HomeUncategorized5/8 News Roundup & Open Thread – Sanders Discusses Healthcare, Student Debt, Trade with China on PBS & More

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wi60BennyWindDancer13polarbear4Don midwest Recent comment authors

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We’ll see if the DNC members listen to Julian.


The framing of the questions raised Bernie’s as well as my eyebrows.


Bernie’s PBS interview (with Judy Woodruff) was very good–he is so full of pep and energy and passion and his message comes across clearly.

I think of PBS Newshour viewers as largely white, family-types, with adequate-to-comfortable incomes.

This Bernie interview IMHO must have put a few “bees in their bonnet” about what this country needs and who is stepping up to the plate to get it done.

That said, Woodruff asked a couple of questions that are important and that Bernie didn’t directly respond to. For example (on tuition-free public colleges) “What about those people currently out of college and staggering under student debt?” and (on M4A) “Won’t a lot of people now working in the medical industry lose their jobs?”

Probably Bernie was making maximum good use of his time in the interview and putting forward as much of his program as possible. I hope he finds ways to address these issues, though, as his campaign moves forward.

Mid-week greetings to the TPWer’s!


Sometimes Bernie sticks too closely to talking points. In some ways, it makes sense in order to be consistent. The flip side is that he’s perceived as side stepping specific questions.


Yes. From what it sounds like now, Warren’s plan could actually give me some longed for financial relief. But of course, Bernie is still my man.


Maybe Bernie will agree to adopt Warren’s plan in exchange for… something? Like agreeing to run as Bernie’s VP? I prefer Nina, but a Bernie/Warren ticket might work rather well.


They are both from the “liberal” NE. I think Berie’s Pick will be midwestern as well as a woman.


A woman yes as She will have to reflect Bernies ideals as that person will have to carry the tourch. From where? Cant make a guess.


Bernie can adapt a type of grandfather clause for Warrens plan or even a total forgiveness plan of student loan debt for graduates. Many options can happen.



Foreign policy has turned into a strength of Bernie 2020. No one save Biden has as much cred in this area, and Biden’s cred is mostly bad. Foreign policy is going to come up in the debates more than now on the campaign trail.


Bernie Sanders wants to talk about Yemen.

“I don’t think people fully appreciate the significance of foreign policy,” Sanders griped to me in his Senate office in late April, after two straight weeks on the campaign trail. The media, he said, doesn’t cover the world enough.

Sanders was criticized on this exact point — for lacking the experience, let alone interest, in matters abroad — when he was running against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He doesn’t dispute it; “you evolve,” he told me. Now he is meticulous about weaving in foreign policy on the campaign stump or at a presidential town hall, whether or not it’s asked of him.

Specifically, he focuses on Yemen. For four years, the United States has been helping the Saudis wage a bloody war against Iranian-backed rebels there, giving arms, ammunition, intelligence, and more. The war, among the worst humanitarian crises in the world, has killed more than 50,000 people, according to one independent estimate, and has left tens of millions more in need of assistance. Sanders signed on to a historic movement in Congress to end US involvement two years ago — a movement that caught steam when it became clear that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, had called for Saudi Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing.

It took every ounce of political will fighting Saudi Arabia’s powerful lobby, a legacy of hawkish anti-Iran lawmakers — both Democratic and Republican — and President Trump’s personal affinity for MBS to pass the War Powers Resolution through the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democrat-run House, where it was led by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) (who is, incidentally, now Sanders’s presidential campaign co-chair). It was the first time Congress has ever adopted such a resolution, directing Trump to remove troops involved in a war Congress never authorized. When it passed, Sanders went on Fox News and urged Trump to sign it. The next day, Trump vetoed the resolution.

Even so, for Sanders, the War Powers Resolution has served as a clarifying issue for his 2020 foreign policy message. The fight against the Yemen war fits so perfectly within his worldview that to listen to him explain it, you can hear the echoes of his famed speeches about millionaires and billionaires on Wall Street.


And on the other side


Breaking down Tlaib, Omar, and their allies on the left has been one of Gottheimer’s primary goals since the November elections. He has worked assiduously to carve out a role in the Democratic caucus as something of an avenger, a centrist proud of his centrism and willing to take the fight directly to the squad of freshmen trying to push the party in a progressive direction. He even has a name for his handpicked adversaries: “the herbal tea party.”

