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Thanks orl




Though the debt ceiling has been raised 78 times before, some Republicans are using the showdown to push for long-desired fiscal cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, even as President Biden has repeatedly stated he will not negotiate with the GOP. “I will not let anyone use the full faith and credit of the United States as a bargaining chip,” Biden said at an event in Virginia. A White House economic adviser called negotiations a “nonstarter” for the president.

To understand the ramifications of the debt ceiling showdown, Teen Vogue spoke to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont about why young people should be paying attention to this mess.

Teen Vogue: Can you break down why this debt ceiling fight happens with the Republicans every few years?

Bernie Sanders: The longstanding goal of the Republican Party, with a few [Republican politicians] not on board, is to give massive tax breaks to the rich and large corporations and to cut government funding for vitally important programs for working families. They’ve been after Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid for a long, long time. Meanwhile, under Donald Trump, they were so concerned about the national debt that they increased it by $[7.8] trillion, including, among other things, a Trump tax plan that gave over [$5.5 trillion] in tax breaks to the 1% and large corporations. What you’re seeing is just another excuse Republicans are using to cut programs for working families. They don’t believe in these programs. They never have.

TV: Young people don’t know if they’ll be able to save enough money to retire or if these programs will even be intact by the time they can benefit from them. Why should they care about the future of these programs given this grim outlook?

BS: I’m going to answer your question, but the question all of us should be asking is how does it happen that in the wealthiest country in the history of the world… almost 60% of Americans working today are working paycheck to paycheck? Millions are working for starvation wages. We have more income and wealth inequality than we have ever had in the history of this country. And the younger generation, for the first time in modern American history, will likely have a lower standard of living than their parents if we don’t develop economic policies to change that. That’s the question we should be asking, and the answer has to do with the corrupt political system in which billionaires and corporate leaders exercise enormous political and economic control over this country. In terms of programs like Social Security, there is no reason at all we should be cutting Social Security. We should, in fact, expand Social Security. I know a lot of young people think, Social Security is not going to be there for me when I retire, and that’s nonsense. That does not have to be the case. The way you deal with the solvency issue is by lifting the cap on taxable income.

TV: What would a default mean for the reality of young people’s lives?

BS: It would be terrible. Right now, it is no secret that the younger generation is struggling economically. In most cases, they’re worse off than their parents. It’s really quite incredible, despite the increase in wealth in this country because the wealth increases are going to the 1% and not to the middle class and working families. A default means you’re simply not paying your bills. If the United States defaulted, the world economy would be in turmoil. There will likely be a massive recession, interest rates will soar, and unemployment will significantly increase. Republicans are playing Russian roulette with the future of our economy. They’re not willing to pay off the debt that they helped incur [under Trump]. This is not new spending. You can argue about new spending, [but] this is spending that already took place under Trump, under Biden, and under previous presidents. Now, they’re saying we spent the money, [but] we don’t want to pay off our debts. That’s a disaster and it’s very dangerous.

TV: As you said, the younger generation is worse off than their parents and there can be this feeling of hopelessness and powerlessness. What can young people do to counter that feeling?

BS: This is precisely what the big money interests in this country want people to feel. They want to say, ‘We run the world. We’re billionaires. We control the economy and the political life of the country… and we hope you’re in despair. We don’t want you to pay attention. You’re powerless. We have the power.’ And I think what people have got to understand is that real change in this country, whether it’s women’s rights or civil rights or gay rights or union rights, those never took place without a struggle, standing up and fighting back. If Martin Luther King Jr. felt hopeless and threw in the towel, we’d still have segregation in this country. If suffragettes threw in the towel, women would still be second-class citizens without the right to vote. If you’re concerned about the future of this country at all, you have to stand up and fight back. And when it comes to hopelessness, let me tell you this: There are now more strong, progressive people in the US House of Representatives than at any time in the history of this country.

TV: What brings you hope right now?

BS: There is a growing understanding that there is something profoundly wrong about an economy in which three people own more wealth than the bottom half of American society and where the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider. People all over the country are demanding an economy that works for all, not just a few. I’m confident that’s going to lead to the kind of profound, systemic change that we need. Change is not easy. Go back to history. You have to stand up, educate, organize, and fight for change. I believe we’re in the process of doing it. Despair is not an option. We have to keep going.


Weeeelll, No wonder the GQP doesnt like this guy anymore.




House Republicans are planning a long-running extravaganza of hearings designed to dramatize the notion that the “deep state” is persecuting conservatives. In one sense, this will find a receptive audience: A new Post-ABC News poll finds that 55 percent of conservative respondents believe federal agencies are “biased against conservatives.”

