Saturday, December 3, 2016

EDITORIAL Get Back into the Fight

Democrats were in shock after Hillary Clinton apparently was defeated by voters who would believe anything bad they heard about the former first lady, senator and secretary of state, but those same voters seemed to discount everything bad that was reported about Donald Trump, a real estate developer and reality TV star with no government experience but plenty of unanswered questions about his personal life and his businesses.

Democrats can take some solace in the fact that Clinton actually was the people’s choice by a margin of more than 2.3 million votes over Trump, even if a relative handful of 103,500 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin swung the Electoral College tally toward Trump.

Clinton drew some criticism for joining Green presidential candidate Jill Stein in seeking a recount in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but there are reasons to be suspicious of the results in at least those three states won by Trump where exit polls indicated that Clinton should have won.

In Pennsylvania, exit polls showed Trump winning by 4.4 points but the official results showed Trump winning by 1.2 points. In Wisconsin, exit polls showed Clinton winning by 3.9 points but Trump was declared winner by 1.2 points. Michigan exit polls showed a deadlock while Trump was declared winner by 0.3%. Also, Florida exit polls showed Clinton winning by 1.3 points while Trump declared the winner by 1.2 points. North Carolina exit polls showed Clinton winning by 2.1 points but Trump was declared the winner by 3.8 points.

Those discrepancies might be explained by the emphasis on early voting, which is hard to poll. But there also is evidence that Russian hackers tried to interfere in the election on Trump’s behalf, along with complaints that Republican officials and Trump supporters were working to suppress and harass Democratic voters. And anomalies were spotted in Wisconsin between results in counties that used paper ballots and counties that used computer voting. With all those questions, it is worthwhile to verify the results.

Trump leads in the Electoral College count, 306-232, or 36 more than he needs to win the White House. It’s unlikely that the recount will make up the 10,700 votes in Michigan, 22,200 in Wisconsin and 70,600 in Pennsylvania, which together have 46 Electoral votes. But if the recount finds evidence of ballot tampering, it could be explosive and provide more arguments, along with Trump’s erratic behavior since the election, for Electors to overrule the popular vote in their states, as the Constitution allows.

However, there is not much likelihood that Republican “faithless electors” would vote for Clinton, and if neither candidate gets 270 votes the election will be decided by the Republican House, selecting from the three candidates who received the most electoral votes, with each state delegation receiving one vote.

Regardless of how the Electoral College votes on Dec. 19, Democrats need to face the fact that even a center-left candidate such as Clinton can be successfully slimed by the right-wing echo machine, abetted by the corporate media. Clinton’s use of a private server to handle government emails was never more than a relatively minor transgression, particularly since her Republican predecessor as secretary of state, Colin Powell, also had used private email service, as did key members of the George W. Bush White House staff, who ran their emails through the Republican National Committee with little accountability, and millions of Bush administration emails went missing. But the corporate media went along for the ride with Trump’s outrageous claims that Clinton belonged in prison for using a private email server. From Jan. 1 through Nov. 4 of this year, Media Matters noted, the three broadcast evening news shows spent 125 minutes on Clinton’s emails and only 35 minutes on in-depth policy discussions on issues such as terrorism, immigration and policing. And there were no in-depth policy discussions of climate change, drugs, poverty, guns, infrastructure, social injustice or the deficit.

The Democratic National Committee needs an overhaul, and future party chairs should be prohibited from getting involved in party primary races. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has the support of Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as well as outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). We think the party chair should be a full-time job, but one can make the argument that a congressman in the House minority has plenty of time on his hands.

Some Democrats also are calling for change in the House leadership. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will be 77 next year, her deputy, Steny Hoyer will be 78 and the third-ranking Democrat, Jim Clyburn will be 77. Pelosi has been blamed for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee misplaying the election, and gaining only six seats. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), 43, is challenging Pelosi, but he says he doesn’t really have any policy differences with her. He would like to see more emphasis on populist economics. So do we, but we don’t think Pelosi is the problem. She did a great job as House speaker passing progressive bills in the first two years under Obama, but most of those bills died in the Senate. When Dems failed to get out the vote in 2010, Republicans swept statehouses as well as Congress. Then, in the 2011 redistricting, the GOP engaged in a ruthless series of gerrymanders that locked Democrats out of legislative and congressional majorities at least until the next round of redistricting in 2021. [Update: Pelosi was re-elected House speaker by the Democratic caucus on Nov. 30.]

