Amplifying progressive voices

How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back

Charter schools, to be clear, represent the commodification of education, the privatization, and the marketization of a modern human responsibility in order to enrich a handful of private interests under the banner of high ideals. For decades, neoliberals and privatizers have painstakingly starved public schools of funds so as to set them up to fail. Then they have mass-tested them with discredited corporate tests to “show” that they are “failing.” This is then followed by a sustained media and political campaign to vilify and demonize public schools so as to create antisocial public opinion against them, which then eventually “justifies” privatizing public education because “privatization will improve education.” Suddenly “innovative” charter schools appear everywhere, especially in large urban settings inhabited by thousands of marginalized low-income minorities.

The issue of whether a charter school is public or not is often confusing to many because there is relentless disinformation from charter school promoters that charter schools are public schools when in reality they are privatized independent entities. Charter schools remain private, independent, deregulated, segregated entities even though they receive public money, are often called public, and ostensibly provide a service to the public.

The typical consequences of privatization in every sector include higher costs, less transparency, reduced quality of service, greater instability, more inefficiency, and loss of public voice. Privatization essentially undermines social progress while further enriching a handful of people driven by profit maximization. To date, whether it is vouchers, so-called “Education Savings Accounts,” or privately-operated charter schools, education privatization (“school choice”) has not solved any problems, it has only multiplied them.

Charter schools are labeled “public” mainly for self-serving reasons, specifically to lay claim to public funds that legitimately belong to public schools alone. If charter schools were openly and honestly acknowledged as being private entities they would not be able to place any valid claim to public funds and they would not be able to exist for one day. This presents a contradiction for defenders of charter schools who want to “have it both ways,” that is, be public when it suits them and act private when it serves them.

National State of Emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans

The Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. on Tuesday and released a guidebook pointing to laws it deems discriminatory in each state, along with “know your rights” information and resources to help people relocate to states with stronger LGBTQ+ protections.

We have officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year. More than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record.

Sounding the alarm about the current political climate, the nation’s largest organization devoted to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans said travel advisories aren’t enough to help people already living in states where lawmakers have targeted LGBTQ+ people.

The HRC guidebook provides information about filing complaints for civil rights violations and points to resources for financing moves and finding employment, particularly in the 17 states with a trifecta of Democratic leadership in both legislative chambers and the governor’s office.

Climate: American per capita emissions are more than twice those of Europeans

Reducing consumption today reduces the number of people elsewhere who will suffer the consequences tomorrow and can prevent much of the instability that would otherwise result.

Throughout the world, the researchers estimate, the average person who is going to be exposed to unprecedented heat comes from a place that emitted roughly half the per capita emissions as those in wealthy countries. American per capita emissions are more than twice those of Europeans, who still live a prosperous and modern existence, the authors point out, so there is ample room for comfortable change short of substantial sacrifice. “The idea that you need the level of wasteful consumption … that happens on average in the U.S. to be part of a happy, flourishing, rich, democratic society is obviously nonsense,” Lenton said.

“There are clear, profound ethical consequences in the numbers,” Timothy Lenton, one of the study’s lead authors and the director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter in the U.K., said in an interview. “If we can’t level with that injustice and be honest about it, then we’ll never progress the international action on this issue.”

Each American today emits nearly enough emissions over their lifetime to push one Indian or Nigerian of the future outside of their climate niche, the study found, showing exactly how much harm Americans’ individual actions can cause (1.2 Americans to 1 future person, to be exact). The lifestyle and policy implications are obvious: Reducing consumption today reduces the number of people elsewhere who will suffer the consequences tomorrow and can prevent much of the instability that would otherwise result. “I can’t — as a citizen of a planet with this level of risk opening up — not also have some kind of human and moral response to the figures,” Lenton said. We’ve all got to deal with that, he added, “in our own way.”

Climate Crisis Is on Track to Push One-Third of Humanity Out of Its Most Livable Environment

Crows Of A Feather

Clarence Thomas’ benefactor is directly tied to a disastrous new Supreme Court ruling that will strip environmental protections from millions of acres of precious wetlands.

Despite being caught in a swirling corruption scandal, the Supreme Court continues to rule on cases and issue far-reaching decisions that shatter years of precedent to rewrite the country’s laws. For the moneyed interests who have spent big to financially influence the courts, this is very much according to plan. One of the court’s latest bombshell rulings shows just how handsomely the effort is paying off.

Late last month, in a 5-4 ruling on the Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency case, the Supreme Court dramatically narrowed the scope of the 1972 Clean Water Act in an act of judicial activism so brazen, even the Donald Trump-appointed Brett Kavanaugh accused the court of “rewriting” the law and failing to “stick to the text.”

