Towards an issues-based 2020 election (49)

===2020 Big Picture===
A radical is a man with both feet firmly planted – in the air. A conservative never learned to walk forward; a reactionary walked backward in his sleep. A liberal, though, used legs and hands at the behest – at the command – of his head. – Franklin D Roosevelt

One of the worst traits of political reporting and prognostication is the belief that what is possible in terms of public policy is static. In fact the opposite is true. What is impossible today can quickly become a certainty tomorrow.

Compare / Contrast…
Still the single best piece of political analysis of the past decade:
> Just got back from the centrist rally. Amazing turnout.
> Thousands of people holding hands and chanting “Better things aren’t possible”


(Biden) later added that he’s concerned about what would happen if the Republican Party was totally “clobbered.”

“I’m really worried that no party should have too much power,” he said. “You need a countervailing force.”

  Some people enter into politics with the goal of winning elections to enact an agenda.
And then there is Joe Biden.


Note: I’ve long wondered whether “Centrists” prefer Republican majorities to increasing progressive representation because of incidents like this: 1) their refusal to vote for the Progressive House budget, 2) Barbara Boxer’s taunting of Sanders supporters at one of the SW states’ 2016 state conventions (AZ?) and 3) the DNC’s thumb on the 2016 primary, for example.. Did Biden just confirm my suspicion?

Or put another way…

The only time Dems controlled Congress since Republicans began taking control of the House (mid 1990s) they did so with a narrow Senate majority. …A majority that was often compromised by a months long contested MN election (Franken) and two Senators’ absences due to prolonged illness and subsequent death (Kennedy & Byrd).

Is Biden afraid of increasing the majority too much because people would notice when  Senate “Centrists” blocked the will of the people?

Note: The MSM has a profit motive to keep elections close

Bad take from @npfandos @shearm @MaggieNYT. You have lies, conspiracy theory,
Presidential ranting, bribery, other crimes VS. @SpeakerPelosi who moved this ahead
with care & caution, @RepAdamSchiff carrying out orderly, methodical hearings.
Both sides. No.


See infographic…
A Look at Contributions From Puerto Rico to Presidential Candidates

Of the six candidates currently qualified for the December debate, (Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Steyer, Sanders, Warren) @BernieSanders is the only one to not appear on this list of billionaire donors.

See chart…
Money spent on ads so far:
Steyer: $47M
Bloomberg: $39M (in two weeks!!!))
All other Democrats combined: $15M

DLCC Set Up One-On-One Meetings for Lobbyists and Lawmakers at Summer Conference
Documents reveal that over 140 lobbyists representing oil, pharma, insurance, and other industries scored one-on-one meetings with state legislative leaders.

DLCC: The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is the Democratic Party organization that works to elect Democrats to U.S. state legislatures. …

Analysis: Far-right voters don’t dislike government.
They just want to keep its benefits for their own ethnic group
The far right gains when citizens distrust the government

They tend to be big fans of government-granted patent and copyright monopolies
which redistribute more than $1 trillion a year, mostly towards the top.
(This is big government folks.)

===Economics Big Picture===
For anyone interested in how @BLS_gov operates & why their estimates are so credible, accurate & important, @PatcohenNYT had a great article a while back.

Note: Unfortunately, the article is dated. Remember when Perdue moved ERS et al to KC?

Is the USDA Relocation Just Good Old-Fashioned Rent Seeking?

Simple Economics that Most Economists Don’t Know

… I will give three big items that are apparently too simple for economists to understand.

1) Profit shares have not increased much…
2) Returns to shareholders have been low by historical standards…
3) Patent and copyright rents are equivalent to government debt as a future burden…



How to reform today’s rigged capitalism

A World in Revolt Against Neoliberalism & Corruption: Tariq Ali on the Roots of Today’s Uprisings


More than a decade ago, advocates for working people warned that the WTO and unfettered free trade agreements would lead to the loss of millions of good-paying American jobs. Guess what? We were right. (video)

The fact that the US’s Council for Foreign Relations is now admitting that we are in a
more fragmented world – one that won’t reset to the 1990s – and advocating what amounts
to a US industrial policy, is a major shift in thinking.


Trump says trade war with China (et al) could last past the election. This should be a political vulnerability as his trade war is a total bust, but D’s reluctant to push back for fear of appearing weak on China. Big mistake, as I argue in forthcoming piece.

See referenced Trump comment…
Pretty amazing to see a politician boasting about his “massive” taxes on the middle class.
(That would be his tariffs, which are being paid almost entirely by people in the US.)

