What Now ?! – 3/11/19

Cindy Yang, a Florida entrepreneur who founded a chain of spas and massages parlors that included the one where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was arrested recently for allegedly soliciting prostitution, also runs a consulting business that has offered to sell Chinese clients access to President Trump and his family at Mar-a-Lago, Mother Jones reports.

Yang, a donor to the Republican Party and Trump campaign, popped up this week in photos showing her at a Super Bowl viewing party at the Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago that included a selfie with the president.

A new Des Moines Register/CNN poll in Iowa finds Joe Biden is the first choice for president of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers with 27%, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders at 25%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren At 9%, Sen. Kamala Harris at 7% and Beto O’Rourke at 5%.

Said pollster Ann Selzer: “If I’m Joe Biden sitting on the fence and I see this poll, this might make me want to jump in. I just can’t find much in this poll that would be a red flag for Joe Biden.” 

Jonathan Swan: “Republican donors in attendance called it one of Trump’s weirdest lies ever. On Friday night, under a tent erected over the pool at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, President Trump claimed the media were spreading ‘fake news’ when they said he called the CEO of Apple ‘Tim Apple.’”

“Trump told the donors that he actually said ‘Tim Cook Apple’ really fast, and the ‘Cook’ part of the sentence was soft. But all you heard from the ‘fake news,’ he said, was ‘Tim Apple.’”

“Two donors who were there told me they couldn’t understand why the president would make such a claim given the whole thing is captured on video.”

Generation Z has a more positive view of the word “socialism” than previous generations, and — along with Millennials — are more likely to embrace socialistic policies and principles than past generations, according to a new Harris Poll.

“Gen Z and Millennials are projected to make up 37% of the electorate in 2020, and what they’re looking for in a presidential candidate is shifting.”

Of course, if we delved deeper into what the media and Generations deem as “socialism,” it would not be the state owning the means of production, which is what socialism actually is, but “social democratic” policies that have an activist and engaged government providing social welfare services and regulating business and corporate interests. I fear the use of the term socialism will be our undoing.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) rejected Republican-fueled rumors that she’s a socialist, saying instead that she’s a capitalist who believes in markets that operate on “a level playing field,” the HuffPost reports. Said Warren: “It is not capitalism to have one giant that comes in and dominates. What I have supported all the way through are the kinds of things that help level the playing field.”

Warren is a Social Democrat. She is describing herself and her policies correctly, unlike Sanders or AOC.

Politico: “Senate Democrats say they’re increasingly open to getting behind Bernie Sanders if he appears the strongest candidate a year from now. And there’s no whiff of an effort to try and deny him the nomination, according to interviews with more than 20 Democratic senators.”

“It’s not that the Democratic Caucus is rallying behind him; most of them would prefer a more mainstream nominee, even if they’re unwilling to say it at this point. But they’re giving Sanders props for what he’s accomplished, and say if he’s able to win the nomination, more power to him.”

“President Trump will ask the U.S. Congress for an additional $8.6 billion to help pay for the wall he promised to build on the southern border with Mexico to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking,” Reutersreports.

“The demand is more than six times what Congress allocated for border projects in each of the past two fiscal years, and 6 percent more than Trump has corralled by invoking emergency powers this year.”

“The narrative seemed to fit Venezuela’s authoritarian rule: Security forces, on the order of President Nicolás Maduro, had torched a convoy of humanitarian aid as millions in his country were suffering from illness and hunger,” the New York Times reports.

“But there is a problem: The opposition itself, not Mr. Maduro’s men, appears to have set the cargo alight accidentally.”

“Unpublished footage obtained by The New York Times and previously released tapes — including footage released by the Colombian government, which has blamed Mr. Maduro for the fire — allowed for a reconstruction of the incident.”

CNBC: A mysterious payment to Paul Manafort, “for $125,000, was made in June 2017, halfway through Trump’s first year in office. But it wasn’t disclosed publicly until late last year, when prosecutors accused Manafort in court filings of repeatedly lying to them about where the money actually came from.”

“In the world of presidential campaign fundraising, where millions of dollars are often raised and spent in a matter of weeks, $125,000 can seem like a drop in the bucket.”

“But the route this money traveled, from its origin as a donation made to a pro-Trump political group, to its final destination in the bank account of Manafort’s attorney, offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of relationships Manafort built over 40 years in Republican politics.”

Jonathan Swan: “The plan — which acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and policy staff are developing, and which is in its early stages — would have Trump sign a series of executive orders on issues including education, drug pricing, the opioid epidemic and veterans affairs. Aides say the moves would appeal to Democrats and Republicans.”

