David Dayen at The American Prospect, "Tom Perez Traded a Puerto Rico Statehood Endorsement for DNC Chair Votes [...] The anecdote reveals a mildly seamier side of backroom politics. But it throws the decision to nix the climate debate into even sharper relief. Tom Perez owes his chairmanship to some maneuvering on the island of Puerto Rico. If there's anyone who owes an island devastated by extreme weather, it's Tom Perez. And yet while he seeks the favor of power-broker Puerto Rican politicians enough to meet their demands, he won't grant the people of Puerto Rico some debate time to address the very topic that's led to so much of their destruction."
Also David Dayen talked to Sam Seder on The Majority Report, Casual Friday w/ David Dayen & Andy Kindler - MR Live - 6/7/19.
You gotta listen to this Majority Report: We've Got People: From Jesse Jackson to AOC, the End of Big Money w/ Ryan Grim - MR Live - 6/10/19. Every interview Grim does on this book reveals new nuggets of horribleness from the Dem leadership that screwed us. In this episode, how Joe Biden pulled the rug out from under Harry Reid when he was trying to get rid of the Bush tax cuts and get something good for the public. I've always wondered how Obama could do something as stupid as making the "temporary" Bush tax "cuts" permanent, and now I know exactly who to blame.
"Citing Fears of Americans Getting 'Screwed,' Progressive Democrats Call Out Pelosi for Crafting Pharma-Friendly Drug Pricing Bill in Secret: 'If we don't address this in a big and bold way, a lot of us should go home and start knitting,' said Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Mark Pocan"
I keep seeing "centrist" supporters insisting that Joe Biden's horrible policies were in the last century and he's "evolved" on them by now. No, he hasn't. On abortion, for example, he not only supported the Hyde Amendment throughout his career, but tried to shoe-horn birth control bans into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And his campaign says he hasn't changed his tune on Hyde. Except that there was such a huge reaction to this that he reversed his position overnight, suddenly repeating the same objections to Hyde he'd been shrugging off for more than 40 years.
I saw someone who is alert and knowledgeable about what's going on in politics link an article asserting that Elizabeth Warren had chosen a charter school lobbyist to introduce her at a campaign event. People who are also alert and knowledgeable started talking about why Warren would position herself that way. Luckily, someone in that same conversation posted a link this article debunking the first one. It says many wise things "Rebecca Solnit: How Internet Insinuation Becomes Campaign Fact: On the Curious Case of Elizabeth Warren and the 'Charter School Lobbyist' Who Wasn't."
Cenk interviews Bernie about the usual stuff.
"Bernie Sanders's Walmart Speech May Offer a Preview of Larger Labor Proposals: On policy, Sanders is perhaps best known for his support for two progressive proposals: Medicare for All and a fifteen-dollar minimum wage. But his appearance at Walmart's shareholders' meeting came on the heels of a report, by the Washington Post, that Sanders is expected to release a pair of proposals that take a new approach to reducing the wealth gap. One is a plan to require large companies, like Walmart, to grant workers a substantial number of seats on their corporate boards. The other would require companies to turn over portions of their stock to a worker-controlled fund, granting employees both stock dividends and, potentially, the votes in corporate affairs afforded to shareholders."
"Bernie Sanders's most socialist idea yet, explained" by Dylan Matthews at Vox, and the Guardian says, "Bernie Sanders' plan to empower workers could revolutionise Britain's economy: Giving employees a stake in firms would reshape power: this could be the start of a transatlantic challenge to neoliberalism."
"Watch Bernie Sanders Deliver Speech on Why Democratic Socialism 'Only Way to Defeat Oligarchy and Authoritarianism': 'We must recognize that in the 21st century, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights. And that is what I mean by democratic socialism.'" In which Senator Sanders re-submits FDR's Economic Bill of Rights and quotes the man himself. (Full transcript and reporting included.)
"Even the 1% Know They Aren't Paying Their Fair Share: New Poll Shows 60% of Millionaires Support Warren's Ultra-Wealth Tax: 'A majority of Americans, even the 1% of us, know that our inequality is out of control and we need to make some big changes if we want to fix things.'"
Ways And Means Committee Chair Doesn't Want Medicare For All Hearing To Mention 'Medicare For All': IN PREPARATION FOR Wednesday's hearing on Medicare for All before the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, the panel's chair met privately with Democrats to lay out how he wants it to unfold. Rep. Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat who has been in office since 1989, told the Democrats on the panel that he didn't want the phrase 'Medicare for All' to be used. Instead, he said, the hearing should focus on all the different ways to achieve 'universal health care' or 'universal health coverage,' which he said was a better term to deploy. Medicare for All, he argued, was wrong on policy and is a political loser, sources present for the meeting, held last Wednesday, told The Intercept."
"'Eye-Popping': Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion in Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom Half Lost $900 Billion: The top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing."
