Feb 26 2021
From Skip Tenczar.
Political verse in honor of Texas of course.
Ten years ago, feds warned the ERCOT gentry:
Prepare for weather that's real wintery!
In subsequent years,
It must’ve fallen on deaf ears.
‘Cause Texas, it’s like a whole other country.
part one: Scott Braddock, Editor of the Quorum Report, Dean of the Austin Press Corp, talks with us about the Texas Legislature, who is holding hearings about the effect of the recent freeze in Texas. Many people in Texas (17 million) are still boiling water, because of the effects. Three million people are without power. At issue is the variable rate plan, which has brought huge bills to energy users. This event has acted as a reset for the legislature, which is now focused on infrastructure. Biden will be in Texas on Friday.
part two: Bill Curry, who is a liberal commentator, and a two time candidate for governor of Connecticut, joins us to discuss several topics. The January 6 insurrection will be the focus of an Independent Commission investigation. We also talk about Joe Manchin (D, WV) and the power he holds over Biden's appointments, due to the makeup of the Senate. Being a centrist does not help Biden when he tries to pass legislation. Bill Curry would like to have more legislators be 'slaves to the polling' because polls reflect what voters actually want.
We talk about the 'undeserving rich', and how it skews national priorities when policies are proposed .What would really help out economy is to put money in poor people's pockets, rather than paying insurance companies, large corporations, etc. We need a real public option for health care, and a living wage. The filibuster should be eliminated. Does the current defense budget really make us safer? The US Covid deaths are five times the world average.
political poetry the tax return edition
The Supreme Court has finally decided,
Trump’s taxes need to be provided.
There’s no way to extend,
His stonewalling must end.
Vance’s subpoena shall be abided.
Part one: liberal Christianity
Biden, Warnock, and the resurgence of the liberal Christian
WHY WE WROTE THIS Who defines what it means to be Christian in America? For the past five years it was white Evangelicals and Christian nationalism. While still a small movement, Democrats have begun to rejuvenate the influence of the Social Gospel. https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2021/0217/Biden-Warnock-and-the-resurgence-of-the-liberal-Christian
By Harry Bruinius Author, journalist, and New York Bureau Chief for The Christian Science Monitor
We discuss how spirituality is replacing formal religions. These are non-theistic beliefs, and espouse a social gospel.
Part two: poverty in America
Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding, and Ending U.S. Poverty
authors: Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox. BenBella,
Social worker Goldblum, founder of the National Diaper Bank Network, and journalist Shaddox deliver an illuminating and wide-ranging account of what poverty looks like in America and how it is perpetuated by a broken and negligent system. The U.S. government actually wastes money by underfunding welfare programs, according to the authors, who claim that cuts to food assistance programs have contributed to malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, and other medical conditions that require greater spending on health care
For those who are poor ($21,000 for a family of 3), ordinary things are out of reach. Basic needs, such as water, food, hygiene, housing are unaffordable. We talk about the 'deserving' and 'undeserving' poor, and never consider the 'undeserving' rich. We also look at how transgressions are usually handled: for the non-white population, those transgressions are prosecuted, while in the white population, they are forgiven.
Political poetry for the loss
Our political limerick (from Skip Tenczar)
From Covid, 500,000 Americans have died,
Now we know Trump disinformed and lied.
If early action had been made,
Perhaps many would have been saved.
Souls were lost because harder he could have tried.
