Saturday, August 12, 2017

Editorial: Keep the Heat on GOP

Now that Republicans have failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act — albeit by a one-vote margin in the Senate — Donald Trump wants to hurry the collapse of the nation’s health care program by shortchanging insurance companies who were promised subsidies for keeping costs low. Trump also has sent mixed signals on whether penalties will be enforced on people who don’t buy health insurance, as the law requires.

If enough insurance companies withdraw from the program and/or premiums soar because of sabotage, Trump thinks, ObamaCare will fail, and then Democrats will be forced to accept his terms on a replacement. But some Republican senators, looking at polls that show Americans are blaming Trump and the GOP for the cracks in the ACA, are in the mood to try to fix the program and Democrats should be ready with progressive options.

While we think Medicare for All is the ultimate solution, bills by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) to implement that are unlikely to get a serious hearing in the Republican-controlled House or Senate this year. Democrats might be able to build a groundswell of support for a proposal to let people buy Medicare and/or Medicaid coverage if private insurance companies fail to offer adequate coverage.

Toward that end, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) on Aug. 3 introduced the Medicare at 55 Act, which would allow people 55 and older to buy in to Medicare. Co-sponsors include Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Jack Reed (R.I.) and Al Franken (Minn.).

Stabenow’s office suggests the new bill would likely generate cost savings for those between the ages of 55 and 64, since private insurers are permitted to charge that cohort three times the rates of their younger people due to the generally higher cost of providing them coverage. Americans aged 55 to 64, on average, pay more than $1,200 a year in out-of-pocket medical costs that Medicare would alleviate, according to the Health Care Cost Institute, Daniel Marans reported at HuffingtonPost.com.

House Democrats, including Reps. Jon Larson (Conn.), Brian Higgins (N.Y.) and Joe Courtney (Conn.) plan to introduce a similar Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act. The bill would let Americans aged 50 or older buy into Medicare for as little as $8,212 a year — a significant savings for a 60-year-old currently purchasing a high-ranking “gold” plan on the exchange for an estimated $13,308, according to the congressmen’s offices.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain get full credit for voting against Mitch McConnell’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act — but so do the 48 senators in the Democratic Caucus (including independent Sens. Angus King of Maine and Sanders) who stuck together in defense of the ACA. And the progressive Resistance made sure the Democrats stayed in the corral as well as rounding up the three maverick Republicans who were willing to vote for the interests of their constituents, instead of the billionaire funders of the GOP who were demanding repeal of the capital gains surcharge and other taxes that pay for much of the ACA.

That leaves flaky Republican senators such as Dean Heller of Nevada, who pledged at the end of June that not only would be oppose the Republican plan to repeal and replace the ACA, he would oppose the procedural motion that would allow the Senate to proceed to debate on the bill. A month later, he voted for the “motion to proceed” and he also voted for the “skinny repeal” bill, which would cause an estimated 328,000 Nevadans to lose health care. Heller also voted with 49 other Republicans in March for a bill that would allow states to block more than $200 million in Title X funding from going to Planned Parenthood or any other organization that provides abortions — even if the medical service had nothing to do with abortions. Four million Americans rely on Title X family planning services, but many might have trouble finding a family planning clinic.

In the Senate, where Republicans have a 52-48 majority, Democrats face a daunting challenge in the 2018 election, as 23 Dems and two independents who caucus with them are up for re-election. Republicans have eight seats up for re-election.

The conventional wisdom is that Democrats might be able to pick up two seats — those now held by Dean Heller in Nevada and Jeff Flake in Arizona. But if Democrats win those races and hold onto the 25 seats already in the Democratic Caucus, the GOP would still control the Senate with Vice President Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. That’s why Democrats also need to target Ted Cruz in Texas, where US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) is challenging Cruz in a Bernie Sanders-style insurgent campaign. Otherwise, Dems can take on Roger Wicker in Mississippi, Deb Fischer in Nebraska, Bob Corker in Tennessee, Orrin Hatch in Utah or John Barrasso in Wyoming, at even longer odds.