Mainstream media organizations repeat Trump’s lie justifying new tariffs

The Trade Deficit Is Up Under Trump


While Trump made currency values a major issue in his campaign, yelling about “currency manipulation” by China and other countries, currency has largely fallen off his agenda in his trade disputes. Instead, he has put protecting the intellectual property of U.S. corporations front and center.

===2020 Issues===
Today we released our first batch of #GreenNewDeal scoring to evaluate where candidates stand on the fight of our lives, & to push all candidates to up their ambition:
@BernieSanders: 183/200
@ewarren: 165/200
@JoeBiden: 75/200
All candidates can improve. Here’s how (thread)

Thread: Carbon Tax

Janine Jackson interviewed the ACLU’s Melissa Goodman about the PATRIOT Act
‘It’s This Culture of Secrecy That’s Pervading the Courts’

Thread on the agency that can block all good regulations…

Note: OIRA can supercede Congress? Where’s that in the Constitution?

The One-Traffic-Light Town with Some of the Fastest Internet in the U.S.
Connecting rural America to broadband is a popular talking point on the campaign trail. In one Kentucky community, it’s already a way of life.

Kentucky’s $1.5 Billion Information Highway to Nowhere
Gov. Matt Bevin has offered no solution to the boondoggle he inherited,
a plan to bring high-speed internet to Kentucky’s remote corners.

How a small British town used social connections to make residents happier and healthier


More suicides under Conservative rule

Better Unemployment Benefits Reduce Suicides: Study

Repeat often: “…one important way in which things are going in the right direction. The low current unemployment rate, coupled w/minimum wage increases…is leading to real wage gains at the middle & bottom end of the wage ladder,” @DeanBaker13


Over the past decade, many progressive economists argued that we should be more
ambitious about jobs and wages. @Neil_Irwin today acknowledges that they were right,
and the error was incredibly costly. But he doesn’t name or even acknowledge them (thread)

See chart and rest of thread…
The median age of homebuyers in the US
1981: 31 years old
2019: 47 years old
That’s insane. …

CBPP: Research Shows Rental Assistance Reduces Hardship and Provides Platform to Expand Opportunity for Low-Income Families


CBPP: Expanding Refundable Tax Credits
Would Help Many American Indian and Alaska Native Households, Reduce Poverty

Moving Jobs to Mexico Was a Feature, Not a Bug, of NAFTA

Baker: Trump’s New NAFTA Means Longer and Stronger Patent and Copyright Protections
That point was missing from this NYT piece…

The new deal also limits governments’ abilities to regulate companies like Facebook and Google. Since the new NAFTA is likely to provide a framework for other trade deals, the provisions on intellectual property claims and restrictions on regulating the digital economy are the most important aspects of the new pact.


A Bad Trade
Today on TAP: The misguided rush to pass the USMCA

Congress must get pharma out of NAFTA 2.0

Nancy Pelosi Pushes the House to Pass USMCA,
but Neglects a Bill With Broad Support to Strengthen Unions

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made no secret of her desire to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement by the end of the year, telling reporters recently that it would be her goal for the House to vote on it before Christmas. Centrist Democrats have been insisting privately that a quick passage for the trade deal is necessary for moderate members of Congress to win their competitive reelections in 2020, to show they can “do something.” Unions have made clear, though, that from their perspective, USMCA lacks real labor enforcement mechanisms, which could undermine the whole deal, further drag down wages, and eliminate more jobs.

Meanwhile, a top priority for labor has been sitting quietly on Pelosi’s desk and, unlike USMCA, already commands enough support to get it over the House finish line. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act would be the most comprehensive rewrite of U.S. labor law in decades. It would eliminate right-to-work (for less) laws, impose new penalties on employers who retaliate against union organizing, crack down on worker misclassification, and establish new rules so that employers cannot delay negotiating collective bargaining contracts. Introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., in May, it already has 215 co-sponsors in the House and 40 in the Senate.

    Two Republicans signed onto the House bill (Fitzpatrick (R-PA1) & Smith (R-NJ4)

Zero Republicans signed onto the Senate bill

House Democrats Poised to Rubber-Stamp the “Achilles’ Heel of Dodd-Frank”

US household spending on health care tops $1 trillion in 2018 for first time

…In 2018, half of the Pentagon budget, a whopping $364 billion, went straight to corporate defense contractors.

Why Google’s Move into Patient Information Is a Big Deal

CBPP: Trapped by the Firewall:
Policy Changes Are Needed to Improve Health Coverage for Low-Income Workers

Insulin rationing led to daughter’s death, Lehigh Valley woman says. High cost forces many diabetics to do the same.

