It’s time for a (teeny) tax on wealth

The rapidly widening divide between the rich and the rest of us is neither natural nor accidental. America needs a "Lizzie"--a way to re-balance the tax burden fairly between wages and wealth. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has taken the lead on this fundamental democratic reform by proposing a return to America's historic tax principle of "ability to pay." Her idea is to shut down the elites' shameful tax dodging with a straight-forward tax on extreme wealth.

Welcome to our late-summer picnic!

In these sultry, dog days of August, the Lowdown presents a summer picnic of political snacks, meaty developments, both sweet and sour sides, and--of course--some mixed nuts.
A silhouette of Trump against green streams of code

Let’s decode Trump’s Afta-Nafta trade deal

Global trade deals are and always have been large-scale hustles, filled with hypocrisy, deceit, and greed. Promoted as fair and good for all, they're invariably rigged with profiteering schemes that lock into law advantages for corporations over the common good of consumers, the environment, labor, independent businesses, governments, and all other democratic forces. The USMCA is no different-- and is, in fact, worse.
Farmer walking away from harvested, dried out crops

The devastation of farm country is biting us all on the butt

A massive depression has been building for years across our vast rural expanse, but don't feel alone if you didn't know, for most of our media and political establishments have failed to notice, much less inform the general public. In America's power centers, farming is almost entirely ignored as something arcane and "out there"--and out of mind.
20YearsOfTheLowdown

The People are revolting! (in the best sense of the word): A 20th Birthday Retrospective

Time flies when you're having fun, so those of us who merrily pull together this little newsletter each month were surprised recently when it dawned on us that--Holy Moly!--we've reached a milestone of populist pamphleteering: The 20th anniversary of The Lowdown. This retrospective issue is meant to be a contemplation on the progressive movement itself--what it's up against and how far it has progressed in these two decades.
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Gentrification shreds the fabric of our cities while making rich developers even richer

To the amazement of longtime locals in many parts of America, gentrification has surged in recent years, suddenly swamping whole communities in US urban centers, as well as in close-in suburbs and quaint small towns. The developers, bankers, and public officials pushing such incursions try to soften the destructive impacts of gentrification by cloaking the term with euphemisms like “revitalization” and “enrichment”–implying progress for all and a beautiful community uplift. In fact, though, it has nearly always been a code word for a particularly ugly form of class war.
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What are progressives fighting *for*?

Most voters want BIG populist changes in government policy that will lift up average Americans and hold down corporate greed and abuse. One major proposal to do just that is the 11-point Economic Agenda for America's Future drafted by a broad coalition of some 80 progressive thinkers and doers. This document is both a to-do list for restoring economic democracy and a rallying cry to move today's burgeoning democratic movement from mere resistance to insistence on a bold, percolate-up alternative to Republican/Democratic trickle-down economics.
Koch Brothers

The Koch Klan is funding a stealthy war against the principle of the Common Good

Since the middle of the last century, greedy schemers have mounted a sneaky, slow motion coup of attrition, moving methodically from one political venue to another, donning multiple organizational guises to strike down a law here, reverse a public policy there, demonize "others," and ambush progressive groups all along the way. Its chief instigators are the multibillionaire Koch boys, Charles and David, who've been consistently financing and implementing this ongoing assault since the 1960s.
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No, JEFF, not in my name!

Bezos constantly claims that his relentless push for an Amazonian remake of our economy and culture is all about helping consumers. Well, I'm a consumer--and he certainly doesn't speak for me. How about you? ... Read more...
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Taylorism

BEZOS' COLD, MICROMANAGED, time-motion approach to the workplace is a direct descendant (and extreme extension) of a theory of "scientific management" developed in the 1880's by Frederick Winslow Taylor, an ind... Read more...
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The birth of Amazon

LEGEND HAS IT that Amazon is a classic story of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. In 1994, a bright, young fellow named Bezos heads off to the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, with nothing going for him bu... Read more...
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A blue/red movement

You might expect such liberal bastions as Boston, Madison, Boulder, and San Francisco to call for an end to corporate electioneering, but this is a nationwide blue/red movement, including the people of these co... Read more...
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The protest spreads

In order of the date of passage, here are the 16 states that have already petitioned Congress to let their citizens vote on a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s edicts: Hawaii, April 2010... Read more...
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When no news is bad news

If a tree falls in the woods and NBC, ABC, and CBS aren't there to cover the crash, does it make a sound? It was very big news when the Federal Communications Commission announced plans on April 23 for new r... Read more...