"San Francisco voters approve first-in-the-nation CEO tax that targets income gap: Wealthy companies whose chief executive is paid 100 times more than their median worker will pay a higher gross receipts tax. [...] The tax will levy an extra 0.1% to 0.6% on gross receipts made in San Francisco for companies whose highest paid executive makes 100 times or more its median worker's salary. The amount levied will increase in 0.1% brackets proportionally to the pay ratio. A company whose highest paid employee earns 200 times more than its median San Francisco worker will get a extra 0.2% charge on its gross receipts. For companies whose CEO makes 300 more, the charge jumps to 0.3% and son on. The tax caps at 0.6%, and only companies with gross receipts over $1.17 million will be targeted. Under the measure, gross receipts and CEO compensation will include money made from stock options, bonuses, tax refunds, and property, a caveat seen by many as a way to target the tech sector where CEOs are often compensated in non-salaried bonuses. Tech is expected to account for 17% of the tax revenues, according to an estimate by the city's chief economist, while retail and financial firms are expected to account for 23% of the revenues each."
"What If Democrats' Message Just Doesn't Matter?: Florida voters backed a $15 minimum wage. So did Joe Biden—and he lost the state. There are important lessons here for the party. [...] Huge percentages of voters support government-sponsored health care, more state intervention in the economy, and more government support for clean energy. We have, of course, just learned some important lessons about the limitations of public opinion polling, but these majorities are too large to be completely dismissed as mere polling errors. That Democrats cannot translate robust support for their central policies into consistent electoral victories suggests that something is amiss in the democratic accountability feedback loop. It is of course true that on many of these issues, like health care, the Democratic Party firmly rejected the left's popular proposals in favor of a confusing and diluted alternative. That is what Democrats nearly always do. Perhaps that is what the electorate punishes them for. But that same electorate also regularly elects Republicans, who are very vocally opposed to all of those fine, popular ideas." Hmm, Biden didn't exactly campaign on $15 or much of anything else.
"Trump should have lost in a landslide. The fact that he didn't speaks volumes: Blaming the voters simply will not do. This is a failure of leadership. Those responsible for it need to be held accountable. Already, there is talk that they need to embrace tax cuts and run away from the 'socialism' label. In other words, double down on what they were already doing. Those who think that is the lesson may simply be 'unteachable' — a word George Orwell used to describe the old British cavalry generals who still insisted on using horses long after the invention of automatic weapons, and could not be persuaded that a horse is not useful against a machine gun. Today's Democratic leaders are like those generals. If 2016 couldn't persuade them that they were wrong, this won't either. Nothing ever will."
When lackluster Dems complained that Republicans were calling them names and it made getting re-elected hard, AOC pushed back. "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ends truce by warning 'incompetent' Democratic party: New York representative denies Movement for Black Lives and Green New Deal cost seats. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has criticised the Democratic party for incompetence in a no-holds-barred, post-election interview with the New York Times, warning that if the Biden administration does not put progressives in top positions, the party would lose big in the 2022 midterm elections. Signaling that the internal moratorium in place while the Democrats worked to defeat Donald Trump was over, the leftwing New York representative sharply rejected the notion advanced by some Democrats that progressive messaging around the Movement for Black Lives and the Green New Deal led to the party's loss of congressional seats in last week's election. The real problem, said Ocasio-Cortez, was that the party lacked 'core competencies' to run campaigns." It's not really accurate to say she "ends truce", though; the attacks started with the "centrists" who made a big point of attacking progressives immediately after the election was called.
