Towards an issues-based 2020 election (55)

===2020 Big Picture===
2005 Context: Roberts: ‘My job is to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat’

2012 Context: Money Unlimited
How Chief Justice John Roberts orchestrated the Citizens United decision.

The new majority opinion transformed Citizens United into a vehicle for rewriting decades of constitutional law in a case where the lawyer had not even raised those issues. Roberts’s approach to Citizens United conflicted with the position he had taken earlier in the term. …

On June 29, 2009, the last day of the term, the Court shocked the litigants – and the political world-by announcing, “The case is restored to the calendar for reargument.” The parties were directed to file new briefs. In plain English, the Court’s order told the parties that the Justices were considering overruling two major decisions in modern campaign-finance law. Most important, the Court was weighing whether to overturn its endorsement of McCain-Feingold in the McConnell case of 2003. As every sophisticated observer of the Court knew, the Court did not ask whether cases should be overruled unless a majority of the Justices were already prepared to do so. And Roberts and his allies were so impatient to overturn these precedents that they were not even going to wait for the first Monday in October. (An early argument would also put a decision in place well before the 2010 elections.) The second argument in Citizens United was set for September 9, 2009.

Note: Roberts misrepresented himself before Congress.

2012 Context:  10 Ways Citizens United Endangers Democracy
The Supreme Court got it supremely wrong when it held that
corporations had the same rights as people to spend money in elections.

When a 3-judge federal panel moved to dismiss the youth climate lawsuit yesterday,
one of them issued a blistering dissent: “It is as if an asteroid were barreling toward Earth
and the government decided to shut down our only defenses.”

In Citizens United, the judiciary decreed that corporations could dominate our elections,
and now they decree that only elections can deal with our gravest problem.
They’ve set up a Catch 22 that should haunt legal scholars, because it’s sure as he–
going to haunt the rest of us

.@4directionsvote is currently holding it’s second Native American presidential forum in Las Vegas to galvanize the Native vote on a national scale ahead of the 2020 elections. To learn more, please visit

And if you are able to, donate to this Native-led group that is organizing at the county level
in critical states all across the country.

Insightful article on what Presidents can actually do. Questions about this would be good for tonight’s debate. RDP is a valuable asset for progressives. Subscribe to its newsletter.

Moderators should ask Democratic presidential candidates
about these climate issues at tonight’s debate

Issues polling results prior to the debate…

Head to Head match ups

Just in time for today’s #DemDebate, this entirely free-access issue of the Bulletin magazine lays out the nuclear weapons topics that we should ask all US presidential candidates:

Note: Once again I couldn’t find just the debate video (i.e. no text or video annotations). C-SPAN is scheduled to air it Fri Jan 17th:

Most important moment of the #DemDebate was @BernieSanders being the only leading Dem with the guts to oppose Trump’s trade deal, and CNN trying to shut him down for saying the deal is awful for climate change – and Bernie just powering thru while his opponents looked dumbfounded – See

A Modest Improvement or a Deal to Be Rejected? Warren & Sanders Debate New NAFTA Rewrite


Democrats Debate Wealth Tax, Free Public College
& Student Debt Relief as Part of New Economic Plan

Instead of accepting Trump’s trade deal and compromises on saving the planet, Sanders said in Tuesday’s debate, “We need some corporate responsibility here.”

Wolf Blitzer is off by more than $100 billion. We spent more than $460 billion on prescription drugs in 2019 ($3,500 per family)…

The $1,300 per year is roughly the per person cost

So we’re supposed to believe that the only thing keeping billionaires from taking advantage of subsidized education at public colleges is that they’re not free yet?

The debate over making millionaires and billionaires pay is unbelievably foolish. It requires
means-testing everyone – wish people who talked about this one would try thinking for a minute

We can also prevent millionaires and billionaires from using streets and sidewalks free,
but thankfully we are smart enough to know that the money we would get is not worth
the cost of raising it

Best talking point on this: If we are going to make billionaires and millionaires pay to provide free
public college for everyone, the least we can do is let them send their kids if they want to.

Don’t agree with her prescription, but Klobuchar’s analysis – there is no skills gap, our economy has large and growing demand for workers w/o 4-year degrees — is dead on, and a refreshing break with the “Knowledge Economy” excuses for inequality that Dems long trafficked in

This is a far more substantive debate, with specific policy proposals and comprehensive answers on the vital national security threats we face. Kinda makes you wonder why the networks all avoided these issues for so long?

