News Release Archive - US Elections

New Look at Why the Democrats Did So Poorly in the Congressional Races: Their Highly Touted Fundraising Advantage Turned Out to Be a Fable

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THOMAS FERGUSON, thomas.ferguson@umb.edu
PAUL JORGENSEN, pdj78@me.com
Ferguson is professor emeritus, University of Massachusetts Boston and director of research, Institute for New Economic Thinking. His books include Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems.

Jorgensen is associate professor and director of environmental studies at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley.

With Jie Chen, they just co-wrote the piece “Big Money Drove the Congressional Elections — Again” which is a comprehensive analysis of campaign spending in the 2020 congressional elections.

They commented that “We were very skeptical about the strong pre-election claims of a huge Democratic fundraising advantage in Congressional races. Those doubts turned out to be well founded. Two thousand twenty looks very much like the last 40 years of Congressional election results: the outcome shows strong straight line relationships between money and votes. In American politics you get mostly what affluent people pay for — which goes a long way toward explaining why stimulus programs for ordinary people, but not Wall Street, are so controversial.”

Biden Continuing Trump’s Targeting of Venezuela

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Reuters reports: “Biden will recognize Guaidó as Venezuela’s leader, top diplomat says.”

AP reports: “Carlos Vecchio, [Trump-backed opposition leader Juan] Guaidó’s envoy in Washington who the U.S. recognizes as Venezuela’s ambassador, tweeted photos of himself at Biden’s inauguration. The invitation to attend was touted by Venezuela’s opposition as evidence the Biden administration will continue its strong support and resist entreaties by Maduro for dialogue that the U.S. has strenuously rejected until now.”

STEVE ELLNER, sellner74@gmail.com
Ellner is an associate managing editor of Latin American Perspectives. He is the editor of the recently published book Latin American Extractivism: Dependency, Resource Nationalism and Resistance in Broad Perspectives

He said today: “In spite of claims to the contrary, the Biden foreign policy team is not breaking with the Trump administration in its policy toward Venezuela. … The Biden people claim that their plans to enlist the support of allies is an innovation in that it corrects Trump’s go-it-alone approach toward Venezuela. In fact, Trump did seek and attain the support of over 50 nations (hardly a majority in the UN’s General Assembly) by taking advantage of the fact that much of Europe and Latin America was in the hands of conservative and right-wing leaders.

“In addition,” said Ellner, Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken has indicated that “the Biden administration will provide Venezuela with much-needed humanitarian assistance. The Trump administration, however, also extended Venezuela humanitarian aid. But it was channeled through the parallel government of Juan Guaidó resulting in multiple denunciations of misuse of funds — not to say blatant acts of corruption — by members of his team who resigned in protest.

“Blinken also claims Biden will embark on a new course in that it will ‘more effectively target’ sanctions. Exactly what this means is unclear, but decades of the use of sanctions throughout the world demonstrate that, regardless of intent, the real victims of sanctions are the entire population. Even the Trump administration announced that the supply of medicine and food would not be affected but in fact it was. Everyone in the global commercial chain feared reprisals if they had any interaction at all with Venezuelan companies, both private and state-owned.

“Far from regime change, the starting point of U.S. policy toward Venezuela has to be recognizing Nicolás Maduro as the nation’s legitimate president. There may have been some irregularities in the Venezuelan presidential elections of 2018, as there have been in U.S. electoral contests, but there was no credible evidence of the votes not getting counted correctly, that is, electoral fraud. The commercial media’s uncritical employment of the term ‘authoritarian’ and ‘dictator’ to refer to Maduro is nothing short of deceptive and it ignores context, namely the multiple violent attempts to remove him, even physically.

“Maduro has clearly indicated his interest in negotiations with the U.S. and of late has expressed willingness to make concessions specifically regarding the release of several jailed U.S. citizens. He has also recently indicated his openness to concessions on the economic front.”

Will Biden Continue Bombings?

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As thousands of troops were deployed to Washington, D.C. during Joe Biden’s inauguration, Rev. Silvester Beaman gave the benediction, saying: “We will make friends of our enemies. We will make friends of our enemies. People, your people, should no longer raise up weapons against each other. We will rather use our resources for the national good and become a beacon of life and goodwill to the world. And neither shall we learn hatred anymore. We will lie down in peace and not make our neighbors afraid.”

As of a few days ago, the U.S. government has now been bombing Iraq for 30 years.