It’s amazing that insurance and pharmaceutical industry (folks) have been able to use
fears of rationing to *defend* the *current* corporate-run health care system that is
*right now* all about rationing health care & medicine

The Role of Hospital Monopolies in America’s Health Care Crisis

CBPP: House Medicare Bills Would Better Protect Low-Income Beneficiaries

A Look at Recent Proposals to Control Drug Spending by Medicare and its Beneficiaries

Context (2) for the misleading opposition to Pelosi’s drug bill…
Nancy Pelosi’s bill to lower prescription drug costs
would save Medicare a whopping $345 billion over 7 years, CBO says

Pelosi Calls Pharma’s Bluff on Drug Prices
Allowing Medicare to negotiate with drugmakers would barely slow the pace of innovation.

Note: Medicare used to negotiate drug prices until GW Bush’s Pharma bill.

Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association (PILMA)…
A low-profile group, financed by the pharmaceutical industry,
has hired former union officials to oppose drug-price proposals around the country

The group, a coalition that includes major drugmakers like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson as well as large construction-industry unions whose members help build pharmaceutical plants and research labs, has been buying print advertisements in local newspapers, mailing fliers to voters in vulnerable Democratic districts, and hiring former labor officials and well-known union lobbyists to deliver their message. It aligns closely with the talking points of drug companies, which claim that Ms. Pelosi’s bill would stifle innovation and damage a vital American industry.

Those who want to improve Pelosi’s drug bill…
H.R. 3 will help lower drug prices – but it can still be improved by:
– Making sure uninsured people benefit
– Negotiating more drugs
– Ending the ban on Medicare negotiation once and for all
– Protecting more people from price spikes
Call your Rep now:

.@RepJayapal @repmarkpocan & @RepLloydDoggett are championing these
improvements. Let’s strengthen and expand H.R. 3 and #LowerDrugCosts now.

We need my amendment & other progressive priorities in H.R. 3!
My amendment would limit #BigPharma’s ability to spike drug prices for hundreds of millions
of Americans. Let’s improve the Lower Drug Costs Now Act so it lives up to its name!

I’m hearing that the Congressional Progressive Caucus is whipping their members
to vote *against* HR 3, the drug pricing bill that Pelosi decided to commandeer. …

Pelosi pushed the caucus too far by whittling down the drug pricing bill, seen as a
top priority, and taking out Rep. Jayapal’s amendment to expand the population
of beneficiaries.

It’s the culmination of an incredible journey for a bill Pelosi named after Elijah Cummings.
She froze progressives out of the process and torched their amendments. Previous
Progressive Caucuses would have taken it. This one appears to be fighting back.

This mutiny is proof that Wendell Primus has destroyed the legislative apparatus
in the House and should be fired – See:

.@PramilaJayapal is right. Drug prices are crushing American families. A bill to fix this
shouldn’t work for only some drugs or some people – it should help everyone afford
lifesaving treatments.

See chart…
The number of people with private health plans fell in 2018, yet the amount spent per person *soared* 6.7%. Direct result of health care’s price-gouging, the merger arms race and poor negotiation.

“If we moved to a single-payer system, how would lobbyists put food on the table, and who would write lawmakers’ op-ed essays?” Great piece by @fmanjoo @nytimes

Choosing, using, and losing your health care: a first-aid kit
In a four-part weekly series, Globe Opinion offers a baseline assessment of health care as well as prescriptions for fixing the industry.

People hate shopping for health insurance
“It’s just too hard”

Millions already lose or change health plans every year

People Lose Their Employer-Sponsored Insurance Constantly

The Politics of Abortion is Entering a New Era


See billboard…
America’s for-profit health care system is internationally recognized as a disaster. Indeed, the threat that Boris Johnson’s Tory Party might barter off parts of the British national health system to US interests is a major issue in Britain’s upcoming election.


…1975: “Tuition-free higher education, reinforced by open access, recognizes that more than secondary-school training is needed to move ahead today.”

Federal executions are scheduled to resume on December 9, for the first time in 16 years. This is a grave mistake, one which goes against the wishes of many victims’ family members. (thread)

Death Penalty Series: The Condemned

97 economists and statisticians…
The OAS has to answer for its role in the Bolivian coup

The final OAS report was due to be released Nov 12th. Still no report


This debunks the OAS’s 5th publication on Bolivia’s election. Tellingly, the OAS still
doesn’t even look at how Evo’s margin increased as later precincts reported because
these were from more pro-Evo areas – the very first thing that any honest observer
would have looked at.

