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Benny

Thanks Orl.

I didn’t see that she couldn’t run for Feinstein’s seat, which makes me she could make some moves on her own. But granted, she would have to declare very quickly if she did decide to go up against Lee, Porter and Schiff.

At least Newsom didn’t pick Schiff.

Benny

I’m surprised they are already picking sides.

Benny

180 degrees from the reptiles in TX, FL, AL, etc.

Paul ADK

I graduated from a California high school in the 70s and at least then, they were doing more than most states to prepare their students for life. At that point a full year of something called Problems of Democracy was required for graduation, the first semester being civics, and the second, hands on functional economics, budgeting, etc. Maybe things have changed since then, but I graduated not only able to speak my own language but also proficient in French and functional in Spanish, with a number of college requirements already met. I was prepared not only for college but fairly well prepared for life. But that was a long time ago, and I’m sure things have deteriorated since then. Hopefully not all of what I experienced has been lost.

Paul ADK

The ‘don’t say gay’ laws are all about suiciding kids. Make no mistake about that.

wi65

And Wi.

jcitybone

https://x.com/BernieSanders/status/1709202102638018972?s=20

I wanted to say a few words today about our broken, dysfunctional health care system and give you an update on an important bipartisan bill that will be significant step forward.

Benny

wi65

Its not only meat thats been colluded like this over the years.

Paul ADK

No. It’s been pretty much everything.

I have a sister who is deep into the MAGA kool aid. It’s kind of interesting to see how hair triggered she is by even the simplest things. The last time we talked she was haranguing about homeless people and what a problem they are. I told here that poor people are the ballast for the billionaire class. That if our system worked everyone would have the opportunity to get what they need. And that the GOP needed scapegoats to further spread their fascism. And then I asked her if she had noticed the rental market lately. I asked her how she thought poor people could afford housing. She had no answer. I then told her that people have a right to live. I told her that food, clothing, shelter, and medical care were human rights, and how does anyone dare say otherwise. People exist, they’re alive, they have a right to live. Then she started screaming about how that was Marxism and it made her sick. No doubt, what with all of the Tucker Carlson type conditioning she gets every day of her life. Sick is exactly what she’s conditioned to feel, in the face of reason. I asked her what poor people ever did to her, to make her so miserable, afraid, and mean. She had no response for that. I suggested that it might be the GOP propaganda she lives with daily. I told her they want her filled with hate and fear, so she keeps voting for them. That pretty well ended the conversation.

If she were my child I would absolutely take her to a deprogrammer. But she’s not a child, she’s a grown woman with the sense supposedly to make her own decisions. Because she’s brainwashed at this point I don’t see a way out for her. It won’t ever stop until the propaganda machine stops, and even in the best of times that never stops. But I’m still going to challenge the hateful spew, every time it comes my way.

wi65

I have several inlaws that are Maga crazies. Its hopeless to back them into a corner as thier usual response is “Fake News” or facts….

Paul ADK

Oh yes. Circular, bizarre logic. And if you really corner them, you’re a Marxist (as if that’s a bad thing). I didn’t even get to ask if she liked her social security, or the roads she’s riding on, or any of that, this time. She is who she is. And so am I.

Benny

jcitybone

https://x.com/ryangrim/status/1709324747979264292?s=20

Well that would actually solve a problem

Juliegrace Brufke@juliegraceb
Per one senior GOP source, “Some Republican members are actively discussing leaving problem solvers en masse” following the vote to oust McCarthy.

jcitybone

https://x.com/sahilkapur/status/1709336884235612190?s=20

A House Democratic aide responds: “Solve one fucking problem”

Juliegrace Brufke@juliegraceb
Per one senior GOP source, “Some Republican members are actively discussing leaving problem solvers en masse” following the vote to oust McCarthy.

jcitybone

Living in a red state is hazardous to health

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/interactive/2023/republican-politics-south-midwest-life-expectancy/

Ashtabula’s problems are Ohio’s problems — and in large part, America’s problems.

Americans are more likely to die before age 65 than residents of similar nations, despite living in a country that spends substantially more per person on health care than its peers.

Funeral director Mike Czup sees more Ashtabula residents dying in their prime, leaving parents and young children behind. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

Many of those early deaths can be traced to decisions made years ago by local and state lawmakers over whether to implement cigarette taxes, invest in public health or tighten seat-belt regulations, among other policies, an examination by The Washington Post found. States’ politics — and their resulting policies — are shaving years off American lives.

