Newswire : Is the NFL’s new National Anthem policy legal?

Civil Rights Activists, NFL Players react to new policy

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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Civil rights activist Tamika Mallory speaking at demonstration against new NFL national anthem policy
Protesters held a rally in front of the National Football League’s New York City headquarters on May 25 after the league announced new rules that punish players who don’t stand for the national anthem.
Tamika Mallory said that the NFL owners were acting as a “proxy for a fascist president” and that the new policy was an attempt to “resurrect slavery in the 21st century” and punish Black players. The kneeling protests started when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting during the anthem and then kneeling as a protest against police brutality.
“ What is being said is that the n–gas don’t have basic rights,” Mallory said. “And I want to say today that Ida B. Wells, Dr. Martin Luther King, Marcus Garvey, the four little girls in Birmingham are turning over in their graves right now about the disrespect, the disgrace, that is happening in this country.”
Mallory continued: “If we, as Black people, lay down and allow this system to continue to oppress us, we are the ones to be held responsible.”
Civil rights activist and author of “The Revolt of the Black Athlete” Harry Edwards told USA TODAY that the NFL’s new national anthem policy was “the dumbest move possible.” “They put the protest movement on blast,” Edwards said. “They just created a bigger stage than ever.”
In a recent commentary for Vox.com, Harvard Law School labor professor Benjamin wrote: “This new league policy is meant to enforce a particular vision of patriotism, one that involves compliance rather than freedom of expression.”
Sachs wrote that the new anthem policy was illegal—for a host of reasons.“The clearest illegality derives from the fact that the league adopted its new policy without bargaining with the players union,” Sachs wrote. “When employees, including football players, are represented by a union, the employer—including a football league—can’t change the terms of employment without discussing the change with the union. Doing so is a flagrant violation of the employer’s duty to bargain in good faith.”
ESPN.com reported that President Donald Trump supported the NFL’s policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room, during an interview with Fox News. “I think that’s good,” Trump said. “I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
Many players have already indicated that they are not happy with the new rule.
In a statement released on Twitter, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins wrote: “While I disagree with this decision, I will not let it silence me or stop me from fighting. The national conversation around race in America that NFL players forced over the past 2 years will persist as we continue to use our voices, our time and our money to create a more fair and just criminal justice system, end police brutality and foster better educational and economic opportunities for communities of color and those struggling in this country.”
In an interview with ESPN, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin called the president “an idiot…plain and simple.”
“I respect the man because he’s a human being, first and foremost. But he’s just being more divisive, which is not surprising. It is what it is,” Baldwin said. “For him to say that anyone who doesn’t follow his viewpoints or his constituents’ viewpoints should be kicked out of the country, it’s not very empathetic, it’s not very American-like, actually to me. It’s not very patriotic. It’s not what this country was founded upon.”
Baldwin continued: “It’s kind of ironic to me that the president of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on.”
In his Vox.com commentary about the NFL’s new national anthem policy, Sachs wrote that now that the owners have made it a workplace rule to stand during the anthem or stay in the locker room, any player who takes the field and takes a knee is protesting an employer rule. That protest, Sachs said, “is unquestionably protected by federal labor law.”
The NFL pre-season begins in August.

Newswire : Starbucks will close more than 8,000 stores for racial-bias training

By Frederick H. Lowe, NorthStar News

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Police surround Starbucks in Philadelphia

