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Jim Lane

Profile Information

Name: Jim Lane
Gender: Male
Hometown: Jersey City
Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 11:22 AM
Number of posts: 11,175

About Me

I spend most of my online time on Wikipedia, where we desperately need more people to help counter right-wing bias. Please PM me whenever you want help with a Wikipedia-related issue. (Remember that Wikipedia material must be neutral, but we can and should include facts that conservatives would prefer to suppress.)

Journal Archives

Bernie Sanders Is Losing Primary Battles, But Winning A War

This NPR piece -- "Bernie Sanders Is Losing Primary Battles, But Winning A War" -- is a valuable counter to the overemphasis on scorekeeping of individual races.

There are two main points:
* First, tabulating results has to take into account the context, namely that Bernie is not endorsing favorites and is playing a longer game than just running up numbers in the 2018 primaries.
* Second, the big picture of all the primaries shows that the party has moved significantly in Bernieís direction on issues like health care. This shift has multiple causes but certainly Bernieís 2016 campaign and his follow-up advocacy have played a role.

On the first point, Bernie put his endorsements in context:

"I hope they win," Sanders said. "Maybe they don't. But if you get 45 percent of the vote now, next time you may well win."

Bernie is perfectly well aware that a challenger who faces an incumbent and who has less money is fighting an uphill battle:

"I could be 100 percent in terms of my endorsements," Sanders told NPR. "All you've got to do is endorse establishment candidates who have a whole lot of money, who are 40 points ahead in the poll. You know what, you'll come and say, 'Bernie, you were 100 percent supportive of these candidates, they all won.'"

The second point is the Democratic Partyís overall issue stance:

Even if many of his hand-picked candidates are coming up short, more of the Democrats who are winning are lining up closer to Sanders anyway. A Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care plan continues to gain support among Democratic candidates, and the $15 minimum wage Sanders made a key part of his presidential campaign has been adopted as a cause by party leaders across the country.

Along with health care and minimum wage, thereís similar movement on universal preschool and debt-free college, as Bernieís longtime strategist observes:

"Many of these issues were considered fringe issues, and now they are mainstream issues that we take for granted that there, of course, are legions of Democratic candidates running on those platforms," said Jeff Weaver. "Three or four years ago you would not have seen candidates running on that platform I would have considered to be outside the mainstream."

Now, going beyond the NPR piece, Iíll venture my own prediction. The Democratic nominee in 2020 will not be Bernie Sanders, but it will be someone who calls for single-payer health care.

Vile smear against 12 Democratic Senators exposed as false

Last week saw the introduction in Congress of the Workplace Democracy Act. Its goal is to make it easier for workers to form and join unions and to bargain collectively. The sponsors were Bernie Sanders in the Senate and Mark Pocan in the House. Each introduced the bill, put out a press release crediting the other, and posted the text to his website. (Sanders press release and bill text; Pocan press release and bill text) In each chamber, several Democrats signed on as cosponsors.

Congressís website reported the billís introduction but didnít yet have the text. The website itself noted that bills arenít posted immediately after introduction. Nevertheless, the charge was made that Sandersís bill didnít even exist, meaning that twelve Democratic Senators Ė Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) Ė were being accused of cynically touting themselves as supporters of a nonexistent bill.

Well, the text of the Senate bill, S.2810, introduced on May 9, is now available at Congress.gov, along with the previously posted list of cosponsors. This should dispel the lie that those twelve Democrats were backing a bill that didnít exist. Props also to the Democrats in the House whom Pocan identified as the cosponsors there: Representatives Brendan Boyle (PA-13), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Robert C. ďBobbyĒ Scott (VA-03), Mark Takano (CA-41), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).

We can assume that the bill isnít likely to pass in this session. Still, itís a good thing for progressives in Congress to persist in putting ideas like this into the public dialog. Thereís also the practical point that it can provide a campaign issue for Democrats who are challenging vulnerable Republican incumbents.

Governor Andrew Cuomo supports taxpayer ripoff to help developers

In New York City thereís been a decades-long dispute about the future of the Hudson River and its waterfront. Increasing attention is being paid to the way that the State and City are misusing their powers to aid well-connected commercial developers instead of emphasizing a public park and environmental protection.

The Village Voice has a good article by Jake Offenhartz about the impact of a bill that Cuomo signed: ďHudson River Development Could Stick Taxpayers With Cost of Storm RepairsĒ. The main feature isnít surprising Ė the private developers stand to reap the profits while shifting much of the cost to state or city taxpayers. Another feature of the bill is the fanciful notion of selling ďair rightsĒ (i.e., transferable development rights) for the area over the Hudson River itself. The whole thing, besides the fiscal issue, has great potential to harm an important ecosystem.

Iím one of the people quoted in the article. The reporter got a response from the quasi-government agency thatís handling this, and followed up with me to get a comment. I explained to him why the response was fundamentally dishonest. It was, in fact, such a crock that he didnít even deem it worthy of mentioning and refuting in his piece.

Progressive candidates flood Washington for targeted training

This is where the rubber meets the road: practical help for progressive candidates, in the form of a training session. "Progressive candidates flood Washington for targeted training":

Unlike the memorable, mega-events from [Bernie Sanders's] presidential campaign, with throngs of mostly young voters, a year and half later this room was made up of 450 fresh-faced, Democratic candidates seeking public office themselves, many for the first time.

The scene Thursday afternoon was a snapshot of the revolution the independent senator always wanted -- or at least the one he hoped for after his bid for the White House fell short -- coming to pass.

Candidates from 48 states, running in races big and small, gathered in Washington, D.C., for a four-day training session to learn tricks of the trade from some of the savviest grassroots organizers in the country with the hope of perpetuating a progressive brand of politics back home in their districts.

Sanders' legacy political organization, Our Revolution, partnered with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) to host the conference and the organizers were excited by the number of signups. According to event representatives, 70 percent of the conference attendees were actively running in 2018 -- 64 percent of them in districts President Donald Trump won in 2016. The group was noticeably diverse too: 55 percent women, 40 percent people of color and 82 percent who have never held political office.

With most of them running in pro-Trump districts, I have to assume that a lot of them will lose. Still, with the blue shifts we've seen in other elections since the Inauguration, Democrats rate to be more widely competitive.

And those who lose? They'll build name recognition, contact lists, and campaign skills, and be in a better position to win next time around. Also, I'm sure some of them will run in districts where, in the last cycle, the Republican ran unopposed. Losing by 65-35 is better than giving a Republican a complete free ride.

Opinions sought: Is this transphobic?

Someone wishing to disparage Chelsea Manning wrote, "As a woman* she* is still a treasonous weasel."

People can call Chelsea Manning a treasonous weasel without being transphobic. (I myself don't like what I know about Caitlyn Jenner's politics. Being trans is no guarantee of virtue.) In this instance, though, I thought that the inclusion of the asterisks could have no import other than a sneering implication that there was something phony, or maybe downright evil, about Manning's gender identity. I concluded that this particular attack on her embodied transphobia.

As a straight cisgender man, I admit my lack of personal expertise on the subject. I'd be grateful to hear the reactions of people who are closer to the front lines of these battles. Was I overreacting?
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