HomeUncategorized3/20 News Roundup & Open Thread – Sanders Pledges To Ban Fracking If Elected President, Another Guilty Verdict for Monsanto & More

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Virginia Lawlerwi60Torabspolarbear4WindDancer13 Recent comment authors

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Kos’s “sense” of his poll that had Bernie in the lead with 38 and Warren, Harris, and Beto trailing far behind at 12, 11, and 10. We get Bernie with virulent supporters, we get the stench of the establishment (really Bernie is more establishment than Beto?), we get pronounced hatred of Beto on twitter (I’ve seen Beto attacks also coming from supporters of the female candidates for his “white male privilege.”). No pronounced hatred of Bernie on twitter of course. And how much does twitter move actual voters?
Finally, how does this poll suggest that Beto’s threat to Bernie is real? Beto went up from 4 to 10. Biden who had 8 was omitted from the latest poll. Could a big chunk of that rise be coming from second choice Biden voters? After all their lanes are much closer. Also Harris went down from 15 to 11. Her lane is also closer to Beto’s than Bernie’s is. Buttigieg is probably more of a threat to Bernie than Beto is. He went from 0 to 6. Doubtful that many of his supporters were former Biden people.

My sense is that, broadly speaking, Bernie, with his universal name ID, has little room to grow. Meanwhile, the threats to his candidacy are twofold: 1) Elizabeth Warren matches up ideologically, and can be a source of defections if he falters (or if his more virulent supporters drive people away), and 2) the nonideological part of Bernie’s base, those looking for a fresh new face untainted by the stench of the establishment, are favorably predisposed toward Beto (and Buttigieg could catch sustained fire). Those of you on political Twitter might have noticed that Bernie supporters have an especially pronounced hatred for Beto. Their tactics might be unproductive (hurling invective at detractors wins exactly zero new votes), but they’re not wrong to sense the threat. This poll further suggests that threat is real.


Who’s paying Kos this election?


Kos only runs these polls to collect the email addresses which he turns around and sells to groups like the DCCC.

Virginia Lawler
Virginia Lawler

I think we need to be very concerned about “if his more virulent supporters drive people away” now that I’ve seen some of their many–and awful–posts on another site. I certainly agree that “their tactics might be unproductive (hurling invective at detractors wins exactly zero new votes.” I was profoundly turned off–1000% turned off–by what I read. I have no intension to return to the site, which is too bad in one way because some of the other writing was informative. I imagine uncommitted folks who are just browsing around as they consider candidates to support would also be completely repelled by what they find, and subsequently turned off Bernie, erroneously believing he must condone the harsh “style” (to put it kindly) of such writers, who I do think are probably sincere in their support of him. I wish I could think of something–anything–that could be done about this because I think they are dangerous to Sen. Sanders’ success. And, I think what’s out there breeds more like it, or worse. And, it seems clear they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong, or dangerous to Bernie. So…how to get them to tone down without offending them and losing their support for Bernie?? It’s beyond me,
and I do hope others of you can do something….



It seems now that Joe Biden is almost certainly running for president. He has told supporters he is planning a run and is trying to raise money. It is unclear how he will pitch himself, though based on his talk about restoring moderation and respect, it seems as if he will try to run as Obama’s heir. Biden has previously said that “[Bill] Clinton got it right” with his 1992 platform and that the “Third Way” “worked” and is “where the American people are at,” rejecting “class warfare and populism.” Personally, I do not think this kind of politics can be defended morally. Anyone who thinks about the lives of debtors, prisoners, and victims of war, will see something grotesque in Biden’s amiable smile.

But beyond the question of whether it is right to be this way, it is doubtful whether it is even pragmatic. Perhaps in 1992 this would have been good Democratic politics. But in 2020, Democratic primary decisions need to be made on the basis of whether they will help defeat Donald Trump. Trump is a man who won’t hesitate to run to a candidate’s left when convenient: he will have no trouble criticizing Biden’s Iraq war vote, ties to banks, and tough on crime posturing. And Biden will have a difficult time responding, because these charges are true. Trump won in part because people really hate D.C. insiders, and nobody better embodies the term than Joe Biden. He came to the Senate during the Nixon administration, and his hands are all over every bad and off-putting Democratic compromise of the last 40 years. Inevitably, Biden will run as the pragmatic candidate, but in practice, against Trump, he may be disastrous.

