HomeUncategorized5/6 News Roundup & Open Thread – Sanders Introduces ‘Rebuild Rural America’ Proposals, UN Report to Show ‘Transformational Change’ Urgently Needed to Save Humanity & More

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Don midwest
Don midwest

It is a good diary. Even the Bernie bashers thought it was a substantial diary with malice towards none. I’ve bookmarked it.


And Benny you have a very good substantial comment on the diary. Rob, the author of the diary came to my aid when I commented on a pro-Krugman DK diary about how Krugman was full of crap about Bernie being intransigent about health care. I pointed out an Intercept article (Thanks Leu!) that detailed how instrumental Bernie was in getting Obamacare passed by pushing for community health clinics. Since it was DK, any mention of the Intercept is met with hostility, no matter what the article is about. Rob added a comment with other sources touting Bernie’s work on community health centers and his work for veterans (both of which he talks about in his current diary).


Gotta admit it was a well done and worth going their to read.


Same here.



When asked by protesters in Des Moines about climate change, Mr. Biden referenced his work on the 2009 stimulus bill, meandering through a number of ideas to expand the use of renewable fuels.

“I’m one of the first guys that introduced the climate change bill way, way back in ’87. By the way, you are preaching to the choir,” he told a group of demonstrators wearing penguin masks.

“In a primary where there are big, bold new ideas, Joe Biden is advocating for more of the same, at least as far as Democratic Party policies,” said Lanhee Chen, who was chief policy adviser to Mitt Romney’s Republican presidential campaign in 2012 and is now at Stanford University. “We’re talking about 1990s-era economic policies.”

As his opponents begin testing arguments against Mr. Biden, rivals from both the left and the right find themselves turning to some of the same kinds of attacks they leveled against Mrs. Clinton. Just hours after Mr. Biden announced his campaign, Mr. Sanders took aim at a series of votes in Congress, including on trade — reprising criticism Mr. Sanders once leveled against Mrs. Clinton.

“When people look at my record versus Vice President Biden’s record, I helped lead the fight against Nafta. He voted for Nafta,” Mr. Sanders said in an interview with CNN.

During his first swing through Iowa as a candidate, Mr. Biden largely avoided the press, as Mrs. Clinton once did, taking only a handful of questions before a limited number of reporters.

“I’m not going to get in a debate with my colleagues here,” he said.

Liberal activists say those kinds of nonanswers are unlikely to fully satisfy Democrats, particularly minority voters who largely know Mr. Biden from his role as Mr. Obama’s vice president.

“The question will be how much will he be able to give us the story of why so many of the moments where he could have been on the right side of civil rights and social justice issues, he wasn’t,” said Mr. Robinson.

Don midwest
Don midwest

all that counts is having a record

that they served time

Hillary had a record

she served time

and Biden has a record

should those who served time be able to vote?

does it matter if the record is good or bad?

are people responsible for their record?

well, it is too bad that these bad actors have been outed

tough shit establishment clowns



Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who recently promised to “bring a fight to the NRA like they have never ever seen before,” on Monday morning introduced a sweeping gun-violence prevention plan that centers around a national gun-licensing program, the most comprehensive and far-reaching of any candidate in the field.

“My plan to address gun violence is simple—we will make it harder for people who should not have a gun to get one,” Booker said in a statement, pledging to take executive action on the first day of his desired presidency.

“As president, we will make commonsense changes to our gun laws such as requiring a license to purchase a gun that includes universal background checks, banning assault weapons, and closing the loopholes that allow domestic abusers and people on terrorist watch lists to get their hands on a gun,” he continued. “I am sick and tired of hearing thoughts and prayers for the communities that have been shattered by gun violence—it is time for bold action.”

In introducing the plan, his campaign pointed to states like Massachusetts which has a gun-licensing program, as an example of the potential for the policy’s success at the national level, noting that data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the state had significantly lower gun deaths per capita in 2016 than neighboring New Hampshire, which did not have as stringent gun laws.



The plan from Booker includes the typical Democratic proposals: universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, better enforcement of existing gun laws, and more funding for gun violence research.

But Booker’s plan goes further by requiring that gun owners not just pass a background check, but obtain a license to be able to purchase and own a firearm. This is a far more robust gun control proposal than any other presidential candidate has proposed. The idea has solid research behind it, and real-world experience in nine states that currently require a license or permit for at least handguns, including Booker’s home state of New Jersey.

The plan would go toward addressing a very serious issue: America currently leads the developed world in gun violence. One big reason for that is that America has the laxest gun laws — and the most guns — of any developed country. The research has consistently found that places with easier access to guns and more firearms have more gun deaths.



Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was the first Democratic 2020 hopeful to take a direct swing at former Vice President Joe Biden since he got into the race, accusing him of being “on the side of the credit companies” in a fight that launched her political career a decade ago.

Warren’s quarrel with Biden isn’t personal. It’s about a 2005 bankruptcy bill he supported as a senator. Warren opposed the bill so vehemently that its passage inspired her transition from a Harvard bankruptcy law professor, who studied middle-class economics, to a senator and now a presidential hopeful.

“I got in that fight because [families] just didn’t have anyone and Joe Biden was on the side of the credit card companies,” Warren said after an April rally in Iowa. “It’s all a matter of public record.”

