HomeUncategorized6/15 News Roundup – Vermonters Join Sanders for Energy Resource Fair, Billionaires Control Half the World’s Wealth & More
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Mike Pence is going to a drag show on Friday. It’s not listed on his official itinerary for the trip, but when he arrives in Columbus, Ohio, he’ll be greeted by drag queens, soundsystems and hundreds of LGBT revellers.

The delightfully festive crossover comes as the US vice-president is set to speak at an event being held by at the controversial pro-Trump non-profit America First Policies, just as Pride weekend in Columbus kicks off. To commemorate the visit, the LGBT community has decided to throw him a party outside the downtown hotel where he’s speaking. In tow will be a dozen drag performers, two DJs, and speeches from politicians like Rick Neal, the gay Democratic candidate for Ohio’s 15th US congressional district.

The Welcome Mike Pence: Big LGBTQ Dance Party was launched on a whim on Facebook on Monday of this week, Jay Smith, one of the organizers of the event explained, and in a few days it has snowballed beyond anything he imagined. Nearly 2,000 have expressed interest on the Facebook page. Apparently a lot of people want to see Mike Pence dance to Robyn.



A pro-Trump demonstrator who admitted hitting protesters at a far-right rally received help and support from California police, who worked with him to prosecute leftwing activists, records show.

Documents and testimony in a trial surrounding a rightwing demonstration in Berkeley reveal that police and prosecutors pursued charges on behalf of Daniel Quillinan, a conservative activist who has posted fascist memes and came to the event with Kyle Chapman, now a celebrated figure amongst the “alt-right”. The authorities consistently treated Quillinan as a victim even though he was visibly armed with a knife, a wooden “shield” and a “flagpole” – and had told law enforcement that he “hit someone in the head”, according to court files.

The resulting criminal trial against five anti-fascist protesters – who are accused of assaulting Quillinan during a roughly 15-second altercation – is, according to activists, the latest example of US law enforcement aggressively targeting leftwing demonstrators and favoring members of the far-right after violent clashes. In another California case, police have worked directly with neo-Nazis to go after counter-protesters, including a black activist stabbed at a white supremacist rally.

Don midwest
Don midwest


He worked for some years as an aid to Bernie in the senate

He worked on the presidential run of Bernie

He is now in a econ think tank and his big issue is monopoly

Here is info from Open Markets Institute where he now resides

Matt Stoller
Matt Stoller is a Fellow at the Open Markets Institute. He is writing a book on monopoly power in the 20th century for Simon and Schuster. Previously, he was a Senior Policy Advisor and Budget Analyst to the Senate Budget Committee. He also worked in the U.S. House of Representatives on financial services policy, including Dodd-Frank, the Federal Reserve, and the foreclosure crisis. He has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Republic, Vice, and Salon. He was a producer for MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show, and served as a writer and actor on the short-lived FX television series Brand X with Russell Brand. You can follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.

I did a little more searching – from 2015

Bernie Sanders remakes Budget Committee in his image

Stoller, who most recently held a similar job under liberal firebrand Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, rose to prominence during the Bush era as a widely read progressive blogger and has gone on to have a varied career in politics and media. That included stints producing for msnbc’s “The Dylan Ratigan Show” and co-starring in the first season of FX’s “Brand X with Russell Brand” as the British actor’s political analyst.

During his several years working with Grayson, Stoller worked on legislation to audit and reform the Federal Reserve, along with bills that dealt with foreclosure fraud and financial reform.

Sanders, who is eyeing a 2016 presidential bid, will become ranking member of the Budget Committee when Congress reconvenes Tuesday.


I didn’t find a reference to the role of Stoller on Bernie’s campaign, but that is not really the point of this comment which is to bring his name up to watch out for his work in the future.

