• I will start out with a bit of cuteness then get down to business.

  • More news/videos/tweets/etc. in the comments.

    • Tips, Comments, Complaints, Etc!

      • Good morning! I’m having to ‘retry’ when I log in these past few days. When I click on retry (after putting in my info) THEN I get the dashboard. Anyone else having to do this? Maybe it’s just my computer.

        • Ive literally ALWAYS had this issue so was surprised that others havent complained. I dont have a fix at the moment so basically have resorted to just using a blank attempt the first ‘sign in’ to save myself the trouble of typing my info for nothing. Ill go digging through wordpress help on my lunchbreal!

        • Almost always. And on my phone, I get Kicked off a lot, too. But it’s worth it!

        • I do as well

    • Happy friday friends! I know this video was in @Humphrey‘s (thanks!) night-time open thread but figure its worth front-paging. I’ll do my best to not repeat anything else 🙂

    • Bernie Sanders congratulates New York for ‘standing up’ to Amazon after tech giant cancels plan for new headquarters in Queens

      Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday congratulated New Yorkers for “standing up to the power of Amazon” after the tech giant canceled a plan to build a second headquarters, called HQ2, in the New York City borough of Queens.

      “The people of New York and America are increasingly concerned about the power of large multinational corporations and the billions in corporate welfare they receive. Our job is to end the race to the bottom where taxpayers in one city or state are forced to bid against each other for desperately needed jobs. This is what the rigged economy is all about,” Sanders said in a statement to INSIDER.

      The Vermont senator added, “I congratulate New Yorkers for standing up to the power of Amazon.”

      A number of local politicians, including Democrats like New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson, New York Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, New York state senator Mike Gianaris, were opposed to the plan for a new Amazon headquarters in Long Island City. The politicians expressed concern with the impact on the city’s residents and economy.

      • It’ll be interesting to see if any fallout for this. I imagine that it’ll be too tempting for some politicians to not ‘use’ to their benefit in a negative way. Blame their opponent(s) for ‘losing’ jobs or something.

        • A poll I saw actually showed that NY city residents supported the Amazon deal, but of course the way it was touted by those behind it was not really how it would have turned out.

          • Was just walking by boss’s office & heard something about driving rich people out, so went in for a peek and on CNBC a bobblehead woman had asked Warren Buffet spokesman about the nixed NY Amazon deal & he said, “no state should be trying to drive rich people out”, and boss, when he saw my quizzical expression, started ticking points off his fingers:

            first finger – “because they (rich people) don’t burden out roads”
            second finger – “because they don’t burden our hospitals”
            third finger – “because they pay their taxes” (he said in a way of explaining to silly ol’ me who apparently he thinks just doesn’t ‘get it’).

            That’s when I couldn’t take any more fingers and just quietly said, “Wow, yes, let’s all defend the “rich people”, because they really need that.”

            (I have to get out of this place! 🙂 )

    • Ohh no.. our comrades have been discovered. Hopefully they are not onto us…!

      Prominent pro-Sanders subreddit ‘WayOfTheBern’ compared to foreign trolling operation

      Something appears fishy with WayOfTheBern, a prominent Reddit page dedicated to advancing the prospects of Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, according to experts who track political social media.

      The second-largest Sanders fan page on the massive social media platform sometimes acts like a foreign trolling operation, they say, exposing its 24,000 members to the same pro-Moscow and American dissension stories associated with other fringe sites and suspect social media accounts, say experts who have studied the page.

      “I consider it extremely suspicious,” said Josh Russell, a prominent analyst on social media politics who tweets about it as @Josh_Emerson. Mr. Russell thinks it more likely that WayOfTheBern is a false flag run by alt-right people than Russia, although he said the patterns of posts are quite similar.

      “I don’t think these people give a rat’s ass about Bernie Sanders,” he said. “This is designed to divide Democrats.”

      Reddit is a massive online message board, with more than a million forums, or “subreddits,” dedicated to a variety of topics, including popular culture, cooking, politics and pornography.

      WayOfTheBern, started in 2016 as an alternative to the main SandersForPresident subreddit, remained faithful to its hero even after he lost the Democratic nomination that year. Now, as the Vermont independent ponders another presidential run, the forum is still committed, though it has added Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who announced her presidential bid last month.

      The subreddit targets nearly every other potential candidate.

      “We’ve seen large amounts of what we call ‘troll-bots,’ and a significant number of these accounts pushing Bernie and Gabbard,” said Christopher Bouzy of BotSentinel.com, which closely tracks political social media and has been a longtime critic of WayOfTheBern. “We do believe many of them are coming from foreign entities, particularly Russia or the Middle East.”

      The critical mass of Twitter accounts that mimic WayOfTheBern by praising Mr. Sanders and savaging other top Democrats all point to a coordinated activity of the sort Mr. Sanders has decried, Mr. Bouzy noted.

      “We see more of this promoting him, and while they attack [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren and [Sen. Kamala D.] Harris, they don’t attack Bernie,” he said. “The anti-Bernie traffic is almost nonexistent, and usually this is part of a bigger conspiracy.”

      • I’m not a fan of relentless attacks on other candidates (especially not on Warren), and don’t find it helpful to Bernie or his agenda, but there are plenty of real live people who are just fine with that. Free country. No need for Russian bots. And why would there be anybody attacking Bernie on a site called Way of the Bern?

        • Yet no one talks about the Hilbots

          • Well it’s some in that crowd who are behind the argument that behind every Bernie supporter there’s a Russian bot, so that ain’t happening

        • Yeah Im not big on constant attacks either and prefer it in snark form when done but realize ite going to happen in politics. Going to a site of bernie supporters and finding trash talking about other candidates and labelling it russian propaganda is equally as insane as going to dkos and claiming the anti bernie comments and the site itself are all created by ::insert insurance company here:: out of fear of a real MFA plan.. when we all know real people who post there who actually happen to hold real opinions and feel quite strongly about them and feel some comfort in the confines of the the ‘safety’ of the internet in doing so (no matter how right/wrong/or polite).

          • I just think people’s time would be better served by promoting their own candidates rather than constantly attacking other ones. This goes for every candidate’s supporters. That’s not to say that other candidate’s positions should not be explored and compared to highlight why one’s preferred candidate is the best one. Also pointing out stuff from a candidate’s past and sources of a candidate’s funding are fair game to show how positions that he or she are currently espousing might not be totally sincere or deeply held.
            This sniping can get intense on places like DK and some people seem to live for it. I don’t. DK itself is not monolithic. I can’t stand Kos and some of the front pagers are not my favorites either, but posters like Subir do regularly rise to the top of the rec list, so there’s progressive support there still. Subir is a great writer (miss him here😢), and I think it’s great that he exposes that crowd to his thinking.

      • This idea, trend even, that criticizing any Dem is somehow wrong, “suspicious” (they must be “foreign entities”) and divisive is very troubling. Talk about trying to shut down free speech and trying to have people fall in line with the establishment’s choice of candidate! It’s repressive.

        “I don’t think these people give a rat’s ass about Bernie Sanders,” he said. “This is designed to divide Democrats.”

        This part, though, is downright funny:

        “The anti-Bernie traffic is almost nonexistent”

        Guess that guy has never seen donut twitter!

    • The Early State of Play in Iowa

      ELIZABETH WARREN AND Cory Booker are earning widespread acclaim for their splashy events and blue-chip staff hires.

      Kamala Harris is buzzing, too, though she left some grumbling about why she didn’t stay longer.

      Bernie Sanders’ core team is getting snapped up by rivals, while Joe Biden is keeping a discrete line of communication open to a select band of allies.

      And no one really knows yet what to make of Beto O’Rourke.

      This is the early state of play in Iowa, the proud host of the first nominating caucus in the 2020 presidential nomination race, according to interviews with more than a dozen Democrats there.

      With the strong caveat that the field of hopefuls is far from set, most see the senators from Massachusetts, California and New Jersey as having the biggest potential for a breakout in the Hawkeye State over the next year.

      Dale Todd, a Cedar Rapids city councilman and early backer of Barack Obama’s 2008 bid, says he’s leaning toward lending his support to Booker but was surprised by Warren’s presence.

      “I don’t want to make an analogy to Obama, but there’s some similarities between the two,” he says of Booker. “When you listen to him speak, he has this message of hope that seems to unite people of all types in a common goal, and I think after the destructiveness of the last two, three years, the country needs some healing. People feel comfortable with him, but he’s inspiring.”

      As a Booker fan, [Warren’s] the one I worry about the most. I think she’s going to be very formidable. I didn’t think so in the beginning, but clearly she has command of the facts,” Todd says. “While I initially thought she was wonkish – and, yes, she is – I was impressed with her ability to connect with her audience. She already seems to have a passionate group of followers.”

      • Early on, Booker threatens Harris most of all. He actually supposedly has put more time in cultivating the CBC than she has, and may be in line for more endorsements there..

        • I have some not so politically inclined coworkers who are Booker backers, though I guarantee they couldnt tell you anything one way or a other on any policy… its all about his looks. Drives me absolutely mad lol.

          • “his looks”? I think he looks like a deer caught in a headlight a good deal of the time.

            When I think of Booker, this is the image that comes to my mind. (For all I know he’s wonderful, but I’m not feeling it. Uh oh, I’ve said something negative about a Democrat, you know what that means!)

    • Bernie Sanders poised to announce 2020 decision by end of February: sources

      Will Sen. Bernie Sanders launch a second straight White House bid?

      It’s one of the biggest remaining questions in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — and it could be answered in short order.

      Two sources close to the independent senator from Vermont tell Fox News it’s likely Sanders could announce his 2020 plans before the end of this month.

      And they say the senator is leaning toward declaring his candidacy for president.

    • Jayapal Says Medicare for All Bill Coming in Two Weeks as Expert Calls Plan ‘Astonishingly Strong’

      In just two weeks, what is being heralded as an “astonishingly strong” plan to create a Medicare for All system in the United States will be introduced in the U.S. House.

      With energized grassroots activists, more than 90 congressional co-sponsors, and public opinion all firmly on her side, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) announced on Wednesday that she plans to introduce her 150-page Medicare for All bill the week after next.

      One healthcare justice organizer who has read a detailed overview of the bill said it should now be considered the new “baseline” for national single-payer legislation.

      “Medicare for All is the solution our country needs. Long-term care, mental health services, women’s reproductive health. All without co-pays or deductibles,” declared Jayapal, who sent a letter to her House colleagues this week urging them to sign on to the legislation. “Join me in two weeks and let’s make history with the Medicare for All Act.”

      Speaking to the Washington Post, Jayapal said she expects to introduce her bill with at least 100 original co-sponsors.

      “Count us in!” said National Nurses United (NNU), which has been holding “barnstorms” nationwide to build grassroots momentum for single-payer. “Thousands of nurses and healthcare activists who participated in the National Week of Action are fired up and ready to do what it takes to pass the Medicare for All Act of 2019.”

    • To Be Crystal Clear: ‘Medicare for All’ Does Not Mean ‘Medicare for Some’

      As the health care debate heats up, it’s time to be clear about what Medicare for All is and what it is not. Medicare for All does not mean giving people the option to “buy in” to Medicare under our current health insurance system—what might be called Medicare for Some.

      Members of Congress who support bringing everyone in America under one federally administered health insurance program are proposing Medicare for All. Members of Congress who support opening up Medicare to people as an additional insurance option are proposing a Medicare buy-in or Medicare for Some. Predictably, some members of Congress support both.

      Medicare for All is the bill introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Senate and co-sponsored by several other current and potential 2020 candidates, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). In the House, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) will introduce a similar bill soon. It is an improved and expanded version of Medicare, the federal insurance plan for people over 65 and people with disabilities that covers care from most doctors and hospitals anywhere in the country. As proposed, Medicare for All eliminates all of Medicare’s premiums, deductibles and coinsurance, adds new vision, hearing and dental benefits to Medicare, and offers better home- and community-based care.

      Medicare for Some comes in many versions. But the concept would allow people to keep their commercial coverage or switch to Medicare. All versions of Medicare for Some keep the premiums, deductibles and coinsurance payments required under commercial insurance and the current Medicare program. Some versions maintain Medicare Advantage plans, a form of commercial insurance, in the Medicare program. One version opens Medicare to people 55 and older. No version of Medicare for Some guarantees affordable care for all Americans.

      While Medicare for Some appeals to our instinctive craving for more “choices,” it does not address the unsustainable cost increases keeping our commercial health care system from being as fair and effective as Medicare itself or the health care systems in place in other developed countries.

      • Medicare for Some could be fine as a waystation compromise before M4A is adopted but it should not be the opening bid. The result probably would be Medicare for the Least Some Possible or Obamacare tweeks.
        The reality is that nothing at all is happening until Trump is replaced by a Dem and somehow the fillibuster proof majority in the Senate is overturned by voting out the Republicans or getting rid of the filibuster. Of course then there would still be the moderate Dem problem.

    • The House Vote to End Support for the War on Yemen Shows How Much Has Changed

      Under the leadership of Republican Speaker Paul Ryan, the House did everything in its power to prevent Ro Khanna’s bill from coming to a vote.

      • I thanked Ro for this effort today on twitter. I hope he saw it.

    • Unhinged Mike Pence Warns of ‘New Holocaust’ as Team Trump Tries to Rally EU Leaders for War With Iran

      Speaking at a U.S.-led conference about the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday, Vice President piled on the potent anti-Iran sentiment surrounding the conference by demanding that European Union (EU) allies withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump ditched last year, and accused Iran of plotting a “new Holocaust.”

      Pence accused Iran of being “the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world” and “the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East” while attempting to shame European leaders over their recent “effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions…against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime.”

      His speech was met with a mix of frustration and alarm

    • Cuba Warns US Moving Special Forces Closer to Venezuela Under Guise of ‘Humanitarian Intervention’

      As Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro urges the international community to condemn an ongoing U.S.-backed effort to overthrow him and calls for peaceful negotiations with critics led by self-declared “Interim President” Juan Guaidó, the Cuban government—which supports Maduro—claimed on Thursday that the Trump administration is moving special forces closer to Venezuela “in preparation for a military adventure under the guise of a ‘humanitarian intervention.'”

      In a lengthy statement denouncing the steps President Donald Trump and his allies have taken to oust Maduro—particularly National Security Advisor John Bolton and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.)—the Cuban government said:

      Between February 6 and 10 of 2019, several military transport aircraft have flown to the Rafael Miranda Airport in Puerto Rico, the San Isidro Air Base in the Dominican Republic, and other strategically located Caribbean Islands, most certainly without the knowledge of the governments of those nations. These flights took off from U.S. military facilities where Special Operation Troops and U.S. Marine Corps units operate. These units have been used for covert operations, even against leaders of other countries.

      Pointing to a draft resolution that the Trump administration recently introduced at the U.N. Security Council that expresses concern about the humanitarian conditions of Venezuela, Cuba concluded:

      [T]he U.S. intends to fabricate a humanitarian pretext in order to launch a military attack on Venezuela and, by resorting to intimidation, pressure, and force, is seeking to introduce into this sovereign nation’s territory alleged humanitarian aid… It is obvious that the United States is paving the way to forcibly establish a humanitarian corridor under international supervision, invoke the obligation to protect civilians, and take all necessary steps. It is worth recalling that similar behaviors and pretexts were used to by the U.S. during the prelude to wars it launched against Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya, which resulted in tremendous human losses and caused enormous suffering.

      The warnings out of Cuba come after Guaidó vowed on Tuesday that foreign aid—which has already begun arriving along the border with Colombia and Brazil—will enter Venezuela on Feb. 23 in spite of objections from Maduro, who has also characterized offerings of aid as part of a “political war of American empire” and “warmongering in order to take over” Venezuela.

      • Venezuela: Juan Guaidó denies bid to unseat Maduro has failed

        Te Venezuelan opposition leader spearheading efforts to unseat Nicolás Maduro has rejected his rival’s claim that his campaign has failed but admitted the “trickle” of military defections to his side had so far been insufficient to force change.

        In an interview with the Guardian, Juan Guaidó – now recognised as Venezuela’s legitimate interim president by more than 50 governments – insisted his country’s march into a new political era was unstoppable and Maduro’s “cruel dictatorship” doomed.

        He repudiated Maduro’s claim this week that the opposition’s challenge had collapsed, saying it was a mix of propaganda and delusion.

        “I don’t see how [it is over] … In fact, I’d venture to say change in Venezuela is irreversible … Never before in Venezuela have we had such an important opportunity to achieve democratic change,” said the 35-year-old politician who was catapulted to fame after declaring himself Venezuela’s rightful leader on 23 January.

        Of Maduro, he said: “I believe he is utterly detached from reality – constantly contradicting himself in his speeches – and this is a worry when we are seeking a peaceful transition.

        With the crisis dragging on longer than many observers had expected, and new US oil sanctions expected to bite soon, some fear food and fuel shortages could contribute to a security breakdown.

        At an event in Caracas on Wednesday, the security expert warned: “The security situation in Venezuela could deteriorate tremendously … in the coming days.”

        Guaidó admitted there were “X number of scenarios” – including violent ones – for Venezuela’s immediate future, but said he still believed the most likely prospect was a peaceful transition.

        ..

        Mayorca said it was impossible to rule out an attack on Guaidó. “Venezuela doesn’t have a tradition of the physical elimination of big political players. But there could always be a first,” he said, evoking the 1948 assassination of the Colombian politician Jorge Eliécer Gaitán that sparked a decade of bloodshed known as La Violencia.

      • https://thehill.com/policy/defense/429575-inhofe-us-military-may-have-to-intervene-in-venezuela-if-russia-does

        The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Tuesday morning that the U.S. military may have to intervene in Venezuela if Russia places weapons there.

        “I think that it could happen,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) told the Defense Writers Group. “You’ve got a guy down there that is killing everybody. You could have him put together a base that Russia would have on our hemisphere. And if those things happen, it may be to the point where we’ll have to intervene with troops and respond.”

        When asked by The Hill after the breakfast roundtable what type of military action he thinks is appropriate, Inhofe said, “Whatever is necessary should they bring in some armaments on our hemisphere that would be, in the smart peoples’ opinion, something that would be a threat to the United States of America.”

        “Then we have to take whatever action necessary to stop them from doing that,” he added.

        A senior Russian diplomat said Monday that Venezuela has not asked the Russian military for assistance.

        • Everyone knows you’re the people “killing everyone down there.” Venezuelans are stubborn. Give it up

    • Yes, We Can Stop Trump’s Fake National Emergency

      On Thursday night, a Trump administration official confirmed that President Donald Trump will sign the budget deal to keep the government open, and at the same time announce a national emergency “to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border.”

      Trump has apparently convinced himself that declaring a national emergency is the only way out of the box that he and Republicans had two years to make Mexico pay for. Perhaps this move will appease the true executive authorities in the United States: Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter. But creating a real Constitutional crisis to legitimize a fake border crisis will still not bring Trump any closer to his vanity Wall.

