In the last few weeks, Popular Information has exposed the corporations bankrolling the sponsors of Texas' abortion ban, revealed the duplicity of Apple, Netflix, GM, and others on climate change, and laid out the real facts about crime in America.
Today, however, I want to hear from you. What's on your mind? What stories have you been following? What topics would you like to see Popular Information take on?
You can leave your thoughts in the discussion thread linked below, starting now. I’ll be dropping by to participate in the discussion and answer your questions at 1 PM Eastern, for about an hour.
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UPDATE (2PM): I’m thrilled about all the insightful comments and questions from Popular Information readers today. I wasn’t able to get to all of them but I need to sign off now to make sure you have a great newsletter tomorrow morning. I promise that I will read everything here, even if I can’t respond to each one. Thanks, Judd
I would like a close up look at the progress (or lack thereof) of legal proceedings against Donald Trump and The Trump Organization (civil and criminal). I was hoping something would come out of it that would derail his political ambitions.
I get more anxious every day that passes in which the Democrats fail to get their act together and pass the legislation needed to make this country more equitable for all. Letting McConnell stall them only plays into the hands of the Republican agenda to re-elect the dictator in Florida. The filibuster is not sancrosanct, nor written into the constitution. They need to get over it and get on with it. Republicans have not been wearing gloves for some time and the Democrats need to get in the ring and fight it out. My concern is, why the Democrats are taking so long to recognize this? We have seen the enemy and they are us.
Two additions would enhance your terrific work for me:
A section on who/what is combatting the issue you you explore. Somehow showing ways we can assist or act, so the frustration can be put to work.
A big feature on ideas to diminish the power of monied corporations.
US Code 2383; those who incite, assist, or engage in rebellion or insurrection...imprisoned up to ten years and be incapable of holding any office under the United States. Why are we seeing so few prison sentences or such lenient prosecution such as the 14 day prison sentence just handed out for the Jan 6th terrorists? When can we expect to see the inciters in Congress and Trump hauled up on charges such as for this code? If we don't see any real punishment for these traitors, they are just going to try again and if history is any guide, the attempt after the failed Beer Hall Putsch is not a pleasant experience for anyone.
Thank you for being such a trusted and valuable source of information, Judd. Through your reporting, we canceled a contract with AT&T (and all its previous iterations) of 20+ years. It felt really good to fill out that survey.
Any time you expose the hypocrisy of companies, I'm in. Who says publicly they support climate change legislation, but who works against it when they think no one is watching? Who says publicly they support voting rights legislation, but are funding politicians to not support and vote in favor of it? I realize one consumer alone is likely to not make a difference, but when a majority of us hit these companies where it hurts we can affect meaningful change.
I’d like to hear more of what’s happening with the voting rights bills as these are of utmost priority for our country.
I would like to hear more about the so-called “labor shortage”. Specifically, businesses/business owners that are complaining about the labor shortage, pushing for an end for unemployment benefits, while quietly raking in some of their best profits ever. It’s absolutely happening out there and popular information is a perfect avenue for exposing it.
I've been thinking lately of all the older senators and representatives who benefited from the programs and policies of yore: 90% marginal tax rate, publicly funded and affordable higher education, and public housing and healthcare (looking at you on that last one, McConnel), but have then consistently voted to prevent younger generations from benefitting from the same. There must be a spreadsheet or list like this, but I can't find it. It smacks of, "we got ours, now we taking yours," and I wish it would be mentioned more in policy debates.
I love your work. The way you call out corporations for their hypocrisy and apply pressure on them is so important. My biggest fear now is that fair elections are threatened.
Voting rights for sure. The GOP is gathering steam on ways to take the votes no matter who actually wins in counties across the US. While I care about everything else, I’ve come to believe that nothing will matter if our voting rights aren’t protected.
Need to know who to switch to after leaving ATT. Greater point who the good guys are as well as bad. And thank you for excellent work.
Loved your article on climate change and how companies and their execs can be so hypocritical. Anything more you can do on climate change and money flows is great.
Also like the idea in the comments below for a boycott list that could let us know by issue which companies to avoid and why. Can't avoid everyone (especially the big ones) but would be impactful to see it all laid out in one place.
What's on my mind?
Merrick Garland, the DOJ, and the almost total inaction over this seemingly endless rolling coup.
