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jcitybone

Thanks orl!

Bernie’s 2022 New Year’s resolution

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/04/bernie-sanders-labor-strikes

Our new year’s resolution for 2022: to rise up and fight back

Corporate greed and class warfare are crushing working people. No one is going to save us – we need to rise up together

As we begin the year 2022, in these unprecedented times, I know it’s easy to give in to despair.

We are facing a raging pandemic with seemingly no end in sight. We are rapidly moving toward oligarchy and while income and wealth inequality grows, millions struggle to obtain the basic necessities of life. We have a dysfunctional healthcare system with more than 84 million uninsured or underinsured and nearly one out of four unable to afford prescription drugs. Climate change is ravaging the planet and systemic racism and other forms of bigotry continue to eat away at the fabric of our society. We have a corrupt political system in which corporate money buys elections and a mainstream media that largely ignores the pain that ordinary people experience.

And, in the midst of all this, Republicans across the country are working overtime trying to undermine democracy by making it harder for people of color, young people and those who oppose them to vote in our next elections.

In other words, the challenges we face are enormous and it is easy to understand why many may fall into depression and cynicism. This is a state of mind, however, that we must resist – not only for ourselves but for our kids and future generations. The stakes are just too high. Despair is not an option. We must stand up and fight back.

Here is some good news: working people all over the country are taking on corporate greed and they are winning

And here is some very good news. While the corporate-owned media may not be actively reporting it, working people all over the country, with extraordinary courage and determination, are taking on corporate greed, and they are winning.

Workers at John Deere waged their first strike in more than three decades, stayed on the picket lines and eventually won a contract with strong wage increases, a ratification bonus and improved health insurance.

Striking nurses in Buffalo won raises that moved all workers to at least $15 an hour and a reduction in staff shortages. These nurses fought not only for themselves, but their patients – and they won.

Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers won a major victory after rejecting a contract that would have given new workers lower wages and benefits.

Nabisco workers, struggling against forced overtime, inadequate wages and pensions, a two-tier health system and the outsourcing of jobs, went on strike and won. Once again we saw workers fighting not just for themselves, but for the next generation of workers.

More than 1,400 Kellogg’s workers in Michigan, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Nebraska went on strike for months and won, fighting back against a plan to give new workers lower wages and benefits.

United Airlines promises sustainable flying – but experts aren’t convincedHold the beef: McDonald’s avoids the bold step it must take to cut emissionsFrosts, heatwaves and wildfires: the climate crisis is hitting the wine industry hard

Starbucks employees in upstate New York, for the very first time, organized a union shop in a fight against a giant corporation that did just about everything it could to stop them.

Those are just some of the inspiring efforts that took place last year. Let me tell you about what’s happening right now as workers continue to stand up to some of the most powerful corporate interests in the country.

In Huntington, West Virginia, 450 steelworkers at the Special Metals company have been engaged in a major strike for almost 100 days. Special Metals is a profitable company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett, of course, is one of the richest people in the world, with wealth of over $109bn.

While Special Metals made $1.5bn in profits last year and Mr Buffett became over $40bn richer during the pandemic, executives at this company offered workers an outrageous and insulting contract that includes a zero pay increase for this year, and a totally unacceptable 1% pay raise next year, while quadrupling healthcare premiums and reducing vacation time.

Sadly, the corporate greed that is going on in West Virginia is not an aberration. In Santa Fe Springs, California, about 100 bakery workers, who make cakes for Baskin Robbins, Safeway and Cold Stone Creamery, are on strike against the appropriately named Rich Products Corporation at the Jon Donaire Desserts production plant. About 75% of these employees are Latina women who are often forced into mandatory overtime with little to no notice and sometimes work up to 16 hours a day.

This is a company that made $4bn in revenue last year. During the pandemic, Bob Rich, the majority owner of Rich Products, increased his wealth by more than $2bn. While the workers he employs barely make more than California’s minimum wage, Mr Rich currently has a net worth of more than $7.5bn. Yet, despite his billions in wealth, the “best and final offer” Mr Rich has put on the table for his workers is an insulting $1-an-hour wage increase. That is pathetic.

But it’s also not unusual in the world of corporate greed. In Brookwood, Alabama, about 1,100 workers at Warrior Met Coal have been on strike since April. Just like the bakery workers in California and the steelworkers in West Virginia, these are workers who also have worked as many as seven days a week and up to 16 hours per day.

In 2016, under great pressure to keep the company afloat and keep jobs in their community, these coalminers agreed to a $6-an-hour pay cut – more than 20% of their average salary – and a substantial reduction in their healthcare and retirement benefits as part of a restructuring deal made by Wall Street vulture funds like Blackstone and Apollo.

