Archive | Truth-out

The “Alt-Right” Is Building a White Nationalist Mass Movement With “Operation Homeland”

Surrounded by his bodyguards, alt-right leader Richard Spencer answers questions of reporters during a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., June 25, 2017. (Photo: Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Borrowing ideas from the European New Right and “Generation Identity” in France, the “alt-right” is looking to expand a so-called identitarian movement onto US soil. The recently launched “Operation Homeland” project will attempt to recruit young folks on college campuses, beginning in March with an event at Michigan State University.

Surrounded by his bodyguards, alt-right leader Richard Spencer answers questions of reporters during a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, June 25, 2017. (Photo: Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The “alt-right” didn’t really enter the spotlight of mainstream US culture until it dropped back into the gutter. For the first years of its infancy, from the founding of “AlternativeRight.com” in 2010 until the popularization of the #AltRight hashtag in early 2015, members had focused on trying to rehabilitate the image of white nationalism.

A bad public image, terrorist violence, a history of mass genocide and vulgar racism had understandably made white nationalists pariahs, and Richard Spencer, the essential founder of the movement, wanted to wash all that away. Instead, the “alt-right” would take the example of the European New Right and focus on making a pseudo-academic movement that could influence what Spencer identified as “meta-politics” — ideas and identities that are “pre-political.”

It wasn’t until the slew of trolls, podcasters and hashtags flowed into their world that the “alt-right” was able to expand, although it came at the cost of their previous base-building “intellectual” work. Now, their major publications have returned to their white supremacist roots, filled with expletive-laced vitriol toward non-white people.

As the “alt-right” movement tries to move from its online world, which has largely kicked members off of their web platforms and into real-world activism, members are having a tough …read more

Via:: Truthout

      

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The Pentagon Is Using an Environmental Law Meant to Protect Us Against Us

A ground crew member signals to an EA-18G Growler as it returns from a flight during heavy snows at Naval Air Facility Misawa.

A ground crew member signals to an EA-18G Growler as it returns from a flight during heavy snows at Naval Air Facility Misawa. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kenneth G. Takada / US Navy)

The National Environmental Policy Act, a law requiring federal agencies like the Department of Defense (DOD) to assess the environmental effects of proposed actions prior to implementation, has been used instead by the DOD to place millions of US citizens in harm’s way.

A ground crew member signals to an EA-18G Growler as it returns from a flight during heavy snows at Naval Air Facility Misawa.A ground crew member signals to an EA-18G Growler as it returns from a flight during heavy snows at Naval Air Facility Misawa. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kenneth G. Takada / US Navy)

While it has long been known the US military is one of the biggest polluters in the world, the egregious and intentional nature of its actions is less well known.

Canadian researchers recently revealed how an extremely toxic chemical used in US military explosives that the Pentagon has been downplaying for decades has been seeping into surrounding communities for years.

Meanwhile, as Truthout has reported extensively, US Naval warplanes are producing deadly levels of jet noise around airstrips in the Pacific Northwest, despite widespread public outcry.

For years, the Department of Defense has been using the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a 1970 law designed to protect people from harmful environmental …read more

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Tips Are for Servers, Not CEOs

When we give someone a tip, we expect the money will go to the workers who provided us with service.

We might leave a little extra because someone went above and beyond for us. Or because we want that person to have a slightly easier time getting by.

Whatever the circumstance, we trust that the money will help the workers who served us.

But the National Restaurant Association — a group controlled by owners of major restaurant chains — has long been promoting the idea that business owners, not workers, should control the tips we leave.

If they have their way, the Department of Labor will soon let minimum wage employers confiscate all tips left by customers. Business owners would not have to disclose to patrons what happens to tips, and could simply pocket the tips themselves.

This would apply to anyone who receives tips — from the housekeeper who makes up your hotel room, to the valet who parks your car, to the assistant who pushes your wheelchair at the airport.

Overall, women represent two out of three tipped workers.

The NRA’s key leadership includes Olive Garden, IHOP and Applebee’s, Denny’s, Cracker Barrel, Chili’s, and Outback Steakhouse. These companies already have an egregious track record of squeezing workers while inflating CEO pay. If the new rule is finalized, they could use tips to fuel even more stock buybacks and CEO pay hikes.

By doing these companies’ bidding, the Trump administration is poised to make life even harder for restaurant workers and their families. A recent study shows that more than half of hourly earnings for servers and bartenders …read more

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Intra-Party Battles Fuel Primary Spending

Voters still have more than eight months before the 2018 general elections, but some incumbent members of Congress are facing much earlier primary tests from members of their own party.

