Let's start with some basic reality for the US via Niles Niemuth (WSWS):
This Christmas approximately 568,000 people, a population equivalent to the state of Wyoming, will mark the holiday in homeless shelters, tent encampments or in the rough, all across the United States.
Some of the homeless will not make it to Christmas as the death toll continues to mount. In Los Angeles County, a focal point of the social crisis, one thousand of the estimated 44,000 unsheltered homeless population have died in both 2018 and 2019, nearly three lives per day, side by side with the glitter of Hollywood and the wealth and privilege of Beverly Hills.
Here in the US, most of the year's press coverage has been consumed by the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Of the 'official' candidates, the year saw at least 29 -- it's now 15. With 29 candidates, they must have really hit on the issue of homelessness, right?
Seriously addressing the issue? That would be US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard (I'm referring especially to her efforts to look into alternative housing in California, but she has focused on this issue in all states), Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Cory Booker, Julian Castro and Marianne Williams. Those are the only ones still in the race who have addressed it seriously. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has withdrawn from the race but she had serious proposals as well. If that's surprising to you, you've not only ignored her campaign, you've also ignored her work as a US senator.
Even with those people addressing it -- none of whom was seen by the press as a 'front runner' -- it was never a serious issue for the multitude of debates. I guess when moderators with TV careers bring home seven figure paydays, they can't relate to being homeless. (They might want to check with Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer on how quickly good fortune can turn ugly.)
Maybe War Hawk Joe Biden doesn't worry about housing because no one he knows has a problem. In fact, he probably wonders why they can't all do what his son Hunter did -- use their father's name in one unethical scheme after another to enrich himself. THE NEW YORK POST notes:
Recovering crack addict Hunter Biden owns a home in one of the swankiest neighborhoods in America, it was revealed Monday.
The son of former Vice President Joe Biden shares a ZIP code in the Hollywood Hills with celebrities such as Ben Affleck, Christina Aguilera and Halle Berry, according to documents filed in Hunter’s Arkansas paternity case.
The three-bedroom, three-bathroom mid-century home is valued at $2.5 million. It sits at the end of a private gated drive and includes a pool.
Well it's good to know Hunter hasn't spent all of his money on hookers, drugs and dildos.
It's Christmas time so let's stay with the topic of The Compassion of Joe Biden. Eoin Higgins (COMMON DREAMS) explains:
Dying healthcare activist Ady Barkan in an end-of-year video to his supporters Monday called out the one candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination who has refused to meet with him: Joe Biden.
"I got to sit down and talk about healthcare with every major presidential candidate," Barkan said. "Except for Joe Biden."
Barkan, who is dying of ALS, or Lou Gherig's disease, met with Democrats vying for the 2020 nomination over the year and filmed the conversations.
"Look a dying man in the eyes and tell me how we fix this country," Barkan said at the time.
Monday's pointed barb at Biden was not missed on social media.
"Joe Biden, are you kidding?" asked one Twitter user. "The clock is ticking and Ady should be one of those people to check on weekly."
What a great guy that Joe Biden is. Maybe he can laugh when Bully Boy Bush does his impersonation of Karla Faye Tucker asking for her life to be spared? Joe loves him some Bully Boy Bush. That's his kind of people. And that's been rather obvious in recent months as Joe attacks voters and throws tantrums and refuses to admit that when he was Vice President it was unethical for his brother and for his son to profit off that public office. Joe betrayed public trust. Joe betrayed a lot more than that.
I'm striking a passage I've dictated (striking before this posts) about a notorious cockhound in Hollywood who is backing Joe Biden, my whole thing about, "Of course, he'd back Joe." I'm not going into the 'conversion' therapy with Mildred that, despite his claims, did not make him straight. I'm not going into the very young men -- and maybe a boy or two -- that he's had sex with since Mildred 'fixed' him. I'm being kind for now. But maybe certain trash should remove themselves from the public square. Especially when they are implicated in the death of a child star?
Just saying . . .