Starbucks will close more than 8,000 company-owned stores affecting 175,000 employees in the United States on May 29th to address implicit racial bias, following arrests of two black-male customers last week at its Center City store in Philadelphia.
“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to fix it,” said Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks. ” All Starbucks company-owned retail stores and corporate offices will be closed in the afternoon of Tuesda Newsy, May 29. During that time, partners (employees) will go through a training program designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome.”
Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General; Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League and Heather McGhee, president of Demos, a think tank and research policy center, are assisting in developing Starbucks’ curriculum.
Johnson made his announcement after he met with two black men police arrested when the manager of a Center City, Philadelphia, Starbucks complained they wouldn’t leave the coffee shop after they weren’t allowed to use the restroom because they hadn’t purchased anything.
Spokespersons for Seattle-based Starbucks did not disclose what was discussed between the two men, who were not identified. Earlier, Johnson called the incident “reprehensible” and publicly apologized to the men involved.
Six Philadelphia police officers arrested the men Thursday afternoon for trespassing. The men were waiting to meet another man, who is white and who had scheduled a meeting with them in the Starbucks.
The arrests, which were captured on cell phone video, sparked demonstrations inside and outside the Starbucks, which is located on swanky Rittenhouse Square, and more national and international conversations over social media about the state of race in the era of President Donald Trump.
Richard Ross, Philadelphia’s police chief, who is black, defended his men, arguing they did not do anything wrong in making the arrests.
But the arrests caused hand wringing among others. The Philadelphia district attorney later released the two men because Starbucks refused to press charges. Jim Kenny, Philadelphia’s mayor, wasn’t happy about the arrests.
The woman manager who called the police has either left the store or the company, according to various news reports.
Facebook released a video showing a black man being ordered to leave a Starbucks in Torrance, California, after complaining employees gave a white make customer the numerical code to open the door of the men’s restroom before he ordered food. The black man was not given the same code. Starbucks officials said they are aware of the video.
The Rittenhouse Square arrests angered the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.
“The arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks represents another ominous signal on the increasingly dangerous environment for African Americans,” wrote Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP. “Every day people of color find themselves at the mercy of stereotypes and embedded fears of others…Racism and biases that make simply breathing while black so dangerous will not just go away without our society committing more resources to discussion, education and training on implicit bias and racism.”
“We know if two Black men in Philadelphia require six police officers to handcuff and arrest them for waiting to order coffee, then we begin to understand the mind state that allows for such overzealous and reactionary use of deadly force by those who are paid to serve and protect.
“Every day people of color find themselves at the mercy of the stereotypes and embedded fears of others. How else can we explain why 14-year-old Brennan Walker who missed his bus on his way to school would be shot at by a homeowner just outside Detroit? Or explain Saheed Vassell, a mentally-ill man in Brooklyn fired at ten times and shot dead by police officers. Or why Stephon Clark was shot at 20 times and hit 8 times, mainly in the back, by police officers in Sacramento, based on the assumption that he was the culprit responsible for breaking into cars. We are at least glad in the case of Starbucks that no one mistook a wallet for a gun.

Newswire : NAACP, Prince George’s County file lawsuit over “Underfunded, Understaffed” 2020 Census

By William J. Ford (The Washington Informer/NNPA Member)

 

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NAACP officials announce lawsuit
The NAACP announced that the group has filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, the U.S. Census Bureau and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, “to combat the imminent threat that the 2020 Census will substantially undercount African Americans and other people of color in communities throughout the United States,” a press release about the lawsuit said.
Prince George’s County, the NAACP’s Prince George’s County branch and two county residents (branch President Bob Ross and Elizabeth Johnson), also joined the suit. Prince George’s County experienced one of the highest undercounts in the nation at 2.3 percent during the 2010 Census, according to the suit. The figures are based on counties with a population of at least 100,000.
“Such a dramatic undercount will especially dilute the votes of racial and ethnic minorities, deprive their communities of critical federal funds and undervalue their voices and interests in the political arena,” the suit alleges.
During a press conference about the lawsuit at the National Press Club in Northwest D.C., Bradford Berry, general counsel of the NAACP said that this lawsuit is unique, because the plaintiffs seek action before work on the 2020 Census begins.
For instance, the suit claims the federal government has decreased resources and manpower for the 2020 Census and “cancelled crucial, pre-Census field tests and is rushing to digitize the Census without adequate cybersecurity protections, thus undermining public confidence in the privacy of Census data” the press release said.

