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Here’s a recent interview I did with PBS’s “Frontline” on what’s...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/01/2020 - 11:25am in

Here’s a recent interview I did with PBS’s “Frontline” on what’s at stake this election year, and how we got to this terrifying point in American history. Hope you find it helpful.

The Biggest Political Party in America You’ve Never Heard OfIf...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/01/2020 - 11:17am in

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The Biggest Political Party in America You’ve Never Heard Of

If I asked you to name the biggest political party in the United States, what would be your answer? You probably have two guesses that come to mind: the Democratic party or the Republican party.Well, it’s neither.

It’s the party of Non-Voters.

Let’s look at the last presidential election: 100 million Americans who were eligible to vote in 2016 DID NOT vote. That’s a bigger number than the number who voted either for Donald Trump or for Hillary Clinton. In Michigan, for example, where the contest came down to roughly 10,000 votes, it’s plausible to say that non-voters were the ones who decided the election.

Non-voters — those Americans eligible to vote but don’t — are in effect America’s biggest political party. Unless we work to reverse this trend, they could decide the next election.

So who are these missing voters? They are Americans who are most affected by decades of a broken political system, economic inequality, and laws designed to make it harder to vote. They are people of color, young people, and people with lower incomes.

At the same time, these missing voters tend to be more progressive than most voters. For example, non-voters are more likely to support higher taxes to pay for government services, a higher minimum wage, a federal jobs guarantee, and other progressive priorities.

There are also seven million young people of color who weren’t old enough to vote in 2016 but will be 18 by the 2020 election. These voters will also be critical to mobilize.

All of which means that voter turnout will determine our future. These non-voters are potential voters, and recent elections with record turnout show that we’re headed in the right direction.

The key question is how to get even more of them to the polls. Four steps:

1. Make it easier to vote, not harder. Some states have enacted laws to suppress the votes of people of color and young people, such as requiring an ID, reducing the number of polling places in Democratic districts, and purging voter rolls. These tactics must be ended. The Voting Rights Act, which for decades kept some of the worst practices in check until major provisions were struck down by the Supreme Court, must be restored.

And we need to make it easier to vote by making Election Day a federal holiday; enacting Automatic Voter Registration, for example when people turn 18; and voting by mail.

2. Mobilize young voters. They’re a huge potential voting block. In the 2018 midterm elections, 36 percent of voters aged 18 to 29 cast ballots, shattering turnout records from the past quarter-century and contributing to major Democratic victories across the country

3. Inspire enthusiasm and grassroots energy around big ideas and bold policies, not milquetoast, consultant-driven half-measures. Look at Stacey Abrams’s campaign in 2018. Even though she didn’t win, Abrams ran a bold campaign and worked to turn out Democratic voters that had largely been ignored in the red state of Georgia. As a result, Abrams garnered more votes — 1.9 million — than any other Democrat running for any office in the history of the state, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Jimmy Carter.

4. Personally encourage others to vote. Make sure they know how to register, and when and where to vote. Tell them to be a voter.

Rebuilding America starts with the simple act of voting. If we can activate even a fraction of those 100 million non-voters, we can restore American democracy and make our economy and our democracy work for the many rather than the few.

This is why it’s so important for you to vote – and urge everyone you know to vote, too.

How Trump Manufactured the Hunter Biden-Ukraine ScandalFor...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/01/2020 - 9:29am in

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How Trump Manufactured the Hunter Biden-Ukraine Scandal

For months now, Trump and his Republican enablers have been selling a counter-narrative, to distract from Trump’s effort to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, and Russia’s attempt in 2016 to help Trump win the election.

How did they do it? Nine steps:

Step 1: Find a source of half-baked lies and innuendo.​ I​n a 2018 book, ​Secret Empires,​ conservative author Peter Schweizer, an editor at Breitbart News, raised Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings.

Schweizer didn’t allege any illegality – Ukraine’s prosecutor general found no evidence of wrongdoing – but Schweizer lead readers to conclude that it reeks of influence-peddling and self-dealing.

