This is Biden's America

Reply Thu 21 Apr, 2022 08:29 am
The Democratic Party is reportedly considering a plan to bar its consultants from anti-union activity, following backlash over revelations that Amazon hired a prominent Democratic polling firm to assist its union-busting campaign in New York City.
0 Replies
Real Music
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2022 02:51 pm
Many of us were willing to talk to a wide variety of people from different backgrounds to try to build bridges
because Republican or Democrat or Independent— we all want a decent life for our families.

I just want to be clear that this truly is your position.
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2022 03:25 pm
Bernie's 2024 run is conditional on Biden deciding not to run. He will not oppose Biden.
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2022 03:29 pm
They need to get some younger blood in the running.
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2022 05:06 pm
Last election:
Younger blood, not Bernie.
Older blood, Biden no problem
0 Replies
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2022 05:48 pm
@Real Music,
It is until someone reveals that they hate the idea of a legitimate change agent and they’ll lie and attack to uphold the status quo.

I don’t waste my time on them.

I enjoyed canvassing for Bernie.

Real Music
Reply Sat 23 Apr, 2022 10:41 am
That is an interesting response.
0 Replies
Real Music
Reply Sat 23 Apr, 2022 02:48 pm
1. If Biden runs, Biden will get the nomination.

2. I will definitely vote for Biden if he runs.

3. Also, If Biden were not to run, I will definitely vote for whoever the democrats nominate.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 24 Apr, 2022 09:09 am
from: The Lever email
Pharmaceutical innovation is a boon to society — if the fruits of that innovation make it in the hands of the people needing them. That hasn’t been the case with some of the lifesaving medicines developed to treat COVID-19, despite President Joe Biden’s promises earlier this year to make the drugs widely available. As the pandemic continues to wreak global devastation without a clear end in sight, the lack of accessible antiviral treatments is yet another example of how the White House has failed to stop the virus’ spread or mitigate its impacts — particularly among the elderly and otherwise immunocompromised. As Zeynep Tufekci notes in a New York Times opinion piece we highlight below, “Under these political conditions, rescue may not be on its way for a long time, if ever.”
0 Replies
Reply Sun 24 Apr, 2022 09:27 am
Global Capitalism Has Become Dependent on War-Making to Sustain Itself
Reply Sun 24 Apr, 2022 10:26 am
Do you realize how much money will be shoveled into the defense industry to make up for all the arms we've provided the Ukrainians – of course you do, the question is rhetorical. I heard yesterday that US contractors produce about a thousand Javelin anti-tank weapons a year. We've already sent them 7000! And that's just one weapons system. "Yeah, it's a real shame about the state of the global climate, the potential worldwide famine, and the pandemic but we need every dollar for the military, you know."

Reply Sun 24 Apr, 2022 10:56 am
It's a beast we've got to kill. Or at least need to kill.
0 Replies
Reply Fri 29 Apr, 2022 06:18 am
‘It’s just more and more lanes’: the Texan revolt against giant new highways

0 Replies
Reply Mon 2 May, 2022 07:48 am
Getting Biden to make any real moves to help the people is like whipping a stubborn donkey that has set its mind to stay still.

Michael Cavolina
51 mins ·
Dems, want to win the midterms? Call the WH and your Reps and Sens and tell them you want price controls on gasoline, diesel, and food. We did it in the 70's during the oil embargo, we can do it now to stop price gouging. The oil companies are doing this to make more but also to make the Dems look bad. Add student loan forgiveness to this and you have a winner.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 2 May, 2022 09:36 am
This piece perfectly illustrates why I am an independant, owing allegiance just to causes I support.
The Means-Test Con

President Joe Biden laughs as he listens to Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," speak at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, Saturday, April 30, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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During the 2020 Democratic primary, Pete Buttigieg’s personal ambition led him to poison the conversation about education in America. Desperate for a contrast point with his rivals, the son of a private university professor aired ads blasting the idea of tuition-free college because he said it would make higher education “free even for the kids of millionaires.”

