HomeUncategorized3/19 News Roundup – Elizabeth Warren’s CNN Town Hall, Bernie Challenges Beto To A Battle Of Small Money Donors & More

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The underdog Democratic candidate has dropped into early caucus and primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire, and on Friday, Gabbard’s campaign announced a pair of town halls in Nevada. But Gabbard, who is Hindu, has focused more on stopping in communities with large South Asian communities in states with less 2020 influence — a scattershot approach that calls into question whether Gabbard and her noninterventionist foreign policy can make a mark on the 2020 race.

“She does not seem to be following the lockstep early-state cadence,” said veteran Democratic strategist Jennifer Holdsworth.

The schedule has baffled Democratic operatives. Former Gabbard staffers, who declined to go on the record for this story, were equally confused, saying they would not have advised the approach she’s taken.

“It does appear to me that her candidacy is really not one that’s trying to win, it’s one that’s trying to bring a foreign policy perspective to the race in terms of nontraditional alliances and nonaggression and form a peace plank,” said a former adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016, when Gabbard served as one of the few congressional surrogates for the Vermont senator’s presidential campaign. “So she doesn’t care about going to South Carolina because she’s not legitimately trying to seize the nomination.”

Her campaign has recovered from its initial launch fumbles and added a few staffers, including Noland Chambliss, a veteran Democratic activist and field operative. But still the campaign is largely operating outside typical Democratic and progressive circles.

“I have no contact with her or her campaign. I don’t even know anyone that’s working with her or her campaign,” said Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, who along with Gabbard supported Sanders in the 2016 presidential race.

“I think for a while she was a darling of the progressive movement,” Kleeb said. “And then anybody I know, any leader I know, just thinks she’s weird.”


Very snarky, to call a major peace candidate weird in the press.



As Beto O’Rourke throws his hat into an already crowded field — and picks up $6.1 million in donations in the first 24 hours — Democratic debate season draws ever closer.

And Los Angeles will play host for at least one of those showdowns when UCLA and the Human Rights Campaign present a forum for 2020 presidential candidates in the fall.

It will focus specifically on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, offering candidates “an opportunity to speak about their policy platforms and plans to move LGBTQ equality forward,” according to a statement.

No media partner has yet been announced, but the forum will be televised.

The event is scheduled for Oct. 10 at Royce Hall, on the eve of National Coming Out Day, and will be held in addition to an already-announced Democratic Primary Debate that month.


Beto taking voters from Bernie doesn’t worry me too much. I think he’s a greater threat to Biden. He can peel off some from the moderate crowd who will want someone younger with less baggage.


Beto O’Rourke, who launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president Thursday, is being hailed for his grassroots might after his campaign said it raised $6.1 million on his first day as a candidate, the biggest first-day haul of the current field.

But the immediate response from Democratic voters across the country paled in comparison with some of the party’s other high-profile contenders for the nomination, such as Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California.

According to Morning Consult’s latest Democratic primary tracking poll, 8 percent of likely Democratic primary voters said O’Rourke is their first choice for president, tying him with the Californian and putting him well behind the Vermont independent. O’Rourke’s figure is up 1 percentage point from the previous week.

The greatest share of likely Democratic primary voters (35 percent) ranked Biden their first choice in the latest survey, his highest marks since Morning Consult began tracking. The 4-point increase since the previous week came as the former vice president made remarks during appearances last week that signaled that he was moving closer to the possibility of a third presidential campaign.

The Delaware Democrat is doing even better in early primary states: Thirty-nine percent of likely Democratic voters in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina said they’d pick Biden as their first choice, compared with 28 percent who would pick Sanders.


They are going to have Biden announce Abrams as his VP pick before Bernie can pick Nina. Then they’ll say he’s just pandering because Biden did it first. Hope I am wrong.

Probably won’t matter, because Nina is so inspiring. But the media will go for Abrams.



Juvenile but funny.




Sen. Bernie Sanders is welcoming back a former aide who fell out with his inner circle in the summer of 2016 after she and other staffers resigned from his political organization right as it launched.

Claire Sandberg led the Vermont lawmaker’s distributed organizing team during his last primary bid and comes on now as the 2020 campaign’s director of organizing — a senior leadership position traditionally associated with a job title like national field director. The hiring marks an unlikely reconciliation given Sandberg’s headline-grabbing departure from Our Revolution, a group formed to keep up Sanders’ “political revolution” on the heels of his first presidential campaign.

