student Debt Movement Is Getting Democratic Candidates to Respond

  The drumbeat grows louder for candidates to issue a plan to tackle the $1.3 trillion behemoth that is student debt, with former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley issuing his debt-free college solution Wednesday. O’Malley’s proposal comes after Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders issued his own plan, ahead of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s plan promised for later this summer. All the candidates on the Democratic side are going to have to take a stand. Getting candidates to acknowledge the student debt crisis and coming out with debt-free college plans is a massive coup for grassroots activists across the country. Prior to the new year, when you did an Internet search for the phrase “debt-free college,” the first results were guides on how to graduate from college without debt, including one titled “How a Pack of Gum Helped Me Graduate College Debt-Free” (seriously). After the stinging defeat of the 2014 […] Read More

2015: Eleven Things Other Countries Do Way Better Than the US

America! Land of the free, home of the brave, and the greatest country on the face of the planet, right? A country with seemingly limitless natural resources, and according to many politicians, anointed by God herself to lead the world out of the wilderness and into a bright new age of liberty and justice for all. Too bad the road to that vision is pockmarked with so many potholes because we haven’t raised enough taxes on people who can afford to pay to fill them. Americans, maybe more than anyone on Earth, are guilty of the sin of hubris and excessive pride. As the great Greek poets of the ancient world have taught us, hubris can lead to some really bad outcomes. The reality is that a good portion of the rest of the world has far outpaced the United States in things like healthcare. While the U.S. has […] Read More

The Business of Wall Street

If you don’t mind working hard—and partying even harder—why not get a business degree, take a couple of state and federal tests, and become a Wall Street trader? These are the people who are the current crop of Gordon Gekkos—you know, the pretend-fictional character portrayed by Michael Douglas in Wall Street. The men spend thousands of dollars on suits, ties, and cocaine. The women spend thousands just to own a closet of Jimmy Choo shoes. But their existence is shrouded by a coop they call an office or cubicle. Their tools are multiple phone lines and computer screens. The chase for money—and perhaps the excitement in getting people to give up a chunk of their earned income after hearing a finely-tuned pitch—drives these college graduates. But, the rewards are high. Last year, Wall Street paid $28.5 billion in bonuses. That’s an average of $172,000 per person. Some got more. […] Read More