HomeUncategorized5/11 News Roundup and Open Thread

79
Leave a Reply

avatar
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
Audio and Video Files
 
 
 
Other File Types
 
 
 
37 Comment threads
42 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
11 Comment authors
polarbear4WindDancer13TyrannocasterEyeRoundOzoneTom Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
polarbear4

AT A LUXURY RESORT just outside of the nation’s capital last month, around four dozen senior congressional staffers decamped for a weekend of relaxation and discussion at Salamander Resort & Spa. It was an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to come together and listen to live music from the Trailer Grass Orchestra, sip surprisingly impressive glasses of Virginia wine — and hear from health care lobbyists focused on defeating Medicare for All.

The event was hosted by a group called Center Forward and featured a lecture from industry lobbyists leading the charge on undermining progressive health care proposals. Center Forward was originally known as the Blue Dog Research Forum, a think tank affiliated with the conservative Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats; the coalition has pressed the caucus to oppose social welfare spending, taxes on the wealthy, and regulations on business.

The organization’s website is filled with bromides about giving “centrist allies the information they need to craft common sense solutions” that paper over an agenda designed to enrich powerful corporations.

…they received paid travel to attend the Center Forward retreat, including chiefs of staff to Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. The retreat included chiefs of staff to leading centrist Democrats, including Reps. Kurt Schrader D-Ore.; David Trone, D-Md.; Dan Lipinski, D-Ill.; and Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M. Officials from the Blue Dogs, Problem Solvers Caucus, and the New Democrats were also in attendance.

Unlike the previous branding of Blue Dogs, who were once billed a “big tent” designed to bring conservative ideas into the Democratic Party, the centrist push now explicitly includes Republicans. Senior aides to Reps. Sean Duffy, R-Wisc.; Rodney Davis, R-Ill.; and Will Hurd, R-Tex. attended the retreat as well.

The Ethics Committee rules bar registered lobbyists from arranging luxury travel for Congress. Although Center Forward’s board is made up almost entirely of registered corporate lobbyists, the event forms were signed by the group’s executive director, Cori Kramer, who is not a registered lobbyist — a technicality that helped elide the prohibition on lobbyist-funded travel.

humphrey

Why am I not surprised with this information considering the way Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team are treating progressives in general and those that might challenge the status quo.😒

polarbear4

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

Thanks, at least for the last link. Didn’t know what I was looking at in the first two. I have a degree in cs from the days when we wrote our programs on punch cards. Tech has left me far behind.

wi61

OH boy do I remember those days, one wrong punch on a card and it was all over, or even a bent card.

OzoneTom
OzoneTom

Ever dropped your deck and got it all mixed-up?

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

Lol

wi61

More than once

Benny

Little bit of levity…

Benny

10 Reasons Why Centrists Won’t Save Democracy

The Financial Times editorial page is ground zero for liberal panic. Last week the normally insightful Martin Wolf penned a piece offering “10 suggestions for how to build an alternative to the siren song of the strongman.” Wolf implores center-right and center-left politicians to recognize “they are in for a huge fight.”

Democracy is in grave danger from would-be despots and scoundrels on the right and the left, Wolf warns. Unfortunately, the names of these left-wing scoundrels and would-be despots are left to our imagination. Perhaps Sanders is the scoundrel and Corbyn the despot? Or the other way around? Regardless, here are ten reasons why centrists won’t save democracy.

1
Leadership
Despite railing against the siren songs of populists, Wolf starts his list by imploring centrists to be more charismatic — to “tell a good story.” Fair enough. People do love a good story. But what new stories can the centrists tell? The classics — Everything is Fine, Chill, and Neoliberalism Is Working, Just Not for You are a bit stale. A good story gives people something to believe in, so centrists are going to have to dig deep on this one. Something tells me that Joe Biden Saves The Day and Return of the Third Way won’t cut the mustard.

