Towards an issues-based 2020 election (73)

===2020 Big Picture===
In 1988, Jesse Jackson proposed to tax corporations and fund programs that serve all Americans.
The DNC rejected Jackson’s “Fair Tax” platform plank 2,499-1,091.
My new book argues Ds weaken the party and America when they defer to the money power.

“The price of peace – for us and for every nation in the world – is the price of giving up
prejudice, hatred, fear and ignorance.” – Henry Wallace
I wrote a book about Wallace’s fight to get Democrats to reject segregation
and forge an anti-racist politics.

Vice President Henry Wallace on Jim Crow racism:
“I have come to say that until it is abolished the words ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ and ‘justice,’
used so glibly to support our foreign policy, will ring hollow thorough-out the world.”

Vice President Henry Wallace campaigned in the 1940s for an Equal Rights Amendment
to the US Constitutional. He argued that the country needed to move immediately
to enshrine women’s rights and civil rights.

Harvey Kaye’s review of Nichols’ new book…

Wisconsin can help Democrats revitalize the New Deal

Eugene Victor Debs, union leader and Socialist presidential candidate, was arrested 102 years ago today after he delivered an anti-war address during WWI. In this video, @BernieSanders, @mrdannyglover and I discuss what the radicalism of Debs teaches us. (video)

After Georgia experienced major issues in this month’s primary election, the Atlanta Hawks are stepping up. The team announced it’s teaming up with Fulton County and making its home, State Farm Arena, available as the largest polling site in state history.

Why Are Federal Justist Cheering on Voter Suppression in Wisconsin?


Supreme Court temporarily blocks court order that cleared the way
for expanded vote by mail in Alabama due to Covid-19

US troops routinely vote by mail. Why can’t the rest of America do the same?

Do Mail-In Ballots Increase Risk of Voter Fraud?

The False Narrative of Vote-by-Mail Fraud

Donald Trump’s blatant hypocrisy on voting by mail

Hypocrisy check: Those Republicans fighting Newsom on vote-by-mail? That’s how they vote

IN Sec of State’s emails (page down)…

It looks like @Booker4KY lost to @AmyMcGrathKY by around 10,000 votes. There will be a lot of questions about whether the result would have been different if Kentucky had maintained more than one polling location per county.


She outspent her opponent ~ $42,600:$1

Since every (“centrist”) from Texas to Indiana who loses a statewide election is pushed
as a legitimate Presidential candidate is it to early to hope for @Booker4KY in 2024?

Hickenenlooper won after saying he didn’t think he was cut out for the job and wouldn’t be good
at it, and after being fined for ethics violations earlier this year. …

He gave a speech promising that he’d help the GOP fight Medicare for All & a Green New Deal
and explicitly likening supporters of those ideas to supporters of mass murderer Joseph Stalin:


Senate Democrats have a super PAC full of billionaire and Wall Street money that these Dems
have deployed to buy primaries across the country, and this is almost never mentioned in any
analysis of Senate races


Democratic elites will spend the next 4 months telling you how essential it is to elect
Hickenlooper, McGrath, & other corporate Senators. If that succeeds, they’ll spend the following
4 years telling you that you can’t have good things because those Senators won’t support them.


@MonmouthPoll shows majority of Americans think country is on the wrong track:
74% say on the wrong track
18% say the country is headed in the right direction

America’s Two Right-Wing Parties Absurdly Keep Accusing Each Other Of Being Far-Left

First in a thread…
(Republican) Supreme Court rules in favor of a Montana private school choice program, in a decision that public school advocates worry will open the floodgates of public funding for religious schools

This ruling, which will force “states to abandon long-standing provisions that prioritize public
funding for public education… represent[s] an enormous step backward,” as @RickKahlenberg
wrote in January:

John Roberts’ Supreme Court is helping corporations and billionaires steal everything
and reshape the economy for the next 50 years

He lied…
Roberts: ‘My job is to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat’
Chief justice nominee tells Senate panel ‘I have no agenda’

Money Unlimited
How Chief Justice John Roberts orchestrated the Citizen’s United decision,
dramatically changing campaign-finance laws.

Inside John Roberts’ Decades-Long Crusade Against the Voting Rights Act

More recently…
The Supreme Court Just Gave Corporations a license to Steal

Roberts Isn’t a Liberal. He’s a Perfectionist Who Wants to Win.
The chief justice knows exactly what he’s doing.

Doesn’t the Supreme Court have some say on this?…
Thousands of judges who broke laws remain on the bench.

And the Republicans who engineered the Roberts Court…
How the GOP Prompted the Decay of Political Norms
The Republican Party laid the groundwork for dysfunction long before Donald Trump was elected president.