Meanwhile, the executives at Warrior Met and their Wall Street investors made out like bandits. Since 2017, Warrior Met has rewarded $1.4bn in dividends to its wealthy shareholders while handing out bonuses of up to $35,000 to its executives. Yet, while the company has returned to profitability, Warrior Met has offered its workers a measly $1.50 raise over 5 years and has refused to restore the healthcare and pension benefits that were taken away.

The struggles that these workers are experiencing are not unique. There are millions of other Americans in exactly the same position – people who have to fight tooth-and-nail against wealthy and powerful corporate interests for decent wages, healthcare, pensions and safe working conditions. And let’s be clear. Class warfare in this country is intensifying. Greed is on the rise.

The greatest weapon our opponents have is their ability to create a culture that makes us feel hopeless and diminishes the strength of solidarity

What history has always taught us is that real change never takes place from the top on down. It is always occurs from the bottom on up. That is the history of the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the environmental movement and the gay rights movement. That is the history of every effort that has brought about transformational change in our society.

And that is the struggle we must intensify today. At a time when the demagogues want to divide us up based on the color of our skin, where we were born, our religion or our sexual orientation, we must do exactly the opposite. We must bring people together around a progressive agenda. We must educate, organize and build an unstoppable grassroots movement that helps create the kind of nation we know we can become. One that is based on the principles of justice and compassion, not greed and oligarchy.

The greatest weapon our opponents have is not just their unlimited wealth and power. It is their ability to create a culture that makes us feel weak and hopeless and diminishes the strength of human solidarity.

And here is our new year’s resolution. Like the thousands of workers who stood up and fought courageously in 2021, we will do the same. No one individual is going to save us. We must rise up together.

Happy new year.

jcitybone

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/01/03/enough-enough-outrage-big-pharma-hikes-prices-442-drugs

The lapse of Democrats’ expanded child tax credit program at the end of last month has progressive lawmakers and advocates vocally warning of a major spike in child poverty in the new year just as the Omicron variant wreaks havoc across the U.S., fueling a staggering rise in infections and hospitalizations.

While some research suggests the highly transmissible Omicron strain causes less severe disease than other mutations, the enormity of the current wave is driving fears of widespread and potentially sustained societal disruptions, with disproportionate impacts on families without the resources to weather more pandemic-induced economic chaos.

“Unless Build Back Better is passed, the expansion will end and we will see a huge increase in childhood poverty.”

Approved as part of the coronavirus relief package that President Joe Biden signed into law in March 2021, the enhanced child tax credit (CTC) provided eligible families with monthly payments of up to $300 per child under the age of six and $250 per child between the ages of six and 17.

Recent survey data indicates that the payments brought millions out of poverty and helped many low-income families afford food, rent, medications, and other basic necessities.

But thanks to the opposition of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and every congressional Republican, the program expired at December’s end, cutting off a key lifeline at what anti-poverty activists see as the worst possible moment. The sixth and final monthly CTC payments were distributed to the families of more than 61 million children on December 15.

“Yet another sign of the misaligned priorities of this country,” the Rhode Island Poor People’s Campaign said Monday in response to the CTC’s expiration. “Programs of social uplift are sacrificed to the war economy and militarism.”

The New York Times reported over the weekend that with Omicron surging, “economists warn that the one-two punch of expiring aid and rising cases could put a chill on the once red-hot economic recovery and cause severe hardship for millions of families already living close to the poverty line.”

Anna Lara, a mother of two young children in Huntington, West Virginia, told the Times that without the boosted CTC, “it’s going to be hard next month.”

“Just thinking about it, it really makes me want to bite my nails to the quick,” Lara said. “Honestly, it’s going to be scary. It’s going to be hard going back to not having it.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, wrote Monday that it is “totally unacceptable” for the Senate to let the CTC lapse. In November, the House of Representatives passed a version of the Build Back Better Act that would extend the enhanced CTC payments for another year.

“The Senate must act quickly to pass the Build Back Better Act and restore the child tax credit for millions of families who are counting on it,” Jayapal wrote. “The pandemic isn’t over—the relief to withstand it shouldn’t stop.”

jcitybone

Unfortunately

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/588084-democrats-hit-pause-on-bidens-climate-social-spending-package

Senate Democrats are putting President Biden’s climate and social spending plan on the back burner as they plan to debate voting rights legislation this month and hold a vote on changing the Senate’s filibuster rule.

