President barack obama: “You get the politicians you deserve,”
“And if you don’t vote and you don’t participate and you don’t pay attention, then you’ll get policies that don’t reflect your interests.” The comments came during a discussion about leadership.
“The mark of a good leader is somebody who is able to empower other people,”
“So often we think of leadership as somebody at the top who is ordering other people around … but it turns out, for me at least, what made me understand leadership was when I could see somebody who thought they didn’t have a voice, thought they didn’t have influence or didn’t have power, and teach them how to speak up on the things that were affecting their lives.'
Congressional members and activists call for congressional action on banning pesticides in Washington, D.C. on July 25, 2017. CREDIT: Esther Yu Hsi Lee/ThinkProgress
Democratic senators introduce bill to ban insecticide linked to brain damage
Farmworkers and children are most at risk.
Esther Yu Hsi Lee
From Think Progress: WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three years ago, neurological issues turned family life upside down for Alex B., a 24-year-old Oregonian, when his father, a longtime farmworker who picked broccoli, celery, and strawberries, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The family now believes his illness is connected to his regular exposure to a widely-used and controversial insecticide called chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to adverse side effects in humans.
“My dad’s situation may not be directly related to chlorpyrifos, but he did work in the field for a long time, and we believe that’s why he got sick,” Alex said. (He asked ThinkProgress not to disclose his last name after he spoke at a public press conference.)
Chlorpyrifos, an efficient insecticide, has been in wide use since the 1960s, but studies suggest that both direct and indirect exposure could lead to reduced IQ, loss of working memory, attention deficit disorders, and brain damage.
“I don’t think there’s a word in the English dictionary that describes how despicable [it is] that a neurotoxin that was used to hurt a population [of pests] when it was created is now hurting another kind of population today,” Alex said. “The science shows that this chemical — its purpose is to kill and it continues to do that by destroying families and futures.”
Alex’s father, who came to the United States as a migrant farmworker in the 1980s and has since become a U.S. citizen, lost his job because of the brain tumor, which has since been removed. Still, there are many more farmworkers like him, as well as people who simply live near farms, who are regularly exposed to chlorpyrifos and have suffered irreparable consequences.
That’s why Alex was in the nation’s capital Tuesday with a delegation of environmental groups, human rights activists, and congressional leaders to call for a ban on chlorpyrifos, a organophosphate insecticide used on crops like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and almonds.
Speaking in front of a crowd in a grassy lawn several paces from the Senate Building steps, the group was there to support a legislative bill coauthored by Senate Democrats to ban chlorpyrifos.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied a petition to ban the insecticide, calling for more research. In March, environmental groups and state attorney generals challenged the decision, arguing that the use of chlorpyrifos at any amount was harmful and that the EPA hadn’t made new findings that could ensure its safe use. But on July 18, a federal appeals court supported the EPA’s decision to delay the petition. Now EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s agency has until 2022 to evaluate the risks of chlorpyrifos.
Titled “The Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act of 2017” the bill requires the EPA to regulate or ban a pesticide if the agency cannot prove with “reasonable certainty” that it is safe. The bill also requires EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to partner with the National Research Council to assess the neurodevelopmental effects that organophosphate pesticides has on farmworkers and children.
The bill’s cosponsors include Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Edward J. Markey (D-MA). “The chemical industry can and must do better than continue to push for the use of nerve agents in our food. This bill comes at a crucial time when scientific integrity and the protection of the public is compromised by industry collusion with the administration,” Andrea Delgado, legislative director of the Healthy Communities program at Earthjustice, said in a statement. “The most exposed and vulnerable among us are our children, farmworkers and families in rural communities, and they deserve action now.”
“This bill tells the chemical industry that our children’s health and safety are not for sale,” Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) President Rhea Suh said in another statement. “Families shouldn’t have to worry the fruits and veggies they feed their kids could do them harm. Farmworkers shouldn’t have to fear that they might be exposed to toxic pesticides in the fields or that their children or will be poisoned if it drifts into in their communities. Our leaders in Washington must stop playing politics with children’s health.”