The bill made it harder for individuals to file for bankruptcy and get out of debt, a legal change that credit card companies and many major retailers had championed for years. The bill passed Congress with large majorities, but most Democratic senators, including Barack Obama, voted no. Biden voted yes and was widely seen at the time as one of the bill’s major Democratic champions.

The Warren-Biden clash is also a window into a disagreement about the meaning of the current moment in Democratic Party politics. Warren wants to challenge a system she saw as fundamentally corrupt long before Trump arose, while Biden pitches a return to normalcy and the kind of politics in which compromise, horse trading, and home state interests are just part of the game.

Nobody’s going to cast their votes based on a 15-year-old revision to the bankruptcy code, but the argument Warren and Biden have been having over this legislation underscores the tensions driving the 2020 Democratic primary.



Hey, people around Joe Biden: Please grab him by the lapels and inform him that it’s not 1973 anymore and his “friends” in the Republican Party, nice fellas though they may be on a personal level, have changed.

When young Joe joined the United States Senate in that year, the Republican Party had people like his fellow Delawarean Bill Roth (yes, of Roth IRA fame), who was a fiscal conservative but was pro-environment and gun control, and Connecticut’s Lowell Weicker, who was probably more liberal than Biden ever was.

Joe—they’re gone. Long gone. And the remaining few who were your colleagues are different men than they were when you worked with them. Like, really different.


Maybe it’ll be Warren who throws the first punch in the first debate!

Don midwest
Don midwest

Warren has stepped up her have which gives Bernie more cover from the establishment dems and others

still have Bernie as first choice and he has the ground game


Bernie Sanders Calls for a National Right-to-Repair Law for Farmers

Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called for a national right-to-repair law on Sunday. The right-to-repair law is a part of Sanders’ plan to revitalize rural America, which his campaign unveiled on its website. Sanders’ plan involves using antitrust legislation to bust up large agriculture firms, reforming patent law to protect farmers from seed patents, and national right-to-repair legislation to ensure farmers can repair their equipment.

“In rural America today, farmers can’t even repair their own tractors or other equipment because of the greed of companies like John Deere,” Sanders’ plan said. “When we are in the White House, we will pass a national right-to-repair law that gives every farmer in America full rights over the machinery they buy.”

Massachusetts Senator and Democratic primary rival Elizabeth Warren made a similar call in March. “Farmers should be able to repair their own equipment or choose between multiple repair shops, she said in post on Medium. To date, Sanders, Warren, and former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper have all called for right-to-repair legislation focused specifically on farm equipment.

But the right-to-repair is an issue bigger than farm and it affects all Americans. When an iPhone breaks, Apple wants you to take it to an authorized dealer to get it repaired or replace. But with a little training and replacement parts, people can often fix their phones themselves. That hurts Apple’s bottom line and it’s taken steps—from killing touch functionality on phones with aftermarket screens to fighting against right-to-repair legislation—to keep people from doing it.

Farmers have long been on the frontlines of the right-to-repair debate. Thanks to a tight control of firmware via digital rights management tools, John Deere has an effective monopoly on the equipment in makes. Farmers with John Deere tractors have been hacking their equipment and lobbying for laws to bust up the manufacturer’s repair monopoly.

Sanders, Warren, and Hickenlooper have all publicly pledged to work to end that monopoly by passing national right-to-repair laws to aid farms. That’s a narrow focus, but an important step that nationalizes the right-to-repair movement.

Right-to-repair supporters have been fighting at the local level for years, and legislators are considering right-to-repair legislation in 20 states. On April 30, a California state representative pulled right-to-repair legislation she had sponsored after Apple lobbyists claimed people could hurt themselves if they tried to repair their own devices. Just days later, on May 2, Apple lobbyists helped to kill a right-to-repair bill in Ontario, Canada.

Don midwest
Don midwest

repeating a comment from a few days ago

how dare Bernie grab all these important issues

he is stealing them from all the politicians waiting in line to bring up once again a very important issue that runs against corporate power


the joke isn’t subtle




In the political arena, the Sanders campaign already modeled how to create an intergenerational movement. In 2016, the Vermont senator won more votes from young people during his primary campaign than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton combined. The campaign proved that young people could overcome social bias against the elderly to support someone who could go on to become the country’s oldest president. In 2020, his base may end up being similarly young.

That bridge-building talent may bode well for Sanders, especially in a political environment where many candidates are pitting different social groups against each other. Can we all grow to recognize that we are engaged in flawed and discriminatory thinking when we argue that someone is “too old to be president?” Can we apply that self-awareness to our own workplaces when we make hiring decisions? Time will tell.


No mention of “my buddy Strom.”


He said Biden has “just nurtured strong personal relationships” in South Carolina for decades. Among those, Benjamin said, was former Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond, a segregationist who opposed the Civil Rights Act and died in 2003. But Benjamin said that relationship is “not a liability” at this stage — though Biden’s first visit to South Carolina of the 2020 race featured just a rally, fundraiser and church visit, with little opportunity for the more controversial elements of his record to surface.

Though he made no mention of the issues Saturday, Biden is sure to face criticism through the Democratic primary for his advocacy of strict criminal sentencing measures in the 1990s, his opposition to busing as a means of integrating schools and his handling as committee chairman of Anita Hill’s claims of sexual harassment during the 1991 confirmation hearing of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas.

