A little good news (for a change)

The White House is withdrawing the nomination of Andy Puzder for Secretary of Labor. His confirmation hearing, delayed four times, was scheduled for tomorrow.

The statement of the National Employment Law Project:

“From the very start of the nomination process, it was clear that fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder was unfit to lead the U.S. Department of Labor. Thanks to fierce opposition from a diverse group of Americans, including people deeply concerned about the treatment of workers and of women, enough senators came to the same realization, forcing Mr. Puzder’s withdrawal from the nomination.

“In nominating Mr. Puzder for labor secretary, President Trump chose for the department that champions workers someone whose views and values are not only antithetical to what workers want and need, but also out of step with mainstream America.

“Americans support raising the minimum wage, expanding eligibility for overtime pay, ensuring safe and healthy workplaces, extending affordable health care, protecting workers’ retirement savings, safeguarding the right to organize and bargain collectively, and creating good, family-sustaining jobs.

“On all of these issues, Mr. Puzder’s record was the exact opposite of where most Americans stand. His loss of support in the Senate mirrors his lack of support in the public.

“We urge President Trump to listen to the American people, remain mindful of the promises he made to working families during the campaign and in his inaugural address, and nominate a candidate for secretary of labor who will always put workers first and foremost.

“Any less, and the American people will once again say NO to a secretary who doesn’t speak for America’s workers.”

Take the fork in the road

promoted by david

The mid-term elections will soon be upon us, so it will be a good idea to get our house in order, and work though whatever painful but necessary conflicts sooner rather than later.

Of the two ways forward, resumption of incrementalism versus New Deal new brooms, I personally favor the latter. But there is no middle way. We will fall between the cracks if we try to split the difference.

Trump should be impeached...

promoted by david

under Article II, Section 4, of the Constitution:

‘ The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.’

An Independent Commission, separate from Congressional investigators, should be established to find out what Trump knew and when he knew it, about Russian corruption of our democracy.

Fred  Rich  LaRiccia

 

Flynn resigns

promoted by david

amid Russian election blackmail corruption.

The question remains :  What did Trump know and when did he know it ?

Fred  Rich  LaRiccia

Think like a Republican, Vote like a Democrat

promoted by david

Democrats have to start thinking like Republicans. Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Especially when real peoples lives are affected by who’s in charge.

Five keys to victory:

1) Obstruct Trump

The opposition party suffers no electoral consequences for doing so and it makes the President-the only political figure voters pay attention to-look like a do nothing loser. It was a big blow to Obama, it would be a fatal blow to Trump who’s approval ratings are already in decline and who’s competence is in doubt.

2) Always Advance Your Agenda

In 1960 the Republican Party Platform promised religious tolerance, racial equality, public housing, public health care, and acceptance of immigrants. Today’s Republican Platform has been written and paid for by far right extremists. They took over the party by making conservatism the new moderate and now by making far right nationalism the new conservative. The lesson for liberals is to always stick your principles and advance progressive legislation at every level of government every cycle. That means Massachusetts should be a petri dish for left wing ideas like Kansas was for far right ones. It means pushing Medicare for All, Basic Income, and other ‘out there’ pieces of legislation to move the national median to the left.

Tip of the Iceberg: Michael Flynn Is Only a Piece of the Russia-Trump Connection

promoted by david

Quid pro quo, Clarice. Quid pro quo.

–Hannibal Lecter

The Russian Presidency–domestic, not foreign–is back in the news with National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

The early Trump supporter, former Defense Intelligence Agency chief, analyst for Russia Today, and pal of Vladimir Putin apparently ”sought to hide from his colleagues and the nation a pre-inauguration discussion with the Russian government about sanctions that the Obama administration was imposing.”

Conducting foreign policy when another president is in office probably violates the Logan Act, but no one’s particularly worried about that. The law has never been tested. The concern has more to do with 1) the cover up, and 2) the Trump Administration’s troubling connection to Russia and Vladimir Putin.

DDS providers pushing Gov. Baker to phase out state-run care

promoted by david

(Cross-posted from The COFAR Blogsite)

The major lobbying organizations for corporate providers to the Department of Developmental Services appear to be pushing the Baker administration and the Legislature to privatize more and more state-run care.

And the administration and Legislature have so far appear to have been more than willing to accommodate the providers.

Governor Baker’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget, which he submitted to the Legislature last month, further widens a spending gap between privatized and state-run programs within the Department of Developmental Services. In doing so, it appears largely to satisfy budget requests from both the Arc of Massachusetts and the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers (ADDP).

Do MA Dems Have the Statewide Infrastructure to Resist Trump?