“White House officials have already drafted some of these executive orders, and the White House Counsel’s office has started vetting them. Officials familiar with the planning say they think most Americans will back them, as was the case with criminal justice reform.”

“White House officials have been tight-lipped about the content of the orders, so it’s way too early to say if they will be substantive or just political theater.”

Politico: “With a thick crowd waiting in front of Austin’s Paramount Theatre, O’Rourke slipped into the premiere of his own documentary through an alley in the back. He waited for the lights to dim before joining the audience. And 10 days after declaring that he and his wife, Amy, had decided ‘how we can best serve our country,’ he once again refused to discuss his 2020 plans.”

Said O’Rourke: “I want to make sure I do it the right way and I tell everyone at the same time, so I’ll be doing that. I’ve got to be on the timeline that works for my family and for the country.”

“What is unusual is not that O’Rourke hasn’t said yet if he is running — Joe Biden hasn’t, either. It’s that O’Rourke, unlike any other potential presidential candidate, confirmed more than a week ago that he made his decision. He just won’t say what it is.”

Washington Post: “Celebrity exacts a cost, one that the documentaryshowed was borne by O’Rourke’s three young children…. The result is a glimpse at a wrenching reality rarely seen in the sanitized, smiling images usually put forth by candidates.”

“In one scene … O’Rourke’s wife explained that the children started writing old-school letters to their father instead of video-chatting with him because ‘after they hung up on the phone … they were in tears and really upset.’ The O’Rourke children recounted watching two heavily armed gun-rights activists confront their father at a gun-control march. And on the night their father lost the election, the children discussed how it made them sad to watch others cry.”

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) told CNN that he’s been “disenchanted” enough to consider leaving the House Freedom Caucus over the conservative group’s unflinching support of President Trump.

Said Amash: “From the time the president was elected, I was urging them to remain independent and to be willing to push back against the President where they thought he was wrong. They’ve decided to stick with the president time and again, even where they disagree with him privately.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

15 comments on “What Now ?! – 3/11/19

  1. I think AOC and democrats like her use “socialism” correctly, whether or not they are advocating to apply it to our entire economy or just “vital” sectors. One of those small “s” versus capital “S” situations.
    I, personally, want socialism to be the way we apply health care, education up to a 4 year degree, utilities (electric, heat, water AND internet) and energy.
    Socialism does not need to apply to the entertainment industry (or any art form), housing, home improvement, personal transportation ( other than very hard environmental impact standards on the production of things like cars), clothing, etc.
    The idea that it has to be ALL capitalism or ALL socialism is what will hurt us more than anything else. Further, if 37% (and QUICKLY growing) has a more favorable view of “the word”, shying away from it will only make those voters thing the shy-ing party is not for us.

    • cassandram

      It isn’t “socialism” that they advocate. And words do have meaning. We’ve never had a completely capitalistic system system, and even in these days of corporations buying all of the government they can, they are NOT buying a more capitalistic system — they are buying a system that socializes their risk. And relieves them of any obligation to the community they are extracting resources from. Adam Smith is still a great reference for the optimal relationship between businesses and governments. The United States has never been a completely capitalistic system. The only question at this point is whether the government’s job is to support labor (and their families) or Capital.

      • I dont understand how universal medicare (for example) isnt socialist. The product, in that case, is the means to pay the doctor. “Product” is owned and regulated by the people in the form of an elected representative government. Sure a “marxist” way would be the doctor is paid in food and housing, rather than a lot of money like they should be… but that’s why Socialism is inappropriate (in my shitty opinion) for all facets of the economy.
        As a side, I dont know that government should support “labor” as such, or capital. Certainly not capital, but viewing the other side as “labor” still, in my shitty opinion, holds business as the important focus and not the citizenry.
        A thriving economy is the natural byproduct of a healthy society, clearly not the other way around. The role of the government should be to clear hurdles to individual success…. hurdles like a racist criminal justice system. Hurdles like medical bankruptcy, hurdles like student loan debt far greater than money one can make in 20 years even with a job in their field of study.

        • cassandram

          Not even sure why I try. The only “universal Health care” system where the people could reasonably be construed to “own the product” would by the UK’s NHS. Americans to not “own” the product of Medicare or Medicaid or even the VA. Americans pay for the service — a service that providers are free to refuse if they don’t want or like the payments. If Americans “owned” this product, no provider could put a sign up saying “I don’t take Medicare”.

          Americans are asking for a stronger safety net and one that is focused on the people who do the work (LABOR).