Biden’s go-to talking point, meanwhile, is that he was Obama’s vice president.

He has peppered all of his speeches with references to Obama, often calling him “Barack” or “my buddy” — a phrase he used Saturday before stopping himself, seemingly to emphasize the reference.

“I shouldn’t be so casual. The president of the United States, Barack Obama,” Biden said.

But he leaned even harder into their relationship in South Carolina, describing being on hand in Charleston in the wake of the church shooting there when Obama sang “Amazing Grace.”

“I watched my buddy Barack stand up there. I watched him talk and he talked about, we have to find that amazing grace,” Biden said. “Well by the way, there is amazing grace in this country, we just have to reach out and pull it in.”


The stock market is paying attention. The publications for the financial market tend to be more honest that the regular MSM, mostly due to investors must have trust in what is reported. This article shows that they are worried about Bernie. This is a good thing.

A $300 billion blowup has traders bracing for war in Washington

Some very telling phases here (all highlighting in quoted material is mine):

All it took was a few mentions of Medicare for All this spring and suddenly health-care bulls were stuck with a $300 billion loss. For investors just warming to a government that professed to put their interests first, the chill has been palpable.

Few presidents have aligned themselves with markets as closely as Trump, who cheers records in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and browbeat Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell for raising rates. His sweeping overhaul of corporate taxes capped a 35 percent rally in the S&P 500. Not everything has helped, but the image of a Republican-controlled government united in the cause of stocks was one many investors had begun to savor.

Wall Street believes Bernie can win. Not one word about Biden in the article, by the way.

Not that the candidates are shedding any tears. A campaign aide for Senator Bernie Sanders — who is running for the Democratic nomination — touted the concerns among investors as a victory that signals growing support for his ideas like Medicare for All. The aide said it shows that investors who didn’t consider Sanders a real threat before now believe he can win.

Using misinformation to create a self-fulfilling prophecy:

The health-care rout intensified when UnitedHealth Group Inc. waded into the debate over Medicare for All. The proposal to expand Medicare, which covers about 60 million mostly elderly Americans, would “surely have a severe impact on the economy and jobs, all without fundamentally increasing access to care,” the company’s CEO said on a recent call with analysts, igniting a sell-off.

That’s the point, isn’t it?

Other election themes bear watching, say bulls. They include stiffer regulation and the breakup of large companies, something Warren is advocating. Her proposal could see the dissolution of tech megacaps like Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc., which she’s called monopolies that harm innovation and small business.

Warren’s motion hasn’t done much to the tech sector. Shares of Facebook barely budged following her announcement — ditto for Amazon and Alphabet. But critics say the proposal has the potential to be disruptive in a market that these firms all but dominate.

It is about time that the markets also feel fear, and they intend to fight back:

To be sure, the political cycle is just starting to heat up and there are about 550 days until the 2020 election.

There’s a lot of work to be done between now and November 2020,” Tom Essaye, a former Merrill Lynch trader who founded “The Sevens Report” newsletter, said in an interview. “As a reference point, at this point four years ago, I don’t even think Donald Trump was in the race. A lot can change.”

Note: From what I have read, stocks are way over-priced, so a crash is inevitable. Looks like the narrative is being set up now to blame progressive policies.

Don midwest
Don midwest

great comment!! thanks!!!

I hate to bring up another site, but Naked Capitalism, which is one of the top financial blogs, in recent years has expanded to many other areas

agree — business section and finance are more honest

except, business is now into monopoly and they don’t cover that topic often, nor the offshore accounts, nor the stock buyback to boost their share price , etc

but they do a kind of honesty


It has been quite sometime since I read over at Naked Capitalism. There are so many good resources that I have to limit myself, especially as I like to keep an eye on the MSNBC aggregated news to see what is being pushed and/or lied about.

They would not be in business long if they were caught lying about stocks and such and the events that will affect investors’ profit margins. I think they can also be more honest because the peons do not read financial reports.


Note: From what I have read, stocks are way over-priced, so a crash is inevitable. Looks like the narrative is being set up now to blame progressive policies.

That’s my sense too. At some point the bigwigs will begin to cash out and the smaller investors will get spooked and sell off too. They’ll need someone to blame when that happens.

Don midwest
Don midwest

heard repub senator yesterday blaming floods in midwest caused by environmentalists who are protecting wildlife.

could it be The New Climate Regime

note the term indicates that it is political


Environmentalists caused it, not inadequate infrastructure. Right.


The Keisser report (spelling?) has talked about the over-priced stocks and how it is not sustainable. I only watch him occasionally because some of it is a foreign language to me.

Just guessing that the stock market is being rigged for the big money people. It is those who have funds tied up in retirement accounts that are going to get wiped out.

China, not our policies, is also a good one to blame according to them.. They will shift the blame for their own greed on other countries and progressives. And Americans will accept those excuses because Americans worship the wealthy.


But we are told that everyone just loves their employer provided health care!


Workers with a steady paycheck already know that wages have been stubbornly slow to rise. Meanwhile, those who get health insurance through a job have seen their deductibles shoot up. In fact, says Noam Levey, a health care reporter for the Los Angeles Times, deductibles have, on average, quadrupled over the last dozen years. As a result, even some people who have health insurance are having trouble affording medical care. We talked with Levey about his latest reporting into how the issue is affecting workers and their families.



