How Other Countries Think Outside the Mailbox

Public Banking Institute We need to think outside the mailbox. The USPS provided basic banking services from 1911 until the late 1960s. While banks focused on businesses and affluent customers and redlined people of color, working people often lacked bank accounts. The USPS stepped in to serve as a nondiscriminatory alternative, providing inclusionary access to savings accounts and low-cost money orders. Today, 9 million households are handicapped by not having a bank account, and bank branches are disappearing rapidly, especially in poor urban and rural areas. It is time for the Post Office to step in again and restart this critical public service.

Trump Might Try to Postpone the Election. That’s Unconstitutional.

He should be removed unless he relents.

By Steven G. Calabresi

Mr. Calabresi is a co-founder of the Federalist Society and a professor at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law.

  • July 30, 2020 (NYTimes.com)
The president on Thursday tweeted that the 2020 election would be “fraudulent” if there is universal mail-in voting.
The president on Thursday tweeted that the 2020 election would be “fraudulent” if there is universal mail-in voting.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

I have voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980, including voting for Donald Trump in 2016. I wrote op-eds and a law review article protesting what I believe was an unconstitutional investigation by Robert Mueller. I also wrote an op-ed opposing President Trump’s impeachment.

But I am frankly appalled by the president’s recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election. Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats’ assertion that President Trump is a fascist. But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.

Here is what President Trump tweeted:

With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020

The nation has faced grave challenges before, just as it does today with the spread of the coronavirus. But it has never canceled or delayed a presidential election. Not in 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln was expected to lose and the South looked as if it might defeat the North. Not in 1932 in the depths of the Great Depression. Not in 1944 during World War II.

So we certainly should not even consider canceling this fall’s election because of the president’s concern about mail-in voting, which is likely to increase because of fears about Covid-19. It is up to each of the 50 states whether to allow universal mail-in voting and Article II of the Constitution explicitly gives the states total power over the selection of presidential electors.

It is up to each of the 50 states whether to allow universal mail-in voting.
It is up to each of the 50 states whether to allow universal mail-in voting.Credit…Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Election Day was fixed by a federal law passed in 1845, and the Constitution itself in the 20th Amendment specifies that the newly elected Congress meet at noon on Jan. 3, 2021, and that the terms of the president and vice president end at noon on Jan. 20, 2021. If no newly elected president is available, the speaker of the House of Representatives becomes acting president.

President Trump needs to be told by every Republican in Congress that he cannot postpone the federal election. Doing so would be illegal, unconstitutional and without precedent in American history. Anyone who says otherwise should never be elected to Congress again.

Steven G. Calabresi is a co-founder of the Federalist Society and a professor at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law.


The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on FacebookTwitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.

Mothers on the March – at the POA on Friday, 7/31 + 2 Articles (from Adrienne Fong)

All are invited to attend:

MOTHERS ON THE MARCH and the BBNO and OTHERS

Demand the San Francisco Police Officers Association

be declared a

Non Grata Organization and Shut Down!

Friday, July 31 & Every Friday

1:00pm – 2:00pm

San Francisco Police Officers Association

800 Bryant Street

6th Street & Bryant

San Francisco

Wear masks; practice social distancing

POA, SHUT IT DOWN!

VIVA LAS MADRES!
VIVA BBNO!
TIERRA Y LIBERTAD!
HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE!

Photo by Jessica De Guadalupe Aguallo-Hurtado

Of Brown Berets National Organization

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

ARTICLES:

City leaders pledge to reject SFPOA support – July 27, 2020

Protest calls for SF police union to stand down in blocking any department reforms  – July 27, 2020

https://www.sfchronicle.com/crime/article/Protest-calls-for-SF-police-union-to-stand-down-15438008.php

TYT coordinates with Biden campaign

By Mike Zonta, OccupySF.net co-editor

July 29, 2020

TYT (The Young Turks), a progressive online news outlet has apparently given its email list to the Biden campaign. In response to my attempt to verify whether TYT is coordinating with the Biden campaign, TYT responded:

July 29, 2020

Thank you for reaching out to us about your concerns. We often collaborate with others in order to achieve our shared goals. We value diversity of thought and are acutely aware of the reality that sometimes we have to make difficult decisions to help us move forward even when our options are not ideal. It is no secret that we believe Trump is currently one of the gravest threats to America, as well as not having policies like Medicare for All, Green New Deal, and Police Reform, to name a few. As a result, we are committed to working only with those who are our best options for moving forward.