Thank you to the Washington Post and @marybsheridan for planning ahead and laying the groundwork now for when Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has to be removed by a military coup for the sake of democracy

Artificial Intelligence…
There was no need for @marybsheridan to write this. I guarantee AI is good enough
already to ingest the 1,000 Washington Post stories over the past century headlined
Worrying New Leftist Strongman Rises in Latin America and then spit this out.

Yes, no one can beat the Washington Post in defending a military overthrow of an elected
president in the name of democracy. When it happens in Mexico, they probably will tell us
how NAFTA increased Mexico’s GDP 10-fold (not)

===2020 Watch List===
Julie Hollar on Election 2020 Coverage

How Media Turn Support for Public Schools Into Opposition to Children of Color

Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib targeted in far-right fake news operation
Israeli-based group uses Facebook to spread disinformation to more than a million followers around the world, singling out Muslim US congresswomen

Google and YouTube have removed more than 300 Trump campaign ads, mostly over last summer, for violating the services’ policies, according to 60 Minutes.

Note: What about Facebook?

See referenced comment…
Funny how Twitter/Facebook are capable of acting on copyright complaints, but insist they are too incompetent (especially Facebook) to remove lies

Office of Management and Budget / Congressional Budget Office…
It seems Obama’s OMB/CBO man (now the Financial Advisory CEO of Lazard (Peter Orszag)) is starting to sweat all this talk about breaking up monopolies. If only the research he cited to show that big business isn’t a big deal was credible. (thread)


State lawmakers acknowledge lobbyist helped craft their op-eds attacking Medicare-for-all
Records provided to The Washington Post show a lobbyist made extensive revisions to state lawmakers’ columns attacking single-payer


Thread: Following today’s bombshell @washingtonpost story, I am calling on the @P4AHCF
to come clean about any other opeds secretly authored by the health insurance industry
to discredit #MedicareForAll.


@P4AHCF executive director’s double speak…

===2020 Watch List-Bias===
The “Bernie Blackout” Is in Effect – and It Could Help Sanders Win
The Intercept’s D.C. Bureau Chief Ryan Grim argues that the “Bernie Blackout” could actually help Sanders win.

PBS 2020 Segment Finds Time for Klobuchar, Sestak, and Bullock – But Completely Ignores Bernie Sanders. It was like watching “manufacturing consent in action,’ said Current Affairs editor Nathan Robinson.


See text graphics…
WashPost 11/20 vs WashPost 12/1


The person who gained ground is not allowed to be in the headline

===2020 Presidential Candidates===
Kamala Harris… Jan 21st
Kamala Harris drops out of the presidential race
Elizabeth Warren… Feb 9th
AP interview…

Note: I don’t care whether there are 2 men, 2 women, a man and a woman or a woman and a man on the ticket. My primary concern is whether or not they are qualified to support the issues, campaign effectively and do their jobs if elected.
Bernie Sanders… Feb 19th
We have introduced the most comprehensive climate change proposal by any candidate. Our Green New Deal will:
– Create 20 million jobs
– Transition us to 100% renewable energy
– Avert climate catastrophe (video) – See:


High-Speed Internet for All

Just as President Roosevelt fundamentally made America more equal by bringing electricity
to every community, urban and rural, over 80 years ago, as president, I will do the same
with high-speed internet.

The internet as we know it was developed by taxpayer-funded research, using taxpayer-
funded grants in taxpayer-funded labs. Our tax dollars built the internet. It should be a public
good for all, not another price-gouging profit machine for Comcast, AT&T and Verizon.

Biden: Launched his presidential campaign
with a fundraiser at the home of a top Comcast executive

Thousands of family farmers are forced off their land every year by big agribusinesses. It’s time the government had the backs of family farmers instead of doing favors for corporate agriculture monopolies. (video)

See referenced report…
Greed and out-of-control consolidation in our corporate health care system means higher profits for executives and outrageous costs for patients.
We will take on this dysfunctional system and pass Medicare for All.

The case for Bernie Sanders
Here’s why he is the best candidate to take on Trump in 2020


See letter…
Who thanked @BernieSanders for all of his work on behalf of @HillaryClinton’s fall 2016 campaign?
Hillary Clinton.

Click text graphic…
Sen. @BernieSanders campaign releases statement distancing itself from Buttigieg protester.
Buttigieg camp says a Sanders supporter disrupted their South Bend event last night.
“This country needs a serious and respectful debate over the major crises that we face.” – @fshakir
Pete Buttigieg… April 14th
Buttigieg stopped disclosing wealthy bundlers and fundraiser hosts after controversy

Context: Why the Government’s $1 Trillion Deficit Is Not a Big Problem for You,
but Rich People Complaining About It Might Be

Hartmann Context: Two Santa Clauses
or How The Republican Party Has Conned America for Thirty Years

Context: The deficit hawks are hypocrites.
What contributed to the deficit in 2018?
– Bush Tax Cuts: $488B
– Trump Tax Cuts: $164B
– Iraq & Afghanistan Wars: $127B
– Base defense increases: $156B
Without those policies we would have had a $156B surplus.