At Joe Biden’s first campaign event in Iowa late last week, the Democratic presidential front runner assured the crowd that he had a health-care plan. But if they wanted to hear about it, they were out of luck: he just didn’t “have the time to completely lay out all the details,” according to Politico.

That’s a really weird issue to not make time for, particularly since the Democrats just won back the House last year on messaging about health care—according to CNN, 41 percent of voters in 2018 said it was the single most important issue facing the country. But Biden also didn’t have time to get into his plan to tackle college debt, telling the crowd, “I don’t have time; I don’t want to keep you standing any longer.” That’s surprisingly dismissive for an issue that affects 44 million people who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in debt.

For now, Biden seems more invested in relying on his own charm to carry him. Unfortunately for him though, he’s constantly undermining that charm himself. Over the weekend, a year-old clip resurfaced of Biden complaining about millennials. In a conversation with the Los Angeles Times, he said, “The younger generation now tells me how tough things are. Give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it. Give me a break. Because here’s the deal guys, we decided we were gonna change the world. And we did. We did.”

Of course, his generation also could afford to pay for a semester of college with just a summer job and, subsequently, did not amass $1.5 trillion in student debt, and now wages for workers have basically remained flat for decades. But more to the point, this was in early 2018, when Biden was certainly already weighing a 2020 presidential run. Young voters, particularly young, non-white voters, were instrumental in Barack Obama’s election, but 7 percent of them stayed home in 2016, according to the New York Times.


Don midwest
Don midwest

maybe we are a dictatorship already .. or least a coup has taken place

Chris Hedges today on both parties and his headline is not as strong as his article

The title and first paragraph

Creeping Toward Tyranny by Chris Hedges 5/6/19
Capitalists, throughout history, have backed fascism to thwart even the most tepid forms of socialism

The destruction of the rule of law, an action essential to establishing an authoritarian or totalitarian state, began long before the arrival of the Trump administration. The George W. Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq and implementation of a doctrine of pre-emptive war were war crimes under international law. The federal government’s ongoing wholesale surveillance of the citizenry, another legacy of the Bush administration, mocks our constitutional right to privacy. Assassinating a U.S. citizen under order of the executive branch, as the Obama administration did when it murdered the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, revokes due process. The steady nullification of constitutional rights by judicial fiat—a legal trick that has enabled corporations to buy the electoral system in the name of free speech—has turned politicians from the two ruling parties into amoral tools of corporate power. Lobbyists in Washington and the state capitals write legislation to legalize tax boycotts, destroy regulations and government oversight, pump staggering sums of money into the war machine and accelerate the largest upward transfer of wealth in American history, one that has involved looting the U.S. Treasury of trillions of dollars in the wake of the massive financial fraud that set off the 2008 economic collapse. The ruling elites, by slavishly serving corporate interests, created a system of government that effectively denied the citizen the use of state power. This decades-long disregard by the two major political parties for the rule of law and their distortion of government into a handmaiden for corporations set the stage for Donald Trump’s naked contempt for legality and accountability. It made inevitable our kakistocracy, rule by the worst or most unscrupulous (“kakistocracy” is derived from the Greek words kakistos, meaning worst, and kratos, meaning rule



I am still trying to figure out why Congress has not called Trump out on his claim that they were trying to limit his Constitutional powers. Calling for war, except in an emergency (cf WWII), is the job of Congress, not the President. Congress never authorized several of our current wars, including our involvement in Yemen.

Don midwest
Don midwest

Have you wondered why so many dem candidates running for president?

Glenn nails it

Maybe all this money going to them will dilute even further the establishment because money spread so wide


Everytime de Blasio gets the cameras to cover him and not Cuomo, it makes Bill happy and Andrew apoplectic.

Don midwest
Don midwest

Joe Biden thinks Trump is the source of all problems, not the Republican party

Joe Biden Won’t Blame the Republicans for Trump. That Should Disqualify Him.


Yay Subir!


On Saturday I saw a tweet from the IDF which included a picture of a building they said they’d targeted because it supposedly housed, “Hamas’ Military Intelligence and General Security Offices“. Not sure about that, but from all accounts I’ve seen since they demolished said building it was a residential building.

One resident of the building who wasn’t in the building at the time is a young human rights lawyer. This is the building he’d been hoping to begin a family in:

Rough translation:

My house and my apartment, which I dreamed of marrying. Destroyed by the occupation on the pretext of hitting the resistance, yet I will not lose the dream I’ll be married and I will teach my children that Jerusalem is ours and Palestine is ours.

I believe he is being truthful because I originally saw this tweet from a credible person who’d fairly recently spoken to this young man. I’ll post that tweet later.


I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this tweet!

Let me know if you don’t ‘get’ it.


As you know, I’m generally not a fan of Emily’s List. But, if they can help upend that awful Lipinski I’d be grateful.


About freakin’ time! That also means the DCCC will have to back down on its restrictions too.


Not so sure about that. The main thrust of it was to keep progressives from primaring moderate or worse members.


Climate Crisis Forces Us to Ask: To What Do We Devote Ourselves?

During the times when I’m being as emotionally honest with myself as I’m capable — when I truly ponder the idea that this industrialized version of our species may well have already baked enough warming into Earth’s life-supporting biosphere that all of us may very well be on the way out — I feel at a total loss as to what to do.