Your voice is important to our progressive movement. Naturally, we will never please 100% of our supporters 100% of the time, and that is honestly a difficult position to be in both professionally and personally. We understand if you disagree with some of our decisions or opinions. There are things we will agree on, and things we disagree on. There are times when we’ll change your mind, and times when you will change ours. We sincerely value that aspect of being progressive and hope you will continue to stick around and be part of our growing TYT community.

Thank you for caring enough to get involved, be informed, and interact with all of us so that together we can help heal the world.

Janet

CAPITAL IN THE 21ST CENTURY – OFFICIAL TRAILER

“We translate perceptions and experiences of being better off than others materially to being better than others. The mind makes that translation, it seems.”

StudiocanalUK CAPITAL IN THE 21ST CENTURY directed by Justin Pemberton and based on the best-selling and one of the most powerful books of our time, written by French economist Thomas Piketty. The documantary feature is an eye-opening journey through wealth and power that breaks the popular assumption that the accumulation of capital runs hand in hand with social progress, shining a new light on the world around us and its growing inequalities.

Killer Mike – “Reagan” (Official Music Video)

Pitchfork SUBSCRIBE to Pitchfork.tv: http://bit.ly/MgXoZp MORE Music Videos: http://bit.ly/J27abt The hyper-political R.A.P. Music track gets a hyper-political animated video. —— SUBSCRIBE to Pitchfork.tv: http://bit.ly/yK2Fbp —— Follow Pitchfork.tv on Twitter: http://bit.ly/KJ2PhP —— For more videos from Pitchfork TV: http://bit.ly/M1lvs8 Like Pitchfork on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pitchforkmedia Check out Pitchfork on Tumblr: http://pitchfork.tumblr.com/

Without Medicare for All, This Isn’t ‘the Boldest Democratic Platform in American History’

700 Democratic delegates signal they will oppose a platform that fails to renew the party’s commitment to establish a national health care system.

By John Nichols

July 29, 2020 5:45 AM (thenation.com)

n95-mask-hospital-scrubs-gty-img

N95 mask in the ER at Oakbend Medical Center in Richmond, Texas. (Mark Felix / AFP via Getty Images)

The Democratic National Committee’s platform committee approved a draft of the party’s 2020 agenda this week and committee cochair Denis McDonough promptly described it as the “boldest Democratic platform in American history.”

It’s not—unless your definition of “bold” includes a tepid health care stance that rejects the single-payer Medicare for All agenda that enjoys overwhelming support from Americans in this Covid-19 moment.

The proposed platform also pulls its punches on a host of other issues, from marijuana legalizationan end to qualified immunity for police officers, the placing of conditions on aid to Israel, a federal jobs guarantee, and a comprehensive approach to developing and implementing a Green New Deal.

Every Democratic platform is a complex document that blends ideas from the various ideological factions that make up the party, and this draft document is no different. The 2020 draft includes a number of solid stances that respond to pressure from progressives to move the party to the left. It sets some clear goals for combating climate change, reflecting the movement of presumptive nominee Joe Biden on the issue. “It also calls,” as NPR notes, “for a $15 minimum wage, mandatory paid family leave, more federal gun control, broad changes to federal sentencing guidelines and drug laws, and many other changes that most Democratic candidates for Congress and the White House have supported for years.”

But it is hard sell to claim that this is the boldest Democratic platform in American history.

The 1900 Democratic platform began by “warn[ing] the American people that imperialism abroad will lead quickly and inevitably to despotism at home.” That was bold.

The 1932 Democratic platform announced, in the midst of the Great Depression, that the party was committed to “stamping out monopolistic practices and the concentration of economic power.” That was bold.