Chlorpyrifos is produced by Dow Chemical and maintains that authorized uses of the product “when used as directed” is largely safe. Twenty days before Pruitt made his decision in March, his schedule showed that he met with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris for half an hour.
“Current regulatory safety standard for chlorpyrifos rests on five decades of experience in use, health surveillance of manufacturing workers and applicators, and more than 4,000 studies and reports examining the product in terms of health, safety and the environment,” a Dow spokesman said on Tuesday, according to Reuters. “Authorized uses of chlorpyrifos products, when used as directed, offer wide margins of protection for human health and safety.”
Yet farmworkers like Alex’s dad appear to be at high risk of adverse side effects because they are directly in contact with pesticides. Even when they can wear protective gear as they spray, they cannot control when and how other people may use it.
In May, several dozen farmworkers in Bakersfield, California became ill from pesticide drift after a nearby farm was sprayed with chlorpyrifos. Eileen, a 19-year-old farmworker and community college student who works on a cabbage farm during her summer vacation to supplement her income, was one of the people who grew dizzy and vomited after that incident.
“Along with her colleague, many of them got very sick,” Eriberto Fernandez, the research and policy coordinator at United Farm Workers Foundation, told ThinkProgress after the press conference. He said many of the farmworkers left by the time the first responders got to the scene because of the language barrier and a fear of authorities because some workers were undocumented.
“A big barrier for farmworkers — 70 percent of the workforce in the fields is undocumented — that’s a big reason why farmworkers don’t receive access to proper care,” Fernandez explained.
By virtue of their undocumented status, these people cannot qualify for the Affordable Care Act and are thus limited by affordable medical care options.
Fernandez worries that the EPA’s delay in implementing a series of farmworker protections on the federal level this year could mean more workers at risk of pesticide exposure. Those protections include better pesticide application trainings and enforcing an age limit of 18 years old for pesticide application. But even as the federal government loosens environmental regulations, Fernandez is hopeful that legislators in California are protecting farmworkers.
“We’re hoping in California that we can implement trainings for workers to make sure that like what happened on May 5, they’ll be well trained, well equipped to know what to do when they get sprayed,” Fernandez added. “It’s been three months, almost four months since then, and they have not received an official statement of what they were sprayed with. The process of investigation is so slow and so inadequate for farmworkers so they won’t know how to take care of their medical needs.”
Multiple studies have linked the insecticide with lowered IQ, attention deficit disorders, autism, and human health issues. At Tuesday’s press conference, two doctors from Mount Sinai in New York, who helped to produce a report on pesticides in the diets in infants and children, pointed out that three major longitudinal studies of pregnant women have found chlorpyrifos exposure negatively impacted children. “All three of these studies show very clearly that exposure of unborn children in the womb to chlorpyrifos results during pregnancy in brain damage,” Dr. Philip Landrigan of Mount Sinai said. “One of the fascinating and terrifying findings that came out of the follow-up studies of these children is that there are anatomic and functional changes in these children that are visible on fMRI.”
“What’s known about these studies is that these are very low-level usages of exposure from residential use and ingestion from pesticide residue on foods — these are not occupational studies, evidencing that children are vulnerable to these pesticides at low levels,” Dr. Megan Horton, another doctor from Mount Sinai said.
Everything That’s Wrong with the Democratic ‘Reboot’ in One Lousy Op-Ed
by Ian Haney López | July 25, 2017 - 7:34am — from Moyers & Company
But what should be a welcome shift is instead emblematic of everything that’s wrong with how the Democratic Party is seeking to remake itself.
1. A party of swamp creatures. Schumer himself is deeply tied to Wall Street — and he makes no mention of breaking up the power of concentrated wealth on the street, or in the boardrooms of the biggest corporations. Why should we believe a party lead by him and people like him, tied to and financed by megadonors, will really fight for people and against corporate power?