"The Green New Deal Didn't Sink Democrats [...] The fight over the role of progressives in sinking (or not) Democrats' chance at a robust unified government began late last week in a call leaked to Politico. On that call, Rep. Abigail Spanberger claimed she almost lost her race in Virginia because she was accused of wanting to defund the police (she does not). House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn reportedly said, 'we are going to run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine, we're not going to win.' That's led some progressives to push back; notably, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who pointed out every co-sponsor of Medicare for All won reelection and that Democrats are still running like its 2000 instead of 2020. Earther looked at the Green New Deal, another bête noire of conservatives and Fox News, to see if it sank Democrats chances. The bill has 101 co-sponsors in the House and 14 co-sponsors in the Senate. Of the 93 House co-sponsors who ran for a seat in Congress's lower chamber in 2020, only one lost reelection."
"Bolivia's President-Elect Luis Arce Attacked With Dynamite: On Thursday night, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) spokesperson Sebastian Michel denounced that Bolivia's President-elect Luis Arce was attacked with dynamite while he was in a meeting at the party's headquarters in La Paz city. No injuries were reported. The authorities of the coup-born regime led by Jeanine Añez have not commented on what happened so far.
"ICE Medical Misconduct Witness Slated For Deportation Is A U.S. CITIZEN, Says Lawyer: In recent weeks, after Alma Bowman became a key witness for medical misconduct at an immigration jail, ICE moved to deport her. [...] Though she was ordered removed from the country on June 4, ICE only took action to begin her deportation in the last few weeks — after the public became aware of allegations of medical misconduct at Irwin. Following the initiation of deportation proceedings against her, a lawyer finally began reviewing documents for Bowman's immigration case and realized that she had documentation indicating her U.S. citizenship. On Monday morning, ICE denied a stay of removal for Bowman, potentially setting up her deportation. On Monday afternoon, Bowman's deportation was halted, for now, and she was to be returned from Arizona, where she was being prepared for her departure, to a detention center in Georgia, her advocates told The Intercept."
"Venezuela coup plotters met at Trump Doral. Central figure says U.S. officials knew of plan.: In a challenge to denials of government involvement, the ex-U.S. special operations sergeant whose security firm took part in a botched Venezuelan coup last May said two Trump administration officials met with and expressed support to planners of Operation Gideon, a Bay of Pigs-type operation that tried to oust Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro. It's a story of bungling, bravado and cloak-and-dagger plotting, with plans shared in clandestine meetings in the back of limousines while rolling through Miami, in restaurants and even at dusk on the 12th fairway of the Red Course of Trump Doral, the Miami Herald/McClatchy has learned."
TMBS "162 - Chile Victory, Rural Healthcare, & a Labor GND ft. Meagan Day, Ryan Pollock, & Eric Osgoode: From Jacobin's original series Weekends, Nando Vila talks about the Bolivian elections and MAS's victory and Richard Wolff weighs in on Nando's segment."
"Did You Know That Every Single Blue Dog Candidate Was Defeated On Tuesday-- Even Though The DCCC Spent Millions On Their Races? [...] Beyond backing the crap conservative incumbents who lost their seats, the DCCC's biggest independent expenditures this cycle were done, overwhelmingly, on behalf of conservative candidates backed by the Blue Dogs and New Dems. DCCC and House Majority PAC expenditures are still being reported and it will be another week before we can do an accurate systematic audit but look at these races the DCCC (and Pelosi-- let me just refer to the expenditures of both the DCCC and her House Majority PAC , for the sake of this post, as "the DCCC") chose to spend big in-- at the expense of progressive candidates like Mike Siegel, Julie Oliver, Mondaire Jones, Liam O'Mara, Adam Christensen, Audrey Denney, etc, who they chose to not spend any money at all on."
Unbelievable. For the record, in 2000, Congressional aides illegally flew down to Florida and illegally imposed themselves on the facility where votes were being counted, to intimidate vote-counters and stop the vote. I'd say I can't believe The Washington Post printed this revisionist crap, except that I know they printed Michael Kelly's crap that revised the record even as it was happening.
TMBS: "0:15 / 53:39 Jeremy Corbyn Suspended From Labour Party - Griscom Stream." And speaking of revisionist crap, the leader of the Labour Party is making it up to please the party right-wingers.
