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In It to Win It

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Member since: Sun May 27, 2018, 05:53 PM
Number of posts: 5,253

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House passes bill decriminalizing marijuana at federal level

I read this a little earlier today and didn't see that it was posted. Where are all the small-government republicans and libertarians? This is their time to reduce government regulation and allow business to thrive. ...all bullshit marketing, just like we thought.


Washington (CNN)The House of Representatives has approved legislation that would decriminalize marijuana and seek to "address the devastating injustices caused by the War on Drugs."

Friday's vote in the Democratic-led House is the first time a chamber of Congress has voted on federal marijuana decriminalization. It has little chance of passing the Republican-led Senate, however.

The bill passed largely along party lines: 222 Democrats, five Republicans and Rep. Justin Amash, a libertarian, voted in support while 158 Republicans and six Democrats voted against.

The Republicans who voted for the bill are Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, the bill's co-sponsor, as well as Reps. Brian Mast of Florida, Tom McClintock of California, Denver Riggleman of Virginia and Don Young of Alaska. The Democrats against were Reps. Cheri Bustos and Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, Chris Pappas of New Hampshire and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.
Posted by In It to Win It | Fri Dec 4, 2020, 05:35 PM (1 replies)

Sen. David Perdue Led Dollar General's Outsourcing Effort Into China

The Intercept

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., arrives to the Senate carriage entrance of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 29, 2020. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images

The Georgia Republican’s campaign rhetoric around China contrasts sharply with his business record.

In the pivotal Senate race between Republican Sen. David Perdue of Georgia and his Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, the candidates have traded accusations around financial connections to China.

But previously unreported business disclosures show that Perdue, during a touchstone period of his business career, expanded aggressively into China to import cheap products into the United States.

Before entering the Senate in 2015, Perdue spent much of his career advising and managing large corporations, including serving as the chief executive of Dollar General from 2003 through 2007. Investor reports and earnings call transcripts from that period show that as chief executive of the variety goods giant, Perdue pushed to increase profitability by importing products made by factories in low-wage overseas markets.

Shortly after taking over at Dollar General, Perdue told an analyst with JPMorgan Chase that the company was “light in sourcing relative to some of our competitors” and pledged to “redouble” the effort to tap into markets in Asia. In 2004, Perdue opened a Chinese affiliate, Dollar General Global Sourcing Holdings, which maintains offices in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, to integrate the company’s import strategy.

“We have opened a sourcing office in Hong Kong, and I can tell you we have had a dramatic impact on our business by having direct contact with our manufacturers,” boasted Perdue during a talk to a group of investment bankers the following year. Subsequent investor reports noted that Dollar General’s focus on “utilizing our Hong Kong Office” improved profitability by increasing the amount of goods “manufactured overseas” at low cost.

Hong Kong, which became part of China in 1997, has long served as the regional hub for international buyers seeking to source low-cost manufactured goods and raw resources for U.S. companies.

The outsourcing record contrasts sharply with the Georgia Republican’s rhetoric on the campaign trail. Perdue has swiped at Ossoff, claiming that his Democratic opponent has financial connections to China.

“You took money from the Chinese government that originated this virus in the first place,“ said Perdue at the Atlanta Press Club debate last week. “Jon Ossoff won’t hold China accountable. He works for them,” exclaims the narrator in Perdue’s latest campaign advertisement.

The comments reference Ossoff’s work as managing director of Insight TWI, an investigative television production company. The company sold documentaries to a number of film networks and television stations, including to PCCW, a Hong Kong-based telecom and media firm — a transaction the Perdue campaign has pounced on in the closing weeks of the election.

PCCW is a publicly traded corporation. The chairman of the company is Richard Li, one of the wealthiest residents of Hong Kong. The Perdue campaign has cited Li’s criticism of the Hong Kong pro-independent protest movement and PCCW’s ties to the Chinese state-owned firms to suggest that the documentary sales reveal undue influence from the Chinese government.

The Ossoff campaign has stated that the payments were for “two investigations produced by Jon’s company of ISIS war crimes against women and girls,” representing “one of dozens of TV stations and distributors in more than 30 countries that have aired Jon’s work.”

“Jon strongly supports Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and condemns the brutality and authoritarianism of the Chinese Communist Party,” the campaign said previously in a statement to the press.