2
Competence
Wolf says that while the “demagogues of right and left” don’t need to bother with being competent because their power rests on being “oppositional,” centrists “need to know what they are doing” lest they make “big mistakes,” like the 2008 financial meltdown. No need to stop there! The greatest hits of liberal blunders also includes the Middle East catastrophe, crumbling public infrastructure, an out-of-control financial sector, suffocating student debt, an inhumane health care system, mass incarceration, skyrocketing inequality, a corporate-led environmental movement … Mr. Wolf is spot on here. Centrists lack competence and their tenure over the past four decades is marked by colossal errors.

3
Citizenship
We must value citizenship, Wolf says, because “without the idea that citizens come first, there can be no national community.” The only thing less clear than whatever Wolf means by “national community” is why he thinks liberals need to be reminded not to hand over the key to the city to refugees and the undocumented. Obama deported 2.5 million people during his tenure, more than the total of every twentieth-century president combined.

4
Inclusion
Wolf also urges centrists to address the issue of income inequality. No disagreement there. The divide between the richest Americans and everyone else has become so wide over the past four decades that a logarithmic scale is needed to even fit the country’s income distribution on one graph. This chasm is the direct result of policies — neoliberal globalization, deregulated financial markets, massive tax giveaways to big business and the rich — championed by liberals. So, we’ll believe centrists’ pronouncements that “inclusion matters” when they support much higher wealth taxes, shutting down tax havens, and socializing finance.

5
Economic Reform
Wolf acknowledges problems with capitalism, but says socialism is not the answer. Instead, he encourages centrist politicians to focus on “greater competition” and “better markets.” Competition, better markets, lather, rinse, repeat. Blaming wage stagnation and increased precarity on “winner take all” markets isn’t entirely wrong, but it sidesteps the concerted drive (spearheaded by centrists) of business and elites to take back the gains won by ordinary people through decades of struggle. Moreover, increased competition does nothing to change a system in which capitalists decide if, when, where, and how workers are employed.

Due to the length, part 2 is in the reply to this comment.

Benny

Part 2

6
Emphasizing the Local
Wolf encourages centrist politicians to “give communities the means to revitalize themselves.” A great hypothetical no doubt. But more often than not, liberal tools for community revitalization mean charter schools and “opportunity zones,” while demands for rent control and a living wage are roundly opposed by center-right and center-left governments. No matter. As Fight for $15 and the recent wave of teachers’ strikes demonstrate, communities increasingly aren’t waiting to be given anything. They are developing the tools and networks to win without any help from politicians on high.

7
Public Services
Challenging the libertarian ideal of a minimal state as “unworkable” and “incompatible with democracy,” Wolf says “politicians of the centre have powerful arguments in their favour when they defend the public services on which people depend.” They certainly do, which is why it is puzzling that so few centrists actually defend them. Instead, they’ve overseen decades of austerity, resulting in the neglect and dismantlement of public services.

8
Globalization and Global Cooperation
Third Way advocates such as Wolf are deeply disturbed by Trump’s attacks on the “stable and predictable rules governing [global] interactions” that have prevailed since the Second World War. Trump is deeply disturbing, but he’s also the result of a profound crisis of legitimacy for the global system that centrists built. The rules of global capitalism need to be rewritten, not rebooted.

9
Looking Ahead
If centrist politicians are to regain hegemony, Wolf declares, they must look ahead, crafting the terms of debate on climate change, artificial intelligence, and the rise of Asia. If they don’t “the Chinese party-state” will. Fearmongering is a classic move, but the horse is out of the barn for the liberal status quo. Young people everywhere are setting their own terms, crafting a new consensus that puts people over profit.

10
Complexity
Humorist H.L. Mencken said: “For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” “That is what charismatic demagogues offer,” warns Wolf. Instead, “the right response has to be a politics that bases hope on realism.” Actually, the problems of our society are not that complex. For decades big businesses and elites have enjoyed unchecked power to hoard wealth, power, and opportunity at the expense of ordinary people. The solutions, while not simple, are straightforward. Good jobs, health care for all, free higher education — security, justice. The fact that centrists think achieving these basic rights is a fantasy demonstrates not a firm grasp on reality, but a bankrupt ideology.

