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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 112,086

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Gary Pearce' Talking About Politics: Jeff Jackson is best political communicator in NC


Congressman Jeff Jackson is the best political communicator in North Carolina.

His social media posts yesterday on the banking situation are a master class in explaining volatile, complex issues in simple, plain-spoken terms.

Last night, I saw that his video had been viewed over one million times. I’m a print guy, so I read his email. I learned more from his 670-some words than from thousands of words in news reports.

And he added some nice color about Sunday night’s emergency Zoom call with several hundred members of Congress:

“It was literally on regular Zoom. I was emailed a link. I clicked it, and suddenly I was in a very normal-looking Zoom room, only this one had most of Congress in there. (It wasn’t even presentation mode – just a wide-open Zoom room where people had to be reminded to mute themselves when they weren’t speaking. It was wild.)”

His key points:

“After recapping the situation, the Treasury Department informed us that all the depositors at the Silicon Valley Bank will be made whole. Same with the bank in New York.
“We were told that we’re going to pay for that with a fund that banks already pay into – not taxpayer money.
“We were also told that only the depositors were being made whole – shareholders and bondholders in the two failed banks will be wiped out’.”

Rep. Jeff Jackson updates constituents on next phase expectations in Ukraine. Good read.

As a new member of the Armed Services Committee, I’ve spent the last few weeks learning as much as I can about the war in Ukraine.

I’ve spoken with generals, Pentagon officials, and some folks close to the ground.

Now that I’m reasonably well-informed, it’s time to report back on what’s about to happen in Ukraine.

(And yes, everything I’m about to tell you is unclassified).

Both Ukraine and Russia are about to launch major spring offensives.

Russia has already begun theirs to some extent - it’s been focused on the city of Bakhmut, which is now surrounded on three sides by Russia’s mercenary army, the Wagner group. Bakhmut has been under siege for months and, whether or not Russia succeeds in taking it, the price it has paid has been severe.

Ukraine’s spring offensive is waiting for thousands of its troops to finish getting the upgraded equipment and training which they’re receiving at NATO bases across Europe as we speak.

Most people I’ve spoken to believe this will be the decisive phase of the war. Both sides are going to try to deliver a knock-out punch over the next 6-8 months.

Neither side starts in a dominant position. Russia will have the advantage of more troops, but Ukraine will have basically every other advantage: Training, equipment, morale, allies.

Most importantly, Russia still does not have air superiority. Their planes can’t fly over Ukrainian forces because they’ll be shot down - not by the Ukrainian Air Force, but by its air defense artillery which has played a crucial role in allowing Ukrainian forces to have freedom of movement on the ground.

This device is how Ukraine keeps Russia’s Air Force stuck in Russia.This device is how Ukraine keeps Russia’s Air Force stuck in Russia.

That’s why air defense artillery is still the number one piece of equipment Ukraine is asking for, followed by regular artillery and then armored vehicles.

According to Ukraine, after those priorities, it’s fighter jets. They’ve requested F-16s but the concern is that the quickest we could get the planes, spare parts, maintenance teams, and trained pilots in place would probably be next year and placing that order would drain billions that need to be used for more immediate priorities, forcing a trade-off that would hurt the spring offensive.

Ukraine’s best offensive hope right now is the influx of new tanks and armored vehicles from the allies. Namely, Leopards, Challengers, Abrams, Bradleys, and Strykers.

BUT - using these vehicles to their full potential means learning a completely new way to fight. It takes a much higher level of coordination to synchronize the use of artillery, armor, and ground forces.

It’s called combined arms warfare and it’s the crux of how Western forces fight. It requires a completely different level of communication among your troops and commanders, and a lot of software goes with it.

Ukrainians are getting a crash course in that training right now and then they’re going to have to turn around and put it to use in combat immediately.

That’s not an ideal timeline, but, they’ll be going up against Russian civilians that just got drafted and thrown into the war against their will with very little training and older equipment.

Russian civilians that just got drafted and thrown into the war against their will with very little training and older equipment.Not looking thrilled to be there.

Russia’s shortages are significant. It’s taking tanks out of reserve storage from the Cold War. They’re so short on tank commanders that there are reports of medics operating tanks.

Russia is also running low on artillery shells and is turning to China for more. We have intelligence that indicates China is considering supplying Russia. If they do, it will be a huge international problem for China - which China very well knows, which is why it hasn’t happened yet.

Russia is also using its own prisoners as cannon fodder by sending them to the front and treating them as intentional targets by letting them be fired upon by Ukrainians in order to reveal the Ukrainian firing positions, then counter-attacking those positions with artillery.

(Those of you familiar with Russian history will see echoes of its past in this kind of approach to warfare. A move like that is straight out of Russia’s long history of treating its soldiers as maximally expendable cogs in their rumbling war machine. What strikes us as horrifying is, for them, simply revisiting some of their classic techniques.)

