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Series | Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Duped Middle Class — Part 1, Will Voters Fight Back?

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 / Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Adam Fagen / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), Tim Evanson / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0), and Vincent Parsons / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

  • Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) gave massive tax cuts to the very rich, massively increased budget deficits, increased incentives to move jobs and profits offshore — and minimally increased investment in productivity.
  • In Part 2, Martin Lobel discusses how to prevent a taxpayer revolt.
  • Related: Why millions of people are getting hit with a surprise tax bill this year.

Martin Lobel, Who.What.Why.

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February 21, 2019 | We are in the early stages of a likely revolt against “the Establishment.” Small wonder. Because of government policies for the last 50 years, essentially the entire growth in GDP has gone to the top 1 percent. And primarily to the top 0.01 percent, aka the “plutocrats.”

As middle class voters understand how badly they have been treated economically, they’re likely to demand changes similar in scale to those of the 1890s or the 1930s — unless government policies are changed soon.

Martin Lobel specializes in crisis management and represents many investigative reporters in addition to being an expert on the constitutionality of state taxes. He has written extensively on tax issues.

Full story …

Related:

Why millions of people are getting hit with a surprise tax bill this year. Matthew Yglesias, Vox

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/K5B1541tKIQWSwRyUK77e06XiJg=/0x0:1024x683/920x613/filters:focal(729x344:891x506)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/63009239/paul-ryan-wisc.0.jpgPaul Ryan in 2016, then the House speaker and an architect of the tax bill.Darren Hauck/Getty Images

An effort to make the tax bill look better ended up making it look worse.
 

 

 

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The Controversial Conundrum That Is the Electoral College

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  • Part 1: From the Archives | The Electoral College Was Meant to Stop Men Like Trump From Being President
  • The founders envisioned electors as people who could prevent an irresponsible demagogue from taking office.
  • Part 2: The Electoral College Conundrum
  • There’s no consensus on abolishing the Electoral College, which has countered the popular vote in two of the past five presidential elections.
  • Related: Effort to Abandon Electoral College Gains Steam. Here’s What It Would Ruin for America

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: From the Archives | The Electoral College Was Meant to Stop Men Like Trump From Being President

https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/mt/2016/11/RTSSEN9-1/lead_720_405.jpg?mod=1533691859 / Mike Segar / Reuters

The founders envisioned electors as people who could prevent an irresponsible demagogue from taking office.

Peter Beinart, the Atlantic

Nov 21, 2016 | Americans talk about democracy like it’s sacred. In public discourse, the more democratic American government is, the better. The people are supposed to rule.

But that’s not the premise that underlies America’s political system. Most of the men who founded the United States feared unfettered majority rule. James Madison wrote in Federalist 10 that systems of government based upon “pure democracy … have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property.” John Adams wrote in 1814 that, “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself.”

Peter Beinart is a contributing editor at the Atlantic and an associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York.

Full story …



Part 2: The Electoral College Conundrum

https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/mt/2018/11/GettyImages_541661822_1/lead_720_405.jpg?mod=1542921364 / Senator Birch Bayh delivers a speech in New Hampshire during his 1976 presidential campaign.Owen Franken / Corbis / Getty

There’s no consensus on abolishing the Electoral College, which has countered the popular vote in two of the past five presidential elections.

Parker Richards,  the Atlantic

Nov 23, 2018 | Even in the pantheon of maligned features of the American republic—gerrymandering, the Senate, first-past-the-post, voter repression—the Electoral College stands out. It’s a chimera, a system that serves as a rubber stamp when it’s working well, and as a massive, semi-automatic check on the popular will when it’s not. Formed as a deliberative body, it now has only a ceremonial semblance of such a function. The position of elector is essentially a sinecure that conveys no real financial or reputational rewards.

Almost half a century before Donald Trump became president, his victory was nearly undone. It was a close thing: The House of Representatives easily passed a constitutional amendment that would have eliminated the electoral college. The Senate was getting closer and closer, just a few votes shy of the required two-thirds majority. Then the midterms came along, and Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana, an auteur of constitutional amendments second only to James Madison, was forced to shelve the proposal.  

Parker Richards is an editorial fellow at the Atlantic.

Full story …

Related:

Effort to Abandon Electoral College Gains Steam. Here’s What It Would Ruin for America. Jarrett Stepman, the Daily Signal / Intellectual Takeout

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/ito/files/field/image/8202951245_5012303a7c_k.jpgThis misguided attempt to subvert the Constitution (is) partisan and historically ignorant. It overlooks … that the Electoral College has produced … a stable political system that forces politicians to reckon with our nation’s diverse needs.
 

