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Published: Sat, 10 Dec 2016 09:02:22 +0000

Last Build Date: Sat, 10 Dec 2016 09:02:22 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want

Democrats Almost Certainly Don’t Need To Pander To Racists To Win White Working Class Voters

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 02:22:08 +0000

It’s been a little over a month now since Trump and the Republicans came out on top in the election, and for the most part people have agreed that this is mostly, though not exclusively, because Hillary failed to appeal to white working class voters, particularly in the Midwest.


This has led Democrats, particularly on the left, to pour scorn on the Clinton campaign and for failing to even try to appeal to the white working class with a campaign of economic populism.

This has set off alarm from a large set of socially liberal pundits. How can the Democrats appeal to people who have voted for Donald Trump, not just in spite of his misogynistic racism, but partly because of his misogynistic racism? Surely doing that would require compromising the party’s commitment to racial justice.

To back this up, they point to the example of “the last Democrat win the white working class”, Bill Clinton. In popular retelling, Bill Clinton did this by tacking a more socially conservative line and generally embracing rural white cultural ephemera. Part and parcel with this was a not to subtle attempt to pander to the prejudices of the white working class, making big public displays of rejecting black radicals (“Sista Soulja Moments”), tough on crime measures that targeted minorities, and placating white resentment of black welfare queens with promises of welfare reform.

Through all of this, there’s the presumption that what Bill Clinton did fundamentally worked as a way of winning over white working class voters in middle America. Not only that, pandering to racists is perhaps the only way to appeal to white working class voters, and any campaign economic populism will surely fall flat if it doesn’t. That sort of zero-sum tradeoff would certainly create a problem for Democrats who ostensibly want to pursue both economic justice and racial justice simultaneous, and may hemorrhage the party.

Fortunately, for everyone, they’re probably wrong. If you actually go back and look at the election results from the 90s, it becomes pretty clear that Clinton’s strategy at the time probably wouldn’t work in the places Democrats need to be competitive today. I’d also argue that people who presume this are grossly oversimplifying the relationship between working class politics and racial resentment.

Full post here

House Republicans introduce bill to slash Social Security, daring Trump to keep promise to save it

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:51:07 +0000

Donald Trump repeatedly promised in his campaign to leave Social Security alone, to make sure that the program would remain untouched for seniors and future retirees. House Republicans either didn't believe him, or figure they can roll him and push through legislation to undermine the most popular and effective government program in the nation's history. That's what Rep. Sam Johnson's (R-TX)—Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee—legislation would do. He calls it a "Plan to Permanently Save Social Security," but since it's coming from a Republican, you already know not to believe that.

It's not out-and-out privatization, but would so weaken the promise of it to eventually end up there. As Nancy Altman, founding co-director of Social Security Works, says:

"No one voted for massive cuts to Social Security, nor to end the program as we know it. Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to not touch Social Security. But the powerful Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee has just unveiled a proposal that would slash Social Security benefits and radically transform the program. The Johnson plan would gradually but inexorably turn Social Security from a program that replaces wages to one that produces essentially one flat benefit, independent of how much a worker contributed.

"Moreover, the proposal would reduce Social Security’s cost of living increases (COLAs) for everyone and eliminate them entirely for some, even though COLAs are already inadequate. And this radical plan would reduce benefits for spouses and children of workers so seriously disabled that they can no longer support their families."

It would raise the retirement age, too, which is a cut in and of itself for future beneficiaries. The Chief Actuary for Social Security analyzed the proposal and diving deep into the tables, it looks like the cuts start in 2023, relative to current benefits (that's just six years away, btw). By 2033, they'll be about 10 percent below what they'd be under current law, and basically just continue to decline. The promise of Social Security to future generations of Americans would be kaput. 

That's an important point, one reiterated by Josh Marshall. If you're still working, and have been paying Social Security "you've been paying in not only money for current beneficiaries but additional money which was invested in US government bonds to make it possible for Social Security to pay benefits of Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers." This bill shows that Republicans plan to steal all that money that's been invested for your retirement in bonds. You won't ever see it. It's going to go to tax cuts for the rich.

Daily Kos Los Angeles Potluck Update

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 23:32:23 +0000


We will be getting together on Saturday, December 17th, 1:00pm in Pasadena for a potluck and future planning for our group. You are welcome to attend with or without contribution of food. 

We look forward to meeting new members and reconnecting with our old members. 

Please kosmail 714day for the address. 


1. 714day     (Pasta & Salad)

2. gmats     (Paper Goods)

3. jakedog42

4. usulafaw

5. Dretutz

6. J Graham

7. Joe Bacon

8. murphy

9. susans     (Macaroni & Cheese)

10. otoelbc     (Coke & Diet Coke)

11. just sayin     (Pita Fixin’s/Greek Salad/Pita)

12. band choir mom     (Salvadoran Tamales)     (possibly +1)

13. alguien 

14. ZackfromtheSFV     (Drinks, something horsd’oervy)


1. little brown girl 

The gravy for Republicans in repealing Obamacare as fast as they can—the tax cut for the rich

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 18:25:13 +0000

One of the things Obamacare did, and did effectively, was pay for providing health insurance to millions by increasing taxes on a relative handful of high-income Americans. The fact that those tax hikes will go away along with health insurance for 30 million people helps explain why Republican leadership is hell-bent on doing it as soon as possible.

Two taxes that will be presumably axed with the law affect only those making $200,000 or more. The break the ACA repeal will bring to those taxpayers will amount to a $346 billion tax cut in total over 10 years, according to the CBO report on the 2015 repeal legislation GOP lawmakers say they’ll be using as their model next year.

As University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley pointed out on the Incidental Economist blog, this comes as Trump and his surrogates promised that any major tax cut for the rich will be offset by closing their deductions, which would not be the case with the cuts in the ACA repeal.

"That $346 billion represents about $1,000 for every man, woman, and child in the United States. Every cent will go into the pockets of people making more than $200,000 per year," Bagley wrote. […]
"Repealing the Affordable Care Act is a way to give wealthy people a fairly substantial tax cut without that necessarily being the largest headline," Harry Stein, the director of fiscal policy at the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress, told TPM. […] “To me personally, that’s the best part about repealing Obamacare,” Ryan Ellis, former tax policy director for Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, told Politico. “Because on the health care side of it, you have this complicated ‘replace’ that you have to turn to after that, but on taxes, it’s all easy—it’s all dessert.”

Republicans in power and patriarchy

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 18:18:40 +0000

 Republicans in power, continue to uphold the core principles of an archaic outdated and rigid world view, patriarchy. Their world view supports and promotes a value system that is the epitome of the punishing absent father, father knows best, the slave master, the entitled adulterer and purveyor of prostitutes. They are gods of home and field, captains of industry and trade who like to play war games as boardroom generals.  They scoff at the soft sciences and blithely dismiss the hard sciences with a wink and a nod toward mortality and self-aggrandizement. In the guise of conservatism they cloak their particular outdated brand of spit polish swagger, confident and absolute in the delusion that they know what is best for all.  They pat little children on the head, while stealing their cereal, women on the butt while using and abusing them, and in the same strokes they destroy access to healthcare to treat sexual assault, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. They then utilize religious institutional systems that they have lovingly constructed to manage their psychopathic morality while cross carrying charlatans absolve them of their dirty sins.