MG and the DOJ currently seems like the only thing that might halt the trajectory of your country into complete and total fascism.
There are so many important things that hover on the fringes, but the only thing that might really turn this around is decisive action on the part of MG and the DOJ. I would love a bit of analysis on this. Is he stealthily conducting leak-proof investigations into Trump and the rolling coup? OR, is he just letting his country slide unchecked into full fascism?
Thank you so much for all you do, and particularly for your recent article clarifying that America doesn't have a problem with rising crime rates, we have a crisis of rising gun homicides. While the general media tends to focus on the shooter in these cases, I hope you'll investigate three major groups who profit from gun crime: firearms dealers, manufacturers and Congress. Irresponsible gun dealers—often white and affluent--funnel firearms into black and brown neighborhoods, where homicides are highest. Manufacturers knowingly supply these same irresponsible dealers, and also design and market weapons to avoid gun safety laws. These groups are protected by NRA-backed politicians who refuse to adopt the common-sense gun safety legislation favored by most Americans, and instead have crafted protections for manufacturers and dealers unlike any seen elsewhere in American law. There is a powerful story here about America's other public health pandemic, and those who profit from it.
I’d love to know exactly just how big the Trump base really is. Why, when it seems that they’re the minority, do they control all things?! Is the “base” really that big and powerful? And if so, why does the “base” of us more logically minded people (who seem to be in the Majority) not equal at least as much power? I understand much of the control is really about big businesses that have essentially taken control of the law making process, but maybe if reporters start to zoom out (get the larger picture) on “the base” we hear so much about, we’ll start seeing this threat to our democracy through a new lense. Maybe we’ll begin to see that it’s not hopeless and it’s actually a relatively small group of very loud noisemakers doing everything they can do keep themselves in power- even if it means blowing up our democracy.
The most pressing issue is the lack of accountability of power, public and private. They go their own sweet way, from Bezos space pranks to government trickery, doing things despite majority opposition, like the abortion ban which a majority oppose or oil pipelines across indigenous land or leaving our allies in Afghanistan to die at the hands of our enemies. Accountability has vanished with ruthless irresponsible government and excessive wealth and power in too few hands. We have a broken system controlled by too few corporate interests.
Thanks for asking. I agree with the importance of all the issues noted here, but Judd, you’re #1 at following the money. Someone else mentioned zero Republican votes on anything. Party line votes aren’t new, but the extremism of them is new. My mind is on the swing states, but also on any state where R congresspeople have voted against all things stimulus since the first bill this year, yet their states and people are benefiting thanks to the Ds and Biden. A chart with breakdown by state showing the governor’s party, the state legislature’s party, and the congresspeople’s party, whether they supported any stimulus, how much stimulus the state received, how much they spent, how they spent it, and what Rs from the state are taking and/or accepting credit. This could be a huge research undertaking, so parsing it might help. Over the weekend I saw a piece about DoE approval of Michigan’s plan & Wyoming’s plan for using “Return to School” roadmap funds. I also found news releases for Missouri, Maine, Idaho, NC, NV, MN, LA, AK, IL, CT, Northern Mariana, IN, AL, NJ, KY, ND, SC, NH, PA, NY, MT, HI and Arizona. Possibly this is a place to start. Thanks for considering.
Thank you for exposing the corporations that continue to back the GOP and their efforts to erode democracy.
Florida's governor and Education commissioner are acting like spoiled kids in the sandbox who don't get their way, threatening the health of schoolchildren and their communities.
The Florida Board of Education seems to be comprised of corporate hacks, appointed by the FL governor, with no apparent academic education or professional experience in public schools. Bet there is a strong connection between these corporations and DeSantis' campaign contributions.
What are all the (insidious) connections?
fantastic work you do and such an avalanche of it! AMAZING.. thank you!!
right now I think it's reached the point for me at least that every other issue pales in comparison to increasing foreboding and feeling of inevitability and hopelessness about the very real probability that we are about to lose our democracy (such that it is at this point). I don't know if any other issue matters if that were to come to pass. That's what needs to be focused on from here on out, as far as I'm concerned - including, what if anything can still be done about it (desperate times call for desperate measures), what djt/maga one party rule might look like - how bad could it get? (are we talking about people being "rounded up" etc?), should people consider relocating abroad? Sorry to be such a Debby downer.. ugh 😩 Cheers, Jeff
I agree that following the money is both effective and informative. One thing I'm seeking and not finding within any of my news sources are suggestions on how we might affect meaningful change. Its not enough just to know things are bad, I'd love some advice on how to help make them unbad.