The lawsuit also states that the Census Bureau doesn’t have sufficient staffing; the agency’s acting director, Ron Jarmin, was also named as a defendant in the suit.
On Capitol Hill last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved $2.8 billion for the bureau, an increase more than double the amount of the Trump administration’s request of $1.1 billion.
“Proposing a bill and passing a bill are two different things,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson. “Once the final bill passes, we would like to evaluate to see if it’s sufficient. We simply need the political will to make sure we have an accurate count for this [upcoming] Census.”
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said his jurisdiction has lost about $200 million in federal money, because of Census undercounts. The Maryland jurisdiction of nearly 900,000 people borders Washington, D.C., with 65 percent of the population African American.
Federal law requires that citizens are counted in a decennial census that not only helps redraw political boundaries, but also for counties and states to receive federal money for improvement of schools, roads and other needs.

Critics have argued that a proposed citizenship question in the 2020 Census will deter legal immigrants from responding and decrease the number of people counted in those communities. The Hispanic population in Prince George’s County stands at about 18 percent.
“What’s more frightening about this Census count, more than in the past, is the rhetoric from the Trump administration,” Baker said after the press conference. “With a growing Latino population in the county, this is a direct assault on those folks participating in the Census. If it’s happening here, then it’s happening everywhere.”
William J. Ford is a staff writer for The Washington Informer. You can follow him on Twitter @jabariwill.The Washington Informer is a member publication of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Learn more about becoming a member at www.nnpa.org.

Newswire : Black jobless rate is back up in January 2018

By Frederick H. Lowe

 

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Graph of unemployment for 2018 (can be reduced to one colum

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Less than a week after President Donald Trump used his bully pulpit–The State of the Union Address–to tell the nation that black unemployment had dropped to the lowest level ever recorded, the Black jobless rate went back up, although non-farm businesses added 200,000 new jobs in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.
President Trump said Jan. 30 “that unemployment claims hit a 45-year low. It’s something I’m very proud of. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded.”
December’s jobless rate for Blacks was 6.8 percent down from a high of 16.8 percent in March 2010. The jobless rate in December was the lowest since 1972 when BLS began reporting the employment rate for Blacks and Whites at monthly hearings of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.The drop, however, did not last long. It rose to 7.7 percent in January, according to BLS.
The jobless rate for Black men 20 and over was 7.5 percent in January compared with 6.6 percent in December. The unemployment rate for Black women 20 and older was 6.6 percent in January compared with 5.8 percent in December.The overall unemployment rate was 4.1 percent. Non-farm businesses added jobs in construction, food services, drinking places, health care and manufacturing added jobs.

Newswire : Congressional Black Caucus plans protest of Trump at State of the Union

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
During a lengthy, members-only meeting on Capitol Hill on January 19, members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) discussed various options to protest the current President of the United States. Their protest plans centered around the annual State of the Union address.
President Donald Trump’s second State of the Union address is scheduled for January 30.
The meeting the CBC held to talk over State of the Union protest plans occurred only hours after 66 members of the House voted to act on impeaching the President. That effort was led once again by Black Caucus member Rep. Al Green (D-Texas). Rep. Green’s second impeachment try failed 355-66. Three Democrats voted “present.”
Weeks after Donald Trump reportedly called Haiti, El Salvador and the continent of Africa “shithole countries” during a meeting on immigration with members of Congress in the Oval Office, many members have had it.
CBC members who attended the discussion confirmed that several options of protesting President Trump were discussed including walking out, wearing African themed garb and even not showing up to the State of the Union at all. The more vocal members included Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.).
During an interview with Buzzfeed on January 17, days before the meeting, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) mentioned the CBC might hold its own State of the Union.
“We will…discuss how we want to respond to the president’s State of the Union. We could go, we could go and walk out, we could go and hold up fists…or we could not go, or we could hold our own ‘State of the Union,’” Richmond said.
A few Black Caucus members have already stated that they will not attend the president’s State of the Union address. They include Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.).
Some CBC members are concerned about Congress’ largest caucus not being unified in protest, whatever form the protest may take. Other members wanted to make sure serious issues are highlighted and expressed concerns about the protest taking attention away from serious policy discussion. But in the age of former reality TV star turned President Donald Trump, others say that the best response is to fight fire with fire.
With protests in the air and in the streets around the first anniversary of the start of the Trump presidency, the timing of any protest the CBC may undertake on the night of the State of the Union is likely to receive serious media attention.