Back to Eion Higgins and COMMON DREAMS:
After CNN on Monday reportedly twice displayed a six-week-old poll from Iowa showing Bernie Sanders in fourth-place among hopefuls for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination to viewers, ignoring more recent polling showing the Vermont senator climbing to a strong second behind South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, progressives struck back.
CNN, which brands itself as "the most trusted name in news," used a CNN/Des Moines Register survey from mid-November showing Sanders in fourth place with 15% of Iowans backing his bid. Real Clear Politics shows the senator with support of 22% and 21%, second to Soouth Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, in more recent polling.
Sanders rival Julián Castro was among those who took to Twitter to decry the choice, saying that just because it was CNN's poll, that didn't justify presenting the old information to viewers in late December.
"Publish a timely poll instead," Castro added. "Journalistic integrity shouldn't be sacrificed for corporate interests."
The media doesn't exist to inform. It exists to lie for the establishment.
I loathe Tom Cruise. I do like Paula Wagner. But the reason I stepped in on Tom was because the establishment -- including Redstone -- thought they were going to destroy him. I'll defend anyone when that happens. Tom survived and I'm happy for him.
Marilyn Monroe really didn't. These are both entertainment figures. I'm using them because that's far less controversial. That's what your press does. It lies over and over. At late as the 80s, Rose Kennedy was using her connections to Roone Arlidge to kill a 20/20 report on JFK's affair with Marilyn Monroe. That affair was known in real time but most refused to cover it.
Quit thinking you have a brave press.
Currently, they pretend they're brave by going after Donald Trump. They didn't do that with Bully Boy Bush or Barack Obama. They're not brave. They're not honest. They're controlled attack dogs kept on short leashes until it's time to destroy.
The media lies over and over.
It always has. It's not a flaw, it's a built-in feature. It's why this country has so sorely needed Ida B. Wells, George Seldes, I.F. Stone, Margaret Kimberley and so many others who've dared to buck the system and pursue the truth.
And they lie about Bernie day after day. They lie and they think it's okay. It goes to the fact that they're gutter trash who molest the truth daily.
If they told the truth about Bernie, he'd be president. That's the reality. They grasp that so they smear him daily. And then call what they do 'journalism.'
Joe's most electable because the media has pimped that lie over and over. They've also elevated Tiny Pete.
"Vote like a Black woman."
Remember that was going to be the rallying cry.
But Tiny Pete doesn't really have the support of the African-American community.
Oh, well, if the larger society couldn't use women of color and then discard them immediately after, they'd never note women of color to being with, right?
In other news, Elizabeth Warren's made the cover of ROLLING STONE.
Inside the magazine, Tessa Stuart interviews her. Excerpt:
You were a Republican for much of your adult life. Does that give you an advantage to understand conservative voters, to be able to tailor your message—
I would describe it not so much as tailoring as finding the part in the heart where we ultimately, as Americans, agree with each other. Much of the conversation that I now have publicly about corruption — how the rich guys are sucking up all the wealth and leaving everyone else behind — is a long-running conversation I’ve been having with my brothers for decades. They get it. My Democrat brother and my two Republican brothers understand that the rules for billionaires and corporate executives are not the same as the rules for their kids. And they don’t like it. And neither do I.
Your family had financial trouble when you were a kid. Obviously, it’s shaped your political philosophy, but I’m curious how it impacted your personal relationship with money.
I’ve always been afraid there won’t be enough money. Always. I’ve always saved. I’ve always watched the prices of everything. And I’ve always worried about the rest of my family, worried about making sure everyone is OK.
Was your decision to go back to college after you dropped out to get married motivated by a need to feel financially self-sufficient?
You’re right, it has that effect. But it was the other way round. I wanted to be a teacher. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since second grade. When I dropped out of school at 19 and got married, I thought I’d given that up. I knew that theoretically I could go back to school, but it would cost money. Finding a commuter college that cost $50 a semester was a door swinging open in a way that I had thought was impossible. So there I was, I could pay for it. And now that I could pay for it, I could be a teacher.