RIP: "Veteran journalist and author Robert Fisk dies aged 74: Veteran foreign correspondent and author Robert Fisk has died after becoming unwell at his Dublin home on Friday. It is understood the journalist was admitted to St Vincent's hospital where he died a short time later. He was 74. Fisk was one of the most highly regarded and controversial British foreign correspondents of the modern era and was described by the New York Times in 2005 as 'probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain'. [...] He reported extensively on the first Gulf War basing himself for a time in Baghdad where he was fiercely critical of other foreign correspondents whom he accused of covering the conflict from their hotel rooms. He also covered the US-led war wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and frequently condemned US involvement in the region. Fisk was one of very few western reporters to interview Osama Bin Laden, something he did on three occasions in the 1990s. He also covered five Israeli invasions, the Algerian civil war, Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait and the 2011 Arab revolutions. He worked in the Balkans during the conflict there and more recently covered the conflict in Syria. He received numerous awards over the course of his career including the Orwell Prize for Journalism, British Press Awards International Journalist of the Year and Foreign Reporter of the Year on multiple occasions." It would probably be hilarious now to go over the attacks on him from right-wing bloggers who would make line-by-line attacks on his articles critiquing the Bush administrations lies and war crimes, from which they created the term "fisking". Those articles could be "fisked" mercilessly now that he has so manifestly been proven correct.
RIP: "Ron Cobb, Underground Cartoonist and Influential Production Designer, Dead at 83: Ron Cobb, an underground cartoonist as well as the concept and production designer who helped craft the aesthetics of Total Recall, Alien and Back to the Future, has died. Via The Hollywood Reporter, Cobb's wife of 48 years, Robin Love, reported that he had passed away of Lewy body dementia on Monday — his 83rd birthday — at his home in Sydney. A political cartoonist, Cobb's drawings captured the radical anti-establishment spirit of the 1960s and '70s. His long and varied career brought him from counterculture cartooning to drawing album covers to designing some of the most iconic starships in film history." I can still remember, so long ago, learning to keep R. Cobb and R. Crumb separate in my mind when I first started seeing their stuff in undergrounds. He died in December, but I didn't see it until Langford picked it up (and I got around to reading the October Ansible.).
RIP: "Marge Champion: Actress who was model for Disney's Snow White dies at 101: The actress was also well known for starring alongside her husband and dance partner Gower Champion in a string of MGM musicals in the 1950s. She later won an Emmy Award for choreographing the 1975 TV film Queen of the Stardust Ballroom. [...] When Disney's animation team were working on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, they studied a young Marge's movements on a sound stage in order to make the character move more realistically. From the age of 14, Champion would work with them for one or two days per month for two years, during which time she was paid $10 per day. [...] Champion also served as a model for the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio, Hyacinth Hippo in Fantasia, and Mr Stock in Dumbo."
RIP: Sean Connery, 90. I liked Langford's obit for Connery the best: "Sir Sean Connery (1930-2020), utterly famous and multiple award-winning Scots actor in seven James Bond films — with many more genre credits including Zardoz (1974), Time Bandits (1981), Highlander (1986), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) — died on 31 October aged 90." I really loved that spot in Time Bandits.
RIP: Debra Doyle (1952-2020): SF writer Debra Doyle, 67, died October 31 of a sudden cardiac event at home in Colebrook NH. She was best known for work written in collaboration with her husband, James D. Macdonald, including Mythopoeic Award winner Knight's Wyrd (1992) and the Mageworlds space opera series." Jim Macdonald sent me a bunch of the Mageworld books to read while I was waiting for and recovering from my eye surgery way back when, having talked me down from freaking out about the surgery in the first place, realizing that I wasn't going to be able to do much else beside read during the weeks of keeping my face horizontal at all times, and learning that I'd liked the few of those books I'd read so far. Although I'd never had any contact with Debra Doyle myself, she has a place in my heart for those books, and I was very sorry to hear of her passing.
