Warren Calls on McConnell to Reconvene Senate to Address USPS Troubles

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to reconvene the Senate to address problems with the United States Postal Service (USPS) amid reports that the Trump administration is interfering with the postal service to impact November’s general election.

“Good for [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for bringing the House back. I believe Mitch McConnell needs to bring the Senate back as well,” Warren told NBC News’s “TODAY” show. “People depend on the post office. We’re depending on it for our democracy.”  

Yesterday, Pelosi called the House back in session to work on a proposal to block the Trump administration’s attempts to undermine the postal service.

“Alarmingly, across the nation, we see the devastating effects of the President’s campaign to sabotage the election by manipulating the Postal Service to disenfranchise voters,” Pelosi said in a letter to fellow House Democrats yesterday. “That is why I am calling upon the House to return to session later this week to vote on Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman [Carolyn] Maloney’s ‘Delivering for America Act,’ which prohibits the Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service it had in place on January 1, 2020.” read more

Republican Senator: Move to Strip Military Bases of Confederate Names “Picks on the South Unfairly”

A Republican senator has said a proposal to remove Confederate names from U.S. military bases is unfair on the South. John Kennedy told the press that a legislative amendment wasn’t the way to solve the problem.

The Louisiana Republican was criticizing an amendment from Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren. If passed, Warren’s idea would remove the names of Confederate leaders from military installations.

“I think history will show that in the 18th century, in the 19th century, and well into the 20th century, there were many non-Confederate generals, soldiers and others, in both the South and the North who practiced racial discrimination, Antisemitism and misogyny,” Kennedy told journalists.

“I don’t think we ought to just pick on the South,” he said.

There are a number of military bases in the South with names related to the Confederacy. This is hardly surprising, since the self-declared nation consisted of southern states.

Senator Kennedy’s home state of Louisiana was part of the Confederacy and has installations that would be affected by Warren’s amendment.

“Senator Warren’s amendment, in my opinion, picks on the South unfairly,” he said.

Kennedy said he will put forward an alternative proposal “to rename every military installation in the country after a medal of honor winner.”

This plan would also see military bases lose their Confederate names. The issue has become a contentious matter of debate within the Republican Party as protests against racial injustice continue.

Follow Darragh Roche on Twitter

Elizabeth Warren Endorses Joe Biden for President

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has officially endorsed former vice president Joe Biden’s campaign for the presidency.

“Empathy matters. And, in this moment of crisis, it’s more important than ever that the next president restores Americans’ faith in good, effective government,” Warren says.

“Joe Biden has spent nearly his entire life in public service. He knows that a government run with integrity, competence, and heart will save lives and save livelihoods. And we can’t afford to let Donald Trump continue to endanger the lives and livelihoods of every American.”

“That’s why I’m proud to endorse Joe Biden as president of the United States,” she added.

In this moment of crisis, it’s more important than ever that the next president restores Americans’ faith in good, effective government—and I’ve seen Joe Biden help our nation rebuild. Today, I’m proud to endorse @JoeBiden as President of the United States. pic.twitter.com/VrfBtJvFee read more

Opinion: Let’s Not Forget the Virulent Sexism Pandemic in Face of Coronavirus

Some of the most recent weeks in American history alert us, if we’re paying the least bit of attention, to the fact that sexism is alive and well, indeed robustly thriving, in U.S. culture and society.

Last March 11 brought a moment of victory and also frustration in the struggle for women’s rights, for human rights, in the U.S.

Notable Hollywood producer and notorious serial sex offender Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for multiple sexual assaults against women, a victory pending a probable appeal.

Weinstein, while not testifying during his trial, did speak up at his sentencing hearing, unleashing a spate of sexist commentary which we should understand not as idiosyncratic to the mind of man in weakened and aging state, arguably on his last leg, but as sadly and dangerously symptomatic of a prominent strain of sexism characteristic of, dominant in, American life and institutions.