The breaker of norms cautions the other party against breaking a norm

Social Movements Must Defeat Trump & Also Hold Dems Accountable


===2020 Issues===
Book: The Future Earth: A Radical Vision for What’s Possible in the Age of Warming


Record Temperatures and Record Low Sea Ice in Siberian Arctic

“The temperatures occurring in the High Arctic during the past 15 years were not predicted
to occur for another 70 years.” We must move far faster than our leaders realize

City of Sydney flicks the switch to 100% green power

Volkswagen factory produces last ever combustion engine car, shifts to EVs only
“From today on, only electric models of Volkswagen and in future also of the sister brands Audi and Seat will be produced in Zwickau,” the statement said.

UK: Road to net zero: what the Committee on Climate Change recommends. The government adviser publishes its progress report today. Here are the areas it says require urgent attention

The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis report…
Incredibly, this plan is even more underwhelming than had been reported. It doesn’t even achieve net-zero GHGs by 2050, only net-zero CO2. It would only reduce GHGs *37 percent* by 2030.

Greenpeace Gives House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Report a ‘B-‘

The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Mixtape is Good, Actually

House report calls for major action on climate, lays out ag plan

Democrats’ ambitious climate action plan targets a clean US grid by 2040

A 90% Clean Grid Can Be Achieved Quickly. What’s Holding It Back?

Epic @josheidelson write through of all the ways U.S. workers got stomped on over the last ~30 years, and their prospects for rebalancing the scales, includes this striking graphic that shows how much companies have spent on union busting consultants.

World Economics Assn publication on the inequality crisis

‘Extreme inequality was the preexisting condition’: How COVID-19 widened America’s wealth gap
As 45 million Americans lost their jobs, U.S. billionaires made $584 billion.

If we want to reduce the political power of the rich, Seattle’s democracy vouchers are a much better route than a wealth tax

Efforts to make the tax code more progressive are worthwhile, but the bigger problem is on the
before-tax side of the ledger. We can have a more just outcome if we structure the economy
so that it’s not redistributing so much income upward.

There is a neat idea about a tax voucher to support artists from the @ceprdc @DeanBaker13 Made for the US but should work anywhere with income tax. See e.g. this video at 46:37.

It’s public funding, but leaves the choice to the individual, not a government bureaucracy

There’s an archaic and regressive wealth tax in America — called the property tax — and guess what, its effective rate is higher for Black and Hispanic residents.
Impressive study by Berkeley grad Troup Howard

Smart new piece from @owenslindsay1, @GaneshSitaraman, and Adam Levitin proposing a basic set of policy responses that kick in automatically during an economic crisis. No more ad hoc, big business-friendly bailouts.

CBPP: Next Stimulus Bill Should Include Volunteer Tax Assistance Funding

Has the IRS Hit Bottom?
Every year, the IRS annual report is an opportunity to measure how effectively the U.S. government has sabotaged its own ability to enforce its tax laws. This year’s report signals historic lows for U.S. tax enforcement.

They defunded the tax police – See

2018: Who’s More Likely to Be Audited: A Person Making $20,000 – or $400,000?
If you claim the earned income tax credit, whose average recipient makes less than $20,000
a year, you’re more likely to face IRS scrutiny than someone making twenty times as much.
How a benefit for the working poor was turned against them.

2019 IRS: Sorry, but It’s Just Easier and Cheaper to Audit the Poor
Congress asked the IRS to report on why it audits the poor more than the affluent. Its response
is that it doesn’t have enough money and people to audit the wealthy properly. So it’s not going to.

Unpatriotic, tax dodging, offshoring corporations should not receive pandemic aid

.@matthewstoller interviews the “quiet yet fierce” @EileenAppelbaum on #PrivateEquity: “Private equity has wanted to get its hands on the retirement savings of ordinary workers for years…Under cover … they made their move.”

Beginning of a thread…
In my opinion the best way to troll venture capitalists would be to tax capital gains at the same rate as income

[T]his is a Joe Biden policy proposal

Now maybe we can get Biden to base the corporate income tax
on stock returns rather than corporate  profits. …

It is striking how economists are so anxious to eliminate inefficiencies like tariffs that might raise
the pay of U.S. autoworkers, can’t be bothered to look at inefficiency in the tax code that give
billions to the financial sector

Barriers to medical care erected by health insurance companies contribute to physician burnout, *moral injury*

Underinvestment in public health has led to 10 times more deaths from COVID-19 than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is shameful. Congress must act NOW to end wasteful military spending and invest in public health.

