Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me sitting in a zen position with my eyes closed, pictured in front of a patriotic stars-and-stripes graphic, to which I've added text reading: 'The Democratic Primary 2020: Let's do this thing.'

Welcome to another edition of Primarily Speaking, because presidential primaries now begin fully one million years before the election!

Professor Policy, aka Senator Elizabeth Warren, has posted a new piece at Medium detailing her plan for public lands: "America's public lands belong to all of us. We should start acting like it — expanding access, ending fossil fuel extraction, leveraging them as part of the climate solution, and preserving and improving them for our children and grandchildren. Together, we can manage and protect our public lands for generations to come."

Visiting Iowa, Senator Cory Booker "proposed a significant expansion of the earned income tax credit that he said would lower the annual tax bill for almost half of American taxpayers. ...Booker would pay for his expanded tax credit by taxing capital gains income at the same rate as other income. His campaign, citing the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, projects the policy would benefit 154 million Americans."

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has endorsed a set of proposals aimed at closing the racial wealth gap: "The proposals laid out in a new report include some ideas Gillibrand has pushed during her presidential campaign, like postal banking and proposals for full employment. But the endorsement also marks the first time Gillibrand has formally signed onto other ideas, like American children in need receiving at birth federally administered trust accounts that appreciate in value and become accessible once they become an adult. She's also endorsing steps detailed by the co-authors like raising taxes on the ultrarich and the creation of a commission to formally review reconciliatory reparations for slavery."

I'm really glad that Governor Jay Inslee connected immigration to climate change, his signature issue: "These are humans. These are people. ...A lot of these people coming north are climate refugees. Not all of them, but a lot of them — and the fact that Donald Trump has waved the white flag of surrender to climate change is wrong."

I was unthrilled when Rep. Eric Swalwell threw his hat into the ring, and now I'm just straight-up annoyed:

LOLOLOLOLOLOL FUCK YOU. Read the room, bro.

* * *

So, Beto O'Rourke and Senator Bernie Sanders both released some tax returns yesterday.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] You can view O'Rourke's tax returns here, which appear "largely unremarkable save for an accounting error related to the couple's medical expenses spotted by the Wall Street Journal. The O'Rourkes appear to have underpaid their 2013 and 2014 taxes by $4,000 combined because of medical deductions that were wrongly taken, the Journal noted. An aide to O'Rourke told the outlet that the accounting firm that prepared the couple's filings 'was immediately informed and will file an amendment as appropriate.'"

You can view Sanders' tax returns here, which are slightly more remarkable, for a couple of reasons.

Like, for example, the fact that three of the years are not even full returns. With the attachments missing, we don't know if Sanders maybe, say, holds stock in corporations that his supporters might find problematic. (Although I'm sure they could justify it in no time!)

Or, as another example, the fact that it appears Sanders' charitable giving went almost entirely to his own foundation, which in turn paid the salaries of family and friends.

Or, as yet another example, because Sanders' income took a huge leap after he started running for president in 2016. That's seems like the sort of personal enrichment from "establishment politics" against which Sanders was railing even as he was personally enriching his own self.

I have a very acrid taste in my mouth as I recall Sanders trashing Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign as "establishment" while he was raking in money hand over fist.

And let us be clear: He wasn't becoming a wealthy politician just because of his policies. Lots of other politicians have policies that are indistinguishable from his. It's because he was a politician who put himself forward to try to derail Hillary Clinton's campaign.

As I noted on Twitter, he's certainly not the first person who got rich attacking Hillary Clinton. He's just the most hypocritical.

Naturally, he's still peddling the tale that he just bootstrapped his way to being a millionaire, by writing a book. During the epic shitshow that was his appearance on Fox News last night, he said: "Anyone who thinks I should apologize for writing a bestselling book, I'm sorry, I'm not going to do it." Cool. Except no one thinks he should apologize for writing a book, bestselling or otherwise. Many people, however, believe he should acknowledge the extreme privilege he enjoyed in getting a $795,000 advance on that book, just for a start.

Anyway. [CN: Nativism] Back to that Fox News shitshow for a moment, because I need to highlight the extraordinary moment in which Sanders was asked what to do about the "overflowing" detention centers at the border, and, instead of saying that the migrants and refugees being detained there simply should be released, Sanders suggested to build more facilities at the border.

To be exact, what he says in his usual condescending, barking tone is this: "What about building proper facilities for them right now? That could be done right on the border. Right on the border."

And when Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum follows up to ask him, "So, the people who live on the border should have more facilities in their states, but sanctuary cities which have said they're open to accepting people should not take more in?" he tells her it's not a real question. "Yes it is," she insists. "No it's not a real question," he insists once more.


I can't with this guy. I just can't.

John Hickenlooper is still definitely running for president.

Oh, and Donald Trump has a primary challenger: Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Wevs. Good luck, pal.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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