Democratic aides say the Build Back Better bill won’t be ready for floor action any time soon and predict the wide-ranging legislation that the White House has negotiated with centrist Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) may have to be completely overhauled.

Schumer made no mention of Build Back Better or when it might come to the floor, despite promising at the end of last year to schedule a vote on it before Christmas.

Democratic aides warn that means Build Back Better probably won’t be ready to come to the floor until March or later. And whatever version of the bill comes up for a vote will be markedly different from the $1.75 trillion framework that Manchin resoundingly rejected during a “Fox News Sunday” interview on Dec. 19, aides say.

Schumer announced in a “Dear Colleague” letter circulated on Dec. 20 that “senators should be aware that the Senate will, in fact, consider the Build Back Better Act, very early in the new year so that every member of this body has the opportunity to make their position known on the Senate floor, not just on television.”

The statement was seen as a direct jab at Manchin after he blew up Schumer’s schedule on Fox News.

But any such vote in the next few weeks would be guaranteed to fail, and Schumer has previously told colleagues in meetings that he doesn’t want to force Manchin to vote on the bill before he is prepared to support it.

Forcing Manchin to vote against popular reforms such as expanded Medicare benefits, a national family paid leave program and more than $500 billion to address climate change might satisfy liberals such as Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

The day that Manchin announced his opposition, Sanders declared: “If Sen. Joe Manchin wants to vote against the Build Back Better Act, he should have the opportunity to do so with a floor vote as soon as the Senate returns.”

But the defeat of Biden’s signature domestic policy plan on the Senate floor would also be a major embarrassment.

Democratic senators and aides thought last month that Build Back Better might be ready for floor action the second week of January, but that was before Manchin delivered his coup de grâce, telling Fox News’s Bret Baier: “I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.”

“BBB is so in the tank it’s hard to imagine a world where we go back to where the bill was before,” said one Democratic aide.

The aide said Schumer’s approach “is to focus on other things while we figure out” how to save Build Back Better and knows there’s “no way” the bill can come to the floor this month.

wi63

Its 2022 and between now and the midterms i doubt much will pass as the congresscritters flee home for most of this time left until midterms and meet with voters? Oops i mean the people with the suitcases of $$$$$

Benny

Schumer failed Bernie. Now Bernie is trying to move on and highlight other successes. I think BBB is dead in the water.

wi63

As do i

jcitybone

jcitybone

jcitybone

jcitybone

In the wake of the Texas power grid failure

wi63

We all paid for that mess in TX as my heatiing bill went up over $100 a month during that time frame over the year before.

polarbear4
polarbear4

smae in oregon. Everyone got on the bandwagon while they could

jcitybone

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/04/opinion/capitol-riot.html

The mainstream press has also had a hand in inflating the right’s sense of itself. Habits like the misrepresentation of Republican voters and operatives as swing voters plucked off the street and the constant, reductive blather about political homogeneity on the coasts — despite the fact that there were more Trump voters in New York City in 2016 and 2020 than there were in both Dakotas combined — create distorted impressions of our political landscape. The tendency of journalists to measure the wisdom of policies and rhetoric based on their distance from the preferences of conservative voters only reinforces the idea that it’s fair for politicians, activists and voters on the left to take the reddest parts of the country into account without the right taking a reciprocal interest in what most Americans want.

That premise still dominates and constrains strategic thinking within the Democratic Party. A year after the Capitol attack and all the rent garments and tears about the right’s radicalism and the democratic process, the party has failed to deliver promised political reforms, thanks to opposition from pivotal members of its own Senate caucus — Democrats who argue that significantly changing our system would alienate Republicans.

Given demographic trends, power in Washington will likely continue accruing to Republicans even if the right doesn’t undertake further efforts to subvert our elections. And to fix the structural biases at work, Democrats would have to either attempt the impossible task of securing broad, bipartisan support for major new amendments to the Constitution — which, it should be said, essentially bars changes to the Senate’s basic design — or pass a set of system-rebalancing workarounds, such as admitting new states ⁠like the District of Columbia. It should never be forgotten that fully enfranchised voters from around the country gathered to stage a riot over their supposedly threatened political rights last January in a city of 700,000 people who don’t have a full vote in Congress.

Jan. 6 demonstrated that the choice the country now faces isn’t one between disruptive changes to our political system and a peaceable status quo. To believe otherwise is to indulge the other big lie that drew violence to the Capitol in the first place. The notion that the 18th-century American constitutional order is suited to governance in the 21st is as preposterous and dangerous as anything Mr. Trump has ever uttered. It was the supposedly stabilizing features of our vaunted system that made him president to begin with and incubated the extremism that turned his departure into a crisis.

jcitybone

Even though hospitalization and death rates aren’t at their highest,they are bound to go up because they lag the infection rate.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/04/us-counts-over-1-million-new-daily-covid-cases-in-global-record-.html

The U.S. has reported a record single-day number of daily Covid cases, with more than 1 million new infections.

