Bad Dems: Democratic Councilman Fernando Cabrera says life is harder for the rich - and if you're not rich, it's because you're lazy.
Andrew Cuomo's cruelty for cruelty's sake: "'Those Visits Were Everything': How Prison Visitation Cuts Devastate Families: Buried in the New York state budget is a proposal to cut weekday visits for over 20,000 inmates. For families of incarcerated people, this could mean barely having any real contact with their loved ones." Weekend visits are already crowded and noisy to the point where people can't even hear each other. This would make it so, so much worse.
"How Andrew Cuomo Keeps the Left in Check: There is plenty of room to mount a progressive challenge against the Democratic governor. Why hasn't anyone stepped up? [...] What Cuomo has done in the Senate is the most prominent example of how he has undercut New York's progressive architecture and neutered opposition from his left flank. On a legislative level, the coalition between the GOP and the renegade Democrats - known as the Independent Democratic Conference - allows Cuomo to control the pace of the reform coming out of Albany. It has hobbled the ability of the Democratic Party, which technically won a majority in the state Senate in 2012 and 2016 (Republicans won the majority in 2014), to push for progressive policies in areas like health care, voting reform, reproductive rights, and immigration. And it precludes the threat of a Democratic Senate majority leader with clout."
Ryan Cooper, "Somebody primary Andrew Cuomo: This is because despite his self-presentation as an effective technocratic manager who "gets things done," Cuomo is staggeringly inept, practically speaking. He's a sort of effective politician, in a vicious and narrowly short-term sense - good at using deceit, betrayal, and conspiracy to gain power for himself. He would have been a passable courtier for Louis XVI. But only someone who was stupendously ill-informed would let the subway rot as he has."
"Outrageous Massachusetts Drug Bill Would Send You to Prison and Steal Your Car - No Drugs Needed: The proposed measure redefines reality to make a drug crime out of literally nothing. With the support of state law enforcement, a Massachusetts Democratic state representative has filed a drug war bill that would send violators to prison for a mandatory minimum two years (five years for a second offense) and allow police to seize their vehicles - all without the presence of any actual drugs.
"Quit Your Job for a Better One? Not if You Live in Idaho: BOISE, Idaho - Idaho achieved a notable distinction last year: It became one of the hardest places in America for someone to quit a job for a better one. The state did this by making it easier for companies to enforce noncompete agreements, which prevent employees from leaving their company for a competitor."
"New Research Shows Guccifer 2.0 Files Were Copied Locally, Not Hacked: New meta-analysis has emerged from a document published today by an independent researcher known as The Forensicator, which suggests that files eventually published by the Guccifer 2.0 persona were likely initially downloaded by a person with physical access to a computer possibly connected to the internal DNC network. The individual most likely used a USB drive to copy the information. The groundbreaking new analysis irrevocably destroys the Russian hacking narrative, and calls the actions of Crowdstrike and the DNC into question."
"GOP source of fraud allegation vs. Bernie Sanders' wife admits info was hearsay: MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- A Republican lawyer who reported independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife to federal officials was passing on information he heard from a GOP lawmaker who said he didn't have direct knowledge of the allegations."
"How much legal trouble is Donald Trump Jr. in? Some other critics of the administration, including Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who was Clinton's running mate, have suggested the President's son might have engaged in treason by dealing with a foreign adversary -- but that is a possibility that many legal analysts reject. Both Constitution and federal law covering treason provide the United States be actively at war with the foreign adversary for such a charge."
David Dayen, "More Trump Populism: Hiring a Bank Lawyer to Attack CFPB Bank Rules: President Trump and Republicans in Congress have broadcast their every intention to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The president's budget attempted to defund it and leading Republicans have called for its director to be fired and replaced with a more Wall Street-compliant regulator. But much like the bulk of Trump's agenda, that assault remains in the aspirational phase, and the agency continues to do its work. Earlier this month, the CFPB released a major new rule, flat-out barring financial institutions from using forced arbitration clauses in consumer contracts to stop class-action lawsuits. Now, Trump has sent out his lead attack dog to overturn the arbitration rule - a former bank lawyer who has used the very tactic the CFPB wants to prevent."
