Democrats

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I Hate You Leftists, Please Don’t Leave Us

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/10/2020 - 5:58pm in

The centrists and moderates who control the mainstream Democratic Party repeatedly tell progressive voters that they are not needed or wanted. But when progressives refuse to vote Democratic, they are vote-shamed.

The post I Hate You Leftists, Please Don't Leave Us first appeared on Ted Rall's Rallblog.

How Centrist Democrats Paved the Way for Betsy DeVos

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 17/09/2020 - 10:15pm in

A consensus between Republicans and centrist Democrats around charter schools has been at the very center of education policy for the past three decades. Guest David Menefee-Libey joins us to talk about the formation of the charter school “treaty,” why it unraveled and what happens next. 

Complete transcript of the episode is here. The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going. Subscribe on Patreon or donate on PayPal.

Jennifer and Jack’s forthcoming book A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School, is now available for preorder!

Have You Heard · #97 How Centrist Democrats Paved the Way for Betsy DeVos

Democrats Campaigning to Keep Green Party off the Ballot in Key Swing States

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 15/09/2020 - 1:52am in

The 2020 presidential election is already underway — or, at least, it should be. Because of an ongoing legal battle, none of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties will be sending out mail-in ballots today like they were originally scheduled to. Democrats are attempting to remove Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins from the ballot because of an alleged procedural mistake his running mate Angela Walker made when informing election authorities about a change in her South Carolina address. A similar battle is raging between the two parties in Wisconsin, another key battleground state.

That such a minor procedural error could, in effect, disbar an entire political party from running might be news to many Americans. It is also a charge the Green Party strenuously denies. “I filed my address change properly to the Wisconsin Elections Commission as they instructed me to when our campaign informed them of my address change,” Walker said in a press release this morning,

The Democrat chairing the hearing concerning Democratic objections to my filing prevented that documentation from being presented. They had that information in hand. The Democratic commissioners could have resolved the problem last month at the hearing. Instead, they are playing politics with Wisconsin voters. They could end this now by withdrawing their phony objections. The Democratic commissioners are as guilty as the Republican justices in this hold-up of absentee ballots.”

“The court should have made a decision by now. We want a decision today to put us on the ballot. We want the absentee ballot process to proceed without further delay,” Hawkins added.

Why the Democrats might benefit from the removal of the Greens is clear. With many predicting a close election, third party votes could prove crucial in preventing one of the two major parties from getting over the line. One Emerson poll found that 51 percent of Bernie Sanders primary voters were at least considering opting for a third party come November. Hawkins and Walker have been pitching hard to disenchanted leftists, reminding voters that they embrace a Green New Deal, while Biden has rejected it.

Democrats have been clear in their opposition to Hawkins. “The ‘Green Party’ has done incalculable damage to the environment by helping to elect Republican Presidents twice. Don’t fall for it again,” advised Obama advisor and MSNBC contributor Ben Rhodes. Democratic strategist Tom Watson was even blunter, tweeting, “A vote for the ‘Green Party’ is a vote for fascism.”

The attack on Hawkins comes amid an open letter signed by over 170 prominent environmental leaders condemning the Green Party and telling the nation to vote for Biden, claiming he is a “progressive Democrat,” who, in “his 36-year Senate career” was “an enlightened voice on nearly every issue.” “Twenty years ago, the Green Party snatched the White House from a climate change leader and handed it to George W. Bush,” they questionably claim, not mentioning the Republican Party’s legal shenanigans. “Pious gestures [like voting Green] will produce catastrophic results,” they conclude.

On the Green ticket, Ralph Nader won 2.9 million votes in the 2000 election, no doubt hindering Al Gore’s chances. However, the Florida election was blatantly stolen by Bush, a fact glossed over in the letter. In 2016, the Green Party received 1.5 million votes nationwide, triple what they got in 2012. “Whatever you think of the Green Party, throwing them off the ballot because they listed two addresses for the VP is complete bullshit and voter disenfranchisement,” said Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project think tank.

Republicans have also been involved in their own voter suppression tactics, closing around 1,700 polling stations across the South since 2013, primarily in poorer and majority non-white neighborhoods (some counties losing nearly 90 percent of their voting places). President Trump, who recently said that if more people voted, Republicans would never again be elected, has attacked the postal ballot system as well, claiming it would produce a fraudulent result, instructing his followers to vote twice, once by mail and in person on Election Day. Across the United States, some 671 mail sorting machines have been removed ahead of the election, leading many to accuse the Republicans of blatant election rigging.