As David Daley notes on page 12,  gerrymandering can keep Democrats in the minority even when they get a majority of votes. Democratic statehouse candidates earned more votes than Republicans in Michigan this November, but Republicans kept their 63-47 hold on the Michigan House. In Wisconsin, the two parties split the overall vote but Republicans took two-thirds of the assembly seats. And those artificial majorities enact right-wing agendas.

The pattern also holds for congressional districts. Democrats made gains in Florida and Virginia congressional seats largely because federal judges ruled that the GOP gerrymander had gone too far. Congressional incumbents in other states were pretty safe.

Progressives need to get over their post-election depression and recriminations and start organizing for 2017 and 2018, when 38 governors will be up for election. Republicans defend 27 seats, including 14 that will be open. Democratic governors in states such as Ohio, Florida and Michigan could be a major check on gerrymandered legislatures when redistricting comes around again.

Remember, you can’t rely on Facebook for your news, but the corporate media — particularly the cable infotainment channels — won’t give progressives a break, either. So renew your subscription to The Progressive Populist and help us get the word out.

Fidel’s Last Laugh


Fidel Castro survived the Cold War and 10 Presidents of the United States who were unable to make him budge as Cuba’s communist dictator. He ruled 47 years before failing health finally forced him to step aside as maximum leader in 2006. The 11th US President, Barack Obama, moved to restore relations with the communist island nation in 2016 — over the objections of Castro as well as some of his implacable enemies in Miami. But Castro lived just long enough to see the US apparently elect a wealthy grifter as its next president.

Trump has suggested that he would re-sever relations with Cuba unless Fidel’s younger brother, Raul, 85, the new maximum leader, offers the US a “better deal for the Cuban people.” Ironically, Fidel would be pleased. — JMC

From The Progressive Populist, December 15, 2016

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Copyright © 2016 The Progressive PopulistPO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652

Selections from the December 15, 2016 issue

COVER/Hal Crowther
Accept it, like Hell!


EDITORIAL
Get back into the fight; Fidel’s last laugh


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

GREG BAILEY
Self-inflicted wounds of the Democratic Party


RURAL ROUTES/Margot McMillen
Don’t let fear and hate win


DISPATCHES
Trump stumbles toward inauguration;
Ethics lawyers: Electoral College should reject Trump unless he sells businesses;
Repubs will push Medicare privatization;
Minimum wage isn’t living wage anywhere;
Judge suspends OT expansion;
Hate incidents up since Trump win;
Minorities buying guns since Trump election;
Fidel wasn't our kind of murderous dictator ...


ART CULLEN
Dems didn’t ask for rural vote


CHUCK COLLINS
Building a new populism in the era of Trump


JILL RICHARDSON
Sorry, I can’t give Trump a chance


ROBERTO RODRIGUEZ
We’re all Zapatistas now


DICK POLMAN
Beyond Beltway, Dems even worse off


JOHN YOUNG
Treating white males with kindness, respect and inclusion


DAVID DALEY
Un-rigging our democracy


WENONAH HAUTER
We cannot be discouraged; Let’s keep building our movement


HEALTH CARE/Joan Retsinas
A Christmas gift: Trumpkids


WAYNE O’LEARY
Fools, damn fools and democrats


JOHN BUELL
Neoliberalism on the rocks?


DON ROLLINS
Has SNL finally joined the fray?


BOOK REVIEW/Seth Sandronsky
Rethinking empires


FR. DONNELL KIRCHNER
How the white Catholic vote helped Trump


ROB PATTERSON
Netflix offers bingeworthy shows


MOVIE REVIEW/Ed Rampell
Abolishing Miscegenation: Virginia is for Lovings


and more ...

