It's been a busy few weeks for Popular Information. Here are a few highlights:
Today, however, I want to hear from you. What's on your mind? What topics should be on Popular Information's radar? You can leave your thoughts in the discussion thread linked below, starting now. I’ll be dropping by later today to answer any questions.
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It would be great if someone could provide a plain-speak outline of Project 2025; the Heritage Foundations plan to turn the U.S.A. into a dictatorship. It's a large report at 920 pages. I'd be happy to outline a section or two. Maybe we could make this a community effort.
Good morning Judd,
Is there an accounting of the cost to tax payers of Donald Trump? I remember reading how much his secret service detail cost during his term. If all of the costs were added up that are attributed to his actions, I have no idea how much that would be. It would include direct costs like salaries and expenses of the justice department, courts and indirect costs of legislators protecting him.
It would be good to know how much one person has added to our debt.
Thanks for your work. Would you consider an investigation into the people/funding behind No Labels, Useyourvoice.com, and other so-called centrist organizations?
I’m interested on your take regarding the Equal Rights Amendment. 38 states have ratified and yet a Democratic president and senate, who rely on female voters, cannot publish it.
Why is legacy media continuing to massively underplay the extraordinary threat of a second Trump term (or the current threats to civil rights and minority rights posed by GOP officials in almost every state?)
I hear about Biden's age, the border, and inflation on a daily basis, or their favorite framing: "Why X is bad for Biden".
Do these journalists and anchors truly not understand the ruination that follows fascism? Have they failed to see the repression of a free press in Poland, Hungary, India, etc?
Or is their bubble so impenetrable that they dwell in denial?
My wife is a federal employee and the government shutdown is front and center in our household. We have some savings and will be OK, but we worry about the impact to contact workers and hourly employees (i.e. the custodial staff) who won't receive back pay whenever Kevin Mccarthy can get the maga extremists to stop holding him, and the entire federal government hostage. What is Fox reporting on this? What are people saying who are represented by these lunatics? What is the broader social and economic impact of yet another shut down? How beholden to Putin are these Representatives as they stop aid to Ukraine?
Thanks for your good work.
I really enjoy the work this publication produces. All the writers are so thorough. I'd love for you to drive deeper into the pay issues with our USFS Wildland firefighters. Their temporary raise 2yrs ago to $15 per hour was paltry. BUT the firefighters were grateful for it! Now it's set to expire 9/30 and no one has a solution. These folks are experienced public servants. They don't want to go work for Cal Fire or other state agency. They like what they do and want to keep doing it to help all of us. But they work so hard, are gone for weeks at a time, often compromising their own health, and they can't survive on the pay. Especially if they want to own a home and/or start a family. Folks are going to be very scared and helpless without these dedicated emergency responders. Yet there's no solution out there for them. No one is even talking about it.
One of the slow motion disasters that Republicans have been bringing about - with enormous consequences but very little media attention - has been the purposeful destruction of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Their obvious goal has been to disable it so that they can get away with whatever electoral shenanigans they choose. This is a very serious issue that I’d love to see you tackle. Here’s a recent article on the mess at the FEC: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/democrats-rap-fec-gridlock-that-republicans-say-is-a-feature/ar-AA1h14wE
I’d be very interested in how much government funding, services and other support goes to the districts and residents of each of the House extremists who apparently want nothing more than to undermine, shut down and destroy the government. If federal funds and services were to disappear, what would be the impact on their home districts and on the public they are supposedly representing? Also, what are their salaries, how are they paid, what are these individuals worth personally and who is supporting them and their campaigns financially?
Please keep hammering away at the hypocrisy of most media's lack of holding Republicans and Trump to even just a basic standard of truth and honesty. The Democratic party is the only major party in our country that is trying to govern with real policy, whether it is good policy or policy that matches each person's taste, or not. I think I don't really need to explain this specifics of this anymore here. But, the ridiculousness with which the Republicans are behaving in their attempt to function needs to be fully exposed, and not allowed to be seen as policy or "the other side" to a problem or debate. (I.e. How is it that Republicans are beginning to try to get away with writing off climate change as simply the change of the seasons?)
