HomeUncategorized10/20-21 News Roundup & Open Thread

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wi64Aint Supposed to Die A Natural DeathjcityboneorlbucfanBenny Recent comment authors

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Benny

Thanks LD! Always good to see ya!

This bears some mention since LD opened up the nest with international politics.

Liz Truss resigns as PM and triggers fresh leadership election

Liz Truss has resigned as prime minister and will step down after a week-long emergency contest to find her successor, she has announced outside Downing Street.

It follows a turbulent 45 days in office during which Truss’s mini-budget crashed the markets, she lost two key ministers and shed the confidence of almost all her own MPs.

Her statement came after she met Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, at Downing Street, followed by her deputy prime minister, Thérèse Coffey, and the party chair, Jake Berry.

Truss said she had entered office with “a vision for a low-tax, high-growth economy that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit”.

She went on: “I recognise that, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative party. I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative party.

“This morning I met the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady. We’ve agreed that there will be a leadership election to be completed within the next week. This will ensure that we remain to deliver our fiscal plans and maintain our country’s economic stability and national security. I will remain as prime minister until a successor has been chosen.”

A new leader will be chosen over the course of the next week, Brady told reporters, suggesting the party membership could have a role in the election. The 1922 executive and the Conservative party board will meet at 4pm to decide how the election will proceed – but it could include requiring candidates to meet a high threshold of MP nominations.

Brady said they hoped a new leader would be in place by 28 October, allowing the scheduled fiscal event to take place on 31 October – just three days after the new prime minister is in place.

Both the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, and the former cabinet minister Michael Gove have ruled themselves out of standing for leader. The former chancellor Rishi Sunak is likely to be a candidate, as is Kemi Badenoch, the international trade secretary. Others who could stand include Penny Mordaunt and Grant Shapps. There is also the possibility of a return for Boris Johnson.

Opposition parties called for an immediate general election, saying the Conservatives had no mandate to govern.

Keir Starmer said: “After 12 years of Tory failure, the British people deserve so much better than this revolving door of chaos. In the last few years, the Tories have set record-high taxation, trashed our institutions and created a cost a living crisis. Now, they have crashed the economy so badly that people are facing £500 a month extra on their mortgages. The damage they have done will take years to fix.”

The Tories must not respond by again “shuffling the people at the top without the consent of the British people”, the Labour leader added.

orlbucfan

Yves Smith and the UK, Irish, and EU members of her commentariat have been having a field day with this over at NC. I’ve been monitoring Brexit on there since the Brits passed it. Guess who ‘helped’ out? Steve the sh1t Bannon on the PR end. They crucified Corbyn. Starmer is the equivalent to a DNC/Turd Wayer. Pathetic! With their history, the English should know better.

Benny

I hope he’s right, but I’m not as confident as he is. The debates I’ve seen Dems have been in have not bore much fruit, and I suspect the Koch Brothers will be putting in large sums in their various super pacs.

orlbucfan

Moore has been right more times than not. I do listen to him.

orlbucfan

Bienvenidos y hola, LD/JD! 🙂 T and R!!!!!! 🙂 Good to see you, and hope this finds both of you well and sane.

Benny

Voters of color had mail-in ballots rejected at higher rates than white voters in Texas’ March primary

Alice Yi of Austin is frustrated when she thinks about the March primary election, in which her 92-year-old father tried to vote by mail, as he had many times before, but couldn’t.

He could not remember what identification number he used to register to vote more than 30 years ago, she said. When he sent in his ballot application with the last four digits of his Social Security number, a rejection letter from the elections office said that number was not on file. Another letter later said her father, who is legally blind in one eye, failed to fill out other details, such as specifying which ballot he needed.

By the third attempt, Yi, his caregiver, worried her father’s application would not make it before the deadline and he would be unable to cast a ballot. So she took him to vote in person, for the first time in years.

Yi’s father was just one of thousands of Texans who attempted to vote by mail in the March primary but collided with the Texas GOP’s restrictive 2021 voting law, known as Senate Bill 1. When voting by mail, the new law requires voters to write their driver’s license number, personal identification number or the last four digits of their Social Security number on their mail ballot application and mail ballot envelope — whichever number they originally used to register.

In fact, the mail-in applications and ballots of Asian, Latino and Black Texans were rejected because of the new ID requirement at much higher rates than those of white voters, according to a study released Thursday by the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute. The office of the secretary of state declined to comment, citing pending litigation over SB 1.

Although researchers couldn’t determine the exact cause of the disparities, experts and advocates say that in addition to the voting law’s restrictions, existing factors rooted in systemic racism, such as lack of resources in people’s native languages and other socioeconomic barriers, likely played a role in the high rejection rates.

