HomeBernie Sanders2/11 News Roundup & OT
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A panel of policy experts and medical professionals convened to examine the healthcare legacy of Donald Trump concluded in a detailed report released Thursday morning that the former president’s sweeping regulatory rollbacks and full-scale assault on America’s already decimated public health infrastructure severely undermined the nation’s fight against Covid-19 and caused tens of thousands of preventable deaths.

Described as the first comprehensive look at the consequences of the former president’s four years of corporate-friendly privatization efforts, deep cuts to public health programs, and abandonment of international cooperation in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the new study by the Lancet Commission on Public Policy and Health in the Trump Era argues that while the Republican’s tenure was in some ways uniquely destructive, his agenda built upon years of “damaging neoliberal policies” pursued by his predecessors.

“The disturbing truth is that many of President Trump’s policies do not represent a radical break with the past but have merely accelerated the decades-long trend of lagging life expectancy that reflects deep and long-standing flaws in U.S. economic, health, and social policy,” reads the report, the product of years of research by dozens of leading health experts from the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

The Trump administration’s sprawling attack on America’s public health programs helped set the stage for the White House’s disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic, which hit the nation after many of the former president’s healthcare rollbacks had taken their toll, leaving millions of additional Americans vulnerable to the virus and its widespread economic consequences. As of this writing, the virus has killed more than 471,000 people in the U.S.

“Instead of galvanizing the U.S. populace to fight the pandemic,” the report states, “President Trump publicly dismissed its threat (despite privately acknowledging it), discouraged action as infection spread, and eschewed international cooperation. His refusal to develop a national strategy worsened shortages of personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests.”

Stressing that the Trump administration impacted public health through a variety of means, the Lancet panel’s study estimates that the former president’s gutting of environmental regulations was responsible for 22,000 excess deaths in 2019 alone.

Trump’s massive tax cuts for the rich and corporations, moreover, contributed to decades of soaring income and wealth inequality, a trend that has further stratified U.S. society and left large segments of the population unable to afford the basic necessities of life—including adequate healthcare, food, and housing. The commission also pointed to the president’s racism, xenophobia, and attacks on women’s reproductive rights as immensely damaging to U.S. public health.

Among the panel’s list of policy recommendations is Medicare for All, a system that would “cover all residents under a single, federally financed plan providing comprehensive coverage” at a lower cost than the current fragmented, for-profit system. President Joe Biden opposes Medicare for All and has instead proposed more incremental reforms like a public option, an approach the commission warns would leave many with “onerous co-pays… and deductibles, and millions of people would remain uninsured.”


Julia Rock/Andrew Perez/David Sirota

WaPo is a main culprit here. No surprise given its owner


It is not a revelation that elite media outlets bake ideology into their news coverage and manufacture consent — in fact, a new poll shows Americans sense the scam and are well aware that something is deeply rotten in the news industry.

However, the press-driven discourse about promised $2,000 survival checks offers something new and rare: an unvarnished glimpse of exactly how this consent-manufacturing process works in real time. When you follow the money behind the process, you invariably find yourself where most truth seekers end up in American life — staring into the deadened eyes of billionaires who like things just the way they are.

In 2016, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sounded an alarm about so-called cognitive capture, warning that the information ecosystem in Washington has been systemically corrupted, allowing unseen interests to use think tanks and media to manipulate the assumptions upon which policy decisions are based.

A few years later, that is exactly what is playing out. Millionaire pundits paid by billionaire media moguls are once again trying to protect millionaire politicians bankrolled by billionaire donors. Marshaling studies produced by billionaire think tanks, they have a goal: denying survival aid to middle-class thousandaires now facing an economic apocalypse.

The whole episode conjures Charles Foster Kane boasting that people will think what he tells them to think, because he who pays the piper calls the tune — and in this case, the song is that golden oldie called “nothing will fundamentally change.”

Nova Land
Nova Land

One of these “manufactured consent” items which has particularly annoyed me in recent weeks is the repeated assertion in numerous mainstream news sources that 67 votes are needed to convict Trump in the impeachment trial and that unless Democrats get 17 Republicans to vote for conviction Trump will be again be acquitted.

