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

Good morning, obf. Thanks for stepping up. Yes, I got the email re Grayson yesterday and I remembered liking something about him when he was in congress but I thought there was some scandal attached to him. I googled and couldn’t find anything. So I agree, any dem would (could?) be better than Rubio.

polarbear4

T & R, orl!

golden golden and water.jpg
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Oh oh. This worries me. Hope these attorneys are right.

polarbear4

first tweet starts a long thread on Pfizer, also.

Don midwest
Don midwest

this might have been posted before

article in Baffler on Bernie’s organization

https://thebaffler.com/salvos/when-the-partys-over-oconnor

This is the power of organization—of, more specifically, party building: to provide discipline, focus, and direction to the chaos and upheaval of movements. To the romantic who waxes poetic about the force and vibrancy of the people in the streets, organization might look like a moderating, even a conservatizing force. Movements and activity are exciting: history is in motion! This, we are told, is what democracy looks like: hundreds, thousands, sometimes millions of ordinary people flooding public spaces. In comparison, another two-hour meeting of the outreach subcommittee of the working group to draft a proposal for the adoption of a new priority campaign seems immeasurably dull.

The frustrating truth, however, is that the slow, deliberate, boring work of the meetings and the spreadsheets and the phone calls is necessary to build the structures that can carry movements forward, provide accountability, and allow for thoughtful deliberation and debate. This too is what democracy looks like.

The most necessary organizing is difficult, unpaid, and largely unheralded. Working people are busy and tired and stressed out; why should they spend their free time doing something that will leave them even more drained as often as it energizes and restores them? Why do that difficult historical or theoretical reading when there is a new terrible show on Netflix that won’t ask for anything more than a smooth, blank brain to project itself onto? Or, indeed, a YouTube personality whose endless stream you can tune into for parasocial political catharsis?

In the aftermath of Bernie 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the George Floyd rebellion, it has become clearer than ever that one of the primary questions that the left in the United States today must answer is that of organization. Depending on the context in which this question is asked, it can be reduced pretty precisely: the question of organization becomes a question of forming a third party or seizing the Democratic ballot line; of centralization or decentralization; of reform or revolution. Such debates have been had time and again. Often, they are very interesting. Other times, not so much. Certainly, though, they’re important, no matter the guise in which they appear. Take late last year, when an unfolding and unresolved contradiction within the U.S. left expressed itself in the form of a hashtag: #ForceTheVote. Largely but not solely driven by the left-populist comedian Jimmy Dore, it revealed an ongoing disagreement about the role, purpose, and function of organization writ large.

jcitybone

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/05/05/biden-labor-independent-contractors-gig/?utm_source=reddit.com

The Labor Department is rescinding a rule that made it harder for gig and contract workers to argue they were entitled to minimum wage and overtime protections, part of a push to undo Trump-era decisions that favored businesses and employers.

The withdrawal of the “Independent Contractor” rule, which limited the ability of workers to argue that they were misclassified as contractors when they should have been employees, will be published in the Federal Register today, and become effective on Thursday.

Companies have increased the use of contractors in recent decades in part to lower labor costs. Employees are entitled to a range of benefits not afforded to contractors, including a minimum wage and overtime pay.

Labor advocates say that many of these workers are misclassified, and should be counted as employees. The Labor Department has the power to investigate these cases and rectify violations when they are found.

“By withdrawing the Independent Contractor Rule, we will help preserve essential worker rights and stop the erosion of worker protections that would have occurred had the rule gone into effect,” Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said in a statement. “Legitimate business owners play an important role in our economy but, too often, workers lose important wage and related protections when employers misclassify them as independent contractors. We remain committed to ensuring that employees are recognized clearly and correctly when they are, in fact, employees so that they receive the protections the Fair Labor Standards Act provides.”

The rule change is likely to add to speculation about how the Biden administration plans to deal with the question of gig work — one of the most closely watched questions about labor policy in the new administration.

Companies such as Uber and Lyft typically classify the workforce their apps rely on as contractors, while aggressively pushing back against state officials, courts and Democratic lawmakers who say that their workers are misclassified.

The Labor Department could find that many gig workers are misclassified, opening up this debate on a national scale.

wi63

Gig work- definition: Work offered by corporations so they dont have to provide benefits or adequate wages. Unfortunately people need the jobs to get by day to day or week to week

jcitybone

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/05/joe-biden-left-president-radical-domestic-plans-west-wing

So Biden’s decisions, like those of any president, are heavily influenced by what the staffers who populate the White House tell him. The new cohort of staff, who joined the administration when Biden took office, have fundamentally different views and experiences to those who worked under Obama’s presidency 12 years ago. Indeed, many of those staffers, myself included, saw Republicans block Obama at every turn, threatening to breach the debt ceiling in 2011, refusing to agree to additional stimulus when it was obviously necessary in 2013 and 2014, and preventing Merrick Garland from joining the supreme court. That was before the Republicans led America into a Donald Trump presidency, which exposed their austerity concerns as bogus and ended in an attempted coup.