     They stand in masculine chorus lauding the clarion call for less government when in truth their goal is more government, more invasion of personal liberties, more theft of personal freedoms and the dissolution of civil rights. They want to close the borders to trade under the auspice of saving the domestic economy when in fact it is an isolationist policy to exert more control over the populace and international trade partners. They are doing so by closing borders, by building walls so as to man them with guns, by developing state sanctioned slavery as evidenced by their building more private prisons and buying more stock in them, by quelling first amendment rights and freedom of speech through proposing legislation to quell protests and dissent and to block public access to public lands and public parks with the broad brush of law and order, absent justice, absent truth. And all the while they have their nervous little fingers in every domestic and international pot of gold.  The ultimate aim for them is power, control, carnal pleasures, and wealth. They hungrily desire to increase the wealth in their personal coffers by promoting their own present and future business enterprises. They endeavor to utilize the institutions of governmental power to reign over the populace in order to quell any open and/or covert rebellion, they will broker no compromise or threats to the philosophical principals that hold sway over their domain of power and control.  

Coverage of Post Election Poll

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:55:50 +0000

This is coverage of  one of the post election polls I think polls still have a place in our politics. Charles Franklin of MU Law School did state that his poll came out before the FBI drop. Most polls were right in aligning with the popular vote. The first poll I want to cover is individual politicians in Washington Job performance of President Barack Obama  (PPP)             50% Approve             45% Disapprove             5% Not sure The thing i want to note about the president's numbers is that other polls have been taken that show him with higher approval ratings.             President-elect Donald Trump (PPP)                43% Favorable                51% Unfavorable                8% Not Sure According to pew research he has been the most unpopular president-elect in modern history. Only 41% approve of his cabinet choices.?     Now the important stuff, individual issues.                How concerned are you about Trump’s relationships with organizations, businesses, foreign governments will conflict with his ability to serve the country's best interest.? ( Pew Research)                 45% Very concerned                 20% Somewhat Concerned                 20% Not at all Concerned                 14% Not too Concerned                  1% Not Sure I said this was going to be an issue since the beginning. I believe Newsweek wrote a story on him violating the embargo with Cuba.  The other one is his connection to the mob.      Public Opinion of Health Care Law or Obamacare  (Pew Research)                 48% Approve                 47% disapprove                  1% Not Sure I personally believe that it's going to be harder than they think to repeal Obamacare.People have realized that they could stay on their parents insurance until the age of 26. They have realized that their pre-existing conditions will be covered. I do believe we can win this fight and change the polls not our principles.           Who do you trust more to nominate a Supreme Court Justice.? (PPP)                    52% Obama                    45% Trump                     6% Not Sure Here is the thing… Look at who he putting into cabinet positions. Do you really want to know who he wants to appoint the the supreme court?     What do you think the minimum wage should be ?                      29% $15                      28% $10                     19% $12                     13% $7.25                      9% Eliminated                       3% Not Sure Like Obamacare this is another issue where history will be on our side. Most companies have already gone to a $8-10 entry level wage. Over 80% of respondents to this poll  believe that a criminal background check  should be required for firearm sales. That is the same for the notion that someone on the terrorist watch list should not be able to purchase a firearm. I provided a link to the poll it goes into more issues. [...]

Neoliberal Democrats: Just like the Old GM

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:54:29 +0000

Just a quickie: I just posted an essay on VOXery bullshit yesterday, but thought I'd add a note.

The centrists are busily doing a little dance step that allows them to deny that Trump got working-class votes. Those voters were simply "uneducated," the centrists insist, not struggling. This brilliant piece of political deduction is accomplished by ignoring class differences within the "non-college educated" demographic ... it assumes they votes as a bloc. But of course that demographic includes highly successful small business people (contractors, tradesmen, restaurateurs, etc.) who traditionally vote Republican in addition to unemployed wage earners who don't. You can't lump them together ... the latter group went Trump this time whereas they went Obama last time (in the Upper Midwest at least).

The Democratic neoliberals are like the Old GM. Imagine a staff meeting at GM in say 1999 to come up with a production plan. Engineer (aka Bernie Sanders): "Hey, we got these great ideas for making higher tech, gas-saving, economical models to compete with Toyota and Nissan and the new Korean companies." Brass (neoliberals): "we're already making profit with our over priced, obsolete SUVs and trucks. Why bother to retool? We'll just continue to make what we make. Besides, the union sucks."

That's the Democratic centrists in 2016, even after the loss this year. "We've had modest success in the past by using identity politics and free trade as our platform. Screw the engineers who want to build something new. Let's just keep doing what we're doing."

And of course we all know what happens next. The company goes under.

Senate Democrats drive wedge between Trump, Republicans in government shutdown threat

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:57:21 +0000

Campaign Action

Donald Trump says he cares about coal miners and he says the nation should be using American-made steel and Senate Democrats are giving him the chance to prove it by promising a brief government shutdown on those issues. On Thursday, the House passed a continuing resolution to fund government through April of next year and then left for the holiday recess, but Senate Democrats aren't ready to start vacation, not until they actually help American workers.

About 12,500 former union miners and their families have been told their health benefits will lapse come Jan. 1, and an additional 10,000 are in danger of losing benefits at a later date. Many are also facing potential cuts to their retirement benefits due to declining coal companies being unable to make required contributions to pension funds. […]

[Sen. Joe] Manchin is demanding a vote on an amendment to extend miners’ medical benefits for one year. The spending bill includes a four month extension, which critics of the proposal say is inadequate.

Democrats are playing up Trump’s support for coal country as they try to pressure Republicans.

Dear Republicans, Democrats are not going to save your sorry asses on Obamacare repeal

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:09:01 +0000

Republicans—who are still squabbling over how to do Obamacare repeal and haven't even begun fighting over replacement—still think Democrats will somehow save their bacon. Democrats continue to tell them to get fucked.

Republicans plan to put the squeeze on Democrats by warning that they will take the blame if ObamaCare disappears and the 20 million people who have gained coverage from the law have nowhere to go.

"When that day came and you did nothing, if you want to play politics, I think the blame would go to people who didn't want to do anything," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters last week.

Just let that sink in for a moment. A unified Republican government—White House, Senate, House of Representatives—destroys a critical program helping millions of people, unilaterally. They break it. And they believe it's up to the minority to do the actual governing to clean up the mess? This is what they think their job is. Blowing up shit then making Democrats clean up their shit. Which isn't going to happen this time. 

"We're not going to do a replacement," [incoming Democratic leader Chuck] Schumer said. "If they repeal without a replacement, they will own it. Democrats will not then step up to the plate and come up with a half-baked solution that we will partially own. It's all theirs." […]

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called it an "absolute fantasy" that Republicans would come up with a replacement that covers 20 million people with the same level of protections for people with preexisting conditions.

"There is absolutely no replacement coming," Murphy said. "If they want to repeal this, it's not coming back."

If Republicans are looking to scare vulnerable Democrats who are up for reelection in two years into helping it's not working. Here's Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO): "It's so incredibly irresponsible to forward the notion that they have been preaching repeal and replace, repeal and replace, and they're going to repeal without telling the American people what the replace is? […] First things first, put on the table what the replace is going to be and once they've done that, then I'll be happy to comment on it."

Not. Going. To. Happen.

