HomeUncategorized1/31 News Roundup & Open Thread – Lawmakers Reintroduce Resolution To End Yemen Carnage, Police Use Private Security To Target Anti-Pipeline Organizers & More
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Don midwest
Don midwest

Rachel Maddow takes Russia hysteria to a new level

They are related to the jet stream!!!!!

Is this what the establishment dems take as reality???

magsview

“I mean what would YOU do if you lost heat?!” unreal

Torabs
Torabs

Is she the MSNBC equivalent of Glenn Beck now? Some of these conspiracy theories she’s been pushing of late…

phatkhat

The replies are hilarious. I even left a couple. Well, at least we have propane and some bodacious LED work lights that run on batteries. And a couple of Candywirez for the cells.

jcitybone

Well on the other side, there is this. Does Glenn have a comment?

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/mueller-says-russians-using-his-discovery-materials-disinformation-effort-n964811

Russians are using materials obtained from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office in a disinformation campaign apparently aimed at discrediting the investigation into Moscow’s election interference, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

One or more people associated with the special counsel’s case against Russian hackers made statements last October claiming to have stolen discovery materials that were originally provided by Mueller to Concord Management, Mueller’s team said in court documents filed on Wednesday in the Russian troll farm case.

That discovery — evidence and documents traded between both sides of a lawsuit — appears to have been altered and disseminated as part of a disinformation campaign apparently aimed at discrediting the ongoing investigations in Russian interference in the U.S. political system, according to the documents.

orlbucfan

Mueller has been at it now for 3 years, spending plenty of taxpayer coin. He is part of the Cheney-Bush group. When are we going to hear something definite one way or the other?

Don midwest
Don midwest

A Bruno Latour interview that is very readable.

It concerns his new book Where to Land about connecting humans to the terrestrial

This interview is in an Art journal

Bruno Latour, the Philosopher of Science Who Changed Art Theory, Explains His New Book on Climate Change:
The author of ‘Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime’ on the Yellow Vest movement and his manifesto for the EU.

The French thinker’s latest book, Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime (Polity, 2018), focuses especially on climate change as the new problem around which politics are—and should be—organized. Because Latour’s scholarship has questioned the rhetoric of scientific objectivity, much of the coverage of the book has read it as his defense of his theories from association with the present-day “post-truth” politics that feed climate-change denial.

Down to Earth is that—but it also is a lot more, much of which will be highly controversial. In a short, dense tome, Latour challenges the rhetoric of both Marxist and Green activism; argues that we should abandon the distinctions between Left and Right in politics; proposes a new project to map the “dependencies” of all creatures on the earth; and concludes with a seven-page manifesto defending the European Union as a model of collective identity.

In December, with “Yellow Vest” protesters shutting down sections of Paris to demonstrate against a carbon tax, I sent Latour a set of questions about his new book by email. Here are his answers.

Don midwest
Don midwest

Matt Stoller is someone to watch

I think he was the head of the econ team during Bernie’s campaign

Doing excellent work on monopolies

This article from WA Post may have been posted before, but is worth posting again.

Democratic attacks on AOC expose the party’s fear of taking on moneyed interests
The Democratic Party’s loyalty to plutocrats led to political disaster. But many of its leaders won’t change their ways

magsview

I follow him on twitter, don’t agree with everything he says, but he’s feisty and often right on.

polarbear4

https://twitter.com/MattBruenig/status/1091044970532884481?s=20

I also follow Stoller. Lots of good stuff. Also Bruenig. Staying out of this one.

magsview

Don midwest
Don midwest

Indigenous talents of Konso people to cope with climate change susceptibility, Ethiopia pdf

There is a free download of academic papers on academia.edu

Need to watch out if you select too many papers because then there are more and more. It is possible to easily avoid them, but pick a topic, like Zionism and lots of papers. I got into this through interest in philosophy and other topics.

Are indigenous people the past or the future?

Indigenous talents of Konso people to cope with climate change susceptibility, Ethiopia pdf

jcitybone

Danger Will Robinson

63BF63C4-3180-4682-B265-B006C23ED4F6.png
Benny

Interesting thread by Jill Stein concerning 2016 and since then…

orlbucfan

If she runs again, I hope she gets a better VP running mate.

jcitybone

polarbear4

I read somewhere that this bill would make it harder for third parties to run, though. Haven’t done the research.

jcitybone

Big news from Bernie. I bet Schultz and Bloomberg will be thrilled and start screaming about Venezuela.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2019/01/31/bernie-sanders-propose-dramatic-expansion-estate-tax-richest-americans-including-percent-rate-billionaires/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2928f5a3096f&utm_source=reddit.com

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will unveil a plan Thursday to dramatically expand the federal estate tax on the wealthy, including a new 77 percent rate on billionaires’ estates, as leading Democratic politicians push new taxes on the richest Americans to combat inequality.

