Category Archives: Bob Lord

No, Trump Did NOT Misspeak in Helsinki

This isn’t hard.

Trump categorically was lying when he said he misspoke in Helsinki.

According to Trump, he meant to say “wouldn’t” when he actually said “would” in the following passage.

I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server.

If you believe Trump, that simple change would convert the statement from expressing skepticism of Russian interference in the 2016 election, to not seeing any other possible culprits (you know, like China, or the 400 pound guy on his bed to whom Trump has referred, or whoever he had in his mind when he wrapped up his “clarification” Tuesday by saying “Could be other people also. There’s a lot of people out there.”).

The trouble with Trump’s reconciliation is that it’s flat-out irreconcilable with the remainder of his remarks.  Continue reading

How to Level the Playing Field for Workers — Even with Unions Hurting

A federal jobs and income guarantee could protect workers the way unions once did.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Janus vs. AFSCME dealt organized labor, already on its heels, a crushing blow. Public employees who choose not to join unions now cannot be required to pay so-called “fair share” fees to compensate unions for the cost of representing them in wage and benefit negotiations.

With only 6.5 percent of private sector workers unionized, teachers, firefighters, and other public employee unions have been the bulwark of organized labor in recent years. Over a third of government workers are unionized, but that will likely head south in the wake of Janus.

Absent a union, an individual employee negotiating against a large employer is powerless. If the employer and worker don’t agree to terms, the employer loses one worker out of many, while the employee’s children go hungry. Guess who wins? Continue reading

Five Powerful Families

[Cross-posted from Inequality.org]

We’ve reached the point where a handful of extraordinarily wealthy clans essentially have the power to suffocate our democracy.

Five powerful families? Is this about the mafia? No, for these five families, it’s not la cosa nostra, “the thing of ours.” Rather, it’s la cupidigia nostra, “the greed of ours.”

And it’s their greed that’s killing our democracy.

Six hundred billion dollars approximately equals the budget for the United States Department of Defense for an entire year — enough to pay, feed, and house over 1,000,000 active duty service personnel and 800,000 reservists, operate close to 1,000 military bases, pay 750,000 civilian personnel, and fund all military equipment purchases.

That $600 billion also equals the combined wealth now hoarded by just five American families — specifically, the Walton, Bezos, Koch, Gates, and Mars clans. The Walton family alone has a combined net worth estimated at $150 billion. The poorest of the five families, the heirs of the Mars candy fortune, hold about $90 billion.

What happens when we let just five families in a society of over 325 million hoard that much wealth? Society suffers.

Continue reading

Rodney the Ungood

[cross-posted from Pima Liberator]

By Joel Feinman

Note to BfAZ readers: In the annals of political takedown pieces in Arizona, this piece should have a secure place. Upon reading it, I emailed the author, Joel Feinman, and asked if I could share. And the target, Rodney Glassman, is so deserving. Those of you with sizable social media followings, please share.

“Oh, he’s a wondrous talker and has the power / To tell you nothing hour after hour / If, by mistake, he ever came to the point / The shock would put his jawbone out of joint” – Molière, The Misanthrope

American politics has vomited up some truly repellent characters as of late, but few are as soulless as Arizona Corporation Commission candidate Rodney Glassman. Trying to explain who and what Rodney is to people who have never heard of him can be challenging. A polite commentator might describe Rodney as a lawyer with a colorful past, who has been active in Arizona politics for many years as a Democrat and now as Republican. Others who are less polite and more judgmental could describe him as a supremely egotistical and morally corrupt individual, who would join any party and advocate for any cause, as long as doing so would advance his political career by the radius of a single electron. Continue reading

The Democratic Dilemma

The Facebook fights are raging these days.

Democratic loyalists fall into two strategy camps: progressive and old school. The progressive camp believes in the power of unabashedly progressive candidates, fueled largely by small-dollar donations and shoe leather, to inspire thousands of new voters from the ranks of those demographics whose participation rates have lagged those of older white Americans. The old school camp, fueled largely by major donors and establishment political operations, believes in the Bill Clinton recipe of winning the votes of supposedly centrist white voters, including suburban pro-choice women and the “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” crowd.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with either strategy. Each has its own logic. Each has had its victories.

The dilemma is that the two strategies are nearly always competitive and almost never synergistic. Hillary Clinton whiffed badly with millennials, for example. But how would Bernie Sanders have done with the country club crowd?

Is it possible for the two strategies to work together? Continue reading

Congress Made it Harder to Give Teachers Raises

Distributed via OtherWords.org

[Note to readers: Due to technical difficulties, I’ve not been able to post for awhile, but the problem seems corrected. This is a piece I had published at our free syndication service. OtherWords.org, two weeks ago, for those who’ve not seen it elsewhere]

In just a few months, we’ve seen teachers in five states walk out of the classroom to protest their abysmal pay.

Stingy state budgets are mostly to blame for low teacher pay and poor school conditions, but there’s a federal tax connection, too. Unfortunately, last year’s Republican tax plan could make keeping good teachers in the classroom more difficult than ever.

Raising teacher pay requires money, which at some point requires new state tax revenue.

Now, most state taxpayers will tolerate tax increases when they know those taxes will fund education. But in many places, state lawmakers have only so much room to raise taxes before voters express their displeasure come election time.

The jam state governments may find themselves in is that Trump and his Republican friends in Congress effectively just increased state income and property taxes. A lot. Which means voters won’t be too keen to see another increase so soon.

How can Congress increase state taxes? By increasing the real cost of state taxes people already pay, that’s how. Continue reading