Evidence? What Evidence?: 'Recount' Stopped in MI, Stein Appeals MI, PA, WI: 'BradCast' 12/8/2016

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 02:31:59 +0000

Systemic obstacles to citizen oversight of election results continue to reveal 'outrageous', 'farcical' deficiencies in U.S. election processes... On today's BradCast, our coverage of what suffices in the U.S. as a Presidential election "recount" continues, in no small part, because someone has to cover what is actually going on there. [Audio link to show posted below.]   A federal court ruling [PDF] issued late yesterday in Michigan has effectively stopped the counting of paper ballots in the state following an earlier 3-Republican judge state court ruling that Green Party candidate Jill Stein is not an "aggrieved candidate" and, thus, not entitled to any type of "recount". Moreover, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith finds there is no federally recognized right to a "recount" and, in any case, Stein presented no "evidence of significant fraud or mistake" while asking for one. But, of course, how could she, without being allowed to examine the evidence in question? State Republicans described the suspension of ballot counting as "a victory for the taxpayers and voters of Michigan." That, even as scores of precincts across the state -- hundreds in Detroit alone -- were deemed "unrecountable" by election officials under MI's horrible statutes disallowing the hand-count of votes when human error or computer vote tabulator failure leaves Election Night ballot totals off by as little as a single ballot, as compared to the number of names signed in to pollbooks. Even in just three days of counting before it's suspension today, many such precincts were found to be "unrecountable", despite totally unreconciled vote tallies. "It is an outrage that the voters of Michigan are being denied their right to have their votes properly counted," rails longtime election integrity advocate and attorney John Bonifaz, one of those who initially argued to both Hillary Clinton and Stein that a post-election count was necessary. "Because of a partisan state appeals court decision, Americans will never know the truth about what happened in this election." Bonifaz was joined by many longtime computer science and voting systems experts, such as Douglas Jones of the University Iowa, who warns today: "In a healthy democracy, elections are run with sufficient transparency that partisans of the losing candidate can convince themselves that they lost fair and square. Recounts in close elections are a necessary part of this transparency, particularly when the margin of victory is exceeded by an unusual number of ballots that were cast without reporting any vote in the election."  Jones is referring to the 75,000 ballots in MI said to have no vote for President at all, nearly twice as many undervotes as reported in 2012, despite a 10,000 vote margin between Trump and Clinton in MI, where some 5 million votes were cast. That case is headed to MI's Supreme Court, where Stein is demanding two state Justices recuse themselves after being named by Donald Trump as potentially U.S. Supreme Court nominees. In Pennsylvania, a similar, if even worse case of lacking "evidence" of fraud has served to block forensic analyses of the otherwise 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting and tabulation systems used across most of the state. Late Wednesday, Stein filed a new court challenge in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), seeking the type of examination that computer science and voting systems experts have been desperately calling for. A similar challenge was rejected yesterday in Philadelphia guessed it...lack of evidence of fraud. And in Wisconsin, observers of the ongoing counts and retallies are calling for a federal suit -- which, I'm told, could be filed on Friday -- seeking a statewide hand-count of paper ballots, after a state court previously found a new law passed by Republicans last year allowed most of t[...]

The global collapse of the center-left

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:56:04 +0000

“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”   - W.B. Yeats   French president Francois Hollande will not seek re-election in 2017, mostly due to his historic unpopularity. His political failure strongly resembles the demise of the Democrats. Hollande needed to appeal to both the Socialists’ former working class base and to more prosperous urban liberals. He could not.    In France, the much-maligned mondialisation (globalization) is embodied by institutions like the European Union, the concept of open borders, and trade deals that have coincided with the disappearance of manufacturing jobs. The parallels between French voter backlash and America’s Trumpland are clear.   Americans are famously unable to see beyond our borders. Thus, Trump's victory is the one tree in a global center-left collapse forest. Stepping back and seeing the entire landscape would allow Democrats to see the political landscape has changed, and the need for fundamental reforms. So why is the centre-left by and large not benefiting from the failures of their political opponents? The deep reason lies in its absorption of the policies of the centre-right, going back almost three decades: the acceptance of free trade agreements, the deregulation of everything, and (in the eurozone) of binding fiscal rules and the most extreme version of central bank independence on earth. They are all but indistinguishable from their opponents. The story is much the same in the United States, where the lion's share of deregulation has been done under Democrats. The same goes for Australia, where the Labour Party is also in decline.   Even when it comes to warmongering, Democrats are virtually indistinguishable from Republicans.  Why did the center-left embrace this neoliberal agenda? For the money. The greatest assault on traditional social democracy in the last generation has come from “Third Way” leaders of center-left parties like Tony Blair, and their continental European counterparts. Like the Clinton Democrats, these “modernizing” social democrats embraced free markets with a convert’s zeal, celebrating globalization and deregulating finance, while seeking to privatize or dismantle parts of the older welfare state. The politicians of the Third Way were far more libertarian than the voters in their own parties and their actions helped to make possible the global economic crisis.   Having given up traditional social democratic economics for a watered-down version of libertarian conservatism, the Third Way social democrats in Europe, like the Clinton and Obama Democrats in the U.S., sought to replace the traditional bread-and-butter concerns of working-class voters with idealistic campaigns about multiculturalism, climate change and obesity that appealed to more affluent, college-educated voters. Multiculturalism, climate change and obesity are worthy causes, but they don't endanger the power or profits of the ruling elites.   That is the problem. The size of the problem is staggering.  Overall, the total vote share for the continent's traditional center-left parties is now at its lowest level since at least World War II. Like the Democrats, these parties have been marginalized, with little influence over policy as the right prepares to place its stamp on the Western world in a way that could endure for decades.   "If the left and the center-left don't get their act together, then we're looking at a period of very unstable right-wing hegemony," said Alex Callinicos, a European studies professor at King's College London.  If the problem was just greed or incompetence, then fixing this would be no more difficult than replacing people. Unfortunately, the problem goes much, much deeper, to the very ideolog[...]

Republican's repeal plan could make 30 million uninsured, more than pre-Obamacare

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:36:55 +0000

When they destroy stuff, they really mean it, those Republicans. A new study from the Urban Institute, based on the repeal bill passed by Congress earlier this year (it's all we've got to go by, since they haven't come up with anything else), finds that the plan would end insurance for more than 30 million people.

Here's just a snapshot of the wreckage.

  • The number of uninsured people would rise from 28.9 million to 58.7 million in 2019, an increase of 29.8 million people (103 percent). The share of nonelderly people without insurance would increase from 11 percent to 21 percent, a higher rate of uninsurance than before the ACA because of the disruption to the nongroup insurance market.
  • Of the 29.8 million newly uninsured, 22.5 million people would become uninsured as a result of eliminating the premium tax credits, the Medicaid expansion, and the individual mandate. The additional 7.3 million people would become uninsured because of the near collapse of the nongroup insurance market.
  • Eighty-two percent of the people becoming uninsured would be in working families, 38 percent would be ages 18 to 34, and 56 percent would be non-Hispanic whites. Eighty percent of adults becoming uninsured would not have college degrees.
  • There would be 12.9 million fewer people with Medicaid or CHIP coverage in 2019.

What would happen is that immediate repeal would take the subsidies away from everyone, they wouldn't be able to afford it, and only the sickest people would stay enrolled. The end of the mandate to buy insurance would mean fewer would sign up in the first place. The mandate on insurers to keep people with pre-existing conditions would still stand, and these factors combined would cause the collapse of the individual market. It would start immediately, Urban predicts, with 4.3 million dropping their coverage and becoming uninsured next year. But that's not all!

