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Liberals rip Democratic leaders for writing drug pricing bill in secret

Progressive House Democrats are growing increasingly frustrated with their party’s leadership, accusing them of writing Democrats’ signature bill to lower prescription drug prices in secret and without their input.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) compared the process around Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) drug pricing measure to the secrecy surrounding the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal bill in 2017, when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) famously wheeled a photocopier across the Capitol in a dramatized search for the hidden legislation.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, likened Pelosi’s plan to the Loch Ness monster, saying it has been just as elusive.

At issue is a plan Pelosi’s office has been working on for months that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, a top priority for Democrats and one that the party stressed in its campaign last year to win back the House.

There is now an intense debate within the Democratic caucus over the details of that proposal, with the Progressive Caucus pushing for a bill authored by Doggett that it says is stronger because it would strip a company of its monopoly on a drug if the manufacturer refuses to agree to a reasonable price in Medicare negotiations.

Pelosi’s office is working on a different mechanism, one that progressives worry is too weak. Her approach would empower an outside third party to set the price of a drug if Medicare and the drug company could not come to an agreement.

Progressive lawmakers argue they cannot properly weigh in on Pelosi’s plan because they have not seen anything on paper. After months of rumors, Pelosi presented an outline of the plan two weeks ago in a private meeting that included Pocan, but did not provide a hard copy of the proposal.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a champion for progressives, told reporters on Wednesday it’s a problem that “most members,” including her, do not know the details of Pelosi’s drug pricing plan.

“That’s a problem and it’s part of a pattern, I think, where we don’t know things until 48 hours before. And then it’s like, ‘You’re either with us or you’re against us,’ ” Ocasio-Cortez said.



This semi-senile botoxed woman really needs to retire. I’m a wrinkle and I recognize old age when I see it.


No kidding, I’ve been active in leadership in certain volunteer groups over the years and I’ve recognized when its time to step down and let the next generation take over. I made myself available in an advisory role.


Swing-state Democrats see trouble in proposed pay hike

House Democrats hailing from swing districts are split over leadership’s decision to move forward with a spending package that would allow members of Congress to get a pay bump for the first time in a decade.

The House is slated to vote next week on a nearly $1 trillion spending package that would allow a cost-of-living increase for lawmakers and staff to go into effect.

Members of both parties, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), have spoken up in recent years about the need for competitive salaries to help reduce the exodus to higher-paying K Street lobbying jobs.

But some of the most vulnerable House Democrats who only arrived on Capitol Hill five months ago are pushing back, fearing the pay raise won’t go over well with the public.

Gee, when you put it that way, Hoyer and friends, it sounds like extortion. Pay us more or else!

Hoyer and some others might want to ask Alexandria for advice on how to frame this kind of thing?

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also expressed support for the pay raise, arguing it’s consistent with policies like advocating for a minimum wage increase.

“I think that all people in the country should get cost-of-living adjustments,” Ocasio-Cortez told The Hill. “I think the entire country should have the health care that we have. I think the entire country should have cost-of-living adjustments. Which is why I’m comfortable with it because I fight for those consistently across my platform.”



I have no quarrel with public servants getting pay raises. My beef is with Turd Way millionaires like Hoyer who love not paying taxes.


Have to disagree with AOC. Let them help the people first. And help them a lot, first.


I was surprised at AOC supporting the pay hike (considering the flat wages so many people are dealing with) but at least she didn’t threaten to hightail it to K Street? Yet?

For most U.S. workers, real wages have barely budged in decades

Meanwhile, wage gains have gone largely to the highest earners. Since 2000, usual weekly wages have risen 3% (in real terms) among workers in the lowest tenth of the earnings distribution and 4.3% among the lowest quarter. But among people in the top tenth of the distribution, real wages have risen a cumulative 15.7%, to $2,112 a week – nearly five times the usual weekly earnings of the bottom tenth ($426).



I like AOC, but on this one she definitely fails!

Hoyer’s “argument” is that money indicates smarts. The smarter/better/more able as a congressperson you are, the more money you want. This is a BS, neoliberal standpoint.

