Author Archives: Jake Johnson

In private meeting, Facebook exec warns news outlets to cooperate or end up dying in ‘hospice’

‘Anyone who does care about news needs to understand Facebook as a fundamental threat.’

During a closed-door and off-the-record meeting last week, top Facebook executive Campbell Brown reportedly warned news publishers that refusal to cooperate with the tech behemoth’s efforts to “revitalize journalism” will leave media outlets dying “like in a hospice.” Continue reading

‘Big win for the public’: The awful Tribune-Sinclair merger is dead

In a huge win for everyone concerned about the devastating effects corporate consolidation has on local media outlets and independent journalism, Tribune Media announced on Thursday that it is terminating its proposed $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group and suing the right-wing media giant for “breach of contract.” Continue reading

Koch-funded hit piece backfires: Shows Medicare for All Would save ‘whopping $2 trillion’ over ten years while covering everybody

If the billionaire Koch brothers really want to undermine the economic case for Medicare for All, they have a funny way of showing it. Continue reading

139 House Democrats join GOP to approve $717 billion in military spending

With the help of 139 Democrats, the House of Representatives on Thursday easily rammed through the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which—if it passes the Senate—will hand President Donald Trump $717 billion in military spending. Continue reading

White House reviewing plan by ‘deregulatory zealots’ to relax child labor laws

As part of its broad and relentless effort to roll back longstanding workplace safety regulations that have drastically reduced on-the-job injuries and deaths over the past several decades, President Donald Trump’s Department of Labor (DOL) has officially sent the White House a proposal to allow teenagers to “spend full days operating chainsaws and meat slicers and working in other dangerous occupations.” Continue reading

Israel’s solution to global condemnation of war crimes? Punish anyone who documents them

Israel’s right-wing government has apparently decided that the best way to stop global criticism of its flagrant human rights violations against the Palestinian people is not to stop committing them, but to silence and punish anyone who attempts to document its crimes. Continue reading

Despite right-wing fearmongering, experts say now is the time to expand Social Security

As corporate media outlets predictably trumpeted the right-wing narrative that Social Security is in dire financial straits after the Social Security Trustees’ annual report was released on Tuesday, advocacy groups and experts were quick to denounce the fearmongering and correct the record, arguing that the new analysis shows the program is “stronger than ever.” Continue reading

This is what it sounds like when a very powerful Democrat tries to force a progressive out of a primary fight

‘They squash progressive candidates,’ said Levi Tillemann, a Democratic candidate in Colorado, who was urged by Rep. Steny Hoyer and the DCCC to end his campaign

People have long known these kinds of conversations take place, but rarely is the regular voter allowed to hear exactly how it goes down. Continue reading

NYT editor insists the paper has no ideology . . . except being ‘pro-capitalism’

According to the newly leaked transcript of a New York Times staff meeting last year, editorial page editor James Bennet wants his employees and the public to believe that the paper of record is dedicated to open debate, not committed to any particular ideology, and opposed to “simply assert[ing] that we know what the right answers are.” Oh, except when it comes to one small matter: capitalism. Continue reading

Demanding ‘fundamental restructuring of the economy,’ progressives embrace bold new agenda

Arguing that only a positive and truly transformative economic agenda will be sufficient to overcome the Republican congressional majority and President Donald Trump, scores of progressive leaders this week endorsed a bold 11-point platform that calls for Medicare for All, tough Wall Street regulation, and a ban on corporate money in elections. Continue reading

‘Some may freeze to death’: Sanders confronts Mulvaney over Trump Budget that would kill ‘tens of thousands’

The Vermont senator demanded that the White House budget chief explain "the morality of a budget which supports tax breaks for billionaires" while slashing the safety net

Just 24 hours after denouncing President Donald Trump’s newly-unveiled budget as “morally bankrupt,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took full advantage of his chance to grill Trump budget chief Mick Mulvaney directly during a Senate hearing on Tuesday, calling the White House’s 2019 blueprint “the budget of the Koch brothers” and arguing thousands would die if the plan became law. Continue reading

