"Ocasio-Cortez"

VICTORY! New Free File rules ban tax-prep firms from hiding their offerings, allow IRS to compete with them (a love-letter to Propublica)

Six months ago, Propublica began beating the drum about "Free File," a bizarre, corrupt arrangement between the IRS and the country's largest tax-prep firms that ended up costing the poorest people in America millions and millions of dollars, every single year. Read the rest

This Thanksgiving, don't have a political argument, have a "structured organizing conversation"

Union organizers don't have arguments with workers, they have "structured organizing conversations" -- conversations in which the organizer asks someone to think about what change they want to see, what the obstacles to that change are, and then asks them to think about whether that change will come about unless they form a union. Read the rest

Democrats in Congress reauthorize Patriot Act, again

"Nearly every Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to fully reauthorize the Patriot Act through March 2020, extending the right of federal agents to use all sorts of secret surveillance against Americans," reports Reason.

As the EFF says, "The USA PATRIOT Act broadly expands law enforcement's surveillance and investigative powers and represents one of the most significant threats to civil liberties, privacy, and democratic traditions in US history. [It] gives sweeping search and surveillance to domestic law enforcement and foreign intelligence agencies and eliminates checks and balances that previously gave courts the opportunity to ensure that those powers were not abused. PATRIOT and follow-up legislation now in development threaten the basic rights of millions of Americans."

Kudos to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and 9 other Democrats for voting against it! And boo to the 219 Democratic representatives who voted to deprive us of our civil liberties!

(Image: Fred Frederickson, CC-BY, unmodified) Read the rest

AOC really plays in Iowa

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is campaigning with Bernie Sanders in Iowa, generally considered a conservative, red-state kind of place -- so much so that Iowa GOP operators made a series of public predictions that she would be laughed out of the state. The state party chairman Jeff Kaufmann called her "Doctor Ocasio-Cortez" and Sanders "Crazy Bernie": "She’s got a problem with our cows here!" while Iowa Senator Joni Ernst predicted that the pair would be booed offstage. Read the rest

Rashida Tlaib endorses Bernie Sanders

Rep Rashida Tlaib [D-MI] has joined Reps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar in endorsing Bernie Sanders' bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. Read the rest

Zuck claims he chows down with politicos from "across the spectrum" but they all seem to be far-right creeps

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Congress this week, she asked him about his "ongoing dinner parties with far-right figures" -- that is to say, the meals where he listens to Tucker Carlson, Ben Shapiro, Hugh Hewitt and other Nazi- and Nazi-adjacent figures whine about "leftist social media bias." Read the rest

Bernie Sanders and AOC, in conversation

The Intercept's political editor Ryan Grim chaired a 10-minute, backstage conversation between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders at a rally in Queens last weekend, just before AOC endorsed Sanders' bid for the Democratic Party's nomination for the 2020 presidential race. The pair describe their theory of change and how they can get their agenda enacted. (I am a donor to both Bernie Sanders' and Elizabeth Warren's campaigns) Read the rest

AOC to endorse Bernie Sanders today

Following on Ilhan Omar's endorsement of Bernie Sanders earlier this week, Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expected to make her own endorsement for Sanders's candidacy today. Read the rest

Gregory Cheadle, Trump's 'my African American,' is fed up with Donald and leaving Republican party

The man President Donald Trump once used as a 'my African American' stage prop now says the GOP is pursuing a "pro-white" agenda, uses black people as "political pawns."

Gregory Cheadle does not have anything good to say about Trump, either. Read the rest

Two police officers fired for Facebook post encouraging the murder of Ocasio-Cortez

Louisiana police officer Charlie Rispoli is out of a job for posting to Facebook his belief Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez deserves to be assassinated. Officer Rispoli wrote the post after reading one of the countless fake news stories that are Facebook's stock-in-trade. The fake story, which originated on a parody but quickly took on a life of its own as a real story on Facebook, claimed that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thought US military personnel were overpaid, which is false. Officer Rispoli shared the bogus story with the comment, "This vile idiot needs a round......and I don't mean the kind she used to serve," (referring to her previous job as a bartender). Another Louisiana officer, Angelo Variscom, liked Officer Rispoli's post so he was fired, too.