Regarding Rep. Green’s impeachment attempts, which House leadership is in opposition of, Green pointed out that Trump, “has by his statements brought the high office of president of the United States in contempt, ridicule, disgrace and disrepute; has sown discord among the people of the United States; has demonstrated that he is unfit to be president; and has betrayed his trust as president of the United States to the manifest injury of the people of the United States and has committed a high misdemeanor in office.”
Rep. Green’s form of protest was a legislative one. On the night of the State of the Union, we are likely to see a more theatrical display.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist, political analyst and contributor to the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com. She can be reached by email at LBurke007@gmail.com and on Twitter at @LVBurke.

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Newswire : Black Republican House member says Trump ‘must apologize’ for ‘sh*thole’ remarks

By Hazel Trice Edney

 

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Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah)
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – President Donald Trump, who has constantly denied being a racist, is now embroiled in a growing controversy after he referred to African countries, Haiti and El Salvador as “sh*thole countries” and asked why America can’t draw more immigrants from places like “Norway”, a predominately White country.
The remarks made Jan. 11 during a bi-partisan Whitehouse meeting on immigration policies, has set off a fire storm of criticism from both sides of the aisles, including from the only Haitian-American in Congress, Republican Rep. Mia Love (Utah), who has demanded an apology.
“The president’s comments are unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values. This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation. My parents came from one of those countries but proudly took an oath of allegiance to the United States and took on the responsibilities of everything that being a citizen comes with,” Rep. Love wrote in a tweet Jan. 11. “They never took a thing from our federal government. They worked hard, paid taxes, and rose from nothing to take care of and provide opportunities for their children. They taught their children to do the same. That’s the American Dream. The President must apologize to both the American people and the nations he so wantonly maligned.”
The White House initially issued a statement not denying the comments, but saying that Trump, “will always fight for the American people.”
The White House Statement continued, “Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.”
“Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who were in the meeting, confirmed the ‘sh*thole’ account though others in the room claimed they did not hear it, denied that he said it, or that he used the term ‘sh*thouse’ countries.
As the firestorm reaction grew to reports of his crude remarks, Trump then denied having made them. But given the president’s reputation for lying, his reputation for making racist remarks and given the credible witnesses and reports, the outrage continued to rise this week during a time of celebration of the Martin Luther King Day holiday. The following are excerpts from some of the statements:
Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.): “President Trump’s comments are yet another confirmation of his racially insensitive and ignorant views. It also reinforces the concerns that we hear every day, that the President’s slogan Make America Great Again is really code for Make America White Again.”
Richmond continued, “All of the reservations we have had about negotiating with him on immigration are well-founded. President Trump is clearly more concerned with ending the future flow of immigrants from Africa and the African diaspora than providing relief to Dreamers who came here through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that we can negotiate in good faith with a person who holds such vile and reprehensible beliefs.”
The National Bar Association President Juan R. Thomas: “The NBA calls upon all members of Congress to openly reject Trump’s politics of racism.”
NAACP President/CEO Derrick Johnson: “Yesterday, the raw racism of Donald Trump and those driving his immigration and other policy making decisions were on full display as he called for fewer Black people to be admitted into the United States in favor of white immigrants. And this morning, the President doubled down on his comments offering a weak justification for his racist viewpoint.”
National President, National Congress of Black Women: Dr. E. Faye Williams: “These derisive comments are dramatically similar to those made in December when #45 said, Haitians “All have A.I.D.S” and that once Nigerian immigrants saw the United States they would never “go back to their huts.” Sadly, it is apparent that the judgments and decisions made by this man are informed by fundamental racism — a racism that’s as likely to moderate as is the likelihood of the Sun rising in the west and setting in the east.
”Whatever one thinks of #45, no one should feign surprise with the progressively egregious and insulting nature of his comments and conduct. From the opening remarks of his campaign, upon which he based insults directed at Hispanic immigrants, through his “Good” Nazi Charlottesville comments to his most recent, #45 has never tried to disguise his true nature to those listening in earnest,” says Williams.
She concludes that despite the calls from Rep. Love for an apology, no such thing will be forthcoming. “He has never apologized, and most likely will never do so.”