While these elections might not determine who controls the House and Senate next year, they could shift the ideological balance of power within the two parties.

Here, we explore the money side of some of the earlier contests where the incumbent faces being “primaried.”

Illinois has one of the country’s earliest primaries, and two Illinois congressional races are seeing Democratic incumbents struggle to raise money against primary challengers. In Illinois’ 7th District — which covers downtown Chicago and extends to the western suburbs — incumbent Danny Davis faces Anthony Clark, a high school teacher and local activist. Although neither candidate has raised much money (Davis has raised $189,000, and Clark has raised only $47,000), Clark has raised more money from individual donors both large and small than Davis.

Davis, having represented the district since 1997, has the advantage of a sizable war chest with close to $300,000 cash on hand compared to Clark’s $9,000. Clark is best known as a progressive activist, but Davis isn’t particularly moderate and has previously received the endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America.

The 3rd District faces what appears to be a closer race, certainly as far as money is concerned. The 3rd District shares some borders with the 7th but is more suburban. Businesswoman Marie Newman is challenging Rep. Daniel Lipinski — who originally won the seat thanks to the influence of his father, Rep. William Lipinski — and has outraised him among individual donors. She also has received some money from …read more

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Four Conservative Politicians Facing Major Challenges in the Midterms

Conservatives have a lot to worry about in the upcoming midterms, especially if recent special election results are any indication. But some politicians — both incumbents and challengers — face even more daunting tasks than they may realize when it comes to winning in November.

Here are four conservative politicians who are in major trouble in their local races:

1. Kelli Ward

Tea Party-backed Ward is scrambling hard to try to win a GOP primary against Arizona Rep. Martha McSally — both of whom want to replace retiring Republican Jeff Flake as Senator in 2018. With such strong competition, Ward needs every advantage she can find, which is why having the endorsement of the Arizona Monitor was such good news. Or it was, until it turned out to be “fake news.”

Politico reports:

It looked as if Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward had scored a big endorsement: On Oct. 28, she posted a link on her campaign website and blasted out a Facebook post, quoting extensively from a column in the Arizona Monitor.

There was just one problem: Despite its reputable sounding name, the Arizona Monitor is not a real news site. It is an anonymous, pro-Ward blog that has referred to her primary opponent Martha McSally as “Shifty McSally,” frequently blasted Flake and, at the top of its home page, proclaims its mission as “Striking Fear into the Heart of the Establishment.” The site launched just a few weeks before publishing the endorsement, and its domain registration is hidden, masking the identity of its owner. On its Facebook page, it is classified as a news site, but scant other information is offered.

Too be fair though, it’s probably no less legitimate than Breitbart.

2. Marsha Blackburn

In Arizona, Republicans are trying to …read more

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Five Activism Suggestions That Worked: When Your Representatives Don't Listen

Nearly every Friday since Trump took office, constituents of longtime Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) took time out of their busy lives to visit his Morristown, New Jersey office to encourage him to protect Obamacare, to vote no on a GOP tax plan, and most importantly, to hold a town hall meeting (which it seemed like he bent over backward to avoid). Members of this tireless group, NJ 11th for Change, a branch of the Indivisible movement, never did get that town hall, but their tenacity may have landed them something better: his retirement.

Frelinghuysen, who served as the chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, announced recently that he would not seek reelection in New Jersey’s 11th congressional district. He is the eighth long-serving Republican to call it quits in the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections, and the second in the last week, after Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania. Unlike Meehan, and fellow retiree Blake Farenthold, sexual harassment allegations didn’t push Frelinghuysen out the door. It was activism.

“Frelinghuysen won his last election by 19 points, but by this November, his race had been called a tossup,” Elizabeth Juviler, a co-executive director of NJ 11th for Change, told AlterNet. “That was the power of people’s voices in a classically democratic process. People spoke up, they were heard, and our institutions and government are changing as a result. It’s a shame that Frelinghuysen refused to hear our voices until it was too late for him.”

The group started in 2016, and in January 2017, Fridays Without Frelinghuysen, as their visits to his office became known, gained the …read more

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A Note to Media: Don't Tell Us Republicans Care About Deficits

President Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence arrive to speak about newly passed tax reform legislation during an event December 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images)

Republicans do not act like people who are concerned about budget deficits. Given the opportunity, they pursue policies that increase budget deficits. This is not just true in the present; it was also true when George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan were in the White House.

President Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence arrive to speak about newly passed tax reform legislation during an event December 20, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images)

Most Republicans in Congress, along with the Republican president, supported tax cuts and increased spending, consequently raising the projected deficits for 2018 and 2019 by nearly $380 billion a year. This is an increase of almost 2 percent of GDP — roughly the size of the stimulus pushed through by Barack Obama at the trough of the recession in 2009. That’s real money.

There are grounds on which the merits of the tax cuts can be debated, although it does seem hard to justify giving still more money to the country’s richest people. There are also arguments for the spending — although the increases for the military, which got the majority of the additional spending, may be hard to justify.

But one thing is not debatable. The Republicans who supported this tax cut and additional spending do not place a priority on deficit reduction and balanced budgets.

While this deduction should be obvious, sort of like Kim Jong-un not being a big promoter of human rights, many in the media feel the need to tell us the opposite. There is a never-ending flow of articles telling us about how Republicans feel the “urgency” to reduce the deficit, or that they are not concerned about deficits created by the …read more

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How Trump's Medicaid Restrictions Will Stop People From Voting

Voting booths. (Photo: Andrew Cline / Shutterstock.com)

(Photo: Andrew Cline / Shutterstock.com)

This article was published by TalkPoverty.org.

The Trump administration released its fiscal year 2019 budget, and it doubles down on what the administration has already been doing to undermine Medicaid — including more than $300 billion in cuts to the program and a call to take health insurance from those who can’t find a job.

Last month, the administration began testing these policies at the state level. On January 11th, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) announced that states can now compel low-income people who rely on Medicaid to meet “work and community engagement requirements” in order to keep their health insurance. Within a day of making this announcement, CMS approved Kentucky’s plan to implement such requirements. The plan strips Medicaid coverage from most adults who fail to comply, including those who do not complete paperwork on time or report “changes in circumstances” quickly enough.

All told, Gov. Matt Bevin’s office estimates that around 350,000 Kentucky residents will be subject to the new requirements and 95,000 will likely lose their Medicaid benefits. But once those people are booted from the program, Kentucky is giving them a chance to get it back: through “a financial or health literacy course.”

Of course, this is not the first time that Americans have been required to meet economic standards or pass a literacy test to exercise their rights. Discriminatorily applied literacy tests, known for their impossible difficulty, were administered by election officials who were given immense discretion over who to test, what to ask, and how to assess the answers when (mostly black) citizens attempted to vote. Similarly, extractive poll taxes disenfranchised poor black populations (and sometimes poor whites) from the end of …read more

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“Violence Is in the DNA of American Society”: Henry Giroux on Gun Violence and Administration Agendas

Donald Trump holds up a replica flintlock rifle awarded him by cadets during the Republican Society Patriot Dinner at the Citadel Military College on February 22, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo: Richard Ellis / Getty Images)

Donald Trump holds up a replica flintlock rifle awarded him by cadets during the Republican Society Patriot Dinner at the Citadel Military College on February 22, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo: Richard Ellis / Getty Images)

How should we think about the recent gun violence in Parkland, Florida? How do we understand the ascent of Donald Trump as part of a longer trend? What does the coming administration portend? And what is the way forward? Allen Ruff is in conversation with radical social critic and educator Henry Giroux.

To read more articles by Henry A. Giroux and other authors in the Public Intellectual Project, click here.

In this interview, Giroux discusses his recent Truthout article, “The Ghost of Fascism in the Age of Trump,” and how the corporate media influence US society. Giroux also argues that the US does not have a democracy in crisis, but rather a democracy that has disappeared.

…read more

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“The US's Culture of Violence Contributes to the Sanctification of the Second Amendment”: An Interview With Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

A gun display showing the Statue of Liberty holding a pistol is seen at a National Rifle Association outdoor sports trade show on February 10, 2017 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Second Amendment was born of slave patrols and militia massacres of Indigenous people. (Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP / Getty Images)

A gun display showing the Statue of Liberty holding a pistol is seen at a National Rifle Association outdoor sports trade show on February 10, 2017, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Second Amendment was born of slave patrols and militia massacres of Indigenous people. (Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP / Getty Images)

The Second Amendment had little utility while white supremacy reigned, says Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of Loaded. It was only in the post-World War II era — with the rise of the Black, Indigenous and Mexican freedom movements — did white nationalists, including state and local officials, being using it as a legal tool to preserve or restore white dominance.

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