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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by bricktop, Jan 17, 2017.
Be a real shame if those bonuses were taxed at 100%
The far right
‘White supremacy’ is really about white degeneracy
Today’s far-right populists relish the idea that they can be morally contemptible, yet still prevail
Wed 28 Nov 2018 05.05 EST Last modified on Wed 28 Nov 2018 07.41 EST
The concept of “white supremacy” is having a moment right now, and understandably so. White resentment, entitlement and bigotry never went away, but it is closer to the political mainstream now than it has been for decades.
The rhetoric of the likes of Donald Trump, Viktor Orbán, Steve Bannon and other figures in the ascendant populist right might not openly embrace “white power”, but there is no doubt that open white racists have been emboldened by them. Trump may have not wanted Richard Spencer (who coined the term “alt right”) to gleefully exclaim: “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory” just after the 2016 US election, but he was not particularly bothered by it either.
Liberals must learn the politics of emotion to beat rightwing populists
Online and offline, there is a rich and growing milieu of radical racist thinkers and activists. Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, was immersed in it and active on the Gab social network, stirring up hate towards Jews who support refugees.
However, white supremacy, as used to describe a belief in the racial superiority of white people, may not be the best concept to help us understand what is going on here. It’s not that there isn’t a barely concealed attempt to rehabilitate the long and clearly documented history of white racism in “western” democracies. The issue is that I’m not sure that it’s “supremacy” that is the goal here, so much as a licence for a perverse kind of degeneracy.
Consider the contrast between Barack Obama and Trump. Obama is not a perfect human being, nor was he a perfect US president. But it’s impossible to deny his qualities. He is intelligent, competent, witty, plain-speaking, empathetic and has a loving relationship with his family. Obama is also a man who was not born into wealth and power, and worked hard to make something of his life. Trump is the reverse: incompetent, mendacious, rude and seemingly incapable of non-instrumental relationships. The only way he has made anything of his life is through being born into privilege, with sufficient reserves of family capital to allow him to build a “business” based on little more than bragging.
Aside from his politics, Trump is simply a man who falls short of any moral code you could care to imagine. Politicians are often cynical, cruel or corrupt, but a complete absence of human decency is rare. Even George W Bush can pass sweets to Michelle Obama and paint loving portraits of the soldiers he sent off to die.
‘The degeneracy of Trump tells us something about changing trends within white racism.’ Photograph: Jeff Roberson/AP
But for millions of Americans to choose Trump and to continue to support him cannot simply be dismissed as voters “holding their noses” and selecting the individual who could best forward their agenda, regardless of his personal qualities. For a significant proportion of his supporters, it was a deliberate choice for moral degeneracy, even a celebration of it. It is also a reproach to the Obama years and to Obama personally. A bad white man will always be better than a good black man, regardless of the political platforms they support.
The degeneracy of Trump tells us something about changing trends within white racism. Social Darwinism, and “scientific” attempts to prove the superiority of the “white race” still have a presence on the far right. But I don’t think that this is the dominant ideological driver behind the resurgence of white racism. Sure, the Proud Boys, members of whom have been associated with violent assaults on counter-protesters, advocate “western chauvinism”, but this woolly idea is flexible enough not to be tied into pseudoscientific notions of white superiority as a fact.
What I think we are seeing is something rawer, a lust for power, coupled with an unvarnished hatred of non-white others that sees little need to disguise itself. This is a white racism that is predicated on nothing other than a desire to dominate and subjugate. Trump’s brutal expression of his basest urges empowers and licenses a similar abandonment, among his followers, of any pretence that white dominance is unjustifiable. This is not white supremacy as we have understood it. It is a move to demonstrate that whiteness can be as morally degenerate as one wishes it to be and still prevail.
At the heart of this proud degeneracy is an insecurity. A fear of “white genocide” has become normative on the far right, based on conspiracy theories about the likes of George Soros encouraging mass immigration as an attempt to replace the white race. Trump has come very close to trying to validate this myth. At the now infamous rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, the marchers chanted: “You will not replace us”. This suggests an awareness that white power cannot rest on justifiable foundations. Indeed, outside the old-style far right, the very concept of whiteness and race itself is given limited intellectual justification. All there is left is assertion and hate.
Degeneracy is not confined to the openly racist far right – it is a theme that runs through the populist right more generally, even when racism is absent or not emphasised. One of the key features of the populist wave is a certain proud incompetence. There are of course still competent rightwing populists around, but it is frequently the likes of Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage or Matteo Salvini who prevail. They are uninterested and incapable of conducting policymaking and government in a systematic, productive way. They make a virtue of their lack of understanding; they cause chaos and delight in destruction. They are a kind of taunt, in the same way as Trump is: we have no idea what we are doing, we will destroy, we are contemptible human beings and still you love us.
Some analyses of the rise of Trump and the populist right claim that they draw their popularity from those who feel “left behind” and see their own flaws gloriously reflected in them. This is only true to an extent. If even a tiny fraction of Brexit-supporting Sunderland was as blithely destructive as Farage, the city would be a smouldering ruin.
No, what these people offer their supporters is a guarantee: we will make sure that however much your life degenerates, our power as degenerate white men should reassure you that there is still hope. Yes, you are better than we are, but you don’t have to be. In a bewildering, chaotic world, this is immensely reassuring.
Perhaps there are opportunities here for anti-racism and opposition to the populist right. If white racism and populism now rests on nothing more than naked power and self-assertion, there will be no need to wade through the academic verbiage about “bell curves” and black crime rates before we can tackle the problem. And perhaps the very degeneracy of Trump and the rest will begin to pall after a while. Most people – “white” or otherwise – are simply much better human beings than the leaders of the populist right. Maybe wallowing in the muck of white degeneracy will become such a sordid experience that an eventual realisation that it is better to be an Obama than a Trump will take hold. Maybe the best approach to resisting white degenerate leaders is to point out to their supporters that, far from being “deplorables”, they are usually better than those who lead them.
• Keith Kahn-Harris is a sociologist
A fascinating divide just opened up between Trump’s Supreme Court appointees and Bush’s
Roberts still has a lingering fear of judicial power. Gorsuch, not so much.
Ian Millhiser Nov 28, 2018, 1:32 pm
Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher walked into a buzz saw Wednesday morning, when he told the Supreme Court that his state has a virtually unlimited power to take people’s cars.
Fisher claimed this power in Timbs v. Indiana, a case involving a breathtakingly broad Indiana law permitting the state to seize vehicles from drivers who commit very minor drug crimes. Tyson Timbs, the man at the heart of the case, stands to lose his $42,000 Land Rover after he sold just $385 worth of heroin to undercover officers.