Going Where the Denial Is Thickest--in the News Media

By MARGIE BURNS

As a rape survivor myself*, I believe Juanita Broaddrick. I listened to Ms. Broaddrick when she was interviewed on Dateline NBC back in 1999. I listened carefully to everything she said, and--as a lifelong registered Democrat myself--I believe her with all my heart. Her accusation was that Bill Clinton assaulted her, in Arkansas, years earlier. This was a rape allegation--different in degree from the several sexual harassment allegations also leveled against Clinton, and very different from Clinton's compulsive philandering. Broaddrick accused Clinton of forcible rape, on national television--network, not cable--credibly, with detail, not concealing or denying her own errors or her anger at Clinton. Yet after the Clintons left the White House, Broaddrick's name was scarcely mentioned in what are usually called the “elite” media. As the highly respected late columnist William Blackberry commented, it was mystifying that a credible accusation of such magnitude could be passed over. This while the Washington Post deemed that President Clinton's affair with an intern warranted a special pull-out section titled "Presidency in Crisis," temporarily, and Republicans in the House were voting to impeach Clinton. 

It is an unanswered question, now, how many people even know who Juanita Broaddrick is. Many younger people who voted in 2016 would not have recognized her name in 2015. The fact that she has now become part of the public discourse largely through some rightwing outlets and Donald Trump's presidential campaign is a source of regret for me personally. 

The Democrats who should have acknowledged her story dropped the ball. So did the GOP, of course--neither major party moved constructively to address the issue of rape, in the 1990s or under the George W. Bush administration. President Obama and Vice President Biden have done more than any previous White House, addressing sexual assault on college campuses and problems such as the backlog of unprocessed rape kits in the criminal justice system. But much remains to be done.

Our top media outlets did little to nothing. Millions of words have been written about the 2016 election, hundreds of opinion polls were taken, countless models have predicted the outcome--wrongly, in case you didn't notice--but so far as I know, no major media outlet polled the public on awareness of Juanita Broaddrick's accusation against Clinton, or even on recognition of her name.

A couple of points here. First, rape is a difficult topic, grim and painful, and difficulties by definition are harder to deal with than easy things. Fewer people will deal well with something difficult than with something easy, including people in the news media. Second, few people in the large media outlets tried to deal with the Broaddrick story well. This gap is not consistent with a belief in Clinton's innocence, which would have emphasized accuracy. It sweeps an issue under the rug instead of addressing it.  

Third, the media focus continues to be politics rather than issues. Thus if Broaddrick's name was mentioned at all, it was usually through the prism of possible effect on the campaign of Hillary Clinton for president. Those media personalities are now consumed with the question of 'what went wrong' with the 2016 election, and what went wrong with their predictions.

'What went wrong' is that the wife of a rapist ran for the White House. 

Unthinkable? One would think so. But it wasn't. There was no one to advise the Clintons, effectively, that Clinton should not run.  A deadly simple timeline resulted. The Clinton team decided to try the run and accumulated all the money not going to the GOP. Meanwhile, Republicans salivating at the prospect of running against 'Hillary' lined up, and money or no money, the GOP field was self-destructively large. Trump was the cue ball. Wham. He broke the racked-up set of balls. And while Trump was breaking things open on the Republican side, the Clintons and their media allies were shutting out every better candidate on the Democratic side--Vice President Biden first, before the primary season even began; then Senator Bernie Sanders in the primaries.

So on one hand Trump benefited from the arithmetic of the field, and on the other Clinton, with no essential constituency or platform except narrow self-interest, shut out the field. 

Net result: A small cadre of Democratic insiders decided to paste in a nominee before any votes were cast, and picked the worst possible candidate. The Clintons with their greed problem, their treatment-of-women problem, their ties to Wall Street, etc, were the worst possible choice to run against Donald Trump. Not that they knew enough to take Trump seriously, any more than they knew enough to take Sanders seriously. So much for the high-paid expertise with which they theoretically surrounded themselves. Back to politics, I believe that even the quiet Lincoln Chafee would have done better than Clinton. Joe Biden would have crushed Trump. So would Bernie Sanders.

