So far this month, Popular Information exposed a top College Board executive who was pushing to limit instruction on race and history in classrooms (he resigned the next day), forced RFK Jr's anti-vaccine propaganda group to admit it broke the law, and revealed the corporations that sent large donations to the GOP groups behind state abortion bans and voter suppression.
Today, however, I want to hear from you. What's on your mind? What topics would you like to see Popular Information take on in the weeks ahead?
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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I don't know whether you have any insight into this, Judd, but I'd LOVE to know what the #^&@^ is going on at the Justice Department and specifically, whether any of the actual political leaders of the 1/6 insurrection are going to face legal consequences for their treachery.
I'd like to understand more about the technologist Peter Thiel and why he's spending an insane amount of money supporting those who claimed the election was fraudulent.
Keep doing what you are doing. I’m a journalist, I appreciate your diligent work.
An investigation into all the ways the GOP is attempting to dismantle public education is an important topic. Most attacks have occurred within red states, but there is also a national push from Republicans to direct tax money away from public education and into private and charter schools. Often the legislation and organizations attacking public education are funded by wealthy donors such as Rex Sinquenfield in Missouri. Missouri legislators have passed several laws that will defund public education, including one that funds private and charter schools with tax money that should be going to public schools. Missouri is not the only state where public education is under attack on multiple fronts. Everything from low teacher pay, misinformation about CRT, book banning, proposed cameras in classrooms, to far right members of school boards working to disrupt their local educational system.
Expose examples of stock trades of members of Congress, and other political staff placed in positions receiving inside information. If nothing else it might provide average citizens with stock tips they could act on as well. Especially expose the most egregious lawlessness in which members of Congress cast votes that influence the value of those stock trades.
Barry Goldwater, the 1964 GOP candidate for the presidency:
"Mark my word, if and when these preachers get
control of the [Republican] party, and they're
sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible
damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten
me. Politics and governing demand compromise
But these Christians believe they are acting in the
name of God, so they can't and won't
compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.
Well! They now have total control and no one’s taking about it. They won’t compromise but no one says why. They’re on a clear religious mission.
Church systems discourage questioning and suggests it means one lacks “faith”. “Have faith my child” Once religion and politics were married those same faithful were already indoctrinated into not questioning their preacher and political leader.
It’s because those leaders represent God and so they’re really questioning God Almighty who put those leaders in charge.
We see the consequences of that in every word and action Trump puts forth where his evangelical following put blinders on.
Trump became their Jesus.
Because it’s about sacred religious freedom everyone’s afraid to tackle the topic.
While we always focus on the battles we fail to see what drives those battles.
Last night on medical subreddit hospital staff raging at Joint Commission coming back after 2 years of hiding from Covid. They accredit hospitals for safety and that’s needed to keep treating Medicare patients. Staff, particularly nurses, are livid they didn’t investigate safety issues related to Covid and PPE. They otherwise justify their existence by coming up with ever intricate rules like not allowing paper to be taped to office walls unless laminated or not allowing nurses to drink coffee while they work. Useless bureaucracy and regulations that hospital administration scramble to meet for the 3 days they visit every 2 years, and then things go back to normal.
Healthcare workers are still very angry that they were called heroes while they reused masks and protected themselves wearing garbage bags. All the safety requirements we are forced to memorize like how to deal with airborne illness went out the window. I know people are sick of hearing about Covid but they need to know how badly this was managed and why people are leaving the field, causing nationwide staffing issues and deterioration of care.
Ohio tv airwaves are currently loaded with GOP Senate wannabe commercials that are loaded with distortions, lies, racist dog whistles and attacks on Joe Biden faulting him for inflation, China’s aggression, and the proliferation of fentanyl. Add to that the ads from dark money groups attacking GOP Senate hopefuls for being RINOs or ‘not being Trump enough’. Yet it all seems to go unchallenged here. There are no corresponding tv commercials from Democrats refuting the lies and ugly racism against immigrants. Also there are relatively few articles from the Ohio press pointing out this torrent of lies and distortions. Where is the pushback? As much as the ‘Dems in disarray’ narrative is pushed nationally, it’s curious that the Republican infighting in Ohio doesn’t receive a similar assessment by the press. It’s certainly an interesting subject to examine if only for the GOP campaigning strategy which will be employed elsewhere across the country.