The 1944 Democratic platform asserted, in a time of Jim Crow segregation when the party relied on the “solid South” as a part of its coalition, that “racial and religious minorities have the right to live, develop and vote equally with all citizens and share the rights that are guaranteed by our Constitution.” And it argued that “Congress should exert its full constitutional powers to protect those rights.” That was bold.

The 1960 Democratic platform declared, at a point when new technologies were transforming workplaces, that “we will provide the government leadership necessary to insure that the blessings of automation do not become burdens of widespread unemployment.” That was bold.

The 1972 Democratic platform promised “to rethink and reorder the institutions of this country” to address systemic racism and sexism and classism—and it outlined a plan to “restructure the social, political and economic relationships throughout the entire society in order to ensure the equitable distribution of wealth and power.” That was bold. So, too, was the document’s recognition that a for-profit health care system was failing the United States—and its commitment to “establish a system of universal National Health Insurance which covers all Americans with a comprehensive set of benefits including preventive medicine, mental and emotional disorders, and complete protection against catastrophic costs, and in which the rule of free choice for both provider and consumer is protected. The program should be federally-financed and federally-administered.”

From the 1940s through 1980, on health care issues, Democratic platforms took bolder stands than does the party’s 2020 draft platform. “Progressive ideas are nothing new,” notes Representative Ro Khanna, a cochair of the California delegation to this year’s convention, who argues that “there’s no reason we can’t finish enacting those policies today.”

Unfortunately, the platform committee does not propose to do so.

A Medicare for All amendment advanced by supporters of the 2020 presidential bid of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was rejected overwhelmingly on Monday, garnering just 36 “yes,” versus 125 “no,” votes from a committee dominated by Biden backers. Proposals to lower the Medicare eligibility age and expand access for children were also rejected.

The party’s refusal to support Medicare for All is wrongheaded practically, as Michael Lighty noted Monday when he urged platform committee members to join civil rights groups in supporting Medicare for All. “It’s vital that we meet this moment that demands health justice and Medicare For All to create a system to address the health inequities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic when Blacks and Latinos are dying at rates two-, two-and-a-half-times that of whites,” said the veteran single-payer activist.

The party’s refusal to support a single-payer system is also wrongheaded politically, as the campaigns of Sanders and a rising generation of Democratic members of Congress have popularized the Medicare for All agenda to such an extent that recent polling finds it is supported by 69 percent of all Americans and 88 percent of Democrats.

“The Democrats are making a fatal mistake by turning their backs on Medicare for All,” argues Winnie Wong, a former senior political adviser to the Sanders campaign, more bluntly. She labeled the committee votes “shameful” at a time “when the country is in the death grip of a global pandemic and people are dying” because they can’t afford health care.

Shameful enough to oppose the whole of the platform? A substantial number of delegates think so.

Sanders delegates from Nevada have called on convention delegates to sign a petition that concludes with a “pledge to vote against any platform that does not include a plank supporting universal, single-payer Medicare for All.” Progressive Democrats of AmericaRootsAction.org, and other groups are circulating the petition and, according to Jeff Cohen of RootsAction, it had been signed by 700 delegates as of Tuesday afternoon.

Norman Solomon, a Sanders delegate and the national director of RootsAction.org, says, “It’s a reasonable hope that historians will look back at the next couple of weeks as a time when hundreds of delegates stepped forward and said, ‘This is a red line for a humane society and we’re not going to stop saying so.’”

Now, that is bold.

John Nichols TWITTER John Nichols is The Nation’s national-affairs correspondent and the author of the new book The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party: The Enduring Legacy of Henry Wallace’s Anti-Fascist, Anti-Racist Politics (Verso). He’s also the author of Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America, from Nation Books, and co-author, with Robert W. McChesney, of People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy.

THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY’S MOST CONFOUNDING PRIMARY

Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III elbow bumps Sen. Edward J. Markey after their debate at the Western Mass News station on June 1, 2020, Springfield, MA.

DONATE22Rep. Joe Kennedy elbow bumps Sen. Edward Markey after their debate at the Western Mass News station on June 1, 2020, Springfield, Mass. Photo: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Image

$20 million has been poured into a race for a solidly blue seat between Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy in Massachusetts. Are they really that different?

