A MILLENNIAL NEW CONGRESSWOMAN LOOKS AT TAXES

 

This is worth reading carefully. The ideas are not new but they are somewhat “In your face” in an era that equates more taxation for the rich as somehow controversial. As the article may make clear Rep. Octavio Cortes is really only proposing a return to something like the taxation levels of the 1950’s when their was considerably more income Equality (or less Inequality!) in the United States. It has more visibility because it is coming from one of the few “Millennial” members of Congress– So Far.~ F.L. Shiels

 

 
 
Wonkblog

Ocasio-Cortez wants higher taxes on very rich Americans. Here’s how much money that could raise.

 
 

With the help of tax experts, we produced some back-of-the-envelope estimates.

 
What is the ‘Green New Deal?’
 

An ambitious platform seeking to combat climate change is being championed by progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.). 

January 5 at 7:30 AM

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) floated a 60 to 70 percent tax rate on the richest Americans in an interview with CBS News’s “60 Minutes” that was released Friday, arguing higher taxes on multimillionaires could help pay for the “Green New Deal” she and other left-wing members of the Democratic Party have proposed.

Talking to Anderson Cooper, the new House member suggested the new tax rate apply to Americans earning more than $10 million a year, noting that similar rates existed in America a few decades ago. The top tax rate was above 90 percent during the 1950s, and while it has slowly descended, it remained as high as 50 percent for much of President Ronald Reagan’s tenure in the 1980s.

American households that earn more than $600,000 annually currently pay a 37 percent tax rate, down from the 39.6 percent rate they paid before the Republican tax law passed in 2017. Conservatives have pushed for lower taxes on the rich as a spur to economic growth, while liberals see potentially untapped revenue that could fund their key social spending priorities, such as Medicare for all and free college tuition.

“There’s an element where, yeah, people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes,” Ocasio-Cortez told “60 Minutes.”

How much revenue could new taxes on the rich really raise? We looked at the numbers, enlisting the help of a number of tax experts, including Mark Mazur, a former Treasury Department official now at the Tax Policy Center, a centrist think tank; Joel Slemrod, a tax expert at the University of Michigan; and Ernie Tedeschi, an economist who served in President Obama’s Treasury Department.

1. $720 billion/decade: Ocasio-Cortez’s suggestion for nearly doubling taxes on people earning more than $10 million

In 2016, the latest year for which government data is available, approximately 16,000 Americans earned more than $10 million each. These are not in fact “the 1 percent” many on the left like to talk about — they are a much smaller slice, fewer than 0.05 percent of all U.S. households.

 
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It’s difficult to estimate precisely how much more in taxes the government could wring from this ultra-elite. Collectively, their total taxable income amounted to $405 billion in 2016, and they paid about $121 billion in federal income taxes. They also face state and local taxes, which raise their overall tax burdens.

As she noted to “60 Minutes,” Ocasio-Cortez’s idea for a 70 percent tax rate on those earning more than $10 million would only kick in beyond the first $10 million in income. So, this new tax rate would do nothing to add to the amount of federal revenue on the first $160 billion (16,000 people multiplied by $10 million) in taxes this group paid.

But that leaves about $244 billion in taxable income for those earning more than $10 million a year. If this entire pool was taxed at 70 percent instead of the 39.6 percent they paid in 2016, the federal government would bring in an additional $72 billion annually — or close to $720 billion over 10 years, according to Mazur. The real number is probably smaller than that, because wealthy Americans would probably find ways around paying this much-higher tax.

“You’d certainly see some people under that system change their behavior to avoid the higher rate, which could significantly impact how much revenue it generates,” Mazur said, adding that the effect would be hard to estimate. (The exercise also assumes capital gains would be taxed at this much higher rate.)

This $720 billion in a decade is not nearly enough to fund Medicare for all, which has been estimated to increase government outlays by about $30 trillion over a decade (while also zeroing out premiums and deductibles paid by Americans).