 

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Special Report | US Immigration Policy: Cruel, Racist, In Decay

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  • Part 1: A “Smart” Border Wall Is Just as Racist as a Physical Barrier
  • Democrats’ “smart wall” would draw upon the same tech tools that have been long criticized by civil rights activists.
  • Part 2: Incarcerated Immigrants Are Being Tortured
  • Hunger strikers in a Texas immigration jail are risking their lives to draw attention to the conditions.
  • Part 3: Trump’s Cruel Immigration Policy Is About Power, Not Solutions
  • Trump’s immigration policy affects far more people than the migrants at the center of the wall debate.
  • Related: Democrats Totally Cave on Border: Give Trump All He Wants, Get Nothing In Return.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: A “Smart” Border Wall Is Just as Racist as a Physical Barrier

https://truthout.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/37558660495_6b341abd3f_k-1200x800.jpg / Border Wall seen from Nogales, Arizona during an action organized by School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) in November 2017. Peg Hunter / flickr

Democrats’ “smart wall” would draw upon the same tech tools that have been long criticized by civil rights activists.

s.e. smith, Care2 / Truthout

February 2, 2019 | The government shutdown is over at last, thanks to Democrats who brokered a deal to keep Trump happy and get America back to work. That deal didn’t include even one penny for a physical wall along the border, as demanded by numerous constituents — but it did contain what’s being billed as funding for a “smart wall.”

Democrats figure that since they can’t reason with the president, they’ll match his $5.7 billion figure with a funding bill that enhances “border security,” but doesn’t contribute to building an actual wall.

s.e. smith is a writer, agitator and commentator based in Northern California, with a journalistic focus on social issues, particularly gender, prison reform, disability rights, environmental justice, queerness, class and the intersections thereof, with a special interest in rural subjects.

Full story …

Part 2: Incarcerated Immigrants Are Being Tortured


Hunger strikers in a Texas immigration jail are risking their lives to draw attention to the conditions.

Mike Ludwig, Truthout

https://truthout.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2019_0213-ice-1200x679.jpgFebruary 13, 2019 | In El Paso, Texas, not far from where President Trump delivered a speech riddled with falsehoods and jingoism at a pro-wall rally on Tuesday, at least nine Sikh men reportedly fleeing persecution in India have been on hunger strike in an immigration jail known for weeks.

The asylum seekers are protesting their detention and the conditions of the jail, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have responded by force-feeding the men, throwing them in solitary confinement and threatening them with deportation when they refused the force-feeding, according to the Detention Watch Network.

Mike Ludwig is a staff reporter at Truthout and a contributor to the Truthout anthology, Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? In 2014 and 2017, Project Censored featured Ludwig’s reporting on its annual list of the top 25 independent news stories that the corporate media ignored.

Full story …

Part 3: Trump’s Cruel Immigration Policy Is About Power, Not Solutions

https://truthout.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2019_0207-border-1200x753.jpg / Border Patrol agents carry out migrant containment exercises on the border between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas, January 31, 2019. David Peinado / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Trump’s immigration policy affects far more people than the migrants at the center of the wall debate.

Arnold R. Isaacs, TomDispatch / Truthout

February 7, 2019 | “Make America Cruel Again.” That’s how journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Shipler has reformulated Donald Trump’s trademark slogan. Shipler’s version is particularly apt when you think about the president’s record over the last two years on refugee resettlement and other humanitarian-related immigration issues.

President Trump’s border-wall obsession and the political uproar over it have dominated the news, while the alleged dangers of undocumented immigrants — whose numbers he wildly exaggerates— have dominated his rhetoric. But the way he’s altered immigration policy affects many more people than just the migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border who are at the center of the wall debate. Many of those currently or potentially harmed by his actions are not outside the law, but are in the United States legally, some with permanent residence status and others on a temporary or provisional basis. Many more, including tens of thousands of refugees who would be eligible for resettlement, are seeking entry or lawful residence through normal immigration procedures.

Arnold R. Isaacs covered the Vietnam War for the Baltimore Sun between June 1972 and the final defeat in April 1975 and is the author of Without Honor: Defeat in Vietnam and Cambodia. He also wrote Vietnam Shadows: The War, Its Ghosts, and Its Legacy and an online report, “From Troubled Lands: Listening to Pakistani and Afghan Americans in post-9/11 America.”

Full story …

Related:

Democrats Totally Cave on Border: Give Trump All He Wants, Get Nothing In Return. Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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  • Part 1: The Democrats' total capitulation on the border
  • The Democrats got absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada.
  • Part 2: Democrats Are Capitulating to Trump by Approving Border, DHS Funding
  • We have Democrats actually playing his (Trump's) game.

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Democrats Totally Cave on Border: Give Trump All He Wants, Get Nothing In Return.