Rachel M. CohenAkela Lacy
July 28 2020, 4:00 a.m. (theintercept.com)

WHEN NEWS BROKE late last summer that Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy was considering a primary challenge to Sen. Ed Markey, many political operatives reasonably asked … why? Elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, the most high-profile aspect of Kennedy’s political career had been giving the Democratic response to the State of the Union in 2018 — and, of course, being a Kennedy. Markey, meanwhile, wasn’t shrouded in any scandal and had recently introduced the Green New Deal resolution with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an instant hallmark of progressive politics.

Polling voters, though, the answer is a little more evident. Last July, before Kennedy jumped in the race, a Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll showed that 45 percent of likely voters in the state were undecided about supporting Markey for reelection and 14 percent said they had never heard of him. By September, Boston Globe/Suffolk University released another poll finding Kennedy leading Markey by 14 points in a potential Senate head-to-head, and more Massachusetts voters viewed Kennedy as the more liberal candidate and a better fighter for Democratic priorities than Markey.

Soon after Kennedy announced his candidacy in September, progressive groups were quick to jump behind Markey. Markey has earned endorsements from a host of progressive organizations, ranging from national groups like Indivisible, the Sunrise Movement, and Planned Parenthood to teachers unions, peace groups, and environmental activists on the state level.

As the September 1 primary nears, progressives, many of whom are still mourning the losses of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic presidential primary, have turned their sights to saving Markey’s seat in the Senate — grateful for his early backing of the Green New Deal, which was unpopular among Democratic leadership in Washington when it was introduced. It doesn’t matter to them that Kennedy also supports the Green New Deal, and some view his recent announcement that his family trusts have divested from oil and gas stocks as too little too late. (In December, Markey’s campaign returned more than $46,000 from donors who didn’t meet requirements of the fossil fuel pledge, which both candidates signed.)

Many also suspect that Kennedy has decided to run for Senate because he’s calculated that it might be easier to unseat a 74-year-old incumbent now than it would be to beat Rep. Ayanna Pressley or Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in an open primary six years down the road. Indeed, Kennedy’s stated rationale for entering the primary is a little fuzzy. Both candidates admit that when it comes down to brass tacks, they are in line on major issues. Kennedy’s case boils down to the idea that he thinks he could “leverage” the Massachusetts Senate seat better than Markey has. Senators have immense power beyond just voting on bills, Kennedy’s argument goes, and Markey hasn’t used his position effectively enough to serve the Democratic Party and the country.

The result is a Senate primary race that can best be described as pretty weird. On the one hand, there’s an incumbent who has served more than 40 years in Congress running as some kind of grassroots underdog. On the other hand, a literal Kennedy is claiming to be bullied by the political establishment and invoking language used by progressive insurgents who’ve sought new leadership to shake up the status quo.

There hasn’t been polling in the race since early May, when a UMass-Lowell poll showed the race had significantly tightened with Kennedy up by just 2 points. That, Markey’s campaign manager John Walsh argued, is because the progressive base has consolidated behind the senator. But another poll, conducted around the same time by Emerson College/7News, showed Markey trailing Kennedy by 16 points.

PROGRESSIVE ENTHUSIASM FOR Markey from both the activist community and left-wing media has at times led the left to go fairly easy on the senator for votes they’ve criticized other Democrats for. Over the years, like Joe Biden, Markey voted for the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, and the 1994 crime bill, and he opposed busing for desegregation in the 1970s.Over the years, like Joe Biden, Markey voted for the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, and the 1994 crime bill, and he opposed busing for desegregation in the 1970s.

When asked if he has any comments about these past votes, Markey told The Intercept that Black and brown men in the United States were “owe[d] a national apology” for the over-incarceration wrought by the 1994 crime bill, and said that’s why he’s co-sponsoring Sen. Cory Booker’s Next Step Act to overhaul the criminal justice system. Markey offered similar remarks when he announced his 2018 co-sponsorship of the First Step Act, a precursor to Booker’s bill: “The First Step Act is just the beginning of the national apology we owe to the generation of African-American men and women who lost their lives and futures in prison due to a few dollars of crack cocaine and an unjust War on Drugs.”