The new progressives in congress–AOC sadly excepted here–aren’t in it for the money. And they are plenty smart. In fact, their concern for matters that aren’t going to line their pockets is IMHO a clear indication of their smarts. Ditto for Bernie.


DNC tells Inslee it won’t host climate debate

“Today, my team received a call from the Democratic National Committee letting us know that they will not host a climate debate. Further, they explained that if we participated in anyone else’s climate debate, we will not be invited to future debates,” Inslee said in a statement.

“This is deeply disappointing. The DNC is silencing the voices of Democratic activists, many of our progressive partner organizations, and nearly half of the Democratic presidential field, who want to debate the existential crisis of our time. Democratic voters say that climate change is their top issue; the Democratic National Committee must listen to the grassroots of the party,” Inslee added.

The Democratic Party’s response to climate change cannot only be a few quick questions in the first debates where, in 60 seconds, candidates merely agree that this issue is important, and move on,” Inslee wrote. “We need a full debate to really wrestle with who has the best plans to defeat this existential crisis, who has demonstrated the commitment it will take to get this job done, and who understands the scale of ambition necessary to see this mission through to completion.”


Bernie’s Big Idea – 2 June 2019

Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ideas: Stop wasting resources on endless wars and invest in people and fighting climate change instead.

(the name of the youtube account where I got that link is ‘SpittingBack’ lol)


This is the most discouraging and irritating move the DNC has pulled so far. Of COURSE they don’t want a debate on climate; Uncle Joe will get his clock cleaned.

There is a way to force their hand, but I doubt the candidates could act together to make it work; all of the top candidates (well, except Joe, of course) could simply accept the DNC’s conditions and do a climate debate somewhere else. Result: debate occurs, and all of the top candidates are now excluded from any further debate. Who in the world thinks the DNC would allow that? It would take control of the narrative out of their hands, and that is their absolute worst fear. By refusing to allow primary challengers, the DNC has already created a nascent alternate to the DNC consultant class, which I sure hopes grows, because that signals a loss for the DNC. Doing the same thing to them on climate would be a major win with utterly devastating consequences, some of them unpredictable. That’s fine with me.


Jay Inslee needs to pump up the volume on the DNC and raise more holy h3ll. A lot of us are Demexiting, and this will just add more fuel to that fire.



They don’t want “their” candidates participating in ANY non-DNC debates. So it doesn’t matter if it’s climate or a general debate. They want total control of the narrative. I really think they should be fought on the climate debate; they are so out of touch on this subject (the — “what do they call it, the Green Dream?” Pelosi comment says it all; the condescension, the sense of entitlement)…I’ve come to the conclusion that all she is willing to do is clap sarcastically at Trump while sitting on her own colleagues. And we are supposed to swallow the 11 dimensional chess line again just as it came from Obama. “Don’t question your betters; they know what’s good for you.” Because that worked out so well before.


Full credit to LoneStarMike for this one! He is spot on with this.
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Interesting very detailed article about Bernie


As these stories and emotions poured in, they landed on the shoulders of a man who is, depending on whom you ask, a person of great empathy or a gruff curmudgeon. “I think everybody thinks I’m very somber and very angry and very, very serious,” Sanders told me in Ohio, “which is half true.” Faced with these testimonies of struggle, Sanders doesn’t usually do what other leaders do in our therapeutic culture: doesn’t hug people, tell them he feels their pain, ask follow-up questions about how the family is doing. What he does with their pain is analyze it; contextualize it; connect it to laws and agencies and instances of greed they may not know about; and offer it back to them as steaming, righteous, evidence-based anger. People tell him of the bill they can’t pay that keeps them awake, and he tells them that the chief executive of the local insurance company makes however-many million. Throwing percentages at them like little darts, he gives them the statistics that might explain their pain, gives them a thesis to connect the dots of their lives. He teaches them to look at themselves in a new way—systemically.