Still, it could fund a number of other measures. It could come close to funding the entirety of Sanders’s free college tuition plan ($800 billion), fund President Barack Obama’s plan to get close to universal prekindergarten ($75 billion over a decade), forgive more than half the student debt in America ($1.4 trillion), cover Democratic leaders’ plan for boosting teacher pay and school funding ($100 billion), or come close to funding a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.

And of course, higher income tax rates on the top 16,000 households is not the only way to raise taxes on rich Americans.

2. $3 trillion/decade: A wealth tax on the top 1 percent similar to those in Europe

The American government currently raises tax revenue primarily through payroll taxes and income taxes, and gets a smaller chunk from estate taxes and corporate taxes. It has not adopted a kind of tax that exists in some European countries: a wealth tax, wherein the federal government takes a chunk based on household wealth rather than income.

Norway, for instance, in 2016 taxed at a rate up to 0.70 percent for all wealth over 1.4 million kroner ($162,568). France’s wealth tax in 2017 hit assets above 1.3 million euros ($1.4 million).

Slemrod, of the University of Michigan, said in an email that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans own roughly one-third of the $107 trillion in wealth in America. This group collectively holds about $20 trillion in wealth above $10 million per household.

From there the calculation of wealth tax is simple: a 1 percent wealth tax on the wealthiest 1 percent of households above $10 million could raise about $200 billion a year, or $2 trillion over 10 years. Tedeschi, the former Obama official, found a 0.5 percent wealth tax on the top 1 percent could raise at most $3 trillion over 10 years.

But this, too, would probably change Americans’ behavior and perhaps lead them to try shifting their wealth overseas, and the economists say the actual amount of revenue is likely lower than their estimates suggest. And this is assuming there are no exemptions to what is considered wealth, such as housing assets.

Plus, this approach would require Americans to give the Internal Revenue Service a full accounting of all the assets they own under law — something that could be required under law but may prove difficult to evaluate. In 1990, the federal government did try something similar by placing excise taxes on sales of yachts, expensive automobiles, jewelry and other things consumed by rich people. But that effort came right before a minor recession, leading to the repeal of the taxes.

“The difficulties of monitoring and compliance are huge,” Mazur said of the wealth tax. “But it could be done and raise a lot of money.”

3. $3 trillion/decade: Doubling income taxes on the top 1 percent

In 2012, the economists Peter Diamond of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley published a paper arguing the optimal top tax rate is 73 percent. In 2018, that would raise the tax rate on income above $600,000 from 37 percent to 73 percent, but back then it meant increasing the top rate from 39.6 percent to 73 percent.

The IRS says that Americans earning more than $600,000 annually compose the richest 0.9 percent of families, so we’ll use that for shorthand for the 1 percent.

In 2016, this richest 0.9 percent earned about $1.7 trillion in taxable income and paid about $530 billion in taxes. These Americans would have to pay an additional $320 billion every year in taxes if the top tax rate went up to 70 percent, according to calculations based on IRS data. Mazur, the former Treasury official, noted this estimate was probably high because the wealthy would probably find ways to try to shelter themselves from higher taxation, such as by buying tax-exempt bonds.

Other economists found similar results. Tedeschi, the former Obama economist, put the number at about $300 billion annually. Meanwhile, raising tax rates for the top 1 percent to 57 percent would raise about $1.7 trillion over a decade, while raising it to 83 percent would raise $3.8 trillion over that period, Tedeschi found.

“You can get a hell of a lot of a money from taxing the 1 percent,” said Edward Wolff, a tax expert at New York University.

The Congressional Budget Office also recently estimated that raising taxes on the two highest income brackets by 1 percentage point would net $123 billion over 10 years. That would be for everybody who earns more than $200,000 annually.

The CBO also found that a 0.1 percent financial transactions tax on Wall Street would raise an additional $780 billion over 10 years, while returning the corporate tax rate to 35 percent would raise an additional $1 trillion over a decade. (The Republican tax law of 2017 lowered that rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.)