On Iraq, Markey says he “deeply regret[s] that vote” and blamed President George W. Bush for lying to Congress and the American people about nuclear weapons in the country. “I’ve worked every day to ensure we don’t have another needless war in the Middle East,” he said, though he voted “present” in 2013 on military intervention in Syria, saying at the time that he needed to study the issue further.

“Senator Markey has been on the cutting edge of progressivism in the Democratic Party for his entire career,” Evan Weber, political director of the Sunrise Movement, said in a statement to The Intercept, citing the senator’s early support for net neutrality and opposition to nuclear weapons. “Has every vote he’s ever taken over his long political career been perfect? No. But he’s often the person in his party forcing others to take hard or uncomfortable votes before positions become politically popular, creating the space and momentum for change.”

Though Markey has positioned himself as a stalwart leader of the progressive movement, and touted the significance of receiving progressive endorsements in his primary, the senator lacks a record of backing progressive primary challengers, something Warren and Sanders have embraced over the last few years. Unlike Warren and Sanders, for example, Markey stayed out of Charles Booker’s competitive Senate bid in Kentucky this year, and in his home state, he’s standing behind Rep. Richard Neal, despite Neal facing a much more progressive challenger in Alex Morse. Markey also didn’t endorse Pressley in 2018, though his supporters say it matters that he didn’t endorse Mike Capuano, the incumbent, either.

Back in November, a reporter pressed Markey about why he wasn’t supporting Morse, given that he supports the Green New Deal, and Neal doesn’t. “Ultimately he supports taking bold action on climate change and changing the tax code that makes [a Green New Deal] possible,” said Markey, defending his colleague. Markey and Neal both endorsed each other before Kennedy and Morse were running. “I like both candidates,” he added, referring to Booker and Morse. “On big votes Congressman Neal has been with me, but we have our differences.”

Kennedy hasn’t endorsed in the Morse/Neal contest either and told The Intercept that he plans to focus on his own race. Kennedy has also been criticized by progressive groups for endorsing the more moderate candidates in Massachusetts races in which progressive challengers were running.

“One thing we’ve pointed out is that in 2018, he had the choice to support progressive women of color — Ayanna Pressley and Nika Elugardo — but he didn’t,” said Jonathan Cohn, a leader with Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide advocacy group that has endorsed Markey. In those races, Kennedy endorsed incumbents Capuano and Jeffrey Sanchez, who both lost. (This cycle Elugardo has endorsed Markey, and Pressley is staying out of the race.)

EARLIER THIS WINTER, a Democratic activist in Massachusetts approached Kennedy after a campaign town hall and pressed him on why he was running. “With due respect to Senator Markey, who is a good man, there’s more to this job than the way you vote and the bills that you file,” Kennedy answered, as reported by Boston Magazine. “It comes with an ability to leverage that platform … and, with due respect to the senator, if you’re not going to leverage that now … then when?”

But has Kennedy “leveraged” his House seat to the best of his ability?“When I critique Senator Markey … I’m not saying in persona, experience, history, or policy that I would be the next AOC or Ayanna Pressley.”

“I think I have,” he told The Intercept, though acknowledged that he’s “done it differently obviously” than star representatives like Pressley and Ocasio-Cortez. He credits those women for using their platforms to cast a spotlight on issues of importance. “I’ve tried to do that in a way that is most natural to me,” he said, and pointed to his fundraising trips throughout 2018 to help Democrats flip the House. Kennedy said this work helped flip the House in 2018 and in a recent debate, he brought up his fundraising for Covid-19 relief groups and legal defense for immigrant families.

“Let me be clear,” he added. “When I critique Senator Markey … I’m not saying in persona, experience, history, or policy that I would be the next AOC or Ayanna Pressley. Like that’s not who I am, that’s not the policy positions that I necessarily take.”

“The reason Joe can go around [fundraising] is because he’s Bobby Kennedy’s grandson,” said Walsh, Markey’s campaign manager. “It’s not because he’s ever led on a single issue since he’s been in Congress.” Kennedy countered that he’s proud of his leadership in areas around mental health and LGBTQ issues, and noted he spoke to Black Lives Matter and transgender rights in his 2018 response to the State of the Union.