From that point of numbness, my life force begins to ask, “What next, then?” Cycling through this process for years since I’ve been reporting on the climate crisis, and most intensely during the research and field trips for my book The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption, circumstances (namely my own grief and despair) have inevitably forced me into contending with my emotions.

I’ve learned, through a lot of pain and struggling, that the only way forward is to allow myself to deeply feel and express the fear, rage, shock, panic, sadness, anxiety and despair. Only then can I move into a place of taking some of the deep breaths which accompany acceptance of the grave situation at hand.

Each day I wake and begin to process the daily news of the climate catastrophe and the global political tilt into overt fascism. The associated trauma, grief, rage and despair that come from all of this draws me back to the work of Stan Rushworth, Cherokee elder, activist and scholar, who has guided much of my own thinking about how to move forward. Rushworth has reminded me that while Western colonialist culture believes in “rights,” many Indigenous cultures teach of “obligations” that we are born into: obligations to those who came before, to those who will come after, and to the Earth itself.

Hence, when the grief and rage threaten to consume me, I now orient myself around the question, “What are my obligations?” In other words, “From this moment on, knowing what is happening to the planet, to what do I devote my life?“

Each of us must ask ourselves this question every day, as we face down catastrophe.



I am picking the positive parts concerning Bernie from this article.


On Saturday, Biden’s closest rival, Bernie Sanders, sought to assuage concerns about his electability, insisting he can expand the electorate and turn out disaffected voters.

“You’re going to hear a lot of attacks on me. That’s the way it is. And one of the arguments is, ‘Sanders can’t beat Trump,’” the Vermont senator said In Perry, Iowa. “We can defeat Trump because we’re going to get more and more people involved in the campaign, including a lot of young people and working people, and get them to come vote.”

Sanders received applause when he said his internal polls show him leading Trump in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, states that were key to Trump’s 2016 win over Hillary Clinton.

Holli Kinstle, a teacher and caretaker based in Ames, plans to support Sanders after seeing him and Warren at Iowa State University over the weekend. Warren is a strong and serious candidate, she said, “but I really want a winner and I have a feeling people might not get behind her at this time.”




Top Snark Tweet:


Makes sense to me.


It appears that lying comes naturally to Trump and his followers.



Bernie’s M4A op-ed in USA Today. There’s a poll there if you would like to vote.


Today in America, we have more than 27 million people without any health insurance. Millions more who have employer-based insurance are being fleeced by skyrocketing premiums and prescription drug prices, and they are often thrown off those private plans when they change or lose jobs.

This is great for the 64 health care CEOs who were paid $1.7 billion in 2017. But this is an economic and medical emergency for millions of Americans. The good news is that we have a very straightforward solution that draws from our own country’s past success: We can guarantee health care as a right to all by expanding Medicare, the most popular and successful program in American history.

Medicare is the country’s most popular and cost-effective health care program. Americans who are covered by Medicare report significantly higher satisfaction rates than those with private insurance. That is not surprising: Unlike private insurance, Medicare does not threaten to bankrupt people in order to enrich greedy CEOs. Instead, it guarantees coverage.

Now here’s more good news: By expanding that coverage to everyone, we will save Americans money. Under a Medicare for All system, we will no longer be paying those exorbitant CEO compensation packages, or the absurdly high administrative costs in the private insurance system. We will also be able to negotiate lower drug prices.


That is a strangely worded questions: “What do you think of the opposing view by Sen. Bernie Sanders?” What opposing view?

Edit: Never mind. The Editorial Board wrote an article to counter Bernie’s. I think actually, they are the opposing view.


USA Today Editorial Board’s View about MfA

Medicare for All’: Bernie Sanders’ political pipe dream

Berniecare proposal has no mechanics (and no hope) for leaping from today’s fragmented health care system to single-payer: Our view
In the 1990s, Democrats offered up a health care overhaul that was big and complex and would have affected nearly every American in profound ways. The plan died in Congress, largely because of opposition from people who were reasonably satisfied with the status quo and didn’t want to blow up the system.

A decade and a half later, Democrats would try again, this time with a plan that would allow individuals without coverage to buy it on newly created exchanges while leaving everyone else pretty much alone. That plan, known formally as the Affordable Care Act and informally as Obamacare, passed because Democrats briefly held a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. And even though it drew heavily from a conservative proposal in the 1990s, Republicans have made repealing it a priority ever since.

The obvious lesson here is that even modest health care changes are a struggle to get and to retain. But that seems lost on the left wing of the Democratic Party. Led by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, many are infatuated with a remake of health care far more radical than any in the past. As a result, health care is shaping up as one of the biggest issues in the 2020 primaries and general election.

Sanders’ plan, dubbed “Medicare for All,” would eliminate private insurers and have all Americans covered through Medicare. It would be far more generous than most current plans — covering dental, vision and mental health, among other things — and would be financed largely by taxes on the wealthy.

Would it be an improvement? Hypothetically yes, particularly if the nation were starting from scratch. The current system is hugely expensive for individuals and companies, generates mountains of paperwork, and keeps people tied to their jobs for fear of losing employer-subsidized coverage.

