Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Bring it on home

The Electoral Vote map

And David Dayen talked to Sam Seder about what Biden could to right from the start of his presidency — if he wanted to.

"Why Was Corbyn Suspended From The Labour Party? w/ Daniel Finn" It's amazing how much misinformation there has been about the suspension and the report. The latter pretty much vindicated Jeremy Corbyn and proved that the people who pretended to care about antisemitism did not. The narrative about Corbyn hurt the Labour and made worries about antisemitism sound like some dangerous Chicken Little gaming.

"A Blow for Labor Rights in California: Gig workers were barely scraping by even before companies like Uber spent $200 million on the successful campaign to pass Proposition 22. Now, two paths lie ahead: one paved by corporate cash, and the other blazed by the workers behind the wheel. [...] After Prop 22 won with 58 percent of the vote, Moore said, 'we will absolutely fight it. We will fight it in the courts. We will fight it with new laws. We will fight it the way drivers have been most successful, which is with shoe leather and picket signs. We will continue to have a ground fight.'"

"Bernie Sanders takes aim at 'corporate Democrats' blaming progressives for House losses [...] As Sanders notes, every one of the 112 co-sponsors of Medicare-for-all won their elections, and only one of the 98 co-sponsors of the Green New Deal lost their election. In contrast, the vast majority those who lost their seats did not support those progressive policies. "It turns out that supporting universal health care during a pandemic and enacting major investments in renewable energy as we face the existential threat to our planet from climate change is not just good public policy," Sanders remarked. "It also is good politics." Other progressive policies likewise won big in individual states, namely Florida's vote to increase the minimum wage and measures to legalize marijuana across several states. Sanders' rebuttal comes after House Democrats were projected to lose at least six seats from the House and so far failed to flip the Senate fully in their favor. Some moderate Democrats who narrowly retained their seats blamed "socialism" for the losses; Progressives in turn said the Democratic party needs to organize better to regain a stronger majority."

And here's Bernie's op-ed, in which he also lists some of the progressive referenda that passed, even in states that went for Trump.

But I really wish people would say it plain: The Democrats did not campaign for Democrats. They campaigned arm-in-arm with Republicans against Trump and Trump alone. Pelosi and Biden both kept saying things like, "We need Republicans," and "We need a strong Republican Party." They gave voters no reason to vote for Democrats. They kept pretending that Trump was an aberration when he was not, but rather just what the Republicans wanted. As Grover Norquist said, "We don't want a president who can think, we already know what the top 1% want him to do. He only needs to be capable if signing with a pen!"

It looks like the worst elements in the security state and the corporate shills will design the Biden administration: "In 2018, Olsen went to work for Uber as the corporation's chief security officer. Uber joined with other corporations & spent hundreds of millions of dollars to pass Prop 22 in California. It ensures drivers and couriers are exempt from minimum wage. [...] Olsen has contended what NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed had little to do with privacy and civil liberties, a talking point former officials have repeated to discredit him. [...] MacBride oversaw grand jury investigation against WikiLeaks until he resigned from his position as US Attorney in August 2013. He prosecuted CIA whistleblowers @JohnKiriakou and Jeffrey Sterling (@S_UnwantedSpy). [...] MacBride defended a subpoena issued against NYT reporter James Risen in Sterling case. He argued government should be able to compel a journalist to reveal their confidential sources by threatening them with jail if they don't cooperate. [...] Lederman helped draft 2010 "drone memo" that set out "legal basis" for executing American terrorism suspect without charge or trial—Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. [...] Stroul was part of the bipartisan Syria Study Group that Congress appointed, which plotted out the next phase of US regime change policy in Syria. [...] Chris Lu was deputy secretary of labor for President Barack Obama and cheerleader for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He was vice chair of 2020 Democratic National Convention Rules Committee. [...] As US Attorney in Michigan, McQuade's office was implicated in racial profiling and intrusive surveillance against Arab, Muslim, & Sikh communities. She faced blowback after it became known Dearborn was labeled by security agency as "terrorist hotspot." [...] As US Attorney, McQuade was in charge of prosecuting officials in Michigan, including then-Gov. Rick Snyder, who poisoned the water in Flint. But no one was charged before she resigned after Trump took office."