While the merits of voting for a third party in a two-horse race can be debated, voter shaming did not work for the Democrats in 2016 has historically not been a productive strategy. With this latest attempt to bar the Green Party from even standing, the Democrats are choosing a high-risk strategy that could potentially backfire come Election Day.

Feature photo | Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins reads a newspaper in a holding room before a television interview. Mike Groll | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Democrats Campaigning to Keep Green Party off the Ballot in Key Swing States appeared first on MintPress News.

Lies, Lies, Lies, Hacking and Twitter

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 11/09/2020 - 11:45pm in

While there was continuing fallout today from the story that Trump lied to the American people about the seriousness of the coronavirus, the breaking stories were mostly about securing the election. Overwhelmingly, the stories today were about controlling the flow of information to voters. Continue reading

The post Lies, Lies, Lies, Hacking and Twitter appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

The Rotten Alliance of Liberals and Neocons Will Likely Shape U.S. Foreign Policy for Years to Come

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 01/09/2020 - 9:00pm in

 In early June, a group of former officials from the George W. Bush administration launched a PAC supporting Joe Biden’s...

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I’ve created this Biden/Harris poster as a free download for...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 29/08/2020 - 5:43am in

I’ve created this Biden/Harris poster as a free download for anyone who would like it. Simply go to these links:

11” x 14” Poster Artwork:
https://we.tl/t-rSJktS40j0

24” x 30” Poster Artwork:
https://we.tl/t-sEaSoSJRJY

Yard sign format Artwork link:
https://we.tl/t-bkg0TdS5rA

Horizonal Artwork for Social Media Banners or Bumper Stickers:

https://we.tl/t-208XtPlNBB

Feel free to download and print it as much as you like and please share!

I know for many, perhaps Joe Biden was not your first choice as nominee.
I believe he is a good man - far better than the current occupant of the White House.
Teamed with Kamala Harris, I feel they make an excellent, historic ticket to hopefully lead us back from the brink.

I’m not interested in discussing the unfortunate gaffes or past votes of Biden at this time. Please do not post such comments below.

I believe Biden/Harris is the only ticket to vote for if we are to salvage decency, sanity, and, yes, Democracy in this country.

Driving across the rural midwest a couple weeks ago, I saw a lot of Trump signs and flags. It was dispiriting. When I saw a few hand-made Biden signs, I cheered.
We can’t afford to be lulled into complacency by any polls or pundit analysis.
In my opinion, it’s a five alarm emergency right now.

I created this image as a way to try and contribute. I realize some may not like my drawing.
Regardless, I would like to encourage anyone who backs the Biden/Harris ticket to find some way to visually show your support. Use this, get an official sign, or make your own!
A bumper sticker, a yard sign, a pin - I know and respect that displaying political positions is a personal choice, and it can be uncomfortable.
But I’ve been so heartened when I see so many signs supporting Black Lives Matter or essential workers during the pandemic. I feel that a visual show of support goes a long way.

Thanks,
Ward

The Only Wasted Vote Is a Vote Not for a Third Party

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/08/2020 - 8:13am in

What would be the totem animal for a third-party?

Jesus, Ted. All you ever do, some people tell me, is complain. We get it—you hate both the Republicans and the Democrats. We don’t like them either. But those are the only two parties that have a chance of winning an election. Stop telling us what not to do. Tell us what you think we should do instead.

That criticism is fair. If you don’t like something, it stands to reason you think something else is better and you ought to say what it is.

In my defense, people will never build a new political system until the old one is dead to them. Che Guevara said that the masses would not risk the violent upheaval of revolution as long as they still believed the old regime capable of addressing their needs and grievances to any significant degree. Although the elimination of the two-party duopoly in U.S. electoral politics does not necessitate violence, the same inertial principle applies: as long as progressives and other leftists continue to think that they can express their political will through the Democratic Party, they won’t create the space for what comes next.