Sanders’s bill, the “For the 99.8% Act,” would tax the estates of the 0.2 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million, while the rest of the country “would not see their taxes go up by one penny under this plan,” according to aides to the Vermont senator, who is considering a 2020 presidential bid.

Three top Republican senators this week released a plan to outright abolish the estate tax, which the GOP already significantly weakened with their 2017 tax law to only apply to those passing on more than $11 million (or $22 million for couples). Sanders’s plan would restore the 77 percent top estate tax rate that was in place in the U.S. from 1941 to 1976, tax estates worth more than $3.5 million, and create several new estate tax brackets, including a 55 percent rate on estates worth more than $50 million.

“It is literally beyond belief that the Republican leadership wants to provide hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the top 0.2 percent of our population. . . . This is not only insane, it tells us the degree to which the billionaire class controls the Republican Party,” said Sanders, who introduced the plan with the support of Thomas Piketty, a well-known French economist on wealth consolidation. “Our bill does what the American people want us to be doing and that is to demand that the very wealthiest families in this country start paying their fair share of taxes.”

The plan would raise $2.2 trillion from 588 billionaires, but over an unknown period of time because it would only take effect once they die, according to Sanders’s staff. Over the next decade, the tax would raise $315 billion, policy aides said.

jcitybone

The Post’s write-up is much better. “Far-left stances on issues of economic equality” that happen to be supported by a solid majority of the American public. Slant slant slant!!

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/us/politics/bernie-sanders-estate-tax.html

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a potential Democratic presidential candidate known for far-left stances on issues of economic inequality, introduced legislation on Thursday that would increase the number of wealthy Americans subject to the estate tax.

With the bill, Mr. Sanders joins a growing chorus of left-wing politicians calling for new ways to tax the rich. Last week, Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator who has announced her 2020 candidacy, introduced a plan for a so-called ultramillionaire tax on households with a net worth of $50 million or more. And Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York recently proposed a 70 percent top rate on income over $10 million a year, intensifying the conversation within the Democratic Party about tax policies aimed at addressing income inequality.

jcitybone

https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2019/01/31/sanders-introduces-estate-tax-reform-combat-inequality

Sanders’ bill would only apply to the wealthiest 0.2 percent of Americans. It would establish a 45 percent tax on the value of an estate between $3.5 million and $10 million; a 50 percent tax on the value of an estate between $10 million and $50 million; a 55 percent tax on the value of an estate in excess of $50 million; and a 77 percent tax on the value of an estate above $1 billion – a return to the top rate from 1941 through 1976.

The legislation would also close tax loopholes that have allowed billionaire families to pass fortunes from one generation to the next without paying their fair share of taxes.

While the Walton family, the wealthiest family in America, would get up to a $63 billion tax break from the Republican proposal, they would owe an estate tax of up to $130 billion under Sanders’ reform.

The Kochs, a family worth over $97 billion, would owe an estate tax of up to $74 billion.

And the family of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, who has a net worth of more than $130 billion, would pay an estate tax of up to $100 billion.

The For the 99.8% Act was endorsed by a number of leading economists including Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman, Robert Reich and Darrick Hamilton.

polarbear4

Glad picotee is working with him.

polarbear4

Piketty.

jcitybone

Sometimes spell check/change is not our friend ?

polarbear4

Offen!

jcitybone

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/01/31/what-green-new-dealers-can-learn-first-new-deal/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d7305b55e354&utm_source=reddit.com

Like the Green New Dealers of our time, the New Dealers of the 1930s sought to meet a major environmental crisis while also reorienting the American economy toward what they called, just as we do, greater social justice. They dreamed of re-engineering great interdependent systems, of whole regions encompassing people and flora and fauna. If they envisioned river watersheds while we contemplate coastal habitats, the need to think in terms of economics and politics together with nature and culture are the same. To realize those dreams, Franklin Roosevelt pandered expertly and compromised ruthlessly, accomplishing an immense amount in a short time at considerable cost — including his own stated ambitions of a socially just transition to the new era he imagined.