2. A party on a new marketing kick. Schumer boldly proclaims that “Democrats will show the country that we’re the party on the side of working people — and that we stand for three simple things.” Great! Can’t wait. What will they be? Economic justice, equality and dignity for all, and caring for the planet? No, just economic policies tied to wages, sick leave and drug prices. Don’t get me wrong: these are welcome policies all. But what about the sorts of things that help “working people” as real people — who need human rights, who require a healthy environment? Sorry, somehow these did not make the cut in a new effort to “rebrand” the Democratic Party as focused with laser-like precision on pocketbook issues.
3. A party afraid of equality. It’s no accident Schumer avoids talking about human rights. The Democratic Party leadership is convinced it must win back the “white working class” — and convinced too that any mention of equality tied to race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability or religion is just one big turnoff to white men. Let Trump repeatedly demonize the MAJORITY of this country; in their new plan, Democrats will ignore this so they can appeal to some small fraction of Trump voters. Why should people fighting for their human rights turn out for Schumer’s Democratic Party?
4. A boring party with limited ambitions. The bulk of Schumer’s op-ed focuses on small policy changes that would help working people, while also promising more dinky policy proposals to come — but then concludes that the Democrats lack the power to actually enact any of this. So let me understand: Trump threatens our economy, government, democracy, planet and global peace, and Democrats respond with small-bore policy talks focused on what they cannot achieve? No wonder people stay home from the polls. It doesn’t have to be this way.
We need a Democratic Party that fights for all of us, and recognizes that the biggest threat in our lives comes from concentrated wealth and runaway corporate power over the economy, government and our political parties. Yes, the Democratic Party must resolve to put its own house in order.
We demand a Democratic Party that stands for human rights for all. And that fights against divide-and-conquer politics, showing the “white working class” that they have much more to fear from the greedy rich than from those of us the right loves to trash. We insist on a Democratic Party that cares about the world we live in today and the planet we will leave our children. Nothing else matters if the climate collapses.
Eight years after the last minimum wage increase, Democrats want to give 41 million workers a raise
By Laura Clawson Monday Jul 24, 2017 · 2:01 PM PDT
From Daily Kos: The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since July 24, 2009—for eight years. Thanks to Republicans in Congress and the White House, it won’t be going up any time soon, and though many states have raised their minimum wages, 21 states remain stuck at $7.25 an hour. That’s a poverty wage. A new analysis from the National Employment Law Project shows what the Democrats’ Raise the Wage Act of 2017—which would take the minimum wage up to $15 by 2024, a gradual raise by any standard except the Republican “no raise ever” standard—would do for low-wage workers:
20.7 million workers would see pay raises in the 21 states whose minimum wages are stuck at $7.25.
Fully half of the 41.5 million workers who would see pay increases are in the 21 states stuck at $7.25.
In the 13 other states with minimum wages of less than $9, nearly 13 million more workers also would see their hourly pay rise.
Of all the workers nationwide who would receive raises, 8 in 10 are in the 34 states with the lowest minimum wages.
In 19 of the 21 states at $7.25, more than 30 percent of wage-earners would benefit from raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024; the highest share is inMississippi,with 44.4 percent.
Republicans want these workers stuck at poverty wages. There’s no other serious explanation for their refusal to raise the minimum wage over the past eight years.
they have learned nothing!!!
Democratic donors still think they can anoint rising stars in the Hamptons
Ross Barkan - Monday 24 July 2017 06.00 EDT
From The Guardian: Kamala Harris, the California senator and new darling of the left, did what all liberal darlings do when their stars begin to burn bright: she went east, way east, to the Hamptons.
In the old world, before a democratic socialist and a reality show nativist upended politics as we know it, the narrative would write itself. A little-known possible presidential candidate with a compelling backstory and a buzzy turn in the spotlight visits the millionaire and billionaire donors who decide who can run and who can’t.
The gatekeepers, cloistered in their estates, beckon the candidates, who promise – if they’re Democrats at least – to be the acceptable sort of progressives, those who hit all the right notes without rocking the boat too much.
