HomeUncategorized7/17-20 News Roundup & Open Thread
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jcitybone

Republicans censuring him was such a gift to Schiff. Porter still leads the polls though

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2023-07-16/adam-schiff-dominates-rivals-in-fundraising-for-californias-u-s-senate-race

Rep. Adam B. Schiff swamped his rivals in the financial race to replace retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein, raising $8.2 million in recent months, according to federal fundraising reports released Saturday.

Schiff collected roughly double the combined total raised by his top Democratic opponents — Reps. Katie Porter and Barbara Lee — in the same period.

Schiff’s windfall was fueled by his June censure by congressional Republicans over his role in investigating former GOP President Trump’s ties to Russia — a reprimand the Burbank Democrat repeatedly highlighted in his fundraising appeals.

“Schiff might as well have paid for this censure, in the sense that it has gotten him exactly what he wants, which is, ‘I’m the person Republicans don’t want to win, and that’s for a reason,’” said Jessica Levinson, an election law professor at Loyola Law School. “Even though he’s such an eloquent and well-spoken lawyer, I don’t know that he could have made the case for himself in the way Republicans did.”

Schiff’s haul far outpaced Porter, an Irvine Democrat who raised $3.1 million in the second quarter of 2023. But she led Schiff 19% to 16% in a poll of likely voters released last week by the Public Policy Institute of California. Lee had the support of 13%.

In recent years, Schiff and Porter have been among the most prodigious fundraisers in the House. But Porter had to spend nearly $29 million on her tight Orange County reelection bid last year, while Schiff coasted to another term in office and banked his donations.

Lee, an Oakland Democrat, received $1.1 million between April 1 and June 30, according to disclosure documents filed with the Federal Election Commission, which were made public on Saturday. That’s the same amount raised by Democrat Lexi Reese, a Silicon Valley executive seeking the seat in her first run for public office, though Reese contributed about $284,000 of her own money to her campaign.

Though the general election is more than a year away, these figures are crucial in early assessments of the candidates’ prospects as they vie for a rare open Senate seat representing California, home to some of the most expensive media markets in the nation. Television advertising is a requisite in any statewide campaign courting California’s 22 million voters.

Feinstein, 90, was known for breaking gender barriers even before she was first elected to the Senate in 1992’s “Year of the Woman,” when a record number of female candidates won seats in Congress.

The San Francisco Democrat has been lauded by colleagues of both parties for her intelligence and devotion to her work. But concerns about Feinstein’s declining mental and physical capabilities reached a crescendo in recent months, and she announced in February that she would not seek another term next year.

Several Republicans are also running for Feinstein’s Senate seat, but their prospects are dim due to California’s progressive tilt. Californians last elected a GOP politician to a statewide office in 2006, and have grown more liberal since then. Democrats accounted for 47% of registered voters, Republicans for 24% and voters who do not express a party preference for 22% as of Feb. 10, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Eric Early, a GOP attorney running for the Senate seat, reported raising $201,176 through June 30. Republican James Bradley, a Coast Guard veteran and former healthcare executive, had not filed a fundraising report as of Saturday afternoon.

The race to replace Feinstein is further complicated by California’s “jungle” primary system, in which the two candidates who receive the most votes advance to the November general election, regardless of their party. The primary is scheduled to take place in March.

If two Democrats emerge as the winners of the primary, their battle will continue until November, and tens of millions of dollars will be spent on the contest. If a Republican claims one of the top two spots, the Democrat they face will have a seemingly insurmountable advantage.

But one notable uncertainty is whether former Dodgers star Steve Garvey, a Republican, will enter the contest; he is expected to announce a decision this month. As of Saturday, 23 candidates had filed to run for the seat.

Schiff and Porter, frequent cable news guests who are popular among liberal voters for their respective opposition to Trump and to corporate chiefs, have been among the top fundraisers in Congress in recent years.

But since they started running against one another for Feinstein’s seat, Schiff has outpaced Porter. In the first three months of 2023, he raised $6.5 million and spent $2.8 million, while Porter raised $4.5 million and spent $2.5 million, according to federal election records.

Their financial disparity grew in the second quarter of this year, with Schiff raising $8.2 million and spending $3.3 million, and Porter raising $3.1 million and spending $2.2 million, according to the FEC. As of June 30, Schiff had $29.8 million in cash on hand, while Porter had $10.4
million. They have more money in their bank accounts than they have raised due to transfers from their congressional campaign committees.

Lee’s campaign finances continue to lag behind those of her congressional colleagues in the race; she reported raising $1.1 million in the second quarter and spending $817,000. She had $1.4 million in the bank as of June 30.

As Schiff highlights his fight with Trump in fundraising appeals, and Porter points to her experience as a single mom serving in Congress and offers meal-planning tips, Lee — a Black woman who has served in the House of Representatives since 1998 — emphasizes the racial disparities in the nation’s Capitol. Only two African American women have ever been elected to the Senate.