But among all American adults, only a measly 28 percent believe this, and solid majorities of independents and moderates do not. Therein lies a trap that could prove dangerous for Republicans — if Democrats properly exploit it.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has subpoenaed top Justice Department officials, supposedly to investigate the department’s suppression of information about the persecution of conservative parents. Republicans have long alleged that federal jackboots have terrorized parents for protesting at school board meetings about covid-19 restrictions and teachings about race and sex.

Democrats will no doubt respond by noting that this claim has been decisively debunked. But Democrats should use these hearings not just defensively but also affirmatively: to show that GOP rhetoric, much of it degenerate nonsense, has helped fuel a toxic atmosphere of threats and violence toward educators that has no business anywhere near your child’s school.

I asked Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, how far Democrats might go in this regard. Swalwell suggested they would treat such GOP oversight as a “committee to obstruct justice,” in that it seems designed to chill law enforcement efforts to deal with actual threats made against educators.
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“They don’t want the FBI to investigate people on their side who they’ve spun up over frankly bulls— claims,” Swalwell told me of Republicans. “You have a right to say just about anything you want, but you don’t have a right to threaten violence.” Swalwell added that under the circumstances it was reasonable to want the FBI or local police to investigate genuine threats.

Republicans appear determined to bury this aspect of the story. Their subpoenas seek documents related to “alleged threats posed by concerned parents at school board meetings.” Note the word “alleged,” as if threats didn’t actually happen.

Republicans also want documents relating to a 2021 letter by the National School Boards Association to President Biden, which detailed numerous specific threats against school officials and referred to them as “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism.” This led Attorney General Merrick Garland to direct the FBI to work with those officials on strategies to address threats, which Republicans magically transformed into proof of FBI persecution of parents.

The Post fact-checking team has exhaustively demonstrated that this reading is nonsense. While the school boards association did use language that would be indefensible if applied to parents, many threats actually did happen, and lurid claims about FBI overreach haven’t been borne out: The FBI focused on those threats, not on conservative speech.

Regardless, if Republicans think they can prove FBI harassment of conservatives, let’s air this out. But Democrats can’t function just as fact-checkers, accusing Republicans of “conspiracy theories” and complaining they are “stoking the culture wars.” That could make Democrats seem defensive and responsive, which isn’t sufficient in an environment that’s increasingly shaped by full-blown information warfare.

Instead, Democrats should make these hearings about what Republicans did. This entails using spectacle to show what happened to educators as a result of Republicans systematically smearing them with hateful propaganda. Why not try to bring in educators to testify emotionally about the threats and harassment they’ve faced?

Asked about this, Swalwell said it’s possible. “The American people need to see these people’s faces and understand the fear that they’re living in,” Swalwell told me, speaking about targeted educators. “Republicans feel that fear should have a green light to continue.”

There is a danger for Democrats: Republicans could successfully define themselves as the party that uniformly speaks for “parents’ rights” while maneuvering Democrats into being seen as protecting educators at parents’ expense.

Democrats can try to rebut this by bringing in ordinary parents to testify that they don’t want their kids’ educators to face a climate of reactionary hate. They could seek the testimony of those who want law enforcement to deal with real-world threats.

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), a member of the new GOP “weaponization of the federal government” committee, agreed that Democrats could try to bring such witnesses, though he stressed he is speaking for himself.

“This absolutely could include educators,” Connolly told me, as well as “school board members” and citizens who “have been severely harassed and threatened.” Such witnesses, he said, could talk about how the “FBI played a productive role.”

This debate could backfire on Republicans. If a large majority of conservatives believe the feds are persecuting them, as The Post poll suggests, that could incentivize Republicans to use hearings to activate those grievances with ever-more-hallucinatory inventions. This could further alienate the large percentage of moderates disinclined to believe this to begin with.

Democrats should try to speak to those moderates on their own terms. The country deserves a real debate about the real consequences of our culture wars, not one that unfolds strictly in the information universe Republicans are manufacturing.






President Biden plans to challenge the new House Republican majority on Tuesday night to raise taxes on the wealthy, extend more social aid to the needy and rule out cuts to Social Security and Medicare as he opens an era of divided government.

In his first State of the Union address since his fellow Democrats lost control of the House, aides said Mr. Biden would call on lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to rally around his economic agenda, even as the newly empowered opposition gears up to try to force him to change direction.

No one expects the Republicans now running the House to embrace Mr. Biden’s legislative program, nor is the president likely to agree anytime soon to the other side’s demands for deep spending cuts in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling. But the speech and the G.O.P. response will frame the terms of debate heading into the coming year, even as Mr. Biden prepares to announce a campaign for re-election this spring.

“I want to talk to the American people and let them know the state of affairs — what’s going on, what I’m looking forward to working on from this point on, what we’ve done, and just have a conversation with the American people,” Mr. Biden told reporters on Monday when asked what he would highlight in his speech.