Harris met with some of Hillary Clinton’s beloved megadonors this past weekend. Reportedly, they were all smitten. She has been a hero of the MSNBC set since she sparred with Republican senators during intelligence committee hearings involving testimony from the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein.
Maybe Harris has what it takes and will surge ahead of the pack in a few years to win the right to dethrone Donald Trump. It’s too early to tell. But her Hamptons gallivant with Clinton plutocrats is a dispiriting reminder that the Democratic party thinks all can be as it once was, and the status quo isn’t worth being ruffled. Donors can still vet candidates and propel them forward in the press. Anyone beyond the upper crust isn’t a serious agenda setter.
What’s strange about living in the year 1 AT (After Trump) is how Democrats continue to disregard the phenomenon in their wake. If 2016 was Trump’s story, it was also the year of Bernie Sanders, one that taught us a candidate once considered a fringe player can raise tremendous amounts of money from small donors on a policy platform alone.
It wasn’t Sanders’ meme-worthy eyeglasses and hair that electrified voters under 30 – it was his calls for single-payer healthcare, free college and a return to New Deal-style governance. It wasn’t even unadulterated socialism, as it was portrayed in the media. But at time when both parties embraced austerity and neoliberal bromides, it qualified as radical.
As of now, no candidates offering themselves up to the 2020 rumor mill have embraced Sanders’ vision or tactics. Harris, from what I can tell, has no policy platform – it’s still early – and is internet-famous for joining in on the Democratic party’s Russia resistance.
Other potential candidates, as the New York Times recently reported, are determined to ignore the Sanders movement as much as possible. Steve Bullock, the moderate Democratic governor of Montana, is forming a political action committee to explore a presidential bid.
Bullock is “pragmatic”, in the Times’ formulation, because he rebukes Sanders. “While appealing to the Democratic heart, Mr. Bullock also has a message for the Democratic head,” the Times wrote. “He talks of the party’s need to broaden its appeal beyond the coasts – Mr Bullock won re-election as Donald J Trump captured Montana by over 20 points – while implying they cannot turn to a septuagenarian as their nominee.”
Everything about this is odd, and speaks to the tone-deafness of a rudderless political party and the antiquated ways reporters continue to frame our politics. In a time of yawning income inequality and instability, with a bulk of young Americans rightfully pessimistic about their futures, there is nothing Pollyannaish about running a campaign that can somehow speak to this despair.
Healthcare in America is a travesty and single-payer is not without its flaws – but it remains a more humane way forward, putting people ahead of predatory insurance companies.
There is nothing “pragmatic” about ignoring the fact that Sanders, a once unknown senator from the 49th largest state in America, was able to raise $44m in one month against a celebrity front-runner who coalesced the Democratic establishment around her candidacy like few who came before her.
There is nothing “pragmatic” about ignoring that Sanders was easily able to broaden his appeal “beyond the coasts” in the Democratic primary, losing urban centers to Clinton while dominating many rural parts of the country, including Montana, a state he won by eight percentage points.
And it’s reality-defying to say the party can’t turn to a septuagenarian as its nominee when Trump, at age 70, just became president. None of Trump’s supporters cared that he was trying to become oldest man to ever take office and no one cheering on Sanders cares that he is 75 going on 76.
An elderly candidate with a compelling message for people in desperate need of change in their lives will throttle someone much younger and milquetoast, every time.
For political journalists and operatives inside the Beltway carapace, the siren call of centrism will always have appeal. It promises pain-free bipartisanship, a return to the way things used to be. It stands for little, so it can’t court too much controversy. For anyone who knows bad policy can mean the difference between life and death – the poorest and the invisible, the sufferers on the margins – it offers nothing. And it never will.