To be clear: @cnn spent 45 mins of debate asking questions about wars in the Middle East
and did not once ask candidates how they would pay for it. But a candidate wants to
guarantee health care?! Hold on, how are you gonna pay for that?

*Also:* the question is not how are we gonna pay for #singlepayer #MedicareForAll. The
question should be: how the he– are we going to keep paying for our current wasteful system?

If you’re frustrated by the disinformation campaign against #MedicareForAll, join the grassroots
movement led by nurses, docs & patients, who are fighting to guarantee healthcare. We only
win when we organize. They have $$, but we have people.

It’s interesting that there were no “how are you going to pay for that?” questions during the long discussion of troop deployments in the Middle East.

How about a “how are you going to pay for it” in reference to not doing anything about global warming

The Toughest Question at the Iowa Democratic Debate

Buttigieg’s Invisible Black Police

Iowa Debate Biggest Winners and Losers

Biden: “This is the United States of America. There’s not a single thing beyond our capacity to do.”
Also Biden: “We can’t do Medicare for All.”

Warren – Sanders exchange…

Responding to the report on what was said after the debate…
IMHO: She heard what she heard, he said what he said, nobody lied, it’s a matter of interpretation
of a 2 year-old conversation, I don’t remember what I had for breakfast, and the biggest loser
in the whole thing is the planet and the American people.


CNN Completely Botched The Democratic Presidential Debate
The anchors substituted centrist talking points for substantive questions.

At the Iowa Debate, Bernie Sanders’s Most Vociferous Opponent Was CNN



===2020 Issues===
Part of a Wallace Global Fund thread…
[A]fter years of work, today we are proud to stand alongside 200 other philanthropic foundations who have committed to divest from fossil fuels and *invest* in environmentally sustainable solutions.

Climate change and health

Are My Friends’ Deaths Their Fault or Ours?

AAG: Redlining tied to lasting differences in neighborhood temperatures

Neighborhoods in 108 urban areas that were once subjected to discriminatory housing practices tend to be hotter today than other communities, research shows. The difference may be related to the presence of fewer trees and green spaces in neighborhoods that were affected by redlining.

“The Lost Homes of Detroit” from @reveal and @detroitnews revealed that the city over taxed residents for hundreds of millions of dollars that never should have been billed to Detroiters in the first place.

Racist property deeds kept thousands of Philly homes off-limits to all but white buyers, study finds

How the Fair Housing Act Failed Black Homeowners
In cities like Jacksonville and St. Louis, maps of mortgage approvals and home values in black
neighborhoods look the same as they did decades ago, before the passage of the landmark
fair housing law.

Federal Housing Discrimination Still Hurts Home Values in Black Neighborhoods
Despite an urban real estate boom, the home-values gap
for traditionally African-American neighborhoods is actually getting worse.

2014: Staggering Loss of Black Wealth Due to Subprime Scandal Continues Unabated
Two years after we last investigated the the foreclosure crisis in the most affluent black county
in America, things aren’t exactly looking up – except, maybe, for the banks.

Clearing the Record: How Eviction Sealing Laws Can Advance Housing Access for Women of Color

Part 1: In a theme park parking lot at night, a worker sleeps in her car. This is life in America’s most visited city. In Orlando, home to Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, workers struggle with the lowest wages of the top 50 metropolitan areas in the country.

Wage thread


The New Jersey State Assembly voted in favor of the Guaranteed Severance Pay Bill.
New Jersey will now be the first state to make severance pay a legal right.


Laid off #ToysRUs workers sparked NJ bill to guarantee severance pay after mass layoffs.
“Firing people would actually come with a cost,” said @EileenAppelbaum. “That could tip
the scales in favor of keeping stores & factories open and people employed.”

[T]urning the Child Tax Credit into an inclusive child allowance

CBPP: This MLK Day, Let’s Remember the Links Between Racial Justice and State Tax Policy

The overall Consumer Price Index (#CPI) rose over the last year to 2.3%. Health insurance costs? Those rose 20.4% over the last year. @DeanBaker13 breaks it down in the Prices Byte.

New study by Chris Cai et al. just up at @PLOSMedicine.
– First ever systematic review of economic analyses of single-payer.
– Researchers analyzed 22 cost estimates over 3 decades
– 20 of the 22 predicted net savings
– Median net savings of 3.5%

A Minneapolis doctor on why America needs Medicare for All

A doctor’s endorsement thread…


Iowa Obamacare plans have $8,150 deductibles and $1,200 emergency room co-pays. Iowans are being crushed by the cost of health insurance. We must pass #MedicareForAll.