Asked if nature-saving and modernizing changes might have come to the Tennessee Valley without the massive intervention of the TVA, a local newspaper editor pondered the question and then answered, “Well, they didn’t.” We have had decades to transform our society to meet the emergency of climate change and have not, either. It appears as though it will require an intensive effort of the scale and scope of a New Deal to do it. With luck and leadership we might replicate Rooseveltian successes without this time sacrificing so much social justice.

jcitybone

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/31/left-green-new-deal-ocasio-cortez

It’s often said that real change takes place at a time of crisis, but that’s not the whole story. A crisis makes change possible, but only when new ideas are knocking about does it actually happen. Otherwise, it is soon business as usual. The US economist Milton Friedman understood that fact, which is why he toiled away in the political wilderness to plot the downfall of postwar social democracy and was fully prepared when trouble arrived in the mid-1970s.

The left was so in thrall to market forces and globalised capital that it blew a golden opportunity in 2007
Contrast that with the mainstream left, which was so in thrall to market forces and globalised capital that it was bereft of ideas when the financial crisis broke in 2007, and as a result blew a golden opportunity to challenge the status quo. The age of austerity was the result.

Lessons needed to be learned – and they have been, not least by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won a seat in the US House of Representatives and has been calling for a 21st-century equivalent of Franklin Roosevelt’s plan to tackle the Great Depression: a green new deal.

jcitybone

Get those pitchforks and torches ready!

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/01/2020-primary-warren-biden-democrats-should-be-pragmatic-and-wage-class-war.html

Policy visions vary. Democrats disagree about how their party should go about solving America’s problems. But when it comes to describing those problems, there is only one question that bitterly divides them: Does their story of middle-class decline need a ruling-class villain?

Warren and Bernie Sanders say yes. In their account, the true name of our affliction isn’t inequality but oligarchy. It isn’t an impersonal, abstract force that’s immiserating working people — it’s an extractive economic elite. “How did we get here?” Warren asked rhetorically, in her campaign launch video. “Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie. And they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice … Our government is supposed to work for all of us, but instead it has become a tool for the wealthy and well-connected. The whole scam is propped up by an echo chamber of fear and hate, designed to distract and divide us.”

When moderate Democrats hear this kind of talk, they think of guillotines and George McGovern. Some object on principle, viewing the history of economic populism through Richard Hofstadter’s jaundiced eyes. Pitting “the people” against the “one percent” might not be as bad as pitting whites against “illegals,” these Democrats might allow, but liberalism shouldn’t traffic in demagoguery of either kind. Rather, the aim of liberal governance should be to balance the competing interests of disparate factions, in service of a unifying national interest. Joe Biden has signaled his fealty to this point of view by criticizing Warren for her obsession with “punishing the rich,” and insisting that “the wealthy are as patriotic as the poor” even if “Bernie doesn’t like me saying that.”

Other centrists deride populism on tactical grounds: In a nation of “temporarily embarrassed millionaires,” the Democratic Party won’t win elections by sounding like a bunch of Jacobins.

Most of the party’s 2020 hopefuls have opted for a “third way” between these positions. When discussing specific economic issues, Kamala Harris is happy to throws sharp elbows at evildoers like “the bankers who crashed our economy.” But her campaign’s central message is an appeal to national unity, not class conflict — one that conjures a vision of populism in which the people have no enemy. “Our United States of America is not about us versus them,” Harris told a crowd in Oakland, at her campaign launch this week. “It’s about We the people!”

Whether the rhetoric of “class war” is desirable, on the merits, is a subjective matter. But whether such rhetoric hurts Democrats in elections is not. And the answer to that question runs directly counter to the commentariot’s conventional wisdom. Nonpartisan pundits may treat phrases like “the billionaire class” as markers of ideological extremity (and thus, electoral inviability). But political science research suggests that one of the most pragmatic things any Democratic candidate can do is rattle a pitchfork in Howard Schultz’s general direction.

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jcitybone

Actually, Howard sounds fine to me, especially the part about less billionaires to resent

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/billionaire-howard-marks-like-many-other-billionaires-has-a-real-problem-with-ocasio-cortezs-plan-to-tax-the-rich-2019-01-31

“Does the left understand the long-term consequences of the majority imposing confiscatory taxes on the rich, and do they really want them? Will reducing the incentive to earn more (or incentivizing successful Americans to transfer their citizenship to other nations) really result in the betterment of most people? Americans generally accept the concept of progressive tax rates. But they must not be punitive and de-motivating.”

