HomeUncategorized10/28 News Roundup & Open Thread
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THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, the largest lobbying group representing corporate interests in the world, has worked furiously to defeat Democratic policies, from playing a key role in battling the Affordable Care Act, to spreading climate change denial, to more recent efforts to block H.R. 1, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s signature campaign reform and voting rights bill.

Now a group of centrist Democrats, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., is scheduled to join with the Chamber in a bid to raise money.

A fundraiser invite obtained by The Intercept shows that Gottheimer and Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., are scheduled to appear at the Chamber PAC’s town house on Capitol Hill on October 29. The event honors the “Problem Solvers Caucus,” an offshoot of the centrist project No Labels. Contributions will benefit the affiliate centrist Democrat fundraising committee known as Across the Aisles PAC.

The Chamber was one of the largest beneficiaries of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, funneling tens of millions of dollars of undisclosed corporate money into congressional elections, largely to elect Republican lawmakers. Democrats have long courted the “voice of business,” only to see the Chamber work tirelessly to boost GOP campaigns.

The Intercept has previously documented the role of GOP billionaires in financing an array of PACs that played a pivotal role in electing centrist Democrats during the 2018 midterm elections. Gottheimer has also earned the ire of Democrats by working to undermine party unity on votes to constrain the Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen and to mandate better conditions for those detained at the border.



Though Sanders and Yang differ in significant ways, they’re both running anti-establishment campaigns that speak to an electorate frustrated with the status quo, wary of Democratic insiders, and looking for economic help. For Sanders, their overlapping bases may give him a small boost if Yang drops out of the race down the road or if he works to woo the so-called #YangGang.

But it’s also a potential threat to Sanders even if Yang continues polling in the single digits. If Yang shaves off a few percentage points from Sanders’ voting bloc, particularly in early-primary states such as New Hampshire, that could turn a second- or third-place finish into something worse.

The Sanders-Yang overlap underscores another factor in the Democratic primary: While pundits frequently opine on “moderate” and “progressive” lanes, there’s also an “anti-establishment” lane in which Yang, Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, and Marianne Williamson are jockeying for support.

Just as Sanders is no longer the sole progressive in the race like he was in 2016, he isn’t the only anti-establishment contender anymore, either. Sanders seems to acknowledged as much.

“I like Andrew. Polling has shown my supporters support other candidates, polling has shown that other candidates’ come over to us,” he told POLITICO in an interview in Iowa on Friday. Sanders urged voters upset with the status quo to examine his decadeslong record of challenging the establishment: “These ideas that I am advocating now — I think in fairness, I’ve help transform politics in America — are not new ideas to me. I was out there fighting for Medicare for All 30 years ago.”

Sanders’ aides recently took a swipe at Yang after he distanced himself from the senator’s Medicare for All bill, though his website had previously said the country “must move in the direction of a single-payer system.” While campaigning in New Hampshire last week, Yang said quickly eliminating private insurance would be “too disruptive” but that he backs “the spirit of what Bernie is trying to accomplish.”

Yang, whose site still features “Medicare for All” in its policy section, but whose team said it stopped referring to “single-payer” early this year, told reporters last week he’d be releasing a “detailed health care plan in the days ahead.”

“Oh come on,” Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager, tweeted in response. “You either take on the corporate greed that rots the system, or you don’t. Millions upon millions of American lives rest on leaders having the guts to take this fight on.”

Shakir said in a statement that he wishes the former Sanders admen now working for Yang “the best” and appreciates “the good work they did on the last campaign.” But he also suggested the campaign is being more innovative now by making ads themselves.

“Our in-house team is producing such great work,” he said. “I’m sure the consulting class is a little worried about this approach being successful.”


Good for them, saw right through the shill Yang’s libertarian BS.



Jeff Cohen, co-founder of RootsAction.org, an online activist group that supports Sanders, said he has been speaking with other progressives about the possibility that Warren or Sanders enters the convention ahead of “a more corporate candidate” such as Biden “and the superdelegates go behind the corporate-oriented candidate who is in second place.”