For example, here’s a non-paywalled quote from USA Today:

A vote on impeaching Trump is expected to take place late Wednesday – and pass – in the Democrat-controlled House… Once it passes, Pelosi would then decide when to take it to the Senate, where at least 67 of the 100 members would have to support conviction.

There are many more examples out there of the media saying this, and it is not correct. It does not require at least 67 members to support conviction for Trump (or anyone else) to be impeached.

There are currently 100 members of the senate, so if the requirement were that 2/3 of the senate membership needed to vote for conviction then the number would indeed be 67. But neither the constitution nor the senate rules on impeachment say that it takes 2/3 of the senate membership to convict.

What the constitution says is that it takes 2/3 of the members who are present. And there is no requirement, either in the constitution or in the senate rules on impeachment, that all members be present for the trial. (Senate leadership can choose to require members to be present, but they do not have to do so and are free to permit members not to attend.)

For example, there are many Republican senators who claim they believe the current impeachment trial is unconstitutional. I think they should have been encouraged to boycott the trial on grounds of conscience. No one should take part in or be forced to take part in an something they believe to be unconstitutional. And if, say, 19 GOP senators had chosen to boycott the trial (or chosen to be absent for other reasons, such as health or feeling a need to quarantine) there would have been 81 senators present, meaning the number of votes needed to convict would then be 54.

I don’t think many people realize that if the vote had been taken back in January immediately after the house voted to impeach that the number of votes needed to convict would not have been 67. It would have been 66 (because, prior to confirmation of the Georgia senate run-off election results, there were only 99 senators).

Similarly I don’t think most people realize that if several senators are absent on the day of the conviction vote due to Covid or other reasons that the number needed for conviction would be less than 67. And that’s due to the media repeatedly misrepresenting the number of votes needed to convict as being 67, i.e. 2/3 of the entire senate membership, rather than the actual requirement which is 2/3 of the members present.

The media getting that fact wrong once or twice due to carelessness (and an assumption that all 100 senators will be present for the vote) might be understandable; the media consistently getting it wrong is shameful and to me it’s a glaring example of what’s wrong with the mainstream news media today. I have not seen a single mainstream media news article which correctly reports that the number of votes required for an impeachment conviction is 2/3 of the members present.

  • For those who’d like to check the accuracy of what I’m saying, the relevant section of the constitution is in article I, section 3 of the US constitution:

    The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

    And here is a link to the senate rules on impeachment. Rule XXIII is the rule concerning the trial vote, and like the constitution it repeatedly refers to “Members present”, not to the entire senate membership.

  • LieparDestin

    I feel like Roberts gave air to the illigetimacy of the trial by not presiding. I understand the technicality but that very technicality is a talking point used far and wide to dismiss the whole trial.


    don’t know who’s OT to post to. here’s one.


    This one is more of an open thread. Mine is an essay.


    yours says open thread, though, an interesting lead, and it was up first. no matter, this is the one. :o)


    I wasn’t able to reply or leave a comment on your essay, but, from your essay:


    “Here’s the Real Story: Housing being built in NYC now is not housing meant to be lived in. 25% of all housing built since 2013 has never been sold, let alone inhabited.”

    This NYT article focuses on the fact that the new construction projects are luxury condos (me: as opposed to the affordable housing that is needed):

    One in Four of New York’s New Luxury Apartments Is Unsold

    Already the prices at several new towers have been reduced, either directly or through concessions like waived common charges and transfer taxes, and some may soon be forced to cut deeper. Tactics from past cycles could also be making a comeback: bulk sales of unsold units to investors, condos converting to rentals en masse, and multimillion-dollar “rent-to-own” options for sprawling apartments — a four-bedroom, yours for just $22,500 a month.

    The analysis, a compilation of both public and proprietary listing and building data, is one of the most sobering looks yet at the city’s flagging condo market, which peaked about three years ago amid a glut of inventory. Now the market could face new obstacles, from growing fears of a recession, to changes in tax law and political instability heading into an election year.