That’s just a snippet from the latest memo penned by Howard Marks, the billionaire co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Group LLC. He was referring specifically to the proposal by freshly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to raise the marginal tax rate on those earning $10 million a year to as much as 70% .

“A great deal of America’s economic progress has resulted from people’s aspiration to make more and live better,” he continued. “Take that away and what do we have? The people at the bottom won’t have as many at the top to resent.”

jcitybone

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) has invited House Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) to join her on a planned congressional delegation to the West Bank after he criticized the trip in an interview.

Engel appeared to dismiss the proposed trip this week in an interview with Al-Monitor, suggesting that Tlaib’s proposal is “close-minded.”

“Instead of her talking about things, she’s new here, she ought to listen and learn and open her mind and then come to some conclusions,” Engel said. “If you’re going to be close-minded and have your views, no one’s going to change her views. But I would hope that once you’re elected to Congress, you would at least care to see the other side of the coin.”

https://twitter.com/RashidaTlaib/status/1090819779483570176?s=20

polarbear4

Project much?

jcitybone

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/01/31/howard-schultzs-own-advisers-just-unmasked-his-cynical-game-trump-will-cheer/?utm_term=.532f60fd0c07&utm_source=reddit.com

Amid all the denunciations of Howard Schultz’s possible third-party presidential candidacy, it’s often conceded that Schultz is “well-meaning.” After all, the billionaire appears genuinely committed to tackle what he sees as urgent problems: the need for a fair, humane immigration overhaul; the imperative of making health care available to all; the existential threat posed by climate change.

But, in practice, if Schultz is to have any hope of prevailing, he must, of necessity, place our hopes of accomplishing those things at far greater risk. And he knows it.

The key revelation from The Post is that there is a deliberate method behind Schultz’s devotion of so much of his free-media tour to attacking Democrats. As The Post reports, this represents “a core strategy his advisers have developed in recent months through extensive polling”:

“To win a majority of electoral college votes, which Schultz says would be his goal, he would have to ultimately replace the Democratic nominee as the favored choice of voters who do not want Trump to win a second term.

In practice, this has led Schultz to focus far more of his initial fire on Democrats than Trump … He has particularly focused on attacking the Democratic Party’s more-liberal wing.”

Any viable route for Schultz requires, first and foremost, an aggressive effort to split the majority of Americans who have already concluded Trump’s presidency is a failure, or worse, a rolling disaster.

The fact that this strategic imperative requires Schultz to make lopsided attacks on Democrats reveals the deep cynicism at the core of his whole argument.

Benny

Benny

For the weird humor column…

jcitybone

?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/undocumented-worker-fired-from-trump-organization-to-attend-state-of-the-union/2019/01/30/635de4ae-24bf-11e9-ad53-824486280311_story.html?utm_term=.216bf3acfb43

An undocumented worker who recently worked for Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., and left after she publicly disclosed her immigration status will attend President Trump’s State of the Union address next week.

Victorina Morales, who was born in Guatemala, will be a guest of Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a New Jersey Democrat, when the president speaks to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night. Watson Coleman’s office confirmed the decision Wednesday.

The choice to invite Morales follows news stories about the Trump Organization’s failure to fully check the work status of all its employees, even as Trump described illegal immigration as a national crisis and demanded funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

jcitybone

Bernie is my first choice but I would have no problem with President Warren. It will be good to have them as a one two punch in the primaries

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-elizabeth-warren-left-wing-democrats_us_5c522b53e4b0ca92c6dd0ce6?utm_source=reddit.com

For once, the big-brain intellectuals have it wrong, and the delusional, selfish plutocrats are right. Whatever Warren and Sanders say to establish their political brands, the two senators do in fact represent a very similar way of thinking about politics. That’s why billionaires hate them both.

It’s true: You won’t find any videos of Warren singing “This Land Is Your Land” with a bunch of shirtless Soviets in the 1980s. And Sanders never slogged through troves of household bankruptcy data looking for the most common sources of middle-class financial strain. There are real differences between the two candidates (technically Bernie hasn’t announced yet). But these are differences of temperament, style and strategy. Sanders and Warren, in fact, see the world in very similar ways.

The trouble for leftish intellectuals is a confusion over the terms “socialism” and “capitalism.” Both words are extremely flexible, and their meanings shift with political currents. In an American context, it has never been easy to distinguish between socialism and reformed capitalism ― and committed capitalists have denounced both with vigor. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was condemned as a socialist by congressional Republicans. In the 1940s, American conservatives viewed the social safety net in Britain and the Stalinist Soviet Union with almost equal alarm. By the 1950s, Herbert Hoover had concluded that the words “liberalism” and “socialism” really just meant the same thing.