McConnell is happy about tax cuts, but even happier about stuffing judiciary with right-wingers

The Senate majority leader loves giving tax cuts to the rich, but not as much as he loves stacking the courts with right-wing extremists

Even while riding the high of his party’s dead-of-night tax victory, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) still wouldn’t call the GOP’s $1.5 trillion “gift to the rich” the crowning achievement of his career. That honor, McConnell told Bloomberg in an interview, remains with “Neil Gorsuch and the changes we’re making in the circuit courts.” Continue reading

In ‘blow to American consumers,’ Trump-appointed judge sides with Trump on CFPB

"Who knows what deep damage Mulvaney will do until the D.C. Circuit can right this wrong."

A Trump-appointed federal judge delivered a “blow to American consumers” on Tuesday by denying Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) deputy director Leandra English’s request for a temporary restraining order, which would have prevented Trump budget chief Mick Mulvaney from becoming the CFPB’s acting director. Continue reading

‘Worse than one could imagine’: Commissioner decries FCC chair’s attack on net neutrality

In an effort to combat the “mountain of lies” FCC chair Ajit Pai has deployed to justify his newly released plan to kill net neutrality, Democratic FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn unveiled a fact sheet (pdf) on Wednesday aimed at helping Americans understand that Pai’s proposals are “worse than one could imagine” and highlighting their life-or-death implications for the open The fact sheet, an easily digestible two pages in length, runs through a series of commonly asked and frequently confusing questions surrounding net neutrality: what it is, why it’s important, and how Pai’s plan would affect the web. Continue reading

Three richest Americans now own more wealth than bottom half of us combined: report

"The elite ranks of our billionaire class continue to pull apart from the rest of us," a new Institute for Policy study analysis finds

In the United States, the 400 richest individuals now own more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of the population and the three richest own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent, while pervasive poverty means one in five households have zero or negative net worth. Continue reading

Fears of radiation leak soar after North Korea nuclear site collapse kills 200

The disaster is believed to have resulted from Pyongyang's hydrogen bomb test, which sparked earthquakes and landslides

Experts are issuing urgent warnings of a possible radiation leak following the collapse of a tunnel at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, an accident that reportedly killed at least 200 people. Continue reading

Flying under radar of Trump chaos, GOP set to confirm slew of ‘extremist’ judges

‘These nominees' collective records reveal the disturbing truth that this administration does not just tolerate radical anti-equality views among its judicial nominees, but requires them.’

In an under-discussed push to “reshape the courts in Donald Trump’s image for decades to come,” the Senate this week is quietly gearing up to confirm a slew of federal judges who critics say have records littered with “breathtaking hostility toward civil rights and equal justice.” Continue reading

White House places all blame for ‘astonishingly corrupt’ Whitefish contract on Puerto Rico

Advocacy groups are calling for the deal to be cancelled and congressional Democrats are demanding an investigation

Amid growing outrage over the “astonishingly corrupt” $300 million no-bid contract given to Whitefish Energy to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical grid, the Trump White House on Friday denied that the federal government had “any role” in crafting the agreement and placed all responsibility for the deal on shoulders of local Puerto Rican officials—despite language in the contract saying the Federal Emergency Management Agency “reviewed and approved” the agreement. Continue reading

As Trump ‘hysterics’ continue, US moves to put nuclear B-52s on 24-hour alert

The Air Force's steps to prepare nuke-armed bombers to ‘take off at a moment's notice’ are unnecessary and reckless, critics said

As President Donald Trump continues to ratchet up tensions between the United States and North Korea through saber-rattling on Twitter and in television interviews, the U.S. has quietly begun preparing to put nuclear-armed B-52 bombers on “24-hour ready alert,” a status not seen since the end of the Cold War. Continue reading

Trump revives notorious GOP dog whistle in call for ‘welfare reform’

Like Reagan before him, Trump is deploying the infamous ‘welfare queen’ myth to justify shredding the safety net

Rehashing a notorious Republican Party trope that accuses some Americans of cheating safety net programs, President Donald Trump on Monday said his administration is looking “very, very strongly” at “welfare reform.” Continue reading