Here is something else I found


It’s fortuitous that Matt Stoller’s How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul appeared around the same time as Tom Hayden’s death was announced. Stoller’s piece is essentially a retrospective of the new left and a critique of its failure to develop an alliance with pre-existing strains of domestic working class radicalism. This, Stoller suggests, should have formed the basis for the left to consolidate power in the years to follow but did not.

later in the article published Oct 2016

While it (oddly) doesn’t mention it, Stoller’s critique shares substantial common ground with that of Thomas Frank’s Listen Liberal which also focusses on the McGovernite rejection of the New Deal alliance. While both critiques are well taken, the problem is that both view the New Deal alliance through excessively rose colored glasses. In Frank’s case, as I noted in my review of Listen Liberal, the problem is his failure to view critically, or even mention, the deeply reactionary and dysfunctional character of the labor unions which the McGovern coalition sought to displace within the Democratic Party. For Stoller, the blind spot resides in not recognizing the reactionary aspects of populism, most conspicuously its providing a foundation for the maintenance of Jim Crow in the South as well as its co-optation into supporting the national security state and its attendant anti-communist purges and military adventurism. Patman himself (as I well remember) opposed landmark civil rights legislation and supported Johnson’s genocidal policies in Vietnam. None of this is mentioned by Stoller except for vague allusions to the new left’s discomfort with the “hawks”.

Maybe significantly, similar tendencies are to some extent reflected within Stoller’s political trajectory. This began with his being an advisor to the aborted campaign of General Wesley Clark who was being promoted by Michael Moore and other liberals as a candidate of the left in 2004. The left, aware of Clark’s record for aggressive militarism in Kosovo wasn’t buying the claims for him as a peace candidate and Stoller has since moved on to better things. (Stoller does not take kindly to being reminded of this, incidentally, as I myself discovered).

Interestingly the same blind spot is apparent in the political orientation of Stoller’s current employer, Bernie Sanders, arguably a Wright Patman resurrected for the new century. Reliably populist on economic issues, a scourge of the banks and Wall Street, Sanders has relatively little to say on the destructive effects of bloated military budgets and military interventionism. That this will necessary prevent his ambitious domestic program from being enacted presents a paradox which will need to be reconciled at some point. While Stoller’s article is very much worth reading, it gives little indication of how this will be accomplished.

Hopefully, sooner or later the question will be answered eventually and no longer pushed under the rug.

Don midwest
Don midwest


Don midwest
Don midwest

Started with Matt Stoller’s article on the musical Hamilton and it was so long with the material above that one had to click on “more” on the bottom to get all of it. This was the second part of the comment and it does not have the block quote in it. Am now doing the way too long comment in these several parts

Don midwest
Don midwest

Stoller on propaganda piece

The Hamilton Hustle
Why liberals have embraced our most dangerously reactionary founder

Long article from 2017. Last time I put in last 5 paragraphs, now fewer so it will not need to click on MORE to get the format.

Hamilton had tremendous courage, insight, and brilliance. He is an important Founder, and not just because he structured early American finance. His life sheds light on some deep-rooted anti-democratic forces that have always existed in America, and in particular, on Wall Street. Much of the far-reaching contemporary Hamilton PR offensive is connected to the Gilder Lehman Institute, which is financed by bankers who back the right-wing Club for Growth and American Enterprise Institute (and support Hamilton’s beloved gold standard). Robert Rubin in 2004 started the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, which laid out the framework for the Obama administration’s financial policies. Chernow has made millions on books fawning over J. P. Morgan, the Warburg financial family, and John D. Rockefeller. And thanks largely to the runaway success of Hamilton the musical, Chernow is now, bizarrely, regarded as a court historian of American democracy in the mold of Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

One of Hamilton’s biggest fans is Tim Geithner, the man who presided over the financial crisis and the gargantuan bank bailouts during the Obama presidency. In his 2014 memoir, Stress Test, Geithner wrote admiringly of Hamilton as the “original Mr. Bailout,” and said that “we were going to deploy federal resources in ways Hamilton never imagined, but given his advocacy for executive power and a strong financial system, I had to believe he would have approved.” He argues this was a financial policy decision. In doing so, he evades the pronounced anti-democratic impulses underlying the response to the financial crisis.

Don midwest
Don midwest

making sure get the last 5 paragraphs, 2 above, now the last 3

As economist Simon Johnson pointed out in a 2009 essay in The Atlantic titled “The Quiet Coup,” what the bailouts truly represented was the seizure of political power by a small group of American financiers. Just as in the founding era, we saw a massive foreclosure crisis and the evisceration of the main source of middle class wealth. A bailout, similar to one that created the national debt, ensured that wealth would be concentrated in the hands of a small group. The Citizens United decision and the ever-increasing importance of money in politics have strong parallels to the property disenfranchisement along class lines that occurred in the post-Revolutionary period. Just as turnout fell to record lows in much of the country in 2014, turnout collapsed after the rebellions were put down. And in another parallel, Occupy Wall Street protesters camped out across the country were evicted by armed guards—a martial response coordinated by banks, the federal government, and many Democratic mayors.