"Award-Winning Journalist Who Broke Story of Jewish Women Barred From Chicago 'Dyke March' Removed From Reporting Duties: An award-winning journalist who broke the story of the group of Jewish women ejected from an LGBTQ march in Chicago last month has been reassigned to non-journalistic duties at the paper which ran the original report, the Windy City Times. Gretchen Rachel Hammond - whose June 24 story caused a national storm after she detailed how three women flying Jewish Pride flags embossed with the Star of David were instructed to leave the gathering by organizers from the Dyke March Collective - confirmed to The Algemeiner on Monday that while she was still employed by the paper, she was not presently engaged in its reporting and writing operations."
"NY Times Rewrites History of Iraq War, Painting U.S. as Noble Democracy-Lover, Iran as Sinister Imperialist: The paper of record advances an amazing feat of reality inversion. The New York Times' Tim Arango took what could have been an interesting topic for war journalism - Iran's increased role in Iraq - and morphed it into a revisionist history of American and Saudi involvement in the Middle East. In doing so, Arango paints the U.S. as a noble, freedom-loving nation on a mission to improve the lives of average Iraqis, and Iran as a sinister imperial force working to expand its sphere of influence across the region."
What makes this news is that it's in The Harvard Business Review. "Is the U.S. Ready for a Single-Payer Health Care System? Ironically, as congressional Republicans have been trying to replace the Affordable Care Act, the ACA's popularity is at an all-time high, and the majority of Americans now believe that it is the federal government's responsibility to provide health care for all Americans. This shift in sentiment suggests that a single-payer system - a 'Medicare for all' - may soon be a politically viable solution to America's health care woes."
"Facial Recognition Coming to Police Body Cameras" - instead of using the bodycams to make a record of police behavior, it's being turned into another way to destroy the anonymity of the crowd.
"These Obama voters snubbed Hillary Clinton - and 'they don't regret what they did': 'What we clearly see in the focus groups is they don't regret what they did.' 'They' are millennials of color who either didn't vote or voted third party. And for Cornell Belcher, the president of Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies, who was the pollster for the Democratic National Committee under then-Chairman Howard Dean and for both of Barack Obama's campaigns for the White House, this makes them the new swing voters the Democratic Party should be trying to win over."
"Contractor finds himself stuck in ATM, slips notes to customers: On Wednesday, police say the contractor was changing a lock inside the room that connects to the ATM. He managed to leave his phone in the truck, so he was unable to call for help when he found himself locked in. Since the ATM still works, people were stopping by to get cash, and the contractor decided to slip out notes through the receipt slot stating,'Please Help. I'm stuck in here, and I don't have my phone. Please call my boss.'"
"Hiding US Lies About Libyan Invasion: In 2016, when a British parliamentary report demolished the excuse for the U.S. and its allies invading Libya in 2011, it should have been big news, but the U.S. mainstream media looked the other way, reports Joe Lauria."
RIP: "James B. Nutter, Kansas City business and political power broker, dies at age 89: James B. Nutter, a titan in Kansas City's business and political circles, died on Friday. He was 89. Nutter, who founded home mortgage company James B. Nutter & Co. in 1951, was known as a businessman for his forward-thinking policies. James B. Nutter & Co. was among the first mortgage banking companies to offer Veterans Administration loans, extended loans in minority communities that other banks would overlook and eschewed the type of risky subprime loans that helped trigger the Great Recession. 'We lost market share because we didn't make those horrible loans, because it was wrong,' Nutter told The Star in 2012."
RIP: "Maryam Mirzakhani, first woman to win maths' Fields Medal, dies: The 40-year-old Iranian, a professor at Stanford University, had breast cancer which had spread to her bones. Nicknamed the "Nobel Prize for Mathematics", the Fields Medal is only awarded every four years to between two and four mathematicians under 40.