Ultimately, the Biden approach to politics is a bankrupt one. If you’re all smiles and flattery, you are not really committed to a set of progressive political values. We do not need leaders who want to be everybody’s friend, we need leaders who know who their friends are and in whose interest power needs to be exercised. You may like Joe, but he’s not a political leader. You can’t be everybody’s chum.

Some of Joe’s friends: Jesse, Henry, and Dick


I’m already so over Biden’s phony bonhomie.

I read yesterday that he may be priming to announce his running candidate right around the same time as his candidacy. That made me wonder if he’s considering Stacy Abrams who is now with CAP (Neera Tanden), as well as the Council of Foreign Relations, and who has also put some feelers out of her own. And, obviously, she would fill in some glaring holes in a Biden run re: identity issues and a lot of people might fall for that.

As the Democratic field grows, Stacey Abrams weighs a presidential race

Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, sat down last week with my colleague Steven Ginsberg, The Washington Post’s national editor, and talked about the choices, the timetable and what kind of presidential campaign she would run. If she decides to make the leap, the campaign would talk about race and identity, organizing, and voter engagement and voter suppression, among other things.




On the contrary, the CNN report reveals Bernie to be a remarkable outlier in a political field crowded with corporate mercenaries. Bernie has been fighting against corporate domination and the exploitation of working people his entire life. We hardly needed more proof, but here it was anyway.

Bernie has long backed ambitious pro-working-class policies even when they were considered fringe, convinced that the public’s appetite for fairness would eventually override its pessimism about what’s politically possible.

In the Democratic Party presidential primary race, that history sets Bernie apart.

When Bernie was in his thirties, he was attempting to build an independent political party whose purpose, he said, was “to create a situation in which the ordinary working people take what rightfully belongs to them.”

When Kamala Harris was in her thirties, she was a prosecutor in the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, advancing a sterling political career by sending people to jail.

When Beto O’Rourke was in his thirties, he was positioning himself as a social liberal while gentrifying low-income Latino neighborhoods in El Paso, calling for “better checks on collective bargaining in the public sector,” and wooing wealthy Republican backers.

When Elizabeth Warren was in her thirties, she was a Republican. She only changed party affiliation when she became concerned that GOP’s inattention to the optimal conditions of market competition would imperil capitalism, an economic system she cherishes.

When Joe Biden was in his thirties, he was fighting against efforts to racially integrate public schools. Not yet a politician, Biden was a staunch opponent of busing, calling it “the single most devastating issue that could occur to Delaware.” On the subject of racism, Biden added, “I don’t feel responsible for my father’s sins — only for my sins.”

In contrast to young Biden, young Bernie was an activist fighting against racial discrimination in education.


Interesting interview with Buttigieg. I do think he has the potential to peel some votes away from both Bernie and Beto. He is not in the M4A camp though. He calls it M4A who want it. Buttigieg does see single payer as the goal. But do you get to that goal quicker by calling for a half measure or by calling for what you actually want in the end and then compromising? In any case, neither is going to get through the Senate any time soon without abolishing the fillibuster.


Ryan Lizza: In 2000, while in high school, you won a national essay contest, and the subject of your essay was the bravery of Bernie Sanders’ running for congress as a socialist. Are you a socialist or a capitalist?

Peter Buttigieg: I believe in capitalism as long as there’s a strong rule of law around it. We’re dealing with a whole [older] generation that was really shaped by a Cold War environment where socialism was treated as the same thing as communism. And the opposite of that was democracy and capitalism. So to be for socialism was to be for communism and against democracy and capitalism. Now you see how these things are really shaking loose from each other in a lot of ways. They’ve become unbundled. The big question is what you prioritize, and I prioritize democracy. People are trying to make sense of the distance between socialism in Canada, say, and Denmark versus Venezuela. And the answer is democracy.