Supreme Court will decide if states can ignore a key provision of the Bill of Rights
The moment when Fisher’s face hit a spinning blade came shortly after Justice Stephen Breyer wondered whether Indiana would acknowledge any constitutional limit on the state’s power to seize property. Suppose, Breyer asked, that the state passed a law requiring “anyone who speeds” to forfeit their car. Could a person who loses their vehicle over a speeding ticket challenge such a seizure under the Constitution?
Fisher’s response was as unequivocal as it was tone deaf. “Yes,” he said. The car “is forfeitable.”
It is unlikely, to say the least, that Indiana will prevail in Timbs. Indiana’s loss, however, is likely to be narrow. And Wednesday’s argument focused as much on how little Indiana could potentially lose as it did on the actual legal issue before the Court.
However, it also exposed a potentially significant generational divide between the older conservatives on the Supreme Court and its two newest members. Though Chief Justice John Roberts may ultimately join a unanimous decision against Indiana, he appeared concerned that such a decision in Timbs would force the courts to decide difficult cases they are ill-equipped to weigh. Similarly, Justice Samuel Alito appeared bothered by the case’s implications for prosecutors.
Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, by contrast, showed no such fears about excessive judicial power. If Roberts spent the morning looking for a way out of a morass, Gorsuch spent it gleefully marching forward chanting “Game on!”
“In rem” and “incorporation”
The specific legal question in Timbs involves antiquated doctrines of the sort one might find in a Charles Dickens novel about excessive legal procedure.
For most of American history, the Supreme Court held that the Bill of Rights does not apply to the states — only the federal government was required to comply with the first ten amendments. In 1897, however, the Supreme Court held for the first time that states must follow a provision of the Fifth Amendment. Then, over the course of the twentieth century, the Court gradually held that other provisions of the Bill of Rights apply to the states — a process known as “incorporation.”
Today, most — but not all — of the Bill of Rights is incorporated against the states. The Court, however, has never authoritatively stated that the Eight Amendment’s ban on “excessive fines” is incorporated. Timbs asks the Supreme Court to incorporate this shield against such fines.
The second doctrine at issue in Timbs involves something known as “in rem” seizures.
Typically, when a state (or anyone else for that matter) initiates a court proceeding, they bring it against a particular individual or company, claiming that this defendant has violated the law in some way. These typical suits are known as “in personam” proceedings.
Occasionally, however, a state may initiate a proceeding against a piece of property. The idea behind these suits, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor put it during Wednesday’s argument, is that the property itself is “charged with being involved in a crime.” Thus, for example, a car used to carry small quantities of heroin may itself be subject to an in rem proceeding. If the car loses, the state may seize it.
Historically, in rem suits were typically used to solve the problem of a defendant who is not present in a state and may not be subject to the state courts’ jurisdiction. Can’t charge John Doe with a crime? Maybe he has some property in the state that was used in the crime, and that property could itself be charged in an in rem proceeding.
Yet, as Sotomayor noted, this isn’t really how Indiana’s forfeiture law is used. Instead, the law largely functions as a way to impose additional “punitive” sanctions on drug offenders. Timbs was present in Indiana, subject to its courts’ jurisdiction, and he was, in fact, sentenced to “home detention” and to probation. The in rem proceeding against Timbs’ Land Rover was really just a way to impose additional punishment on him.
Indiana, for its part, didn’t even try to argue that the Excessive Fines Clause doesn’t apply to the states. Instead, it argued that the Clause should not be incorporated against the states solely with respect to in rem suits. States would not be able to impose excessive fine against in personam defendants, under this theory, but they’d have a potentially unchecked power to seize property in in rem suits.
This is why Fisher wound up arguing that a state could force a person who receives a speeding ticket to give up their car. It’s also why Fisher’s brief relies heavily on an 1833 case involving “an enormously valuable, nearly four-hundred-ton vessel” that was successfully seized because its “178 passengers exceeded the limit by a single traveler.” Under Fisher’s proposed rule, the Constitution does not prevent a state from taking a multi-million dollar ship over such a minor violation.
The oldliners vs. the young guns
No member of the Court appeared convinced by Fisher’s claim that in rem suits are immune to Eighth Amendment scrutiny, but Roberts and Alito did seem very worried about a world where fines of any kind can be tossed out as excessive. At one point, Roberts pondered whether property forfeiture may “always be proportionate” if the property was used in a crime.
Alito, meanwhile, spent a fair amount of time suggesting that it would be absurd to apply the Excessive Fines Clause to this particular case. The crimes Timbs was convicted of, Alito noted, carried a maximum sentence of 20 years. Is a $42,000 fine really excessive if the state may also take away many years of someone’s life?
Similarly, Alito suggested that courts will not easily be able to determine how big a fine is too much. Imagine that Mr. Timbs committed his crimes while driving a “15-year-old Kia.” Would the Excessive Fines Clause prevent Indiana from seizing a $1,500 vehicle? Or what if Timbs drove a “Bugatti” worth a quarter-of-a-million dollars? Should the Constitution really be read to give rich defendants more protection than poor ones?
Yet, while Roberts and Alito were clearly bothered by the idea that the Eighth Amendment might let someone like Mr. Timbs keep his car, their objections faded into the background after a brutal line of questioning from Gorsuch.
Don’t “we all agree,” Gorsuch asked, that the Excessive Fines Clause is incorporated against the states? Whatever that Clause protects, all of it applies in the same way to states and the federal government alike. Gorsuch wanted no part of a world where the Constitution means two different things depending on whether the federal government or a state is accused of violating it.
Kavanaugh quickly agreed with Gorsuch, and he raised a related objection that seemed designed to win the hearts of wayward Republicans. Did McDonald v. City of Chicago, a case holding that the Second Amendment is incorporated against the states, only impose a watered-down version of the Second Amendment on state lawmakers? Or does the full-throated Second Amendment apply to states and the federal government alike? Kavanaugh’s tone left little doubt that he thinks the Second Amendment applies equally to all governments.
Ultimately, it’s likely that the force of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh’s arguments — combined with the weakness of Indiana’s — will reluctantly pull Roberts and Alito into an opinion holding that Indiana cannot ignore the Excessive Fines Clause.
Alito, for his part, expressed his own concerns about a world where the Second Amendment doesn’t apply in its full force against the states. And Roberts eventually chided Fisher that his argument boils down to “this isn’t an excessive fine.” On the narrow question before the Court, there seemed to be a consensus that Indiana cannot simply ignore the Excessive Fines Clause.
Nevertheless, the argument revealed a very real tension between the older conservatives and their younger counterparts. If the Supreme Court were a bingo card, Alito is a free space for prosecutors. And his questions suggested that he was probing for ways to ensure that Timbs loses his car.
Roberts, meanwhile, retains some of the concerns about unchecked judicial power that animated conservatives during the Reagan years. He’s probably going to go along with a decision permitting people like Timbs to invoke the Excessive Fines Clause, but Roberts is not going to like it. And he’s going to hate watching lower courts wrestle with how burdensome a fine needs to be before it becomes excessive.