Ashtabula’s problems stand out compared with two nearby counties — Erie, Pa., and Chautauqua, N.Y. All three communities, which ring picturesque Lake Erie and are a short drive from each other, have struggled economically in recent decades as industrial jobs withered — conditions that contribute toward rising midlife mortality, research shows. None is a success story when it comes to health. But Ashtabula residents are much more likely to die young, especially from smoking, diabetes-related complications or motor vehicle accidents, than people living in its sister counties in Pennsylvania and New York, states that have adopted more stringent public health measures.

That pattern held true during the coronavirus pandemic, when Ashtabula residents died of covid at far higher rates than people in Chautauqua and Erie.

The differences around Lake Erie reflect a steady national shift in how public health decisions are being made and who’s making them.

State lawmakers gained autonomy over how to spend federal safety net dollars following Republican President Ronald Reagan’s push to empower the states in the 1980s. Those investments began to diverge sharply along red and blue lines, with conservative lawmakers often balking at public health initiatives they said cost too much or overstepped. Today, people in the South and Midwest, regions largely controlled by Republican state legislators, have increasingly higher chances of dying prematurely compared with those in the more Democratic Northeast and West, according to The Post’s analysis of death rates.

The differences in state policies directly correlate to those years lost, said Jennifer Karas Montez, director of the Center for Aging and Policy Studies at Syracuse University and author of several papers that describe the connection between politics and life expectancy.

Ohio sticks out — for all the wrong reasons.

Roughly 1 in 5 Ohioans will die before they turn 65, according to Montez’s analysis using the state’s 2019 death rates. The state, whose legislature has been increasingly dominated by Republicans, has plummeted nationally when it comes to life expectancy rates, moving from middle of the pack to the bottom fifth of states during the last 50 years, The Post found. Ohioans have a similar life expectancy to residents of Slovakia and Ecuador, relatively poor countries.

Like other hard-hit Midwestern counties, Ashtabula has seen a rise in what are known as “deaths of despair” — drug overdoses, alcoholism and suicides — prompting federal and state attention in recent years. But here, as well as in most counties across the United States, those types of deaths are far outnumbered by deaths caused by cardiovascular disease, diabetes, smoking-related cancers and other health issues for residents between 35 and 64 years old, The Post found. Between 2015 and 2019, nearly five times as many Ashtabula residents in their prime died of chronic medical conditions as died of overdoses, suicide and all other external causes combined, according to The Post analysis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s death records.

Thirty years ago, Ohio’s health outcomes were on par with California’s, with nearly identical death rates for adults in the prime of life — ranking in the middle among the 50 states. But the two states’ outcomes have diverged, along with their political leanings, said Ellen Meara, a health economics and policy professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She has studied why death rates fell in California, home to some of the nation’s most progressive politics, while they scarcely budged in increasingly conservative Ohio. By 2017, California had the nation’s second-lowest mortality rates, falling behind only Minnesota; Ohio ranked 41st, according to The Post analysis.

Benny

wi65

Blaming Dems is their Platfrom. Except for Tax cuts for the already rich and the craperations

Benny

J.B. Pritzker Urges Joe Biden to Intervene as ‘Untenable’ Pace of Migrants Arriving in Illinois Accelerates

As Chicago prepares for an increase in the already steady stream of migrants arriving from the southern U.S. border this week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is once again publicly pressuring President Joe Biden to play a larger role in coordinating relocation efforts.

“There is much more that can and must be done on a federal level to address a national humanitarian crisis that is currently being shouldered by state and local governments without support,” Pritzker wrote in a three-page letter to the White House on Monday.

Without naming GOP figures like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Pritzker blamed political leaders who “have shipped people to our state like cargo in a dehumanizing attempt to score political points.” But he also faulted the Biden administration for its lack of support for Illinois, which has already dedicated $330 million to addressing the influx of 15,000 migrants and counting.

“Today, Illinois stands mostly unsupported against this enormous strain on our state resources,” Pritzker wrote.

Since last August, Chicago has been one of the cities targeted by Republican leaders like Abbott, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and others who’ve paid for buses and air travel to relocate asylum-seekers from their states.

Migrants hail mostly from Central and South America, including a large contingent fleeing economic and political collapse in Venezuela. New York City, which began receiving migrants earlier in 2022, has seen more than 110,000 asylum-seekers enter the city in the last year and a half, though some have moved onto other places, including Chicago.

On Friday, Pritzker’s office announced the state would send an additional $30.3 million to Chicago to address the needs of asylum seekers, along with roughly $11 million to be split among several municipalities in the Chicago area and $250,000 for downstate Urbana. The money represents nearly all of a $42.5 million line item in the state’s budget for the current fiscal year, which began in July.