So job one is to drive a stake through the corpse of the Democratic Party. Much of my work these days is dedicated to my belief that the Democratic Party is where progressivism and liberalism go to die. I am out to convince as many people as possible to get real, dump the Dems and move on. Articulating the platform of a new third-party or revolutionary movement before enough progressives and leftists have given up on the Democrats would put the cart before the horse.

It would also be arrogantly undemocratic. No one person, certainly not a 57-year-old cis white male political cartoonist, can or should write a programme for the future of an entire society. We all have to do that together.

If you’ve been reading my work for a while, you know that I think that nothing short of revolution is adequate to address the radical problems faced by Americans and by humanity, beginning with the climate crisis. The profit imperative of capitalism is inherently corrupting; it hobbles all efforts to move toward a sustainable relationship with the planet. But no one can make revolution. It happens or it doesn’t. What to do in the meantime? Specifically, for us now, what if anything should we do with our vote this November?

The most compelling argument for electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is harm mitigation, with a view toward preventing a second Donald Trump administration, cleaning up the mess from the last four years and governing better than Trump would have.

I don’t find this argument compelling. History shows that presidents rarely accomplish anything of substance during their second terms. Trump would probably be the same.

Not only did Barack Obama fail to clean up the mess he inherited from George W. Bush, he codified and expanded it: he told CIA torturers not to worry about being prosecuted, he expanded the assassination drone program, he sent more troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, and he continued Bush’s policy of austerity for distressed homeowners and the unemployed with giant cash giveaways to the big banks. Likewise, Bill Clinton didn’t do anything to reverse the Reagan revolution; he went further right than the Republicans dared with “welfare reform,” Joe Biden’s devastating crime bill targeted at minority communities, NAFTA and the WTO. Given Biden’s half-century record of neoliberalism and his refusal to apologize for any of his crimes, it would be ridiculous to assume he would govern as anything other than a Republican.

After you accept the reality that a Biden administration would probably be even worse than keeping Trump, the question becomeas, should one vote and if so for whom?

There is a long and honorable tradition of voter boycotts throughout the world. This is especially true in countries without vibrant functioning democracies, like the United States. (In a European-style parliamentary democracy, most voters can find a party close to their personal ideological alignment. A two-party monopoly cannot possibly serve 330 million people.)

However, there is a relative dearth of data studying the motivations for people who stay home on Election Day. There is a cultural assumption in the U.S. that non-voters are lazy, apathetic or both. So it’s hard to ask intelligent progressives and other people disgusted with the two major parties to sit it out on November 3rd, knowing that they will be shamed.

Which leaves the third-party option.

There are two relatively notable third-party candidates this year. Clemson University professor Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party nominee for president. On the left, the Green Party standard-bearer is unionist and environmentalist Howie Hawkins.

Given that neither candidate is likely to be elected, the main reasons to cast a vote for Jorgensen, Hawkins or another minor party candidate are to register a protest—I’m not apathetic, look, I vote—and to build an organization for the future. You can’t keep saying every two or four years, I would love to vote for a party other than the Democrats or the Republicans but the other parties are too small unless you actually do something to make one of those other parties bigger. That means voting for them. That means contributing money. Not two years from now, not four years from now, but now.

I have not yet decided whether to vote for Hawkins or someone else. I do know that I won’t be voting Democratic or Republican. I’m against both parties. Both parties kill innocent foreigners with abandon. Both parties neglect the poor. Neither party cares about the planet.

Why should I vote for a party I disagree with on almost every fundamental issue?

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Political Suicide: The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

 

Political Parties — Are They Over?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 18/08/2020 - 1:19am in

America needs at least two healthy political parties, and right now, with Republicans attacking the legitimacy of the Democrats, we are in danger of having none. Continue reading

The post Political Parties — Are They Over? appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Democratic Establishment Commits to Status Quo with Kamala Harris VP Pick

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/08/2020 - 3:04am in

There were mixed reactions to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate last night. Many at the top of the party hailed the pick as a strong choice. “I’m thrilled to welcome Kamala Harris to a historic Democratic ticket,” said Biden’s predecessor Hillary Clinton, who described her as “an incredible public servant and leader, “I know she’ll be a strong partner to Joe Biden. Please join me in having her back and getting her elected.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Trump campaign opposed the move, a newly-released advertisement describing her as a “phony” controlled by “the radical left.” “Voters rejected Harris,” the ad says, referring to her failed campaign for the presidential nomination. “They smartly spotted a phony. But not Joe Biden. He’s not that smart.”