In Roberts’ preferred world, it is likely that Timbs is able to raise an Execessive Fines argument in court — but that argument ultimately does not prevail.
Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, by contrast, have no qualms about their own power. There is a question before the Court, they are certain that they know the answer, so damn the torpedoes!
Roberts approaches his job as a conservative who still feels the sting of cases like Roe v. Wade, and fears that judicial power may again be turned against his values. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh approach their job as conservatives who’ve never had to fear judicial power — they’ve watched the courts more further and further to the right with each passing year.
In the end, that could lead to the younger conservatives partnering with liberals in criminal justice cases. It may eventually even lead to one or both of them deciding that someone like Mr. Timbs cannot have their car taken away for a minor crime.
Outside of the criminal justice context, however, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh’s comfort with judicial power will give liberals heartburn. Roberts will, on occasion, deny conservative litigants a victory because he fears they are asking the courts to overrule democracy — as he did when he voted to save much of the Affordable Care Act. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, by contrast, are much less likely to show such qualms.
from Think Progress
Why Bruce Springsteen thinks Donald Trump is
going to win again in 2020
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Updated 1639 GMT (0039 HKT) December 3, 2018
(CNN)Bruce Springsteen isn't a big fan of President Donald Trump.
"He's deeply damaged at his core," the New Jersey-born rocker recently told Esquire magazine. "Anyone in that position who doesn't deeply feel those ties that bind is a dangerous man, and it's very pitiful."
That's no big surprise. Springsteen is an outspoken liberal; he campaigned for John Kerry in 2004 and performed at Barack Obama's second inauguration.
What IS a big surprise is what Springsteen told the Sunday Times in an interview in advance of the release later this month of his long-running Broadway show on Netflix.
"I don't see anyone out there at the moment ... the man who can beat Trump, or the woman who can beat Trump," Springsteen said of the potential 2020 Democratic field. "You need someone who can speak some of the same language [as Trump] ... and the Democrats don't have an obvious, effective presidential candidate."
Which is an interesting analysis -- particularly when you consider that the Democratic field is likely to be the largest in modern American history, with two dozen (or more) candidates expected to run. One would think that, given the expected size of the field, there would be at least one candidate -- and maybe a few -- who Springsteen believes can take on and beat Trump.
And Springsteen's specific doubt about the Democratic field -- "you need someone who can speak some of the same language" as the President -- is a very important one.
Dismiss Springsteen as just another liberal rock star if you will (and he is!), but also remember that Springsteen's roots are in a working-class, blue-collar community -- and that he has spent his entire life writing about and trying to explain the hopes, fears and anxieties of those communities to the country and the world.
Trump spoke to those fears and hopes in a very direct and real way during the 2016 campaign. He won the White House thanks to victories in the industrial Midwest -- Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio -- that was hit the hardest by the rapidly changing 21st-century economy and the crushing blows it dealt to the manufacturing sector.
"Donald J. Trump won the presidency by riding an enormous wave of support among white working-class voters," concluded The New York Times' Nate Cohen the day after the 2016 election. Trump won white, non-college educated males 71%-23% over Hillary Clinton and white, non-college educated women 61% to 34%, according to exit polling. Those white, non-college educated voters comprised one-third of the overall electorate. ("Non-college educated," of course, doesn't equal "blue-collar," but history has shown there are strong similarities among those groups and their voting preferences.)
There is zero question -- particularly when you consider the crushing blow Democrats delivered to Republicans in the suburbs in the 2018 midterms -- that Trump's path to a second term relies heavily on these same blue collar whites who got him elected President in the first place.
And like it or not, Trump does, as Springsteen notes, understand how to not only talk to this group but convince them that he is their champion, that he is a voice for the previously voiceless. This, from Trump's inauguration speech, captures that sentiment nicely:
"January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
"The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
"Everyone is listening to you now.
"You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before."
Trump makes this appeal by casting himself as a man of the people -- fighting against elite snobbery and political correctness. (Yes, I am well aware of the irony of a man born into wealth and raised in New York City emerging as the voice of the working class.)
"Why are they elite?" Trump asked a crowd at a rally in Minnesota over the summer. "I have a much better apartment than they do. I'm smarter than they are. I became president and they didn't. And I'm representing the best people on earth, the deplorables."
Looking through that lens -- as Springsteen is doing -- you can understand the rocker's concerns. Kamala Harris, the current frontrunner in the 2020 rankings I do with Harry Enten, is a senator from California. Elizabeth Warren is an unapologetic liberal from Massachusetts. Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist from Vermont.
None of that group has an obvious appeal to blue-collar white workers that would trump Trump's -- at least at first glance.
That said, I do think there are candidates in the field -- or potential field -- who would fit more of what Springsteen is looking for. Former Vice President Joe Biden has practically changed his middle name to "Hardscrabble roots in Scranton." And Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown is the sort of gravel-voiced populist that might appeal to Bruce. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is not nearly as well known as Biden and Brown but has a similar pitch -- that Democrats need to start reaching Midwesterner voters, especially white working class ones, again.
The question before Democrats, to my mind, is not whether they have a candidate -- or candidates -- who can fight Trump for white blue-collar voters in the Midwest by speaking some of the "same language" as Trump, to borrow Springsteen's phrasing. The question is whether the party's base, which is increasingly coastal, non-white and liberal, wants to even consider a candidate like that as the party's standard-bearer against Trump.
If 2018 is any indication, they don't. No matter what Springsteen thinks.
“Racism isn’t a problem” they all said while everyone continues to want to pander to the stupid, rural white people ruining America
people complaining that we don't have the right candidate... in December 2018. shut the fuck up Bruce
Can we add "America: The Farewell Tour by Chris Hedges" to the reading list?
Haven't finished, but Netflix's Damnation is a good American history on labor unions and squashing worker's rights
Here's how 2018 ballot measures turned out on health care, criminal justice, climate, and more
Many states and localities voted on critical ballot measures last month on key topics that cover voting rights and redistricting, energy and the environment, health care, criminal justice, taxes and labor, and even unusual proposals like one to create a city-run bank. At each of the preceding links, you can find a close look at the major measures that appeared before voters in each broad subject area, while below, we summarize the complete picture of how 2018 unfolded. You can also find a complete spreadsheet here, where we've catalogued 80 ballot measures across 29 states and 12 cities and counties that we followed.
One of the most important success stories of 2018 was how pro-democracy measures passed almost everywhere they were on the ballot. Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah all passed varying versions of redistricting reforms. Florida voted to curtail a Jim Crow-era law that disenfranchised those convicted of felonies for life by automatically restoring voting rights to everyone who has served their sentences. Maryland, Michigan, and Nevada all passed measures to make voter registration easier and more accessible. However, a few states passed new GOP-backed voting restrictions, including voter ID in Arkansas and North Carolina.