"Biden state media appointee advocated using propaganda against Americans and 'rethinking' First Amendment [...] The Biden transition team's selection of a censorial infowarrior for its top state media position comes as a concerted suppression campaign takes hold on social media. The wave of online censorship has been overseen by US intelligence agencies, the State Department, and Silicon Valley corporations that maintain multibillion-dollar contracts with the US government. As the state-backed censorship dragnet expands, independent media outlets increasingly find themselves in the crosshairs. In the past year, social media platforms have purged hundreds of accounts of foreign news publications, journalists, activists, and government officials from countries targeted by the United States for regime change. Stengel's appointment appears to be the clearest signal of a coming escalation by the Biden administration of the censorship and suppression of online media that is seen to threaten US imperatives abroad."

On the other hand, Sam Seder reckons Biden's picked the best Chief of Staff to deal with Covid., and Digby agrees — great analysis of the party's failures in this interview, too.

Samuel Alito is not a Constitutional scholar. "Let's Break Down Every Utterly Bonkers Thing Justice Alito Said Last Night [...] How have we let people claim the mantle 'Originalists' when they have no conception of history before the Reagan administration?"

"New documents show Mueller investigation unable to concoct charges against Assange and WikiLeaks: Previously redacted portions of the Mueller report into supposed Russian interference in the US, released this week, have shown that despite every effort, the Justice Department was unable to concoct evidence of any criminal wrongdoing on the part of WikiLeaks or Julian Assange in relation to their 2016 publications exposing the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton. [...] The contents of the new material shows why the Justice Department was so intent on keeping it hidden. The documents disclose that despite a two-year investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller came up with nothing to prove the collusion between WikiLeaks, the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence that had been trumpeted by the intelligence agencies, the Democratic Party and the corporate media. This is in line with the character of the report as a whole, which was unable to substantiate any of the 'Russian interference' in the 2016 US election that the Mueller investigation had been tasked with identifying. The new pages reveal that one of the focuses of the Mueller investigation was laying the groundwork for criminal charges against Assange and WikiLeaks under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This was premised on the assertion that the internal Democratic National Committee (DNC) communications and emails of Clinton's campaign chair, John Podesta, were hacked by the GRU Russian military intelligence agency before being published by WikiLeaks. In May, it was revealed that CrowdStrike, a cyber security company handpicked by the Democratic Party to examine the DNC servers had been unable to find evidence that documents had ever been exfiltrated from them. In other words, there may not have been any successful hack, Russian or otherwise. This aligned with Assange's repeated insistence that Russia was not the source of the material. It lent weight to the claims of WikiLeaks collaborator and former British diplomat, Craig Murray, who has stated that he has personal knowledge of the source of the DNC documents, and that they were provided by 'disgruntled insiders.' Significantly, even though it is based on the discredited Russiagate framework, the newly-released material from the report concluded that there was no basis for laying conspiracy charges against Assange. 'The most fundamental hurdles' to such a prosecution, it stated, 'are factual ones.' There was not 'admissible evidence' to establish a conspiracy involving Russian intelligence, WikiLeaks and Trump campaign insider Roger Stone. To justify the fact that all of the resources of the American state were insufficient to manufacture evidence of the theory that it had promoted for years, the Mueller report pathetically claimed that one of the problems was that WikiLeaks' communications with the GRU were encrypted. 'The lack of visibility into the contents of these communications would hinder the Office's ability to prove that WikiLeaks was aware of and intended to join the criminal venture comprised of the GRU hackers,' the report stated. This is truly clutching at straws and desperately attempting to save face. Mueller was left to claim that the only possible evidence of a conspiracy was contained in encrypted messages that he and the intelligence agencies had presumably never seen!"