Yet the Harris pick appears not to have gone down at all well with those on the left. Political commentator and co-founder of the leftist group Justice Democrats Kyle Kulinski reacted by claiming Biden was “going with the strategically brilliant move of picking somebody for VP who is despised by both the right and the left.” Journalist Elizabeth Lea Vos wrote that the DNC has chosen to “run an alleged rapist and a corrupt prosecutor… against Trump in the age of #MeToo and Black Lives Matter. In other words, the Democrats are the Republicans and everything is business as usual.” Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders’ National Press Secretary Briahna Joy Gray could not contain her dismay at the pick. “We are in the midst of the largest protest movement in American history, the subject of which is excessive policing, and the Democratic Party chose a ‘top cop’ and the author of the Joe Biden crime bill to save us from Trump. The contempt for the base is, wow,” she said.

A memo from the Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins described the announcement as Biden “doubling down” on his “long history of excessive law enforcement and support for the war on drugs.”

While the left might think Harris’ past role as a California prosecutor is a negative, business executives felt it added to her campaign. “Her experience as a prosecutor makes her uniquely qualified to deliver the case against Trump,” marketing executive Mike Kempner told CNBC.

 

A “lock them up” mentality

Harris certainly has a controversial professional past. Although presenting herself as a “progressive prosecutor,” her record more closely resembles a tough on crime, “lock them up” mentality commonly seen among Republican lawmakers. Over the protestations of her own team, she pushed forward on her plan to jail parents for their children’s truancy, later publicly laughing about imprisoning them. She also has a long history of ethically questionable practices, including withholding evidence that would have freed innocent people from prison. As The New York Times wrote, “Ms. Harris fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct that included evidence tampering, false testimony and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors.” In 2014, Harris’ legal team argued in court that if minimum-custody inmates were released early, the state of California would “lose an important labor pool.” These inmates included firefighters, who are paid $1 an hour to confront the state’s deadly blazes. She later claimed she did not know her own office argued in favor of keeping parolees in jail so they could serve as cheap labor.

Kamala Harris Israel

Harris speaks at the 2017 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Conference in Washington. Jose Luis Magana | AP

During her short and unsuccessful shot at the party’s presidential nomination, Harris received more funding from billionaires than any other candidate. In 2017, she also broke ranks to side with Trump against outgoing president Barack Obama over the latter’s position on Israel, leading Grayzone journalist Max Blumenthal to describe her as a “political algorithm programmed by the Israel lobby.”

 

The establishment’s warm embrace

Her competitors for the vice-presidential nomination, however, appeared happier, at least publicly, about the decision. “My warmest congratulations to ⁦Kamala Harris. I am confident Biden-Harris will prove to be a winning ticket. I will do my utmost to help them win and govern,” wrote Obama national security advisor Susan Rice, tipped by many to be Biden’s choice.

Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, who was considered the favorite for the job by some until MintPress revealed that, while state prosecutor, George Floyd’s killer Derek Chauvin also killed another black man, tweeted that she was “filled with joy” at yesterday’s announcement. “This is a historic moment,” she said, adding that “her leadership, experience and character will help move our country forward when she and Joe Biden take back the White House!” Other organizations like Greenpeace offered more qualified praise.

Support for President Trump has been sliding over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the George Floyd protests. While Biden leads in polls, he still suffers from an enthusiasm gap, with most Republicans fully behind the president. In contrast, Democratic voters are less passionate about Biden, the majority seeing their vote primarily as one against Trump. Nina Turner, co-chair of the Sanders campaign described the choice leftists face in choosing between Biden and Trump as, “like saying to somebody, ‘You have a bowl of shit in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing.’ It’s still shit.” If Biden is to win in November, he may need the enthusiasm and volunteers Sanders was able to draw upon. But judging from their response, his Kamala Harris VP pick is unlikely to secure it.

Feature photo | Then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., reacts as she speaks at a town hall in Las Vegas, Nov. 8, 2019. John Locher | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Democratic Establishment Commits to Status Quo with Kamala Harris VP Pick appeared first on MintPress News.

