Polls are just about closed in western IN and KY; eastern parts of those states closed at 6pm.
(image attribution: NYT)
Music videos are encouraged, along with tweets, news, jibber-jabber.
Budtenders are available as well!
Polls are just about closed in western IN and KY; eastern parts of those states closed at 6pm.
(image attribution: NYT)
Music videos are encouraged, along with tweets, news, jibber-jabber.
Budtenders are available as well!
Meanwhile, state and local governments, lacking federal support, are considering deep cuts to budgets and public services. These measures reflect a deep problem in American policy and culture: the systematic undermining of public infrastructure.
When I refer to public infrastructure, I mean something much more expansive than roads and bridges; I mean the full range of goods, services, and investments needed for communities to thrive: physical utilities such as water, parks, and transit; basics such as housing, child care, and health care; and economic safety-net supports such as food stamps and unemployment insurance. But under America’s reigning ideology, public infrastructure like this is seen as costly, inefficient, outdated, and low-quality, while private alternatives are valorized as more dynamic, efficient, and modern. This ideology is also highly racialized. Universal services open to a multiracial public are vilified, coded in dog-whistle politics as an undeserved giveaway to communities of color at the expense of white constituents. The result has been a systematic defunding of public infrastructure since the 1970s.
n an economic score alone, massive investments in public infrastructure would pay off. Every dollar invested in transit infrastructure generates at least $3.70 in returns through new jobs, reduced congestion, and increased productivity, without accounting for the environmental and health benefits. For each dollar invested in early-childhood education, the result is $8.60 worth of economic benefit largely through reductions in crime and poverty. A universal health-care system would save Americans more than $2 trillion in health-care costs (even accounting for the increased public expenditure that would be needed) while securing access to life-saving care for more than 30 million Americans. The fact that federal and state governments fail to make these investments is not a matter of limited resources, but rather of skewed priorities. The 2017 Trump tax cuts of $1.9 trillion sent most of its gains to corporations and the wealthiest Americans; the United States has spent more than $820 billion on the Iraq War since 2003, and hundreds of billions every year to fund the prison-industrial complex.
Any 21st-century civil-rights and economic agenda must involve a massive shift in our public investments. The human cost of the failure to invest in these crucial social goods falls disproportionately on Black and brown communities. In the midst of the current economic crisis, more than a quarter of Black and Latino households report missing their last rent payment, and more than one-fifth of Black and Latino households are food insecure. Our public-investment decisions reflect who and what we value: Too often, the decision to underinvest in public infrastructure has stemmed from a desire to restrict access to those goods and services for people of color, in an attempt to preserve the benefits of public infrastructure for wealthier and whiter communities.
The public provision of certain services, and universal access to them, has been a central fault line in the long quest for economic and racial inclusion—and for democracy. In the 19th century, for example, as the industrial revolution began to transform the economy, local judges and reformers became concerned with the problem of private actors controlling access to new infrastructural services such as water, electricity, or transportation systems. If control remained in private hands, owners could employ arbitrary, profit-driven policies that left individuals and communities utterly dependent on those owners’ benevolence and good will.
The response of reformers was to imagine a radical alternative: public oversight and control of these utilities, if not outright municipalization. This “sewer socialism,” at the state and municipal levels, led to the first electric, water, and transportation utilities. Over time, the idea of the public utility became the forerunner of the modern administrative and regulatory state, as state officials pioneered public-utility regulation over other necessities, including milk, ice, and banking. Practically as soon as public utilities and other public services emerged, they became the heart of the struggle for racial equity. After the Civil War, Congress briefly seized the opportunity to advance a variety of foundational civil-rights provisions. A hostile Supreme Court invalidated these efforts, helping usher in a century of Jim Crow segregation—until the civil-rights movement vindicated the aspiration for desegregation and equal access to public goods.
But even formal desegregation has not assured equitable access to public infrastructure. Governments, usually at the prompting of coalitions of business interests, wealthy Americans, and white voters, have restricted access to these services and systems through a range of other hidden strategies. Austerity and privatization have driven the defunding of public infrastructure—even as wealthier and whiter communities have maintained access to their own private versions of these systems.