The young Democratic staffers who dominate the White House and Capitol today have never known a Republican party worth negotiating with. They are tired of the Republicans and are convincing their principals to join them. And so a huge, popular stimulus package that includes child tax credits, increased health care subsidies and direct relief payments made its way through the Senate within two months of Biden’s inauguration, without a single Republican vote. When Washington pundits howled that the package was too large and not bipartisan, White House staff simply pointed to public opinion polling demonstrating the overwhelming popularity of the bill, marking a generational shift away from the centralised gatekeepers of Washington’s “Sunday shows”, the political talkshows that have represented and defined the mainstream current of Washington opinion for decades.

This generation of staffers haven’t just got different tactics: their ideological commitments are different too. Many of them lived through the Great Recession, have accumulated significantly less wealth than their baby boomer and gen X elders, and therefore have a much more positive view of how government action can improve people’s lives.

Beyond their economic experiences, they are also more diverse than their forebears. The Biden administration announced in January that of its first 100 appointees, over half were women and people of colour. Even young white Democrats, spurred by activists and protesters across the country, are significantly more progressive on racial justice and immigration issues than they would have been four or eight years ago. Many of the staffers who now occupy the White House worked for the Senate offices and primary campaigns of Warren and Sanders. Those senators didn’t win the primary, but their ideas can still be found in the White House, at least on domestic policy.

Yet while Democratic staff largely agree on most domestic issues, from transgender rights to increasing the power of workers, resistance still exists among some principals on other issues. The White House still remains hesitant over marijuana policy, for example; Biden is unwilling to join the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, in calling for a full legalisation of marijuana, and instead favours decriminalisation. And the Biden administration’s clear-sighted, progressive vision for domestic policy doesn’t extend to foreign policy. Unlike the numerous former Warren staffers running around the National Economic Council and treasury departments, the Situation Room doesn’t have leftwing Senate staffers moving through its doors.

Still, some good signs are perhaps emerging. The Democrats who now staff the White House came of age knowing that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were failures, and that Washington’s foreign policy “blob” – from the state department to the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies – led us astray. And the agreement on what went wrong has paid some immediate dividends, with Biden overriding the national security apparatus to announce that the United States will leave Afghanistan this year after two long, largely pointless decades spent in the country.

Moving beyond what America should not do – like invade Iraq for no good reason – to the question of what America should do on the global stage will require leftwing Democrats to produce a robust, positive vision of American foreign policy. Foreign policy often involves making hard choices from a menu containing only bad options, and the left remains split over how to make those choices. Knee-jerk interventionism is bad, but so are China’s “re-education” camps and anti-democratic actions in Hong Kong. Sanctions often harm the people they’re intended to help, but how else should the United States fight back against the tide of rightwing authoritarianism?

As in the domestic sphere, there is space here for a younger, more diverse generation to begin to shift the paradigm. If Biden’s presidency is remembered as more progressive than anyone anticipated, they will have played no small part in making it so.

polarbear4

Sanctions often harm the people they’re intended to help, but how else should the United States fight back against the tide of rightwing authoritarianism?

we can start by not calling every socialist government “rightwing authoritarianism.”

sounds so fracking reasonable until you say it three times out loud. lol

jcitybone

This one however is not good.

https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/jose-fernandez-state-department/

President Joe Biden’s Clean Energy Future Plan takes former President Donald Trump to task for “irresponsible trade policies and consistent siding with oil lobbyists over American growers.” But one of Biden’s own top State Department nominees, Jose Fernandez, previously worked for Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and oil giants like Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, and the multinational oil and gas company SK E&P, his financial disclosure forms reveal. Once confirmed, Fernandez will be charged with leading the State Department’s environmental and “economic growth” policies abroad.

Fernandez, who in March was officially nominated to be the undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy, and the environment, provided “legal services” to Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund while he was a partner at the law firm Gibson Dunn. He also disclosed that he has done separate legal work for a number of oil companies and owns stock in fossil fuel companies like Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, Sempra Energy, and the Southern Company.

But these publicly available disclosure forms—which only require officials to disclose clients they had over the past year—provide an insufficient view into the true nature of their activities, said Elias Alsbergas of the Revolving Door Project, a group that tracks the private sector conflicts of elected officials. The State Department declined to comment on questions about Fernandez’s previous work or potential conflicts of interest.

