Senator Sinema, Has Heads Shaking

OPINION:
Senator Sinema, Has Heads Shaking

Kyrsten Sinema is taking lots of money from big pharma

OPINION:

Senator Sinema, Has Heads Shaking

Are There Moles Within The Democratic Party?

By William Jones

A Minority of Two

Senator Kyrsten Sinema has emerged as one of the two biggest roadblocks to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan.  She left D. C.  recently for a fundraising trip to Europe. Sinema’s trip came amid ongoing negotiations over the bill and was a slap in the face to Democrats. Senators Sinema and Joe Manchin, are the lone Democratic senate holdouts blocking the President’s proposal. These two holding out against the majority of their party, is a big deal.

Just Tell Us What You Want

Bernie Sanders, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, recently criticized Sinema. Sanders just wants to know what she would support. Other senators have similarly accused Sinema of stonewalling her own party, refusing to define a position. President Biden is said to be “exasperated” after hours of talks with her. He and others have complained that Sinema doesn’t “move” from her position in negotiations and show so little respect, she often fails to  “return calls from the White House.”

Looking Across The Pond

Lawmakers are barred from raising money from foreign sources. However,  members of Congress occasionally travel overseas to solicit donations from Americans living abroad. Those overseas donors tend to be affluent and well-connected. Ms. Sinema’s office declined to tell reporters how long she would be abroad. They also declined to disclose what countries she was visiting, or how the trip was being paid for. No further information was provided regarding additional fund-raising for her campaign.

Big Pharma

Aside from looking for off shore money the Arizona senator has been soaking up donations from the pharmaceutical industry and other corporate groups who want to kill key parts of the bill. I am here to report she has continued to make time to meet with those donors.

$5,800 Per Seat

Last month, Sinema held a fundraiser with five business groups that oppose President Biden’s bill, charging attendees up to $5,800 to attend a 45-minute event. Earlier this month, Sinema left Washington to go to Arizona, where she attended a ritzy donor “retreat” at a high-end resort and spa, with no small donors in sight.

Refuses to Meet Constituents

Sinema’s refusal to engage elected members of her own party has extended to her constituents. Numerous constituents have complained that Sinema will not meet with them, either in her office or at a town hall. She has steadfastly refused to hold a single town hall since her election. Multiple groups within the sate of Arizona have already launched efforts to raise money in support of a Democratic primary challenger in 2024.

Hecklers Chase Sinema

Tensions have continued to rise between Sinema and her own constituents.  Arizona protesters repeatedly confronted the senator at several locations this month. Some even heckled her during a class presentation at Arizona State University and  then followed  her into a campus restroom. The Intercept reported that Sinema teaches an ASU class on fundraising, including topics like “how to cultivate large individual donors,” “opportunistic fundraising” and “corporate giving.” The topics alone leave little doubt as to her priorities.

Mounting Pressure Campaign

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the ‘moderate’ Arizona Democrat who has objected to the size and scope of President Biden’s sweeping legislative agenda, has been trailed all over the country by progressive activists in an effort to intensify public pressure on her.  Besides the bathroom incident, activists have followed her onto an airplane and even to the Boston Marathon.

Deeply Disappointing

The United States Senate is split 50 Democratic senators and 50 Republican senators. V.P. Harris is then available to provide the tie breaking vote. Democrats need every Democrat to stand united to pass any bill. These facts have greatly empowered both Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema as the party’s vocal holdouts. Ms. Sinema has pushed for the House to adopt a separate, bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill while the larger budget package is being negotiated. She called the delay in voting on the infrastructure package “inexcusable” and “deeply disappointing” in early October.

Conclusion

Kyrsten Sinema is on rocky ground with her electorate. Angry constituents are confronting her, she is pissing off the crowd in the White House, and she has angered nearly all of her fellow senate Democrats. Sometimes there isn’t enough money to save your reputation.  Sinema was sent to the Senate to work for her constituents not the drug companies. Wake up Senator Sinema. The country is begging for what is in this bill, do your part to make it happen.

 References

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/13/us/politics/kyrsten-sinema-fundraising-europe.html

https://www.salon.com/2021/10/14/kyrsten-sinema-ditches-senate-negotiations-for-fundraising-trip-to-europe/

Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?

OPINION:

Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?

OPINION:

Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?

Is it about the interests of West Virginians, fossil fuel, or himself ? 

By William Jones

Hackles are Up

West Virginia lawmaker Joe Manchin has been raising a lot of hackles amongst the Democratic caucus. Joe recently  announced that he wasn’t on board with the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. In fact, he said he was considering voting no when the package comes up for a vote. He wants everybody to slow it down and delay voting on it until 2022.