Kennedy’s campaign said its polling shows Markey leading with more white, affluent voters, while Kennedy is doing better with middle-class and working-class white people, as well as Black and Latino communities. “We are proud of the broad and incredibly diverse base of support Joe has earned from communities of color to working-class cities and towns,” Kennedy’s press secretary, Brian Phillips Jr. told The Intercept. White, affluent voters tend to be more reliable Massachusetts primary voters, and so the Kennedy campaign is hoping for high turnout overall. “If you look to more moderate and conservative Democrats, they’re with Joe,” said Walsh.

Kennedy, who recognizes that he comes to this race with wealth and a dynastic political history, still feels like he hasn’t really been given a fair shake by the left. Progressive media has gone after Kennedy for working for Michael O’Keefe, a conservative, tough-on-crime district attorney on Cape Cod. “Why did Joe Kennedy … choose in 2009 to help cage his indigent neighbors under the leadership of O’Keefe?” asked The Appeal’s Will Isenberg. The Nation’s Maia Hibbett said Kennedy would have been “collecting quality-of-life fines, securing low-level drug convictions, and evicting families from their homes” during his time as a prosecutor.“The progressive world has consolidated around him to make him the progressive in the race and tried to make me a mealy-mouth moderate who is running on ambition and my name.”

Kennedy told The Intercept that he did not handle eviction cases, as those are civil suits, and that his time was spent primarily on DUIs, assault and battery charges, domestic violence, and opioid and mental illness drug cases. “The idea that your liberal ideology has to be in accordance with your boss is an absurd position to take, because yeah I disagree with him, but my job wasn’t setting policy, it was implementing the laws that were actually uniform across the state,” he said. According to Kennedy, his nickname at the office was “innocence project” because of his commitment to criminal defense.

In May, Kennedy introduced a bill to establish a right to counsel for eviction, medical bankruptcy, and domestic violence cases — a decadeslong goal from the legal aid community. Yet he earned minimal progressive plaudits, perhaps because earlier that month he was ripped online for a tweet that said no patient should “be forced to fight off medical bankruptcy in the midst of a global health pandemic without a lawyer by their side.” (The next day he clarified, “Let me be clear here: We need Medicare for all. We need an end to medical bankruptcy. … But until we get there, we need assurance that every patient will have access to legal counsel and aid if they are forced to fight their insurer in court.”) Kennedy has also been blasted by progressives for not co-sponsoring former Rep. John Conyers’s original Medicare for All bill in the House, but he said he was “proud” to co-sponsor Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s version, which builds upon earlier proposals from Sanders and Conyers, after working with her to ensure that it would cover abortions and long-term care.

“Senator Markey has over the course of the past several months gone much further left than he ever has,” Kennedy told The Intercept. “The progressive world has consolidated around him to make him the progressive in the race and tried to make me a mealy-mouth moderate who is running on ambition and my name, which has been frustrating to say the least.” Kennedy said he wants more of an honest conversation about vote histories. “I looked at my record and what I’ve done and I’m just trying to say, ‘Hey, you want to have a debate about who is more progressive? Fine. I think the honest answer is there’s areas where Senator Markey has led, and there are areas I’ve led.’”

LAST WEEK, Kennedy’s campaign held a press conference with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who slammed Markey for his immigration record, pointing to a 2013 vote in which the senator broke with his caucus and the president to increase Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention bed quota. Kennedy later voted for an omnibus spending bill that included the quota, along with all but three other House Democrats.“It’s not your age, it’s the age of your ideas that are important. And in terms of the age of my ideas, I’m the youngest person in this race.”

Markey certainly rejects the idea that he hasn’t led in the Senate and ticked off a number of his biggest accomplishments, from increasing fuel efficiency standards to creating the largest federal program for low-income students to access internet at home. He feels his advocacy on issues like the climate crisis, net neutrality, and Medicare for All position him well to win his next election. “It’s not your age, it’s the age of your ideas that are important,” Markey said. “And in terms of the age of my ideas, I’m the youngest person in this race.”