But Sanders’ plan has intrinsic drawbacks, most notably its soak-the-rich approach and its lack of cost controls such as copays. What stands out is the utter impracticality of getting from where things stand today to what he proposes.

In an era of intense political polarization, no measure that disrupts insurance for more than 100 million Americans, most of them reasonably satisfied with their coverage, would get through Congress. Even if Democrats managed to reclaim the supermajority they once had, many in their own ranks would balk once they began focusing on the mechanics of leaping from today’s fragmented system to a single-payer system in one fell swoop.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which has long been the gold standard for estimating the cost of legislation, looked at Sanders’ plan and decided there were too many unknowns to produce a hard number. But CBO did say that implementing it would be “complicated, challenging and potentially disruptive.”

The combination of generous benefits and lower payments to health care providers could create “a shortage of providers, longer wait times and changes in the quality of care,” CBO warned last week.

Democrats would do better by focusing on a more gradual game plan. Several proposals, for instance, would allow some or all Americans not yet 65 to buy into Medicare at cost or slightly above, rather than at the highly subsidized rate enjoyed by seniors. All would retain private insurance as an option.

These plans could apply only to people approaching retirement, as is the case with the self-explanatory “Medicare at 50 Act.” Some proposals would mean that people on the individual exchanges could buy in. At least one would allow people on exchanges and people with employer-sponsored coverage to chose Medicare.

None of these incremental approaches lends itself to bumper stickers, placards or campaign rallying cries. None is without consequences and potential pitfalls. Even so, they represent far more practical approaches than lurching from the present into Bernie Sanders’ idea of what our national health care system ought to look like.


CBO Report about MfA


It’s not a scoring report. Just brings up questions and consideration.

I noticed they contacted the following for their views (in the acknowledgements):

This Congressional Budget Office report was prepared at the request of the Chairman of the House Budget Committee. In accordance with CBO’s mandate to provide objective, impartial analysis, the report makes no recommendations.
Jared Maeda and Xiaotong Niu prepared the report with contributions from Kristen Bernie (formerly of CBO) and guidance from Lyle Nelson. Anna Anderson-Cook, Jessica Banthin, Elizabeth Bass, Tom Bradley, Alice Burns, Sebastien Gay, Heidi Golding, Tamara Hayford, Sarah Masi,Lisa Ramirez-Branum, John Skeen, Robert Stewart, Julie Topoleski, and David Weaver provided useful comments.

Charles Blahous of the Mercatus Center, John Holahan of the Urban Institute, William Hsiao of Harvard University, and Jodi Liu of the RAND Corporation also provided helpful comments.

(The assistance of external reviewers implies no responsibility for the final product, which rests solely with CBO.)

Mark Hadley, Jeffrey Kling, and Robert Sunshine reviewed the report. Rebecca Lanning edited it,and Jimmy Chin fact-checked it. Casey Labrack and Jorge Salazar prepared it for publication. An electronic version of the report is available on CBO’s website (www.cbo.gov/publication/55150).

I find it rather curious that the following weren’t consulted:

Robert Pollin, James Heintz, Peter Arno, Jeannette Wicks-Lim, Michael Ash of PERI, UMass-Amherst and authors of Economic Analysis of Medicare for All.



It appears the mainstream media — especially the political desk at the New York Times — has decided on its narrative framework for the Democratic primary campaign in 2020: There’s a fraught and difficult choice between nominating an “electable” centrist or choosing a more progressive candidate who will motivate the base but supposedly will have a much harder time defeating Donald Trump.

Glenn Thrush of the Times is the latest reporter presenting the idea that a centrist is more “electable” as if this were an inescapable truth instead of a poorly evidenced assumption.

“Pelosi Warns Democrats: Stay in the Center or Trump May Contest Election Results,” the headline on Thrush’s weekend story blares. In it, he claims that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desire is to “not risk alienating the moderate voters who flocked to the party in 2018 by drifting too far to the left.”

But regardless of what Pelosi said, the article’s clear implication — that Democrats have to choose between progressive politics and winning elections — remains a sacred doctrine in mainstream media circles. There is no real evidence for this proposition. Yet this is precisely why former Vice President Joe Biden is being held out as the most “electable” candidate in the race, on the grounds that he appeals to the supposed moderate swing voters who are viewed as the key to a Democrat winning the White House in 2020.

All of which is to to say that the “centrist” model for a Democrat has it exactly backwards. If the goal is to win over swing voters in Midwestern states, the winning strategy isn’t to back an economically centrist candidate like Biden, but a Democrat who appeals so strongly to these voters with progressive economic policies that they’re willing to set aside the racial resentment that led them to vote for Trump.

What these elections demonstrate is that voters aren’t really inspired by playing it safe or moving to the center. Instead, candidates do better by convincing voters that this election is a historic moment and they don’t want to be left on the sidelines. There are a number of 2020 candidates who have that juice for different reasons: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris all seem to be generating excitement at their rallies. It could be catastrophic if Democratic voters, laboring under the panicky delusion that only a “centrist” can win, blow their chance to beat Trump by nominating exactly the wrong kind of candidate.


That’s right. GOPuke Lite will beat a GOPuke every time. How’s that worked out over the last decade or so?


Just how they want it to?