Here’s one of Weinstein’s comments in which he credits himself for the rise of the Me Too Movement and also excuses himself and men in general for basically being confused, not understanding that sexually harassing and hating women is wrong, a violation of human rights:

“You know, the movement started basically with me, and I think what happened, you know, I was the first example, and now there are thousands of men who are being accused and a regeneration of things that I think none of us understood.” read more

Elizabeth Warren Skewers Republican Coronavirus Bailout Plan in New Op-Ed

Writing in USA Today, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took a stand for American workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, saying that any bailout must put their needs first.

“That means making sure that any federal bailout of giant corporations directly helps their employees, fuels a grassroots recovery and ensures that those big companies make serious, long-term reforms that reduce the odds they’re back before taxpayers again looking for another bailout,” she wrote.

But the Trump administration’s proposed $1 trillion stimulus plan, among other proposals, is largely “inadequate” because they lack protections for workers and taxpayers, she noted, pointing out that big business––such as airline CEOs––stand to benefit from the bailout.

“These proposals appear to be yet another no-strings-attached bailout for failed CEOs and simply aren’t enough to meet the moment,” she said. “I understand that major portions of the American economy have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and make no mistake: the federal government must mount a robust response. Now is the time to come together and make sure that response reaches workers directly. ”

Noting that companies that “poured billions of dollars into stock buybacks and executive pay during good times” have made threats to layoff their workers, Warren again made an example of airlines, saying they spent the majority of their profits over the last decade on stock buybacks, in turn hurting American workers.

Warren proposed that Congress set certain conditions on any relief funds companies receive. Companies should maintain payrolls and use federal funds to keep people working; provide a $15 an hour minimum wage; be banned from making stock buybacks; not pay out dividends or executive bonuses while receive federal funds and for three years thereafter; provide at least one seat to workers on their board of directors with the stipulation that they must offer more if they take additional bailouts; not touch collective bargaining agreements with workers; receive shareholder and board approval for all political spending, and require all CEOs to certify that their companies are following these rules lest they face criminal penalties for “filing false certifications.”

These criminal penalties could be upheld by a strong oversight body created by Congress, Warren suggested.

“The millions of families who will be affected by the coronavirus crisis cannot afford for Congress to only provide relief for big banks and their executives. We must insist that any bailout legislation contain basic guarantees to ensure that workers and working families get the help they need,” she concluded. read more

Trump Slammed For Another “Pocahontas” Attack Against Warren as Coronavirus Outbreak Takes Toll

President Donald Trump claimed Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “singlehandedly destroyed” the campaign of fellow Senator Bernie Sanders (ID-Vt.), accusing her of “stripping voters away” from him on Super Tuesday.

Sanders “lost states that he easily would have won if she had dropped out 3 days earlier,” Trump said before suggesting that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is looking to deny Sanders the Democratic nomination.

Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren singlehandedly destroyed the Bernie Sanders campaign by stripping voters away from his count on Super T. He lost states that he easily would have won if she had dropped out 3 days earlier. The DNC is doing it to Bernie again! Will he ever get angry? read more

Opinion: Decency and Empathy are Key Political Factors Helping Biden, Hurting Sanders

As primary election day, March 17, approaches in Illinois, I have been doing some canvassing for a candidate running to keep her seat as a state representative, Lindsey LaPointe.  I have known Lindsey for a few years as someone who is active in our neighborhoods (before she took over as state rep), always present around local issues and trying to make life better in our little corner of the world in Chicago.  Last fall I attended an event at a local park called “Peace in the Preserves,” and of course Lindsey was there.  We fell into conversation, and as a professor at a small state university in the city, I drifted into my usual and somewhat long-winded talking points about higher education funding, pension issues, and so forth.

She listened with a placid yet eager thoughtfulness and care.  I could see the look of careful listening, of absorption, on her face. She was taking it all in, really wanting and trying to understand. You could tell she wanted to represent people, not just her own views and ideas.

When I canvass, it is this experience and these qualities of Lindsey I talk about.  Although I have some sense of her political platform, I can’t say I have a complete or in any way thorough knowledge of all her platforms and views, or even how she has voted.