So, yes, Bernie Sanders has long been a champion of labor movements, protest marches and democratic socialism, while Elizabeth Warren is an academic wonk who talks about restoring competition to markets and making capitalism more accountable. But when it comes to their most detailed policies to date, both support an array of trust-busting, tougher regulation, wealth redistribution, public options and, where appropriate, nationalization.

It depends on the problem they’re trying to solve. In practice, they end up supporting an awful lot of the same solutions. In addition to Medicare for all, breaking up the banks and taxing the rich, both Warren and Sanders are advocates of a federal job guarantee, postal banking and a bill making it easier for workers to unionize.

All of these proposals transfer money and power from the super-rich to the not-rich.

Benny

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/author-and-journalist-sarah-smarsh-on-resisting-bogus-labels-that-divide-us

Do click on the video, or if you don’t have time to watch it, there is a transcript.

Benny
Torabs
Torabs

I see cleverer minds beat me to the punch here.

Benny

jcitybone

jcitybone

I don’t know about a “wrench” but kudos to them for advocating for this

https://www.thedailybeast.com/progressive-democrats-to-shutdown-negotiators-not-another-dollar-in-dhs-funding

Four freshman progressive House members are throwing a wrench into government funding negotiations, urging their colleagues to reduce spending on the Department of Homeland Security as a bipartisan committee negotiates a way forward for the agency.

“Cut, do not increase funding,” a bolded section of the “Dear Colleague” letter obtained by The Daily Beast reads. Authored by Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), the letter is expected to be formally read on the House floor next week. “We have seen rampant spending on detention facilities for young children. The deal reached by the Conference Committee should not allocate any additional funding to this department or to the ICE and CBP agencies. The upcoming FY2020 budget process will be a critical opportunity to take up conversations about reforms to the agency. In the meantime, not another dollar.”

jcitybone

Another problem with Tulsi

https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5c530708e4b093663f5bfa69

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is pitching herself as Democrats’ top anti-war voice and a serious progressive in her bid for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. But even as she spent years decrying American military interventions abroad and money’s role in politics, as a congresswoman she accepted donations worth more than $100,000 from the country’s biggest producers of bombs, planes and weapons systems.

Regular contributions from companies including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and BAE Systems poured in between 2012 (the year she was first elected) and 2016, according to a HuffPost review of donations to Gabbard’s campaign account and political action committee. (Federal Election Commission filings for the two organizations are publicly available and organized by the Center for Responsive Politics.)

The congresswoman said in May 2017 that she had “recently” stopped accepting money from the defense industry and would no longer accept political action committee largesse. Her total income from the arms industry by that point had hit $111,500, with weapons producers Boeing and Lockheed Martin featuring as her ninth and 12th biggest donors, respectively, in the 2016 election cycle. (Firms cannot directly donate to candidates; the figures reported are those from the weapons companies’ political action committees, funded by their employees.)

polarbear4

jcitybone

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/31/kamala-harris-laughed-jailing-parents-truancy?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

For progressives, there are good reasons to be suspicious of the idea that former prosecutors make good politicians. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and its criminal punishment system disproportionately punishes poor people and people of color. Prosecutors have a leading role in sustaining this injustice, in part because they tend to view prisons as solutions to social problems.

Here we see the limits of the “prosecutorial mindset”. Like the old slogan “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” when all you have is the ability to bring criminal charges, everything looks like a crime.

Harris looked at the problem of perpetual truancy and believed she ought to start locking up parents. A humane progressive looks at the problem and asks: why do absences actually occur? Truancy occurs disproportionately among children whose parents are poor and less-educated, and among children who don’t feel safe at school, who have to work or support their families, who have mental and physical health issues, and who are in unstable living situations.