RIP: Martin Landau, star of Ed Wood and Crimes and Misdemeanors, dies aged 89. Before he began his acting career, Landau was a cartoonist, but I have always remembered him from the Outer Limits episode, "The Man Who Was Never Born". Of course, Mission Impossible was very nearly science fiction, and Space: 1999 was...well, something like that. He was an amazing actor and regarded by many as a great humanitarian.
RIP: "George A Romero: the zombie master whose ideas infected American cinema: With his satirical masterpiece Night of the Living Dead the director revolutionised low-budget film-making and inspired an epidemic of imitators, from World War Z to 28 Days Later."
Guy Saperstein says, "Jon Stewart Should Run for President." I can't really say that I agree, for a number of reasons, but watching this interview he did last year, I did feel a few inspirational moments.
Jon Schwarz, "The Incredible Lost History of How 'Civil Rights Plus Full Employment Equals Freedom' [...] Titled 'The Full Employment Mandate of the Federal Reserve: Its Origins and Importance' - WAIT, don't switch tabs and check Facebook! - it's a history of the economic policies of the civil rights movement, the movement's focus on capturing the Fed's power to generate full employment, how they partially succeeded, and why we have to fight right now to preserve their accomplishments. It deserves to be discussed and carefully studied by absolutely everyone on the left side of the political spectrum - Democrats, Greens, Hillaryites, Berners, Autonomous Collectives, and miscellaneous."
Matt Stoller in The New Republic, "The Return of Monopoly: With Amazon on the rise and a business tycoon in the White House, can a new generation of Democrats return the party to its trust-busting roots? [...] Amazon did not come to dominate the way we shop because of its technology. It did so because we let it. Over the past three decades, the U.S. government has permitted corporate giants to take over an ever-increasing share of the economy. Monopoly - the ultimate enemy of free-market competition - now pervades every corner of American life: every transaction we make, every product we consume, every news story we read, every piece of data we download. Eighty percent of seats on airplanes are sold by just four airlines. CVS and Walgreens have a virtual lock on the drugstore and pharmacy business. A private equity firm in Brazil controls roughly half of the U.S. beer market. The chemical giant Monsanto is able to dictate when and how farmers plant its seeds. Google and Facebook control nearly 75 percent of the $73 billion market in digital advertising. Most communities have one cable company to choose from, one provider of electricity, one gas company. Economic power, in fact, is more concentrated than ever: According to a study published earlier this year, half of all publicly traded companies have disappeared over the past four decades."
Lydia O'Neal and David Sirota in the IBT, "California Health Care Fight May Show Democratic Party Future In Trump Era [...] Amid calls for Democratic unity in the Trump era, the party's move in a deep blue state to block a health care initiative it previously supported has prompted labor movement protests - and promises of primary campaigns or recall efforts to unseat recalcitrant Democrats. More broadly, eight years after Barack Obama mounted a populist presidential campaign and then did not prosecute any major Wall Street executives, the episode has resurrected progressives' allegations that while Democrats may talk a good game, they are not nearly as committed to bold action as their rhetoric suggests."
Paul Street, "The Notion That White Workers Elected Trump Is a Myth That Suits the Ruling Class [...] Another difficulty with the white Trumped-proletarian narrative is that most whites without an allegedly class-defining college degree don't vote. Thanks in part to this silent election boycott, Trump got votes from approximately just a fifth of the 136 million white American adults who lack the higher ed diploma. The image of poor and working-class whites flocking to Trump is a media myth. Like fascist and other right-nationalist political movements of the past, Trump has drawn his main support from the more reactionary segments of the middle class and petite bourgeoisie. Trump Didn't Win the Working Class. The Democrats Lost It. The dismal Democrats have been losing white working-class votes for decades across the long neoliberal era because the party has abandoned workers' lunch-pail economic issues and the language of class in pursuit of corporate sponsorship and votes from the professional class. But there was no mass white working-class outpouring for Trump. Clinton's miserable, centrist campaign and Obama's neoliberal legacy depressed working- and lower-class voter turnout, opening the door for Trump to squeak by - with no small help from racist voter suppression in key states."
