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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 11:41 PM
Number of posts: 36,548

Journal Archives

Nancy Pelosi Has Power--She Just Doesn't Want to Use It

On Wednesday, Nancy Pelosi reminded her caucus who the real enemy is, telling them that they needed to present a united front in the fight against Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump. “Without that unity, we are playing completely into the hands of the other people,” Pelosi said, according to the Associated Press. “We’re a family and we have our moments,” Pelosi continued. “So, again, you got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it. But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just OK.”

It’s advice that Pelosi may have needed more than any of her colleagues. A Maureen Dowd New York Times column on Sunday quoted the Speaker sniping at a quartet of progressive first-term congresswomen. “These people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi said, in between boasting about hanging out with Bono and discussing her Napa vineyard. “But they didn’t have any following.” The representatives Pelosi was referring to—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley—had all recently voted against a version of a border funding bill that provided billions of dollars to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), but did so without any of the oversight most House Democrats had originally sought.

...Pelosi’s approach to impeachment is probably the clearest example of this schism. Fearing that opening impeachment proceedings will distract from—and undermine—the 2020 campaign, she has put the brakes on many measures to hold Trump and his administration accountable. Instead, she has made opaque and confusing public statements, claiming that Trump is “just not worth it” and that he “self-impeaches” every day. She has similarly declined to go after other Trump officials. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, most recently, has been rightfully attacked for his shameful handling of a plea deal with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein while serving as U.S. attorney for Florida’s southern district. Pelosi could launch impeachment proceedings against Acosta. Instead she launched a petition—attached to a fundraising ask. While Pelosi has a well-earned reputation for whipping votes and retaining loyalty, thanks in large part to her ability to dole out the huge sums she rakes in from donors, she has also consistently wielded power in this cautious manner.

...(Since 1980) the Republican Party has embraced a completely opposite approach to politics. While Democrats have long seen power as something to accrue and wield responsibly, they typically do little more than hoard it. The GOP, meanwhile, seeks power at all costs and wields it with abandon. No figure in contemporary politics sums up this approach better than Mitch McConnell, who has gone to extraordinary lengths, particularly when it comes to the federal judiciary, to use his power to reshape the government. The kinds of bold gambits on which McConnell has embarked—blocking Merrick Garland from the Supreme Court is a particularly galling example—are based on the idea that not only should power be used to the fullest extent possible, but that Republicans will more likely be punished for not acting than they will for taking aggressive action.

And in response, more often than not, Democrats are reactive, almost apologizing for what power they have. Leaders like Pelosi contort themselves to appear moderate and eager for compromise. They are terrified about any approach that looks like open, unabashed advocacy for the rights of undocumented immigrants, or restoring some degree of economic equity by (gasp) raising taxes on those who can most afford to pay them. They fear being called tax-and-spend socialists, more than they desire progressive results. And so they retreat, again and again, fearing that doing much of anything could cost them campaign contributions, and, ultimately, cost them seats. Looking over the barren landscape of recent American politics, it’s easy to see that this is not a particularly rewarding strategy.

More at https://newrepublic.com/article/154464/nancy-pelosi-abdicates-power
Posted by BeyondGeography | Thu Jul 11, 2019, 05:29 AM (16 replies)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Visibly Moved by an Immigrant Mother's Testimony

Yazmin Juárez, whose 19-month-old daughter died weeks after being released from ICE detainment in 2018, testified during the hearing, describing the mistreatment she faced while seeking asylum. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.), who was brought to tears at times during the day’s proceedings, asked Juárez a series of empathetic questions, creating the emotional highlight of the hearing.

Posted by BeyondGeography | Wed Jul 10, 2019, 10:05 PM (1 replies)

'Regrets is not what I do': Pelosi defends her comment about four House women

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she has “no regrets about anything” after a swipe at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other freshman congresswomen’s following in a New York Times article.

Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, or “The Squad,” voted against a bill that aimed to provide emergency funding at the border. Pelosi told the NYT Saturday the four newer members “have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” but “they’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”

Pelosi stood by her comments Wednesday, saying she doesn’t “do” regrets.

“I have no regrets about anything,” Pelosi told reporters after being asked if she was worried about her remarks dividing Democrats, The Washington Post reported. “Regrets is not what I do.”