Keep up the great work especially on AT&T the hypocrisy is staggering
Please stay on AT&T.
I know I'm screaming into the wind here, but nothing will get better if we don't deal with the elephant in the room: Misogyny.
Misogyny fuels the GOP at least as much as racism does - but progressives tend to minimize or ignore misogyny, while indulging in plenty of misogyny themselves (putting the word "white" in front of "woman" does not make misogyny any more acceptable - and it does NOTHING to help Black women).
Male violence against women = TERRORISM.
But it's so common that we don't see it, acknowledge it, or care about it.
The white women who voted for Trump have almost certainly internalized White MALE Supremacy (white supremacy cannot be separated from male supremacy - they are conjoined twins).
The Left is great when it comes to talking about anti-racism and promoting Critical Race Theory - but if we don't talk about anti-misogyny and Critical Gender Theory we will fail to make any significant changes in society.
Violent masculinity is the driving force behind the murders of Black men by the police - and it's also a driving force behind young Black men killing each other AND terrorizing Black women (who can't even call the police for help due to fear of police violence and/or retaliation from their own communities).
If we keep ignoring misogyny as the primary fuel of fascism, we will fail to preserve our democracy.
Things can get worse.
We'd better get "Woke for Women" pretty damn quick.
I'd like to see you hit the Big Pharma companies that are blocking passage of the BBB (by thwarting efforts to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices). I know you've talked about it, but an ongoing public accounting of how corrupt they are would be awesome.
What is being done to counteract the 200+ Republican-produced voter suppression bills around the country, particularly those that allow override of election results? Who besides Marc Elias group of attorneys are working on this? What else can be done?
Two titans that need crashing:
1) Corporate media, and not just Sinclair, but NBC/Comcast, Disney, etc. One way is to expose them on the antitrust front. ATT gets away with its sh*t in part because of its lobbying to tamp down antitrust enforcement. These other huge media conglomerates do the same thing.
2) Insurance carriers. As I sent you a pitch privately about you covering CareFirst's apparent routinized consumer fraud, I will add here a cursory investigation on my end deepens my suspicion that it's the industry norm to "accidentally" not be able to receive a benificiary's paperwork in time to cancel per the month requested, so the customer has to pay for an extra month they don't want.
This reminds me straight up of the bullshit I encountered with Wells Fargo less than a decade ago, where they had a loan in my name they "couldn't find" and I couldn't sell my house because of it -- it wasn't my loan, there was no actual number for it, and the paperwork I had to keep filing for THREE YEARS to clear my deed kept mysteriously "getting lost". I wasn't even paying the loan, but I still had a lien. I finally broke through only because I discovered I had gone to high school with a higher up at the company. Even with his help, it took me another 18 months to get the bogus loan dropped.
Two unethical hits that burn us all out at once: The system is designed to be corrupt so people feel like they have no choice but to be controlled by it; the employees know they are being asked to lie and harm the consumer but are not empowered to do anything about it, and might even lose their job if they try to truly help solve the customer's problem.
More discussing and analysis of the fact the country is now like Russia in that it in effect is run by oligarchs thanks to citizens united. The PACs and dark money have corrupted the entire process. Why run for a job like house rep or Senator that pays what, 150k, if it takes millions and millions to get elected. And how can anybody think an elected official isn't going to cow tow to those that have him the millions needed to get elected
I love the financial accountability but why is this information not being discussed more broadly or these people being held accountable. Is this simpler the corruption we tolerate in the US? Kristen Synema and Manchin come immediately to mind because finances are CLEARLY influencing their voting. It’s incredibly frustrating they aren’t being held to account more broadly. I mean this for all our legislators but they are top of kind. I currently live in Latin America and the only difference I see between US and Latin American corruption is better marketing. We just call it politics and lobbying.
I would love to see more on the national voting rights legislation, and how Democrats just don't seem to understand how this is the issue of our times. Certainly, they don't seem to talk very much about it.
I love this newsletter. Thank you. I am interested in:
—All of your work digging into corporations- good and bad. We do not get that information in other places.
—Voting rights. What will leaders/companies do to protect our rights?