.”But right now, Joe Biden seems to be counting on a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy of conventional wisdom about what sort of candidate is supposed to be “electable.” That candidate, in short, is a white man who’s a policy centrist. That idea gets constantly repeated by pundits and journalists, then on to voters and back again in an endless cycle of reinforcement. Journalists say that being a centrist—instead of being someone who can inspire passion in the Democratic Party’s base—is what makes a candidate electable. Then primary voters, having heard that a hundred times in the media, decide that if they really want to defeat Trump then they’d better support a centrist like Biden.

Then they get quoted in news stories explaining that rationale for their decision, and the cycle continues. As one voter told the Times’s Lisa Lerer, “I like Joe. We need someone in the first place who’s electable in 2020. Look, my own personal beliefs are probably a little to the left of where he is, but independents are going to be crucial in 2020.”

When voters put on their pundit hats in this way, they adopt the same fear and distrust of the electorate that characterizes so many elected Democrats—including, it appears, Nancy Pelosi. They think that if Democrats offer liberal policy ideas then the public will reject them, no matter how many polls they see showing that their policy agenda is vastly more popular than what Republicans favor.

They’ve bought into a conservative myth, one that has existed for some time. As multiple studies by political scientists have shown (see here or here), elected officials tend to believe their own constituents are more conservative than they actually are. Most remarkably, that’s true of both Republican and Democratic officeholders (though the Republicans overestimate the public’s conservatism by wider margins).

Pelosi likes to point out that many of the Democrats who won in 2018 came from swing districts and stopped short of advocating single-payer health care or a government jobs guarantee, which is true. But it’s also true that the Democrats won such big victories because turnout exploded—it topped 50 percent, compared to just 37 percent in the last midterm.

The 2020 election will be as complex as any other, but it isn’t going to be determined by which candidate is closer to the ideological midpoint. If Democrats are going to win, they’re going to have to nominate someone who gets their own party’s voters motivated to organize and get to the polls. That could be any number of candidates, even Joe Biden. But it won’t be because they took positions designed to offend as few Republicans as possible.


Today’s Hill-Harris poll has Biden up by 32%.

The Hill hasn’t posted a data sheet (other than the limited one in the article). Is there a question on how many may change their mind? I would like to seen a break down my age group for the candidates. Why do I think there is more to this poll? Because the question that is being shown asks for “First choice.” That implies that there is a question for second choice. So, what are they hiding?

HHX1: FIRST CHOICE – Who is your preference to become the Democratic nominee in the 2020 election for President?

I am still trying to figure out why there was an age question and a generation question. Although the poll claims that 250 of those surveyed were 18-34, there is no breakdown how many of those were in the subset of 440 registered Democrat/Lean Democrat who were asked for a presidential choice.

Respondents were not given an option to state that they were unsure or would not vote in a primary or caucus.

The above quotation is very important considering name recognition and the parameters of who was asked (see below).

The poll was over-sampled in the South (37%) vs other regions, and for Baby Boomers (again 37%), and for suburban (48%), and for moderates (40% vs 26% for Liberal plus Lean Liberal).

The results we are seeing since Biden announced do not make sense. If he were all that great it would have been seen in the pre-announcement polls. Jumping 20% in one week is not all that likely. I know that there is an announcement bump, but this is ridiculous.

I have been watching the bettors/gamblers and I am beginning to believe that they are far more accurate than any polls were are seeing from MSM. Currently Biden is at 26.2% vs Bernie at 19.2%. these numbers have been holding pretty steady with Biden getting a 2% bump for the announcement, then back down again.

MSM is trying to tell people who to vote for (nothing new really, but this is far more blatant). Most humans like to pick a winner after all, and the person ahead in the polls is going to look like a winner even if he is far from being one.


This is the author of “The Socialist Manifesto”, which was published last week.


She is braver than most of us!


Chelsea Manning said in new court filings on Monday that she will refuse to cooperate with a grand jury investigation on WikiLeaks after an appeals court denied her request to overturn a contempt of court order.

In an affidavit filed by her attorneys in the Eastern District of Virginia, Manning condemned grand juries as “outdated tools used by the federal government to harass and disrupt political opponents and activists in fishing expeditions.”

“After two months of confinement, and using every legal mechanism available so far, I can – without any hesitation – state that nothing that will convince me to testify before this or any other grand jury for that matter,” she said.

She also claimed that she was housed separately from the general population during the initial weeks she was in prison, causing significant harm to her mental health. And Manning said she is unable to receive proper treatment and medical care after undergoing gender confirmation surgery in October.

Manning said the demand to testify before the grand jury “forces me to choose between an unethical decision and suffering intimate and permanent consequences for doing the right thing.”

“I am not willing to compromise for my own physical benefit,” she said.


Dam our government.




Okay, looks good on paper. Now put your money where your mouth is.

Reform capitalism or face revolution, billionaires are told at Milken Conference

The atmosphere of incongruity that pervaded this week’s annual Milken Institute Global Conference was practically palpable.

If the barricades have not been erected in the streets, they were told several times over, they could soon be unless there is reform of the American economic system.

“It’s not whether we should be capitalist or socialist. It’s how do we make sure that capitalism is working the way it has in the past,” said Alan Schwartz, a managing partner at global investment firm Guggenheim Partners, who warned of “class warfare.”

He noted that salaries and wages as a percentage of the economic pie are at a postwar low of 40%, prompting a “throw out the rich” mentality that would require some form of income redistribution to head off.