“We love you, Barbara. We think you would make a great senator. But Adam Schiff, he just looks like a senator,” Lee wrote in an email to supporters, paraphrasing comments she has received. “I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard this on the campaign trail. And I’ll be honest, it breaks my heart.”

orlbucfan

I bet I can guess who is bankrolling Schiff, Mr. DINO deluxe. He better run on more than impeaching the Orange Maggot. Still wish Lee was closer to Porter in age. Katie knows how to win over regular conservatives who aren’t filthy rich. 👍

jcitybone

Ryan Cooper

https://prospect.org/education/2023-07-17-bidens-most-powerful-student-loan-tool/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

The Biden administration has struggled with student debt problems. In March 2021, shortly after Biden took office, incoming officials discovered that while about two million people were eligible for their debt to be canceled under the Department of Education’s income-driven repayment (IDR) program, only 32 people had actually seen it happen. An NPR report in April 2022 detailed major problems in the program, mainly constant paperwork errors on the part of the servicers contracted to handle the payments. And then, of course, the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s debt forgiveness plan.

But progress is still being made. On Friday, the administration announced that it had ironed out some kinks in the IDR program, and as a result, 804,000 borrowers will have their loans canceled, erasing a total of $39 billion in debt. That comes on top of previous cancellations that had provided $66 billion in relief to 2.2 million borrowers—already more than any previous president—as of July 1, under IDR and other programs.

That reflects the fact that at this point, the IDR tool is probably the best tool Biden possesses to provide student debt relief. It will be an annoying headache for the administration to set up, but its powers are basically limitless, and arguably established on a firmer legal footing than any other option.

As Matt Bruenig explains at People’s Policy Project, the Higher Education Act requires the Department of Education to create an IDR program in which “students must pay (1) a certain percent of their income (2) beyond a certain percent of the poverty line (3) for a certain number of years in order to receive debt forgiveness.” The specific parameters here are set almost entirely at the discretion of the secretary of education, and have been changed many times over the years.

Indeed, the Biden administration started the rulemaking process on a revised IDR program back in January that would provide forgiveness to borrowers who paid 5 percent of any income above 225 percent of the poverty line (meaning if you make less than that, you pay nothing) for ten years on loans originally totaling under $12,000, or 20 years on ones larger than that. This is much more generous than the current IDR program under which the current round of forgiveness is happening.

The only problem is implementation. So far, the administration appears to be on the right track. The key thing is cutting down on paperwork, so providing forgiveness automatically to eligible borrowers, as they’ve done with the current round of forgiveness, rather than requiring them to fill out a bunch of forms first is smart. Smarter still would be to enroll people in IDR by default, as my colleague David Dayen argues. If people don’t have to do anything to get into the program, and don’t have to do anything to get their debt written off, then we’ll really be cooking with induction.

That won’t be easy. There are about 43 million people with student loans, and only about nine million are currently enrolled in IDR. Getting those remaining 34 million people enrolled into anything is going to be a tough task. And as Dayen also argues, the restarting of student loan payments at the end of August is likely to be a Kafkaesque nightmare, once again because of incompetent servicers.

All this is not to say that Biden shouldn’t also pursue his other plan, announced just hours after the Supreme Court struck down his cancellation program under the HEROES Act, to do a similar cancellation under the Higher Education Act’s “compromise and settlement” authority (as the Prospect advocated back in 2019). But the right-wing Supreme Court majority might be more likely to strike such a move down under its preposterous “major questions doctrine,” which is nothing but a cockamamie excuse for getting rid of things it doesn’t like.

IDR, by contrast, not only is on a firm legal foundation, but also has existed for decades, and is currently delivering debt forgiveness by the billions. Obviously, if the Supreme Court is hell-bent on inflicting pain on student borrowers, then nothing will stop them (aside from packing the Court or just ignoring it) from striking this down as well. But politically, they might be more hesitant to strike down a program with such a long precedent, particularly when it would involve re-imposing debt on people who have already gotten it wiped away.

In any case, best to try to keep this Court on the back foot by trying to achieve one’s objectives through as many legal means as possible.

Should the program stand, we can see the sketch of a system of higher-education finance that makes a lot more sense than the current one. As Laura Beamer and Marshall Steinbaum argue at The New York Times, the plain fact is that most student debt is not ever going to be paid back, because a large and increasing share of borrowers are not making any progress on their loans. Ironically, the repayment pause implemented during the pandemic actually improved student loan repayment on net, because it stopped unpaid interest from piling up.

With IDR, higher education would instead be financed with an ersatz, semi-progressive payroll tax on graduates. It’s not how I would do it, but it would make a lot more sense than the status quo. The last step would be to impose strict price controls on colleges and universities, so they don’t take advantage of future loan forgiveness to shoot their prices even further to the moon.

At any rate, I’ll admit that I never thought Biden would actually go through with his campaign promises to student borrowers. But all evidence suggests he is determined to do just that.

orlbucfan

Well, guess who the last ‘Education’ Secretary was under the Maggot? Betsy Anti-Public -Education -and-Helping-Out-the-Peasants DeVos. Need I say more?🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮

orlbucfan

T and R x 4, Ms. Benny!! ☮️🙂👍

wi66

A couple of toons on climate change, i read a lot of the climate change articles,the comment section is full of “record idiocy” almost depressing to think people are that ingnorant.