Republicans are expected to target Democratic senators in Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia, all of which states voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and Trump in 2016. The GOP also covet seats from Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, states which voted for Trump in 2016. Republicans also might target Democrats in New Mexico, Virginia, Maine and New Jersey. And they likely will fund a challenger for Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts in an attempt to take her down a peg.

If Democrats manage to gain control of the Senate, they could jam the plutocrats’ hopes to pack the federal judiciary with right-wing judges appointed to lifetime terms. There are currently 138 vacancies, including 19 on appeals courts. Trump is getting his nominees directly from the right-wing Heritage Foundation and, frankly, they’re not sending America’s best lawyers. The oligarchs also hope to steal another Supreme Court seat that might solidify a right-wing majority on the high court for the foreseeable future.

To gain three seats and the Senate majority for the Dems will require a “wave” election, and with Trump’s approval ratings at record lows (36.6% at 200 days into Trump’s Administration) and congressional approval even lower (20% in a July Gallup poll), it is time for Democrats to go on the offensive with a populist economic agenda that promises Democrats will look out for the working Americans who are targeted by Trump’s proposed budget cuts and administrative policy betrayals.

Congressional Democratic leaders have taken a good first step with their “Better Deal” agenda, which promises a crackdown on corporate monopolies, infrastructure projects to create 10 million jobs, an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, guaranteeing paid sick and family leave and lowering the costs of prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies.

Even better is the “People’s Budget: A Roadmap for the Resistance,” drafted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which revives Franklin Roosevelt’s promise of an economic bill of rights—to decent work, affordable housing, world-class public education, guaranteed health care and retirement security. The People’s Budget lays out an ambitious jobs and public-investment agenda — $2 trillion to rebuild America over 10 years, debt-free college, seeding a green industrial revolution and more — and pays for it by increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations to make them pay their fair share.

If Republicans hold onto their Senate majority, and perhaps even add a few next year, they can take another swipe at replacing the Affordable Care Act with one of those monstrosities that were narrowly defeated in the Senate. That means the health care of millions of working families is still threatened. Make every Republican candidate defend their support for Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell’s craven health deforms in the next election year. — JMC

From The Progressive Populist, September 1, 2017

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Copyright © 2017 The Progressive PopulistPO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652


Selections from the September 1, 2017 issue

COVER/Amanda Marcotte
Trump’s pileup of fake conspiracies conceals the real one


EDITORIAL
Keep the heat on the GOP


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

DON ROLLINS
Donald Trump and Captain Ahab


RURAL ROUTES/Margot McMillen
Republicans inaction leaves rural hospitals endangered


DISPATCHES
Trump failing rural Americans by erasing climate change from USDA;
Union promises to fight defeat at Nissan Mississippi plant;
Senate confirms anti-labor pick to labor board;
Trump’s new appeals court judge compared abortion to slavery;
Trump may shut down government over border wall;
Trump urged Fox News to air bogus story;
Trolls celebrate mosque bombing while Trump stays silent;
Vatican shot across the bow for hard-line US Catholics ...


ART CULLEN
The noise machine never quiets down


JILL RICHARDSON
A tale of two beaches


BOB BURNETT
Trump: Bring back the 1950s


ROB PATTERSON
Saving America from the wrongs of the right: A six point plan


JOHN YOUNG
Now playing in Washington: ‘The Unconscionables’


GRASSROOTS/Hank Kalet
Give me something new


SETH SANDRONSKY
Progressive health care advances in the Golden State


HEALTH CARE/Joan Retsinas
Willie Sutton for a new age


SAM URETSKY
Trump’s pox Americana


MARK ANDERSON
Distractions keep Congress from addressing infrastructure


WAYNE O’LEARY
The single-payer imperative


JOHN BUELL
Moving beyond resistance


JOEL D. JOSEPH
Trump administration fails to buy American


BARRY FRIEDMAN
What if Trump did that?


SATIRE/Rosie Sorenson
The complete idiot’s guide to pardoning a turkey


ROB PATTERSON
Terry Gross still sets the standard on interviews


MOVIES/Ed Rampell
‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ raises some inconvenient truths about Gore


and more ...

