HomeUncategorized2/23-24 News Roundup & Open Thread
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Some of the nation’s best-known corporations are undermining their promises to slash emissions by donating significant sums to elect Republican attorneys general, who have emerged as frequent courtroom foes of climate policies and regulations, according to a report shared exclusively with The Climate 202.

The report by the Center for Political Accountability, a nonprofit organization focused on corporate political spending disclosures, looked at top companies that have set pledges to reduce planet-warming emissions, including household names such as Walmart, Amazon, AT&T, Uber and Citigroup.

It found that in the 2016, 2018 and 2020 election cycles, 75 of these companies gave more than $772,000 to 16 Republican attorneys general candidates, according to contributions reported to the Internal Revenue Service and secretary of state offices.

In addition, 58 of these companies each gave $100,000 or more to the Republican Attorneys General Association, which funnels money directly to candidates’ campaigns.



West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency is a case about an environmental regulation that no longer exists, that never took effect, and that would not have accomplished very much if it had taken effect. If the plaintiffs prevail in their case, they will be in the exact same position they are in right now. It is a case about nothing.

Yet West Virginia could also be the most consequential environmental case to reach the Supreme Court in a very long time. The plaintiffs in this case, and in three other consolidated cases, seek an opinion from the Supreme Court that would do considerable violence to the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to, well, protect the environment. And if the Court indulges them, the fallout from this decision could wreak havoc throughout the federal government.

Nevertheless, a small army of litigants are now in the Supreme Court asking the justices to strike down the Clean Power Plan — which, again, is not in effect right now, which never really took effect, and which President Joe Biden’s administration does not plan to reinstate.

But while it’s not at all clear that the Supreme Court has any business hearing this case — federal courts do not have jurisdiction to hear lawsuits where there is no live dispute between the two parties — the stakes in this case are still quite high. The plaintiffs challenging the nonexistent Clean Power Plan rely on arguments that, if taken seriously by the Supreme Court, could permanently strip federal agencies like the EPA of much of their authority to regulate.

And so we wait, to see whether the Court will use a case about nothing to ensure that the Biden administration never does anything meaningful to fight climate change.


Hopefully, some smart lawyer will make it clear that this is not the type of case they take.




dems could go hard after anyone’s seat who’s all in for the nutty right instead of progressives.



Sen. Rick Scott unveiled a right-wing policy blueprint yesterday, which many leading Democrats quickly saw as a gift. After all, the Florida Republican’s plan called for income tax increases on tens of millions of working-class Americans.

From the White House to Capitol Hill, Democrats could hardly believe their good fortune. The senator’s Republican allies were less pleased: Politico quoted a GOP operative saying the Floridian made an “unforced error that’s given Democrats the first thing they can attack in six months.”

Scott apparently felt the need to clean up the mess, so he sat down with Fox News’ Sean Hannity last night. “Did you see Chuckie Schumer saying that your plan is to raise taxes on more than half of Americans?” the host asked. “I didn’t see that in your plan. Did you have that in your plan? Was it in invisible ink in the copy that I got? Because I didn’t see that.” The senator replied:

“Of course not. No, Chuck Schumer who wants to raise taxes for everything, while as governor I cut taxes and fees 100 times. We’re the opposite.”

Part of the problem with this is that Scott’s answer was at odds with the question. The Republican was asked whether he proposed tax increases on tens of millions of Americans, and he responded by saying he cut taxes while he was governor.

Maybe so, but one has little to do with the other. It’s as if a police officer pulled Scott over for running a red light, at which point he bragged about stopping earlier at a stop sign.

But the other part of the problem is that Scott was simply denying reality when he said “of course” his plan didn’t propose tax increases on roughly half the country.

This need not be complicated. The GOP senator literally put this in writing: “All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax.”

Not to put too fine a point on this, but that’s what “tax increase” means. A Washington Post analysis added yesterday:

The language of the plan itself effectively acknowledges it’s advocating for an income tax increase on “over half of Americans” — a group of people that is overwhelmingly lower-income…. The political ads almost write themselves: The leader of the effort to elect a Senate majority wants to use that to raise taxes on as much as half of the country, however modestly. The GOP has for years defined virtually any new tax as a tax increase, and this meets that definition.



But it does advocate for raising taxes on, in the Tax Foundation’s estimate, as many as 75 million people who paid no such taxes after deductions and credits in 2020. If you include the 32 million who didn’t file returns, such as retirees, the number climbs well over 100 million Americans. (Scott’s plan isn’t explicit on whether his idea would include such people, but it does say “all Americans.”)