That doesn’t matter so much.

What matters more is that she listens and wants to represent people’s interests and advocate for their needs to make our world better for all.

Listening to people carefully with the objective of knowing—and feeling—how they experience the world is the basis of empathy. Seeking to understand their needs and do good by them without harming others, that is decency.

As I watch the Democratic primary narrow down to a tussle between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, I have been thinking about these terms, wondering in particular why I have seemed to gravitate toward favoring Biden over Sanders, even though I define myself as a socialist and believe in a single-payer healthcare system.

It is beyond question, in my view, that our healthcare system is incredibly inefficient, with one-third of costs going to fund the bureaucracies of private insurance companies reaping billions in profits. We could reform, meaning socialize, this system and certainly find a way to fund quality healthcare for all.

But that’s not the point. Or, it hasn’t come to be the point for me.

As much as I might get a little weary of Biden talking about the death of his son as a way of connecting with people’s pain and grief, wishing he would talk more about issues and his platforms, I at least see him listening to people, empathizing with them, trying to understand them. This quality may in fact guide the development of his platforms and policies.  These qualities have, in fact, become the hallmark of his campaign, even intentionally so.

This quality not only differentiates him from the uncaring and often downright meanness of Trump, but it also distinguishes him from Sanders, who often comes off more as someone who wants to be right than someone who wants to figure out how actually to improve people’s lives working within the inevitable constraints of our current political arrangement.

For example, at a previous Democratic primary debate, both Sanders and Warren were under fire, being asked how they would proceed on healthcare policy given that many Democrats, not to mention basically all Republicans, did not support Medicare for all. Warren gave examples of measures she could pursue immediately to expand healthcare coverage for many more Americans.  Sanders simply said that he will make sure Congress passes his Medicare for all plan.

His response did not seem like a serious one, by which I mean he did not come across as one who was really taking Americans’ suffering seriously. He was not confronting the reality of the composition of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

It wasn’t just a naivete. He’s been a senator for a long time, maybe too long.  Rather than naivete, his response indicated a refusal to engage the political process as it is and make what progress he can to actually improve people’s lives using the power one has.

Like too many on the left (and I consider myself a leftist), Sanders is more content to settle in, pleasure in, his righteousness and moral superiority, than to figure out how to work with others who don’t share his views in order to address people’s dire needs.

I published a piece earlier this week railing against the media and political pundits for basically rallying for a “stop Sanders” campaign. I argued it flat-out flew in the face of democracy.

After Super Tuesday, Sanders supporters have blamed the electoral outcomes on the machinations of Democratic establishment.

Seriously? What about the voters? Especially those African American voters in South Carolina that may have had more than a little to do with Biden’s surge?

Again, there is a refusal to listen.

And the tenor of his campaign, in which I include the tenor of his supporters’ behaviors, reflects a lack of decency and an unwillingness to engage and listen to others respectfully.

In a painful “exit” interview with Rachel Maddow, Elizabeth Warren clearly struggled in discussing the attacks of Sanders’ supporters on her supporters and campaign, and even the actual harassment of others who expressed different views, including members of the Nevada Culinary Union.

So much for solidarity.

Empathy means listening to people to figure out what they think their interests, concerns, and needs are, not simply telling them what is best for them. The latter is not good democratic governance or process.

Policies and platforms aside, we can see why decency and empathy have become such key issues this political season.

 

 

 

Opinion: International Women’s Day Reminds Us That Women Who Lead Get Things Done

Warren Sanders

International Women’s Day is on Sunday.  It will remind us that women who lead get things done.  This is true even if at the moment in America, election to the presidency remains an unbreakable glass ceiling.

This past week, we saw two great women, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, suspend their presidential campaigns.  This means that glass ceiling remains intact and it means that even before a single ballot is cast, we know a white man in his seventies will be elected president this year.

