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Thanks orl!

Here’s some climate stuff.

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




Following up on their blockbuster reporting on the paltry income tax payments of America’s top billionaires, ProPublica has exposed the billionaire stuffing of Roth IRAs.

PayPal founder Peter Thiel, according to ProPublica, started a Roth IRA with a contribution of less than $2,000 in 1999 and enjoyed tax-free gains that ballooned to $5 billion by 2019.

Thiel will pay zero in federal income tax on his $5 billion in gains.

Because they accrued entirely inside a Roth IRA, Thiel will pay zero in federal income tax on his $5 billion in gains. That’s how these individual retirement accounts work. Unlike a contribution to a traditional IRA, a contribution to a Roth IRA is not tax deductible. But as long as no premature distributions are made, the investment gains escape income tax entirely — no matter how huge a Roth IRA grows.

Thiel is not alone among the ultra-wealthy who’ve exploited this loophole. ProPublica reports that Warren Buffett and Ted Wechsler of Berkshire Hathaway, Randall Smith of Alden Capital, and Robert Mercer of Renaissance Technologies have all used Roth IRAs to create massive tax-free slush funds.

For these economic elites, using the Roth IRA has zero to do with retirement planning and everything to do with tax avoidance.

How long has Congress known about this and done nothing?

At least nine years. Back in 2014, I penned an op-ed about a gigantic Roth IRA owned by Max Levchin, also a PayPal founder. And I had learned about Levchin’s Roth in part from Forbes reporting from 2012. Forbes mentioned Thiel’s Roth IRA in its report. Levchin apparently seeded his magic Roth with Yelp stock. But he may have learned of the strategy from his PayPal co-founder Thiel.

What ProPublica’s report adds to what we’ve known for years is information is the sheer size of Thiel’s Roth IRA. And even that should come as no surprise. As I noted in 2014, Levchin’s massive Roth could have been in the $300 million range at that time. With seven years of huge stock market gains since then, should we not have expected to see billion-dollar Roths by now?

Would this abuse be hard for Congress to rein in? Hardly. ProPublica noted that Senator Ron Wyden had proposed a reform plan in 2016, only to later abandon it because getting it through the Republican-controlled Senate was hopeless.



Turner campaign also sent out requests for donations because Corp Dem Super PACS were taking out huge ad buys attacking her.


I rounded up our paypal donations since the start of the year and sent them her way this morning




How Andrew Yang Went from Front-Runner to Fourth Place

In interviews with campaign staffers and surrogates, supporters and opponents, the diagnoses of Mr. Yang’s electoral maladies span the spectrum: He fumbled once it became clear that celebrity alone could not carry the day; he did not try hard enough to reach Black and Latino voters. His campaign was too media-driven, yet he never fully relinquished his Twitter account to more responsible hands. He failed to master the city’s intricacies, and did not turn on-the-ground energy into votes.

“When you’re out in the streets and in the communities, and people are literally shouting at him, ‘I’m going to vote for you,’ what’s the step two?” asked Grace Meng, a congresswoman from Queens who endorsed Mr. Yang. “Step-one level of excitement isn’t enough.”

In the initial stages of his campaign, it seemed like Mr. Yang was everywhere. While the rest of the field held virtual forums and fund-raisers, he was on the streets, touring Flushing, Queens, and Brownsville in Brooklyn, and visiting Hwa Yuan, a 54-year-old Chinatown restaurant struggling to survive the pandemic. He sat for interviews with Wolf Blitzer and “The View,” and won big-name endorsements from Representative Ritchie Torres of the Bronx, and Martin Luther King III.

Mr. Yang, who declined to be interviewed for this article, vowed to deliver $2,000 a year in guaranteed cash to the city’s 500,000 poorest New Yorkers. It was far from the universal basic income plan that drove his presidential campaign, and he never clearly explained how he would pay for it, but it still forced some of his rivals to respond with cash relief plans of their own.

He had to quarantine when a campaign staffer got Covid, and then isolate again when he got it himself. He suffered through a kidney stone. But little seemed like it could stop him, not even a series of gaffes.

He suggested that New York should put a casino on Governors Island, a green respite in the harbor where casinos are illegal. He released a video of a local “bodega” that seemed to suggest to social media critics that he did not know what a bodega was. He incited the left when he suggested he would crack down on street vendors — many of them undocumented workers with few other options at their disposal.

Mr. Yang, 46, also withstood ridicule after telling The New York Times how he spent much of the pandemic in his second home upstate. He noted the challenges of fulfilling his obligations as a CNN commentator from his apartment in Manhattan, explaining, “Can you imagine trying to have two kids on virtual school in a two-bedroom apartment, and then trying to do work yourself?” Many New Yorkers had no trouble imagining that at all.