“I don’t think it could stand,” he said.

“It’s likely that no one candidate will get 50 percent pre-convention,” Cohen said. “But I think it is likely that Bernie and Warren together will be over 50 percent, and that’s the goal of many progressive Democrats.”


I want to thank humphrey (aka ornery LOL), Benny, and pb4 for their tremendous work wading through the sewer known as twitter. T and R, LD!!




Bernie Sanders was campaigning in Detroit on Sunday and Jack White was there to stump for him and play a few songs. “Bernie Sanders is telling the truth, and I really do trust him,” White told the crowd at Cass Technical High School (which he went to and graduated from), adding his motivation for coming to the rally was Sanders’ promise to abolish the electoral college, “the reason we’re in the mess we’re in now.” White’s set included four White Stripes songs (“Icky Thump,” “Black Math,” “We’re Going to Be Friends,” and “Seven Nation Army”), two solo numbers (“Corporation,” “Connected by Love”) and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “License to Kill,” which he said reminded him “of the man in office right now.”



I love the photo at the top, particularly of Jane.


Ms. Jane is too classy to be a groupie. LOL LOL 🙂


license to kill—wow!



Warren will get more scrutiny. The problem here isn’t so much that Warren took these cases, but that her campaign is not describing her role accurately.


The LTV case was part of a considerable body of legal work that Ms. Warren, one of the nation’s leading bankruptcy experts, took on while working as a law professor — moonlighting that earned her hundreds of thousands of dollars over roughly two decades beginning in the late 1980s, mostly while she was on the faculty at Harvard. Much of it involved representing big corporate clients.

Ms. Warren has ascended toward the head of the Democratic presidential pack on the strength of her populist appeal and progressive plans, which include breaking up big technology companies, free public college and a wealth tax on the richest Americans. Her political opponents, in turn, have sought to exploit a weak spot on issues of authenticity — chiefly Ms. Warren’s handling of her claim to Native American ancestry.

Against that backdrop, some of Ms. Warren’s critics have seized upon her bankruptcy work for LTV and other big corporations to question the depth of her progressive bona fides. How, they wonder, could someone whose reputation is built on consumer advocacy have represented a company seeking to avoid paying for retired miners’ health care?

Ms. Warren’s campaign did not make her available to discuss her outside legal work, though it did provide email responses to some questions. But over the years, Ms. Warren has twice released accounts of her practice — a partial list of cases during the 2012 Senate race and a fuller list of more than 50 cases posted to her presidential campaign website in May.

Among her corporate clients were Travelers insurance and the aircraft maker Fairchild, as well as one of America’s wealthiest families, the Hunts of Texas. She advocated for a railroad company that wanted to avoid paying for a Superfund cleanup, and advised Dow Chemical as its subsidiary Dow Corning dealt with thousands of complaints from women who said they had been harmed by its silicone breast implants.

But she also worked on a number of cases involving consumer bankruptcy and victims’ rights in asbestos litigation, served as an expert in a lawsuit against the cigarette maker Philip Morris and represented the lawyer whose battles with polluters inspired the film “A Civil Action.”

In very brief and simplified summaries, the lists cast much of her work — even for corporate clients — in terms that align with her pro-consumer narrative. Those descriptions have themselves become a focus of some contention.

But a review by The New York Times, together with interviews with several of Ms. Warren’s former compatriots in the rarefied world of self-described bankruptcy nerds, reveals a complex picture in which many cases defy simple black or white categorization. It also offers a look at a relatively unexamined aspect of her thinking.

Her work, the scholars say, should be understood primarily as an effort to preserve the right to file for bankruptcy and the integrity of the bankruptcy system.

Ms. Warren has acknowledged that for much of her long and varied career she was not politically engaged and had no plan to run for public office. Until 1996, she was registered as a Republican.

In taking on outside clients, Ms. Warren augmented her salary at Harvard, where she was among the most highly paid faculty members. In 1998, the Harvard Crimson reported that she was paid $192,550 in salary plus $133,450 in “other compensation.”