The political ads almost write themselves: The leader of the effort to elect a Senate majority wants to use that to raise taxes on as much as half of the country, however modestly. The GOP has for years defined virtually any new tax as a tax increase, and this meets that definition.



Republicans could not be clearer about their cynicism, yet some establishment Democrats act as if politics as usual is still an option.

Over the past few weeks, President Joe Biden has repeatedly emphasized his friendship with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. At the National Prayer Breakfast in early February, for instance, he praised McConnell as “a man of your word. And you’re a man of honor. Thank you for being my friend.”

Biden’s publicly professed affinity is weirdly at odds with the political situation. Going back to the Obama era, McConnell has led the Republican Party in a strategy of near-total obstruction which he has pursued with ruthless cynicism. It is true that he has, at times, signaled distance to Donald Trump and condemned the January 6 insurrection. But McConnell is also sabotaging any effort to counter the Republican party’s ongoing authoritarian assault on the political system.

The distinct asymmetry in the way the two sides treat each other extends well beyond Biden and McConnell. Republicans immediately derided Biden’s pledge to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court – while Democratic leaders are hoping for bipartisan support; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists the nation needs a strong Republican party – meanwhile radicals like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar, who fantasize about committing acts of violence against Democrats, are embraced by fellow Republicans, proving they are not just a extremist fringe that has “hijacked” the Party, as Pelosi suggested. And when Texas senator Ted Cruz recently intimated that Republicans would impeach Biden if they were to retake the House “whether it’s justified or not,” the White House responded by calling on Cruz to “work with us on getting something done.”

Republicans could not be clearer about the fact that they consider Democratic governance fundamentally illegitimate, yet some establishment Democrats act as if politics as usual is still an option and a return to “normalcy” imminent.

There is certainly an element of political strategy in all of this. Democrats are eager to present themselves as a force of moderation and unity. But Biden’s longing for understanding across party lines seems sincere. He has been reluctant to make the fight against the Republican party’s assault on democracy the center piece of his agenda; Democratic leadership has proved mostly unwilling to focus the public’s attention on the Republican party’s authoritarian turn.

One important explanatory factor is that many Democratic leaders are old. They came up in a very different political environment, when there was indeed a great deal of bipartisan cooperation in Congress. There is no reason to be nostalgic about this – the politics of bipartisan consensus more often than not stifled racial and social progress. But there was certainly an established norm of intra-party cooperation until quite recently. When California senator Dianne Feinstein hugged South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham at the end of the Amy Coney Barrett hearings in 2020, it was a bizarre throwback to those days of amity across party lines in the midst of a naked Republican power grab.

Beyond institutional tradition and personal familiarity, this inability to grapple in earnest with the post-Obama reality in which Democratic politicians are almost universally considered members of an “Un-American” faction by most Republicans has deeper ideological roots. The way some establishment Democrats have acted suggests they feel a kinship with their Republican opponents grounded in a worldview of white elite centrism. Their perspective on the prospect of a white reactionary regime is influenced by the fact that, consciously or not, they understand that their elite status wouldn’t necessarily be affected all that much. The Republican dogma – that the world works best if it’s run by prosperous white folks – has a certain appeal to wealthy white elites, regardless of party.


Although other countries have this urban/rural divide, none of them have a political system that rewards rural voters with such an amount of extra political power. And he doesn’t even touch gerrymandering, which isn’t present in other countries.


Blue America is a nation with an ever-shrinking countryside. In 2008, Barack Obama won 875 U.S. counties; in 2020, Joe Biden won 527, thanks largely to the rightward drift of rural jurisdictions.

The fact that the Democratic coalition has grown increasingly urban is not inherently problematic; after all, the U.S. population is itself increasingly concentrated in cities. But America’s political geography has a significant rural bias. The middle of the country is home to a large number of low-density, low-population states, each of which boasts as many votes in the Senate as California.

Rural America’s overrepresentation lies behind the bulk of blue America’s present discontents. Due to the Senate map’s inequities, the Democrats managed to orchestrate a popular vote landslide in the 2018 midterms while still losing seats in Congress’s upper chamber. Thanks in part to the House map’s (less egregious) bias toward rural areas, Biden’s comfortable victory in 2020 coincided with a loss of House seats, while the party’s gains in the Senate were highly limited. As a result, Senate Democrats’ inability to achieve unanimity on climate and social policy has derailed Biden’s legislative agenda. Meanwhile, the party’s thin margin in the House all but guarantees a Republican takeover in November.

