Ilana Novick

Busting the myth of ‘center is better’

On the night Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections, the soon-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said those who oppose the Trump administration and the Republican Party “must try [to find] common ground” with them and stressed the importance of “a bipartisan marketplace of ideas that makes our democracy strong.”

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How Elizabeth Warren is putting the consultant class on notice

When Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., announced in February that she was running “a different kind of [presidential] campaign,” one that swore off high-dollar fundraisers and personal phone calls with wealthy donors, the Democratic establishment was skeptical that she could pull it off. There were internal concerns too: Warren’s finance director resigned after she decided not to pursue big donations during the primary.

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This is what happens when conspiracy theories go mainstream

Conspiracy theories can seem so absurd they’re almost funny: major politicians are actually 12-foot lizard people, the U.S. government was responsible for 9/11, the fluoride in our drinking water is there not to strengthen our teeth, but to control our minds. It’s easy to dismiss such ideas as nonsense.

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Conservative Democrats' dark money-funded rural voter project has everything to do with sinking Medicare for All

Two conservative former Democratic senators, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, have launched the One Country Project, a 501(c)(4) not-for-profit organization that aims to attract rural voters to the Democratic Party. However, according to Maplight’s Andrew Perez, working in partnership with The Intercept, the organization is also a “dark money” group, using the two former lawmakers to push an anti-Medicare-for-all agenda.

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Centrist Dems are trying to block a universal $15 minimum wage

A House bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour from $7.25 by 2024 passed a key committee vote in March. The move, as NPR.org reported at the time, “is a sign of broader political momentum for the minimum wage issue,” one that is supported by multiple Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

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White nationalists have infiltrated the US military

Patrick Casey came to the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on a mission. Casey, executive director of Identity Evropa, a white nationalist group that was involved in the “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, believes diversity is harmful to the United States and aims to create a “white supermajority.” He told NBC in an interview at CPAC that his organization aims “to take over the GOP as much as possible.”

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Christian charity gave more than $50 million to hate groups

The National Christian Foundation is America’s eighth largest public charity, but it doesn’t build houses, educate children, feed the hungry, or provide other goods or services one might commonly associate with a charity. It’s also not a household name like the Red Cross, but that doesn’t prevent it from having vast influence. According to a new investigation from Sludge, the far-right, evangelical NCF “has donated $56.1 million on behalf of its clients to 23 nonprofits identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups.”

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Washington’s favorite literal war criminal isn’t done in Venezuela

On Dec. 10, 1981, as the U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battalion arrived at the village of El Mozote in El Salvador to slaughter nearly 1,000 civilians, including children, President Ronald Reagan posed for a photo with Elliott Abrams and his parents, wife and son in honor of Human Rights Day. Then the U.S. assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs, Abrams was distinguished in Washington as an expert at lying in the name of freedom.

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The Pentagon doesn't deserve the media's sympathies

It is a sign of our times that our media attempt to decipher future government policy by analyzing the president’s tweets, like some bizarre game of telephone. Throughout November, there was speculation of a coming reduction in military spending, and when Donald Trump took to Twitter (12/3/18) to describe the $716 billion budget as “crazy,” media took this as confirmation.

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There's a progressive case against Beto O'Rourke for POTUS in 2020

Anxious Democrats had barely recovered from their post-midterm election-night hangovers before pundits began breathlessly pontificating over the potential field of 2020 presidential candidates. Democrat Beto O’Rourke lost his Texas Senate race to Republican Ted Cruz, but that didn’t stop multipleoutlets from pondering whether he could run. He enjoys a national profile, a positive message, even punk rock roots, and lost his race by a mere three points, but some progressives aren’t convinced he’s the one to beat Donald Trump, should the president run in 2020.

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Charles Blow: 'Fox & Friends' Is Trump's Real Cabinet

Donald Trump’s official cabinet is a collection of uniquely unqualified and malevolent people. To pick just one example, it’s unconscionable that Betsy DeVos, a woman whose life’s work is destroying public education, has suddenly become responsible for it.

