Nov 172016
 

The Senate Democrats announced their leadership team yesterday and I consider them a mixed bag that's moving in the right direction, but only in part.  I'm somewhat slow to condemn, because I realize that the Senate is one of the most tradition bound institutions in government, where seniority takes precedence.

1117berniesanderselizabethwarren

After Senator Charles Schumer of New York was elected as the new leader of the Senate Democrats earlier on Wednesday, he gave both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren leadership roles in the upcoming first Congress under President-elect Donald Trump.

Their roles are less meaningful than those of others on the leadership team, but their appointments are a sign that Democrats recognize and are responding to the progressive tilt in their party. Schumer had faced pressure to add the senators; earlier this week, dozens of protesters staged a sit-in outside of his office. Some liberals are skeptical of Schumer’s ties to Wall Street, while both Sanders and Warren are high-profile critics of big banks.

Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, faced off against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary. Even after it became clear she would win the nomination, he held on to his presidential bid and resisted endorsing Clinton. During that time he won major concessions while pushing the Democratic Party into approving the most progressive platform in its history, including seeking a $15 federal minimum wage and a carbon pricing regime to combat climate change.

Schumer had hoped to become Senate majority leader under a Clinton administration. But with Trump’s stunning victory last week, he will have to deal with a Republican in the White House and both houses of Congress under Republican control. Schumer will replace Harry Reid, who is retiring at the end of this year.

Senator Dick Durbin will continue in his role as party whip—the second-ranking Democrat—and Senator Patty Murray will assume the new title of assistant Democratic leader and be the third-ranking party member. Schumer’s team also includes Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first lesbian senator to hold a leadership role, and Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate…

From <Newsweek>

I'm not pleased with Schumer, but he was in line for the job.  While OK on most issues, he's too cozy with Wall Street Banksters and Vulture Capitalists.  According to GovTrack Durbin is better and ranks as 6th most progressive member of the Senate.  Patty Murray is 13th. Tammy Baldwin is 7th.  Joe Manchin, a horrid DINO, is 46th.  He should NOT have a leadership role.  Of course, my favorites are Bernie, who ranked 4th and Liz, who ranked 1st.

Share
Nov 102016
 

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to anyone here that I am a big fan of Keith Ellison. When he was appointed to the Democratic Platform Committee, and issued a mass invitation for Dems to tell him their thoughts, I posted it here (and it got a lot of attention LOL).

Bernie Sanders is a fan too (He was a Sanders appointment to the platform committee). 

Now, Keith has expressed interest in being the chairman of the DNC, and frankly, I can't think of a better idea.

Bernie says so too.

Keith is a true progressive champion.  He is often described as a "Climate Hawk," but he is progessive on everything, not just climate.  As the DNC Chair, he will be in a position to encourage and assist candidates and potential candidates whose values are in ine with ours – "ours" referring to those of us who are regular readers and posters here (and on Care2).  And it will be a position where he will be interacting mainly with Democrats, hence less likely to be exposed to ugly Republican Islamophobia on a daily basis.  He may or may not care about that (and he is strong enough and smart enough to face anything they throw at him), but I do. 

There is a petition on MoveOn, addressed to the DNC, in support of his candidacy.  Here's a quote from it:

Rep. Ellison has been endorsed by Sen. Sanders for the job, and has the experience, principles, and organizational skills to lead the Democratic Party in opposition to the Trump-Pence-McConnell-Ryan-Roberts administration. He is the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a member of the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus, and the founder of the Congressional Consumer Justice Caucus. 

I hope that many will sign this petition, and I thank in advance any who do.

Share
Oct 262016
 

I'm having a very busy day.  I have a grocery delivery coming in the next couple hours, and need to unpack them and put them away.  Later Wendy is coming to scrub and de-stink the TomCat, tighten down the nuts and bolts on my power chair, do some light cleaning, and eat both the supper I prepared for her and some sweets to contribute to the Southern Exposure Project.  Tomorrow I'm going to the prison to help facilitate a Victims Impact Meeting, involving several outside victims and up to 100 of my guys.  Because I won't be home until quite late, please assume that I will be publishing Personal Updates only and Thursday and Friday and will not be sending links messages on Care2, so please don't worry.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today's took me 4:10 (average 5:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NBC: Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered the Pentagon on Wednesday to stop clawing-back the bonuses that thousands of soldiers got for reenlisting to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"There is no more important responsibility for the Department of Defense than keeping faith with our people," Carter said in a statement. "That means treating them fairly and equitably, honoring their service and sacrifice, and keeping our word. Today, in keeping with that obligation, I am ordering a series of steps to ensure fair treatment for thousands of California National Guard soldiers who may have received incentive bonuses and tuition assistance improperly as a result of errors and in some cases criminal behavior by members of the California National Guard."

Carter's announcement was greeted with cheers in Kempner, Texas where Don and Susan Haley — both Iraq War veterans — had been struggling to pay back the bonuses they got when they reenlisted a decade ago in the California National Guard.