But Americans outside the top 1 percent would probably pay at least part of both these taxes, Tedeshi said. Overall, just including a new wealth tax and significantly higher income taxes, the federal government could probably raise an additional $2 trillion to $3 trillion a decade by taxing the 1 percent alone, according to Tedeschi.

A NON-POLITICAL POEM (AS IT HAPPENS 55 YEARS AFTER THE ASSASSINATION OF JFK)– by W.S. MERWIN

W S MERWIN

 

 

 

Thanks

W. S. Merwin
Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions

 

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

 

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

 

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

THE HOUSE IS BLUE, THE SENATE SEES LONG-SHOT DEMOCRATS WIN SEATS

 

‘Blogger’s Note: This is a delayed post so some of the information is incomplete. Florida’s 2 big races were hi-jacked, Scott bought the Florida Senate seat, but the Arizona pick-up by Sinema was sweet. Mr. Gillum of Fla. is an up and coming force.

 

 

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

• AZ-Sen, AZ-SoS: On Monday night, following a ballot drop that increased her margin to over 38,000 votes, the AP declared Rep. Kyrsten Sinema the winner of Arizona’s hard-fought Senate race, making her the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in the Grand Canyon State in 30 years. Though Sinema trailed Republican Rep. Martha McSally on election night, ballots counted after Election Day consistently favored her, allowing her to leg out to a margin of 49.7 to 48.0 at the time the race was called.

This seat became open when Republican Sen. Jeff Flake decided to retire after a single term, recognizing that he could no longer win a GOP primary after being on the receiving end of heaps of abuse from Donald Trump. What passes for the Republican establishment these days then rallied around McSally, who beat two ultra-extreme opponents, former state Sen. Kelli Ward and the disgraced ex-sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, to capture the GOP nomination. Sinema, meanwhile, won the Democratic primary with little opposition, despite her transformation from a one-time Green Party member to a member of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition.

Both parties spent heavily, and the race was a tossup the whole way through—a remarkable enough development on its own, given Democrats’ long drought in Arizona. (Until Monday, they hadn’t won a statewide race of any kind here in a decade.) But this very diverse state reacted poorly to Trump, holding him to a 48-45 win that was the poorest showing for a Republican presidential candidate since 1996.

That marked the latest step in a gradual transformation that saw Democrats put together their strongest election night in Arizona in a very long time. In addition to powering Sinema to a win, this latest ballot update also moved Democrat Katie Hobbs into a 5,667-vote lead over Republican Steve Gaynor in the race for secretary of state, and she’s likely to keep it. This post is doubly important because, in addition to serving as the state’s top election administrator, the secretary of state is also next in line for the governorship. (Arizona has no lieutenant governor.) Four of the state’s last nine governors have, in fact, been elevated from this position.

On top of that, shortly after their Sinema call, the AP announced Democrat Kathy Hoffman as the winner of the race for superintendent of public instruction, a position Democrats last held in the mid-1990s. Sandra Kennedy is also poised to win a seat on the corporation commission, which regulates utilities, making her the only Democrat on the five-member board.

On the legislative level, Democrats picked up four seats in the state House, slicing the Republican majority to a narrow 31-29 margin. And while Democrats did not make gains in the Senate (which Republicans held 17-13 heading into the election), one GOP-held seat remains uncalled, and there are still some 172,000 ballots left to count statewide. Both chambers will assuredly be top targets for Democrats in 2020.

Uncalled Races

• FL-Sen, FL-Gov: As expected, recounts in three super-tight Florida races—for senator, governor, and agriculture commissioner—were ordered on Saturday, since all three were separated by a margin of less than 0.5 percent. All 67 counties are busy conducting a machine recount of all ballots, meaning ballots are fed back through scanners, with a deadline of 3 PM ET on Thursday.

