HomeUncategorized1/29 News Roundup & Open Thread – The Climate Kids Are Coming, Wall Street Executives Make 2020 Preferences Known & More

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And even as they began returning to work Monday, they were bracing for more pain. President Trump’s new deadline for Congress to earmark funding for his proposed border wall is Feb. 15. Agencies could close again if no deal is reached.

[Federal contractors who lost health insurance during the shutdown remain in limbo]

Murray-Wright, who lives in Maryland and has worked at Smithsonian properties for 15 years, said seeing her name back on the schedule has brought little relief.

She clocks in again Tuesday but doesn’t expect a paycheck for at least another week. After her husband died last year of a heart attack, she has struggled to support her sons, ages 12 and 15.

“I did have a little money in the bank — now that’s all gone,” she said, crying. “I don’t have any help. My electricity might be turned off any day now.”

Héctor Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU, a labor union that represents 170,000 service workers on the East Coast, said reopening the government is a temporary fix for people on such shaky ground.

“Contracted workers are still in limbo,” he said in an email. “The men and women who clean and secure federal buildings have been living on the edge of disaster for five weeks. Many of these workers are facing eviction, power shut-offs, hunger and even going without lifesaving medications. And unlike direct federal employees, they may never be made whole.”



A growing number of Republican Senators have slammed the negative effects of the government shutdown, yet none have signed on to a bill guaranteeing back pay for contractors, a group of federal workers that’s been hit especially hard by the stalemate.

While Sen. Tina Smith (MN), one of the legislation’s chief sponsors, has now racked up support for the bill from more than 20 Democrats, not a single Republican has officially backed it so far, according to a spokesperson for Smith. Lawmakers are hopeful this could change, however.

“I don’t know of any Republican opposition to this,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (MD), one of the bill’s sponsors told Vox, adding that he hopes the legislation could be added to any final spending package that funds the government. In the House, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA) has also introduced a companion bill.

Many federal contractors, unlike other government employees, are not expected to get back pay for the paychecks they missed during the 35-day shutdown. Because they work for a third-party company that the government pays for its services, contractors don’t get paid when these services aren’t used. During past shutdowns, contractors have been forced to simply chalk up this gap in pay as a loss.


Good vote for Gillibrand here—as a NY Senator this vote is harder than some others. Klobuchar from Minnesota was a yes. Hard pass on this one for President. Markey was a yes and very disappointing. Carper, Kaine, and Peters were surprise nos. A lot of senators from states with two Dems voted opposite. Booker copped out. At least Harris had her town hall meeting. She probably would have been a no.


While the 25 Democratic senators who crossed the aisle were denounced for voting to end debate on Senate Bill 1 (S.1)—which legal experts have decried as “unconstitutional”—the 19 Democrats and one independent who voted no were applauded for taking a firm stand for free expression.

“Disappointing vote to undermine free speech rights for Palestinian freedom, but encouraging 19 senators understand minimal credibility as a progressive now includes standing up for freedom to boycott,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace.

The 19 senators—18 Democrats joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—who voted no were:

Baldwin (D-Wis.)
Brown (D-Ohio)
Carper (D-Del.)
Durbin (D-Ill.)
Feinstein (D-Calif.)
Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
Heinrich (D-N.M.)
Hirono (D-Hawaii)
Kaine (D-Va.)
Leahy (D-Vt.)
Merkley (D-Ore.)
Murphy (D-Conn.)
Peters (D-Mich.)
Reed (D-R.I.)
Sanders (I-Vt.)
Shaheen (D-N.H.)
Udall (D-N.M.)
Van Hollen (D-Md.)
Warren (D-Mass.)

Seven senators did not vote, including 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), rumored 2020 hopeful Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).


Yet Amy K voted for it. Disturbing.



The Senate voted 74-19 on Monday to advance legislation that would impose new sanctions on Syria and reauthorize security assistance to Israel. It also includes Rubio’s anti-BDS provision.

Many Democrats view Rubio’s BDS provision as a poison pill due to concerns about its limits on free speech. House Democrats indicated they are unlikely to take up the Senate legislation in its current form.

“I can say that the overwhelming majority of the House Democratic Caucus is strongly pro-Israel. That said, we are not going to allow the Senate Republicans to move legislation forward that really is a political stunt and not a serious effort at advancing American foreign policy interests,” Jeffries said.


Marco Rubio, senior Senator from FL; Sick Rott/Rick Scott, junior Senator from FL. What more can any decent person say in terms of shite?


Wyden was a yes.


Yeah one of those Dem split vote states, which include NH, MA, RI, CT, NY, MD, VA, MI, IL, and OR


Disappointing lack of courage in Bernie’s tweet.

I don’t believe for a minute that Harris’s absence was a coincidence.


He got a ton of replies—“Support BDS, Bernie “



Billionaire businessman Howard Schultz, who said he is “seriously” considering an independent 2020 presidential bid, was shouted down by a protester at the kickoff event for his nationwide book tour on Monday night in New York City.