      There are three obvious responses that could stop Trump’s National Emergency. That’s in addition to the nearly infinite ways a concerned and dedicated citizenry can stop a 250 mile long metaphor from being built across the Southern Border. (For God’s sake, Queens just stopped mighty Amazon from building a warehouse using old fashioned grassroots organization amplified by mean Tweets from AOC.) But there are three immediate ways, one in Congress and two in the Courts, to put an end to Trump’s emo rebellion against Speaker Pelosi before one steel slat is erected. And they’re all very legal and very cool.

      • https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/15/declaring-a-national-emergency-over-the-wall-this-wont-end-well-for-trump

        With the supine Mitch McConnell as his mouthpiece, Trump announced that he will declare a bogus national emergency to secure full funding of his wending wall. So what if a recent CBS News Poll found that 66% of Americans oppose this desperation ploy? It just proves that Trump is the only political leader this side of Theresa May who can turn a retreat into a rout.

        In the days ahead, the House Democrats are certain to pass a resolution rescinding Trump’s assertion of emergency powers over the federal budget. Under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, McConnell then will be forced to bring the resolution to the Senate floor for a prompt vote. Even though Senate Republicans tend to get the vapors at the thought of crossing Trump, this time there likely would be enough Republican defectors for the resolution to easily pass.

        At that point, Trump would face a choice: fold his hand or issue his first veto rejecting the bipartisan resolution? A veto would enrage not only Democrats but also tradition-minded congressional Republicans worried about the long-term implications of ceding so much power to a president. And my guess is that, at every moment of this ersatz crisis, Trump would be shedding political support like dandruff.

        This being America in 2019, Trump’s misuse of the federal emergency powers would eventually end up in front of the US supreme court. This case would test whether the purported strict constructionists making up the court’s majority believe more in the spending powers granted Congress under the Constitution or in slavish loyalty to a mercurial Republican president.

        • Lets assume that Trumpcorps national emergency is allowed to stand. As I made the “rounds” today and assume that a lot of you have heard the following comments. Now that Trumpcorp has sent the precedent on the use of the E/O of “National Emergency” that the next Dem president could simplpy do the same reguarding MFA, Assult weapons ban, Before the gun nuts say no due to the 2nd amend. their wss an assult weapons ban on the books that expired in the late 80s or early 90’s. precident already set for that. The green new deal could go that route too which is more of a world emergency that a national one. He/she could stack the USSC to prevent a rejection thier as well. The R’s heads that explode would register on the ricther scale. But the million dollar question is two fold, Will congress unify to reign in Trunmpcorp on this? Will self preservation kick in for the R’s to oppose this by trumpcorp? And if they dont would a Dem president actually have the hudspah to actually do this based on using the precidence set by Trumpcorp? Gonna get very very interesting constitionally and to see if the current make up of the USSC will uphold the constitution or side with Trumpcorp as this is where this is headed.

      • https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-15/ocasio-cortez-plans-bill-to-block-trump-s-emergency-declaration

        Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she will introduce a bill with fellow Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro to stop President Donald Trump’s planned emergency declaration.

        New York’s Ocasio-Cortez, who was speaking on Instagram, didn’t provide specifics but Castro previously said he’d offer a joint resolution.

        “If President Trump declares a national emergency to fund his border wall, I’m prepared to introduce a resolution to terminate the President’s emergency declaration,” Castro of Texas said in a statement Thursday. The National Emergencies Act gives Congress the authority to do so by enacting a joint resolution, according to Castro.

      • When you’ve lost Marco

        https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/marco-rubio-national-emergency_us_5c669fede4b033a7994183fa?utm_source=reddit.com

        Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) spoke out Thursday against President Donald Trump’s plan to declare a national emergency to access billions of dollars for his border wall, calling it unwarranted.

        “We have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the Constitution,” Rubio said in a statement, arguing that Trump’s move would enable a future president to use the same tactic to implement the Green New Deal, a Democratic-backed economic and environmental initiative.

        “I will wait to see what statutory or constitutional power the President relies on to justify such a declaration before making any definitive statement,” Rubio added. “But I am skeptical it will be something I can support.”

    • HOW ANTI-GENTRIFICATION ACTIVISTS DERAILED AMAZON’S NEW YORK CITY PLANS

      When Amazon announced its plan to open a new headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, the mostly working-class residents started to worry that the presence of a nearly $1 trillion company in their neighborhood would price them out. Within hours, community organizers started going door-to-door, planning protests, and enlisting the support of local officials to fend off the e-commerce giant.

      Months later, they succeeded. Amazon abandoned the plan for its new HQ2 in Queens on Thursday and specifically cited a lack of support from “a number of state and local politicians.”

      Throughout U.S. history, community opposition has stopped urban development projects, but the victory against HQ2 stands out because of its size and apparent desirability, which dangled the promise of thousands of new, high-paying jobs, according to gentrification experts.

      “I think this marks a turning point because of the size and power of Amazon, and because it was not a dirty, polluting factory or waste transfer station that was being challenged,” said Trina Hamilton, an associate professor of geography at the University of Buffalo (SUNY) and co-director of its Center for Trade, Environment, and Development.

      Amazon promised its new HQ2 would create 25,000 jobs with an average salary of $150,000. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who offered the company a grand total of $3 billion in tax breaks to pick their city from a long list of suitors, highlighted those figures when backing the project.

      But more jobs, different jobs, with higher salaries can also catalyze rapid gentrification, or the redevelopment of a neighborhood to match middle-class tastes, which pushes out long-time, low-income residents. It’s a problem New York City knows all too well. Amazon also faced opposition over its hostility to organized labor and documented history of poor working conditions at its facilities.

      • Amazon’s Decision To Pull Out of NYC Is a Massive Blow To Corporate Welfare

        Amazon announced Thursday the company has canceled its bid to acquire nearly $3 billion in public dollars to locate a facility in New York City—the most substantial setback for corporate welfare in recent memory.

        Significantly, Amazon states in its announcement of the decision that it will continue to expand its workforce in the New York City area, up from the 5,000 workers the company already employs in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island. In other words, Amazon still plans to maintain a headquarters-sized presence in New York, the nation’s financial and economic hub. It just couldn’t win the political battle to obtain billions of dollars in subsidies from it.

        As In These Times reported, last week Amazon turned to the Washington Post, owned by its CEO Jeff Bezos, to float that it was reconsidering the proposed HQ2 headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, estimated to house 25,000 employees. This move was seen by many as a veiled threat to pack up and abandon New York if politicians didn’t turn over billions of dollars in tribute.

        But opponents in New York’s city council and the state legislature refused to buckle to Amazon’s demands. They doubted the necessity of handing over taxpayer cash to the world’s most valuable company, at a time when New York has struggled to fund public transit and affordable housing. Furthermore, they feared a worsening of congestion, gentrification and displacement in Long Island City.

        Amazon’s refusal to remain neutral if its New York City workers attempted to unionize was in many ways the last straw for opponents of the deal. According to the New York Times, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo set up a meeting between Amazon executives and union leaders on Wednesday, but Amazon made no concessions at the meeting, and broke up with the state the next day.

      • ‘Amazon isn’t bigger than New York’: meet the man who killed HQ2

        Amazon made plenty of enemies with its plans for a new headquarters in New York, but one of those foes played an outsized role in sending the tech giant packing.

        The man who stared down Amazon is state senator Michael Gianaris, a Democrat who represents Long Island City, the Queens neighborhood where the company set its sights.

        Gianaris came out in opposition to a deal that proposed $3bn in subsidies and tax breaks for the new campus, alongside a slew of other politicians. But his outrage turned into leverage when he was last week appointed to an obscure state board where he would be one of three people with veto power over the project. Days later, reports emerged that Amazon was rethinking its plans.

        By Thursday, the company had called the project off.

        “New York is in a unique position to stand up and draw a line, because Amazon is not bigger than New York,” Gianaris told the Guardian. “We have the ability to set the tone for the nation.”

      • LOL average salary of $150,000 could be 50 making say $1 million and the rest making $50,000 or less.

    • Teachers’ Strikes Are Rattling Washington. This Hearing in the U.S. House Is Proof.

      As Denver public school teachers head back to school, ending their first labor stoppage in 25 years, it’s hard to dismiss the impact the nation-wide teacher strikes have had on American politics. As Democratic presidential candidates rush to voice support for the Colorado educators, Denver’s strike marks the ninth major teacher uprising in the last twelve months, with the anniversary of the very first—West Virginia’s—coming up next week.

      Survey after survey has shown the striking teachers have gotten their message across: The majority of Americans agree teacher pay is a real problem. The annual PDK poll reported in September that two-thirds of people say teacher salaries are too low — a new high in its data since the poll started in 1969. Another national poll released in April found 78 percent of adults think schools don’t pay teachers enough, and 52 percent supported those going on strike over wages.

      As further evidence of how the teacher protests have shaped the national conversation, the House education committee convened this week for its first hearing on K-12 schools in the new Congress, and the topic of teacher pay was front and center. Republicans and Democrats both agreed that teacher salaries were simply too low.

      The House Education and Labor Committee hearing, chaired by Democratic Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia, lasted three and a half hours, and was entitled, “Underpaid Teachers and Crumbling Schools: How Underfunding Public Education Shortchanges America’s Students.” Topics explored throughout the convening included more than just teacher compensation and school infrastructure. Legislators and witnesses also discussed adequate funding for students with disabilities, turnaround strategies for low-performing schools, and civil rights protections for students who attend private schools.

    • Japan prepares law to finally recognize and protect its indigenous Ainu people

      Their story is a depressingly familiar one. An indigenous people live as hunter-gatherers existence practicing animist beliefs, before settlers sweep across their land, bringing disease and discrimination and almost wiping out their culture.

      On Friday, the Ainu people in Japan took a step out of the shadows with a new bill approved by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito party coalition. Once it is passed by parliament, it will finally recognize them as indigenous and ban discrimination against them.

      “It feels like we woke up now from a truly deep sleep,” Tadashi Kato, chairman of the Ainu Association of Hokkaido, told state broadcaster NHK. “It is significant in that it will lead to building a society where we cohabit together. We think this is the first step.”

      Before their assimilation into the wider Japanese population, Ainu men were known for their bushy beards, fair skins and deep-set, wide eyes under beetle brows. Ainu women would tattoo themselves around their mouths and sometimes on their forearms.

      Today, just 13,118 people identify as Ainu on the northern island of Hokkaido, but only a handful speak the language. Smaller numbers live on the Russian island of Sakhalin and the disputed Kuril Islands. But there may be many more people with significant Ainu heritage in Japan whose origins have been obscured by a desire to escape discrimination.

      The exact origins of the Ainu are a subject of academic debate, but they are thought to have links to the ancient Jomon culture that dominated the islands of modern Japan from 1,400 to 300 B.C. The later Satsumon culture was centered on the north of the main island of Honshu and the northern island of Hokkaido, and the Okhotsk culture was from Russia’s far east.

    • https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/02/15/massacre-trumps-envoy-venezuela-wants-us-forget/?utm_source=reddit.com

      Many others, though, commended Omar for raising the ghosts of the past. Abrams’s lengthy career, argued Esquire’s Charles Pierce, seemed proof that in Washington “there is no limit to the number of peasants on your butcher’s bill that would keep you from government work.”

      “If you are going to appoint someone who has a history of lying to Congress about human rights abuses to be the special envoy for a brewing humanitarian crisis,” noted Dan Drezner in PostEverything, “it is entirely fair to question him about prior acts of bad faith.”

      “It was a bloody, brutal, and dirty war,” wrote Raymond Bronner, who reported on the massacre for the New York Times, in a recent piece for the Atlantic. “More than 75,000 Salvadorans were killed in the fighting, most of them victims of the military and its death squads. Peasants were shot en masse, often while trying to flee. Student and union leaders had their thumbs tied behind their backs before being shot in the head, their bodies left on roadsides as a warning to others.”

      The traumas of that era in Central America, Bronner argued, prefigured the mass exodus of asylum seekers that President Trump now insists amounts to an emergency on the U.S. southern border.

      In an email to The Post’s Stanley-Becker, Abrams defended his record and angrily rejected Omar’s interrogation. “It’s a remarkable record of support for Latin democracy, of which Rep. Omar is obviously unaware and in which she is uninterested,” he said. “That was clear from her conduct, which constituted attacking rather than questioning a witness.”

      But Danner pointed to the power of amnesia in Washington. “If you stay in D.C. long enough, no matter how dirty your bedsheets, they are going to be bleached clean simply by the corrosive force of forgetfulness,” he said. That is, unless a congresswoman decides to remind everyone.

      “Omar performed a public service,” Danner said.

    • Listening to the various chants literally brought a tear to my eye.

      “What do we want?!”
      “Change!”
      “When do we want it?!”
      “Now!!”

    • I particularly like this sign. (The signs are very good!)

    • Check out this thread I just stumbled upon!

      “One, two, three, four, climate change is at our door!”

    • It’s Matt Gaetz, Louis Gohmert, Steve Scalise, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Gosar, and, of course, Steve King

      https://theintercept.com/2019/02/15/ilhan-omar-aipac-republicans-anti-semitism/

      “SHE SHOULD EITHER resign from Congress or certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”

      So declaimed President Donald Trump in the White House on Tuesday, as he denounced Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., for her “terrible” remarks and her “lame” apology.

      To be clear: Omar apologized “unequivocally” for her two tweets on Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, yet Trump has never apologized for any of his bigoted, sexist, racist, Islamophobic, and — yes — anti-Semitic remarks.

      Here’s Trump’s problem: The modern GOP is riddled with bigots, Islamophobes, and anti-Semites.

      There is a bigger issue here, though. Trump said that “anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress.” I agree with him. But here’s his problem: The modern GOP is riddled with bigots, Islamophobes, and anti-Semites.

      If the president wants Omar to resign from Congress over alleged anti-Semitism, here are six Republican members of the House, including the two most senior members of the GOP leadership, who need to resign first.

      “FUNDAMENTALLY,” AS THE prominent Jewish-American journalist Peter Beinart observed on Twitter, “the furor over @IlhanMN’s tweets isn’t about policing bigotry or even anti-Semitism. It’s about policing the American debate over Israel.” I would go further: It’s also about smearing and demonizing women of color, especially Muslim women of color, in the Democratic Party.

      Republicans don’t give a damn about anti-Semitism. They just don’t care. And we’ll know for sure that they do when they ask these six white Republican men to resign from Congress.

      Just don’t hold your breath.

    • Can sympathize. But unfortunately that’s many voters. They pick candidates for the darndest reasons. Hopefully, as more light is shined on each candidate’s positions more voters will make more informed choices. After all we are still about a year away from Iowa.

      • The saddest reason for their vote is some voters wait until election day and decide witch way the wind is blowing so they can brag that they voted for the “winner”

    • It’s laughable how few voters are in that Bloomberg/Schultz fourth group.

      Corporate Democrats Aren’t Winning Any Swing Voters

      Here are the 2016 voter percentage breakdowns:

      Progressive Populists account for 44.6 percent of the electorate according to this study.
      28.9 percent are Culturally Conservative Populists.
      Arch Conservatives account for another 22.7 percent.
      And a miniscule 3.8 percent for the Culturally Liberal/Fiscal Conservatives.

      Every Democratic candidate will claim to fight both for social and economic justice. But this could become problematic for Biden, Booker, Gillibrand and Harris, who want to maintain their close fundraising ties with corporate Democrats. As the New York Times puts it:

      The left-leaning Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders are all viewed as less business-friendly than Ms. Gillibrand, Mr. Booker and Ms. Harris, who have not made taxes on the rich a centerpiece of their public pitches. In that sense the latter trio is following the example set by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign and President Barack Obama before her, with comparatively establishment-minded thinking on progressive taxation.

      It’s painfully obvious what Trump will and must do. There are not enough Arch Conservatives to elect him dog catcher. So he needs win over again the culturally conservative economic populists (top left quadrant). And the only way to do so is by fanning the flames of division, stomping all over social issues, and provoking the Democrats to debate Confederate monuments and bathrooms. And then red-bait to hell any Democrat who dares propose big economic reforms.

      The Democratic Party can never, and should never, abandon its deep commitment to the full range of social justice issues. Despite the Trump-led rise of racism, homophobia, and nativism, the rights of women, minorities and the LGBTQ communities have increased enormously over the past half century. The Democrats should be given significant credit for the promotion and enhancement of these human rights. But the Democratic Party also must become, once again, the party of working people, and this requires taking on Wall Street and the billionaire class with bold economic programs – from Medicare for All to a Green New Deal.

    • https://www.apnews.com/0f907858088b44588f996c02cf021585

      When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he would bring the Green New Deal forward for votes he thought it would put Democrats — especially 2020 presidential contenders — on the spot.

      But on Thursday, Senate Democrats said they welcome the opportunity for a debate on climate change, and the proposal from freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. They say it’s an issue Americans care about, and one Republicans have ignored.

      Sen. Chuck Schumer, joined by colleagues on the Senate floor, said: “Bring it on.”

      “We actually believe that we need to do something about climate change” and added: “Do Republicans?”

      Senators on Thursday said the upcoming debate will provide an opportunity to showcase the two parties’ approach.

      “If you don’t like the Green New Deal, what’s your plan?” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. “I hope this actually turns into a breakthrough moment in which there are some serious conversations.”

      Said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, “We have never been more fired up.”

    • OK that’s all I need to hear. Next up. What is it with Colorado and these pro business centrist Dems like Hickenlooper and Bennett?

      Ex-Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper tells New Hampshire crowd he supports universal health care

      John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado who is considering a run for president in 2020, said Thursday he supports universal health care and thinks the U.S. eventually should provide it.

      But as other Democrats already in the race endorse “Medicare-for-all,” Hickenlooper told a crowd at a New Hampshire college that it was more important now to get behind the general idea rather than argue over a specific approach.

      “I reject the notion that it should become a litmus test of what it takes to be a good Democrat,” said Hickenlooper, who expanded Medicaid while governor and has teamed with former Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, on a health care overhaul.

    • Exhibit million about why I can’t stand this joker. No Joe it’s you and your Republican friends who don’t understand economics. I would love to see Bernie wipe the floor with him in a debate.

      https://thehill.com/homenews/media/430159-scarborough-rips-ocasio-cortezs-amazon-response-she-needs-to-learn-basic

      MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on Friday ripped Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) for cheering Amazon’s decision to cancel its plans for a second headquarters in New York, stating it was “shocking” to him “how little she understands not just economics but even unemployment.”

      The day before, Amazon announced it was pulling out of plans in Ocasio-Cortez’s district of Long Island City, New York, which the freshman lawmaker said shows “everyday Americans still have the power to organize and … can have more say than the richest man in the world,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

      • Here’s some economics for you Joe. Gee Amazon really needed those incentives (also known as bribes). Who would be paying for that? Yeah that would be me, a NY state resident.

        http://fortune.com/2019/02/14/amazon-doesnt-pay-federal-taxes-2019/?xid=gn_editorspicks

        Those wondering how many zeros Amazon, which is valued at nearly $800 billion, has to pay in federal taxes might be surprised to learn that its check to the IRS will read exactly $0.00.

        According to a report published by the Institute on Taxation and Economic (ITEP) policy Wednesday, the e-tail/retail/tech/entertainment/everything giant won’t have to pay a cent in federal taxes for the second year in a row.