CBPP: House Bill Would Help Millions Get Health Coverage, Cut Costs for Millions More


Fortenberry’s opponent, Kate Bolz, has been pounding him on health care. Now he’s the
only Republican cosponsor for this bill. I don’t recall seeing him do anything like this before. …

But we do know…
When Republicans controlled everything, Fortenberry voted to kill Obamacare…
2017: Joyful House Republicans vote to repeal reviled ‘Obamacare’

House Vote

Fortenberry voted against the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act on 5/9/19

Fortenberry voted against the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act on 12/20/19…

Note: And he hasn’t renounced his old position / advocated for a new position for health care (or trade).

Republican Leaders Want to End Obamacare. Their Voters Are Expanding It.

The Trump Administration Is Waiving the Public’s Right to Affordable Coronavirus Treatments


Biden Sides With Big Pharma Against Affordable Coronavirus Vaccine Plan
Unlike Sanders and other Democrats, Joe Biden has not embraced a key executive authority:
cutting the cost of a possible coronavirus vaccine and other pharmaceuticals developed
with federal research dollars.


Let me tell you a story of repeated and deliberate public policy decisions that will result
in Americans getting fleeced on the price of a drug during a lethal pandemic… (1/x)


Hmm (click graphic)…

I am so excited to announce that the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act, my landmark wildlife protection legislation inspired by the legendary biologist Dr. E.O. Wilson, *passed* in the House of Representatives today

America’s endless wars come home: the militarization of the police (video)

Domestic Terrorism Conference Report; Jan 2020


National Security in the age of Covid-19
Will the pandemic lead to new non-military strategies? (video)

“If legislators continue to pour money into endless wars and US military superiority, it will be a slap in the face to the millions of Americans now struggling economically” @TrisInToledo dropping some truth in @thenation with @WilliamHartung

“This year’s version of the NDAA is poised to benefit one party more than any other: the arms
industry and its lobbyists, who are seeking to cash in while overriding the opinions of the
American public on key national security issues.”

Our national security system is broken. Our authorization process corrupt. “The revolving door
between the defense industry, the Pentagon, and Congress has consistently benefited
those on the inside, leaving the taxpaying majority to pick up the bill.”

Democrats May Fund (the president’s) Nuclear Modernization Plan Without A Fight

The 10% Solution: Cut the Pentagon to Fund Domestic Needs


Watch my boss’s speech from yesterday.
Extremely proud to work for a leader who’s always had the courage to call out the insanity of our skyrocketing defense budget when we should be investing so much more in Americans’ education, health, and housing. (video)


===2020 Watch List===
Jessica González on Facebook’s Promotion of Hate

Baker counters Facebook’s straw man argument

What Facebook and the Oil Industry Have in Common

Being big per se is not a problem, but holding companies for unrelated firms in unrelated industries is a non-starter. And now that Bezos also owns the Washington Post, you have the “Citizen Kane” problem that @davidsirota describes here:

===2020 Watch List-Bias===
The Washington Post is worried that the pattern of growth that led to so much upward redistribution of income could be threatened by the pandemic

Literally nothing in the piece supports the claim in the headline and insofar as items in the piece support the subhead it is at least as likely to be positive as negative. …

They claimed Medicare for All would cost between $20-$35 trillion over 10 years, and then they claimed that proves we could never afford it. They said this while they were committing $20-$35 trillion to corporate bailouts, tax cuts and wars.

Baker counters the drug lobby…

“The Lincoln Project reported spending nearly $1.4 million through March. Almost all of that money went to the group’s board members and firms run by them…. It spends relatively little on direct political activity.” …

Kelton counters The Lincoln Project on health care…

First Perez the Sirota counter Klain on health care

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but … reluctantly voting for Biden because Trump is even worse is not the same thing as enthusiastically touting Biden as some amazing hero.

People who are touting Biden as some great hero are wildly embarrassing themselves.
People equating the I’m…-reluctantly-voting-for-Biden crowd with enthusiastic Biden supporters –
you are being deliberately dishonest, and that’s not great either.

Note: I prefer folks casting informed, strategic votes – whether they have to hold their nose or not.