Part One: a tale of two Governors- NY Cuomo and California Newson
we chat with Robert Hennelly and Lincoln Mitchell
The effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom, explained https://www.vox.com/2021/2/22/22291140/gavin-newsom-california-governor-recall-campaign-covid-19-vaccination-school-closure
Why Cuomo is under fire for his handling of nursing home deathshttps://www.washingtonpost.com/video/politics/why-andrew-cuomo-is-under-fire-for-his-handling-of-nursing-home-coronavirus-data/2021/02/20/98d5bce7-e64e-4e5e-9d75-ea0d2f0ce5d8_video.html
bio: Bob Hennelly has written and reported for the Village Voice, Pacifica Radio, WNYC, CBS MoneyWatch and other outlets. He is now a reporter for the Chief-Leader, covering public unions and the civil service in New York City. Follow him on Twitter:@stucknation
bio: Lincoln Mitchell is a political analyst, pundit and writer based in New York City and San Francisco. Lincoln works on democracy and governance related issues domestically and internationally. He has written seven books, is a frequent contributor to CNN Opinion and writes The American Angle for Brussels Morning. He retains an affiliation with Columbia University's Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies and teaches in Columbia's political science department as well. He is also a co-host of the Say It Aint Contagious Podcast on baseball and social justice.
Part two: Progressive organizing
The Other Infrastructure Program: Progressive Organizing A Prospect series on the future of organizing by Lara Putnam
bio: Lara Putnam is U.C.I.S. Research Professor in the Department of History at the University of Pittsburgh. She researches political and social movements in local, regional, and transnational contexts. Her writing about contemporary grassroots political organizing in Pennsylvania and beyond has appeared in The New Republic, Washington Post, The American Prospect, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, as well as scholarly venues.
She recounts the methods that progressives are using to organize to accomplish political goals. They are organizing at the grass roots level, and concentrating on local politics, not just national. They are not necessarily using guidance from national leadership.
Feb 23 2021
limerick from Skip Tenczar:
Texans were forced to swallow a bitter pill,
Given by cheapskates tryin’ to skimp on the bill.
Folks just plain froze,
Many were in throes,
And it shows politician’s decisions can sometimes kill.
Part 1: Umair Irfan covers climate change, energy, and Covid-19 vaccine development for Vox. He is also a contributor to Science Friday.
Before joining Vox, Umair was a reporter for ClimateWire at E&E News in Washington, DC, where he covered health and climate change, science, and energy policy.
Are extreme cold snaps more likely due to climate change? Scientists are divided. https://www.vox.com/22287295/texas-uri-climate-change-cold-polar-vortex-arctic
Wind turbines can handle the cold just fine. Just look at Iowa.https://www.vox.com/2021/2/19/22290512/texas-winter-storm-wind-energy-power-outage-grid-fox-news
Why the Texas power grid is struggling to cope with the extreme coldhttps://www.vox.com/2021/2/16/22284140/texas-blackout-outage-winter-storm-uri-ercot-power-grid-cold-snow-austin-houston-dallas
Part 2: Danny Sjursen
Danny Sjursen is a retired US Army officer, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy (CIP), contributing editor at Antiwar.com, and director of the new Eisenhower Media Network (EMN). His work has appeared in the NY Times, LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, The American Conservative, Mother Jones, Scheer Post and Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge and Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War. Along with fellow vet Chris "Henri" Henriksen, he co-hosts the podcast “Fortress on a Hill.” Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet and on his website for media requests and past publications.
This is a fascinating discussion with Maj. Danny Sjursen on what the concept of patriotism should ideally be, as well as a deep dive explanation on what the military-industrial complex is. Maj. Sjursen is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, a West Point military-historian, author, speaker, and now prominent anti-war activist. He talks about his experiences in Iraq and his new book "Patriotic Dissent," which re-examines what the concept of patriotism should be in a modern America of never-ending warfare.
What Our Forever Wars Will Look Like Under Biden Expect the new president to eschew starting new wars while avoiding to end existing ones.
Political poetry for the moment
Ted Cruz said he did it for his kids,
This escape from the failure of the grid.
But he came right back
Like some political hack,
When he saw his career was on the skids.
rethink the week
Daniel Block bio;Daniel Block is the executive editor of the Washington Monthly. before joining the Monthly, Daniel was a 2017-2018 Luce Scholar living in Delhi, India, where he studied Hindi and worked for the Caravan--a leading Indian politics and policy magazine. Daniel’s writing has also appeared in the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Foreign Policy, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the American Prospect.Daniel graduated from Swarthmore College in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and history. He graduated with highest honors and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He spent a post-college gap year teaching skiing in Utah.