Down With Tyranny! is still the best place to learn about Democratic self-sabotage while it's happening. Recent examples are:
* "The Same Reasons Why Primaries Are So Important, Are The Reasons Anti-Democracy Creeps Like Cheri Bustos Hate Them" — More on how the new official anti-primary rule is setting us up.
* "House Democrats Pass Dreamer Protection Bill, But... " — How the Blue Dogs and New Dems tried to help Republicans poison-pill the bill, orchestrated by the execrable Josh Gottheimer. I do not know why this odious man is still not being primaried.
"A Harris poll for "Axios on HBO" finds that socialism is gaining popularity: 4 in 10 Americans say they would prefer living in a socialist country over a capitalist one. Why it matters: Socialism is losing its Soviet-era stigma, especially among women. Popular Democratic socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders are bringing new life and meaning to the term." Socialism is also a lot more popular with women than with men, proving once again that Bernie Bros are the problem.
Matt Taibbi has a sort of blog you may want to subscribe to. It's really articles posted one after another on the page. The one that drew it to my attention is "Military vs. military, with an interesting take on how General Michael Flynn annoyed Washington by taking a position that was unpopular in DC. "Flynn is also a puzzle. He's been outspoken and critical of America's Middle East adventures in a way that's almost unheard of in a military man. In a paper about Afghanistan he once wrote, he said, 'Merely killing insurgents usually serves to multiply enemies rather than subtract them.' He denounced our intel there as 'ignorant,' 'incurious,' and 'disengaged.'"
And speaking of Taibbi's Substack, Thomas Neuburger quotes from it at length in a post called, "Are Right-Wing Media Sources Ever Reliable? which addresses the curious case of what is either an important story or a ridiculous rationalization from John Solomon — but we don't know, because almost no one is writing about it either to support it or refute it. Oh, and he quoted me from a letter, too. I think I'll make a meme quoting myself: "There's a right-wing media that tells its listeners that Democrats are corrupt and lying, which they are. There's a leftish media that tells its viewers that Republicans are corrupt and lying, which they are. The only people who admit that both of these things are true are 'the crazy far-left'."
"Dismissing Bernie Sanders as a communist shows your 'profound ignorance,' says one of the most influential behind-the-scenes figures in American business: Delaware is the second-smallest American state by area and has under a million people, but it's where 66.8% of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated. The First State has become a destination for major corporations' legal frameworks largely due to policies that result in significantly smaller tax bills than elsewhere in the country. This also means that its courts are among the most important in the United States for business, and the chief justice of its Supreme Court has a platform for influencing corporate law. Leo E. Strine, Jr., is the outspoken judge holding that position, and he's got a lot to say about the current state of the American economy. At the recent CECP CEO Investor Forum in New York, which focused on CEOs moving beyond toxic 'short-termism,' Strine said that growth is largely captured by the country's wealthiest. He explained that this can only be changed on a structural level if Republicans and centrist Democrats start supporting significant changes, and look to the past. He pointed to the way some Americans talk about Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running as a Democratic presidential candidate. 'When people talk Bernie Sanders as if he's a communist, they show a profound ignorance' of the market and of history, Strine said. He added that while he doesn't agree with all of Sanders' proposals, they're not actually radical from a historical or global perspective. Per Strine, Sanders is actually a centrist by the standards of some of our closest and most prosperous European allies. 'There is profound economic insecurity. That is the sort of thing that happened in the late '20s and 1930s and that we overcame with New Deal democracy, which became a role model for market dynamism that was tempered by fairness for everybody,' Strine said."
"In Appeal to Moderates, Sanders Calls for Worker-Ownership of Means of Production [...] And yet if Sanders's plan for worker wealth funds is his most radical and socialistic, moderate voters may actually find it more palatable than his conventional redistributive policies. As mentioned above, raising taxes on the non-rich isn't superpopular in the contemporary United States. Over the past half-century, conservative Republicans (and, to a lesser extent, neoliberal Democrats) have given Americans plenty of cause for doubting that Uncle Sam will be a faithful steward of their tax dollars. Asking voters to believe that the federal government knows how to invest their income better than they do can be tough. But asking them to believe that they know how to invest their employer's income better than their bosses? That's usually an easier sell."
I'm not going to argue with the content of Saritha Prabhu's short article "Joe Biden is a candidate of the oligarchy. Democratic primary voters will see through him", but I was disturbed by this: "He is a personally decent man. But the fact is, he is a consummate, long-time Washington insider, who has demonstrated in his long career that he often dances with the ones who brought him: wealthy donors and special interests." No, the donor class may be the ones who push the candidate, but the phrase "dance with the ones who brung ya" isn't about donors, it's about the people who actually matter when it comes to getting into office: the voters. And that's been the problem with Democratic politicians for 50 years - they think their dance partners should be the donors, but we are the ones who brung 'em, and they won't dance with us, and we let them get away with it, which is why they can keep doing it.
