Illinois is insolvent, unable to pay its bills. According to Moody’s, the state has $15 billion in unpaid bills and $251 billion in unfunded liabilities. Of these, $119 billion are tied to shortfalls in the state’s pension program. On July 6, 2017, for the first time in two years, the state finally passed a budget, after lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto on raising taxes. But they used massive tax hikes to do it—a 32% increase in state income taxes and 33% increase in state corporate taxes—and still Illinois’ new budget generates only $5 billion, not nearly enough to cover its $15 billion deficit. Continue reading
US President Donald J. Trump, in a step that could embolden Saudi Arabia to move ahead with plans to destabilize Iran, has instructed White House aides to give him the arguments for withholding certification in October that Iran has complied with its nuclear agreement with world powers. Continue reading
In a July 19 audio-taped interview with three reporters from The New York Times, a paper that has been disparaged by strongman President Donald Trump as a failing business reporting “fake news,” Trump had harsh words for the entire upper echelon of the Department of Justice. Trump lambasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the “Russia probe” and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for being a secret Democrat from “Baltimore.” Trump also attacked Special Counsel Robert Mueller, former FBI director James Comey, and acting FBI director Andrew McCabe. Trump made it clear that he would have not chosen Sessions as his Attorney General had he known he would recuse himself from Russian investigatory matters. Continue reading
In early October 2016, Misbah Abu Sbeih left his wife and five children at home and then drove to an Israeli police station in Occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem. Continue reading
A Q&A with author Nancy MacLean about the elusive James McGill Buchanan.
Author Nancy MacLean has unearthed a stealth ideologue of the American right. Her book, “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America,” tells the story of one James McGill Buchanan, a Southern political scientist and father of “public choice economics.” MacLean details how this little-known figure has had a massive impact on the ideology of the far right. None other than Charles Koch looked to MacLean’s theories for inspiration. They are libertarian—but with a twist: bluntly, it “entails restrictions on the freedom of the great majority in order to protect property rights and the prerogatives of the most well off.” MacLean shows how this idea can be traced down through the last 60 years of right-wing politics, starting with Brown v. The Board of Education and continuing with the Koch brothers’ empire. And she demonstrates that those followers and those in thrall to the Koch billions are pumping up their fight under the new administration. Continue reading
Suit filed a day after White House releases commenters' personal information in comments that show hatred for voter commission
As the White House releases 112 pages of colorful comments—and personal information—after it asked for the public to weigh in on its so-called Election Integrity Commission and received an overwhelmingly negative response, a new lawsuit aims to protect voters’ privacy rights by stopping the controversial commission’s sweeping data demand. Continue reading