        This tax-free break comes even though Amazon almost doubled its U.S. profits from $5.6 billion to $11.2 billion between 2017 and 2018.

        To top it off, Amazon actually reported a $129 million 2018 federal income tax rebate—making its tax rate -1%.

      • https://theweek.com/speedreads/824009/morning-joe-panel-goes-after-extremely-dangerous-alexandria-ocasiocortez-over-amazon-deal

        It seems the hosts of Morning Joe are not happy with the end of Amazon’s planned New York headquarters, and they’re taking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to task.

        Host Joe Scarborough in a segment Friday lamented the death of the project and blamed people who “don’t even understand basic economics,” per Mediaite. Scarborough later said he found it “remarkable” to see Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) “cheering … the loss of 25,000 high-paying jobs.” He pointed to infrastructure improvements and said that the deal would have made New Yorkers’ commutes easier.

        Guest Donny Deutsch went even further, calling Ocasio-Cortez “extremely dangerous at this point.” She “does not know what she is talking about,” he said, arguing that the “new fresh progressive faces” like her are going to “hand the presidency back to Donald Trump.”

        The panel’s other guest, Republican strategist Susan Del Percio, agreed, saying Ocasio-Cortez has demonstrated “how little she understands” about economics and unemployment, also arguing she doesn’t care about the people she represents because “those people would be getting jobs as well.”

        Co-host Mika Brzezinski capped things off by complaining about young representatives who “don’t have the experience,” urging Ocasio-Cortez to “follow some of the more successful, more mature” members of Congress. “I watch [Ocasio-Cortez] with a lot of hope, but I’m also cringing,” she said.

        • Mika is such a disappointment. Years ago she seemed sort of ok..sometimes.
          Now she’s completely awful.

          I fully expect awful from Scarborough and Deutsch.

          MSNBC seems to love those Republican strategists (Schmidt & Wallace), I wonder when Del Percio will get her own show. (Sooner rather than later if she continues to obediently diss Rep. Alexandria)

    • LD, thought this might interest you.

    • Supposedly Republicans are not averse to this so, if some form of this comes to pass, it will be a feather in Gillibrand’s cap. She actually has way more accomplishments in the Senate than Harris or Booker.

      New baby. Sick parents. Personal illness. Regardless of the circumstances, taking unpaid time off is not an option for many Americans. But some relief may be on the horizon.

      Leaders from both sides of the aisle have recently expressed support for some form of a paid family leave program at the federal level. (As President Trump put it in his State of the Union address last week: Nationwide paid family leave would ensure that “every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child.”)

      This week in Washington, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, both Democrats, reintroduced the Family Act, which would provide Americans up to 12 weeks of paid leave at 66 percent of their monthly wages. The proposal builds on an existing law, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which offers only unpaid leave.

      The benefits in the proposal would apply to every American who works full-time — and potentially even those who are part-time, temporary or self-employed — expanding on the current law, which is estimated to cover about 60 percent of the work force. Among other things, the Family Act considers “family leave” to include birth or adoption, and serious health conditions including those affecting a child, parent, spouse or domestic partner.

      • Coincidences I’m sure.

        Lee’s lack of courage and imagination in this situation continue to disappoint.

      • Some additional information on Harris’ sister and the Unity and Reform Commision.

        First a bit of a introduction. This committee was set up to heal the wounds between supporters of Sanders and Clinton. The thumb was on the scale as a majority were Clinton supporters.

        https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/dnc-unity-reform-commission_us_58f50d1fe4b0b9e9848d92eb?ec_carp=9010200854588330812

        Below is a complete list of the commission members:

        Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Chair, District of Columbia; partner, Precision Strategies

        Larry Cohen, Vice Chair, District of Columbia; chair of Our Revolution and former president of the Communication Workers of America

        Charlie Baker, Massachusetts; president of Dewey Square Group and former chief administrative officer of the Clinton campaign

        Jan Bauer, Iowa; Iowa Democratic National Committeewoman and Clinton supporter

        Jeff Berman, District of Columbia, former Clinton campaign consultant

        Lucy Flores, California, former Nevada Assemblywoman and Sanders supporter

        Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Clinton supporter

        Maya Harris, New York, former senior policy adviser, Clinton campaign

        David Huynh, Louisiana; former Clinton campaign director of delegate operations and ballot access

        Elaine Kamarck, Massachusetts; senior fellow, Brookings Institution

        Jane Kleeb, Nebraska Democratic Party Chair; Sanders supporter and Our Revolution board member

        Nomiki Konst, New York; investigative reporter for the Young Turks and former Sanders convention delegate

        Yvette Lewis, Maryland Democratic National Committeewoman and Clinton supporter

        Gus Newport, California; former mayor of Berkeley, California and Sanders supporter

        Jorge Neri, Illinois; former Clinton campaign Nevada state director

        James Roosevelt, Jr., Massachusetts; president of Tufts Health Plan and co-chair of the Democratic national convention Rules and Bylaws Committee

        Emmy Ruiz, Texas; former Clinton campaign Colorado state director

        Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, Sanders convention delegate and Our Revolution board member

        Jeff Weaver, Virginia; former Sanders campaign chair

        Wellington Webb, Colorado; former Denver mayor and Clinton supporter

        Jim Zogby, District of Columbia; founder of the Arab American Institute and Sanders supporter

        The 21-member commission includes nine members selected by Clinton, seven members picked by Sanders, three picked by Perez, and the chair and vice chair ― selected by Clinton and Sanders, respectively.

        Underlining by me.

    • This should be all over airwaves. Astounding.

    • Now we’re not going to hate Bernie for voting yes on this are we?

      https://www.nj.com/politics/2019/02/booker-voted-against-spending-bill-keeping-the-government-open.html

      When Congress overwhelmingly voted to fund the federal government and prevent another partial shutdown, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker dissented. He was the only New Jersey lawmaker to vote no.

      Booker was joined in dissent by fellow Democratic senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, all of whom are competing with him for their party’s presidential nomination.

      U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who are considering runs, voted yes. So Booker’s Democratic colleague in New Jersey: Robert Menendez.

      In the House, those voting no included high-profile Democratic freshmen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

    • I don’t like the sound of this!

    • Yay, my hometown representing!

    • Could there be a little bias emanating from this fact checker?

    • Did you all see this??????????????? 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

      I wasn’t able to catch last night’s thread, so maybe you all are in mourning too.

    • Don’t hold this against me. LOL

      I just noticed that the banana that I am eating came from Columbia.

  • I see that LoneStarMike is still hard at it. Here is his Valentines Day tribute.

    More in the comment section.

  • ‘Historic’: House Approves War Powers Resolution to End US Complicity in Yemen

    The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a War Powers Resolution that would require President Trump to […]

    • Tips, Comments, Complaints, Valentines, Etc!

      Happy V-day friends!

    • Pelosi’s freshmen fracture amid GOP pressure

      Speaker Nancy Pelosi has another rebellion in her ranks. And there’s no easy way to quash it.

      House Democrats have repeatedly faced surprise Republican floor attacks since taking control of the chamber, part of a bid by the GOP to target their most vulnerable members and fracture the party. Just six weeks in, the GOP effort has been an astonishing success — dividing Pelosi and her top deputies and pitting members of the freshmen class against each other.

      At issue is a wonky procedural tactic that Republicans have weaponized to split Democrats on a range of thorny issues, from sexual abuse to anti-terrorism funding. Roughly two dozen Democrats have so far bucked their party and sided with Republicans on the votes.

      As the GOP continues to peel off rank-and-file Democrats, party leaders have grown alarmed — and are increasingly engaged in finger-pointing about who is to blame for the disunity and what to do about it, according to interviews with nearly two dozen Democratic lawmakers and aides.

      Freshmen Democrats in swing districts say they have no plan to stop voting with the GOP when they feel the need. They’ve even been given the blessing to do so by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), despite resistance from Pelosi.

      ..

      GOP leaders scored their biggest victory yet with the maneuver on Wednesday after a dramatic moment on the floor in which Democrats were forced to add language condemning anti-Semitism to an unrelated bill. Eager to project unity, all Democrats voted for it — the first time since 2010 a motion to recommit was approved by the House.

      Pelosi has previously met with the freshmen Democrats several times, encouraging them to stay united and vote with the rest of the caucus, just as Republicans did when they faced similar procedural arrows in the majority. She’s stressed repeatedly that the GOP’s votes are procedural and political, not intended to shape policy.

      “She thinks the caucus should vote together,” said one senior Democratic aide. “The more you act afraid of these things, the more Republicans seize on it and that’s why she’s so annoyed by this.”

      • Meanwhile, Following the lead of national republican party New York State “rethugs” are staying in the news cycle by proposing outlandish ideas. The big one is a proposal to split the state in to two. Making upstate NY the 51’st state in the US. They are upset about the Democratic Party controlling all three branches of government in the state. This attempt to split the upstate and downstate democratic representatives will go nowhere but they are getting a lot of press coverage on it. Another stunt that recently was in the press was a statement by a right wing DA that “No charges could be brought against a man who murdered a pregnant woman and her fetus in NYC over the death of the fetus due to the new law codifying roe v wade protections in NY.” This was promptly de-bunked as spin. The new law here moves abortion laws out of the criminal and into the health area of legal codes. The criminal code has a charge of aggravated assault that can be charged against the alleged stabber over the death of the fetus. This charge carries the same level of penalties as the old “baby killer” statute and would be in addition to the murder charges filed over the mother’s death.

      • All Democrats voted for it? This is crazy. People know that Trump is nuts and don’t expect us to bend to the Republicans. God I had no idea that all Democrats voted for it.

      • Pelosi, Hoyer and Schumer are relics who need to retire.

        • Chuckie sucks . David Dayen on his weekly email

          I haven’t turned to the incompetence of Chuck Schumer in, I don’t know, weeks, and some excellent reporters beat me to the latest. As Zach Carter describes, one major issue involves Democratic nominees for independent commissions, like the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Schumer recommended nominees for these positions, as is custom; usually they get paired to the nominee of the opposite party and advanced, as all Senators have a stake in the outcome. But Schumer waited too long to get his nominees in, and Republicans took the opportunity to pass an SEC nominee without a Democratic pair. Now that nominee, Allison Lee, has been hanging out without the Trump administration formally nominating her for months. This is true of two slots at the FDIC as well, among others.

          As a result, Democrats are down multiple members of these boards. They also don’t have anyone at the Merit Systems Protection Board, which will be down to zero members soon, potentially giving federal workers no recourse to complain about abuses on the job. Schumer could place holds on future nominees until Trump gives his recommendations a pass, but he’s been oddly silent. And my colleagues at The Intercept offered another reason why today: the chief counsel to Schumer is a former Goldman Sachs lobbyist who is so massively conflicted on financial issues that he’s had to recuse himself from these appointments. Therefore there’s nobody in Schumer’s office paying much attention to this. You’d think someone would look into how the Treasury Department has completely end-run the Senate by installing “counselors” to do the work of confirmed nominees, but since Obama started this practice with Antonio Weiss, nobody’s saying much about that either.

          Several progressive groups are shouting about all of this, but it’s up to Schumer to do something. Minority seats on these commissions may sound like a backwater issue, but they set the agenda for the party out of power, gain experience so they can slide into the majority if the White House turns over, and generally have a voice in important policy debates. To relinquish that with nary a whisper is appalling.

          • Therefore there’s nobody in Schumer’s office paying much attention to this

            That could very well be by design!

        • As a group their doing more harm than good for progressive causes.

    • And Now This Message From Some Very Rich People: ‘Please Raise Our Taxes’

      Imploring New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow them to contribute to the state’s future in a way that benefits all New Yorkers, four dozen millionaires are demanding that lawmakers pass a “Multi-Millionaires Tax” to raise billions of dollars for education, infrastructure, and other programs for the greater good.

      Forty-eight millionaires sent a letter to Cuomo and the New York State Assembly as lawmakers weigh proposals for closing the state’s $2.3 billion deficit—arguing that raising their taxes could provide the state with an additional $2 to 3 billion per year.

      “We millionaires and multi-millionaires of New York can easily invest more in the Empire State, and lawmakers like you have a moral and a fiduciary duty to make sure we do so,” wrote the Patriotic Millionaires, including former Blackrock executive Morris Pearl and filmmaker and entertainment heir Abigail Disney.

      “Raising taxes on high-income New Yorkers like us in order to invest in our people and our communities is not just the right moral choice, it also happens to be in the long-term economic best interest of everyone, including millionaires like us,” they added.

      As the letter was delivered to the State Capitol, Pearl testified at a state budget meeting on the Multi-Millionaires Tax proposal.

      The tax would be levied against households earning more than $5 million per year, Pearl said. The group is also proposing that lawmakers close the carried interest tax loophole, which allows many Wall Street managers to pay the lower capital gains tax rate instead of the income tax rate that middle class families have to pay.

      Cuomo has dismissed proposals to tax the rich at a higher rate, saying it will send the richest New Yorkers, who he says pay about half of the state’s income taxes, fleeing the state—a claim Pearl debunked in his testimony.

    • The Maddening, Baffling, Exhausting Endurance of Anti-Semitism

      Anti-Semitism arrives in the news like a migraine: a premonition promising pain with a swift, thorough delivery on that promise.

      The flap over Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s dashed-off-seeming tweets about a pro-Israel lobbying group has stretched on for days, each of which has lasted a century. Thus far Republicans have chided Democrats for allowing a supposed anti-Semite in their midst. Democrats have capitulated somewhat, as is their wont. Leftist Jews have chided centrist and right-wing Jews, who chided them right back. Just about everyone has weighed in, from Chelsea Clinton to the president, who appeared unwanted but inevitably, like piss in city snow.

      And in the Twitter mire and growing pile of think pieces, in the swirling intersection of prejudices of this particular mini-scandal, clarity on what anti-Semitism is exactly and how to prevent it—becomes less and less clear with every word.

      The primary feeling I have when anti-Semitism comes up in the news is exhaustion. It’s almost preemptive; at the first mention of the word by a single pundit, all the strength leaves my bones. I want to drape myself on a divan and read the tender Jewish fiction of Joseph Roth for the next 20 years. Time and again, I’ve watched disputes over anti-Semitism whirl up and come to nothing, leaving only acrimony in their wake. The prospect of engaging with these discussions winds up being little more than daunting.

      This is not to downplay the importance of anti-Semitism. As a world-historical phenomenon, it’s remarkably durable. As a political tool, it retains the weight of a lead bludgeon. The way it’s surged back into prominence in recent years is impressive, and unavoidable if you’re a Jew online. The notion of eradicating it, like eradicating any hatred, is impossible to conceive. And it has recently led to a massacre in a synagogue, so the stakes are high and the wound freshly scabbed.

      But fighting anti-Semitism is like boxing a hydra. The scholar Deborah Lipstadt defines anti-Semitism as in essence a conspiracy theory. This makes it a very different sort of prejudice than mere disdain or closing one’s country club to Jews. Anti-Semitism is a worldview, more or less detailed depending on the dedication of the anti-Semite. Distilled to its essence, it’s a postulation of nefarious, transnational control by Jews of institutions, inspired by malevolence and cunning unique to us as a people.

    • McConnell does us more favors..

      GOP wants to pit Ocasio-Cortez against Democrats in the Senate

      The vote on the “Green New Deal” that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on Tuesday is only the beginning.

      Senate Republicans say McConnell sees Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) signature issues as a way to make Democrats in the Senate uncomfortable.

      In addition to the vote after next week’s recess on the star freshman’s climate change plan, they say the Senate could find itself considering Ocasio-Cortez’s call for a 70 percent marginal tax rate on the nation’s highest income earners, providing “Medicare for all” and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

      We’ll give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday.

      A Republican aide described the GOP leader as “fired up” about the plan, noting that Democrats are already squabbling over how to respond to the tactic.

      Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday accused McConnell of trying to “bully” her party and urged them to vote for the ambitious climate proposal.

      “He’s trying to bully the party, and he’s banking on people not being courageous,” she told The Washington Post. “I think people should call his bluff.”

      • ‘Bring It On’: Green New Deal Champions Welcome McConnell’s Cynical Ploy for Up-or-Down Vote

        Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appears to believe that he can divide and embarrass the Democratic Party by rushing ahead with a vote on the newly introduced Green New Deal resolution.

        But, confident that the calculated ploy will backfire on the GOP, climate groups and progressive lawmakers are telling the Republican leader: “Bring it on.”

        After McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that he plans to hold a floor vote the Green New Deal plan unveiled last week by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), environmentalists and progressive members of Congress argued that rather than revealing deep rifts in the Democratic Party, an up-or-down vote will spotlight the GOP’s total opposition to a widely popular policy that represents the best hope of adequately confronting the climate crisis.

        “Republicans don’t want to debate climate change, they only want to deny it,” Markey said in a statement after McConnell’s announcement. “They have offered no plan to address this economic and national security threat and want to sabotage any effort that makes Big Oil and corporate polluters pay.”

        Since the Green New Deal resolution was introduced last week, President Donald Trump, Republican lawmakers, and right-wing pundits have spread hysterical falsehoods about the measure and decried it as a “socialist fever dream” that would be political suicide for Democrats to support.

        But, noting that the Green New Deal is extremely popular among the U.S. public—with one survey showing that 57 percent of Republican voters and 81 percent of Americans overall support the ambitious idea—Markey concluded that “Republicans, climate deniers, and the fossil fuel industry are going to end up on the wrong side of history.”

        • I encourage the vote to see whom is for the future of the species known as mankind, we then will know whom on the Dem side we need to primary.

      • Charles Pierce shines again

        https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a26329716/green-new-deal-climate-change-denial-republicans/

        It’s been an interesting week in the climate wars. For example, the Green New Deal seems to have driven the Republicans as crazy as its primary proponent in the House does. Right up to the president*, the primary response has been to ooga-booga-death-panels! the whole notion. In El Paso, for example, the president*, because he doesn’t know anything about anything, told his gathering of bot-minded fans that AOC plans to ban automobiles, airplanes, and cows. (We’ll return to the cows later.)

        Mitch McConnell has decided again to be a clever dick and put the proposal up to a vote, figuring that it somehow puts Democratic candidates in a bind. Tom Cotton, the bobble-throated slapdick from Arkansas, thinks the media is giving AOC a Stalinesque free ride on the monumental scandal best summed up as something-something-FAQ. Howard Schultz, the sole occupant of his own political universe, calls it “immoral.” The denizens of the lower reaches of the conservative lint-trap are even more exercised.

        Let’s leave aside for a moment the fact that the idea of a GND is wildly popular among the people who will be voting for the next 40 years, so maybe McConnell isn’t as much clever as he is a dick on this one. The GND forces on people two realities with which their 30 years of climate denial has managed to insulate them. First, the problem is so severe that it is going to require a massive national response even to mitigate the effects of the crisis which are affecting us now. (This is why the Pentagon has taken the crisis as an existential one.) Second, the denial argument itself is completely out of steam.

        So, in sum, the GND is at least an acknowledgement of the gravity of the situation, and an acknowledgement of the fact that it’s going to take a whopping national and international commitment to ensure that this planet remains habitable. This is the Republican response:

        1) Cow farts.