It's a time for a follow-up on your great work investigating money flowing to Jared Kushner from Saudi Arabia? It may seem like really old news, but I would love to see some accountability for this cretin. I am enjoying seeing Justice catch up to many of the Trump miscreants, and of course Trump himself, I don't think Kushner should escape.
Can you find info on profiteering in the food industry? Sticker shock at the supermarket is one reason for the country's foul mood. Retailers are one part of the story, but how about the food processors?
It seems clear that the mainstream media are failing when they continue to report false equivalencies such as Biden’s age and Trump’s 91 felony indictments or Hunter Biden’s troubles and Trump’s 91 felony indictments. Jennifer Rubin and Frank Bruni regularly call this out but nothing seems to change. The mainstream media are all about the horse-race and not about the substance. It would be great, Judd, if you could take this on. As a well-respected and effective journalist with a great platform, this disservice by the mainstream media needs to be changed and soon. What do you think?
This is gonna feel like a tired subject maybe, but even w/all the pieces on generational issues, I'm not sure people TRULY understand how depressed Millennials and some of the Gen-Z generation are in the U.S.. Being blamed for EVERYTHING wrong in this society may be great for clicks, clout, and article sales, but it is really slaughtering their self value to a point where they don't care about anything or anyone anymore. For example, there are THOUSANDS of missing children in schools after COVID, and it seems like an afterthought to people. (Sorry for the long post)
Following up on your post last month about why Americans say the economy is terrible despite an abundance of date that shows otherwise, I'd love your take on the role of corporate media in shaping people's negative perceptions. Last month, Quinnipiac reported results of a poll that showed 71% of Americans described the economy as "not so good" or "poor." But perhaps more noteworthy (and certainly less reported), 60% of respondents described their OWN financial situation as either "good" or "excellent." That's a pretty big disconnect. Why is the mainstream media so quick to talk down our economy each day? We've had repeated warnings of recessions that never happened, little mention that inflation is down 5% from last year at this time, and very little mention of historic job growth and a record streak low unemployment (along with lowering deficits) since Biden took office.
I would like to see amplified the working conditions of retail pharmacists. They walked out in Kansas CVS. Walgreens and Walmart aren't any better. Yes pharmacists make a lot of money but when they are expected to do the impossible, our lives are at stake. The conditions are inhumane, no breaks, no bathroom time, no assistance. Its appalling. This needs to be amplified by journalism. CEOs want to quiet it down. Don't let them.
In California, we are again seeing an increase in tv ads that on their surface seem at least somewhat favorable of alternative energy. With a bit of digging into the funding sources for these ads, however, there are clear ties to the fossil fuel industry. Two examples are Californians for Affordable & Reliable Energy (CARE) and Californians for Energy Independence. I’m curious if there are examples of these types of misleading practices in other parts of the country, and if so, is there coordination and perhaps higher level, pooled funding.
I’m interested in better understanding the various vulnerabilities and ambiguities in our election system that would allow a person facing 91 felony indictments to be even remotely considered for the presidency, let alone elected. In other words: What catastrophic failure (and of what specific mechanisms) is being allowed to play out every single day where someone like that is currently one of two frontrunners?
As I just noted in a comment just upthread, the 60 votes filibuster cudgel would be a good thing to explain to people because it’s been a frustrating three years for me to explain to people over and over again that they can’t just vote simple majority for almost anything at this point, only judicial appointments or reconciliation bills.
At the first 2023 Republican debate, a young man from Young America's Foundation was allowed to pose a question to the candidates about climate. He appeared well prepared and his question appealed to young voters. That is the frightening thing about Young America's Foundation. On the surface, they appear very clean cut and reasonable. But a quick look at their website reveals who they really are - an anti-LGBTQ organization formed to torment LGBTQ students on college and high school (and some middle schools) throughout the nation. Their power and funding are growing at an exponential rate. They own the Reagan Ranch in California, the Reagan boyhood home in Dixon, IL and have just purchased the Reagan birthplace in Tampico, IL. Their version of Reagan is highly idolized. I would love to see some digging on who these people are and who funds them.