And the long-term outlook for Democrats in the Senate is even grimmer. The party owes its present majority to improbable luck: Many red-state Democrats happened to be on the ballot in 2018, a historically favorable year for blue America. And even then, Joe Manchin and Jon Tester won reelection only narrowly. Judging by their margins, had they faced voters in 2020 instead, Republicans would likely hold their seats. If urban-rural polarization continues to increase — while ticket-splitting continues to decline — Democrats will likely lose the Senate this November and fail to regain it for a decade or more.



T and R x 2, and thanks, Ms. Benny!! 🙂




we manufacture a coup, miltarize the region, of course Putin will react strongly. wth bernie? sanctions hurt people and this won’t do his cause any good.

purring the bear ina corner will only bring china and russia even closer. I wish the world would hurry up and get their own currencies for their own blocks of influence and leave us in the dust. Honestly I know it would be hard here but we make life for others so damn hard with our money in our military.

reminds me of a quote (or close) In The Overstory— she used to love the Golden Guides, but then the humans got her in their grip and she never returned.

Bernie used to love the underdog, but then the Democrats got him in their grip, and I hope like hell he returns.

if he were campaigning right now, he’d get a ton of complaints.






A member of the liberal “Squad” is delivering a formal response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday.

In the speech, given on behalf of the left-wing group Working Families Party, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) is expected to hammer moderate Democrats who have stymied Biden’s social spending and climate change package.

Tlaib will praise Biden’s stimulus bill and make the case that liberals have pushed aggressively for his agenda, according to a summary of her remarks shared exclusively with POLITICO. She is also planning to argue that Republicans and a handful of intransigent Democrats have blocked progress on lowering the cost of housing, health care and prescription drugs.

The speech will put on display the deep rifts within the Democratic Party that have marked Biden’s presidency. Months ahead of the daunting midterm election, many Democrats are looking to put aside those differences in order to present a united front against Republicans. But the left sees an opportunity in this year’s primaries to elect a more liberal Democratic majority to Congress.
“No one fought harder for Build Back Better and a pro-democracy agenda than progressives,” Tlaib told POLITICO in a statement. “The work is unfinished and we’re not giving up on what our communities deserve. We need to get as much done for the people as we can this year, and elect a majority that can deliver for working families in 2023.”

While the party out of power typically gives a rebuttal to the president’s State of the Union address, it is unusual for members of the president’s own party to offer an official response. It is not the first time that the Working Families Party has done so, however: Last year, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) gave such a speech following Biden’s first joint address to Congress.

During her talk, Tlaib is expected to criticize some Democrats by name, and that likely means Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who opposed parts of Biden’s “Build Back Better” legislation. Another featured boogeyman might be Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), who led a small group of centrist Democrats who threatened to kill the budget unless the bipartisan infrastructure legislation first passed.

Biden’s “agenda is incomplete,” said Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party. “We’re going to be clear about who and why the agenda is incomplete. There are particular political actors — of course Republicans, but then a very niche, small group of obstructionist Democrats. And we’re going to name names.”

Tlaib will also call for Biden to use his executive authority to cancel student loan debt and change the way poverty is calculated in order to expand benefits to more Americans, according to the synopsis of her remarks. She will end with a call to action to help elect progressives around the country this year. The Working Families Party and other liberal groups, such as Justice Democrats and Our Revolution, are supporting left-wing candidates in open primaries in House and Senate races, as well as those challenging incumbent Democrats.

Progressives hope that by electing more of their own to Congress, they will be able to pass Biden’s social policy and environmental legislation in addition to other liberal priorities. One of their primary election targets is Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas): He is facing a challenge by progressive Jessica Cisneros on March 1, the same day as Biden’s State of the Union address.


Faux Snooze is already all over this.



The benefit (drawback?) of running your own news organization is that no one’s going to tell you your reporting is lazy and your story reeks of a conclusion in search of evidence.

And so we have “Squad politics backfire” by Axios’ Mike Allen, an exercise in Smart Brevity™ that blames the recall of school board members in San Francisco on progressive women who don’t live in or represent San Francisco. If you’re scratching your head, here’s an explanation:

“The hard-left politics of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and the so-called ‘Squad,’ once a dominant theme for vast numbers of elected Democrats, is backfiring big-time on the party in power, top Democrats tell us,” Allen writes. “The push to defund the police, rename schools, and tear down statues has created a significant obstacle to Democrats keeping control of the House, the Senate and the party’s overall image.”