The governor has been a vocal Biden ally, including in his monthslong effort to bring the Democratic National Convention to Chicago next summer. During a visit to Chicago in June, the president praised Pritzker as having “helped me more than anybody in America” in his 2020 election bid.

In his carefully worded letter, the governor thanked Biden for steps his administration had taken to assist Illinois’ response to the migrant crisis, like providing “modest” funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But he was unequivocal in expressing the need for more federal aid.

“The burden of funding the state and city have taken on is not sustainable only by our budgets,” Pritzker wrote.

‘Untenable’

Pritzker accused the federal government of “abdicating responsibility” for asylum-seekers once U.S. Customs and Border Protection releases the migrants after any initial detention at the border.

The states busing migrants to Illinois have typically given no warning to state and city officials, and the pace of arrivals has been accelerating in recent weeks. Volunteer groups have worked to fill in the gaps of the ad hoc response. Pritzker urged the Biden administration to “take a much more active role in managing the transport and destination of the transport of asylum seekers.”

“Unfortunately, the welcome and aid Illinois has been providing to these asylum seekers has not been matched with support by the federal government,” Pritzker wrote. “Most critically, the federal government’s lack of intervention and coordination at the border has created an untenable situation for Illinois.”

The governor also criticized the White House for having a disorganized and disjointed system for responding to leaders in states and cities taking on migrants. Pritzker recommended that instead of the current system of “too many different federal department contacts — who are uncoordinated with one another,” the federal government should create “a single office with an identified leader” to coordinate with state and city leaders.

The governor sent the letter one day after he, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and the White House spoke on a conference call. Last week, tensions flared between Pritzker and the new mayor’s allies on the Chicago City Council after Johnson’s administration signed a $30 million contract with a security firm to set up a “base camp” for migrants, many of whom are sleeping in airports and police stations across the city.

Work permits

At the end of August, when the number of asylum-seekers who’d arrived in Chicago numbered approximately 13,000, Pritzker and other political and business leaders urged the Biden administration to allow Illinois to sponsor work permits for migrants. The idea is a bipartisan one that other states have also requested, especially as the U.S. economy still faces labor shortages in key industries while it continues to recalibrate from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response, the Department of Homeland Security granted Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelan migrants last month while announcing plans to accelerate paperwork processing times. But Pritzker argued that TPS-eligible migrants will still have to wait months for their work authorization paperwork to clear, and he urged further action from Biden to “cut the red tape.” And for non-Venezuelan migrants, the governor asked Biden to waive the “high cost” fee to apply for TPS.

“Mr. President, I urge you, (DHS) Secretary Mayorkas, and the rest of your administration to take swift action and intervene on our behalf and on behalf of the other affected states and their residents, as well as on behalf of the tens of thousands of asylum seekers who undertook a dangerous and difficult journey in hopes of attaining public safety and forging a better life for themselves and their families,” Pritzker wrote.

Benny

Paul ADK

It’s too bad we can’t triage people at the border, give them work permits if they have skills that are in demand, and then send them where jobs they would qualify for are going unfilled. Make it a condition of entry that they would live and work where we tell them for a year, and then make that experience a requirement for citizenship if that is pursued.

It seems simple enough. What we can’t keep doing is just flat out say people can’t come here, when they can, and they will. That denial only creates chaos. Immigration has always been an asset to this country, and we’d better get back to that because the flood gates aren’t nearly open yet. Just wait until climate migration begins in earnest.

Benny

wi65

Sure he is, he’d have Byedone, and Harris have an accident and he’s President again.

Benny

Benny

John Nichols, The Nation

The Reason Gavin Newsom Didn’t Appoint Barbara Lee Is the Reason She Should Be a Senator

In the hours before California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Emily’s List President Laphonza Butler to fill the Senate vacancy created by the death of Senator Dianne Feinstein, there was a last-minute push by the Congressional Black Caucus and prominent progressives to get the governor to appoint Representative Barbara Lee.

It was never going to happen. While Newsom had indicated that he would appoint a Black woman to the post, he excluded Lee—one of the most prominent Black women in American politics—from consideration. Lee is one of three US House members who announced bids to replace Feinstein, after she revealed her planned retirement in February. The governor signaled that, while he was committed to naming a woman of color, he didn’t want to give Lee the advantage of appointed incumbency. This was a new standard, developed by Newsom since his last appointment of a senator in 2021, when he chose Alex Padilla to replace newly elected Vice President Kamala Harris. As an appointed incumbent, Padilla ran for and easily won a full term in 2022. This time, Newsom said, he wanted to make an “interim appointment”—indicating an apparent preference for a caretaker senator who would merely finish out Feinstein’s term and then leave the Senate.

