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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#11561 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2018-November-09, 15:23

View PostWinstonm, on 2018-November-09, 13:07, said:

Prosecutor: Do you know Matt Whitaker?

Quote

“I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he left Washington for a weekend trip to Paris. “Matt Whitaker is a very highly respected man.”


Your honor, I submit the following as evidence:

Quote

Mr. Whitaker, who now oversees the investigation, has visited the Oval Office several times and is said to have an easy chemistry with the president, according to people familiar with the relationship. [The WH visitors log confirms the visits.]



Prosecutor: Do you know Don Jr?

Quote

“I don’t really know Don Jr,” Dennison replied. “I think he may be a distant relative, or so I've been told.”

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#11562 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2018-November-09, 15:27

Don't get too excited about Beto. Yes, he made it close in Texas, but he also ran against a famous serial killer whose father conspired to murder JFK.
Obviously we have a recall bias in favour of the assholes. -helene_t
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#11563 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-November-09, 21:16

Lawrence Tribe tonight echoed the sentiment that Whitaker appointment is unconstitutional - not even close - and that Mueller could challenge in court on that basis any directive or decision Whitaker made.
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#11564 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-November-09, 21:31

A little recap of today's action.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that there is evidence that shows Trump was actively and deeply involved and in fact directed the payoffs in the same crime to which his fixer Michael Cohen pled guilty. As a person is not allowed to plead guilty to a non-crime, this means that Trump, if he were not president, would be indicted and charged with the same crime.

As soon as he is out of office, he can be charged. This makes the 2020 election even more critical.

Second, Trump's choice for acting goomba, Whitaker, was a participant with a company that is actively being investigated for fraud by the FBI. Reporting states he was responsible for a threatening letter sent to victims who complained or threatened action against the company.

Quote

In emails uncovered by the FTC investigation, Whitaker personally threatened a customer who complained, according to a story in the Miami New Times that was picked up by other news outlets.

The emails the FTC obtained, in fact, suggests Whitaker used his background as a U.S. attorney to try to silence customers who claimed they were defrauded by the company and sought to take their complaints public.

In this case, Whitaker sent an intimidating email to a customer on August 25, 2015, who had contacted World Patent Marketing with his grievances and and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.


It could be that in the near future both the acting AG and the president are both indicted.
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#11565 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-November-09, 22:35

I just figured out Florida. Putin has shipped Hillary's deleted e-mails to the DNC lawyers so they can pass them on to the election board in Florida in order to make new ballots out of them, after which they will use fake Benghazi addresses and "foreign-sounding" names to create enough absentee voters to win the senate seat and governor's race. Wicked! :o
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#11566 User is offline   jjbrr 

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Posted 2018-November-10, 01:54

adam "why are sec teams ranked so high" meyerson sharing opinions about why a guy who lost an impossible race is worse than a bunch of people who won stacked races. it's completely predictable how this is going to play out.
OK
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#11567 User is offline   andrei 

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Posted 2018-November-10, 08:05

View PostWinstonm, on 2018-November-09, 22:35, said:

I just figured out Florida. Putin has shipped Hillary's deleted e-mails to the DNC lawyers so they can pass them on to the election board in Florida in order to make new ballots out of them, after which they will use fake Benghazi addresses and "foreign-sounding" names to create enough absentee voters to win the senate seat and governor's race. Wicked! :o


It is very easy to figure it out.
One party tries to cheat. Guess who that is?

Oh, I know, GOP is trying to suppres votes here, LOL.
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#11568 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-November-10, 08:58

The GOP cheat? No, they only want to stop counting votes and call it over the instant any of their candidates take the lead. <_<
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#11569 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2018-November-10, 09:53

They keep talking about historical records like voter turnout in the mid-terms etc.

What's the over/under for indictment of administration officials so far? (Whitaker may join them soon enough) They must be getting close.
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#11570 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2018-November-10, 15:51

‘Real low energy’: Critics pile on after Dennison cancels visit to U.S. military cemetery outside Paris

I have to defend Dennison on this one. The Fox Propaganda Channel was going to have some shows where Dennison was going to be mentioned a lot of times and flunkies were going to kiss his boots on air. It's crazy to ask Dennison to miss those shows. You have to have your priorities straight and that cemetery is going to be there next year.
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#11571 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2018-November-10, 18:08

Is this the Trumpiest Trump week yet? Let's recap:
- A middling election result - overall weak, but some good results in key states
- Replacing his most effective member of cabinet with a more loyal, unqualified, and horribly corrupt appointee (and the appointment was probably illegal)
- Picking fights with three black (check) female (check) journalists (check)
- Throwing doubt on potential election results
- Refusing to stand in the rain in order to honour fallen soldiers
All this in half a week...