    For an industry accustomed to selling apartments years ahead of completion and skilled at concealing the pace of sales when the market falters, further headwinds could force more drastic measures.

    Moreover, a growing share of condos sold in recent years have been quietly re-listed as rentals by investors who bought them and are reluctant to put them back on the market. Of the 12,133 new condos sold between January 2013 and August 2019, 38 percent have appeared on StreetEasy as rentals.


    by NeoDem logic Biden could get away with just padding the first two Trump stimulus checks to 2k.


    Don’t give them any ideas 😉

    Such a scammy bait and switch. Biden already had zero credibility with me, but how can believe a thing he says after this? Talk about tripping on the starting line.


    Benny, I’ve been getting your messages. I emailed back that it was my inbox they were landing in.

    Is there anything else I should do?


    Good morning all, stay safe out there! Dallas is a mess, i went sideways a couple times on the way to work due to ice, apparently there is a 100+ car pileup in Ft Worth.


    Please be very careful, LD! Snow and cold don’t bother me. Ice is another story. It can not be emphasized enough how destructive and dangerous it is!


    We’re due to get heavy sleet on Tuesday and I am not going to leave the house! Ice is the only thing that gives me the scares while driving.


    In a previous job i had to drive all size box trucks that didnt need a CDL to drive and have driven thru all road conditions in WI. The only one that scared me was freezing rain, i tried to avoid going out at all costs in that crap its down right dangerous.


    Literally no one in the real world will care if the parliamentarian gets overruled. So Republicans will scream. Who gives an F. $15 is wildly popular. Let Manchin explain to his voters in WVa why they don’t deserve a $15 minimum.


    Progressives, union leaders and activists are demanding that the Biden administration use every tool available to make sure its massive coronavirus relief package includes an increase in the minimum wage.

    But, already, there’s one place the White House has hinted it won’t go.

    Biden’s team is leaning heavily against the idea of having Vice President Kamala Harris use her powers as president of the Senate to keep the minimum wage provision inside the relief package. She could do so if the Senate parliamentarian determines that hiking the minimum wage to $15-an-hour does not jibe with budgetary rules that allow a bill to pass with just 51 votes in the Senate. Harris, at that point, could be the tie-breaking vote to bypass the parliamentarian.
    The White House’s reluctance to consider that step has set up the possibility of an early confrontation between the president and a progressive base that has — to this point — been pleased with his work in office.

    “It’s a test for how we use the power of having all three, the House, the Senate and the White House,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). “Let’s not hand wring over this … We should use every tool in our toolbox.”

    Early in his presidency, Biden has taken a historic amount of executive actions. But the president still views himself as an institutionalist, and advisers and allies say he is wary of using the Harris nuclear option. A vice president hasn’t overruled a parliamentarian in more than 40 years. And while the White House is not completely ruling out the idea, officials are skeptical that enough Democrats would vote to keep the wage provision in the relief package even if they deployed the option, a person familiar with the White House’s thinking said.

    Biden has already said that increasing the minimum wage might turn into a “separate negotiation” from the relief package. But the administration has not been clear on how and when that separate negotiation might take place, save to affirm their commitment to it.

    Behind the scenes, the White House is asking for patience. A minimum wage hike is a priority to Biden, advisers and allies say, and they’re working to build support that would aid a future negotiation, if one is needed. They note that Biden advocated for a minimum wage increase in an Oval Office meeting with business leaders on Tuesday.

    The White House is insistent it has maintained open communication with progressives, including lawmakers and activist groups, on both the $15-an-hour minimum wage provision and, more broadly, the Covid relief plan. A White House official specifically cited a briefing last week with 17 progressive groups. And Jayapal said she’s been in multiple conversations with the administration in the days after Biden said he didn’t believe a minimum wage hike would end up in the reconciliation bill.

    Jayapal and other progressive lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), are optimistic that the parliamentarian will rule that the minimum wage hike is germane to the budget process. And they are also beginning to lay the predicate for the parliamentarian to be overruled if that determination isn’t made.