With $156 billion we could:
Eliminate child poverty.
Make public colleges, universities, trade schools and apprenticeships tuition free.
End homelessness in America.
This is how you respond to the deficit hawk hypocrites:

All that is context for referenced Buttigieg debt / deficit comment…
The only explanation for this is that Buttigieg is a Republican,
otherwise it doesn’t make sense

See text graphic…
This 2014 podcast is a window into why McKinsey is so important to understanding how Buttigieg sees government: He described South Bend as a “beta city,” and “also a bit like running a corporation that has 100,000 members of the board of directors and executive committee of 9.”

“I had the benefit of a great experience at McKinsey as a consultant where I was exposed
to a lot of different ideas and ways of solving problems.” Podcast is here: (video)

Years later…
Consulting firm McKinsey worked for ICE and recommended the government cut food and
medical spending for detainees. Really.

Four immigrant rights groups – @MaketheRoadAct @CPDAction @UWDAction
@PLANactionNV – are asking @PeteButtigieg to give back McKinsey employee
donations over “shocking and appalling complicity with the Trump administration’s
mass deportation  efforts.”

Nondisclosure agreement
Buttigieg won’t talk about his work at McKinsey because of an NDA? Voters should
consider him disqualified for office unless that changes.

Editorial: Buttigieg’s Untenable Vow of Silence
He need to give voters more information about his work for the consulting firm McKinsey

Click text graphics…
Under pressure to release more information about his time at McKinsey (including from
Elizabeth Warren and NYT) Pete Buttigieg, who is under a NDA, issues the following

Non-lawyers hear “non-disclosure agreement” and go “whoah, how could @PeteButtigieg
violate one of those, sounds ominous!” Lawyers are like… how the heck would McKinsey
enforce this NDA, it’s obviously entirely toothless.

Bernie in 2017: Supported a negotiated first step toward the ultimate goal of tuition-free college for all.
Pete 2020: Running an explicit scorched earth campaign against the idea of tuition-free college for all.
Pete today with a straight face: These are the same!

Sanders responds to Buttigieg on tuition free education…

Bernie’s proposal to:
Make public colleges, universities, trade schools & apprenticeships tuition free for everyone
Cancel all student debt, not 39% of it
Impose a tax on Wall Street speculators
Is supported by 58% of the American people

See referenced Buttigieg Senior Advisor’s comment…
Hi, Bernie’s debt-free higher ed plan covers trade schools.
As your campaign raises cash from billionaires while you somehow attack opponents as “elitist,” I have an idea for you: maybe you should actually read Bernie’s plan. It’s here:

See text graphic…
A little rich insinuating (Sanders) doesn’t care about workers without college degrees
when the NYT was writing headlines like this about him before (Buttigieg) was even born

***Krystall Ball on Buttigieg’s opposition to free college for all (video)


Hiltzik: Buttigieg is wrong–Free college should be free for all, including children of the rich

Baker: The Free College Battle (Patreon)

See generalized chart…
It is totally wrong to think that free college is somehow a subsidy to the rich. It is the very
opposite. The rich are paying for free college through their taxes. The beneficiaries are the
poor & the middle class.

During the halftime of today’s football games, @drpepper is giving a few student tuition
checks. They are overwhelmed by what this means for their futures. Imagine if we had
a government that let *every* college student realize their dreams. #priorities #CollegeForAll

Rather than funding education and expanding Social Security, the GOP says the solution is to let people tap into meager retirement savings to try to pay their skyrocketing school debt.
This isn’t a solution — it sounds more like something from a dystopian sci-fi movie


Meanwhile II…
Calling student loan financing an “untamed beast,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said it should be spun off into its own federal agency

Nov: Devos Refuses To Forgive Student Debt For Those Defrauded By For-Profit Colleges

(Buttigieg’s) Status Quo Bias
Changing the trajectory of the country is apparently off the table

The Hill left out a critical Buttigieg phrase from its tweet…
a phrase that occurs at the very end of the tweet’s video …

Buttigieg’s comment is fully quoted here by a senior advisor.
But then she goes after the person who took The Hill’s tweet at face value…
instead of The Hill’s misrepresentation.