RL: What did you admire about Sanders back then when you were in high school?

PB: The fact that he said what he was for. It was that moment, coming out of the late nineties, when it felt like there was a lot of opportunistic sensibility by politicians around what they believe, even more than usual. So it was really intriguing to see somebody like him who embraced this label which could have been political suicide.

RL: When you were in high school in the nineties, were you turned off by Bill Clinton because of his third way, centrist approach to politics?

PB: Yeah, I definitely grew up in a family that was skeptical of that. There was progress overall in the economy, but I think that period also laid the groundwork for where we are now, where we’ve gotten tremendous growth in the economy and tremendous growth in economic inequality. I think it was also just a function of living in a very conservative era, when even Democrats, when elected, were compelled to do conservative things.

RL: In looking at ways to do Medicare for All there are two big options. One is to—for lack of a better word—force everyone into Medicare. The other is to create it as an option where the goal would be that everyone would choose it over time. You’re in the latter camp. What made you choose that path?

PB: As a mayor, my instinct is to really think about how to get something done and not to make the promise unless you have some view of the pathway. You don’t have to have it all figured out, but you have to have a pathway there. And when we’re talking about this big part of the American economy, and we were thinking about what’s at stake, I think any politician who lets the phrase “Medicare for All” escape their lips also has to have some account of how you get from point A to point B.

And to me the public option is the way to do it. I’ve been calling it “Medicare for all who want it.” What you’re doing is taking a version of Medicare and you’re putting it out there, and then if people like me are right, then it will be not only a benefit in terms of getting more people covered, but also being more efficient and cost effective than the corporate patchwork system we have today. Then this should prove to be a very natural glide path to single payer as more and more people buy in.


I hope that all these people that say they want these great outcomes for us eventually back off and support Sanders.


I’m not going to start worrying until I see 1st quarter fund raising numbers.


H/T to Don Midwest for bringing this general topic up:


Why climate action is the antithesis of white supremacy

Behind the urgency of climate action is the understanding that everything is connected; behind white supremacy is an ideology of separation.

Of separation as the idea that human beings are divided into races, and those in one race have nothing in common with those in others. Of separation as the idea that though white people have overrun the globe, nonwhite people should stay out of Europe, North America, and now even New Zealand and Australia, two places where white settlers came relatively recently to already inhabited places – as a fantasy of resegregating the world. Of a lot of ideas and ideals of masculinity taken to a monstrous extreme – as ideas of disconnection, of taking matters into your own hands, of feeling no empathy and exhibiting no kindness, of asserting yourself as having the right to dominate others even unto death. And of course, of guns as the symbols and instruments of this self-definition.

It’s no accident that climate denial is integral to rightwing thinking, that Republicans in the US have been freaking out about the Green New Deal, that maximizing fossil fuel development and profit seems to be a cornerstone of their libertarian-capitalist ideology. To acknowledge that everything is connected is to acknowledge that our actions have consequences and therefore responsibilities they are unwilling to shoulder. Also that the solutions to climate change require cooperative work at all levels from local energy transition to national policies that stop subsidizing fossil fuels to international agreements to set emissions goals.



So I saw Iraq trending on twitter and took a peek…

Let’s just say that I’ve already shared the following article twice. It’s amazing how gullible and/or misinformed so many people still are on this 16th anniversary of the U.S. attack on Iraq.

Lie by Lie: A Timeline of How We Got Into Iraq

the blame for Iraq does not end with Cheney, Bush, or Rumsfeld. Nor is it limited to the intelligence operatives who sat silent as the administration cherry-picked its case for war, or with those, like Colin Powell or Hans Blix, who, in the name of loyalty or statesmanship, did not give full throat to their misgivings. It is also shared by far too many in the Fourth Estate, most notably the New York Times‘ Judith Miller. But let us not forget that it lies, inescapably, with we the American people, who, in our fear and rage over the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, allowed ourselves to be suckered into the most audacious bait and switch of all time.