Prior to the recounts, the tallies in each race stood as follows:

  • FL-Sen: Rick Scott (R): 4,098,107 (50.07 percent), Bill Nelson (D-inc): 4,085,545 (49.92 percent); margin: 12,562 (0.15 percent)
  • FL-Gov: Ron DeSantis (R): 4,075,879 (49.59 percent), Andrew Gillum (D): 4,042,195 (49.18 percent); margin: 33,684 (0.41 percent)
  • FL-Ag. Comm’r: Nikki Fried (D): 4,030,337 (50.03 percent), Matt Caldwell (R): 4,025,011; margin: 5,326 (0.07 percent)

After the machine recounts, if any races are within a margin of 0.25 percent, a second manual recount will take place of all undervotes and overvotes to determine voter intent. An undervote means a voter failed to vote in a particular race, while an overvote means a voter chose too many options in a given race—or at least, a machine thinks so. A human can be more discerning.

The massive number of votes and the short timeframe are putting a strain on some counties, some of which are now working 24 hours a day. Susan Bucher, the top elections official in heavily Democratic Palm Beach County, where over half a million ballots were cast, said on Sunday that it would be “impossible” to finish on time, though she later expressed confidence her county would meet the deadline.

And of course, the recounts have also led to a flurry of litigation—accompanied on the Republican side by incendiary rhetoric from Donald Trump on down designed to undermine democracy by attacking the very notion that all votes should be counted. One judge, who rejected a request by Scott to impound voting machines in Broward County, even warned the attorneys in his courtroom “to tamp down the rhetoric,” adding, “We have to be careful about what we say.”

Of course, the biggest question is whether any of these recounts could flip the outcome in any of these races. Marc Elias, a top Democratic election lawyer who is working for Nelson, sounds cautiously optimistic, saying he ultimately expects his client “to take a small lead.” In particular, Elias thinks that the well-documented undervote problem in Broward County, where some 25,000 voters apparently skipped the Senate race, was due to improper scanner calibration rather than poor ballot design—though the ballot does seem to have been poorly laid out. But Elias’ track record is good: He prophesied on Thursday that Kyrsten Sinema would win the Senate race in Arizona, a forecast that turned out to be quite keen.

In any event, we’re unlikely to have any greater clarity before Thursday, and since a second recount in at least two of these contests is likely, we probably won’t know how things turn out for some time—and that’s not even taking into account further lawsuits, which are inevitable

Beto’s Loss in Texas is Unsurprising But Delivers Inspiring Concession Speech by Alex Shiels

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/beto-orourke-concession-speech_us_5be2749be4b0e84388913bdb?fbclid=IwAR1PCkGsyDDcK1Q6R6-1tCiH2odyhuass7I5QYSUVq7h07v7HSEpjerOg4c

I know some of you will be turned off by the f-bomb in Beto’s speech, but I think it’s well-timed and heartfelt. I think if Cruz and Beto were duking it out on the national stage, things would’ve gone a lot differently. Here’s hoping we see more of Beto!

 

TUES 11/6: AN IMPORTANT POLITICAL DAY BUT

POETRYthis political blog will deal with the fallout later. For now we offer a Non-Political Poem for readers who have had their fill of Red/Blue talk. Of course WE can never get enough politics–the stakes are so high– but here goes with the poetry:

 

HOPING THE ANSWER IS YES

 

I remember love in the summer days of Wolf Trap verdant with Potomac heat             and the Ragtime craze of those mid Seventies and love on a trip on a credit card in Cambridge and Stratford gardens boxwood, black-eyed Susans a few years after

and love in the mushroomy pine straw island in Lake Spednic off New                  Brunswick so the question is how will love look in the silver times, and                        where and your eyes will they reveal it?

Can this lovely world we think we have sustain the creeping of deserts,                         the slash-burning of rain forests confusing toucans and hyacinth macaws                    not to mention Us and the rising seas and boys with smoking guns feral

and on the loose carelessly treated and seeking some testosterone fueled                    revenge near Mogadishu, in Idaho, Damascus, Gaza, San Salvador                                   so many places to kill so many reasons so what will bring it to a stop and

will life on Earth and wherever else survive the coming in 4 billion years collision of Andromeda and the Milky Way you have to think long term sometimes not every problem is a now problem so there may be some comfort in thinking

about disturbances you will not have to witness in every case though                              we seem to need to hold hands and hope for good outcomes hard as                                 they may be to imagine now I’m thinking we could

use less bluster, less torture, less passivity and you my love and all the beloveds can probably agree on more convergence more serious searching for in-commonness under the brief green skies of setting suns.