Chris Wood of airwars.org just tweeted: “Amid discussions about what Biden’s foreign policy might look like, it’s worth noting that he’ll be inheriting U.S. military actions at a post-9/11 low. The U.S. declared around 1,000 strikes last year across four theatres — down from 13,000 under Obama in 2016. … Given this low level of U.S. military engagement there’s clearly an opportunity for the incoming Biden administration radically to rethink overseas actions.”

See Sen. Rand Paul’s questioning of Biden Secretary of State nominee Anthony Blinken about the U.S. government’s wars in Libya, Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Mali and numerous other countries.

KATHY KELLY, kathy.vcnv@gmail.com, @voiceinwild
Kelly is a peace activist and author working to end U.S. military and economic wars. She just wrote the piece “About Suffering: A Massacre of the Innocents in Yemen” which states: ” Yemeni children are not ‘starving children;’ they are being starved by warring parties whose blockades and bomb attacks have decimated the country. The United States is supplying devastating weaponry and diplomatic support to the Saudi-led coalition, while additionally launching its own ‘selective’ aerial attacks against suspected terrorists and all the civilians in those suspects’ vicinity.” AFP reports that Blinken stated yesterday, regarding support for Saudi Arabia’s attacks: “our support should end.”

DAVID SWANSON, davidcnswanson@gmail.com@davidcnswanson
Swanson is executive director of World Beyond War and campaign coordinator of RootsAction.org. He was just on an accuracy.org news release on Blinken.

Leading Big Tech Lawyer May Head Biden Antitrust

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The Intercept and The American Prospect are reporting “Renata Hesse, who has worked for Google and Amazon, is the leading candidate to run the Justice Department’s antitrust division.”

MAX MORAN, moran@cepr.net@revolvingdoorDC

Moran is a researcher at the Revolving Door Project and said today: “In 2010, Renata Hesse worked alongside Ted Cruz to persuade the Texas Attorney General not to sue to break up Google’s monopoly over the online search market. As recently as 2018, Hesse publicly stated that she thinks people mostly use Google Search ‘because they like it better’ (not because of its fiercely-defended priority status in most internet browsers) and that it would be wrong to punish Google ‘because they did a great job.’

   “And yet if appointed assistant attorney general for antitrust, Hesse would inherit a DOJ case joined by almost every attorney general nationwide to break up her former client. Moreover, Hesse’s deputies might find themselves arguing against their boss’ spouse: her husband, Joshua Soven, is a fellow antitrust lawyer representing Google and employed by its go-to law firm Wilson Sonsini.

   “Just as concerning is that in 2017, Hesse assisted Amazon in its acquisition of Whole Foods. While the federal government has not yet announced plans to sue to break up Amazon, activist coalitions have called for antitrust action against the firm. Under Amazon, moreover, Whole Foods has engaged in unprecedented mass surveillance of employees to deter unionization.

“Notably, when Hesse served at the DOJ in 2005, she protected TurboTax-creator Intuit from the threat of a competitor offering free tax filing to all taxpayers, by deploying a tortured reading of antitrust law. If not for Hesse, Americans might not need to pay to file their taxes this year.

   “Hesse’s past work defending Google and enabling Amazon’s acquisitions create irresolvable conflicts of interest that must disqualify her from serving in a Biden administration’s DOJ antitrust division or Federal Trade Commission.”

See past accuracy.org news releases on Biden’s cabinet.

Threats of Impeachment, Wagging the Dog as Pompeo and Facebook Join in Targeting Iran

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Journalist Dan Cohen tweets that today’s Facebook “ban on PressTV comes hours before [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo’s speech to lie the U.S. into war with Iran and shortly after Pompeo’s dinner with Israel’s top spy. This isn’t a coincidence.” (See 2018 accuracy.org news release: “Following Assassination Attempt, Facebook Pulled Venezuela Content.” and 2019 “Israel Bombs Palestinians as Twitter Censors Them.”)

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg’s piece “Donald Trump’s parting gift to the world? It may be war with Iran” was just published in The Guardian.

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle@illinois.edu
Boyle is a professor of law at the University of Illinois. Since the storming of the Capitol, he has been calling for the immediate impeachment and conviction of Trump. See his interview with Dennis Bernstein on Flashpoints the day after the Capitol riot: “Professor Francis Boyle on Why Trump Must Be Removed NOW.

Boyle argues for impeachment as an immediate remedy to address “the seditious storming of the Capitol” as well as to prevent Trump from “further illegal activities, like attacking Iran.” The Trump administration just designated the Cuban government as a state sponsor of terrorism and Yemen’s Ansar Allah as terrorists, prompting the International Rescue Committee to warn the latter puts “24 million Yemenis at catastrophic humanitarian risk.” Said Boyle: “These designations are horrible as it is, but we cannot put anything past Trump, including the possibility of a wag the dog scenario by attacking Iran.”