Schools are the perfect example: The shift to desegregation after Brown v. Board of Education prompted vociferous efforts by white communities to relocate to more homogenous suburbs, while civil rights made conservative appeals for lower taxes and deregulation more potent as “public” goods came to be seen as racially inclusive goods. More broadly, the rise of conventional anti-government and anti-tax rhetoric has been more politically effective since the late 20th century for this very reason: Corporate interests committed to deregulation made common cause with opponents of desegregation to form a shared anti-government coalition that has powered the modern conservative movement. These measures effectively ensured that wealthier and whiter communities could maintain preferential access to parks, schools, and other municipal infrastructure without sharing them with the wider multiracial public. Meanwhile, the trend toward onerous bureaucratic requirements for enrollment into safety-net programs such as food stamps and unemployment insurance reflects paternalistic and racialized attitudes against beneficiaries of these programs, and has further winnowed away access.
What, then, is the way forward? First, the public needs to broaden its conceptions of public goods and infrastructure. Beyond roads and bridges, reformers should focus on those services and systems that are essential for full-fledged membership and well-being, that expand the capabilities and capacities of individuals and communities, and where leaving the provision in private hands would create too great a risk of exclusion or unfair, arbitrary, and extractive pricing. Concretely, this means focusing on two types of public infrastructure in particular: foundational back-end services such as water, electricity, mail, credit, broadband, and the like; and the safety net and systems for community care, including health care, child care, public schools, and more.
Second, we need to ensure that these infrastructures are, in fact, public. That means subjecting them to stringent regulations ensuring quality, nondiscrimination, fair pricing, and equitable access. It might mean outright public provision—either through a public option as in the health-care debate, or through outright nationalization or municipalization. And it means creating oversight to ensure racial and gender equity in access, just as the Civil Rights Act led to the creation of administrative offices charged with preventing discrimination and resegregation in access to services including hospital health care.
Many reformers and social movements today have advanced proposals that evince this broader recommitment to public infrastructure. In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Caring Across Generations have proposed an “Essential Workers Bill of Rights” to fill gaps in access to the safety net and a broader push to create a public-care infrastructure spanning child care and elder care as part of the new post-pandemic social contract. The Medicare for All debate is fundamentally about public options and the public provision of health care; other advocates have also proposed public options and the public provision of basic banking and credit systems. Critics of big tech, meanwhile, have proposed that information platforms such as Facebook be regulated like public utilities as a way to fight the proliferation of disinformation and extractive data mining, an approach that also addresses some First Amendment concerns about online-speech regulation. The climate-justice movement has, over time, embraced proposals to convert energy utilities into more democratic utilities with mandates for assuring equity.
Inevitably, these proposals will crash into old frames and rhetoric. “Can we afford it?” “How do we know public versions will actually be high quality and effective, instead of corrupt, costly, and hapless?” These ready retorts are more about how deep our anti-public conventional wisdom runs, and less about reality. As the trillions of dollars of crisis spending in the early months of COVID-19 highlights, we have ample resources to fund extensive public infrastructure. The Movement for Black Lives’ demands for defunding the police turn in part on exactly this point: The billions we spent on mass incarceration and the policing of Black and brown communities dwarfs what we spend on positive public infrastructure; radically reallocating our budgetary priorities would transform our economy and society for the better. Nor is the fear of public corruption or failure that compelling: We’ve all seen that the private provision of essential services, including food, health care, and banking, is often predatory, extractive, exclusionary, and not especially efficient. Nevertheless, we should not be Panglossian about the prospects of public provision; real public infrastructure will also require truly democratic, accountable, and responsive administrative bodies.
If we are to survive this crisis—and imagine a more equitable, dynamic economy to come, we must start with a recommitment to the value of universal, inclusive public infrastructure. Tens of millions of Americans currently face homelessness, are unable to put food on the table, and lack access to schools or child care or health care, even as the stock market booms and CEOs like Jeff Bezos gain billions in wealth. Instead, we could have an economy where these public needs are fully funded, securing the health and well-being of millions. That alternative future is still possible—should policy makers choose to make it real.
More news, tweets, analysis, and good opinions in the comments section. See you there! Fly high birdies!
Last week marked the start of Early Voting in my county. I had applied for a mail-in ballot. Should I wait for the ballot, or maybe just go and see how busy the one polling place open is? Was I ready to make my choice for NOTA or a ticket on the ballot?
All summer I deliberated. I live in a state that will vote blue for the most part. Why should I care now that once again, the DNC handed the nomination on a silver platter to a heavily flawed candidate, this time Joe Biden. Second time in a row. I’m still befuddled how Bernie won the first few states, then lost most of the races after that.
Last Monday, I decided to show some support for a down ballot in my district. I e-mailed the Dem County party office, and requested a sign. I got an e-mail saying there was a shortage of signs for a particular candidate (the one running for congress) and would I take another sign instead? They had a dearth of signs until a week ago.