It is not possible to tell how much Ms. Warren made from her legal consultancy, and she declined to reveal the amount, but it was clearly more than $500,000 and probably much more. Most of the work fell outside the period when she was required to submit financial disclosure reports.

In quite a few cases, Ms. Warren came down clearly on the side of the consumer.

Yet some of the case descriptions released by her campaign, seemingly written to portray Ms. Warren’s work for corporate clients in the most consumer- or victim-friendly light, have prompted criticism from lawyers on opposing sides.

In its responses to The New York Times, the campaign said the summaries were written in an effort to make “complicated cases accessible while maintaining accuracy.”


Elizabeth Warren didn’t come into all that money without actively pursuing the money. Unless you are born wealthy, a 200K academic salary and over 500K in outside fees don’t arrive simply because you’re “wonderful.”

Warren has spent her career propping up the existing legal structure in the US. That legal system has, as Thomas Frank, Paul Mason and others have pointed out, been gradually losing its people-protections and gradually favoring the expansion of capital. Short form: the laws have been changing to support privatization, private ownership and profit over public welfare. Ever wondered why you’re a “consumer” and not a “human”?

Warren has made a well-remunerated career out of defining, supporting and defending that same body of laws. She does not question the basis of that body of laws. The laws, though, were crafted by and for promoters of private business. So, for example, the laws establishing the EPA (passed in the Nixon administration) are not skeptical of capitalism, but instead grease the wheels of privatization; similarly the CFPB, whose authorship is credited to Warren, does nothing to help humans who are being abused by the financial industry, but instead provides guidelines for “consumers” to weed their way, if possible, through existing legislation and banking procedures. The Federal Trade Commission, chartered to be the state’s arm to control big business, was routinely and continuously de-funded during the 1970’s ad 1980’s, producing massive curtailment of its regulatory powers. And on and on.

Yet questioning that basis is crucially needed today. Are you going to assume that capitalism is (somehow) fundamentally “good” as Warren does, or are you going to assume that capitalism is more like a “necessary evil” that has to be vigilantly overseen, guided, checked, and at times outright limited because it is a system that brings harm to humans? Human welfare is the remit of the state, not of capitalism. The state, skeptical of capitalism, does its vigilance through the powers of the state, in order for the state to be able to protect “the common good”. This latter attitude is more like that of FDR, and it is also the attitude of most people who think, in a disinterested manner, about the benefits and harms of capitalism.

Warren does not exhibit any disinterested thinking about capitalism. I would say her attitude toward the harms produced by private capitalism is more a “maternalistic” attitude than a critical, disinterested attitude. It’s more of “don’t let the bad boys get away with bad things” approach. She, after all, shares the oligarchs’ pursuit of $$.

The problem with trying to control systematic capitalism–which is surviving by harming human life–with “maternalistic” finger-shaking when the system produces harm, is that people who pursue money ignore everything else and are, in the end, willing to throw “Mom” under the bus if it’s the only way they see to advance profit. If you don’t believe that, look at the global history of neoliberalism.


Warren’s wealthy supporters are not so keen on M4A. Of course, the article’s view is that Warren going back on M4A is a good thing it and basically ignores the downside of her losing supporters who do care about that issue.


Still, there is a sense among some people who like Warren that her support for Medicare for All is somewhat out of character.

“I was a little surprised recently that she came out in favor of a Medicare for all Plan,” said Tom McGarity, who taught law school with Warren at the University of Texas in the early 1980s and is a fan of her candidacy. “My guess is as the campaign continues, she’ll refine that to some extent.”

“It’s a very expensive proposition, and it’s not well defined. One thing about Liz is, at least politically, usually before she comes out with something … she defines it better,” he added.

The Warren campaign has not responded to questions about whether she could eventually compromise on the issue.

It is not uncommon to meet diehard Warren supporters who are lukewarm about Medicare for All.


Super busy weekend, so am still catching up (in case this pic was shared yesterday).

It did sound, though, from my touring twitter this morning that Rashida knocked it out of the ball park!



Even Daou’s wife has apparently been won over! What a major turnaround.



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