“Don’t help elect Trump you egotistical billionaire a—–e,” the protester shouted at the former Starbucks CEO, who is worth more than $3 billion according to Forbes.

“Go back to getting ratioed on Twitter,” the protester added, pointing to Schultz’s tweets that were garnering substantially more comments than retweets or likes, a sign of disagreement with his message on the platform. “Go back to Davos with the other Billionaire elite who think they know how to run the world.”


No fan of Bloomberg, but at least he’s going to run as a Dem, he was the mayor of the nation’s largest city, and does contribute $$ to worthy causes like gun control.


Former Starbucks CEO and potential 2020 presidential contender Howard Schultz blasted some of the Democratic Party’s biggest 2020 candidates during a Tuesday media blitz, calling Sen. Kamala Harris’ support for Medicare for All “not American” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “wealth tax” proposal “ridiculous.”


Howard Schultz, the billionaire former Starbucks chief executive officer eyeing an independent presidential bid, on Monday called Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “a bit misinformed” and pushed back on her idea of a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent.

Schultz credited Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y), who’s been embraced by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, for having put a focus on issues of inequality but called her tax proposal “punitive” during a discussion at the launch of a book tour in New York.

Schultz also knocked the views of a policy adviser to Ocasio-Cortez as “un-American.” The adviser, Dan Riffle, has said that he considers every billionaire to be a “policy failure.”

“It’s so un-American to think that way,” Schultz said when presented with a quote from Riffle.


More from this schmuck. This time on the View. I’m sure to him even Harris, Gillibrand, and Booker are “far-left progressive liberal Democrats”


And while he accepts that President Trump was “responsible for closing the government,” he blames both Democrats and Republicans in Congress for the harm that came to the 800,000 furloughed federal workers.

Schultz also attacked Sen. Kamala Harris for saying we should “abolish the insurance industry” in favor of Medicare for All during her CNN town hall the night before.

Putting his hand on her shoulder, Schultz said, “Joy, I don’t agree with you,” arguing that Trump is more likely to win if he “runs against a far-left progressive liberal Democrat.” Like he did during his interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, Schultz explained that it is policies like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed 70 percent marginal tax rate on people making more than $10 million per year that spurred him to run.


Ugh. Mansplaining and being paternalistic. Double ugh.



That’s just one idea. He could pour more money into other causes as well, with dozens of options that are likely to get him better results for the money than a quixotic campaign for president.

But is that good for the rest of us? A lot of people have mixed feelings about billionaire philanthropy, at least once billionaires step away from uncontroversially great projects like vaccinating children and combating malaria, areas where individual billionaire philanthropists have saved millions of lives. Rob Reich, a philosopher at Stanford University, has argued that we should be more skeptical of how much leverage billionaires have to advance their civic ideals with their fortunes.

Those are legitimate concerns. My view is that we should judge billionaire philanthropy on the merits — laud them when they do good, encourage better when they waste their money, and criticize those projects that advance goals we don’t share. If Schultz puts his money behind projects that are cost-effective and serve a broader public purpose, I’ll be thrilled for him — and for us.

Going that route may be a little less dramatic than running for president. But CEOs should care about results, right? The $768 million the Clinton campaign spent is more than we’ve spent on efforts to eradicate malaria with gene drives, hundreds of times more than we’ve spent on improving our electoral system with new voting systems, and significantly more than we have invested in managing emerging technologies.

Anyone running on their “business sense” should ask themselves the most cost-effective way to achieve the results they dream of — and typically, the answer won’t be with a campaign for president.



In the First-in-the-Nation primary state of New Hampshire, Donald Trump is trailing three high-profile progressive Democrats in the 2020 race. That’s the finding of the latest NHJournal Poll of Granite State voters—taken before Trump’s backdown in the government-shutdown fight with Speaker Nancy Pelosi over border wall funding.

The incumbent Republican is down by double-digits in theoretical match-ups with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (54-41 percent) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (54-41 percent); and Trump trails political newcomer former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke 48-41 percent.

This survey, conducted via landline IVR and online polls of 593 registered voters in New Hampshire, has a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.

In addition, how Democrats view their own party has shifted drastically during the Trump years. When asked which of three prominent Democrats best represent the Democratic Party of today, just 17 percent of New Hampshire Democrats picked the party’s 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton, while 28 percent picked Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a solid 55 percent majority picked Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“The fact that so many Democrats in New Hampshire see Sen. Warren as an accurate reflection of their party isn’t that surprising given the fact that she’s from the neighboring state of Massachusetts,” says Shawn McCoy, a former GOP campaign strategist who serves as publisher for NH Journal. “But the fact that Hillary Clinton, an icon of the party for 30 years, trails a progressive activist newcomer like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is astonishing.”


Run Hillary Run! /s


LOL. We have no problem with getting along with Republicans, but we do have problems with going along with their priorities like cutting social security.