Markey isn’t alone on shifting leftward over the course of this election cycle. Kennedy, whose grandfather was killed by a man who’s been up for parole many times in recent years, now supports eliminating life sentences without parole, although he said he wants to balance sentencing reform with the wishes of victims and their families. That’s a change from earlier this year, when he wrote in a February candidate questionnaire that he supported eliminating life sentences without parole for juveniles and nonviolent cases, and “heavily restricting,” but not eliminating, qualified immunity.

“I think my position on that has actually evolved since we even did that questionnaire,” Kennedy said. “I’ve thought about that one a lot. … I am comfortable now with the idea that people should be eligible for parole. … I also want to make sure victims’ voices and survivors’ voices are heard.”

At the end of the day, the Markey and Kennedy campaigns will have poured close to $20 million into a race that won’t help Senate Democrats add any seats in the chamber or markedly change the winner’s policy blueprint for the next congressional session. Kennedy has raised more than $7.8 million so far, and Markey — who out-raised Kennedy for the first time last quarter, according to his campaign — has raised more than $10.4 million to date. Both men cast their most recent fundraising hauls as evidence that their campaigns are surging.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Rachel M. Cohen rachel.cohen@​theintercept.com @rmc031

Akela Lacy akela.lacy@​theintercept.com @akela_lacy

Federal officers to pull out of Portland in a major reversal for Trump administration

Oregon’s governor says local police will guard the courthouse as the president says the pullout will not begin until the city is secure

Federal agents attempt to clear protesters gathering at the courthouse in Portland, Oregon.

Federal agents attempt to clear protesters gathering at the courthouse in Portland, Oregon. Photograph: Amy Harris/Rex/Shutterstock

Chris McGreal in Portland, Oregon Wednesday 29 Jul 2020 19.28 EDT (theguardian.com)

The Trump administration is to pull federal paramilitaries out of Portland starting on Thursday in a major reversal after weeks of escalating protests and violence.

Oregon’s governor, Kate Brown, said she agreed to the pullout in talks with Vice-President Mike Pence.

Brown said state and city police officers will replace Department of Homeland Security agents in guarding the federal courthouse that has become the flashpoint for the protests.

“These federal officers have acted as an occupying force, refused accountability, and brought violence and strife to our community,” the governor said. The head of the US homeland security department said agents would stay near the courthouse until they were sure the plan was working.

Donald Trump said the pullout will not begin until the courthouse is protected.

“We’re not leaving until they secure their city. We told the governor, we told the mayor: secure your city,” said the president.Advertisement

But the announcement is a significant retreat by the administration after Trump sent federal forces to Portland at the beginning of July to end months of Black Lives Matter protests he described as having dragged the city into anarchy.

Instead of quelling the unrest, the arrival of paramilitaries fuelled some of the biggest demonstrations since daily protests following the killing of George Floyd, a Black American, by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May.

The situation escalated particularly after agents in camouflage were filmed snatching protesters from the streets in unmarked vans.

Far from imposing order, the federal force, drawn from the border patrol, immigration service and US Marshals, was largely trapped inside the federal courthouse they were ostensibly there to protect, emerging each night to fire waves of teargas, baton rounds and stun grenades in street battles with the protesters. But the demonstrators retained ultimate control of the streets.

Anger at the presence of the paramilitaries brought thousands of people out each night and acted as a lightning rod for broader discontent with Trump, including over his chaotic and divisive handling of the coronavirus epidemic which has killed nearly 150,000 Americans and shows no signs of abating.

Najee Gow, an organiser for Black Lives Matter, gathers with other protesters at the courthouse.

Najee Gow, an organiser for Black Lives Matter, gathers with other protesters at the courthouse. Photograph: Amy Harris/Rex/Shutterstock

Although the protesters will claim victory in achieving the demand of their nightly chant, “Feds go home”, the demonstrations are likely to continue with the focus shifting back toward the Portland city police with which there had been running battles before the arrival of the federal agents.

It is not immediately clear what impact the pullout will have on Trump’s threat to send federal forces to other cities, ostensibly to quell violent crimes.

The mayors of Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and 11 other cities accused the president of deploying federal law enforcement officers “for political purposes” amid suspicions that Trump is more interested in creating conflict than ending it in the run-up to the election.