Sandberg returns to the fold after making peace with Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ polarizing former campaign manager and close confidant, who has since moved into a senior adviser role. She will lead what is expected to be a massive, coordinated operation designed to channel Sanders’ grassroots support into more proactive volunteer-initiated activities. The decision to hire Sandberg — who joins Tim Tagaris and Robin Curran, two more 2016 veterans — to the 2020 team is also a sign of the campaign’s determination to retain its top talent from four years ago.

During her time in exile from Bernieworld, Sandberg worked with leftist activists from the UK’s Labour Party, Podemos in Spain and Germany’s Die Linke, while also serving as deputy campaign manager for Abdul El-Sayed, the young progressive who ran unsuccessfully for the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Michigan.

Her role on the Sanders campaign in 2020 is — like all things Bernie 2.0 — expected to be considerably larger and better defined than it was four years ago, when the campaign outperformed its wildest expectations early on and, as Sandberg put it, “ran out of runway” by the time the election map expanded beyond Iowa and New Hampshire. By the end of Super Tuesday, Hillary Clinton had staked out a delegate lead that Sanders never had a realistic chance of overcoming, despite notable victories later on in states like Michigan and Wisconsin.

Even with the nomination clearly out of reach, the Sanders 2016 digital and field organizing teams continued to develop and refine their tactics. Those efforts will mostly be streamlined in the new campaign.

Sandberg estimates that the Vermont independent’s decentralized volunteer army ended up knocking on 5 million doors and sending out 10 million peer-to-peer texts by the end of the 2016 cycle.

The key, Sandberg said, is in asking supporters to do more than donate and talk up the candidate on social media.

“I think many campaigns see their supporters as an ATM or a source of likes and shares and not as an integral part of the campaign,” she said. “We are going to ask a lot of people who believe in Bernie and who also want us to ask them to do things. They want to be asked to participate in a deeper way.”


20 months until the elections, and campaign volunteers are organizing. 🙂


After having organized in 2016, 2017, & 2018. The head start Bernie has here as compared to his opponents volunteers is not discussed enough.



The women coming on board include: René Spellman, deputy campaign manager, a Bernie 2016 alumna who has also worked in the Obama White House; Analilia Mejia, political director, a union organizer who was honored by President Obama as a “Champion of Change”; Sarah Badawi, deputy political director, previously the legislative affairs director for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee; Claire Sandberg, national organizing director, a Bernie 2016 alumna and previously deputy campaign manager for Abdul El-Sayed in Michigan; Dr. Heather Gautney, deputy director of policy, formerly a senior policy advisor on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee and a researcher for Bernie 2016; Arianna Jones, communications director, a Bernie 2016 alumna with experience leading media strategy for progressive clients; Sarah Ford, deputy communications director, a Bernie 2016 alumna who served as the communications director for Cynthia Nixon’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign in New York; Briahna Joy Gray, national press secretary, a former attorney and senior politics editor at The Intercept; Georgia Parke, senior social media strategist, who worked in Sen. Sanders’ Senate office since 2016; and Robin Curran, digital fundraising director, formerly email director at the Democratic National Committee.


The campaign says that now, every single one of its teams — management, political, policy, organizing, communications, advance, digital, and fundraising — has women, and predominantly women of color, in leadership positions. Overall, the national leadership team is around 70% women.


Stacey Abrams needs to take this into account before accepting any VP offer from Biden


Consider the collateral damage done by the bi-partisan effort push in the 1980’s led by the bi-partisan tag team of Senator Strom Thurmond and Senator Joe Biden to criminalize drug abuse under the guise of ‘getting tough on crime’.

As recounted in a devastating Biden profile by Andrew Cockburn in Harper’s, the Senators from South Carolina and Delaware crafted the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which, “among other repressive measures, abolished parole for federal prisoners and cut the amount of time by which sentences could be reduced for good behavior.”

Thurmond and Biden followed that up by cheerleading for “the passage of the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act and its 1988 follow-on, which cumulatively introduced mandatory sentences for drug possession,” recounts Cockburn.

Cockburn reminds his readers that “Biden later took pride in reminding audiences that ‘through the leadership of Senator Thurmond, and myself, and others,’ Congress had passed a law mandating a five-year sentence, with no parole, for anyone caught with a piece of crack cocaine ‘no bigger than [a] quarter.’”