Newswire: Republicans are planning an assault on programs for the poor

Written By Nigel Roberts, Newsone

House Speaker Paul Ryan wants to cut holes in the social safety net during the 2018 legislative session, taking aim at programs poor people depend on to survive, Fox News reported.
“We’re going to get back at reforming these entitlements. And we’re going to take on welfare reform, which is another big entitlement program, where we’re basically paying people, able-bodied people, not to work and depriving them with all these disincentives from going to the workforce,” he said.
Fresh off passing tax reform legislation in December, the GOP wants to roll that momentum in 2018. The tax overhaul, which mainly benefits corporations and wealthy individuals, adds $1.4 trillion to the deficit. Now, the Republicans are looking for ways slash the debt they created. The solution to them is axing government health care programs and social services spending. “Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health care entitlements — because that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking,” Ryan said on Ross Kaminsky’s talk radio show.

Here’s what to expect:
1. Medicare
Yes, Medicare is on the table, even though the GOP has long feared a backlash from seniors. Ryan has been talking with President Donald Trump about the need to cut the program. “I think the president is understanding that choice and competition works everywhere in health care, especially in Medicare,” the House Speaker said.
their totally unnecessary $1.5 trillion tax cut for the rich the GOP will spend the next ten years saying we must cut Medicare, Medicaid, & Social Security because the deficit is too damn high. Never let the American people forget their tax cuts caused that deficit.

2. Medicaid
In addition to funding cuts, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency within the Department of Health, has already signaled that changes are coming to the health care program for poor people. The agency, in a departure from President Barack Obama’s approach, is recommending that states establish a work requirement for certain Medicaid beneficiaries.

3. Food stamps
Reigning in the food stamp program is a perennial goal for Republicans. They see an opportunity through the pretext of reducing the budget deficit explosion they created. On top of cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the GOP plans to give states more flexibility in how they administer the program. As with Medicaid, they also want to add a work requirement for receiving food stamps and direct cash assistance to the poor.

 

Greene County votes: Jones 3,340 to Moore 462 Doug Jones wins U. S. Senate race with strong support and turnout of Black voters

 

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The Black Belt had strong turnout and support for Jones, who won a bigger margin there than Clinton did last year.

 

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News Analysis
By: John Zippert Co-Publisher

Doug Jones won a tightly contested special election yesterday for a U. S. Senate seat in Alabama, vacated by Jeff Sessions, when he became U. S. Attorney General.
Based on unofficial statewide returns, Doug Jones the Democratic candidate received 671,151 votes (49.9%), to 650.436 (48.4%) for Republican Roy Moore. 22,819 voters (1.7%) wrote in another choice.
In Greene County, Doug Jones led with 3,340 votes (87.6%) to 462 (12.1%) for Roy Moore and 9 write-in votes. Jones carried every precinct box in Greene County.
In neighboring Sumter County, Jones received 3.527 votes (81%) to 814 votes (18.7%) for Moore. In Macon County, Jones received 5,780 (88.1%) to 758 (11.8%) for Moore. Across the Alabama Black Belt, which has a predominantly Black population, Jones scored overwhelming wins, in many cases exceeding the 2012 turnout for Barack Obama.
Doug Jones won in all the major cities of Alabama, including Birmingham, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Mobile and Huntsville, with strong Black voter support. Moore’s vote in rural and suburban parts of Alabama did not meet expectations and in some cases Moore underperformed his own vote totals and percentages in 2014, when he ran for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
The election officials in each county will have 14 days to certify the official results, which includes counting military, provisional and other uncounted ballots. These officials will also have to certify that the write –in candidates, were qualified to hold the office of U. S. Senator, or these vote will be disqualified.