A total of 1,082,549 new coronavirus cases were reported Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, as the highly infectious omicron variant continues to spread throughout the country.

About 98,000 Americans are hospitalized with Covid-19, according to a seven-day average of data from the Department of Health and Human Services as of Jan. 3, up 32% from a week ago. That figure is approaching peak delta wave levels when about 103,000 people were in hospital beds with Covid across the country in early September, but remains lower than last winter’s high mark of roughly 137,000 U.S. hospitalizations.

The U.S. is reporting an average of about 1,200 daily Covid deaths for the week ended Jan. 3, Johns Hopkins data shows, well below the record numbers seen following last year’s holiday season when the daily average held above 3,000 for about a month starting in January 2021. The death toll tends to lag rises in case counts and hospitalizations, however.

polarbear4
polarbear4

making me question my intelligence in applying for school district positions, but now is the time to get in for us somewhat marginalized people and I could really use the money and I do like kids and education.

I may not have to worry about it. lol

thanks for the post, orl! or is it the diary?

polarbear4

Hammer Heart Photography lower left.

polarbear4

🧵

polarbear4

wi63

Hell yea Orl !!!!!

wi63

On you post:)

wi63

If not him some other GQP nutjob will start the process

Cruz predicts a GOP House will impeach Biden ‘whether it’s justified or not’

wi63

Trump Tried A Coup In Plain Sight — And Has, So Far, Gotten Away With It

In 232 years of elections, Trump became the first loser to try to overthrow the republic to remain in power, but remains the Republican Party’s leader anyway.
S.V. Date
By
S.V. Date
01/04/2022 11:21am EST

Join HuffPost and BuzzFeed News for a Twitter Spaces conversation about how the Capitol riot is still altering U.S. politics on Jan. 4 at 1 p.m. ET. Sign up to be notified when the Space begins here.

WASHINGTON — What if you attempted a coup but people were unwilling to wrap their heads around what you had done?

A year after Jan. 6, 2021, that is the peculiar situation in which Donald Trump finds himself. Instead of being carted off in handcuffs for inciting an insurrection against the United States, or even just being banished from federal office for life by the Senate, the former president instead remains the leader of one of the two major political parties and is openly considering another run for the White House in 2024.

Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council analyst in the Trump White House, was among the first to call what Trump tried a “coup,” just five days afterward, writing in an essay: “I’ve been studying authoritarian regimes for three decades, and I know the signs of a coup when I see them.”

Eleven months later, she is appalled that most Americans still are unable to grasp how close they came to losing their democracy.

“A total failure of imagination. This was a coup. It still is. It’s ongoing,” she said of Trump’s continued attempts to delegitimize Democrat Joe Biden’s election win and return to power. “If we were looking at this overseas, we would say: Absolutely, that’s what it was.”

Jonathan Weiler, a University of North Carolina political scientist and co-author of “Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics,” said he can appreciate the desire of many Americans to ignore politics for a while, after four years of Trump’s endless, self-created crises. “A natural and self-protective need we have to take our foot off the gas sometimes,” he said. “We can only be revved up for so long.”

For their part, Trump allies describe Jan. 6 as a protest that got out of hand, that never had a coherent plan to reverse the election results, and no coordination with Trump or his staff. They ridicule the use of the word “coup” to describe the horde of Trump’s followers who wandered the building taking selfies, arguing that such a group was not remotely capable of bringing down the government.

In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo with the White House in the background, President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Washington.
In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo with the White House in the background, President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Washington.VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS
That characterization, though, ignores the larger context of the day and the weeks leading up to it. Trump had, in fact, explored hanging on to power by ordering the National Guard to seize voting equipment in states Biden had won and ordering new elections, but had opted against it when many of his top staff, including the White House counsel, threatened to resign en masse. Top military officials had months earlier made clear they would not participate in any of his election-related schemes.

Trump had only his ragtag group of rally goers at his disposal, interspersed with right-wing militia members, out of necessity, not choice. His last-ditch attempt to intimidate his own vice president and Congress into rejecting the election results and reinstalling him for a second term was his only option left after Mike Pence refused his entreaties to do so willingly.

Also unstated is what might have happened if Trump had had a vice president and military leaders more loyal to him personally — former chief of staff Mark Meadows, say, and retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn — than to the Constitution.