The Obama era looks like an echo of the Federalist power grabs of the 1780s and 1790s, both in its enrichment and glorification of financial elites and its open disdain for anything resembling true economic democracy. The Obama political elite, in other words, celebrates Hamilton not in spite of Hamilton’s anti-democratic tendencies, but because of them.

Set in contrast to the actual life and career of its subject, the play Hamilton is a feat of political alchemy—as is the stunningly successful marketing campaign surrounding it. But our generation’s version of Hamilton adulation isn’t all that different from the version that took hold in the 1920s: it’s designed to subvert democracy by helping the professional class to associate the rise of finance with the greatness of America, instead of seeing in that financial infrastructure the seeds of a dangerous authoritarian tradition.

In 1925, Franklin Roosevelt asked whether there might yet be a Jefferson to lead the forces of democracy against Hamilton’s money power. Perhaps someone—maybe Elizabeth Warren, who pointed out on PBS that Hamilton was a plutocrat—is asking that question again. That said, Hamilton is a great musical. The songs are catchy. The lyrics are beautiful. But the agenda is hidden, because in America, no political leader, not even Donald Trump, can credibly come right out and pronounce democracy a bad thing and agitate for rule by big finance. And the reason for that is that Alexander Hamilton, despite his success in structuring Wall Street, lost the battle against American democracy. Thank God for that.



Trump has expressed admiration for dictators in the past, and since meeting Kim he hasn’t stopped fawning over his “rough” and “tough” treatment of his people, even if it involves some murder. The two sources recalled that while in Singapore, Trump marveled at how “tough” Kim’s guards seemed. He also joked that his own quasi-state TV is no match for the real deal:

At one point, after watching North Korean television, which is entirely state-run, the president talked about how positive the female North Korean news anchor was toward Kim, according to two people familiar with his remarks. He joked that even the administration-friendly Fox News was not as lavish in its praise as the state TV anchor, one of the people added, and that maybe she should get a job on U.S. television, instead.

So rather than Trump showing Kim the benefits of peaceful engagement with the rest of the world, Trump learned a bit more about what dictatorship has to offer.


Yeah. If they don’t pay attention they can be executed. There’s no doubt that Trump is a dictator wannabe.


Donald Trump has said that he would like US citizens to “sit up in attention” when he talks, in the same way North Korea’s people do when Kim Jong-un speaks.

The president was speaking about his relationship with the North Korean dictator, who has been accused of a number of human rights violations by the United Nations.

“He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same,” Mr Trump said of Mr Kim during an interview on Fox News’ ‘Fox & Friends’.


Donald tRump is dumber than a rock, so none of his BS should come as a surprise.



The law governing the activity of charitable organizations can be complex, but on the question of whether 501(c)(3) charities can engage in political activity, it could not be more straightforward. They cannot. The IRS enforces an “absolute” prohibition on any intervention in political campaigns.

Whether such an intervention has occurred depends on the facts and circumstances, and sometimes there are close calls. None of those close calls are reflected in the New York attorney general’s complaint against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which tells the tale of a relationship between a charity and a political campaign that flouts in every conceivable way the legal prohibition on 501(c)(3) campaign activity.

Most ominous for Trump is the attorney general’s conclusion that “Mr. Trump’s wrongful use of the Foundation to benefit his Campaign was willful and knowing.” It is ironic, and highly damaging to Trump, that he made an issue in his campaign about the federal prohibition on tax-exempt involvement in campaigns. He committed that he would act, if elected, to repeal it. It appears that he and his campaign neglected to await repeal and simply declined to comply with it. In any event, his stated awareness of the law, together with his repeated execution of tax forms for the Foundation “in which he attested that the Foundation … did not carry out political activity,” puts him at severe risk of “willful and knowing” liability. As “foundation managers” under the law, Trump and his children are exposed to personal liability if they gave knowing and willful consent to the charity’s illegal expenditures. They could face similar consequences—that is, personal liability—in the event, however unlikely, that the FEC takes meaningful enforcement action.