 

                                             fls 11/4/18  blogger and occasional poet

 

 

 

Why do so many people in Rural America support Trump when some of his policies have actually harmed them?

APPEAL IN RURAL AMERICA

 

 

 

Some common sense food for thought here that coastal, urban headed characters like us   ( about how Trump can hold onto even 41% of the American political support base (the worst track record since the 1920s and Gallup’s birth). Blogger, fls      read on!

 

ps READ THIS. IT WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND WHY TRUMP CAN TAP INTO REAL PROBLEMS EXPERIENCED BY REAL AMERICANS WHOSE PROBLEMS WE MUST UNDERSTAND. THIS IS NOT ABOUT TRUMP-BASHING.

QUORA NEWSBLOGS

It pretty much comes down to identity politics. We don’t just vote for politicians who promise us stuff… sometimes we vote for them because of who they are and who they allow us to say we are. In the case of rural voters for Trump, there are large trends that are making rural life in America far less appealing for a lot of older white Americans.

Companies are fleeing, shops are closing, their kids are moving to places with more opportunity. Their values are increasingly shunned as immoral. They feel inferior intellectually and socially. Immigrants, who work harder for less, and don’t necessarily speak English are moving next door. Because of Netflix, movie theaters are closing, because of Amazon… the local shopping mall (that was barely hanging on by a string) is closing. The kids that remain have nothing to do and are getting hooked on opiods. In other words, it is a culture in decline.

Trump comes along and says he’s going to make America Great again for people like you, “Oh no, it’s not your fault… its the Mexicans’ fault.” “Yeah,” he says, “it’s okay to be a little racist. And I gonna yell and scream and get those companies to move back to Iowa (or whatever)…. and I’m going to put conservative supreme court justices on the court that will think the same things are gross that you think are gross.” In other words, Trump is affirming them. “I am going to stick it to those coastal elites who look down on you and your latent racism, your religion and questionable values.”

Largely Trump has held true to that promise. not because he has succeeded at anything. He hasn’t. But no one doubts that most decisions he makes are only designed to help his base or hurt their perceived enemies. He makes these Americans feel smart and put upon and like a cohesive group and that’s worth more to them than any actual policy that might stand a chance of making life better

 

Tasha Reign, The Porn Star Teaching Frat Boys About Consent

This is for real and certainly picks up where “sex ed” leaves off. The fraternity boys have a lot at stake individually andn this professional is gaining their respect and respect for women from what might have been seen as an unlikely source 5 years ago.– Story brought to Progressive Future  by Associate Editor Alexandra Shiels

Adult actress Tasha Reign is visiting college fraternities around the country to lecture fraternity brothers and pledges about affirmative consent. This is what she’s learned.

Courtesy Tasha Reign

Brett Kavanaugh has ignited a rage in women—and in our country.

Thanks to the courage of women like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who claims the Trump Supreme Court nominee attempted to sexually assault her at a house party when she was 15 years old, and Deborah Ramirez, who alleges that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a party at Yale, we are having a much-needed discussion about evidentiary “proof,” sexual assault, consent and the ideology behind “boys will be boys.” In many ways, Kavanaugh is a reflection of our male-entitlement culture—one that oozes toxic masculinity.

I began guest-lecturing at universities—starting at UCLA, my alma mater—about seven years ago. In the beginning it was nerve racking, and I wasn’t sure the juice was worth the squeeze. I always figured my speeches about the adult industry could be recorded and played in class, but apparently that doesn’t have the same effect on students. I was back on the hallowed grounds of Bruin territory, almost two years ago, when a student came up to me after class. He introduced himself as “Harrison,” and he was very amicable and confident. He looked me dead in the eye and said, “You mentioned that word ‘consent’ a lot. I am in AEPi here on campus, and I was wondering if you could come talk to the new pledges about that word, ‘consent.’ I think they could really benefit.”