By this past weekend, I was wondering about the much-touted “landslide.” I was not very surprised at the outcome but am disappointed that Russ Feingold lost the Wisconsin senate race. Knowing the Clintons, Feingold's appeal is probably one of the reasons they neglected Wisconsin. Much of their joint public career for forty years has been playing keep-away, and they appeal to media insiders who play keep-away. No wonder they were so surprised: they shut out the very people they should have been listening to.

For now, I hope we don't have to listen to self-serving commentators, for several weeks, mutually confirming their nonexistent moral superiority to the unwashed masses. Largely these are the people who went along with Bush's invasion of Iraq. As with sexual assault, it saddens me to see Iraq swept under the rug. On top of the loss of blood and treasure, in all that (temporary) emphasis on sexual assault during the campaign, no one mentioned that rape follows war. 

*This was a childhood incident. I was in elementary school at the time, an undersized fifth-grader walking alone through a big park in Houston, to a Brownies meeting. The perpetrator was not someone I knew, and the police never caught him.

Margie Burns is a Texas native who now writes from Washington, D.C. Email margie.burns@verizon.net. See her blog at www.margieburns.com


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Adult infantilization may be a byproduct of social evolution, but it could lead to demise of humans

By Marc Jampole

Nowadays adults collect My Little Pony dolls and play with Legos. They read Harry Potter and comic books. They go on sleepovers at museums and down Gummi Bear vitamins.

It’s called adult infantilization, adults maintaining hobbies and interests that are created specifically for children and which are relatively uncomplicated and unsophisticated compared to adult experiences.

I’ve written about the negative impact of infantilization a number of times, including most recently on June 30, 2016, October 27, 2014 and May 10, 2014. My concern with infantilization is that I believe it leaves adults not just acting like children, but thinking like them.

Bad for society, but good for advertisers. Advertisers want adults to behave like children because it makes them better consumers. Children are more self-centered and find it harder to think long-term, so they are more likely to make an impulse purchase for themselves. Children have less sophisticated thought processes and are therefore easier to convince to buy or believe something. Children have not had rigorous training in economics, the scientific method and logic and tend to engage in magical thinking. Children tend to believe anything an authority figures says.

We can see the trend of increased adult infantilization in the pandemic of popular movies focused on adults who behave like children over the past 20 years. A partial list: The “Harold & Kumar” movies,  “Old School,”  “Big,”  “Grandma’s Boy,”  the “Ted” flicks,  “The Wedding Crashers,”  “Billy Madison,”  ”Step Brothers,”  “You, Me and Dupree,”  “Dodgeball,”  “The 40-year-old Virgin,”  “Knocked Up,”  all three “Hangovers,”  the “Jackass” movies, “Bridesmaids,”  “Hall Pass”  and “Identity Thief.”

It’s easy to see why someone selling products and services—especially unneeded junk—might want to deal with children and not adults, or to be more precise, to deal with adults with the thought processes of children. But children make poor citizens and worse voters, as they are more easily swayed by fallacious thinking and more likely to see things in terms of good and bad, us and them, thereby missing nuances that are particularly important in a pluralistic society.

In reading Beyond Words by science popularizer Carl Safina, I’ve discovered that infantilization may be a byproduct of the evolution that humans have gone through since forming sedentary societies. In discussing the domestication of wolves into dogs and a decades-long experiment to domesticate foxes by letting only the less aggressive ones breed, Safina lists a set of physical traits that seem always to be tied to friendliness or a lack of aggression, the traits that humans prefer in dogs: droopy ears, splotchy or mottled coats, wagging tails, shorter legs, shorter faces with smaller teeth. As it turns out, all these physical characteristics are present in the young of the species, who then grow out of them.  As for behavior, to quote Safina, “As adults, the friendly foxes continue to behave like juvenile wolves, acting submissively, whining and giving higher pitched barks.” He and the research he references postulate that “genes resulting in invisible brain changes for friendly behavior also result in highly visible changes in how foxes look.” Safina points out that these changes are virtually the same ones that occurred in wolves as they became dogs. Safina concludes that researchers and farmers who have thought they were selecting for nonaggressive personalities were also selecting for juvenile versions of adults, “perpetual pups” as he writes.

