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Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 73,160

Journal Archives

My office has been doing business with a data firm in Newcastle, Australia...

We haven't heard from them in a week.

Elizabeth Warren Isn't Talking Much About 'Medicare for All' Anymore

New York Times

DES MOINES — In warm-up remarks introducing Senator Elizabeth Warren at campaign rallies, young volunteers often say they are supporting her because of her plan to transform the health care system through a single-payer “Medicare for all” program. It happened in Des Moines on Saturday and Oklahoma City last week, and in western Iowa cities like Clarinda and Council Bluffs on Sunday.

But Ms. Warren herself is barely speaking of the proposal. After months of attacks from other candidates, and questions and some blowback from both liberals and moderates, the most ambitious and expensive of Ms. Warren’s many plans — and the one most likely to transform the lives of voters — is just a passing mention in her standard stump speech, rarely explored in depth unless a questioner brings it up.

“I expected her to talk more about the health care for all stuff, definitely,” said Max Goldman, 53, who attended Ms. Warren’s rally in Clarinda. Referring to her campaign, he added, “I think they know it’s controversial.”

Austin Thornton, a 32-year-old Iowan who works in film production, said he noticed Ms. Warren largely outsourced Medicare for all to another speaker. Mr. Thornton said it was a notable difference between her events and those he attended for Senator Bernie Sanders, who is vying with Ms. Warren for liberal voters in Iowa and elsewhere.

Libya to mobilize civilians after news of Turkish deployment

Source: AP News

CAIRO (AP) — Libya’s forces based in the country’s east say they have called on citizens to take up arms against Turkish troops if they deploy to fight against them in the country’s ongoing civil war.

The statement came soon after Turkey’s parliament authorized the deployment of troops to Libya to support their rivals, the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli.

In a statement Thursday on Twitter, the self-styled Libya National Army, led by commander Gen. Khalifa Hifter, said it was the people’s “duty” to fight to protect the homeland. Libya’s authorities in the east have several times throughout the war encouraged its citizens to take up arms and volunteer for police or military forces.

The Tripoli-based government of Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj has faced an offensive by the rival regime in the east and forces loyal to Hifter. The fighting has threatened to plunge Libya into violent chaos rivaling the 2011 conflict that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Read more: https://apnews.com/31b2d6bab47fb05cb281223118143219

Byzantium returns after 1,348 years?

Biden raises $22.7 M


Sanders: $34.5
Buttigieg: $24.7
Biden: 22.7
Warren: TBA
Klobuchar: TBA
Yang: 16.5
Gabbard: 3.4

Bloomberg fails to file for Nevada Democratic caucuses


LAS VEGAS — Nevada Democrats will not be able to caucus for Michael Bloomberg next month.

The former New York City mayor and Democratic presidential candidate failed to file with the Nevada State Democratic Party by a Jan. 1 deadline, the party announced Thursday morning.

Bloomberg is intending to bypass the four early voting states, including Nevada, which will be third to express a preference on the Democratic presidential field. Instead, he has his hopes hinged on other states, including California, where a large number of delegates are up for grabs.

Bloomberg’s failure to file with Nevada Democrats means his name won’t appear on preference cards during the Feb. 22 caucus and four days of early caucusing. Caucus attendees stand in groups to express their top candidate choices and also fill out preference cards to provide a record of their choice. There’s no write-in option available.

Bloomberg has been clear that he isn't going to compete until Super Tuesday. That said, I don't know why a Caucus system won't allow Bloomberg supporters to count themselves and see if they're viable.

Bill Gates calls for higher taxes on the rich

Source: Politico

Bill Gates, who routinely ranks as one of the world’s wealthiest people, is echoing Democrats’ calls for higher taxes on the rich.

Pointing to growing income inequality as well as mounting government red ink, the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist cites a litany of ways the rich ought to be paying more.

He endorsed a type of wealth tax, saying he favors “taxing large fortunes that have been held for a long time (say, ten years or more).”

“Very wealthy people often have large investments they’ve held for long periods, and if those investments aren’t sold or traded, that money is never taxed,” Gates said in a blog post. "That doesn’t make sense.”

Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/01/02/bill-gates-higher-taxes-rich-092783

But he's a billionaire, so we can still hate him, right?

Racism Dispute Roils Romance Writers Group

New York Times

A dispute over a racism accusation and how it was handled have upended the romance writers’ community, with best-selling novelists speaking out against the Romance Writers of America and most of the powerful, 9,000-member trade organization’s board resigning in the last days of the year.

The R.W.A. on Monday said it was hiring a law firm to “to conduct an audit of the process and these events to provide a clear report of the facts.” The dispute arose over the group’s treatment of Courtney Milan, a former board member and chair of its ethics committee who last summer criticized Kathryn Lynn Davis’s novel “Somewhere Lies the Moon” on Twitter as a “racist mess.”

Ms. Milan, who is Chinese-American, took issue with the depiction of 19th-century Chinese women in the book, including a description of “slanted almond eyes” and a quote from a character describing them as “demure and quiet, as our mothers have trained us to be.” “The notion of the submissive Chinese woman is a racist stereotype which fuels higher rates of violence against women,” Ms. Milan wrote on Twitter.

Ms. Davis, who is an honorary R.W.A. member, disagreed with Ms. Milan’s assessment, saying her book was historically accurate and based on years of research. She filed an ethics complaint with the R.W.A., saying that Ms. Milan’s comments were “cyberbullying” and cost her a publishing contract.

I've been seeing more Twitter traffic on this than any other non-politics story.

"Man Bites Dog"


Donald Watts, 38, was arrested in High Springs after police apprehended him rolling naked in a muddy ditch and making bird noises.

Action News Jacksonville reported that police were called to Southeast Brawley Terrace with reports that Watts was high on methamphetamine and acting erratically. While police were on the scene, a second 911 call was placed by a homeowner who said that a person was in his yard with a flashlight.

Deputies went to the complainant's home, where they spotted a flashlight being turned on and off and heard unusual noises. They investigated further and found Watts in the ditch, completely nude, pacing back and forth and making sounds with his mouth, according to Action News Jax.

When approached by police, Watts attempted to escape, hiding under the porch of a mobile home. After a brief standoff, he left his hiding place and engaged with police, punching one of the deputies several times, according to reports.


The 2-month sprint to kick off 2020


THE CALENDAR — Say goodbye to your loved ones until at least mid-March, because it will be all Democratic primary, all the time until then (you’ll still have team POLITICO, though). As a public service, here’s the dates you should mark off on your calendar over the next two-or-so months.

— Jan. 14: The seventh primary debate in Iowa. We’re less than two weeks away from the next Democratic primary debate, hosted by CNN and The Des Moines Register. And we’re even closer to the qualifying deadline on Jan. 10. As a reminder: Candidates need to hit 5 percent in four polls (or 7 percent in two early-state polls) and receive donations from 225,000 individuals.


— Jan. 31: The FEC deadline. The year-end FEC deadline is a big one. Not only do we get fourth-quarter numbers from every presidential hopeful (and House and Senate candidates), but we also get six months’ worth of numbers from super PACs and the big online fundraising platforms (ActBlue and WinRed). The New York Times’ Shane Goldmacher has a story piecing together the hints that the expected presidential fundraising leaders have dropped on how much they raised in Q4.

— Feb. 3: The Iowa caucuses. The moment we’ve all been waiting for: Voters are actually voting (or, well, caucusing)! This is the first time voters will actually have their say (although determining a winner might be a bit more complicated than it first seems), and poor showings could drive some candidates out of the still-large field.

— Feb. 7: The eighth primary debate in New Hampshire, hosted by ABC News/WMUR-TV/Apple News. For this (and the future debates), we don’t yet know how candidates will qualify. But DNC Chair Tom Perez has not ruled out shaking up future criteria once voters have actually voted.

Julian Castro's last Iowa campaign ad called for the end of kicking off voting in Iowa...

Whatever you think of the merits, I'm not sure this was the burning issue on Iowans' minds...

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