The attack line, borrowed from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was cynicism masquerading as populism. It was an attempt to limit the financial and political benefits of a proposal to make college free. Worse, it was disguised as a brave stand against the oligarchs bankrolling Buttigieg’s campaign, even though it actually wasn’t — almost no rich scions would benefit from free college.

This rancid form of bullshit was a staple of Buttigieg’s campaign — like “Medicare For All Who Want It” — but he and copycats like Amy Klobuchar were just pushing the larger lie that is now the foundation of economic policy debates. Call it the means-testing con — the idea that social programs should not be universal, and should instead only be available to those who fall below a certain income level. It is a concept eroding national unity and being carried forward by wealthy pundits and a Democratic Party that has discarded the lessons of its own universalist triumphs like Social Security, Medicare, and the GI Bill.

This break from universalism popped up this week when the Biden administration tore a page from Buttigieg 2020’s assault on the higher education discourse: The White House leaked that it is considering finally following through on Biden’s promise to cancel some student debt, but not the $50,000 pushed by congressional Democrats, and only for those below an income threshold. That’s right — as Biden’s poll numbers plummet among young people, his administration is considering limiting and means-testing debt relief for federal loans that were already effectively means-tested through need-based eligibility requirements.

In trial-ballooning the college debt relief proposal, Biden is boosting the media-manufactured fiction that real, universal college debt relief would mostly help rich Ivy League kids — even though data from the Roosevelt Institute conclusively proves that canceling student debt “would provide more benefits to those with fewer economic resources and could play a critical role in addressing the racial wealth gap and building the Black middle class.”

Crucially, the report points out: “People from wealthy backgrounds (and their parents) rarely use student loans to pay for college.” This makes sense when you think about it for several seconds: If student debt relief was actually a boon to the rich, politicians would have treated it like every other oligarch handout and just immediately passed it with no controversy or debate at all.

But setting aside how the media-driven discourse omits those inconvenient facts, what’s noteworthy here is the underlying principle.

This latest discussion of means-testing follows Biden and congressional Democrats pushing to substantially limit eligibility for COVID-19 survival checks and the expanded child tax credit. Taken together, it suggests that Democrats’ zeal for means-testing is no anomaly — it is a deeply held ideology that is both dangerous for the party’s electoral prospects and for the country’s fraying social contract.

Means-Testing Is A Weapon Against The Poor
The superficial appeal of means-testing is obvious: It promises to prevent giving even more public money to rich people who don’t need it.

But have you ever noticed that means-testing proponents don’t want means-testing for giant income tax cuts, tax deductions, corporate subsidies, bank bailouts, or any other government handouts to the rich?

Have you ever noticed that demands for means-testing only emerge during debates over social programs for the non-rich?

Yeah, that’s the tell — the one that lets you know means-testing isn’t anti-oligarchy, it is pro-immiseration and otherization.

Means-testing is a way to take simple universal programs and make them complicated and inaccessible. In practice, calculating exact income levels and then proving them for eligibility means reams of red tape for both the potential beneficiary and a government bureaucracy that must be created to process that paperwork.

Data from the food stamp and Medicaid programs illustrate how means-testing creates brutal time and administrative barriers to benefits, which reduce payouts to eligible populations, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) rightly suggested. And as The American Prospect’s David Dayen points out, in the case of means-testing student debt relief, those barriers may end up wholly excluding large swaths of working-class debtors. They may even exclude medical school debtors in the middle of a public health crisis, and lawyers who don’t all end up with high-paying corporate jobs.

This is a feature, not a bug — it is means-testers’ unstated objective. Their support for high-income tax cuts, corporate subsidies, and other oligarch giveaways should definitively prove they aren’t little-guy populists who want to limit help to the rich. They are let-them-eat-cake austerians who see means-testing as a technocratic way to weaponize red tape in service of limiting help to the poor.

Screaming that quiet part out loud during the debate over the child tax credit, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — who previously backed a Wall Street bailout for his donors — positioned himself as the Beltway’s means-tester-in-chief, while declaring that “I cannot accept our economy, or basically our society, moving towards an entitlement mentality.” Then the West Virginia coal magnate took time away from his yacht and Maseratied himself over to the Capitol to reportedly tell his Senate colleagues that the child tax credit had to be limited in order to prevent destitute parents from wasting it on drugs.