Click text graphics…
Reminder: @PeteButtigieg this year criticized @BernieSanders & suggested Bernie is as divisive as Trump. But before that, Pete wrote an award-winning essay saying Bernie’s “ability to bring people together stand against the current of opportunism, moral compromise & partisanship”

Buttigieg dished it out. But he played the pity card when people pushed back…

Joe Biden… April 25th
Biden says “you ought to vote for somebody else” if you want us to ban fracking and transition away from fossil fuels now. Might I recommend @BernieSanders: the climate candidate. – See

Click text graphics…

See infographic…
@JoeBiden just endorsed taxing Wall Street trades. Who’s next? #WallStreetSalesTax

Repeat for context…
Centrists throw out the vague concept of a #PublicOption with no serious vetting while expecting those of us who support #MedicareForAll to defend every minor nuance of it. It’s annoying. So let’s have a short thread vetting the public option. …

1) A #PublicOption won’t actually reduce the number of uninsured. It just changes where
some people get their coverage. Source? A 2013 CBO analysis
So an option won’t even do the basic task of reducing the number of uninsured.
#MedicareForAll would

2) A #PublicOption won’t control costs or eliminate waste. In fact, it’s just adding another
payer to our complete mess of a system, meaning costs for the system at best probably
wouldn’t change, at worst may even go up.
#MedicareForAll would severely curtail healthcare costs

3) A #PublicOption won’t reduce drug prices. Even if the option itself was permitted to
negotiate for prices (highly unlikely) it wouldn’t have the economies of scale on its side,
meaning it wouldn’t be big enough to command the lowest drug prices.
#MedicareForAll would

4) A #PublicOption won’t address underinsurance, where people with insurance can’t afford
to use it because of copays and deductibles. The majority of medical bankruptcies come
from people who have insurance. The option won’t solve that.
#MedicareForAll eliminates cost sharing

5) A #PublicOption might cost more than private insurance, which is good at pricing the out
the sick through care utilization management. If the option doesn’t do the same,
it would absorb the sick and see astronomical premiums.
#MedicareForAll takes in everyone, healthy and sick

6) Most importantly, a #PublicOption won’t be any easier to pass than #MedicareForAll.
@P4AHCF, the main front group opposing us, openly admits it will fight the option just as
aggressively as MFA. So there’s no reason to settle for less if we get the same opposition

7) In summary: A #PublicOption has no policy or political benefit over #MedicareForAll.
It won’t expand coverage, lower costs, or fix our system otherwise. It won’t even be easier
to pass. Basically: it’s not a serious proposal, and ought to be dismissed outright.

…Medicare for All would cover all necessary care with no premiums, copays,
or deductibles, while saving people thousands on healthcare costs.

June Context: Bidencare System Will Kill 125,000 Through Uninsurance

See / click text graphic (which doesn’t explain why only 97% are covered)…
This is Biden’s plan on his website citing the 97% insured. …

Note: ~6 months after above report…

@JoeBiden responds to my Q on criticism his healthcare plan doesn’t cover *all* Americans.
His plan will “insure more than an estimated 97% of Americans…” Biden says this is
because its not automatic enrollment. (video)


Question: Where’s your transition plan?

@BernieSanders discusses M4A and the public option

Joe Biden: “I don’t think you should be paying for my son [Hunter] going to Yale Law School. I don’t think you should be paying for my daughter [Ashley] to go to University of Pennsylvania. I do think we should make it more affordable to attend school.”


Even Hunter Biden Admits His Work in Ukraine Was a Mistake. Why Can’t His Father Say That?

Ukrainian Fugitive Who Claimed to Have Dirt on Biden Firm Is Arrested
Oleksandr Onyshchenko publicly claimed to have inside information about Hunter Biden just as the impeachment proceedings got underway.

Question: Why would a Ukrainian refer to the “deep state?”
Steve Bullock… May 14th
Steve Bullock drops out of Democratic presidential race
The two-term governor of Montana fell short of qualification requirements for multiple debates and failed to gain traction in polling.
Joe Sestak… June 23rd (missed his announcement)
Former congressman Joe Sestak throws his hat into the presidential ring

Joe Sestak, former congressman and admiral, ends his bid for president
Michael Bloomberg… ???
Trump campaign says it will ban Bloomberg reporters from events, rallies
The news outlet, owned by Michael Bloomberg, announced it would not investigate its boss or other Democratic candidates but would continue to cover Trump.