“There’s a lot of individual credit and blame in a capitalist society,” Jane Sanders told me. She described Bernie’s message in the town halls as: “You know, this is not an individual failure that you’re having trouble meeting your bills, or that your health has suffered because you can’t afford health care. He tries to give them a context that says, ‘Hey, stop blaming yourself. Start thinking about how you, in a democracy, can help change the system.’”

After a few of these town halls, Sanders’ own stoicism makes more sense. He begins to seem almost a secular priest: People come to him with stories of despair, and he lifts their pain up into the air, to a place where it is no longer personal but something civic. He gives them the language and information to know it isn’t their fault. His speeches are like that hug in Good Will Hunting. It’s not your fault; it’s not your fault. The system did this. Big corporations did this. A bought-and-paid-for government did this. He connects their pain to the pain of others, and in the process that pain is remade, almost transubstantiated, into a sweeping case against a corrupt system. The priest, in this metaphor, doesn’t reveal himself because his job is to float above his own feelings, own needs, own desire to be liked. His job is to make space for, make sense of and make use of your pain.

This covenant with his supporters is his great achievement. No rival for the Democratic nomination has anything quite like it. Even Steve Bannon, the right-wing populist who ran Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, admires it. Sanders’ agenda is “a hodgepodge of these half-baked socialist ideas that we’ve seen haven’t worked,” Bannon told me in his office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, sitting in front of a painting on which the words Follow your dreams were written above a monkey sitting on a Coca-Cola box. But, he said, “Bernie has done a tremendous job of galvanizing a segment that hasn’t gone away. I mean, he has a real movement.”

I keep thinking of a moment in Las Vegas that made me realize we don’t know the answer yet. We had just landed at the airport. We headed for the SUV that would take us to the Paris hotel and casino. But there was a mishap: the local organizers hadn’t known I was joining. When we found the SUV, we realized we were one seat short. Sanders’ aides, in a hurry, looked at me like, “Bye, dude.”

Sanders, who had been preoccupied with luggage, now caught wind of the issue. And I watched it come over him: a transfixing, physical sense of righteousness. It wasn’t about logistics; it was about justice. At that point, he had spoken to me just once in any real way in days of traveling together. He had no interest in me in the normal ways. Oh, you live in Brooklyn? I used to live in Brooklyn. What part? But the prospect of my exclusion bothered him. Even as I said I was fine, he asked if there was any way to squeeze me in. Checked the back row. Maybe I could put a suitcase beside him, between the seats, and sit on top. But something had to be done, because to him it just was not right. And in that moment Sanders became a little clearer to me: He isn’t the person you want sitting beside you on a long boat ride, passing time. He’s the person who will notice when you fall overboard and begin to drown


There’s no emoticon showing a happy tear. That was beautifully written about a beautiful man.


Anand Giridharadas is an excellent writer who has excellent things to say. It’s a good profile of Bernie, and it’s good because it isn’t just a typical puff piece.


Bernie’s op ed in the San Jose Mercury News


My education plan calls for a ban on for-profit charter schools and a moratorium on federal funding of new charters until we can ensure they’re operating with transparency and accountability.

I am proud to stand with the NAACP, the Movement for Black Lives, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the United Teachers Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles school board in supporting this moratorium, and I applaud California lawmakers for trying to pass legislation to restrict charter school growth.

Sixty-five years after the Brown decision rejected the idea of “separate but equal,” we must reject charter schemes that aim to create a parallel school system to compensate for lack of investment in our public schools,Instead, we must defeat Trump in the election, and commit to providing good quality education to all.



Two Democratic lawmakers on Thursday morning launched an investigation into a former top Trump administration official who is profiting off the White House’s policy of family separation and child detention.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) sent an open letter (pdf) to the head of Jim Van Dusen, the CEO of Caliburn International, which recently hired former Gen. John Kelly, who ran President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security until January 2, 2019, and later became White House chief of staff.

Caliburn manages Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. (CHSi). CHSi runs the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Florida as well as three facilities in Texas. All four CHSi-run shelters are used to house child victims of President Donald Trump’s zero tolerance policy on migration. According to Warren and Jayapal, the Florida facility could receive $340 million in federal funding in just six months.