    “The parliamentarian is not an elected representative of the people,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.). “I’ve never heard us put everything on the balance of what the Senate parliamentarian says when it impacts, especially, a once in a century pandemic relief bill.”

    The recent Congressional Budget Office finding that a $15 minimum wage would substantially impact the federal budget was seen as a boon to progressives’ argument for its inclusion, even as the agency found that a hike could lead to 1.4 million jobs lost over ten years. The CBO analysis also found that the wage increase would lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty.

    Lawmakers are wary, however, that if Democrats don’t find a way to pass the wage increase in the first relief package, it may never be passed. Jayapal bluntly said she sees no chance of attracting Republican support for the measure, making it imperative to pass it through reconciliation.

    Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), a Biden ally, agreed. “If it cannot be in reconciliation, if that’s the determination that’s made and that stands,” he said, “it’s really difficult to see it passing and getting 60 votes.”


    Byedone is a RWinger. Progressives will have to muscle up and kick his butt on certain issues. Obviously, the $15 minimum wage is one of them.


    Delay, delay, delay. That is clearly part of the strategy, prolong the suffering to the point that people will take whatever shit is shoveled. Progressives must apply as much pressure as possible to get things done now.



    Last week, on the verge of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, Republicans and their hate media launched a coordinated attack on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York progressive Democrat. Why?
    Because she publicly shared the emotional trauma that she and many others suffered during and after the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol — and because she compared that to her personal history as a survivor of sexual assault.

    Donald Trump is now being tried in the U.S. Senate for the crime of encouraging an insurrection and a lethal coup attack on the Capitol. In all likelihood, Republicans will not convict Trump despite the abundant evidence of his guilt. In fairness, why should they? Whatever their personal or aesthetic objections to Trump may be, they agree with Trump’s policies, including the use of political terrorism and other forms of violence to win and keep power. In that context, the Age of Trump is best understood not as an aberration or derailment in the right wing’s embrace of anti-democratic extremism but as part of a long campaign to radically remake American society.

    As seen with the attacks on the humanity of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the world the white right is trying to fully create is even more racist, white supremacist, woman-hating, pathological, anti-human and anti-democratic than this one.

    In the America that exists today such values are increasingly rejected. Much of the white right wants to elevate those noxious values, because it sees them as virtues.

    Ultimately, Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial is much bigger than a decision about the crimes of one man — who happened to be the worst president in American history. It is a referendum on the future of American democracy.





    The mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol may have been a fringe group of extremists, but politically motivated violence has the support of a significant share of the U.S. public, according to a new survey by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

    The survey found that nearly three in 10 Americans, including 39% of Republicans, agreed that, “If elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves, even if it requires violent actions.”

    That result was “a really dramatic finding,” says Daniel Cox, director of the AEI Survey Center on American Life. “I think any time you have a significant number of the public saying use of force can be justified in our political system, that’s pretty scary.”

    The survey found stark divisions between Republicans and Democrats on the 2020 presidential election, with two out of three Republicans saying President Biden was not legitimately elected, while 98% of Democrats and 73% of Independents acknowledged Biden’s victory.


    AEI is RW to the max. You can bet they will back the FRightwingnut fringe!


    what the founders said, iirc.


    Yet if someone fighting for social justice spray paints a wall they should be gassed, shot and thrown into unmarked vehicles and spirited away, and that okay with those people I’d bet.



    Former President Donald Trump has reportedly still not expressed remorse for the siege at the US Capitol on 6 January.

    A pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol on that day, causing House members to barricade themselves inside offices to hide from the rioters.

    Five people died and several more were injured in the insurrection. A week later, and a week before leaving office, Mr Trump was impeached by the House for the second time for inciting the riots at a “Save America” rally nearby.

    When asked by CNN on Wednesday if the former president has shown remorse for the riots, a source close to Mr Trump laughed and said there is no greater offence to him than saying “sorry”.

    Another adviser told CNN that Mr Trump wanted to see a show of force from his supporters at the “Save America” rally.

    “Trump likes force. He saw people forcefully fighting for him,” the adviser claimed, while a former senior White House official added that Mr Trump was “loving” watching the mob on that day.