Last Best Chance

The Biden spending measure is vital. The opportunity is here to raise millions out of poverty and pass a substantive climate policy. The clock is ticking. The 2022 mid-terms are just around the corner.  Historically, the party out of power will re-take the House of Representatives, in the first two years of a new president’s term. So Manchin’s latest hairpin turn has attracted a lot of negative attention from his Democratic colleagues. As for Manchin, he can’t walk down the halls of congress without a flotilla of reporters following in hot pursuit, desperate to find out if he will continue to thwart his political party’s platform and his party’s president’s personal agenda.

Praise From the Press

Since his declaration, a piece in National Review has praised what it saw as Manchin’s fiscal instincts and willingness to stand up to fellow Democrats. A Brookings blog post argued that “his main concern that additional deficit financed spending adds to inflation risks is not unfounded.” A former adviser suggested to The Washington Post that Manchin is fundamentally mysterious and his vote is, as usual, unpredictable.

Counting the Money

Joe Manchin, though, made half a million dollars last year off his son’s coal company, meaning that coal paid him roughly three times the $174,000 salary he made last year as a public servant. Pundits don’t need to look much beyond that to understand what’s driving him.

And There’s More Money

Manchin has earned more than $4.5 million from Enersystems Inc. and Farmington Resources Inc., two coal industry companies he founded in the 1980s. He probably likes all the attention he’s getting, too. Maybe he fancies himself a champion of the forgotten man. But if on a given day you are trying to understand what Joe Manchin’s priorities are, it’s probably best to look to the priorities of the companies he’s gotten money from.

Lobbyists and Donations

In June, Exxon lobbyist Keith McCoy told the Unearthed, a Greenpeace investigative outlet, that Manchin was among their key targets and that he’s participated in weekly meetings with company operatives. Overall, though, he’s received more donations from coal, oil, and gas companies this campaign cycle than every other senator.  Manchin got $10,000 from Exxon Mobil for his 2018 reelection campaign. His top donor so far for the 2022 cycle is Tellurian Inc., a gas company.

In Compliance 

Manchin’s spokesperson recently said the senator is in full compliance with all Senate ethics and financial disclosure rules. He also stated that Manchin continues to work to find a path forward on important climate legislation that maintains American leadership in energy innovation and critical energy reliability.

Denials All Around

Manchin has also denied the weekly meeting allegations in the Unearthed report. Manchin is working to ensure that the bill’s $150 billion clean electricity measure—the Clean Electricity Performance Program—will “protect and extend the use of coal and natural gas.” The senator has made it clear that he does not support legislation that would eliminate the burning of those fossil fuels — particularly coal and natural gas.

Conclusion

Politics can be ego-driven as well as cash-driven: Many politicians after all, just want to guard their piece of the congressional sandbox and yelp whenever that territory may appear threatened. But money certainly talks in Washington, and the kind coming to Joe Manchin from the fossil fuel industry appears to be screaming out against a progressive and meaningful climate policy.

References

https://newrepublic.com/article/163723/joe-manchin-vote-fossil-fuel

 

Cori Bush: The Face of Perseverance

Cori Bush: The Face of Perseverance

Tenacity, Perseverance and Determination, all in one woman, Cori Bush

On Friday 7/30/2021  First term Congresswoman Cori Bush sat down on the steps of the U.S. House of Representatives with a camping chair, a sleeping bag, and a commitment to stop the potential eviction of millions of Americans from their homes.

By William Jones and D. S. Mitchell

Those At Risk

When it became clear that neither Congress nor the White House was going to act to stop a pandemic-era federal eviction moratorium from expiring, leaving hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of low-income Americans at risk for eviction from their homes Cori Bush stepped up.  Ms. Bush — now 45 and a first-term Democratic congresswoman from St. Louis — felt a familiar flood of anxiety and a flash of purpose in the face of the pending crisis.

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OPINION: Retire Justice Breyer

Supreme Court needs term limits

OPINION: Retire Justice Breyer

By William Jones

Consistent Defender

Stephen Breyer was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1994.  Breyer has been a consistent defender of liberal priorities in cases involving abortion, marriage equality, voting rights, and other issues. There’s growing urgency on the left to see Justice Breyer step down from the court to be replaced by a younger liberal justice. This is only possible while Democrats are the majority party in Washington.