My four main thoughts for dealing with the election

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:23:07 +0000

So; we're getting to the point that the popular vote is approaching Hillary winning by three million votes; but apparently that doesn't matter. Everyone scoffs at the idea that electors ought to vote for the winner of the popular vote; and now people seem to want to say John Kaisch?! This is bullshit. I've spent some time recently teaching my parents and family how to use chat systems with end to end encryption; and warning that I'll stop responding to iMessage texts and that they better get used to Signal before Inauguration Day. But... then I realized this this is still pretty defeatist. I want to outline my thoughts, and see if other people agree. My prayers and plans and hopes (and if there's bible methods to get 'em there; my Dollars) go to the following ideas- Convincing electors to do the right thing I sincerely hope that Hillary is quietly seeking out any and all electors and saying, "he's starting a trade war" or "he wants to sell your reservation to the oil companies" or "he seems to be more interested in his stock portfolio than your state's industry" or even just "go make fun of him and see how he reacts- now imagine he could order a drone strike, or a nuke". I she should offer these electors damn near anything; because even if she sells out to them; it can't be as bad as a Trump presidency already is; and the fucker isn't even president yet. If he has to dump Tim Kaine and take John Kaisch as her veep instead (just as long as he’s… you know… not allowed to try and push any anti-abortion bullshit)- sold. Still better than Trump. If she has to promise not to run for re-election; that's all the better. After the tarnish of all this; I think the Dems will want to run against her anyway in 2020. If she has to pre-approve her picks for Supreme Court nominees by a gang of 40 or 50 former electoral college voters; I can live with that (on the caveat that they CANNOT ask about Roe v Wade. Period.) pretty much anything else is negotiable to me. Because fuck it; have you seen what we'll deal with otherwise? Option 2- High Noon. We all know that if the republicans were facing something like this (and by "like this" I mean, "genuinely believe the incoming candidate is unlikely to get through four years without terrible disasters and/or ending this country" not just, "they're doodie heads") they would not hesitate to do the same to us. Hell, if they had a Supreme Court opening timed in a transition like this; they'd probably go for it just on the principle of not wanting to deal with us and our hearings. But I don't think we should stop with Merrill Garland. That's not enough to keep us safe; and really; if we do this- we should make it splashy enough to get the will to shut the door on it behind us. Push through Garland; and then every single other Obama appointment they held up over the last 8 years that would persist past an election. Then talk with Ruth Bader Ginsburg; and ask her, "how are you doing, do you have 4 more years of this left in you?" I admire her, but she is 83; and I think she might enjoy retirement; especially if she knew that we'd put a worthy successor in her place. Maybe Hillary; or maybe just ask her who she'd want. The key is; that Donald Trump cannot have a majority; and I'd rather he didn't even get a chance to appoint a justice at all. Failing those ideas; I live in California; I'll go for secession. I'd rather that we take Oregon and Washington with us; because Trump has no particular use for a coastline to trade with China from. I've lived in California and Oregon; I love Seattle; and I'd like to keep Amazon, too :-p call me selfish; but I think these states are enough to give us a self sufficient country; and there's enough of a movemen[...]

Permanent and Local.

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:07:05 +0000

In our first post on this blog we identified six pillars needed to revive the Democratic Party and chart a path to electoral victories.  We also briefly sketched some ideas about the costs and structure of reform.  The Six Pillars for remaking the Party are

  • Permanent and Local,
  • Membership Driven and Service Providing,
  •  Focus on Young People Constantly,
  • Communicate Information and not just Advertising,
  • Call Time is Killing the Democratic Party and
  • We need to innovate, innovate, innovate.  

These six pillars will help build a party that can do the hard work ahead of us.  Today we will dig into the first pillar>

 Permanent and Local.

          Many ideas and assumptions stand behind this pillar (and others), and we will expand on each as time goes on.  But the basics are really simple. There are way too many places in this country where the Democratic Party is on or near life support.  We don’t mean to denigrate some of the hard work being done by local Democratic parties in these areas. But despite this work in huge parts of the country, the Party seems not to exist.  For example, in Pennsylvania, one of the states that tipped the election, Trump took more than 60% of the vote in 49 out of 67 counties.  In a great many counties his totals were even higher.  We’ll tackle Pennsylvania specifics in a later post, but for now it’s important to note that the Pennsylvania pattern was repeated in hundreds of counties all across America. 

The goal of permanent and local is to reverse the downward slide.   Local is the first step.  We need to be in all of these counties. The danger we are fighting is very simple to understand.  A party culture can begin to dominate.  All of your neighbors start voting the same way, and the holdouts begin to wonder why they are holdouts. Even the people who stick with you become less likely to speak up because they don’t want to be the only one dissenting.  This process can turn a 2-1 county into a 3-1 county, and that kind of bleeding can kill you. Obviously, the Party’s challenge stems partly from the message and the issue set, and some of the noise that surrounds our national media environment.  We will address all of that later too, but as a clear first step up showing up in more places will help..

 We also risk a somewhat similar problem in our base areas.  This is where permanent is more important than local. Turnout will drop if voters sense that politicians only come around when they want a community’s votes but not the rest of the time.  Swooping in also has a generally disrespectful feel even if it works. The problems faced by people are constant. The Party’s ability to fix them should be too.  

          There is another key advantage of permanent and local.  By doing things this way, and by not skipping anywhere, we send an unmistakable message that we care about the entire country through our physical presence and people on the ground. This signal helps to short circuit the discussion of which groups the Democratic Party should focus on or care about. Obviously, as an election approaches, more resources must go to where Democrats do better.  But by starting with the signal that we want everyone’s vote equally, we skip difficult and potentially unproductive conversations by merely committing to be everywhere.  We tried being smarter and targeting only some voters. 2016 was the result.  

Conclusion:  Permanent and local will not fix everything.  We will need to flesh out the additional five pillars, but this is the place to start.

Why I'm Still Grieving... I Don't Think I'm Alone

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:33:03 +0000

There have been a couple of diaries (by people I respect) and several comments (again, from people I respect) questioning, wondering why we haven't moved on from our grieving the Election night results. I was thinking about that while lying in bed last night and I wanted to break it down because I'm one of those people who is still grieving. I understand that we need to fight. I get that we need to start coalescing and figure out how to deal with what happened... but I'm still grieving and based on commentary I've read, I'm not alone. So for those among us who have moved on (and good for you, really, GOOD FOR YOU! I wish I could), here are some reasons I figure that not everyone is there yet and the grieving process is not over. 1. As slim a shot as it is, there is still the Hail Mary of the Electoral College vote on December 19th. Will anything come of it? Almost certainly, positively, absolutely not. I'm fairly certain that most people who are waiting on that date understand this. The odds are most definitely NOT in our favor, like at all. Speaking for myself: I get this; I really, really do. However until that last small, quivering flicker of hope is extinguished, I can't let go of it... no matter how small because... 2. This wasn't just any kind of loss. The most experienced and qualified candidate lost the Electoral vote to an admitted sexual predator who is also openly racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, thin-skinned and an obvious danger to the future of not only this country, but the planet itself. And the really scary part is that the last part of the previous sentence is NOT hyperbole. Even if Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3-4 million votes, enough people STILL voted to put that horrible, horrible man into arguably (and not by much) the single, most important job on this Earth. He has the power to destroy everything we hold dear. EVERYTHING. Literally. This is not a regular loss. This is not about Democrats vs. Republicans. This is about Decent Human Beings vs. Dangerous Assholes. And the latter won out. This isn't about another white male politician against another white male politician; it's about the first female candidate vs. a misogynistic white male. And the latter won out. 3. Oh, and that... So much pointed to the United States FINALLY having a female President, and one who was ridiculously qualified for the position. We were going to join so much of the rest of the world by giving an actual GIRL! the highest political job in the country. Talk about PROGRESSIVENESS! Instead, it not only went to ANOTHER freaking white male... it went to a ridiculously unqualified, openly sexist, racist, xenophobic, fear-mongering, childish, lying, freaking white male. The misogyny of that BURNS SO HARD. The majority of this country would rather have that MONSTER in the Oval Office than a girl! 4. I'm putting myself in the shoes of the Bernie Sanders' supporters who did rally behind Hillary after she won the nomination. I could be wrong because I never was a Bernie supporter, but I was thinking that for them it must be beyond frustrating. They truly believed in Bernie. They truly believed that he was the change this country needed, and that had he been nominated the Democratic candidate would be the President-Elect. So, yes, a whole bunch of freshly-parsed vitriol against Hillary and all she did wrong* is coming out now from some in the Bernie camp, but for the first time I get it. They didn't want a Republican—especially that particular individual—to win. They believed that Bernie would beat him. But now... not only did Bernie not even get a chance to run against that monster and prove just what he could do, but Hillary (the one w[...]