Step 2: Dig up dirt.​ Eager to advance a story that would damage Joe Biden, who Trump knew was most likely to be his major political opponent in the 2020 election, Trump tapped Rudy Giuliani to do the digging.

Step 3: Feed it to the mainstream press.​ ​Giuliani ​told CNN​ that “a well-regarded investigator” brought Hunter Biden’s story to his attention. He then ​told the ​New York Times​ that he was going to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, to push the new government to investigate ​two matters of intense interest to Trump. One was the ​involvement of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son​ in a gas company, Burisma, owned by a Ukrainian oligarch. The other was the origin of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

After Giuliani’s planned trip attracted a lot of media attention, Giuliani​ canceled it.

Step 4. Hire a disreputable team of dirt-diggers.​ Giuliani looked for whatever he could find about the Bidens and the Mueller investigation, employing people who are more schooled in public relations than in investigations.

Those who helped Giuliani included Victoria Toensing and her husband Joe diGenova. On social media and in regular appearances on Fox News, these two operatives advanced the bunk theory that Mueller’s investigation resulted from the Justice Department’s efforts to frame Trump, and that the collusion “​began in Ukraine​.“

Another Giuliani dirt-digger was Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-American businessman and Giuliani crony who has since been arrested and charged with campaign finance violations on behalf of the Trump campaign.

Step 5: Find more news outlets seeking a scoop on the dirt.​ Giuliani fed the story to John Solomon, a reporter for The Hill – not to the Justice Department or any other government agency charged with investigating wrongdoing.

Giuliani claimed he had "no other choice,” because Obama-era officials still “infect” the Justice Department and won’t diligently investigate the information he’s compiled.

Step 6: Make it look like investigative reporting.​ The Hill doesn’t have a reputation as a right-wing publication, even though its publisher, James Finkelstein, has been friends with Trump for decades. So Solomon’s ​columns were presumed to be legitimate products of investigative reporting. ​

According to documents uncovered in the impeachment inquiry, Solomon shared drafts of what he wrote with Giuliani’s team before publishing the articles.

Step 7: Muddy the waters.​ ​One of the columns alleged evidence of a “Ukrainian plot to help Clinton.” Another mentioned the Bidens. The whistleblower complaint that set off the impeachment inquiry cites this article ​as among the key events leading up to Trump’s demand that the Ukrainians do him “a favor” and investigate the Bidens. ​Former Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch recalled in her impeachment testimony that other Solomon articles launched a campaign to discredit her.

Step 8. Amplify the narrative in conservative media.​ O​nce published in The Hill, Solomon’s articles were ​repeated on Fox News and tweeted by Trump and his son Donald, Jr. ​Fox’s Hannity and other conservative hosts often identified Solomon as an investigative reporter. ​

Besides writing for The Hill, ​Solomon himself appears on Fox News and on right-wing radio.​ ​In effect, conservative audiences heard Solomon’s stories from multiple sources.

Step 9: Repeat as often as possible.​ By the time of the impeachment hearings, this counter-narrative about the Bidens and about Ukraine helping Clinton in 2016 – although based on literally nothing – had months of apparent confirmation in conservative media. Mainstream media, trying to be “balanced,” gave it air time.

Trump’s weaponization of information was complete.

Should Facebook and Twitter Stop Trump’s Lies?Facebook CEO Mark...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 17/01/2020 - 5:43am in

Should Facebook and Twitter Stop Trump’s Lies?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he’ll run political ads even if false. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says he’ll stop running political ads.

Dorsey has the correct approach, but this entire debate about ads skirts the bigger question: Who’s responsible for protecting democracy from big, dangerous lies?

Donald Trump lies like most people breathe, and his lies have grown more vicious and dangerous as he’s been cornered – conjuring up conspiracies, spewing hate, and saying established facts are lies, and lies are truths.

This would be hard enough for a democracy to handle, but Zuckerberg’s Facebook sends Trump’s unfiltered lies to 43 percent of Americans, for whom Facebook is a source of news. And Dorsey’s Twitter sends them to 67 million Twitter users every day.  