The NC State budget repeals the law requiring draft maps and other redistricting records to be made public after districts are approved. This means all gerrymandering can be hidden. (!!!)
And, last week Rep. Terence Everitt (D) received notice from House Speaker Tim Moore that his legislative office had been moved to a basement closet while he was waiting to vote on the new budget. Someone boxed up his things in his old office. Everitt said it was likely a retaliation by Moore because of his request to the Wake County District Attorney to investigate Moore over a salary increase given to a state employee with whom he was having an affair.
In North Carolina, the GOP dominated state legislature is passing a budget that provides over $20 milllion of tax payer money for faith-based "pregnancy crisis centers" that do not appear to be legitimate organizations. They are not legitimate organizations in the first place, as they exist to dishonestly manipulate women seeking abortions. The issue here is that these orgs appear to not even provide any services at all, even their stated goal of tricking women out of seeking healthcare.
I would love to see this investigated, but I know our legislature will not and I haven't seen anything from local media. Please see this video of State Senator Natasha Marcus:
I would love to get an update on Walgreens and their anti contraceptives policies.
The housing crisis that has everyone concerned and talking has many causes and no one root cause. But I would like to know how the equity firms investing in housing has made it worse AND how realtors in getting commissions for house sales cause increases in the cost of a home.
I’m so glad you are investigating and writing about our Democracy.
I’m a psychiatrist in NC, a purple state which used to have a great education system and health care. Since the Republicans took over by gerrymandering, it’s going downhill in both those areas.
Why are people “not good if the economy is good? “ Constant news of trump, other judges and politicians who are corrupt, and the climate crisis that everyone in media is ignoring. There’s a lot of grief and worry.
We’re looking at many systems breaking down soon, and minimal leadership. What is our future?
There’s been some alarm but little follow up reporting on the use of RICO in the arrest of protestors at Cop City in Atlanta. The charges essentially determine that organizing under their first amendment constituted a criminal organization or domestic extremism. Even though there’s been only one charge of arson in the case and money laundering under 8 counts, all 61 protestors were tied to racketeering. It feels like it’s just as concerning as the Kansas case of police seizing newspaper records. If it happens once without too much blowback then it gives license to repeat it en mass.
With the vast wealth (and, thus, power) accumulating at the tip-top of the economic scale, this deadly-serious imbalance is breaking America's financial backbone: the Middle Class.
Please lay out, in deep detail, how "unearned wealth" has accumulated there. Thanks for all the work you and your team do!
here's an idea : how about a story on how the auto manufacturers are brainwashing Americans into buying huge, expensive gas guzzling SUVs and pick up trucks to increase their profits with little concern over the environment or climate change, and the damage and destructionThese vehicles do.
It all comes down to getting out the vote, starting right now for the November 7 elections. Ask your friends what is their plan to vote, join your local dem groups for canvassing, get young people registered.
This is fantastic, so many good ideas for investigations! I'm sure you will astound us in the near future. Your work has a real time effect on politics, and I am very very grateful for all that you do!
You are a bellwether in your posts. You know about weird sh8t before it is on my radara. I rely on you for that. Keep up the good work
MSM continually frames the narrative around federal budgeting and tax policy in terms of taxpayer’s paying for things. MMT has shown that tax dollars are simply destroyed on payment and that the true narrative is that the government simply provisions for its needs by issuing payments within an budgetary framework established by Congress and approved by the President. Thus the budget, once established, is always payed for by issuing new dollars and not tax revenues. I would appreciate an analysis of this process so as to first demonstrate its validity and then to begin calling out the conventional framing whenever possible. We should stop accepting the childish narrative of taxes paying for things and accept that taxes have other important roles like reducing wealth disparities and incentivizing behaviors or investments.
Mr Legum, Fort Wayne IN TV news WPTA 21
has let go their top rated News Anchor team Brien Mcelhatten and co Anchor his wife Krista.
What’s the truth behind rumors?