Just Like With Healthcare, Democrats Offer Half-Hearted Measures to Impending Eviction Crisis

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 30/07/2020 - 2:23am in

The best defense against a raging pandemic that has already claimed over 152,000 American lives is simply to stay home. But even this could soon become impossible for millions, as the United States is facing an impending eviction crisis of “biblical proportions,” according to the Housing Rights Initiative. Earlier this week, the federal moratorium on evictions expired, meaning the nation’s 12 million renters are now at risk of losing their homes. Renters tend to be poorer, many of whom are among the 52 million that have filed for unemployment benefits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of extending the eviction ban, top Democrats, including California Sen. Kamala Harris and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), proposed their own solution to the crisis: new money for a fund to help renters faced with eviction access legal representation. “We must take bold, urgent action to affirm that right and protect the millions of families facing housing instability,” said Pressley, as the bill was introduced yesterday.

Liberal outlet Vox presented the move as a “lifeline” to millions and a stroke of political genius. Yet others saw it differently. “Is this a joke?” responded The Intercept’s Aída Chávez on Twitter, suggesting that she saw the plan as pathetically weak non-solution to an impending crisis. “What if they just… introduced a bill to stop them from being evicted in the first place,” asked another user. Judging from reporting, this appears not to have occurred to them.

Harris, who is the prohibitive favorite with bookmakers to become Joe Biden’s vice-presidential pick come November, has a history of proposing piecemeal reform rather than bold solutions. According to a poll conducted last September, 58 percent of Americans, including nearly three-quarters of Democrat voters support making college free for all and totally eliminating outstanding student debt, a position advocated by Bernie Sanders. Harris, however, proposed instead to cancel up to $20,000 of debt only for Pell Grant recipients who start a business in a disadvantaged community and maintain that business for at least three years. “When you look at the requirements, it’s hard to imagine more than a handful of people would ever qualify for it,” said Matt Bruenig, founder of the People’s Policy Project.

The reaction to Harris’ proposal from the Democratic base was much the same as that to Rep. Joe Kennedy III’s (D—MA) recent statement that “Not a single patient should be forced to fight off medical bankruptcy in the midst of a global health pandemic without a lawyer by their side,” many feeling that he could have just stopped talking six or even 14 words sooner.

Republicans have put forward their own new coronavirus stimulus package that includes billions for the military and the FBI but nothing for hazard pay, nutrition assistance, uninsured Americans, or for state and local governments. While it does include a second $1,200 check, it also cuts unemployment benefits for tens of millions of Americans from $600 to $200 per week. Environmental justice group 350.org described the plan as a “disgraceful offering” from the GOP. “As unemployment skyrockets, this bill would cut off much of the support offered thus far to everyday people struggling to make ends meet. We won’t let Congress pass a giveaway to wealthy corporations while leaving our communities out to dry without a fight,” they wrote in a statement.

But Democrats have made pains to stress that they agree with the Republicans on the need to reduce unemployment benefits, even as there are no signs of a significant economic recovery in the short to medium term. “Look, it’s not $600 or bust,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), claiming that a weekly $600 check serves as a disincentive to many to start working again. He did not dwell on what that said about American wages. In fact, the U.S. offer to the unemployed has been particularly stingy, in comparison to similar countries. For example, Western European countries like France, the U.K., Ireland, and Germany simply pay between 60 and 84 percent of newly unemployed workers’ pre-pandemic salaries. Meanwhile, businesses in New Zealand have had little problem finding generous financial sponsorship from their government. New Zealand has an unemployment rate of around 4 percent, compared to the U.S.’ 11 percent

The Democratic Party is also at odds with its base on healthcare, a key issue during a global pandemic. 85 percent of Democratic voters support Medicare for All. But the Democratic National Committee blocked its inclusion in the party’s draft platform, voting it down, 125-36. The party is now facing a quiet internal revolt just three weeks from the National Convention.

Between a worsening pandemic, the threat of eviction, and a reduction in unemployment benefits, it appears that millions of Americans are in for a tough fall.

Feature photo | A view of a poster saying Cancel Rent Cancel Mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic on May 18, 2020 in Brooklyn Borough of New York City. John Nacion | STAR MAX | IPx

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Just Like With Healthcare, Democrats Offer Half-Hearted Measures to Impending Eviction Crisis appeared first on MintPress News.

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