Benny

Context is Jonah Hill, a never Trumper but conservative opinion columnist. This is a LTE to the editor in response to a column Hill wrote about supporting Biden for POTUS.

LAT LTE about Biden 5-10-2019.JPG
polarbear4

A thread. I don’t know enough about China. Matt gets me thinking.

polarbear4

Yasha Levine enters the conversation.

Thread.

humphrey

Shockingly. This is only the tip of the iceberg!

The information is only from a pentagon study. The overall picture is likely much worse.

https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/policy/environment/article230009434.html

New database: Water sources in 43 states contain potentially unsafe chemical levels.

More than 610 drinking water sources in 43 states contain potentially unsafe levels of chemical compounds that have been linked to birth defects, cancers, infertility, and reduced immune responses in children, according to a new database compiled by the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University.
Using Pentagon data released last year and recently obtained public water utility reports, the researchers now estimate that more than 19 million people are exposed to water contaminated with per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS.
The new research shows the broad extent of the problem, that the harmful chemical compounds found concentrated in military water sources across the United States have also been reported hundreds more public drinking water systems than was previously known.

“This is a national crisis and it requires a national response,” said Bill Walker, vice president of the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization focused on health and the environment.

While PFAS are found in everyday items such as teflon and fast-food wrappers, the chemicals are concentrated in the fire-fighting foam that military bases, ships and commercial airports have used for decades.

Military bases and the communities surrounding them report some of the highest levels of contamination — much higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2016 recommendation of a maximum exposure level of 70 parts per trillion.

humphrey

humphrey

comment image?resize=807×807

humphrey

humphrey

humphrey

Yet more and more uninspiring candidates keep entering the fray.

orlbucfan

Why won’t he run for Corwyn’s seat? Is he really that clueless (stupid)? T and R, jcb!!

wi61

He’s finding out that a national election is a whole different ball game than a state one.

WindDancer13

Isn’t there a real progressive challenging Corwyn? A woman, I think…do not remember the name.

polarbear4

Sema.

WindDancer13

Thanks! Beto can now retire.

wi61

The weapons of mass deception along with the DNC, DCCC got what they wanted Biden, now the rest of candidates job is to siphon votes from Bernie any way they can. I just hope that voters see thru the ruse of Biden. To me he’s R lite with a bad after taste of $hillary.

polarbear4

Very smart of them bc of his Obama ties. Tons of busy people just see Obama when they see Biden and they love Obama bc they’ve completely bought into the MSM. As I’ve said, my intelligent, compassionate niece loves CNN. And she is in a very “spiritual tribe” (their words) in Ashland. Even those people haven’t delved into politics–must be too “negative” haha. I can’t say anything at this point.

Even on Twitter, you had tons of comments (Oh, I’m crying) over a vid of Obama calling some mothers to wish them happy mom’s day. gag me.

humphrey

Not sure how much he has plagiarized so far but he has irony down pat.

As he goes from one big $$$$ fundraiser to the next.

humphrey

comment image?resize=807×807

polarbear4

humphrey

humphrey

polarbear4

I prolly liked that tweet. I thought sex workers were calling for a strike. lol.

wi61

Christ sake the day sex workers go on strike you will see the fastest settlement of a strike in history!!!

humphrey

Republican priorities certainly are F’d up!

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/443251-187-countries-not-us-sign-plastic-waste-agreement

Nearly every country in the world agreed to a treaty aimed at limiting plastic waste pollution, but the U.S. was not among them, as it has not ratified a treaty to which the provision was added.

The governments of 187 countries agreed to add plastic to the United Nations-supported Basel Convention, which regulates the transfer of certain materials between borders, CNN reported Saturday.