I negotiated instead, making it clear that I live on the edge of a town, and my backyard actually backs up to an avenue where the visibility is good. Moreover, the vote for the person running for the congress seat was crucial to redistricting. I’m glad they didn’t ask if I wanted a Biden Harris sign. Within 2 hours, there was a sign in my yard for Betsy Londrigan. She was not my first choice in the primary, but she almost won last time. The person who wrote me the e-mail took one of the signs from his yard and put it in mine. As it turned out, he was running for an office and was VP of the county party. That indicated to me an “Not me, us” attitude I could get behind.
Clearly, from my numerous criticisms on this site, Biden did not earn my vote, nor did he try to earn other progressives’ votes, other than meeting with them. Like Bernie said recently, if I were young, I’d be very angry.
I am 79, and I am angry.
If I were 18 or 20, I would be veryTwo , very, very angry.
Young people can transform this country. We must do everything we can to ensure they vote in this election. pic.twitter.com/RIeUyphJ2o
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 23, 2020
This particular poll station had a gym attached. There were 30 minutes left for the poll to be open. Plenty of booths and they were placed more than 6 feet apart. Each time a masked voter left the booth to go hand it in to be scanned, the booth was cleaned by another election judge or volunteer.
I only had to wait a few min in line. They gave me a ballot but I had to sign an affidavit that I voted early and I will destroy my ballot when it arrives in the mail in the next week. Two younger voters walked in with Biden-KHive shirts on. They were asked to leave as they were informed that they were illegally electioneering. They looked glum, but then I said you could go to a rest room and turn your shirt inside out. One of the election judges agreed. So they left, with the intention to come back.
On my ballot, there were many choices for POTUS. Among them besides Trump and Biden:
I happened to see the County Clerk on the way out, and gave him some praise. He said over 800 people came in to vote. As it turns out, over 860,000 folks participated in early voting last week.
Over 860,000 Americans have already voted, compared to fewer than 10,000 by this point in 2016 https://t.co/BU8eli13fU
— John Iadarola (@johniadarola) September 27, 2020
However, I decided to vote in person last Thursday as I made up my mind to go ahead with the deed. I did vote for the Democratic Party ticket - from POTUS on down to local races. There was one Republican considered for one of the races, but decided just to vote all Dem. I was very tempted to vote for the Socialist & Liberation party candidate.
I don't expect many birdies to do what I did, but I think we do need to send a signal to Trump and his gross incompetent buddies that he is getting fired for insubordination and domestic terrorism.
Identity politics for electing the highest officer of the federal branch did weigh in just a bit. While I would have preferred Tammy Baldwin, Barbara Lee or Karen Bass for VP choice, I'm hoping that Harris will help Biden bend a bit more if he has truly evolved since the days of that gosh-awful crime bill of 1994. I also want all girls to be able to look up to someone like Harris, who is the daughter of immigrants. I am concerned that the donor money has already infiltrated her political psyche, but at this point, she's agreed to what the party wants her to do, which is help get the ship turned around. I do think she will help the ticket, even more than when Geraldine Ferraro did in 1984 when she was nominated. I was thrilled when Ferraro was nominated, but unfortunately, she had a very weak running mate. Similar situation here, but to be fair to Mondale, Reagan was an effective spokesperson for the GOP.
I'm also hoping Anita Hill will get a judicial bench out of this, or advise on a good selection to choose from judicial nominees. The problem is the Dem party has given away too many picks already instead of fighting for them now.
This SCOTUS nominee is extremely smart, but that doesn't make her any less extreme, it just makes that extremism more dangerous. https://t.co/woOyMKWhHm
— Meteor_Blades (@Meteor_Blades) September 26, 2020
Bernie is right in my mind about the threat to democracy. I'm not voting for Biden. I voted to give Democracy an opportunity to breathe and eventually thrive again, and as a Democratic Socialist, I concluded this was the best choice I could make. It's not about me even though it would have been nice if Biden could have tried more to earn my vote.
Bernie held a town hall on FB about rural issues and voters. I'm glad he's still holding town halls, continuing to gather evidence of a progressive agenda.
Democracy is a requisite to every thing we do as Americans; it must win first. It's hard though because we are all exhausted from COVID, forest fires, and tweets. But I'm still DemExit and will criticize the two major parties in order to raise awareness of issues that crumbs aren't enough to fix. We need a transformative government to streamline major resources to prevent the spread of pandemics and to beat back poverty. We pay their salaries and they should be accountable to us.
— Rodney Latstetter 🌹 #LaborParty (@proviewsusa) September 28, 2020
(photo credit: Benny's Bernie 2020 t-shirt)
That's my beef for now. More news, tweets, and videos in the comments. This serves as an open thread.