          • Rofl Ok Cassandra. Thanks for the hard work you do of assuming everyone is here to disagree and fight with you, and responding in kind. 🙂

            I know how Medicare works. I also know how I WANT it to function. Businesses wouldn’t be able to reject it because everyone in the country would have the same, socialized, “insurance plan.
            If words matter, focus on “labor” erases people who’s job/vocation isn’t labor related.

            • cassandram

              In a discussion of Labor vs Capital we are talking about people who do the work vs people who own the means of production. Basically, most of us vs the 1%. So there’s that.

              And even under the current Sanders proposal, private insurance can survive — making it much like the French version of health care, which still does not assign “ownership” to medical care. Sheesh.

    • The problem is not what it is or is not. It’s what people believe it to be. To them, it is something that is all encompassing. You either live in a socialist country or not. You either have a socialist economy or not. What you are asking people to do is to take a nuanced and situational approach to things. And honestly, you should know that people never do that. We live in a world of “all in.” As soon as you propose something that is socialist, they extrapolate it to everything, if not now then down the slippery slope. This is not new thought. People have been doing that for a long time. That’s why word choice is important, because words create images and images are the basis for the decisions people make.

      Nearly every day, I have conversations about issues with family, friends and acquaintances from left to the right. Some respond positively to the term “Social Democracy,” almost none of them respond positively to the word “socialism.” It is what it is. As said in another comment, that will change someday, just like the word “gay.” But that day is not today.

  2. cassandram

    Democrats Aren’t Moving Left. They’re Returning to Their Roots

    Today’s Must Read. Not just because this is *my* argument, but because Democrats ran the biggest expansion and explosion of employment, education, and economic prosperity in this nation’s history — that launched off of FDR’s idea about supporting people who work for a living.

  3. cassandram

    Delaware Attorney General Kathleen Jennings Has Unveiled a Startlingly Progressive Reform Agenda

    AG Kathleen Jennings’ reforms get the Shaun King approval.

  4. May I ask all readers: what is the definition of socialist?

    • delacrat

      Socialist is what right-wingers call anything they don’t like.

    • RE Vanella

      Ask Del Dem. He seems to spend a lot time considering it and dissecting it. Most socialists couldn’t care less about the definition.

      If you’re really interested read part one of Marx’s Capital or watch some David Harvey lectures on You Tube. Richard Wolff is also good.

      • Like many terms, socialism seems to be what someone decides it is. That’s the problem. If you like what you consider socialism, then the term doesn’t frighten you. If you don’t like the term (for whatever reason, right or wrong) then the term frightens you.

        And saying you don’t care about a word that’s vaguely applied to encompass a variety of fears (baseless, but they still exist) seems politically naive. The goal is to grow your base. I’m not talking about Republicans. There are plenty of liberals, Dems and Progressives who aren’t comfortable with the the term.

        The label “socialist” is a GOP weapon. I get that. They will call every Dem a socialist. Personally, I’d ignore their attacks. I wouldn’t advise fighting on their turf – which is what debating socialism is. That’s a losing strategy, because if you’re explaining, you’re losing.

        Dem candidates need to stay focused on policy, not wade into the useless, ever-shifting socialism debate. That plays into Republican hands.

      • Delaware Dem

        I address all this here:

        I am a literalist. Terms and labels have definitions. Socialism has a definition. Socialism is defined as “a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control.” In other words, it’s a state-controlled economy in which the state controls the means of production (factories, offices, resources, and firms). There are also forms of socialism in which the means of production are controlled and owned by workers. That state control or state ownership of the means of production (as opposed to private or individual ownership or control) is what people think of when they think of socialism, democratic or not. And that is why they rate socialism negatively.

        Democratic socialism is just socialism as defined above with political democracy added in. Literally, socialism in a democracy rather than in an authoritarian state. But Bernie Sanders and AOC and even the Democratic Socialists of America are not advocating for stated owned control of the means of production. They are not advocating for socialist or democratic socialist policies. Here’s how Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-declared Democratic socialist, defined it in a 2006 interview: “I think [democratic socialism] means the government has got to play a very important role in making sure that as a right of citizenship all of our people have healthcare; that as a right, all of our kids, regardless of income, have quality childcare, are able to go to college without going deeply into debt; that it means we do not allow large corporations and moneyed interests to destroy our environment; that we create a government in which it is not dominated by big money interest.” “I mean, to me, it means democracy, frankly,” Sanders added. “That’s all it means.”

        What Bernie is advocating for is a more enhanced role for Government as referee and regulator, while providing social welfare services to the people, like education, healthcare, and retirement security. That is social democracy,

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