So votes for Mickey Mouse or someone residing in another state will not count, changing the percentages of the vote that each candidate received.
A mandatory recount of votes will be order only if Doug Jones margin of victory falls below one half of one percent (0.5%). Jones currently has a margin of 1.5%. If Moore wishes to pay for a recount, at his expense, he can request one, as soon as the results are officially certified.
National political observers view Doug Jones victory as an upset since Alabama was considered a deeply red Republican state that had not elected a Democratic U. S. Senator, in a quarter of a century, since 1992. Moore’s loss was attributed to his record of being dismissed from the Alabama Supreme Court twice for ethical violations, his opposition to gay and Muslim people, his theocratic view of political office and recent allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls, forty years ago.
Moore’s defeat was also a defeat for his major backers including Steve Bannon and President Donald Trump, who weighed in with a last minute rally in Pensacola, Florida and robocalls on election day. Trump, who like Moore, faces questions of sexual misconduct with many women and a difficult path forward on tax reform and other issues, faces dwindling support from his right wing conservative base.
Doug Jones campaign put together a coalition of Black voters, younger voters, college educated and women to overcome Moore’s assumed Republican voter majority in the state. Jones says, he wants to give fair representation to every zip code in the state and work together with Republicans on the “kitchen-table issues of healthcare, wages, education and criminal justice that affect all Alabamians.”
Jones also inherits the task of rebuilding the Democratic Party in Alabama from the uncoordinated efforts of his campaign with Black, young, educated and women voters to pull together a winning strategy and campaign for the upcoming 2018 races, which include the Governor and all constitutional offices as well as the full State Legislature.

Newswire :Why Trump’s tax plan spells disaster for the environment

By: Erich Pica, Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

For all of the terrible elements in the Republicans’ new tax plan—the extreme giveaways to the rich, tax increases for the middle class, major breaks for corporations that pollute our air and water—the reality is that this isn’t a plan to reform the tax code. This is a plan to end government as we know it.

When Trump released his budget last spring, all reasonable people across the country declared in unison that it could not possibly be serious. The major cuts to the popular and important programs across the political spectrum would never be politically feasible.
While Republicans dream about rolling back environmental protections, the truth is the GOP has never had the votes or public support to dismantle the bedrock achievements of the environmental movement. A push to return the country to the days before the Clean Air Act would almost certainly fail. The work that agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency do is popular and the effect of their work impacts communities across the country. Yet, for all the support for these programs and agencies, Trump’s budget called for a 31 percent cut to the EPA, gutting some programs and abolishing others.
Surely these cuts to programs that help protect the environment and public health would never survive Congress. But the seriousness of Trump’s tax giveaway plan should reverse any notion that his budget was a farce. Republicans’ ambitions to force Trump’s extreme budget cuts on the American people runs through the new tax plan, which was passed by the Senate on Friday.

There are plenty of reasons for people who value the environment to be horrified by Trump’s tax plan, which is set to pump more rule change would be a major reward for an industry that parked money overseas allowing them to avoid paying taxes on these profits. Middle-class families will never get such luxuries nor will benefit from the giveaway.

It’s no lack of contrast that this bill would also gut the wind energy renewable energy tax credit, cutting it by 40 percent. Finally, this plan lets Big Oil keeps its most egregious tax giveaways and hands it a hefty cut to the corporate tax rate, guaranteeing that it will keep its place the most undertaxed and subsidized segments of our economy.
The vicious truth is that the GOP plan will add an estimated $1 trillion to the deficit, which they will use as further evidence to justify cuts to popular environmental protection programs.
Without enough votes to dismantle widely popular environmental protection laws, Republicans have set their sights on the next best thing: dismantling the widely popular agencies charged with enforcing them.
Ever since Grover Norquest begin insisting that Republicans make a pledge to cut taxes—no matter the cost—the goal of the party has been to break the government by cutting and underfunding one program at a time.
As these cuts have taken place, we’ve seen the rich grow richer, the essential functions of government wear and break, the divide between the two parties grow and the overpowering political voice of corporations expand. Trump’s tax plan will only make things worse. While GOP budget hawks made their votes on tax cuts that will add to the deficit, they began prepping their talking points on their plans to make austere cuts to that will strip these agencies to the bone.
As horrifying as Trump is in temperament, his tax plan is proof that he is just another Republican with broken ideas aimed at crippling the progress our country has made in protecting the environment.
For more than 30 years, the GOP’s endgame has been nothing but a plan to use tax policy to funnel Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars to Rebublicans’ wealthy donors, while compromising the essential functions of government.
Trump is just a louder, more toxic variation on the GOP’s very old theme.
Erich Pica is the President of Friends of the Earth. Follow Erich on Twitter @erichpica.