Did his questions in an interview with congressman Jim Banks cause his non renewed contract. SarkariExam.com will give a very cautioned explanation..but did Banks
complain to station owners? I hope you can shed some light.
IMHO Banks is a little r = radical...not a R = Republican.
What is going on with the botched Covid vaccine rollout? The large pharmacy chains don’t seem to have enough supply and they’re charging folks who have insurance even though the insurance companies are required to pay. Our local health department doesn’t expect to have stock for a few weeks yet. (Shocked face) it appears privatizing public health doesn’t work great. Someone screwed up and I’m not seeing anything in the press about it. Is anyone asking HHS what happened? Who is in charge?
Some really great discussion here, thanks everyone. I’m particularly interested in project 2025 as well. For Judd though, please keep the spotlight on Florida! It’ll be so easy for them to sweep it under the rug with no one calling them out.
Hey Judd - can you do a piece on Gym Jordan's blatant abuse of his position and trying to illegally interfere into a criminal investigation? I just read an article today that he is again demanding documents by October 11th when he has no legal authority to do so.
The news out of New York that declared Trump's businesses illegal. I saw little mention in the mainstream, corporate-owned press. This is a big deal because it is based on his inflated tax returns where we overvalued, "shock!", his business to get favorable loan terms. The man is true con-artist.
Just like to say to Judd and company you are doing what you can to get the truth out there in the midst of a divided and sadly failing democratic republic.
Lots of good ideas on here this morning. Hope to read about 2025 Heritage project and many others mentioned here today.
Hate groups and how to get them labled as such, our North Shore community is experiencing bomb threats at multiple libraries and one elementary school. Two dark money extremists groups, Awake Il and New Trier Neighbors, have targetted LGBTQ+ programming at libraries and two public schools with rainbow flags in classrooms. Multiple bomb threats. The receipts: https://us15.campaign-archive.com/?u=8a3d87cd7d79916580f8848f7&id=19466af810
I like the topics you hit! If anything, I'd like you to tell us more about yourself, so that each time we share, the people reading it can see why you are credible.
I'd love to see you elevate the case of tiny Newbern, AL. They elected their first black mayor in 166 years in 2020, but the white incumbent has so far refused to vacate the office (both the position and the physical space). There's an unelected despot running that town, and its duly elected mayor seems to have no options for securing an ouster.
I think this case poses the very relevant question: what happens if an authoritarian like Trump wins the presidency and then simply refuses to leave when their time in office is up? Do We, the People, have any legal or civil recourse, or are we looking at necessary armed rebellion to remove someone who behaves like the former mayor of Newbern?
I would like an explanation - although I can guess - why the mainstream media refuse to give President Biden credit for anything, and why they insist on manufacturing a false equivalency between him and Trump.
Other than the nightmare of climate change, I see two things warranting more discussion on this platform with suggestions on possible courses of action. I agree with those who have expressed a desire to get the word out regarding Project 2025, what it would entail, and how it can be stopped. While I rarely agreed with him, I can't begin to imagine Ronald Reagan and his Republican Party wanting to dismantle the FBI, destroy freedom of religion, quit NATO and take the United States off the world stage. The other issue is current state of the Republican Party and how working class Americans could be awakened and convinced that it is not the party that really cares about them. How can the Democratic Party reclaim the trust of those it has lost?
How does the 65-70% of the populace, call us the mainstream - concerned about solutions to climate warming, respect for rights of others, non-racist, non-misogynistic, not anti-Semitic, not homophobic, believe in gun safety - reassert control over the political process AND not have the tyranny of the majority.
As it is now, I feel and think we’re caught in the grips of an inescapable self-destruction machine.
The first one is the one we need to remedy if we can. I know most people see the process and automatically feel it's Biden's fault, but the message needs to be the combination of corporate greed and the ripples of the pandemic. People don't have the time to get an economic education, but the messaging needs to be clear.
I also think we need to be ready for the "Biden might not make it and see, we are going to have Harris" attacks, form both sides. I'd be fine with her, but many won't.
