HomeUncategorized4/11 News Roundup & Open Thread – Sanders Relaunches Medicare-For-All Health Care Legislation, Julian Assange Arrested & More
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Marquette University poll.



Bernie Sanders, who made history with his 2016 presidential campaign as the first Jewish American to win a presidential primary and receive an electoral vote for president, is bizarrely being targeted with Facebook ads by The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Certainly, it seems at best counterintuitive for the pro-Israel lobby to be working against a candidate who could become the first Jewish president in U.S. history. As The Intercept reports, the only other Democrat AIPAC is targeting with Facebook ads is Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has come under fire for being openly critical of Israel’s occupation and supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protest movement.

As the Israeli government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, a man who has openly sided with U.S. Republicans, tacks even further toward the hard right, the time is ripe for an open, multi-faceted debate about the U.S.’ approach to Israel, a country that has for many years received seemingly blind bipartisan support. Sanders isn’t the only 2020 candidate who’s been critical of Israel’s recently re-elected leader, but it can be argued, he’s taken the lead among prominent Democrats in discussing the Mideast nation’s increasingly hard-line approach toward Palestine.

Perhaps with a Jewish candidate as a current front-runner for the 2020 democratic candidacy and a Republican president who has moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognized the disputed Golan Heights as part of Israel, the conversation is inevitable. Lucky for Democrats, who, according to a 2018 poll, have become increasingly sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians, the man at the center of this debate at the very least has a more nuanced position on the issue than many of his Democratic peers. When you think of it in these terms, the decision made by AIPAC—which, among others critical of Israel’s often brutal actions against Palestinians, has targeted anti-occupation activists—to single out the democratic front-runner starts to make a lot of sense.



Elizabeth Warren, the economic policy pacesetter in the Democratic presidential primary field, wants to raise $1 trillion in government revenue from a new 7% surtax on profits of the largest corporations.

What the Massachusetts senator dubs the “Real Corporate Profits Tax” would apply to worldwide profits exceeding $100 million. The purpose, she says, is to bolster government coffers by preventing corporate giants from exploiting loopholes to avoid federal taxation following the large tax cut enacted by President Donald Trump and a GOP-controlled Congress in December 2017.

“It will make our biggest and most profitable corporations pay more and ensure that none of them can ever make billions and pay zero taxes again,” Warren wrote in a Medium post published Thursday morning. “To raise the revenue we need — and ensure every corporation pays their fair share — we need a new kind of tax that big companies can’t get around.”



ELIZABETH WARREN IS unveiling a novel new way to tax corporations: Take them at their word.

Due to the vagaries of American corporate accounting, companies routinely tell investors on conference calls that they made billions in profit over the previous quarter, then turn around and tell the IRS that, actually, they made no money at all, so don’t owe any taxes. Warren’s plan would tax those companies on the profits they claim publicly.

The proposal, called the “Real Corporate Profits Tax,” would only apply to companies that report more than $100 million in worldwide profits, and every dollar above $100 million would be taxed at 7 percent.

Warren’s new corporate profits tax plan is the latest in a series of sweeping, detailed policy proposals. Her platform includes a plan to introduce universal childcare, which would be paid for with a new tax on multimillionaires, breaking up big tech monopolies, and combating corruption in government, among other positions that have largely been adopted by Democratic contenders, such as Medicare for All.

In a Medium post outlining the plan, the lawmaker explained the reasoning behind creating a new marginal tax: Raising the corporate tax rate alone isn’t enough when the corporate tax code is “so littered” with loopholes. “We need corporate tax reform, but we also need to recognize that enormous companies with armies of lawyers and accountants will always try to exploit any deductions and exemptions that remain,” wrote Warren, a Massachusetts senator and presidential candidate.

“To raise the revenue we need — and ensure every corporation pays their fair share — we need a new kind of tax that big companies can’t get around.”


Enten and Cillizza actually have Bernie tied for first with Biden and Harris finally dropping to third



Mangy Blue Dogs


Utah representative Ben McAdams, a Democrat, warned ominously this week that a “day of reckoning is coming”. It’s the kind of sober language typically used to describe a climate crisis which – if we continue on with business as usual – could end human civilization as we know it. McAdams, though, was describing a decidedly less grave threat, if it can be considered a threat at all: the federal deficit.

