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

 

The California Recall 2021

The California Recall: Jeopardizing Normalcy

The California Recall: Jeopardizing Normalcy

Many are worried that the heated up California recall election; could jeopardize  normalcy, not only of California politics, but that of  the United States. Worried, read on.

By William Jones and D. S. Mitchell

Make no mistake about it, California Governor Gavin Newsom is in trouble in the upcoming Recall Election. The recall process in the State of California is screwy and that doesn’t help the embattled governor.
Gavin Newsom

The current governor of California is Gavin Christopher Newsom. Gavin was born October 10, 1967 in San Francisco, CA. Newsom, a handsome 6’3″, was fortunate enough to be born into an old and privileged San Francisco family. He is the son of an appellate court judge. He graduated from Santa Clara University in 1989. In 1992, he obtained a loan from the wealthy Getty family to start PlumpJack Wine Shop. The business eventually grew to a multi-million dollar empire. Expanding to restaurants, theaters, a wine label, and a hotel/ski resort.

Early Political Steps

Newsom became interested in politics at an early age. He served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1996 to 2004, where he became well-known for his “Care Not Cash” initiative. That policy slashed cash benefits to the city’s homeless policy. Newsom was elected the 42nd mayor of San Francisco in 2004. He became the youngest mayor in over a century. In February 2004, he made national headlines when he allowed same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses.

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Smile Time: Joe Biden, President-Elect

Smile Time: Joe Biden, President-Elect

D. S. Mitchell

Let The Dance Begin

Joe Biden is the President-Elect. Thank Zeus, and the millions of Americans who turned out and gave Donald Trump the proverbial boot.  On January 20th, 2021 Joe will be inaugurated the 46th president of the United States. I want to take a minute and reflect on this historic moment. It is a time for tears of joy and the dancing in the streets. I pray this is going to be a new chapter, a better chapter, a unifying chapter. With Joe comes Jill Biden, PhD., a working woman. What a new and beautiful 21st century image of a First Lady.

A New Vision

Furthermore, Kamala Harris, a half-black, half-East Indian, first generation American, Oakland born woman, has just become Vice President-Elect. This is an amazing moment. This is a big deal, folks. As a woman I am thrilled. I was seriously beginning to wonder if I would ever see a woman elected to national office before I died. For me this is a day of  jubilation and celebration. This is also a moment for the next generation.

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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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The Electoral College Problem

The Electoral College Problem

By D. S. Mitchell

Losing While Winning

I believe whoever wins the most popular votes should become president of the United States. Unfortunately, with the Electoral College system that is not what happens. Twice in the last five elections the candidate that became president of the United States lost the popular vote. Donald Trump, won by less than 80,000 votes in four key electoral college states. He simultaneously lost the national popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.

The GOP Solution

The Electoral College system has become a tool for the Republicans in their effort to lock in one party control of government. Elie Mystal in a recent editorial in The Nation magazine wrote the GOP solution to changing demographics is to “forge a new theory of government where the rule by a white minority can withstand the popular will”. The nature of that effort was clear during Trump’s recent impeachment trial. Republicans desperate to acquit Trump wrapped their arms around a group of discredited legal theories. The Senators embraced a view of executive power and privilege, that ultimately denies our democracy and anoints a king.

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Trumpism Is Unsustainable

Calamity face

I am on a mission to make sure that Donald Trump is a one term president. Voter Blue.

Trumpism Is Unsustainable

By D. S. Mitchell

My Personal Mission

Trumpism is unsustainable. Donald Trump has been in office for two and a half years. Since November 9th, 2016 I have made it my personal mission to call out our faux president every chance I get for his scandalous and corrupt behavior. I challenge anyone, Republican or Democrat to name any president in our 200 year plus history that was worse than this guy. Trump is in fact a risk to the country, in every way imaginable.  He is a reckless and hate filled demagogue.

Temperamentally Unfit

Trump’s chaotic thinking and his emotional volatility are, in fact, a danger to the country he administers. In my most wild nightmares, I never imagined the potential of such a soulless narcissist ever being elected to any office in the country, much less the presidency. His behavior over the last week has raised both tempers and eyebrows. The local volunteer Fire Department has had to stop by my house several times to put my ‘hair fire’ out.

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6 Lies About Single-Payer Health Care

SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE LIES

By D. S. Mitchell

Drop The Labels

Honest health care policy experts know that the solution to fix the American health care system is staring us in the face, and it is single-payer. Whether dubbed “Medicare-for-All” or an “expansion of Medicaid” through ObamaCare. The solution is easy when labels like “socialism” “liberalism” “progressivism” are ignored. Trump and his DOJ is in court at this very moment trying to invalidate the ACA (ObamaCare). It seems that the more resistance Republicans arouse over destroying ObamaCare the voices for Medicare-for-All grows louder.

Health Care As A Right

The evidence is clear, Americans believe that every person has a right to health care, irrespective of their ability to pay. We as a people, believe that we have an obligation to take care of each other. In fact, there is more momentum for the adoption of a single-payer health care system than at any time in our history.

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The Eternity of Now: Beto 20XX

COMMENT:

Eternity of Now: Beto 20xx

By Ross Turner

The Eternity of Now: Beto 20xx

Only three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and Beto O’Rourke’s commitment to eventually make a decision about whether to run for President.  The three-time House Representative has been touring through the Southwest like a tumbleweed and has displayed an equally impressive sense of direction.  Will he run?  Won’t he?  Only one man knows.  He has yet to be found.