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Editorial: Stop GOP Genocide

Republican failure to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) is a testament to the staying power of a federal entitlement: once granted, it is extremely difficult to take it away.

The ACA offered to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income families whose income is less than 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL), starting in January 2014. People making up to four times the poverty level, which is $20,420 for a family of three in 2017, could qualify for subsidies to help them buy insurance through the state exchanges. But when the Supreme Court in June 2012 ruled that the federal government couldn’t force the states to expand Medicaid, 25 states where Republicans were in charge took advantage of the court’s permission to refuse the federally-funded expansion. They didn’t care that the rejection of Medicaid expansion would result in 7.78 million people who would have gained coverage remaining uninsured and between 7,115 and 17,104 more people would die annually from treatable illnesses.

Texas was the largest state to opt out of Medicaid expansion, as Republicans blocked more than two million working Texans from getting federally financed health care. The Harvard/CUNY study estimated that between 1,840 and 3,035 Texans’ lives would be lost annually, or as many as 12,000 so far. In Florida, Republicans kept 1.2 million working poor Floridians from getting insurance, which has resulted in between 1,158 and 2,221 deaths annually since then. That puts the lie to the Republican claim to be “pro-life.”

As of 2017, six more states had accepted the expansion, leaving 31 states and D.C. expanding Medicaid while 19 states continue to withhold federally financed health care from the working poor.

The Senate Republican bill would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 14 million in 2018 and 22 million by 2026, the Congressional Budget Office projected. The increase in the number of uninsured would result in 18,100 excess deaths in 2018, 22,900 excess deaths in 2020, and 26,500 extra deaths in 2026, researchers from Harvard’s School of Public Health found, estimating a total of 208,500 unnecessary deaths over the next decade.

A few Republican senators whose states have gotten used to the Medicaid expansion have kept the bill from advancing so far, but if bringing back John McCain in the midst of cancer treatment to cast a vote to throw millions of working stiffs off Medicaid doesn’t do the trick to free up tax cuts for billionaires (as McCain ended up disappointing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and siding with the Democrats, along with Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska), Donald Trump has said he favors letting “Obamacare” fail — and in Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, Trump has the right man in place to make sure it fails!

At least Republican fumbling of health care schemes has increased the popularity of Obamacare as well as acceptance of a federal role in making sure all Americans get health care. An Associated Press/NORC poll in July found that 62% of respondents said it was the responsibility of the federal government to make sure that all Americans have health coverage. That was up from 52% in March.

The same poll found a clear majority of 59% wants to keep Obamacare, but 73% of those who want to keep the ACA said it should be changed to work better.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in June found 53% supporting all Americans getting their coverage through a single government plan, such as Medicare for All, while 43% were opposed. But a similar poll by Pew Research Center in June found that 33% support a single national government health program, while 25% support a mix of government programs and private insurance.

Democratic leaders appear to be slow to adopt the Medicare for All solution, but HR 676, the bill which Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) has filed to expand and improve Medicare for all, has 115 co-sponsors, which is more than one-half of the Democratic caucus and is the highest level of support the bill has received since Conyers started filing the bill in 2003. Among the Medicare for All co-sponsors in the House are Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. “We can fight fiercely to protect the Affordable Care Act and also look a little bit farther in terms of establishing Medicare for All,” Ellison said in a May press conference.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is expected to file his own Medicare for All bill, which will put Democratic senators on the spot.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez has said he supports universal health coverage but he doubts Medicare for All is achievable. “I would love, if I were king for the day, to do something akin to Medicare for all. Because Medicare has been a very good program, and it’s helped a lot of people,” he told NBC’s Seth Myers in May.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said the time has not yet come for a push for single-payer on the national level. “The comfort level with a broader base of the American people is not there yet,” Pelosi said in May. Instead, she suggested that Democrats push for a state-level public option for health insurance. “We must defeat the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. But that is not our only fight,” she said. “We must go further! The Affordable Care Act enables every state to create a public option. I believe California can lead the way for America by creating a strong public option.”