Boyle stresses that the Democratic leadership should have immediately moved to impeach Trump last week, but instead, “they have been engaging in Kabuki theater.” He adds that any new “terrorism” law would simply be a pretext to have further reductions in civil liberties — “like George W. Bush did with the Patriot Act after 9/11.”
Thirty years ago, as George H. W. Bush began the 1991 attack on Iraq, Boyle drafted the impeachment resolution that Rep. Henry B. González introduced at the time against Bush. George H. W. Bush would later state in his memoirs that impeachment was a concern, writing that if the war “drags out, not only will I take the blame, but I will probably have impeachment proceedings filed against me,” indicating that the threat of impeachment may have averted a ground war at the time. The Obama administration was also concerned about impeachment over attacking Syria.

Abolish the Electoral College?

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Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties is introducing a bill Monday to abolish the Electoral College.

STEVEN MULROY, smulroy@memphis.edu
Mulroy is Bredesen professor of law at the University of Memphis and author of Rethinking U.S. Election Law.

He said today: “Fair elections should have all votes count the same, avoid encouraging officials to play favorites, and never let someone with fewer votes beat someone with more votes. The Electoral College fails all three of these basic tests. It is an outmoded relic. While abolishing outright would be great and valuable to debate in Congress, a constitutional amendment will be challenging to win. That’s why the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is so crucial. We are 70 percent of the way toward making the Compact effective.”

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would “guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”

Can We Make the Electoral College Representative? Two Proposals

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PATRICK ROSENSTIEL, pat@ainsleyshea.com, @NatlPopularVote
Rosenstiel is with NationalPopularVote.com, which advocates for “The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact” which would “guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Compact ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election. The Compact is a state-based approach that preserves the Electoral College, state control of elections, and the power of the states to control how the President is elected.”

The group states: “Because of these state winner-take-all laws, presidential candidates only pay attention to the concerns of voters in closely divided battleground states. In 2020, 2016, and 2012, a dozen battleground states received 96 percent, 94 percent, and 100 percent of all of the general-election campaign events, respectively. In these three elections, 25 states did not receive even one campaign event, and six additional states received only one. The politically irrelevant spectator states included almost all of the small states, rural states, agricultural states, Southern states, Western states, and Northeastern states.”

JABARI ZAKIYA, jzakiya@gmail.com@jzakiya
Zakiya wrote the piece “The Case for Proportional Allocation of Presidential Electors,” which states: “Currently there are 538 electors distributed among the 50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.). To become President, the U.S. Constitution requires a candidate must receive the Electoral College vote of a majority of electors (270), but it doesn’t specify, or mandate, the manner in which electors shall be allocated by the states to candidates. The practice has become to allocate electors on a winner-take-all basis to whichever candidate merely wins a plurality (not even a majority) of the popular vote in each state.” Zakiya presents a proposal for all states to proportionally allocate electors from each state. Currently Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that don’t use winner-take-all to allocate their electors.

Public Citizen Demands to Biden

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ROBERT WEISSMAN, Derrick Robinson, drobinson@citizen.org, @Public_Citizen
Weissman is president of Public Citizen. See their recently unveiled detailed resource: “Public Citizen Delivers Robust Transition Agenda Demands to President-Elect Joe Biden.”

The group highlights a series of actions Biden could take, for example swiftly rescinding old executive orders and issuing new ones. Many of these demands would have far-reaching effects on people’s lives and do not require any approval from the Senate. Just a few of the agenda items:

* Complete Wall Street systemic risk reform

* Reform corporate misconduct prosecution

* Reversal of Trump investor protection deregulation

* Address corruption, conflicts of interest, and the revolving door

* Publish ethics documents and Whtie House and agency visitor logs

* Fully staff and resource Freedom of Information Act offices across the executive branch

* Direct the General Services Administration and other government contracting officials to make CEO/worker pay ratio an element in bidding criteria

Biden Foreign Policy: Corporate, Pro-War, Secretive

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DANNY SJURSEN, dannysjursen@hotmail.com@SkepticalVet

Retired U.S. Army major, contributing editor at antiwar.com, and senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, Sjursen recently wrote the piece “What President Biden Won’t Touch: Foreign Policy, Sacred Cows, and the U.S. Military” which notes:

• Jake Sullivan, expected to be National Security Advisor, is with “the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (‘peace,’ in this case, being funded by ten military agencies and [weapons] contractors) and Macro Advisory Partners, a strategic consultancy run by former British spy chiefs.”