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Arizona Teachers Strike Is the Answer to Years of Tax Cuts and Neglect of Education

Arizona teachers are considering a strike, following the recent West Virginia and now Oklahoma and Kentucky examples, if they don't receive their requested 20 percent pay raise. 

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Paul Krugman: Trump's Supporters Have Voted for Their Own Economic Ruin

The regions of America that elected Donald Trump voted for their own economic destruction. Sure, he campaigned on a promise that he would magically bring back long-closed factories and their long-gone jobs, but as we've learned many times over, that was a lie. 

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Charles Blow: The American Justice System Was Designed to Kill Black Men

Protests erupted in Sacramento and around the country this week after Stephon Clark was killed by police, the latest in what's become a regular occurrence in America. These protests are necessary and even briefly cathartic, but as Charles Blow writes in his Monday column, the relief they provide is overshadowed by an ugly truth: the American justice system is designed to kill people of color.

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'It's Our Time and We Know What to Do': Activists Plan Next Steps After March For Our Lives

Joaquin Oliver loved basketball. So much so, family friend Carol L. Chenkin told AlterNet, that his father, despite not being a huge sports fan, became his team’s coach as a way to bond with his son. On February 14, Joaquin was among the 17 people killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He was buried in Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat’s jersey.

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Paul Krugman Reveals His Darkest Fear About the Republican Party

The GOP is a party of cons, in both senses of the word, writes Paul Krugman in his Thursday column. First, there are four actual convicts running in Republican primaries for the 2018 midterms. One is Don Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy, best known for his role in a 2010 coal mine explosion that left 29 people dead. He went to prison in 2015, but got out in time to run for Senate.

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One of America's Largest Gun Manufacturers Just Declared Bankruptcy

A day after hundreds of thousands of Americans demanded action on gun control at the March for Our Lives rally, one of the country's largest gun manufacturers has filed for bankruptcy. Remington, which has produced the AR-15s used in numerous mass shootings, has announced a "debt-cutting deal with creditors amid mounting public pressure for greater gun control," according to Yahoo Finance.

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5 Wild Revelations From Stormy Daniels' '60 Minutes' Interview

Stormy Daniels is not to be underestimated. A former candidate for Senate in Louisiana, the adult film star and director has proven one of Trump's most effective adversaries since first speaking out about their affair in 2006.

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WATCH: #LessOilMoreWater, Amazon Communities Are Banding Together to Demand Clean Water

As Alexander Zaitchik reported earlier this week, Big Oil has been polluting the usually lush Amazon forests for decades. Oil companies, Zaitchik writes, "spilled billions of barrels of crude and related pollutants in the rivers and forests of the Upper Amazon." It's particularly dire in Ecuador and Peru, where "traditionally abundant groundwater sources—rivers, streams, and lagoons—are contaminated beyond use." 

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Should We Really Be Allowing the Pentagon to Teach Target Practice to Teens on Campus?

On Monday night, Pat Elder taught his usual GED class at Great Hills High School in Maryland. On Tuesday morning, he woke up to the news that his building had been the site of yet another school shooting; just before 8am, a male student with a handgun opened fire, injuring two fellow students and exchanging fire with police officers before being pronounced dead.

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West Virginia Teachers Strike Awakened 'Sleeping Giant' of Labor Activism for Teachers Across the U.S.

West Virginia teachers may have headed back to school after a deal for a 5 percent pay raise, but their recent strike has inspired teachers from other states to fight for better pay, health and retirement benefits and improved working conditions. Noah Karvelis, an Arizona music teacher and organizer for the Facebook group Arizona Educators United, told the website Shadowproof that the West Virginia strike “woke up a sleeping giant” among teachers all over the United States.