End of a patient’s thread

Anyone remember when every other industrialized nation in the world guaranteed health care and then all the doctors left and then the country went bankrupt and now all of its inhabitants are extinct? Yeah, me neither.

Wendell Potter: How the Health Insurance Industry (and I) Invented the ‘Choice’ Talking Point

“Americans now have little ‘choice’ when it comes to managing their health care. Most can’t
choose their own plan or how long they retain it, or even use it to select the doctor or hospital
they prefer.”

The prices are just too da-n high! @DeanBaker13 and I on how getting US health care prices in line with other advanced economies will require both more regulation and more competition.

Reducing the health-care tax

Most of the excess cost in the U.S. is not doctors, but we could still save around $100 billion
a year by paying our doctors what they get in Germany. France, and elsewhere. Unfortunately,
most of our “free traders” are not interested in free trade in doctors

Hospital Bankruptcies Leave Sick and Injured Nowhere to Go

Thread on high drug costs

Five of the big abortion fights…


Pick the report for any state…
A values-based early care and education system
would benefit children, parents, and teachers in Nebraska

Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Northwest News Network spent a year “documenting the rising death toll inside county jails across Oregon and Washington” where more than 300 people have died in the last decade.

A New War Will Not Produce Even Short-Term Economic Benefits

===2020 Watch List===
YouTube ads of 100 top brands fund climate misinformation – study
Avaaz says firms are unaware commercials being played alongside misleading videos

Thread: A network of at least 30 FB pages purporting to represent groups of Trump supporters from different states all appear to be set up by Robert Hyde, the latest impeachment figure. This week, they’ve shared dozens of posts defending Hyde.

Facebook has removed a network of pages that were reported to be sending coordinated
posts defending Robert Hyde, who this week was implicated in the Ukraine scandal.

My colleague David Brooks asserts that rising inequality is about productivity, not power. People used to say that a lot, but the preponderance of economic analysis has moved the other way, for good reasons

See chart…
Consider just one piece of data: CEO pay. Do we really think CEOs
have gotten hugely better since the 1960s, while workers haven’t?

Bear in mind that CEOs get lavishly rewarded even when they screw up massively.

I’d add that even to the extent that free-market forces drive market inequality – which is
dubious – tax and spending policy can offset much of this rise. Not doing so is a choice


Yes, David Brooks, there really is a class war

CBPP: A Guide to Statistics on Historical Trends in Income Inequality (note charts)

“[CEO] pay is not closely related to returns to shareholders, but rather the result of having
their friends on corporate boards…This is just flat out corruption,” writes @DeanBaker13.

This matters not just for shareholders, but for pay scales throughout the economy.
If CEOs got paid $2 million instead of $20 million, the world would look very different

See text graphic…
The @washingtonpost published an op-ed today slamming Bernie Sanders and Medicare for All that was written by execs at a think tank that gets funding from CVS Health, which owns insurance giant Aetna, and pharmaceutical companies

Third Way is a Wall St think tank whose mission is to destroy progressive Democrats, even if that means reelecting Trump CNN publishes @JoeLockhart without mentioning that his job is literally to “provide reputation counsel to CEOs and C-suite executives”




“Bipartisan deal-making,” which Bernie Sanders is surprisingly good at, and symbolically introducing bills with a GOP cosponsor, which Sanders doesn’t do, are completely different things. Not remotely the same. This is so embarrassing for the Times

As we enter the “Bernie vs Warren” stage of the primary, please remember:
Corporate media … is trying to rile you up over (trivialities and) will do anything to steer the debate away from critiques of capitalism/corporatism.

===2020 Watch List-Bias===
The Big Loser in the Iowa Debate? CNN’s Reputation

See table…
Worth noting that, in the key Midwest state of Wisconsin, @MULawPoll has Klobuchar trailing Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Booker, Yang and Bloomberg. The fantasy that Klobuchar has some kind of Midwest Magic is popular with pundits-but not backed up by the polls.

This is outrageous. NBC quotes Bernie saying he hopes Saddam is overthrown & then NBC *omits* the very next line in which Bernie says he opposes a war in Iraq: “I have serious doubts, however, whether the actions that we are taking today will take us one step forward.” Watch this (video)

Here’s a reporter pretending that wanting Saddam out of power is the same thing as supporting
a war in Iraq. Those things are completely different, as he well knows. But he’s pretending they
are the same because that makes a better story.

CNN strikes again…

===2020 Presidential Candidates===
Kamala Harris… Jan 21st (suspended her campaign)
Kamala Harris: “It is incumbent on this generation to fight for a system of justice in which all are treated equally … We in the U.S. Senate must agree that we cannot speak about the ideals of equality and justice and then act in ways that violate those very principles.”
Cory Booker… Feb 1st
.@corybooker is someone I will truly miss on the campaign trail. What I loved most about his team was their commitment to instill “radical love” into political discourse. That’s a thing of beauty. Although a competitor, he brought much to the table, even his terrible dad jokes
Elizabeth Warren… Feb 9th
Context: Bill Moyers with Wm Black

Of course Wall Street is nervous.

(State manufactured generic drugs) is a great idea, which Warren (and Jan Schakowsky) proposed at the national level. The bulk of the problem is with patents inflating drug prices, but there have been incidents of price gouging generics, which this would combat

When I asked Secretary @EsperDOD – a former top lobbyist for @Raytheon – to extend his recusal from his former employer through the duration of his tenure at the @DeptofDefense, he refused. That’s corruption, plain and simple. (video)

The defense industry can have a seat at the table – but they shouldn’t own the table.
We need to slam shut the revolving door between the Pentagon & big defense contractors
like @Raytheon – @EsperDOD’s former employer. I have a bill for that.
Amy Klobuchar… Feb 10th
It is patently absurd for @amyklobuchar to say that support for #MedicareForAll is “not real”. 81% of democratic voters support MFA. To millions of people fighting for #SinglePayer across this country, the fight for MFA is absolutely real, and their lives depend on it.

Want to know what is real? More than 70 million people in this country don’t have health care.
More than 40 million people can’t afford healthcare *even though they have health insurance.*
People die of preventable diseases because our health system is *failing*.

It is an insult to the working people of this country to suggest that unless corporate-backed
politicians support a policy, the fight for that policy isn’t real.
Bernie Sanders… Feb 19th
Bernie Sanders has the strongest, most far-reaching climate plan of any candidate running — which kinda seems important

Sanders is the only leading 2020 Dem with the courage to stand with environmental groups against Trump’s new trade deal


See Schumer’s comment…
As one of the only candidates opposing Trump’s trade deal, I want to thank
Sen. @ChuckSchumer for joining this fight. USMCA will make climate change worse.
We will do better when I’m president.


The Sanders Campaign Researched Whether Warren Could Be Both Vice President and Treasury Secretary at Once. The answer is yes, which could be unsettling news on Wall Street.

Bernie Sanders’s Lonely 2017 Battle to Stop Iran Sanctions and Save the Nuclear Deal

Responding to the question about what a Dem Socialist foreign policy would look like…
Contemplate ending the Forever War. Contemplate restoring Congressional authority over
military action. Contemplate reinvigorating American diplomacy. Contemplate leading a global
effort against climate change. Contemplate a foreign policy that builds on our common

A reminder that while most Democratic candidates stayed silent, @BernieSanders has been fighting to stop a war in Iran, way back when it was politically difficult.

Thread on Sanders’ leadership in opposing the Iraq War

Note: Millions of people took to the streets before Bush launched his war because we knew he hadn’t made his case.

Nice – and very Bernie-esque – answer from @BernieSanders when the NYT presses him on party unity:
KK: if you are not the nominee, will you support whoever is the Democratic nominee?
Sanders: I’ve said that five million times.

In advance of tonight’s debate, the @BernieSanders campaign releases a video that fact checks Bernie Sanders and @JoeBiden (video)

When you look at my record vs. Joe Biden’s record, I just don’t think that Biden’s record is going to bring forth the energy that we need to defeat Trump.

This is the moment when we have got to think big, not small
This is the moment to take on the 1%
This is the moment to take on greed and corruption of the corporate elite.
This is the moment to create an America for the 99%
Join our movement to build on this moment #DemDebate (video)

Latest ad

New @BernieSanders TV ad citing JFK calling for big American accomplishments
first aired 04:58 in Sioux City, Iowa, on KTIV (NBC).

Another new ad…

Pete Buttigieg… April 14th
Pete Buttigieg’s Campaign Used Notoriously Low-Paying Gig-Work Platform for Polling
Joe Biden… April 25th
Fact Check: Joe Biden Has Advocated Cutting Social Security for 40 Years

“Biden has repeatedly worked to cut Social Security & has never offered a good explanation
for his crusade. His Social Security record is not only atrocious on a policy level, it’s an
enormous political vulnerability in both a primary & a general election”


Sanders is right: Biden is vulnerable to Trump on Social Security
Don’t say I didn’t warn you

“There is no doubt Trump and his supporters will use all this against Biden should he be the
nominee… One Democrat who isn’t vulnerable? You guessed it: Sanders. He’s a longtime
Social Security champion.”


Joe Biden’s history of austerity
He’s pushed for cuts in Social Security and Medicare for decades

Joe Biden Can’t Outrun His Record on Social Security

“Biden’s campaign complained to fact-checkers at Politifact that his comments were taken
out of context. Placed in context, however, Biden’s record on Social Security is far worse…
Indeed, Biden has been advocating for cuts to Social Security for 40 yrs.”

For the first time @JoeBiden criticizes @BernieSanders campaign for pushing video comparing Biden and Paul Ryan’s stances on social security. Biden says its “beneath” Sanders’ campaign and hopes that they’ll “disown” it @cbsnews (video)

Joe Biden has a 40-year history of trying to cut Social Security, and he is doing everything
he can to hide that record from voters. You can see Biden’s record right here for yourself
in 3 videos:

Joe Biden has a 40-year record advocating for Social Security cuts. After voting for Reagan’s
tax breaks for the rich, he helped lead the effort to put Social Security on the chopping block
by proposing (an Orwellian-named) balanced budget amendment to the constitution. (video)

Note: The far right keeps trying to pass BBA’s. Here’s a response to a recent BBA…

2018 CBPP: Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment Poses Serious Risks
Would Likely Make Recessions Longer and Deeper, Could Harm Social Security
and Other Trust Funds

Question: Did Biden ever renounce supporting that BBA?

“Biden explain(ed) his support for a more austere federal budget, including putting Social
Security & Medicare ‘on the table.’…’When I argued that we should freeze federal spending,
I meant Social Security, as well,’ Biden said.”


Note: Biden’s staff are pointing to the contested Politifact piece and appear to be ignoring all the evidence.


Just to be clear folks, Joe Biden’s got a decades long track record of contemplating cuts to Social Security. No one needs to rely on a contested 2018 statement to make this case. I wrote about it here:

Bernie Sanders is sponsoring legislation that would stabilize the trust fund for 50 years
by eliminating the payroll tax cap on income in excess of 250k, including capital gains
& dividends.

One last point: women are more reliant on Social Security than men, so much so I’ve described
attempts to cut the program as a part on the war on women. You can read that here:

New Clip: Biden pushes deal with GOP to enact giant Medicare cuts
“Lets agree: I’ll go for a bigger cut in Medicare. I say we only need to do $89 billion. Thats all we need to do, not $270 billion. I’ll split the difference with you on that.”

April: Biden Says He’s the Workers’ Candidate, But He Has Worked To Cut Medicare and Social Security
The universal retirement programs are Biden’s go-to sacrificial lambs.

In journalist Bob Woodward’s 2012 book “The Price of Politics,” he portrays Biden during Obama’s first term eager to sacrifice Social Security and Medicare for the sake of bipartisan compromise and achieving what would be, in the eyes of Washington, a political victory.

Politico says Biden’s attack on Bernie used a “false claim”
NY Times says Biden’s attack was “without evidence”
Now Huff Post says “Biden is mischaracterizing Sanders’ tactics

MSNBC joins in on Biden’s lie…

What’s incredible is that @VaughnHillyard & MSNBC could just put this video on the air
and let voters decide… Instead, they are parroting Biden’s false & debunked claims.

April: Joe Biden, Net Neutrality Skeptic, to Attend Fundraiser Held by Comcast’s Top Lobbyist
As a senator, Biden took thousands from Comcast employees and did not back bipartisan
net neutrality legislation.

Gee, I’m mystified as to why NBC, which is owned by Comcast, keeps promoting a lie …

MSNBC reports that @JoeBiden made an “unforced error,” correctly notes there are “several
videos” showing Biden pushing Social Security cuts & correctly notes Biden “thru his career
in public office has at times signed onto” bills to cut Social Security. (video)

CNN: “it is fair for Sanders to point out that Biden has been a (“centrist”) on this, willing to touch what he himself calls the ‘third rail’ of politics and consider cuts to Social Security.” (video)

Democrats Must Reclaim the Center … by Moving Hard Left
America needs a centrist party that actually represents the economic center,
not just zillionaires like me.

Newspaper clip emerges showing @JoeBiden pushing to raise Social Security’s retirement age “Biden also suggested that a gradual increase in the retirement age would help to improve the Social Security system” Clip here:

2012: Proposals Raising the Normal Retirement Age for Social Security
Would Lead to Increase in Inequality

This (NYT) headline is wrong. Bernie + Biden did not “clash” over social security. New Biden “clashed” with Old Biden, Older Biden + Oldest Biden. Rather than admit to the glaring conflict, he called Old Biden “fake,” a Trump tactic.

This should matter to everyone but especially to journalists, scientists and anyone who likes
to believe they are in the truth business. We are at a perilous moment, flooded with willfully
faked information and authoritarians who want people not to believe their own eyes.

If we are going to tackle any of the urgent crises we face, not least the climate breakdown,
we need to re-establish trust in facts and objective reality, which is going to be tough.
The fact that Biden went straight to the fake news/doctored video trope is a big deal.

Rather than standing as an alternative to Trump’s attacks on science, journalism + basic facts,
he’s trying to politically profit off the trust breakdown created by the collision of Trump +
Zuckerberg and the fact that no one knows what to believe anymore. Bleak stuff.

Related :

Click to see rest of the thread
McConnell has told me he hopes to work with next Democratic President to trim Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. Says you need bipartisan deal to do so.

One question Democratic voters can ask themselves is which candidate is most likely
to strike a bipartisan deal with Mitch McConnell to trim Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid
and which ones are most likely to fight McConnell on this.

June: Joe Biden Says He Can Work With the Senate.
The Last Time He Tried, Mitch McConnell Picked His Pockets Badly.


2019: Joe Biden’s Paid Speech Buoyed the G.O.P. in Midwest Battleground

Can you be for controlling Medicaid and Medicare expenses by responsibly reining
in health care costs – by negotiating drug costs or purchasing in Canada for one example?
Not sure every expense control should be viewed negatively.

Sure, but it would be an odd way to phrase the issue. The point is to pay less for drugs,
medical equipment, and doctors, which would save Medicare and Medicaid money,
but that is a secondary effect.

Bruenig fact checks Goldwein…


See text graphic…
Bernie Sanders just now to reporters on @JoeBiden’s repeated efforts to cut Social Security:


I briefly caught Warren jumping into her car this afternoon and she joined Bernie hitting Biden on SS: “Bernie Sanders and I established the ‘Expand Social Security Caucus’ in the Senate. As a senator, Joe Biden had a very different position on SS.”

Biden sent an email with the lie


MSNBC just reported that @JoeBiden is now refusing to answer reporters’ questions about all the times he has openly bragged about trying to cut Social Security. Watch the clip: (video)

There are a lot of questions Biden doesn’t want to answer, and the few journalists in a
position to insist on an answer (unlike this guy despite a valiant effort) aren’t asking them:

No amount of backtracking will hide @JoeBiden’s record of attacking social security (and Medicare/ Medicaid). This is the same person that teamed up with credit card companies to write a predatory bankruptcy bill. Roll the tape (video)


I spent much of my career fighting efforts to cut and/or privatize Social Security.

Democrats like Biden, who were trying to make the big money types and the pundits happy
by offering compromise cuts (e.g. “adjustments,” “corrections,” etc.) were very harmful
to those of us trying to protect the program.

…rather than trying to deny long-stated positions, he should own up to them.

Assuming that he is now committed to protecting Social Security (meaning no cuts and
possibly increases), he should say so clearly and explain why he was wrong in the past.

If Biden refuses to acknowledge his past positions on Social Security and explain
how he has changed his views then he deserves all (push back). It is that simple.

Biden’s Nafta Vote Is a Liability in the Rust Belt

See text graphic…
Under tough questioning, @JoeBiden just admitted to the NY Times that under his health care plan, his corporate donors will be empowered to eliminate your health care coverage & change your health care plan in ways that will prevent you from accessing your preferred physician.


Joe Biden Doubles Down On A Racist Myth About Black Parents

“Biden’s suggestion that Black parents are reluctant to participate in their children’s education
and are responsible for the racial achievement gap has no basis in fact.”

Bernie Sanders was arrested fighting segregation.
Joe Biden did this:

NYT: Joe Biden’s Vote for War

…New front-page NY Times story on @JoeBiden leading America into the Iraq War & now
trying to hide his record. This line is key: “@BernieSanders saw the same information and
had the judgment to vote against the Iraq war.” #JoeVotedForTheWar

Rising’s Saagar Enjeti exposes Biden’s Iraq war lying with past clips

See text graphic…
Had forgotten about this:
Biden once so enthusiastically supported the Iraq War he told Bush (R) that if he could
get it done without having to stay for too long he’d get him the Nobel Peace Prize and
support him in the election. h/t @peterbakernyt’s book “Days Of Fire”

2008 Obama on people attempting to walk back their Iraq war vote is brutal…
@jaketapper played pieces of the clip today, here’s more of it: (video)

At the debate…
Joe Biden has suddenly gone from pretending he never voted for the Iraq War, to now suddenly saying his effort to lead America into that war was a mistake. …

Joe Biden just bragged that the reason he can be trusted on foreign policy is because
he brought the troops home from a disastrous war that he literally led America into.

Biden is not abandoning his repeated false claim that he opposed the war in Iraq from the moment Bush went to war — he did another version of the claim tonight. We’ve debunked it repeatedly:

Biden is correct that he called his vote a “mistake.” But that was in 2005. He keeps saying
he came out opposed to the war right when it started in March 2003. He very much did not.
He was a vocal supporter of the war, though also a critic of Bush’s handling of it, through 2004.

Biden is also dishonest when he keeps saying he only voted to authorize force because he
thought Bush only wanted to get inspectors in. Biden did want inspectors in, but he was very
clear, in 2002, 2003 and 2004, that he was voting for war if necessary — and believed in the war.

Joe Biden Is Still Lying About His Role In Invading Iraq

How Joe Biden defended his Iraq vote

“Biden continued to stand by the decision to invade Iraq…even as some of his Dem colleagues
began to turn against the war…at Tuesday’s debate, Biden repeated his false claim that he
opposed the war in Iraq immediately after it began”

The most consequential vote of a generation still haunts Joe Biden


In His Lies, Joe Biden Is Sounding a Lot Like Trump

Joe Biden’s campaign chairman Steve Ricchetti rallied Wall Street donors last week at New York based investment firm, Evercore. Attendees included Roger Altman, Blair Effron, Blackstone chief Jon Gray, Citigroup exec Ray McGuire and Mark Gallogly

Ricchetti encouraged the wealthy financiers to open their donor networks exclusively
to Biden as the first contests of the 2020 primary season are set to kick off in three weeks.
Gray, and most of the Wall Street execs, agreed with Ricchetti.

The biggest lie this campaign is that Biden is a comfortable, safe, middle of the road, choice.
He keeps getting caught trying to cover up his past choices, he elaborates in anecdotes, he’s sided with big money on Social Security, bankruptcy, NAFTA, he flipped on SuperPACs.
Andrew Yang… Nov, 2017
Yet another China is running out of people story
Fans of third grade arithmetic know that even modest rates of productivity growth
swamp impact of demographics. Too bad reporters don’t know this

… If a country has 2.0 percent annual productivity growth, after 20 years, productivity has
increased by 50 percent. This means its ratio of workers to retirees can fall 50 percent
and still maintain standard of living. China actually has been seeing productivity growth
of more than 5.0 percent. At this pace, its productivity will be more than 260 percent
higher in 20 years. Even the 2.0 percent growth would swamp projected changes in
demographics, the 5.0 percent makes them barely noticeable

The best part is that we have the Yang gang running around worried that productivity growth
will go through the roof (i.e. robots), eliminating all the jobs…

It’s amazing how so many people can believe both the running out of people story and the
jobs killing robots story. It is that hard to understand that these complete opposite concerns,
like it being too hot and too cold, at the same time?


The really interesting question here is what notion of how the economy and economics
(as a theory) works actually gives rise to this dual belief within the same person.

The NYT and WaPo are Both Worried that China is Running Out of People

Ross Douthat Goes Nuts on China’s “Population Crisis”
Michael Bloomberg Nov 2019. Hasn’t participated in a debate.
See text graphic…
Billionaire @MikeBloomberg is actively recruiting the super rich to be his campaign’s public surrogates and spokespeople

Democrats Don’t Need Mike Bloomberg’s Kinder, Gentler Plutocracy

It shouldn’t have had to come to this, but couldn’t Mike Bloomberg have a more certain impact on Nov 2020 by simply paying the fines owed by Florida’s felons?

2018: Florida votes to restore ex-felon voting rights with Amendment 4
The victory means more than 1 million people will regain the right to vote.

Lesiglative coup…
May: Florida’s Republican Legislature Votes to Nullify Popular Ballot Initiative
Enfranchising Former Felons

Donald Trump
Trump has broken more promises than he’s kept.

The Trump admin is weighing whether to seek changes to a law that makes it illegal for U.S. companies to bribe foreign officials. Trump once said: “It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas.”

(GOP) Tax Cut Hands $32 Billion Windfall to America’s Top Banks
Top banks saved $18 billion in 2019, even more than prior year
Meanwhile lending slowed, job cuts mounted and dividends rose

…yesterday in the White House Trump told JPMorgan Chase to literally thank him.
That bank benefited the most of all from (the) tax cuts – we’re talking $8.7 billion in two years alone

Plus there’s been arguably no bigger beneficiary from recently-announced trade deals
than the financial services industry …

Opportunity zones…
Controversial Trump tax break under investigation by Treasury watchdog

Note: The original tax was part of the infamous GOP tax bill. There are questions about the Trump Administration’s implementation of that law.

Prices of goods imported from China are down by just 1.8 percent over the last year This is your monthly reminder that Trump’s tariffs are a tax on people here, not China.

The markets are unimpressed by Trump’s promise that China will make huge soybean
purchases as part of his trade deal. Prices are lower than before his trade war began Doesn’t anyone believe our president anymore?


The China trade deal won’t be good for most Americans
From the perspective of working Americans who’ve long been hurt by our trade policies,
this new deal may do more harm than good.

Detailed thread

Why Trump caved on China
His chief mistake was to go it alone in forging a new trade agreement

The real US-China’s competition is not military. We plan to spend $2 Trillion on new nuclear weapons while America’s transportation infrastructure continues to deteriorate. Meanwhile…

As the countdown to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics continues, the new 108-mile high-speed
railway line connecting the capital with Olympic host city Zhangjiakou has just entered service,
cutting travel time between the two from three hours to 47 minutes

See plot…
One group that’s really been hit by Trump trade policy, slower global growth, stronger dollar, are blue-collar manufacturing workers. Their real weekly earnings have been falling for awhile, mostly driven by lower weekly hours.

Chicago detail is interesting
“Manufacturers facing slow demand again reported cutting hours rather than laying off
workers because they were worried the tight labor market would make it too difficult
to hire when demand recovered.”

…The government can facilitate this by allowing unemployment benefits to be paid to workers
facing shorter hours. Many states already do, but others could as well. In addition, programs
are overly bureaucratic and need to be modernized

How Does the WaPo Know the Trump Administration “Seeks More Accountability from [Federal] Employees”

An administration that cared at all about well-functioning federal agencies would not have
destroyed the Ag Department’s research division by moving it to Kansas

See referenced Trump comment…
There’s no better evidence that Trump is using tariffs as a political weapon than his attitude towards Apple. Creating leverage in negotiations with a trading partner is one thing. Manipulating newly created rules for individual companies to achieve domestic priorities is another

See referenced comment…
Every American should realize this is a shameless, egregious lie. Trump is pushing to kill Obamacare & with it, protections for pre-existing conditions. Trump savaged McCain for voting to save Obamacare & pre-existing conditions. Trump has no plan to save pre-existing conditions.

Question: Medicare open enrollment ended ~a month ago. Why are privatized Medicare (i.e. Medicare Advantage) commercials still running?

CBPP: Sabotage Watch: Tracking Efforts to Undermine the ACA

Trump tells HHS secretary he regrets wading into “that f***ing vaping thing”
It’s one of Trump’s few health care accomplishments heading into 2020

The Trump Administration Weakens Standards for ICE Detention Facilities

The Authoritarian Dreamscape of the New Wild West
William deBuys reports on the humanitarian and environmental disaster of Trump’s border wall.

Trump is preparing to divert an additional $7.2 billion in Pentagon funding for border wall con-
struction this year, five times what Congress authorized him to spend on the project in the
2020 budget, according to internal planning figures obtained by WaPo.

Note: Stealing from the Treasury is against the law.


Compare / Contrast…
The Government Accountability Office has found that the Office of Management and Budget
violated the law by withholding aid to Ukraine.

Trump tried to divide Iranian Public from Regime, but 86% of Iranians are Negative toward US


Trump Says U.S. Is Ready for War. Not All His Troops Are So Sure.
A series of accidents calls the military’s preparedness into question.

Trump Is Privately Obsessed With Bernie’s Popularity

According to the pool report, Trump has arrived at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, FL. This is Trump’s 344th day at a Trump property as president (per NYT).



In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security assistance to Ukraine.  In order to withhold the funds, OMB issued a series of nine apportionment schedules with footnotes that made all unobligated balances unavailable for obligation.

Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA.
US Government Accountability Office file B-331564

Trump is illegally withholding $18 billion in disaster funding that Congress approved after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the island in 2017.
~$10 billion short: Trump administration ending delay on over $8B in Puerto Rico disaster aid:

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