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LieparDestin

LieparDestin

Sanders, Hawley embrace odd couple status in push for stimulus checks

They are teaming up, and giving leadership a headache, by threatening to hold up a mammoth government-funding bill, which could keep their colleagues marooned in Washington heading into Christmas.

The two want their colleagues to pass language that is a replica of the March CARES Act that provided a $1,200 check to Americans making up to $75,000 per year.

The unlikely pairing formally joined their efforts after Hawley went on morning TV late last week to announce he would be introducing a bill to provide a second round of relief checks.

“Senator Sanders alerted us that he had seen my announcement,” Hawley told The Hill. “He alerted us that he wanted to try to attach something to the CR. Asked if that was something I would be amenable to … and I said sure.”

Asked about their odd couple pairing Hawley laughed before adding: “Hey, as I’ve said, I’ll work with anybody. …It is an absolute mystery to me why this is not in” a bipartisan proposal.

The two men are in many ways political opposites.

Sanders, 79, is a self-described Democratic socialist who has made two unsuccessful runs for his party’s White House nod and has been around Washington since 1991.

Hawley, 40, made a meteoric rise to join the Senate in 2019 and is under the microscope as a potential 2024 presidential contender as he positions himself to try to take the mantle of being a conservative populist.

Before their current effort they had never signed onto a bill sponsored by the other, according to tracking from Congress.gov. Hawley votes for legislation backed by President Trump more than 85 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight. Sanders does so just 15 percent of the time

But the push for stimulus checks is an example of where the Venn diagram of their divergent political beliefs and styles overlap.

“Why don’t we take it one step at a time,” Sanders said, asked about their divergent political views. “It may be that we will have disagreements, but whatever that package may be this stuff has got to be in it.”

LieparDestin

As Biden won the presidency, Republicans cemented their grip on power for the next decade

While the world focused on the election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in November, some of the most consequential contests were in state legislative races between candidates many have never heard of.

State lawmakers have the authority to redraw electoral districts in most US states every 10 years. In 2010, Republicans undertook an unprecedented effort – called Project Redmap – to win control of state legislatures across the country and drew congressional and state legislative districts that gave them a significant advantage for the next decade. In 2020, Democrats sought to avoid a repeat of 2010 and poured millions of dollars and other resources into winning key races.

It didn’t go well.

Democrats failed to flip any of the legislative chambers they targeted andRepublicans came out of election night in nearly the best possible position for drawing districts, according to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight, and will have the opportunity to draw 188 congressional seats, 43% of the House of Representatives. Democrats will have a chance to draw at most just 73 seats. Republicans will probably also be able to draw districts that will make it more difficult for Democrats to hold their majority in the US House in 2022.

“It was really bad. It was devastating to the project of building long-term power,” said Amanda Litman, the co-founder and executive director of Run for Something, a group focused on local races.

There isn’t a single explanation for why Democrats performed so poorly in down-ballot races. The decision not to canvass in person may have had a more severe impact on local races. Democratic candidates were also trying to win in districts that Republicans had already gerrymandered to their own advantage. “The loss in down-ballot races was a loss by a thousand paper cuts,” Litman said.

Democrats are quick to point out that their position isn’t as bad as it was after 2010. There are Democrats in the governor’s mansion in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania who can veto excessively gerrymandered maps. An independent commission will draw districts in Michigan for the first time, thanks to a 2018 referendum grassroots by activists. Voters in Colorado, Utah, and Virginia have also all passed recent measures to limit partisan influence.

But Republicans have two additional advantages this year. In 2019, the US supreme court said that federal courts could not strike down districts on the grounds that they were too partisan, giving lawmakers a green light to virtually guarantee their own re-election. 2021 will also be the first time that places with a history of voting discrimination will also be able to draw districts without first submitting them to the justice department for approval because of a 2013 supreme court decision, Shelby County v Holder, that struck down a pre-clearance provision at the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Torabs
Torabs

They won’t, but Democrats should really pull out all the stops against unjust gerrymandered districts. It really is just a form of disenfranchisement, and part of the Republican war on democracy.

LieparDestin


Fossil fuel fund set aside to help Utahns being returned to industry, lawsuit says

In July 2019, a proposed railway intended to shuttle fossil fuels across a mountainous corner of eastern Utah received a $28m grant from a local, state-run community fund. The financing allowed the group behind the railway – the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition – to kick off a federally mandated environmental impact survey, that would need to be completed before construction could begin.