It has also become clear that Russia has kidnapped thousands of Ukrainian children and is paying Russian families to adopt them and even change their names so they can’t be found after the war is over. This came up several times in our last committee hearing, as did the fact that this is the latest entry in the long list of Russian war crimes so far.

Many of my constituents have asked how much we’ve spent helping Ukraine. It’s about $113 billion, which is about 2% of everything the federal government spends in a year. However, that’s not all in the form of a cash payment to Ukraine. A big piece is us putting a price tag on the military equipment we’re sending them and crediting that against the amount we’ve said we would spend.

A major focus of our first hearing was on oversight for the assistance we’re giving them. We had the Inspector General for the Department of Defense come in and answer questions - some quite hostile - about any evidence of equipment or funds being diverted. As it turns out, there’s a lot of oversight built into the system. We’ve given them handheld scanners to help us see where equipment is, we’ve had members of Congress personally visit to see the stockpiles, and - frankly - Ukraine has an enormous incentive to maintain a strong relationship of trust with us, particularly when it comes to how they’re using what we’re sending. For his part, the Inspector General told us that there is no evidence that weapons are being diverted.

One big question that many are asking: How does this end?

The most succinct answer I’ve heard is from a senior official at the State Department, who said this in a hearing:

“We want to put [Ukraine] in the best possible position so that whether this war ends on the battlefield, whether it ends with the diplomacy or some combination, that they are sitting on a map that is far more advantageous for their long-term future and that Putin feels the strategic failure.”

That sounds about right to me.

That’s the latest. I’ll keep you posted.

Rep. Jeff Jackson

New RW media lie is spreading. Biden IRS going after waitress' tips.


Biden's IRS plans to crack down on waiters' tips
'They're coming after waitresses' tips now,' tax expert Mike Palicz says

Those 87,000 new IRS agents that you were promised would only target the rich," tweeted Mike Palicz, federal affairs manager at Americans for Tax Reform. "They're coming after waitresses' tips now."

When you rebut this propaganda at other sites it’s good to know that the ‘expert’ quoted is Mike Palicz - one of Grover Norquist’s ATR goons.

If you search the story you can see it spreading quickly on all the RW news sites, Reddit forums, and wherever tipped employees of all services congregate.
If you’re an activist DUer you know this type of propaganda needs quick countering before it takes hold.

Dept. of Who Knew? Neil Young recording in 1978 with DEVO.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a must read, especially today.


Today there was only enough room to deal with two major issues: the police killings of two men that have caused anguished protests—and a series of Ron DeSantis decisions that need to cause anguished protest.

I tried to do a deep dive into the police shootings so I could do more than express anger and frustration. I wanted to look at the causes.

DeSantis is like a grenade thrown in the middle of American culture, shredding our beliefs and values, all for his personal ambition. Where Trump was a bumbling idiot, DeSantis charges forth with robotic disregard for the Constitution and human compassion. Every choice he makes reduces health, safety, and individual freedom. He is Voldemort with a fancy haircut.

BTW, who knew he was a fan of Janis Ian?

In reference to McGonigal and question: Why now?

Joohn Choe:

["Thanks _____, I read the Snyder thread yesterday. What is coming out on McGonigal and Deripaska is what we were relatively certain was there, (even though his role with Deripaska was not known specifically to us) and the fact that it is coming out now is what I was hoping for when I wrote about the need for a counterintelligence investigation of the Freedom Caucus and MAGA leadership after the election.

Its happening because a faction of the national security establishment is terrified of these types being on these Committees and having top security clearance, and their stated intent to blind US intelligence. So they are blowing it up now, escalating. Plus these guys are threatening to cut off the aid to Ukraine, openly repeating Kremlin talking points about Ukraine's government, calling for "peace" by pushing partition. So, the combo of the McGonigal scandal, and the NY Times thing on Durham/Trump is all being brought out now. It's funny how everyone is describing these revelations as "suspicious." It's intelligence warfare and the things coming out now have been sitting in the icebox all along waiting for the right moment to be taken out. Where there's ice, there was water."]

I might add that the media has not helped with their crappy coverage. They have misrepresented the removal of Schiff from the House Intelligence Committee as GOP revenge demanded by Trump loyalists for the Impeachments in which he played a lead role. The big picture which is not addressed is that Schiff got his start as a Federal prosecutor who investigated the Russian Mafia, money laundering and is as knowledgeable about Putin's intelligence warfare operations as anyone alive. His removal is part of the Russian operation to blind and misdirect US intelligence on their behalf, to further their full array of asymmetric warfare. It's not a petty "revenge tour" performance to make Trump happy. It's designed to protect Trump and the GOP MAGA leadership who participated in January 6th, and further Putin's geo-strategic goals.

