You are browsing the archive for 2021 April 05.

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Here's why Biden doesn't want to sound like Trump

April 5, 2021 in Blogs

By Robert Reich’s Blog

Joe Biden is embarking on the biggest government initiative in more than a half century, “unlike anything we have seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades go,” he says.

But when it comes to details, it sounds as boring as fixing the plumbing.

“Under the American Jobs Plan, 100% of our nation’s lead pipes and service lines will be replaced—so every child in America can turn on the faucet or fountain and drink clean water,” the president tweeted.

Can you imagine Donald Trump tweeting about repairing lead pipes?

Biden is excited about rebuilding America’s “infrastructure,” a word he uses constantly although it could be the dullest term in all of public policy. “Infrastructure Week” became a punchline under Trump.

The old unwritten rule was that if a president wants to do something really big, he has to justify it as critical to national defense or else summon the nation’s conscience.

Dwight Eisenhower’s National Interstate and Defense Highway Act was designed to “permit quick evacuation of target areas” in case of nuclear attack and get munitions rapidly from city to city. Of course, in subsequent years it proved indispensable to America’s economic growth.

America’s huge investment in higher education in the late 1950s was spurred by the Soviets’ Sputnik satellite. The official purpose of the National Defense Education Act, as it was named, was to “insure trained manpower of sufficient quality and quantity to meet the national defense needs of the United States.”

John F. Kennedy launched the race to the moon in 1962 so that space wouldn’t be “governed by a hostile flag of conquest.”

Two years later, Lyndon Johnson’s “unconditional war on poverty” drew on the conscience of America reeling from Kennedy’s assassination.

But Joe Biden is not arousing the nation against a foreign power – not even China figures prominently as a foil – nor is he basing his plans on lofty appeals to national greatness or public morality.

“I got elected to solve problems,” he says, simply. He’s Mr. Fix-it.

The first of these problems was a pandemic that’s killed hundreds of thousands of Americans – Biden carries a card in his pocket updating the exact number – and its ensuing economic hardship.

In response, Congress passed Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan – the most important parts of which aren’t $1,400 checks now being mailed to millions of Americans but $3,600 checks a child paid …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Renewable energy smashed records in 2020

April 5, 2021 in Blogs

By Common Dreams

Despite the difficulties associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, the world added a record amount of new renewable energy capacity in 2020, according to data released Monday by the International Renewable Energy Agency.

IRENA’s annual Renewable Capacity Statistics 2021 shows that global renewable energy capacity grew by more than 260 gigawatts (GW) last year, beating the previous record set in 2019 by nearly 50%. Last year marked the second consecutive year in which clean energy’s share of all new generating capacity increased substantially, with renewables accounting for over 80% of all new electricity capacity added in 2020.

Total fossil fuel additions, by contrast, fell by more than 6% last year—from 64 GW worth of new electricity capacity in 2019 to 60 GW in 2020.

“These numbers tell a remarkable story of resilience and hope. Despite the challenges and the uncertainty of 2020, renewable energy emerged as a source of undeniable optimism for a better, more equitable, resilient, clean, and just future,” IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera said in a statement.

“The great reset,” as La Camera called the coronavirus-driven economic slowdown, “offered a moment of reflection and chance to align our trajectory with the path to inclusive prosperity, and there are signs we are grasping it.”

Referring to 2020 as “the start of the decade of renewables,” La Camera noted that “costs are falling, clean tech markets are growing, and never before have the benefits of the energy transition been so clear.”

Though hydropower—responsible for more than 43% of the world’s total renewable energy generation capacity—still constitutes the largest global source of clean energy, other sources are catching up; solar and wind contributed 127 GW and 111 GW of new installations, respectively, together accounting for 91% of the growth in renewables in 2020.

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Matt Gaetz declares 'I am absolutely not resigning' as GOP leaders draw a line in the sand

April 5, 2021 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

As the scandal around Rep. Matt Gaetz grows the Florida Republican Congressman is trying to push back, with a former staffer holding a press event during which he admits he has no evidence Gaetz is innocent and Gaetz himself publishing an op-ed in a right wing media outlet promising to not resign.

“I am absolutely not resigning,” Gaetz says in the Washington Examiner, insisting the calls for him to call it quits are hypocritical and pushback because he “decided to take on the most powerful institutions in the Beltway.”

He insists he’s not guilty of a few very specific allegations: “I have never, ever paid for sex. And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old.”

