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Biden camp bucks progressives in Democratic Party platform | USA News



Reflecting candidate Joe Biden’s careful positioning in the United States presidential campaign, a key Democratic Party committee has approved a 2020 platform that presents a liberal outline for the country but rejects many policies pursued by the left’s most outspoken progressives.

The document (PDF), approved by Democrats’ platform committee on a voice vote late on Monday, now goes to more than 4,000 Democratic delegates who will vote by mail on whether to approve the document in advance of the party’s August convention, which will take place almost entirely online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The final draft endorses universal healthcare coverage but, as Biden does, calls for a “public option” insurance plan to compete in existing private insurance markets as the next step. Committee members overwhelmingly rejected amendments to more explicitly endorse the single-payer insurance model like Bernie Sanders has pushed.

In a lengthy passage demanding an overhaul of the criminal justice system, Democrats decry the effects of a decades-long “war on drugs”. But committee members rejected an amendment calling to legalise cannabis. The same section demands an end to police violence against Americans, but it does not endorse some activists’ calls to “defund the police”.

In total, the platform is part of Biden’s effort to balance the centre-left establishment that has been his political home for decades with the party’s ascendant progressive wing represented by high-profile figures like Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In fact, the drafting process included a series of policy committees that Biden’s campaign convened with Sanders’ campaign after the Vermont senator finished as runner-up in the nominating fight. Ocasio-Cortez was included in that process, while Warren has emerged as a key policy adviser who talks regularly with Biden.

Biden’s goal has been to avoid the kind of rancour that hobbled Hillary Clinton’s general election campaign four years ago, even as President Donald Trump and Republicans lambaste the former vice president as “captive” to a “radical left”.

The platform committee repeatedly voted on Monday not to modify language that would push the party closer to embracing Sanders’ “Medicare for All” health insurance model, sticking with Biden’s preferred language promising to build on the 2010 healthcare law signed by President Barack Obama.

Abdul El-Sayed, an epidemiologist and former health commissioner for the city of Detroit, argued that the coronavirus outbreak demonstrates why the country needs a single-payer system like Medicare for All rather than just an expansion of the Affordable Care Act.

“We have an opportunity to go bigger because this moment demands it,” El-Sayed said, arguing for an amendment that was eventually defeated.

Cecilia Munoz, who was director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under Obama, countered that the platform was already shaping up to be the most progressive ever proposed by Democrats. She also noted that it incorporated the work of the Biden-Sanders task forces that had laboured to craft language to appeal across the Democratic spectrum.

“I’m proud and thankful that the Biden-Sanders unity task force has outlined such a progressive statement on our party’s views on this issue,” Munoz said. “I believe we should retain that language, the language that they negotiated.”

On climate, the platform calls for rejoining international alliances of nations agreeing to sharp reductions in carbon pollution. Biden, after working with progressives, agreed explicitly to the goal of making the nation’s energy grid carbon neutral by 2035. That detail does not appear in the platform. The document also makes no mention of some Democrats’ Green New Deal legislative proposals that includes even more aggressive timelines.

The party’s discussion of law enforcement reflects the nation’s reckoning with systemic racism.

“Our criminal justice system is failing to keep communities safe,” the draft reads, adding that “police brutality is a stain on the soul of our nation”. The platform calls for “strict national standards governing the use of force” and for the nation to “reimagine policing for the benefit and safety of the American people”, with the US Justice Department taking a more active role in collecting statistics on police violence and investigating departments where it is alleged. But the document stops short of activists’ calls to “defund the police”, reflecting Biden’s position on the matter.

Trump has sought to link Biden to the activists’ calls for eliminating traditional law enforcement.

Still, Democrats’ draft language on policing and law enforcement is significantly sharper than a much shorter section on the matter in 2016. That platform called for improving police-community relations but emphasised: “Across the country, there are police officers inspiring trust and confidence, honorably doing their duty … demonstrating that it is possible to prevent crime without relying on unnecessary force. They deserve our respect and support.”

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge



Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.



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Is Johnson Byabashaija courting Enid Kukunda for protection?



The very amiable Commissioner General of Prisons Canon Johnson Byabashaija was recently sighted with President Y K Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s second wife Enid Kukunda as the two had a very secretive meeting in one of the city hangouts.

According to our informers, the two seem to be in a deep conversation that they wouldn’t allow a housefly pass around. However, sources further reveal that Byabashaija could have courted the second lady for protection given that he has amassed a lot of wealth and could be a subject of investigations.

Our sources reveal that Byabashaija who carries himself as Mr.I know it all hasn’t met Madam Enid alone but a host of others with connections to the centre of power in the country.

We will bring you more detail

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Bobi Wine released on Bail



Presidential candidate and kyadondo East legislator Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu has been realeased on bail by the Iganga magistrates court where he appeared to defend himself against accusations of flouting COVID-19 campaign SOPs. A defiant Kyagulanyi took the opportunity to blast the incumbent Yoweri Museveni, whom he accuses of using state power to quell dissident.

This follows a tense week that has seen thousands injured and several dead following Hon. Kyagulanyi’s arrest earlier this week. Demonstrations and riots erupted in many parts of the country and heavy police and army deployment was seen all over the country.

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