Aside from the obvious, why remove Schiff and try to defund the FBI, and why put Trump's eyes and ears, MTG on the Homeland Security Committee? Because they are planning new and more dangerous January 6 type events, in DC and elsewhere. Historically, white supremacists infiltrate law enforcement for the explicit purpose of getting early warning and sounding alarms if the Feds or others are headed their way. They are continuing an old tactic with their Committee appointments, in this case picking white supremacists who also happen to be on Putin's team.

Why do you think GOP/Trump favorite Cory Mills from Florida brought in and distributed in Congress defused grenades yesterday? For the same reason their first actions after the swearing in were to remove the magnetometers from the entrance. It was a probe, a dry run meant to test the Capitol's security readiness/response. Anyone honest and qualified with a background in security will tell you it should be treated as just that, not a stunt.

It takes a village. Kind man gifts grand piano to autistic boy.


Cool WaPost piece on Biden WH running with Warren's progressive agenda.

Joe Biden is in the Oval Office. So are Elizabeth Warren’s ideas.

From a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus to an attempted mass forgiveness of student loans, the Democrats’ agenda over the past two years has been much more progressive compared with 2009-2010, the last time the party controlled both Congress and the White House. A lot of factors and people drove that leftward shift, the most important being Joe Biden, who won the presidency and made these policies happen. But other than Biden, the politician most responsible for this new and improved Democratic governance is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).

Warren created a wide-ranging progressive agenda, built support for it across the party and the country, and helped fill the government and outside groups with allies who are helping her push it forward. That is an impressive trifecta, particularly considering that Warren not only isn’t the president but also isn’t the Democratic leader of either house of Congress or even the chair of a major committee.

Many Biden administration policies are versions of ideas Warren pushed either in her Senate office or her 2020 presidential campaign: a minimum 15 percent tax that higher-earning corporations must pay based on the profits they report to shareholders; the loan cancellation; a crackdown on mergers of big companies in the same industry; an “industrial policy” aimed at producing microchips and other modern economic necessities in the United States rather than abroad; abortions being conducted in veterans hospitals in states where they are otherwise limited; the sale of hearing aids over the counter without a prescription; the appointments of more public interest lawyers and fewer corporate attorneys to federal judgeships.

This is not the Warren presidency, but it’s certainly a Warren-infused presidency.


Stellar live vocal, Dolly+Miley segue Wrecking Ball to I Will Always Love You

Elizabeth Warren - Good update and info on student debt issue

There’ve been a lot of headlines about student debt cancellation lately, so I thought I’d help sort through the noise, give an update on where things stand right now, and talk about what comes next.

Millions and millions of Americans have qualified to have up to $20,000 of student debt canceled. They’ve submitted applications, they’ve been approved by the Biden administration, and their debt would already have been canceled — except Republican officials are tying up the plan in court.

Let’s be clear: The Biden administration has the legal authority to cancel student debt. Period. President Obama has used his power this way. President Trump has used his power this way. President Biden has already used his power this way.

Any judge who makes decisions based on the rule of law will give student debt cancellation their seal of approval. A few Republican-appointed judges have played politics, sided with the GOP, and blocked the plan. But the Supreme Court will take up the case in February, on an accelerated timeline — and there’s no legitimate reason they shouldn’t uphold the law and allow these debts to be canceled.

In the meantime, President Biden has extended the pause on student loan payments into 2023 — so no one will have to make payments on debt that should have already been canceled by now.

And I don’t want to lose sight of the human consequences of student debt cancellation:

*Half of Latinos with student debt will see their balances drop down to zero.
*Same for 45 percent of Black Americans with student debt.
*Nearly 90 percent of the relief will go to people making less than $75,000 a year.
*About 40 percent of people with student loan debt don’t have a four-year college diploma — people like barbers, nail technicians, truck drivers, and sheet metal workers. Hardworking Americans who need a government on their side.

Now, talk about a perfect example of the difference between Democrats and Republicans. A Democratic president took historic action to put money in the hands of tens of millions of working-class and middle-class Americans. And Republican elected officials sued to block it, because they’d rather look out for big corporate loan servicers.

But it’s not just that the GOP wants Washington at the beck and call of corporate interests. It’s also that they believe causing economic pain is good politics for them, as long as Democrats are in power and could get blamed for it at the ballot box. That’s why they demanded damaging budget cuts under President Obama. That’s why they’re threatening to crash the global economy by not raising the debt ceiling next year. They’re playing politics with people’s lives to scramble for some electoral advantage. And it’s shameful.

In the meantime, while we fight them in court on broad cancellation, there are still new student loan policies coming into place that will make a real difference — policies that I’ve been fighting for for years:

People who’ve been cheated by for-profit colleges are getting automatic loan forgiveness.
So are people with permanent disabilities.
Public servants like teachers, nurses, and firefighters have had a new chance to get their debts canceled through a revamped, detangled Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
And the administration just rolled out new rules allowing people to cancel their student debt through the bankruptcy process.
I’m going to keep fighting to make sure student debt relief goes through, put higher education within reach for every family, and put our government on the side of working people.
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