His definition of too progressive is startlingly broad. As the Democratic chair of the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus, he led a push against Nancy Pelosi as she ran for House speaker last year. He has consistently voted against the party even on procedural motions, threatening to hand control over the House to the GOP. This spring, he was one of just a handful of Democrats at a private retreat on Sea Island, Georgia, hosted by the conservative American Enterprise Institute, mingling with Vice President Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and other Republican heavyweights. He was one of just six Democrats to break with the party on a push for the DREAM Act in 2018, and he publicly undermined the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., during a hearing in which he fawned over CEOs of the nation’s biggest banks.

His boldest bid for internal power, however, came amid the push for a congressional War Powers Resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. As progressives in the House neared a historic achievement, Gottheimer organized behind the scenes to take the resolution down, in part by attempting to make it a referendum on support for Israel — and very nearly succeeded.

The bill’s supporters out-organized him, and in April, Congress sent a War Powers Resolution to Trump’s desk. He vetoed their resolution, rejecting Congress’s demand that the president stop backing the Saudi-led war. Last week’s effort to override the veto failed in the Senate on a 53-to-45 vote.

Trump’s rejection of the resolution — which was led in the House by Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and in the Senate by Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Mike Lee, R-Utah — was expected. But for advocates who worked on it, Gottheimer’s intervention was unwelcome but not surprising. “He was counterproductive in a totally unnecessary way at a time when there was actually party unity on something really progressive and historic — and that unity had been fought for a long time,” said Elizabeth Beavers, who was associate policy director at Indivisible during the Yemen fight. “This is a thing that he’s doing consistently, helping to organize against progress.”

GOTTHEIMER’S INTERVENTION IN the effort to end the Saudi-led war in Yemen takes on new resonance in the context of his longstanding links to Saudi money. Gottheimer is a protege of Mark Penn, a notorious Democratic operative who has become a leading Trump cheerleader on Fox News. Penn’s companies, where Gottheimer has held senior positions over the years, have long been on Saudi Arabia’s payroll.

Don midwest
Don midwest

that is an excellent article

Israel and Saudi Arabia are more than Russia in interfering with our elections and outing this guy will be an important step

is this the kind of incumbent that DCCC wishes to protect?



It can be argued that Sanders has come closer to meeting the platonic, Adam Smith ideal of capitalism than Trump has. Sanders, after all, created something — a book — and sold it. His wealth came from a product that people wanted and were willing to pay for. In other words, Sanders made his money the old-fashioned way: He earned it.

Trump, on the other hand, has spent the last few decades selling Trump. He’s slapped his name on buildings owned by other people and starred in plenty of television commercials. His casinos failed. So did his airline, and his football team. He couldn’t even sell steaks. His biggest success in private life was to make people believe he was a success — a process that mostly involved wrapping himself in gold while inflating and misrepresenting his actual accomplishments. It’s galling, then, that so many Americans have bought into the myth of Trump’s economic mastery.

Sanders may be less flashy than Trump, but his victory in the marketplace appears to be more substantial.

None of this should come as a surprise. Despite decades of right-wing fear-mongering about socialism, the left in America has never really been in the business of creating a state-planned economy. Instead, it has worked to save capitalism from itself — the singular accomplishments of both former presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama — while urging the country’s relatively free markets to distribute their rewards more broadly and fairly throughout society. Democratic presidents have also tended to produce stronger economic records than their Republican counterparts. The left, it seems, is better at capitalism than capitalism’s self-proclaimed avatars in the GOP.

So yes, of course Sanders really is a better, more successful capitalist than Trump. Could he be a better president, too?


The constitutional crisis is escalating.


Constitutional crisis incoming


President Trump asserted executive privilege on Wednesday in an effort to shield hidden portions of Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report and the evidence he collected from Congress.

The assertion, Mr. Trump’s first use of the secrecy powers as president, came as the House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote Wednesday morning to recommend the House of Representatives hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena for the same material.

“In the coming days, I expect that Congress will have no choice but to confront the behavior of this lawless administration,” Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the committee’s chairman, said late Tuesday. “The committee will also take a hard look at the officials who are enabling this cover-up.”


