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magsviewphatkhatTorabspolarbear4Don midwest Recent comment authors

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Representative Barbara Lee: ‘Defund the Pentagon Budget’

Borrowing a page from the racial justice movement that calls for reallocating money from municipal police budgets to serve historically neglected communities, Lee speaks of the need to reallocate Pentagon spending to fund historically neglected domestic programs. She’s not talking about leaving the United States defenseless or abandoning the troops; Lee emphasizes the need to “provide the best for our men and women in the armed services…especially the more than 16,000 military families now living on food stamps.” But, she declares, “It’s time to cut weapons of war and prioritize the well-being of our troops, anti-poverty programs, public health initiatives, and diplomacy.”

Other members of House are joining Lee in her advocacy for new priorities. In May, Lee and Congressional Progressive Caucus cochair Representative Mark Pocan led a group of 29 Democrats in demanding that this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorize a level of spending below last year’s budget. “In the last three years alone–during a time of relative peace–we have increased annual defense spending by more than $100 billion, almost 20 percent,” read the letter. “This has occurred during a period without any military action authorized by this Congress. Right now, the coronavirus is our greatest adversary. It has killed more than 90,000 Americans, far surpassing the number of casualties during the Vietnam War.”

“We are facing a crisis in this country and billions of dollars in defense spending increases won’t solve it,” explains Pocan.

“Year after year, we see taxpayer dollars line the pocket of defense contractors instead of supporting the American public. The enemy we’re fighting right now is COVID-19, so our sole focus should be on expanding testing, tracing, and treatment, funding towards vaccine development, and relief for the American people. Increasing defense spending now would be a slap in the face to the families of over 90,000 Americans that have died from this virus.”

As Congress wrestles with the new NDAA, Lee and Pocan have turned up the volume in the House. And they now have a high-profile ally in the Senate. “We need to cut our military budget by 10 percent and invest that money in human needs,” says Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the second-place finisher in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

“If the horrific pandemic we are now experiencing has taught us anything it is that national security means a lot more than building bombs, missiles, jet fighters, tanks, submarines, nuclear warheads, and other weapons of mass destruction,” says Sanders. “National security also means doing everything we can to improve the lives of our people, many of whom have been abandoned by our government decade after decade.”

The amendment to the NDAA that Sanders has proposed, with support from Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey and from Lee and Pocan in the House, “would take $74 billion in annual savings from the Pentagon—exempting salaries and health care—to create a domestic federal grant program to fund health care, housing, childcare and educational opportunities for cities and towns experiencing a poverty rate of 25 percent or more.”

More than 60 national economic, environmental, racial justice, and peace groups have endorsed the amendment, including Public Citizen, Peace Action, Greenpeace,, Roots Action, and Veterans for Peace.

No longer standing alone, Lee sees a movement building, within the Democratic Party and beyond its boundaries. While this movement may not prevail this year, she points to a dawning recognition that “we cannot continue to prioritize funding for a department known for its waste, fraud, abuse, and failure to pass an audit—especially when the money to ‘protect national security’ is failing to protect our most vulnerable citizens.”


How about cutting $700B out of the MICC? The craporate fascist oligarchs would start a real nasty riot then. I would like to see the crumbling roads and sidewalks in my ‘hood fixed.


T and R, pb4!,😊🕊


Thanks pb for starting the thread. I was busy this morning traveling to the Catskills.

Three Senate progressives have introduced a bill that would end “qualified immunity” for police and other public officials, making it easier to hold them personally liable for wrongdoing on the job.

The Ending Qualified Immunity Act answers that call and, in the unlikely event it is passed, would do what its name suggests: end this de facto impunity.

“Qualified immunity makes it almost impossible for a victim of excessive force by a police officer to hold that officer accountable in a court of law,” Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachussetts Democrat who introduced the bill, said in a statement. “That must end.”

Specifically, the bill would make clear that the doctrine does not extend to public officials who violate civil rights.

“This is not a radical idea,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, a cosponsor, said in a statement. “Police officers must be held fully accountable for abuses they commit — no one is above the law.”

“Ending the racist violence that has stolen far too many Black lives must begin with accountability,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another cosponsor, said in a statement. “For too long, qualified immunity has shielded police officers who hae engaged in unconstitutional and appalling conduct from being held accountable in court — it’s past time to end this doctrine.”

Companion legislation has been introduced in the House by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a liberal Democrat, and Rep. Justin Amash, a libertarian Republican turned Independent.


Notice how these police yahoos dress in black and look like something resembling a bad video game or some stupid war games movie?


Also some of the zombie soldiers in the old Doom PC game.


As the United States experiences the world’s worst outbreak of COVID-19, we speak with Ed Yong, science writer for The Atlantic, who warned of the country’s unpreparedness for a viral outbreak in 2018. Now he says “it’s truly shocking and disgraceful” how badly the pandemic has been handled in the United States, and blames a lack of federal leadership for most of the damage. “A country with the resources that we have should not be in this state,” he argues, and adds that Medicare for All could have saved lives.


Amid a mass uprising against racism and state violence, social movements are not just fighting hostility and backlash from President Trump, but also dealing with a “Biden problem,” according to historian, author and activist Barbara Ransby. “I think it’s fair to say that Joe Biden is not our dream candidate, by any means,” she says. “We should be critical of Joe Biden. We should be ready to hold Joe Biden accountable come January. But we should be clear about the need to defeat Trump in November.”