"Team Of American Hackers And Emirati Spies Discussed Attacking The Intercept: OPERATIVES AT A controversial cybersecurity firm working for the United Arab Emirates government discussed targeting The Intercept and breaching the computers of its employees, according to two sources, including a member of the hacking team who said they were present at a meeting to plan for such an attack. The firm, DarkMatter, brought ex-National Security Agency hackers and other U.S. intelligence and military veterans together with Emirati analysts to compromise the computers of political dissidents at home and abroad, including American citizens, Reuters revealed in January. The news agency also reported that the FBI is investigating DarkMatter's use of American hacking expertise and the possibility that it was wielded against Americans."
"Breach Of Ethics: Exclusive: Leaked Chats Between Brazilian Judge and Prosecutor Who Imprisoned Lula Reveal Prohibited Collaboration and Doubts Over Evidence: A LARGE TROVE of documents furnished exclusively to The Intercept Brasil reveals serious ethical violations and legally prohibited collaboration between the judge and prosecutors who last year convicted and imprisoned former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on corruption charges — a conviction that resulted in Lula being barred from the 2018 presidential election. These materials also contain evidence that the prosecution had serious doubts about whether there was sufficient evidence to establish Lula's guilt. The archive, provided to The Intercept by an anonymous source, includes years of internal files and private conversations from the prosecutorial team behind Brazil's sprawling Operation Car Wash, an ongoing corruption investigation that has yielded dozens of major convictions, including those of top corporate executives and powerful politicians. In the files, conversations between lead prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol and then-presiding Judge Sergio Moro reveal that Moro offered strategic advice to prosecutors and passed on tips for new avenues of investigation. With these actions, Moro grossly overstepped the ethical lines that define the role of a judge. In Brazil, as in the United States, judges are required to be impartial and neutral, and are barred from secretly collaborating with one side in a case. Other chats in the archive raise fundamental questions about the quality of the charges that ultimately sent Lula to prison. He was accused of having received a beachfront triplex apartment from a contractor as a kickback for facilitating multimillion-dollar contracts with the state-controlled oil firm Petrobras. In group chats among members of the prosecutorial team just days before filing the indictment, Dallagnol expressed his increasing doubts over two key elements of the prosecution's case: whether the triplex was in fact Lula's and whether it had anything to do with Petrobras. These two questions were critical to their ability to prosecute Lula. Without the Petrobras link, the task force running the Car Wash investigation would have no legal basis for prosecuting this case, as it would fall outside of their jurisdiction. Even more seriously, without proving that the triplex belonged to Lula, the case itself would fall apart, since Lula's alleged receipt of the triplex was the key ingredient to prove he acted corruptly." They knew they were just making it up and they had no case, but it didn't stop them. But now questions are shaking the political discourse and Moro is even being pressed to resign.
"We Finally Have Found a Way to Convert Donor Blood Into a Universal Type: In July last year, the American Red Cross declared an emergency blood shortage - it simply wasn't receiving enough donations to help all the patients that needed blood. Now, researchers from the University of British Columbia may have found a way to address the problem, even if people aren't donating more: convert a less-usable blood type into one that anyone can receive."
RIP: "Dr. John, Hall of Fame Singer Who Brought New Orleans to the World, Dead at 77: 'He created a unique blend of music which carried his hometown, New Orleans, at its heart, as it was always in his heart,' family says of Grammy-winning musician born Malcolm John Rebennack. [...] Although best known for his Seventies solo work and radio hits like 'Right Place, Wrong Time,' Rebennack had a career that spanned pop history. He was a key part of the 'Wrecking Crew' stable of ace Los Angeles session musicians in the Sixties. He played on recordings by Cher, Aretha Franklin, Canned Heat, Frank Zappa and countless others, fusing funk with R&B and boogie woogie." His first album was one of the three I lost my virginity to when the guy across the hall played them all night, since he'd bought them all earlier that day.
RIP: "Doris Day, who has died aged 97, was a singer who came out of the big-band boom of the 1940s to become one of Hollywood's top box-office stars throughout the 50s and 60s. She had a honey voice, short, buttercup-coloured hair, a sunny smile — and as many scruples as freckles. If Marilyn Monroe was the 'girl downtown' at 20th Century Fox, Day was the archetypal 'girl next door' at Warners." Yes, that was how I had remembered her, until I saw Young Man With a Horn one day on my TV, all dark in black & white, and realized she'd been something else before. Be that as it may, That Touch of Mink, in which she plays the ultimate Good Girl, is one of my favorite flicks. This owes a lot, of course, to the interplay between Cary Grant and Gig Young, our heroine's best friend played by Audrey Meadows, and John Astin's portrayal of the egregiously sleazy Mr. Beasley. So, in spite of her image, she's had a place in my heart ever since.