According to the suit filed by Underwood, who took over the A.G.’s office after her predecessor, Eric Schneiderman, resigned over abuse allegations, the Trump Foundation “was little more than a checkbook for payments to not-for-profits from Mr. Trump or the Trump Organization.” Here’s a taste of the allegations regarding how the family charity misappropriated its funds:

$5,000 was used to advertise Trump Hotels;

$10,000 was spent on a portrait of the president, later found on display at the the sports bar at Trump’s Doral golf resort;

$100,000 was allegedly used to settle a legal dispute with the city of Palm Beach, which Trump resolved by contributing the amount to the Fisher House Foundation;

$258,000 was allegedly used to settle lawsuits against Trump and his businesses, including $158,000 paid to a man named Martin Greenberg, who sued the Trump National Golf Club after it failed to pay him a promised $1 million for scoring a hole-in-one at a charity golf tournament.

On that last point, the suit helpfully includes a large photocopy of a note, written in Trump’s signature style, explicitly directing his staff to use the charity’s money to fix his legal problem:


More evil from Mr. Evil


On Monday, Sessions reversed an immigration court’s ruling that granted asylum to a woman from El Salvador whose husband had repeatedly abused her physically, sexually, and emotionally. The court ruled in 2014 that domestic violence victims constitute a social group when it comes to asylum considerations. But in a 31-page ruling with profound implications for immigration policy, Sessions wrote that “generally” claims on domestic and gang violence will no longer qualify for asylum and will not even reach the initial “credible fear” standard to allow an immigrant to have her asylum claim heard by a judge. Victims of domestic and gang violence, in other words, won’t even be able to have their claims for asylum heard.

The effect of Sessions’s ruling could be sweeping and immediate. Immigration attorneys have said this decision could invalidate tens of thousands of pending asylum claims from women fleeing domestic and gang violence, which often intersect, in Central America and Mexico.

Sessions reasoned that, as victims of “private criminal activity” perpetrated by nongovernmental actors, these asylum seekers fail to meet the legal standard to be considered asylees. Yet in conjuring the legal category of “private” crime — which has no legal meaning — Sessions and his Justice Department rejected the idea that epidemic levels of domestic violence put women in the societal position of a persecuted group. It is the very sort of logic — framing gendered violence as a private, rather than a systematic, human rights issue — that has enabled centuries of domestic abuse without any accountability.

“His claim that this is a ‘private crime’ is a return to a misogynist framework that assesses women as property,” Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, a human and civil rights legal organization, told me. She said that under Sessions’s determinations, “Crimes against women as chattel by the masters of a household or relationship thus are not human rights violations, but just ‘personal circumstances.’”


Trade wars everywhere! China, the EU, and Canada are smartly targeting areas where a Trump supporters will feel the pinch.


China announced retaliatory tariffs designed to hit President Trump’s supporters in farm states and the industrial Midwest. The measures, announced barely an hour after the White House went ahead with 25 percent import tax on $50 billion of Chinese imports to the United States, brought the world’s two biggest economies closer to the tit-for-tat trade war that business leaders and Republicans in Congress fear.


This is actually one area where I like Trump because i believe the lack of tariffs is why its so easy for the multinationals to ship our jobs overseas, labor will always be cheaper in 2nd-3rd world nations and without tariffs to protect a 1st world economy, its always going to lose jobs like we have been doing for decades now.



After much Republican intraparty wrangling, Speaker Paul D. Ryan just agreed to bring two bills to the floor of the House of Representatives.

He released one of those bills Thursday. The other has been kicking around Washington for a while: the Securing America’s Future Act. The White House supported an earlier version of it, stating that it “would accomplish the President’s core priorities for the American people.” The problem is that even if the SAF Act doesn’t pass, its draconian cuts to immigration will be the Republican starting point for all future negotiations.

It’s misleading to even call the SAF Act an immigration bill. As a matter of rhetoric, it’s an anti-immigration piece of legislation. If a Democratic politician sponsored a bill to cut legal gun ownership by 40%, Republicans would rightly call it an anti-gun bill. The same rules ought to apply here.

Even if that sorry history doesn’t repeat itself, the SAF Act is still the worst immigration bill introduced in almost a century. Republican hardliners say it’s a compromise — helping out Dreamers in return for more border security. It’s not. It’s a strategy for deporting Dreamers over a longer period of time while cutting legal immigration in half, canceling the applications of those who have patiently waited for a green card, and wasting $124 billion.