For its part, the Biden White House recently lamented that “long forms, long lines, and lots of documents — these are the hurdles that can make it difficult and frustrating for individuals and communities to access government programs and services.” Yet, the kind of means-testing Biden is floating for college debt relief would make that Kafkaesque status quo even worse.

In effect, means-testers are trying to intensify the crushing and regressive taxes America imposes on people’s limited time — the administrative burden that rich folk can pay accountants and attorneys and personal assistants to evade, but that everyone else has to try to muddle through on their own.

“Targeted Social Programs Make Easy Targets”
That “on your own” religion is the biggest problem right now on virtually every policy issue — from economics to climate, from public health to education, much of America has brushed off the “ask not what your country can do for you” ethos, and embraced the belief that we’re all bowling alone and shouldn’t care about anyone other than ourselves. The new national religion is Margaret Thatcher’s refrain that “there is no such thing” as society — and means-testing is a key tenet of that catechism.

Universal programs like Social Security and Medicare may be derided as “entitlements,” but the reason they have (so far) survived for so long is because their universality makes them wildly successful in their missions and more difficult to demonize. It also precludes austerians from otherizing and disparaging the programs’ recipients. Indeed, “keep your government hands off my Medicare” was a ridiculous Republican form of Obamacare criticism, but it also underscored the transpartisan unity in support of universal social programs that provide the same benefits to everyone regardless of income.

Means-testing destroys that potential unity. It may initially poll well, but it turns “entitlements” into complicated “welfare” programs only for certain groups, which then makes those programs less popular and makes the beneficiaries easy scapegoats for political opportunists (which then stigmatizes recipients and deters them from getting the assistance).

Think Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queen” trope vilifying recipients of means-tested food stamps. Then think about all the iterations of that us-against-them attack that have justified ever-more-cruel cuts to the social safety net over the last half century, leading us to a Joker America where fewer and fewer people — and especially fewer young people — believe the government is interested in helping anyone other than wealthy political donors.

“When eligibility for benefits is conditional, all kinds of bad things happen, ranging from the intentional exclusion of whole (usually maligned and disempowered) demographics to huge numbers of otherwise-eligible people tripping over red tape and falling through the cracks,” wrote Jacobin’s Megan Day. “Another major problem with means-testing is political: so long as there’s an income threshold, austerity-minded politicians will always try to lower it, leaving more people out as time goes on. In other words, targeted social programs make easy targets.”

Now sure, billionaires are eligible for Social Security and Medicare, and their kids are eligible for free K-12 education — and that aristocracy absolutely doesn’t need that help. But when those programs were created, we decided that retirement income, old-age medical care, and public education are universal rights, not targeted privileges.

By extension, we accepted that rich people being granted those rights along with everyone else was the relatively small price to pay for simplicity, universalism, and the attendant national unity that comes with it. (America also decided that it would recoup that largesse to the rich with far higher and more progressive tax rates — which the means-testers typically do not support.)

Not surprisingly, Democrats’ creation of popular universalist programs coincided with the most electorally successful era in the party’s history, and polls continue to show huge support for initiatives like universal pre-K and universal child care.

Equally unsurprising: The era of Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Biden White House staffers, and other smarmy Democratic automatons promoting fake means-test populism has coincided with rising popular hatred of liberal technocrats and the Democratic Party they control.

A Return To Roots, Before The GOP Figures It Out
What is surprising is that Republicans may be starting to understand all this better than Democrats.

For instance, President Donald Trump’s signature spending legislation offered direct, non-means-tested aid to small businesses during the pandemic. It was hardly perfect, but it was straightforward, universal and relatively successful: Federal Reserve data show it produced far more widespread help to the working class than Democrats’ top-down bank bailout during the financial crisis. And because of that simplicity and success, it was popular.

