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Why Are the D.C. Dems Attacking a Progressive Candidate for Congress in Texas?

February 27, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

Is the attack a sign of what awaits other progressives running for Congress in 2018?

The Democratic Party’s internal civil war is continuing in Texas.  

In the first primary elections of 2018, Washington-based operatives overseeing its congressional campaigns have taken the unusual step of publicly trashing a progressive newcomer, Laura Moser, one of seven candidates running in Texas’ seventh House district representing parts of Houston.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) did so by posting a negative endorsement—opposition research usually used to discourage an opponent’s supporters—on its website, characterizing Moser as an opportunist who would lose to the Republican incumbent in the fall. It cited a tongue-and-cheek article Moser wrote for the Washingtonian, a D.C. publication, where she lived before returning to her home state to run. In it, Moser chided people complaining about Washington, joking that she would “rather have my teeth pulled out without anesthesia” than move back to Paris, Texas (where her grandparents lived; she's from Houston). The DCCC also said her husband’s Washington-based political consulting firm was making money off her race.

The attack roused progressive groups to rally behind Moser, an ex-freelance journalist, who, after Donald Trump won the presidency, created Daily Action, a text-messaging program giving frustrated people a task to do each day. Since the DCCC’s post surfaced Thursday, Moser has raised $86,700 from 4,515 people in every state, with one-sixth coming from Houston, her press secretary, Freeland Ellis, said Monday. The campaign also crossed the 1,000-person volunteer threshold, the Texas Tribune reported. Taken together, Moser’s campaign has become a progressive rallying cry, somewhat akin to 2017’s candidacy of Jon Ossoff in George’s sixth House district (which Ossoff narrowly lost after a runoff). At its heart, the fight pits new progressive blood against centrist party insiders.

“Why would the DCCC do such an awful thing to a strong Democratic candidate in a critical race? There are many possible reasons, but one likely reason could be that Laura Moser stood up to the DCCC last summer in support of abortion rights,” Democracy For America Chair Jim Dean said in another email, referring to a Vogue article she wrote in August. “When …read more


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6 States Where Voters Could Push Democracy Forward in the Midterms

February 27, 2018 in Blogs

By Kevon Paynter, YES! Magazine

From raising the minimum wage to enacting police reforms, here are ballot initiatives progressives should watch in 2018.

The 2018 midterm elections in November present a real chance for Democrats to regain control of the U.S. House, Senate, and many state legislatures. Yet choosing newly elected officials won’t be the only important items on the ballot. In at least six states, American voters have the chance to directly enact legislation that would curb corporate lobbyist influence, raise the minimum wage, enact police reforms, or restore voting rights.

California was the first state to enact an initiative process in 1911, at the time in reaction to the unchecked power of the railroad barons. Now 11 states allow citizens to bypass state legislatures and enact laws directly.

“That history is extremely relevant today as progressives find themselves with state governments that have been bought by conservative-corporate billionaires types—the Koch Brothers,” says Justine Sarver, executive director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center. “How do we have a proactive, hopeful, equitable strategy for the ballot that builds each election cycle and develops the narrative of what we care about?”

Sarver says her group will support measures in the next election cycle that address economic inequalities and expand access to democracy. Here are six state ballot initiative progressives should watch in 2018.

De-escalating Washington state

A coalition of Washington state residents called De-Escalate Washington believes racial bias and inadequate training are frequent and dangerous determinants of how and when police use deadly force. Initiative 940 would require that police use deadly force only when it is unavoidable and a last resort. It would require every law enforcement officer in the state to receive violence de-escalation, mental health, and first aid training, and would establish officer duty to apply first aid to save lives at the earliest opportunity.

De-Escalate Washington has been working for two years on statewide policing standards, but the initiative was underscored by the fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old African American pregnant mother of four killed by police in June. Lyles, who was struggling with mental health issues, called the police to report a home burglary, …read more


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As Student Outrage Builds, Gun Manufacturers Continue Targeting 'Next Generation of Shooters'

February 27, 2018 in Blogs

By Amy Goodman, Juan González, Democracy Now!