Bolstering case for impeachment, study concludes Trump ‘likely obstructed justice’

A detailed analysis finds ‘substantial’ evidence to support claims that Trump attempted to undermine an ongoing investigation by firing former FBI director James Comey

In a new study aimed at collecting and analyzing all of the relevant facts surrounding President Donald Trump’s legally questionable conduct in office—particularly his firing of former FBI director James Comey—three lawyers conclude it is “likely” that Trump has obstructed justice, and that whether he is held accountable for his actions “will have significant consequences for the functioning of our democracy.” Continue reading

Alarm sounded over Trump’s ‘little noticed’ push to undermine food safety

In what critics are describing as a move to prioritize exports over public health, the Trump administration is quietly planning to transfer work on international food safety standards from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) health arm to its brand new trade arm, which is supervised by former animal-drug industry executive Ted McKinney. Continue reading

Media largely ‘blind’ to Harvey’s devastating impact on poor communities

Texas’s minority and low-income communities have been disproportionately harmed by Hurricane Harvey, but you wouldn’t know it from following the coverage of America’s mainstream media outlets. Continue reading

Harvey triggers ‘unbearable’ pollution as refineries spew cancer-causing chemicals

‘Air pollution is one of the unseen dangers of the storm.’

As the catastrophic flooding brought about by Hurricane Harvey continues to devastate Texas, reports of “unbearable” smells are beginning to emerge from the state, sparking growing concerns of the long-term health effects that could result from toxic waste and fumes being spewed from temporarily closed oil refineries. Continue reading

‘Swamp’s doing fine’: Amid White House turmoil, Trump cozies up to right-wing donors

Billionaires Robert Mercer, Joseph Craft, and Diane Hendricks all dined with Trump last week

His party is publicly rebuking him, corporate executives are rushing to distance themselves from his administration to safeguard their own reputations, and rumors of more White House departures are swirling after Chief Strategist Steve Bannon’s ouster. But it appears that President Donald Trump can still count on one bedrock of stability: major right-wing donors. Continue reading

Psychiatric group tells members it’s ok to break silence on Trump’s bizarre behavior

Easing ‘gag order’ on public diagnosis, professional association entrusts mental health experts to use their ‘knowledge responsibly’

As President Donald Trump continues to behave bizarrely and erratically—attacking his own attorney general, launching into a political tirade during a speech to Boy Scouts, bringing his 11-year-old son into the burgeoning Russia controversy—a professional association of psychoanalysts is telling its members to drop the so-called Goldwater rule and comment publicly on the president’s state of mind if they find reason to do so. Continue reading

Trump: I will defend Medicaid. Also Trump: I support bill that destroys Medicaid.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in an off-camera briefing on Friday that President Donald Trump remains “committed” to protecting recipients of Medicaid, a program he repeatedly vowed not to cut during his presidential campaign. Continue reading

Since Trump’s election, 20 states have moved to criminalize dissent

In what is being called the “biggest protest crackdown since the Civil Rights Era,” Republicans in at least 20 states have put forward or passed laws with the intention of making protest more difficult and the punishment for expressing dissent more draconian since President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January. Continue reading

Amid Trump chaos, Republicans keep their eyes on the big prize: the courts

‘Control the Supreme Court, stack the judiciary, and you can stop the progressive movement . . . for decades,’ Corey Robin wrote

While the Trump administration remains embroiled in scandals of its own making and continues to blunder forward seemingly without direction, Republicans have their collective gaze fixed on a prize they have coveted for years: complete domination of the judiciary. Continue reading

‘Literal colonialism’: Blackwater founder calls for ‘American viceroy’ to rule Afghanistan

Given Prince's past connections to Trump, his recommendations could have some measure of influence

Displaying what one commentator called “sheer 19th century bloodlust and thirst for empire,” Erik Prince, founder of the private mercenary firm Blackwater, argued in The Wall Street Journal this week that the United States should deploy an “East India Company approach” in Afghanistan. Continue reading