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Demand Critical Congressional Hearings – Long Overdue, Avoided or Blocked.

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Phil Roeder (CC BY 2.0)

Here are my suggestions for a dozen long-overdue hearings in the House of Representatives, now run by the Democrats.

Ralph Nader, Nader.org

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January 30, 2019 | Earlier this month I wrote a column listing twelve major redirections or reforms that most people want for our country (see: “It’s Your Congress, People!” Make it work for you!). All of which require action by Congress—the gate-keeper.  Now Congress must hold informative and investigative public hearings to inform the media and to alert and empower the people.

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) explains a Congressional Hearing as follows:

“A hearing is a meeting or session of a Senate, House, joint, or special committee of Congress, usually open to the public, to obtain information and opinions on proposed legislation, conduct an investigation, or evaluate/oversee the activities of a government department or the implementation of a Federal law. In addition, hearings may also be purely exploratory in nature, providing testimony and data about topics of current interest.”

Here are my suggestions for a dozen long-overdue hearings in the House of Representatives, now run by the Democrats.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).


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Why millions of people are getting hit with a surprise tax bill this year.

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Paul Ryan in 2016, then the House speaker and an architect of the tax bill. Darren Hauck/Getty Images

An effort to make the tax bill look better ended up making it look worse.

Matthew Yglesias, Vox

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February 6, 2019 | Americans who are accustomed to receiving an income tax refund tend to file their taxes early — often in late January or early February when all the paperwork becomes available — but this year many early filers are finding to their surprise that they actually owe money to the IRS.



Republicans are now facing a backlash from an angry public that includes millions of people who were expecting tax refunds that they are now not going to get.



A tweet rounding up other tweets from displeased early filers went viral because the user, @smarxist, deliberately singled out people who are mad at President Donald Trump for raising their taxes.

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/gUvwBs4THHx_8klUzfDG_TcmFz8=/512x512/cdn.vox-cdn.com/author_profile_images/9604/matt.jpg / Matthew Yglesias, Vox co-founder with Ezra Klein and Melissa Bell, currently is a senior correspondent focused on politics and economic policy, and co-hosts The Weeds podcast twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.

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Biggest Threat to Single-Payer? Democrat Support for a Public Option.

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 / Despite co-sponsoring Medicare for All, Rep. Brian Higgins is clearly not interested in pursuing the reform any time soon. Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call

The next big fight for single-payer may not be with Big Pharma or the GOP, but rather, Democrats who insist on putting their energy behind weaker policies.

Michael Corcoran, Truthout

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http://www.greanvillepost.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/obamacare-healthcare-profits.jpg / January 4, 2019 | With the midterms over, a battle over health care policy among establishment Democrats and the grassroots is unfolding. What kind of health care reform should Democrats pursue now that they have won control of the House? This struggle will determine in large part how Democrats will spend the political capital the party has accumulated on the issue of health care. This is a considerable amount thanks to the GOP’s efforts to take health care away from millions and ongoing war against Medicaid. How this battle transpires over the next two years may go a long way in determining if Medicare for All can become policy, or simply remains a “goal” or an “aspiration.”



“Access to affordable health care” is not the same thing as a guarantee to comprehensive health care.



Single-payer advocates, jubilant about record support in Congress and in public polls, have responded to the midterm success by boldly pushing for a floor vote on Medicare for All (H.R. 676) during the 116th Congress. This move would not result in a law as it has no chance in the Senate. It would, however, represent a huge symbolic victory and, ideally, plant HR 676 as the centerpiece of the Democratic Party’s health care platform.

https://truthout.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Michael-Corcoran-400x300.jpg / Michael Corcoran is a journalist based in Boston. He has written for the Boston Globe, the Nation, the Christian Science Monitor, Extra!, NACLA Report on the Americas and other publications.

