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AZProgressive's Journal
AZProgressive's Journal
December 21, 2021

Coal miners' union urges Manchin to reconsider opposition to Biden plan

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), which represents West Virginia coal miners, urged Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Monday to revisit his opposition to President Biden's Build Back Better plan.

The labor union noted that the bill includes an extension of a fund that provides benefits to coal miners suffering from black lung disease, which expires at the end of the year. The UMWA also touted tax incentives that encourage manufacturers to build facilities in coalfields that would employ thousands of miners who lost their jobs.

“For those and other reasons, we are disappointed that the bill will not pass,” Cecil Roberts, the union’s president, said in a statement. “We urge Senator Manchin to revisit his opposition to this legislation and work with his colleagues to pass something that will help keep coal miners working, and have a meaningful impact on our members, their families, and their communities.”


As countless interest groups call on Manchin to reverse course, the statement from the mine workers’ union might be the most impactful. Manchin was born into a coal mining family and for decades has worked closely with the UMWA, which named Manchin an honorary member last year.


December 19, 2021

Leftist millennial wins election as Chile's next president

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A leftist millennial who rose to prominence during anti-government protests was elected Chile’s next president Sunday after a bruising campaign against a free-market firebrand likened to Donald Trump.

With 68% of 46,887 polling stations reporting, Gabriel Boric had 55% of the votes, compared to 45% for his opponent, lawmaker José Antonio Kast.

Kast recognized defeat and called his opponent to congratulate him on his “grand triumph” as supporters of Boric gathered in downtown Santiago to celebrate.


December 1, 2021

How Conservatives Manufacture Ghost Stories to Protect the Powerful

The illiberal authoritarian left. Antifa. Violent BLM protesters. Critical race theory. Social justice warriors. Cancel culture. Radical trans activists. Open borders advocates. Cultural Marxists. The country faces a number of terrifying threats, and unless we act quickly, we will lose Western civilization as we know it.

This story plays 24/7 on Fox News and PragerU, where right-wing politicians and commentators stress that a dangerous left is producing violence in the streets and trying to indoctrinate children with poisonous ideas and immorality. There are now dozens of books with titles like The Enemy Within: How a Totalitarian Movement is Destroying America, The Dictatorship of Woke Capital, Woke, Inc., Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy, The Authoritarian Moment: How the Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent, Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, Suicide of the West, American Marxism, American Crusade: Our Fight To Stay Free, and United States of Socialism: Who’s Behind It. Why It’s Evil. How to Stop It. Each argues that the country faces a threat from the political left, one that is correctly called totalitarian, authoritarian, or dictatorial. David Brooks, reporting from the 2021 National Conservatism Conference, says that the consensus on the right is that “the left controls absolutely everything.” All of the other major conference speakers adopted a similar “apocalyptic tone”:


In reality, the left is far more reasonable than it is made out to be; leftist policy positions such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal enjoy popular support from voters across the political spectrum. Right-wing policies, in fact, tend to fall on the wrong side of history. Thus the stories these commentators tell are a kind of delusion. This delusion is dangerous because it erodes the humanity of the people being talked about and avoids a serious engagement with ideas that challenge simplistic and nationalist myths inherent in the right-wing world view. Right-wing commentators distract us from things that matter, like climate change, healthcare, and racial injustice. The right’s distractions end up benefiting the rich and powerful, who don’t want to see changes put in place around climate change, healthcare, or racial injustice. These distractions prevent us from having intelligent conversations about politics, about the issues that average people care about. These distractions suck ordinary people into a make-believe world of terrifying phantoms from which it can be hard to escape, especially if one never hears a more compelling story in its place. Let’s look, then, at how these ghost stories are put together, so that we can help people to avoid becoming spooked by them, and so that we ourselves never accidentally find ourselves swallowing and then regurgitating crafty right-wing propaganda.

I. The Common Structure of Conservative Arguments

In 1991, economist Albert Hirschman published a book called The Rhetoric of Reaction. Hirschman identified some common species of right-wing arguments. He called these arguments perversity, futility, and jeopardy.


November 28, 2021

GOP 'Silence Speaks Volumes,' Says Ilhan Omar as Boebert's Bigotry Goes Unpunished

Rep. Ilhan Omar on Saturday condemned her GOP colleagues' inaction following the recent publication by Rep. Lauren Boebert of an anti-Muslim video in which the Colorado Republican lies about the Somali-American lawmaker being mistaken for a suspected suicide bomber inside the U.S. Capitol.

"These anti-Muslim attacks aren't about my ideas but about my identity and it's clear," Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted.

Addressing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), she added that "your silence speaks volumes."



November 14, 2021

Our brother Paul Gosar needs to be stopped. Merrick Garland, are you listening?

Marvel Studios? Hollywood? Have we got a blockbuster new superhero for you. Get this. He’s 62 years old, a retired dentist, and a grandpa. Interested? Wait, there’s so much more! He associates with white supremacists. He has been accused of dabbling in anti-semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry — a real religious hate two-fer. He has demonized immigrants, spreads Covid lies, and is apparently very proud of using terms like the “Wuhan Virus” — a term that was subsequently picked up by Donald Trump and helped incite murderous attacks, assaults, and bullying against the Asian community. And last, but certainly not least, this man was allegedly instrumental in inciting the attempted overthrow of our government. It’s a winner, don’t you agree?