“As CEO of Dollar General, which is an American Fortune 500 company, David Perdue created tens of thousands of American jobs, a claim that has been verified by independent fact checkers,” said John Burke, a spokesperson for the Perdue campaign, in a statement to The Intercept.

The Perdue campaign did not directly address the Chinese outsourcing effort led by Perdue at Dollar General. Instead, the campaign claimed “Jon Ossoff has never created a single American job” and noted that Pierre Omidyar, the philanthropist who provided the funding to launch The Intercept and still funds it, also helped underwrite an Insight TWI investigative series on corruption in Africa.

“Given Omidyar’s financial backing of Ossoff’s personal business, it’s no surprise to see The Intercept try to spread false narratives to prop up his candidacy and distract from the fact that his ties to the Chinese Communist government continue to raise serious ethical questions,” said Burke.

The Intercept maintains full editorial independence from all donors.

Ossoff’s campaign has pledged to “expose and attack unfair and unethical trade, labor, and environmental practices by overseas competitors that disadvantage American workers and businesses.” He has campaigned to reduce U.S. dependence on Chinese supply chains and work to “strengthen domestic producers.”

Despite the echo of President Donald Trump in the latest campaign barbs about China, Perdue has been a staunch supporter of globalized free trade for much of his career. Perdue worked for Kurt Salmon Associates, a management consulting firm, where he helped footwear companies import shoes from Taiwan, Korea, China, Indonesia, and Malaysia. He later worked with Sara Lee Corporation in Hong Kong to improve the firm’s sourcing strategies.

The issue of outsourcing came up during Perdue’s previous Senate race, during which comments he made during a deposition were unearthed. The comments, taken during a lawsuit over his role as chief executive of a company called Pillowtex Corporation, showed Perdue explaining under oath that he had “spent most of my career” outsourcing jobs. During the deposition, Perdue discussed his focus on foreign sourcing operations while he worked at Reebok, as well.

Perdue’s business outlook on the need for cheap labor extends to other policy areas. The Georgia Republican opposes raising the federal minimum wage, which has been $7.25 since 2009. The Intercept previously reported that Perdue privately lobbied the Trump administration to increase the number of H-2B visas to allow businesses to bring in low-wage migrant workers this year.
Posted by In It to Win It | Wed Dec 2, 2020, 12:49 PM (4 replies)

The naked corruption of Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue


Control of the United States Senate hinges on two January 5 runoff elections in Georgia, where incumbent Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are facing Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock respectively. Most immediately, the race is a contest over whether President-elect Joe Biden and the Democratic Party will be able to govern — especially by passing another big coronavirus rescue package.

However, Loeffler and Perdue are also excellent examples of what interests the Republican Party serves — namely, the ultra-rich, which includes both Loeffler and Perdue personally. These are two people who were rich before they got into politics, and leveraged their power as senators to make themselves even more rich — by profiteering off the pandemic. It is government of, by, and for the top 0.1 percent.

Let me consider their cases in turn. David Perdue is a longtime businessman who served as CEO of Dollar General in the mid-2000s, where he worked diligently to source more products from China. According to his financial disclosures, he is worth between $15 million and $43 million.

As Michela Tindera writes at Forbes, Kelly Loeffler and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher own a big stake in International Exchange, a financial clearinghouse company that Sprecher founded and where he remains CEO and chairman. (That company also owns the New York Stock Exchange, where Sprecher is again chairman.) After closely examining Loeffler's financial disclosure forms and other information, Tindera estimates that the couple is worth at least $800 million, and likely over $1 billion — or roughly quadruple the wealth of the second-richest member of Congress, Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

Here's how the pandemic profiteering worked. On January 24, there was a private all-Senate briefing about the looming disaster — long before there was a broad public understanding that the U.S. was going to get slammed by COVID-19. Immediately afterward, both Loeffler and Perdue started trading strategic stocks. As The Daily Beast reported at the time, Loeffler executed 29 transactions valued between $1.275 and $3.1 million in the following days before the market crashed, almost all of them sales — one exception was a purchase of Citrix, which sells teleworking software. (Also, Loeffler recently violated the legal prohibition on soliciting campaign funds in a Senate office building.)