And in very typical MAGA mode, Gaetz told his supporters, “They aren’t coming for me — they are coming for you. I’m just in the way.”

Meanwhile, in a curious twist, Republican leadership has announced they will call for Gaetz to resign, but only if he’s indicted, and they won’t wait for Democrats to demand he step down, MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin says, citing Punchbowl News.

Democrats are putting pressure on Gaetz and the Republican leadership.

“If in fact these allegations are true, of course being removed from the Judiciary Committee is the least that could be done,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters late last week, the AP reports, noting that “Pelosi’s comments fell short of the swift removal from the Judiciary Committee sought by at least one Democratic lawmaker.”

The Speaker added: “From what we’ve heard so far, this would be a matter for the Ethics Committee.”

And Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California last week tweeted to House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “You don’t seem to get it. If it’s true Rep Matt Gaetz engaged in sex trafficking, he needs to resign and be prosecuted. In the meantime, you can’t have Gaetz sitting on the Congressional Committee that has oversight over the Department that is investigating him.”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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New video exposes Maryland police berating, insulting 5-year-old child: 'I'd beat him so bad'

April 5, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

In suburban Montgomery County, Maryland outside of Washington, D.C., the mother of a five-year-old child who was publicly berated by two police officers in January has filed a lawsuit. And newly released video of the incident, according to Washington Post reporter Dan Morse, shows some of the things the officers said to the child that day.

The incident, Morse notes, occurred after a male child walked away from the school — and in the body-cam video, one of the officers called him a “little beast” and said, “I hope your momma let me beat you.”

A female police officer, in the video, said of the child, “Oh, my God, I’d beat him so bad” — and then told him, “You do not embarrass me like this at school.”

Morse explains, “The video of the January 2020 interaction aligns with many of the allegations in a lawsuit filed this year by the child’s mother. That matter is pending.”

Will Jawando, a member of the Montgomery County Council, pushed for the video’s release — and Jawando is highly critical of the way the officers acted during that incident.

Morse quotes Jawando as saying, “It made me sick. We all saw a little boy be mocked, degraded, put in the seat of a police car, screamed at from the top of an adult police officer’s lungs, inches from his face. This is violence.”

In an official statement, the Montgomery County school system described the video as “extremely difficult” to watch and said, “There is no excuse for adults to ever speak to or threaten a child in this way. As parents and grandparents, we know that when families send their children to school, they expect that the staff will care for them, keep them safe and use appropriate intervention processes when needed.”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Joe Biden's 'master plan' is remarkably simple

April 5, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Having recently signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law, President Joe Biden is now heavily focused on the next project for his Build Back Better agenda: an ambitious, far-reaching infrastructure package. According to journalist G. Elliot Morris, Biden’s “master plan” is to “do popular stuff and tell people about it.” And reporters Natasha Korecki and Megan Cassella, this week in Politico, examine Biden’s efforts to sell the plan to Congress — stressing that suburban women are a key part of his outreach.

In his blog, Morris — author of the forthcoming book, “Strength In Numbers: How Polls Work and Why We Need Them” — explains, “Biden’s White House has highlighted many polls showing the popularity of the administration’s position on things like social spending and his response to COVID-19. The White House and (the Democratic National Committee) even used my own work for The Economist, showing the historic popularity of the American Rescue Plan, in their memos to the public. Their strategy regarding Biden’s proposed infrastructure spending bill looks to be shaping up along similar lines.”

According to Morris, the things Biden has been promoting since becoming president — COVID-19 relief, revitalizing the United States’ infrastructure — poll favorably. And making sure voters are well-aware of what he is promoting is an important part of Biden’s game plan, Morris emphasizes.

Of course, Biden’s infrastructure ambitions are not a done deal. He still has to convince enough members of Congress that his proposals are worth voting in favor of.

Korecki and Cassella, in Politico, note, “The massive outreach campaign, detailed to Politico by several senior White House officials, comes as the Biden administration attempts to move a behemoth spending package across the goal line, just weeks after winning approval from Congress for its $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. Republicans have already cast it as a money grab, layered in unnecessary spending and tax hikes, but White House officials are betting that approach will backfire.”

The Politico reporters lay out some reasons why suburban women are so important to selling Biden’s infrastructure plan, which according to “White House officials…. goes far beyond fixing roads and bridges.”

Korecki and Cassella note, “It’s about expanding elder care to help suburban moms sandwiched between taking care of ailing parents and home-bound children, they say…. (and) improving broadband networks for families in rural areas …read more

Source: ALTERNET