If this was a play, you'd think this was the rather overwritten hectic final act, and you'd be waiting for the curtain to drop any second...
Obviously we have a recall bias in favour of the assholes. -helene_t
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#11572 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2018-November-10, 18:55

View Postcherdano, on 2018-November-10, 18:08, said:


All this in half a week...



Don't forget the following: https://pbs.twimg.co...OVIWsAIAkp3.jpg

(Trump attacked the leaders of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia for starting a civil war in Yugoslavia)
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#11573 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-November-10, 21:02

Quote

Trump cancels WW1 memorial at U.S. cemetery in France due to rain


The Wicked Snowflake of the West was afraid he'd melt?
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#11574 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2018-November-10, 23:40

View Postandrei, on 2018-November-10, 08:05, said:

It is very easy to figure it out.
One party tries to cheat. Guess who that is?


Well, let's review. Throwing voters off the voter rolls so they can't vote, requiring additional and difficult to obtain ID for long time US citizens who have been voting for years, arbitrarily tossing out vote by mail and absentee ballots by untrained and unqualified election personnel because they think signatures don't match without notifying the voters, closing polling locations and/or removing voting machines in highly populated urban areas so that the wait to vote can be half a day or longer, sending out fake election information giving wrong precinct information and dates and times. I'm sure there are many more fraudulent and perhaps criminal activities I haven't included.

Which party might that be? Look in the mirror and put a red checkmark by the Republican party.

P.S. You don't seem to have any understanding about how long it takes to manually count a million mail in and provisional ballots. Washington, California, and Arizona (among many states) have truckloads of ballots that still need to be counted and there is no real controversy. The only controversy is that Republicans don't want all the votes counted in those races that they have the lead. Unsurprisingly, they want all the votes counted in races that they are losing.

P.S. 2 And that's just election day vote stealing. I suggest you google the unprecedented gerrymandering that the Republicans have perpetrated on Congressional house districts and state districts.

P.S.3 Example of voter suppression:

In Georgia, black voters see echoes of voter suppression

I live in a very blue state with vote by mail, so I don't have to do anything to vote except study the voter pamphlet, fill out my ballot while sitting comfortably at home, and then stop at a mail box and mail by ballot sometime in the couple of weeks before the election. I'm not sure I would vote if I had to wait in line for hours.
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#11575 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-November-11, 10:26

I'm sure Dennison is proclaiming this more "fake news" as Yahoo reports:

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“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” Macron said. “In saying ‘Our interests first, whatever happens to the others,’ you erase the most precious thing a nation can have, that which makes it live, that which causes it to be great and that which is most important: Its moral values.”


From the movie Bridge of Spies:

Quote

James Donovan: My name's Donovan. Irish, both sides. Mother and father. I'm Irish and you're German. But what makes us both Americans? Just one thing. One. Only one. The rule book. We call it the Constitution, and we agree to the rules, and that's what makes us Americans. That's all that makes us Americans. So don't tell me there's no rule book, and don't nod at me like that you son of a bitch.


And don't call news organizations "the enemy of the people" or try to circumvent the constitutional requirement for advice and consent of the Senate for an AG. Unless, of course, you don't really care about being American, which is my guess.
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#11576 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2018-November-11, 19:24

From Be Afraid of Economic ‘Bigness.’ Be Very Afraid. by Columbia law professor Tim Wu who specializes in antitrust law:

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In the aftermath of the Second World War, an urgent question presented itself: How can we prevent the rise of fascism from happening again? If over the years that question became one of mostly historical interest, it has again become pressing, with the growing success of populist, nationalist and even neofascist movements all around the world.

Common answers to the question stress the importance of a free press, the rule of law, stable government, robust civic institutions and common decency. But as undoubtedly important as these factors are, we too often overlook something else: the threat to democracy posed by monopoly and excessive corporate concentration — what the Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis called the “curse of bigness.” We must not forget the economic origins of fascism, lest we risk repeating the most calamitous error of the 20th century.