Rick Tyler, a GOP consultant who worked on Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 bid for the Republican nomination, said the country was fortunate Trump was so inept in pulling it off.

“I now believe if someone clever enough and competent were to attempt autocratic rule, far too many would go along,” he said. “I don’t believe the left is immune to the same phenomenon of a seductive, charismatic leader. In fact, I have no doubt Trump could have won had he run as a Democrat.”

Normalizing Autocracy
What Trump has been able to do with his coup attempt follows a pattern of formerly beyond-the-pale conduct that he, by doing it out in the open or even bragging about it, has been able to effectively “normalize.”

More at; https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-coup-attempt_n_61c2733fe4b04b42ab6602a2

When you think about it none of the big fish have any charges filed, only the sheep that followed Cult-45s every word and went into the capital have gotten lite sentences many still do that the election was stolen.

jcitybone

Bitcoin etc. is ludicrous

polarbear4
polarbear4

jcitybone

I actually liked it a lot. Reminded me of Dr. Strangelove

Benny

It certainly paid homage to Dr. Strangelove in many respects. I couldn’t get into it until the last 25 minutes of it. I was looking for more humor and I don’t think McKay delivered it quite as well as The Big Short. Or at least I think the timing of the jokes was not as good.

I thought the song Look Up was priceless though.

I take issue with movies which require critics to tell you what is being satirized in order to understand the humor.

Other Golden Globe movie contenders.
I saw Dune. While I appreciated the stylistic upgrades compared to its predecessors, the storyline was not compelling to me. I think Timothee Chalamet is having a great run as an actor and was the bright light in Dune. His range is amazing. His character in Don’t Look Up was my favorite.

Also King Richard. Storyline familiar but still enjoyed it as I think Will Smith’s performance is solid.

I would like to see Belfast, Coda , and Power of the Dog. However, Power of the Dog may be too gruesome for even me to watch.

I thought The Eyes of Tammy Faye was pretty good, although I thought the portrayal of Jim Baaker was better than his character’s wife.

Spencer was disappointing. Kirsten Stewart was thrust into a bad script and tried to do her best.

I liked Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz in Being the Ricardos. He’s overlooked in my view as he can actually sing well.

jcitybone

Bitcoin is ludicrous

Here is what will happen when hundreds of thousands of younger investors are smashed by the crypto crash: They will be radicalized. This will not be experienced as simply a decline in prices, because crypto represents much more than a simple investment to its most fervent adherents — it represents a way out of the American trap. It represents the existence of opportunity, the possibility of economic mobility, the validation of the idea that you, a regular, hard working person without connections, can go from the bottom to the top, thanks to nothing but your own savvy choices. When that myth is shattered, disillusionment with the American system will follow. Unfortunately, given the realities of the moment, these newly disillusioned and radicalized and angry and broke people are far more likely to turn to fascism than to socialism.

Crypto, a portfolio of inherently worthless online tokens, is already sustained almost entirely by myth. Its value proposition is so inscrutable that when it melts down, almost any narrative could be crafted to plausibly explain it. It was the Fed! The government! The leftists who hate entrepreneurialism! It was the dark and devious forces of the shadowy deep state! Anything will do. It will enforce the priors of those who placed their faith in crypto as a good substitute for the American dream — a crowd of Barstool Sports readers and tech libertarians and the types of people who used to buy silver bars from Alex Jones before they turned to Bitcoin. The crypto-evangelist population skews heavily towards a sort of New Age libertarian, anti-government right wing-ism, and when they see their financial dreams evaporate, they will likely set their sights for revenge on the things they already despise. The broad effect will lead to a large number of newly angry, bitter, disillusioned, hopeless people who are too steeped in the culture wars to turn towards working class solidarity, and instead turn towards hate.

So, if you want to amuse yourself during these end times, think about how much the timing of the crypto crash might end up affecting the basic existence of American democracy itself. If the crash strikes, say, six months before the 2024 presidential elections, it could be sufficient fuel to propel Donald Trump or one of his acolytes back into the White House and to further poison the national dialogue with rage and a spirit of vengeance. A fun thing to speculate on.

The specifics of these changes, of course, are unpredictable. But I feel safe saying that, when history looks back in hindsight, it will see crypto as a gargantuan bubble that — as capitalism always does — wiped out the finances of tons of small people who could not afford to be wiped out, and left the rich mostly intact, all because it was able to convince regular people to believe that this time was different. The delusion that salvation from capitalism can be found in new, more clever capitalism is incredibly seductive, and always wrong. Let’s hope that we snap out of it before it’s too late.