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A friend sent me this video. Well worth watching

Let's talk about Trump, Woodward, and bad days....

Ed Markey Has a Message for Democrats: 'The Age of Incrementalism Is Over

“Now,” says the senator who won an unprecedented primary victory, “is our moment to think big and take bold and urgent action.”

By John Nichols

No Kennedy had ever lost a Democratic primary, or a general election, in Massachusetts. From June 18, 1946, when a young World War II vet named John Fitzgerald Kennedy won the Democratic nomination to fill a congressional seat representing Cambridge and parts of Boston and Somerville, Kennedys had won every race they entered in the state.

Until September 1, 2020, when Representative Joe Kennedy III failed in his Democratic primary challenge to Senator Ed Markey by a 55-45 margin statewide. Markey won 60 percent of the vote in Boston and 80 percent in Cambridge and Somerville. Political narratives, at least as they have been written by pundits and political insiders, don’t usually end that way. Kennedys aren’t supposed to lose in Massachusetts. And 39-year-old challengers with “star power,” 100 percent name recognition, and mounds of money—and who start their campaigns with double-digit poll leads—aren’t supposed to get crushed by earnest 74-year-old veterans of the state legislature, the US House, and the US Senate who have spent decades focusing on the complexities of issues like nuclear disarmament and net neutrality.

What happened?
When the future of Democratic Party politics took shape in 2016 and ’18, Markey understood that everything was changing. He had always been a liberal with an instinct for reform. But Markey saw a new politics emerging, and he was ready to embrace it.

“When I first got to Congress, the reception I got was (very) chilly,” AOC recalled Tuesday. But, she added, “Ed Markey wasn’t afraid. He offered his expertise and partnership. He wasn’t scared of big policy and he didn’t use kid gloves.” The unlikely duo introduced a groundbreaking Green New Deal resolution in the House and Senate, and they found common ground on a host of issues concerning economic, social, and racial justice. A year ago, at a point when pundits were predicting that a challenge from Kennedy would force Markey out of politics, Ocasio-Cortez provided a critical endorsement for the senator:

Much more at the link. A very good read.

Are bread riots coming to America?

Over the last week, just under 1 million people filed for ordinary unemployment benefits, plus another half-million under the special pandemic unemployment program for people who don't ordinarily qualify, a substantial decline from some of the numbers seen since the beginning of the pandemic. At this rate, by mid-September or so, new unemployment claims will be merely as bad as they were during the worst of the Great Recession.

Those unemployment benefits, however, because this country has systematically stripped and sabotaged its safety net, are extremely meager and often nearly impossible to actually get. Hundreds of thousands of private citizens who have lost their jobs are flocking to Reddit for help and advice, as state unemployment bureaucracies are so janky and swamped they often can't deal with the flood of applications.

In the past week, the r/unemployment subreddit has taken a dark turn with the expiration of the CARES Act's super-unemployment and the failure of Republicans to even come to an agreement about what they want in the next round of pandemic relief. It's become a de facto support group for people whose lives are collapsing around them for simple lack of income or jobs, and talk of suicide is common.

One wonders: Is America about to see bread protests, or even riots?

People around the country have been testifying how they are down to their last dollar or flat broke, facing eviction or living on the street, unable to afford vital prescriptions or even food. "I've got $18.91 in my bank account this morning. My cupboards are getting low, my dog will have to eat whatever me and my kids eat and my gas light will be back on shortly," wrote one Redditor recently. "My car payment was due today and I'm still $200 short, 500 counting last month's. My phone bill is due in a few days. I'm a month behind on the electric bill. I have about $60 to my name, I'm not going to make rent and my [landlords] have already said they will not be giving any allowances," wrote another. "Well I've waited and now my power turns off at the end of today, in a house where my entire family has moved in with me … worst of all I have two toddlers and virtually nowhere to go. 'Rona and the government have picked off my family one by one and this seems to be the final nail in the coffin," wrote a third.


Tip of the iceberg indeed. I wonder if they will make it to November.

Valentina Sampaio Becomes First Transgender Model to Appear in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue

“To come from a space of fear and marginalization, to now being included in one of the most iconic magazines that truly embraces and celebrates diversity—it is life changing.”


In its 56 years, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue has represented current standards of beauty, which have evolved throughout the decades. From Tyra Banks being the first Black model to grace its cover in 1997 to Ashley Graham being the first full-figured model to do the same nearly two decades later to Halima Aden being the first featured model to wear a hijab in 2019, the magazine has broken barriers in the modeling industry, catapulting the careers of these diverse faces.

For its upcoming issue, Sports Illustrated has enacted another first. Valentina Sampaio has been named a 2020 rookie and is the first transgender model to appear in the glossy’s pages. Indeed, it is another milestone for the 23-year-old Brazilian, who garnered the same distinction when she signed up to be the face of a Victoria’s Secret campaign last year.

“I was filled with so many emotions of happiness when I heard the news,” Sampaio told People. “The feeling was surreal. Being in SI Swim has always been on my bucket list of things to achieve in my career. It’s a dream come true on so many levels. SI has been a deeply meaningful achievement. To come from a space of fear and marginalization, to now being included in one of the most iconic magazines that truly embraces and celebrates diversity—it is life changing.”