Postwar observers like Senator Harley M. Kilgore of West Virginia argued that the German economic structure, which was dominated by monopolies and cartels, was essential to Hitler’s consolidation of power. Germany at the time, Mr. Kilgore explained, “built up a great series of industrial monopolies in steel, rubber, coal and other materials. The monopolies soon got control of Germany, brought Hitler to power and forced virtually the whole world into war.”

To suggest that any one cause accounted for the rise of fascism goes too far, for the Great Depression, anti-Semitism, the fear of communism and weak political institutions were also to blame. But as writers like Diarmuid Jeffreys and Daniel Crane have detailed, extreme economic concentration does create conditions ripe for dictatorship.

It is a story that should sound uncomfortably familiar: An economic crisis yields widespread economic suffering, feeding an appetite for a nationalistic and extremist leader. The leader rides to power promising a return to national greatness, deliverance from economic suffering and the defeat of enemies foreign and domestic (including big business). Yet in reality, the leader seeks alliances with large enterprises and the great monopolies, so long as they obey him, for each has something the other wants: He gets their loyalty, and they avoid democratic accountability.

There are many differences between the situation in 1930s and our predicament today. But given what we know, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that we are conducting a dangerous economic and political experiment: We have chosen to weaken the laws — the antitrust laws — that are meant to resist the concentration of economic power in the United States and around the world.

From a political perspective, we have recklessly chosen to tolerate global monopolies and oligopolies in finance, media, airlines, telecommunications and elsewhere, to say nothing of the growing size and power of the major technology platforms. In doing so, we have cast aside the safeguards that were supposed to protect democracy against a dangerous marriage of private and public power.

Unfortunately, there are abundant signs that we are suffering the consequences, both in the United States and elsewhere. There is a reason that extremist, populist leaders like Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Xi Jinping of China and Viktor Orban of Hungary have taken center stage, all following some version of the same script. And here in the United States, we have witnessed the anger borne of ordinary citizens who have lost almost any influence over economic policy — and by extension, their lives. The middle class has no political influence over their stagnant wages, tax policy, the price of essential goods or health care. This powerlessness is brewing a powerful feeling of outrage.

After the fall of the Third Reich, the Allies broke up the major Nazi monopolies specifically so that they could not be “used by Germany as instruments of political or economic aggression,” in the words of the law used to do so. The United States took its medicine, too: In 1950, Congress passed the Anti-Merger Act of 1950 to curb politically and economically dangerous concentrations. It empowered the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to block or undo mergers when the effect was “substantially to lessen competition or to tend to create a monopoly.”

It would be understandable if you assumed that the Anti-Merger Act of 1950 had been repealed. But in fact it remains on the books. It has merely been evaded, eroded and enfeebled by the corroding effect of decades of industry pressure and ideological drift, yielding hesitant enforcers and a hostile judiciary. Consequently, over the last two decades we have allowed successive waves of mergers that make a mockery of the 1950 law, and have concentrated economic power in ways that are dangerous to the polity.

In recent years, we have allowed unhealthy consolidations of hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry; accepted an extraordinarily concentrated banking industry, despite its repeated misfeasance; failed to prevent firms like Facebook from buying up their most effective competitors; allowed AT&T to reconsolidate after a well-deserved breakup in the 1980s; and the list goes on. Over the last two decades, more than 75 percent of United States industries have experienced an increase in concentration, while United States public markets have lost almost 50 percent of their publicly traded firms.

There is a direct link between concentration and the distortion of democratic process. As any undergraduate political science major could tell you, the more concentrated an industry — the fewer members it has — the easier it is to cooperate to achieve its political goals. A group like the middle class is hopelessly disorganized and has limited influence in Congress. But concentrated industries, like the pharmaceutical industry, find it easy to organize to take from the public for their own benefit. Consider the law preventing Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices: That particular lobbying project cost the industry more than $100 million — but it returns some $15 billion a year in higher payments for its products.

We need to figure out how the classic antidote to bigness — the antitrust and other antimonopoly laws — might be recovered and updated to address the specific challenges of our time. For a start, Congress should pass a new Anti-Merger Act reasserting that it meant what it said in 1950, and create new levels of scrutiny for mega-mergers like the proposed union of T-Mobile and Sprint.