Turnout is the key to victory in next Tuesday’s special election

 

Ballot Box

Ballot Box Vote December 12

News Analysis By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher and Editor

Most Alabama political pundits agree that voter turnout will be the key to victory in next Tuesday’s special election between Doug Jones and Roy Moore for the U. S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became U. S. Attorney General.
Because Alabama is a deep red state, in the Heart of Dixie, very few political observes gave Doug Jones, a progressive Democratic candidate much of a chance. The polls have been all over the place but most show a tied race or a close race within the margin of error.
Most of the commentary dwells on the lopsided white Republican vote in Alabama but does not take into account Moore’s extremist religious stands which contest the ‘rule of law’ and had him removed twice from the state’s Supreme Court for unethical and unconstitutional behavior.
All of this was before the recent revelations that Moore sexually abused young women in the Gadsden area, some as young as 14, when he was a 30 year old assistant district attorney. Moore, following the example of Donald Trump, has denied all of the accusations by the women despite their believability and corroborating evidence.
The pundits also overlook and discount the efforts of Black organizations to mobilize the Black vote for Doug Jones in the rural Black Belt counties and inner city urban areas of Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile.
Since Labor Day, Black voter organizations in Alabama have been mobilizing under the banner of the ‘Vote or Die Campaign’ to awaken, register and organize Black voters to turnout in support of Doug Jones on December 12th. Alabama New South Alliance, the SOS Coalition for Democracy and Justice, NAACP chapters, Alabama Democratic Conference and others have been working at the grassroots to enlighten and empower Black voters to take part in the special election.
In the first primary on August 15, Doug Jones won the Democratic primary by 109,000 out of 165,000 total votes. In the second primary between Luther Strange and Roy Moore, Moore received 262,204 votes to 218,000 for Strange.

The turnout in both of these races was below 20%.
Next Tuesday’s election will be held in the midst of the Christmas holiday shopping season. Many people in Alabama just don’t realize there is an election going on and this will contribute to a low turnout.
Statewide in Alabama there are 3.2 million registered voters with 2.1 million active white voters and 760,000 Black voters. There are 1.5 million Republican voters, 1 million Democrats and the rest Independents.
If Roy Moore receives a third of the Republican vote – 500,000, that roughly corresponds to the Evangelic Christian vote which is dedicated to voting for him, then Doug Jones must put together a turnout of over half of the Black vote say 400,000 and enough white Democratic and Republican votes to win over Moore. Putting this type of coalition together is within his grasp but it depends on a strong Black voter turnout together with white voters who feel and know that Moore is and will be a continuing embarrassment to the state.
President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and other far right conservatives have jumped into this election on Moore’s side but they are late arrivals. Jones has outraised by Moore by $10 million to $2 million in election funds. Jones has been dominating the TV airwaves until recently.
Trump seeks to nationalize the election by portraying Doug Jones as a ‘liberal Democrat’ who win not vote for Trump’s tax cuts, immigration wall, military budget and other issues. Trump’s leaning in late may help solidify the opposition to Moore and support for Doug Jones as the more progressive reasonable candidate, who shares Alabama’s progressive views on these ‘kitchen table issues’.
When you get and read this paper, there will only be a few day left before the Special Election on Tuesday, December 12th, go and vote and show that turnout is the key and will be the difference in this election.