(back when Mother Jones was a force for good, i.e. before Clara wrecked it)




Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand D-NY is laying out aggressive stances on a slate of progressive issues as she introduces herself to Iowans on her first swing through the state after officially announcing her candidacy this past weekend.

The two-term senator and attorney, Gillibrand told dozens of people crowded into a bar in Davenport Tuesday night that climate change is “the greatest threat to humanity that exists.”

To address the threats of warming temperatures and rising seas, she voiced her support for the Green New Deal, an agressive plan by congressional Democrats to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade.

“When John F. Kennedy said, ‘we’re putting a man on the moon in the next ten years not because it’s easy but because it’s hard,’ he didn’t know if we could get the man on the moon in ten years,” she said. “We don’t know if we can get to net zero carbon emissions in ten years, but we should certainly try.”

Gillibrand even called for going above and beyond the Green New Deal, which proposes considerable investments and committment from the federal government to expand renewable energy, help communities become climate-resilient and overhaul the nation’s building stock, all while creating jobs and economic development.

“We, to deal with such a big problem, we need the kind of solutions that are as bold and as big as the problem that it is,” she said. “I believe the Green New Deal is a very good start but it’s not enough.”


So Bernie got almost twice as many donors.


Beto O’Rourke announced Wednesday that more than 128,000 donors contributed to his record breaking first day haul of $6.1 million, for an average of $47 per donation.

The former three-term El Paso congressman jumped into the presidential race last Thursday and detractors had alleged that high-dollar donors rather than a grassroots outpouring may have padded his tally.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ brought in $5.9 million during his first 24 hours last month, from 223,047 donors, with an average of $27.


And the next question (since we all remember Maddie’s dollar), is what percentage of that $6.1M is from small donors.





More intriguing, according to the Journal report, is that Biden enjoined those supporters to ask deep-pocketed donors to help him quickly raise several million dollars to stay competitive with Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke, both of whom blew away expectations and decisively shifted the media narrative in their favor by raising about $6 million in the first 24 hours of their campaigns. If he’s going to establish himself as the frontrunner to beat—as literally every Democratic primary poll suggests he is—then it would help if he could raise frontrunner-status money, too.

There are reasons to doubt that Biden can outperform Sanders and O’Rourke. His age, voting record, and centrist reputation have raised the hackles of the progressive base, and his Hamlet-on-the-Potomac act has invited scorn on Twitter. (“Wonder if establishment donors are getting tired of Biden’s dithering,” suggested writer Nathan Bernhardt.) O’Rourke and Sanders also have a distinct advantage over Biden: massive digital fundraising infrastructures, built out over previous campaigns, that allow them to quickly raise record-breaking amounts of money in short bursts.


Never Trumper Jennifer Rubin writes her 100th column trashing Bernie since he announced. Compares Sirota to Sarah Sanders and Stephen Miller. She also lies about the Guardian articles being after his relationship with Bernie.


In a similar vein, a veteran of multiple Democratic campaigns and progressive causes observed that Sirota’s reputation is unique even in the hard-hitting world of social media political operators. “He’s the perfect storm: self-righteousness, ideological zealotry, and bullying obnoxiousness.”

At a time when Democrats are decrying President Trump and his band of cronies for polluting political discourse, pitting Americans against one another and seeking to destroy political enemies by character assassination, Sanders’s hire seems decidedly off-key. Rather than condemn Trump’s tactics and appeal to voters’ desire for something better, more high-minded, Sanders suggests through this hire that his operation will be just as mean-spirited as the current White House’s. The prospect of replacing Sarah Sanders or Stephen Miller with Sirota doesn’t exactly fill one with joy.

How important is this episode? It may consume mainstream media coverage and, once more, put Sanders — who previously had to deal with complaints of harassment from women during his 2016 campaign — on defense. Moreover, it may sit poorly with engaged Democrats who see this behavior as detrimental to the goal of beating Trump. Sanders, it seems, is once more a divider, not a uniter.