Who are we talking about? Why, none other than our brother, Paul Gosar, a stunning textbook example of the Dunning-Kruger effect in that he is completely oblivious to how ridiculously unfit he is to be a US Congressman.

Oh, and we forgot two other key points about this new superhero you’re going to absolutely love. He already has a superhero name, “The Weasel” — his actual nickname in high school. And you don’t have to write a single script because you can simply have him dictate to you all the fantasies he imagines about himself, in his unique word-salad style. Like, for instance, the recent “Attack on Titan’’ video he posted online where he fantasizes about killing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden.

So who could stop The Weasel? Well, let’s take a look at the options. First up, we have the hand-wringing, timid, do-nothing Democratic leadership in Congress. These are the people who still, after years of being sucker-punched, don’t realize they are in a no-holds-barred street fight for this country — a fight which, if lost, will have very dire consequences for us all. So, as you can see, The Weasel doesn’t have to worry too much about them.


November 13, 2021

Warren, Markey Urge Biden To Pardon Non-Violent Pot Offenders

WASHINGTON D.C. —Massachusetts' two senators and a congressional colleague wrote a letter Tuesday to President Joe Biden urging him to use his executive authority to pardon all individuals convicted of federal non-violent cannabis offenses.

In the letter, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, both of Massachusetts, and Jeff Merkley, the Oregon Democrat, wrote that by issuing such a pardon, Biden would be following through on a campaign promise.

"As a candidate for president, you argued that 'we should decriminalize marijuana' and 'everyone (with a marijuana record) should be let out of jail, their records expunged, be completely zeroed out,'" the letter said.

The senators argued that America's cannabis policies have disproportionately targeted Black and Brown communities, and they provided a history about how anti-cannabis laws were enacted specifically to target Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans.


November 4, 2021

Voters pass Tucson's $15 minimum wage proposition

Tucson's minimum wage will be gradually increased to $15 an hour after city voters approved the pay measure on Tuesday.

About 60% of tallied responses voted 'yes' for Proposition 206 — the ballot initiative to gradually raise Tucson’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 — while about 32% of voters voted 'no', according to unofficial general election results released by the Tucson City Clerk’s office Tuesday night. Nearly 8% of voters didn't submit a vote on the item.

The proposition will first increase the minimum wage to $13 in April 2022 and eventually reach $15 in January 2025. After that, wages will increase based on the rate of inflation.

C.J. Boyd, the campaign manager for the group behind the ballot initiative, Tucson Fight for 15, celebrated with staff and supporters of the campaign Tuesday night.


October 29, 2021

The Poisonous 'Citizens United' Decision Gave Corporations the Power to Slash and Burn (BBB)

If President Biden's Build Back Better plan goes down in flames, you can blame the US Supreme Court. Their Citizens United decision, in fact, is destroying both American politics and the planet.

Case in point: Oil industry executives testified before Congress this week, suffering a barrage of questions, including particularly intense ones from Reps. Ro Khanna, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Katie Porter.

The CEOs exhibited the same sort of arrogant insolence Mark Zuckerberg displayed in July of last year when he was hauled before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law. It was, basically, a smug, "Screw you, Congressperson."

We have to get money out of politics and the only way to do that is to get more people in office who are not addicted to or corrupted by money.

October 28, 2021

Exxon CEO says he had calls with lawmakers on reconciliation bill

ExxonMobil’s CEO said he personally participated in calls with lawmakers on the Democrats’ spending plan in response to questioning from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The New York Democrat asked CEO Darren Woods whether he had participated in calls with members in the reconciliation and infrastructure negotiation process.

“I have,” Woods replied. But he said political donations were not discussed during his calls.

In response to her questioning, Woods also said that his compensation is tied to Exxon’s stock price, but added that it’s based on a number of metrics.


October 22, 2021

Schumer endorses Walton for Buffalo mayor

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Thursday announced that he is endorsing India Walton to be mayor of Buffalo, giving the winner of the Democratic primary a crucial boost only days before early voting begins in her race against Mayor Byron Brown.

"As Buffalo voters start to head to the polls this weekend, I urge them to cast their ballot for India Walton as the next mayor of Buffalo," Schumer said in a statement sent to The Buffalo News. "India is an inspiring community leader, mother, nurse and a lifelong Buffalonian with a clear progressive vision for her hometown."

Schumer's decision gives Walton backing from a centrist Democrat at a time when other such figures, such as Gov. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo, have refused to take sides in the battle between an upstart primary winner and a four-term incumbent who's waging a write-in campaign.

"India Walton won the Democratic primary fair and square and is the nominee, and I have always believed that the Democratic Party is a big tent and is strongest and most able to build national majorities and bring meaningful change when it is inclusive – that is exactly how the Senate Democratic caucus is structured," Schumer said.


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