More at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/regrets-is-not-what-i-do-pelosi-defends-her-comments-about-four-house-women/2019/07/10/df49af82-a320-11e9-a767-d7ab84aef3e9_story.html?utm_term=.cec73a6c7e47
Posted by BeyondGeography | Wed Jul 10, 2019, 02:32 PM (71 replies)

What Elizabeth Warren would tell her 25-year-old self

Posted by BeyondGeography | Mon Jul 8, 2019, 08:17 AM (1 replies)

Haunted by the Reagan era

Past defeats still scare older Democratic leaders — but not the younger generation

Newly elected Democrats in the House of Representatives spent June 27 with the sinking feeling that it was happening again: Their party was going to cave to President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on a viscerally emotional issue. Just after a searing photo circulated of a father and his young daughter who had drowned in each other’s arms while fleeing for the sanctuary of U.S. shores, Democrats in Congress let a GOP-drafted spending bill go through that did nothing to address conditions for detained immigrant children — abandoning a House version that would have ordered improvements. House leaders blamed Senate Democrats for capitulating; Senate Democrats attacked the House for poor negotiating.

The new insurgent class of Democrats put the fight in sharp moral terms. “A vote for Mitch McConnell’s border bill is a vote to keep kids in cages and terrorize immigrant communities,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.). “If you see the Senate bill as an option, then you don’t believe in basic human rights,” declared Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.). “Hell no. That’s an abdication of power,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.).

Frustration with the refusal to stand up for principle is boiling over among younger Democrats. On issue after issue — impeachment, Medicare-for-all, a $15 minimum wage, free public college, a Green New Deal — the answer from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other Democratic leaders is consistent: Now is not the time; the country isn’t ready. Push too fast or too far, and there’ll be a backlash. For newer members of the party’s caucus, the older generation’s fear of a backlash is befuddling. “Leadership is driven by fear. They seem to be unable to lead,” said Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez and a co-founder of Justice Democrats, the insurgent political organization that powered her rise, while also backing Omar and Tlaib. “I’m not sure what caused it.”

The answer, in short: the Gipper.

The way the older and younger House members think about and engage with the Republican Party may be the starkest divide between them. Democratic leaders like Pelosi, Joe Biden, Steny Hoyer and Chuck Schumer were shaped by their traumatic political coming-of-age during the breakup of the New Deal coalition and the rise of Ronald Reagan — and the backlash that swept Democrats so thoroughly from power nearly 40 years ago. They’ve spent the rest of their lives flinching at the sight of voters. When these leaders plead for their party to stay in the middle, they’re crouching into the defensive posture they’ve been used to since November 1980, afraid that if they come across as harebrained liberals, voters will turn them out again.

The Ocasio-Cortezes of the world have witnessed the opposite: The way they see it, Democratic attempts to moderate and compromise have led to nothing but ruin...

More at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2019/07/05/feature/haunted-by-the-reagan-era/?utm_term=.c334ee3f229b&wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1
Posted by BeyondGeography | Sat Jul 6, 2019, 08:22 PM (4 replies)

Elizabeth Warren's first law review article blasted an anti-busing court ruling

Washington(CNN) The most dramatic showdown during the first Democratic debate was between Sen. Kamala Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden over his decades-long opposition to desegregation busing. But on the sidelines of the re-litigated fight over busing -- and off the stage that second night -- was another candidate who waded into the busing debate in the 1970s on the opposite side of Biden: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

In her first law review article, published in 1975 in the Rutgers Law Review and recently unearthed by CNN's KFile, Warren sharply criticized a Supreme Court ruling in the case Milliken v. Bradley, writing that it made it easier for school districts to stop busing students in northern cities.

...In the article, Warren predicted that de facto segregation -- segregation that occurs not because it was institutionalized by the government but because of social norms, prejudices and self-selection -- and de jure -- segregation that existed because of laws that mandated racial segregation -- had been silently "reaffirming" by the court and would take over American public schools.

The isolation of minorities in urban centers, Warren wrote, and a shrinking tax base to finance public education would lead to facilities that are inferior in "student-teacher ratios, and other educational advantages" for minority students. For Brown v. Board of Education to have meaning in northern urban centers, Warren said that "effectively separate schools, even if equal, and certainly if unequal, are condemned by the Constitution, regardless of the reason for the separation."

...Warren also seemed to recognize the significance of Milliken in her law review article. She argued that without proper oversight from the federal court system, she wrote, the burden of desegregation has fallen on to black communities.

"It has been black parents, children, and organizations committed to desegregation who have shouldered the major part of the burden...Clearly, the burden for enforcing the Brown right has been misplaced," Warren wrote.

More at https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/07/06/politics/elizabeth-warren-busing-desegregation-kfile/index.html
Posted by BeyondGeography | Sat Jul 6, 2019, 11:41 AM (89 replies)

NYPD cops buy food for woman caught shoplifting at Whole Foods

A group of NYPD cops surrounded a woman who’d been stopped by security for putting items in a bag at Union Square’s Whole Foods on Thursday — then paid for the goods, prompting the lady to break down in tears.