Election-related issues weren’t the only measures on the ballot, though. We’ve rounded up the results for all 80 state or local ballot measures we tracked by topic in the charts below.
Elections, Voting Rights, Redistricting, and Campaign Finance
ALABAMA Amendment 4 Eliminates legislative special elections if a vacancy arises in the final year of the four-year term Passed
ARKANSAS Issue 2 Requires a photo ID to vote (already required by statute) Passed
COLORADO Amendment V Lowers the age requirement for to run for legislative office from 25 to 21 Failed
COLORADO Amendment Y Establishes an independent congressional redistricting commission Passed
COLORADO Amendment Z Establishes an independent legislative redistricting commission Passed
FLORIDA Amendment 4 Automatically restores voting rights to those who have completed their felony sentences, except for murder or felony sexual offenses Passed
LOUISIANA Amendment 1 Bans those with felony convictions from seeking office within five years of completing their sentence unless pardoned Passed
MARYLAND Question 2 Allows for same-day voter registration on Election Day instead of just during early voting Passed
MICHIGAN Proposal 2 Creates an independent redistricting commission Passed
MICHIGAN Proposal 3 Implements automatic and same-day voter registration, no-excuse absentee voting, straight-ticket voting, and routine election audits Passed
MISSOURI Amendment 1 Implements partisan fairness criterion for legislative redistricting, plus state lobbying and campaign finance restrictions Passed
MONTANA LR-129 Restricts those who aren't postal workers, elections officials, family members, caregivers, or acquaintances from turning in someone else's mail ballot Passed
NEVADA Question 5 Implements automatic voter registration Passed
NORTH CAROLINA Legislative Appointments to Elections Board Transfers power to appoint the state board of elections from the governor to the legislature and creates a four-to-four deadlock between the major parties Failed
NORTH CAROLINA Voter ID Amendment Requires photo ID to vote in person but not by mail absentee Passed
NORTH DAKOTA Measure 2 Bans non-citizens from voting in state or local elections Passed
OKLAHOMA State Question 798 Ends separate elections for lieutenant governor and provides for a joint ticket with the governor Failed
SOUTH CAROLINA Amendment 1 Makes the superintendent of education an appointed position Failed
SOUTH DAKOTA Constitutional Amendment W Restores ethics reforms repealed by the legislature in 2017 and prohibits future legislative tampering with ballot initiatives without voter input Failed
SOUTH DAKOTA Constitutional Amendment X Requires a 55 percent supermajority for constitutional amendment ballot measures Failed
SOUTH DAKOTA Constitutional Amendment Y Creates a single-subject rule for constitutional amendments Passed
SOUTH DAKOTA Initiated Measure 24 Bans out-of-state contributions to ballot measure committees Passed
UTAH Proposition 4 Creates a bipartisan advisory redistricting commission and imposes nonpartisan standards on legislatively drawn maps Passed
BALTIMORE, MD Question H Establishes public campaign financing for local elections Passed
DENVER, CO Measure 2E Creates a public financing system to match donations at a 9:1 ratio up to $50 for participating candidates; bans corporate, business, and labor contributions; and lowers all contribution limits Passed
FARGO, ND Measure 1 Implements approval voting for local elections Passed
GOLDEN, CO Question 2E Lowers the voting age to 16 in local elections Failed
LANE COUNTY, OR Measure 20-290 Implements "Score Then Automatic Runoff" for county elections and eliminates primaries Failed
LOS ANGELES, CA Amendment E Realigns local primary election dates with state primary dates Passed
MEMPHIS, TN Referendum Ordinance No. 5677 Repeals instant-runoff voting law that hasn't been implemented yet Failed
NEW YORK, NY Question 1 Lowers the campaign contribution limit and increases the amount of matching public funds Passed
PORTLAND, OR Measure 26-200 Creates campaign contribution and expenditure limits for local office Passed
Jurisdiction Name Proposal Outcome
Alabama Amendment 2 Establishes no right to an abortion or funding of abortions Passed
Idaho Proposition 2 Expands Medicaid under Obamacare Passed
Montana I-185 Eliminate 2019 expiration date for Medicaid expansion and raises tobacco taxes to pay for it and other healthcare services Failed
Nebraska Initiative 427 Expands Medicaid under Obamacare Passed
Oregon Measure 106 Bans public funding for abortions Failed
Utah Proposition 3 Expands Medicaid under Obamacare Passed
West Virginia Amendment 1 Establishes no right to an abortion or funding of Passed
Energy and the Environment
Jurisdiction Name Proposal Outcome
Arizona Proposition 127 Requires 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 Failed
Colorado Amendment 74 Attempt by the oil and gas industry to invalidate Proposition 112 by requiring compensation if any government law or regulation reduces property values, even if the value is future energy extraction Failed
Colorado Proposition 112 Bans new oil, gas, and fracking projects within 2,500 feet of occupied buildings and other vulnerable areas Failed
Florida Amendment 9 Bans offshore oil and gas drilling, plus vaping in indoor workplaces Passed
Nevada Question 6 Requires 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 Passed
Washington Initiative 1631 Creates an extensive carbon fee on polluters to fund environmental programs Failed
Criminal Justice, Marijuana, and the Judiciary
Jurisdiction Name Proposal Outcome
Colorado Amendment A Repeals the exception to the ban on slavery that allows it as punishment for crime Passed
Florida Amendment 11 Allows retroactive re-sentencing when criminal statutes are revised, repeals the ban on aliens from owning property, and repeals outdated high-speed transportation language Passed
Florida Amendment 6 Raises the mandatory judicial retirement age from 70 to 75, bans judicial deference to administrative agencies on statutory interpretation, and enacts "Marsy's Law" Passed
Georgia Amendment 4 Enacts Marsy's Law Passed
Kentucky Marsy's Law Amendment Enacts Marsy's Law Passed
Louisiana Amendment 2 Requires unanimous juries for felony convictions instead of 10 votes out of 12 Passed
Michigan Proposal 1 Legalizes recreational marijuana Passed
Missouri Amendment 2, Amendment 3 & Proposition C Legalizes medical marijuana Passed (Amendment 2 only)
Nevada Question 1 Enacts Marsy's Law Passed
North Carolina Judicial Selection for Midterm Vacancies Transfers the power to fill judicial vacancies from the governor to the legislature under the deceptive language of "nonpartisan merit" selection Failed
North Carolina Marsy's Law Amendment Enacts Marsy's Law Passed
North Dakota Measure 3 Legalizes recreational marijuana Failed
Ohio Issue 1 Makes drug possession and use offenses no more than misdemeanors includes other criminal justice reforms Failed
Oklahoma State Question 794 Enacts Marsy's Law Passed
Utah Proposition 2 Legalizes medical marijuana Passed
Washington Initiative 940 Creates a "good faith" test for when the use of deadly force is justified and requires law enforcement to receive de-escalation training, undergo mental health training, and provide first aid Passed
West Virginia Amendment 2 Grants the legislature the power to reduce the judiciary's budget by up to 15 percent a year Passed
Nashville, TN Amendment 1 Creates an independent police oversight board Passed
Taxes and Labor
Jurisdiction Name Proposal Outcome
Arizona Proposition 126 Bans new or increased taxes on all services Passed
Arkansas Issue 5 Sets a $11 minimum wage by 2022 Passed
California Proposition 6 Repeals the 2017 gas tax increase and requires a public vote on future increases Failed
Colorado Amendment 73 Replaces the flat income tax with progressive brackets and uses the increased funding for education Failed