The U.S. did not participate in the talks regarding plastic because it is one of just two countries that has not ratified the treaty, according to the TV network. Even though the U.S. did not ratify the treaty its trades with countries that have approved the deal will be affected.

According to ABC News, several industries will be affected by the move, including health care, technology, food and fashion.

“It’s sending a very strong political signal to the rest of the world — to the private sector, to the consumer market — that we need to do something,” Rolph Payet of the United Nations Environment Program told ABC. “Countries have decided to do something which will translate into real action on the ground.”

humphrey

Democrats need to get over their Obama nostalgia.

https://theweek.com/articles/838428/democrats-need-over-obama-nostalgia

On Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show, a recurring gag has the host getting misty-eyed over former President Obama. Back in 2017 Colbert showed footage of Obama discussing the Republican health care bill, and responded by saying “I miss you” directly into the camera. In April this year, after talking about President Trump’s child separation policy, he joked that Obama had also “confiscated” children’s “hugs.”

The jokes work because they speak to a deep well of nostalgia for the former leader among the Democratic electorate. He was the avatar of the party for eight years, and the first black president — not to mention intelligent, suave, elegant, and handsome. Especially comparing him to Trump, it’s not hard to see where this attitude comes from.

But it’s long since time for liberals to reckon with the fact that Obama was simply not a very good president. He failed to grasp the reality of his political situation, and often used his power in morally abominable ways. If the Democrats want to put the forces of Trumpism away for good, they will have to do better than returning to the pre-2016 status quo.

And he did do some things right. He did pass a big stimulus package in early 2009, and got through halfway decent reforms of health care and financial regulation. But from the beginning, Obama’s agenda was severely compromised with his (and his party’s) fixation on bipartisanship.

From the very beginning of 2009, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell filibustered almost every piece of legislation he could, grinding the wheels of government nearly to a halt. It was patently obvious that Republicans would do everything in their power to stymie Obama’s agenda. Yet the administration designed the stimulus with about one-third tax cuts, hoping to attract Republican votes. (They ultimately got zero in the House and only three in the Senate.) And Senate Democrats wasted months making concessions to the likes of Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to get bipartisan support for ObamaCare, but every last Republican senator voted against it anyway.

polarbear4

Even this is misty eyed. At the beginning, we had the Senate and the House of representatives and he appointed staunch neoliberals to push back everything the progressive had worked hard for.

WindDancer13

Anyone have a tissue. Banks are weeping.

Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s interest-rate cap could be the death knell for credit-card rewards programs

Among the dire warnings:

It could spell the end of credit-card rewards

(Do lower income credit card holders actually benefit from these programs? No. They are offered to sucker people into buying more.)

It could lead to an increase in the fees charged to card holders

(The threat…We are warning you! Don’t do this or you will pay! With lower interest rates, won’t more people be able to pay the bill? There will always be cards that offer no annual fee. It is part of the game.)

It could reduce access to credit for low-income consumers

Ppffftttt. No, you will charge them the max allowed while continuing to give higher earners prime rates. At 15%, lenders will still be making five times the profit on the money they borrow from the Fed to lend to consumers. Want to up your profits, charge high earners a higher rate.)

Their final gasp:

“A lot of people would be shut out of credit cards as an option entirely,” Papadimitrou said. “Those people will then be forced to borrow from more expensive sources.”

(Or maybe they will learn that old-fashioned trick of saving for what they want which is what you are really afraid of as it cuts into the profit margins of corporations when people do not buy the hottest, over-priced gadget. Over $1000 for a phone…get real.)

polarbear4

Nobody really benefits from those or they wouldn’t have them.

WindDancer13

Exactly!

EyeRound
EyeRound

Sure.

Or, maybe Post Office Banking will include offering a credit card!

(Post Office banking worked in Europe for decades until they dismantled it under pressure from neoliberalism.)