Cory Doctorow mentions a rarely acknowledged problem in "Trump's electoral equilibrium [...] A transformative politician who turns out the base also flushes out establishment opposition: lavishly funded smear campaigns that suppress your own voter turnout as a necessary cost of heading off voter-pleasing, plute-punishing policies."
George Monbiot, "The US was lucky to get Trump — Biden may pave the way for a more competent autocrat: Only if the president-elect is willing to fight big money and redistribute wealth can he stop the rise of someone far worse than Trump: [...] Obama's attempt to reconcile irreconcilable forces, to paper over the chasms, arguably gave Donald Trump his opening. Rather than confronting the banks whose reckless greed had caused the financial crisis, he allowed his Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, to 'foam the runway' for them by allowing 10 million families to lose their homes. His justice department and the attorney general blocked efforts to pursue apparent wrongdoing by the financiers. He pressed for trade agreements that would erode workers' rights and environmental standards, and presided over the widening of inequality and the concentration of wealth, casualisation of labour and record mergers and acquisitions. In other words, he failed to break the consensus that had grown around the dominant ideology of our times: neoliberalism. Neoliberalism has been neatly described by William Davies, a professor at Goldsmiths College, as 'the disenchantment of politics by economics'. It sees politics as an ineffective or illegitimate means of social improvement. Decision-making should be transferred to 'the market', a euphemism for the power of money. Through buying and selling, we establish a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Any attempt to interfere in the discovery of this natural order — such as taxing the rich, redistributing wealth and regulating business — will inhibit social progress. Neoliberalism disenchants politics by sucking the power out of people's votes. When governments abandon their ambition to change social outcomes or deliver social justice, politics become irrelevant to people's lives. It is perceived as the chatter of a remote elite. Disenchantment becomes disempowerment."
Why this election calls into question whether America is a democracy: At the beginning of the Fight to Vote project, we asked this question. After a year of election battles, voting restrictions and partisan conflicts, we revisit the idea."
Obama Wants Us to Go Back to Brunch After Trump Is Out. That Would Be A Disaster: Democrats are suggesting that we can all tune out and go back to brunch if Joe Biden wins the election. If we do that, we're doomed. [...] To counter Trump's assault, the Democratic campaign this weekend returned to Flint, Michigan — the place the Obama administration left to suffer through a horrific toxic water crisis, exacerbated by Michigan's then-Republican governor (who has since endorsed Biden). During the event, Biden declared that during his last tour of duty as vice president, we 'went through eight years without one single trace of scandal. Not one single trace of scandal. It's going to be nice to return to that.' Biden was joined in Flint by former president Barack Obama, who touted incremental change and preemptively downplayed expectations of economic transformation. 'Government is not going to solve every problem but we can make things better — a president can't, by himself, solve every challenge facing the economy,' he said, adding that under a Democratic Congress 'some folks will get jobs that wouldn't have otherwise had jobs, and some folks will have healthcare that wouldn't otherwise have healthcare.' He also promised that if Biden and Kamala Harris win the White House, 'You're not going to have to think about them every day. You're not going to have to argue with your family about them every day. It won't be so exhausting.' This was the party's flaccid message in the nation's poorest city, a former General Motors manufacturing hub destroyed by deindustrialization and offshoring. The same message was promoted this weekend in the Washington Post by corporate consultant Hillary Rosen, whose firm works for Biden. Rosen told the newspaper that Biden 'is not somebody who is coming in to disrupt Washington. He's coming in to heal Washington.' This is a shrewdly concocted mix of revisionism and expectation management — and if Biden (hopefully) defeats Trump, it sets the stage for a repeat of the events that got us to this horrible moment in the first place. "
2012, "Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy: New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall — so mystifying at the time — was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves —was coordinated with the big banks themselves. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document — reproduced here in an easily searchable format — shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.
