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If poverty is a moral issue, then the United States is bankrupt

The federal poverty line struggles to capture the economic hardship that half of Americans face.

 by Sonali Kolhatkar and Independent Media Institute

Newspaper headlines are warning of rising inflation and the possibility that voters will respond to it by punishing Democrats in the midterm elections this fall. But there are few, if any, headlines about the enormous numbers of Americans who are low-income and poor—a travesty in one of the world’s wealthiest nations.

The problem of poverty is marked by several factors, the first of which is a deeply flawed government indicator of who qualifies as poor. Measured by the federal poverty line, about 37 million Americans live below the poverty line—that’s about 11 percent of the population.

But this leaves out many millions more Americans who live one emergency expense away from poverty. The Poor People’s Campaign (PPC): A National Call for Moral Revival relies on economic calculations showing that 140 million Americans—which is more than 40 percent of the population—are poor or low-income.

The second factor is mainstream media coverage that routinely skews in favor of wealthy elites by downplaying the extent of poverty. For example, when President Joe Biden cited the PPC’s estimate in an address in June 2019, the Washington Post engaged in a lengthy fact-checking investigation, interviewing numerous analysts who nitpicked over the difference between “poor” and “low-income” people, saying, “The two terms sound alike, but they describe different economic conditions.”

A third obstacle is corporate greed and how wealthy elites are vacuuming up every dollar they can into their own pockets, taking advantage of an economic system they helped to build in order to benefit themselves. For example, the investment giant Morgan Stanley released a report recently complaining about how rising wages were eating into corporate profits.

But of course, any wage increases are dampened by inflation rates rising much faster. This is a decades-long trend, not a new phenomenon, as any honest economist would explain.

But now that inflation is rising faster than it was before, media pundits and news outlets suggest that the fault lies with Americans earning higher wages and spending too much money.

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A Growing Threat is Emerging from the Theocratic Wing of the GOP — but Many Liberals are Missing It

A growing threat is emerging from the theocratic wing of the GOP — but many liberals are missing it

Michael Flynn U.S. Air Force, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 

John Stoehr

Mike Flynn and Josh Mandel do not stand at the center of the Republican Party. They do not stand at its margins either. Flynn is the former’s president’s former advisor. (He’s a pardoned criminal, too.) Mandel is Ohio’s leading Senate candidate. Both men have said in recent days they don’t believe in the separation of church and state.

I’m paraphrasing. See for yourself what they said. However, their remarks should be familiar. They reflect the GOP’s theocratic wing. For decades, it has opposed the incorporated interpretation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause. They used to be way, way out there. But, even if I’m missing something, Flynn’s and Mandel’s remarks suggest the GOP’s theocratic wing isn’t as marginal as it once was.

Liberals have always been alarmed by the theocrats. Liberals know that when they talk about so-called “Judeo-Christian” values, they don’t mean Jews of any stripe. They don’t mean the full spectrum of Christianity. Mormons are not included. Neither are Episcopalians, Methodists or Presbyterians. Unitarians, like me, are cultists. Jehovah’s Witnesses are heretics. Only “real Christians” need apply, meaning twice-born believers in Christ saving them from eternal damnation.

Liberals should be more alarmed, especially religious liberals, but they may not know they should be. After all, the theocrats keep telling us, and the Washington press corps keeps telling us, that they are merely fighting for their Constitutional right to worship as they please, however they please. Religious liberals, therefore, might be thinking their religious freedoms will be secure, no matter what happens.

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The Capitol Riot Committee Now Has a Clear Roadmap for Subpoenas

The Capitol riot committee now has a clear roadmap for subpoenas: reporter

US Capitol Grounds East Plaza off First Street and East Capitol Street, Washington DC on Wednesday afternoon, 6 January 2021 by Elvert Barnes Photography 

Bob Brigham and Raw Story September 21, 2021

There’s a clear roadmap for the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter explained on MSNBC on Tuesday.

MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace interviewed Carol Leonnig as Politico is reporting the select committee is poised to begin issuing subpoenas.

The process was explained by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, was the lead impeachment manager during Donald Trump’s first trial, and is a member of the select committee.