        2) Heh, heh.

      • Everyone is lining up to endorse the Green New Deal — or to mock it. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand have all endorsed the resolution sponsored by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts.

        Conservative critics predictably call it “a shocking document” and “a call for enviro-socialism in America,” but liberal condescension has cut deeper. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, essentially dismissed it as branding, saying, “The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?” Others have criticized it for leaving out any mention of a carbon tax, a cornerstone of mainstream climate-policy proposals, while embracing a left-populist agenda that includes universal health care, stronger labor rights and a jobs guarantee.

        What do these goals have to do with stabilizing atmospheric carbon levels before climate change makes large parts of the world uninhabitable? What has taken liberal critics aback is that the Green New Deal strays so far from the traditional environmental emphasis on controlling pollution, which the carbon tax aims to do, and tries to solve the problems of economic inequality, poverty and even corporate concentration (there’s an antimonopoly clause).

        But this everything-and-the-carbon-sink strategy is actually a feature of the approach, not a bug, and not only for reasons of ideological branding. In the 21st century, environmental policy is economic policy. Keeping the two separate isn’t a feat of intellectual discipline. It’s an anachronism.

      • McCrookall is playing with fire now. Too drunken from years of success to see it. Good news for us.

        • Climate change is happening quicker and more are directly in the line of fire.

          Indigenous people faced the colonial empire driving them off their land so they can help us understand what is like for humans to be tied to the land and face the threat of Gaia.

          Republicans can only hold out for so long on the most important political issue

          I begin with the simple idea that climate change and its denial have been organizing all of contemporary politics at least for the last three decades. Climate change plays the same role that social questions and the class struggle played over the two preceding centuries.

          We can understand nothing about the way inequalities have exploded for forty years, and the accompanying movement towards massive deregulation, if we don’t admit that a good part of the globalized elite had perfectly understood what was going on with the bad news about the state of the planet, which, thanks to the work of scientists, began to crystallize at the beginning of the nineties.

          Since the threat was real, the elites drew the conclusion that it would be necessary to adopt two opposing courses of action. First, give up the post-war liberal dream of a common world created by the modernization of the planet—so, let’s cut ourselves off as quickly as possible, through deregulation at any price, from the rest of the inhabitants to whom we sold this dream of universality; secondly, systematically organize long-term denial of this ecological change, which nevertheless brings in not just the environment but what is called the Earth-system

          http://www.bruno-latour.fr/sites/default/files/downloads/P-178-EUROPE-GB.pdf

    • The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn on the Green New Deal by Naomi Klein

      “I REALLY DON’T like their policies of taking away your car, taking away your airplane flights, of ‘let’s hop a train to California,’ or ‘you’re not allowed to own cows anymore!’”

      So bellowed President Donald Trump in El Paso, Texas, his first campaign-style salvo against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey’s Green New Deal resolution. There will surely be many more.

      It’s worth marking the moment. Because those could be the famous last words of a one-term president, having wildly underestimated the public appetite for transformative action on the triple crises of our time: imminent ecological unraveling, gaping economic inequality (including the racial and gender wealth divide), and surging white supremacy.

      Or they could be the epitaph for a habitable climate, with Trump’s lies and scare tactics succeeding in trampling this desperately needed framework. That could either help win him re-election, or land us with a timid Democrat in the White House with neither the courage nor the democratic mandate for this kind of deep change. Either scenario means blowing the handful of years left to roll out the transformations required to keep temperatures below catastrophic levels.

      Back in October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a landmark report informing us that global emissions need to be slashed in half in less than 12 years, a target that simply cannot be met without the world’s largest economy playing a game-changing leadership role. If there is a new administration ready to leap into that role in January 2021, meeting those targets would still be extraordinarily difficult, but it would be technically possible — especially if large cities and states like California and New York escalate their ambitions right now. Losing another four years to a Republican or a corporate Democrat, and starting in 2026 is, quite simply, a joke.

      So either Trump is right and the Green New Deal is a losing political issue, one he can smear out of existence. Or he is wrong and a candidate who makes the Green New Deal the centerpiece of their platform will take the Democratic primary and then kick Trump’s ass in the general, with a clear democratic mandate to introduce wartime-levels of investment to battle our triple crises from day one. That would very likely inspire the rest of the world to finally follow suit on bold climate policy, giving us all a fighting chance.

    • Mistranslated or Not, Israeli PM’s ‘War With Iran’ Tweet Sparks Grave Concerns

      A deleted tweet from Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ignited fresh fears about his position on Iran, after his official Twitter account provided an English translation of his remarks to reporters on Wednesday while attending an American-led summit about the Middle East hosted in Warsaw, Poland.

      The initial tweet, translated from Hebrew, had the prime minister saying: “What is important about this meeting, and it is not in secret, because there are many of those—is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.” An amended translation replaced “war” with “combating.”

      While some Hebrew-speakers were quick to claim that the initial tweet sloppily translated Netanyahu’s remarks, critics pointed to it as an example of his office revealing, in the words of journalist Mehdi Hasan, “what they’ve always wanted.”

      “The global community must consistently call out parties seeking to sow instability, and this includes by being vigilant about the very real machinations towards war that are being undertaken,” the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) said in a statement.

      Noting that “a war with Iran is fundamentally at odds with the security interests of the United States, Israel, the people of Iran, and the entire Middle East,” the group declared: “Whether the prime minister’s words were intentionally muddled or not, his provocative message needs no interpretation. It is clear through the prime minister’s long-standing signaling that his intention is to build support for a confrontation with Iran.”

      • Pence chides America’s allies at Warsaw summit on Iran

        The US vice-president Mike Pence has sharply rebuked Washington’s European allies over their efforts to shield their businesses from US sanctions on Iran, as transatlantic tensions over US foreign policy were laid bare at a conference in Warsaw.

        A scheme set up by the EU to facilitate trade with Iran was “an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime”, Pence said during a conference on the Middle East organised by the United States in the Polish capital.

        “It is an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the EU and create still more distance between Europe and the United States,” he said.

        The Warsaw meeting was attended by more than 60 nations but major European powers such as Germany and France, party to the landmark 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, refused to send their top diplomats over fears that the summit was designed largely to build an alliance against Iran.

        ..

        “You can’t achieve stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran. It’s just not possible,” Pompeo told reporters after his formal opening statement. “There are malign influences in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq,” he added, referring to Iran-supported groups. “The three H’s: the Houthis, Hamas and Hezbollah – these are real threats.”

        Netanyahu had earlier withdrawn a claim on his Twitter account, said to be the product of a mistranslation, that he was in Warsaw to discuss “war with Iran”.

    • How A General-Turned-Oil Lobbyist Helped Push Through The Dakota Access Pipeline

      A retired high-ranking officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers played a significant role lobbying his former agency to push through the permitting process for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, new documents show.

      The trove of emails, released last month as part of ongoing litigation by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the Corps, sheds light on how retired Brig. Gen. Robert Crear worked to leverage his government connections on behalf of Energy Transfer Partners, a major partner in the pipeline. Despite environmental concerns and a staunch protest campaign driven by Native American efforts to protect their lands, the Corps issued multiple permits for the DAPL to proceed.

      As the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe continues its legal battles against the pipeline, allies are alarmed by what the documents reveal. Jan Hasselman, a lawyer with Earthjustice who has been representing the tribe, read the emails with dismay. “It is totally unacceptable that a former high-ranking government official should be allowed to lobby his former agency on behalf of private interests,” he told HuffPost. “And it is so common that no one even looks twice.”

    • Chicago’s Political Revolution

      Social movements ousted Rahm Emanuel. Now they’re taking on the neoliberal machine.

    • Pipeline company behind infamous Standing Rock protest accused of blowing up a house in Pennsylvania

      The Pennsylvania state government says that a major oil and gas pipeline company, currently building a network of pipelines in the state to transport fracked gas and chemical byproducts from the fracking, has failed to take responsibility for an explosion that destroyed a house and other property last year.

      Energy Transfer Partners is the Texas-based pipeline magnate that built its crude oil pipeline through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes who descended on the reservation in late 2016 famously convinced the Corps of Engineers to halt a key construction permit, though the move was only temporary. The Dakota Access Pipeline went back online under Trump and has been in operation for two years.

      Energy Transfer Partners has also kept busy building new pipelines in Louisiana, Texas, and Pennsylvania over the past few years. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere had been welcoming of the projects, granting permits even over the objections of local activists who cited environmental concerns similar to those that the Standing Rock Sioux raised.

      But things went downhill in Pennsylvania on September 11 last year. The Revolution Pipeline, a project run by Energy Transfer Partners subsidiary Sunoco, had only been in operation for a week when a fire erupted in Beaver County, destroying a home 500 feet away from the blast.

      ..

      Because oil and gas pipelines are known to cause landslides, state officials said that it was up to Sunoco to find a way to stabilize the areas that had been disturbed during construction. Sunoco needed to prevent further erosion, per state government instructions. The state even gave Sunoco an October 29 deadline to fix the erosion problems.

      But Energy Transfer Partners failed to meet the deadline, the state says. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced last Friday that the company had failed to control erosion or stabilize the problematic areas.

      As a result, Energy Transfer Partners is suspended from obtaining new permits in the state, though its projects that are already permitted remain unaffected for now.

    • Campaign finance, but make it viral: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s unlikely video hit

      It’s already well-established that congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is very good at social media. A Guardian analysis found she has more engagement on Twitter than Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

      But even the most exciting social media personality might struggle to make the often plodding work of congressional committees especially exciting. Some had assumed that while Ocasio-Cortez drove likes and favourites online, as a first-term congresswoman she would be relatively inconspicuous.

      Instead, she has done the improbable, translating the topic of campaign finance into a viral video. Recently, she played a “lightning round game” with a panel of ethics experts, in which she asked a series of quick-fire lawyerly questions in order to demonstrate the ease with which officials in Congress and the White House can be corrupted by donations from special interest groups.

      An edited video of the hearing, which was uploaded by the leftwing online channel NowThis news, has been viewed 37.5m times, making it the most watched political video ever posted on Twitter, according to the subscription-based web analytics company Tubular (although that claim depends on what you count as “political” – Donald Trump’s doctored video of him bodyslamming and punching a person with the CNN logo for a head has slightly more views at 39.1m).

      • did I see correctly that it has been viewed 13 million times?

        just who does she think she is to take political advantage for creatively displaying the obvious?

        isn’t the role of politicians to hide corruption?

    • Neoliberalism is killing our love lives

      For many of us, Valentine’s Day is a reminder that our love life sucks. Maybe we just had an unhappy end to a relationship, maybe we’re struggling to keep alive an existing one. For those of us, the conventional advice we receive is drab and unconvincing. Sure, having a regular date night to “keep the love alive” is just fine, I suppose. But if you really want to get the sparkle back, why not engage in a militant class struggle this Valentine’s Day instead?

      You see, countries with powerful working-class movements tend to have more social rights and guarantees. And those protections can make your love life a lot less stressful.

      Most Americans feel overwhelmed by their financial obligations, and it’s the leading cause of friction in relationships. That’s no surprise in a country where life is so precarious – where a trip to the hospital, a layoff, or shifts in the housing market can change everything. We’re overworked at our jobs and underpaid. Powerless to bargain for a better deal from our bosses, we zero-in on our partners’ spending habits or priorities instead.

      Our financial insecurity also keeps us unhappily wedded to relationships we should leave. The median wage for a worker in the United States is $857 a week before taxes – most of us would struggle to take care of children on one income. For women, shouldering most of the burden of unpaid household work and dealing with workplace pay disparities, the situation is especially bad. What’s more, a quarter of women under 64 get their health insurance from their spouse’s plan. Loving marriages can be wonderful, but dependency and power imbalances are the enemies of true romance.

      • Incredible!!!

        Once again shows how out to lunch politics has been.

        I will say this again in another place, but just realized something obvious.

        I am an individual. I have an opinion. So there. And options are even collected and reported in statistics which is the “public opinion.” And public opinion seems to be the controls system — politicians have to respect, mold or ignore “public opinion.” The media and political scientists (they call themselves scientists, are they really scientists? )

        But, if my opinion is not grounded, grounded in the conditions for my survival and my sustenance, they won’t move the political agenda. And public opinion as a collective statistic won’t move the political agenda.

        Efforts like teachers strikes are collective action that creates a public and creates political change.

        Politicians like the one above create a public. They are political. They scare the crap out of establishment politicians.

    • Elizabeth Warren receives standing ovation at surprise visit to Native American conference: report

      Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) received a standing ovation when she made a surprise appearance Tuesday at a Native American conference.

      Warren spoke at the National Indian Women’s “Supporting Each Other” lunch, where she introduced Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, the chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah in Massachusetts, HuffPost first reported. The luncheon took place during an annual meeting of the National Congress of American Indians.

      In her speech, Warren praised Native American women, specifically Reps. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) — the first two Native women elected to Congress. The progressive lawmaker, who reportedly received a standing ovation from tribal leaders and other Native attendees as she approached the stage, detailed several legislative priorities related to the Native American community.

      “The alarming number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls continues to grow,” she said, according to The Daily Beast. “But Congress failed to pass legislation to address this epidemic.”

      Warren also demanded action on rising suicide rates among Native people, and addressed housing, health care and drug-addiction issues. She called for “enforcing our federal government’s trust and treaty responsibilities to beating back the assault on the Indian Child Welfare Act.”

      “The agenda is enormous, and the fights will be tough,” Warren said. “In tough fights, it is important to have leaders like Cheryl out in front. Cheryl is warm, and understanding and sharp. She’s forceful. And let’s say it, ‘She persists.'”

    • House Committee Approves Limited Fracking Ban Bill With Major Loophole

      “The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee’s 10-5 decision to pass Rep. Holly Raschein’s inadequate fracking ban bill today without an amendment will not fully protect Florida’s water. The fracking bill that passed today has an enormous loophole that would allow matrix acidizing, a type of fracking that poses an imminent danger to Florida’s environment and public health.

      “Matrix acidizing works by using chemicals so powerful they dissolve rock formations underground to get to oil deposits, and in doing so, exposes our water to toxic leaks. Experts have said the cocktail of toxic chemicals known for contaminating water and endangering public health is nearly the same for matrix acidizing and hydraulic fracturing. By only addressing hydraulic fracturing, today’s bill only deals with half the fracking problem. From beginning to end, the process of matrix acidizing also uses huge volumes of water and emits noxious air pollution.

      “Florida’s leaders must amend the bill to close all loopholes in House bill by banning all forms of fracking, including matrix acidizing. That is why we are supporting the better Senate bill which passed today through Senate committee and bans all forms of fracking.”

      • DeSantis is on record as opposing fracking. Now, he’s got to put up or shut up. His victory over Gillum was razor-thin.

    • Ilhan Omar Politely Scorched Trump’s Newest Diplomat-Slash-War Criminal

      Elliott Abrams has supported death squads and genocide in Latin America but can’t handle being asked about it.

    • https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/13/political-funding-dark-money-anti-corruption-trump?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

      The influence of “dark money” in American politics that allows billionaires to fund political campaigns through third-party groups without disclosing their involvement will be put under the spotlight at a congressional hearing on Thursday as the Democrats crank up their sweeping new anti-corruption measure, HR1.

      In the first hearing on the bill, the House Administration committee will explore how undisclosed donations from some of the country’s richest individuals is distorting they way politicians are elected. Under the title, Our American Democracy, the committee will hear from a range of election experts as well as from civil rights activists who will illuminate the impact of such “dark money” on the lives of ordinary people.

      A key example of the corrosive influence of secret political funding that will be presented to the committee will be the John Doe Files, the vast tranche of documents leaked to the Guardian in 2016 and posted in their entirety on the Guardian website. The 1,500 pages of material exposed how big corporations and some of the wealthiest rightwing donors in the US used their fortunes to prop up prominent politicians, in some cases going on to extract political favors in return.

    • Good to know that one out of every four voters is a batshit crazy religious lunatic. At least I live in a part of the country where that % is lower.

      https://www.newsweek.com/god-wanted-donald-trump-become-president-25-believe-according-new-poll-1331180

      After White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she believed God wanted Donald Trump to be president in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, a new poll showed that a quarter of U.S. voters shared that belief.

      The poll, which was conducted by Fox News, found that 25 percent of voters believed that God wanted Trump to win the 2016 presidential election. Sixty-two percent of votes did not agree, however, while 14 percent said they were unsure.

    • At least Gillibrand admits she was wrong about her former positions on gun control and immigration when she was an upstate representative

      https://theweek.com/articles/823425/unaddressed-sins-kamala-harris-amy-klobuchar

      If Harris and Klobuchar are sincere in their present commitment to reform, they cannot follow in Clinton’s footsteps. They must confront the negative parts of their records in a way she would not. They should give an unflinching explanation of why their old approach was wrong and how they came to see it that way.

      Scrap the thin narratives of underlying consistency and admit to a change of mind and heart. Apologize for the real damage done to those who may still be experiencing the consequences of overzealous prosecution and onerous sentencing. Stop laughing about smoking a joint in college and face up to the years of adulthood spent locking people away for nonviolent offenses.

      This sort of honesty wouldn’t be easy, but it would be refreshing — and it could be these former prosecutors’ only chance to win the support of rightly skeptical voters whose commitment to criminal justice reform predates this campaign.

    • I’m hoping he takes this path

      https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/13/schumer-beto-castro-2020-senate-bid-1168554?nname=playbook&nid=0000014f-1646-d88f-a1cf-5f46b7bd0000&nrid=0000014e-f0fa-dd93-ad7f-f8ffe0400000&nlid=630318

      Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke last week to discuss a possible 2020 Senate campaign against GOP Sen. John Cornyn, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

      O’Rourke, a Democrat who lost narrowly against Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, is considering running for president and hasn’t publicly discussed running again for Senate in 2020. But he also hasn’t ruled it out.

    • Another teacher’s strike seems to have come to a satisfactory end

      Denver Public Schools, union reach tentative agreement to end city’s first teachers strike in 25 years

      Negotiators from Denver Public Schools and the district’s union agreed on a tentative deal early Thursday morning to end the city’s first teachers strike in 25 years following an all-night negotiating session.

      After reviewing the Denver Classroom Teachers Association’s latest compensation proposal — presented at 5:30 a.m. — DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova said: “We really only have one change recommended. We’d like to add a signature line to the proposal.”

      Rob Gould, the union’s lead negotiator, said: “We are recommending now to our members that we officially end the strike.”

      Highlights of the deal, according to the union, include:

      Between a 7 percent and 11 percent increase in base salary

      A “transparent” 20-step salary schedule that starts at $45,800 a year and tops out at $100,000 for teachers with 20 years experience and a doctorate.

      Full cost-of-living increases in the second and third years of the agreement

      The ability to use professional development units — free in-district courses offered to advance teachers’ education — to move up lanes on the salary schedule

      An end to bonuses for senior DPS administrator

      Gov. Jared Polis, who had declined to intervene ahead of the strike, praised deal struck by DPS and the teachers union on Wednesday.

      • We fight, we win!