“I saw the woman opened up her bag, and one of the officers looked in the bag,” said documentary filmmaker Paul Bozymowski, who had gone to the store for cookout materials and witnessed the scene, later posting details and a photo on Twitter.

“And [the cop] said: ‘I’ll buy your food.’ Just really simply and plainly.”

Expecting a far worse outcome, the woman began to cry, the witness said.

“She was just overwhelmed with gratitude for these officers,” he said.

The officers eventually accompanied the woman to the customer-service counter and purchased the items for her, Bozymowski said.

More at https://nypost.com/2019/07/04/nypd-cops-buy-food-for-woman-caught-shoplifting-at-whole-foods/
Posted by BeyondGeography | Thu Jul 4, 2019, 10:07 PM (1 replies)

In 2020, authenticity and empathy will, yes, trump ideology

What the Democrats’ Turn Leftward Means for the Party’s Chances in 2020

Last week, twenty Democratic candidates for President debated in the course of two nights in Miami. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren appeared to bolster their campaigns, with Harris, in particular, making headlines for her criticism of Joe Biden’s past opposition to school busing. Later in the week, Harris explicitly announced that she supports a return of school busing to ease segregation in education. This followed all of the candidates at Thursday’s debate coming out in favor of government-funded health care for undocumented immigrants, Elizabeth Warren supporting the decriminalization of border crossings, and Harris initially seconding calls from Warren and Bernie Sanders for the abolition of private health insurance. (Harris claimed that she misunderstood the question; earlier this year, she appeared to take several different positions on the issue.) Joe Biden’s unsteady performance, meanwhile, weakened the candidacy of the Party’s highest-profile moderate.

With President Trump and his team delighted by the Democrats’ leftward turn, a central question emerges: Will running on a more explicitly progressive platform energize the Democratic base, or will it cost the Party the 2020 election? To consider this question and others, I spoke by phone with Dave Wasserman, the U.S. House editor for the Cook Political Report and a contributor to NBC News. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we also discussed whether voters are less ideological than people think they are, the ways in which the Electoral College presents a challenge to Democrats winning Presidential elections, and the true lesson of the 2018 midterms.

Do you think Democrats whose primary desire is to see Trump defeated should be concerned or excited that their party seems to be moving leftward?

I don’t think Democrats would be wise to run against Trump on a platform of completely open borders and abolishing private health insurance. There are limits. But, generally, the tiny sliver of voters in this country who are still persuadable are not highly ideological people. They are fundamentally anti-élite in nature, and they are looking for three characteristics in a candidate for President that don’t have much to do with left-versus-right. And those characteristics are authenticity, being a credible agent for change, and empathy. In other words, does this person understand my daily struggles? And a common thread between Obama and Trump was a common touch.

It’s all relative, but, whether it was having been a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago or a billionaire who ate K.F.C. and went to professional wrestling matches, it struck a chord with those voters.

More at https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/what-the-democrats-turn-leftward-means-for-the-partys-chances-in-2020
Posted by BeyondGeography | Wed Jul 3, 2019, 03:50 PM (47 replies)

Elizabeth Warren Starts Winning Begrudging Respect on Wall Street

There’s a new whisper on Wall Street -- maybe Elizabeth Warren isn’t so bad.

The Democratic senator, who rose to national prominence by calling for tough regulation after the financial crisis, is winning respect from a small but growing circle of senior bankers and hedge fund managers. As the presidential candidate from Massachusetts takes aim at the “rich and powerful” with a slew of tax-raising policy proposals, some financial types who fit that description say she’s proven capable and makes some good points.

“If she ends up being the nominee, I’d have no trouble supporting her at all,” said David Schamis, chief investment officer of Atlas Merchant Capital, where he’s a founding partner alongside former Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond. While Warren isn’t Schamis’s top choice, he said: “I think she is smart, hardworking, responsible and thoughtful. And I think she thinks markets are important.”

Schamis said people in his network who studied under Warren, a former professor at Harvard Law School, think highly of her, including some conservatives

...“I clearly don’t agree with everything she says, but I do give her credit for getting things done,” said Tom Nides, a Morgan Stanley vice chairman and former deputy secretary of state under Barack Obama, said of Warren. He didn’t share which candidate he’s supporting.

Warren’s work to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the wake of the crisis was “impressive,” Nides said. “You can’t argue with that. Having an idea, driving it to fruition, and having set it up is really hard to do.”

More at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-03/elizabeth-warren-wins-respect-in-unlikeliest-place-wall-street
Posted by BeyondGeography | Wed Jul 3, 2019, 05:41 AM (0 replies)

This is how you build a stronger and more effective Democratic Party

Inspirational leadership.

Posted by BeyondGeography | Tue Jul 2, 2019, 12:05 PM (3 replies)
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