Ellison said he thought it would be good politics for Democrats to run on single payer in 2018. “It’s not the proper role of me at the DNC to tell people what they’re going to stand for, that’s a choice the candidates make for themselves, but I recommend that you win your election and I think a good way to do it is to support Conyers’ bill,” Ellison said.

Defenders of the current private insurance system raise fears that Medicare for All would increase taxes, but putting the US on a single-payer system actually could — and should — cut health care costs. We spend more on health per capita than any other nation ($9,403 in 2014), but still left 33 million uninsured. Canada gives everybody up north equal access to medical facilities, practitioners and procedures at a cost of $4,641 per capita. Still, Canada spent far less of its GDP on health care than did the US — 10.4% compared with 17.8% in the US — which, again. was the highest share of any nation, according to the World Health Organization.

Physicians for a National Health Program proposes to expand Medicare to cover all Americans for all medical care, including mental health, dental care and prescription drugs, without deductibles or copays. The system would be publicly financed, but would rely on existing private hospitals, clinics and practitioners to provide care, much like Medicare does. During a transition period, all public funds currently spent on health care – including Medicare, Medicaid and state and local health care programs – would be redirected to the unified National Health Plan budget. Such public spending – together with tax subsidies for employer-paid insurance and government expenditures for public workers’ health benefits – already accounts for 60% of total US health expenditures. Additional funds would be raised through taxes, though PNHP notes that these would be fully offset by a decrease in out-of-pocket spending and private insurance premiums. Also, doing away with private insurance, which averages 12% overhead, and simplifying administrative costs for doctors and hospitals would save more than $400 billion annually.

Medicare for All won’t go anywhere in this current Congress, but Democrats should promote it to give voters a choice that would work for 2018. At least it might motivate Republicans to work with Democrats to fix the Affordable Care Act and stop letting tens of thousands of working people die for lack of medical care.

By the way, when conservatives demand to know where in the Constitution is the authority for the federal government to provide health insurance, the answer is right up front, in the Preamble, where it says one of the reasons to establish the Constitution is to “promote the general Welfare.” Let’s get after it. — JMC

Editor's note: This has been updated from the print version since the 51-49 Senate vote that defeated the "skinny repeal" bill on July 28, which apparently has stalled the Republican "repeal and replace" effort, at least for the time being.

From The Progressive Populist, August 15, 2017

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Copyright © 2017 The Progressive PopulistPO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652
Art by Kevin Kreneck

Selections from the August 15, 2017 issue

COVER/Jefferson Morley
A cornered Trump is more dangerous


EDITORIAL
Stop GOP genocide


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

DON ROLLINS
Coming to terms with Big Religion 


RURAL ROUTES/Margot McMillen
Woe be to WOTUS if POTUS has his way


DISPATCHES
Dems seek to reclaim populist mantle;
Dems continue to flip statehouse seats;
Republican congressmen seek revenge on CBO for Trumpcare report;
South Texas border wall will ‘essentially destroy’ Rio Grande wildlife refuge;
First Amendment faces bipartisan assault;
Medicaid expansion had huge impact on finances of poor;
Energy efficiency is a huge money saver -- but Trump is against it;
Trump warning to Mueller proves, again, it's all about the money;
Trump's new judge compared abortion to slavery ...


ART CULLEN
Heir to Ignoramus


JILL RICHARDSON
Is this how the world sees America now?


JOHN YOUNG
The gang that couldn’t lie straight


LEO GERARD
Republicans working against workers


BOB BURNETT
The resistance bookshelf


GRASSROOTS/Hank Kalet 
Take back the narrative


GENE NICHOL
Trump targets Peace Corps


JOEL D. JOSEPH
Endgame: How President Trump will go down


HEALTH CARE/Joan Retsinas 
Loving the land of make believe


SAM URETSKY
AIDS advisors quit Trump administration


WAYNE O’LEARY
The worst administration of all time?


JOHN BUELL
Trump, North Korea and historical amnesia


SATIRE/Rosie Sorenson
Son of a gun


SETH SANDRONSKY
California’s capital then and now


ROB PATTERSON
There’s plenty of real news on the web, too


MOVIES/Ed Rampell
New documentary goes beneath the waves to see coral bleaching crisis


and more ...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

GOP Donors Demand Return on Investment

One measure of how Congress is controlled by plutocrats is that Republicans are still trying to peddle a “health” bill that has just 17% support nationwide. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll in late June also found 59% disapprove of the Grand Oligarch Party’s bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). The House’s version, which was passed in March on a near-party-line vote, faces similar levels of opposition from the public.