There was just one problem: the grant came from a pot of money set aside to help Utahns recover from the state’s legacy of oil drilling, not help the industry expand deeper into the state.

Established in 1982, the Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund “was supposed to alleviate the boom and bust cycle of energy production,” said Wendy Park, a lawyer with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Park believes that the $28m grant violates the spirit of the fund, which has provided money for a range of municipal projects like new sewer systems, medical facilities, road improvement and new public buildings.

The CBD, along with the Utah-based environmental group Living Rivers, is suing to stop the municipal agency from funding the $1.5bn railroad. The suit asks a fundamental question: is the development of yet more fossil fuel infrastructure the best way to help rural communities thrive?

Two weeks ago, a judge ruled that this unique case had standing and would proceed. If successful, the suit could send a message to state agencies to more carefully consider the projects they fund and the impact they’ll have.

LieparDestin

Bipartisan Relief Package Includes Plan to Retroactively Immunize Corporations From Coronavirus Lawsuits

One piece of a bipartisan Covid-19 relief package unveiled late Monday would give corporations sweeping and retroactive immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits, a top Republican priority that civil rights groups, labor unions, and small business owners have decried as a green light for companies to endanger their employees and customers.

A summary (pdf) of the proposed corporate liability protections—which the bipartisan group has attached to much-needed funding for state and local governments—says that employers would not be “subject to liability under federal employment law in Covid-19 exposure cases or change in working conditions related to Covid-19 if the employer was trying to conform to public health standards and guidance.” Companies would only be liable in cases of “gross negligence.”

The protections, according to the summary, would be retroactive to December 2019 and last until “one year after enactment” or “the end of the coronavirus public health emergency”—whichever comes later. The proposal would also empower the U.S. attorney general to “investigate and bring a civil action” against lawyers for sending “meritless demand letters” on behalf of clients exposed to Covid-19.

As HuffPost reported late Monday, the summary language “tracks closely” with the liability shield proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who have warned of an “epidemic” of coronavirus-related lawsuits that has not materialized.

“The slightly watered-down lawsuit ban would still trump labor laws and stifle OSHA enforcement,” noted HuffPost’s Arthur Delaney.

The bipartisan group has yet to fully reach an agreement on the details of the liability protections, but several Democrats involved in the negotiations—Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)—have reportedly indicated a willingness to accept GOP demands.

orlbucfan

All 3 yahoos are fakes and might as well change parties. Manchin and Warner are GOPukes. Shaheed I know very little about her, but she represents NH.

orlbucfan

T and R, Ms. Benny!! 🎄☮️😊👍 Ms. Nina, you go girl!!✊✊👍

NYCVG

worser and worser

Torabs
Torabs

Biden following through on his part of the deal, I see. When’s Kloubucher’s announcement? Bloomberg?

charliehorse
charliehorse

Yeah, the payoffs for Bloody Monday are rolling in. We know that Obama contacted Pete to get him to drop out and his campaign shared some details of that conversation.. whether it was accurate is another story. What do you think Klob will get for giving up the 3rd place spot to 4th/5th place Joe?

I have always wondered if Warren was part of this coordination or if her refusal to coalesce the left was pure ego, bad strategy, bad advisors, etc.

polarbear4

Bloomberg may prefer behind the scenes. thin-skinned and gets his way.

jcitybone

Well better than Rahm Emanuel I guess

https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/15/politics/pete-buttigieg-transportation-secretary/index.html

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Pete Buttigieg to be his transportation secretary, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN, elevating the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to a top post in the federal government.

Buttigieg would be the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary should his nomination make it through the chamber.

The choice vaults a candidate Biden spoke glowingly of after the Democratic primary into a top job in the incoming administration and could earn Buttigieg what many Democrats believe is needed experience should he run for president again.

The role of transportation secretary is expected to play a central role in Biden’s push for a bipartisan infrastructure package.

Buttigieg is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party but someone who lacked an obvious path to higher elected office given the continued rightward shift of his home state of Indiana.

Buttigieg emerged as the leading candidate for the transportation secretary role in recent days. The former mayor was considered for a host of other posts, including US ambassador to the United Nations and commerce secretary.