Gun manufacturers market to young people through magazines like Junior Shooters.

In Parkland, Florida, students returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Sunday afternoon for the first time inside their school since February 14, when a 19-year-old former student named Nikolas Cruz walked into the school and opened fire with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, killing 17 people. This comes as lawmakers return to Capitol Hill today after a one-week vacation. Congress is facing massive pressure to pass gun control measures amid the rise of an unprecedented youth movement, led by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who survived the mass shooting. President Trump has reiterated his calls to arm teachers with concealed weapons. For more, we speak with The Intercept’s investigative reporter Lee Fang, whose recent piece is entitled “Even as a Student Movement Rises, Gun Manufacturers Are Targeting Young People.”


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In Parkland, Florida, students returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Sunday afternoon. It was their first time inside their school since February 14, when a 19-year-old former student, Nikolas Cruz, walked into the school and opened fire with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, killing 17 people. The students’ return is part of what school officials are calling a phased reopening of the school.

This comes as lawmakers return to Capitol Hill today after a vacation. Congress is facing massive pressure to pass gun control measures amidst the rise of an unprecedented youth movement, led by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who survived the mass shooting.

Meanwhile, President Trump has reiterated his calls to arm teachers with concealed weapons. This is Trump speaking at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, on Friday.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The beauty is, it’s concealed. Nobody would ever see it, unless they needed it. It’s concealed! So this crazy man who walked in wouldn’t even know who it is that has it. That’s good. That’s not bad, that’s good. And a teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened. They love their students. They love those students, folks. Remember that.

AMY GOODMAN: According …read more


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Top 11 Biggest Lies of the Junk Food Industry

February 27, 2018 in Blogs

By Kris Gunnars, Authority Nutrition

Junk food companies are willing to sacrifice children's health for profit.

There is no decency in the way junk food companies do their marketing.

All they care about is profit and they seem willing to sacrifice even children’s health for their own monetary gain.

Here are the top 11 biggest lies of the junk food industry.

1. Low-Fat or Fat-Free

One of the side effects of the “war” on fat was a plethora of processed products with reduced amounts of fat.

These products typically have labels saying “low-fat,” “reduced fat” or “fat-free.”

The problem is that most of these products are not healthy at all.

Foods that have had the fat removed from them typically do not taste as good as the full-fat versions. Few people want to eat them.

For this reason, food producers load these products with added sugar and other additives (1).

It is now known that fat has been unfairly demonized while growing evidence has been revealing the dangers of added sugar.

What this means is that “low-fat” foods are usually much worse than their “regular” counterparts.

SUMMARY: If a product has the words “low-fat” or anything similar on the label, it probably contains added sweeteners. Keep in mind that these processed foods are not necessarily a healthy choice.

2. Trans Fat-Free

Processed foods often have “trans fat-free” on the label. This doesn't necessarily have to be true.

As long as a product contains fewer than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving, they are allowed to put this on the label (2).

Make sure to check the ingredients list. If the word “hydrogenated” appears anywhere on the label, then it contains trans fats.

It's actually not uncommon to find hydrogenated fats in products that are labeled trans fat-free.

SUMMARY: Avoid everything that contains the word “hydrogenated.” Food products labeled trans fat-free may actually contain up to 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.

3. Includes Whole Grains

Over the past few decades, consumers have been led to believe that whole grains are among the healthiest foods they can eat.

I agree 100% that whole grains are better than refined grains, although there is no evidence that eating whole grains is healthier than …read more


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See the Unseen: How to View the World like an Economist

February 27, 2018 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

Have you ever wondered why economists hold seemingly
counter-intuitive opinions on issue after issue?

It certainly perturbs friends (and my girlfriend in particular).
To the non-economist, those of us trained in the dismal science
have a frustrating, sometimes inhuman, ability to detach ourselves
from emotive arguments, all the while trying to poke holes in
popular ideas.

Where does this desensitisation come from?

The best answer was articulated by Russ Roberts on Twitter last
week, and originates from an under-appreciated nineteenth century
French economist called Frederic Bastiat.