Florida Amendment 5 Requires a two-thirds supermajority for the legislature to raise taxes or fees Passed
Maine Question 1 Creates payroll and non-wage income taxes to fund universal home care for the elderly and disabled Failed
Missouri Proposition B Sets a $12 minimum wage by 2023 and indexes it to the Consumer Price Index thereafter Passed
North Carolina Income Tax Cap Cuts the income tax cap from 10 percent to 7 percent but doesn't actually cut the existing 5.75 percent flat tax rate Passed
Oregon Measure 104 Extends the three-fifths supermajority requirement to raise taxes to any laws that increase revenue Failed
Cook County, IL Earned Sick time for Workers Measure Allows municipalities to establish five paid sick days Passed
Cook County, IL Minimum Wage Measure Sets a $13 minimum wage for adults by 2020 and indexes it to the Consumer Price Index thereafter Passed
San Francisco, CA Proposition C Creates a tax on corporations to fund programs for the homeless Passed
Jurisdiction Name Proposal Outcome
California Proposition 10 Allows local governments to impose rent control on all types of housing Failed
Hawaii Constitutional Convention Calls for a constitutional convention Failed
Massachusetts Question 3 Repeals ban on gender-identity discrimination in public places Failed
Oregon Measure 105 Repeals sanctuary state law Failed
Los Angeles, CA Amendment B Creates a city-owned bank to strengthen local banks and provide investment funds Failed
from something called CityLab
A City-Suburban Coalition Can’t Win While the System Favors Rural Voters
Gerrymandering and U.S. Senate composition diminish the power of urban voters. For Rahm Emanuel’s proposed urban-suburban coalition to succeed, this must change.
A flag along Wyoming Highway 59 near a housing development. Because each state is allotted two U.S. senators, a resident of Wyoming has 68 times the Senate voting strength of a Californian. Kristina Barker/Reuters
Striking an optimistic tone after the midterm elections, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called for a coalition between urban and suburban voters in what he envisions as a durable metropolitan majority built around issues like education, health care, and infrastructure. There is much to Mayor Emanuel’s argument for city-suburb common ground, but this coalition will face fundamental structural difficulties implementing its agenda. As currently constructed, our electoral process systematically favors the preferences of rural and exurban voters.
To move forward with its agenda, any urban-suburban political coalition must recognize this stark reality and decide how best to respond: fight for change, or work within it.
As has often been noted, the equal representation of states in the Senate, regardless of population, systematically favors smaller and more rural states. Wyoming’s 580,000 people get the same two senators as California’s 39.5 million; in other words, a resident of Wyoming has 68 times the Senate voting strength of a Californian. Of course, Texas reminds us that not all populous states are blue and Bernie Sanders’s Vermont (population 624,000) underscores that not all small states are red. But cumulatively, the Senate’s disproportionality favors rural voters who tend to vote for conservative politicians (not to mention the lack of senators for Washington, D.C., a city with more people than Wyoming or Vermont). Because the Electoral College includes a state’s Senate seats in its total electors, the Electoral College is also allocated disproportionate to population, although less so than the Senate.
The implications of the Senate’s egregious deviation from one person, one vote are starker than ever.
The second major factor is subtler and rarely noted, but still important: Our prevailing method of allocating legislative seats on the basis of geographical districts—as opposed to a party’s share of the statewide or national vote (proportional representation)—inherently favors rural voters. As political scientist Jonathan Rodden has demonstrated, under this system parties with strong support in cities “waste” more votes in their districts than do parties based in the countryside. Today that translates to Democrats winning lopsided victories in big cities while Republicans win many seats in rural areas by closer—and hence more efficient—margins.
Intentional gerrymandering, which many state legislatures pursued after the pro-Republican wave election of 2010, can greatly compound this rural geographic advantage. This helps explain why, in the 2018 midterm elections, Democratic candidates won more cumulative votes for state legislative chambers in Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, but still ended up with a minority of seats.
Fixing these structural forces is a daunting challenge. Shortly before his death in 1995, Daniel Patrick Moynihan noted that “sometime in the next century the United States is going to have to address the question of apportionment in the Senate.” Will that day ever come? Such change seems improbable, if not unfathomable, given that it would require amending or rewriting the Constitution, but the implications of the Senate’s egregious deviation from one person, one vote are starker than ever. Moving the presidency to a popular vote system and enfranchising Washington, D.C., would also likely require constitutional change with prospects that currently seem remote, although less so than changes to the Senate.
Short of constitutional change, there are potential federal statutory fixes to ameliorate our electoral system’s anti-urban bias. These include the use of multi-member districts to increase competitive elections, as the proposed Fair Representation Act would foster, as well as expanding the size of the House, as The New York Times editorial board recently advocated. And taking politics out of legislative district line-drawing holds promise at the state level. The success this month of ballot measures establishing neutral districting commissions in Colorado, Michigan, and Utah, and a nonpartisan state demographer for districting in Missouri, shows that districting reform has broad, bipartisan support. These reforms, like those already at work in Arizona and California, should reduce gerrymandering of state legislative and U.S. House districts, which in the last decade has largely tended to undermine urban voters.
Working within our current system, urban progressives might choose to partner not just with suburbanites, but also with rural voters, hearkening back to the New Deal’s grand coalition between urban progressives and Southern agrarians. On issues like economic development, health care, and opioid abuse, such a coalition seems natural. But it is difficult to see how such a coalition could survive inevitable disagreements on issues like gun safety, just as civil rights eventually drove a wedge through the New Deal coalition.
Citylab is a project from The Atlantic, fyi. They publish lots of good stuff about urban planning and urban life in general.
my fellow citizens continue to vote for GOP policies. Doesn't seem to be working very well for them
Arkansas poverty rate 8th highest, median household income 3rd lowest
by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 21 hours ago 327 views
The percentage of Arkansas residents living in poverty is the eighth highest in the nation, while median household income in the state is the third lowest in the United States, according to the Arkansas Economic Development Institute. The institute based this on recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The data shows 16.3%, or 487,800 residents, are living in poverty in Arkansas, compared to 13.4% in the United States. The percentage of children ages 0-4 living in poverty in the state is 24.8%, or 46,661 residents, and the percentage for young adults ages 5-17 living in poverty is 21.2%, or 106,559 residents.