Later in Beyond Words, Safina points out that the extremely social and peaceful bonobos have many physical traits that the highly aggressive and anti-social chimpanzee have as children but lose as adults, including skull shape, flatness of face, smaller teeth and the existence of the labia majora in females. Surprise, surprise, humans share these bonobo traits that adult chimpanzees lose.

Anthropologist Chris Boehm has postulated that over time, groups of humans may have eliminated many of those most prone to aggressive acts, such as rape, murder, cheat and other anti-social behavior because imprisonment, execution, death in war and banishment all impede procreation. What we’re talking about is not any millennium-long program of eugenics, but the adaptive superiority of civilized behavior once humans formed large groups. While blackguards still exist, the theory goes that there are fewer of them because of conscious selections by human beings.

Could it be that the more domesticated humans that populate advanced societies are also more prone to keeping their juvenile predilections? That the less aggressive a population is, the more likely that many of its members will not only maintain the traits of adolescence or childhood, but the mindset as well?

It’s depressing to think that we may be hardwired as a social species to have an overall decline in our ability to think clearly, which is what a wholesale reversion to juvenile thought process would entail. It could lead to more of the short-sighted selfishness that has led to policies that are boiling the oceans, overstuffing the atmosphere and water with carbon dioxide, destroying massive numbers of species and threatening the continued existence of humanity.

Let’s face it; everything we know about the natural history of the world and the physics behind its playing out over time is that the goal of evolution is the destruction of species. According to current evolutionary science, virtually all species that have existed have gone extinct. As levels of carbon monoxide and oxygen have varied through the ages so have the conditions of life, favoring some creatures for a while and then others. Moments of extreme change have produced five mass extinctions and it looks as if we are in the middle of a sixth one, caused primarily by humans. Thus, human self-domestication, which carries so many advantages for humans in society, may also have disadvantages which over time could lead to our demise. 

The answer, however, is not to become more aggressive as a species again. Our future depends on greater cooperation, not less, on more peaceful resolution of conflicts, not on warfare.

What we need is an education system that trains children to be free-thinking adults and not good consumers. One example: when I was growing up, there was no such thing as young adult fiction, which is now the hottest fiction category. Children went right from the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew to adult fiction, which could sometimes be sloppy romantic novels, but could also be works of great literature such as most of Mark Twain, some Steinbeck, Gulliver’s Travels, Catcher in the Rye, the books of Sinclair Lewis, A Tale of Two Cities. The list of books with adult complications and psychologies that are appropriate for teenagers goes on and on. Young adult fiction such as the Harry Potter series should not be taught in schools, nor qualify as reading assignments. We should analyze all high school curricula for signs of unconscious infantilization, e.g., talking down and simplifying subjects as if teens were still children or using methodologies meant for elementary school students with high school students. We should also flush the system of the accretion of consumerism that has built up through the years, such as classroom material sponsored by corporations that sell to the public. I also believe that there are certain inherently infantilizing experiences which we should limit (not prohibit) to all children, such as video games, comic books and branded toys. A stuffed dog will help a child mature more than a stuffed animal from a movie. A child makes up her-his own fantasies about a generic Ruff or Ralph. A branded toy has already created the narrative for the child. The branded toy also teaches children to accept the authority of a brand as a value in and of itself instead of evaluating things on their own merit.  