        Early Thursday morning, we reached an an historic agreement with Denver Public Schools on behalf of Denver’s educators. The tentative agreement, which must be ratified by the full DCTA membership, reforms a pay system which largely relied on unstable bonuses, and provides stability for students who, for the past ten years, have had their education disrupted by a compensation schedule that drove their teachers away from the district. DCTA teachers may return to the classroom today.

    • Did Hell Freeze Over in Oklahoma Recently? (my title, not the title of the article)

      James Cooper will be Oklahoma City’s first openly gay councilman, winning a five-way race in Tuesday’s primary to take inner-northwest’s open Ward 2 seat.

      JoBeth Hamon will succeed retiring Meg Salyer as the central city’s councilwoman in Ward 6 on the strength of a grassroots campaign that topped a far better-funded competitor.
      Voters in northwest and southwest Oklahoma City chose to stick with names they knew, electing Mark Stonecipher to a second term from Ward 8 and David Greenwell to a third term from Ward 5.
      Cooper, 36, was making his second bid for the Ward 2 seat after losing four years ago to Ed Shadid, who is retiring after eight years on the council.

      Cooper, a public school teacher and member of the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority board, ran on promises to strengthen neighborhoods.

      He advocated doubling the bus fleet and adopting a “human needs” component in MAPS 4 to tackle homelessness, domestic violence and other social ills, and improkquote>ve educational outcomes.
      Hamon, 28, upset Nathaniel Harding, an oil-and-gas executive who raised more than $140,000. An education coordinator at the Oklahoma Mental Health Association, Hamon depended on many donations of $25 to $50 and reported raising only $18,600.

      Those teachers have been empowered. Good for them and OKC.

    • Group asks Trump to rescind medals of honor for soldiers in Wounded Knee Massacre

      A group promoting voting rights for Native Americans has asked President Trump to rescind medals awarded to soldiers who participated in the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre.

      Four Direction Inc., a voting rights organization that began in South Dakota told the Rapid City Journal that it sent letters to the White House last week in the hopes of convincing Trump to ask Congress to rescind the medals by inserting language doing so into the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

      “No earthly power can bring my ancestors back to life,” one of the letters reads, according to the Journal. “But the United States can stop honoring the men who butchered those defenseless Lakota women and children in cold blood.”

      Their efforts followed Trump’s mention of the massacre in a Jan. 13 tweet that was intended to mock Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has faced questions over her past claims of Native American ancestry.

    • https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/02/centrist-democrats-2020-amy-klobuchar-sherrod-brown.html

      In this way, the center lane is starting to take shape. If you watch long enough, though, you’ll spot these candidates weaving in and out of the left lane. Indeed, how and when they shift between the two will be as illuminating as which one they decided to start in.

      Consider Klobuchar: She is now the most high-profile candidate in the race who has not signed on to Sanders’ Medicare for all effort, instead voicing her support for more incremental expansions in Medicare. And yet she is a Senate co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, which lists universal health care as one of its goals. Notably, Klobuchar avoided mentioning the nonbinding resolution by name during her Sunday kickoff speech in the Minnesota snow, instead promising to reinstate and reinforce the Obama-era climate rules Donald Trump has rolled back. But with Mitch McConnell planning on holding a show vote on the Green New Deal in the Senate, Klobuchar may soon have to choose between the smaller measures she prefers and the far more sweeping effort she also says she supports.

      Or consider Brown, who is often mentioned in the same breath as Klobuchar given they both can boast of winning big in Midwestern swing states, ostensibly giving them a leg up with the white, working-class voters who helped propel Trump to the White House. Brown has not yet launched his campaign, but he’s spent the weekend in the Granite State with his left-turn signal blinking—touting his past opposition to free trade deals, the Defense of Marriage Act, and the Iraq war. But by Tuesday, he was back in Washington pointedly declining to endorse either Medicare for all or the Green New Deal. “I don’t need to co-sponsor every bill that others think they need to co-sponsor to show my progressive politics,” he said. “I know the easy thing to do is say, ‘Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes,’ but I don’t know that that serves my constituents.”

      Brown isn’t sitting out the Medicare debate entirely, and his position illustrates the difficulty of trying to straddle both lanes. “It’s easy to say ‘Medicare for all’ and make a good speech, but see no action,” he said last month. Instead, he’s pushing to expand access to Medicare more slowly. Among the options he supports is opening the program up to retiring police and firefighters. The idea has its merits—many first responders retire before 65, so they face a gap in health coverage—and it’s one that seems tailor-made to appeal to a subset of (white) voters who aren’t currently part of the Democratic base. But it’s also easy to see why such a pro-police plan infuriates progressives who see Brown effectively prioritizing cops over disadvantaged communities with even less access to health care coverage. How forcefully Brown decides to defend that plan on the stump will tell us a lot about the path he’s plotted out.

    • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be just the beginning.

      Less than eight months after Ms. Ocasio-Cortez stunned the political world by unseating a powerful Democratic congressman, her home state is emerging as an epicenter of House primary challenges in 2020.

      Party insurgents are plotting and preparing to battle with the entrenched establishment — targeting as many as a half-dozen Congress members in and around New York City — over what it means to be a Democrat and a progressive in the age of President Trump.

      The coming New York uprising could result in a series of races that lay bare some of the same generational, racial, gender and ideological cleavages expected to define the 2020 presidential primary.

    • https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/joe-bidens-2020-campaign-decision-quietly-agonizing-as-months-go-by/2019/02/14/f6abf718-2fb0-11e9-86ab-5d02109aeb01_story.html?utm_term=.1c89c38c5844

      Joe Biden was going to decide whether to run for president by the end of 2018. That deadline slipped. Just after New Year’s, he said he would decide “soon.” Mid-January came and went with no decision. By the end of January?

      “We’ll make the decision soon,” he said at the time.

      Now into mid-February, with a burgeoning field of Democratic candidates, Biden is still on the fence, neither in nor out, in a lingering state of political limbo. Some potential staffers have already defected, and some of his supporters worry the prolonged indecision could begin to threaten his chances.

      If former Democratic congressman Beto O’Rourke, another on-the-fence candidate, has had a public quest — Instagram-living and Medium-posting his way toward a presidential run — then Biden has been quietly agonizing, with a decision-making process that has been lengthier, yet utterly familiar.

      • I have a little bit empathy for him in the sense that he sees he is ahead in most of the polls but can read the tealeaves that someone more progressive may be the primary voters choice. It would be a humiliating to lose a 3rd primary.

      • On the other hand

        https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/430028-exclusive-biden-almost-certain-to-enter-2020-race

        Former Vice President Joe Biden is almost certain to enter the 2020 presidential race, according to sources familiar with his plans.

        “It’s pretty clear he’s jumping in,” said one source with direct knowledge of the would-be campaign’s moves, adding that Biden is “95 percent there.”

        In recent days, Biden has sought to build support from grassroots activists and is specifically asking donors for their help in the lead up to an announcement, according to sources.

        In phone conversations, Biden has been making the case for why he’d be the best candidate in what is already a crowded field.

        “Here are the facts: He’s coming off a great midterm,” said Robert Wolf, the Democratic megadonor who confirmed he spoke to Biden on a 25-minute call on Wednesday.

        “He has been the most popular surrogate during the midterms and one of the only surrogates that can play in all 50 states and that has given him a lot of confidence that he can do well in a national election,’ Wolf said.

        • He may be the only one willing to take PAC money and encourage super PACs. If he does that, it will be a test for Harris, Booker, and Klobuchar to see if they will remain strong on just accepting $2700 or less.

          • Booker would probably be the first to crack given his history and the tiny amount of people on his small donor list

    • Tucker Carlson: “Screechy Moron” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Not Demanding China To Adopt ‘Green New Deal’

      Tucker Carlson dismissed the Democratic-proposed Green New Deal as a “religious document” in climate theology. Carlson said the rhetoric about the Deal is “not the language of compromise and moderation, it’s the language of fundamentalist theology.”

      The FOX News host said the Green New Deal, like gun control, is not about what they say it is, it is really about “punishment and control.” The left believes America must be punished for its prosperity, he said, through “atonement.” The “indulgence” is turning over control of the U.S. economy to the Democratic party.

      “The Green New Deal isn’t about the environment,” Carlson said Wednesday. “Just like gun control isn’t about school shootings, and speech codes have nothing to do with sensitivity. Nothing is what they say it is. What it’s really about is punishment and control.”

      “The Green New Deal is a religious document,” the FNC host said. “It punishes America for the sins of its prosperity. The only atonement it offers is turning over control of the entire US economy to the Democratic Party. That’s the indulgence they require. They’re using moral blackmail to get it. Theocrats always do.”

      Carlson also called out “screechy moron” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for not telling China to give up coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power within ten years. Carlson said you don’t see activists demonstrating at the Chinese embassy because “the left loves the Chinese government.”

      “If you’re worried about killing polar bears and poisoning fish with mercury, you should worry most about China,” he said. “But nobody in our ruling class is. You don’t see Democratic activists camped outside the Chinese embassy in protest. They’re not demanding sanctions on China. That screechy moron Ocasio-Cortez isn’t telling China to give up coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power within ten years. No way. The left loves the Chinese government. It’s their model for governing.”

    • 🙂 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day fellow TPWers!! 🙂 🙂 I will always support ‘love.’ Matt Taibbi’s new book Hate, Inc. is coming out. Richard Eskow has it serialized on his blog. It’s terrific. Reminds me of Hunter Thompson covering the 1972 Muskie campaign and Tim Crouse’s Boys on the Bus. These books are important reads about the WWF type relationship between the press and politicians. That relationship has only gotten worse, not better. 🙁 T and R to the usual excellent TPW suspects!!

    • In the Yemen HJ Res. 37, on antisemitism.

      Note the ref to BDS.

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DzYOqBjXgAAEOHR?format=jpg&name=small

      I thought I had copied the text. Hopefully this link will take you there.

    • Hopefully those billions in bribes can now be put to a better use

      https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/14/tech/amazon-hq2-nyc/index.html

      Amazon is ditching its plans to build a new headquarters in New York after facing backlash from members of the community.

      “After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens,” Jodi Seth, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a statement.

      In the statement, Amazon noted that “a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”

    • Not so long ago, left-wing activists were dismissed as fringe or even kooky when they pressed for proposals to tax the superrich at 70 percent, to produce all of America’s power through renewable resources or to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

      Then along came Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — and her social-media megaphone.

      In the two months since her election, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has had the uncanny ability for a first-term member of Congress to push the debate inside the Democratic Party sharply to the left, forcing party leaders and 2020 presidential candidates to grapple with issues that some might otherwise prefer to avoid.

    • Bang those war drums

      Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dropped any remaining pretense about the goal of a conference the United States opened in Warsaw on Thursday, with Mr. Pompeo telling reporters, “You can’t achieve peace and stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran.”

      The comments were the most explicit yet about the purpose of the gathering of foreign ministers and diplomats from five dozen countries for a meeting that the State Department had formally described as being about “Middle East security.”

      It is unusual to have a secretary of state and a vice president at the same meeting, and Mr. Pence forcefully reiterated the administration’s stance on Iran in a keynote speech on Thursday afternoon.

      In a lengthy discourse — delivered after Mr. Pompeo had accidentally been introduced as the vice president — Mr. Pence accused European allies, including Britain, France and Germany, of leading “the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions” on Iran, and he called for them to back out of the current nuclear deal with Tehran.

      In a sign of their displeasure, France and Germany rebuffed American entreaties and sent only high-ranking career diplomats rather their foreign ministers. The European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, a sharp critic of the Trump administration’s approach to Iran, also stayed away.

      Once the event got underway, however, American officials made it clear that Iran provided the subtext of almost every issue, including its sponsorship of terror groups and its heavy investment in a cyberforce that has attacked targets in Saudi Arabia and the United States.

    • Good for Schumer here

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/02/14/republicans-are-trolling-green-new-deal-heres-how-democrats-will-troll-them-back/?utm_term=.f365b7392a93&utm_source=reddit.com

      Many commentators have scowled in agreement with McConnell’s theory. But what’s discussed far less often is the politics of the big-picture contrast that forms the backdrop of this debate: one pitting a Democratic Party that recognizes the scale of the global warming challenge and wants to do something about it, and a Republican Party that simply does not.

      Democrats now hope to change that.

      On Thursday, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will deliver a speech on the GND on the Senate floor, in which the minority leader will call on Republicans to acknowledge that climate change is a serious threat and is largely human-created, and to pledge that Congress will act to address it, according to a source familiar with his plan.

      “I challenge Leader McConnell to say that climate change is real, that it’s caused by humans, and that Congress needs to act,” Schumer will say. “This is what two-thirds of the American people agree with. Two-thirds.”

      “Since Leader McConnell became majority leader in 2014, there has not been a single Republican bill to meaningfully reduce carbon emissions on the floor of the Senate,” Schumer will add.

      “We’re supposed to conduct the business of the nation,” Schumer will continue. “We’re supposed to tackle our country’s greatest challenges. Climate change is probably the number one threat to the planet. And yet not a single Republican bill that addresses climate change in a meaningful way. Not one.”

      Schumer intends this floor speech, which will also list numerous examples of the GOP refusal to act, as an opening shot in a series of efforts by Democrats to highlight Republican climate denialism, which variously concerns the science, the scale of the problem and the need for legislative action against it.

      • His speech should less than 5 minutes, then yield the remainder of the time to Jeff Merkley.

    • But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. At this moment, the proposed policies of the Democratic Party — from modest initiatives to incentivize savings to expansive programs for guaranteed employment — aren’t socialism. Even if they were, Americans are less afraid of the label than one might think: 37 percent say they have a positive image of socialism, a two-point increase from 2016. Given the continued popularity of Bernie Sanders and the rise of politicians like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, these numbers have room to grow. And those who hope to see them grow almost certainly got an assist from Trump when he elevated the term in his State of the Union address.

      The mechanism is simple: Trump is unpopular and drives Americans away from his positions. According to a Gallup survey last summer, after almost a year and a half of anti-immigration rhetoric from the president, 75 percent of Americans said immigration was a “good thing” and 29 percent said immigration levels should “decrease.” Most wanted either stasis or an increase in the number of immigrants. Just this January, in a poll taken during the partial government shutdown, 58 percent of Americans said they opposed “substantial expansion” of a border wall between the United States and Mexico, a direct rebuke to the president.

      If anything can put socialism in a more positive light, it is Trump raging against it. Which means conservatives and Republicans may want to think a little harder before they embrace a campaign strategy that relies on him for messaging. If “socialism” is like every other idea Trump has attacked and disdained, then the Republican Party should prepare for even more Americans embracing the term — and the ideas that come with it.

    • Their votes aren’t needed to pass the bill so they can make this vote to highlight their opposition to ICE

      https://thehill.com/homenews/house/430040-progressive-freshman-dems-to-oppose-spending-bill-over-increase-in-dhs-funding

      Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and three other progressive Democrats said Thursday they will vote against the bipartisan border deal because of its increased funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

      Freshmen Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), who along with Ocasio-Cortez have electrified the progressive wing of the Democratic base, said they are opposed to giving more money to DHS agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

      “The Department of Homeland Security has separated thousands of children from their parents, denied asylum to those fleeing danger, and used taxpayers’ dollars as a slush fund to incite terror in immigrant communities,” the four lawmakers said in a statement. “By any reasonable measure, Donald Trump’s weaponization of ICE and CBP has been a failure. The Department of Homeland Security does not deserve an increase in funding, and that is why we intend to vote no on this funding package.”

      “We want to be abundantly clear: this is not a rebuke of federal workers or those who depend on the services they provide, but a rejection of the hateful policies, priorities, and rhetoric of the Trump Administration,” the congresswomen said in their statement.

    • https://www.thedailybeast.com/bernie-sanders-called-ilhan-omar-to-offer-his-support-amid-anti-semitism-controversy?via=desktop&social=Reddit

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reached out to Rep. Ilhan Omar on Tuesday to offer his support amid criticism from both Democrats and Republicans that the progressive freshman lawmaker trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes on Twitter.

      Omar’s office confirmed that the congresswoman spoke with Sanders—who is Jewish and rarely speaks publicly about his faith—but the conversation was off-record and so they could not go into further details about the contents of the discussion. A source familiar with the conversation confirmed to The Daily Beast that Sanders expressed support for Omar.

      Earlier on Thursday, Jewish Insider reported that Sanders was asked about Omar’s tweets on a conference call hosted by James Zogby, founder of the Arab American Institute and a former member of the Democratic National Committee’s executive committee.

      “I talked to Ilhan last night to give her my personal support,” Sanders was quoted as saying. “We will stand by our Muslim brothers and sisters.”

    • This may have gone unnoticed as it was posted late last night. It is not a good thing.

      Howard Dean to Lead Democratic Voter Data Effort

      Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean “is set to return to prominence as head of a new operation that Democrats hope puts them back on par with Republicans in the never-ending race to use voter data to drive Americans to the polls,” the AP reports.

      “Dean confirmed that he’s signed on to lead a planned data exchange hammered out by DNC officials, state party leaders and Democratic consultants. The agreement still requires the expected approval from state party leaders gathering Wednesday in Washington, but it would end more than 18 months of internal party wrangling that has dogged DNC Chairman Tom Perez amid fights over money and control.”

      “The arrangement would allow the national party, state parties and independent political action groups on the left to share voter data in real time during campaigns.”

      To me it is like a fox guarding the henhouse.

    • Big endorsement for Harris

      https://www-m.cnn.com/2019/02/14/politics/kamala-harris-barbara-lee-cbc/index.html

      Kamala Harris just picked up her biggest endorsement to date in her fledgling 2020 campaign: Congresswoman Barbara Lee, former Congressional Black Caucus chair and all-around anti-war and social justice activist star.

      Lee, who has been called “the House’s lefty conscience” will be California co-chair of Harris’ presidential campaign.

      “Watching Kamala’s career in the East Bay and San Francisco for 20 years, I’ve witnessed her deep passion for justice and opportunity and I know she will be a president truly of the people, by the people, and for the people,” Lee said in a statement obtained exclusively by CNN.

      “She will increase working Americans’ incomes, expand health insurance to more Americans and restore dignity and responsibility to the Oval Office. She is a leader uniquely qualified to bring us together and mobilize a movement of Americans to return power to the people.”

      For Harris, who is set to go to South Carolina this weekend, it is an undeniable boost. While there is all sorts of data that suggests endorsements don’t really move voters, for Harris, Lee’s endorsement helps her burnish her progressive credentials and adds to her California show of force — and 400 delegates will be up for grabs in Harris’ home state on Super Tuesday.

      A favorite of progressive outlets, Lee can amplify Harris’ message, help her explain how she was a “progressive prosecutor” — an issue that’s dogged her young campaign — and essentially be a force multiplier. Lee is the fourth member of Congress from California to back Harris.

      • Disappointing. Barbara Lee has been great on policy for her career, but does not have an insurgent bone in her body when it comes to shaking up the Dem establishment. She chickened out on endorsing Bernie in 2016, rolled over on not being selected as caucus chair last year, and now this. She probably belongs in the same category as Liz Warren, for better or worse.