From Gizmodo:

Ocasio-Cortez was also singled out in a Facebook group comprised of current and former members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that was recently revealed by the news outlet ProPublica. One of the Facebook posts in the group showed a photoshopped image of President Trump participating in a violent sexual assault of Ocasio-Cortez. Last week, the congresswoman asked Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan about the posts in an opening hearing.

“Those posts are unacceptable,” McAleenan said. “They are being investigated but I don’t think that it’s fair to apply them to the entire organization or that even the members of that group believed or supported those posts.”

But the the image wasn’t out of character for the group and it wasn’t comprised of just a small minority of CBP.

Read the rest

Louisiana police officers fired over death threat to politician

Two police officers in Louisiana lost their jobs this week after one said Democratic Party legislator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot and the other signaled their agreement.

Charles Rispoli wrote that she "needed a round" and Angelo Varisco "liked" the post. Rispoli was responding to a fabricated news item falsely reporting that Ocasio-Cortez had called for US troops to get a pay cut.

"This vile idiot needs a round...and I don't mean the kind she used to serve," he wrote.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez, 29, worked as a waitress and bartender before stunning the political world last year by defeating veteran Joe Crowley in their party's congressional primary in New York City. Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson told reporters that both Charles Rispoli and a fellow officer who "liked" the post, Angelo Varisco, had been fired.

"These officers acted in a manner which was unprofessional, alluding to a violent act to be conducted a sitting U.S. congresswoman," Mr Lawson said.

The extent to which U.S. policing is infested with and inflitrated by white supremacists is still more or less ignored, despite the FBI's own investigation and plenty of reporting on the matter. Read the rest

Border Patrol investigating 62 employees, 8 ex-employees over racist CBP Facebook group

Some 9,500 members were in the racist 'I'm 10-15' CBP Facebook group

For years, the chief of the Border Patrol was a member of the secret CBP Facebook group for racist and threatening chatter

Last week, Propublica revealed the existence of "I'm 10-15", a secret Facebook group for current and former Customs and Border Protection employees -- a group with 9,500 members, while CBP's total workforce numbers 58,000 -- where it was commons for members to share violent, racist, sexist, misogynist, rape-y memes, including some that threatened and disparaged members of Congress. Read the rest

AOC and Greta Thunberg talk tactics and hope

Congresswoman and force of nature Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and student activist and force of nature Greta "Extinction Rebellion" Thunberg conducted a videoconference to meet one another and talk tactics for saving the world from dying in its own waste-gases; the wide-ranging conversation touched on the unique power and problems of being a young activist; the problem of holding up Nordic countries as paragons of climate virtue; winning the fight over climate denialism; the true nature of leadership; keeping motivated in the face of desperation and crushing setbacks, and the tipping point we're living through. Read the rest

Fur industry paid protesters to attend California and New York hearings on a fur ban

When California's legislature opened hearings on a proposed ban on fur sales, they met with stiff opposition: Andrew Aguero, who described himself as a Native American student said that it was "people from a privileged culture are telling people of my culture that our culture is inhumane" (the bill exempted traditional indigenous uses of fur from the ban); they also heard from Andrew DiGiovanna, another student who said he opposed the bill on environmental grounds; Edwin Lombard said it was “an affront to the African-American community" who used furs to "show we could overcome barriers" like redlining. Read the rest

"I'm 10-15": the secret CBP Facebook group full of racism, sexism, and jokes about migrant deaths

10-15 is Customs and Border Protection's code for "aliens in custody"; "I'm 10-15" is a secret Facebook group for current and former CBP officers whose participants create and share a torrent of racist and sexist memes, as well as jokes about the deaths of migrants in their care. Read the rest

Queens' next District Attorney is a queer, latinx Democratic Socialist who ran on a platform of "de-carceration"

Queens is the most populous district in the USA, with a population (2.359m) larger than many states; the District Attorney of Queens wields incredible power, and now that power has shifted dramatically. Read the rest

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