"If The DCCC Continues To Pick Congressional Nominees, Instead Of Voters, The Democrats Will Never Win Back Congress [...] Bob Poe has been a major Democratic donor from Florida who was once chairman of the Florida Democratic Party and got a taste of what the DCCC is all about when he ran for Congress last cycle and was successfully opposed by a Pelosi New Dem pick, Val Demings, who predictably, has turned out to be one of the worst Democratic freshmen in Congress. It was hard to get Poe to tell his story but he did share a few words he thought would be helpful for DWT readers to understand. 'From the day Democrats became the minority in the House of Representatives in 2010 until today, I have received literally thousands of emails from the DCCC asking, begging and pleading for contributions to defeat Republicans and regain the majority. Countless donors large and small have donated millions in pursuit of that noble effort. But, what most donors don't know is the dirty little secret that the DCCC spends a significant amount of their scarce resources not defeating Republicans but in defeating Democrats. Each cycle, the DCCC involves itself in Democratic primaries-- even in races that are safely Democratic regardless of who wins the primary. This practice is dishonest and it needs to stop.'"
"The DCCC Thinks What Orange County Needs In Congress Is Another Multimillionaire Who Opposes Single Payer-- Meet Hans Keirstead. [...] "The DCCC strategy for 2018 is two-fold-- run dull, rich, inoffensive centrist candidates in districts Trump lost and pray for a BIG anti-Trump wave."
Amazingly, this is from Matt Yglesias: "Democrats should take the class warfare message to upscale suburbs: It worked for Jeremy Corbyn, and the opposite failed for Jon Ossoff. [...] But there's no reason to believe that more affluent, suburban communities are averse to a strong, policy-based critique of Republican Party economics. The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, after all, made some of its strongest gains in upscale parts of London - winning the Borough of Kensington for the first time ever, for example - and it certainly didn't shy away from drawing a strong economic contrast. "
Brent Budowsky in The Hill, "Sanders triumphs over Trump in healthcare's battle of ideas [...] During the July 4 recess, it was strange to watch many Republican members of the House and Senate trying almost desperately to avoid meeting constituents in public town halls where they would have to answer questions from unhappy voters who are angry, frightened and alarmed by the pending GOP healthcare plans." I'll believe in a Democratic landslide when it happens - I know the party can screw this up.
"Pussy Riot Founder Says American Liberals Scapegoat Putin To Distract From Democrats' Problems: Tolokonnikova: I think just the narrative should be different. I have questions about current narrative Democratic Party defending themselves and defending wealthy people who they do represent. And I think your narrative should be how oligarchs all around the world, they do unite, and though sometimes they don't have a lot of things in common, they don't have common views, but they have just one thing that they really want to do together to protect their wealth. I think you need to look at Putin and Trump from this perspective."
"The New Working Class: The Democrats are ensnared in a dynamic that is wrecking center-left parties around the north Atlantic. Sometimes labeled Pasokification, after the pattern of collapse of the Greek socialist party PASOK, it was diagnosed by scholars on the left decades ago. As the political scientists Adam Przeworski and John Sprague explained in their 1986 book Paper Stones, social democratic parties, built on the assumption that the working class would grow steadily in size and power them to majority, instead were forced to face the unexpected stagnation and decline of their proletarian bases. The only route to future electoral majorities would be to broaden their appeal to encompass sections of the middle class, but this would require diluting the party program, demoralizing and demobilizing its working-class base. Key milestones in this process included Tony Blair's ascent in Britain and the abandonment of Labour's 'Clause IV' - its commitment to 'common ownership of the means of production'; Bill Clinton's welfare reform; and the Hartz plan for labor market liberalization under the German Social Democrats. In the final reckoning, this process could lead these parties to be not only aloof from their old sources of support, but complicit in their social liquidation - certainly, this became true for the Democrats. The near-term victories they won occurred because the effects of their changed class allegiances had not fully sunk in, allowing them to temporarily have their cake and eat it too."
People still don't get that Cory Booker can not sell out to the right wing and corporations, since it is the right-wing that created him in the first place. "How the Booker Window Explains Centrist Implosion: The close makes the man."