Is AARP actually doing anything to help the cohort that it supposedly represents, or is it really mostly a marketing organization? Is its for-profit AARP Services subsidiary in a position of conflict with the mission of its not-profit parent? Does AARP fund any individuals or organizations that are in conflict with democracy?
You are doing great work, and getting results. Thank you.
I’d like to see Popular Information investigate more how new media companies like Spotify amplify misinformation and racism and how they are not being held accountable by advertisers
I'm a constituent in a rural community. Our congressional rep (Stefanik) floods the zone with garbage and local press struggles to confront it. I read your newsletter and get so much concrete info. My dream: could there ever be a model for your newsletter to be a column in local press or some other way to get it where folks already are? I'm sure I could get a local group to contribute funds to support this kind of effort. Thank you for all you do.
I live in a community where a billionaire threatened the local council that he would stop donating and withdraw his donations to other things if the council voted for a a development near him that had a lot of affordable housing. I would be curios to know how zoning/development is being used for class nd race warfare. Thanks for what you do.
Talk about/look into the lack of funds and personnel at IRS...rich get richer, and get away with crimes, at least partially due to limited/heavily-reduced number of employees.
Yesterday you did a column on companies that say they're being environmentally responsible but then don't follow through on their promises. That kind of work is important, and I'm glad you're doing it.
I worked for a company that does (not included in your report or the one referenced in your column). I'd like to see you do a story on companies that *do* live up to their environmental commitments, just as you mention companies who've stuck to their commitments not to donate to Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 election.
Those companies are out there, and in some cases doing some important work in helping to not only reduce environmental impact but help with recycling efforts. (https://www.recyclingtoday.com/article/purecycle-technologies-licenses-pg-polypropylene-recycling-technology/)
Ditto Michaell Fomil. Amazing, necessary work that enables an informed public. At 86 years, I too appreciate your diligence.
Keep the focus on Jan 6 & the just reported text msgs between R members of Congress -Fox anchors - and White House! 9184 Double-speak. Saying one thing in public and another more ominous privately! Hypocrites!
Freedom to Vote Act's failure means all hell is breaking loose on the electoral front. E.g., see ghastly mess with current TX primary. Why the deafening silence re: resurrecting fed bills to prevent and remedy election sabotage & voter suppression???
something on federal judges- salaries vs. what they or spouses make outside of the courtroom; case loads (why does it take years for cases to end) ; how many preside over cases they have conflicts in; when is last time number of judges or districts was increased; where do they go for "training/education" while on the bench and those "monopolies".
I think you should identify a handful of the most dangerous assaults on democracy --such as corporate contributions to insurrectionists and vote suppressors, the assault from the right on public education, and efforts to erase racial progress -- and then keep hammering away at them. If the Democratic party can't figure out how to message, you can continue to provide a much-needed focus.
I was aware of the consolidation in health insurance and providers, but the DoD report noting that since the 1990s the number of contractors has decreased from 51 to 5 really caught my attention. Why isn't there more scrutiny of this industry, or debate over the annual defense appropriations? Is it really as simple as buying enough of Congress - and if so, just how fantastic is the return on investment?
Peter Thiel - He’s up to some nefarious stuff - purchased citizenship & land grabbing in New Zealand, for example.
He’s rounding up other billionaires to create a “haven” or something when the American fallout happens.
I’d like to know: Who are these others - what companies do they run & what public statement are they making that’s contrary to their elbow rubbing w/Peter?
We need more exposure to the role of the Council for National Policy’s (CNP) influence on their role in shaping and executing Trumpism. Anne Nelson’s book Shadow Network provides their blueprint.
I want to know just how much the fossil fuel industry relies on federal and state government support for its operations. I believe there is a long history of subsidies and other supports still on the books that have existed in some form since the first oil well was drilled and the first coal mine was dug. Do taxpayers really know the full cost we pay for the willful poisoning of our planet?!
Many great suggestions here, but what's most concerning me are all the lies about inflation. Keep hammering away at those corporate pirates, please, and the "lawyers" who enable them. They are the real enemies of the state.