“That is, they created the infamous disparity in penalties between those caught with powder cocaine (white people) and those carrying crack (black people),” writes Cockburn. “Biden also unblushingly cited his and Thurmond’s leading role in enacting laws allowing for the execution of drug dealers convicted of homicide, and expanding the practice of civil asset forfeiture, law enforcement’s plunder of property belonging to people suspected of crimes, even if they are neither charged nor convicted.”

This shift in Federal policy was mirrored at the local and state levels of government with an anti-drug hysteria. New Jersey saw its prison incarceration rate go from under 100 per 100,000 in the early 1980s, to close to 400 per 100,000 by the late 1990s. It’s now on a downward trajectory, but the socio-economic damage endures to this day.

By 2010, this strategy resulted in the United States having the highest incarceration rate in the world with close to 2.4 million mostly men of color incarcerated on local, county, state and federal prisons. Another almost 7 million were tethered to some form of post-prison supervision like parole and probation.

Subsequent scholarship has documented the devastating consequences of this ‘crime -fighting’ strategy that are of such a scale that it would not be over wrought to describe it as a crime against humanity, one that continues to be perpetrated to this day.


Biden has got some serious sexist/racist stink on him, too.


Buttigieg definitely has the potential to take some voters from both Bernie and Beto.


In this strange and unsettled political moment, one of the most unlikely Democratic presidential candidates of all is Pete Buttigieg. He’s the mayor of a midsize city — South Bend, Ind. — checks in at a ripe 37 years of age, and is also openly gay.

Yet in recent days, Buttigieg has had surprising success breaking through the din as the presidential field’s voice of the millennial generation. Buttigieg has struck an earnest and authentic tone on big policy and moral questions, defending the Green New Deal as correct in the scale of its ambitions, and claiming that the way to win moderate voters isn’t to project squishy centrism but rather to offer progressive solutions to real-world problems.

Buttigieg recently had a big viral moment in the wake of the New Zealand mosque massacre, when he released a brief but powerful letter to his city’s Muslim residents, informing them that the city supports and loves them, and that they have an “equal claim on the blessings of life in this community.”


He’s got 20 months to prove his cred.


Beto and Biden are competing for the Obama vote. Biden as his right hand man, Beto as his reincarnation.

I’m not as anti-Obama as the article’s author, but that halo on Obama is definitely tarnished.


Let’s remember what the left critique of Obama’s administration is. Leftists argue, roughly, that while Obama came in with lofty promises of “hope” and “change,” the change was largely symbolic rather than substantive, and he failed to stand up for progressive values or fight for serious shifts in U.S. policy. He deported staggering numbers of immigrants, let Wall Street criminals off the hook, failed to take on (and now proudly boasts of his support for) the fossil fuel industry, sold over $100 billion in arms to the brutal Saudi government, killed American citizens with drones (and then made sickening jokes about it), killed lots more non-American citizens with drones (including Yemenis going to a wedding) and then misled the public about it, promised “the most transparent administration ever” and then was “worse than Nixon” in his paranoia about leakers, pushed a market-friendly healthcare plan based on conservative premises instead of aiming for single-payer, and showered Israel with both public support and military aid even as it systematically violated the human rights of Palestinians (Here, for example, is Haaretz: “Unlike [George W.] Bush, who gave Israel’s Iron Dome system a frosty response, Obama has led the way in funding and supporting the research, development and production of the Iron Dome”). Obama’s defenders responded to every single criticism by insisting that Obama had his hands tied by a Republican congress, but many of the things Obama did were freely chosen. In education policy, he hired charterization advocate Arne Duncan and pushed a horrible “dog-eat-dog” funding system called “Race To The Top.” Nobody forced him to hire Friedmanite economists like Larry Summers, or actual Republicans like Robert Gates, or to select middle-of-the-road judicial appointees like Elena Kagan and Merrick Garland. Who on Earth picks Rahm Emanuel, out of every person in the world, to be their chief of staff?


Geitner was one of his first picks. He wore the playbook on selling as a progressive, governing as a neolibcon.

Spell correct isn’t very political.




Then, there’s Amy and Beto. They are at once the most modern and most conventional of the families running for president in 2020. They are pioneers of social media, broadcasting much of their lives in real time; affluent, white and traditional — the political equivalent of “The Truman Show.” They captured the hearts and minds of the left in their 2018 run for the Senate, but now, Beto won’t call himself a progressive. Amy, before putting her career on the back burner for her husband, ran a charter school.