In a letter to the White House, the mayors said they were disturbed at the actions of federal agents in Portland, calling their failure to wear proper identification and the snatching of protesters off the streets “chilling”.

“These are tactics we expect from an authoritarian regime – not our democracy,” the letter said.

Although the arrival of the federal forces reinvigorated the protests for racial justice in Portland, the nightly battles also distracted from them. Tensions have been building between the demonstrators focused on storming the courthouse and those leading more peaceful protests for reform after Floyd’s killing.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Portland warned that the Black Lives Matter movement was being co-opted by “privileged white people” pursuing other agendas, such as anti-capitalism. It said they were playing into Trump’s hands by provoking nightly confrontations with the federal forces.

On Tuesday night, Najee Gow, an African American organiser for Black Lives Matter, waded into the group of a few dozen young white people taunting the federal agents. He accused them of racism for being more invested in fighting at the courthouse than pushing for racial justice.

“What are you doing? This is the racist shit we’re talking about. You don’t push a black agenda and do this,” he shouted at the white protesters who pulled back, but later returned.

“They want to destroy property. They are tarnishing the Black Lives movement and they are making a mockery out of Portland on the fucking world stage,” a furious Gow told the Guardian.

The Heart of Darkness in Portland

JULY 27, 2020 (counterpunch.org)

by MIKE HASTIE

Photo: Mike Hastie.

Soon it will be 60 straight nights of demonstrations and ear-shattering protests in Portland, Oregon. There is a continuous drum corps that is beating hypnotic rhythms that gives thousands of Portlanders a reason to be alive.

The energy is electrifying, as people take turns chanting their built-up frustrations of what they see as utter failure in the U.S. Government. They  are extremely angry at President Trump for sending in Federal police to make matters much worse. It is tear gas, pepper spray, flash-bang grenades, rubber bullets and cops hitting protesters with their batons.

The chant:  “All Cops Are Bastards,” is becoming much louder since the Feds started kidnapping protesters off the street in unmarked vans, with police not identifying  themselves. It has been swift and terrifying for those who have been arrested in this black ops fascist mentality. It is against the law, as people are being stolen without probable cause, which is a nice way of saying it is a crime being committed by people who took an oath not to do these kinds of things. But, then again, when I was in Viet Nam, the U.S. Government had absolutely no rules in warfare. Geneva Convention Rules were for fools. In a  way, this is the tragedy of what is happening in Portland and all over the country. What is happening domestically in this country, especially involving police who have been militarized, is we are seeing the accumulation of terror that the United States Government commits all over the world. Since the end of World War II, the United States Government has bombed 30 countries. The reason most people don’t believe what I just wrote, is because whenever the truth threatens one’s core belief system, there is an urgent need to deny its reality.

People in Portland, Oregon have seen the truth, especially since this Heart of Darkness has been non-stop for almost 60 nights. How much longer is the United States Government going to live with the illusion that we are a country built on law and order? If I started talking about U.S. atrocities that were committed in Viet Nam, this current Heart of Darkness would get overwhelmingly much darker. If the American people knew what their country does in a time of manufactured war, they wouldn’t be able to go to work the next day.

So, how did I go from just writing this last sentence, to what is currently happening in Portland, Oregon? Everything is interconnected–everything! The big question that so many people are asking at these nightly demonstrations, based on the absolute turmoil that is going on in this country right now, can the U.S. Empire be stopped with a peace sign?

Our government is destroying this country, and I am tired of seeing so many veterans in this nation committing suicide. I had two veteran friends hang themselves, because of hopelessness, and others who died from Agent Orange.

It overruns my soul when I read about the U.S. Government killing innocent people in so many countries in the world.

I get the profound feeling that American corporations can’t make a killing off of peace.

Our Government belongs in a straitjacket!

The Pentagon is evil!

The United States represents 4% of the world’s population, yet we have the most powerful military force the world has ever seen. WHY!

This Heart of Darkness is destroying us!

Our government is overrun with cowards!

America– get out of your goddamn coma!

COVID-19 is not the only pandemic in America!

Mike Hastie confronts troops in Portland, Oregon

Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: MIKE HASTIE

Mike Hastie served as an Army Medic in Vietnam.