That Bernie Sanders CIA Guy Running for Congress From Woodstock

Trump’s success in upstate New York is a product of America’s own version of sectarianism. Ranging from the Hudson River valley to west of the Catskills, New York 19 encompasses some of the most liberal places in America, along with some of the most pro-Trump places in America. It is farm country and the Rust Belt, split essentially evenly between Democrats, Republicans, and independents ever since a 2001 redistricting expanded the territory northward. The rural poor live alongside the empty second homes of rich, city folk; casinos and racetracks are hard by religious fundamentalist enclaves; artists and gun nuts populate the emerald hills. As Beals likes to point out: “The trends here are ones that are hitting this country across the board.”

New York 19 is a bellwether for Democrats because it is both a microcosm of America and an eminently winnable toss-up district: Obama prevailed by eight and 6.5 points here in his presidential campaigns, and there is no reason people in liberal hotbeds like Woodstock, Kingston, and New Paltz are doomed to Republican congressional representation, especially in an era of supposedly incompetent and unpopular GOP governance. If the Democrats can’t win New York 19 with Trump as president, the party’s problems, whatever they may be, are even worse than they look.

Meeting this urgent challenge is a field of first-time campaigners, many of whom appear to represent one of the prevailing theories of what the opposition party needs in this day and age. There is Antonio Delgado, a heavy spender once thought to be the Democratic primary’s front-runner—if only because of his plentiful TV ads and lawn signs—is a Rhodes scholar and a longtime litigator with a white-shoe law firm. Pat Ryan is an executive for various obscure tech companies and a West Point grad who did two tours in Iraq. Meanwhile, Gareth Rhodes was Gov. Cuomo’s deputy press secretary from 2011 to 2015. Just two of the candidates were eligible to vote in the last congressional election in New York 19; Beals is one of them, and he only moved to Woodstock in 2016, where he began teaching in a private school. There are likely to be just 20-25,000 voters in the June 26 primary; there has been no reliable polling, and in a large field of unfamiliar names nearly anyone is a plausible winner. “Today I can tell you I have no idea who’s going to win,” Spotlight 19 podcast host and leading Democratic primary expert Sajaa Tracy told me in late May, noting that 3,000 votes could be enough to carry the primary. Two weeks later, a New York Times report on the race treated it as a seven-way toss-up.

Beals has attracted the attention of his would-be general election opponent. On June 6, Faso tweeted, “@RollingStone and @SusanSarandon may be embracing @JeffBealsNY19‘s Bernie Sanders-like single payer healthcare scheme, but NY voters won’t! They don’t want government in charge of their healthcare, nor do they want trillions in new taxes!,” referring to a May 16th Matt Taibbi-authored profile of Beals and his district, along with the person who is by far the candidate’s most famous backer. Faso’s tweet and an accompanying press release paint Beals as a second Zephyr Teachout: An out-of-touch lefty elitist beloved outside of the district but aloof from its people and their lives. It is a line of attack that worked the last time around, but the fact Faso is even going after Beals weeks before the primary suggests the incumbent detects danger in a potential matchup. Beals is young, experienced, and totally disconnected from Democratic Party politics, making him free to tack as far to the left as he wants to. In pitting a Bernieite against a Trumpian populist, New York 19 could turn out to be a measurement of how and whether the political winds have shifted since 2016.


I don’t watch Chris Cuomo’s show as I find him to be shallow on the issues and a quasi-journalist at best. But he had Nina on his show last night to discuss immigration issues with some GOPer who spouts revisionist history.


Nina was interviewed by Jacobin.

At times, when people just look at the horse race, it’s “who wins.” We have two political parties in this country that just care whether their man or their woman wins, without regard for the types of policy positions they take or what they will stand up for. As for Our Revolution, any old blue just won’t do. We need people with a certain type of commitment, so that when they get these seats they will put people power towards that commitment.

If the only concern is that a Democrat wins over a Republican, without concern for what the core values are of the person who’s running under the Democratic banner, then people will get more of the same. They won’t get change.




@briebriejoy was asking around to see if there was any livestream for the debate and it looks like she found a way!


Here’s a good Friday evening tweet, lol. 😉

p.s. I’d counsel Elon Musk to stay off twitter myself-he’s always messing up!

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