Given the social reality, the idea of fining or jailing parents over student absences is both cruel and unwise. It targets the poorest and most desperate parents, and it doesn’t actually address the root causes. Even if it succeeds in reducing truancy rates, it inflicts yet more burdens on the most vulnerable people in society. But it’s not even clear that it succeeds even by its own standard, with research suggesting that “although truancy proceedings can increase a child’s school attendance in the short term, answering to a judge for school absence does not help students graduate from high school or avoid crime”.

jcitybone

https://theintercept.com/2019/01/31/kamala-harris-and-the-myth-of-a-progressive-cop/

SINCE GETTING ELECTED to the senate, Kamala Harris has become one of the most progressive voices in the chamber, coming out in favor of Medicare for All and debt-free college. Her forensic questioning of Brett Kavanaugh during last September’s Supreme Court nomination hearings boosted her national profile even further. However, her record as a district attorney and as attorney general in California stand in stark contrast to the progressive ideals she now claims to hold. As attorney general, Harris opposed a bill requiring her office to investigate shootings involving police officers and threatened to imprison the parents of truant children, who are disproportionately poor and non-white. Her office fought a proposed parole program that would release prisoners early if they served half their sentences, arguing that “prisons would lose an important labor pool.” When questioned about her record at a CNN Town Hall this week, Sen. Harris evaded the questions and argued instead that her record has been “consistent.” On this week’s Deconstructed podcast, Mehdi Hasan is joined by Jamilah King of Mother Jones and by Lara Bazelon, a professor of law at the University of San Francisco, to discuss Sen. Harris’s record and her prospects in the Democratic primaries.

jcitybone

Liz, AOC, and Bernie are driving this discussion. Kamala with her tax credit, not so much

https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/elizabeth-warrens-wealth-tax-is-an-old-idea-and-its-time-has-come

Given the practical challenges involved in taxing wealth directly, some economists, Kopczuk included, favor an alternative approach of reforming two existing taxes: the capital-gains tax and the estate tax. At the moment, many rich people largely avoid the capital-gains tax by holding onto their appreciated assets until they die, and then passing them on to their heirs, whose liability is greatly reduced because of a loophole in the tax code known as “step-up-in basis.” Moreover, the top rate of capital-gains tax has been reduced over the years. It is currently at 23.9 per cent, which is a lot lower than the top rate of income tax.

In theory, there is nothing to prevent Congress from abolishing the “step-up-in basis” loophole and raising the capital-gains tax rate. In 2016, the Obama Administration suggested doing both of these things, but the Republicans who controlled Congress ignored the proposal. Theoretically, we could go even further in this direction, forcing taxpayers to declare their over-all wealth every year on the basis of market prices, and making them pay the capital-gains tax on any increase over the previous year. “That’s the obvious thing to do,” Kopczuk said. “You can go much further in the direction of taxing wealth accruals on an annual basis, compared to what we are doing now.”

Edward Wolff, who a quarter of a century ago saw his wealth-tax proposal go nowhere, and who in 2017 published a monumental historical study of wealth in the United States, is watching the current debate with a combination of wry amusement and encouragement. During our conversation, he pointed out that there isn’t any reason why some version of the Warren proposal couldn’t be combined with other proposals being canvassed, such as reforming the capital-gains tax and the estate tax, and raising the top rate of income tax—as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has advocated. “From the point of view of fairness, you want to tax people based on their ability to pay,” he said. “Income itself doesn’t give you a good indicator of ability to pay. Some combination of income and wealth is better.” Zucman agrees. “The ideal tax system would have a progressive income tax, a progressive estate tax, and a progressive annual tax on wealth,” he said. “They all do different things, and they complement each other.”

polarbear4

Hoping this grows and that we get a couple of petitions going, like we did for Syria.

bernin
bernin

LOL, candidates are taking so many ideas from Bernie, that Sherrod Brown is now using a bird as his logo!

(OK, it’s a “canary in a coal mine” which Brown has been talking about for long time. Still funny!)

jcitybone

LOL. Yeah I’m not going to take George Will’s advice on the candidate to beat Trump. But she does laugh easily and often.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/amy-klobuchar-is-best-equipped-to-send-the-president-packing/2019/01/30/0f85122c-240a-11e9-81fd-b7b05d5bed90_story.html?utm_term=.3362f44833ed&utm_source=reddit.com

As the bidding war for the affection of the Democratic left spirals into inanity — “Abolish ICE!”; “70 percent marginal tax rate!”; “Impeach the president!”; “Pack the Supreme Court!”; “Medicare-for-all!”; “Free college!”; “Free other stuff!” — Klobuchar is the potential top-tier candidate most apt to resist forfeiting the general election while winning the nomination.