Lensed by Josie Clough on Scrub Island, the editorial spread is one of many in an issue that celebrates diversity. Hyunjoo Hwang, Marquita Pring, Anita Marshall, Lorena Duran, Kim Riekenberg, Brooks Nader, Jospehine Skriver were also named 2020 rookies and appear in the magazine. But it is Sampaio who is making headlines—and deservedly so.

Ocasio-Cortez builds political army, and a fundraising machine to match

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has spent more money than any House Democrat seeking reelection this year, building a massive political team and an even bigger money machine.

An analysis of the freshman firebrand's prodigious spending shows Ocasio-Cortez has nearly 40 staffers on her campaign, with 30 having been hired in 2020 — a staff size more typical of a top-tier Senate campaign than a congresswoman seeking reelection in a safely progressive seat.

Ocasio-Cortez had spent $6.3 million through June 3, according to her latest FEC report, sixth overall among House candidates.Just two years after she pulled off a stunning upset over a veteran lawmaker, Ocasio-Cortez has become a magnet for small-dollar donors. She has raised more than $10.5 million, about 80 percent of which came from donors giving under $200, the FEC reports show.

That mammoth haul makes her the fifth-most prodigious fundraiser of the cycle so far, behind only House GOP whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)


Maybe a President's Age Doesn't Matter That Much

Statistically, all the remaining 2020 candidates can survive two terms. But older leaders might make decisions differently.

Donald Trump is the second-oldest president in U.S. history. If he wins re-election in November he would pass Ronald Reagan to become the oldest president ever around the middle of his final year in office. Three of the Democratic contenders to replace him, Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg and Joe Biden (listed in descending order of age), would break the record on Inauguration Day. Elizabeth Warren would break it during a second term.

Sanders, Bloomberg (who is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News) and Biden have already passed the average life expectancy of a male American, recently estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 76.2 years. Does this mean they’re living on borrowed time? Well, no, life expectancy doesn’t work that way. Once an American man has made it to 78 years and 5 months, as Sanders has, he can expect to live to 88, according to the Social Security Administration’s life expectancy tables. Here are the estimated additional years of life expectancy, based solely on gender and age, for him and other significant remaining candidates.

All these candidates are in the upper reaches of the income distribution (Pete Buttigieg, the poorest, has a taxable income right around the 90th percentile), which in recent years has translated into much longer-than-average lifespans. As president, they would also have access to the very best medical care, and though the office is known to age its occupants in superficial terms, a 2011 study by longevity researcher S. Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois at Chicago concluded that it did not appear to shorten their lifespans. There are obviously risks specific to individual candidates, such as Sanders’s heart troubles or Trump’s weight, but I think it’s fair to describe the life expectancy estimates in the chart as quite conservative for all of them.

Still, while all the candidates can expect to see through two terms in office, the risk that Sanders or Bloomberg or Biden wouldn’t make it is clearly a lot higher than Tulsi Gabbard’s risk. In a white paper published last year by the American Federation of Aging Research, Olshansky and five co-authors estimated the chances that each of the then-declared candidates would survive one and two terms based on the Social Security tables and a “third-degree monotone cubic spline using Hyman filtering.” For one term, Sanders came in at 76.8%, Biden 79.2%, Trump 84.8% (to make it through a second term), Warren 91.8%, Tom Steyer 93.7%, Amy Klobuchar 96.8%, and Buttigieg and Gabbard 99%. For two terms, it was Sanders 66.6%, Biden 70%, Warren 88%, Steyer 91.6%, Klobuchar 95.7%, and Buttigieg and Gabbard 98.7%. Bloomberg wasn’t a candidate at the time, and the authors haven’t run exact percentages for him yet, but they would come in slightly lower than Biden’s.


'We Are Not That Stupid': Rev. Al Sharpton Says Black Voters Won't Be Fooled by Red-Baiting

Attacks on Sanders
"The civil rights movement always was targeted by those that would use the Red Scare. They accused Dr. King of being a communist. We've been down that road before."


Rev. Al Sharpton said Wednesday that black voters in South Carolina, which holds its Democratic presidential primary on Saturday, will not be deceived by red-baiting attacks on Sen. Bernie Sanders because "we've been down that road before."

"Every major leader in the 60s they tried to call socialist or communist. Whatever you decide to do on Saturday, do not go by those that use the 'socialist' tag to try to separate us from what we need to do for this country."
—Rev. Al Sharpton

"The civil rights movement always was targeted by those that would use the Red Scare," Sharpton said at the South Carolina Ministers' Breakfast in North Charleston as he introduced the Vermont senator.

Sanders and five other Democratic presidential hopefuls attended the event, which was hosted by the National Action Network.

"They accused Dr. King of being a communist," Sharpton said. "Every major leader in the 60s they tried to call socialist or communist. Whatever you decide to do on Saturday, do not go by those that use the 'socialist' tag to try to separate us from what we need to do for this country... And we are not that stupid to allow you to tell us who is what."