We saw very different women campaign for the presidency.  They had different styles and political views.  Different policies and different strengths.  Elizabeth Warren, especially, stood out because she was going her own way.  It’s overly simplistic to categorize her as someone from the Bernie wing of the party.  She has progressive ideas, but they are based on knowledge stemming from a lifetime of research – not merely embracing ideology.

She was the best communicator there.  She also gave the personal touch in a time when communication has given way to messaging.

America isn’t ready for women like Elizabeth Warren, women who are comfortable in their own skin and develop their own ideas.  We saw it as another primary that began with a diverse group of capable people was whittled down to two old white guys. Either of them would be a better president than Donald Trump, but the fact remains women’s fight for a return from the political exile imposed by Trump remains unfinished.

It is a little ironic that tomorrow is International Women’s Day.  It marks another year in which that day is commemorated while American women and girls see the presidency overtaken by male egos and misogyny – not only among candidates but in the media coverage as well.

International Women’s Day also marks another year in which most political news is written by men, which means the “narrative” is defined pretty much exclusively from a white male perspective.

If she’s lucky, the rare woman who writes about politics might get some crumbs – after men have firmly established the parameters of political discussion, saying which issues merit discussion and who qualifies as a strong contender against Donald Trump.

If you’re an intelligent woman and comfortable in your own skin, you’re a bigger threat to the male ego than any other kind of woman.  That was true when my mother was the lone woman standing in her class of biochemists.  It was true of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she had difficulty getting a job despite excelling in law school.

The women of that generation had to surpass men in ability just to be equal.  In reality, that hasn’t changed.  The pursuit of equality for women in the classroom and the workplace remains an uphill battle for subsequent generations.  And, we’re losing ground in other areas, as reflected in the Supreme Court’s decision to take up a case that could send our personal autonomy back to the Dark Ages.

The election of Donald Trump proved that misogyny remains a driving force in America.  There is no place in Trump’s America for smart women, regardless of where they were born.

With the exception of his propaganda machine, women were erased from the Trump administration.

A notable exception on the policy side is his daughter, Ivanka, who’s greatest accomplishment is inappropriately sitting in for daddy at the G-20 Summit.

Then there’s Elaine Chao who is under investigation by the Senate her husband controls for ethics violations.  Gee, we’re all wondering how that’s going to turn out.

Even with these two women and Trump’s mouthpieces, misogyny had single party control of the Federal government for two years, achieving nothing before Nancy Pelosi and a group of women retook the House in 2018.

Breathing became a bit easier then.  The one political institution that is led by a woman is also the only thing protecting democracy from a brutal assault by Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Roberts Supreme Court.  The women on the Supreme Court continue to issue insightful and legally substantive dissents, yet the misogynistic majority all but states out loud how cute it is when some smart women “over think” things.

Well, maybe women should do more of the thinking.  The world won’t fall apart when women take charge.  In fact, women make things happen, as we saw with Golda Meier, Benazir Bhutto, and even Margaret Thatcher.  Anyone with knowledge of European politics knows Angela Merkel has a legacy of success and she was one of a handful of people who stood up to Donald Trump.

Moreover, there are many girl wonders who are already making their voices known to the world.  Girls like Greta Thunberg.

Tomorrow I’ll be celebrating all the women who broke down and go on breaking down barriers built by the privileged white male establishment.  That establishment sees Trump, Biden and Sanders united in the same drive for power.  That drive unites more strongly than anything else – including ideology and money.   And I’ll be celebrating how women who lead get things done, and get things done despite white male privilege.

But most importantly, I’ll be celebrating the girls who I hope will see the day when it is normal for women to run for the presidency – and is normal for them to win.

Asked If Sexism Played A Role In Warren’s Exit, Trump Responds With Sexist Trope, Calling Her ‘Mean’

Responding to questions from reporters on Friday regarding Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s departure from the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination contests, President Donald Trump said that she lost confidence from voters because of how “mean” she is.

He also questioned her credentials as a candidate.

“I think lack of talent was her problem. She had a tremendous lack of talent,” Trump said, according to reporting from The Daily Beast.