Governors of states seeing coronavirus infections surge are piling restrictions back onto their citizens. But a raft of new data show its everyday Americans who have been leading the way in this area, once again deciding to self-isolate before official lockdown orders return.

Those precautionary moves are squelching the consumer spending the economy will need to sustain a bounce back from this spring’s recession. Economists expect the June jobs report out later this morning to offer a sunny snapshot of a recovery finding its legs.

But the evidence of sinking consumer spending paints a more up-to-date, and altogether grimmer, picture of an economy that looked to be rallying strongly just weeks ago now stalling out.


Wow. The dog whistle’s become a fog horn these dark and threatening days with Trump’s new re-election merch: An “America First” t-shirt that looks uncannily like the Iron Eagle, the symbol of the Nazi Party. “It’s not an accident,” wrote the progressive Jewish group Bend the Arc, which a few weeks ago caught the queasy resemblance of Trump’s red triangles to concentration camp symbols for political prisoners. “Bigotry is their entire brand.” Hence their initial slogan – America First, popularized in 1940 as a political platform built on fascism and anti-Semitism. Now we have the eagle to complete it. And yes, several observers carefully noted, there are multiple eagle images – the U.S. seal, the Marines – that aren’t Nazi symbols. But those eagles differ on multiple fronts: They look left, have curvy wings, stand behind a flag. This eagle is…a Nazi.


Dimwitted biker wannabes have sported that image for some time. It is an ugly look visually.


Good article

The United States is different. In nearly every other high-income country, people have both become richer over the last three decades and been able to enjoy substantially longer lifespans.

But not in the United States. Even as average incomes have risen, much of the economic gains have gone to the affluent — and life expectancy has risen only three years since 1990. There is no other developed country that has suffered such a stark slowdown in lifespans.

Why has this happened? There are multiple causes. But one big one is a lack of political power among the bulk of the population.

Government policy and economic forces have combined to make corporations and the wealthy more powerful, and most workers and their families less powerful. These workers receive a smaller share of society’s resources than they once did and often have less control over their lives. Those lives are generally shorter and more likely to be affected by pollution and chronic health problems.

Here, we show you a series of measures — about power, living standards and more — for a variety of countries. Together, they portray the disturbing new version of American exceptionalism.


This country has the highest number of billionaires living here. It is about time they get charged/taxed for the cost.


Don midwest
Don midwest

we need a bigger military budget!


That’s the good news. But for a party that is asking the Supreme Court to rule all of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional—including the expansion of Medicaid—this comes as really bad news. First of all, the voters of Oklahoma passed the expansion as an amendment to their state’s constitution—which means that Republicans in that state will have a harder time overruling the will of the voters with the kind of shenanigans we’ve seen in other states.

But the way the vote played out is also bad news for Republicans. The ballot initiative on Medicaid expansion received 30,000 more votes than those cast in the Senate primaries. It was the location of those votes in a state that went for Trump by 30 points that is fascinating.

Since 2016, we’ve heard a lot about the urban/rural divide in America. That is pretty much how this vote broke down in Oklahoma. Except this time, urban voters prevailed—even if by the slimmest of margins.


For those seeking Trump’s defeat in November, this is instructive history, and a warning against complacency. Biden is booming along right now while barely lifting a finger, but it is a long 17 weeks to the vote, and things can change in a day. The effective damage these GOP-aligned groups can do to Trump between now and then should not be dismissed out of hand.

That being said, those working to get Trump gone must be deeply wary of this new “help.” These are the people whose policies and go-for-the-jugular campaign ethos made President Donald Trump possible, or even inevitable, in the first place. Here they are now, leaping on the Biden bandwagon in hopes we all forget the blood and tears soaking their hands.

Furthermore, if these right-wing organizations do manage to make a notable difference in the November outcome, they are going to think they are owed something for that assistance, and anything that pushes Biden even further to the right is a menace on its face for anyone seeking genuine progressive change.

Simply put: Never, ever forget who it is you’re dealing with here. These groups do not oppose Trump because of his policies. They oppose Trump because he is bad for the Republican brand, full stop. The enemy of your enemy in this case is not your friend, at all. It feels too much like The Scorpion and the Frog all over again, and folks by now should be heartily wary of getting stung.


Presidential elections tend to tighten up in Oct, All it will take is one bad debate by Byedone to blow the lead.


And according to current plans, Joe will have three bites at the apple.


The Lincoln yahoos are indicated in this read.


Fair housing advocates applauded Wednesday evening as the U.S. House pushed through the repeal of the Faircloth Amendment, a 22-year-old provision which blocks the construction of new public housing units.

The repeal of the amendment, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), was passed as part of the Democrats’ Moving Forward Act, aimed at upgrading and decarbonizing the nation’s infrastructure.

The Faircloth Amendment was passed in 1998 as an amendment to the Housing Act of 1937. The provision banned the construction of new public housing units which would lead to a net increase in public housing from the 1999 level. Existing units would need to be disposed of or demolished before new construction could take place under the law.

The amendment was “largely forgotten” by many after being signed into law by President Bill Clinton, according to Curbed, but has been a focus of housing advocates for years.

Journalist David Dayen expressed surprise on Tuesday that for more than two decades, “PAYGO for social housing” has existed in the United States.

Fair housing advocates and other progressives applauded the House vote, with housing for all organization Open New York calling the amendment “an anti-housing catastrophe.”




AOC needs to learn how to spell. It’s ‘whose.’