Signs of a Failing State

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:05:02 +0000

If you recounted the tale of national elections held in the U.S. since the turn of the millennium to an intelligent visitor from outer space, he would quickly conclude that our smug professions of self-government represent little more than naive illusions. In particular, the 2000 election and the consecutive presidencies of Barack Obama and Donald Trump may be remembered by future historians as the beginning of the end in America’s experiment with democracy. The outcome of the 2000 presidential election resembled nothing more closely than a scrum for a loose pigskin on the gridiron. After calling the election for Al Gore, news networks were forced to reverse themselves and the voters’ sovereign electoral power quickly devolved into a no-holds-barred contest among political hacks and lawyers. Regardless of one’s beliefs about the legitimacy of what transpired to seat George W. Bush in the White House, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that the outcome of the 2000 election was fishy in the extreme. Equally fishy was the fact that the Monica Lewinsky sideshow and subsequent GOP impeachment effort crippled Gore from the very outset by compelling him to distance himself from the successes and wide popularity of Bill Clinton. In terms of the two parties’ power relationship, and even without the advantages of incumbency, the GOP clearly was sitting in the driver’s seat. The Kenneth Starr investigation had effectively sheared off any coattails that might otherwise have helped to propel Gore into the Oval Office. Thus, the brilliance of Republican strategy involved what they were able to accomplish at taxpayer expense prior to the 2000 campaign by repeatedly dragging President Clinton through the mud via releasing a steady stream of salacious details regarding his extramarital relationship. These efforts led directly to the election of President George W. Bush, whose overall record surely will rank among the worst in U.S. history. Not only did Bush wage an unnecessary war based on phony intelligence at the cost of trillions, he presided over the economic meltdown of 2008 for which taxpayers also were left holding the bag. So unpopular were Bush and his team of political hacks by the end of his second term that neither the ex-president nor former Vice President Dick Cheney was invited to the 2008 Republican National Convention. This unprecedented occurrence prompted comedian Bill Maher to portray the GOP, not as a political party, but as “a witness protection program.”          Intending no disrespect and despite Obama’s commendable performance during the past eight years, the mere fact that conditions in 2008 had reached a point where it was possible for an African American to be nominated, elected and then reelected as President of the United States should have been recognized as a sign of problems developing within the U.S. political system. Instead, many misinterpreted Obama’s ascension as the dawn of a new and more tolerant era in America. But the recent election of Donald Trump to the world’s most powerful office explodes this myth and offers compelling evidence that “we the people” may be coming to resemble a gaggle of drunken sailors who careen recklessly from one side of the street to the other. Just as Obama’s election in 2008 suggested a U.S. political system starting to run off track, so does the recent election of Trump confirm this troubling impression.  As it did in the 2000 election, the Democratic Party once again has allowed itself to be relentlessly hammered by Republican propaganda which successfully cast Hillary Clinton as a criminal and traitor, despite the utter la[...]

"Democrat" who tried to convince Sarah Palin to run against Obama in 2012 criticizes Keith Ellison

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:33:06 +0000

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article does not imply any political endorsement from Gabrielle Giffords.

Amy Siskind, a former contributor to The Daily Beast who is probably best known for her ill-fated attempt to convince Sarah Palin to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 against a sitting Democratic president, recently criticized Democratic National Committee chairperson candidate Keith Ellison, claiming that Ellison pals around with anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT people:


Siskind wrote two articles for The Daily Beast praising Palin, calling for her to run for the Republican nomination against President Barack Obama in 2012 and calling for her to run on the kind of gender identity politics that Hillary Clinton made infamous this year. For all of the talk from people like Siskind about Ellison’s past associations with people who are anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT (even though Ellison himself is not, in any way, anti-Semitic or anti-LGBT, which is what matters, and Siskind herself is certainly not anti-Semitic or anti-LGBT), Siskind openly called for someone who is anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT to run for president four years ago! Palin has openly opposed equal rights for LGBT people in this country throughout her career as a political figure and a public figure, and, not long after then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ; Giffords is Jewish) was badly wounded in the Tuscon massacre, Palin accused people who were critical of campaign tactics invoking imagery of violence of blood libel.

Since the candidate I originally endorsed for DNC chair, Howard Dean, is no longer running, and Ellison has pledged to be a full-time DNC chair with undivided attention to running the DNC if elected, I have endorsed Keith Ellison’s campaign for DNC chair. Ellison is a take-no-prisoners political fighter who isn’t beholden to the bipartisan political elite or the corporate media, and he’ll fight for a bottom-up Democratic Party led by ordinary Americans who strive for a more perfect Union for all Americans!

So, Where Do We Go From Here?

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:15:51 +0000

I wrote last week about Donald Trump, and the things he means and doesn’t mean to me. I'd now like to follow up with my second-ever diary, adding my humble opinions to the many expressed on here, about where we go as a party in this country from here. I think some of the reaction, understandably, has been to blow up the party apparatus, the messaging, the type of candidates, the DNC, all of it, and start over. While I understand the sentiment (Donald effing Trump is president-elect after all), I think that may be a slight over-reaction. Our ideas were still more popular than theirs. The first and most obvious remedy for me is one that democrats have needed for a long time. We need to learn how to talk to people, all people, about what we as a party stand for, and have done and continue to do for them. I think sometimes we count on people to reflexively know that we stand for them, but those who don’t pay attention to politics like the wonderful people on this site do, can be won or lost via messaging. We must find a way to break through the noise and tell people how and why we are the party for them. Second, I think we must launch all of this rage, despair, and fright of Trump and the Republicans into a major midterm effort to save some, if not all, of our Senators in 2018. This will mean, unfortunately for some I’m sure, working for and supporting some of the more moderate members of our caucus. I know that’s not necessarily popular, but personally I’d much rather have Jon Tester standing up to Trump 80-85% of the time, than somebody like Ryan Zinke rubber-stamping every extraction project and torture chamber Trump proposes. Same goes for Joe Donnelly,  Bob Casey, Claire McCaskill, etc. That doesn’t mean, to me at least, that we can’t hold these folks accountable when we disagree, but to become nationally relevant again, we have to allow for some regional considerations, and not, IMO, be totally rigid in demanding ideological purity from these folks.  With all that being said, we have certain principles we can not bend on, and the folks above and anybody else who wants to run as a Democrat needs to champion these ideas. It seems like a good, simple way to message to folks, around a few common ideas that are anathema to what the Trumplicans are going to attempt to throw over on the American people. 1) All citizens have a right to health care that is both comprehensive and affordable. Any attempt to repeal the ACA, or weaken it in any way, must be opposed. No matter the public perception of “Obamacare,” there are 20 million people insured now that weren’t before. This is a winning issue for us, I think. 2) Working people have a right to organize themselves, for the betterment of themselves and their colleagues. There will certainly be another open assault on labor forthcoming, and if we want to be the party of working people going forward, we must not abandon this principle. 3) We must get some distance from corporate America, in our party. Granted, our economy can not function without banks and markets, but we must never let Wall Street own our party. No matter perceptions or realities of candidates in the past, people who want to run as Democrats must be willing to at the very least defend the principles of Dodd-Frank, if not full reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall act. As many have said here for years, it's hard to represent working people when you choose to also represent those who would take advantage of them.  4) We must continue to defend a woman’s RIGHT to make her own healthcare decisions, no matter what. There are a certain [...]