The main reason Republicans are proceeding with their health deform bill is they need that money they’re taking from Medicare and Medicaid to pay for tax cuts for their billionaire donors — in fact, one influential Texas donor told congressional Republicans that his “Dallas piggy bank” is closed until he sees major action on health care and taxes.

“Get ObamaCare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” Doug Deason said June 26 in a pointed message to GOP leaders. “You control the Senate. You control the House. You have the presidency. There’s no reason you can’t get this done. Get it done and we’ll open it back up.”

Both the House and Senate bills originally proposed to repeal a 3.8% surtax on investment income such as dividends, interest and capital gains that exceed $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples and a 0.9% payroll tax on income over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 that goes into the Medicare trust fund.

Mitch McConnell is trying to secure the 50 votes he needs, along with Vice President Mike Pence’s potential tie-breaking vote, to pass the plan his henchmen have cobbled together, which would cut $772 billion from Medicaid and $117 billion from Medicare to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and cause 22 million Americans to lose their insurance, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine estimates the bill could cause 28,600 people to die annually from lack of medical care due to loss of insurance.

On Thursday, McConnell unveiled a new version of the bill that keeps the taxes on the wealthy but still cuts Medicaid funding by more than 30%, eliminates expansion of the program to cover the working poor and replaces ObamaCare's tax credit subsidies with smaller ones that would be available to fewer people.

To appease Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and other conservatives, McConnell included new provisions that would create a two-tiered health insurance market. Insurers would be able to offer plans that exclude people with pre-existing conditions or charge them higher rates ― or to market plans without comprehensive benefits ― just as long as they sell at least one plan with more comprehensive coverage that is available to everybody at a uniform price, Jeffrey Young reported at HuffingtonPost.com.

Ironically, Republicans have spent the last seven years undermining a health plan that was based on a proposal of the conservative Heritage Foundation in 1989, which was first written into a bill by Senate Republicans in 1993 and passed into law by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney in Massachusetts in 2005. But when Democrats in 2009 proposed the Affordable Care Act, which relies on federal subsidies of private health insurers and an individual mandate to produce universal coverage, Republicans decided they could not support it because it would be part of President Barack Obama’s legacy.

The good news is, if Democrats regain the White House and a majority in Congress they can expand Medicare to cover everybody through the same budget reconciliation process that Republicans are now using to try to repeal ObamaCare.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who promoted universal healthcare during his Democratic presidential campaign, plans to introduce a single-payer plan. Supporters include Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). In the House, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) has already gotten 113 co-sponsors for his Medicare For All bill. That’s nearly double the number of co-sponsors the legislation garnered last congressional session. Co-sponsors include Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.).

Neither bill will make much headway in the current Congress, but Democrats will have popular opinion on their side if they campaign on expanding Medicare in 2018. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in June found 53% of the public supporting all Americans getting their coverage through a single government plan, while 43% are opposed. This is up from the level of support for single-payer in Kaiser polls since 1998. From 1998 through 2004, roughly four in ten supported a national health plan, while about half were opposed. From 2008-2009, the period leading up to passage of the ACA, the public was more evenly divided, with about half in favor of a single-payer plan and half opposed. The recent increase in support for single-payer has largely been driven by independents, who increased from 42% support in 2008-09 to 55% in the new poll.

The public also continues to show more support for “Medicare For All” than “single-payer health insurance,” though the gap is narrowing. The February 2016 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found the public was 20-points more likely to react favorably to the term “Medicare For all” (64% favorable) than “single-payer health insurance system” (44% favorable). The current poll finds 55% support for “Medicare For All” and 53% for “single payer.”

In the meantime, if Republicans fail in their attempt to replace ObamaCare, McConnell has said his party might have to work with Democrats to stabilize the current law.