Trump seemingly recognized that Warren “was a good debater” who he believed “destroyed Mike Bloomberg very quickly like it was nothing.”

TRUMP says @ewarren lost because “people don’t like her. She’s a very mean person. And people don’t like her. People don’t want that. They like a person like me, that’s not mean.”pic.twitter.com/k9mOTMaH7B read more

Elizabeth Warren To Announce She’s Exiting The Presidential Race Thursday

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is set to announce on Thursday that she is suspending her run to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president.

The New York Times reported the development on Thursday morning, citing sources from her campaign that detailed the planned announcement.

Warren’s campaign ignited strong support in the beginning, prior to any nominating contests within the Democratic caucuses and primaries. However, she failed to win a single early state, and had a poor showing in Super Tuesday contests as progressive voters flocked to her opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Even before the actual elections began, Warren faced difficulties, the Times reported:

Ms. Warren’s political demise was a death by a thousand cuts, not a dramatic implosion but a steady decline. Last October, according to most national polls, Ms. Warren was the national pacesetter in the Democratic field. By December, she had fallen to the edge of the top tier, wounded by a presidential debate in November where her opponents relentlessly attacked her.

Her departure leaves two remaining top-tier candidates vying for the nomination: Sanders, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden.

Sanders has done well courting the more progressive wing of the party, while Biden has successfully become the front-running candidate by simultaneously appealing to centrists as well as making the case that he’s got the best chance to beat current President Donald Trump in the fall.

This is a gut punch. I have so much appreciation & respect for the campaign she ran and the ideas she brought to the forefront of the national debate. She was the top choice of Indivisible leaders, and while she's ending her run, I know she will persist. https://t.co/WWSEnCnBiA read more

Elizabeth Warren ‘Reassessing’ Next Steps Of Campaign As Progressives Push Her To Exit Race

Sources close to presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said on Wednesday that she was taking the day to discuss with staffers what her next moves would be, and to “reassess” if there was a path forward for her within the Democratic Party’s nomination proceedings.

A senior campaign official speaking to The Hill stated that Warren “is talking to her team to assess the path forward.”

Warren was banking on a better-than-expected night on Super Tuesday. However, of the 14 states up for grabs among Democratic candidates vying to be the party’s nominee for president, Warren won none of them — including losing her home state of Massachusetts.

As of 11:00 a.m. Easter Time, Warren has only been awarded 36 delegates so far during the Democratic nominating season, including just 28 of the more than 1,300  up for grabs on Super Tuesday.

Current polling numbers don’t show much optimism for Warren’s campaign, either. The latest Economist/YouGov poll, conducted during the first three days of March, showed her in third place, with 19 percent support among Democratic-leaning voters across the nation.

JUST NOW: "Well, Senator Elizabeth Warren, I think that after — looked like she finished third in Massachusetts. I would reassess if I were her as well. "@WhipClyburn gives a (more than a nudge) to @ewarren.pic.twitter.com/RjiE1kW8fD read more

Opinion: Super Tuesday Could Bring Us Closer To Unity Or Bust

Super Tuesday might tell us which of the four remaining candidates is likely to become Donald Trump’s opponent. I’m not counting Tulsi Gabbard, given that she has yet to register a single percentage point in popular support. Call me crazy, but the last time I looked, having zero support precludes you from beating Donald Trump.

Of the four, one bought his way to this point and he did so with as little contact with actual voters as possible. Then there’s Bernie Sanders, who never stopped campaigning since he lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016. His followers are increasingly certain that only Bernie can solve all our problems.

For the record, they are not the only people using this approach.  However, Bernie is one of the two most likely to be the Democratic Party’s nominee.  Therefore, I’m focusing my attention on him.

I heard the savior argument before, and not just from Bernie supporters and Trump but also from far right and far left demagogues in several countries on multiple continents. I didn’t buy it before and I won’t buy it now. That doesn’t make me corporate, it doesn’t say a thing about my views on policies. It speaks only to my opposition to demagoguery.