In their letter to Van Dusen, Warren and Jayapal delivered a blistering assessment of Kelly’s time in the administration and questioned his role in the company.

“General Kelly’s role in promoting and helping execute these cruel immigration policies remains a stain on his decades of public service,” the lawmakers wrote. “It is outrageous that he now appears to be cashing in on those same policies as a board member for the company that benefitted from his actions as a government official.”


It would not surprise me if Pramila Jayapal becomes House Speaker one day. She would be a very good one, too.


let’s make INsourcing popular again.



This is just one of many issues where Biden has what used to be a pretty mainstream position within the party that has more recently become controversial. And the more questions he gets asked about it, the harder it’s going to be to defend.

Because if you believe women should have a right to an abortion, that right ought to have practical meaning for everyone. We believe that the Constitution’s right of due process requires that you have legal representation if you’re accused of a crime, but we don’t say that if you can’t afford it, tough luck. We provide public defenders, because the right would be hollow if it were available only to those who could afford it.

As for Biden’s argument — “Those of us who are opposed to abortions should not be compelled to pay for them” — that’s also entirely unpersuasive. All of us pay for things with our tax dollars that we don’t approve of, every single day. The moral objection some people might have to a given expenditure — even if they feel really strongly about it — isn’t a veto over what everyone else thinks ought to be the policy.



Hours after Joe Biden’s presidential campaign reaffirmed the former vice president’s support for the anti-choice Hyde Amendment—which bars the use of federal funds for abortions—Sen. Elizabeth Warren made clear during an MSNBC town hall Wednesday night that she believes Biden’s position is wrong and deeply harmful to low-income women in particular.

“Yes,” Warren, a 2020 presidential candidate, said without hesitation when asked by host Chris Hayes whether Biden’s position on the Hyde Amendment is wrong. “It’s been the law for a while, and it’s been wrong for a long time.”


And we pay a hell of a lot more for unending war.


How well would this argument go over: “Those of us who are opposed to wars should not be compelled to pay for them.”

Don midwest
Don midwest

Bottom line: This woman warned us about fascism in the USA.

The establishment dems, like other political groups in Germany, made their bet on the status quo and they got Hitler. Will establishment dems block the inquiry into impeachment and risk further destruction of the country and the earth?

The prophet of fly-over country

I have heard the phrase but had never read the author who is covered in a long form profile.

She had studied fascists regimes including former Soviet Union countries like Uzbekistan (a wonderful vacation there a couple of years ago. Didn’t realize how this central country on the Silk Road had been in history) and she saw Trump as a fascist leader during the primaries.

Here she is on March 22 2016

America, like the countries of Central Asia, is a spectacular state. As news and entertainment converged in the 1990s, never to part, it became a tabloid state, and Trump has always triumphed as tabloid fodder. He is good for bad business. From a platform of media power rivaling that of any dictatorship, he vows to “make America great again.” Let us not forget how the leader of Uzbekistan, and the leaders of many other impoverished authoritarian states, have made the same promise. Let us also not forget how that turned out.

What Central Asia’s spectacular states can tell us about authoritarianism in America.

I am not recommending that article as most relevant to current politics, but it has a lot about Central Asia states.

Here she is again in March 2016

Trump supporters in St Louis: how ‘midwestern nice’ became a sea of rage
As they lined up to attend the businessman’s rally in St Louis, attendees were a picture of calm. But once they were inside, a mob mentality took root

American history is filled with ordinary people doing unspeakable things: a country where wholesome families treated lynchings as social occasions and witch trials as spectacles. As the voice of a demagogue blared from a theater, protesters were beaten and his supporters laughed, cheered and cheered. Trump proclaimed it good.

Extraordinary fury was unleashed by the ordinary, in plain sight, in the midday sun, and political darkness rose.

She is publishing a book that will come out before 2020 election.

I do recommend this long form article published recently.

How Sarah Kendzior Became the Prophet of Flyover Country

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