He and 26 other members of the so-called Blue Dog Coalition – centrist and fiscally-conservative Democrats – are pushing for a constitutional amendment that would prohibit the federal government from running a deficit if there isn’t a war or recession happening. Social security and Medicare would be spared from the brutal spending cuts the amendment would bring about … but that’s it.

At a time when scientists are calling for governments to adopt a “wartime footing” to address the existential threat of climate change, the proposal isn’t just a stupid play into Republican hands. It’s climate denial.

McAdams’ proposal emerged after a lengthy fight between those so-called moderate Democrats and the 90 member Congressional Progressive Caucus over a proposed budget measure, which House Democratic leadership moved to cancel a vote on Tuesday afternoon amidst rising tensions. Progressive wanted more domestic spending and less for our already bloated military. Moderates – radically – want to curb spending overall.

Centrist Democrats, meanwhile, paint themselves as the fiscally responsible wing of their party out to curb waste on both sides of the aisle. Yet what’s so responsible about kneecapping the government’s ability to avert $32bn worth of infrastructure damage, $118bn from sea level rise and $141bn in costs due to heat related illness, according to the National Climate Assessment?

As Republicans pick and choose when to fearmonger about the deficit, Democrats like McAdams continue to describe its growth in apocalyptic terms – all the while ignoring the actual apocalypse the climate crisis could bring about. “It is clear we are on a dangerous and unsustainable course,” he wrote in the Deseret News. “The decisions won’t be easy, but our children and our grandchildren are counting on us to make this right.”

If McAdams and other centrist Democrats were actually worried about their children and grandchildren, they’d throw out their amendment and back the Green New Deal that so many young people have rallied behind. For now, they’re more interested in screwing them over.



There are many problems with the New York Times’ approach to politics coverage (though there aren’t nearly as many problems as there are with the opinion section). It tends to cast centrist ideas as “pragmatic,” as if there’s no ideology behind centrism. It frets about civility, under the guise of hard news. It covered Alan Dershowitz not being invited to parties like four different times. Above all else, it reflects a liberal elite consensus about politics, what’s possible, and who should be taken Seriously.

One prominent politician who is squarely outside what the Times would consider Serious, or at least was for the vast majority of his career, is Bernie Sanders. It does not quite know what to do with him. It feels like the Times would rather Bernie simply go away and let sensible politicians, like Andrew Cuomo, get on with it.

One of the ways that this expresses itself is very peculiar. There have now been at least five separate instances of the Times, including four straight-news articles by two different writers and one opinion piece, writing out the way Sanders says certain words in his Brooklyn accent, as if a Brooklyn accent is most peculiar to the paper for New York City.

I wonder if perhaps the intent of this isn’t just to lightly rib a fellow New Yorker for sounding like a New Yorker, but to cast his “rants” against millionaires and billionaires as strange, or otherwise generally silly, and therefore not worth listening to. After all, those millionaires and billionaires almost certainly read the Times.

Perhaps the message is: Don’t worry, guys. It’s just some fuckin’ weird old “Brooklyn” guy talking about millionaires—you can ignore him, because he doesn’t sound like Frasier Crane.


You beat me to it! Again. 😉



Five presidential candidates will take questions from college students during back-to-back televised town halls on April 22. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg will take turns on stage for the youth-focused event in Manchester, N.H., which will air on CNN.

The Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm’s College will co-host the five-hour event, which spans from 7 p.m. to midnight.

Because Democratic National Committee rules bar candidates from appearing on stage together before the first official debates this summer, candidates will alternate on stage. The town halls will be moderatedP by CNN anchors Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo, with 500 young voters in the audience.

Each of the five candidates will get an hour to make their case and take questions from young voters. The town halls will begin with Klobuchar, followed by Warren, Sanders and Harris. Buttigieg will be the final candidate to take the stage at 11 p.m.



President Sanders.” A once-inconceivable phrase is suddenly far more realistic these days. Bernie Sanders still faces stiff primary competition and the prospect of a bruising general election campaign against Donald Trump. Yet with Sanders the current Democratic frontrunner, his presidency is a far more likely prospect than it ever was at any point in 2016.

But if Sanders makes it to the White House—to the horror of the uber-wealthy and political conservatives everywhere—he’s going to have to bring an entire administration with him. Who might be included in it? The American Left has never had to face such a question before, because it has been so distant from power. Unlike past presidents, Sanders does not have the luxury of choosing from an inexhaustible list of allies in high office and civil society to compile his cabinet: He has very few ardent supporters within Congress and his ideological brethren in elite Washington policy-making circles are few and far between.