“I think we took a lot of cannons for a long time, some of it justifiable,” said Chris Coffey, one of Mr. Yang’s two campaign managers, who was speaking by phone from Governors Island, where the Yang campaign was having a postelection picnic whose location was intentionally ironic (and where there were in fact cannons). “It’s hard to know what causes the ship to eventually take on water. I still think most of it is the race just changed.”

Wonder what NYCVG has been up to these days. Haven’t seen her here for awhile.


Maybe she will return now that NY mayoral race is over except for the counting. That would be great.


New York Mayor’s Race in Chaos After Elections Board Counts 135,000 Test Ballots

The New York City mayor’s race plunged into chaos on Tuesday night when the city Board of Elections released a new tally of votes in the Democratic mayoral primary, and then removed the tabulations from its website after citing a “discrepancy.”

The results released earlier in the day had suggested that the race between Eric Adams and his two closest rivals had tightened significantly.

But just a few hours after releasing the preliminary results, the elections board issued a cryptic tweet revealing a “discrepancy” in the report, saying that it was working with its “technical staff to identify where the discrepancy occurred.”

By Tuesday evening, the tabulations had been taken down, replaced by a new advisory that the ranked-choice results would be available “starting on June 30.”

Then, around 10:30 p.m., the board finally released a statement, explaining that it had failed to remove sample ballot images used to test its ranked-choice voting software. When the board ran the program, it counted “both test and election night results, producing approximately 135,000 additional records,” the statement said. The ranked-choice numbers, it said, would be tabulated again.

The extraordinary sequence of events seeded further confusion about the outcome, and threw the closely watched contest into a new period of uncertainty at a consequential moment for the city.

For the Board of Elections, which has long been plagued by dysfunction and nepotism, this was its first try at implementing ranked-choice voting on a citywide scale. Skeptics had expressed doubts about the board’s ability to pull off the process, though it is used successfully in other cities.

Under ranked-choice voting, voters can list up to five candidates on their ballots in preferential order. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of first-choice votes in the first round, the winner is decided by a process of elimination: As the lower-polling candidates are eliminated, their votes are reallocated to whichever candidate those voters ranked next, and the process continues until there is a winner.

The Board of Elections released preliminary, unofficial ranked-choice tabulations on Tuesday afternoon, showing that Mr. Adams — who had held a significant advantage on primary night — was narrowly ahead of Kathryn Garcia in the ballots cast in person during early voting or on Primary Day. Maya D. Wiley, who came in second place in the initial vote count, was close behind in third place. The board then took down the results and disclosed the discrepancy.

The results may well be scrambled again: Even after the Board of Elections sorts through the preliminary tally, it must count around 124,000 Democratic absentee ballots. Once they are tabulated, the board will take the new total that includes them and run a new set of ranked-choice elimination rounds, with a final result not expected until mid-July.

Some Democrats, bracing for an acrimonious new chapter in the race, are concerned that the incremental release of results by the Board of Elections — and the discovery of an error — may stir distrust of ranked-choice voting and of the city’s electoral system more broadly.

In a statement late Tuesday night, Ms. Wiley laced into the Board of Elections, calling the error “the result of generations of failures that have gone unaddressed,” and adding: “Sadly it is impossible to be surprised.”

“Today, we have once again seen the mismanagement that has resulted in a lack of confidence in results, not because there is a flaw in our election laws, but because those who implement it have failed too many times,” she said. “The B.O.E. must now count the remainder of the votes transparently and ensure the integrity of the process moving forward.”

Ms. Garcia said the release of the inaccurate tally was “deeply troubling and requires a much more transparent and complete explanation.”

“Every ranked choice and absentee vote must be counted accurately so that all New Yorkers have faith in our democracy and our government,” she said. “I am confident that every candidate will accept the final results and support whomever the voters have elected.”


A comparison between first-place vote totals released on primary night and those released on Tuesday offered some insight into how the 135,000 erroneous votes were distributed. The bottom four candidates received a total of 42,000 new votes, roughly four times their actual vote total; the number of write-in ballots also skyrocketed to 17,516 from 1,336. Mr. Adams and Mr. Yang received the highest number of new votes.

It was not known, however, how the test votes were reallocated during the ranked-choice tabulations, making it impossible to determine how they affected the preliminary results that were released and then retracted.

When accurate vote counts are in place, it is difficult, but not unheard-of for a trailing candidate in a ranked-choice election to eventually win the race through later rounds of voting — that happened in Oakland, Calif., in 2010, and nearly occurred in San Francisco in 2018.

The winner of New York’s Democratic primary, who is almost certain to become the city’s next mayor, will face Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels, who won the Republican primary.

According to the now-withdrawn tabulation released Tuesday, Ms. Wiley, a former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, nearly made it to the final round. She finished closely behind Ms. Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner, before being eliminated in the penultimate round of the preliminary exercise.