“In some cases, we’re making requests we think will be complied with,” Schiff said. “In other cases, we’re going straight to subpoenas where we think we’re dealing with recalcitrant witnesses.”

Wallace asked Leonnig about a tweet by Miles Taylor, a former Trump administration official who served as chief of staff of the Department of Homeland Security.

“I firmly believe Trump provoked the attack on the Capitol so he could declare martial law. For years he talked in private about the Insurrection Act & his ‘magical powers’ to deploy the military on to the streets. The January 6th select committee needs to investigate this,” Taylor tweeted.

[Read On]

The Messy Truth About America That the Right Wing Can’t Bear to Admit

The messy truth about America that the right wing can't bear to admitTim Scott John Stoehr May 03, 2021

This article was paid for by AlterNet subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.

I got a second dose Saturday. I was bed-ridden Sunday. I’m feeling better today, but writing is hard labor. I won’t do the usual dissection of recent events. I’ll instead swing for the fences and see what happens. Even if I strike out, it might prove to be useful.

The president and the vice president were asked last week if Tim Scott is right. In a GOP response to the State of the Union address to the United States Congress, the United States Senator said America is not a racist country. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris agreed. America is not racist country. But, they said, there is work to do.

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Conservative Maps Out Why the ‘Derangement of the Republican Party’ is Only Getting Worse

Conservative maps out why 'the 'derangement of the Republican Party' is only getting worse

Donald Trump supporters outside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, Wikimedia Commons 

Alex Henderson May 03, 2021

The state of the Republican Party in the Biden era was the topic of a robust discussion on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on May 3, with a panel of guests agreeing with hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that the GOP has become increasingly unhinged.

The guests included conservative pundit Charlie Sykes — a blistering critic of former President Donald Trump — Financial Times’ Ed Luce, the Associated Press’s Jonathan Lemire, and Eddie Glaude, Jr., a professor of African-American studies at Princeton University who is often featured as a liberal pundit on MSNBC.

Scarborough, a Never Trump conservative and former GOP congressman, noted that pro-Trump Republicans have been going after Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming with a vengeance for condemning Trump’s role in the January 6 insurrection — and that in Maricopa County, Arizona, Republicans have been conducting an overtly partisan audit of the votes in the 2020 presidential election. Those things, according to Sykes, not only illustrate “the derangement of the Republican Party” but also, the “acceleration of the derangement of the Republican Party.”

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New Poll Confirms the GOP’s Fears on Voting Rights

New poll confirms the GOP's fears on voting rights

Rep. Kevin McCarthy // PBS NewsHour 

Kenny Stancil and Common Dreams May 03, 2021

Zero GOP lawmakers have backed the For the People Act, congressional Democrats’ comprehensive plan to strengthen U.S. democracy by making it easier to vote, curbing partisan gerrymandering, and limiting the influence of money in politics.

Republican voters, however, support many of the proposals in the 800-page bill, according to a new poll released Monday.

The survey (pdf) of 1,138 likely voters across the country—conducted from April 16 to April 19 by Data for Progress on behalf of Vox—found that, when presented without partisan cues, the voting rights and election reform bill is popular with voters across party lines. Overall, 69% of the electorate supports the For the People Act, including 52% of Republicans, 70% of Independents, and 85% of Democrats.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz: Their Unholy Trumpian Alliance Continues

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz: Their unholy Trumpian alliance continues

Rep. Matt Gaetz speaking s at an “An Address to Young Americans” event, hosted by Students for Trump and Turning Point Action at Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona in June 2020, Gage Skidmore Alex Henderson April 04, 2021

Although former President Donald Trump has been gone from the White House for over two months and Democrats control both the executive and judicial branches of the United States’ federal government, Trump’s grip on the Republican Party continues —and in the U.S. House of Representatives, one of the most Trumpian alliances is that of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. With the 38-year-old Gaetz facing allegations that he was sexually involved with a 17-year-old girl — allegations he has vehemently denied — Greene is rising to his defense just as he recently rose to hers.

Gaetz finds himself caught up in a broad sexual trafficking investigation being carried out by the U.S. Department of Justice. The far-right GOP congressman and devout Trump supporter is not the main target of the probe, but the allegation that he had a sexual relationship with an under-age girl and paid her to travel with him is one of the things the DOJ is investigating.

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