To do so, Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, simply disposed of the statute’s deliberately broad coverage of wetlands that are “adjacent” to “waters of the United States,” redefining that word as meaning “adjoining” — a different word with a different meaning — and claiming that only wetlands with a “continuous surface connection” to protected waters were covered by the Clean Water Act. Environmental groups say it will take away protections for more than half of the country’s 118 million acres of wetlands.

The point, Schneck explained, was to create what Politico termed an “ecosystem of support” that would encourage them to be bolder in their judicial activism. Sometimes that would benefit the benefactors by opening the door to imposing their personal, regressive social vision on others. Sometimes it would benefit them by directly assisting their personal business interests, as it has in the Sackett case, which will make it easier for Crow’s companies and other real estate developers to disrupt and damage wetlands without legal or regulatory challenge.

That decision — widely criticized for its linguistic games and overturning of long-standing precedent — is directly tied up in the corruption scandal that has embroiled Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in particular.

Clarence Thomas’ Billionaire Benefactor Tied To SCOTUS Bombshell

The far right is working to make voter fraud easier to get away with.

This NPR investigation, which found a video of the Houma event posted to Facebook, is the first to report that Ardoin announced his ERIC decision to conservative activists.

And a deeper look at the red-state exodus that followed — eight states and counting have now pulled out of ERIC — shows a policy blueprint for an election denial movement, spearheaded by a key Trump ally, eager to change virtually every aspect of how Americans vote.

Even if it means making voter fraud easier to get away with.

How the far right tore apart one of the best tools to fight voter fraud

Inside the Meltdown at CNN

When he took the helm of CNN, in May 2022, Licht had promised a reset with Republican voters—and with their leader. He had swaggered into the job, telling his employees that the network had lost its way under former President Jeff Zucker; that their hostile approach to Trump had alienated a broader viewership that craved sober, fact-driven coverage. These assertions thrust Licht into a two-front war: fighting to win back Republicans who had written off the network, while also fighting to win over his own journalists, many of whom believed their new boss was scapegoating them to appease his new boss, David Zaslav, who’d hired Licht with a decree to move CNN toward the ideological center.

One year into the job, Licht was losing both battles.

Inside the Meltdown at CNN

Indivisible Charlottesville Stands With Kellen Squire for 55th District House of Delegates

A few months ago, Indivisible Charlottesville endorsed Kellen Squire for the Democratic nomination to the House of Delegates in the 55th district. We did that because Kellen has been sticking up for progressive causes for years. First among those causes is reproductive freedom.

Kellen is an emergency department nurse at UVA. He has spoken about being the only candidate in Virginia who has actually provided abortion care. He has written about how the Dobbs ruling is changing the lives of pregnant people and of the medical professionals who care for them. He talks about the importance of reproductive choice all the time.

Kellen SquireBut over the last few days, some voters in the 55th have received deceptive and misleading leaflets about Kellen from his primary opponent, Amy Laufer. Laufer’s leaflets ripped some of Kellen’s old words out of context to paint him as an anti-abortion candidate. Anyone who knows anything about Kellen, or has listened to his campaign, knows that this is absolutely untrue—Kellen is as pro-choice as they come.

Six years ago, when he was a rookie candidate running in a deep red district, Kellen tried to speak about reproductive choice in a way that might win over some anti-abortion voters and tried to reclaim the phrase “pro-life” from the anti-choice movement. That’s no excuse for Laufer’s campaign to twist his words into a grotesque smear. And plenty of former Democratic chairs and local elected leaders agree.

In 2023, the district is blue, and the winner of the Democratic primary will be a heavy favorite in November. The district deserves a delegate who is honest with their constituents—not one who blurs out the context to slander a progressive opponent.

More than ever, we encourage everyone in the 55th district to vote for Kellen on June 20th or during early voting. We also hope you’ll support his campaign to counter these attacks by clicking here to donate, and that you’ll help knocking doors, write postcards, or call or text voters by clicking here to volunteer.

In solidarity,
David for Indivisible Charlottesville

Supreme Risk

An interactive guide to rights the Supreme Court has established — and could take away.

by Ian MacDougall and Sergio Hernandez

Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion established 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade, raising concerns about the future of other rights rooted in Supreme Court rulings. Although most rights are secured by statutes and regulations, others are guarantees extrapolated by the court from the often abstract language of the Constitution. Some of these are recent rights, like the right to carry a handgun in public. But many are longstanding, like the right to be read a Miranda warning by police before being interrogated, and trace their origins to the liberal majorities that presided on the court from the 1950s through the 1970s, an era often called the “rights revolution.” Because these rights were established by the court, the court alone gets to decide whether to preserve, shrink or unmake them.

