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Profile Information

Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 73,166

Journal Archives

The Democratic Senators Hiding Behind Joe Manchin

The Daily Beast

It was March 5, right before the Senate’s doomed vote to raise the minimum wage to $15, and, as usual, Sen. Joe Manchin was the center of attention.

But there was no need for reporters to swarm the West Virginia moderate. On that day, he was far from the only Democrat who’d give the thumbs-down to a progressive priority. Seven other Democratic senators would vote the same way—and draw far less recognition or criticism.

That tally surprised observers outside the U.S. Capitol building, but few within it.

Manchin may find himself nationally relevant, and widely loathed on the left, for his willingness to buck mainstream positions within the Democratic Party. But over the years, Senate insiders have developed a view that on the toughest and thorniest issues, Manchin isn’t only speaking for himself; there’s usually a handful of senators who agree with him, quietly, and are happy to let him take the heat.


But exactly who’s aligned with him, even discreetly, on another consequential question—whether to end the legislative filibuster—is less clear. Only one other Democrat, Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), has been as strident about keeping the Senate’s 60-vote threshold as Manchin. A handful of others, such as Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), have sounded concerned notes or have avoided answering the question entirely.

Robert Gibbs was discussing this on Tuesday (HACKS ON TAP). Is view is that S1 was never going to pass, and that other Democrats were happy to let Manchin take the incoming fire.

She's Running for New York City Council. But Newspapers Won't Publish Her Photo.


In all but one way, Amber Adler is running a pretty normal campaign for New York city council. She knocks on doors and attends rallies; she campaigns outside of grocery stores and subway stations; she puts posters up across her district and places ads in local newspapers.

But look for a picture of her face in one of those local papers, and you’re not likely to find one. Why not? Because most of the magazines and newspapers in her neighborhood refuse to publish her photo.

Adler, 37, is the first Orthodox Jewish woman to run for city council in her Brooklyn district, which includes ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods scattered throughout Borough Park and Midwood. And as she heads toward her June 22 primary, she’s a victim of a fairly recent trend among Jewish media outlets in Orthodox neighborhoods in the United States: a refusal to publish photographs of women and girls for religious reasons. Which means if Adler wants campaign ads printed in the Jewish news, she can’t be in most of them.

For Adler, who is only the second ever Orthodox woman to run for publicly elected office in Brooklyn, the visual gag-order is yet another hurdle in an uphill campaign. She is butting up against expectations that Orthodox women don’t assume positions of communal authority and should instead stick to more internal-facing roles.

Jewish Democratic lawmakers consider condemning Ilhan Omar for likening Hamas to Israel and US

Jewish Telegraph

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives met Wednesday to discuss antisemitism. The 25 members of the unofficial caucus ended up fulminating about a fellow Democrat, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, for appearing to liken Hamas and the Taliban to Israel and the United States.

It was the second meeting of the Jewish Democrats in recent weeks. The first focused on the Israel-Hamas conflict and the accompanying spike in antisemitic incidents in the United States.

Wednesday’s assembly focused on an Omar tweet from Monday.

“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” Omar posted. “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”

A number of lawmakers at the meeting want to name Omar in a statement saying that her claim “discredited” the party, two sources said. Such a statement would be unprecedented since the Gaza conflict: Jewish members have called out statements on Israel by lawmakers on the party’s left, but have yet to name them. (Jewish lawmakers named Omar during a separate controversy in 2019.) Others on the call were hesitant to issue a statement.

Democratic Socialist Lee Carter ran for the Democratic nom for VA-GOV and got 2.8%...

...while losing his seat as a Legislative Delegate.

Today, he endorsed a third party "Liberation" candidate


NYC Mayor: Is There Any Time Left for Maya Wiley?

