Sunday, June 18, 2017



Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had a problem when the American Health Care Act arrived from the House last month. What to do with a bill that is clogging your agenda but only 8 percent of Americans want you to pass and members of your own caucus swore was dead on arrival? … Faced with that reality, McConnell could have started over and had the Senate develop its own legislation, perhaps even working with Democrats on a bipartisan alternative that could withstand the test of time. Instead, McConnell put a plan in place to pass something close to the House bill using three simple tools: sabotage, speed and secrecy.  More

Now Just Five Men Own Almost as Much Wealth as Half the World's Population
While Americans fixate on Trump, the super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of 06/08/17, the world's richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people. Most of the super-super-rich are Americans. We the American people created the Internet, developed and funded Artificial Intelligence, and built a massive transportation infrastructure, yet we let just a few individuals take almost all the credit, along with hundreds of billions of dollars.   More

Lawmakers across the US are finding ways to turn protesting into a crime
Government attempts to curtail demonstrations are by no means limited to particular government buildings. Recently, a new array of state and local level proposals has sought to regulate dissent, seemingly prompted by Black Lives Matter, pro-environmental, and anti-Trump protests. For example, a large protest by Black Lives Matter activists at Mall of America in Minneapolis, in December, and at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport — which shut down several stores and delayed some flights — has been followed by an attempt in Minnesota to shift economic sanctions onto protestors in a wider swath of situations. A pending bill would allow a state or local government to bring a civil action against people “convicted of participating in an unlawful assembly” in order to recover “public safety response costs.” This would seemingly allow a single person convicted of a crime in a protest of thousands — say, someone who broke a storefront window or who resisted arrest — to be liable for the government costs of managing the entire demonstration.   More
How Democrats Can Stop Losing Elections
For the sake of our country and the world, the Democratic Party, in a very fundamental way, must change direction. It has got to open its doors wide to working people and young people. It must become less dependent on wealthy contributors, and it must make clear to the working families of this country that, in these difficult times, it is prepared to stand up and fight for their rights. Without hesitation, it must take on the powerful corporate interests that dominate the economic and political life of the country… 
While Democrats should appeal to moderate Republicans who are disgusted with the Trump presidency, too many in our party cling to an overly cautious, centrist ideology. The party’s main thrust must be to make politics relevant to those who have given up on democracy and bring millions of new voters into the political process. It must be prepared to take on the right-wing extremist ideology of the Koch brothers and the billionaire class, and fight for an economy and a government that work for all, not just the 1 percent.   More

Taibbi: Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism
The idea that people who want expanded health care, reduced income inequality, fewer wars and more public services are "unrealistic" springs from an old deception in our politics. For decades pundits and pols have been telling progressive voters they don't have the juice to make real demands, and must make alliances with more "moderate" and presumably more numerous "centrists" in order to avoid becoming the subjects of right-wing monsters like Reagan/Bush/Bush/Trump…   But it's a Wizard of Oz trick, just like American politics in general. There is no numerically massive center behind the curtain. What there is instead is a tiny island of wealthy donors, surrounded by a protective ring of for-sale major-party politicians (read: employees) whose job it is to castigate too-demanding voters and preach realism…  If we're going to be exact about it, in fact, the billionaires who still dominate the political donor class mainly reside in the top tenth of a percent.  More

With Sleazy Innuendo, NYT Lays Virginia Attack at Bernie Sanders' Feet
Since Hodgkinson’s political leanings are being probed as somehow responsible for the shootings, it’s curious why the New York Times decided to highlight his pro-Sanders stance and not his obsession with Trump as treasonous pro-Russian agent—an accusation that Sanders has not aggressively pressed and, indeed, has sometimes been on the receiving end of. Why “Attack Tests Movement Sanders Founded” and not “Attack Test Democrats’ Trump-as-Russian-Agent Inquiry”? Why note Hodgkinson’s support for Sanders but not his love for Rachel Maddow, more than half of whose show, one study found, is dedicated to the Russia/Trump story? … Of course, neither Sanders nor Trump-as-Russian-agent media personalities are responsible for what Hodgkinson did Monday, but it’s notable that only one is being blamed.   More

Image result for cartoon democratic foreign policyDemocrats Don’t Have a Progressive Foreign Policy Vision. And They Need One
Beyond their support for the Syrian airstrike, top Democrats have disappointing records on issues of war and peace. Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer is a leadingsupporter of Israel, despite its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi also has a history of hawkishness in the Middle East, asdocumented by the Institute for Policy Studies. And Hillary Clinton, the Democratic standard bearer in the 2016 presidential election, promoted militaristic solutions to international issues as Secretary of State, as well as during her campaign for President.  Even Democrats like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have failed to articulate a progressive foreign policy. During his presidential campaign, Sanders’s main foreign policy talking point was his vote against the war in Iraq. While he was less hawkish overall than Clinton, Sanders didn’t rule out continuing Obama’s drone program that has killed thousands of civilians…  If the Democrats regain power in Congress and the White House, it’s important they have a foreign policy that breaks from the Bush-Obama-Trump continuum of endless war.  More

Standing Rock Sioux Claim ‘Victory and Vindication’ in Court
A federal judge ruled in favor of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Wednesday, handing the tribe its first legal victory in its year-long battle against the Dakota Access pipeline.  James Boasberg, who sits on D.C. district court, said that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to perform an adequate study of the pipeline’s environmental consequences when it first approved its construction. In a 91-page decision, the judge cited the Corps’ study of “the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice” as particularly deficient, and he ordered it to prepare a new report on its risks. The court did not, however, order the pipeline to be shut off until a new environmental study is completed—a common remedy when a federal permit is found lacking.  More

Consider this: The world's most populous city, Tokyo, and the US's most populous state, California, have fewer residents combined than the up to 100 million US citizens who now have a criminal record.  As important, these historically unprecedented rates of containment, and the deep stigma of a criminal record, aren't experienced equally in this country. America's incarceration crisis is suffered staggeringly and dis-proportionally by communities of color…  How then might Americans ever know what actually goes on in the criminal justice system that they fund, the penal institutions that their loved ones populate in ever greater numbers and in the many other apparatuses of containment they are told will keep them safer? The answer to that question is not at all clear, but the imperative of continuing to loudly demand public access to our public penal institutions is. Access is a responsibility even if it has yet to be a guaranteed right.  More

Colin Kaepernick Is Being Blackballed by Billionaire NFL Owners
Colin Kaepernick took a courageous and principled stand last season by kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games. This was done in response to a society that continues to systematically, culturally, and institutionally devalue black lives…  He is now a free agent, in the prime of his career, and without a job…   Patriotism (and the unquestioned obedience that comes with it) is a crucial tool for the owning class. To them, Kaepernick’s refusal to submit to this nationalistic ritual was not merely “disrespect.” It was a potentially damaging challenge to this important tool that is wielded in their quest to extract all of society’s wealth (through a docile working class). For this reason, it is vitally important that Kaepernick be taught a lesson. The NFL’s billionaire class is in the process of carrying out this lesson.  More

No comments:

Post a Comment