Same thing when it came to the uninsured during the pandemic. In a corporate health care system that rations care for the poor, Trump touted a plan to just pay hospital bills for COVID patients who didn’t have coverage. Again, it was hardly perfect in its implementation, but it signaled Republicans’ understanding of a saleable principle: keep it simple, stupid.

The COVID survival checks under Trump were means-tested, but for the most part they went out automatically and to nearly everyone — even, supposedly, the kids of uber-wealthy Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Bain Capital). The checks were simple and popular, and the public wanted more.

When it comes to student debt relief, there’s a rare chance for Democrats to also embrace simplicity — and prevent the GOP from outflanking them. They can reject the best-and-brightest pedants whose paternalistic West Wing-ism scoffs at simplicity and presumes social programs are only smart if they are impenetrably complex. Those know-it-all liberals championed the trade, tax, deregulatory, and means-tested austerity policies that incinerated the Democratic Party brand among working-class voters. It’s long past time for a change.

Democrats now have the opportunity right in front of them — they can reject the small-minded technocrats who dominate Washington and realize that complexity is not a hallmark of intellect, but is often instead the afterbirth of those too stupid or corrupt to make things simple. More specifically, they can use the student debt crisis to finally return to their universalist roots — and they don’t have to skimp and provide merely $10,000 worth of relief.

“Republicans will attack forgiving $10,000 in student debt as voraciously as if Biden canceled all student debt while demoralizing tens of millions who will still be drowning in it,” wrote Senate Democrats’ Budget Committee staff director Warren Gunnels. “Think big or go home. Cancel all of it.”

Biden has the executive authority to do exactly that. He could simply send out a one-page letter to every student borrower telling them that their federal student debt is now $0.

Yes, if that happened, bailed-out private equity kingpin and onetime car-elevator owner Romney would throw another temper tantrum about “free stuff.”

Yes, Republican lawmakers would try to block it, Jeff Bezos’s editorial board would be mad, and affluent pundits would tweet-cry to each other, incensed that some less fortunate people stuck in a predatory debt trap would get to enjoy even a taste of the freedom and luxury they’ve enjoyed their whole lives.

But amid all that elite whining and couch fainting, Democrats would be launching a battle against an immoral system of education debt — and directly helping 40 million voters ahead of a midterm election.

It’s so easy and simple — which is probably why they won’t do it.

0 Replies
Reply Tue 3 May, 2022 08:58 am
Shhhh: The Democrat's secret sauce for winning the midterms
It could counter Biden's rock-bottom ratings
Robert Reich

The beginning of May before midterm elections marks the start of primary season and six months of fall campaigning. The conventional view this year is Democrats will be clobbered in November. Why? Because midterms are usually referendums on a president’s performance, and Biden’s approval ratings are in the cellar.

But the conventional view could be wrong because it doesn’t account for the Democrat’s secret sauce, which gives them a fighting chance of keeping one or both chambers: Trump Sauce.

According to recent polls, Trump’s popularity continues to sink. He is liked by only 38 percent of Americans and disliked by 46 percent. (12 percent are neutral.) And this isn’t your normal “sort of like, sort of dislike” polling. Feelings are intense, as they’ve always been about Trump. Among voters 45 to 64 years old — a group Trump won in 2020, 50 percent to 49 percent, according to exit polls — just 39 percent now view him favorably and 57 percent, unfavorably. Among voters 65 and older (52 percent of whom voted for him in 2020 to Biden's 47 percent) only 44 percent now see him favorably and more than half (54 percent) unfavorably. Perhaps most importantly, independents hold him in even lower regard. Just 26 percent view him favorably; 68 percent unfavorably.

Republican lawmakers had hoped — and assumed — Trump would have faded from the scene by now, allowing them to engage in full-throttled attacks on Democrats in the lead-up to the midterms. No such luck. In fact, Trump’s visibility is growing daily.

The media is framing this month’s big Republican primaries as all about Trump — which is exactly as Trump wants them framed. But this framing is disastrous for the GOP. Today’s Republican Ohio primary, for example, has become a giant proxy battle over who’s the Trumpiest candidate. The candidates have been outdoing each other trying to imitate him -- railing against undocumented immigrants, coastal elites, “socialism,” and “wokeness,” all the while regurgitating the Big Lie.