RIP: "Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli dies at 96: The Florence native directed stars including Elizabeth Taylor in the 1967 film Taming of the Shrew and Dame Judi Dench on stage in Romeo and Juliet. Italian media said Zeffirelli died after a long illness which had grown worse in recent months."
Nick Hanauer used to believe one of those benevolent rich people things that screwed things up worse, but... "Better Schools Won't Fix America: Like many rich Americans, I used to think educational investment could heal the country's ills — but I was wrong. Fighting inequality must come first. [...] Taken with this story line, I embraced education as both a philanthropic cause and a civic mission. I co-founded the League of Education Voters, a nonprofit dedicated to improving public education. I joined Bill Gates, Alice Walton, and Paul Allen in giving more than $1 million each to an effort to pass a ballot measure that established Washington State's first charter schools. All told, I have devoted countless hours and millions of dollars to the simple idea that if we improved our schools—if we modernized our curricula and our teaching methods, substantially increased school funding, rooted out bad teachers, and opened enough charter schools—American children, especially those in low-income and working-class communities, would start learning again. Graduation rates and wages would increase, poverty and inequality would decrease, and public commitment to democracy would be restored. But after decades of organizing and giving, I have come to the uncomfortable conclusion that I was wrong. And I hate being wrong. What I've realized, decades late, is that educationism is tragically misguided. American workers are struggling in large part because they are underpaid—and they are underpaid because 40 years of trickle-down policies have rigged the economy in favor of wealthy people like me. Americans are more highly educated than ever before, but despite that, and despite nearly record-low unemployment, most American workers—at all levels of educational attainment—have seen little if any wage growth since 2000. To be clear: We should do everything we can to improve our public schools. But our education system can't compensate for the ways our economic system is failing Americans. Even the most thoughtful and well-intentioned school-reform program can't improve educational outcomes if it ignores the single greatest driver of student achievement: household income.
It's all about the rents. "Michael Hudson - How We Got to Junk Economics: In this episode of Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges interviews Michael Hudson, UMKC economics professor and author of Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy. In the first half of their conversation, Hedges and Hudson trace the history of classical economics and explore Marx's interpretation of capitalism as exploitation." Adam Smith understood that allowing the rentiers to run things was a way to destroy an entire society. Then the Junk Economists came along and rationalized a rentiers' economy — and people still believe it.
* "Days of Revolt: Junk Economics and the Future: In this episode of Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges continues his discussion with UMKC economics professor Michael Hudson on his new book Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy. Hedges and Hudson expose the liberal class' allegiance to the predatory creditors on Wall Street and their indifference to real economic justice."
"Frustrated by His Own Party [...] Franklin D. Roosevelt began his "fireside chat" on June 24, 1938, as he had begun others, recounting New Deal battles won and lost during the most recent congressional session. But he ended the broadcast with a surprise. "And now," the president intoned, "I want to say a few words about the coming political primaries." In this midterm primary season, he said, "there will be many clashes between two schools of thought, generally classified as liberal and conservative." Roosevelt insisted that, as "head of the Democratic Party," charged with carrying out "the definitely liberal declaration of principles set forth in the 1936 Democratic platform," he had an obligation to speak out about primary contests involving such a clash. Thus did Roosevelt announce a political gambit not attempted by any president since: active and personal intervention in key primary contests, not only to protect liberals but to replace conservatives. The press branded the effort a "purge," and the name stuck. As Susan Dunn emphasizes in Roosevelt's Purge, her lively narrative of that vexed campaign, FDR was motivated not merely by personal pique and short-term legislative goals but by a vision of a refashioned party system. He explained in that extraordinary fireside chat that primaries should facilitate a "healthy choice" between the two parties in November, for "an election cannot give the country a firm sense of direction if it has two or more national parties which merely have different names but are as alike in their principles and aims as peas in the same pod." According to Dunn, Roosevelt "believed that the nation should have two effective and responsible parties, one liberal and the other conservative." Since the president attempted to accomplish in one frenzied summer what six decades of subsequent developments only haltingly produced, it's perhaps no surprise that the effort failed. But what an exciting failure!"
Blast from the past, George Monbiot in April of 2016, "Neoliberalism — the ideology at the root of all our problems: Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump — neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?"
"When Democrats Declined Populism: Sam & Chris Hayes in 2010 - MR Throwback - 5/27/19" — Frustration with Obama had us tearing out our hair, and we knew what he was setting us up for.
"Jacques Cousteau's Grandson Is 3D Printing Coral Reefs: Fabien Cousteau, descendant of the famous sea explorer, is working on a project to bring 3D printed coral reefs to the Caribbean island of Bonaire."
"The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper': The Story Behind Every Song: A track-by-track guide to every tune on the landmark 1967 album"