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  • Part 1: The Democrats' total capitulation on the border
  • The Democrats got absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada.
  • Part 2: Democrats Are Capitulating to Trump by Approving Border, DHS Funding
  • We have Democrats actually playing his (Trump's) game.
  • Related: Special Report | US Immigration Policy: Cruel, Racist, In Decay

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: The Democrats' total capitulation on the border
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 / Illustrated |HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images, Anyka / Alamy Stock Photo

So, all in all, Trump got more money for a border barrier, enhanced border security, and increased detention capacity. What did Democrats get? Absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada.

Shikha Dalmia, the Week

February 12, 2019 | Republican and Democratic lawmakers last night reportedly came to an agreement on border enforcement funding to avert another government shutdown before the Friday deadline. Yet after all this drama, it's unclear if Democrats accomplished much beyond virtue signaling to their base. If anything, they may have given Trump a green light to forge ahead with his draconian interior enforcement agenda without any meaningful oversight of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Details of the deal are still trickling in but it seems clear that after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged not to give Trump even a "dollar" for his wall, Democrats agreed to hand him $1.375 billion to build a 55-mile long barrier in the Rio Grande Valley. They're trying to spin this as mere "pedestrian fencing." Trump, who is never shy of staring a gift horse in the mouth, is saying it’s not enough. But it's pretty clear that Democrats gave in.

https://images.theweek.com/sites/default/files/author-images/shikhadalmia.png?resize=500x500/ Shikha Dalmia, the Week columnist, is a senior policy analyst at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. She is a Bloomberg View contributor and a columnist at the Washington Examiner, and she also writes regularly for Reason, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and numerous other publications.

Full story …

Part 2: Democrats Are Capitulating to Trump by Approving Border, DHS Funding

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We have Democrats actually playing his game, trying to give him more money for DHS, trying to give more money, which can be—and … will be—used to continue to detain people.

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! / Truthout

February 15, 2019 | President Trump declared a national emergency today to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border despite opposition from Congress, after signing the latest spending bill, which includes nearly $1.4




http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/PineTreeLogo%20%28Green%29%20and%2013%20Yr%20Banner_0.jpg/ Evergreene Digest Reading List

  1. Can Trump’s Wall Survive His Fake Emergency?
  2. Trump’s Broken Promises to the Land of “American Carnage”
  3. Is Trump’s National Emergency a Step Toward Fascism?
  4. Trump Moves the World Closer to “Doomsday”


billion to build 55 miles of new border barriers out of steel, far less than the $5.7 billion he requested.Congressmembers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib issued a statement that they voted against the bill because it gives more funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “That is the right thing to do. We’ve been pushing for Democrats to do the right thing, to stop playing [Trump’s] games,” says our guest Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES, the Texas-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.

Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on more than 1,100 public television and radio stations worldwide. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its “Pick of the Podcasts,” along with NBC‘s “Meet the Press.”

Full story (includes transcript)

Related:

Special Report | US Immigration Policy: Cruel, Racist, In Decay. Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Immigration%20Banner_2.jpg

  • Part 1: A “Smart” Border Wall Is Just as Racist as a Physical Barrier
  • Democrats’ “smart wall” would draw upon the same tech tools that have been long criticized by civil rights activists.
  • Part 2: Incarcerated Immigrants Are Being Tortured
  • Hunger strikers in a Texas immigration jail are risking their lives to draw attention to the conditions.
  • Part 3: Trump’s Cruel Immigration Policy Is About Power, Not Solutions
  • Trump’s immigration policy affects far more people than the migrants at the center of the wall debate.
  • Related: Democrats Totally Cave on Border: Give Trump All He Wants, Get Nothing In Return.

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No Justice!  No Peace!  Please share this post.

 

Demand Critical Congressional Hearings – Long Overdue, Avoided or Blocked.

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Phil Roeder (CC BY 2.0)

Here are my suggestions for a dozen long-overdue hearings in the House of Representatives, now run by the Democrats.

Ralph Nader, Nader.org

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January 30, 2019 | Earlier this month I wrote a column listing twelve major redirections or reforms that most people want for our country (see: “It’s Your Congress, People!” Make it work for you!). All of which require action by Congress—the gate-keeper.  Now Congress must hold informative and investigative public hearings to inform the media and to alert and empower the people.

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) explains a Congressional Hearing as follows:

“A hearing is a meeting or session of a Senate, House, joint, or special committee of Congress, usually open to the public, to obtain information and opinions on proposed legislation, conduct an investigation, or evaluate/oversee the activities of a government department or the implementation of a Federal law. In addition, hearings may also be purely exploratory in nature, providing testimony and data about topics of current interest.”

Here are my suggestions for a dozen long-overdue hearings in the House of Representatives, now run by the Democrats.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).


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