A Billboard Truck

In early April, the progressive group Demand Justice ordered a billboard truck to be driven around the Supreme Court building featuring the words “Breyer, retire.” The message was directed at Breyer, one of three remaining Democratic appointees on a court that has become increasingly dominated by conservative justices in recent years.  Much of that anxiety is informed by recent history. Liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not retire when Democrats controlled the Senate during the Obama administration. Ruth Bader Ginsburg died from cancer at age 87, shortly before the 2020 presidential race. Republicans moved swiftly to fill her seat with Amy Coney Barrett. This cemented a 6-3 conservative majority on the court that legal experts say may soon undo many rulings that defined Ginsburg’s judicial career.

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It Is More Than Just Politics In 2020

It Is More Than Just Politics In 2020

D. S. Mitchell

The Blogosphere

Writing for Calamity News and Politics gives me a platform to discuss headline events and political policy. It also provides me a place to vent and fume. If somebody doesn’t like the drum I’m beating, they are fully able, and encouraged to move on; to a site that better satisfies their social view of the world.

My Son

“Don’t get so wound up, it’s just politics”, my son recently told me.  Well, whether I’m saying it to my son, or to a potential reader, or to a neighbor, that is the wrong attitude. In the end, politics is policy, and policy effects everything in our lives. Schools, hospitals, parks, highways, airports, waterways, international trade, health care, military defense and social justice to name just a few.  Nearly every part of our daily life is effected in someway by the policies that our elected officials enact in Washington, D.C., or our state capitols. Got it?

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OPINION: Rules For Thee, Not For Me

OPINION:

RULES FOR THEE, NOT FOR ME

By Trevor K. McNeil

Power Of Perception

Perception can be powerful. As Mark Twain said, give someone a reputation as “an early riser” and he can stay in bed until noon. Though, as with most things powerful, such perceptions can also be exceedingly dangerous. Like the “honest man” who turns out to be a con man or thief. Or the “quiet guy” who turns out to be a serial killer. Perceptions, especially unverified ones, make it very easy to deceive, particularly ourselves. Such is the case with American Isolationism.

Divided We Stand

The idea of American independence goes back to the beginning. Not only in terms of the country but with the individual states. At the time of founding, the United in United States was more wishful thinking on the part of the founders than expectation. The reality was less a nation than a loose collection of essentially independent British colonies, each with it’s own local government, and usually a militia group, the British being absentee landlords at best.

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Dr. Jill Biden: A Worthy And Empowering Woman

Dr. Jill Biden:
A Worthy And Empowering Woman

By Anna Hessel

Visible Courage

Dr. Jill Biden, is a classic blonde beauty, who served admirably as Second Lady of The United States from 2009-2017, during the historic Obama-Biden administration.  She has, from the beginning of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, proved a standout surrogate for her husband. She has guts. On Super Tuesday, Jill displayed that courage when protesters charged the stage during  Joe’s speech. Like a star fullback Jill shielded her other half in the midst of the fracas.

Jill-of-All-Trades And Master Of Many

Dr. Jill Biden was the only Second Lady to have a job during her husbands tenure as Vice President.

Dr. Jill Biden was the only Second Lady that ever held a job during her husband’s tenure as Vice President.

This faithful and spirited lady, while being friendly and feminine, has a backbone of pure steel.  Like many of our finest First Ladies, Dr. Jill Biden is an accomplished woman in her own right.  She has been married to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, since 1977. While Second Lady she held a paying job (outside of government). Jill Biden is believed to be the only Second Lady to have ever worked during a spouse’s tenure as Vice President of the United States.

Education Her Passion

Jill Biden is a proud wife, mom, grandmother, pet owner and lifelong educator.  She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware. She has two masters degrees, the first from Villanova University and the second from West Chester University. And, impressively, a doctoral degree from her first alma mater, U. of Delaware. Dr. Biden has worked diligently to raise awareness of issues important to women, such as preventing breast cancer, the importance of community colleges, and the sacrifices our military families make for America’s future.

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OPINION: Trump’s Viral Circus

I read some place when you hire a clown, expect a circus..

An unidentified, but very clever person declared, “when you hire a clown, expect a circus.”

OPINION: Trump’s Viral Circus

By Trevor K. McNeil

A Question of Leadership.

Many American presidents have faced great obstacles. To their credit, most have risen to the occasion with some degree of grace and intelligence befitting the office. Most of the catastrophes have been military-and at times self-inflicted, such as Teddy Roosevelt’s half-cocked 1898 invasion of Spanish controlled Cuba. “Remember the Maine!” More recently, terrorism has been the challenge. After 9/11, somehow overnight, George W. Bush became a military genius. That genius led us into an unending conflict in the Middle East. Though, to his credit, he did better than most would have expected. Ulysses S. Grant, not widely known for his intelligence, statesmanship, or sobriety did attempt to rebuild the nation after the terror of the Civil War, and as expected, failed abysmally.

