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The cost of debt-free college v. actual crazy ideas

“What voters are looking for in this election is someone who is going to be a champion for everyday people,” Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager said earlier this month. “For young people, that’s debt-free college, that is finding that job after you graduate.”

The words “debt-free college” are treated like some bizarre fantasy that can only happen in an utopian future or Scandinavia or Germany.

In America, where finding ways to haze the poor is the only purely conservative art form, we’re busy figuring out ways to make college more expensive. College is so expensive and aid so slight that many schools have to run food pantries for students, The Nation‘s Michelle Goldberg reports.…

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Unions are about freedom or: This is why the richest have been trying to kill America’s labor movement

“The future of labor is the future of America,” labor leader John Lewis said, during the Great Depression.

And for a long time, you had to squint to see that future because it’s so bright. America capitalized on its enormous advantages after World War II with unprecedented growth that was — thanks to the labor movement — widely shared.

However, workers wages peaked in the 1970s and since then, gains have been widely shared by the richest .01 percent.

Some have argued that this is a mystic inevitability that is in no way connected to corporate America focusing its enormous power and wealth on an agenda of cutting taxes for the rich and deregulating industry.…

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Reflections from China on the newly-emerging totalitarian state of Michigan

The death of democracy?

I have been traveling around China for the past week and, despite the incredible growth of capitalism here, it’s clear that the government controls much of what happens in this beautiful country. From investments infrastructure that result in modern, butter-smooth highways to the wind energy installations that surround cities like Qingdao, the government is in charge of nearly everything that happens. The idea of “local control” isn’t really disputed.

As I read the reports about Michigan House Republicans passing Republican Rep. Earl Poleski’s anti-democratic House Bill 4052 which would strip the ability of local governments from passing local ordinances that conflict with the GOP’s utopian vision of total control of our state, it looks very much like Michigan is sliding rapidly toward the sort of totalitarian control that I see all around me in China.…

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Republicans are on the verge of unprecedented political power — or an electoral catastrophe

The Republican Party is the strongest it has been in decades and could be on the verge of a victory that could give them more electoral power than at any time since 1920, the year women first voted for the president.

That’s the conclusion of Sean Trende and David Byler who have put together an index of party strength:

You can quibble with the methodology and focus on the role gerrymandering and other methods of voter disempowerment have played. But it’s undeniable that Republicans have done much better than Democrats in winning down-ticket races since the Democratic landslide of 2008. And this is how you accumulate political power.…

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Senate version of Michigan Republicans’ “Local Government Control Prohibition Act” drops, same as House version

Earlier this week, House Republicans held a hearing on H.B. 4052, a bill that would prohibit local governments from passing employment-related ordinances that are more restrictive than state-level laws. Although it is called the “Local Government Employer Mandate Prohibition Act”, it really should be referred to as the “Local Government Control Prohibition Act” because it strips what is commonly known as “home rule” from local governments.

The list of things covered by the current version of H.B. 4052 is pretty large. It would prohibit a local governmental body from adopting, enforcing, or administering an ordinance, local policy, or local resolution that:

  • Regulates the relationship between an employer and its employees or potential employees, if the regulation contains requirements exceeding those imposed by state or federal law.
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Stop pretending immigration reform will ever happen under these Republicans

Remember what happened in the House on Thursday when the GOP nominee releases in ad in Spanish next September that drops all the “secure the border” pablum that got him the nomination and vows to reform the immigration system in a way Democrats haven’t.

House Republicans voted to remove language that would have instructed the secretary of defense to consider allowing undocumented Americans to serve in the military from the National Defense Authorization Act by a 221-202 margin.

Every Democrat voted against the amendment.

Instead of being satisfied with the win, the anti-immigrant right attacked the small percentage of Republicans who voted with Democrats.…

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Michigan Republicans move to strip power of local governments to protect workers and the LGBT community

Republicans have successfully branded themselves as the party that worships “local governmental control”. They want federal regulations repealed and the power given to the states on all sorts of things from the environment to the Affordable Care Act. But, when it comes to actual local control, where local municipalities set their own rules, the whole idea of “local governmental control” is simply a quaint notion to be dispensed with posthaste to maintain their own control over our state.

Republicans in Michigan are sick and tired of local governments having the audacity to do things like pass local minimum wage requirements or giving the LGBTQ community actual civil rights protections.…

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Rick Perry reveals Jeb Bush’s subtext — 2016 is all about Supreme Court

Last week, Rick Perry and Jeb Bush both pointed to most important issue of the most important election of your lifetime.

In what Think Progress‘ Ian Millhiser called the “Single Most Incisive Statement About the 2016 election,” Rick Perry — as a representative of the conservative ID — put it bluntly:

“Something I want you all to think about is that the next president of the United States, whoever that individual may be, could choose up to three, maybe even four members of the Supreme Court,” Perry told the South Carolina audience. So this election “isn’t about who’s going to be the president of the United States for just the next four years.…
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Michigan Congressman Dan Benishek’s hypocrisy on veterans issues lands him in GOP’s Vulnerable Patriots Program

Dan Benishek, the Congressman from Michigan’s 1st Congressional District made a pledge when he first ran for that seat that he would only serve three terms. When he recently reneged on that pledge, I sorta shrugged. Republican politicians lying about things isn’t particularly BREAKING NEWS!!! However, when Benishek revealed his supposed reason for breaking his pledge, I got angry. According to Benishek, it’s so that he can continue to “serve millions of veterans every day as a leader on veterans’ issues in the House”.

Here’s what he wrote in an op-ed for

Recently I was asked if I intended to seek another term in Congress.…
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As if on cue, Michigan House Republicans announce plans to start slashing state budget to fix the roads

Not just predictable. Predicted.

The dust hadn’t even settled on the epic crash and burn of Michigan’s Proposal 1 yesterday when Republican House Speaker Kevin Cotter began discussing his plans for slashing the budgets of other areas to come up with over a billion dollars needed to rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges.

He gave a glimpse into his thinking on the House Republicans’ webpage:

Yesterday, the people of Michigan were heard loud and clear: focus on the roads, find a simple solution and keep taxes low. Today, the challenge is to follow their direction and find a way to properly invest in Michigan’s infrastructure and fix the roads.…
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