Her special strength, however, is her temperament. Baseball, it has been said, is not a game you can play with your teeth clenched. That is also true of politics, another day-by-day game with a long season. It requires an emotional equipoise, a blend of relaxation and concentration, stamina leavened by cheerfulness. Klobuchar laughs easily and often. If the nation wants an angry president, it can pick from the many seething Democratic aspirants, or it can keep the president it has. If, however, it would like someone to lead a fatigued nation in a long exhale, it can pick a Minnesotan, at last.

polarbear4

Yuk. We are in a crisis. I want someone who knows that and is ready to go. I don’t want to have tea with her. Bernie will have Nina and AOC around to lighten him up.

jcitybone

Not so surprising— there were 23 Nays, mostly Dems, including all possible presidential candidates, even Klobuchar (Brown did not vote but I’m sure he would have been a nay)

https://www.thedailybeast.com/senate-criticizes-trump-over-troop-withdrawal-in-afghanistan-syria

The vote wasn’t unanimous, however; surprisingly, some Democrats sided with Trump. “We’ve been in Afghanistan for a longer period than any war in American history; Syria, we’ve been there for too long and we’ve got to get out,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told reporters Thursday. “What McConnell is saying is, ‘Let’s maintain the status quo.’”

polarbear4

Thank heavens. Bummer though.

Benny

polarbear4

Awwww. ???

Benny

jcitybone

I get that he’s running against the Dems. I don’t get that empty rhetoric of fairness part. Bernie and Liz are spouting empty rhetoric of fairness?

Benny

He’s referring to Harris, Booker, Clinton.

polarbear4

Maybe to him Bernie and Liz are, too. Always talking about how impossible it is.

jcitybone

Always important to investigate the source

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/01/31/democrats-shouldnt-abandon-medicare-all-over-misleading-survey

David Leonhardt of the New York Times has highlighted a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation that, if true, would suggest that Medicare for All is not nearly as popular as initial polling would suggest. Based on this survey’s results, Leonhardt concludes that Democrats who support the idea are committing an “unforced error.”

Unfortunately, that survey is deeply misleading. While pollsters made it clear that they were merely presenting “some arguments some people have made for or against a national Medicare-for-all plan,” they only presented partial arguments in favor of Medicare for All while presenting deeply deceptive arguments against it. Their questions almost certainly skewed the results.

The immediate questions are these: Why was the KFF survey so flawed, and why has Leonhardt (and presumably others) been so quick to embrace it? Leonhardt describes KFF as “one of the country’s most respected health care pollsters,” and so it has been. But KFF, like other mainstream health institutions, is deeply embedded in the current health care system’s political culture. A centrist Democrat and two former Republican senators sit on its Board of Trustees, one of whom is former Senate majority leader and physician William Frist. Frist is the son of Thomas Frist, founder of Hospital Corporation of America. The Washington Post reported that his HCA holdings represented a “significant source of his wealth” (a reported $13 million in 1994).

Benny
jcitybone

Much better than Harris. Definitely in the AOC/Bernie/Liz camp

Benny

I think the last figure is wrong. But Booker’s alleged proposal is a conversation piece, and it may push Harris to the left.

jcitybone

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/01/31/bernies-plutocracy-prevention-act

The Sanders legislation would put a substantial brake on the wealth and power of the country’s 588 billionaires who control over $3 trillion in wealth. While his 99.8% Act would raise substantial revenue—potentially $2.2 trillion from this billionaire group alone—it would have the positive benefit of protecting our self-governing republic from the distorting influence of concentrated wealth.

Sanders’ bill would also address the growing problem of hidden wealth and aggressive tax avoidance. It would patch some holes in the current estate and gift tax system that have enabled families like Sheldon Adelson to use trusts to dodge billions in estate taxes.

When families accumulate hundreds of millions of dollars, they have enough wealth to meet any possible need and desire. They also have enough to provide future generations with privileged lives. Wealth exceeding $100 million is a form of power, the power to rig the rules of our economy and shape the culture through ownership of media. A steeply progressive estate tax is one of the ways we protect our society from Roosevelt’s “tyranny of plutocracy.”

jcitybone

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/427967-warren-billionaires-should-stop-being-freeloaders

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who announced an exploratory committee for president last month, defended her new proposal that would ramp up taxes on the nation’s highest earners.

“You know that top one tenth of 1% this year, taxes all in, they’re gonna pay about 3.2% of their total worth in taxes to help keep everything running around here. You know what the 99% is gonna pay this year? They’re gonna pay about 7.2% of their wealth. That’s more than twice as much,” she said on CNBC Thursday.