WindDancer13

I do not and would not encourage credit card use. Play toys should be budgeted/saved for. The only time most people should be using a credit card is for emergencies. And by emergencies, I do not mean the latest XBox.

(Yes, I have to remind myself of this constantly. I have a Post-It on my computer to remind me that buying something with a credit card just because it is on sale is poor planning. My mantra for some time now: If it is on sale now, it will be on sale again.)

orlbucfan

Y’know what the cc robbers call folks who pay their cards off: “deadbeats.” That’s their version of being polite.

WindDancer13

Polite is not in their vocabulary.

I had paid one credit card on time and with more than required for years, then paid it off in full. Their response was to cut my credit limit by over $3,000 to a $100 limit. No explanation. So I started keeping a very small balance on it and paying half each month and my credit limit after two years is back up to $3,000. Go figure. That one is my second emergency card, so deadbeat that I am, I was happy to see it go back up.

polarbear4

😂

humphrey

humphrey

polarbear4

Dam our corporate media. When do the stars finally say, OK I’ve got enough savings and my kids can go to public school I’m not going to keep driving us into wars and asking people to die for corporations.

humphrey

Despite the MSM blackout here the Yellow Jacket protests are still going strong.

I guess the TPTB doesn’t want to give the 99% any ideas.

humphrey

Yet there is no shortage of coverage for this staged coup.

humphrey

Denying Impact of Venezuela Sanctions is ‘Like Climate Denial’

humphrey

A brief change of pace.

polarbear4

Gorgeous.

humphrey

It is lengthy but I sure do like the title.😁

Mike Gravel to Champion Progressivism, Dunk on Corporatists at Debates | Full Interview

Tyrannocaster

Gravel’s Twitter account has been delightful. I sent them FIVE dollars, LOL! that makes me a major donor, but they still need 65,000 and last I saw they only had 35,000. Sure hope they make it.

polarbear4

I gave. Where do you check the #donors? I thought he already had 65,000.

WindDancer13

The last I saw, a couple of days ago, he doesn’t have 65000 yet. I think it was a tweet with a video from Gravel. Otherwise, I couldn’t find anything on his site to say where he was with donors.

humphrey

This was from May 10th. I am only including the part relevant to Gravel.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/democratic-debates-here-are-the-candidates-who-have-qualified-for-the-2020-democratic-debates/

Who has not yet qualified for the debates
Well, do the math. Several candidates entered the race after the end of the first quarter, meaning that they have not yet hit the fundraising threshold. Some of the lesser-known candidates are also struggling to make an impact in the polls. Here are the candidates who have not yet qualified for the debates:

Seth Moulton
Mike Gravel
Wayne Messam
Michael Bennet

polarbear4

Thanks. I googled, but nothing.

humphrey

Many Democrats have Russia! Russia! Russia! taking over their brains.

polarbear4

polarbear4

polarbear4

Links to Cornyn challenger.

polarbear4

humphrey

LOL I like the name.

humphrey

Joe doesn’t seem that popular with those that worked with him.

humphrey

humphrey

It is about time that a politician said this!

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/443264-booker-thoughts-and-prayers-after-gun-violence-are-bullshit

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said in an interview airing Saturday that offering “thoughts and prayers” in response to gun violence instead of advocating for action is “bullshit.”

“We are not going to give thoughts and prayers, which to me is just bullshit,” said the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate in an interview with CNN.

“We’re going to bring a fight with everything that I have to solve this problem because it’s solvable,” he added.

WindDancer13

He is so confused. He really wants to be “we” like Bernie, but keeps falling back on “I” and “me.”

Other than that, of course, thoughts an prayers are bullshit. People having been saying that for some time now.

humphrey

humphrey

polarbear4

orlbucfan

That’s for sure. Just wait until the Xtian Fundies get their wet dream: Roe vs. Wade up before the Supreme (gag) Court.

Skip to toolbar