If that happens, Kevin Drum of MotherJones.com has proposed a three-step plan to fix ObamaCare.

1) Enforce the individual mandate and increase the penalty to 3.5% of income. Drum noted that the point is not to penalize poor people; it’s to get more healthy people into the system.

2) Increase subsidies by 20% and extend them to six times the poverty level, to make insurance more affordable for everyone. (The current law provides subsidies to people making up to four times the poverty level.)

3) In areas where there are fewer than two insurers participating in the exchanges, states should make Medicaid available for the price of an average Bronze plan.
Finally, for-profit insurance companies should be put on notice that they need to prove there is a constructive role for them in providing universal health coverage. So far, they have failed the test and Medicare For All is an increasingly attractive solution.

Vote Purger Leads Election Probe

The FBI is properly investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials who apparently meddled in the US presidential election. But if there was a conspiracy to hack the election, Republican officials did more damage with their systematic measures to suppress voter participation.

Donald Trump has claimed that millions of illegal voters were responsible for Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote by almost 2.9 million votes last November. So the minority president created the ironically named “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity,” to be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and vice chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is one of the leaders of the GOP’s systematic disenfranchisement of students, the poor, people of color and other likely Democratic voters. Kobach was a developer of Interstate Crosscheck, which aimed to identify Americans registered in more than one state and purge them from voter lists. Greg Palast has noted that Crosscheck merely matched first and last names of voters in 28 participating states, and it resulted in the purging of 1.1 million names from voter rolls before the 2016 election.

In Michigan, where 450,000 names were purged by Crosscheck, Donald Trump officially won by 10,704 votes. But Palast noted that a record 75,335 votes were never counted, on orders of the Republican attorney general — with most of the missing votes in heavily Democratic Detroit and Flint. There are unanswered questions about voting irregularites in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

Trump may have illegally conspired with Russians who hacked Democratic computers and turned up embarrasing emails. But law enforcement authorities need to discover whether Kris Kobach and Republican election officials on the ground in those battleground states helped to fix the election for Trump. — JMC

From The Progressive Populist, August 1, 2017

Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links
About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2017 The Progressive PopulistPO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652

Art by Kevin Kreneck

Selections from the August 1, 2017 issue

COVER/Hal Crowther
A whiter shade of pale?


EDITORIAL
GOP donors demand return on investment


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

DON ROLLINS
Soft power, hard hearts and the bottom line 


RURAL ROUTES/Margot McMillen
12 Steps for democracy


DISPATCHES
Donald Jr. admits Russian lawyer offered dirt on Hillary during campaign;
Trump follows Fox News in faulty attack against Comey;
Trump continues record pace for lying;
Likely EPA pick not conservative enough for climate deniers;
G19 outmaneuvers climate rogue Trump;
Republicans in several states reduce minimum wages;
Corporate media celebrate job loss;
TrumpCare will save Social Security $3B because of the people it kills;
Hobby Lobby's stolen art may have financed Mideast terrorism ...


ART CULLEN
Where did all the cattle, and people, go?


JILL RICHARDSON
America needs service workers — and they need health care


JOHN YOUNG
Mr. Fraud is on the trail of — voter fraud?


RICHARD ESKOW
GOP ‘health’ bill: Death, disaster and gilded age greed



KENT PATERSON
Showdown in the battle for El Paso


BOOKS/Seth Sandronsky 
Workplace democracy and its discontents


WENONAH HAUTER
Don’t be fooled by rosy renewables projections


BOB BURNETT
Searching for the soul of the Democratic Party


HEALTH CARE/Joan Retsinas
Send in the wedding planners: Health care


SAM URETSKY
Billionaires have their uses in protecting democracy


WAYNE O’LEARY
Donkey in the doldrums and other tales


JOHN BUELL
The many faces of climate science denial


JOEL D. JOSEPH
How to fix NAFTA


JASON SIBERT
Defense establishment needs rent control


MARK ANDERSON
Congress stonewalls bill to stop funding terrorists


ROB PATTERSON
Maher wears thin on ‘Real Time’


SATIRE/Rosie Sorenson
Dear poor people: God is so not into you


and more ...