Political  Rock Star

Today, the winds of chance have carried the political rock star to another dusty, nameless pueblo in the heart of Texas.  Arriving on his unicycle with a small but zealous flock of supporters and reporters, O’Rourke stopped to speak with Calamity Politics.

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2018 Midterms A Democratic Blow Out

2018 Midterms A Democratic Blow Out

Trevor K. McNeil

 

No pressure. The clamor before the election was that the 2018 Midterm elections could be the most important Midterm vote in history. A lot of hype, that may end up being spot on. This, like most things these days, was all the president’s fault. Trump being correct, shocking I know, when he characterized the elections as, effectively, a referendum on him and his administration. He kept telling us that, over and over.

Accepting the challenge. We as a people accepted that challenge, registered a record number of new voters and fielded a strong team of candidates nationwide . We were ready and willing to tell Trump exactly what we think of him and his cabinet of swamp creatures. We were ready for, in fact anxious for, a return to divided government. The ballot box our chosen platform, the 2018 Midterms the first election in which we could flex our muscles.

Taking back the House. The 2018 Midterms elections have given the Democrats control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010. Stacking the house against Trump is now the best, legal, way to limit his powers. The people of the country made it clear that is what they expect. And the messy process of hobbling his actions has begun.

Big turn outs across the nation. The 2018 Midterm election turnout is estimated at 113,000,000. That would mean 48% of eligible voters participated. Staggering numbers for a Midterm election, nearly 85,000,000 more than in the 2014 Midterm. People tend to  vote because they are mad. Like I said Trump wanted it to be all about him and that’s exactly what happened.

You can breath again. To call the 2018 Midterms a “roller-coaster” ride is an understatement. Kind of like saying Benedict Arnold had slightly confused loyalties. We will likely be getting results every day for the next couple days, to possibly weeks. California final results may not be available for at least a month.

The courts are the end litigator. Lawsuits have begun in most of the contested states. Why would anyone, Rick Scott and Brian Kemp to mention two Republicans who are determined to sue their way to office want to stop counting ballots. Why would we vote, if they only intend to count some of the votes? Totally absurd. Nelson vs Scott in Florida, Sinema vs McSally in Arizona, Gillum vs DeSantis  in Florida and finally the most riveting, Abrams vs Kemp in Georgia. All nail biters. Some already moving to recount.

A blue dribble vs a blue wave. There is the bad news that the Republicans have held the senate. As 2018 Midterm vote count dribbles in to the history books we have gone from thinking the Republicans would see a big gain of up to 6 seats in the Senate; but now, nearly a week post Midterms, it looks like nothing more than an overall one seat Republican gain..

Gender and diversity the takeaways. The brightest news of the 2018 Midterm election is that a total of 100 women were elected, more than any other election in U.S. history. Notably, the first Native American openly gay woman, Sharice Davids, has been elected to Congress. This upcoming congress will be the most gender, ethnically and racially diverse group in Congressional history. Way to go voters. It is about time that our elected leaders are a reflection of what our society looks like, not a reflection of a dying power center; that of old, mostly, white men.

It takes awhile to get there. The 2018 Midterm election also saw the election of Jared Polis an openly LGBTQ person to represent Colorado in the House of Representatives. Finally making good on the path bravely carved out by Harvey Milk. Harvey Milk who was the first openly LGBTQ person to be elected to public office in 1970’s San Francisco, and he was killed for his efforts.

Percentages can be deceiving. The best news, of course, is that the Democrats took the House, and not by a small amount. The percentages might look close but percentage points count for a lot in elections, each one representing thousands of individual votes. What began looking like a mediocre “trickle” has over the last couple days ballooned into a possible gain of 38-40 seats. In addition to the House successes, the Democrats flipped multiple governor mansions and a staggering number of state legislatures. A mandate many would call it.

A big headache. The Democrats now with great 2018 Midterm success have the power to give the Trump administration a mind bending migraine. The power of the subpoena should make Trump and associates nervous. The American people have thrown up their hands and said, loudly no matter how dirty it gets, they are telling the Dems to clean up the Trump/GOP mess.

Sharpening pencils and registering voters. The 2018 Midterms are only the beginning. Many of the Resistors and the Indivisible folks are sharpening their pencils and are ready to continue their registration drive right up until the 2020 elections. The Senate and the Executive Branch are the targets of the Democrats next flip. If Trump thinks this is going to be a small bump in his presidency, I think he better buckle the proverbial seat belt because it looks like things are gonna get rough.

Looking ahead. We should, of course, celebrate this major victory. Hopefully the Dems can hobble the roaring beast of Trumpism. But, now we stumble into two months of lame duck politics. Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as temporary Attorney General of the United States is just a warning shot by Trump. What he does over the next couple months in this pre-Dem time is open to speculation. He could shoot that guy on Fifth Avenue by the time the new House is seated and what will they do about it?

Some unfortunate facts.Trump is still the president (damn and blast it). The great 2018 Midterm Democratic wins in the state houses around the country will help protect the 2020 election against voter suppression and gerrymandering. But this record-setting election is only the first step in a long journey to the next election. Two years are a long time in politics.  From now until 2020 we need to keep the pressure on this rogue and reckless president.