Gibson Dunn was a registered lobbyist for the government of Saudi Arabia for years, and didn’t stop lobbying against US legislation on behalf of the kingdom until 2018, when international uproar over the disappearance and assassination of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi forced companies to reconsider their business ties. Recently, the Biden administration has been under immense pressure to push Saudi Arabia to end its blockade on Yemen, as well as ending all forms of US support for the Saudi war effort, which have exacerbated the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

The law firm is also notorious for leading Chevron’s unprecedented legal battle against Steven Donziger, the human rights lawyer who won a multibillion-dollar judgement against the company and became its political prisoner as a result, trapped in house arrest awaiting trial.

Before working at Gibson Dunn, Fernandez served as assistant secretary of state for economic, energy, and business affairs during the Obama administration. Now, like many other high-ranking officials on Biden’s foreign policy team, Fernandez is reentering government without having to answer for any of his work in the shadowy corporate world.

jcitybone

jcitybone

polarbear4

learned well from O. promise them anything…

jcitybone

wi63

Private jets. maga yacht’s and the like all add up. They should do a survey on which military pollutes the most but i think i know the answer

jcitybone

jcitybone

polarbear4

jcitybone

jcitybone

polarbear4

good one.

jcitybone

https://amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/04/los-angeles-sheriffs-harass-families-of-victims-report

Los Angeles sheriff deputies frequently harass the families of people they have killed, including taunting them at vigils, parking outside their homes and following them and pulling them over for no reason, according to a new report from the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The LA sheriff’s department (LASD), which has faced national scrutiny for its corruption scandals and killings of young Black and Latino men, has routinely retaliated against victims’ relatives who speak out, the groups said in the report released on Tuesday.

The authors collected detailed accounts of alleged harassment from the families of Paul Rea, an 18-year-old killed during a traffic stop in 2019, and Anthony Vargas, a 21-year-old shot 13 times in 2018. The report, also produced by Black Lives Matter LA and Centro Community Service Organization, alleges:

LASD deputies regularly drive by or park in front of the Rea and Vargas families’ homes and workplaces and at times have taken photos or recorded them for no reason.

Deputies have repeatedly pulled over relatives, searched their cars and detained and arrested them without probable cause, allegedly in retaliation for their protests.

Officers have shown up to vigils and family gatherings, at times mocking and laughing at them or threatening to arrest them, and have also damaged items at memorial sites.

“Since my son’s death, we have been terrorized. Every day, we’re watching our backs,” said Leah Garcia, Rea’s mother. “We are scared because we know what their capabilities are.”

polarbear4

criminals. we need a systematic overhaul with someone like Bacevich at the head. a non-nonsense vet or retired policeman from some position of authority who believes in the people’s inherent goodness to clean house and start again. new people, new training, new green buildings, if they want.

jcitybone

If they remove Cheney, it will make clear to all that Republicans will not respect any future election in which they lose. It’s unbelievable that someone like Liz Cheney is the reasonable one in the Republican room.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/05/05/liz-cheney-ouster-gop-leadership-future-stolen-election/?utm_source=reddit.com

Rep. Liz Cheney’s fate appears sealed: Republicans are set to oust the Wyoming Republican as the No. 3 in the House GOP leadership, and will most likely replace her with Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, whose loyalty to Donald Trump remains unquestioned.

This is being widely depicted as a battle over the past, and over Trump. Most accounts portray it as a sign that in today’s GOP, fealty to the former president is a bedrock requirement, denouncing his lies about 2020 has become unacceptable, and telling the truth about the Jan. 6 insurrection is disqualifying.

All that is true, but the forward-looking dimension to this story is getting lost. What also seems unavoidably at stake is that the GOP appears to be plunging headlong into a level of full-blown hostility to democracy that has deeply unsettling future ramifications.

Loyalty to Trump and his lies isn’t the most important thing Republicans are asserting here. Instead, Republicans may be unshackling themselves from any obligation to acquiesce to future presidential election outcomes they don’t like — that is, liberating themselves to overturn those outcomes by any means necessary.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) now appears to back Cheney’s removal. He has said privately and publicly that he has lost confidence in her, because she’s threatening the GOP “message” and imperiling hopes to “win the majority.”

Cheney has only dug in harder. A Cheney spokesperson denounced her GOP enemies for wanting to “perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan. 6.”

This comes after Cheney told GOP colleagues that those lies are “poison in the bloodstream of our democracy” and that Trump’s insurrection “is a line that cannot be crossed.”

Cheney has also urged Republicans not to turn “their back on the rule of law.” And she insists that the commission examining Jan. 6 should focus on the insurrection, not on leftist extremism that Republicans are hyping to muddy the waters around their ongoing radicalization.

Benny

Could happen to Mittens too.

jcitybone

The move to censure him did fail though