        • Lee wants to continue winning elections with her new appointment as one of the steering committee co-chairs. I don’t necessarily fault her. Where it could get tricky is if Patrick Leahy turns his back again on Bernie.

        • At least Warren would’ve been a better endorsement.

      • my twitter feed is not happy

        • Let’s not go overboard here about rigging. Lee and Harris are both women of color from northern California so perhaps they have a bond. Also Harris is not the only establishment Dem in the candidate sea. Why would everybody be rigging it for her? I’m not a Kamala Harris supporter but she’s not Hillary Clinton (even though a segment of Clinton’s supporters may be lining up behind her)

          • I quibble on this part of your comment:

            …but she’s not Hillary Clinton

            I see her as Hillary 2.0, but as PoC in her 50’s; however, inexperienced as BHO was.

            Lee represents Oakland so I’m certain she was under a lot of pressure to endorse. Unlike Katie Hill, she waited a bit.

            Along with others here, it appears to me the Establishment is lining up. And wonder if it is another way to start as well as fester a traffic jam with so many running. But as a democratic socialist, I believe anyone should be able run in a primary.

          • When your bond with someone is worth more than the fate of the country….

    • Today is will he or won’t he day for Joe

      https://www-m.cnn.com/2019/02/14/politics/dianne-feinstein-biden-president/index.html

      Former Vice President Joe Biden privately met with Sen. Dianne Feinstein Thursday morning as he weighs a run for the 2020 Democratic nomination — and the California senator believes Biden plans to mount a bid for the presidency.

      “Oh, yes,” Feinstein, a Democrat in her sixth term, told CNN Thursday when asked if she thinks he’ll run in 2020.

      But Feinstein said it was only her impression that he would run and that Biden did not tell her one way or another about his intentions.

      “No, he did not,” she said when asked if Biden said explicitly he would run while they met at his Washington office.

    • Attempting to steal money from disaster relief. Well I guess in the future Dem presidents will be able to declare national emergencies to grab money for health care etc. Except those will be actual emergencies

      • Fabulous. GOPers have a lot more senate seats up for grabs.

        • I guess the next Dem president can declare that Climate change is a national emergency or our health care problems is an national emergency and then move forward. Anyone remember how the R’s screamed when Obama used the EO power.

      • I’m disappointed but Barbara Lee isn’t a terrible Congresswoman.

        • I sure thought she was more progressive than that. Especially KH. Must be in the bag.

        • Her record is actually among the best. I do not think it’s a good idea for Bernie supporters to attack Barbara Lee. It definitely will be used by other candidates as an example of hostile “Bernie Bros” attacking a progressive woman of color.

          • ding ding ding

          • Not sure it’s attacking her to point out that her endorsement is not in line with her stated principles. But I guess saying “cancelled” and unfollowing could be.

            We get accused of that anyway with Kamala. And Nina is a token black to them.

      • She doesn’t appear to be living up to these standards.

        • I see a contribution going to The Intercept very soon. They will be the ones who will expose any deals or special interests irregularities occurring with the campaigns. The corporate media won’t notice except when Bernie and Biden have a gaffe.

    • Since the early post is filling in quite nicely I am posting an evening open thread.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) will announce legislation Wednesday to expand Social Security benefits and strengthen the retirement program for generations to come.

    • I’ll add this here too from the daily post

      There does seem to be more positive stuff in the Post and Times about Bernie than three or four years ago (of course not all positive). Might be another indication on how the Dem ground has shifted his way.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/02/13/bernie-sanders-would-like-talk-about-social-security/?utm_term=.51439ffc71cc

      The conversation around Social Security sometimes seems to take place in two separate worlds. On one side, there are people who believe the program is unsustainable in its current form, and that as the share of the population that is older than 65 continues to grow, Social Security will need to be adjusted to reflect that reality. On the other side are people who point out that not only is Social Security not particularly generous (it only replaces about 40 percent of pre-retirement income), but also we need to both alter its funding and what it pays out to account for the age of inequality, which is simultaneously increasing people’s dependence on the program even as it further undermines the program’s finances.

      One man firmly in the latter camp is Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT.), who is bringing back his Social Security Expansion Act on Wednesday. The day selected is no accident: Wednesday also marks something Social Security activists call Scrap the Cap Day, an annual event designed to highlight how little millionaires pay into the system.

      Sanders tells me that he believes momentum on the issue has shifted in recent years. As recently as a decade ago, even many Democrats agreed with Republicans that Social Security needed to be trimmed back. Now among his bill’s co-sponsors are several declared and potential presidential candidates, including Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). “I think most elected officials would be terribly, terribly unpopular if after giving a trillion-dollar tax cut to corporations and wealthy Americans,” they voted to take benefits away from those living on a Social Security stipend, Sanders said. (Note that Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), have stepped forward to argue just that.) Sanders’s office says an analysis by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Chief Actuary says his bill would solidify the system for about 50 years. Larson’s bill would take us to the end of the century. So why not take the opportunity to simultaneously improve lives and bulk up Social Security? I can think of a lot of worse ideas.

    • It’s good that he was joined by Booker, Gillibrand, and Merkley at the press conference

      https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/02/13/ensure-dignity-most-vulnerable-among-us-bernie-sanders-introduces-bill-expand-social

      In an effort to strengthen one of the nation’s most popular programs as the GOP pushes for cuts, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and several congressional Democrats on Wednesday introduced the Social Security Expansion Act to ensure that seniors can retire in dignity and “everyone with a disability can live with the security they need.”

      Confronting an economic landscape in which half of older Americans have no retirement savings and 20 percent of seniors are forced to live on income that barely exceeds the federal poverty line, Sanders’ legislation would significantly expand Social Security benefits and ensure the program remains solvent for at least the next five decades by subjecting all income over $250,000 to the Social Security payroll tax.

      Sanders officially introduced his legislation at a press conference alongside Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), and Cory Booker (N.J.).

    • https://jacobinmag.com/2019/02/bernie-sanders-social-security-expansion-privatization

      The legislation that Bernie Sanders proposed today goes in the opposite direction of austerity politics by strengthening and expanding Social Security.

      On the revenue side, it lifts the cap on payroll taxes so that the wealthy pay a more equitable share. Part of the reason why Social Security is now spending more than it takes in is because extreme income growth at the top, and stagnation at the middle and bottom, has created a situation in which the share of earnings above Social Security’s tax cap has nearly doubled, from 10 percent in the late 1970s to 18 percent today.

      That means that a billionaire pays the same amount into Social Security as someone who makes $132,900 a year. While people like me and most people I know pay payroll taxes on 100 percent of our incomes, ultra-wealthy figures like Jeff Bezos, who make most of their money on investments, pay only a minuscule proportion — as little as .00028 percent — for the same maximum benefits.

      By mandating that people who make over $250,000 a year pay full Social Security taxes, including taxes on unearned income, Sanders projects that Social Security would be solvent for the next fifty years and raise enough revenue to increase benefits across the board, along with expanding them for survivors, low-income seniors, and children of people with disabilities.

      It would also allow the Social Security Administration to use a more accurate cost-of-living adjustment formula, CPI-E, that factors in the spending habits specific to seniors.

      Sanders’ legislation comes after another Social Security expansion bill introduced recently in the House by Democratic representatives John Larson, Conor Lamb, and Jahana Hayes, though their bill increases benefits by scrapping the cap a bit higher, above $400,000.

      That legislation has 203 cosponsors and counting, so it has a very good chance of passing. Sanders’s bill is supported by many of the presidential hopefuls in the Senate, including Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren.

      What this means for 2020 is that the Clinton-Obama austerity politics of the not-so-distant past may have finally reached their limit. Americans are sick of having to do more with less. Billionaires and millionaires are going to have to pay up.

    • TYT announced tonight that Bernie will be on their show tomorrow night. I’m guessing it’s to talk about Scrap the Cap, but who knows? 🙂

    • This is why he should be the next President.

  • Bernie Sanders Is About as Radical on Tax Policy as Teddy Roosevelt

    he really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size, acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree […]

    • Tips, Comments, Complaints, Etc!

    • I say good… put everyone on the record:

      McConnell to set up vote on Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Green New Deal’

      The Senate will hold a vote on the Green New Deal, an environmental and energy plan touted by progressives, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday.

      McConnell told reporters after a meeting of the Senate Republican caucus that he has “great interest” in the plan, which would spell an end for coal, a key economic driver in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, while promising new jobs for out-of-work miners and other workers.

      “We’ll give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal,” McConnell said.

      McConnell did not say when the vote would happen. McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said the vote has not been scheduled.

      The deal has no chance of passing the Senate, where it will need 51 votes and faces united opposition from Republicans, who hold 53 of the chamber’s 100 seats.

      But it will force Senate Democrats, including a slew of 2020 presidential candidates, to vote on the proposal — potentially providing votes for McConnell and the GOP to exploit politically.

      ..

      Markey welcomed the debate and the vote.

      “Republicans don’t want to debate climate change, they only want to deny it,” he said in a statement.

      • I hope there is a debate. But I suspect Markey is right.

      • McCorrupt hasn’t set a date. yet. This is a game the FRightwingies play. Now, they’ll stall. It’s up to the Progressive Futurists (us) to force them to set the date and vote. It will be ‘put up or shut up’ time for the DINOs. POTUS elections next year. I want to see how they voted. T and R, LD!!

      • It also provides votes that progressives can exploit politically so it’s all good Mitch. It is ridiculous though that Mitch says he can schedule a vote on this which is obviously going to lose and in any case be vetoed, but refuses to schedule votes on something that could pass but might be vetoed by Trump.

      • LOL. Michael Tomasky, noted anti-Bernie liberal, is clutching his pearls over this. Oh noes!! We may find out that not all Dems support this. Don’t blame those Dem senators voting no. How scary! 😱😱😱😱😱😱😱

        https://www.thedailybeast.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortezs-green-new-deal-overshoots-the-mark-for-democrats-hits-bullseye-for-mitch-mcconnell

        Republicans and conservatives smell the blood in the water. Last week I saw a couple of conservatives at an event and they were chortling about the Green New Deal. Part of their schadenfreude had to do with a document from AOC’s office that was supposed to be private but somehow got out (The Washington Post has a good summary here) that made reference to daffy goals like building high-speed rail “at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary.” That’s gold for Republican consultants.

        Still, the Senate vote, which has not been scheduled, could reveal a big split in the Democratic caucus. Presumably, the presidential candidates will vote for it, because they mostly committed to the New Green deal name even before the plan was out. A few other senators from safe liberal states will stay with it—Pat Leahy of Vermont, maybe both senators from Washington, Jeff Merkley of Oregon (although he is up for reelection in 2020, which might complicate things).

        But beyond that… people like Joe Manchin and Doug Jones and Jon Tester are givens as “no” votes, I would think, but also look at someone like Gary Peters of Michigan, usually a pretty liberal vote on whatever; but he’s up in 2020, in a smokestack state. I’m just guessing here, but it wouldn’t shock me to see the caucus split hard on this vote. And don’t blame the senators. Blame a badly written resolution (and while AOC gets all the attention, what in the world was a veteran lawmaker like Markey doing putting his name on that?).

        Credit AOC for getting the Green New Deal in the camera frame. Climate change is an issue that needs serious attention. But it doesn’t need this sort of attention. Let’s hope this lesson about throwing a hanging curveball over Mitch McConnell’s plate has been learned.

        • More oh noes. This one was posted by our “ friend” Greg Dworkin over at DK. Poor Nancy’s head was at risk if she commented even neutrally on the popular GND.

        • I’m learning to remain calm in the face of the media continuing to act as if it’s more sane to expand fossil fuel production then it is to start saving what we can of civilization, of species.

        • Sounds like a Daily Beast dumbazz. Ding-ding-ding-ding-correct!

      • I think it’s only a non-binding resolution?

        Also, it’s not unfriendly to business, and doesn’t push the envelope nearly as far as the Green Party’s proposal.

      • Well we’ll find out what Dems need replacing besides the 53 R’s.

    • ‘We Will Be That Lantern on the Shore’: Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley Rally With TPS Holders Outside Trump White House

      Immigrant rights advocates and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders from Nepal and Honduras—joined by Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.)—rallied outside the White House on Tuesday morning to protest the Trump administration’s moves to revoke protected status from people residing in the United States due to dangerous conditions in their home countries.

      Critics charge that the ongoing efforts to end TPS are motivated by President Donald Trump’s racism against “non-white, non-European immigrants.” The TPS holders, activists, and lawmakers who turned out for the March for TPS Justice despite the winter weather called on Congress to “take action to #SaveTPS and create permanent protections that give residency to immigrant youth and TPS holders.”

      “We will be that lantern on the shore. We will be here in case of humanitarian disaster. We will be here in case of natural disaster, war, et cetera. We are a nation that turns peril into promise. We are a nation that builds from many, and we have to protect our basic character as a nation to be that,” Ocasio-Cortez told the crowd. “We are here to make sure that all TPS recipients become permanent members of the United States of America.”

      Pressley, for her part, said: “You are the true patriots, you are the true Americans, and we are not out here demanding charity—we are demanding what you have earned!”

      • I would probably take “the” before patriots” out, since many of us like to think that we are also, even though I’m pretty sure she’s comparing to Trump.

        Otherwise, way to go! This is what representation looks like!

    • 5 Reasons Bernie 2020 Is Looking All But Certain

      The 2020 Democratic field is already larger than it was in 2008. So far, 11 Democrats have launched or formally announced their intentions to launch a presidential bid, and more are expected in the coming weeks and months.

      One of the biggest names many are still waiting on, however, is US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Is Bernie 2020 going to happen? The answer could come very soon.

      Here are some things to look at:

      ..

      3. Sanders Holds on to Coveted Independent Support
      Bernie Sanders’ popularity in the 2016 presidential primary was significantly boosted by his support among independent voters, who make up an expanding segment of the voting population. Their impact was felt not only in the primaries, but in the general election as well.

      The results of the 2016 election indicate that many voters want a candidate who offers something different from the partisan status quo. The two candidates that stood out the most as anti-DC establishment then were Sanders and President Donald Trump.

      What many of these voters are looking for hasn’t changed. Several of our own readers participated in a recent IVN survey and told us which candidates they prefer going into the 2020 election. Survey takers used what is called an approval voting method, meaning they could select as many candidates as they wanted.

      Guess which candidate got the highest approval vote of all candidates in the survey? Bernie Sanders with 40%.

    • Nina addresses criticisms of Sanders on race:

    • The Ilhan Omar Controversy Reveals a Larger Struggle Over Israel Among Democrats

      The controversy that swirled around Congress this week after Rep. Ilhan Omar insinuated that politicians only support Israel because of donations from wealthy Jews died down as quickly as it began. Publicly rebuked by leaders of her own party for using “anti-Semitic tropes,” the freshman Democrat issued an apology.

      But while this episode was short, the already tricky politics of Israel are likely to keep coming up — and keep getting trickier for Democrats.

      As the Democratic Party gears up for a contentious 2020 primary, many observers are warning that the grassroots of the party may not be in sync with the traditionally strong support of Israel among lawmakers of both parties. Changing attitudes among younger voters, Israel’s recent political history and President Donald Trump’s vocal support for the country have all contributed to a shift in public opinion.

      “We shouldn’t overlook the fact that on a retail level there is an erosion of support for Israel among Democrats,” said former Rep. Steve Israel, who served in Congress for nearly two decades and also chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Those of us who support Israel need to educate potential candidates that this is not a political issue; this is not a partisan issue; this is an issue about two democracies in a challenging world.”

      Until recently, criticism of Israel was largely relegated to the fringes of both parties. But over the last decade, Israel’s government, led by current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has shifted increasingly rightward. The country has defied international pressure by building controversial settlements in the West Bank and passed a measure affirming that the country is a Jewish nation-state, which some Arab Israelis criticized as a move toward a form of apartheid.

      As a result, grassroots Democrats have been more open in critiquing what they consider Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians and unethical occupation of the West Bank. Polling shows that partisanship on this issue has intensified. The number of Republicans who favor Israel over Palestine in the conflict has increased 29% since 2001, while the number of Democrats who favor Israel has decreased 11% in the same time period, according to a 2018 report from the Pew Research Center.

      • https://theslot.jezebel.com/ilhan-omar-and-the-shifting-democratic-winds-on-israel-1832202227

        But the furor generated by Omar’s recent tweets speaks to two significant developments in Democratic politics: an emerging shift in the status quo on the question of the fundamental rights of Palestinians and a parallel backlash working to constrain that growing movement. Both Omar and Tlaib are supporters of the BDS movement, joining other Democratic elected officials on the national stage like Pramila Jayapal and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in criticizing the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians. This is no small thing for high-profile (and increasingly popular) members of Congress. Even as recently as 2016, then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s remarks on the need to “treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity” during a debate with Hillary Clinton were so striking that news outlets described it as “unprecedented” and a “watershed moment in Democratic politics.” As one Democratic strategist noted at the time, “There is no requirement anymore in Democratic politics to have a strict, orthodox pro-Israel position.”

        The debate over anti-BDS legislation currently before Congress is a case in point about the shift, with many Democratic senators objecting to the bill, including several who have announced they plan to run for their party’s presidential nomination. Those senators, including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker, couched their opposition to the bill over its potential to chill free speech, and not over support for the BDS campaign. “I do not support the boycott, I think the boycott is wrong. But I think outlawing protected free speech activity violates our basic constitution,” Warren said in a representative statement. (Of the Democrats who have declared they intend to run for their party’s nomination, only Senator Amy Klobuchar supported the bill.)

        Despite the fact that none of the senators who opposed the bill did so over support for Palestine (with even Sanders stating that he does “not support the BDS movement”), Palestinian rights activists see their votes as a sign of change. “They’re making a different political calculus than they were before,” Rebecca Vilkomerson, the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace told Jezebel, referring to the senators who voted against the anti-BDS legislation. In previous years, she noted, the bill would have likely sailed through the Senate. “It’s an indicator of the ways that the winds are blowing.”

    • Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders put Denver teachers strike in national spotlight

      Denver’s teachers strike has become a cause célèbre for national politicians and local elected leaders.

      Among the most prominent cheerleaders for the educators: U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.

      “In the richest country in the world, our teachers should be the best-paid, not among the worst-paid,” Sanders, a possible Democratic candidate for president, said in a Twitter post hours after the strike began on Monday.

      Warren, who has declared her candidacy for 2020, posted later that she was with the teachers “all the way” in their fight “to get the pay they deserve.”

      Harris, who also has announced her run for president, chimed in Tuesday that she unequivocally stands with Denver teachers.

      The politicians’ comments suggest they may try to make education and economic inequality an issue in the national primary.

      Colorado’s own two possible presidential candidates — former Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet — have not taken positions. Hickenlooper tweeted Tuesday afternoon that as a Denver Public Schools parent he’s glad negotiations have resumed. Bennet, a former superintendent of the district, hasn’t commented on the situation since the strike began.

    • Medical Expenses Contribute To Two-Thirds Of Bankruptcy Filings In U.S.