But we also need judges who better understand the political as well as economic goals of antitrust. We need prosecutors willing to bring big cases with the courage of trustbusters like Theodore Roosevelt, who brought to heel the empires of J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, and with the economic sophistication of the men and women who challenged AT&T and Microsoft in the 1980s and 1990s. Europe needs to do its part as well, blocking more mergers, especially those like Bayer’s recent acquisition of Monsanto that threaten to put entire global industries in just a few hands.

The United States seems to constantly forget its own traditions, to forget what this country at its best stands for. We forget that America pioneered a kind of law — antitrust — that in the words of Roosevelt would “teach the masters of the biggest corporations in the land that they were not, and would not be permitted to regard themselves as, above the law.” We have forgotten that antitrust law had more than an economic goal, that it was meant fundamentally as a kind of constitutional safeguard, a check against the political dangers of unaccountable private power.

As the lawyer and consumer advocate Robert Pitofsky warned in 1979, we must not forget the economic origins of totalitarianism, that “massively concentrated economic power, or state intervention induced by that level of concentration, is incompatible with liberal, constitutional democracy.”

Donald Trump did not create this problem.
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#11577 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-November-11, 21:36

Axios notes:

Quote

Democrats have won at least 33 seats, but they look poised to win closer to 40 — there are 13 races that are either not called or too close to call, and Democrats have a solid chance of winning seven of those.

Why it matters: We're officially in "blue wave" territory. Even if Democrats didn't win any additional House seats, they've already won the most number of seats since Watergate, when the party picked up 48 seats in 1974
.

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#11578 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-November-12, 08:38

V.A. Day the Dennison way.
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#11579 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2018-November-12, 12:52

From The Media Can Do Better on Election Night by Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:

Quote

It’s really time for the news media, and especially the television networks, to recognize a huge problem with the way they have been handling national election-night coverage. In fact, it’s far past time they integrate the current patterns of vote counting into their overall coverage.

I hold myself accountable on this one. While I did warn about evidence-free accusations of fraud in my guide to watching the returns, I should have warned about issues having to do with vote counts. We all need to do better.

As for the networks: They need to do a much better job of explaining how vote counting works, including regular partisan patterns in the tally — and they need to educate themselves about it.

There are a lot of votes counted after Election Day, and those votes tend to help Democrats. There’s nothing at all nefarious about this. Some of it just has to do with which states (most notably California) are slow counters. And a lot of it has to do with how different communities tend to vote: Some groups are more likely to take advantage of early voting; some tend to vote by mail; some tend to vote early; some tend to vote late. Some groups are more likely to cast provisional votes. Some are more likely to vote absentee from overseas.

It’s even more complicated than that, because everything differs by state. Similar groups may vary in their habits depending on the state, or even the region within a state. Counting speed, too, depends on the state. States have different deadlines for vote-by-mail or absentee voting; states also devote different resources to counting.

Add it all up, and it means a substantial number of ballots are counted after election night. And yet most news outlets still show the percentage of precincts reporting, which leads people to believe that 100 percent in means that all the ballots are counted. That’s simply not true, and it’s a terrible disservice to report that misleading number. In fact, to do their job properly, the news media really needs to educate people about how many votes remain to be counted, which party they are likely to help and why. And while it does vary from state to state, overall it means that Democrats will do better after Election Day than on it.

Even on election night, the polls don’t close in a random order, and overall, television news doesn’t do a very good job of explaining that. The story is clear. The first two states to close at 6 p.m. Eastern time, Indiana and Kentucky, are both Republican states. The next group leans Republican, followed by a third group at 7:30 p.m. Eastern that’s very Republican. What that means is that for the first two or even three hours of coverage — because just as a more balanced group of states start closing, contests begin to be called in the earlier groups — there’s plenty of good news for Republicans. By the time California, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii close at 11 p.m. Eastern time (leaving only Alaska remaining), it’s hard not to have adopted a story of the night that tends to be affected by what’s already happened, even if it’s perfectly obvious to everyone that what’s going to happen is equally important.

I mostly watched CNN on election night. The network spent a fair amount of time on Kentucky’s 6th District, a fascinating race rated as a toss-up by most analysts, which Republican incumbent Andy Barr eventually won by a margin of 3.2 percentage points. As it turned out, that was one of the best showings for the party out of the toss-up districts, and overall some 245 districts wound up more Democratic than Kentucky’s 6th. Had Democrats picked up all of those, they would have netted around 50 seats instead of the 39 or so they will win. Some of this is entirely understandable: Everyone who knew about House elections was focused on Kentucky’s 6th at that point, because it was the only place with actual vote totals to look at. The trick is to find a way to do that without misleading everyone about what’s going on.