Should he win the presidency, expect that a Sanders administration would be composed of a mix of former officeholders, think tank employees, and political allies who receive posts in order to prepare them for higher office in the future. (There may be particular emphasis on the latter, since Sanders lacks an obvious heir to his movement once he exits the political scene.) Who in particular though? What could such a cabinet plausibly look like, given the currently available range of candidates? Here are a few speculations and suggestions.


“think tank employees”?? I’d certainly hope they’d be from the handful of half-decent think tanks at least.



Excellent live panel on Assange. Kim dot com and others.


I blogged it. four news articles plus a bret stephens that do the weird Bernie accent thing https://t.co/Fcm72yNmzV

— libbywatson(@libbycwatson) April 11, 2019

Personally, I love Bernie’s accent.

Why Is the New York Times So Weird About Bernie’s Accent?

One prominent politician who is squarely outside what the Times would consider Serious, or at least was for the vast majority of his career, is Bernie Sanders. It does not quite know what to do with him. It feels like the Times would rather Bernie simply go away and let sensible politicians, like Andrew Cuomo, get on with it.

One of the ways that this expresses itself is very peculiar. There have now been at least five separate instances of the Times, including four straight-news articles by two different writers and one opinion piece, writing out the way Sanders says certain words in his Brooklyn accent, as if a Brooklyn accent is most peculiar to the paper for New York City.



One difference that they don’t mention is that there is some stuff that you can’t use reconciliation for so it’s not as drastic as getting rid of the fillibuster.


Koger’s objection, which lots of Senate rules wonks share, is that at least when you change the rules, you change them for everyone. Simply commanding the vice president to stop enforcing them creates a Senate where anything goes. “This would represent a tremendous escalation of partisanship in the Senate, and of presidential control over the Senate,” Koger says.

“If you’re going to go nuclear,” asks Georgetown’s Josh Huder, “who not just go nuclear?”

My view of this strategy is it’s an unnecessarily complicated way of trying to get rid of the filibuster. It forces you to repeatedly overrule the parliamentarian. It replaces a principled argument for majority rule with a procedural maneuver that’s hard to explain and harder to defend. And it forces you to govern through the procedural quirks of reconciliation, rather than proposing, debating, and passing bills normally. Why not just make a case, on the merits, that 51 votes should be enough to pass a bill, change the rules openly, and then operate under the clear new rules thereafter?

But what makes this path different from simply abolishing the filibuster is much less consequential than what makes it the same as abolishing the filibuster. Ultimately, either strategy turns the Senate into an institution where any piece of legislation can pass with 51 votes. And either path requires 51 senators willing to vote for either the rules change or the product of the rules change.

Sanders’s rapid evolution speaks to the reality of the institution in modern time, a reality Democrats are increasingly coming to terms with. The filibuster has gone from being rarely used to constantly applied, from being a last-ditch tool minority blocs use to protect their interests to a standard feature of partisan obstruction.

And so, in a way that would’ve been unthinkable a few short years ago, it is becoming normal for Democrats to propose abolishing it: So far, in the presidential race, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Gov. Jay Inslee, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O’Rourke have all discussed eliminating the filibuster.

So long as a 60-vote supermajority is required to pass anything major in the Senate, there is no way for anyone to pass a transformative legislative agenda. As such, a threshold question for any candidate, of either party, running on an ambitious agenda is how they plan to get around the filibuster. Now we have Sanders’s answer.



Sen. Bernie Sanders’ army of volunteers has signed up to host about 3,900 organizing parties for his presidential bid, his campaign told POLITICO.

The figure demonstrates the strength of Sanders’ volunteer operation, which includes a reported 1 million people who have agreed to rally support for his second attempt at the White House.


Not the best poll for Bernie


In a field of 24 announced and potential candidates, Biden holds the lead with 27% support among Democratic voters who are likely to attend the Iowa caucuses in February. He is followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (16%), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (9%), Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (7%), California Sen. Kamala Harris (7%), former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (6%), Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (4%), New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (3%), and former cabinet secretary Julián Castro (2%). Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, California Rep. Eric Swalwell, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang each receive 1% support from likely caucusgoers. The remaining 10 candidates earn less than 1% or were not chosen by any respondents in the poll.


Benny has a new thread up! fyi

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