Robert Hockett bio: Robert C. Hockett is an American lawyer, law professor, and policy advocate. He holds two positions at Cornell University (the Edward Cornell Professor of Law at Cornell Law School and a Professor of Public Affairs), is senior counsel at investment firm Westwood Capital, LLC, and was a Fellow at The Century Foundation think tank. As of 2019, he is advising Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the Green New Deal.
David Atkins bio: David Atkins is a writer and activist from California. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly’s Political Animal, elected DNC Member, and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.
Dean Spiliotes bio:Dean Spiliotes is a veteran political scientist and political analyst with broad expertise in presidential politics and policy, campaigns and elections - especially New Hampshire politics and its presidential primary. His extensive knowledge and experience brought him to Southern New Hampshire University, where he is Civic Scholar in the School of Arts and Sciences. Author of the book, Vicious Cycle: Presidential Decision Making in the American Political Economy, Dean has also published research in a variety of professional journals including, The American Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Politics, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and Society. Dean previously taught in the Government Department at Dartmouth College and in the Politics Department at Saint Anselm College. At Saint Anselm, Dean also served as Director of Research for the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, where he led a statewide survey research initiative, the New Hampshire Civic Index, designed to measure the civic knowledge, attitudes and behavior of New Hampshire citizens.Dean provides frequent political commentary and analysis for local, national and international print, broadcast, and web-based media. He received his B.A. in history from Haverford College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.
Want to know how bad it is in Texas?
The Texas grid, overseen by ERCOT, has the lowest reserve margins in North America!
Texas chose cheap power over reliable power. Maximized profits for energy companies.
tweet from a Texan: Hey, @AOC, I disagree with you fundamentally on 99% of policy positions. But thank you for the support you are showing to Texas as we get beyond this winter blast. I appreciate you for it.
tweet from a non Texan: So, The Federal Government is going to bail out Texas because Texans voted for Republicans who wanted deregulation, separation from the Federal Government/US National power grid, and in some cases even secession from the United States. We all OK with this?
The Texas Freeze is a Catastrophe of the Free Market
MSM please ask Senators Cruz and Cornyn NOW!!! if they are going to support the $1.9T relief bill, millions in TX need the $1400 check now to begin to pay down the enormous bills they face to recover from GOP Leadership failure that destroyed their homes and lives.
We also discuss the moves toward more voter suppression.
Republicans have recently talked about the United States as having a republican government, as opposed to a democratic government, as though they were mutually exclusive. This appears to be a carefully designed path to governments like Poland's or Hungary's. The Republicans are laying groundwork for authoritarian move. They are now partisan rather than principled. Democrats must emphasize that the government can provide solutions and is not the enemy, as the Republicans would like to characterize it.
February 19, 2021
Rush Limbaugh has succumbed to lung cancer,
This man who always had a simple answer.
With bellicose audio,
He remade talk radio.
Hatred and bigotry were his major financers.
and limerick two addresses the Texas situation
Ten years ago, feds warned the ERCOT gentry:
Prepare for weather that's real wintery!
In subsequent years,
It must’ve fallen on deaf ears.
‘Cause Texas, it’s like a whole other country.
Part 1: We begin our discussion with Scott Braddock. Scott is the Voice of Texas, Editor of the Quorum Report.