Democrats are still chasing rural white voters, and it’s a strategy doomed to fail
Instead of chasing down white voters who are committed to culture war, Democrats need to energize their base
“Democrats jettisoned social and foreign policy issues for this exercise, eschewing the identity politics and box-checking that has plagued Democratic campaigns in the past, most recently Hillary Clinton’s. This will be purely an economic message,” writes Dana Milbank for the Washington Post. “This is meant to be a populist manifesto that doesn’t conform to the left/right debate but instead aims to align Democrats with ordinary, middle-class Americans fighting powerful special interests.”
Who doesn’t want to believe liberals have that much control — that Democrats alone could make the cultural struggles tearing apart this country go away by putting the focus on jobs and other economic issues, and watch white voters return to the flock, drawn by all those progressive policies?
The problem is, and continues to be, that there’s no evidence for this. The roller-coaster politics around health care really drive home how much Republican base voters view politics through a culture-war lens. Progressive policy is, however appealing in the abstract, is a secondary concern to the desire of angry white conservatives to exert or reassert their cultural dominance. Which goes a long way towards explaining the loathing of Obamacare: It was the “Obama” part, not the “care” part, that riled up the GOP base. Now that Barack Obama is gone, anger over the health care bill is rapidly receding.
On Thursday, the New York Times published interviews with some of those rural whites in Pennsylvania who have become such desirable voters and found that the law they so loathed when Barack Obama was in office has, now that there’s a Republican in charge, stopped offending them so much.
“I can’t even remember why I opposed it,” said Patrick Murphy, who owns Bagel Barrel, on a quaint and bustling street near Mr. Brahin’s law office here in Doylestown. …
“Everybody needs some sort of health insurance,” Mr. Murphy said. “They’re trying to repeal Obamacare but they don’t have anything in place.”
This rapid shift makes sense if one views conservative politics through a culture-war lens. The problem for Republicans with Obamacare wasn’t that it offended some sense of fiscal conservatism. It’s that it was President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, and many white conservatives hated Obama because — simply by being black and intelligent and urbane and a Democrat — reminded them of the declining cultural dominance of conservative Christian whites like themselves. Electing Trump has allowed this group of voters to believe they are culturally ascendant again — and repealing Obamacare, which was always mostly about sticking it to the liberals, has lot much of its salience as an issue.
These voters aren’t really moved by policy. Hell, 41 percent of Republican voters actually want a single-payer system. The issue isn’t with Democratic policy, but with Democrats, who are perceived as snooty, educated, racially diverse city-dwellers, and therefore hated. Even if Democratic politicians tried to abandon “identity politics” entirely, it wouldn’t matter. Conservative voters can see, with their own two eyes, that the nation is changing culturally. They will continue to use the Republican Party as a cudgel to beat up the people that threaten them.
This recent New Yorker article about Trump country is a sobering reminder of these dynamics. No one seems to believe that the problem with the Democrats is that they aren’t doing enough to raise wages. Instead, there’s an inchoate anger over cultural changes that largely fall outside either party’s control. It’s telling that the media was the “enemy” Trump was best able to whip up rage against among crowds in rural areas. Journalists are the Fox News-assigned symbol of the cosmopolitanism that the Trump-voting masses see as a threat to their cultural dominance.
None of this is to say that Democrats shouldn’t embrace progressive policies. If anything, they need to be bolder and offer a more robust health care safety net (such as an option to buy into Medicaid) and a guaranteed jobs program. But doing this in hopes of winning over rural white voters is a fool’s errand. Those voters mostly aren’t voting their economic self-interest, and won’t start doing so anytime soon. Instead, they are clinging to a mythological past of Christian white dominance, and the Republicans, especially Donald Trump, are promising to restore it.
What Democrats need to do instead is harness those cultural changes that Republican voters resent, and turn them towards this progressive agenda. Which is a fancy way of saying that they need to give up chasing white voters and instead put their resources towards organizing voters of color, as well as urban whites (particularly women), who embrace these cultural shifts, and try to increase turnout with those groups.