I trust JD will be most pleased with this.

From US News: A new report finds that the global gender pay gap will not be closed for another 170 years if current trends continue.

 Click through to watch the video.  I had to remove it because it autoplays.

A woman's place is in the House… and the Senate… and the White House… and above the glass ceiling!!

From NY Times: Thanks to recent gains, the Democrats now have a clear but vulnerable lead in the race for Senate control. Prediction markets give them a 78 percent chance of winning control, according to PredictWise.

There are nine competitive races, and the Democrats need to win at least five of them (if they also win the vice-presidency, which breaks Senate ties).

Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.

Democrats have seemingly safe leads over Republican incumbents in Illinois and Wisconsin and are also favored in Nevada, Indiana, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Missouri is a toss-up.

If you see new polls from Pennsylvania and Missouri, pay particular attention. Recent polls have shown the Republicans slightly ahead, but the prediction markets seem to think the polls haven’t yet caught up to the Republicans’ Trump-inflicted wounds.

Keep an eye on North Carolina and Florida, too. The Republicans — Richard Burr in North Carolina and Marco Rubio in Florida, both incumbents — are still favored, but the Democrats have a shot.

I happily endorse every Democrat. Even a DINO is better than a Rump Dump Rectumite!

Cartoon:

1026Cartoon

The military doesn't want the F-22, but Republicans won't allow its removal from the budget.

Share
Oct 202016
 

I’m trying to catch up on a bit of rest today, because tomorrow, I go for my appointment with Courtney, my Physical Terrorist.  As a result, please expect no more than a Personal Update tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:15 (average 6:40).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube: How Democrats Take Back the Senate

 

The Reich on the left, Robert Reich, is right about the absolute need to wrest control of the Senate from the Reich on the right, the Republican Reich. I’m particularly proud that he listed Jeff Merkley third in his list of progressive Senators, behind only Liz and Bernie.

From The New Yorker: After learning that Donald J. Trump was still stinging from having lost an Emmy for “The Celebrity Apprentice,” the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences offered to give the former reality-show host a belated Emmy if he will drop out of the 2016 race.

“We never imagined that if we had simply given you an Emmy back in the day our current national nightmare might have been avoided,” a Television Academy spokesman said in an online video.

Displaying an Emmy statuette, the spokesman said, “Here’s your Emmy, Mr. Trump, all gold and shiny, just the way you like things to be.”

Andy, what a wonderful idea!

From Think Progress: Chris Wallace, a veteran Fox News journalist, was already a controversial choice to host Wednesday night’s final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Wallace is noted for his close relationship with Roger Ailes, who is currently advising Trump on the debates, prompting media experts to raise ethical questions about his involvement.

Ultimately, Wallace did win praise for holding Trump accountable on several issues and keeping both candidates on task throughout the debate. Yet as much as he tried to play things equally, several of his questions showed a clear bias towards conservative ideals, policy positions, and talking points.

Here are a few.

Abortion
Wallace frames his question using the term “partial-birth.”
“I’m going to give you a chance respond but I want to ask you Secretary Clinton I want to explore how far you believe the right to abortion goes. You have been quoted as saying that the fetus has no constitutional rights. You also voted against a ban on late-term partial-birth abortions. Why?”

“Open borders”
This quote mentioned below, often cited in conservative media, has been taken out of context.
“Mr. Trump you want to build a wall. Secretary Clinton you have offered no specific plan or how you want to secure our southern border. … We’ve learned from the Wikileaks that you said this, and I want to quote ‘My dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders,’ so that is the question…Is that your dream, open borders?”

I shared two of five examples of Wallace’s clear Republican bias. Click through for the other three.

Cartoon:

1020Cartoon

Share
Sep 292016
 

Getting my Lift permit renewed this morning took ten minutes.  Factoring-in waiting for rides, it took three and a half hours.  ARGH!!  I’m very tired, but as the effects of the Cymbalta are starting to wear off, I’m feeling a bit more human, and I know tomorrow’s appointment with Megan will limit me to a Personal Update.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:50 (average 4:44).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: PPP has put up a number of tweets this morning, which can be seen here

The descriptive story is here from which we learn

Colorado    4-way  Clinton 46, Trump 40, Johnson 6, Stein 2
                     2-way  Clinton 51, Trump 44

Florida        4-way  Clinton 45, Trump 43, Johnson 3, Stein 1
                      2-way   Clinton 48, Trump 45

North Carolina     4-way  Clinton 44, Trump 42, Johnson 7
                      2-way   Clinton 49, Trump 45

Pennsylvania       4-way Clinton 45, Trump 39, Johnson 6, Stein 2
                       2-way Clinton 49, Trump 44

Virginia                4-way  Clinton 46, Trump 40, Johnson 7, Stein 1
                       2-way  Clinton 49, Trump 43

Further, they polled who won the debate, in each case it was Clinton

CO  53-31
FL   52-35
NC  53-31
PA  51-32
VA  54-30

That’s great news for America, especially since it shows a shift in support away from the minor candidates, whose candidacies help Trump.