The situation in Texas is dire, due to several factors. There are a series of winter storms, which have brought below-zero temperatures to Texas. This has exposed multiple bag problems in Texas. The first is the fact that Texas is isolated from the national power grid. There is no backup if Texas' individual grid, ERCOT, fails. Texas decided, in the 90s, that they did not want to have federal regulation (with the exception of El Paso), and did not connect. The Texas grid has failed, due to the lack of planning for cold weather. People are freezing to death, with no option but to wait for warmer weather. Water pipes have frozen, so people are being told to boil water. This is hard to do, since the natural gas is not available (the generating and pumping stations are frozen). Most of Texas' energy needs are met with natural gas and coal. Texas has some wind and solar generation, though that only comprises about 13% of the total.
Politicians, especially the governor, Abbot, have blamed the 'dependence' on wind and solar for this problem. However, people have called him on this, because they know this is a big lie. Now, he is being blamed by both Democrats and Republicans. Ted Cruz is spending time in Cancun, Mexico. There will likely be some discussion in the legislature about hardening the power grid for future events like this.
Because of the warming centers, it is likely that this will be a superspreader event.
Part 2: We talk with Bill Curry, progressive writer, former aide to Bill Clinton, two time candidate for governor of Connecticut.
We start our discussion with the death of Rush Limbaugh, and how his influence has changed the political discourse in the US. Gingrich, Lutz, and others of their ilk have lowered the level considerably.
We talk about how the country will recover from the various disasters. We discuss how much of the actual on-the-ground work will be done by undocumented workers, especially in Texas. For this reason, it is important to have a rational immigration policy. We need infrastructure repairs and security, both physical and cybersecurity. Additionally, we discuss the necessity to have a democratization of energy. This will produce jobs that will not be off-shored. We also need a minimum wage that is a livable wage. This is especially important for women.
from Skip Tenzcar
There was a rich boy from Queens,
Whose dad put much wealth in his jeans.
Russia helped his ascent,
To become president.
One wonders what that favor redeemed.
Part one Dave Levinthal
Trump just beat his 2nd impeachment conviction, but a tsunami of legal peril awaits https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-federal-state-local-investigation-prosecution-georgia-call-2021-17 yuuge reasons Donald Trump isn't going away https://www.businessinsider.com/where-is-donald-trump-new-2024-campaign-committee-2021-2Dave Levinthal is senior Washington correspondent for Insider, reporting on the nexus of politics, policy and power in the nation's capital.
Prior to joining Insider's Washington Bureau in 2020, Dave served as editor-at-large for the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization in Washington, DC. During his seven years there, Dave's work as an editor and reporter won numerous honors, including the Goldsmith Prize, Edward R. Murrow Award, National Headliner Award, Kaleidoscope Award and EPPY Award.
Dave has also worked as a reporter or editor for Politico, OpenSecrets, The Dallas Morning News and The Eagle-Tribune, and his writing has appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic, TIME and Newsweek. Dave also regularly provides political analysis on news outlets such as NPR, MSNBC, Fox News, the BBC, and CBC.
A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Dave graduated with degrees in newspaper journalism and political philosophy from Syracuse University, where he was editor-in-chief of The Daily Orange.
We discuss with Dave the various legal problems that Trump will face. There will be court cases at the local, state, and federal level. In addition, there are various financial crimes that are being discussed involving his campaign and the inauguration. This is is in addition to the many women who have accused him of sexual assault. Revisiting the Mueller report is also likely.
Part Two Brennan Center
Brennan Center expert Daniel Weiner argues that our democracy must get the repair work that's in the For the People Act (H.R. 1/S. 1), along with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to stem the forces that drove the insurrection and the acquittal.
Dan is deputy director of the Brennan Center's Democracy program and former senior counsel for the FEC.
WE THE PEOPLE ACT The For the People Act would transform our democracy by making it fairer, stronger, and more inclusive. “The insurrection was a near-death experience for American Democracy.” SCOTUS will not defend voter rights. We need an act of Congress to enshrine these rights as law. We also need a Code of Ethics for SCOTUS.
Feb 17 2021 Wednesday
Skip delivers some political verse
They thought that Trump was their messiah,
Then some learned he was only a liar.