      For many Americans, putting one’s health first can mean putting one’s financial status at risk. A study of bankruptcy filings in the United States showed that 66.5% were due, at least in part, to medical expenses.
      The study, led by Dr. David Himmelstein, Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Hunter College and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School, indicates that about 530,000 families each year are financially ruined by medical bills and sicknesses. It’s the first research of its kind to link medical expenses and bankruptcy since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010.

      “Unless you’re Bill Gates, you’re just one serious illness away from bankruptcy,” Himmelstein says in a release by the Physicians for a National Health Program. “For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection. Most of us have policies with so many loopholes, copayments and deductibles that illness can put you in the poorhouse.”

      Himmelstein and his multidisciplinary research team — which included two doctors, two lawyers, and a sociologist from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project — surveyed a random sample of 910 Americans who filed for personal bankruptcy between 2013 and 2016. They found that medical bills made up 58.5% of bankruptcies, and illness-related income losses contributed to 44.3%, with many of the debtors citing both as causes of bankruptcy.

      “Even the best job-based health insurance often vanishes when prolonged illness causes job loss – just when families need it most. Private health insurance is a defective product, akin to an umbrella that melts in the rain,” says Himmelstein.

      • No kidding. Sigh…….

    • Giving Trump Far Too Much in Shutdown Deal, Progressives Warn Democrats ‘Throwing Immigrants Under the Bus’

      After Democratic negotiators dropped their demand for a limit on how many immigrants the Trump administration can detain and agreed to provide over $1.3 billion for fencing and other barriers at the U.S.-Mexico border, immigrant rights advocates warned on Tuesday that Democrats are conceding far too much to President Donald Trump and handing “Nativist Republicans more money to jail and deport immigrants.”

      “By gifting this administration $1.3 billion for what is essentially a steel wall and the power to detain and deport an unlimited number of people, there’s no other way to say it: Democrats would be throwing immigrants under the bus,” Democracy for America (DFA) declared in an email to supporters.

      The group continued:

      This isn’t just about stopping Trump’s wall (which he’s still threatening to build by declaring a ridiculous national emergency)—this is about standing on the right side of history, and standing with the most vulnerable.

      Children, mothers, fathers, grandparents. Coming here in search for a better life, many seeking refuge from violence and threats to their lives back home.

      The Trump administration has already separated thousands of families, admitting they lost countless children along the way. Multiple children have died in government custody. There are still no answers from this administration.

      Supporting a deal that allows the Trump administration to create further division across the border, increase the number of families and individuals being held prisoner in detention centers, and deport more immigrants back to danger is not an acceptable compromise.

    • The Democrats’ total capitulation on the border

      Republican and Democratic lawmakers last night reportedly came to an agreement on border enforcement funding to avert another government shutdown before the Friday deadline. Yet after all this drama, it’s unclear if Democrats accomplished much beyond virtue signaling to their base. If anything, they may have given Trump a green light to forge ahead with his draconian interior enforcement agenda without any meaningful oversight of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

      Details of the deal are still trickling in but it seems clear that after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged not to give Trump even a “dollar” for his wall, Democrats agreed to hand him $1.375 billion to build a 55-mile long barrier in the Rio Grande Valley. They’re trying to spin this as mere “pedestrian fencing.” Trump, who is never shy of staring a gift horse in the mouth, is saying it’s not enough. But it’s pretty clear that Democrats gave in.

      In addition, they agreed to hand the Department of Homeland Security an additional $1.7 billion for border security, including technology at ports of entry, more officers and, as an afterthought, some humanitarian aid.

      Handing Trump some wall money might have been worth it if Democrats had got something in return like legalizing the DREAMers (folks who’ve grown up in America after being brought to the country without proper authorization as minors) and others whose temporary protected status Trump scrapped. But Democrats failed to even put this on the table despite many hints by Republicans that they would consider a DREAMer-for-wall deal. The Democratic Party seems to be more interested in rallying their base with the issue than actually solving it.

      ..

      Democrats are trying to sell this as a reasonable compromise by claiming that this funding level represents a 17-percent cut in detention over current levels. But Trump was maintaining those levels using unauthorized funds. In other words, far from calling out Trump for illegally exceeding Congressional limits, Democrats are using Trump’s detention levels as their official baseline.

      So, all in all, Trump got more money for a border barrier, enhanced border security, and increased detention capacity. What did Democrats get? Absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada.

      • I’m not so sure about the two articles above. They seem to ignore that Republicans control the Senate and Trump is in the White House. The Dems can’t just get what they want. Trump could have easily forced another shutdown, which causes real harm to federal workers and contractors. In any case, the deal now is worse for Trump than the one he rejected in December.

        https://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-congress-wall-funding-20190213-story.html

        The tentative deal is expected to be finalized and voted on by Friday, when funding for nine federal departments and dozens of agencies is scheduled to run out — again. Notably, the deal would not give Trump the $5.7 billion he’d demanded for the “big, beautiful wall” he is eager to build along the southern U.S. border. Nor would it give Democrats the cap they sought on the number of immigrants in the country illegally who could be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

        We sympathize with the Democrats’ effort to rein in the administration’s expansive deportations. The point behind the proposed cap was to force ICE to focus on deporting serious criminals who are in the country illegally, not longtime residents whose only offense was to violate immigration law. But the proposal was too easily caricatured by Trump as an effort to unleash hardened “criminal aliens” on unsuspecting Americans. And like the many other policy issues involving migrants and legal immigrants, it would be best resolved through a comprehensive bill overhauling the country’s current, flawed approach to immigration — not an overdue spending bill that expires in seven months.

        Predictably, Trump told reporters Tuesday that he was “not happy” about the deal, although he wasn’t committing himself one way or the other. If he’s even the least bit realistic, though, he’d see that he has lost leverage with Congress since Democrats took control of the House in November. Trump rejected a bipartisan offer in December that included $1.6 billion for 65 miles of improved border fencing; the tentative deal struck Monday includes less than $1.4 billion for about 55 miles of fences.

        • Plus, the Flight Attendants and Air Traffic Controllers unions were set to walk out. They had time to get ready.

    • ‘This Is What Dem Leadership Looks Like’: Minnesota Gov. Praised for Backing Fight Against Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline

      Green groups and progressive lawmakers heaped praise on Minnesota’s new Democratic governor on Tuesday for “working for the people first not a foreign pipeline company” by announcing that he would renew a challenge launched by his predecessor against Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline project, which would run from Canada’s Alberta tar sands through North Dakota and Minnesota on its way to neighboring Wisconsin.

      “Minnesotans have clearly voiced that they do not want this dirty pipeline, and Governor [Tim] Walz and Lieutenant Governor [Peggy] Flanagan showed today that they are listening,” declared Greenpeace USA tar sands campaigner Rachel Rye Butler.

      “By committing to refile the state’s appeal to Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline expansion,” Butler said, “he’s rightly putting Indigenous rights, our global climate, and the water resources for thousands of Minnesotans before fossil fuel industry profits.”

    • What Ilhan Omar Said About AIPAC Was Right Ady Barkin’s tweet’s in article form

      I’m ashamed to admit that endorsing AIPAC positions was all about the Benjamins for me and my candidate.

    • Youth Movements Changing Tactics in the Face of Climate Crisis

      Back in 2015, a group of youth warriors bravely filed a lawsuit against the federal government for failing to protect their right to life and liberty by willfully ignoring the dangers of climate change. Last month, the 21 plaintiffs of Juliana v. United States gathered under the same roof for the first time in quite a while at the New York Society for Ethical Culture. The group convened with leaders of the most powerful movements of our time to share their experiences and discuss what need to be done to address our climate crisis.

      The youth plaintiffs were joined at the “Changing Tactics in the Face of Climate Emergency” by leaders of the most vivid movements of our time, lifting up organizing systems that are multiracial, where women hold primary positions of power and political leadership. Vic Barrett, one of the youth plaintiffs, was on the panel with Julia Olson, the executive director of Our Children’s Trust and the legal representation in the lawsuit, 350.org communications manager Thanu Yakupitiyage, and Sara Blazevic, the co-founder and managing director of the Sunrise Movement.

      Sunrise is building the power of youth to urge the country to take climate change seriously while reclaiming democracy. Addressing the crisis, Sunrise says, means ending the influence of fossil fuel profiteers on American politics and creating good jobs to update national infrastructure. The group skyrocketed to national headlines after occupying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office to demand Congress pass a Green New Deal. Blazevic told the crowd that Sunrise organizers had dedicated months of time to winning back the House of Representatives for Democrats. “We thought they owed us more than lip service on the biggest issue facing our generation,” she said.

      “We need to transform our entire economy to prevent [the climate crisis] and we also have an incredible opportunity to create millions of good jobs and actually increase equity and justice in this country in the process,” Blazevic said. “Sunrise is protesting to bring the crisis to the forefront of the minds of every American and bring the urgency of those fires, floods and droughts we hear the plaintiffs talk about from our television screens to our politicians’ scripts.”

      Resistance to this transformative vision for our society comes from the very people sworn in to govern and create ways to work with — not against – our natural resources, to provide us all with the ability to prosper. Putting climate change at the top of the political agenda is just the first step, Blazevic went on to say. “We are also working to elect candidates up and down the ballot who can advance the kinds of solutions we need for this crisis and build the power we need to govern and create an America that works for all of us.”

    • Denver Students Take the Lead as Teachers Strike

      n the eve of the Denver teachers’ strike, which began this Monday, Superintendent Susana Cordova claimed that equity was the primary reason she refused to meet the unions’ demands for higher across-the-board pay increases. Like in so many cities across the country, Denver’s billionaire-backed district leaders continue to insist that privatization and “merit pay” are the only viable educational remedies for low-income students of color.

      Over the past few weeks, Denver’s students have surged into action to challenge this narrative. Jhoni Palmer, a junior at East High, is one of a small group of high schoolers who have catalyzed thousands of their peers to participate in sit-ins, walkouts, and, most recently, a pro-strike dance party.

      Palmer first decided to start organizing after her favorite teacher announced that he was moving away from Denver because he could no longer afford to provide for his family. “It broke my heart,” she explains. “I know what it’s like to struggle to survive—I come from a background where we don’t have a lot of money. So it’s insane to me that my teachers, who spend so many hours supporting us, can’t make ends meet.” As for Cordova’s corporate anti-racism, Palmer replied: “I don’t understand how not paying Denver teachers is helping us students of color. What we really need is more funding and a better curriculum.”

      For junior Alessandra Chavira—a student at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College, one of Denver’s low-income, “high priority” schools afflicted by soaring teacher-turnover rates—the movement is just as much about improving conditions for students as it is about supporting teachers. In her view, “since so many of us have experienced trauma—gun violence, family deportations, incarceration, homelessness—our school district should really be providing us with a lot more resources. We’re not getting them.”

    • Why Does the Democratic Party Refuse to Address Poverty?

      sie Shannon is a warrior for the poor and homeless. An activist from Southern California, Susie recognized something in the early 2000s that millions of progressives are starting to realize now: If she wanted to make a difference and actually improve people’s lives, she not only had to engage with the Democratic Party, she had to enter it.

      In doing so, Susie didn’t alter her politics one iota; rather, she was instrumental in building the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party, for which she is now a presiding officer. Susie also shepherded a homeless-housing bill all the way through the California State Legislature to the governor’s desk and didn’t relent until she had Jerry Brown’s signature. In 2016 she was a Bernie Sanders delegate; and the following year she became the only elected Bernie delegate from California to become a member of the DNC.

      Not wasting any time, Susie wrote a resolution prior to the Chicago DNC meeting in August 2018 to form an official Poverty Council of the DNC. She knew that underserved communities needed a seat at the table to build political power and raise awareness about issues related to poverty across the country. In doing so, Susie was following the proper protocol, as official councils are how the DNC addresses important issues or focus groups.

      This is where the story turns, and becomes an object lesson for progressives.

      Shortly after submitting the resolution, Susie was contacted by DNC staff members who rejected the proposal for a Poverty Council and altered the resolution to make it a toothless reaffirmation of the Democratic Party’s commitment to poverty issues, with no establishment of a Poverty Council.

    • Lecturer highlights transcontinental indigenous activism

      The construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam caused extreme flooding near the Narmada River in India, compelling many thousands of people to move out of their homes. But some remained close to the river instead of following the resettlement program, choosing to stay on the land “considered to be sacred for them,” explained Tracy Guzmán, associate professor of Latin American studies at the University of Miami, during a lecture Tuesday afternoon. Dozens of dam projects like this were constructed along the Narmada River, which ultimately displaced indigenous peoples and the Dalit population, the lowest Hindu caste.

      In her lecture “Transcontinental Indigeneity: Linking the Americas and the Global South,” part of the Sawyer Seminars series, Guzmán discussed indigenous activists from India, Peru, Brazil and the United States who have struggled and fought to maintain their relationships with bodies of water and land. Throughout her talk, Guzmán emphasized that “the current debates regarding the ecological price of capitalist modernization were foregrounded long ago by native communities.”

      The people displaced by the flooding along the Narmada River do not “analyze and quantify the natural world exclusively in the world of productivity and profit,” she added.

      The lecture was sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Pembroke Center and the Sawyer Seminar on Race and Indigeneity in the Americas. In it, Guzmán discussed the concept of indigeneity, which she said has evolved to not be confined to a specific set of qualities or qualifications to allow “people across the world to self-identify as indigenous.” According to Guzmán, this notion has taken on a political meaning. “We have witnessed the rapid growth of a social, political, cultural and philosophical movement around the notion of indigeneity itself,” she said.

    • Mark Kelly, Retired Astronaut and Husband of Gabby Giffords, Announces Senate Run

      Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut and husband of former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, announced Tuesday that he is running for US Senate in 2020.

      He will challenge Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), who in December was appointed to the Senate seat previously held by Sen. John McCain just weeks after narrowly losing a Senate race against Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the midterm elections. McSally is considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans going into the 2020 elections.

      “I learned a lot from being an astronaut,” Kelly says in a video message announcing his candidacy. “I learned a lot from being a pilot in the Navy, I learned a lot about solving problems from being an engineer. But what I learned from my wife is how you use policy to improve people’s lives. Arizonans are facing incredibly challenging issues here in the years to come.”

      • He will probably be opposed in the primary by Ruben Gallego

        https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/13/ruben-gallego-arizona-draft-2020-1167359

        Latino Victory Fund and Democracy for America are rolling out digital ads and a website Wednesday in their latest effort to convince Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego to run for the late Republican Sen. John McCain’s Arizona Senate seat in 2020.

        Latino Victory, a PAC that supports Latino candidates, first launched its effort to draft Gallego in September of last year. But the group’s latest move, in partnership with DFA, comes one day after former Astronaut and Navy veteran Mark Kelly announced he will run for the Senate seat as a Democrat.

        The latest turn in Latino Victory’s campaign to draft Gallego also included a notable endorsement from fellow Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona.

        “We need change in Arizona and our nation, and Ruben represents that change,” Grijalva said in a statement. “From fighting to reduce student loan debt for veterans, to pushing for an end to gun violence and working to pass comprehensive immigration reform, Ruben Gallego es nuestro campeón, and that’s why I want Ruben to run for the United States Senate.”

      • Having one centrist senator (Sinema) in Arizona is more than enough. Lets hope that Gallego decides to run.

        • He and Kelly both need to be vetted. Normally I trust Raul, but GOS is getting behind Gallego’s candidacy, which makes me pause a little.

    • https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-07-16/bank-earnings-jpm-wfc-bac-c-gains-are-due-to-tax-cut

      Here’s the latest sign of who’s benefiting in President Donald Trump’s economy: Without the tax cut, bank earnings growth in the second quarter would have been pretty close to zilch. Instead, the nation’s six biggest banks are set to report a 14 percent improvement in earnings in the April-to-June period. Nine of every 10 dollars of that increase is thanks to the tax cut. Just one dollar came from an actual improvement in operations.

      That small gain, just $413 million out of an estimated $3.5 billion increase, is odd given how strong the economy appears to be. Just last year, investors seemed certain that a mixture of Trump’s deregulation and then proposed tax cuts would boost corporate America and banks in particular. And yet those tax gains haven’t translated into much more business for the banks.

    • Would Dem nominee Bernie or Liz get this Bloomberg $500 million shadow fund? Would they even want it? I guess it might be ok if he concentrated on issues he cares about like gun control and the environment. He won’t be spending money to promote their tax plans. 🤣🤣🤣

      https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/429750-bloomberg-preps-500-million-anti-trump-fund-for-2020

      Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is reportedly prepared to spend at least $500 million of his own funds to block President Trump from a potential second term in the White House.

      Democratic operatives briefed on the billionaire’s plans told Politico that Bloomberg plans to either use the money to fund his own campaign against Trump in 2020 or fuel an unprecedented shadow political party for whoever emerges as the Democratic nominee.

    • There does seem to be more positive stuff in the Post and Times about Bernie than three or four years ago (of course not all positive). Might be another indication on how the Dem ground has shifted his way.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/02/13/bernie-sanders-would-like-talk-about-social-security/?utm_term=.51439ffc71cc

      The conversation around Social Security sometimes seems to take place in two separate worlds. On one side, there are people who believe the program is unsustainable in its current form, and that as the share of the population that is older than 65 continues to grow, Social Security will need to be adjusted to reflect that reality. On the other side are people who point out that not only is Social Security not particularly generous (it only replaces about 40 percent of pre-retirement income), but also we need to both alter its funding and what it pays out to account for the age of inequality, which is simultaneously increasing people’s dependence on the program even as it further undermines the program’s finances.

      One man firmly in the latter camp is Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT.), who is bringing back his Social Security Expansion Act on Wednesday. The day selected is no accident: Wednesday also marks something Social Security activists call Scrap the Cap Day, an annual event designed to highlight how little millionaires pay into the system.

      Sanders tells me that he believes momentum on the issue has shifted in recent years. As recently as a decade ago, even many Democrats agreed with Republicans that Social Security needed to be trimmed back. Now among his bill’s co-sponsors are several declared and potential presidential candidates, including Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). “I think most elected officials would be terribly, terribly unpopular if after giving a trillion-dollar tax cut to corporations and wealthy Americans,” they voted to take benefits away from those living on a Social Security stipend, Sanders said. (Note that Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), have stepped forward to argue just that.) Sanders’s office says an analysis by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Chief Actuary says his bill would solidify the system for about 50 years. Larson’s bill would take us to the end of the century. So why not take the opportunity to simultaneously improve lives and bulk up Social Security? I can think of a lot of worse ideas.

      • LOL. Just wait as they are being semi kind because he hasn’t announced his candidacy as of yet. They are saving their ammo.

    • https://www.thenation.com/article/bernie-sanders-progressive-estate-tax-teddy-roosevelt/

      The Democrats who seek to dislodge Donald Trump in 2020 will all need to make tax policy a priority. Republicans have for so long practiced reverse Robin Hood politics—take from the poor and give to the rich—that the promised Democrats make will be unobtainable without the infusion of revenues that comes from taxing the wealthy. Changing tax policy also infuses governing with democracy, as it dials down the influence of specially interested billionaires (such as the Koch brothers) and their corporations.