I’m also wondering if helicopter parenting is also leading to infantilization. Adults have gotten their fingers into a lot of children’s activities. We should give children of all ages enough free time to play in unorganized settings, free of adult supervision. When all activities are constantly monitored and organized by adults, children are more likely to stay in their role as children. When a child is used to parents’ too active involvement in meeting challenges such as negotiating high school and applying to college, the child may continue to think like a child.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Editorial: Snakes vs. Scorpions

Donald J. Trump parlayed a strong vein of anger and discontent with Washington establishment politics among white voters into a come-from-behind victory. His campaign united such disparate groups as the Ku Klux Klan, “alt-right” white nationalists, Vladimir Putin and the Islamic State, which celebrated the election of the con man who will be a recruiting boon for Islamic jihadists when he enters the White House.

We don’t understand how anybody could have watched the presidential debates and come away with the opinion that the real estate mogul and “reality” TV star had the temperament to be president, but the ongoing slander of former first lady, senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton over the past two years, abetted by FBI Director James Comey in the closing days, took its toll and Trump conned just enough people to win the election.

The election apparently was decided by Democrats who voted with their butts on Nov. 8 in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Clinton won the popular vote nationwide, but her campaign failed to turn out many of the voters who carried Barack Obama to victory in those key states — though some of those Democrats turned out to vote for Trump, and stayed in the Republican column to elect Republicans to the House and Senate.

Compounding the problem, Democrats failed to regain control of the Senate. They unseated two Republican senators, as Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D) easily defeated Sen. Mark Kirk (R) in Illinois and Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) narrowly defeated Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) in New Hampshire, but Democrats failed to defeat vulnerable incumbents in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin, Indiana rejected former Sen. Evan Bayh’s comeback bid and Sen. John McCain (R) survived a spirited challenge in Arizona. The GOP maintained a 51-48 advantage, awaiting a Dec. 10 runoff for the Senate in Louisiana in which the Republican is favored.

If Republicans keep the filibuster rule, which requires 60 votes for a bill to pass, Democrats might be able to block the worst bills and nominees, but several Democratic senators are up for re-election in red states in 2018 and they might feel pressure to work with Republicans. Also, if Democrats are obstinate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) might move to eliminate the filibuster.

The biggest disappointment was Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s victory in his rematch with former Sen. Russ Feingold, a progressive Democrat, in Wisconsin. Feingold led in polls for much of the last year before pro-Johnson Super PAC ads attacking Feingold tightened the race and the Republican tide in rural areas overcame the Democrats.

The good news is that, if Trump got a mandate, it was to enact populist reforms of Wall Street financial speculators and reverse trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement that have resulted in the loss of American manufacturing jobs. He also promised to protect Social Security and Medicare and suggested he would expand support for family leave.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan is determined to privatize both Social Security and Medicare and expansion of family leave will be a hard push through a conservative Congress. Establishment Republicans don’t trust Trump any more than Democrats do, and Trump’s operatives reportedly are discussing how they can hurt “Never Trump” Republicans who were critical of Trump’s movement. When Trump and his aides meet with congressional Republicans, it could become a battle of snakes vs. scorpions.

Trump might split Republicans as he backs off from repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Conservatives are pushing for the law to be ripped out “root and branch,” which would threaten insurance coverage for 20 million Americans, but Trump said he favors keeping popular provisions such as the prohibition against companies denying insurance for pre-existing conditions and ability of parents to insure their children until age 26.

Clinton had proposed reforms of Obamacare, such as a proposal to give insurance buyers access to a “public option“ — a government-run health plan that would compete with private insurers.

But the public option is not going to happen under Trump. Neither is any action to reduce carbon pollution to fight climate change, which Trump believes is a hoax created by the Chinese. He promises to give the all-clear to oil and coal companies to increase fossil fuel production and he’ll approve all necessary pipelines, regardless of their impact on water supplies.

As if that weren’t bad enough, Trump will get to nominate a new justice on the Supreme Court to take the seat vacated by the late Antonin Scalia last February. That probably will shift the high court back to the hard right. If aging liberal justices leave the court, it would give Trump the opportunity to lock in a right-wing majority that could take jurisprudence back to pre-New Deal conditions and clear the way for an all-out assault on organized labor and regulations. Trump also gets to fill 99 seats on lower courts after Republicans refused to confirm most of Obama’s nominees in the last year.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said they are willing to work with President-elect Trump on populist issues that benefit working Americans, but they are ready to fight him on his xenophobic proposals to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and to build a wall across the southern border.