Funny how R voters browbeat the D’s any chance they could citing the constitution and rule of law. Now that the R’s have elevated Trumpcorp and party above the law of the land and are using the consitiution as ass wipe to keep Trumpcorp out of trouble. .



Matt H and I follow each other now on twitter. I asked him where Bernie’s policies are on the spectrum and he said Bernie has some good ideas, but he really needed to hammer on improving the educational system.



Recently, former vice president Joe Biden announced his 2020 presidential campaign. Biden leads the field for the Democratic nomination even though several women have recently alleged that he touched them inappropriately. These women have made clear that they’re not accusing him of sexual harassment, just of being overly physically intimate.

But in the Me Too era, inappropriate touching strikes a chord. How will these allegations go over with Democratic voters? My research suggests that those who have personal experience with sexual misconduct, most of whom are women, will be less likely to support Biden in the 2020 primary.




It is there, in a district that includes a slice of the city and its southwest suburbs, that a progressive Democrat — with the backing of several progressive political groups — is trying for the second time to oust one of the House’s most conservative Democrats in the 2020 election.

Marie Newman, who came within two percentage points of unseating Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary last year, said the rule has undercut her campaign.

She can’t find any pollster who is willing to work with her, and at least four consultants have started and later halted the interview process. For most Democratic political operatives, the idea of not being able to get business from the DCCC is too significant a risk, she said.

“We’re a democracy and we shouldn’t be putting any thumbs on any scales,” Newman said. The DCCC is “protecting [Lipinski] to the point where it’s a little bit silly.”

Progressives are particularly appalled that the DCCC would protect Lipinski’s seat when — they argue — it could be held by a Democrat whose values are more in line with the national party’s.
Lipinski, who has held the seat since 2005, voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2010, opposes abortion rights, and is the only House Democrat who hasn’t co-sponsored the Equality Act, which would extend civil rights protections for LGBTQ persons.

“If we don’t allow for a challenge to a Democrat who opposes the ACA, opposes Roe vs. Wade and opposes the Dream Act, then what do we stand for as a party?” Khanna said.

Progressive lawmakers and groups have met with DCCC Chairwoman Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.). Several progressive Democrats, including Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), say they think Bustos is open to changing or reversing the policy.

“I think we could come up with something that reflects our values and not hurt us either with individual candidates but also with our base,” Jayapal said.

Additional meetings are expected. But a spokesman for the DCCC said the policy is not going to change.


Illustrates what the party values really are, under all the progressive doublespeak going on.



Almost a year after Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton, a group of about 20 Democratic National Committee (DNC) members met on the sidelines of the committee’s meeting in Las Vegas. The Bird Caucus, as they called themselves, represented a new faction within the DNC — a group of new members who owed their seats to their support for a committed outsider, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

The group took its name in a nod to a bird that landed on Sanders’s podium as he spoke at a rally in Portland, Ore., in 2016.

Now, as Sanders mounts a second bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, his campaign has something it did not have a few years ago, when his insurgent campaign unexpectedly caught fire: Allies in the very heart of the Democratic Party who could make a difference should the nomination go to a second ballot.

Sanders’s advisers are not counting on the superdelegates they so loathed in 2016 to deliver victory this time.

“We’re not trying to do a secret strategy here,” Jackson said. “The senator has been generally trying to make a difference, and we really think our agenda is the best agenda that reflects the values that we’re promoting.”

It remains likely that Democrats will choose their nominee on the first ballot, without the influence of superdelegates. Neither major party has required more than one ballot to pick their nominee since Democrat Adlai Stevenson won on the third ballot in 1952.

“It’s actually a good sign that we’re probably not going to be the deciding factor at the end of the day,” Busch said.



Not that Sanders is recalculating. Last Monday, Biden debuted on the campaign trail, rallying union workers in Pittsburgh. And there, on CNN that night, was Sanders. “I helped lead the fight against NAFTA, he voted for NAFTA. I helped lead the fight against PNTR with China, he voted for it,” the senator told Anderson Cooper. “I strongly opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he supported it. I voted against the war in Iraq, he voted for it.”