Critics are asking whether Beto has benefited from having a rich father-in-law, and paint him as “privileged”; the kind of bro-philosopher who would take an emo road trip away from his family to try to decide if he’d like to spend more time with them or run for office; and the kind of presidential candidate who would have his wife sit, silently gazing at him, for the entirety of his 31/2-minute announcement video.

In truth, even though Amy is fully on board, this isn’t the life she would have chosen.


Is Amy boy-toy’s rich wife? Oh, and she ran a charter school? Barfo on him!




This narrative by Nathaniel Rich is a work of history, addressing the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989: the decisive decade when humankind first came to a broad understanding of the causes and dangers of climate change. Complementing the text is a series of aerial photographs and videos, all shot over the past year by George Steinmetz. With support from the Pulitzer Center, this two-part article is based on 18 months of reporting and well over a hundred interviews. It tracks the efforts of a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians to raise the alarm and stave off catastrophe. It will come as a revelation to many readers — an agonizing revelation — to understand how thoroughly they grasped the problem and how close they came to solving it.


It was a very sad day for me when Reagan ripped the solar panels off the WH roof.

The White House itself once harvested the power of the sun. On June 20, 1979, the Carter administration installed 32 panels designed to harvest the sun’s rays and use them to heat water.

Here is what Carter predicted at the dedication ceremony: “In the year 2000 this solar water heater behind me, which is being dedicated today, will still be here supplying cheap, efficient energy…. A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people.”

in 1986 the Reagan administration quietly dismantled the White House solar panel installation while resurfacing the roof. “Hey! That system is working. Why don’t you keep it?” recalls mechanical engineer Fred Morse, now of Abengoa Solar, who helped install the original solar panels as director of the solar energy program during the Carter years and then watched as they were dismantled during his tenure in the same job under Reagan. “Hey! This whole [renewable] R&D program is working, why don’t you keep it?”




And yet, the footage found its way out of Afghanistan, and the Marine Corps has fought to keep it under wraps.

The Corps has good reason.

The brass covets images of fresh-faced grunts handing coloring books to kids with a wink and a wave, along with Marines parroting the Pentagon’s vague and confident optimism of elusive victory to come.

Lagoze had marching orders to deliver such video.

But the rest of the war unspooled in spurts of gore and mind-bending boredom over eight months, much of it recorded by Lagoze and his fellow cameraman Justin Loya while assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, in 2011. In one of the few title cards at the beginning of the film, he announces: “We filmed what they wanted, but then we kept shooting.”

The documentary, which premieres in select cities Friday, is a patchwork, narrative-free dreamscape of a film. There are no voice-overs and few hints of the mission assigned to the Marines in the sand-swept villages around Kajaki in Afghanistan’s perpetually violent Helmand province.

In one scene, a Marine huffs hash smoke out of a Pringles can bong in a flash of ingenuity. In another, a grunt brandishes a pistol at four children riding donkeys so he can search them, roaring that he’s looking for the Taliban. Then he smiles. “I’m just kidding, here, chocolate,” the Marine jokes.

Other footage captures the confusing bedlam of firefights, including the adrenaline climb-down lulls rarely seen in sanitized clips prized by cable news.

Those snippets — distributed by public affairs troops like Lagoze as fair-use video — are frantic yet distant from the end product of violence, like a horror movie that never shows the monster.


Saw one clip where they mistakenly bombed a shop and the owner was dead.


Here is a surprise from Kentucky:

Harnessing the sun in coal country

Though solar power may seem better suited for the flat deserts of the Southwest, RH Group has decided that moving beyond coal is critical for its survival. Ryan Johns, the company’s vice president of business development, credits coal with powering the industrial revolution and making possible many of the machines we use today. He also knows the reality of a finite resource. Made of fossils millions of years old, coal isn’t being replaced by more fossils once it’s dug out of the ground. Coal mining, particularly strip mining, also can significantly mar the rugged beauty of nearby mountaintops and contaminate waterways with runoff from the work site.

By investing in a renewable energy project, Johns hopes to keep RH Group competitive in today’s economy and save jobs in a rural part of the country that most renewable energy companies have ignored. Construction on the solar project has yet to begin, and the company has a fight ahead of it with the state government, but Johns is optimistic it’ll succeed. “It’s not about renewables versus coal,” he says. “This is about doing what is right and taking a resource that has already been used [coal] and repurposing the land to keep creating jobs and keep producing energy for our country.”

Wanna bet that Republicans will find a way to screw this up…even if it means costing the state jobs?


Moved this question to the afternoon thread.

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