Your dad was the breadwinner before he had a heart attack, and your mom had to go to work to provide for your family. You often describe your mom as encouraging you to get married rather than pursue your education, almost setting you up to end up in the same position she was in.
I think she would have described it as “Be very careful about the man you marry.” That was the pathway to success, not “Go create a path for your own financial independence.” Now, it took a lot of courage for my mother at 50 to take on her first full-time job. But it was never something she was happy about. She didn’t say, “What a great and fulfilling opportunity that was!” She saw it as work born of necessity, because she had to take care of her family and she wanted me to be safe. And to her dying days she still believed that the best way for a woman to be safe was to be married to a man who earned good money.
One of the things that I’m struck by is that, in just the past five years, you went from advocating for incremental changes — I’m thinking of the Buffett Rule, which would have lowered student-loan interest rates, versus the wealth tax, which would wipe out student debt altogether. Did you make a conscious decision to get bolder, or was it a function of the political climate?
I’m actually going to argue with you on the premise of the question. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is big structural change. For a decade, a handful of consumer advocates and researchers had seen what was happening with deceptive mortgages, cheating credit-card companies, and really horrible payday loans. And every one of them had a little piece of the solution. “Let’s change this rule on mortgages. Let’s put in a new protection on credit cards. Let’s do something different about regulating payday loans.” My idea was to build an agency that would fundamentally change the relationship between the government, credit issuers, and tens of millions of customers. The government would act very much like the Consumer Safety Commission and say, in the same way that you can’t sell a toaster that has a one-in-five chance of burning down your house, no one gets to sell a mortgage that has a one-in-five chance of costing a family their home.
Is it hard for you to see what’s happened to the CFPB under Trump?
No. I mean, look, do I dislike his current director? Yes. Because she [Kathy Kraninger] has made clear she is on the side of the lenders, not the consumers. Mick Mulvaney did everything he could to try to hobble the consumer agency. But here’s the great thing about how that agency worked: When it’s got a good strong director, it’s nimble, and can move forward fast, and that’s exactly what it did in the first five years of its existence. And when it’s got someone who is trying to sabotage its work, it holds steady. It hasn’t gone backwards. The rules haven’t gotten easier. The agency still does its supervisional work, which is way out of the headlines. So I think, if anything, what Mulvaney has shown is you can try really hard to break that agency, but it hasn’t happened.
The slate of plans you’ve proposed would be financed by a wealth tax — an idea that wasn’t in the mainstream before you proposed it. What was the moment that made you decide to target accumulated wealth, and what gave you the confidence Americans were ready for this idea?
The truly wealthy in this country aren’t making their money through working and producing the kind of income that ordinarily gets taxed. Instead, they’ve built great fortunes that now have their own money managers and PR firms to protect those fortunes and make those fortunes grow, and, boy, are they growing — they are growing faster than incomes all around this country.
But what was the moment for you, specifically, when you decided to take this on, when you decided this could catch on in America?
I had a conversation with some tax specialists who showed me how much more money there was tied up in great fortunes than in annual incomes. In other words, they showed how much more money a two-cent wealth tax would raise, even though it’s only on the top one-tenth of one percent.
A wealth tax is a tax on accumulated fortunes, not on [the income of] people that are going out and working every day. It’s time for us to look at those fortunes and think about the kind of country we want to be. Do we think it’s more important to keep [the people who own] those fortunes from paying two cents on the dollar or to have the money to invest in an entire generation?
In Iraq, the protests continue.
THE NEW ARAB notes:
Thousands of protesters blocked roads and bridges across southern Iraq on Monday, condemning Iranian influence and political leaders who missed another deadline to agree on a new prime minister.
Anti-government demonstrators burned tyres in major cities across the south, forcing the closure of schools and government buildings, AFP correspondents reported as political paralysis deepened in Baghdad.
Negotiations over a candidate to replace premier Adel Abdel Mahdi, who quit in November in the face of protests against corruption and unemployment, remained deadlocked as a midnight Sunday deadline expired.
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