“It’s core to what we do, it’s part of the brand,” Shakir told me. “It’s wrong to take away that he’s searching for these types of fights,” he explained of his boss. But it’s true that “even when things start to change, he very much sees an array of people who are stacked against him, very clearly.”


This morning on Morning Joe, I happened to catch the conversation about Trump’s latest tax returns. The discussion was with Prof Eddie Glaude of Princeton and Ron Fournier, who writes for The Atlantic and the National Journal.

I do not have a good video clip of this as I did record from the TV; you can’t see the faces from my small tv. But Fournier’s establishment attitude towards progressives is evident in this discussion.

One reaction from twitter:

I think Fourier’s remarks were directed at Bernie rather than Liz Warren.

Don midwest
Don midwest

Code Pink and others are protecting the Venezuela embassy. All members were ordered out and they gave the key to Code Pink. Where is the establishment support? Some of the counter protesters are rich people who support the coup in Venzela.

So an obvious terrorist action, delivering food to those holding the embassy. Look how our establishment acts to block the terrorists delivering food.

Side note: as I write this using the word “establishment” I often use it for the political factions or banks or military etc. As I write this it is the government establishment. Our government.

The political revolution is the return of the government to the people. The ones without the assets but the vote. Well, must stop voting and own the media to keep the people down.

In any case, watch the video and …


Drug Prices Will Soon Appear in Many TV Ads

The Trump administration for the first time will require pharmaceutical companies to include the price of prescription drugs in television advertisements if the cost exceeds $35 per month, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Wednesday.

Drug companies currently are required to provide only a list of potential side effects.

The change, adopted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services this week, will require all direct-to-consumer television advertisements for prescription pharmaceuticals covered by Medicare or Medicaid to include the list price, also known as the wholesale acquisition cost, in their ads, Mr. Azar said. The move has been pushed by patient advocates.

“Patients who are struggling with high drug costs are in that position because of the high list prices that drug companies set,” Mr. Azar said in a statement. “Making those prices more transparent is a significant step in President Trump’s efforts to reform our prescription drug markets and put patients in charge of their own health care.”

The change is part of a four-part plan to tackle the issue of rising drug prices proposed by Mr. Azar, a former pharmaceutical industry executive. It comes as House Democrats prepare to pass as many as a dozen health care bills, including several intended to lower drug prices, ahead of the 2020 campaign.


I am not sure this embed will work, but going to try it. Many here probably already know this, but it is often good to be reminded.



Hmmm, I just posted a comment with an embed from Reddit, but it seems to have disappeared so I will just post the comment with a link to the full thread.

Many here will probably already know this, but toggling the memory never hurts.

You can only win the nomination on the first convention ballot with 50% of pledged delegates. But the Delegate Selection Rules (pdf) says something very important: no candidate with less than 15% of the vote will receive delegates. This applies at the district level and for at-large delegates.

For example, let’s say that in the New Hampshire primary, Bernie receives 40% of the vote, Biden 20%, Warren 12%, and the balance is spread among the other candidates. Let’s also say that generally, the district votes match the statewide proportions. The only candidates to break the 15% threshold are Bernie and Biden, so the pledged delegates are divided among them alone. The proportion of votes is 2:1, and NH has 24 pledged delegates, so Bernie would receive 16 delegates, and Biden 8.

What this means is that a candidate can win a majority of delegates without a majority of the votes. It’s all about the proportion of votes for candidates winning more than 15%. That’s the magic number here. If only one candidate breaks 15%, they get all the delegates.

Don midwest
Don midwest

Private equity wrecks companies and jobs with the help of finance

Long article in NYT Mag last Sunday. In 80’s called leverage buyouts. Read about the deals they got, the private equity firm to move to Huntsville AL when they bought Remington Fire Arms. See the shady deals which led to job loss in many companies in the supply chain. And the collusion of the government through tax laws, allowing private equity firms — along the path of creating monopolies, and financial games, and low interest so they could gobble up more. I spent 20 weeks in Huntsville in the 70’s as a Faculty Fellow on a program set up by Van Braun at the Huntsville NASA facility.