Good thing they caught this early on. Otherwise, it would have been hellish trying to figure it out later.


americans thinking macines are cool. still a yuge myystery to me.


what a fiasco


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

Anna details Biden’s capitulation to capitalism at the expense of the masses – privatization (assest recycling) of public infrastructure to pay for the infrastructure bill rather than taxing the 1%.


ty! will watch later.


excellent. Surprised there aren’t more progressives doing this.





The doors of a Roman Catholic cathedral in downtown Saskatoon were splattered with paint Thursday afternoon after the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School.

Video of the event posted to social media showed a woman painting and splattering red paint on the door and the sign of St. Paul’s Co-Cathedral.

The Catholic Church has been criticized for its role in the residential school system, especially for its reluctance to provide records relating to burial grounds.

On Thursday, the Cowessess First Nation announced the preliminary discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the former residential school. The announcement caused shock and outrage across the country.

Trauma resurfaces for residential school survivors amid discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves in Sask.

The finding comes after another discovery at the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in B.C. which announced the discovery of a burial site adjacent to the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Preliminary findings indicate the site contains the remains of 215 children.

An eyewitness said watching the event was a beautiful experience.

Cathy Bohachik was outside the cathedral commemorating the 60th anniversary of her parents’ marriage when roughly 20 people approached the area wearing orange shirts. Then one woman broke away from the group and began to paint the door.

“It was very solemn, and it was very peaceful and it was really beautiful,” she said.

“She started to do her artwork, and we were actually quite speechless.”



It seems darkly fitting that an unprecedented deadly heatwave is descending on America as Congress dithers over meaningless gestures at “bipartisanship” on infrastructure. Nature doesn’t care about Senate comity. The power lines will melt, and the streets will buckle regardless. People will die as power grids fail and buildings collapse. A religious person making an honest attempt to read the portents might even call it a sign from God. The message could not be more clear: An infrastructure deal that does not address climate change in a transformative way is no deal at all.

Unfortunately, the Senate is in danger of acquiescing to Republican hostage-taking and gamesmanship. The result could doom the country to trillions of dollars and untold lives lost as a result of climate-change-induced disasters. Against this backdrop, the current negotiations in the Senate are taking on an almost farcical character, somewhat akin to arguing over floral decorations on the banquet deck of a sinking ship.

The obvious upshot is that trying to prioritize bipartisanship on a life-or-death infrastructure bill is an irresponsible fool’s errand. There is no sense in which trying to bridge partisan divides with bad faith Republicans is a greater intrinsic good than actually solving our dire infrastructure and climate crises. It’s not even clear that the fig leaf of bipartisanship is more helpful for the careers of red state Democrats than passing a good infrastructure bill would be. Anyone willing to potentially sacrifice the lives of millions and the future of the country in a vain attempt at placating a Republican Party in the thrall of an extremist infotainment cult is taking an unacceptable and selfish risk.

It is maddening that while younger Americans search for housing based on where they might become climate refugees and ponder whether it is responsible to even have children if they are doomed to perish in a greenhouse civilization collapse, a few mostly old white men are more concerned with how pleasant it might be to greet each other in the Senate cafeteria.

History–if there are still historians left in the decades to come–won’t care at all whether adherents of the party of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Donald Trump voted for a shriveled deal. They will only care if our leaders met the crisis of the moment with the urgency it requires.


Charles Pierce


First of all, having the wingnut welfare apparatus funding think tanks and nurturing Ben Shapiros and Brett Kavanaughs is one thing. But using that money essentially to rent out another state’s National Guard as a private army for a political stunt to benefit the Republican Party and the future political plans of the governor of South Dakota is one very long step down a road that other republics have traveled, never to be seen again. As an important politician once observed, no man can truly be called rich if he can’t maintain his own army on his income. That was Marcus Licinius Crassus, one of the central figures in Rome’s long slide from republic to empire. Of course, he didn’t have a billionaire used-car salesman to foot the bill for him.

Pan out and things get far more serious. Here we have a cabal of Republican governors using their law-enforcement apparatus—and now, their National Guard troops—in a coordinated exercise in political gamesmanship, if not outright sabotage. The exercise is independently funded to prevent political blowback at home. What’s to prevent this band of ghouls from putting this kind of thing together to take more, ah, “active” measures against the administration in the future? The last time governors decided to use their states’ military as an argument in national politics, people wound up ducking behind things in Fort Sumter. People like Kristi Noem don’t care, but they are activating forces in this country that they don’t understand, and that they never will be able to fully control. Biden should federalize the South Dakota National Guard immediately and then order it to stay where it is. Let Noem scream into the prairie winds about it. This is a lot bigger than her futile ambitions.



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

Done. The days in a row.