Joe Biden didn’t answer the big question about 2020 Monday night, but he whetted supporters’ appetites, leaving many hungry for a presidential candidacy.

The former vice president, who sounded as if he’d relish a chance to change the nation’s course, said a decision would come soon.

“I’m running the traps on this. I don’t want to make this a fool’s errand, and we’re a lot closer than I was before Christmas, and we’ll make the decision soon,” he told an audience of about 2,000 at the Broward Center for Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, prompting a round of applause.

The former vice president mourned the loss of civility, in politics and in society at large. He said his reputation for getting along well with Republicans — something that some progressive activists don’t like — stems from what he learned when he arrived in the Senate in 1973.

Biden was nostalgic about the era before the early 1990s, when politics was less confrontational — a time when people of vastly different philosophies could argue on the Senate floor, then eat lunch together. The familiarity, he said, created an ability to compromise and get things done, something missing in recent decades.


If you want to read a good book about the opioid epidemic and its connection to the heroin problem read: “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” by Sam Quinones


A court ruling Monday in Massachusetts will expose details about one of America’s richest families and their connection to the nation’s opioid crisis.

The Sacklers and members of their company Purdue Pharma have been named in a lawsuit that accuses them of profiting from the opioid crisis by aggressively marketing OxyContin, claims denied by attorneys for the family and Purdue.

The suit had been heavily redacted, but on Monday, Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders ruled that the unredacted amended complaint must be publicly released by February 1.

In the order, Sanders calls the defense’s protests “hardly compelling” enough to keep the information secret, adding that it is not intensely personal or private.

The redacted pages “appear to be discussions of tactics that could be used to promote the sales of OxyContin (particularly in higher doses), to encourage doctors to prescribe the drug over longer periods of time, and to circumvent safeguards put in place to stop illegal prescriptions,” Sanders says in the court filing.

“For many years, Purdue, its executives, and members of the Sackler family have tried to shift the blame and hide their role in creating the opioid epidemic. We are grateful to the court for lifting the impoundment on our complaint so that the public and families so deeply impacted by this crisis can see the allegations of the misconduct that has harmed so many,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement to CNN on Monday.


Read and highly recommend this book.


Any Dem would beat Trump with awful numbers like this


28% that would vote for him, thats about the break down of the die hard R no matter what voter


Well he’s better than McCaskill


Appropriately faint praise indeed!



Trumpcorp confirms he knows jackshit about climate change with that tweet. but then again that covers most of his cabinet as well.



Has he heard of Sweden etc.? Oligarchs will be oligarchs.



One of the great paradoxes of American society is that people we don’t usually think of as having leverage actually do — if they mobilize as a group to use it. Air traffic controllers and flight attendants are two of the most obvious groups. But this also includes police and firefighters, restaurant staff, taxi and Uber drivers, teachers, garbage workers, shipping workers, manufacturing workers, and more. They are all overwhelmingly middle-to-lower class, and can be found across public and private employment. Whether they’re paid well or treated decently by their employers are questions that rarely trouble elites, policymakers, or U.S. politics in general. The continuance of their labor is taken for granted precisely because it’s critical for the daily rhythms of American society and commerce. That they might all say “screw it” and walk off the job en masse is considered unthinkable, precisely because it would stop the entire American economy.

This coercion rarely becomes clear in the U.S. economy. It’s largely carried out through property rights: work or you and your family will starve, or go without medicine or health care. A lot can be squeezed out of a workforce this way. But Friday’s brief air travel collapse was a reminder that even desperate people can be pushed too far.

This is why the labor movement battles of the early 1900s were so massive, violent, and bloody. America scarcely has any cultural memory of that time anymore. But that was when Americans pushed to the brink by unfair working conditions and wages first realized how much they could accomplish if they went on strike.

On Friday, working Americans were briefly reminded of the power of walking away.


Here’s one candidate we haven’t discussed.

From his campaign site: “Coming from the private sector, I also know that the only way to get things done in Washington is to put aside partisan rhetoric and find common ground. I was consistently recognized as one of the most bipartisan members of the House of Representatives. And in 2017, my commitment to finding common ground and focusing on smart solutions helped me earn a spot on Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.”

He was a member of the New Dems.


Former Maryland congressman and presidential candidate John Delaney earned endorsements from three Democratic Party county chairs in Iowa, according to his campaign.

“Our country needs a unifier rather than a divider,” Crum said in a statement provided by the campaign. “Congressman Delaney is running on a message of honesty and integrity in an effort to restore civility to not only the White House but the overall political discourse of our nation.”

Delaney’s campaign also said they would be opening two more offices in Iowa in the coming weeks, bringing his total in the state to six. A multi-millionaire who was one of the wealthiest members of Congress, Delaney has the ability to stay in the race through the early primary states, potentially disrupting the plans of other candidates. He has already lent his campaign $3.5 million, according to the FEC.


He hired a former Edwards staffer in Iowa.


Ugh! Plenty of red flags in that description.



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