Matt Taibbi on "Glenn Greenwald On His Resignation From The Intercept: The Pulitzer winner founded the Intercept to challenge official narratives and protect editorial freedom. When editors abandoned those principles, spiking a controversial story, he was forced to quit. [...] Greenwald becomes the latest high-profile journalist to leave a well-known legacy media organization to join Substack. You'll be able to read the piece rebuffed by The Intercept at his new site here. [...] It's a long story, but the punchline is that the self-editing journalists at the Intercept somewhere along the line began to fall for what will look, years from now, like a comically transparent bait-and-switch operation. They were suckered into becoming parodies of their original incarnation. In the Obama years, progressive journalists were infuriated by the disclosures of whistleblowers like Snowden and Chelsea Manning, and aimed their professional ire at the federal government for war crimes, drone assassination, and mass abuse of surveillance authority. The bugbears of the day were intelligence officials who ran these programs and deceived the public about them: people like CIA directors Hayden and Brennan, and Director of National Intelligence Clapper. These intelligence community leaders only a few short years ago served an administration that sought a 'reset' with the systematic human rights violator that was Vladimir Putin's Russia, a country then-President Obama dismissed throughout his tenure as a 'regional power' that acts 'not out of strength, but out of weakness.' The consistent posture of the Obama administration — the Obama-Biden administration — was that Russia ranked far below terrorists as a potential threat to the United States. After 2016, however, these officials presented themselves as norms-defending heroes protecting America against the twin 'existential' threats of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Russia, just a few years ago described by Rachel Maddow as a harmless 'gnat on the butt of an elephant,' was now reinvented as an all-powerful foe mounting an influence campaign of unprecedented reach, with everyone from Trump to the Green Party to blogs like Truthdig and Naked Capitalism, to congresswoman and war veteran Tulsi Gabbard, to Bernie Sanders, all potentially doing the bidding of a Cold War foe bent on 'sowing discord' on our shores. [...] As press enthusiasm for the Trump-Russia story widened, progressives began to invite old enemies back into the fold. People like 'Axis of Evil' speechwriter David Frum and Weekly Standard editor and key Iraq War proponent Bill Kristol became regular guests on CNN and MSNBC, while ex-spooks like Brennan, Clapper, Hayden, and a long list of others were given TV contributor deals, now serving as the press instead of facing criticism from it." But Greenwald didn't fall in line. And why should he? Clapper had lied to Congress 200 times not so long ago, and the Russia story kept turning out to have no basis in fact. Glenn's demand for evidence was met with hostility from the Clintonites and increasingly vile attacks on him. He gave up a highly-paid and well-protected position to walk away from The Intercept, something I wish he hadn't done, but people are even claiming, ludicrously, that he did it for fame and fortune. Be that as it may, I wish he hadn't considered the Hunter Biden story important enough to do it over, and I wish he'd stayed to fight his corner.
Ian Welsh, "Seven Rules for Running a Real Left-wing Government [...] Your First Act Must Be a Media Law. Break them up. Take them over. Whichever. Ignore the screams about media freedom from the usual suspects in the West, this is a case of 'freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.' In all three countries, the media conglomerates remained in the control of oligarchs (update: to be clear, Venezuela did eventually expropriate them, but only after many years), and in all three cases, the majority of the media remained relentlessly hostile to the left. This is just as true in countries like Britain, Canada, or the US as it is in Argentina, Venezuela, or Brazil, by the way. There is a reason why the post-war liberal regimes put strict media controls in place—including size limits—and there is a reason why those limits were removed by the neoliberal regimes that replaced them. You can win 'against the media' for a time, but if you leave it in the hands of your enemies, they will eventually use it to bury you."
"Watch the Rolling Stones Tear Through 'Sympathy for the Devil' in 1968: Performance is off newly remastered footage from Rock and Roll Circus"
Insect Trust, "Declaration of Independence"