No surprise that she writes for the Washington Post and appears regularly on MSNBClinton.

Virginia Lawler
Virginia Lawler

I’ve read and heard Jennifer Rubin over a long period of time, many times in the past year. She is a conservative, but, she has also been a consistent, serious thoughtful thorn re Trump, which is good. She’s careful to attribute “things” in quotes, as she did above. I know nothing about Sirota except what I’ve read in the past few days by various writers, N-O-N-E of which was positive. I truly hope we will see evidence soon of why he is a positive addition to Bernie’s staff, not someone who generates negative coverage, puts Bernie on the defense and sucks out air that could otherwise be used for positive information about the campaign..


Neera Tanden could only tweet this due the fact that she suffers from tunnel vision.



Because she has no shame. And because the Clintonistas haven’t gotten over 2016.


Refresher course on Joe “Anita Hill” Biden:





Clearly to troll Mousetits. /s


The first part is mostly covering Eleanor Goldfield’s entry into activism. Some really good stuff starts around 23:30: “Art is sort of a backdoor into people’s minds.”

Some things to think about when dealing with people who have opposing views. Think about it: How often have you changed your mind about a topic because someone shouted at you?


Very cool.





I often wonder how people in this country would feel if they had to worry all the time about a missile landing next to them.

People here so often seem to live in la-la land, oblivious to what their military is doing to other people around the world.


Maybe Jennifer Rubin can comment on this hire


Bernie Sanders is preparing for the coming onslaught of attacks by hiring someone who knows the material best. The Vermont senator’s campaign is bringing on a veteran of Hillary Clinton’s research department who helped pull together the former secretary of State’s opposition-research book on Sanders in 2016, according to Democrats familiar with the decision.

Tyson Brody, Clinton’s deputy research director during the last election cycle, will direct Sanders’s research operation, Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir confirmed to Intelligencer on Wednesday. Brody, who worked on Clinton’s self-research as well as the Sanders oppo files last cycle, is the first Democrat to go from Clinton’s camp to Sanders’s 2020 campaign after their bitter primary fight.

“This campaign will comport itself according to the values of Senator Sanders, which means we will not engage in mudslinging or character assassination. That said, one of the reasons we hired Tyson is to prepare this campaign for whatever false accusations and allegations are leveled against us,” Shakir said in a statement. “Most importantly, Tyson’s work on this campaign will help us educate voters about the issues, policies and stances that the Senator has taken over the course of a lifetime fighting for working people.”


I will beat Jennifer with a comment. Color me paranoid but I wouldn’t touch anybody from the Clinton campaign with a 10 foot pole. Especially one who was involved in oppo research.


Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer.


I think it’s a great hire. He knows all the attack lines.



Elizabeth Warren took aim last week at another pillar of Wall Street’s empire: the rental housing market. In a portion of her updated version of her ambitious 2018 housing bill, Warren proposed a check on the unregulated takeover of rental housing by the country’s biggest investment firms. Instead of allowing Wall Street-backed developers to flip any distressed and foreclosed mortgage into a single-family rental unit, her bill would require the government to help keep the majority of these homes in the possession of individuals, community groups, and affordable-housing developers by setting aside a supply of mortgages that Wall Street can’t touch.

Warren’s bill seeks to chip away at predatory mortgage-flipping practices, by requiring the Federal Housing Authority to sell a minimum of 75 percent of single-family properties acquired through foreclosure to owner-occupant buyers or to community groups who will rehab the properties and sell them to owner-occupants. The bill also puts limitations on the sale of non-performing loans—those that a borrower has failed to make payments on—by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and requires greater transparency with borrowers. And, it offers support for families whose housing wealth was destroyed by the financial crisis by investing $2 billion in borrowers with negative equity on their mortgages, predominantly in suburban and rural communities.


Joe Biden Bragged About His “Progressive” Record (While Keeping a Straight Face)


Biden a progressive???? Then Trumpcorp hasn’t lied during his presidency once.


She can’t hide it forever. We’ll see her large to small donor donations ratio in April.

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