Right to have police advise you of your rights

To get a better sense of which rights may be at risk — in whole or in part — ProPublica scoured judicial opinions, academic articles, and public remarks by sitting justices. Some justices, like Clarence Thomas, have had decades-long careers and lengthy paper trails. By contrast, Ketanji Brown Jackson, the newest justice, has almost no prior record. We found dozens of rights that at least one sitting justice has questioned:


Will Roberts strike a mortal blow to the Voting Rights Act?

Michael Waldman




June is the cruelest month. Tomorrow begins the weeks of decisions to be announced by the Supreme Court as its term draws to a close. Once again we will wait to find out how far the six conservative justices will push — and what kind of country we will live in. I discuss the perils of this moment in my new book, The Supermajority, out next Tuesday.

One of the most important rulings will come in a major case on the Voting Rights Act, Allen v. Milligan. It could also be one of the most damaging. That statute was by some measures the most effective civil rights law on the books. And over the past decade, the Court led by Chief Justice John Roberts has demolished it, bit by bit.

The background of the Voting Rights Act will be familiar to readers of this newsletter. Although the 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, guaranteed Black Americans the right to vote, states found countless ways to deter, dilute, and deny those votes for nearly a century.

Then came Bloody Sunday. Violent attacks on civil rights protesters horrified the nation, awoke a collective sense of justice, and galvanized our political leaders to act. On August 6, 1965, less than five months after the march, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. It created our modern, multiracial democracy — an American success story.

But in the early 1980s, a young lawyer in the Reagan administration named John Roberts furiously opposed a bill renewing and clarifying the act. He lost that battle, but his war on the law was just beginning. He would in many ways make his crusade against the Voting Rights Act the signature issue of his career.

First came Shelby County v. Holder in 2013. The law’s Section 5 required states with a history of racial discrimination to get permission from the Justice Department or a federal court before changing voting practices. At the argument, Antonin Scalia called this a “racial entitlement.” The audience gasped. Scalia did not write the opinion, though; Roberts did, and he was more decorous. The South had changed, he explained. That was then, this is now. The Court effectively ended Section 5.

Within hours, states began to implement discriminatory voting laws. Texas, for example, implemented a voter identification law that instantly disenfranchised 608,000 registered voters, according to a federal judge.

Weak and wobbly, there was something left of the Voting Rights Act: Section 2. That lets you sue after the fact to prove discriminatory voting practices. Voting rights groups including the Brennan Center began to use it to challenge the new wave of voter suppression laws — with heartening success. We won our case against the Texas law, for example. Then in 2021, in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, the Court made it much, much harder to use Section 2 against discriminatory voting laws.

All of which brings us to the upcoming case. For decades, Section 2 has been a potent protection against racial gerrymandering, the drawing of legislative lines to dilute the power of the vote for communities of color. In fact, challenging gerrymandering is the main way Section 2 has been used before. That law’s strength may soon be a memory.

In this case, Alabama’s mapmakers packed as many Black voters as possible into an already existing majority-black district, then surgically distributed the remainder among other districts to ensure that they could not assert political power. Black voters could elect a candid­ate of choice in only one of seven districts despite making up over a quarter of the state’s voting-age popu­la­tion. The Court may bless that. (Talk about “racial entitlements”!)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a memorable dissent in Shelby County. She warned, “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.” In the decade since the white-Black voter turnout gap grew between 9 and 21 percentage points across five of the six states originally covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Maybe other factors caused this gap to grow. But an eviscerated rights law surely won’t help.

On many things, John Roberts has been prudent, canny, and an institutionalist. When it comes to the law of democracy, he has been the activist leader of a disciplined conservative cadre. The supermajority, I fear, is just getting warmed up.

Inside John Roberts’ Decades-Long Crusade Against the Voting Rights Act

FASCISM: Army Talks 3/24/1945

Fascism, the U.S. government document explained, “is government by the few and for the few. The objective is seizure and control of the economic, political, social, and cultural life of the state.” “The people run democratic governments, but fascist governments run the people.”

May 29, 2023

Beginning in 1943, the War Department published a series of pamphlets for U.S. Army personnel in the European theater of World War II. Titled Army Talks, the series was designed “to help [the personnel] become better-informed men and women and therefore better soldiers.”

“The basic principles of democracy stand in the way of their desires; hence—democracy must go! Anyone who is not a member of their inner gang has to do what he’s told. They permit no civil liberties, no equality before the law.” “Fascism treats women as mere breeders. ‘Children, kitchen, and the church,’ was the Nazi slogan for women,” the pamphlet said.

Download (PDF, 18.96MB)

« Older posts

© 2023 CounterPoint