'Unrecountable' in MI, Blocked in Philly and Other 'Recount' 2016 News: 'BradCast' 12/7/2016

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 02:05:52 +0000

Guest: Election Integrity advocate Paul Lehto says this proves again 'the only option is to get it right on Election Night' | Plus: Trump taps climate science denier, fossil fuel industry tool for EPA chief... On today's BradCast, state and federal court rulings, shameful 'recount' laws and other outrageous obstacles preventing citizen oversight of Presidential election results in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and elsewhere. And, as if that's all not disturbing enough, wait until you hear who Trump is reportedly tapping to head up the Environmental Protection Agency! [Audio link posted below] Our "Recount" 2016 coverage continues today, on the heels of "dueling" federal and state court rulings on Tuesday night in Green Party candidate Jill Stein's fight to continue hand-counts in Michigan, hundreds of precincts across the state (including tens of thousands of ballots) are being declared "unrecountable" by state officials -- for often absurd reasons. We explain those rulings as we await what is likely to be a federal court order ending all counting in the state by tomorrow, despite Trump's razor thin 10,000 vote statewide margin of just one-tenth of one-percent over Hillary Clinton. Another court ruling comes down today against Stein's suit for a forensic analyses of 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems used in Philadelphia, prompting plans to seek same in state court. And the counting (and computer re-scanning) continues in Wisconsin, despite efforts by Team Trump to stop counting and oversight immediately in all three states. We're joined today by author, former attorney and longtime election integrity advocate Paul Lehto to discuss all of the above and much more, including how failed tabulation systems, woeful election law, and extraordinary legal challenges in at least six courts in three states to block all oversight is little more than an invitation for future fraud. On MI's "outrageous" law resulting in hundreds of "unrecountable" precincts in Detroit alone, Lehto charges: "All you need to do is add an extra ballot without adjusting the poll books, which makes it easier to do fraud or easier create an error. And that error or fraud is insulated from ever affecting the results. If somebody did want to do fraud, it's like a dream for them." "But here's the thing: it doesn't really matter, from the perspective of democracy, whether it's an error or whether it's a fraud. Because we're only interested in the true vote count," he tells me. "But in this case, Michigan law itself is protecting and creating 'safe harbor' for both errors and fraud." "Don't count on anything happening after Election Night," Lehto has long warned. "Why? Number one: everybody wants to avoid embarrassment. Nobody wants to be the next Florida. So everybody in the state government and the elections bureau is working really, really hard not to be embarrassed, and that's a non-partisan interest that really goes against transparency. The other thing is that 100 percent of all election law is made by election winners, who absolutely do not want their victories to be questioned. So that's another factor why you can never really count on getting good election laws for post-election remedies, because everybody that's voting on it is a winner and they don't want losers -- or what they would call 'sore losers' -- questioning their great victory. So basically that leaves democracy defenseless." As he describes the evolution of the Election Integrity movement over the past decade, Lehto concludes our system amounts to "basically: certify first, ask questi[...]

Proportional representation of the electoral college would mean a Hillary win.

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 01:04:20 +0000

I just came across this essay and it certainly piqued my interest. 

The Equal Protection Argument Against "Winner Take All' in the Electoral College

In 2000, Republican lawyers, desperately seeking a way to stop the recount in Florida, crafted a brilliant Equal Protection argument against the method by which the Florida courts were recounting votes. Before that election, no sane student of the Constitution would have thought that there was such a claim. When the claim was actually made, every sane lawyer (on Gore’s side at least) thought it was a sure loser. But by a vote of 7 to 2, the Supreme Court recognized the claim...

So, in a one person, one vote system, why should all electors in 48 of our states be granted to one person in a winner take all (WTA) pledge ? The...

...system for allocating electoral votes is not mandated by the Constitution. It is created by the states. And so that raises what should be an obvious and much more fiercely contested question—why isn’t WTA being challenged by the Democrats in this election?

If we had proportional representation voting by the electoral college, here’s what it would look like: 

Trump: 267 Clinton: 270

So now the question is, what do you think of this?  

Schumer to Republicans on Obamacare repeal: You break it, you own it

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:15:51 +0000

This is what Chuck Schumer needs to keep saying, and what Mitch McConnell needs to hear: Democrats aren't going to do anything to mitigate the disaster Republicans are going to create by repealing Obamacare. "They will own it," he tells Greg Sargent.

The emerging GOP plan to repeal Obamacare on a delayed schedule—and then maybe kinda sorta replace it later—has raised a big question: Will Democrats help Republicans pass a replacement that is far less generous and comprehensive than the health law is, allowing Republicans an escape from the political fallout from repeal?

In an interview with me, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer answered this question with a resounding No. Under no circumstances, he vowed, would Democrats throw Republicans such a political lifeline.

"We're not going to do a replacement," Schumer said of the Senate Democratic caucus. "If they repeal without a replacement, they will own it. Democrats will not then step up to the plate and come up with a half-baked solution that we will partially own. It’s all theirs."

That seems pretty damn clear, even if maybe we would opt to put it more colorfully.

Does it Concern you that Demagogues are taking Control of Government?

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:26:28 +0000

General John Kelly was tapped today as the new Homeland Security Chief by President-elect Donald Trump. This is the third proposed appointment by Mr. Trump of a career soldier he vociferously stated during the campaign, that he knows more than. So now along with retired General Kelly, we have Ret. Gen. James “mad dog’ Mattis as Defense Secretary, Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn whose son is his chief advisor and by the way promoted the pizzeria child sex ring story, in the incoming cabinet. We will have generals overseeing international peace and White nationalist in charge of domestic tranquility, hold on folks we are in for a bumpy ride.  I spoke with my son, who spent ten years in the military, who told me, “know one hates war more than soldiers.” I hope with fake war hawks like Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon whispering in Mr. Trump’s ear that adage holds true.   The rest of the cabinet, so far, is full of anti, social policy anarchist.  Betsy DeVos, Jeff Sessions, who failed to pass muster in a previous congressional confirmation hearing  and Mike Pompeo who still holds onto to the false idea that somehow Hillary Clinton engineered the deaths at Benghazi.  The moderate and liberal sides of America, outside the middle, are legitimately frightened of returning to a time when America was Great for the Intolerant. When I was 22 years old I was newly married and planning a future. Within a year of my marriage my wife lost her uncle to a suspicious drowning accident in North Carolina. He was the brother of her father, an affable guy who loved to laugh and play pranks. He was renowned as an expert swimmer and spent most of his life on the water. When we heard of his death we made plans to drive to N.C that week to attend his funeral. His service was held at a small church just outside La Grange, NC, my wife’s home. I was a city boy so I was not use to the constant greetings and waving that took place in small southern towns. I was treated well by not only the Black residents but to my stereotypical surprise by the white residents as well. I found out soda was called pop and to differentiate between light bread if I wanted a sandwich from just “pass the bread” which meant a biscuit.   On the morning of the funeral, the “church house” was packed so full I had to stand outside with maybe 200 hundred others and listen to some scratchy speakers set up for friends and family that could not get in because of the fire codes.  The crowd grew silent and off in the distance a beige Pontiac GTO approached with four young white guys inside. As they approached I was calm because I had been lulled into a false sense of hospitality because of my previous encounters.  I gave the customary wave. The car slowed and the driver asked who was being buried, I assumed in a small town they may have known him.  I gave the driver my wife’s uncles name he nodded smiled and yelled, “I didn’t know they let niggers be buried here now” and sped off literally leaving me choking in disbelief and a dust cloud. Men like Jeff Sessions who was openly racist with co-workers, Michael Flynn who has labeled Islam a “vicious cancer” and Steve Bannon who propped up Breitbart News as the platform for the Alt-right (racism) is not a paranoid delusion, it is a real fear of returning to the day a GTO left me standing in the dust of an ugly past. Vote 2018 it’s not too late!    [...]