“What I want is I want these billionaires to stop being freeloaders. I want them to pick up their fair share. That’s how we make a system that works not just for the rich and the powerful but works for all of us.”

jcitybone

Actually, Warren of the Dems the most open to getting rid of it.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/31/dems-filibuster-rules-1140921

Democrats have a lot of big ideas if they win back the White House and Congress in 2020. But it’s not clear they are willing to do a key thing needed to implement them: eliminating the filibuster.

Senate Democrats pursuing the White House are split on whether to even consider getting rid of the chamber’s longstanding supermajority requirement. The debate is heating up as the race for the presidential nomination begins and will largely determine whether the party can enact a “Green New Deal,” Medicare-for-All and other top priorities on the left.

“Everything stays on the table. You keep it all on the table. Don’t take anything off the table,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said when asked about the fate of the filibuster. “That’s a clear answer. You’re not going to have a clearer answer than that.”

Countered Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), another likely presidential contender: “We should not be doing anything to mess with the strength of the filibuster. It’s one of the distinguishing factors of this body. And I think it is good to have the power of the filibuster.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) spoke of the value of the filibuster in remarks to the liberal Pod Save America last week. However, in an interview on Thursday, she said it was an issue she’s still evaluating.

“It’s a very important question. I want to weigh all the pros and the cons over the next few weeks. I think it’s something that my colleagues will consider heavily,” said Gillibrand, who’s exploring a 2020 run. “Having just lived through being in the minority and how destructive the 51-vote threshold has been for Supreme Court justices, I just want to think long and hard about it.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), another potential White House contender, gave a nearly 30-minute speech on Thursday touting his plans to tax the wealthy. But he wasn’t quite ready to have a debate on how to pass it in the Senate with 41 senators able to block it: “Very good discussion. But not for today, OK? First of all we’ve got to take back [power]. You’re too far ahead.”

Warren said that even without a major change to the Senate rules, the GOP has given Democrats a road map if they win power and decide not to gut the filibuster.

“On proposals like my wealth tax, the Republicans have proven that you can rewrite all the tax laws with a 51-vote majority,” Warren said. “So: give us a majority.”

polarbear4

I am for keeping the filibuster. Just make sure you have to actually do it don’t give in because someone says they’re going to do it. Make them filibuster. Make the public pay attention to what is going down.

We’ll need it again and afaic we should use it more.

Open to arguments and would love to see M4A and GND of course.

Benny

Benny

Booker tells lawmakers he is running for president and seeks their support

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on Thursday began calling members of Congress informing them he is running for president and is quietly making overtures to members for support, three congressional sources told The Hill.

“Yes, he is reaching out to members for their support,” said a former Democratic aide with direct knowledge of Booker’s intentions. “He’s going to do it during Black History Month,” which starts on Friday.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be tomorrow, I just know it’s going to be soon.”

Among those who received a call Thursday were senior members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), of which Booker is a member.

“He’s making calls,” a fourth source, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), confirmed to The Hill on Thursday night. “He left me a voice message. I have to call him back.”

A Booker spokesman declined to comment for this story.

Booker’s entry into the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race was widely expected, but his announcement on the heels of the successful presidential launch of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) suggests he and his team realized he could not allow his Senate colleague and fellow CBC member build too much momentum, some Democratic observers said.

Both Booker, 49, the former mayor of Newark, and Harris, 54, the former California attorney general, have been vying for endorsements from CBC members — a sign of the importance of the black vote in the Democratic primary, especially in states like South Carolina, Ohio and Georgia.

polarbear4

I used to paste long excepts from articles, so I knew what you were getting. Now I paste tweets. But I trust McKibben. Unreal.

polarbear4

polarbear4

bernin
bernin

Ugh, the linked article under that tweet says:

“Canada is better than the U.S. at regulating the price of insulin. The retail price of a vial of Humalog in the U.S. is $300. In Canada, the same vial costs $32.

In the U.S., there are reports of people having to choose between their insulin and paying rent and other household expenses. A study by researchers at Yale University found one in four patients skimp on insulin. There are several thousand GoFundMe campaigns related to insulin.”

polarbear4
polarbear4

Via oona hathaway

polarbear4

Interesting article on a form of Medicare for all by Jacob Hacker. At least a start of a way to think about it. Bernie’s will be out soon, they say.

polarbear4

Abby Martin, Mike Pysner, Jimmy Dore. Venezuela.

polarbear4

I did watch this one. Well worth it. Now off to see what Russia India Mexico and maybe China are doing to oppose it.

polarbear4

Via Rania Kalek. One guy. Lacy Clay. D Missouri. Outstanding work by Blumenthal.

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