Imagine how bad a case of Elite Pundit Brain you have to have in order to say that holding politicians accountable for past votes is a form of “cancel culture”

“I want to commend the governor for your decisive action reopening this economy” – Pence lauds Greg Abbott for taking steps that contributed to state’s huge coronavirus spike (video)

Sirota counters House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-22)

===2020 Presidential Candidates===
Elizabeth Warren… Feb 9th (Suspended her campaign)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren has introduced legislation to extend and expand a nationwide eviction moratorium to protect tenants who may be struggling to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bernie Sanders… Feb 19th (Suspended his campaign)
Bernie Sanders signs AOC’s anti-annexation letter threatening to cut U.S. military aid to Israel
Joe Biden… April 25th
He previously told them that nothing would change
Biden tells donors: I’m going to get rid of most of Trump’s tax cuts ‘and a lot of you may not like that’

How Biden Plans to Undo Trump’s Nativist Agenda
In a little-noticed announcement, the former vice president committed to a more ambitious refugee policy than existed under Obama.

The Obama-Era Police Reform Biden Can’t Wait to Restart

The woman Biden isn’t considering for vice president, but should
This is the woman Biden should pick if he wants to show he’s listening to the party’s future

“While Biden backed the Iraq war, Lee opposed it….While Biden is not on board with Medicare4All,
Lee is all in. While Biden’s record on criminal justice reform has been, to put it politely,
troublesome, Lee has been working on….” @NicholsUprising

“Barbara Lee participated in her first Democratic National Convention in 1972, as a delegate
supporting Shirley Chisholm’s groundbreaking bid for the presidency.”
That’s how this article starts, and the arguement gets stronger from there.

Shirley Chisholm told Barbara Lee: “These rules, these laws inside were not made for you,
they weren’t made for me. So you’ve got to get in there and shake things up.'”
That’s what @BLeeForCongress does – as a peace and justice stalwart.

Note: But then make Sen Warren Sec of the Treasury.

Another plea / push for “centrists”…
Donald Trump…
Federal Court Orders Release of U.S. Resident Unlawfully Detained by the Government Under Patriot Act. ACLU Client Was Held Indefinitely Without Charge for Over 17 Months

A federal judge has ruled that Trump’s border rule requiring immigrants to first claim asylum in another country is illegal.

A federal judge has ruled ICE unlawfully transferred thousands of unaccompanied children who turned 18 to adult detention facilities without considering alternatives, in violation of a 2013 law.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has confirmed a report by The Associated Press that some of the service members who mobilized to Washington, DC … were issued bayonets

Not sure what the president is crowing about to the Black community.  The unemployment rate for adult Black men rose to 16.3%, its highest level in 9 years.  When he took office he inherited the lowest unemployment rate for Black men any incoming President ever started their term with.

Fact Check: The president’s trade war is to blame for hits to the Maine lobster industry

Dept of Labor unveils proposed exemption for fiduciaries
On the eve of the SEC’s best-interest standard taking effect, the Labor Dept. unveiled an exemption


Note: It has been legal for financial advisors to base their advice on their best interests (instead of their client’s best interest). The Obama-era fiduciary rule was supposed to change that. Apparently the Trump admin’s DOL created a loophole in the rule.


The Commerce Dept. IG has sent a memo to Secretary Ross expressing ‘deep concern’ that the department is infringing on the office’s independence by preventing the release of a final report on the investigation of NOAA’s Hurricane Dorian statement.

In hundreds of classified calls with heads of state, Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, and so abusive to allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials that Trump posed a danger to US national security.

Context: The Real-Life Story Behind ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’

Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill Troops, Intelligence Says

AP sources: White House was aware of intelligence on Russian bounties on US troops in 2019.


Detailed thread on the president and the military

Position would oversee the Pentagon’s policy shop…
Retired generals pull support for President Trump’s nominee (Tata) after offensive tweets…

In several tweets from 2018, Tata said that Islam was the “most oppressive violent religion I know of” and claimed Obama was a “terrorist leader” who did more to harm the US “and help Islamic countries than any president in history.” Following the publication of the story, Tata deleted several of his tweets…

According to E. Jean Carroll, Trump’s attorneys have withdrawn their claim that Trump can’t be sued based on his residential status in her defamation case.

(The president) Used Looted Venezuelan Public Money to Build Border Wall with Mexico

Tommy Fisher built a privately funded border wall on the banks of the Rio Grande. Now the “Lamborghini” of border walls is in danger of falling into the river if nothing is done, experts say.


President Trump deleted his earlier tweet of a video featuring a man yelling “White power!” but our Politwoops site archives all deleted tweets by the president and all federal electeds and candidates.


“The temperatures occurring in the High Arctic during the past 15 years were not predicted to occur for another 70 years.” We must move far faster than our leaders realize
Bill McKibben quoting “Record Temperatures and Record Low Sea Ice in Siberian Arctic”

The Future Earth: A Radical Vision for What’s Possible in the Age of Warming:
Volkswagen factory produces last ever combustion engine car, shifts to EVs only:
City of Sydney flicks the switch to 100% green power:

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