—Facebook. What is happening to regulate this site of conspiracies and misinformation?
—Justice. When will people in power be held accountable for January 6? What companies continue to support the traitors like Ted Cruz?
LIKE many of the writers below, I am appalled at the wussy-ness of the Democrats and D party. They seem unwilling to do the necessary to get things done.
For example- if it’s unconstitutional for the US to default, why doesn’t Biden just call the debt limit —which can prevent the US from paying for bills it’s already incurred— unconstitutional and say that spending limits will be determined by Congress as always, but once the bills are incurred, the U.S. will pay them? Why not call BS on the whole ridiculous situation?
Why not get some help from a few intelligent, high profile business leaders and call out the Business Roundtable and U.S. Chamber of Commerce as being anti-business. Because they are, and this from a guy who made his living as a business person for 40+ years. Discrimination, rigged elections, and impoverishment of the workforce are not good for business. Time to call them out.
And on and on. I think the leadership is just too comfortable paying ad people and consultants and is unwilling to do the floss-your-teeeth kind of tedious but effective register and get-out-the-vote activities championed by Stacey Abrams.
And WAY too unwilling to call the R’s what they are: lying, seditionist, anti-middle class racists and misogynists. These aren’t made up nasty names. This is what they do. Tag it.
I believe economists' reports are not paying attention to how 700,000-plus deaths will be affecting our economy? Workers, medical personnel, educators, business owners have died; across the board we've lost people who drive our economy. So far, I have not read any economist talking about how that sudden loss, over 18 months and still counting, must be a drag on prosperity.
First off, great work! Please always take the high road when reporting; we don't need more polarizing editorialization. Consider reporting more on:
* The Next Civil War (it's already begun and only one side has shown up). The Right is already testing the message, "it was never about democracy." What exactly are they trying to build and why? Who's funding it? Don't they realize global economic stability derives from a stable US gov't? Or, because there's been zero accountability or proportionate response, is this just all theater?
* Transparency and accountability around companies' financial contributions. Track every dollar.
* Transparency and accountability around corruption and hypocrisy in our government. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
Thanks for your work, it is definitely making an impact.
A deep look at religion in politics is overdue.
When I was taking Native American Studies at Ft. Lewis College in ’91, an assignment was an essay on religion in politics. The premise of my paper was that there was no separation of church and state, that religion played a major role in the decisions our legislators made. It was based on a Reagan era poll that showed over 80% of legislators did just that, referred to their religious beliefs before crafting bills or voting.
This article from Pew - “Faith on the Hill” is based on the previous congress, so slightly different than today.
It shows the religious makeup of Congress, from several angles.
A lot of Democrats are non-religious, religion just doesn’t play a role in many of our lives, and that seems to be a trending thing. Dems have a more diverse set of religious persuasions than Republicans.
- “Over the last few decades, the proportion of the U.S. population that is white Christian has declined by nearly one-third. snip Since 2006, white evangelical Protestants have experienced the most precipitous drop in affiliation, shrinking from 23% of Americans in 2006 to 14% in 2020. That proportion has generally held steady since 2017” -
Tons of graphs and info on that site, take a peak, might be some surprises.
This has much of the “Christian” right upset, on the defensive, and offensive. They are pushing their religion on the rest of us (I’m in the unaffiliated camp.)
I try to limit what I read regarding politics, and I watch no television news—I’ve been down too many rabbit holes and been on too many email lists. Thank you to Judd for being concise, relevant, illuminating and factual. I see many comments asking for ideas, ways we can affect change—and have to say I appreciate this newsletter for not overstepping into the realm of ideology and opinion. This is precisely why I choose to read it.
Keep up your outstanding reporting Judd. And, yes, please make possible one-time donations. I can contribute $10 now and then as finances allow.
Investigate all the rogue Republicans and see if any of them or their companies benefit from the stimulus funds. Especially Mr. McConnell.
I began reading at the beginning of the pandemic, and was surprised at the thoroughness of your investigative reporting. You name names, and you don't take crap from anybody. It's good to know that Big Business can't threaten real journalism. Continued monitoring of companies who say one thing and do another is a definite interest of mine. I'd also like to know where all the rats from the Trump Administration scurried to and how many of them are getting the punishments they deserve.
