The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Tag: AOC

The Betrayal At The Heart of Sanders, AOC and Corbyn’s Refusal To Use Power

You’ve probably heard of Manchin. Conservative Democratic Senator. With a 50/50 Senate and few Republican Senators willing to cross the aisle, Manchin has been having a field day: he’s been determining much of what can be done by Democrats, since without him they can’t get votes thru the Senate.

Manchin’s mostly using this for evil, but recently he decided to oppose Biden’s budget chief pick, Neera Tanden. Neera’s a famous twitter warrior, who was viciously anti-Bernie, but she also famously shut down Think Progress, a media site she ran, because the workers unionized. She punched a journalist in the chest, and outed a sexual assault survivor.

Now Machin isn’t opposing Tanden because of stuff like the union, but he is opposing her and there’s a good chance she won’t get in. What he’s really doing, though, is trying to stop Hillary Clinton’s primary proxy from being in the Biden administration, because that’s what she is.

Bernie, who chairs the committee she has to get by, has not opposed her even though she’s been his savage enemy, and he is opposed ideologically to her.

Manchin is using his power, and Sanders is not.

Let’s think back to when Nancy Pelosi was running for Speaker. It was a close run affair and AOC and the squad had the votes to stop her. Yes, the person who got in would have been very slightly worse, but the difference is marginal and Pelosi is almost done in politics anyway, given her age. The Squad voted for Pelosi and got nothing for it: they tried to claim that the organizing resolution not including Covid and the environment as requiring budget neutrality was their win, but that doesn’t pass the laugh test, because those are Biden’s priorities. Pelosi’s always been very willing to work with the priorities of Presidents: Democratic or Republican.

They had power, didn’t use it, got nothing. AOC didn’t even get the committee assignment she wanted. It wasn’t Pelosi who made sure she didn’t get it, but she didn’t lift a hand to help AOC either.

Let’s consider a third situation: the first Covid stimulus bill. Progressives could have stopped it. They didn’t. But that bill had the key bailouts for the rich. Once they were done, Progressives had no leverage. Future Covid relief bills, centrists and right wingers didn’t care: it wasn’t important to them if ordinary people got relief, so they’d just hold firm for really crazy stuff.

Sanders and AOC had a chance to hold what the rich needed in order to get something for the poor. They didn’t.

This is a pattern, and a nearly constant one. It is related to Sanders being unwilling to call out Biden on his record because “Biden was his friend.” (Gagging sounds. Their friendship isn’t worth millions of Americans in poverty because a Biden admin won’t help them.)

But what I want to examine now is the use of power.

Here’s a rule: power everyone knows you won’t use, you don’t have.

Left-wingers are not credible because they never use their power. We saw this with Corbyn in Britain when  he repeatedly refused to throw out MPs who challenged him or allow MPs to be re-selected (primaried, in effect.) There was nothing they couldn’t do to his cause or him that would get him to retaliate.

If AOC had taken down Pelosi people would remember. Pelosi did not and does not want her last political memory and piece of  history being defeated for the role of Speaker. AOC and the Squad had the ability to take something away from Pelosi that REALLY mattered to her, and everyone would have noticed that they did so and would take their threats seriously in the future. Including the guy who won the Speakership, who, if they controlled the margin next time would know they’d take HIM down if they didn’t get something important to them.

When Boris Johnson became Prime Minister of Britain some Conservative MPs voted against his most important project: Brexit. He immediately threw them out of the party, and went on to resoundingly win the election.

Voters don’t like wimps who won’t use their power and they are correct in this: if you won’t fight, it doesn’t matter what you believe. Corbyn was the man who could take any punch, but would never throw one, no matter what his opponents did.

Using power tells both your enemies and your friends that you are serious, and that your demands must be met or you will make them pay.

Progressives (not necessarily AOC/Sanders/Corbyn, but those who justify their behavior) are like bullying victims who have forgotten that you end bullying only by hurting the bully (win or lose) not by giving in to them. Progressives who support them are often similar, they’re scared “but if we oppose Tanden won’t Biden retaliate?”

Let the fucker retaliate (though he probably wouldn’t much care, she’s Hillary’s servant, not his.) It’s a 50/50 Senate, and Bernie is a powerful committee chairman. He can make Biden’s life Hell AND, more to the point, Biden already isn’t doing most of what Bernie wants despite Bernie being super nice to him. Being nice doesn’t work. Threatening Biden’s legacy might. Sanders can have exactly the power Manchin wields, and more, the second he wants it: the second he decides that making them remember that if the poor people he represents don’t get something, neither do the rich.

A compromise is where you get something and so do I. What progressives do far too often is capitulate: they get nothing.

Use your power, or you don’t have it.

I’m going to return to this and the reasons, which go beyond a misunderstanding of how to use power or cowardice (Corbyn is not in any way a coward) , because it’s important. I like Bernie and AOC, and I admire Corbyn, but their refusal to use power is a betrayal, and I use that word deliberately, of the people they represent and who trust them.