Good luck trying to convince people that a news organization which bears a candidate’s
name isn’t biased. Just like with Bezos ownership of the Washington Post,
oligarchic control of our media hurts journalism and democracy

“(De Blasio) castigated Bloomberg’s apology for his race-based policing policies & excoriated his predecessor’s ‘damning’ record on homelessness…The Bloomberg campaign just wishes de Blasio had more decorum.” Bloomberg is crying about “decorum”? Really?


See following tweet…
A reminder that about 2 weeks before Bloomberg said this out loud, all of Media Twitter spent an entire day declaring that it was absolutely outrageous for me to say that Bloomberg’s candidacy unfortunately put a lot of great journalists in a tough spot.

Video: Asked about criticism over Bloomberg News not being able to investigate Democrats,
@MikeBloomberg says employees “just have to learn to live with some things.”
“They get a paycheck. But with your paycheck comes some restrictions and responsibilities.”

Former Republican Bloomberg reportedly is going after “swing voters”
What does that say about his policies? What are his policies?

Donald Trump
Phone logs in impeachment report renew concern about security of Trump communications


Trump has continued to use his personal cell phone to make calls, despite repeated
warnings from his staff that the practice could leave him vulnerable to foreign surveillance,
multiple officials told CNN.

Oct Context: Update: We Found a “Staggering” 281 Lobbyists Who’ve Worked in the Trump Administration. That’s one lobbyist for every 14 political appointees, and four times more than Obama had appointed six years into office.

Context: Trump Team’s Conflicts and Scandals: An Interactive Guide

Context: House Democrats have passed nearly 400 bills. Trump and Republicans are
ignoring them.  Legislative paralysis gripped Capitol Hill well before impeachment started.

Compare / Contrast…
Trump: …I was elected to “Clean the Swamp,” and that’s what I am doing!

2012: Congress’s war on the post office
The Postal Service faces a threat greater than email or economics: Politics

…in the first quarter of this (2012-2013) fiscal year, the post office would have made an operational profit, if not for a 75-year healthcare “pre-funding” mandate that applies to no other public or private institution in the United States.

Warren Gunnels, aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders, calls that mandate “the poison pill that has hammered the Postal Service … over 80 percent of the Postal Service deficit since that was enacted was entirely due to the pre-funding requirement.”

This death hug was part of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which was passed on a voice vote by a lame duck Republican Congress in 2006.  As I’ve reported, the mandate required the Postal Service, over 10 years, to pre-fund healthcare benefits for the next 75.  This unique burden costs USPS $5.5 billion a year. The new law also restricted the Postal Service’s ability to raise postage rates, or to provide “nonpostal services” that, in an e-diversion era, could be key to its future.  …


2018: Sanders Outlines Plan to Strengthen Postal Service

2018: Trump’s Fix for Postal Service: Privatize It
President Trump releases plan proposing Postal Privatization

Oct: US Postal Service Announces Retirement of Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan

Stop the Postal Sell-off: Say *no* to a privatizer as the Postmaster General

CBPP: New SNAP Rule Would Cost Many of Nation’s Poorest Their Food Aid

Today, the Trump Administration issued a draconian rule in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) that will cut off basic food assistance for nearly 700,000 of the nation’s poorest and most destitute people. Those affected – SNAP participants ages 18 through 49 who aren’t raising minor children in their homes – are among the poorest of the poor, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data. Their average income is just 18 percent of the poverty line. Their average monthly SNAP benefits are about $165 per month.

  CBPP: Work Requirements Don’t Work

SNAP & The 3-Month Limit: Lessons Learned from Maine

The Trump administration’s new formula for setting limits on SNAP aid uses national historical
employment data at the smallest possible geographic definition. In a downturn, need in high-
unemployment areas wouldn’t show up for two years after the fact!

Kids can’t learn on an empty stomach. #ProtectSNAP from the new proposed Trump admin
rule. Learn more about how SNAP helps millions of children & join us if you think the Trump
admin should keep its #HandsOffSNAP.

USDA taxpayer-funded podcast characterizes low-income Americans as entitled
and lazy USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue suggested that people on food stamps
don’t contribute to society

U.S. Farm Bankruptcies Spike Amid Trade War, New Debt Cap

See referenced Trump stock market comment…
Those aren’t record numbers


Trump has decided to convert his import quotas on Brazil and Argentina to 25% tariffs on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum. There is a lot to parse through here, some of it is counter-intuitive… (thread)

…Argentina and Brazil simply are not currency manipulators. (thread)

Brad is of course correct, but Canada wasn’t exactly a security threat when Trump hit them
with Sec 232 tariffs. I sense a pattern. What’s evil here is that favorable exch rates in these
countries is a necessary macro-adjuster to deal with their serious growth problems.