• “Avril Haines, a top contender for CIA director or director of national intelligence: CNAS [Center for a New American Security and] the Brookings Institution; WestExec [see below]; and Palantir Technologies, a controversial, CIA-seeded, NSA-linked data-mining firm.”

MARIAMNE EVERETT, [in France], mariamne.everett@mycit.ie@EverettMariamne
Everett recently wrote the piece “Biden: A War Cabinet?” She is an intern at the Institute for Public Accuracy and radio presenter with World Radio Paris where she hosts the podcast “Hidden Paris.”

She wrote earlier this month: “It is extremely important to note that Flournoy and Blinken co-founded the strategic consulting firm, WestExec Advisors, where the two use their large database of governmental, military, venture capitalist and corporate leader contacts to help companies win big Pentagon contracts. One such client is Jigsaw, a technology incubator created by Google that describes itself on its website as ‘a unit within Google that forecasts and confronts emerging threats, creating future-defining research and technology to keep our world safer.’ Their partnership on the AI initiative entitled Project Maven led to a rebellion by Google workers who opposed their technology being used by military and police operations.

“Furthermore, Flournoy and Blinken, in their jobs at WestExec Advisors, co-chaired the biannual meeting of the liberal organization Foreign Policy for America. Over 50 representatives of national-security groups were in attendance. Most of the attendees supported ‘ask(ing) Congress to halt U.S. military involvement in the (Yemen) conflict.’ Flournoy did not. She said that the weapons should be sold under certain conditions and that Saudi Arabia needed these advanced Patriot missiles to defend itself.” See latest Politico piece on WestExec: “The secretive consulting firm that’s become Biden’s Cabinet in waiting.”

STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes@usfca.edu
Zunes is professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and was just on an accuracy.org news release: “Tony Blinken: Iraq War Propagandist?” He said today: “As an effort to undermine anti-war Democrats and promote Bush’s plans to invade Iraq, Flournoy claimed that the U.S. needed to ‘strike preemptively before a crisis erupts to destroy an adversary’s weapons stockpile’ before it “could erect defenses to protect those weapons, or simply disperse them.” That Iraq had long since rid itself of such weapons was no matter to her. The oil would still be there. Iraq’s strategic position at the head of the Persian Gulf bordering other oil-rich nations — Iran, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia — was still there.”

KEVIN GOSZTOLA, kevin@shadowproof.com@kgosztola
Managing editor of Shadowproof, Gosztola recently wrote the piece “Biden’s transition team is filled with war profiteers, Beltway chickenhawks, and corporate consultants” for The Grayzone. See his latest Twitter thread on the most recent appointments.

Korea specialist Tim Shorrock tweeted: “Tony Blinken in 2018 sounding more hawkish on North Korea than John Bolton and, like Bolton, completely dissing South Korean President Moon Jae-in as a dupe of Kim Jong Un. These are the kinds of comments feared by Moon’s people and Korean progressives.”

Blinken: AIPAC is Pleased

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Several media outlets are reporting that Joe Biden will announce Tuesday that Tony Blinken is his nominee for Secretary of State.

ZAREFAH BAROUD, zarefahbaroud@gmail.com@ZarefahBaroud
Baroud is with American Muslims for Palestine. She recently wrote the piece “The Leahy Laws: Why Biden’s Promise to Israel is Illegal,” which states: “Biden and [Kamala] Harris are pledging to break U.S. law for Israel. … Essentially, the [Leahy laws state] that foreign military assistance must be suspended or discontinued if there exists credible information that the recipient foreign security force unit has committed a gross human rights violation. … According to Tony Blinken, Joe Biden’s senior advisor, ‘He [Biden] would not tie military assistance to Israel to any political decisions that it makes. Period. Full stop. He said it; he’s committed to it.'”

RICHARD SILVERSTEIN, richards1052@gmail.com@richards1052
Silverstein at Tikun Olam just wrote the piece: “Biden Names Blinken Secretary of State, Israel Lobby Pleased,” which notes: “During the campaign, Blinken’s most notable comments were made in a conference call to pro-Israel leaders hosted by the Democratic Majority for Israel. DMI is a hawkish group which is the Democratic Party version of AIPAC. Though the latter claims it is bipartisan, it’s common knowledge that the vast majority of its membership, donors and leaders are Republican. Thus, DMI was manufactured to ensure that Democrats would not stray too far from the pro-Israel party line. The group has regularly acted as an enforcer within the party when candidates espouse positions considered anti-Israel.

“Among those who’ve been taken to the woodshed are Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The group sunk over $1 million in ads in the Iowa primary attacking Bernie Sanders … the ads didn’t mention Sanders’ views on Israel.”