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Paul Krugman: Trump Is Weighing Two Calamitous Economic Policies

The GOP hasn’t had many original economic proposals over the last 40 years, preferring instead to resurrect the zombie policies that have decimated the country. One of its favorites is supply-side economics, which as Paul Krugman writes in his Tuesday column, is the “insistence that cutting taxes on the rich reliably produces economic miracles, and conversely that raising taxes on the rich is a recipe for disaster.”

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Charles Blow: The World May Never Trust the U.S. Again

Donald Trump lies because he knows no one will stop him. In a private fundraising dinner earlier this month, he bragged to supporters about deceiving Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his country's trade surplus with the United States: "I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know…I had no idea," America's president boasted, "I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ ”

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Paul Krugman Issues an Ominous Warning in the Wake of Rex Tillerson's Ouster

Donald Trump has nursed petty, personal grudges his entire life. Previously, their impact was limited to his businesses and anyone who had the misfortune of working with him. Now that he's president, he's free to indulge his vindictiveness on the world stage, with some help from his team of enablers. Take his latest attack on the European Union. While announcing the tariffs on steel and aluminum, which could potentially trigger a trade war, our president tweeted that the EU has "horrific barriers & tariffs on U.S. products going in.” 

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Charles Blow: Melania Trump Knew From the Start

The tale of the president and the porn star may seem like a welcome, if tawdry distraction from the ongoing collapse of American democracy, but there's something deeper at work here, warns Charles Blow. No matter how much progress movements like #MeToo can make, they will always be hindered by our misogynist-in-chief.

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'A Redneck Revolution': Takeaways From the West Virginia Teacher Strike

West Virginia teachers returned to the classroom last Thursday after a 13-day strike over low pay and poor health benefits. Governor Jim Justice agreed to a 5 percent pay increase, a critical fix for the state that ranks 48 out of 50 states in teacher compensation.

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Domestic Violence Survivors Tell Visa and MasterCard: Don't Process Assault Weapons Sales

In the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, companies ranging from Delta to Metlife to Hertz car rentals have dropped their rewards programs with the National Rifle Association. Now, women's advocacy organization UltraViolet wants credit card companies like MasterCard and Visa to join the cause by refusing to process transactions involving assault rifles like the AR-15, the weapon of choice for many mass shooters. 

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Paul Krugman: Trump Is Courting Economic Disaster

It used to be much easier to ignore the cousin who posted anti-immigration screeds on Facebook, or the guy in your neighborhood diner ranting about how foreigners have taken all the jobs. It's bad enough having to ignore these people, but as Paul Krugman asks in his Tuesday column, "what if the ranting, ill-informed old guy who strongly believes things that just aren’t true happens to be the president of the United States?" 

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The State Department Hasn't Spent a Cent of the $120 Million Allotted to Fight Election Interference

The 2018 midterm elections are just months away, and American election systems remain vulnerable to attack. But according to a New York Times report, the State Department has yet to spend any of the $120 million allocated since 2016 to protect against interference—including from Russia—in our elections.

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Sen. Tammy Duckworth Doesn't Know If She Can Take Maternity Leave

Whether to take maternity leave—and for how long—is a question all working mothers struggle with, but Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth is in a rare predicament. As the first pregnant sitting senator, Duckworth has no roadmap for the balancing act of serving her country and caring for an infant, she told Politico's Women Rule podcast. 

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Alaska's Republican Congressman Has Some Mind-Melting Thoughts About the Holocaust

Rep. Don Young enjoys drilling for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, tax cuts for billionaires, and arming teachers in order to address school shootings. It's all fairly standard for a Republican in 2018. A Democratic challenger, however, caught Young on tape with a take on the Holocaust that stands out even in an age when the president has announced on national television that a clash between actual Nazis and anti-fascists protesters had "good people on both sides." According to a recording made by Dimitri Shein, Young believes that the Holocaust would have turned out differently if only the Jews had been armed. 

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