Using the example of a broken window, Bastiat pointed out that
with most actions, there is a first order consequence —
something directly observable or “seen”. When a window
is smashed, a glazier comes to repair it. We may observe this, and
in isolation identify this activity as “good” for the

Have you ever wondered
why economists hold seemingly counter-intuitive opinions on issue
after issue?

Yet too often human beings ignore the “unseen”
— the opportunities foregone, and the likely long-term
consequences of a choice. “If he had not had a window to
replace,” Bastiat explained, “he would, perhaps, have
replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his
library.” To finance the repair of a broken window, the
window’s owner cannot use his money in other ways, which
he’d no doubt prefer.

This distinction between the “seen” and
“unseen” may seem obvious. But example after example,
particularly in political discourse, shows how it strains our human
instinct to weigh up alternatives or consider unintended

Remember when the coalition government’s policy of
“free” school meals for five to seven year-olds was
announced in 2013?

Campaign groups rallied to praise the £600m commitment, claiming
it would enhance educational attainment, based upon results from
narrow pilot schemes. It was only economists who seemed to question
whether this spending really obtained the best bang for the buck to
increase attainment, or whether the money could be better used in
other departments — or even, heaven forfend, be left with

Similar narrow thinking dominates the debate around the customs

Commentators talk about the potential costs for existing
businesses of complying with rules of origin tests and other
administrative requirements if we leave.

Yet few ever quantify exactly how significant a problem this is.
It seems to be taken as given that any new costs are reason enough
to either resist leaving or reach some extensive new customs
arrangement. Few weight these costs against the potential upsides
stemming from an independent tariff and commercial trade

The great thing about economics is that, once you get it drummed
into you that (as the great Thomas Sowell once said) “there
are no solutions, only trade-offs”, you …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Frederick Douglass Was His Own Man

February 27, 2018 in Economics

By Timothy Sandefur

Timothy Sandefur

Whom does Frederick Douglass belong to? The question suggests
its own answer: Douglass belonged to himself, having escaped from
slavery at the age of 20 and vindicating his right to freedom for
the remainder of his long life. He was not someone else’s
man, but his own: he was a free individual.

In today’s culture wars, unfortunately, that’s not
quite enough. Pervasive identity politics and fashionable
“social justice” concepts, including the insidious
notion of “appropriation,” have transformed American
history and culture into a battle zone defined by political lines.
And even worse, those lines are drawn in the most naïve and
simplistic manner — in terms of partisanship where nobody but
Republicans and Democrats are even acknowledged to exist.

Douglass was a classical
liberal — today called a libertarian — who believed
that government’s proper role was to free people to pursue
happiness on their own terms.

A good example of this cartoonish partisanship appeared in the
New York Times recently, when Yale professor David Blight

new biography
of Frederick Douglass for seeking to
“co-opt” Douglass and for “cherry-pick[ing] his
words to advance [my] narrow vision of libertarianism.” This
is wrong, Blight insists, because Douglass was not really the
individualist that he himself claimed to be. “Without many
people,” writes Blight, “especially women (his
grandmother, two wives, a daughter and countless abolitionist women
who supported his career) as well as male mentors, both white and
black, he would not have survived and become Douglass.”

That’s certainly true, and Douglass often said so. In his
famous celebration of “Self-Made
— his most popular lecture, and one he
delivered scores of times in the last half of his life —
Douglass began by noting that “Properly speaking, there are
in the world no such men as self-made men…. It must in truth be
said, though it may not accord well with self-conscious
individuality and self-conceit, that no possible native force of
character, and no depth of wealth and originality, can lift a man
into absolute independence of his fellowmen.”

Yet Douglass also saw that this did not vitiate the honor of
those distinctive individuals who overcome obstacles and make
something special of themselves without having the advantages of
birth and wealth. These were the “self-made men” that
Douglass defined as people “who are not brought up but who
are obliged to come up…[who] are in a peculiar sense, indebted to
themselves for themselves…. If they have ascended high, they have
built their own ladder.”

A fierce individualist, Douglass emphasized that nothing could
give people freedom—they had to claim it for themselves, and
they had to do …read more

Source: OP-EDS