Perdue made a similar number of trades, but bought more than Loeffler — in particular, an investment of up to $850,000 in DuPont, which manufactures personal protective equipment. And as The Associated Press reports, in late January he sold between $1 million and $5 million in shares of Cardlytics, a financial technology firm, at $86 per share. Then, when the market had bottomed out in March, he snapped up between $200,000 and $500,000 of Cardlytics shares at $30 apiece; since then the share price has shot back up to $121. Nice tidy little profit to counterbalance the 270,000 dead Americans. (The Daily Beast also reports that in 2019, Perdue bought up shares of a submarine parts manufacturer before voting to give the company a lucrative contract, then sold it for another handsome profit.)

When reports of these trades first came out, both Loeffler and Perdue insisted they had nothing to do personally with the moves. "I have never used any confidential information I received while performing my Senate duties as a means of making a private profit ... professionals buy and sell stocks on our behalf," wrote Loeffler in an April 8 Wall Street Journal op-ed. Perdue told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that advisers made his investment decisions on their own.

In the first place, candidates not taking direct control of their stock trades does not actually remove the conflict of interest. If you are a senator, and you hire a bunch of asset managers to look after your investments without any kind of blind trust, you still know what those investments are. You can make decisions knowing that your Goldman Sachs lackeys will make the profit-maximizing move in response — which is the best-case scenario of what happened here.

But realistically speaking, it is virtually impossible to believe that all these trades had nothing to do with the two senators. Are we really to believe it was a coincidence that these asset managers started making "there is a pandemic coming" trades the very same day the two were receiving classified briefings on the disaster? Come on. Indeed, The New York Times recently reported that Perdue was lying with his blanket denial — he did directly instruct his manager to sell the Cardlytics shares after receiving a cryptic email mentioning "upcoming changes" from the company's then-CEO. (Perdue and Loeffler have been cleared of legal wrongdoing by the Department of Justice, but given that Attorney General Barr is a shameless Trump stooge, that is hardly reassuring.)

Since then, both Perdue and Loeffler have largely downplayed the pandemic. Unlike Ossoff and Warnock, both have been holding large, in-person rallies. In July, both Loeffler and Perdue came out against extending the boost to unemployment insurance in the CARES Act, and since then neither have answered questions about further economic rescue measures from Atlanta Magazine. Instead, since the election they have amplified Trump's flagrant lies that Georgia's Republican governor and secretary of state somehow helped Joe Biden steal the election there.

Over the last decade or so, there has been a long discussion of why Democrats are bleeding votes in rural areas (precisely where Republicans run up huge margins in Georgia). And on one level it's an important debate — there is good evidence that as Democrats embraced austerity, deregulation, and free trade that harmed such places, it hurt their vote share.

But on another level, it is frankly staggering that the Republican Party has swooped in to replace them. The Democrats may not be much of a friend to the working class or rural farmers, but Republicans are straight-up picking their pockets. If you want a couple senators to govern solely on behalf of their massive asset portfolio while leaving everyone else twisting in the wind, vote Perdue and Loeffler.

Posted by In It to Win It | Wed Dec 2, 2020, 08:48 AM (3 replies)

MBS reportedly backed out of Saudi-Israel agreement because he wants to wait for Biden


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly flew to Saudi Arabia last week for a secret meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in the hopes of striking a deal that would normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. But he came home empty handed after Prince Mohammed backed out, The Wall Street Journal reports.

His reasoning, Saudi advisers and U.S. officials told the Journal, was President-elect Joe Biden's victory over President Trump in the U.S. general election. Although the Trump administration was a factor in the recent so-called Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Prince Mohammed reportedly wants to build ties with Biden and was reluctant about following suit while Trump is still in office, although the chances of that happening reportedly aren't impossible.

Posted by In It to Win It | Sat Nov 28, 2020, 09:06 PM (1 replies)

McConnell warns Republican senators to stay healthy or risk their lame-duck agenda


WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent senators home Wednesday for Thanksgiving break one day early, in part because of the continued unchecked spread of Covid-19 among his members.

The decision came after Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, 87, tested positive Tuesday. His absence, along with Florida Sen. Rick Scott’s quarantine due to Covid-19 exposure, scuttled a vote on Judy Shelton’s controversial nomination to sit on the Federal Reserve Board.