It is telling that the Indivisible groups are sprouting up parallel to the Democratic party itself. Some local Dem party outfits (DTCs et al) are a lot better at encouraging, absorbing and channeling energies than others. Sounds like a best-practices scour for Gus Bickford. Gus, are you reading? This is not a new problem. -Charley - promoted by david

Mattapoisett Democrats meet (Steve Urbon/N.B. Standard-Times)

If it’s going to lead to sustained success and create lasting change, the movement to resist Trump needs infrastructure – meetings, regularly-updated online information, people willing to organize both – not just in Boston and its suburbs but across Massachusetts. That could be through new groups like the Indivisible movement, through existing groups like the Massachusetts Democratic Party, or a combination of both.

What it can’t look like is the same old people showing up to the same old meetings wondering why the young people don’t magically materialize out of thin air. As Steve Urbon reports for the New Bedford Standard-Times, it sounds like that happened at not one but two meetings along Southcoast on Sunday:

The New Bedford session was one of many such Huddles conducted by Women’s March organizers in recent days and weeks as an organizational follow-up to the protests, and it was attended almost exclusively by middle-age women fired up about the nation’s agenda as viewed through the lens of the march.

The Mattapoisett meeting, meanwhile, was long on retirees, several of whom had political experience. There were only about 3 young people, but many retirees, leading to concerns about how to draw young people into the political process.

The New Bedford Democratic City Committee has an active Facebook page but its website is down. The Mattapoisett Democratic Town Committee only has a static webpage but there’s no way to sign up and the listed contact email address is dead. I’m going to pick up the phone today and try to get in touch with the committee, but expecting new members to cold-call strangers is not a path to growth.

Dr. King nailed it

promoted by david

” We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive our own folly.  Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.”

REV. DR. MARTIN  LUTHER  KING, JR., 1967

Freedom and democracy.  Now and forever.

RESIST !

Fred  Rich  LaRiccia

 

Bob Massie may jump into 2018 race for Governor

From long-time BMGer Bob Massie‘s Facebook page:

So: it is true, I am considering a run for governor of Massachusetts. What do you think?

Both our democracy and our planet stand at the most dangerous moments in our history; we need to hold the line against the ravages of Trumpism and then set our course for the bold transformation in our politics and economy that the moment demands. The current governor, Charlie Baker, has dawdled on many key issues. Recently he chose not to attend or comment on the Women’s March, not go to the airport to protest the Muslim ban, and not to appear at the massive demonstration in Copley Square in defense of our constitutional rights. He cannot and will not stand up to Donald Trump, which is completely out of line with the past history and current temperament of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Trump’s cabinet and cuts are going to harm many poor, working class, and middle class people here and yet today they have no advocate in our corner office. We need to build a comprehensive movement of rebellion and renewal in this state, and a race for governor could form one part of a strong collective push for economic justice and climate sanity. Do you think we could work together to create a different future?

So far, Jay Gonzalez is in for sure, and Setti Warren seems all but declared.  Dan Wolf?  Others?

Caucus climate - 2017

promoted by david

Odd number years are generally sleepy times at a party caucus. I am an annual participant at these events in Arlington, when anyone with the audacity to show up would be rewarded with the opportunity to pay $75 to spend a pleasant summer day in some distant arena, leaving several seats unclaimed.

Until this year.

At Arlington’s caucus yesterday (Saturday, February 11), we had 98 people in attendance, lots of new faces, and a contested race for our 37 delegate seats. We broke out the paper ballots, and spent the entire moning and an hour into the afternoon awarding delegates and alternates with an opportunity to make the coveted trip to Lowell.

It should be a fun time in Lowell this year! Lots of energy, lots of passion for progressive ideals, and the chance of energizing meaningful change in the elections of 2018.

 

Beacon Hill, How About a Raise for Massachusetts Workers, Too?

Seems only fair. - promoted by david

A new legislative session in the Legislature typically kicks off with a string of votes setting the rules for the following two years.

But this year, before taking up the rules (or even finalizing offices and committee assignments), the House and Senate voted to raise the salaries and stipends for ranking legislative officers (such as Senate President Stan Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, among others), state constitutional officers (Governor Charlie Baker, AG Maura Healey, etc.), and judges.

And then the Thursday before last, both chambers easily overrode Governor Baker’s veto, with dissent coming from Republicans, a handful of conservative Democrats, and a trio of progressive Democrats (Jon Hecht of Watertown, Denise Provost of Somerville, and Mike Connolly of Cambridge).

Let’s be clear: paying public servants well is important to good governance.

If such offices are not well-compensated, then only those who are already well-off will be interested in running or serving.

And sufficient compensation can also reduce the need for legislators to have jobs on the side, a Pandora’s box of ethics conflicts.

Nonetheless, given the details and the context of the pay raise, it should be no surprise that it has rubbed many progressive voters the wrong way.