"Democrats are doubling down on the same vanilla centrism that helped give us President Trump [...] But they were ad-libbing on the defensive, instead of setting the agenda for their own meeting, or sharing a vision for how to make a unified push for single-payer healthcare. Demonstrators didn't come to see legislators talk about their collective helplessness - they wanted a plan of action."
"Clinton lost because PA, WI, and MI have high casualty rates and saw her as pro-war, study says: Last fall I winced whenever Hillary Clinton or her surrogates promised regime change in Syria. Don't these people get it? Americans don't want to be waging more wars in the Middle East. Now an important new study has come out showing that Clinton paid for this arrogance: professors argue that Clinton lost the battleground states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan in last year's presidential election because they had some of the highest casualty rates during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and voters there saw Clinton as the pro-war candidate. By contrast, her pro-war positions did not hurt her in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and California, the study says; because those states were relatively unscathed by the Middle East wars."
"The Book That Predicted Trump's Rise Offers the Left a Roadmap for Defeating Him: Twenty years ago, Richard Rorty warned that 'a spectatorial, disgusted, mocking Left' would give rise to a populist demagogue. Is it ready now to take his advice? [...] Labor unions and unskilled workers will sooner or later realize that 'their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported,' he posited. And they will further realize that 'suburban white-collar workers, themselves desperately afraid of being downsized, are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.' At that point, 'something will crack,' he warned. 'The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking for a strongman to vote for - someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots.'"
"Back to Work: How Democrats can win over Americans left behind in the new economy: In the wake of Donald Trump's election, and amid the wilderness of uncertainty surrounding the presidential race in 2020, one thing is for sure: Democrats need to change the way they talk about the economy. Trump made sweeping promises about jobs that he almost certainly will not keep. 'We're gonna put our people back to work,' he told his supporters. 'I'm going to create jobs, great jobs,' he vowed. 'If you get laid off on Tuesday, I still want your vote. I'll get you a new job, don't worry about it.' Such vague and misleading assurances are almost impossible to combat - especially if Democrats stick to their normal, ineffectual script. Hillary Clinton promised a 'new bargain for the new economy' but she never actually pledged to give Americans what they need in this one. She vowed to provide tax relief to small businesses and invest in infrastructure, but she left it to voters to figure out how something as distant and programmatic as cutting taxes or building a bridge would get them a better paycheck. If Democrats want to win elections, they should imbue Trump's empty rhetoric with a real promise: a good job for every American who wants one. It's time to make a federal jobs guarantee the central tenet of the party's platform. This is the type of simple, straightforward plan that Democrats need in order to connect with Americans who struggle to survive in the twenty-first-century economy. And while a big, New Deal-style government program might seem like a nonstarter in this day and age - just look at the continuing battle over the Affordable Care Act - a jobs guarantee isn't actually so far-fetched.
"The Democratic Party's Deadly Dead-End [...] In 2002, when Margaret Thatcher was asked to name her 'greatest political achievement,' she smiled her best cat-that-swallowed-the-canary smile and purred, 'Tony Blair and New Labour.' The true measure of the Reagan-Thatcher counterrevolution was not how Reagan and Thatcher changed their own parties' policies but that they remade their opposition in their own image and thus marginalized progressive politics for a generation in both their countries, clearing the way for the neoliberal transformation of society." There's an error in the piece, though - the author says the DLC never had a female leader. That's not true, they did: In 2008, the leader of the DLC was Hillary Clinton. It's almost impossible to find references to this on the web now, her name has even been deleted from the list of former leaders on Wikipedia. When the DLC shut down in 2011, all of their historical records were purchased by the Clinton Foundation. Web Archive does show this page, though - note the rotating images of their leaders at the top.