The median household income is $45,916 in the state, compared to $60,336 in the United States, according to the Census Bureau. Median household income is lower in Mississippi and West Virginia. Benton and Saline counties, with median household incomes of $64,728 and $61,384, respectively, were the only counties in Arkansas with a median household income that exceeded the U.S. average. After them, the following counties had the next highest median household income: Grant, Lonoke, Pulaski and Faulkner. The counties with the lowest median household income, ranging from $30,599 and $34,856, included Chicot, St. Francis, Searcy, Lee and Phillips.
Five of the 75 counties in Arkansas have a lower percentage of residents living in poverty than the U.S. average: Saline (7.9%), Benton (9.1%), Lonoke (11.1%), Grant (12.2%) and Faulkner (13.4%). Following counties have the highest percentage of residents living in poverty: Phillips (39.8%), Lee (37.3%), St. Francis (33.7%), Chicot (30.1%) and Desha (29%).
MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME RISES
Median household income rose 1.1% to $43,813 in Arkansas for the period of 2013 to 2017, from the period of 2008 to 2012, according to the Arkansas Economic Development Institute. The institute based this on five-year estimates released Thursday (Dec. 6) by the Census Bureau.
Median household income rose in 58%, or 42 of 75 counties, and 17.3%, or 13 counties, had statistically significant increases. Following counties has a statistically significant decrease in the income: Ashley, Jefferson, Phillips and Pope.
Average, or mean, household income in Arkansas rose 4% to $61,330, from $58,999, according to the data. The state had 12 counties with an increase in mean household income, while it declined in Scott County.
Median family income rose 1.9%, or by $1,018, to $54,923. The state had 14 counties with an increase in median family income, while the income fell in Arkansas, Boone and Sebastian counties.
Average, or mean, family income rose 4.9%, or by $3,429, to $72,907. The state had 14 counties with a rise in mean family income, and it declined in Desha and Johnson counties.
Per capita income rose 3.8%, or by $886, to $24,526. The state had 16 counties (21.3%) with a rise in per capita income. It only fell in Lincoln County.
580k votes for governor in a state with a population of 3MM.
People aren't asking for this, its being forced upon them.
Minority rule. #USA #Dixie
Marlboro maker places $1.8 billion bet on marijuana
14 minutes ago
FILE - In this July 17, 2015, file photo, store manager Stephanie Hunt poses for photos with a pack of Marlboro cigarettes, an Altria brand, at a Smoker Friendly shop in Pittsburgh. Altria is diving into the Canadian cannabis market with a $2.4 billion investment in Toronto-based medical and recreational marijuana provider Cronos Group. The investment from Altria Group Inc., would give it about 45 percent ownership of Cronos. Altria will also pay another $1.4 billion for warrants of Cronos Group that if exercised, would give the Altria a 55 percent majority ownership of Cronos. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
NEW YORK (AP) — One of the world’s biggest tobacco companies is diving into the cannabis market with a $1.8 billion buy-in.
Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. is taking a 45 percent stake in Cronos Group, the Canadian medical and recreational marijuana provider said Friday.
The agreement includes a warrant to acquire additional shares over the next four years that could give the Altria, which is based in Richmond, Virginia, a 55 percent ownership stake in the Toronto company.
That would mean Altria’s investment would be in the same league as the $4 billion spent earlier this year by Constellation Brands to acquire shares of Canopy Growth Corp., another Canadian pot producer.
The August investment by Constellation, which makes Corona and other beverages, was the largest to date by a major U.S. corporation in the cannabis market.
Whatever hesitation larger corporations in the U.S. had about entering the cannabis market appears to be fading if there is a financial justification.
Altria’s huge investment lit up shares of cannabis companies that have begun to set up shop in Canada, where recreational use was legalized this year.
U.S. traded shares of of Cronos Group Inc. jumped 22 percent Friday.
Rapid growth in the cannabis market is expected to continue as legalization expands in the U.S. and social norms change. On Tuesday, ultra-conservative Utah became the latest state to legalize marijuana use for medical purposes.
Consumers are expected to spend $57 billion per year worldwide on legal cannabis by 2027, according to Arcview Market Research, a cannabis-focused investment firm. In North America, that spending is expected to grow from $9.2 billion in 2017 to $47.3 billion in 2027.
This story has been updated to correct the U.S. dollar amount of the deal. Altria’s initial investment is valued at $1.8 billion, not $2.4 billion.
Catching up on Chapo and listened to this one today. Probably the hardest I've laughed since Felix's take on the Krassenstein brother's bods.
That was a nice fun ep after a slog of heavy ones
they literally dropped leftover bombs from the first world war on strikers in west virginia
prolly could be its own thread
COAL COAL COAL
our AG is an idiot, excellent use of her funds
AG protests Entergy pact to shutdown Arkansas coal plants, asks state regulators to intervene
by Wesley Brown ([email protected]) 6 hours ago 101 views
Entergy Arkansas' White Bluff plant.
Just weeks after an agreement between Entergy Arkansas and a coalition of environmental groups was reached to shut down two of the state’s oldest coal-fired power plants, state Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Thursday (Dec. 13) asked state regulators to delay or halt that historic pact.
In a surprise announcement following recent news that the U.S. coal industry is rapidly declining, Rutledge said she has asked the Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) to review a pending settlement agreement between Entergy Arkansas LLC, the Sierra Club and the National Parks Conservation Association to shut down the utility’s two coal-fired power plants near Redfield and Batesville.
Rutledge stressed that the Nov. 16 settlement agreement to speed up the closing of power plants that Entergy Arkansas co-owns with Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. and a number of municipally-owned electric utilities could raise rates and affect service for over 1.2 million Arkansans.
The Republican AG also said she has petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas to intervene in the case to protect the interest of Arkansas ratepayers and inform the federal court that Entergy’s actions should first be reviewed by state regulatory authorities.
“This settlement has not been properly vetted by the (PSC), my office or other agencies that have the public’s interest at heart. Because of the potential negative impacts on Arkansas citizens and businesses, I am seeking an investigation by Entergy’s state regulator, the PSC, and intervention in federal court to ensure that the State’s interest and those of its citizens and businesses are adequately protected,” Rutledge said in a statement.
ENTERGY ARKANSAS: DEAL IS IN OUR ‘BEST ECONOMIC INTEREST’
After hearing of Rutledge’s claims Thursday evening, Entergy Arkansas officials countered that the Nov. 16 settlement “is in the best economic interest of our customers, our employees, our community and the company.”
