HomeUncategorized1/19 News Roundup & Open Thread – ‘If the Water Is Rising, Then So Must We’: Indigenous Peoples March in Washington & More
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Republicans are accidentally doing more to advance progressive values than Democrats

No, the wide gap in how the public reacted to Elizabeth Warren’s comments six months ago compared to Ocasio-Cortez’s comments six days ago is all down to the fact that the latter has gained an unwitting ally and a powerful secret weapon: the Republican Party.

The 60 Minutes interview hadn’t even fully aired before conservatives began hollering about Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal for a new tax bracket, which would levy a 70 percent marginal tax rate on earners who made more than $10 million a year. The more troglodytic among them fixated on Ocasio-Cortez’s age (and, of course, gender) in order to portray her as a naive, uninformed starlet mindlessly spouting socialist talking points. Those who managed to keep their sexism in check simply suggested her proposal was radical or extreme. But the whole lot of them couldn’t help but take shots at the rookie lawmaker.

In so doing, they only amplified her message. By Monday morning, her comment was everywhere. On Tuesday, reactions to her comment — from economists, politicians, historians, pollsters — proliferated all over the web. But if Republicans were hoping their signal boost would expose Ocasio Cortez, somehow discrediting her in the unforgiving gaze of public scrutiny, they miscalculated once again.

A poll commissioned by The Hill/HarrisX shortly after Ocasio Cortez’s comment aired found that a solid majority of voters — 59 percent — agreed with her proposal. Southern voters were in favor of her plan by a 14-point margin; rural voters approved by 12 points. Even self-identified Republicans were relatively warm to the plan, with 45 percent of respondents agreeing with Ocasio-Cortez’s tax proposal. Conservative commentators and lawmakers, convinced that the public would join them in excoriating Ocasio Cortez, instead drove support in her direction — moving the needle in the direction of higher taxes for the wealthiest Americans in a way few liberals have been able to accomplish.

This is not to discount the efforts of Ocasio-Cortez herself. From the moment she burst onto the scene after unseating the fourth most powerful Democrat in the House during last June’s primary, AOC has played her conservative haters like a fiddle. Each time Fox News tries to paint her as a radical, she calmly fires up Instagram and conducts an impromptu town hall from her kitchen on the moral imperative of universal health care or affordable higher education. Every time a Republican lawmaker tries to embarrass her on Twitter for misspeaking, she takes to the same platform to dunk on them with such ease and ruthlessness it’s a miracle they don’t delete their accounts on the spot.


Time is on our side


From their strong belief that humanity played a central role in causing the climate crisis to their overwhelming dislike of President Trump, the young Americans who have been classified as Generation Z — comprised of those between the ages of 13 and 21 — could be even more progressive than the slightly older millennial generation, according to a Pew Research Center survey published Thursday.

“Gen Z looks a lot like millennials politically, which is terrible news for Republicans,” Acadia University lecturer Jeffrey Sachs wrote in response to Pew’s survey, which found that 70 percent of Gen-Z’ers disapprove of Trump, 54 percent believe the planet is warming because of human activity, and 70 percent believe the government should be doing more to solve the nation’s problems.

“This data suggests there is a reason why Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gets so much heat from conservatives — she and this new congressional class not only represent the demographic changes that scare some, but she embodies the ideological trends, too,” argued Anthony Michael Kreis, visiting assistant professor of law at Chicago-Kent College.




I think this is a smart move

House Democrats have added more than $1 billion in border-related spending to a package of funding bills that would reopen most of the government, even as President Trump said he would have a “major announcement” on Saturday about the border and the shutdown stalemate.

The proposal to include more spending on border measures is scheduled for a vote next week, according to two senior Democratic officials. The plan reflects a shift in strategy by congressional Democrats, who have maintained that they would not give the president a counterproposal until he drops his insistence on a wall and signs legislation to reopen the government. It is an attempt to rebut Mr. Trump’s repeated portrayal of Democrats as opponents of border security and their denunciation of his wall as an embrace of open borders.

About half the money, $524 million, would be for additional infrastructure at ports of entry on the border, one Democrat said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the plans have not been formally announced, while $563 million more would be inserted to fund 75 immigration judges, who adjudicate the claims of migrants who make asylum claims at the border.

It is far from clear whether the strategy will lead anywhere given Mr. Trump’s demand that any such measure must include money for his wall. Over the past two weeks, the House has passed an array of bills to reopen the government, including several Republican-drafted measures, only to be blocked by Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, who says he will not bring up any bill the president will not sign.

But the ideas amount to a tacit acknowledgment by Democrats that, even as they criticize Mr. Trump’s tactics and demands in the shutdown fight, they have largely allowed him to define the terms of the debate on border security, and that they must be more effective in articulating their own position on the issue.

“People want to make sure that it’s clear that the Democrats do stand for border security, and not allow the president to determine how we talk about it,” said Representative Ro Khanna, Democrat of California. “We can’t cave to his vision for a wall, because of everything that it represents, but we also want to show that we’re for something.”




Update on the BuzzFeed fiasco. Sometimes I think they take great pleasure in discrediting alternative sites and watching us argue over their “leaks.” Perhaps Buzzfeed will be proven right.


Bucket list!



This seems like a small thing compared to everything else it’s going on, but it speaks to who we have become.



Finally, the New York Times hired someone with guts, Michelle Alexander. The whole article is worth a read, if you haven’t used your limit.

Fortunately, people like the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II are leading by example, pledging allegiance to the fight against anti-Semitism while also demonstrating unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people struggling to survive under Israeli occupation.

He declared in a riveting speech last year that we cannot talk about justice without addressing the displacement of native peoples, the systemic racism of colonialism and the injustice of government repression. In the same breath he said: “I want to say, as clearly as I know how, that the humanity and the dignity of any person or people cannot in any way diminish the humanity and dignity of another person or another people. To hold fast to the image of God in every person is to insist that the Palestinian child is as precious as the Jewish child.”

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