Other Democrats were also considered for the post, including former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.

wi62

Both cause bile to rise in my throat

jcitybone

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/dec/15/georgia-senate-race-wall-street-donates-millions-back-republicans

Billionaire Republicans on Wall Street have been opening their wallets to try and protect David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler’s Senate seats in January 5’s high-stakes runoff in Georgia against two Democrat challengers.

Two super Pacs are planning to spend about $80m on ads and other efforts backing the Republicans.

Among donors are top finance CEOs Stephen Schwarzman, of Blackstone Group, and Kenneth Griffin, of Citadel LLC, who have donated millions to the Senate Leadership Fund super Pac which is supporting Perdue, according to campaign finance records.

Last month, Schwarzman, who briefly was the chair of Donald Trump’s strategic and policy forum, contributed $15m and Griffin donated $10m to the Pac; while earlier in the year, the Pac received $20m from Schwarzman and $25m from Griffin.

Separately, a fundraising committee backing both Republican senators that launched last month has surpassed its goal of raising $35m to oppose Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. This committee is also being helped by fundraising on Wall Street including Schwarzman, Griffin and others, say two GOP sources.

jcitybone

https://www.npr.org/2020/12/15/945031391/poll-despite-record-turnout-80-million-americans-didnt-vote-heres-why

More Americans voted in 2020 than in any other presidential election in 120 years. About 67% of eligible voters cast ballots this year, but that still means a third did not.

That amounts to about 80 million people who stayed home.

To better understand what motivates these nonvoters, NPR and the Medill School of Journalism commissioned Ipsos to conduct a survey of U.S. adults who didn’t vote this year. The Medill school’s graduate students did deep dives into various aspects of the survey here.

Nonvoters’ reasons for not voting include:

not being registered to vote (29%)
not being interested in politics (23%)
not liking the candidates (20%)
a feeling their vote wouldn’t have made a difference (16%)
being undecided on whom to vote for (10%)

They are disengaged, disaffected and don’t believe politics can make a difference in their lives. They are also more likely to be Latino, younger, make less money and have lower levels of education than voters.

Difficulty voting doesn’t appear to be a major reason why they don’t vote. Three-quarters said they think it’s at least somewhat easy to vote.

It’s more that these voters feel a sense of alienation and apathy. They are generally detached from the news and pessimistic about politics, the survey found.

Politics is simply not the way to make change, they said. Two-thirds of nonvoters agree, for example, that voting has little to do with the way that real decisions are made in this country; they are 21 points more likely to say so than people who voted.

A majority also said they believe it makes no difference who is elected president and that things will go on just as they did before. Nonvoters were 29 points more likely to say that than people who voted. (Read more about why they didn’t vote, in their own words.)

These 80 million Americans are also less engaged in their communities and have less confidence even in their local governments. They’re also less likely to volunteer or to be civically engaged — doing things like sending letters to the news media and elected officials or participating in marches, protests and demonstrations.

Nonvoters are also more likely than voters to say that traditional parties and politicians don’t care about people like me; the mainstream media is more interested in making money than telling the truth; the American economy is rigged to advantage the rich and powerful; success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control; and to feel that most issues discussed in Washington don’t affect them personally.

wi62

Nonvoters are also more likely than voters to say that traditional parties and politicians don’t care about people like me; the mainstream media is more interested in making money than telling the truth; the American economy is rigged to advantage the rich and powerful; success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control; and to feel that most issues discussed in Washington don’t affect them personally.

Even people that vote feel that way, me for one i vote for progressives that will someday provide the change that’s desperately needed. I may not live see the changes take place but helped plant the seeds

polarbear4

yeah, i was going to say, nonvoters are the little kid pointing at the emperor with no clothes. truth tellers. but are they sure they are not organizing locally?

jcitybone

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/12/14/grossly-insufficient-exxonmobil-lambasted-over-emissions-reduction-plan-pledges-no

ExxonMobil’s Monday announcement of new targets for addressing greenhouse gas emissions was met with derision by climate advocates who called the plan “too little, too late.”

Youth-led climate group Sunrise Movement declared the targets “grossly insufficient” and took the company to task for not announcing an end to “exploration or extraction” or “lobbying against climate action.”