From NY Times: Congress averted a government shutdown Wednesday as the Senate and then the House approved a short-term spending bill, allowing lawmakers to avoid a crisis and return home to campaign.

The stopgap spending bill, which would fund the government through Dec. 9, had been ensnarled in a debate over financing for the lead-tainted water system in Flint, Mich.

But an agreement between congressional leaders late Tuesday — which would authorize aid for Flint as part of separate legislation for water infrastructure projects — appeared to ameliorate Democratic concerns, clearing the way for the Senate to pass the spending bill, 72 to 26. The House followed suit late Wednesday, approving the measure 342 to 85.

I’m glad a government shutdown was avoided, but I am skeptical of any measure that includes the Democratic benefits as part of future legislation, especially when Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) oppose it. I am skeptical,because of the Republican track record for honoring agreements: virtually never.

From Think Progress: Donald Trump’s campaign manager appeared to unwittingly confirm an explosive Newsweek story on Thursday, telling ABC’s The View that a Trump company did indeed spend money in Cuba in 1998, in violation of a longstanding U.S. embargo that Trump has vociferously defended.

Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald reported on Thursday that Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts spent at least $68,000 in 1998 in Cuba, “at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval.” The story notes that “with Trump’s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm.” After the consultants traveled to Cuba and spent the funds, the consultants instructed Trump’s company on “how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort.”

As I have opposed the embargo of Cuba for many years, I would have supported doing business with that nation as an act of civil disobedience, as Michael Moore did, but Trump violating the law, at the same time that he campaigns to reinstate the embargo, is both hypocritical and criminal. It should disqualify his candidacy without further ado.

Cartoon:

0929Cartoon

Share
Sep 262016
 

I finally had a decent night’s sleep, last night, but feel no better, because it will take several more before I’m back to speed.  I’ll be stocking up on Barf Bags for tonight’s media circus.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:41 (average 4:34).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

0925Broncos29-Bengals17

Short Takes:

From NY Times: The pitched battle over President Obama’s signature climate change policy, which is moving to the courts this week, carries considerable political, economic and historical stakes. Yet its legal fate, widely expected to be ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, could rest on a clerical error in an obscure provision of a 26-year-old law.

That error, which left conflicting amendments on power plant regulation in the Clean Air Act, will be a major focus of oral arguments by opponents of Mr. Obama’s initiative when the case is heard on Tuesday in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The initiative, known as the Clean Power Plan, which Mr. Obama sees as at the heart of his climate change legacy, gave the United States critical leverage to broker the landmark 2015 Paris climate change accord. If the plan is struck down, the United States, the world’s largest carbon polluter over the centuries, will lose its main tool to cut greenhouse gas emissions. If it is upheld, it will transform the nation’s electricity system, closing hundreds of coal-fired power plants and setting in motion a wholesale shift to wind, solar and nuclear power, as well as to improved electric transmission systems.

As things stand now, the Supreme Court will probably vote 4-4, meaning that whatever decision the last Appeals Court will have made will stand. This should demonstrate just how critical it is for Democrats to hold the Presidency and take the Senate.

From Think Progress:

Hours after the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times published separate stories outlining the lies Donald Trump has told during his presidential campaign, Trump’s campaign spokesperson told ABC’s “This Week” that it isn’t the media’s job to factcheck the presidential debate.

“I really don’t appreciate the campaigns thinking it is the job of the media to go and be these virtual fact-checkers,” Kellyanne Conway said, in an apparent attempted jab at the Clinton campaign. She also opposed debate moderators questioning the candidates’ truthfulness in any way…
…Conway went on to praise Matt Lauer’s performance during a candidate forum earlier this month, during which he pressed Clinton on several issues, but accepted Trump’s (false) claim that he opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning.

“We thought he did a great job,” Conway said.

No surprises there.

From Robert Reich: Last week, Congress engaged in a bipartisan barrage of CEO bashing…

…Such shaming before congressional committees tends to reassure the public Congress is taking action. But – especially with Republicans in charge – Congress is doing nothing to prevent the wrongdoing from recurring.

Can we be clear? CEOs have only one goal in mind – making money. If they can make more money by misleading or price gouging, they’ll continue to do so until it’s no longer as profitable…

…So instead of setting up further rounds of CEO perp walks for the TV cameras, Congress should give the Justice Department and regulatory agencies enough funding to do their jobs.

While they’re at it, break up the biggest banks. And regulate drug prices directly, as does every other country.

It’s easy to holler at CEOs. It’s time for to stop hollering and take action.

The Reich on the left, Robert Reich, is right. The problem is that the Reich on the Right, the Republican Reich, is still deplorable. They will block reform as long as they have the power to do so.

Cartoon:

0926Cartoon

Share