New Yorker

Wiley, who is now running for mayor, dislikes it when reporters ask her about the de Blasio administration. Her aides told me this several times. Wiley herself told me as soon as we met, earlier this week, in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. I had proposed talking to her about the past eight years of city politics and how they have shaped her own mayoral ambitions. The current Mayor accomplished much of what he’d promised, including universal pre-K, the end of stop-and-frisk, and a fifteen-dollar minimum wage. And yet he had confounded many of his original supporters with his difficult public persona, his transactional methods, and his wayward Presidential ambitions. He had come into office pledging to rein in the N.Y.P.D., but, by the end of his tenure, he was defending the department even in the face of videos showing police officers assaulting Black Lives Matter marchers. New Yorkers’ mixed feelings about de Blasio will surely influence their choice of Democrat to run City Hall next year, and Wiley, it seemed, was uniquely positioned to understand this ambivalence: she’d been on the inside, had a hand in the administration’s early achievements, and left disappointed. But, before we were done shaking hands, Wiley told me that she hated my angle. “You’re asking a Black woman running for office about a white man’s record?” she said. “Come on.”

We sat down at a shaded picnic table under a tree; people passed by, walking their dogs. “Look, there’s one progressive in this race who can win this race,” she said. “And it’s me.” “Progressive,” as even Wiley concedes, is a stretchy term. Pretty much every candidate in the crowded Democratic primary has invoked it at some point in the past six months. Three of those candidates—Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia, and Andrew Yang—are outpacing Wiley in polls. Adams and Yang also have an edge over her in fund-raising. Garcia has been riding high since receiving the Times’ endorsement, in May. All three are running on platforms that propose measures which could be called progressive—Yang’s “People’s Bank of New York,” for instance, or Adams’s call for adding hundreds of thousands of affordable apartments to the city’s housing stock. But all three have rejected arguments made by activists, reform groups, and the city’s upstart new left on issues ranging from policing to education and development. And all three have courted constituencies opposed to progressive goals.

Wiley has courted the activists. Only a fraction of the city’s voters will cast ballots in this year’s Democratic primary, and even a small edge with one reliable voting group could make a difference. Early in the race, Wiley seemed well positioned to attract the kind of coalition that had elected de Blasio: Black communities from across the city plus “very liberal” voters of all races. With only a few weeks to go, many Black voters appear more receptive to Adams, a former N.Y.P.D. captain long involved in the city’s debates over policing. Among reform-minded lefty voters, allegiances are split. Two other candidates who occupied the capital-“P” progressive space, Scott Stringer and Dianne Morales, had recently had their campaigns upended: Stringer when a former campaign volunteer accused him of making unwanted advances twenty years ago (on Friday, a second woman, who worked at a Manhattan bar Stringer once co-owned, came forward with similar accusations); Morales when several members of her campaign staff quit and others organized a work stoppage. For a lot of Morales’s and Stringer’s voters, Wiley said, “I was already their No. 2.”

Several of Wiley’s opponents have argued that the de Blasio administration was, on the whole, a failure. Yang bashes the Mayor every chance he gets, as does Garcia, the former Sanitation Department commissioner who served as a top official in de Blasio’s administration much longer than Wiley did. In October, Politico described the speech Wiley delivered at her campaign launch as a “searing rebuke of de Blasio,” but, sitting across from me, she took pains not to criticize her old boss directly. “We voted for the progressive twice, because the progressive got things done for people who desperately needed him to produce. And he did.”

NYC Mayor: Jumaane Williams endorses Maya Wiley in the Democratic primary race for mayor

NY 1

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams announced his full-throated support for Maya Wiley in the Democratic Primary race for mayor on Wednesday, another sign that the Democratic party's progressive wing is squarely behind Wiley despite her lagging in the polls.

"We must unite to elect and rank Maya Wiley to be the second Black and first woman mayor of the city of New York," Williams said.

Williams said it wasn't an endorsement he was planning to make.

"I was a bit hesitant to make an endorsement based on my position," Williams said.

The endorsement comes days after Wiley was backed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and as the debate over how to police the city at a time of increased gun violence are now front and center in the election. Wiley has vowed to fight rising violence while also centering significant NYPD reform at the core of her campaign.

Putting a spike in the campaign of (White Male) Scott Stringer.

Biden Reportedly Making Moves To Begin Closing Guantanamo Bay--And Trying To Avoid Obama's Mistakes

Source: Forbes

TOPLINE President Biden has quietly launched efforts to begin closing Guantanamo Bay in pursuit of his goal to shutter the controversial U.S. military prison in Cuba by the end of his term, NBC News reported Wednesday.