All the content here is free, but subscriptions and donations do help, a lot.

Sanders Anoints AOC His Heir

There was a lot of furor over AOC speaking at the DNC. First, that she had only a minute, then that she didn’t “endorse” Biden.

Both of these things come down to a simple fact: She was invited by Bernie to nominate him. As such, it wasn’t appropriate for her to talk about Biden. That she had only a minute is because that’s how long the nominations are.

AOC wouldn’t have been invited to speak at the DNC, really, if it was up to the people running the convention, Biden’s people, she wouldn’t have spoken at all.

She was there because Bernie chose her.

AOC is Bernie’s successor: She is going to be the leader of his movement when he no longer is, and this was his last Presidential campaign. She’s the progressive leader now.

It could have been Elizabeth Warren, but she called Bernie a liar and a sexist and waffled on key progressive priorities. AOC, on the other hand, when Sanders needed help most, right after his heart attack, came out, endorsed, and campaigned for him and made a huge difference.

Warren, in her short-sightedness, torpedoed herself in an attempt to win it all now, and then later to maintain viability with centrists. In exchange, she got a DNC speech, and in exchange she gave up her post as heir-presumptive to the progressive bloc. She will never be President.

I don’t know if AOC is a better choice, but she is genuinely charismatic in a way Warren and Sanders aren’t. It will be interesting to see if she can can do more with the movement than Sanders did.

Let us hope so.

Everything I write here is free, but rent isn’t, so if you value my writing, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

AOC, Ilhan Omar, and Tlaib Endorse Sanders


I find it interesting that many centrists are angered and surprised. They thought these three, arguably the most progressive members of the House caucus, would endorse Warren.

Certainly, by recent standards Warren is progressive and left-leaning, but she’s weak sauce compared to Sanders.

But centrists thought because she was a woman, AOC, Tlaib, and Omar would endorse her.

I’m glad to see this shift away from identity as primary. Of course, Sanders is Jewish, though no one seems to care, but they don’t care in large part because he doesn’t make a deal out of it at all. Sanders is for everyone. Some people need more help, and he wants to give it them.

And that’s what true left-wingers want. Identity can’t, and shouldn’t be ignored, because the world doesn’t ignore it, but almost everyone needs help at some point, and everyone should have a good life, and it’s good politics to talk to everyone.

Despite all the talking points about Bernie Bros, Sanders support has always actually been more female than male, and more ethnic than white. This shouldn’t be a surprise, because economic populism, combined with specific policies to help non-white males, will help them a ton.

A final note: If Warren wins the nomination, I’ll endorse her, and happily, even though I prefer Sanders. But, I do remember that she didn’t endorse Sanders in 2016 when her endorsement might have mattered in Massachusetts. These three young politicians have shown an integrity and bravery she didn’t. I’ve seen quite a few threats about how AOC (in particular) will pay a price. I’m sure Warren understood that in 2016, and thus decided to lay low.

Real allies don’t do that, and it’s one thing which has made me uneasy about Warren ever since.

AOC, Tlaib, and Omar, on the other hand, continue to earn trust. They say what they mean, and they stand up.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

The Sanders-AOC Bill to Cap Interest Rates At 15% Is Too High

Sanders-021507-18335- 0004

All right, let’s get this out of the way: It’s better than the status quo.

But most credit card interest rates are about 20 percent or so, so this is about a five percent decrease.

Twenty percent is already insane. Given that banks have access to money, right now, at a little over 2.5 percent or so and have had it at less than one percent for most of the last ten years, it’s crazy low and would still leave them with a profit of 12.5 percent or so (minus administrative expenses).

That’s way more profit than anyone should earn for just lending money. Heck, it’s way more profit than almost anyone should earn for anything. Healthy economies have profit rates at no more than 5 percent or so, with profits for lending money less than those for actually doing things, a lot less.

So the interest rate cap for credit cards should be linked to the cost of the bank’s borrowing. Feeling generous to banks? Put it at four percent more than the Fed Funds rate. Remember that credit cards also charge merchant fees, which is how they make money off people who always pay their bills in free.

And any legislative act must count fees as part of the interest. Fees + interest charges are the actual interest rate of a card.

Lending money is the best business in the world to be in. Banks and other lenders, as the MMT people like to point out, don’t actually borrow money then lend it out, they create it out of thin air.

Any fool who can’t make a profit with the ability to create money out of thin air and lend it at four percent more than Fed Funds, shouldn’t be in the business–especially when they’re getting a fee for every purchase on the card.

When it’s easier to make money by lending than by doing, as well (which it is now, and has been for about 40 years) you don’t get as much actual new work, companies and innovation, because it’s safer and easier to just lend.

So being generous to banks and shadow banks is a recipe for economic stagnation. It also tends to push money towards the rich, because they are, after all, the people who can lend money (and borrow it cheap).

So, good first step on the part of AOC and Sanders, and it may be all they think it is possible to pass (much like the $15 minimum wage is inadequate and should have automatic yearly increases, but is still a good start), but it’s not enough. Not even close to enough.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén