Towards an issues-based 2020 election (74)

===2020 Big Picture===
“American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the KKK type of demagoguery.” — Vice President Henry Wallace
He was right.

1996 D platform: “We established the death penalty for nearly 60 violent crimes…
and we signed a law to limit appeals.”
2016 D platform: “We will abolish the death penalty.”
Sometimes fights for the soul of the Democratic Party are won.

George McGovern won the 1972 Democratic nomination with a grassroots campaign for
economic and social and racial justice, protection of the planet and peace. Party elites
immediately formed “Democrats for Nixon.” I write about the betrayal in my new book.

When Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) began angling in the ’80s
to move the party to the right, Jesse Jackson warned that “DLC” really meant “Democrats
for the Leisure Class.” I wrote a book about why Jackson was right about that.

The CDC is recommending that voters consider alternatives to casting their ballots in person during upcoming elections amid fears of spreading the coronavirus.
“This guidance … makes it clear that the government must take steps to protect voters.”

Can Our Ballots Be Both Secret and Secure?
With homomorphic encryption, voters can check that their choices have been counted without revealing them to anyone else

Faithless Judiciary: SCOTUS, Appeals Courts Block Voting Rights Expansion Efforts Amid Pandemic: ‘BradCast’ 7/7/2020


The Next Time Someone Tells You a Businessman Should Run the Country…

Relates to mail in voting…
The Billionaire Behind Efforts to Kill the U.S. Postal Service

Topple the Electoral College
A Supreme Court ruling upholding restrictions on “faithless electors” – – does nothing to legitimize this anti-democratic institution

The Electoral College is an antidemocratic relic of unconscionable compromises made at
America’s founding by a cabal that schemed to perpetuate human bondage. It should never
have been allowed to linger into the 21st century. Topple the Electoral College!

If this foul remnant of 18th century oligarchy – and the determination of Southern politicians
to preserve the power of slave states – isn’t abolished, there is every reason to believe that
the Electoral College will continue to upend popular democracy.

I highly recommend @adamscohen’s new book: Supreme Inequality.
The book in a nutshell: “For 5 decades, the Court has, with striking regularity, sided with the rich and powerful against the poor and weak, in virtually every area of the law.”


The Politics of the Roberts Court Are Clear

In 1960, the D platform promised: “We will repeal the authorization for ‘right-to-work’ laws, limitations on the right to strike… and other anti-labor features of the Taft-Hartley Act.”
In my new book, I argue it is WAY past time to keep this promise.

Nichols: Mark Pocan’s old-fashioned patriotism
Pocan says that the US needs to focus less on intervening in the affairs of foreign lands and more on the work of forging a more perfect union

Call me old-fashioned, but I think taxpayer dollars should go to  healthcare, education & housing
for the people – not the profits of @Raytheon, @LockheedMartin & @BAESystemsInc

Thread on patriotism…

A Moral and Economic Imperative to End Racism

I’m impressed, from Rapheal Bostic of Atlanta Federal Reserve Board (representation matters!):

He is the country’s first Black Federal District Bank president. That’s kind of incredible,
since there are 12 districts and the Fed has been around for more than 100 years.

Yes, and it didn’t happen by accident. @popdemoc’s FedUp campaign raised these issues
front and center, as you know because you were a part of this effort.

Charles Booker Could Have Won
If progressive organizations keep waiting for candidates to catch fire before they hop on board, we’re doomed to keep losing winnable races.

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.

McGrath outspent Booker by ~ $42,600:$1

Interesting stats:
– Biden spent $204 million to win 2525 DNC delegates
– Bernie spent $207 million to win 1074 DNC delegates
– Warren spent $136 million to win 53 DNC delegates
– 22 other candidates spent $1.8 billion to win 58 DNC delegates

The Democratic Party needs to stop pulling punches on:
… and so many other issues. The times demand a bolder, more visionary politics.

===2020 Issues===
Michael Mann: Climate Is Heating Faster Than Expected

Europe’s carbon taxes appear to have no negative effect on aggregate employment or GDP growth, and despite their modest coverage have been effective at reducing emissions , from @gibmetcalf and James H. Stock

Seismic risk, climate risk, fiscal risk – oh my! Here’s a solution we’re putting in place in OR that may avoid all three, “fossil fuel risk bonds,” while protecting the taxpayer from picking up the tab.

Yes, for once could we please privatize the risk instead of the profit!

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, July 14, 12pm EST:
Join leaders from @IENearth, @MazaskaTalks, @RAN, @SierraClub & @BankTrack for the 1st
of a 2-part webinar series on how big banks fuel the climate crisis & what you can do to help stop
them! RSVP here


How the CARES Act Led to the Pandemic Surge
It’s all about the (still) missing state and local aid. …

We knew what worked and ignored it…
March: Europe’s Economic Recipe for the Pandemic: Keep Workers in Their Jobs

So do this instead…
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.

Universal Child Benefits provide a vehicle for easing the burden of extreme poverty. The United States should support global responses to poverty that embrace  interventions that get resources to those who need them most.

How to Give Workers a Raise Without Employers Paying for It

Powell’s comment on Fed bank accounts didn’t get one millionth of the attention it deserved, He effectively said that households could save tens of billions if we let them have accounts at the Fed, but we shouldn’t allow it because it would hurt the banks (thread)

Imagine that our trade economists told us that we could save billions on cars by outsourcing
the production to developing countries with cheap labor, but we shouldn’t do that
because it would hurt U.S. autoworkers.

It shows the wonderful double-standard at play in economic policy. When we can achieve
greater efficiency at the expense of ordinary workers, it is absolutely imperative that we do it.
You know — we all love free trade

But if the question is achieving greater efficiency at the expense of the banks –
well that’s off the table.


Now do health insurance

Yes, same story

How the House Armed Services Committee, in the Middle of a Pandemic, Approved a Huge Military Budget and More War in Afghanistan

Note: There are far too many R & D neocons (and neoliberals) in Congress. And leadership knows how to optimize their power via committee assignments.

House Armed Services committee Set to Give
850,000 Acres of Nevada Wildlife Refuge to Military

The Air Force has been seeking to expand its Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) bombing range for several years, proposing to take over 1.1 million acres of the adjacent Desert National Wildlife Refuge. Today’s amendment came from noted public lands opponent Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) but was approved on a voice vote by the Democratic majority committee.

Note: All it would take for Rs to pass legislation in this committee are 3 D votes.

In the midst of a pandemic, an economic meltdown, systemic racism and climate change,
Republicans and Democrats want to pass a record-breaking $740 billion military budget.
My amendment cuts military spending by 10% and uses the savings to help the poor.

Police, Prisons, and the Pentagon: Defunding America’s Wars at Home and Abroad

The NDAA Should Prompt a Rethinking of Costly US Foreign Policy
The annual (military) authorization bill offers a chance to end wars and programs
that are not worth their price.

Let’s Defund the Pentagon, Too
We must begin moving beyond militarism, as Martin Luther King urged more than 50 years ago

CBO has a new report on how IRS funding cuts have weakened tax enforcement, esp. for high-income people and corporations, and drained revenue. The crux: “Since 2010, the IRS has done less to enforce tax laws.” Here are some other key points…

The 1 Percent’s Quarter-Trillion Dollar Tax Cheat
As the social safety net is shredded, new data show that billionaires and corporations
are refusing to pay hundreds of billions of dollars of owed taxes every single year.

Funding the IRS is a rare policy where spending money actually makes you money.
CBO says that spending $40 billion would bring in $103 billion directly (and this doesn’t
account for the people who’d be induced to not cheat on their taxes).

As opposed to government (Congress / WH rule making) rigging the market to generate inequality…
David  Leonhardt gives us the “White Savior” view of inequality: we need the good government to save us from the inequality generated by the bad market

Details in “Rigged” [it’s free]

Markets don’t just “exist,” they are constituted. They can be constituted in ways that promote
decentralized power or ways that don’t. The biggest problems of our time won’t be solved
until we reconstitute these markets (and eliminate some that shouldn’t exist at all).


[I]n 1958 Seymour Melman testified to the Senate as to the inefficiency of the patent system.
This google book seems to be the best link to his testimony:


Now available online: <#Digital #Trade Rules> by Deborah James provides a detailed look at the efforts of #Amazon, #Google or #Apple to secure new accords at the #WTO that would allow them greater access to #data with minimal restrictions. @ceprdc @owinfs

Rules governing cross border e-commerce and other digital trade may sound esoteric,
but the stakes are high for emerging economies. The world needs to get this right
and not repeat US mistakes & lax regulation of tech. …

Context: A handful of private equity barons were paid $230 billion of fees by public pensions and other investors – and in exchange, those private equity barons delivered investment returns that didn’t beat a discount Vanguard fund

Pension funds & other LPs are supposed to be sophisticated investors, so why are they still
committing capital to hedge funds? Making billions for hedge fund managers, peanuts for LPs


The Supreme Court just ruled that employers can deny birth control to workers for religious or moral reasons.

This whole employer based healthcare situation sure is awesome.
If only there were another way. #M4A

Hobby Lobby still covers Viagra, but not IUD.
Because a fertilized egg is clearly God’s will, but impotency clearly isn’t.


It is genuinely incomprehensible that people can watch tens of millions of Americans lose their health insurance in the middle of a pandemic and not support Medicare for All.

There are ways to spend less on prescriptions –
we take advantage of them but don’t understand how they work

Introducing the Best Hospitals for America
Here are the institutions that save lives, save money, and serve social justice.

The choice before us is not between schools staying closed or schools reopening in potentially unsafe conditions. The choice is whether we care enough about opening schools to do what is necessary *now* so it will be safe to do so in the fall.

A country with more than a $700 billion defense budget
should be able to find a way to educate its children safely.

Two good articles today on the corrosive culture of consultants in Washington. One on GOP lobbyists, the other on Democrats. Both, interestingly, involve Raytheon and its arm’s sales to the Saudis for their war on Yemen.

“The story behind Mr. Pompeo’s meeting with Raytheon, which has not been previously reported,
is emblematic of the outsize influence wielded in Washington by Mr. Urban and a small group
of other lobbyists and operatives who backed Mr. Trump.”

“But many of the people who work closely with Biden are enmeshed in the opaque world of
strategic consultancies and by extension a network of the world’s biggest businesses,”
warns @mideastXmidwest

Join us for our next panel discussion on “The Future of Iran Nuclear Deal Amid Iran-US Tensions,” scheduled for Wed, July 15th at 10 AM EST. Register here

Progressive foreign policy groups just released a new letter laying out a range of demands for a Joe Biden presidency. It calls for a “fundamental re-envisioning of the US role in the world,” and stakes out a robust progressive internationalism:

Just posted with @enfein. Our analysis of how Democrats cn redefine national security to meet the demands of the moment – and win big in November. @DefenseOne


Jobs may be created by the nuclear weapons industrial complex, but at a high cost to everyone involved. The jobs created are for a select few, rarely local citizens, often create long-term health issues, and do little to benefit the local communities.
Our nation needs a wake-up call to the nuclear threat
A new book sounds the alarm.

“As Collina said to me: ‘Efforts to rebuild the economy, fight off the coronavirus, stop global
warming and address racial injustice will all cost money. And we have a $2 trillion nuclear
piggy bank we can use as a down payment.'” @KatrinaNation


Great analysis by @gkucs @RStatecraft. Why China got the bomb, why they have fewer than France, why they think US nuclear policy is self-defeating.

===2020 Watch List===
Keep an eye out…
Everyone realizes the entire Lincoln Project/Never Trump GOP stuff is all designed to make sure that after Trump loses, America is owned by Bush/Cheney Republicans and Wall St Dems, while progressives are cancelled…right? …

===2020 Watch List-Bias===
Facebook civil rights audit finds ‘serious setbacks’

Vince Warren and Angela Glover Blackwell Reimagine Civil Rights

Twitter has suspended more than 50 white nationalist accounts.

NTY Editorial Board embraces many of Bernie’s ideas in this piece without mentioning his name and while also being the same people who gave a half-endorsement to Amy Klobuchar

NYT Acknowledges Need for Economic Change – Without Crediting Those Who Would Bring It

Let’s stop fooling ourselves. The single reason that any supposed Democrat would oppose #MedicareForAll during the worst pandemic in a century is because powerful health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations are paying them to.

Folks on this website spent months vilifying Bernie staffers as “grifters” because they pushed for things like Medicare for All and debt-free college. Those same critics have said nothing about this.

CNN’s Coverage of Sanders Was 3X More Negative Than Biden Following Their Big Primary Wins
A tale of two media narratives

Trump Campaign Ads Mislead Viewers About Black Protesters Who Stopped Violence
Through deceptive editing, two Trump campaign ads falsely portray law-abiding Black Lives Matter protesters who acted to prevent violence as dangerous thugs

Eye-popping number in Monmouth poll: Just 18% of voters think “defund the police” means “get rid of police,” while 77% say it means “change the way police operate.”
Trump rn is running ads portraying “Biden’s America” as one w/o police.

Facebook has removed nearly 100 social media accounts and pages with links to Roger Stone and the far-right group Proud Boys for posting misinformation.

Don’t repeat lies when reporting on them!!!!! Emphasize the truth – not the lie



===2020 Presidential Candidates===
Pete Buttigieg… April 14th
Joe Biden… April 25th
@JoeBiden defends fracking. “Well, fracking is not going to be on the chopping block,” he tells @chelseastrub. Sanders, Warren, Harris, Steyer, Booker all wanted to ban fracking.

Fracking boom tied to methane spike in Earth’s atmosphere

Methane: The other important greenhouse gas


Biden scored far lower on the Green New Deal and fossil fuels than Bernie
But the president scores worse…

[T]he @JoeBiden (labor) plan is aggressive and robust, but I wouldn’t call it a ‘workforce’ plan, which connotes training and such.  It is about labor policy and unions:

In the midst of the mismanagement of our nation’s fight to keep the novel coronavirus under control, @JoeBiden has a proposal to address the gaps remaining in our preparedness that puts Americans to work. #BuildBackBetter  Read about it:

Big if…
On MSNBC, @BernieSanders says his task forces with @JoeBiden made an “honest effort to come up with a compromise” on the issues and that, “if implemented, will make Biden the most progressive president since FDR.”

This is excellent work by the Bernie-Biden task force — but with one caveat: unless there is
constant pressure on Biden to deliver, there’s a very real risk that Biden could do the same thing
he did on this same issue in 2008-2009:

See text graphic…
Interesting tidbit from the economy “unity” task force between @JoeBiden & @BernieSanders teams.
Sanders camp went in making a federal jobs guarantee their big priority. It took up a lot
of negotiating time, and ultimately ended with some language alluding to jobs programs.

Some other @BernieSanders team asks that didn’t make it into the final task force report:
– A stock buy back ban (currently a bill sponsored by Sanders and Schumer)
– Right to strike
– Bringing Medicare age <60
– Expanding Medicare for dental/vision/hearing
Donald Trump
Context: Analysis: Trump attacks on mail-in ballots will cost Republicans
If Trump’s intention is to convince his own base not to vote in November, evidence suggests he is doing a good job.

Trump calls mail-in ballots ‘dishonest’ but says absentee ballots are ‘fine.’ They’re the same thing.

Lara Trump-RNC robocall called mail-in voting safe and secure while President railed against it

Donald Trump Manages to Wear a Mask and Undercut Mask-Wearing at the Same Time
Before the president finally wore a mask in public, he made a point of undercutting the public health advice by suggesting they were only needed in hospitals.

Griffin responds to Donald Trump’s campaign manager…
Donald Trump only wore a face mask in public after more than
130,000 Americans died from the coronavirus. How is that putting America first?


Meanwhile in San Antonio Texas…
30-year-old dies after attending ‘COVID party’ thinking virus was a ‘hoax’

Meanwhile in Fort Myers Florida…
Florida teen who died of COVID-19 attended large church gathering,
was given hydroxychloroquine at home


Alabama students throwing ‘COVID parties’ to see who gets infected: Officials
Rising infections prompt Gov. Kay Ivy to extend ‘Safer at Home’ orders.

See text graphic…
Your semi-regular reminder that the federal government is still granting exemptions to sweeping tariffs in absurdly minute detail at the request of strung-out companies with the aid of expensive lawyers and lobbyists. …

(The President’s) consumer watchdog just allowed payday lenders to give loans to people who can’t afford them.
Payday loan interest rates can top 600%. The new rule allows payday lenders to approve people without considering if they can afford to pay them back.

Trump’s Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia just helped the financial industry funnel workers’ savings to private equity billionaires and fossil fuel companies – all while he helped Wall Street execs complete their plan to gut conflict-of-interest rules

DeVos’ Education Dept has a new tactic on borrower defense claims from students whose schools scammed them: Approve the claims, but give 0% debt relief.

Here’s a photo by Jessica Pons of a former ITT student, Albert Paul Cruz, holding his
‘you’re approved and get a 0% discharge’ letter

Also: The Ed Dept seems to only be approving claims for 7 groups of borrowers, from cohorts
the dept decided back in 2017 to approve. Details in this IG report:
All other claims, no matter how much evidence is submitted, appear to be getting denied

For ITT borrowers, the department’s relief methodology shows that students in the majority
of the ITT’s covered programs (15 of 26) will get 0% relief.

“More than a dozen recent denial notices reviewed by The New York Times range from
incomplete to opaque. A line in one reads, ‘We considered evidence gathered from the
following sources: [*Insert Bulleted List and Format Before Sending*].'”

Context: Internal documents from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that fully reopening K-12 schools and universities would be the “highest risk” for the spread of coronavirus, according to a New York Times report


“There’s nothing in the data that suggests kids going back to school is in any way dangerous.”
– Ed Sec Betsy DeVos

The president threatens to cut federal funds from schools that don’t reopen

Is Barron Trump returning to in-person classes this fall? The press needs to find out

2016 Context: International students are now ‘subsidizing’ public American universities
to the tune of $9 billion a year

[W]e had a trade surplus on education (more students come here than go there) of $37.2 B
last year. That compares to an overall deficit of a bit more than $600 B

ICE just told students here on student visas that if their school is going online-only this fall,
the students must depart the United States and cannot remain through the fall semester.


Harvard, MIT sue to block ICE rule on international students
that would prevent many from staying in the US.

If the President and daughter really want to help, they should visit #environmentaljustice #sacrificezones & work with those communities on a comprehensive plan that addresses the #systemicracism that is literally killing black and brown people

See referenced report on a new ICE class…
Will this course teach me how to arrest Wall Street criminals
and Trump administration cabinet officers?

Jacob Soboroff’s new book tells the story of Trump’s family separation policy from its early roots up to today.

Yes-men & -women don’t make good intelligence leaders…
The former head of the hub for analysis of counterterrorism intelligence warns that America’s intel agencies risk slipping back into dangerous pre-9/11 habits. He was so alarmed that he shared his concerns with the intel community’s top internal watchdog.

Context: Iran and China have quietly drafted a sweeping economic and security partnership that would vastly extend China’s influence in the Middle East, throwing Iran an economic lifeline and creating new flash points with the U.S.

If one set out to empower Iran’s hardliners, slash restraints on its nuclear activities & jeopardize
the safety & security of US personnel & allies in the region, it’d be hard to surpass the
effectiveness of the Trump-Pompeo “maximum pressure strategy” at achieving those outcomes

Iran Is Becoming Immune to US Pressure
Donald Trump’s so-called maximum pressure campaign has empowered
hard-line figures in Tehran, marginalizing those eager to take the diplomatic route

Pompeo et al are gunning for a showdown with Iran. The relentless (failed) campaign of maximum
pressure will continue & even ramp up as we move closer to the election. The high level of chaos
& incompetence within Trump & around him is a dangerous brew.

Behind the scenes, Trump directed the CIA to share intelligence information on counterterrorism with the Kremlin despite no discernible reward, former intelligence officials who served in the Trump administration told Just Security.

Vindman to retire from military. …

Vindman’s attorney: “The President of the United States attempted to force Lt Col Vindman
to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a President. Between honoring his oath
or protecting his career. Between protecting his promotion or the promotion of his fellow soldiers.”

Lt. Col. Vindman in November: “Dad, I’m sitting here today in the U.S. Capitol, talking to our
elected professionals, is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the
Soviet Union and come here to the USA … Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”

Sen. Duckworth: “Lt. Col. Vindman’s father fled Russia because he believed the United States
of America represented a meritocracy where truth matters. Where right matters. Today is a
chilling reminder though, that nothing is guaranteed. It is a Republic, if we can keep it.”

UN Special Rapporteur: US Drone Strike killing Iranian Gen. Soleimani was Unlawful

“Despite all his boasting about beefing up our defense, his brags that America is stronger than ever, Donald Trump has placed our national security in peril,” writes @MichaelWinship.

President Trump’s Bad Day in Court

Donald Trump has commuted Roger Stone’s sentence.

A reminder that just yesterday, Bill Barr said that Roger Stone’s prosecution was “righteous.”

The White House statement on Roger Stone’s commutation
contained at least 12 lies and falsehoods.

Schiff on NBC: “A jury of Roger Stone’s peers found him guilty on every charge.
And what the president is effectively doing is saying, it’s okay to lie to Congress,
as long as you lie to protect me.”

Trump told Hannity a story about threatening Seattle. The mayor says it never happened.
“It just never happened,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says. “I don’t know what world he’s living in.”

Before Trump’s New Hampshire rally was canceled, there were warning signs: There were no supporters camped out; the GOP governor was skipping; there were bad weather reports.
Sources said fears over low turnout motivated the decision to scrap the event.

Donald Trump Is Selling White Grievance. The Suburbs Aren’t Buying It.



Excellent chart from Deutsche Bank showing how the CARES Act has helped consumers in the lowest income quartile. Letting these benefits expire would be a huge policy failure.

The Fair Wage Guarantee that @owenslindsay1 and I have proposed would not only extend these benefits before they expire, but lock them in for the long run in the form of higher wages for workers coming off of unemployment. You can read more here:


But a government-funded back-to-work bonus would lower wages / hurt workers:

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