That will require not just a robustly progressive agenda, but continued attention to fighting racism, sexism and homophobia, in order to signal to voters of color, LGBT voters and women that Democrats see the Republican assaults on their rights and are ready to fight back. The coalition that Obama and Clinton built is a good one, and if more of the people in it could be persuaded to vote, the Democrats would start winning more elections. It’s not a sexy path forward, perhaps, but it’s the one that has a chance of working.
National Nurses United Director Roseann Demoro tells corporate Democrats that nurses won't back down on single payer healthcare fight; activists and protesters take over DNC 'Resistance Summer' event in Los Angeles, California to demand single payer healthcare.
By Michael Sainato
From Real News Network: In California, the fight for single payer healthcare rages on despite Democrat Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon shutting down a single payer healthcare bill, SB 562, from being voted on in the State House after it passed in the Senate. In California, Democrats hold a super majority in the state legislature and the Governor's seat, providing them with an opportunity to pass progressive legislation. The criticisms toward the bill were that it was "woefully inadequate," yet any debate or amendments were prevented as Rendon sided with his pharmaceutical and health insurance industry donors who opposed the bill to deny that process from continuing. The Democratic Party establishment has pleaded with the National Nurses United and progressive activists in the state to give up fighting for it, as its rendered negative publicity for the Democrats nationwide. But the Democratic Party has no excuse to not be working to make it a reality.
Single payer-healthcare solves the dilemma millions of Americans face who still lack access to healthcare, and the millions more who are burdened with medical debt, high premiums and deductibles, or avoid obtaining the medical treatment they need because even with insurance, they can't afford the costs or the prescription drugs their illnesses or ailments require. Costs are frequently cited as a deterrent toward supporting single-payer healthcare, but as Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) recently pointed out on Twitter, "When Republicans talk about the $32 trillion cost of single payer, can every Dem please point out the current system costs $49 trillion!"
Even many Republicans have admitted that single-payer healthcare is ultimately inevitable. Fox News Columnist Charles Krauthammer predicted in May 2017 that single-payer healthcare will be passed in seven years, and he acknowledged in an op-ed for Washington Post that the consensus across the country is increasingly supporting this policy.
On July 7, activists protested California Democratic Party leadership against their opposition to single-payer healthcare and are pushing a Recall Rendon campaign to recall Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon from his elected office for shutting down the single payer healthcare bill. At an even, DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison was drowned out during a speech with chants from activists demanding "single-payer now." Ellison tried to explain the DNC's "Resistance Summer" campaign, but was frequently interrupted by activists who filled the room. The activists walked out once California Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman took the stage to speak, in protest of the contested election for California Democratic Party Chair that Chair Candidate Kimberly Ellis has reported was tarnished with dozens of ineligible and questionable votes. The California Democratic Party Compliance Review Commission found 223 problematic votes in an election decided by only 62 votes. Like Democrats have been doing nationwide because the undemocratic election favors the party's leadership and establishment, the fraudulent election result is being ignored. The election is symptomatic of a Democratic Party that lacks the political will to fight for progressive principles, just as it continues making excuses for refusing to fully support and fight for a single-payer healthcare system in the United States.
"The real issue is not cost - it is political will and political priorities. Will state legislators be accountable to the 40 percent of the state's population who remain without any coverage or out of pocket costs so high they face financial stress or ruin if they seek to get care?," wrote National Nurses United Director Roseann Demoro in an op-ed on July 14 announcing the nurses would not back down from Democrats who insist they remain quiet and fall in line behind the party's inaction. "Or will they continue to protect their corporate donors who hold as much sway in Sacramento, even with its two-thirds Democratic majority, as they do in Trump's Washington?"
Democrats renew efforts to link banks, Trump and Russia
Reporting by Tom Sims JULY 16, 2017 / 6:21 AM
From Reuters: FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A small group of Democrat members of the U.S. Congress have renewed their efforts to find possible links between banks such as Germany's Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia.
Investigations are being conducted in the United States into possible collusion between Trump's campaign team and Russia when he was running for president in 2016. The White House and the Kremlin have denied there was any interference in the election.