It was an absurd calculus, offering the prospect of a brief rather than ongoing expansion of representation for Black women in the Senate, and Lee called him out for it. The representative said in a statement, “The idea that a Black woman should be appointed only as a caretaker to simply check a box is insulting to countless Black women across this country who have carried the Democratic Party to victory election after election.”

That was the sort of response Californians have come to expect from Lee, an always courageous, always outspoken figure who, in the “unbought and unbossed” spirit of her friend and political mentor, former US representative Shirley Chisholm, has never hesitated to call out the absurd calculations of the powerful. That’s what she did when, in 2001, she cast the sole vote in the US House to deny George Bush and Dick Cheney a blank check for endless war. That’s what she’s done since then, as one of the chamber’s most consistent and effective advocates for diplomacy and disarmament. That’s what she did as a pioneering advocate for people with AIDS and as an unwavering champion of women’s equality who refused to compromise on abortion rights questions in the days when so many other Democrats wavered. That’s what she’s done since then as a key member of the Appropriations and Budget committees, as the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, as the current chair of the House Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity, and as a veteran representative who has often been recognized as the chamber’s steadiest advocate for peace abroad and justice at home.

There are costs that come with consistency. Instead of being rewarded for invariably standing on the right side of history, members of Congress like Lee are frequently dismissed by political and media elites as perhaps just a bit too pure—or, more likely, too unsettling to the defenders of status-quo politics. So Newsom found a way to pass Lee over, even when the Congressional Black Caucus and leading progressives made a last-minute push get the governor to reconsider.

Instead, Newsom went with Butler, a longtime fixture in California labor and corporate circles whose work with the Service Employees International Union and Emily’s List drew praise, just as her work with Uber and Airbnb drew criticism.

Sworn in on Tuesday, Butler is the first out Black lesbian to serve in Congress, and the sole Black woman in a Senate that is still too white and too male. She will, undoubtedly, join Newsom’s other appointee, Padilla, in serving as an effective Democratic senator who votes right on most issues and carves out significant areas of specialization and leadership.

Lee graciously congratulated Butler and signaled her willingness to work closely with the new senator. But, at the same time, Lee reemphasized her determination to be the next senator from California.

At a point when polls suggest that the vast majority of Californians, like the vast majority of Americans, are frustrated with politics as usual, Lee has established—not just in the current moment but over the past quarter-century—that she is ready to rock the boat, even when it may cost her politically. She is prepared to cast the lonely vote, call out the powerful, and do the right thing. Lee’s consistency has earned her respect even from those who disagree with her, helping the veteran legislator to build bipartisan coalitions, advance major pieces of legislation and to win the trust of presidents—who on eight separate occasions have selected the congresswoman to serve as the Congressional Representative of the United States to the UN General Assembly.

This combination of principle and productivity is what the progressives who advocated for her appointment emphasized in their messages to the governor.

“She is the obvious pick for Newsom to be true to his pledge,” said US Representative Ro Khanna, the Democrat who chose not to run for Feinstein’s seat and instead backed Lee. “She is the most qualified & most committed to running.”

Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) echoed that sentiment, saying, ”Nobody deserves an appointment to the Senate more than [Barbara Lee]. She has inspired millions & done the work.” And Congressional Black Caucus chair Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) in a letter from the caucus urging Newsom to appoint Lee, made the case for her as the best choice: “She is the only person with the courage, the vision, and the record to eradicate poverty, face down the fossil fuel industry, defend our democracy, and tirelessly advance the progressive agenda.”

These arguments remain true, even if Newsom chose to disregard them. Barbara Lee’s willingness to upset the status quo has never made it easy for her. She’s rarely had the inside track or enjoyed the favor of the powerful. She’s been forced to make her own way. This persistence and vision recommend her as exactly what’s needed in a Senate where a track record of speaking truth to power should be the highest qualification.

Benny

California’s New Senator, Laphonza Butler, Is No Friend of the Left

California has a new senator. With the death of Dianne Feinstein last Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Monday the appointment of Laphonza Butler, head of the reproductive rights group EMILYs List, to fill the seat.

Earlier in her career Butler spent ten years as president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2015, the biggest labor union in California, representing home care workers. She played a role in the union’s successful campaign to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour and also served as the president of the SEIU California State Council.