Hi Birdies…let’s get started with tweets and some music…
Juneteenth celebrations will be marked with marches and civil disobedience, and like the nationwide protests that followed the deaths of black men and women at the hands of white police they are likely to be remarkably more multiracial this year. https://t.co/FJvzXYgXRW
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 19, 2020
Juneteenth has been celebrated for over 150 years in some quarters of the US, but not all of the celebrations were the best of intent. But now…
Texas has officially celebrated Juneteenth since 1980, but the country — amid widespread protests following the death of George Floyd, among others, at the hands of police — appears to show interest now in a national Juneteenth holiday. https://t.co/sdkz3VFnyk
— KPRC 2 Houston (@KPRC2) June 19, 2020
Today we must recommit to building a nation that is based on justice and to root out systemic racism wherever it exists. We must create a society that values and celebrates Black Americans. That is not the work of a single day, but of every day and every generation.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 19, 2020
This video was released in 2011, but notice it was recorded the way now that most artists who post “at home” performances today. Hope you like this version of one of Stevie Wonder’s greatest hits.
More news, tweets, videos, music…all in the comments. See you there! Happy Friday! Let’s hope evening is peaceful.
Nina Turner, a firebrand in our circles, was a guest on TYT’s “The Conversation” program. Here’s the video, it is short of 15 min long. Lots of discussion about “defunding the police”, BLM, and yes, Joe Biden.
Charles Booker gets another major newspaper endorsement, this one from the Louisville Courier-Journal.
HUGE NEWS IN KENTUCKY https://t.co/8WuxMNFvMb
— Josh Miller-Lewis (@jmillerlewis) June 10, 2020
Our informed choice is clear: Charles Booker is the kind of political leader and change agent that our commonwealth needs. We believe he is worthy of the Democratic nomination.
The Kentucky state representative, born and raised in Louisville’s West End, has the background, experience, commitment and vision to help transform our state and nation. He brings a perspective and several well-crafted ideas that Kentucky voters need to consider as we approach November’s general election.
While Amy McGrath has broad support, as evidenced by her successful fundraising, she has not shown the progressive ideas and bold leadership necessary to move our state forward. She has been overly moderate, measured and cautious throughout this campaign, focusing more on her military service (which we applaud and sincerely respect) or her motherhood than offering a sweeping vision for the commonwealth — especially in these turbulent times.
Unfortunately, her message to voters has been unimaginative and uninspiring: “Let me tell you what’s wrong with Mitch McConnell instead of explaining why my vision for our commonwealth and our country is a better fit for Kentucky voters.”
We also believe the national Democratic Party was too quick to offer its full support and fundraising apparatus to a candidate who has never held public office and stumbled out of the gate when announcing her candidacy. McGrath’s self-described “common sense Kentucky Democrat” tagline — a campaign strategy to attract potential supporters of President Donald Trump who are looking for an alternative to McConnell — has fallen flat in these final weeks of the campaign.
Candidate Mike Broihier should continue to pursue public office. He supports the progressive ideas that Booker is pushing, including Medicare for All, universal basic income and the Green New Deal. He’s a retired Marine combat veteran with a good grasp of the issues Kentuckians face and the conviction to bring change, but he doesn’t possess the same political experience and passion that Booker brings.
Lots more news, tweets, and videos in the comments. See you there!
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) May 13, 2020
One of the guests is on one of the Biden-Sanders Task Forces.
Jibber Jabber, tweets, videos, etc in the comments. This serves as an open thread.
Just saw this announcement:
— mike casca (@cascamike) May 8, 2020
Update: here’s the video clip.
CA is now a vote by mail state.
Every registered voter will receive a mail-in ballot for the Nov election.
We’ll also provide safe in-person voting options.
The right to vote is foundational to our democracy. No one should be forced to risk their health to exercise that right.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 8, 2020
The IL governor is pushing for the IL Leg to pass a vote by mail for the GE.
Benny’s Bar is open and you are also welcome to add jukebox YT’s for merriment in the comments. See you there!
i’m not sure how the news came in that day, probably on the radio since my new husband and I didn’t have a TV. I turned 20 in Houston, he at 27 in April. we had both marched against the war, but this was a new realization, a shock to so many.
<blockquote>To Lou Capecci, the crack of the national guard’s guns sounded like more of the same.
“It was pretty common to have demonstrations every day. The national guard had been on campus for a few days. They would shoot tear gas into the middle of the crowd and people would throw it back at them. Then we heard the shots and at first everybody kind of shrugged their shoulders and thought more tear gas,” he said.