I recently saw a bill that would raise teachers pay in New Mexico (make a salary floor, plus specify percent for raises, etc). Could you explore the details of the bill and reach out to other states on whether they plan to adopt this type of bill for their state? If other states adopt a similar bill, it would be a good counter move to the states who are newly restricting what teachers are able to teach. Not to mention it would help support teachers who are over worked and under paid.
I live in Philadelphia, and I am interested in tenant and housing rights not just here but nationwide. The Washington Post has published a list of investor real state purchases across the US. These targeted purchases more often than not result in evictions or price increases squeezing out renters and family buyers. This is well documented, but I would like to go deeper - who are these corporations. Where is their funding coming from. The post did not report on rural areas, do they not have the same issue? and whatever else comes to light. Thanks!
Hi Judd, There is all kind of shadiness begging for light in Big Blue California's coddling of the fossil fuel industry. I am a teacher and CalSTRS member. CalSTRS is the CA teacher public pension. It's the largest teacher only public pension in the world. CalSTRS and the sister agency CalPERS (public pension for state and municipal employees) combined would be the largest public pensions in the world. Executives for both CalSTRS and CalPERS have been amplifying anti-fossil fuel divestment messaging that comes straight from the fossil fuel industry playbook for 8+ years. The Independent Petroleum Association of America even has a disinformation site called "Divestment Fact" with a webpage named after CalSTRS (they mention CalSTRS 29 times). CalSTRS and CalPERS were both involved in a broader misinformation scandal which significantly weakened a 2017 Dakota Access Pipeline divestment bill. Both the LA Times and the California Teachers Association opposed this bill, grossly distorting and overstating CalSTRS or CalPERS cost estimates of the bill. Their opposition significantly weakened this bill designed to advance climate action, environmental justice, and Indigenous rights. This case is a perfect template to see how progressives in CA have been co-opted through political money and a broader campaign of misinformation along with small, powerful, in-groups caught in groupthink situations to give cover and political power to the fossil fuel interests driving the climate crisis. I have lots of details I could share if you are interested.
I live in a west coast city with a very large houseless population, despite lots of tax dollars being allocated to the problem. Very limited progress despite numerous agencies and entities in place and possibly using the money -- enough that when someone mentions the "Houseless Industrial Complex" I cannot really disagree that this might be a thing. Would be interesting to see what dynamics in either government or the "free market" are causing the lack of progress.
Over time, we came to believe that a college degree is the first key to a successful life. This has changed somewhat over the past several years as students pursue technical education that more often leads to direct path of employment. What’s the current status of college enrollment and gainful employment in their field of study? What is the average debt accrued attaining a degree and the average payback period by area of study?
Connecting the dots between those that push and then profit immensely from misinformation.
Perhaps this is too small bore, but like millions of others I once used a CPAP machine for sleep apnea. Suddenly, the machines, which were made in the Netherlands, were said to be contaminated, and we were told not to use them. Maybe a year later, I received a new machine, no questions asked, but I am plagued with people trying to sell me masks, tubing, and other supplies. I discovered that Medicare had been billed more than $400 for essentially $30 worth of plastic. The woman to which I reported replied drily "Believe me, you're not the only one." My sleep apnea is mild, but I haven't used a machine since all this began, because I don't have a properly fitted mask, and all of this is done mail order. Feels like a huge scam.
Hospital monopolies and impact on community non-profit facilities. Refer to Brian Alexander's book: "The Hospital." Lots of fertile ground in this area.
Saw Sandy Hook survivors settlement vs gun manufacturers. Explore the damning documents, and lawmakers reaction to those documents (who STILL refuses to outlaw AR-15s, and other like weapons).
Lawsuit vs Trump Inaugural Comm is alive and well; where does it stand, and what are the allegations against the Committee and the Trump Org.
We are seeing reporting that more money is being funnelled from the USA into the Canadian trucker's "protest", which is blocking trade at the borders. I would love to know who is behind this movement. Love what you are doing!
Is there a financial tie to the resistance to enter the amendment for the ERA passage?
Great work. Can you investigate what companies “say” they value diversity (such as submit amicus briefs in affirmativr action cases), yet they financially support killing affirmative action?
Expose on the Let’s F**k Freedom Convoy in Canada. CBC & CTV should do an hour long documentary on how to destroy a democracy.