The dire warnings were reflected in the conference’s theme, Driving Shared Prosperity, and in a host of panel discussions that didn’t forget that members of the 1% were in the audience.

There is evidence that he doesn’t know the word is being redefined just like so many other things in the past.

Niall Ferguson, a senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford University, said that when young people say they favor socialism what they really mean is simply a bigger role for government.

“There’s evidence they really don’t know what socialism is,” he said, pointing out how his students seem to admire European social democracies, which are nonetheless capitalist.

How many people asked JFK “How are you going to pay for that?”

But it was telling that Milken hosted the conference’s last discussion, titled “Keeping the American Dream Alive” and featuring Ray Dalio, who built his Bridgewater Associates into one of the world’s largest hedge funds with some $150 billion under management.

Dalio made a reported $2 billion last year alone and has an estimated net worth that tops $18 billion, making him the country’s 25th richest person, according to Forbes.

He raised eyebrows last month with a post on LinkedIn that warned that unless the American economic system is reformed so “that the pie is both divided and grown well” the country is in danger of “great conflict and some form of revolution that will hurt most everyone and will shrink the pie.”

He returned to that theme in his talk, asserting that lack of income growth among the bottom 60% of the population had led to a loss of hope reflected in rising death rates linked to suicides and opiate abuse.

Dalio contrasted that with the New Frontier years of the Kennedy administration, when the nation thought it could eliminate poverty and set a goal to reach the moon. “I think that is the magic of the United States and we are losing that,” he said.

The cynic in me says, “Ah, yeah. Let’s exploit immigrants instead of US citizens. Of course, there will be some job losses . . . .”

Amid the fierce debate today over immigration, he concluded the conference with excerpts of Ronald Reagan’s last speech in the White House in 1989, which celebrated immigrants as fundamental to renewing the American Dream.

“If we ever close the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world will soon be lost,” Reagan said in the video, which ended to wide applause.








Those Harris Polls . . .


The Stagwell Group, founded by former Microsoft executive Mark Penn, has acquired Nielsen’s Harris brand and the Harris Poll through its Stagwell Media fund.

Through the deal, Stagwell will relaunch Harris, which was founded in 1963, as Harris Insights & Analytics, while the Harris Poll brand will remain the same. Harris, with clients such as CNN, People, ESPN, FedEx, IBM, Amazon, General Mills and Ford, will focus on brand management, corporate reputation, consumer packaged goods, public opinion and consumer experience research.

Mark Penn

In 1994, Penn and Schoen were asked to help President Bill Clinton recover from the Democratic Party’s dramatic losses during that year’s midterm elections. The pollsters urged Clinton to move to the center, emphasizing stepped-up law enforcement, balancing the budget, and other issues.[24]

Penn served as pollster to President Clinton for 6 years. During that time, he became one of the president’s most prominent and influential advisers. In 2000, the Washington Post concluded in a news analysis that no pollster had ever become “so thoroughly integrated into the policymaking operation” of a presidential administration as had Penn.[25]

1996 presidential campaign
During President Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign, Penn used the mall tests he developed for AT&T to test presidential campaign ads. He also created the “NeuroPersonality Poll,” a survey that blended standard political and demographic questions with lifestyle, attitudinal, and psychographic questions, some adapted from Myers-Briggs. Penn’s 1996 Neuro Poll helped him identify a new swing voter: the “soccer mom.” Previously, pollsters had thought that defining voter variables were things such age and income. Penn argued that marital status was also a key defining variable. He found that the gap was even wider among voters with children at home: parents were 10–15 points more likely to lean Republican. Based on this analysis, Penn urged Clinton to focus on policies that appealed to suburban parents and to speak about these policies in terms of values rather than economics.[24] He subsequently became famous for focusing on the soccer mom, cited as the key swing vote that helped President Bill Clinton get reelected in 1996.[26]

Second term
After the election, and for most of the second term, Penn and Schoen were hired to conduct 2–4 White House polls per month and met weekly with the President and the White House staff in the residence to review polls and policy ideas. These polls influenced President Clinton’s thinking and helped to refine his “new Democrat” language and policies that are one of his distinctive political contributions.[25]

And those policies sucked, and are still sucking.
He also worked extensively with HRC, but the following shows where his focus is now.
What would help Trump most in 2020? Running against Biden.

The Daily Beast wrote in 2018 that Penn “has emerged in the last year as one of the president’s most outspoken defenders.”[44] Penn frequently published columns which criticized Trump’s political and legal adversaries.[44] Penn frequently appeared on Fox News.[45] In 2018, Penn wrote an opinion piece for the Fox News Channel website in which he attacked the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, alleging that Mueller and his “Democratic-leaning lawyers” were acting improperly in trying to prepare a charge of obstruction of justice against Donald Trump.[46] In these articles, Penn did not disclose the fact that his firm had done work for Trump in the past.[44] Penn has used the term “deep state” to refer to what he characterizes as Democratic operatives within the government who seek to undermine and sabotage Trump’s presidency.[45]

Remember, most people only read the headlines, and most uninformed people will follow the crowd. The myth of lemmings in human form is actually true.

Note: All highlighting is mine.


Oh noes! How could you write GOT and be for Biden? ???????

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