“It allows us to move forward with plans to replace these older generating plants with newer, highly efficient generation resources without incurring the expense of potentially adding scrubbers to the plants at the cost of $1 billion each. The settlement also allows us to put an end to costly ongoing lawsuits over the use of coal at the plants,” said Entergy Arkansas spokeswoman Kerri Jackson Case.
“We do not believe it would be a wise investment or in the best interest of our customers to sink $2 billion into almost 50-year old plants. Customers are best served with an orderly transition and investment in new, more cost-efficient technology,” said Case. “Any costs related to new investments to replace the generation of these plants is required to be reviewed by the (PSC) at the time it is proposed.”
Under the agreement fashioned last month, Entergy Arkansas plans to end the use of coal at its sprawling White Bluff and Independence power plants in Jefferson and Independence counties, respectively. The White Bluff plant is expected to close by 2028, while the Independence Steam Electric Station will be shut down two years later.
The state’s largest utility would also retire its Lake Catherine natural gas-powered facility by 2027. Both Independence and White Bluff came online in the early 1980s. The Lake Catherine facility was first commissioned in 1950, but later updated in 1970.
The Arkansas subsidiary of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. has also said it will go before the PSC by 2022 to seek approval of 800 megawatts of renewable generating sources. By 2027, Entergy Arkansas said it also will ask state regulators to approve another 400 megawatts of renewable power, including 181 megawatts of solar power already in the utility’s Arkansas portfolio.
Besides the shutdown of the state’s coal-fired fleet, the settlement pact will also allow Entergy Arkansas and other Entergy Corp. affiliated subsidiaries and sister companies to settle a longstanding federal lawsuit with the Sierra Club and the National Parks Conservation. The pact also resolves multiple other challenges to federal and state Clean Air Act regulations intended to protect the air in national parks, wilderness areas and wildlife refuges across Arkansas and surrounding states.
In the original lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Little Rock, the Sierra Club and other groups alleged that Entergy illegally modified the White Bluff and Independence plants without a permit, in violation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Act.
Rutledge’s federal court filing and petition to Arkansas regulators predictably re-ignited a long-standing public feud with the Sierra Club going back to environmental group’s support of former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which the Trump administration repealed in August and replaced with a more business-friendly approach that is supportive of the coal industry.
One week before the Entergy settlement with the Sierra Club was announced in early November, Rutledge joined a 21-state bipartisan coalition in support of President Donald Trump’s proposed replacement of the CPP.
“The Obama-era Clean Power Plan was illegal and ignored concerns from the states about anticipated skyrocketing rate increases,” Rutledge said on Nov. 8. “President Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule returns power to the states by allowing each state to determine the best course of action for its own citizens, rather than a one-size-fits-all mandate from the federal government.”
RUTLEDGE ‘MISGUIDED,’ SIERRA CLUB SAYS
Glen Hooks, the longtime director of the Arkansas chapter of the Sierra Club, called Rutledge’s announcement “another misguided attempt to thwart clean air protections for Arkansans.”
“Our settlement with Entergy Arkansas responsibly transitions two of the largest and dirtiest unscrubbed power plants in the nation to retirement, while also committing to hundreds of megawatts of clean energy for our state. This settlement will mean cleaner air and more clean energy jobs right here in Arkansas,“ said Hooks. “The Sierra Club urges Attorney General Rutledge to embrace Arkansas’ clean energy future. We need state leaders who will stand up for progress in Arkansas–not stand in the way.”
Nearly two years ago, the EPA released a final draft of its plan to help Arkansas and Missouri meet Clean Air Act requirements to cut about 68,500 tons of dirty sulphur dioxide emissions per year and 15,100 tons of smog-like nitrogen dioxide per year. That plan was meant to better protect national parks and refuge areas from hazy conditions, and provide other health and environmental benefits.
That proposal, however, rejected a portion of the state Department of Environmental Quality’s (ADEQ) haze plan, called Best Available Retrofit Technology, or BART. The proposed federal guidelines also addressed “downwind” haze problems from the Entergy power plants and factories that cross state lines.
ADEQ recently received notice from the EPA announcing approval of its Regional Haze state plan that replaces federal requirements at Entergy White Bluff, Independence, and Lake Catherine facilities. The state plan was the result of months of legal review and consultation with stakeholders, including the facilities within the state’s electric generating fleet. A spokesperson for ADEQ said the agency was not involved or consulted on the proposed terms of the Entergy-Sierra Club settlement agreement and that the issues in the complaint are not related to the regional haze program.
Rutledge’s protest of the Entergy-Sierra Club settlement agreement today follows recent efforts by the Trump administration to back “clean coal” initiatives in support of the fossil fuel industry. However, several utility giants such as AEP, Southern Company and Xcel have all announced plans similar to Entergy to mothballed or shutter dozens of aging coal, nuclear and older natural gas-generation power stations across the U.S.
Just last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in 2018 that U.S. coal consumption in the power sector had fallen to its lowest level in 40 years. And only one, relatively small, new coal-fired generator with a capacity of 17 megawatts is expected to come online by the end of 2019, despite the EPA’s laxer guidelines.
cliffs: We do not believe it would be a wise investment or in the best interest of our customers to sink $2 billion into almost 50-year old plants. Customers are best served with an orderly transition and investment in new, more cost-efficient technology,” said Case. “Any costs related to new investments to replace the generation of these plants is required to be reviewed by the (PSC) at the time it is proposed.”
AG:The clean air act is bad for bidness. You worked with the Sierra Club. Everyone needs to investigate
what happened to three stacks
Interesting article. Not necessarily taking the points as gospel, but certainly worth reading and discussing itt atmo.
Do you think Putin is hoarding wealth and promoting class dissent globally so the USSR can return and he'll be the hero of the 5th international?
I heard he sold out and took a job working for Amazon.
Venn diagrams are taught during your senior spring semester at Marquette
"And I wish I could grow a little bit more hair on my scar up there," he said, mentioning his bald spot, which he says is the result of having bumped his head while fixing a sink years ago and not natural aging.
The nonprofit whose top exec earns more than Apple’s CEO
You’ve probably heard of, and may even have, Delta Dental insurance. But did you know that the main entity behind it, Delta Dental of California, which operates plans using the Delta name in 16 states, is a tax-exempt nonprofit? Because of the public good it supposedly does, you subsidize it.
That, however, hasn’t stopped it from paying its CEO as if he ran a for-profit company 20 or 40 times as big. The $14.3 million it paid him in 2016 is more than the CEO compensation paid by 30 of the 100 largest companies in America, including Apple and Anthem, the giant health insurer.
Obscene CEO pay is just one of the ways that Delta Dental flouts its duties as a nonprofit. But the jig could soon be up. Delta Dental needs regulatory approval in order to close a deal it made this summer to acquire a health insurance company, Moda Health Plan, and that gives its California regulator leverage to force it to start acting like a real nonprofit.