Maxine Waters, ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, told reporters she had filed a resolution of inquiry demanding the U.S. Treasury Secretary hand over documents in his possession, "relating to President Trump's financial connections to Russia, certain illegal financial schemes, and related information".
The resolution asked for any records of loans or credit from a number of banks - including Deutsche Bank and Russian lenders Sberbank (SBER.MM) and Gazprombank (GZPRI.MM) - to Trump, some of his closest family members and a list of associates.
A resolution of inquiry is a legislative tool by which the House can get information from the administration.
Waters filed the resolution with the Financial Services Committee, which now has 14 legislative days to address it, either by debating it or voting it down.
If the committee, which is chaired and dominated by Republicans, ignores the resolution, it could head to the floor of the broader House.
Waters and four other colleagues have been especially interested in learning more from Deutsche Bank, which is one of Trump's biggest lenders, according to government ethics disclosures.
Deutsche Bank's lawyers have rejected requests for information, citing privacy laws.
Waters asked Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen at a hearing on Wednesday whether the U.S. central bank had uncovered anything about Trump in its Deutsche regulatory work.
Yellen said they had not looked into it.
Democrats’ midterm plans start with these horrible anti-Republican bumper stickers
Democrats punt on substantive policy proposals, and may run instead on "Have you seen the other guys?"
CHARLIE MAY - THURSDAY, JUL 6, 2017 08:52 AM PDT
A sticker on the dddc.org website. (Credit: dccc.org)
From Salon: The definition of insanity is sometimes described as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. In the realm of politics, that form of insanity could very well be defined by the Democratic Party. On Wednesday, Democrats triumphantly rolled out some possible new campaign slogans that might fairly be described as underwhelming. “I mean, have you seen the other guys?” calls out one potential bumper sticker — suggesting that its owner is unwilling to stand up for any specific beliefs, but believes it’s enough not to belong to the party of President Donald Trump.
With this slogan, Democrats are waving aside Trump — and the Republicans controlling the House and Senate — as some kind of aberration. In reality, Trump isn’t a cloud of evil directly out of a comic book that, when subsided, will bring rays of sunshine.
Ironically, while the Democrats were touting their “more of the same” bumper stickers, Britain was celebrating the 69th birthday of the National Health Service, which guarantees government-sponsored health coverage to every citizen. It’s an idea that has, with the exception of a few mentions here and there, largely been waved off by the party of “look at the other guys.”
“Everyone — rich or poor, man, woman or child — can use it,” announced a British pamphlet from 1948.
That brings us back to the Democrats. As the Washington Post reported Thursday, Republicans are planning to attack Democrats on the notion that they might possibly consider universal single-payer health coverage. And Democrats are faced with a dilemma heading into 2018: Are they willing to stand up for the idea of universal health care, or do they really think they can win with “have you seen the other guys?”
Adam Schiff Calls Out Trump For Being Too Weak To Stand Up To Putin And Russia By Jason Easley on Thu, Jul 6th, 2017 at 12:00 pm
The President’s comments today, again casting doubt on whether Russia was behind the blatant interference in our election and suggesting – his own intelligence agencies to the contrary – that nobody really knows, continue to directly undermine U.S. interests. This is not putting America first, but continuing to propagate his own personal fiction at the country’s expense.
President Trump must have the courage to raise the issue of Russian interference in our elections directly with President Putin, otherwise the Kremlin will conclude he is too weak to stand up to them. That would be a historic mistake, with damaging implications for our foreign policy for years to come.
He should also confront Russia over its continued destabilization of Ukraine, and the illegal annexation and continued occupation of Crimea and parts of Georgia. He should make it clear that the U.S. is not going to make common cause with Russia in propping up Bashar al-Assad in Syria, nor turn a blind eye to any potential Russian support of the Taliban or increased trade with North Korea.
When Trump refuses to blame Russia for the hacking of the 2016 election, he sounds like a co-conspirator with Putin. Seventeen intelligence agencies have said that Russia was behind the hacking, so when Trump takes Putin’s side, he is discrediting his own intelligence community.