This brings me to Elizabeth Warren, who doesn’t have a realistic chance of being the nominee. As much as I may believe she better represents the possibility of achieving a progressive agenda without revolution, this is not her time.

It looks like other former contenders are choosing to unite with Joe Biden. Some people see this as a corporate conspiracy. I see it as a desire to put forward the candidate most likely to win over the most diverse groups of American voters.

Still, Bernie Sanders supporters are numerous enough to matter and anyone who has been paying attention recognizes that. However, (and this is where the bros start tweeting insults at me) they are no more entitled to impose their views and ideology on others than anyone else. Their opinions and experiences are no more (and no less) valid than anyone else’s.

Perhaps there are some people who, as Michael Moore suggested, are afraid of Sanders and therefore backing Biden. I know that’s not the case with all Biden’s supporters because I actually bother to listen to them. Some people like Sanders and his ideas. But they want unity, not revolution. Some people don’t want socialism, and don’t see a difference between democratic socialism and socialism as such.

There are some people who are put off by Bernie’s supporters who are under the mistaken belief that being obnoxious wins votes. I understand their concerns after encounters with the more militant Bernie supporters. Those supporters think revolution is far more entertaining than democratic processes and yeah, we can just rebuild the country after it has been torn apart.

That was tried that in the former Yugoslavia and in the former Soviet Union. The idea of revolution as a political tactic comes straight out of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto – a document I studied in detail and rejected for too many reasons to get into here. One important reason is the fact that revolution tends to lead to violence, even if that wasn’t the intent, and rebuilding a country doesn’t necessarily mean the end product will be any better than what you started with. In the meantime, future generations are pretty much guaranteed a lifetime of poverty and oppression.

This observation doesn’t mean the answer is carrying on with business as usual. There are many of us who know that and whole heartedly embrace progressive ideas. However, embracing ideas that would, for example, guarantee everyone a living wage and assure that every wealthy person and corporation pays their share of taxes does not automatically mean being a Bernie bro’s doormat.

One can be all for a version of Medicare for all and yet recognize the odds are highly against congressional support. It would be stupid not to wonder what that means, especially now that the Supreme Court could rule that the gutted version of the ACA is unconstitutional. In short, the all-or-nothing approach advocated by some of Bernie’s supporters could mean leaving future generations with the same corporate “health care plan” that made Obamacare necessary.

I don’t believe in political saviors who come riding in on their horses, declaring that they will make our problems disappear.

None of us has all the answers. No theory is perfect. It took me a life time of learning and experiencing it to recognize that while nothing is perfect, there are some ideas that are worse than others. It’s why I’ll still insist on considering all candidates and their ideas before choosing one. It’s also why I refuse to allow anyone to bully or intimidate me, no matter how right they believe they are or how right I may believe their ideas or arguments are.

Either one accepts that all humans were created equal or one doesn’t. If you accept that all humans were created equal, it means you respect other people’s right to form their own opinions. No one owes you or your hero leader complete subordination.

I say this as a woman who was raped as a teenager. That was the day I learned how vicious and primal power is. I say it as a Holocaust survivor’s daughter who saw first-hand the scars that any ideological extreme leaves on the lives of survivors and on their subsequent generations.

I don’t have a preferred candidate. I do have preferred ideas and preferred tactics. Unfortunately, no one fits my criteria perfectly. Odds are that many of us have a similar quandary. So we’re left with two options. Either we trust and accept the will of the majority of voters and caucus participants, or we get four more years of Trump.

Of the remaining candidates, none is my idea of perfect, but every one of them is better than four more years of Trump. I hope we choose wisely and that those who are doing everything in their ability to antagonize people who happen to oppose their chosen one, will realize how short-sighted it is to alienate people who might be won over to their side. In the end, that’s what we’ve got to go up against a brainwashed army of maga automatons using voter intimidation, bullying and hate speech to impose their will on others.

The only advice I have is don’t give up your own voice to support a presidential candidate.