Delta Dental’s latest IRS filing shows just how far away it is from doing that now. For starters, there’s the huge pile of money paid to top management, and not just the CEO. In 2016, the organization spent $54 million compensating its leaders, which accounts for over one-fifth of total pay to company personnel. Nonprofit health plans of comparable size spend a fraction of that.
Delta Dental’s board members also make out like bandits. Despite a provision of the corporate bylaws prohibiting director salaries (“Directors, as such, shall not receive any salary for their services...”) they pay themselves up to $220K annually. The bylaws allow per-meeting fees, but the median amount for such fees among S&P 500 companies is just $1,900.
And then there’s all of the pampering of directors and executives on the organization’s dime.
SHIRKING ITS NONPROFIT DUTY
So what public good does Delta Dental do as a tax-exempt nonprofit?
It claims two things: providing “exceptional dental benefits service” and making charitable contributions. But its services are no different from those of tax-paying insurers, and it donated a grand total of just $1.8 million in 2016. The lack of benefit it provides the public is not for lack of resources; it has $1.4 billion in retained earnings, according to it latest financial statement to regulators.
Meanwhile, the dental plans the organization sells to individuals and small businesses come with huge administrative expense margins. Costs of actual dental care account for only 61% of small group premiums and 63% of individual premiums. Compared to the 80% minimum that Obamacare health plans are required to devote to medical care, that truly is “exceptional” service.
Adding insult to injury, Delta Dental used some of its fat expense margin last year to pay lobbyists to kill a legislative proposal to require dental insurers to devote a minimum of 70% of premiums to dental care. California bill SB 1008 would have established that bit of consumer protection, but Delta Dental fought the provision and it was stripped from the measure.
SOON TO FEEL THE REGULATOR’S WHIP?
There’s some hope, though, that Delta Dental won’t be allowed to keep escaping accountability. It made a $155 million deal this summer to acquire Moda, an Oregon health insurer, and in order to complete the deal it needs the California Department of Managed Health Care to approve it.
The DMHC, in addition to regulating health and dental insurance, is charged with enforcing the public benefit duties of nonprofit health plans. In most states, that responsibility lies with the attorney general. But in California, the law authorizes only the DMHC to take enforcement action against nonprofit health plans that disregard their nonprofit obligations.
One of the primary ways that the DMHC is supposed enforce such obligations is by requiring nonprofit plans that seek approval for major transactions, such as acquisitions, to demonstrate that they are, and will continue, doing good for the public. If a plan can’t show that, the DMHC can force it to take concrete steps to start benefiting the public as a condition of approving the deal.
If the DMHC does its job well, Delta Dental could soon be forced to act like the nonprofit “social welfare” organization it claims to the IRS and public to be. But if the regulators drop the ball, nothing will stop Delta Dental management from continuing to lavish themselves with huge paychecks and perks while ignoring their responsibility to do good for the public
Yeah...they don't compensate more than Apple.
Charles Blow "I don’t believe we are reaching the end of a nightmare, but rather we are entering one
Charles Blow does a really nice job of explaining the dangerous times we are in and the possibility of it getting worse before it gets better.
I continue to believe that most people are FAR underestimating where Trump will go, and the pundits most certainly underestimate exactly what the Republican party truly is. Look what the Republicans did in Georgia before the election, N.C. during the election, and WI after the election. They will do anything to gain and keep power, and the more they get away with it, the further they push the boundary.
From Mr. Blow:
What if Donald Trump or those closest to him were compromised by the Russians or colluded with them?
But for the people who support and defend Trump, this has already been absorbed and absolved. They may not like it, but they are willing to overlook it. Indeed, they are so attached to Trump that his fortunes and his fate have become synonymous with theirs. There is a spiritual linkage, a baleful bond, between the man and his minions.
There is a precedent in the Nixon investigation. When the evidence of wrongdoing was clear and incontrovertible, people began to peel away, tails tucked and full of shame.
Nixon had no propaganda arm. Trump has one. It’s called Fox News. … So the network has a vested interest in defending Trump until the bitter end, and that narrative-crafting could impede an otherwise natural and normal disaffection with Trump.
expect Trump to admit nothing, even if faced with proof positive of his own misconduct. There is nothing in the record to convince me otherwise. He will call the truth a lie and vice versa.
I also don’t think that Trump would ever voluntarily leave office as Nixon did, even if he felt impeachment was imminent. I’m not even sure that he would willingly leave if he were impeached and the Senate moved to convict, a scenario that is hard to imagine at this point.
I don’t think any of this gets better, even as the evidence becomes clearer. I don’t believe that Trump’s supporters would reverse course in the same way that Nixon’s did. I don’t believe that the facts Mueller presents will be considered unassailable. I don’t believe Trump will go down without bringing the country down with him.
In short, I don’t believe we are reaching the end of a nightmare, but rather we are entering one. This will not get easier, but harder.
Trump is cornered, and cornered psychopaths are dangerous. The Republicans never dreamed they could have this much power and thanks to Trump, they see the possibility of true permanent power.
We keep thinking the Republicans folded during Watergate and did the right thing. They didn’t! Barely half of the Republicans on the judiciary committee voted for any articles of impeachment, even in the face of having an audio recording of Nixon committing crimes. When will we accept that Republicans really don’t believe in democracy, they only believe in power for their Oligarch masters?
If the evidence is overwhelming that Trump and his crime syndicate family conspired with Putin against the people of America and their democracy, and the Republicans in congress will not support impeachment, where will that send Trump’s psychopathic head? The greatest danger to him and his family would come if he left office and a Democrat replaced him, so what will he and the Republicans do to make sure that can’t happen? I don’t think we can any longer deny that the Republican party is implementing a slow motion, 21st century non-violent (so far) coup against our democracy.
This past election showed that the majority of voting Americans are waking up to the danger we face. Most Americans still have their heads in the sand, and many others aren’t just deplorable, they’re down right fascists. But as we fight back against this Trump/Putin/GOP attack on our democracy, more and more will join us until we win.
Times when NPR isnt that great
I'm listening to a report about the Muslim internment camps in China, and how some of the prisoners are forced to work in factories. Literally no mention of the Fulan Gong people.
from the terrible format The Independent:
People with extreme political views ‘cannot tell when they are wrong’, study finds
“We suspect that this is because the task is completely unrelated to politics – people may be even more unwilling to admit to being wrong if politics had come into play,” said PhD student Max Rollwage.
One conclusion they drew from their study, published in the journal Current Biology, was that the failure of metacognition held true across the political spectrum.
They said this suggested radicalism was based on a way of thinking that “transcends political inclinations”.
I'm said to report that the very old and very rich and very white crowd at the LRCC still has a debutante ball. The amount of frat boys and old white rich men keeping the fake Aristocracy a thing is disgusting. They didn't even bother to sprinkle in some token minorities
95% of the rich wives and coeds are smoke
7 total all invites of the college kids