How about something re: the 2005 bankruptcy reform act and how Ds and Rs both were in on the deal to a) set banks up to get away with highway robbery when it came to student loans and b) ensure those debts followed regular people to their graves?
The DOJ started a task force in October to crack down on redlining. There haven’t been any updates on exactly what they have found or are doing. I’d like to know more about how seriously the DOJ is taking this, how they are going about the investigation, and if their investigation will encompass the FHA or is only focused on private institutions.
You're doing a great job. My suggestion is take a deep drive into efforts by states to limit voting rights through all the various nefarious means. Need to understand the how to create effective action to resist these efforts. Thanks for asking!
Thank you, Judd. Many great topics here. I trust you to pick what’s most important and doable.
I relish each and every one of your posts!
LOVE what you are doing, Judd. I think the ad/marketing industry needs some attention. These guys are shaping opinion about everything from politics to products and are pretty much self-regulating. Plus, their record on diversity is awful.
A bit of backstory: Here in San Francisco, where Nancy Pelosi is running for her umpteenth congressional term, she’s being primaried to her left again by Shahid Buttar. He won enough votes in the 2020 CA jungle primary to go head-to-head with Pelosi in that year’s general election (becoming the first Democrat ever to take her on in November) and earned more than 81,000 votes but came up short.
Now Buttar is challenging Pelosi again, declared his campaign months ago, and has a legitimate shot to make it to the general again - yet multiple corporate media outlets (e.g. NPR) have been caught discussing Pelosi’s competition mentioning hypothetical establishment candidates who wouldn’t *dare* run against Pelosi, and leaving Buttar out of the discussion entirely. When confronted about the oversight, I know of next to no outlets who corrected their stories. Would *love* to know what tangled webs of corruption are contributing to this. Thanks for all you do!
Thanks for your outstanding journalism, Judd. I'd love to see more reporting on the environmental destruction of large industrial animal agriculture, the monopolization of that industry by a few large companies and their political giving federally and in states. Citizen groups in multiple large ag states like Iowa have been pushing for a moratorium on CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) but the bill never even gets a hearing b/c of the political dominance of the pork council, farm bureau and others. It's an industry with very little regulation and accountability yet its devastating rural communities, our planet and not to mention the daily suffering of the billions of farmed animals in the US. It's confounding why the environmental groups don't talk about this issue when its a major driver of greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss, not to mention the air and water pollution.
What happened to this story that has disappeared about the military plane that crashed in China waters? Is silence of story because of need for national security?
Hi Judd. I'd love to learn more about the connection between public school curriculum and funding from NGOs. What connection do these NGOs have with other industries, and policy makers on both sides of the political spectrum? Groups like the Arcus Foundation have global reach and are inter-connected to many other foundations that are focused on social justice.
I would be interested in finding out more about how older Americans get their Social Security garnished because of student debt and debt defaults. I truly believe the American educational system has set up a paid scam.
From the Feb.15 newsletter of Heather Cox Richardson: " . . . an executive order Biden signed on July 9 that sort of slipped under the radar. Designed “to promote the interests of American workers, businesses, and consumers,” the order addressed the consolidation of industries in the last several decades. It noted that mergers and the rise of mega-corporations have stifled competition and increased racial, wealth, and income inequality as power is transferred to corporate employers, making it harder for workers to bargain for higher wages and better working conditions. . ." (https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/february-15-2022?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo2MjA5MjgwLCJwb3N0X2lkIjo0ODgzNzc0OCwiXyI6IlNSY2lOIiwiaWF0IjoxNjQ1MDI1NzM0LCJleHAiOjE2NDUwMjkzMzQsImlzcyI6InB1Yi0yMDUzMyIsInN1YiI6InBvc3QtcmVhY3Rpb24ifQ.sU18xDU-ugIPyLK-as5t7HHFUlq8Du2T0J7JrP9PnAg&r=3p340)
Please consider investigating this executive order and anything learned from any possible investigations. The newsletter continues on to mention concerns in the arena of national security with only 5 corporations building defense equipment from the 50 some in the recent past.
That a 3 person office can do so much. Thanks and shows the anemic coverage of corporate media