At first listen I wasn’t eager to go to a fraternity house alone and talk to a bunch of young boys about consent. I was scared. I had visited my fair share of fraternity houses in college and wasn’t willing to return to that time in my life. I had also cast the same judgment that so many women do on fraternity houses. Stereotypes filled my mind and I was very apprehensive about getting involved. A few days went by and I began to brainstorm. I couldn’t get Harrison’s face out of my mind or the words that he had used. I realized quickly that instead of reading about all these fraternity horror stories I could be part of the solution.

Courtesy Tasha Reign

Part of my apprehension stemmed from resentment I had toward society. Constantly being told by mainstream media outlets and religious extremists that my job as an adult performer somehow encouraged men to make bad choices like murder and gang rape had taken a heavy toll. Then it hit me: whether I like it or not, these men are learning about sex through my videos. My videos are made for media-literate viewers that already know about sex—entertainment for couples, for fun alone, for the man that can’t have sex with women, that is my target audience. However, that is just not the way it is. The rise of free tube sites has both changed the way we consume porn and the audience that consumes it. So I came to the conclusion that it was my civic duty to educate these AEPi members. What else did I have to do on a Wednesday night, anyway?

I wore a green romper from Nasty Gal and a pair of nude heels. I was nervous, not knowing exactly what I was going to say or even how I was going to present this “consent” talk. I rattled my mind for ideas, googled and read a series of sex education articles. After all, my degree was in women’s studies, not sex ed. However, almost a decade as a sex worker had taught me all I needed to know and then some. I had an idea: an anonymous bowl could be passed around. That way, the young pledges could submit their questions without the embarrassment of their brothers, and then I could answer them candidly.

As I pulled up to Frat Row, I had been thinking about how all my girlfriends told me to bring a bodyguard—advice that I’d brushed off. I was also concerned about how if something were to happen, would anyone even believe me? I didn’t know. I just had a gut feeling that AEPi would be warm and welcoming. Upon entering the historic building, I was cheerfully greeted by all the brothers that had already been initiated. I noticed that there was a young woman amongst the men, which made me feel at ease. She was there to help them talk to women; to coach the pledges, too. When I walked upstairs to find the pledges, they were all sat down in chairs in a circle. Each pledge wore white—except one little outlier who forgot. There was a candle lit, kind of like a séance, and I took a seat. I don’t think they’d seen my movies or even been told exactly what was happening. They were on their best behavior.

“Most of the questions that these guys ask are both familiar and shocking.”

 

 

Most of the questions that these guys ask are both familiar and shocking. I am incredibly impressed by how many of them are well-versed in California’s affirmative consent law—the conscious agreement to engage in sexual activity throughout the entire encounter. That conscious agreement can be verbal or physical, although I warn them about the latter. In my opinion, using your words is the most effective strategy we have in the bedroom. I reiterate to them how imperative this is. I give anecdotal examples from my past that they can relate to (it’s possible that they have been on the other end of similar events, and this conversation makes it clearer). The next thing I emphasize is that they have such bright futures, and those futures depend on them upholding their reputations and responsibilities as role models; as the prestigious fraternity brothers that they are. They are in a very privileged position, so I like to remind them of that—and how it all can be thrown away. Just look at Brock Turner. He may not be serving any more time in prison but he is serving his own form of societal “time.” People will never forget.