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Caution: Moderate Democrats Ahead

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  • Part 1: Beware the Moderate Democrat
  • Why the centrist extremists are an incredibly dangerous political animal
  • Part 2: ‘Socialism surging in Iowa’ gives cold feet to centrist Democrats contemplating 2020 run: report
  • it might be the centrists who are getting cold feet.
  • Part 3: The Last Thing America Needs Right Now is a 'Centrist Independent'
  • Howard Schultz is contemplating a run for president, while Kamala Harris leans into Obama-style rhetoric. God Help Us All.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Beware the Moderate Democrat

  • https://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/cd_large/public/views-article/the_moderate_armadillo.jpg?itok=oFkR5nAL / "There's nothing in the middle of the road," the progressive populist Jim Hightower of Texas famously quipped, "but yellow stripes and dead Armadillos."
  • Why the centrist extremists are an incredibly dangerous political animal

Les Leopold, Common Dreams

February 02, 2019 | The "moderate."

Such a soothing political word. It conjures up a reasonable, considerate person who seeks the middle ground between ideological extremists: Works well with others, crosses the aisle to make good policy, knows how to win incremental change rather than issuing jarring proclamations that jump too far ahead of the electorate. A moderate is pragmatic, gets things done and doesn't let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

Oh, in these troubled times, aren't such moderates—beloved as they are by right-wingers like Bret Stephens—desperately needed?

https://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/medium/public/les_leopold.jpgLes Leopold, the director of the Labor Institute in New York, is working with unions, worker centers and community organizations to build a national economics educational campaign. His latest book, Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice (Oct 2015), is a text for that effort.

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Part 2: ‘Socialism surging in Iowa’ gives cold feet to centrist Democrats contemplating 2020 run: report

https://www.alternet.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/bernie-2-1170x629.jpgAmid warnings within progressive circles that the “moderate Democrat” remains a serious obstacle to the kind of transformative change many rank-and-file party members and voters in general say they want, new reporting by Axios on Saturday…

Jon Queally, Common Dreams / AlterNet

February 3, 2019 | Amid warnings within progressive circles that the “moderate Democrat” remains a serious obstacle to the kind of transformative change many rank-and-file party members and voters in general say they want, new reporting by Axios on Saturday shows that it might be the centrists who are getting cold feet as they register just how hungry the electorate has become for policy solutions like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, tuition-free higher education, and taxation that targets the nation’s wealthiest.

Citing informed sources, Axios reports that both “Michael Bloomberg and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, each of whom were virtual locks to run, are having serious second thoughts after watching Democrats embrace “Medicare for All,” big tax increases and the Green New Deal. Joe Biden, who still wants to run, is being advised to delay any plans to see how this lurch to the left plays out. If Biden runs, look for Bloomberg and McAuliffe to bow out.”

Jon Queally: As seen in: Mint Press News, AlterNet, RawStory, Common Dreams, Truthout, Truthdig, In These Times, EcoWatch, BillMoyers.com, Wisconsin Gazette, Green Builder Magazine and more

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Part 3: The Last Thing America Needs Right Now is a 'Centrist Independent'

Howard Schultz is contemplating a run for president, while Kamala Harris leans into Obama-style rhetoric. God Help Us All.

Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

https://philoforchange.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/fear_anthony-frieda1.jpg?w=720 [Credit: Anthony Frieda.]

Jan 28, 2019 | There was a lot that was intriguing about the high-end rollout of Senator Kamala Harris's presidential campaign on Sunday. The announcement rally itself seemed to shut down most of Oakland. Harris's speech, which has been slightly overpraised, but which was quite solid and occasionally soaring in its quasi-Obama-ish way, had a lot in it to fascinate the casual observer.

For example, the biggest knock against Harris so far is based in her career as a prosecutor, during which she took some stands and actions that run contrary to the post-Ferguson mood among liberal activists. Hence, she's on a unique tightrope that her primary rivals— with the possible exception of Joe Biden, who has other problems, too—don't have to walk. She gave an extended look at the techniques she will try to use to keep from falling.

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Charles%20P.%20Pierce_1.jpg / Charles P. Pierce is a staff writer for Grantland and the author of Idiot America. He writes regularly for Esquire, is the lead writer for Esquire.com’s Politics blog, and is a frequent guest on NPR.

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