White House officials said the president would celebrate recent gains in the economy, including falling inflation and strong job growth, while taking credit for legislation meant to curb prescription drug prices for seniors, expand health benefits for veterans, invest in climate change programs and rebuild roads and bridges.

In his speech, Mr. Biden will call on Congress to extend a new $35 price cap on insulin for Medicare beneficiaries to all Americans; to make premium savings in the Affordable Care Act permanent; to slap a minimum tax on billionaires; and to quadruple the tax on corporate stock buybacks.

While those are not likely to generate much applause from Republicans, Mr. Biden nonetheless will also put forward the latest elements of what aides call his “unity agenda,” a menu of policy proposals that presumably could attract bipartisan support. Among them will be initiatives to tackle the opioid epidemic, enhance cancer research and treatment, expand access to mental health services and improve benefits for veterans.

“He is going to continue to look for every opportunity, when it comes to the economy and economic policy, to reach out and work with Democrats and Republicans, find practical paths forward, find compromise,” said Brian Deese, the president’s national economic adviser. “But at the same time, he’ll draw some clear lines of things he’s not prepared to do.”



Why didn’t he propose it last year?


You mean while he had both chambers -yea right. Playing it safe knowing that it will never fly now.


Most in the GQP Congress would rather have Bolsonaro than Lula if for any reason to continue pillaging the Amazon.



I first encountered Ronald DeSantis as a half-bright congressman from Florida whose loyalty to the former president* was somewhere between that of a golden retriever and the eunuch of the sultan’s harem. He was almost completely charmless, with the rhetorical skills of an andiron. Watching him from above, in the press gallery of the House of Representatives, DeSantis looked like a run-of-the-mill member of Congress, if the mill was running particularly slowly at the time. He sure as hell didn’t look or sound like a potential president of the United States. He sure as hell didn’t look like the country’s most conspicuous incipient fascist.

But as Chuck Berry once warned us, c’est la vie, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.

DeSantis has been running amok in recent weeks in preparation for a presidential run that would have seemed laughable several years ago. Elite political reporters have already begun the process of ignoring his obvious weaknesses as a political candidate and his obviously toxic mix of policies in favor of granular examinations of how he’s Not Donald Trump and how his poisonous policies will sell themselves on the campaign trail. The campaign may not have formally begun, but the horse race certainly has.

On Tuesday, Politico reported that the Republican majorities in the state legislature have signed on to the effort to launder DeSantis’ more controversial authoritarian moves for public consumption.

GOP lawmakers are taking steps to undercut or nix legal challenges against some of DeSantis’ signature programs — and are helping him resolve a year-long feud with Disney that DeSantis has used to highlight his ongoing battle against “woke” corporations. It’s also a reminder that DeSantis has a ready partner in the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature to give him wins that can be used on the campaign trail should he jump into the race against former President Donald Trump later this year[…]DeSantis last year led the charge to dismantle the special district that had been controlled by Disney for more than 50 years after the entertainment conglomerate opposed a measure that banned discussion of gender identity or sexual orientation in classrooms up until third grade[…]Under the latest proposal, the special district would be renamed and placed under control of appointees selected by the governor. Another measure aims to resolve legal questions about whether the statewide prosecutor had the authority to pursue voter fraud cases that were trumpeted by DeSantis last August. Some of the defendants that were swept up in the arrests have successfully used that question to challenge their charges. Lastly, legislators are poised to pass a bill that broadens the controversial migrant relocation program that resulted in the state paying to fly nearly 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last year. A lawsuit has challenged the program, in part, because it was created in the state budget and not in a stand-alone law.

It’s a genuine plus for a governor who wants to be president to have a pet legislature back home running interference for him, arranging legislative perfume for policies that have the dangerous reek of authoritarian ambition.

Dictators don’t necessarily have to be charismatic, nor do they have to be dynamic public speakers. All they really need is the audacity to do what other politicians only dream of doing. And some friends to have their back.

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


DeFascist scares me more than Cult-45🥶🥶🥶


Biden probably could use this to buoy his spirits after seeing three polls that weren’t terribly favorable. Maybe he won’t be terribly defensive. I speculate Deila Ramierz will use parts of it in her working families’ response.


According to Semafor (the competitor to Axios) in its news today about the SOTU, they mentioned a guest I didn’t expect:

Hakeem Jeffries: As one of his guests, Jeffries is bringing Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner. Garner was killed in 2014 by a New York City police officer who used a banned chokehold.

(Semafor is an e-mail newsletter so there’s no linky)

I’m surprised Gwen Carr would accept Jeffries’ invitation, but perhaps she just wants her presence to remind others that Tyre Nichols’ brutal beating by police isn’t anything new.