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March 13, 2020 | The Daily Beast
Trump is Screwing Up His Response to the Coronavirus. House Democrats are Screwing Up their Response to Trump.
Trump’s coronavirus speech proves, once and for all, that the emperor is never going to put on clothes. We have a government without anyone meaningfully in charge of anything other than making Trump and his cronies rich. Banning flights from Europe (and excluding the United Kingdom, where the health minister(!) has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is self-isolating) indicates Trump’s xenophobia is now guided by throwing darts.
March 13, 2020 | Talking Points Memo
Trump’s Failing Coronavirus Response is Standard Issue Republicanism in 2020
“He’s got a certain talent for this,” President Donald Trump said of Vice President Mike Pence when entrusting him with the response to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. Pence’s perpetual grimace is the new face of the U.S. response to the coronavirus, after a chaotic week when the White House health team’s internecine squabbles and revolving-door corruption got a bit too public for Trump’s comfort. GOP operatives are likely relieved that their “adult in the room” has taken over. After all, Pence may be a fundamentalist zealot, but he is at least an actual “normal” policy-maker.
March 06, 2020 | Talking Points Memo
Congressional Democrats Exhibit Symptoms Of A Spinelessness Pandemic
Public health officials agree: coronavirus’ spread is no longer a matter of if but when. The only question now is, how bad is it going to get? The answer will rest on the efficacy of the government’s response, its ability to get resources where they need to be, keep the public informed and react quickly to new developments. The bad news? We have a president whose team is uniquely ill-suited to lead this process. The good news, however, is the government is larger than the executive.
February 27, 2020 | The American Prospect
The Trump Administration’s Contemptuous, Pro-Corporate Response to Coronavirus
The COVID-19 coronavirus is nearly a global pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control’s latest statement warns Americans “to prepare, in the expectation that this could be bad.” Amid a global crisis like this, the public needs true leadership from the president and his top aides, and a highly competent government deserving of the people’s trust, with the capacity to effectively respond to incoming threats.But this is the Trump administration. So instead, we are being asked to put our faith in inexperienced political cronies, servicing the needs of corporations rather than the public, and contemptuous of science, scientists, and the idea of expertise.
February 21, 2020 | The American Prospect
The Top Lawyer Bankrolling Democrats
The insidious influence of the wealthy over our politics, as Alexander Sammon wrote last month, is perhaps the defining issue of the 2020 Democratic primary. It’s the reason we at the Revolving Door Project have been yammering on about bundlers—the wealthy and well-connected volunteer fundraisers who almost inevitably end up receiving or influencing key jobs across the executive branch. Bundlers have driven the facile premise of both Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg’s campaigns: “I can’t be bought by the rich, because I am one of the rich who buys.” This was initially Donald Trump’s pitch, too. And the desire to reject the influence of bundlers raise hopes in Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s campaigns, largely driven by small dollars and people power.
February 19, 2020 | Truthout
As the Primary Race Heats Up, Candidates Forget Principled Campaign Finance Stands
At this time last year, newly declared Democratic primary candidates were racing to outdo each other with escalating promises to shun big money support. Contenders vowed not to take corporate PAC money, to reject lobbyists’ dollars, to discourage super PACs, and to tell fossil fuel executives, “no, thank you”. Now, however, many seem to be in a wholly different sort of race: to put the most distance between themselves and their prior principled stands.
February 06, 2020 | Democracy Journal
Personnel is Policy
We’ve become accustomed, watching the Democratic debates, to hearing the moderators focus on the practicability of candidates’ plans to move to Medicare for All, reform immigration policy, and fight gun violence. Make no mistake, these bills are important. They’re the type of policies a functional Congress would advance, and markers of a candidate’s vision for the country. But the media’s near-exclusive focus on these legislative proposals is deeply flawed.
January 27, 2020 | InsideSources
The Issue Dividing Democratic Candidates Is Hidden in Plain Sight
Takes came in hot and heavy last weekend after the New York Times editorial board endorsed both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination, mercifully ending the paper’s self-aggrandizing pseudo-event widely compared to … that’s right … “The Apprentice.”
The Times split its endorsement due to the intra-Democratic cleave between what it termed a “radical” path represented by Warren and a “pragmatic” path represented by Klobuchar.
January 03, 2020 | The American Prospect
The Christmas Miracle: Biden’s Unexamined List of High-Powered Fundraisers
’Twas the Friday after Christmas, when all through the land, not a person was working, the computers unmanned. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while Joe Biden released the names of the wealthy and well-connected volunteers who are fundraising for his campaign.
These fundraisers, otherwise known as bundlers, have all brought in at least $25,000 for the campaign, although many have likely brought in sums an order of magnitude larger, or at least plan to throughout the course of the campaign.
December 04, 2019 | The American Prospect
Bloomberg News’ Curious Interpretation of Editorial Independence
Bloomberg News raised some eyebrows in the media world last week when reports leaked that it won’t investigate former New York mayor and Wall Street darling Michael Bloomberg as he (groan) runs for president. The news outlet also decided to refrain from investigating any other Democrats running, to maintain a level playing field, and added that the opinion page would publish no outside op-eds on the election as long as its owner remained a candidate.
November 01, 2019 | Talking Points Memo
The Impeachable Offense That Democrats Should Stop Ignoring
For the better part of this year, House Democrats have been consumed by a battle over how best to use their newfound power. One side called for impeachment from the start. The other side insisted that Democrats focus on kitchen table issues like health care. But the choice has always been false; the House can and should do both. In addition to the active impeachment inquiry into Trump’s efforts to influence the 2020 election, there should be a second, no less serious impeachment inquiry into Trump’s efforts to undermine Obamacare.
October 30, 2019 | Alternet
Who Exactly Are Biden’s Bundlers?
The Joe Biden campaign is short on cash, so short that it has moved from disavowing an outside super PAC earlier this year to throwing the door open to one last week. That begs the question: If Biden is compromising on this stance for a buck, what other things might he be willing to trade for fundraising help? And with whom?
October 23, 2019 | The American Prospect
Moderate Democrats Back a Privacy Bill, Minus the Privacy
“We need to start thinking not just about ticky-tack privacy rules, but what’s the reason why companies invade our privacy? And one of those reasons is the behavioral advertising model … it’s often manipulative. So we have to think about how these businesses are incentivized and structured if we want to get to the root cause of massive surveillance in our economy today.”
So declared FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra at a hearing on online platforms and market power last week. Chopra, who’s earned a reputation as a crusader in his short term thus far, was opening the door to a far deeper conversation about Big Tech than one usually hears in Washington, even in the midst of the so-called “techlash.”
October 19, 2019 | Washington Monthly
House Democrats Are Failing to Protect Farmers from Trump
Times are tough for American farmers. Everything from corporate consolidation to falling commodity prices is making it harder to get by. Strange, then, that the person most responsible for safeguarding their wellbeing, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, brought the following message to a gathering of Wisconsin dairy farmers: “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out. I don’t think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.” In other words, he was telling the farmers: you’re probably screwed and there’s nothing you can do about it.
October 07, 2019 | The American Prospect
Freddie Mac Using Shady AI Company for Mortgage Loans
The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage giant, is testing underwriting software from fintech firm ZestFinance. A creation of ex-Google executive Douglas Merrill, ZestFinance claims to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to spot trends in a borrower’s record that traditional lending models miss. This supposedly allows more credit to flow to borrowers who need and can afford it, allowing Freddie to issue more mortgages.