How America’s Oldest Gun Maker Went Bankrupt: A Financial Engineering Mystery
When a secretive private equity firm
bought Remington, sales were strong
and the future bright. A decade later,
the company couldn’t escape its debts.

I hate guns but looked up Remington. Sandy Hook parents have a suit against Remington which last month was put on hold by the Conn. Supreme Court pending an appeal to the US Supreme Court.

Well, is the highest court in the land going to legalize murder like Trump did recently in his pardon of the soldier who was convicted of murder of an Iraqi?

How far is the court system going to fall? The rule of law means the rule of the institution corrupted by the Federalist Society and decades of court packing or “conservative” judges.

The book on the Roman Empire by a journalist “Are We Rome: the fall of an empire and the fate of America” 2007 points out how important institutions were to the empire and their collapse was part of the larger collapse of the empire.

I worked in the area of organizational design for 20 years. I thought that I could save ATT’s exit from manufacturing and R&D with an organizational theory developed by a professor. It was the best in the world, but not good enough. I failed.

Reading Bruno Latour I realized the fundamental errors of this org theory and other fundamental errors of the entire Modern world. In particular, Bruno points out that a science fact requires an institution to develop and maintain the fact. Our current situation involves the collapse of rationality, law, countries, etc. which has held since the 1600’s but no longer because of what came up from behind, Gaia.


Anyone remember when mass shootings were rare? Now the rarity is when the shooter is a female. The shootings themselves are being normalized.

Why female shooters are rare

Data shows that women are rarely behind active shootings, which makes Tuesday’s shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch near Denver unusual.




No comment. Just wanted to share this:

Edit: I lied. I do have a comment. I would like to use this on Twitter and direct it to older voters (the moderate ones). Because of the glorification of the Kennedys, the vast majority would not remember the no-so-good things they did. Just like they are doing with Biden now due to his association with Obama.

My thought is something along this line. The video and a comment that RFK stood for everything that Biden does not…something along that line. I am still roughing the thought out.

How much accuracy is there in that statement? Given the real history of RFK, would he have voted the same way as Biden or not? Lol, will I get called out on this?


Lemmings-follow-each-other-over-cliffs thinking or not?

I keep wondering why HRC is being included in current polls, and not just the polls that have people pick a candidate without a list. It indicates that someone thinks she is relevant. Why would that be?

Once Joe “Campaigns for Republicans” Biden starts to drop in the polls, even beyond what the pollsters can fix, will he suddenly have a health issue that precludes him continuing and hand the reins over to HRC? By that time (has to be before the primaries start), she will not have had to put forth any policies, pick up most of her old cohort and because she was crowned by Biden pick up his?

PS. I don’t follow conspiracy theories, so I have to make up my own.



The House Judiciary Committee Wednesday voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt over his refusal to turn over the unredacted Mueller report to Congress—the latest escalation in a constitutional crisis between the two theoretically co-equal branches of government.



Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign said Wednesday that it is the first in history to ratify a union contract with workers.

Sanders’ staffers voted to unionize shortly after the Vermont independent senator entered the 2020 presidential race two months ago and the Vermont senator said he supported the effort. The staff has affiliated with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400.

“We are proud of our workers and proud to uphold Bernie’s commitment to collective bargaining rights and a strong labor movement,” said Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir. “Together, we have achieved some of the strongest standards for campaign workers in history and set the bar higher for the next generation of campaigners.”


Boy there are crazies in both parties in Florida on Venezuela.


A week after Rick Scott called for the U.S. military to intervene in Venezuela amid Juan Guaidó’s attempt to oust Nicolas Maduro from power, the U.S. Senate’s biggest hawk on Venezuela is calling for more.

Scott said Wednesday that the U.S. should consider a naval blockade of Cuba to enforce existing sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry, which remains under Maduro’s control. Scott’s announcement is the latest escalation in rhetoric after Guaidó failed to oust Maduro last week.

“It’s clear that the United States needs to consider using naval assets to block the flow of oil between the two dictatorships,” Scott said. “The President has floated the idea of a full embargo on Cuba. I agree with him wholeheartedly. We need to take action NOW to capitalize on Maduro’s weakness and end his brutal regime. Cut off Cuba, and you cut off the political forces supporting genocide in Venezuela.”

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