Trump named Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus as his chief of staff and Stephen Bannon, a leader of the “alt-right” movement as chief executive of Breitbart News, as his top presidential strategist. Trump also signaled that he would name Washington lobbyists and Wall Street bankers to his administration and he intends to “dismantle” the Dodd-Frank financial reforms that sought to bring Wall Street back in line after the excesses during the administration of George W. Bush.

Republicans once again have been rewarded for their efforts to sabotage the economic recovery. They resisted the Democratic economic stimulus pushed by President Obama in 2009, which helped turn around the economy after the Great Recession of the George W. Bush administration. Democrats in 2009 also saved General Motors and Chrysler from bankruptcy, which played a large part in preventing the economy from cratering — particularly in Michigan and Ohio. But Republicans gained control of the House and many state legislatures in 2010. Since then, Republicans have blocked all attempts by President Obama and congressional Democrats to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, which would further stimulate the economy, at a time when the need is great and the cost of borrowing money was near a record low.

Democrats need to regain the trust of rural Americans, but not at the cost of embracing harassment of Latinos, Muslims, gays and other “Outsiders.” The Democratic Party should adopt reforms that would reduce the role of monied interests, while it organizes millions of people into an activist army that can peacefully resist the bad things that are about to happen in Washington and also at state capitols.

The Democratic Party needs to regroup for the 2018 elections, when Democrats and their independent allies will be defending 25 Senate seats while Republicans will defend eight.

Democrats need to start recruiting a new generation of progressive candidates to challenge Republicans in 2018 and 2020 and they should stand for progressive populist policies so there is no longer confusion over which party represents working-class interests.

Also, pray that the health of liberal Supreme Court justices holds up. — JMC

From The Progressive Populist, December 1, 2016

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Copyright © 2016 The Progressive PopulistPO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652

Selections from the December 1, 2016 issue

COVER/Robert L. Borosage
Why Trump won


EDITORIAL
Snakes vs. scorpions


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

BOB BURNETT
Combatting Trumpenstein


JOEL D. JOSEPH
Chrysler is not an American car company any more


RURAL ROUTES/Margot McMillen 
We need better choices


DISPATCHES
Trump reconsiders ObamaCare repeal;
Comey letter cost Clinton votes;
TPP apparently stymied;
More than 300 hate incidens reported in week afer election;
GOP voter purges fixed elections;
State voters raise minimum wages and require paid sick leave;
US will be pariah when Trump pulls out of climate pact;
Coal jobs aren’t coming back;
Senate race still up for grabs in Louisiana;
Trump conflates documented and undocumented immigrants ...


JILL RICHARDSON
This deal could save the world


JIM GOODMAN
The Trans Pacific Partnership will not help struggling farmers


LEEANN HALL & GEORGE GOEHL
Trump’s victory is not the last word


ERIC BLUMBERG
Fear of the unknown


GRASSROOTS/Hank Kalet
Question authority


DON ROLLINS
Corporate threats don’t deter some underdogs


NORMAN SOLOMON
For the Trump era: Fight not flight


MARK ANDERSON
Two-party trap snaps shut again


WENONAH HAUTER
Three massive mergers — millions for one bank and a disaster for food, water, and climate


JOHN YOUNG
A night of protest and rust


HEALTH CARE/Joan Retsinas
Beyond Virginia Woolf, the tyrones and the rest of us: The health mess


HEATHER SEGGEL
Keep trying: Rural access to mental health


SETH SANDRONSKY
The gig economy and job quality


WAYNE O’LEARY
The tragedy of 2016


JOHN BUELL
Waiting for the next Trump?


ROB PATTERSON
New Dylan bio balances feeling and intellect


MOVIE REVIEW/Ed Rampell
What does Freedom of the Press mean anyway?


ROSIE SORENSON
Just the beginning


and more ...