Deutsche Bank, the bank of choice for the world's criminals, is irritated that it's having to pay rent on those long leases for buildings that do not currently house their employees, and have come up with a great idea to deflect the eyes of people who think banks should pay their taxes. "Staff who work from home after pandemic 'should pay more tax': Employees who continue working from home after the pandemic should be taxed for the privilege, with the proceeds used to help lower-paid workers, according to a new report. Economists at Deutsche Bank have proposed making staff pay a 5% tax for each day they choose to work remotely. They argue it would leave the average employee no worse off because of savings made by not commuting and not buying lunch on-the-go and fewer purchases of work clothing. Alternatively, the report suggests the tax could be paid by employers who do not provide their workforce with a permanent desk."

"Unelected Officials Override The President To Continue Wars (But Only Kooks Believe In The Deep State) [...] Some mass media propagandists find it hilarious that the US war machine used deceit to thwart the president's attempts to withdraw from its illegal occupation of Syria"

"Centrists" attacked the left, but it isn't the left that's the problem. "'We're not some demonic cult': Democrats fume over faulty messaging: House Democrats have the majority and are ripping each other to shreds. Senate Democrats fell short for the third cycle in a row, but are only grousing about getting out-messaged by Republicans. The two caucuses are going about their soul-searching a little differently. [...] Jones, the sole incumbent Democratic senator to lose, said both party campaign arms need to change their mission. He said Stacey Abrams' work in Georgia should be a model for the party's work in individual states, while he contends the 'DSCC and DCCC spend too much time investing in candidates and not the electorate. They don't invest in House districts, they don't invest in states.'"

"Ocasio-Cortez Dismisses Centrist Attempts to Blame Left for Dem Losses, Calling on Party to Listen to Progressive Demands: 'The whole 'progressivism is bad' argument just doesn't have any compelling evidence that I've seen.' Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not directly address comments made in Thursday evening's House Democratic caucus call on Friday, but in an extensive Twitter thread the congresswoman discussed multiple reasons for rejecting centrist Democrats' claims that the embrace of progressive policies led to lackluster election results for the party. Support for broadly popular policies like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All and relentless canvassing by progressives in the House—even when Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's campaign declined to campaign in key states—were among the factors which helped unapologetic progressives win elections this year, the New York Democrat tweeted, while centrist candidates lost or came close to losing. [...] Clyburn warned that in congressional elections, if 'we are going to run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine, we're not going to win.' In fact, Ocasio-Cortez pointed out, the 2020 election results show that the opposite is true in many cases. [...] Progressive victors in Tuesday's elections include Ocasio-Cortez herself; Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who retained their House seats as well as helping secure Biden's victories in their key states; Rep.-elect Cori Bush (D-Mo.), and Rep.-elect Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), both of whom unseated powerful, longtime corporate-backed congressmen. Democrats who lost include Reps. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), and Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa)—all of whom oppose Medicare for All and reducing police funding. [...] 'Deep canvassing,' in which candidates and campaigners have in-depth conversations with voters in order to learn about the issues that matter to them, has been shown to be 102 times more effective at garnering votes than typical short interactions during door-knocking operations. Pandering to voters whose top concerns are 'law and order' or avoiding a 'socialist' takeover of the government through the expansion of Medicare to all Americans, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, will only serve to alienate communities of color who responded positively to campaigning by progressives this year."

"Tlaib lashes out at centrist Dems over election debacle: 'I can't be silent': Rashida Tlaib isn't apologizing for wanting to yank money away from bad police departments. She has no second thoughts about her embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement, or for wanting to aggressively fight climate change. House Democrats lost seats instead of expanding their majority, underperforming expectations across the board. And moderates have pounced on liberals like Tlaib, the Michigan congresswoman, accusing them of handing conservatives a set of slogans and policies to scare voters. But Tlaib and other House progressives don't want to hear it. It all amounts to unfair blame-casting designed to shame them into staying quiet, they say, right as Democrats gain control of the White House.