And that’s really the point. Election analysts know about all of this; in fact, CNN’s Harry Enten had an excellent short appearance on election night in which he correctly said that the returns to that point indicated large Democratic gains, contrary to what the folks who were chewing up most of the airtime were saying.

Live television is hard. The trick is to realize the vote patterns before the night begins, and to structure the coverage around them, reminding audiences repeatedly that the early states aren’t representative and that many votes won’t be counted for several days, with Democrats likely gaining in many states.

Nothing is going to prevent irresponsible politicians from calling the count into question. But the more that election-night returns are presented in their full context, and the more news outlets can explain exactly how counting works and why some states are slow, the better the coverage will be.

The trick is to realize the vote patterns before the night begins and to structure the coverage around them? Yup.
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#11580 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2018-November-12, 13:12

From Power play: Nike takes a big role in Oregon tax policy by Hillary Borrud at the Oregonian:

Quote

With the election over, Oregon lawmakers and Gov. Kate Brown are turning their attention to the 2019 legislative session a little more than two months away.
Raising billions of dollars in taxes to pour into improving schools is at the top of legislative Democrats' to-do list and there's one company in particular they see offering help: Nike.

The state's largest company played a central role in the election and is now poised to have significant impact shaping tax policy in 2019. Big companies go to great lengths to minimize their tax bills. By supporting Democrats' drive for revenue, Nike is in the catbird seat to push for tax policies that would be less of a financial hit to the company's bottom line.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said he doesn't expect the broader business community to support lawmakers' push to raise business taxes. He accused businesses of burning him "very badly" when they stalled Democrats' attempt to pass a gross receipts tax in 2017 by insisting public pension savings were a prerequisite.
Enter Nike and a small group of other businesses that are meeting with public employee unions and soon also the governor's administration to craft tax policy for the 2019 legislative session.

At the center of the group is Julia Brim-Edwards, Nike's senior director of government and public affairs. It was Brim-Edwards who assembled a small group of businesses over the summer to fund a political action committee called the Common Good fund: Nike, Portland tech company Cloudability, an association that represents long-term care facilities, Genentech and Comcast also took part.

"Julia Brim-Edwards, to her credit, at Nike, is one of the ones we're really looking to ... They're really going to try to say, 'Alright, this is what we're going to do,'" Courtney said.

Brim-Edwards' involvement dates back to June when she asked the governor to intervene to keep the public employee unions' so-called corporate transparency initiative off the ballot. It would have forced Nike and other companies to reveal closely held tax information in state filings, although they could have avoided doing so by paying a fine.

As public employee unions considered how to defeat four conservative ballot initiatives and re-elect Brown, Nike offered its support. The unions agreed to play ball, tossing out the thousands of signatures their contractor had collected to get the initiative on the ballot. Brim-Edwards formed the Common Good Fund and it chipped in to help re-elect the governor and defeat two anti-tax ballot initiatives: Measures 103 and 104. Those initiatives would have banned future grocery and soda taxes and made it more difficult for the Legislature to trim tax breaks.

In Oregon's no-limits campaign finance environment, Nike and the other Common Good Fund members' spending was relatively moderate. Nike has reported putting in $225,000, the bulk of the fund's roughly $300,000 in reported fundraising. The company also contributed directly to the political action committee Defend Oregon, which is affiliated with the unions, and spent more than $100,000 on Brown's campaign. The nursing home industry's political action committee reported giving $150,000 directly to Brown's campaign.

The group's bigger contribution could turn out to be their support for raising taxes. And they haven't just come to the table: Nike hired Paul Warner, the Legislature's well-respected former top economist, to help the group develop tax policy.

...

A Portland school board member, Brim-Edwards has a strong connection to the public education system. Now a Democrat, she was a longtime Republican despite being married to Democratic state representative and then state treasurer Randall Edwards.

"She's formidable," Courtney said of Brim-Edwards, whose husband he served with in the Legislature. "And she has the trust of Nike and Phil Knight ... She goes wherever she wants within the Nike structure. She is that kind of player."

No doubt similar stories are playing out in every state in the union and are perhaps more interesting, relevant and challenging than Dem and Republican proposals for national tax policy. I love that Brim-Edwards has a foot in all camps (citizen, school board, Nike, Dems and Republicans). Not saying she has 5 feet.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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