As Someone Who Gets His Health Insurance Through the ACA

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:38:27 +0000

This is a plea to the Democrats in Congress:  do NOT go along with Republicans on replacing the ACA.  I have received health insurance through the ACA for the last several years.  My present health insurance is not dream, but it beats what I had before, which I call The Nothing.  Sadly, I fully expect my coverage to end.  However, I do not want to see Democrats help give political cover to the demise of the ACA.  Working to find a replacement to the ACA will not give me new coverage.  It will only be pissing on the grave of the ACA. Why do I say this?  Wouldn’t I want to have “better coverage at lower costs”?  Yes, I would.  So wouldn’t the Democrats want to work with Republicans on replacing the ACA with something better? There is something better to the ACA.  It’s called Medicare for all. But Republicans do not want to expand Medicare. They want to eliminate it.  So we are not going to get better coverage at lower costs that way. And the conservative solution to health insurance reform — not health care but health insurance reform — is the ACA.  When Obama embraced this conservative idea of the individual mandate, it suddenly became toxic.  Republican voters think of it as some kind of government takeover of health care, so it has to go.  So without this conservative idea for health insurance reform, what else do Republicans have to replace the ACA with?  Tort reform, medical savings accounts, and purchasing insurance across state lines.  Republicans know that none of those ideas will address the problem of 20 million people such as myself losing my health insurance.   If I had enough income, do you think I would need premium support from the ACA to get insurance in the first place?  And does Wyoming have some great insurance plan that they do not offer in Kentucky?  And tort reform.  For real? So Republicans have nothing to offer in place of the ACA.  But Republicans are willing to kill the ACA because some biracial guy embraced it.  That doesn’t sound rational to me, so why would Democrats want to work with people who are not rational? But Republicans are wiley enough to try and ensnare Democrats into giving them cover for killing the ACA.  The Repeal and Delay vote that is coming up is a way to “blackmail” Democrats into going through the motions of replacing the ACA with something that will not provide better coverage at lower costs.  The idea is that Democrats cannot idly stand by and watch tens of millions lose their health care, so they will come to the bargaining table and help the Republicans out.  If you Democrats don’t play ball, we will tell all the voters you were responsible! If Republicans get their way with Democrats, they will slap the word “reform” on medical savings accounts and buying insurance across state line and presto!  Republicans will claim they fixed the problem when they made it worse.  And they will have bipartisan cover if any Democrat tries to help them in this fraudulent effort.  Democratic voters will be demoralized for the umpteenth time, and they will fail to show up come election time.  This is a sure fire way of Democrats not picking up any seats in future elections.   IF Democrats hang tight on not helping Republicans fix what they have broken, they might actually stand a chance come election time.  They could always argue, “We had something that worked, and Republicans took it from you.”  It’s the old, “They too[...]

Hospitals warn Republicans of 'unprecedented public health crisis' from Obamacare repeal

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:42:36 +0000

Repealing Obamacare is going to be a disaster on just about every level: for individuals, for state and local governments, for healthcare providers and insurers, and thus for the politicians who are doing it. That's the message that the insurance industry has been giving President-popular-vote-loser-elect Trump and congressional Republicans. Now the nation's hospitals are putting a number on it: at least $165 billion in losses, just to hospitals, in the next decade unless something equally as good replaces it.

The two main trade groups for U.S. hospitals dispatched a letter to the incoming president and Capitol Hill’s top four leaders, saying that the government should help hospitals avoid massive financial losses if the law is rescinded in a way that causes a surge of uninsured patients.

The letter, along with a consultant’s study estimating the financial impact of undoing the Affordable Care Act, makes hospitals the first sector of the health-care industry to speak out publicly to try to protect itself from a sharp reversal in health policy that Trump is promising and congressional Republicans have long favored. […]

[T]he American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) convened a news conference Tuesday to release the study’s findings and draw attention to their concerns. […]

Joann Anderson, president of Southeastern Health, a financially fragile rural hospital in Lumberton, N.C., one of that state’s most economically depressed areas, said the prospect of repealing the health law without a replacement to keep people insured is “gut-wrenching. . . . We cannot take additional cuts.”

The study used the only thing available for its analysis, the repeal bill Republicans pushed through this January, vetoed by President Obama. Since in the intervening year, Republicans haven't come up with a scrap of anything else, this is what they're going with. That bill, since it had to pass through budget reconciliation to avoid a filibuster from Senate Democrats, stayed on the taxing and spending parts of the law and eliminated the federal subsidies for people purchasing private insurance on the exchanges, the penalties for individuals and employers who don't comply with its coverage mandates, and the Medicaid expansion in 31 states.

Walker's Roads

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:35:19 +0000

One of the major issues that we have in Wisconsin is  how to fix our roads. Now that the WisDot budget has been made official I would like to share some of my concerns.  Wisconsin is facing almost a billion dollar shortfall in the transportation budget.

  • No increase in vehicle fees or tax structures

  • 500 Million in Bonding.

I really hate the idea of bonding. However this is a 41% reduction in bonding. Now from listening to testimony our inflation rate is 1.8% inflation compared to revenue of 0.51%. Now I don't know if that is over the next two years or ten years. Well, going forward

  • State Highway Maintenance increased by 13% or $69.7 Million

  • Delay in projects in Verona and Fox Valley.  By how long I don't know

  • $46 million increase to general transportation fund for local municipalities

  • $14 Million to local road improvement

  • $5 Million to improve local bridges

From my understanding there are differences of opinion on how to fix our roads Transportation Secretary  and former State Representative Mark Gottlieb did say that about a quarter of a million is spent on travel. I think there is some room for some reform in that area. Some people on both sides of the aisle say that a small increase in fees is necessary.…

Then go to 2017-2019 biennium budget or google WISDOT biennium budget request

The Assembly committee on transportation hearing is available on Wisconsin Eye

In the era of #TrumpsAmerikkka, what's more important? 'Politically correct' words or ideas ?

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 19:15:19 +0000

Bill Maher ran a show called “Politically Incorrect” on ABC from 1993 to 2002. In that show he often used language which was deemed politically incorrect at the time, and did so in a direct effort to prove that speaking in politically correct terms could leave a person on the losing end of the stick in politics. We find ourselves here in the early years of the 21st century, awash in shifting norms when it comes to language and the meaning of various words and phrases. How one views the use of a particular word often depends upon your gender, your sociological views, your family background, your socio-economical place in the world, what you watch for entertainment and a whole host of other factors. What outrages one person may be seen by the next as completely acceptable.  This is a direct effect of our pluralistic society and the growing levels of diversity in our population, both in terms of nationality of origin, religion or lack thereof and amount of melanin in one’s skin, to name but a few of the factors which drive our personal stance on what constitutes “politically correct”. Here at Daily Kos the internecine warfare which commences upon the publication of a story rife with ‘trigger words’ always now devolves instantly from a discussion about the merits of the IDEAS in the published story into a pie fight about what words the author used to make their point(s). Which brings me to the lede of this story. Why are you a member of this Community and what is it that you want to accomplish with your time spent here? Are you consigned to being just another arbitor of what words are acceptable to use to convey an idea or do you desire discussion to consider what actions may help our side of the politial spectrum succeed, in a world which has of late turned a corner into what can be seriously considered as “the twilight zone”? Because I do think it’s time we have a real discussion about THIS issue, now, before the year ends and the inauguration of one Donald Trump is upon us, the nation and the world. The Republicans have been frothing at the mouth to gain the upper hand on the political battleground in These United States for most of my adult lifetime. They had been banished to wander in the wilderness of the (what must have seemed to them as the permanent) minority for about 40 years from the time of the Great Depression and the unarguably historic four terms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Oval Office. For nearly two generations, the Democratic Party and it’s members really did run the country, from the White House, Congress and most of the Statehouses and Governor’s mansions, too. So when the apparent shift in the mood of the nation to the bleak years of the Carter presidency brought about the two terms of Ronald Reagan, there was rejoicing on the part of the GOP. But the Republican Party which came into power in that era was not the same Party which went out in the midst of the 20th century. This reconsitituted Party was chock full of people like Tom Delay, Newt Gingrich, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and a whole host of people who no longer were merely much more fond of business and capitalism and less concerned with Civil Rights — they were adament that the dates on the calendars might have changed, but that the times most certainly should not. They were, for the most part, white and either overtl[...]