To support his theory, Allen interviews a) the leader of the self-styled Problem Solvers Caucus, b) the co-founder of the 1990s throwback group Third Way, and c) borrows an AP quote from former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who — Allen forgets to mention — takes dark money to lobby against taxing rich people. (Weird how the villains are women of color, while the good guys share Allen’s melanin level.)

The gist: enough of this social justice bullshit.

So, look, San Francisco politics are … unique? The school board devolved into self-parody. It announced plans to rename 44 schools — including those honoring George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein — during the pandemic, when the city’s schools were closed. One member (now recalled) sued her colleagues for $87 million (!) because she was criticized over dumb tweets.

But what sealed the deal was the decision to end merit-based admissions at an elite, Asian-majority high school, which the Chinese community viewed as an attack. That’s a complicated issue that I’ve neither the space nor the expertise to address here; it suffices to say that it was not handled with sensitivity.

In short, the school board embarrassed themselves, pissed the city off, and — at the mayor’s request — the city got rid of three of them. To Allen’s point? Call me when San Francisco replaces them with Republicans who want to ban Maus and rail against critical race theory.

Until then, let’s not force a square peg into the round hole.

That’s not to say Democrats won’t get spanked in November, or that they’re not losing culture war fights. They (probably) will, and they (definitely) are. But that’s not the left’s fault. Democrats are losing the culture war because they’re not fighting it.

Allen’s other “evidence” only proves the point: “Republicans’ decisive sweep of statewide offices in Virginia was powered in part by Democrats’ failure to appreciate parents’ skepticism about public schools’ mask mandates, policies on transgender rights and approach to teaching about race.”

Let me rephrase: Virginia Republicans turned the pandemic into a wedge issue and played to people’s bigotry — and, what do you know, it worked! But it’s — checks notes — the Squad’s fault for wanting to keep people alive, keep marginalized and bullied children safe, and teach a version of history that doesn’t treat the “War of Northern Aggression” as a “states’ rights” kerfuffle?

(While we’re on the subject: Does Allen really think that removing statues of treasonous human traffickers reflects poorly on Democrats?)

Here’s the dirty little secret of American politics, the thing everyone who studies it knows but avoids saying: the lowest common denominator works. As a rule, voters aren’t terribly sophisticated. The media once served as a gatekeeper of disinformation, but between the fragmentation of social media, the well-organized, well-funded right-wing propaganda machine, and the mainstream media’s determination to give crackpots and charlatans legitimacy in the name of objectivity, we are awash in bullshit.

In short, people — not just white people, by the way — are susceptible to populism and demagoguery, to authoritarian and racist appeals. If they weren’t, no one would use them.

What the Third Way, Problem Solvers types want is for Democrats to abandon social justice battlefields in search of rural and working-class white voters. Coincidentally, this also seems to be the sage wisdom of the Beltway establishment media. Funny, that.

It would be one thing if the Democratic Party really had gone over a left-wing cliff. But Joseph Robinette Biden is president, not Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. The party’s most powerful person is a conservative senator from West Virginia, a state Donald Trump won by 40 points. No one’s talking about defunding the police. They’ll be lucky to get a Supreme Court justice through.

If reality and the public’s perception aren’t aligned, that’s not a Squad problem. Republicans have turned everything — masks, vaccines, school closures, history classes, trans athletes — into an existential culture war, and Democrats never figured out what to do when attacks they first greet with eye rolls gain traction.

The consultant class always wants endangered Dems to pledge undying fealty to the police and promise to personally hunt down asylum seekers. It won’t help. The second Democrats meet rage with quiescence, the game is over. In a polarized era, politics requires giving your base something to care about.

That doesn’t mean every Democrat has to share the same values. (We already have one major party that’s turned into a cult.) It means they need to stop letting themselves get caricatured.

Rule of thumb: If the other guy believes in his lunacy more than you believe in your sanity, you’re going to lose.

There are myriad factors arrayed against Democrats this year. Inflation, of course, but also the Senate’s fecklessness, gerrymandering, the history of being a presidential party in a midterm, and, it seems, pundits with their heads buried in their asses. More than that, angry, radicalized Republicans and Democrats who have already accepted defeat.

If you want to blame that on AOC, perhaps that says more about you than her.


Bernie agrees

“The United States,” said Sanders, “must now work with our allies and the international community to impose serious sanctions on Putin and his oligarchs, including denying them access to the billions of dollars that they have stashed in European and American banks.”



I sent him a tweet asking wth?


Not happening. What does this yahoo want? WWIII? If there’s going to be a serious, much-needed oligarchic crackdown, it better be international and go after all of them.