A major characteristic of the Internet goes by the fancy term “disintermediation.” Put simply, it means sellers are linked directly to customers with no need for middlemen.

Amazon eliminates the need for retailers. Online investing eliminates the need for stock brokers. Travel agents and real estate brokers have become obsolete as consumers get all the information they need at a keystroke.

But democracy cannot be disintermediated. We’re not just buyers and sellers. We’re also citizens who need to know what’s happening around us in order to exercise our right to, and responsibility for, self-government.

If a president and his enablers are peddling vicious and dangerous lies, we need reliable intermediaries that help us see that they’re lies.

Intermediating between the powerful and the people was once the job of publishers and journalists – hence the term “media.”

This role was understood to be so critical to democracy that the Constitution enshrined it in the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press.

With that freedom came a public responsibility to be a bulwark against powerful lies.

The media haven’t always lived up to that responsibility. We had yellow journalism in the nineteenth century, and today endure shock radio, the National Enquirer, and Fox News.

But most publishers and journalists have recognized that duty. Think of the Pentagon Papers, the Watergate investigation, and, more recently, the exposure of Trump’s withholding $400 million in security aid to Ukraine until it investigated Trump’s major political rival, Joe Biden.

Zuckerberg and Dorsey insist they are not publishers or journalists. They say Facebook and Twitter are just “platforms” that convey everything and anything – facts, lies, conspiracies, vendettas – with none of the public responsibilities that come with being part of the press.

That is rubbish. They can’t be the major carriers of the news on which most Americans rely while taking no responsibility for its content.

Advertising isn’t the issue. It doesn’t matter whether Trump pays Facebook or Twitter to post dishonest ads about Joe Biden and his son, or Trump and his enablers post the same lies on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Or even if Russia and Iran repeat the lies in their own subversive postings on Facebook and Twitter.

The problem is we have an American president who will say anything to preserve his power, and we’ve got two giant entities that spread his lies uncritically, like global-sized bullhorns.

  
We can’t do anything about Trump for now. But we can and should take action against the power of these two enablers.

If they are unwilling to protect the public against powerful lies, they shouldn’t have so much power to spread them to begin with. 

 
The reason 45 percent of Americans rely on Facebook for news and Trump’s tweets reach 67 million Twitter users is because these platforms are near monopolies – dominating the information marketplace.

No television network, cable, or newspaper comes close. Fox News’s viewership rarely exceeds 3 million. The New York Times has 4.9 million subscribers.

Facebook and Twitter aren’t just participants in the information marketplace. They’re quickly becoming the information marketplace.

Antitrust law was designed to check the power of giant commercial entities. Its purpose wasn’t just to hold down consumer prices but also to protect democracy.

Antitrust should be used against Facebook and Twitter. They should be broken up. So instead of two mammoth megaphones trumpeting Trump’s lies, or those of any similarly truth-challenged successor to Trump, the public will have more diverse sources of information, some of which will expose the lies.

A diverse information marketplace is no guarantee against tyranny, of course. But the system we now have – featuring a president who lies through his teeth and two giant uncritical conveyors of those lies – invites tyranny.

Economic Update: Answering Our Critics

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 9:37pm in

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A weekly show focusing on the economic dimensions of everyday life and alternative ways to organize our economy and politics, with Prof. Richard D. Wolff.

Why I’m Still Hopeful About AmericaIf climate change, nuclear...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 13/01/2020 - 8:21am in

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Why I’m Still Hopeful About America

If climate change, nuclear standoffs, assault weapons, hate crimes, mass killings, Russian trolls, near-record inequality, kids locked in cages at our border, and Donald Trump in the White House don’t occasionally cause you feelings of impending doom, you’re not human.

But I want you to remember this: As bad as it looks – as despairing as you can sometimes feel – the great strength of this country is our resilience. We bounce back. We will again. We already are.

Not convinced?

First, come back in time with me to when I graduated college in 1968. That year, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Our cities were burning. Tens of thousands of young Americans were being ordered to Vietnam to fight an unwinnable and unjust war, which ultimately claimed over 58,000 American lives and the lives of over 3 million Vietnamese. The nation was deeply divided. And then in November of that year, Richard Nixon was elected president. 

