Author Archives: Kristin Miller

Jeff Sessions is bringing back civil forfeiture with a bang

Here's how the police can take your assets even if you haven't been convicted of a crime.

In mid-July, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a policy rollback that’s getting criticism from both sides of the aisle, and the center, too. As The Washington Post notes undoing this Obama-administration policy is a big deal—and means big money. Continue reading

Where have all those great infrastructure jobs gone?

The Trump administration has scrapped an Obama-era local hiring plan for public works.

Remember back in the heady days of the campaign when then-candidate Donald Trump promised to create 25 million jobs with his economic plan? Many of these jobs were to come from a massive reboot to American infrastructure. He promised a 10-year, trillion-dollar program that would solve many of America’s aging infrastructure woes as well as add new, better jobs for millions of American workers. The promise actually had some bipartisan appeal—both sides of the aisle acknowledge the poor state of our roads, bridges and rails and obviously support job creation. But, of course, any plan does require congressional backing. Trump soon created a White House advisory group, the Council on Infrastructure, populated with both practiced politicians and industry bigwigs to help with the initiative. Continue reading

‘The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America’

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