In his announcement following the appointment, Newsom described Butler as “an advocate for women and girls” and “a second-generation fighter for working people.” Butler has been sworn in and has stated she will continue Feinstein’s legacy by “committing to work for women and girls, workers and unions, struggling parents, and all of California.” She would be the first black lesbian senator in the state’s history.

Surely Butler, with her background in labor and reproductive rights organizing, is a win for the Left, right? Think again. While her history is indeed fairly progressive, in recent years her career has taken a sharp conservative turn.

Before becoming president of EMILYs List she was director of public policy and campaigns at Airbnb, a multibillion-dollar corporation that has come under increased scrutiny for its role in pushing up rents and fueling the housing shortage.

More egregiously, in 2019, Butler worked as a consultant for SCRB Strategies and helped Uber to pass Proposition 22 in California. The bill exempts app-based gig companies from classifying their workers as employees. This allows them to bypass essential worker rights like a minimum wage, time-and-a-half for overtime, expenses reimbursement, and benefits like unemployment compensation.

Uber and other companies including Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart dumped $205 million in their “Yes on Prop 22” campaign. It was the most expensive ballot measure in US history.

The propaganda campaign, which Butler helped to orchestrate, plastered the airwaves and social media with misleading talking points, like claiming that Proposition 22 would actually increase workers’ rights. This certainly played a role in the measure’s passage, as a survey of California voters found that 40 percent of yes voters thought they were voting for gig workers to have a living wage.

The app companies promised that workers would get generous benefit packages in exchange for not being labeled employees. This also proved to be a lie. A study found that in order to get a health care stipend, workers needed to buy a policy in advance and work enough hours to even qualify. Surveys show that only 15 percent of workers even bothered applying.

As usual, the companies claimed that this continued misclassification of their workforce was needed to keep prices low. But after Prop 22 passed, they raised prices anyway.

Workers misclassified as independent contractors are legally barred from forming or joining a labor union. Therefore, it is an existential issue for labor that will surely be a pivotal legal battleground in the years to come. When faced with a choice, Butler chose to actively help Uber squash basic workers’ rights and set a terrible precedent for the labor movement going forward.

Butler’s career, with her slow drift from labor leader to corporate advocate, is a perfect metaphor for the Democratic Party’s decades-long retreat from pro-labor policies. In a conscious decision dating back to the 1990s, Democrats have chosen to ditch labor in favor of a rising class of professionals now exemplified by the tech industry.

This new brand of Democrats is diligently progressive on cultural issues while fundamentally reactionary on issues of economic inequality. In this sense, Butler, whose credentials as a person of color and and LGBTQ person are apt to distract from her pro-corporate record, is the perfect embodiment of the modern Democratic Party.

It is no surprise that Newsom would make this move either. The California governor, who clearly has presidential ambitions of his own, recently vetoed a bill that would give unemployment pay to workers on strike.

He also vetoed a bill that would have banned self-driving trucks from operating in the state without a safety operator aboard. As a fundamental issue of jobs and safety, the Teamsters union rallied and lobbied to get it passed. They even led a convoy of truckers to the state capital in support of the bill. Newsom’s veto was just one more sign that when it really matters the leaders of the state’s Democratic Party are more beholden to big tech than labor.

The Butler appointment also demonstrates another feature of the modern Democratic Party: a misguided notion that high-level race-based appointments will satisfy and cohere racial voting blocs. Before Feinstein’s death, Newsom had already committed to appointing a black woman to the seat, a move that echoed President Joe Biden’s promise of appointing a black vice president.

It’s barely hidden that part of the goal of these appointments is to gin up desperately needed enthusiasm among black voters. However, it’s not clear there is always an inherent connection between the presence of black candidates and the support of black voters. Kamala Harris struggled with black voters during the 2020 primary, trailing behind Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, and even Senator Elizabeth Warren in some cases.

Of course there is a black candidate who could’ve been appointed. Representative Barbara Lee had clearly stated her interest, and has a progressive record more in line with the average Californian voter. She was famously the sole vote in Congress against authorizing the use of force after the September 11 attacks. Even the Congressional Black Caucus, hardly a left-wing body, penned a letter to Newsom urging him to appoint Lee. Perhaps her pro-corporate bona fides were insufficient to land her the job.

We are presently seeing the two souls of the Democratic Party fighting it out. While scenes like the Biden walking the UAW picket line are hopeful, the career of Butler is a sobering reminder that the party’s impulses remain largely unchanged. While some of her past is laudable, Butler represents a trajectory the Democratic Party cannot afford to stay on.

jcitybone

I like Barbara Lee, but given the Senate’s seniority system, I think she’s too old. I much prefer Porter.

Benny

Benny