I'm interested in the Jan 6 committee and proceedings
Every morning I read you, Heather Cox Richardson and the Washington Post (local paper). PI and HCR are great foils -- she puts politics into a historical context and PI views politics through a financial frame. Both are extremely valuable lenses that enhance each other's view. I'd vote for sticking to what you do best: follow the money. Would second the requests to look more into finances and lobbying of Supreme Court justices and their spouses, to report on which companies and politicians are worthy of our money, and to keep climate change policies/actions on your radar. Thank you for all of your hard work.
First off, thank you for all you do Judd! I would like to hear more about the flow of dark money behind all branches of our government, regardless of party. In particular, I think the exposing the money flows behind the Supreme Court is critical to the solvency of our democracy, and understanding how that money is used to push forward certain candidates and quash voices that attempt to counter institutional partisans.
I find all of the topics you take on to be very valuable and informative but the one that really sent chills down my spine was Trump's reelection strategy. That is very frightening, indeed, and I fear that if he should make it back to the oval office he will refuse to leave, term limits be damned. This is something that needs to be closely monitored. I also appreciate your reporting on the toxic scourge of the internet aka Facebook.
Who bankrolled the 1/6 insurrection?
I am so grateful for the the work you do and appreciate the light you shine on corporations saying one thing but doing quite the opposite behind closed doors. Thank you.
Climate Crisis hands down is THE STORY - everything else is a distraction. Please continue to focus in the duplicity of corporations and the billionaires in this area, as they are literally killing our planet, and all that lives on it, including us.
Good job. Keep it up. Thought the crime analysis enlightening. Am un-retiring to help capture utilize store sequester carbon. Will study carefully anything you come up with there. Environmental hypocrisy is rampant and dangerous. Mismanaged energy transition could (will) result in many lost jobs with much higher prices and political instability nearterm, or longterm mass human migration of climate refugees and mass extinctions. Good management of the energy transition will still result in some political collateral damage, lost traditional jobs, some new high tech jobs, and higher prices - but less political instability. Threading the needle requires transparency (or disclosure) of stakeholders' motivations - something at which you've demonstrated a knack. Hard data whether the carrot or the stick policies were demonstrably more successful moving USA up to the low bar of "best in class of all polluters" might influence the "church of climatology." Just thinkin' out loud.
1st of all let me say that I look forward to reading your articles every day
I would like to see progress on accountability for for Donald Trump, Matt Gaetz, Boebert, Hawley, MTG, and the others.
I would like to know why the process on bringing any type of Justice to these people is so slow.
Also I would like to know as a citizen of this country what can I do or can be done collectively to bring attention and action for accountability.
It's frustrating for me to know that we have a Democratic majority yet nothing seems to be happening in Congress as far as accountability.
I was hoping we would be further along than we are now especially since November 2022 isn't far away.
Right now, I'm mostly concerned with voting rights, and the GOP's alternate reality with tfg. If GOP state legislatures can override the will of the people, well, there goes our democracy completely. So to me, that's the single most important focus, and we need to act on it immediately!
Thanks, Judd, for your excellent reporting and writing. I've been a subscriber for about two years now, and it's the most important newsletter I read. You and the NY Times. Thank you!!
The Democratic Secretaries of State Association is gearing up much more to support Dem candidates for SoS in 2022. In 2018, the Dem AGs Association had a national electoral campaign that elected a surprising number of Dem AGs, who, as we should all be thankful, challenged most if not all of the most evil things the T**** administration tried to do.
The AGs and Secs of State will be a battleground and bulwark to defend our elections henceforth. RepubliQs figured this out and are targeting Dems, and running Tr***ublicans. These are, IMHO, the most important downballot races in 2022, because it's about voting and elections and rule of law.
Watching these races develop, including keeping an eye on the money, seems right in your wheelhouse, Judd.
And let me join the chorus shouting THANK YOU for what you and your team are doing. (And those who haven't contributed to PopInfo yet, please do.)
Yes thank you Judd. My biggest concern is voting. Without federal laws the GQP will own the country, bye bye democracy. We may move to another country. Latin America most likely, and their governments are not great but ours will be worse. I’m from Arizona right now we’re voting for city council and ballot measures. By Mail. So we have One place to take our ballot, downtown Tucson. Pay to park, lots of traffic, etc. I’m taking my ballot downtown as I’m not sure th USPS will get it there in time.
Keep up the good work
James Tucson, AZ