"Until Democrats Can Start Winning Seats In Kansas Again, They'll Never Be A National Party Again : Trump won Kansas' 4th district-- around Wichita-- by a big margin: 60.2% to 33.0%. But KS-04 isn't really Trump country. In the caucuses, Cruz came in first 7,963 (58.3%) to Señor Trumpanzee's 3,012 (22.0%). That same day Bernie swept every district in Kansas. He won the 4th with 69.8%-- 6,588 votes to Hillary's 2,846-- but with more than twice as many votes as Trump got! Think about that for a moment. Many in Kansas saw Bernie as the answer to their hopes and their fears... but by November they ultimately judged Hillary as the greater evil compared to Trump. While Trump was coming up with his 60.2% of the vote in KS-04, the incumbent Republican congressman, Mike Pompeo, was being elected over Democratic challenger Dan Giroux 60.7% to 29.6%. But soon after the election Trump appointed Pompeo CIA director, triggering a special election in what was regarded one of the safest Republican districts in America. But it wasn't quite as safe as the GOP (and the DCCC) assumed. After beating a conservative anti-Choice, Republican-lite candidate in the primary, Jim Thompson, a Berniecrat, won Wichita (the biggest city in the state) and Sedgwick County outright. The district-wide total saw Estes with 64,044 (52.2%) and Thompson with a startling 56,435 (46.0%), the best showing a Democrat has had in this district since 1992."
Ryan Grim, "Democrat Beto O'Rourke Takes the Bernie Sanders Fundraising Model Local in Run at Ted Cruz [...] O'Rourke did it in a surprising, and for Cruz, concerning way: $0 from corporate PACs, 46,574 individual donations, and more than 80 percent of the money coming from genuine Texans. In other words, this is not a Jon-Ossoff-style phenomenon where people around the country are throwing money at O'Rourke. What's significant here is what it says about the future prospects of candidates like O'Rourke, who was first elected to Congress in 2012. [...] He won his seat by beating an incumbent Democrat, Sylvestre Reyes, a former border control guard, from the left. Reyes had fought against a resolution O'Rourke had pushed as a city councilman in El Paso that called on the federal government to contemplate legalizing marijuana as a way to tamp down violence on the border. O'Rourke responded by taking him out, and the primary was a pivotal moment in drug policy politics, as it showed politicians there could be electoral consequences for being too trigger-happy in the drug war - a previously unthinkable proposition. Moreover, O'Rourke is a backer of single-payer universal health care. He's ardently pro-choice. And he took on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) at the height of the 2014 Israel-Gaza War, casting one of only eight votes against the Iron Dome rocket defense system. 'I tried to find him on the floor, but I couldn't,' then-Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.,(who's had his own run-ins with AIPAC) later told the New Yorker. 'I wanted him to switch his vote. Now, he might not have switched it anyway, because - as shocking as it may be - he's in Congress solely to do what he considers to be the right thing. I'm afraid he may have a tough race in November.' O'Rourke did not have a tough race that November, despite electoral threats that were leveled at him after the vote."
"Bernie Sanders and the Progressive Left's Selfless Defense of Obamacare" I don't know if I buy this frame, since even if you didn't care about Obamacare you'd still find the included tax cuts and other clauses in the GOP bills unacceptable, and I really don't see any advantage in letting the GOP have their way, but it's an interesting way to look at it.
Remember when even Markos acknowledged the problem? "EXCERPT: Crashing the Gate: 'I don't get it. When a consultant on the Republican side loses, we take them out and shoot them. You guys -- keep hiring them.' --Nationally prominent Republican official"
"The iron law of online abuse: You could call it something like Cohen's Law - named, of course, for Nick Cohen, the seething thing in the middle pages of the Observer - or the Iron Law of Online Abuse. It goes something like this: every single pundit or journalist who goes on a moral crusade against left-wing social-media crudery will have, very recently, done the exact same things they're complaining against. They will have used insults, personal attacks, expletives, epithets, or unpleasant sexual suggestions; they will have engaged in bullying or spiteful little squabbles; they will have indulged in some form of racism, sexism, homophobia, or transphobia; they will have encouraged political repression, violence, or censorship; they will have threatened to contact someone's editor or boss or the police or otherwise have conspired to ruin their life. Chances are that they won't have been very good at it, but they will have been mean; they will have used invective. This is always - always - true."
Andy Serkis on Colbert, Gollum reads Trump's tweets.
Nick Lowe, "Cruel to be Kind"