The Republican Senate leader told members in a closed-door lunch Tuesday to “be careful” and make sure they take the necessary precautions against catching the virus, Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., said.
Posted by In It to Win It | Thu Nov 19, 2020, 07:46 PM (2 replies)

Republicans seek to stymie Biden with final Trump nominees


Two months before Joe Biden assumes the presidency, Senate Republicans are racing to install a series of conservative nominees that will outlast Donald Trump.

While Trump still refuses to concede the election, the Senate GOP is moving quickly to ensure that the president’s stamp sticks to the Federal Elections Commission, Federal Reserve Board, the federal judiciary and beyond.

The effort played out in dramatic fashion this week, as Senate Republicans tried to muscle Judy Shelton onto the Fed by the narrowest of margins but fell short amid senators’ absences from the coronavirus. They’re also plotting a confirmation vote for Christopher Waller, Trump’s less controversial Fed pick.

The last-minute push to confirm Shelton, Waller and others is a key part of the Senate GOP’s bid to wield power in the dwindling days of a Republican presidency — even if most in the party still won’t acknowledge Biden’s victory.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s work on pushing lifetime judicial appointments is well known. But Shelton’s term would extend to 2024, Waller’s would last until 2030, and the FEC commissioners would stay on past Biden’s inauguration, as would potential additions to the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Posted by In It to Win It | Thu Nov 19, 2020, 07:23 AM (0 replies)

Amy Coney Barrett's Faith? Off-Limits. Raphael Warnock's? Fair Game.


One of the great strengths of the conservative movement is the capacity of the entire apparatus, from Fox News superheroes on down to the rank-and-file shitposter, to get intergalactically outraged in unison and on-demand. The resentment machine is so fine-tuned at this point that it is capable of kicking into high gear before the outrageous incident has even occurred. We saw this ahead of the nomination hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, when Republicans got pre-outraged about potential Democratic questioning that might probe Barrett's religious faith—including her membership in People of Praise, a Catholic group with rituals and traditions that...fall outside mainstream Church practice. Senator Dianne Feinstein blundered her way through some questioning on this front during hearings on Barrett's appointment to an appeals court in 2017, but there was virtually no Democratic probing here this time around, surely at least in part because the pre-outrage was so intense. This stuff works.

Among the early outrage merchants was Senator Marco Rubio, who issued a statement on September 26 that was preemptively indignant. "Sadly, I expect my Democratic colleagues and the radical left to do all they can to assassinate her character and once again make an issue of her faith during her confirmation process," he said. Assassination by radicals! That does sound bad. Questioning someone's fitness for public office based on their religious beliefs is completely unacceptable, you see. It shouldn't factor into how you assess their candidacy at all. Just ask Senator Marco Rubio, who offered some thoughts on Wednesday regarding Raphael Warnock, the Democratic candidate in one of Georgia's two upcoming Senate runoff elections.

Posted by In It to Win It | Wed Nov 18, 2020, 10:47 PM (1 replies)

Sen. Sherrod Brown Asks GOP Colleague To Wear A Mask. He Refuses.


Posted by In It to Win It | Mon Nov 16, 2020, 10:06 PM (21 replies)

Hate crimes in US reach highest level in more than a decade

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hate crimes in the U.S. rose to the highest level in more than a decade as federal officials also recorded the highest number of hate-motivated killings since the FBI began collecting that data in the early 1990s, according to an FBI report released Monday.

There were 51 hate crime murders in 2019, which includes 22 people who were killed in a shooting that targeted Mexicans at a Walmart in the border city of El Paso, Texas, the report said. The suspect in that August 2019 shooting, which left two dozen other people injured, was charged with both state and federal crimes in what authorities said was an attempt to scare Hispanics into leaving the United States.

There were 7,314 hate crimes last year, up from 7,120 the year before — and approaching the 7,783 of 2008. The FBI’s annual report defines hate crimes as those motivated by bias based on a person’s race, religion or sexual orientation, among other categories.

Posted by In It to Win It | Mon Nov 16, 2020, 04:08 PM (1 replies)

In case [Trump] needed a reminder of how badly [he] lost

Posted by In It to Win It | Sun Nov 15, 2020, 10:32 PM (5 replies)
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