      What is notable about the Sanders plan is that, with his proposal to establish a 77 percent tax on the value of an estate above $1 billion, the senator is merely seeking “a return to the top rate from 1941 through 1976.”

      Sanders is proposing an approach that renews American values, as notes University of California–Berkeley economics professor Emmanuel Saez. “The estate tax was a key pillar of the progressive tax revolution that the United States ushered one century ago. It prevented self-made wealth from turning into inherited wealth and helped make America more equal,” explains Saez. “However, the estate tax is dying of neglect, as tax avoidance schemes are multiplying and left unchallenged. As wealth concentration is surging in the United States, it is high time to revive the estate tax, plug the loopholes, and make it more progressive. Senator Sanders’ bill is a bold and welcome leap forward in this direction.”

      Teddy Roosevelt understood this economic calculus, and this democratic imperative.

      “In every wise struggle for human betterment one of the main objects, and often the only object, has been to achieve in large measure equality of opportunity. In the struggle for this great end, nations rise from barbarism to civilization, and through it people press forward from one stage of enlightenment to the next,” the Republican president explained in 1910. “One of the chief factors in progress is the destruction of special privilege. The essence of any struggle for healthy liberty has always been, and must always be, to take from some one man or class of men the right to enjoy power, or wealth, or position, or immunity, which has not been earned by service to his or their fellows. That is what you fought for in the Civil War, and that is what we strive for now.”

    • https://www.salon.com/2019/02/13/after-parkland-everything-is-different-nras-in-decline-and-gun-control-is-possible/

      The Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee is expected to pass a gun control bill on Wednesday. Some of the most vulnerable House Democrats, including those elected in previously red districts, have said they would support gun control bills as expansive as a ban on assault-style weapons. Many of them ran on an unabashed push for increased gun control in the midterm elections and beat GOP incumbents backed by the National Rifle Association. This sweeping shift in the gun debate comes on the one-year anniversary of the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. That’s no accident.

      Gun control measures failed to gain traction in Congress in the immediate aftermath the Parkland shooting. But that was with Republicans in complete control on Capitol Hill. The activist movement driven by Parkland survivors has clearly of shifted the political climate around gun-safety legislation, and was a major factor in flipping the House to the Democrats last November.

      • Go away billionaire Schultz!

    • https://www.salon.com/2019/02/12/ilhan-omar-aipac-and-the-democrats-party-rushes-to-defend-israel-lobby-against-one-woman/

      False accusations of anti-Semitism often act as a thin cover for Islamophobia on the right. Omar is one of two Muslim women elected to Congress last fall, along with Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and is the first member in history to wear a hijab. Both Omar and Tlaib have expressed sympathy for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) aimed at protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Last month, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., accused freshman Tlaib of anti-Semitism after she suggested that a bill prohibiting American citizens who do business with the federal government from supporting any anti-Israel boycott was unconstitutional.

      “I think she should be ashamed of herself,” President Trump said of Omar on Monday. ” I don’t think her apology was adequate.” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who once reportedly referred to himself as “David Duke without the baggage,” called on Democrats to strip her of her committee assignments. McCarthy, in a statement, said the GOP would “take action this week to ensure the House speaks out against this hatred.”

      Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., who previously blamed Omar for inspiring anti-Semites to target his office, has sponsored a resolution rejecting “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hatred in the United States and around the world.” It equates Omar and Tlaib with the 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville and last year’s mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

      “I see this as an Islamophobic attack against two outspoken women of color who are shaking things up by boldly standing for crucial issues,” Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told The New York Times last month.

      Omar’s detractors point to her 2012 tweet that “Israel has hypnotized the world” to suggest deep-rooted anti-Semitism. She has apologized for that one as well, claiming she inadvertently invoked the anti-Semitic trope that Jews secretly control the world. Sunday’s tweet was read by some observers as playing on another harmful trope, that money is at the center of that control. None of this is helpful Palestinian liberation and self-determination. The lesson, however, should be the evergreen message to “never tweet,” not the expulsion of a minority voice from one of the most one-sided debates in Congress. Claiming that criticism of AIPAC is an attack on all Jews is a bad-faith effort to chill growing policy criticism of Israel on the left.

      • Tweeting is a way to connect with people. Please keep tweeting. Just don’t hit send right away on certain subjects.

        • Definitely. Pols should run it by an advisor when tweeting on important stuff. You can’t let people take advantage of inartful phrases to hijack a valid message. In Omar”s case though it did get a lot more publicity than it would have otherwise.

    • https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/13/politics/elizabeth-warren-campaign-manager/index.html

      Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has chosen Roger Lau, a jack-of-all trades political operative who helped steer her to victory in two US Senate elections, to manage her 2020 campaign for the White House, CNN has learned.

      Lau, 41, has held several senior roles with the Massachusetts Democrat, including campaign manager for her re-election race in 2018, as well as state director and political director. Dan Geldon, Warren’s longtime aide and former Senate chief of staff, will serve as chief of staff on the presidential campaign.

      Warren’s decision to put Lau and Geldon in two such prominent roles reflect her reliance on a fiercely loyal and small circle of aides she has come to trust over the years. The appointment is also a historic one: Lau appears to be the first Asian-American campaign manager for a major American presidential candidate — particularly notable in an election that already features an unprecedentedly diverse field of candidates.

    • Let’s start this column off with a bold assertion. Paying lawmakers good salaries is one of our country’s most important progressive reforms because it means that they don’t have to be wealthy to serve. High congressional pay is a safeguard against corruption, not a sign of it.

      Bear this assertion in mind as you consider this proposal.

      Scott’s net worth was $232.6 million at the end of 2017 — not bad for a man who led a company that paid $1.7 billion in fines for widespread Medicare and Medicaid fraud. His co-sponsor, Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), is worth between $35 million and $96 million, according to his campaign disclosure forms. So Scott and Braun can afford to forego their pensions — or their entire salary, if they choose.

      Yet, if elected officials do not receive what Scott dismisses as “generous salaries and pensions,” that will discourage people who do not have Scott or Braun’s vast wealth from running for office. As future President John Adams once warned, if “you make it law that no man should hold an office who had not a private income sufficient for the subsistence and prospects of himself and family,” then “all offices would be monopolized by the rich, the poor and the middling ranks would be excluded, and an aristocratic despotism would immediately follow.”

      • At least $175M of Sick Rott’s net worth was stolen from guess who-we taxpayers. When is garbage like this going to be put in jail?!? It was indicted for Medicare fraud before it bought/lucked out in the governor’s seat. Same thing with the Senate. Guess I’ll be dead before indictment means anything again. 🙁

    • If it does pass it will be the Trump’s first veto

      https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/13/yemen-saudi-arabia-congress-1166635

      In 2004, a little-known 27-year-old lawyer ran one of the first campaigns centered on opposition to military intervention at the height of the Iraq war. He lost by 54 points.

      Fifteen years later, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) is preparing to claim success on a historic legislative effort to cut off U.S. involvement in Yemen’s civil war.

      “No one was willing to do it because they don’t want to be Dennis Kucinich, introducing these things that are not going anywhere,” Khanna quipped in an interview with POLITICO in his Capitol Hill office, referring to the former Ohio congressman known for his anti-war views.

      The Democrat-led House is voting Wednesday on Khanna’s bill to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. And it’s expected to pass overwhelmingly with near-unanimous support from Democrats, plus a handful of conservative, non-interventionist Republicans.

      Proponents expect it to clear both chambers with bipartisan support. And even though President Donald Trump is expected to veto the measure, it will mark the first time in history that the House and Senate adopted a War Powers resolution, and it will represent a major rebuke of the Trump administration’s foreign policy, particularly its posture toward Saudi Arabia.

      • Turns out it was a bad rumor?

    • Maybe this is one of the reasons that she is getting a town hall on CNN.

      • No offense to the Sunrise Mvmt, but I would venture a guess that Bernie will wear that hat as much as JFK wore his Kavanaugh fedora. 🙂

    • That’s a shame. Maybe worried that it will be hijacked?

      • My blood temperature rose a little when I saw that tweeter earlier today. Sad commentary too on how many people needed the money. Why hasn’t any Indie media outlet reported these lobbyists’ predatory practices?

      • Um they don’t have the votes in Congress because Republicans and moderate Dems exist in the world. Is Canova claiming that AOC is in cahoots with Wall Street and Big Oil? There’s a reason that Bernie got far away from this one.

    • Go Ilhan.

      • Ilhan is def rivaling AOC In progressivity 😜

      • Although Pelosi was wrong to demand an apology for Omar’s AIPAC tweets, she was right to allow her to get onto Foreign Affairs where she can shine

        https://www.axios.com/ilhan-omar-elliot-abrams-venezuela-2d5b53aa-cc72-4589-a6dd-32b76fb41040.html

        Highlights

        On Iran-Contra:
        Omar: “Mr. Abrams, in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding your involvement in the Iran-Contra affair for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful.”
        Abrams: “If I could respond to that …”
        Omar: “It wasn’t a question.”
        Abrams: “It was an attack.”

        On the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador:
        Omar: “You dismissed as ‘communist propaganda’ reports about the massacre of El Mozote in which more than 800 civilians, including children as young as 2 years old, were brutally murdered by U.S.-trained troops. … You later said the U.S. policy in El Salvador was a ‘fabulous achievement.’ … Do you think that massacre was a ‘fabulous achievement?'”
        Abrams: “That is a ridiculous question.”
        Omar: “Yes or no?”
        Abrams: “No.”
        Omar: “I will take that as a yes.”
        Abrams: “I’m not going to respond to that kind of personal attack.”

        On U.S. Venezuela policy under Trump:
        Omar: “Would you support an armed faction within Venezuela that engages in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide if you believe they were serving U.S. interests, as you did in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua?’
        Abrams: “I am not going to respond to that question. I’m sorry. I don’t think this entire line of questioning is meant to be real questions, and so I will not reply.”

      • https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a26328370/ilhan-omar-elliot-abrams-el-mozote-massacre-el-salvador/

        I just had a moment that I’ve been waiting for since the early 1980s, because I am an old guy who remembers things. Of all the bloodthirsty think-tank Rambos that were wandering around the Reagan Administration, none of them were so bone-deep inhumanely repulsive as Elliot Abrams, whose main job was to enable death squads and cover up massacres committed by our plucky cutthroats-for-hire in Central America, most notably in Guatemala. His portfolio also included lying to Congress and Trolling Around For A Pardon. (Thanks, Poppy!)

        Anyway, Abrams came before the House Foreign Relations Committee. It came time for Rep. Ilhan Omar to ask him questions. Congresswoman Omar, you may have noted, has had a rough couple of weeks. Nevertheless, she soldiered on and asked Abrams if they could discuss his resume for a bit. Abrams didn’t seem to enjoy having his bona fides as a war criminal discussed by this…person.

        I think I speak for thousands of dead people in Central America when I thank Rep. Omar for allowing us to say, together, once again, and to the skull-like face of Elliott Abrams, “Man, fck that guy.”

      • He looks like an It outta ‘It Crawled Outta My Hands, Honest’ h/t–The Fugs.

    • I think Biden is only a 50/50 shot at best to run

      https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/campaigns/article226007090.html#storylink=cpy

      Joe Biden is everything a Democratic political consultant should love: He’s experienced, well-liked, and his poll numbers look great against Donald Trump.

      And yet many party strategists have a bleak assessment of his potential 2020 campaign: It’s a bad, bad idea.

      “McClatchy interviewed 31 Democratic strategists — pollsters, opposition research experts, media consultants, ex-party officials, and communications specialists — from across the country about a potential Biden campaign. Nine agreed to speak on the record; all others quoted anonymously do not plan to be affiliated with any candidate running in the presidential primary.

      Strikingly, these conversations yielded a similar view: The Democratic political community is more broadly and deeply pessimistic about Biden’s potential candidacy than is commonly known. While these strategists said they respect Biden, they cited significant disadvantages for his campaign — from the increasingly liberal and non-white Democratic electorate to policy baggage from his years in the Senate and a field of rivals that includes new, fresh-faced candidates.

      “Among political professionals, there are deep concerns because we know the history,” said a Pennsylvania-based Democratic strategist, granted anonymity to speak candidly about a party elder. “We have reason to be skeptical of the hype.”

      “We heard it with Hillary, and we saw it happened,” the source added. “And there’s a lot of reason to think he would wind up a significantly weaker candidate than Hillary.”

    • Subir’s latest fantastic post on Omar currently tops the charts at DK. This shows her support is quite wide among Dems

      https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/2/13/1834330/-I-will-not-be-aiding-the-Saudis-Trump-and-Pence-in-a-pre-planned-character-assassination?utm_campaign=trending

    • Ooops! Too honest and too late-that’s what screenshots are for.

    • https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/02/13/if-you-hate-campaign-season-blame-money-politics?cd-origin=rss

      Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that it was unconstitutional to place overall limits on federal campaign contributions. But we’re seeing a rise in candidates who voluntarily rebuff deep-pocketed donors.

      “We need to end the unwritten rule of politics that says that anyone who wants to run for office has to start by sucking up to a bunch of rich donors on Wall Street and powerful insiders,” Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren told the crowd at her own frigid campaign launch. She won’t be taking a dime from political action committees (PACs).

      Senator Bernie Sanders showed in 2016 that it’s possible to raise large sums from individual donors. His total haul: $228 million.

      A proposal by House Democrats would go a long way towards boosting small contributions as a counter to the mega-donors.

      As part of a sweeping anti-corruption initiative, H.R. 1 would grant tax credits for contributions of no more than $50. Candidates could also volunteer for a public financing option through which the federal government would put $6 into their coffers for every $1 raised in small donations (of no more than $200).

      The Democratic proposal would also force Super PACs, which can raise unlimited sums to advocate for or against candidates, to make their donors public. This might discourage some of the shadiest forces from attempting to buy elections.

      The bill includes a number of other important pro-democracy proposals. It would crack down on partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts and corrupt lobbying practices. It would also make Election Day a holiday for federal employees, hoping private sector businesses would also give their workers the day off.

      None of these changes, I’m afraid, would have an immediate impact on the duration of U.S. election campaigns. But by making the process more equitable, these reforms might make the 600-plus days at least seem shorter.

    • https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/02/13/how-us-politicians-use-charges-anti-semitism-political-weapon/?utm_source=reddit.com

      Politicians claim to be speaking on behalf of Israelis because they get support from the Israeli right, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and its proxies in the United States. Netanyahu helped turn Israel into a wedge issue during the Obama administration, when he all but endorsed Mitt Romney for president and addressed Congress in direct opposition to Obama’s Iran deal. AIPAC, whose ostensible mission is to “strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security” of both nations, by definition makes Israel exceptional. Its lobbying has ensured that Israel receives more foreign aid than any other country and that it remains the strongest military power in the Middle East. But it does so by bolstering the lawmakers that toe that line and ruining the careers of those that don’t.

      And by now, many in Washington have come to embrace a consensus that being a good American means supporting Israel — regardless of its human rights violations or democratic record.

      Pretending that Israel is the major concern for all Jews — and that anyone who criticizes its policies is engaging in anti-Semitism — is itself a form of scapegoating, a classic anti-Semitic trope. By toeing the nationalist policies set by the Israeli right, American politicians indicate that your position on Israel defines who you are and, especially, what you think of Jews.

      That logic is now pitting support for Israel directly against free speech and the right to boycott in the United States. That is a very dangerous position for Israelis, and for American Jews.

      I am an Israeli Jew. Yet I oppose all anti-BDS legislation, and I support nonviolent boycotts, pressure to divest and sanctions to push Israel to cease its regime of state violence and inequality against the Palestinian people. That does not make me anti-Israel, nor an anti-Semite. In fact, I believe that equality and human rights for Palestinians would safeguard the interests of actual real Israelis on the ground much better than current U.S. policy toward Israel’s occupation does. American lawmakers who try to punish other Americans for supporting a Palestinian-led resistance to Israeli oppression manage to scapegoat both Jews and Palestinians, who should not be told how to resist their own oppression. And the frequency with which Israel is coming up in domestic American politics in recent years — in large part thanks to the no-daylight alliance between the Trump and Netanyahu administrations — has made this border on fetishization of Israel.

    • https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/13/house-foreign-policy-yemen-vote-1168760

      The House on Wednesday passed a bill to halt U.S. involvement in Yemen’s civil war — yet another bipartisan rebuke of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

      The legislation now heads to the Senate, where proponents expect it to narrowly pass in the coming weeks before arriving on Trump’s desk, setting up the first veto of his presidency.

      The War Powers resolution cuts off U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, which is bombing Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. The civil war has sparked a humanitarian crisis in the country, including widespread famine and cholera outbreaks.

      “This is a bipartisan effort to not only stop a very horrible conflict that’s having devastating consequences and creating a serious humanitarian crisis, but also an important moment for Congress to accept its responsibilities and reassert its role in declarations of war and the use of military force on behalf of the United States,” Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, a member of House Democratic leadership and the Foreign Affairs Committee, said.

      Khanna (D-Calif.), a progressive who was first elected in 2016, spearheaded the effort. If it clears the Senate, it would be the first time in history that both chambers of Congress used the 1973 War Powers Act to scale back a president’s authority on the use of military force.

      Senior administration officials had lobbied against the effort, arguing that U.S. involvement in the conflict is crucial to stave off Iranian aggression in the region.

      But the Yemen issue is unique because it unites the far left and the far right on Capitol Hill. Every Democrat voted for the legislation; so did 18 Republicans — including many members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus. It cleared the chamber with 248 lawmakers in favor and 177 opposed. Some of the president’s key GOP allies broke with him, including Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida, and Jim Jordan of Ohio.

      • No doubt Pelosi is better than Schumer. Omar apologized and Pelosi has no time for the Republican hypocrites. Omar is now free to blast assholes like Abrams from her seat on Foreign Affairs

    • Just laying the groundwork for Paygo.

      It has become a vicious circle. The Republicans run up the deficit then the Dems try to get it under control then the Regs run it up again.

      Meanwhile social programs pay the price.

    • He is also a regular on CNN with Don Lemon.

      • Maybe Boot would like to speak with Charles Pierce on this subject
        “I think I speak for thousands of dead people in Central America when I thank Rep. Omar for allowing us to say, together, once again, and to the skull-like face of Elliott Abrams, “Man, fck that guy.”

    • Quite interesting.

    • https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fdrs-new-deal-faced-similar-backlash-as-green-new-deal-steve-fraser-historian-says/

      Although the Green New Deal appeares to have garnered significant support within the Democratic ranks — including some high-profile 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls — Republicans have branded the proposal a fringe policy goal and many centrist Democrats have not backed the initiative.

      But Fraser said the opposition is expected given the bold nature of the proposal, noting that the New Deal agenda faced similar accusations.

      “One, that the kind of government intervention and government spending that Roosevelt recommended would bankrupt the economy and bankrupt the government, which is the accusation being leveled against the Green New Deal,” Fraser said. “The second criticism was that it was too radical. That it was socialist. And we heard the president the other day describe this socialist threat to the country. FDR faced both of those kinds of accusations. The new deal faced them. And in both cases, they turned out to be wrong.”

    • This should bring a smile to your face.😍