"Those of us that had to fight for the right to vote need to use that vote in a fair way, fair to those that fought for it," added Sharpton, pointing to Sanders' involvement in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. "One of them that came south to fight for that and was arrested was the senator from the state of Vermont, Senator Bernie Sanders."


Inside Bernie's relationship with Chuck and Nancy

The insurgent-turned-frontrunner will need the Democratic leaders if he's going to win the White House and then get his agenda enacted.


Sanders has known both Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi for decades — relationships that will become pivotal if Sanders wins the Democratic nomination and the party is fractured. And if Democrats do win the White House and control of Congress, their ability to work together will be crucial.

The resistance to Sanders’ support for the "Green New Deal" and "Medicare for All" suggests major friction ahead in the campaign and on Capitol Hill. But there’s also little animosity and a feeling of mutual respect between Sanders and the leaders, according to interviews with a dozen Democrats on Capitol Hill this week.

Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager and a former aide to both Reid and Pelosi, said party leaders should prepare for a President Sanders to “assume the responsibility for setting the agenda, creating the mandate for change, and pushing Congress to act.

“Sen. Sanders has respect for the burden of leadership that Schumer and Pelosi carry, but he also believes the party can and will need to act far more boldly for working-class issues in the years ahead,” Shakir said.

insurgent I will never understand how fighting for the working class and the poor makes one a rebel or a revolutionary.

Sanders surpasses Biden among African American voters: Reuters/Ipsos poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has widened his lead for the Democratic presidential nomination and overtaken Joe Biden in support among African Americans - a voting bloc that until now has largely favored the former vice president, according to a Reuters/Ipsos national poll released on Tuesday.

The result could spell trouble for Biden, the one-time frontrunner who has lagged behind the field after the first few Democratic nominating contests. To remain a viable contender, Biden has been banking on a strong showing in Saturday's South Carolina primary, a state where black voters make up more than half of the Democratic electorate.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, conducted Feb. 19-25, also showed that support for billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg slipped by 2 percentage points after the former New York City mayor faced intense scrutiny from other candidates last week in his first debate as a presidential candidate.

Among all registered Democrats and independents, 26% said they would vote for Sanders, while 15% said they were backing Bloomberg and another 15% supported Biden.
Senator Elizabeth Warren and former mayor Pete Buttigieg were each supported by 10% of respondents. Another 4% said they would vote for Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and 3% said they were supporting billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer.


US politics After Bernie Sanders' landslide Nevada win, it's time for Democrats to unite behind him

No other Democrats can beat him at this point. Sill, the liberal establishment is still struggling to come to terms with Sanders’ inevitable nomination

Nathan Robinson

It was a landslide. Bernie Sanders had been expected to win the Nevada caucuses, but not like this. With just 4% of the vote in, news organizations called the race for Sanders, since his margin of victory was so large. Sanders has now won the popular vote in all of the first three states, and is currently leading in the polls almost everywhere else in the country. He was already the favorite to take the nomination before the Nevada contest, with Democratic party insiders worrying he was “unstoppable.” His campaign will only grow more powerful now.

Importantly, Sanders’ Nevada victory definitively disproved one of the most enduring myths about his campaign: that it could attract left-leaning young white people, but was incapable of drawing in a diverse coalition. In fact, voters of color were a primary source of Sanders’ strength in Nevada; he received the majority of Latino votes. Entrance polls showed Sanders winning “men and women, whites and Latinos, voters 17-29, 30-44 and 45-65, those with college degrees and those without, liberal Democrats (by a lot) and moderate/conservatives (narrowly), union and non-union households.” The poisonous concept of the white “Bernie Bro” as the “typical” Sanders supporter should be dead.

The other candidates and their supporters did their best to spin a humiliating defeat. Amy Klobuchar said her sixth-place finish “exceeded expectations”—if sixth place is better than you expected, you’re probably not a viable candidate. Biden vowed, implausibly (and for the third time) that he would bounce back. Pete Buttigieg took to the stage to denounce Sanders, who he said “believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans.” A Warren supporter rather charmingly said that while Sanders had won, Warren had the “momentum,” and the Warren campaign itself said the Nevada “debate” mattered more than the Nevada “result.”

Let’s be clear: the other candidates were crushed, and Nevada was yet more evidence that there is no longer much serious opposition to Sanders. Michael Bloomberg fizzled completely in his big debut, and Democrats would be out of their minds to enrage every Sanders supporter by nominating a Republican billionaire. Joe Biden has lost badly in all of the first three contests, and it’s very clear that he can’t run an effective campaign. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has nearly gone broke and in desperation she has resorted to relying on the Super PACs that she previously shunned. Pete Buttigieg can’t win voters of color or young people (and has accurately been described as sounding like “a neural network trained on West Wing episodes”). As Matthews says: it’s over. Bernie is dominating the fundraising, dominating the polls, and winning every primary. I am not sure Jacobin is right that “it’s Bernie’s party now”—for one thing, virtually the entire Congressional Democratic party is still opposed to Bernie. But it’s certainly Bernie’s nomination. There is simply no other credible candidate.

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