Also, maybe a full accounting/audit of the entire military budget? That'd be eye-opening.
I don't know if this topic is too broad but here goes: one of the major drivers of working class people's budget stress is the ever-increasing cost of rent. This seems to be rarely mentioned when discussing the problem of inflation even though housing is most people's largest expense. Except in a few places, such as NYC, there is little rent control. Landlords seem to be able to just raise prices to whatever they choose as what they're selling is a necessity and it's a tight market in most places. In 2019, I moved to a housing complex in Asheville, NC, one owned by a national conglomerate. The rent was $1,200 per month when I moved in. When I moved out two years later, they raised it to $2,000 per month for next tenant. That's a 50% increase. North Carolina has law FORBIDDING rent control throughout the state. People seem fatalistic about exorbitant rent increases, as if nothing can be done except through supply meeting demand. I keep wondering whether there are statistics about the profits of these large rental companies, similar to how we get information on how other large corporations (oil, auto, for- profit healthcare) have record profits while squeezing average working/middle class people.
The rising cost of housing has led to an increase in homelessness. Young people are unable to leave their parents home because of housing costs, working families are losing their homes.
What is driving this? How has the rise of short term rentals, such as AirB&B, impacted the availability of affordable housing? What other factors are contributing and what solutions are there to the problem?
Given the latest on the Trump Organization's fraud, I'd like to see a story digging into all of the lenders and title companies who were involved in his deals over the years. None of us would get away with saying our building was worth $XX million without an appraisal and verification of occupancy, cash flow, etc. In some cases, he lied about where the property was in NYC to inflate the perception of its value. And, he probably got lower interest rates on the loans because of his claims that they were worth so much and performing so well. He claims the loans performed well and the banks got repaid, but how do we know that? Wouldn't the banks have made more with a loan to a reputable company that was honest about the building conditions? This was a massive amount of fraud over many years. Much of this should be public record, mortgages get recorded etc. How was he allowed to get away with all of it for so long?
Yes, I am probably beating a dead horse, but once again I'd love you to focus on Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. A few weeks ago he used taxpayer money to send mailers to what seems like a select group, I am on his mailing list and didn't get it. I suppose it is legal to use your office and taxpayer money to promote yourself to help with reelection by only sending it to Republicans, but at the very least such gross behavior should be called out. I thought another journalist was working on this, but it seems to have gone nowhere. https://x.com/BuxMontNews/status/1699964800082543004?s=20 Bucks County is important, what is happening in our Commissioners race is important. You already know what is happening in Pennridge is important. We're such a swing district, and very purple, and far too many people here look at Fitzpatrick like he's one of the good Republicans. He needs someone to out him for what he really is.
“Silent Coup: How Corporations Overthrew Democracy,”
This looks like the biggest issue of our time. Everything else is a detail under his heading.
he United States, like many industrialized countries, has undergone a corporate coup d’état in slow motion, cementing into place a system of control the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls inverted totalitarianism. Inverted totalitarianism retains the institutions, symbols, iconography, and language of the old capitalist democracy, but internally corporations have seized all the levers of power to accrue ever greater profits and political control. Claire Provost and Matt Kennard in their book “Silent Coup: How Corporations Overthrew Democracy,” chart the way the corporate coup d’état was orchestrated. It examines the use of an international legal system to control and plunder the resources in the developing world, including the overthrow of governments that challenge corporate dominance. The authors expose the nefarious alliance between Non-Profit organizations and corporations, one that prioritizes profit rather than justice. The document leading the weakening of labor laws and evisceration of worker’s protections and rights. To enforce this predatory behavior corporations have not only created, in essence, a global supreme court but raised and funded private mercenary militias to crush labor movements and intimidate and even murder activists. The subversion of democracy abroad is accompanied, the authors argue, by the subversion of democracy at home. The mechanisms of control pioneers to plunder the developing world are being used in the industrial world. Joining me to discuss Silent Coup is Matt Kennard, a former staff reporter for the Financial Times and co-founder and chief investigator at Declassified UK, a news outlet that investigates British foreign policy.