He lured them to riot,
Then he got pretty quiet
That’s how he became a presidential pariah.
Part 1: what the pandemic has exposed about our healthcare system
Marshall Auerback is a writer and market strategist, with 30 years’ experience in the investment management business. He also serves as a Research Associate for the Levy Institute, and a Research Fellow for the Economists for Peace and Security. He was previously a Director of Institutional Partnerships for the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET). He also has a unique global perspective, having lived and been employed in Toronto, Hong Kong, Tokyo, London and New York, as well as working and traveling extensively in the developing world.
We talk with him about infrastructure. The pandemic has brought into focus the poor healthcare infrastructure in the US. Health care is employer-based, and when people lose their jobs, they lose their healthcare. We need a better option that not only provides for true healthcare, but is cheaper and more efficient.
COVID-19 Necessitates a New Approach to Health Care By Marshall Auerback americancompass.org
Part 2: a discussion about Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
We talk with Dave Chapman, who runs Long Wind Farm in Vermont and is the Executive Director of the Real Organic Project. He is a founding member of the Vermont Organic Farmers. He has been active in the movement to Keep The Soil In Organic. He is proud to be a current member of the Policy Committee of the Organic Farmers Association. He served on the USDA Hydroponic Task Force. Dave serves in a Farmer position.
Biden’s Buddy Tom Vilsack Is No Friend to Farmers Confirming him as secretary of agriculture adds insult to the Democratic Party’s long record of malign neglect toward rural Americans
Is Tom Vilsack the changed person he says he is to lead USDA again? For decades, USDA has misappropriated resources in supporting a factory farming system that harms communities, threatens human health, perpetuates racial inequity, and destroys natural ecosystems. https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/2021/02/15/tom-vilsack-usda-agriculture-says-he-changed/4454394001/
Alex Shephard, who writes for the New Republic, talks with us about the fall of the Lincoln Project.
The Lincoln Project operates much like Trump, it is a grift. The money raised found its way into the principals' pockets. The founders apparently believed in nothing but raising money for themselves, and were not original. The viral content was mostly stolen from others. Now that the story of John Weaver is exposed, it has become more obvious, and their political nihilism is there for all to see. We draw parallels with Andrew Cuomo's performance integrity, and other Republicans' practices.
We talk with Harold Meyerson, who writes for the American Prospect, and is the Editor-at-large. Republicans' lack of vision, and the fact that Republicans do not have a platform. Their only goal is to maintain their power. We discuss the impeachment trial, and how McConnell is the ultimate cynic. He gave 43 senators and excuse to not convict.
Rethink the week
Robert Hennelly, writer for Salon.com
Stephen Pimpare, Carsey School of Public Policy, UNH
Lincoln Mitchell, Columbia University
Dean Spiliotes , Presidential Scholar, Southern NH University
Skip Tenczar delivers some political poetry
Three jurors conferred with the defense.
What was their excuse or flimsy pretense?
They were sworn to be impartial
But there seems to be no marshal
Who can arrest them for their blatant offense.
Quote of the day: "We tried a frickin' really good case...we slammed them down on the mat and won this case." Michael van der Veen, Trump impeachment trial attorney.
stat of the day:
Shocking stat: 57 senators who voted to convict Trump represent 76.7 MILLION more Americans than 43 senators who voted to acquit
thought of the day: It is no longer the Republican party, today Feb 14 it officially died. It is now just a mob.
We discussed, with our panelists, the impeachment trial, and what its effect will be going forward for races in 2022 and 2024.
It is obvious that because Republicans will be controlling access to votes through gerrymandering and voter suppression, that we will have minority rule for years to come. The minority will be whites, gun-owners, rural. Adding D.C., Puerto Rico, the Territories might mitigate this. We can only hope that voters will remember that there was an attempted coup on January 6, when one branch of our government attacked another branch, and that this is part of an ongoing attempt to disrupt American democracy.