Putting aside the question of Trump’s guilt or innocence on Russia collusion, Rep. Schiff is correct. When the President doesn’t use strong language to condemn Putin’s actions, he is sending the signal to Russia that he is a weak pushover who can be steamrolled by US adversaries.
Trump has made America weak and vulnerable to attack, just like Putin wanted.
Democrats aren’t having it with Trump’s infrastructure plan
Trump is bent on privatizing America’s infrastructure, but Democrats aren’t going to get on board.
From Think Progress: President Trump pledged on the campaign trail to create a trillion-dollar infrastructure program once elected, something that at first seemed like it might attract Democratic support.
But the details of his plan looked quite different than what Democrats have been pushing for. Rather than calling for the government itself to directly invest $1 trillion in dilapidated assets, his proposal instead had the government issue tax credits to private firms, which would then raise their own money for the projects and build roads and bridges. Such a plan relies on higher fees and tolls as a source of profit for those firms.
Now the White House is following up on those outlines. In his budget released this week, Trump called for the government to spend $200 billion over a decade to “incentivize” private investment in infrastructure. His administration is also drafting plans to entice states and cities into selling their assets to private firms by paying them a bonus for doing so and then funneling the proceeds of such sales into other infrastructure projects.
Democratic leaders, who initially suggested they might be open to working with the president on improving infrastructure, aren’t flocking to the idea. In a statement released this week, for example, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the budget a “180-degree turn away” from Trump’s original promises on infrastructure.
Schumer’s office released an analysis finding the president is calling to cut more government funding for infrastructure — $206 billion in reductions — than he’s purporting to spend. That includes $95 billion less for the Highway Trust Fund, the largest source of federal money for transportation infrastructure, as well as getting rid of the Transportation Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program that provides grants for road, rail, transit, and port projects and the Working Capital Fund that provides grants for surface transportation projects, both created by the 2009 stimulus.
Schumer also pointed to Trump’s elimination of the Community Development Block Grant, which helps localities build affordable housing, and other public housing, water cleanup, and community revitalization programs.
“The fuzzy math and sleight of hand can’t hide the fact that the President’s $200 billion plan is more than wiped out by other cuts to key infrastructure programs,” the senator said in his statement.
And on Thursday, the House Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) released a resolution outlining the aspects that any infrastructure plan must include to garner their support. That includes making sure it will “prioritize public investment over corporate giveaways and selling off public goods” and “ensure that direct public investment, without reliance on private investors, provides the overwhelming majority of the funding for infrastructure improvement.”
“Taxpayers should not subsidize billionaires and Wall Street banks that will profit from privatizing roads, bridges, drinking water and sanitation systems, and utilities,” it states, adding, “a genuine infrastructure agenda should not sell or lease roads, water systems, or other essential infrastructure facilities, resulting in new tolls and user fees on working families.”
The list also calls for investment in upgrading water systems, schools, public lands, internet connectivity, Veterans Affairs facilities, and energy grids — none of which come with an easy source of profit — on top of the roads, bridges, and ports that fall more easily under a privatization scheme.
“Donald Trump wants to sell off our roads to foreign governments and give taxpayer dollars to Wall Street billionaires, and he calls that job creation?” Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) said in a statement. “Democrats will take this fight to the people.”
“To fund infrastructure projects, President Trump’s relatively small and incoherent plan would use irresponsible tax gimmicks that benefit Wall Street at the expense of taxpayers,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) said in his own statement. “My colleagues and I know that Americans cannot afford to settle for this scam.”
By contrast, the CPC has released its own infrastructure plan to spend $2 trillion in federal funds over a decade on transportation, water systems, energy and internet upgrades, and building schools and housing. That plan “commits public money for the public good,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) said in a statement.
Senate Democrats have already laid down their own marker. In January, a group of eight senators unveiled a $1 trillion infrastructure plan designed entirely with direct public spending on roads and bridges, water and sewer systems, schools, broadband internet, public and tribal lands, and Veterans Affairs hospitals.