In the March primary, 12,000 absentee ballot applications and more than 24,000 mail ballots were rejected, leading to a 12% rejection rate statewide. That represented a significant increase compared with previous years. For example, the rejection rate for the 2020 presidential election was 1%.

The study shows the rejection rate was highest for Asian voters, who were about 40% more likely to have their absentee ballots application rejected than white voters.

The study also shows that Asian and Latino voters were each more than 50% more likely than white voters to have a ballot rejected due to a problem meeting SB 1’s new requirements.

Overall, 19% of Asian voters had either their applications or their mail ballots rejected due to SB1’s provisions, followed by 16.6% of Black voters and 16.1% of Latino voters. For white voters, it was 12%.

“This shows that even if you successfully applied to vote by mail, you still weren’t out of the woods, you still might have your ballot rejected,” said Kevin Morris, a researcher with the Brennan Center for Justice and one of the authors of the study. “And not only do we see this gauntlet effect happening, we see that there are big racial discrepancies in whose applications and whose ballots are rejected.”

Morris said two data sets were used to produce the study: the list of Texas’ registered voters and a list of every individual whose application or ballot was rejected, both obtained via public records requests. Demographic data about voters’ census tracts and surnames was used to estimate the probability that each voter is a member of different racial groups.

When it comes to the data about ballot applications, the study has caveats: Of the 245 counties included, 89 counties, including 12 with populations of more than 50,000, reported having zero rejected mail ballot applications, even though it’s likely many of those large counties did have rejections. Researchers requested more accurate data from the large counties and received the complete information from three: Travis, El Paso and Webb counties.

Excluded from the application rejection data set were Bexar, Bell, Ector, Fort Bend, Hays, Hidalgo, Nueces, Potter and Waller counties. The white populations in these counties are smaller than the counties included. “Thus, even if we assume that these disproportionately nonwhite counties did not reject a single application, significant statewide racial discrepancies remain,” the study said.

Yi thinks her father’s experience is instructive. This month, he did successfully apply for his mailed ballot, but only because Yi double-checked his application. Otherwise, her father would have again missed including the required ID number on the carrier envelope.

“But what about people who live alone, or in a nursing home or who don’t speak English? How will they know they need to add [an ID number] every time?” said Yi, 65, who for over a decade has been a professional advocate for the Asian community in Texas. “My father is so angry that voting for seniors is so difficult. This makes me so angry and sad. People should be able to vote.”

To help prevent future disenfranchisement of voters of color, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Latino and Black community advocates say local government officials must prioritize language access and community outreach.

orlbucfan

I just sent in my mail-in ballot, and I gotta say what these FRightwing SOBs are putting Texans through to vote is worse than here in Floridumb. But, sadly, not surprising. 🙁

Benny

I got an e-notification from our county clerk for elections that my mail-in ballot had been received AND accepted. That’s good service.

wi64

Same here good to go

Benny

Benny

Great smackdown!

orlbucfan

+27 🙂

Benny

Here’s another +27 by our irreplaceable AOC:

Benny

orlbucfan

I love it!! AOC has more cajones than 12 Xmas turkeys. You can only imagine how many death threats she gets. 🤬 She wants to eventually have a family, but right now?

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

She scares the hell out of those rethugs and their paid protesters. AOC!AOC!AOC!

jcitybone

orlbucfan

Where’s Floridumb? We have NO gun control here!

Benny

orlbucfan

Amen, brother Bernie!☮️

Benny

Republicans Are Coming for Your Social Security and Medicare

According to the most recent polls, Republicans’ electoral fortunes have improved markedly over the last few weeks. Democrats went from a roughly two-point advantage in the generic congressional ballot at the beginning of October to about half a point today. It seems likely the GOP will take control of at least one chamber of Congress in 2023.

There has been a simmering debate over the past few years as to whether claims of conservative populism mean anything in a practical policy sense. Many have claimed that things have changed from the old days of tax cuts for the rich, business-friendly deregulation, and trickle-down economics—like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who once wrote, “We are a working-class party now. That’s the future.”

We now have an answer to this question, and it is firmly negative. If they win in 2022, Republicans are promising the same old massive cuts to social programs, above all Social Security and Medicare, which they’ve been trying to get at for decades. And they’re going to try to force President Biden to agree by threatening a global financial apocalypse. In the words of Roger Daltrey, meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

All four GOP representatives running to head the House Budget Committee have promised that they are going to take the debt ceiling hostage to get big cuts. “Our main focus has got to be on nondiscretionary—it’s got to be on entitlements,” said Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA). Specifically, they mentioned increasing the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare, and adding means tests or work requirements. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who will probably be Speaker of the House if Republicans take control, endorsed the strategy. “You can’t just continue down the path to keep spending and adding to the debt,” he said.