Trump’s April 15 endorsement of JD Vance could make the difference today — as could Trump’s backing of Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania’s May 17th primary and of Hershel Walker in Georgia’s May 24 primary. But whether Trump’s endorsements pay off in wins for these candidates is beside the point. By making these races all about him, Trump is casting the midterms as a whole as a referendum on his continuing power and influence. This is exactly what the Democrats need.

Type your email…
June’s televised hearings of the House January 6 committee will likely show in detail how Trump and his White House orchestrated the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and rekindle memories of Trump’s threat to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless Ukrainian president Zelensky came up with dirt on Biden. But the real significance of the hearings won’t show up in Trump’s approval ratings. It will be in the heightened reminders of Trump’s reign in Washington, and, as a result, an almost certain shift in marginal voters’ preferences toward the Democrats in November.

Also likely in June is a decision by the Supreme Court to uphold Mississippi’s ban on abortions after fifteen weeks – courtesy of Trump’s three Court nominees. The decision will green-light other Republican states to enact similar or even tighter bans, and spur Republicans in Congress to push for national legislation to bar abortions across the country. Republicans believe this will ignite their base, but it’s more likely to ignite a firestorm among the vast majority of Americans who believe abortion should be legal. Score more Democratic votes.

There is also the possibility of criminal trials over Trump’s business and electoral frauds (such as his brazen attempt to change the Georgia vote tally) — whose significance will be less about whether Trump is found guilty than additional reminders, in the months before the midterms, of Trump’s brazen lawlessness.

Meanwhile, Trump will treat America to more rallies, interviews, and barnstorming to convince voters the 2020 election was stolen from him, along with incessant demands that Republican candidates reiterate his Big Lie. More help to Democrats.

Somewhere along the line, and also before the midterms, Elon Musk is likely to allow Trump back on Twitter. The move will be bad for America — fueling more racism, xenophobia, and division. But it will serve as another memento of how dangerously incendiary Trump and Trumpism continue to be.

Accompanying all of this will be the ongoing antics of Trump’s whacky surrogates – Tucker Carlson, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Steven Bannon, Madison Cawthorn, Trump Junior, et al – who mimic Trump’s bravado, bigotry, divisiveness, and disdain for the law. All are walking billboards for Trumpism’s heinous impact on American life. All will push wavering voters toward Democrats in November.

I’m not suggesting Democrats seeking election or reelection center their campaigns around Trump. To the contrary, Democrats need to show voters their continuing commitment to improving voters’ lives. Between now and November, Democrats should enact laws to help Americans afford childcare, cut the costs of prescription drugs, and stop oil companies from price gouging, for example.

But Democrats can count on Americans’ awakened awareness of the hatefulness and chaos Trump and his Republican enablers have unleashed. The combination – Democrats scoring some additional victories for average Americans, and Trump and others doing everything possible to recollect his viciousness – could well reverse conventional wisdom about midterms, and keep Democrats in control.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 7 May, 2022 09:12 pm
Bernie Sanders

Billionaires are now spending huge amounts in Democratic primaries in PA, TX, OR and NC to defeat progressives and elect corporate Dems. In a "two party" system Oligarchs want to own both parties. We must overturn Citizens United and have public funding of elections.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 10 May, 2022 01:05 pm
Biden on inflation today. Shocked
Reply Tue 10 May, 2022 08:06 pm
edgarblythe wrote:

Biden on inflation today. Shocked

“Look, fat, Americans aren’t thinking about complicated stuff like the economy. They’re too busy working 8, 10 hours trying to put food on the table to think about the economy.”

He really said that. You know, paraphrasing.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 10 May, 2022 08:14 pm
Dude, if you watch YouTube, you gotta check The Vanguard—2 kids from KC who regularly rip holes in the establishment.

They showed a recent clip of Cenk and Ana crapping all over the squad. Agreeing with Dore.

Looooong time coming.

What’s your take on that?


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