I recall thinking this nation would never recover. But somehow we bounced back.

In subsequent years we enacted the Environmental Protection Act. We achieved marriage equality for gays and lesbians. We elected a black man to be president of the United States. We passed the Affordable Care Act.

Even now, it’s not as bleak as it sometimes seems. ​In 2018 we elected a record number of women, people of color, and LGBTQ representatives to Congress, including the first Muslim women.​ ​Eighteen states raised their minimum wages.

Even in traditionally conservative states, surprising things are happening. In Tennessee, a Republican legislature has ​enacted free community college​ and ​raised taxes for infrastructure.​ Nevada has expanded ​voting rights​ and ​gun controls​. New Mexico has increased​ spending by 11 percent and ​raised​ its minimum wage by 60 percent. Teachers have gone on strike in Virginia, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina — and won. The public sided with the teachers.

In several states, after decades of tough-on-crime policies, conservative groups have joined with liberals to reform criminal justice systems. ​Early childhood education​ and alternative energy promotion​ have also expanded nationwide, largely on a bipartisan basis.

Now, come forward in time with me.

Look at the startling diversity of younger Americans. ​Most Americans now under 18 years old are ethnically Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, African-American, or of more than one race.​ ​In ten years, it’s estimated that most Americans under ​35​ will also be people of color or of mixed races.​ ​Thirty years from now, most of us will be.​ 

That diversity will be a huge strength. We will be more tolerant, less racist, less xenophobic.

Our young people are also determined to make America better. I’ve been teaching for almost 40 years, and I’ve never taught a generation of students as dedicated to public service, as committed to improving the nation and the world as is the generation I’m now teaching. That’s another sign of our future strength.

Meanwhile, ​most college students today are women​, which means that in future years even more women will be in leadership positions – in science, politics, education, nonprofits, and in corporate suites. That will also be a great boon to America.

I don’t want to minimize the problems we now have. I just want to remind you of how resilient America has been, and how well situated we are for the future. 

Never give up fighting for a more just society. 

The forces of greed and hate would prefer you give up, because that way they win it all. But we have never given up. And we never will.

Four Reasons Why Millennials Don’t Have Any MoneyThe same forces...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/01/2020 - 11:30am in

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Four Reasons Why Millennials Don’t Have Any Money

The same forces that are driving massive inequality between the top 1 percent and the rest of us are creating a vast generational wealth gap between baby boomers — my generation — and millennials.

Millennials aren’t teenagers anymore. They’re working hard, starting families and trying to build wealth. But as a generation, they’re way behind. 

They’re deeper in debt, only half as likely to own a home, and more likely to live in poverty than their parents.

If we want to address their problems, we need to understand those problems.

Number one: Stagnant wages. Median wages grew by an average of 0.3% per year between 2007 and 2017, including the Great Recession – just as millennials were beginning their careers. Before that, between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, wages grew at three times that rate.

Second: As wages have stagnated, the costs of essentials like housing and education have been going through the roof. Millennials own fewer homes, the most common way Americans have built wealth in the past.  Education costs have soared. Adjusted for inflation, the average college education in 2018 cost nearly three times what it did in 1978.

Third: As a result of all of this, Debt.  That expensive college education means that the average graduate carries a whopping $28,000 in student loan debt. As a generation, millennials are more than one trillion dollars in the red.  In addition, the average young adult carries nearly $5,000 in credit card debt, and this number is growing.

Fourth: Millennials are finding it harder than previous generations to save for the future. Among Fortune 500 companies, only 81 sponsored a pension plan in 2017, that’s down from 288 twenty years ago. Employers are replacing pensions with essentially “do-it-yourself” savings plans.

All of this means that fewer millennials are entering the middle class than previous generations.  Most have less than $1,000 in savings. Many young people today won’t be able to retire until 75, if at all.

If we don’t start trying to reduce this generational wealth gap — through policies like debt relief, accessible health insurance, paid family leave, affordable housing, and a more equitable tax code for renters — millions of young Americans will struggle to find financial security for the rest of their lives.