Guns and Ammo

Woodrow Wilson was fighting two wars, one against the Germans and one against the Spanish Flu.

Woodrow Wilson faced two enemies during WWI; the Germans and the Spanish Flu pandemic.

Sadly, Woodrow Wilson, simultaneously facing World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic resorted to lies and misinformation to tamper down public fears. God forbid anyone stop the production of guns and ammunition.  The 1918 experience of a rapidly spreading virus, and a government unprepared for the challenge, should be an eye opener. The COVID-19 outbreak has been compared to the Spanish Flu pandemic. If that proves correct we could be on the brink of total disaster. In fact, Wilson’s public response to Spanish Flu may prove sterling in comparison to Trump’s Coronavirus press briefings.

Wishful Thinking

In the case of president Trump, the lies come so fast and furious it is often hard to separate intent from stupidity. In an instance of whimsical optimism unseen outside of a Peter Pan production, Trump publicly suggested people should just “go to work”, and it will all miraculously “just go away.” Reporting indicates Trump was warned in early December 2019 that COVID-19 was as serious as it gets, and was headed like an armed missile directly at us.

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Joe Biden: Who We Need

JOE BIDEN: We Need You Now

By Trevor K. McNeil

The Evil of Two Lessers

There is a long-standing joke that in the democratic system one is voting for the lesser of two evils. The basic idea being that no politician is really good and will almost always serve their own interests. Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore coined the phrase the “evil of two lessers” referring to George W. Bush’s  second election in 2004. A term that could well apply to Donald Trump in 2016. Sorry Hillary boosters, but I was never a fan. There is something about hawkish economic pragmatists that just leaves me cold. Though compared to Donald Trump she looks like a master of state-craft, if a bit Machiavellian.

Beyond Party Lines

Another statement that has made it’s way into the political parlance is “anyone would be better.” A notion that was particularly popular in terms of Richard M. Nixon and George H.W. Bush. Though rarely has this been so literally the case in terms of the American presidency as it is this election cycle. Despite the continued protection of Donald Trump by the Republican party, a level of loyalty that looks like royal fealty, the current president has pushed politics past party lines. It is no longer about Republican or Democrat, not that it ever was, Trump changing parties more times than wives. It is about what is best for the country, which is getting anyone, but Trump into the Oval Office.

A Sense Of Security

For the most part Democrats vote for Democrats and Republicans vote for Republicans. This only stands to reason. It is also extremely limited and only takes into account card-carrying party members. According to the “30-30-40 Rule” each of the major parties has an intractable base of roughly 30% of voters. It is the other 40%, the swing voters and moderates that decide who wins elections. A fact which serves as a large part of the logic behind #VoteBlueNoMatterWho with regard to the 2020 presidential election. It is beginning to look increasingly like the “who” is going to be Joe Biden. Not because he has the best policies or voting history, but because in terms of sheer electability he has the best chance.

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Bernie And His Political Agenda

Bernie And His Political Agenda

By Jones William

**This article was written and published on March 14, 2020. A lot has happened since then. Senator Sanders has since endorsed Joe Biden.

Doing The Math

Bernie Sanders has committed to remaining in the presidential race, despite big losses to Joe Biden. I have not heard him say that staying in the race means going all the way to the convention. I strongly believe that he will stay in the race long enough to carry out two goals. First, he will want to reach the point at which there is no obvious way forward in the eyes of 80–90% of his supporters. Once they can see for themselves that the math does not support staying in the race, I believe they will be more amenable to Sanders’ endorsing Biden.

Unity Building

Secondly, any endorsement will be contingent upon Joe Biden publicly committing to incorporate Bernie’s pet progressive planks into the Democratic party platform. To me, that seems reasonable, for a man with millions of supporters.  By cutting it short somewhere in the near future, and not dragging the fight all the way to the convention, Joe Biden can then focus on building party unity. By embracing the Sander’s progressive faction in some measurable way, before the primary contests are over both Bernie  and Biden get something they want.

Goal Directed

With these goals in mind, Sanders will take part in Sunday’s one-on-one debate with Biden in Washington, DC. I think he’ll ask for everyone who supports any part of his movement’s agenda in Florida, Ohio, Illinois, and Arizona to turn out in a big way. A showing so large that the movement’s goals cannot be ignored. If polling in these states is as close to true as it turned out to be in Michigan, Biden will improve on his current delegate lead. This will allow Sanders to turn his supporters to Biden and party unity, even as he leverages the incorporation of the movement’s goals into Biden’s platform.

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