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orlbucfan

I almost couldn’t bear to listen to the idiotic MSM tonight. Hubster turns it on. And here comes the announcement that Miami has recorded the warmest ocean temps ever: 90. Of course, that’s going to kill what’s left of the reefs if those temps don’t moderate. 😡 Another massive problem: hurricanes just love warm, moist, ocean water. That and no wind shear will make them very happy and powerful destructive happy campers. 🙄😪

jcitybone

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/17/opinion/weather-climate-politics-republican.html

After officially beginning his presidential campaign, Ron DeSantis was asked about climate change. He brushed the issue aside: “I’ve always rejected the politicization of the weather.”

But we absolutely should politicize the weather. In practice, environmental policy probably won’t be a central issue in the 2024 campaign, which will mainly turn on the economy and social issues. Still, we’re living in a time of accelerating climate-related disasters, and the environmental extremism of the Republican Party — it is more hostile to climate action than any other major political party in the advanced world — would, in a more rational political debate, be the biggest election issue of them all.

First, the environmental background: We’re only halfway through 2023, yet we’ve already seen multiple weather events that would have been shocking not long ago. Globally, last month was the hottest June on record. Unprecedented heat waves have been striking one region of the world after another: South Asia and the Middle East experienced a life-threatening heat wave in May; Europe is now going through its second catastrophic heat wave in a short period of time; China is experiencing its highest temperatures on record; and much of the southern United States has been suffering from dangerous levels of heat for weeks, with no end in sight.

Residents of Florida might be tempted to take a cooling dip in the ocean — but ocean temperatures off South Florida have come close to 100 degrees, not much below the temperature in a hot tub.

But extreme weather events have always been with us. Can we prove that climate change caused any particular disaster? Not exactly. But the burgeoning field of “extreme event attribution” comes close. Climate models say that certain kinds of extreme weather events become more likely on a warming planet — for example, what used to be a heat wave we’d experience on average only once every few decades becomes an almost annual occurrence. Event attribution compares the odds of experiencing an extreme event given global warming with the odds that the same event would have happened without climate change.

Incidentally, I’d argue that extreme event attribution gains credibility from the fact that it doesn’t always tell the same story, that sometimes it says that climate change wasn’t the culprit. For example, preliminary analyses suggest that climate change played a limited role in the extreme flooding that recently struck northeastern Italy.

That was, however, the exception that proves the rule. In general, attribution analysis shows that global warming made the disasters of recent years much more likely. We don’t yet have estimates for the latest, still ongoing series of disasters, but it seems safe to say that this global concatenation of extreme weather events would have been virtually impossible without climate change. And this is almost surely just the leading edge of the crisis, a small foretaste of the many disasters to come.

Which brings me back to the “politicization of the weather.” Worrying about the climate crisis shouldn’t be a partisan issue. But it is, at least in this country. As of last year, only 22 percent of Americans who considered themselves to be on the political right considered climate change a major threat; the left-right gap here was far larger than it was in other countries. And only in America do you see things like Texas Republicans actively trying to undermine their own state’s booming renewable energy sector.

The remarkable thing about climate denial is that the arguments haven’t changed at all over the years: Climate change isn’t happening; OK, it’s happening, but it’s not such a bad thing; besides, doing anything about it would be an economic disaster.

And none of these arguments are ever abandoned in the face of evidence. The next time there’s a cold spell somewhere in America, the usual suspects will once again assert that climate change is a hoax. Spectacular technological progress in renewable energy, which now makes the path to greatly reduced emissions look easier than even optimists imagined, hasn’t stopped claims that the costs of the Biden administration’s climate policy will be unsupportable.

So we shouldn’t expect record heat waves around the globe to end assertions that climate change, even if it’s happening, is no big deal. Nor should we expect Republicans to soften their opposition to climate action, no matter what is happening in the world.

What this means is that if the G.O.P. wins control of the White House and Congress next year, it will almost surely try to dismantle the array of green energy subsidies enacted by the Biden administration that experts believe will lead to a major reduction in emissions.

Like it or not, then, the weather is a political issue. And Americans should be aware that it’s one of the most important issues they’ll be voting on next November.

orlbucfan

Oh, one of the most important?! Really? Especially if you’re still buying into the delusion that the J dude is coming back so this isn’t worth fretting over. DeSh1tface is starting to implode nationally which is no surprise. I have been really bummed out over this the last couple of days. Climate crisis is showing itself just like the weather scientists predicted: weather events would become more extreme. That’s what’s happening. Key West is reporting water temps of 95 degrees. East central FL hasn’t been too bad thanks to the rains, but we’ve still got to get through the storm season. 🙄

jcitybone

wi66

And the US screams about human right violations around the world, At the very least treat them and send them back a minimum as that has been done in the past. We do need an improved immagration system but with todays congress not happening any time soon

jcitybone