Economic Update: Capitalism & the Family — Myth vs. Reality

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 06/01/2020 - 9:49pm in

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A weekly show focusing on the economic dimensions of everyday life and alternative ways to organize our economy and politics, with Prof. Richard D. Wolff.

“Doctor Who” Series 12: ‘Cause Every Gallifreyan Crazy ‘Bout a Sharp Dressed Doctor [VIDEO]

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 05/01/2020 - 4:15am in

Now we know that in the Doctor Who universe, “early 2020” means New Year’s Day as the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions Ryan (Tosin Cole), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh) materialized back on to BBC One and BBC America screens to kick off our new year with the first of the two-part series-opener Spyfall.

Written by showrunner and head writer Chris Chibnall, the second-half of the premiere will air on Sunday, January 5 – though with how the first episode ended, we’re understandably a little impatient (…and still shocked – you can check out our thoughts on the opener here).

doctor whoBBC

Following up on yesterday’s look at Sacha Dhawan officially joining the “Who-niverse”, costume designer Ray Holman takes viewers behind the scenes on how he achieved such suave new looks for the Doctor, Ryan, and Yaz.

Thankfully, we only have to wait another day to get answers to at least some of the questions that came flying out of the series-opener – and we have the BBC releasing a teaser of what viewers can expect…

“Doctor Who” Series 12, Episode 2 “Spyfall: Part Two”: Action-adventure for all the family, starring Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole andMandip Gill. In part two of this epic spy thriller, a terrifying plan to destroy humanity is about to reach fruition. Can The Doctor and her friends escape multiple traps and defeat a deadly alliance? Written by Chris Chibnall, and directed by Lee Haven Jones.

Prior to the show’s 2020 return, Doctor Who fans learned that Stephen Fry, Sir Lenny Henry CBE, Goran Višnjić, Robert Glenister, Anjli Mohindra, Laura Fraser and James Buckley would be joining Jodie Whittaker‘s 13th Doctor during Series 12, and received a new teaser with tagline (“Space. For Everyone.”). In addition, the network released an official trailer, a release date trailer, a “Spyfall” first-look scene, an interview with the cast, a premiere preview, and a friendly reminder of just “Who‘s” back (all below) – as well as a sneak preview of the TARDIS’s new design, new key art and episode images, and new profile images of “Team TARDIS”.

“Doctor Who” Series 12, Episode 1 “Spyfall”: Intelligence agents around the world are under attack from alien forces. MI6 turns to the only people who can help: The Doctor and friends. As they travel the globe for answers, attacks come from all sides. Earth’s security rests on the team’s shoulders, but where will this planet-threatening conspiracy lead them?

Speaking with RadioTimes recently, Chibnall explained that the goal of this season is to give both new and long-time Doctor Who fans a better appreciation of the scope of the Doctor’s universe:

“Last year was a recruiting year for the show, and I think we managed to recruit some people for the show. That’s exciting. And obviously we kept the existing audience and built on that. I think this year we’re developing that, so for all the people who are new to Doctor Who we’re going to go ‘Look at the amazing world of Doctor Who, look at all the treats that are in there.’

So we’re building on last year. There are lots of new faces, a few old faces. There are some things trickling through which might be important. It’s different! I think you always need to take new, big risks from a storytelling point of view.

Doctor Who has to exist in the modern television landscape. There is so much drama, there are so many shows. We have to continually find new reasons to be existing. But also there’s loads of things the show hasn’t done before. I think you saw last year that we took a lot of risks, and I think that they paid off, and I think that we’ll continue to take some big risks this year.

But you can do that and also give people all the stuff they love about Doctor Who as well. You balance the two.

Risk is built into Doctor Who, from day one in 1963. No question of that.”

The post “Doctor Who” Series 12: ‘Cause Every Gallifreyan Crazy ‘Bout a Sharp Dressed Doctor [VIDEO] appeared first on Bleeding Cool News And Rumors.

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Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/01/2020 - 9:11am in

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