Courtesy Tasha Reign

Then, I lighten the mood and turn the conversation to more sex-based specifics. They have all this energy and emotion that no one has really allowed them to express—or so it seems. Women, in my experience, talk about details; we communicate in ways that men are ashamed of. It’s refreshing to answer their questions about how to perform oral sex on women and how to initiate foreplay without being creepy. They seem to want to learn. Maybe they act differently with a few beers in them, because they really “like beer,” so I make sure to let them know that consent means you or your partner can’t be blacked out, or even drunk. That proves to be the most challenging part of our conversation. There are unfortunately many queries like: “What if the girl makes it up—that I did something to her?” That is when I present them with their fear versus reality: Why on earth would a woman want to deal with the public humiliation that follows? What is her reward? I tell them that the chances of that are so incredibly rare that they needn’t worry.

Why am I doing this? Consent is the most important and serious issue that fraternities face, at parties and behind closed doors. Speaking to these young men on this candid level may help prevent them from making poor choices. I tell them to think of me and this conversation when they’re in positions they see as “gray.” As a feminist, I constantly remind myself that men are a product of their environment and women must help shape that environment. We raise men, mold men, and are a part of Greek life. That is why I was there that night, and that is why I will continue on with this advocacy project that’s still in the early stages of development.

Because we are all in this together.

House Democrat Promises Kavanaugh Investigation if Party Wins Control

There should be plenty of investigative reporting on the Judge in the weeks ahead. Newspaper, magazine: the Woodward/Hersh/Jane Mayer non-governmental sleuths may well be on the prowl. If the Democrats have any cojones (doubtful) there will also be impeachment proceedings against both Trump and Kavanaugh.*

The former has enough impeachable offenses to fill a small phone book. But you only need one. The later is an illustration that a Supreme Court justices can and has been impeached for lying under oath and other misdeeds. I think I am presenting a best case scenario for beginning to right our leaky ship. But “let’s see what happens.” It certainly Is within the realm of possibility if the Democrats get out of their too often “kum-ba-ya” mode.

* Note: It is highly unlikely that the next Senate would convict Trump and fire him–or Kavanaugh, for that matter.   But it would signal to the Republicans that their opponents are capable of playing their/Republican brand of hardball.   Collegiality and reaching across the aisle should be a medium-long term goal of the Democrats .

To deal with a monster like Mitch McConnell, only brass knuckles will do for the next few years. Too bad it has to be that way, but it does. Democrats owe this to underfunded programs for the less advantaged, to the damage done to the EPA and related disasters, to the children of schools (and adult slaughter victims) who are prisoners of the NRA and its bought members of Congress.

Image

Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, called an F.B.I. investigation into Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh a “whitewash.”CreditCreditZach Gibson for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — House Democrats will open an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct and perjury against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh if they win control of the House in November, Representative Jerrold Nadler, the New York Democrat in line to be the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said on Friday.

Speaking on the eve of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote this weekend, Mr. Nadler said that there was evidence that Senate Republicans and the F.B.I. had overseen a “whitewash” investigation of the allegations and that the legitimacy of the Supreme Court was at stake. He sidestepped the issue of impeachment.

“It is not something we are eager to do,” Mr. Nadler said in an interview. “But the Senate having failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent, we are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions.”

Mr. Nadler’s comments resembled those of Senate Democrats who pushed aggressively for an F.B.I. investigation into allegations by three women — Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick — that Judge Kavanaugh had engaged in sexual assault or misconduct. Democrats said the resulting investigation fell far short of legitimacy. And they have questioned whether Judge Kavanaugh was truthful in his testimony about a number of issues, including his drinking habits, before the Judiciary Committee.

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But unlike Democrats in the upper chamber, who are likely to remain in the minority after November’s elections, Mr. Nadler could soon have subpoena power and a chairman’s gavel, backed by a Democratic majority in the House.

He said that if Democrats took power, he would expect the committee to immediately subpoena records from the White House and the F.B.I., which conducted an abbreviated supplemental background investigation into two of the misconduct claims. That document request would include communications between officials at both entities. The committee would also seek to interview Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers and the dozens of potential witnesses they identified in recent days, most of whom were not contacted by the F.B.I. He said he would also call the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, to testify.

Mr. Nadler said it would probably be difficult to interview Judge Kavanaugh if he was sitting on the Supreme Court.