To review, the debt ceiling is a legal mechanism dating from 1917 that says the government can only borrow a certain amount. So when Congress passes a budget requiring some borrowing (which is almost every time), if the resulting debt would go beyond the ceiling, Congress has to pass an additional measure to raise it. It’s as if you had a credit card with a borrowing limit that you could set yourself.

If this sounds weird and stupid, that’s because it is. The debt ceiling is a completely pointless legal archaism. The only other country that has one is Denmark, but its government rendered it inoperative years ago by raising it far above where its debt is ever likely to reach. (It’s a sad demonstration of America’s political dysfunction that we can’t even manage this kind of elementary national housekeeping.)

Despite its stupidity, should the debt ceiling be reached, it would cause a very real crisis. The Treasury Department would probably miss an interest payment, meaning a default on the national debt. Since U.S. government debt is considered about the safest possible asset in the world, and everyone from financial firms to institutional investors to central banks owns trillions of dollars of it, the hit to global economic stability would be severe. That’s why the debt ceiling is “a hostage that’s worth ransoming,” as Mitch McConnell put it in 2012 after doing just that the previous year.

We thus see that the core of Republican economic policy remains unchanged. From the 1980s to today, it is the belief that the rich are too heavily taxed. Aside from the military, the biggest pots of money in the federal budget that might be raided for more tax cuts for beleaguered billionaires are the big welfare programs: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Ever since Donald Trump won in 2016, there have been innumerable articles, books, and conferences discussing a promised birth of new ideas in the conservative movement. But lo and behold! It’s the exact same party of granny-starving plutocrats as before, except now with a heavy dose of even more overt homophobia, transphobia, and antisemitism, not to mention sheer 200-proof lunacy.

One might wonder why Republicans didn’t gut Social Security and Medicare when they controlled the presidency and Congress in 2017-2018, or even try to do so. (There were large cuts in Trump’s budget proposed in 2018, but they never made it into actual legislation.) The reason is that doing so is grossly unpopular. When Trump proposed huge Medicare cuts in his 2020 budget (one that was dead on arrival because Democrats controlled the House), it polled at about 72 percent disapproval. A more recent poll by a pro–Social Security organization found overwhelming disapproval for cuts to the program, and overwhelming support for increasing benefits by removing the payroll tax cap. In short, Americans love their Social Security and Medicare, and if they want changes, it is to make the programs more generous, not less.

So Republicans would much prefer to get welfare cuts through coercion and brinkmanship rather than normal legislation. That way they can starve grandma in a bipartisan fashion, while simultaneously trusting that the average swing voter will blame President Biden for it, if not sticking the blame on him themselves.

At any rate, Democrats could defuse the political pipe bomb—which they handed to Republicans themselves, incidentally—in several ways. In the upcoming lame-duck session, they could pass the reconciliation bill they still have available for fiscal year 2023, raising the debt limit to an absurd amount (I personally favor Avogadro’s number), or alternatively implement some formula that would automatically keep the debt limit in line with new borrowing.

Or President Biden could mint the famous platinum coin to increase his borrowing authority through seigniorage, or he could declare the debt ceiling unconstitutional under Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which states that “The validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.” This constitutional argument is surely correct—especially since Congress would be giving Biden contradictory legal instructions, requiring him to spend certain amounts through the budget process while also not allowing him to borrow the necessary balance.

Whatever choice they make, Democrats would be well advised to defuse the debt ceiling forever, before this session of Congress ends. So long as it exists, there is a live chance that Republicans will use it to do something appalling or insane.

orlbucfan

The US mints its own currency. The problem is the screeching, hollering for-profit media. They are controlled by the same greedy azzholes that have been screaming to kill SS, Medicare and Medicaid since they were enacted. I walk out of the living room if Hubster turns them on. The propaganda and stupidity will give you a headache, and I am now too old for it. I sure hope the GOPukes get their azzes handed to them next month. I sure did my part to make it happen. ☮️☮️👍

Benny

orlbucfan

Sounds just like here. And she is one clueless greedy b1tch. Sound familiar?💩

Benny

Fetterman Watch:

orlbucfan

Gisele is one fabulous lookin’ babe (c/o David Letterman). 🙂

jcitybone

wi64

The oil crooks claims Refinery issues with the most recent price gouge. Didnt hurt profits apparently for the quarter.

Exxon alone reported a profit of $17.9 billion – the highest quarterly profit reported by any oil company in history – while Chevron reported $11.6 billion, Shell reported $11.47 billion, and BP reported $8.45 billion

jcitybone

Benny

orlbucfan

Karma’s a b1tch. Yuk-yuk-yuk!