political reforms

President Trump’s tax plan will really help taxpayer Trump

  • President Donald Trump on Wednesday unveiled a proposal for what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the “the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country” — a plan that could save the president tens of millions of dollars.
  • The plan — which would cut the business tax rate to 15% — would apply both to companies that pay the 35% corporate tax and “pass-through” companies that are currently taxed at up to 39.6% (such as the Trump Organization).
  • Trump is likely taxed at the top rate of 39.6% on his earnings. This means Trump would directly benefit from his own plan, with his tax rate potentially being slashed by more than half. Read more
  • The plan would also repeal the estate tax, which the Trump administration ominously dubbed the “death tax.”
  • The estate tax only affects the very wealthy. It taxes the estate of a deceased person, but only if the estate is worth more than $5.49 million
  • The "Alternative Minimum Tax“ is going too. The AMT was created back in 1969 in order to ensure that rich people, like Trump, could not deduct their way out of paying taxes. 
  • At the time, those who earned more than $200,000 were able to avoid paying any federal income taxes, thanks to deductions.
  •  The AMT impacts roughly 5 million tax filers in the U.S., according to the Brookings Institution — one of those filers being Trump himself.  Read more (4/26/17 4 PM)

One of the many reasons we need campaign finance reform is to keep big companies and lobbies from buying our elected officials.

Want to know why so many Senators are voting for Betsy DeVos?
Want to know why so many oppose common sense gun reform?
What to know why pharmaceutical companies can rip you off?
Want to know why Senators oppose funding green energy?

Take a look at who is funding their campaigns.

The thing is, capitalism has never been reformed ‘peacefully’.

Reform movements which have formally disavowed violent means - from the Civil Rights movement in 1960s America, to Attlee’s Labour government in 1940s Britain - have only been historically successful because mass, organised, revolutionary movements of the politically disenfranchised outside of the formal reform movement have forced those benefiting from the status quo to cede concessions to non-violent, often middle-class, reformist leaders. Malcolm X, the Socialist Party of the USA and the Communist Party forced the American elite to come to the table with Dr. King; the syndicalist and communist trade unions in post-War Britain made opposition to Attlee’s NHS and limited nationalisations foolhardy.

Those who preach non-violence as a strategy rather than as a flexible tactic fatally mistake capitalism for a rational, logical system which plays by its own rules and respects human life.

We know better.

“I took this picture because initially I thought it was funny. I was going to send it to my husband to show what our mischievous little three-year-old was up to. However, The moment she told me what she was doing I broke down. She was practicing for a lockdown drill at her preschool and what you should do if you are stuck in a bathroom. At that moment all innocense of what I thought my three-year-old possessed was gone.

Politicians - take a look. This is your child, your children, your grandchildren, your great grand children and future generations to come. They will live their lives and grow up in this world based on your decisions. They are barely 3 and they will hide in bathroom stalls standing on top of toilet seats. I do not know what will be harder for them? Trying to remain quiet for an extended amount of time or trying to keep their balance without letting a foot slip below the stall door?

I am not pretending to have all the answers or even a shred of them, but unless you want your children standing on top of a toilet, we need to do something! Please share.”

– Stacey Wehrman Feeley

buzzfeed.com
A Chicago cop is accused of framing 51 people for murder. Now, the fight for justice.
Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara is accused of framing at least 51 people for murder. When a group of mothers, aunts and sisters found that no officials — not the state’s attorney’s office, not the mayor’s office — wanted to take up their cause, the women went in search of justice themselves.
By Melissa Segura

Next week a man convicted in one of Guevara’s most dubious cases will be in court for what could be his last chance at freedom. Will prosecutors continue fighting to keep Roberto Almodovar behind bars?

In political discussions between those with revolutionary inclinations and those with incrementalist inclinations, the debate will often center around whether “the system” is working. The former group tends to believe that things are broken, and we need to more or less start with a clean slate and make things right. Meanwhile the latter group will point to examples of how things have improved and talk about how bad the revolution will be and how unlikely we are to get back to where we are. So you end up with “things are fucked, lets unfuck them” vs “things are going well, lets not break anything.

The issue that doesn’t seem to get talked about enough is that ‘things are much better than they were, and making big sweeping changes is unlikely to bring improvement” does not imply that things are good. From the other side, that fact that things are bad doesn’t imply that there is a radical change that can fix things. It’s totally possible that things used to be horrible, and that after millenia of struggle and sacrifice we’ve created a delicate balance in which things are merely bad. In such a world, both of the groups above would be correct, and yet each could refute the other so long as they share the underlying assumption that there is a state of overall well-being out there that is capable of being reached.