Dr. Blasey, a research psychologist in Northern California, publicly accused Judge Kavanaugh of trying to rape her when they were teenagers. Ms. Ramirez has said Judge Kavanaugh positioned his genitals in her face at a college party. The F.B.I. spoke to roughly 10 witnesses about the cases, but lawyers for both women said the F.B.I. failed to follow obvious leads.

Mr. Nadler’s comments are likely to be seized on by Republicans, who have accused Democrats of waging a campaign to discredit Judge Kavanaugh at all costs. They argued on Friday that Democrats would never be satisfied with any investigation, and they say that it is the Democrats who are trying to undercut the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.

Senators are expected to hold a final vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination Saturday afternoon, despite entrenched Democratic opposition. Judge Kavanaugh appeared to have the support of every Republican but one, meaning that his confirmation was all but assured.

Mr. Nadler said he was not yet thinking about the possibility of impeaching a Justice Kavanaugh, although the House Judiciary Committee is the congressional body that would initiate such proceedings.

Only one Supreme Court justice, Samuel Chase, has been impeached. The House voted to impeach him in 1804 on counts that he had let his political bias sway his rulings, but he was acquitted of all counts by the Senate.

In the case of Judge Kavanaugh, even if the House did proceed to impeach him, it would take the consent of two-thirds of the Senate to remove him.

Mr. Nadler said he did not know what impact the specter of an investigation would have on November’s election, but he said he felt an obligation to proceed if Democrats take control of the House. He said such an investigation would be part of broader Democratic concerns about attacks on the judicial system and the rule of law by the Trump administration.

“We have to assure the American people either that it was a fair process and that the new justice did not commit perjury, did not do these terrible things, or reveal that we just don’t know because the investigation was a whitewash,” Mr. Nadler said.

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Democrats Need to Support Alexandra Ocasio-Ortiz or Be Quiet While She Leads the Way

Article by Guest Editor Alexandra Shiels

Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez_during_an_interview_with_Julia_Cumming_at_an__Anger_Can_Be_Power__Event_(cropped)

[IMAGE: Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez during interview, looking leftward to camera and determined.

“Her policies are so far from the mainstream, her election in November would make it harder for Congress to stop fighting and start fixing problems.”

“Meteors fizz out.”

“If we as a Democratic Party are going to move from a minority at every level that is dedicated to resistance, to a majority that is capable of governing, we have got to move from grievance to optimism…and we’ve got to abandon a politics of anxiety that is characterized by wild-eyed proposals and instead deliver ideas and practical solutions.”

 

These cutting remarks aimed at Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (quoted from Joe Liberman, Alcee Hastings, and Chris Coons, respectively) aren’t being slung from Republicans, but from her fellow Democrats.

Ocasio-Cortez historic win, combined with her youth and outspokenness should galvanize the Democratic party or at the very least, not be met with this kind of insider sniping.  Ocasio’s bio is the stuff of American dreams. She was born in the Bronx and still lives there in a modest one-bedroom. She comes from a Puerto Rican family who sacrificed everything for their daughter’s education.

And she produced a soulful, viral campaign video which led to her Democratic primary win in New York’s 14th congressional district in June 2018. This win showed us that voters (not just liberal ones) are ready for politicians who don’t just speak in stale talking points who never had to work a job in retail or the service industry (like Ocasio-Cortez). Her working-class background combined with her fear in calling out corporatism is what we need if we want our party to represent (and perceived as) champions of the working class again.

Her platform is in-line with what many of us believed in: single-payer health care, equal rights for women, POC, gay, and trans people, justice system, immigration, and campaign finance reform. She’s even pushing for a New Green Deal to combat climate change.

Ocasio-Ortiz has electrified the Democratic party. Like her or not, she’s pushing out ideas and a platform that mainstream Democrats are too afraid or unwilling to vocal about. By pushing our party out of its complacency, she’s doing her job. If we consider ourselves the party of progress, we must be less resistant to those who challenge us to change.

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