People familiar with discussions about Guantanamo’s future told NBC News that Biden is taking a different approach than former President Barack Obama, who was stymied by congressional opposition from closing the prison for suspected terrorists. 

Instead of an aggressive push to close the facility initially planned by Biden officials, the new administration is hoping to quietly transfer out the handful of remaining terrorism suspects held there to foreign countries, according to the report.

The Biden administration will then sign an executive order directing the facility’s closure and will attempt to persuade Congress to permit the transfer of the rest of the prisoners to U.S.-based detention facilities, the anonymous sources told NBC News.

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2021/06/09/biden-reportedly-making-moves-to-begin-closing-guantanamo-bay-and-trying-to-avoid-obamas-mistakes/?sh=702bd5e45904

From Appetizers to Tuition, Incentives to Job Seekers Grow

New York Times

College subsidies for children and spouses. Free rooms for summer hotel employees and a set of knives for aspiring culinary workers. And appetizers on the house for anyone willing to sit down for a restaurant job interview.

Determined to lure new employees and retain existing ones in a suddenly hot job market, employers are turning to new incentives that go beyond traditional monetary rewards. In some cases, the offerings include the potential to reshape career paths, like college scholarships and guaranteed admission to management training programs.

Despite an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent in May, the sudden reopening of vast swaths of the economy has left companies scrambling for workers as summer approaches, especially in the service sector. What’s more, in many cases the inducements are on top of increases in hourly pay.

The result is a cornucopia of new benefits as human resources officers and employees alike rethink what makes for a compelling compensation package. And in a pathbreaking move, some businesses are extending educational benefits to families of employees.

Val Demings launches 2022 campaign for Senate against Marco Rubio

Source: Orlando Sentinel

Saying she’s ready for a “tough fight,” Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando officially launched her campaign Wednesday to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio next year.

“I know how to get through tough times, and I think we would all agree that we’re in some really tough, unusual times right now,” Demings told the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday. “But I’m not afraid of a tough fight.

“We are dealing with some critical issues,” she added. “And we need bold, courageous leaders to deal with those issues. And the bottom line is, too many times Marco Rubio did not show up. And when he did, he did not have enough courage to fight for Florida.”

Rubio has tried to get ahead of Demings’ expected announcement by going on the attack, telling Fox News on Monday, “None of them [Demings and other Democrats] will admit to being a socialist. She probably won’t. But she certainly has voted for socialist things.”

Read more: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/politics/os-ne-val-demings-senate-run-20210609-67aar5ycjjekfpvyjdrwzwbxhi-story.html

NY Times: Brad Lander for Comptroller

The New York City comptroller serves as the fiscal watchdog, which is serious business in a city with a budget of nearly $99 billion. The office oversees the city’s roughly $240 billion in pension funds, approving its contracts and investigating its agencies.

As New York recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, it will need a steady and experienced hand focused on ensuring that its residents and businesses recover from the trauma caused by the disease. The health and vitality of the city’s economy isn’t just a local matter; New York is a major economic engine that the entire nation needs firing on all cylinders for recovery to succeed. This is a job for Brad Lander, a veteran councilman from Brooklyn who is among the hardest-working and most effective public servants in the city.

Plenty of legislators in the 51-member City Council simply show up. Mr. Lander’s work has often changed New York for the better. Early in his career, he was one of two council members behind the Community Safety Act, among the first significant efforts to curb stop-and-frisk policing under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In the following decade, Mr. Lander sponsored legislation that expanded paid sick leave, strengthened protections for tenants and increased rapid bus service for New Yorkers. He also took on common-sense measures, like getting air-conditioners into city schools, that made life easier.

Mr. Lander has repeatedly risked his political career to take unpopular stances. Perhaps most significant was his skillful, dogged support of a plan in recent years that successfully integrated Brooklyn elementary and middle schools in his district.


The endorsement speaks to Lander's political achievements but says nothing of his fiscal policies.

FWIW - I'm going with Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
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