…I keep being struck by the willingness of markets to believe that Trump is finished waging trade war, then being blindsided by his next move

At some point investors will have to realize that Trump is never going to return to
business as usual – a rules-based trade policy with fairly predictable rules of the game.
The arbitrariness and unpredictability of his moves are a feature, not a bug

First of all, Trump doesn’t believe in rules that constrain him, on trade policy or anything else.
Beyond that, whim-based trade policy serves a valuable political purpose:
it lets him reward friends, both via protection and via tariff exemptions …

Trump Flouts Global Trade Rules with China, Embraces Them with EU

Air pollution nanoparticles linked to brain cancer for first time
Exclusive: tiny particles produced by motor traffic can invade the brain and carry carcinogens

Trump Administration Moves to Finalize Weakening of Car Efficiency Standards
The White Houes’s rule would cost the economy $400 billion by midcentury,
according to a new analysis from Energy Innovation.

The Trump Administration’s Latest: A Plan to Foul the Alaska Arctic

Pensacola shooting: Saudi student kills three at US naval base


Eric Schmitt, Frances Robles and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs at the NYT reported that Alshamran watched videos of mass shootings with Saudi friends at a dinner party the Wednesday before the Friday shooting. Then a terrorist watchdog site announced that it had found his Twitter account, on which he had posted a quote from the 9/11 mastermind Usama Bin Laden and gave evidence of hating Americans. He was enraged by the US wars in the Middle East and by the American complicity in dispossessing the Palestinians at the hands of Israel. Given that he was 21, his main experience of US wars was the rollback of ISIL in Iraq and Syria in alliance with Shiites and leftist Kurds, neither of them a favorite among Saudi conservatives.

  15 of the 19 – 9/11 terrorists were Saudis

Referencing Trump’s Saudi comment and Khashoggi’s murder …
Yes, shooting people is barbaric. The civilized thing is to use a bone saw


See referenced Pompeo comment…
Here’s a clear example of what diplomacy (instead of conflict) can achieve between adversaries. The Trump admin can follow this path to move away from the brink of a military conflict with #Iran.

Reporter: Are you concerned about rising sea levels at all?
Trump: “You know, I’m concerned about everything, but I’m also concerned about nuclear proliferation which is a very important topic and it’s a topic that we’re gonna discuss today.”

Nov: Trump Walks Away from U.S. Climate Leadership
by Starting Withdrawal from Paris Agreement
May 2018: .@AP is now confirming the details of what I reported two days ago. I said that
Europeans “offered over a dozen ways to ‘fix’ the agreement to Trump’s liking. He rejected
all of them.” He never seriously considered “fixing” the deal.

On this day in 1987, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range
Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the first treaty to require verifiable elimination of a whole class
of weapons (delivery systems, not – alas – warheads).
Trump unilaterally abandoned this treaty on August 2.

Feb: “Trump’s decision to unilaterally pull out of the INF Treaty… ignores all the lessons
from the Cold War…Russia is violating the INF…but the right path forward is to work to
bring them back into compliance, not free them to produce more nuclear weapons. ”

.@UnderSecT, after major spin about “upholding norms,” finally gets around to the real
reason Bolton has pushed Trump to kill the INF Treaty – some in the US want to deploy
new missiles banned by the treaty. R&D can now begin.

A few weeks ago…
Trump official who suggested dropping nuclear bombs on Afghanistan
now responsible for arms control issues

If Trump is “concerned about nuclear proliferation,” then he shouldn’t have pulled out of the
Iran deal, relentlessly attacked US alliances, and said South Korea, Japan, & Saudi Arabia
should get the bomb. The threat of proliferation is greater as a result of his policies.

Trump Administration Considers 14,000 More Troops for Middle East
The deployment could double the number of US military personnel who have been sent to the region since the start of a troop buildup in May.

The costs of walking away from the JCPOA (i.e. the Iran Deal) get higher and higher.
If we end up with 30,000 more troops in the Mideast than 6 months ago, it’s billions of
dollars and massive strategic distraction.

The worst injustices, from Chinese Exclusion to Jim Crow, were possible only by voter suppression that kept minority communities from having a say in government. And it’s happening again today. That’s why we need #HR4 to #restorethevote & stop states from requiring ID or purging rolls – Rep Judy Chu

Here is Rep. Elijah Cummings pledging to fight to the death to #RestoreTheVote (video)
Today: The House will pass #HR4 to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and end voter suppression. The bill now heads to McConnell’s Senate. …

Fortenberry, Bacon and Smith opposed the bill
Inside (Republican) John Roberts’ Decades-Long Crusade Against the Voting Rights Act

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