"They Are Trying To Silence AOC, Because Money Never Sleeps: We're all exhausted, but in the 24 hours since the election was called, corporate interests and their allies have already started their war on progressives. There is no rest for the weary. We're all exhausted, and understandably so. It's been an unspeakably horrific year. The election psychologically drained everyone, and we all just want a break. But here's the thing: Money never sleeps, and money is already hard at work trying to make sure nothing fundamentally changes in politics — and if nothing fundamentally changes in Washington, then everything is going to change for the worse in the real world. Since the election was called for Joe Biden, there has been a multitiered effort to blame disappointing election results on progressives, even as exit polls and voting results show that progressive organizing rescued Democrats from the jaws of a presidential defeat. While the country was celebrating the defeat of Trump, here's what the voices of Big Money have been doing since the election..."

RIP: "Baron Wolman, Rolling Stone Photographer Who Captured Rock Gods, Dead at 83, of ALS. "During his three years at Rolling Stone, between 1967 and 1970, Wolman caught the rise of rock & roll as few had during the time: an open-mouthed Jimi Hendrix attacking his guitar at the Fillmore West (a 'money shot,' Wolman called it), Janis Joplin relaxing at home with her cat, Smokey Robinson adjusting the do-rag he wore before shows to keep his hair in place, Grace Slick ironically wearing a Girl Scout uniform, Frank Zappa sitting atop a tractor at a construction site, and Jerry Garcia flashing his missing, chopped-off finger for the first time publicly."

"Today and Forever, Rahm Emanuel Is Garbage: By fighting him tooth and nail for seven years, Chicagoans have established that Rahm Emanuel is garbage. No matter what he does next, that stench isn't coming off. Rahm Emanuel will be remembered as a Chicago mayor who adored rich people and hated everyone else. He has all but handed the keys to the city to corporate heads, tech start-ups, and wealthy developers. He has relentlessly attacked public education and the public sector as a whole. He covered up a brutal police killing of a black teenager. Even mainstream retrospectives on his tenure — written in the wake of his surprise announcement yesterday that he will not be seeking a third term as mayor — tried to sound fair and balanced yet couldn't help but coming off as a long list of giveaways to the wealthy while the city's poor and working class suffer or are pushed out." Oh, and when Rahm tells unemployed people to learn code, what he's really saying is, "We want to flood this sector with lots of unemployed coders to drive wages down. And when he says, "Those jobs aren't coming back," he means, "We've decided those jobs aren't coming back." Just like they decided to get rid of millions of jobs back in the '80s and '90s, and they keep right on deciding not to bring them back.

How Bolivian Socialism Defeated The Coup

"America Can Have A Boom Economy Six Months From Whenever It Gets Serious [...] Further, if you can get it going, it will soon have massive support because it will create a truly good economy for the first time in 50 odd years. People will have better things to do than squeal about red state/blue state bullshit, the era will be like the post-war period: people are making money and kids and politics is, in fact, largely consensus driven because everyone sees that what is being done works."

This is utterly confounding. Why is Tucker Carlson doing this populist stuff, unless it's to try to tie the right-wing to genuine populism? I could imagine any of a dozen or three progressive writer-activists doing something like "Tucker Investigates: What is destroying rural America?".

"Non-Competes and Other Contracts of Dispossession: Employers have used non-compete clauses to deprive tens of millions of workers of the freedom to change jobs or start their own businesses. In occupations ranging from home health aide to journalist and sandwich shop worker, employers have used this legal power to their great benefit. Non-compete clauses reduce worker mobility, help employers keep wages and wage growth down, deter small business formation, entrench potentially abusive, discriminatory, or hostile work environments, and fortify market power to the detriment of workers, rivals, consumers, and broader society."

On Useful Idiots, Matt and Glenn both said some smart and true things about Russiagate that people really need to think about.

How Capitalism Really Works (with Anwar Shaikh)

Eugene Debs Was an American Hero.

The Unlikely Coalition That Made the New Deal (with Thomas Ferguson)

Comic strip, "The Spirit of Compromise" by Matt Bors.

Sam Cook, "Bring It On Home To Me"

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