I bring this up partly out of frustration with the discourse, but also partly because I don’t think the incrementalist/pro-establishment crowd can manage to be convincing without the missing mood of “I know you’ve been shit on, and that’s unfair and it sucks, but this is as good as it’s likely to get for the forseeable future, so I can’t endorse your plans for radical change.” This is unlikely to inspire enthusiasm, but I do think it’s more sympathetic. Maybe I’m wrong, but even if I am I’d like for the possibility I lay out here to be addressed in more depth and with more rigor.

You stifle the next great artist when you cut the arts from classrooms. You bury the engineer in these inner city public schools. And it’s killing them—slowly maybe, and not in the way we mourn over. But maybe that’s the problem.  Maybe we should. Maybe we should care more about how to create curiosity, and courage. Teach them passion until you can feel the fire in their eyes.


We invest so much in our narrow definition of success, and focus our efforts only on those who can keep up. But there’s more to a person than the few opportunities they’ve been given, if you only let them show you.


A lot of the problems our society faces stem in many ways from problems in how we educate our youth. We don’t teach them to love themselves, and each other. We preach the economics of life rather than the joy of it. We continue to tell them they are wrong. And then we ask why they can’t solve these problems—problems we created.


And maybe it’s because we don’t know any better. Because it happened to us, too. And it’s hard to build from the bottom of a hole. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Them, their bright eyes and pounding hearts—they’re depending on it. And trust me, they’ll thank us for it later.

— 

d.e.m.

*I could write another billion pages on education reform, but for now, I’ll leave it at this.

Why there is no ACA replacement

Notice how “repeal and replace” is looking more and more like just repeal, despite the protestations of, well, everyone (including GOP governors and the insurance companies themselves)?

There’s a big reason for that.

The GOP doesn’t want you to know this, but the truth of the matter is the Affordable Care Act is their healthcare plan. No joke!

The right-wing Heritage Foundation created the framework for the law, including the individual mandate, in 1993 while the Clinton Administration was attempting to pass healthcare reform. The same framework became the health care law that Mitt Romney successfully passed and implemented when he was governor of Massachusetts.

When the Obama administration began to tackle healthcare reform in 2009, it didn’t start with Medicare-for-all (read: single payer) the way people on the left wanted. Aiming for compromise, they took the framework that led to the Massachusetts law and added a public option – essentially a Medicare buy-in option designed to compete against the private insurers to drive down premium costs.

Republicans and conservative Democrats balked at the public option, so it was jettisoned – leaving the same law Republicans had been championing for decades. Only not a single one of them voted for the ACA when it passed – and since then, they have done nothing but try to sabotage and get rid of the law.

Think about that: a conservative idea worked. It was imperfect. There were issues. But the law did what it was designed to do: make health insurance more accessible to Americans and ensure the policies they paid for actually worked for them. Yet Republicans, so aghast at President Obama, sabotaged their own ideas!

Anyone with half a brain knows the only ACA replacement that would work would be single payer. But the GOP will never go for that (especially with House Speaker Paul Ryan’s obsession with gutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security), so in gutting what was ultimately their own idea, they’re sentencing Americans to a lower quality of life and even death… just because they got all uptight over a black man occupying the White House for almost a decade.

The ACA is the Republican healthcare plan. They have nothing else.

heresincerely-always  asked:

Has the current political climate complicated the likelihood of seeing more rehabilitative justice programs, and if so, are there ways to productively advocate for them?

There’s no doubt that we are facing a regressive climate in Washington with respect to many issues, and criminal justice is no exception.  But activists, advocates, and concerned community members should not be discouraged.  While we are witnessing unprecedented assaults on some of our most vulnerable and marginalized, we are also witnessing unprecedented resistance.  For criminal justice reform in particular, there are tremendous opportunities to push forward meaningful policy changes at the state and local levels.  Our federal prison population is dwarfed by the population in state prisons and local jails.  For every one person locked up in a federal prison, there are 10 people in state prisons and local jails.  Local and state policies have been the primary drivers of mass incarceration, and thus rolling them back will be the key to ending that era.  Public officials across the country are looking to distance themselves from the current Administration and maintain, if not bolster, their progressive reputations.  Our job as criminal justice reformers is to encourage them to be leaders on ending mass incarceration and repairing the harm it has done – especially to poor people of color.  This is one area where local advocacy and reform can make all the difference.

washingtonpost.com
America has locked up so many black people it has warped our sense of reality
We've been totally underestimating how bad things are for African-Americans
By https://www.facebook.com/jeff.y.guo

For as long as the government has kept track, the economic statistics have shown a troubling racial gap. Black people are twice as likely as white people to be out of work and looking for a job. This fact was as true in 1954 as it is today. The most recent report puts the white unemployment rate at around 4.5 percent. The black unemployment rate? About 8.8 percent. But the economic picture for black Americans is far worse than those statistics indicate. The unemployment rate only measures people who are both living at home and actively looking for a job.

The hitch: A lot of black men aren’t living at home and can’t look for jobs —because they’re behind bars.

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