Trump to campaign in Louisiana for Kennedy; where are the Democrats supporting Foster Campbell?

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 19:57:05 +0000

Trump will be in Baton Rouge on Friday campaigning for Kennedy. Last week Pence was in Louisiana campaigning for Kennedy. No prominent Democrats are campaigning in Louisiana for Foster Campbell. Why?

Perhaps because Louisiana is seen as too red to turn blue? Or because people in Louisiana are notoriously insular? Or is it because Democratic leadership is in disarray and doesn’t realize that we have a chance to win this much-needed Senate seat?

Trump realizes (or his handlers do) how important this seat is. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be coming here. Why can’t Democratic leadership show some spunk and fight for what’s within reach?

Dear DNC

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:54:47 +0000

Dear DNC, I know you, like me and half of this country, are having a rough month. Many people want to play the blame game, and you are an easy target. You made some mistakes. But I understand you did the best you could. I just think maybe we really have gotten a little too cerebral and have lost touch with how the other half thinks. I know I'm guilty of it myself. But after watching this election and dealing with Trump voters in my family recently, I've got a few words of advice that you may want to add to your playbook for next time. If they hear it enough, some people will believe anything. This country wants marijuana legalized. I can tell you from the rural area I grew up in, if Hillary had run on legalizing weed, the rednecks wouldn't have given a crap about her emails. Something to think about in 4 years. If we've learned anything in the last 20 years it's that there are not enough Democrats in this country to win the electoral college. It was set up to give an equal vote to places with smaller populations.  As our jobs have moved to cities, there has been a huge movement toward more populated areas. Most of America now lives in cities I believe - as do basically everyone who tends to vote Democrat.  The electoral college is therefore rigged AGAINST you. You should have learned from the GOP's mistake with John McCain - you can't give away the nomination to the person who is owed it. Yes, Hillary was the best qualified. Absolutely. But the voters you are trying to reach are small minded. Jesus wouldn't have reached anybody if he wasn't pragmatic. Bernie's message of free college would have resonated much more with middle class voters than you realize. As one of those people I can say we are scared to death we'll never be able to pay for it. Republican leaning voters in this century identify with people who are like them. And they are not the smartest people in a room. Hermione may have been the brightest witch of her age, but God love her, she wasn't exactly popular. (Substitute Hillary for Hermione in that sentence if you need it to be more clear.) Both Bush and Trump seem to us like they wouldn't be able to find their way out of a wet paper sack with a map. To the other side, it's like looking in a mirror. Plus they use small, simple words that those small, simple minds can easily understand. If my experience with Trump voters is anything to go on, they jump to conclusions. They don't stick around to the end of a sentence to hear your message. Probably why tweets worked so well for Donald. They're short. Which brings me to my next point… They don't read. They also don't research. Or have any idea what a "reliable source" is. There's something to be said for the whole "bread and circuses" idea. Or as we've seen this election cycle, people just love a circus. As does the media. They are no longer here to inform, just entertain. And the most entertaining candidate gets all the attention - whether they should or not. Obama got lucky with this both times - He was certainly way more fun to watch than his opponents. Most importantly you need to realize what I have come to realize during this election: You are no longer running someone for president of the country, you are running for class president. Just pretend you are back in high schoo[...]

Senate Democrats to McConnell: You want help repealing Obamacare? Yeah, get f*cked.

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:11:13 +0000

Senate Democrats are doing just what they need to do on Obamacare repeal: telling McConnell to get fucked. Though in less colorful terms.

If Republicans are planning to repeal Obamacare on Jan. 3 and then come looking for help from Democrats to replace it down the road, Senate Democrats have a message for them: It's not happening. […]

"Just an across-the-board repeal without any idea of how we are going to provide health care for millions of Americans is simply irresponsible," Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) told TPM in an interview. "If they repeal it, it's going to be on them." […]

"To our Republican friends across the aisle, bring it on," Schumer said.

McConnell announced Tuesday that the repeal would be the first order of business in January, but Republicans are still light on the details of how long the phaseout of Obamacare would take, what the fall out would be and how they plan to preserve popular aspects of the law like ensuring people with pre-existing conditions can get health care without seeing premiums skyrocket.

"It's hard to figure out how to respond to something that is just vague as where they are right now," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). "We've heard them talking about repeal and replace now for seven years and they've never had a replacement in seven years. I think the hard part for them is that there are elements of the bill that they know they would be crazy to try to undo." […]

"I think they're setting a trap for themselves," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). "I can't understand how this either goes well for them politically or it goes well for the tens of millions of people who depend on the Affordable Care Act."

Yep, it's going to be all on them. As one Democratic leadership aide put it,  Republicans "campaigned on this for three straight election cycles, its time for them to own the consequences." They won't be getting any help from Democrats in cleaning up afterward.

In the end, if we don't all hang together, we will all die alone

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:54:10 +0000

In the end, if we don’t all hang together, we will all die alone. At the end of the day, this really is the story of my party, the Democratic Party. This is for all who are willing to hang together. There are some others who claim to be progressive, but who disprove their claim because they won’t stand with the vulnerable when they need support. Instead, they use their own personal, private theories of the ideal to justify refusing to offer practical support for those in need. They exist here in large numbers. This is mainly white male privilege at work. They won’t join the rest of us. I have learned that these usual suspects won’t respond to any sincere offers of partnership, even when the partnership offered revolves around putting in place the agenda they claim they want and putting the leadership they claim they want in place. I know this from my own recent attempts pleading with the usual suspects to work together to put in place what they claim is their agenda and support the leadership roles of those they claim to want to lead the party. Those efforts were repeatedly rebuffed. They can’t take yes for an answer. This diary is not for them. Unfortunately, there will be some unpleasant issues that must be treated first. Unity, great ! Unity about what ? What are we unified around ? Unified on repeating the same mistakes we made this time ? There are not a few on this side of the aisle who rightly need these questions answered reasonably. So, to get to the main point of this diary, we must first address the events of the election and its outcome. What can we agree about together regarding the past election that will give all of us confidence about our work together in the future choosing a successful nominee next time ? There are many others with whom I have had strong disagreements but whom I would not place in the above group. I will give a couple of positive examples of some people whom I admire despite strong differences prior to the general election and after the general election. These are people of good heart and strong mind. TomP and Igualdad are both great human beings. In crunch time, they lived the truth that we must all hang together. The consequences of the election are profound upon many lives in very practical ways. It cuts deep. It hurts people whom they love. Much, maybe most, of their critique, more pointed than I would make, has validity and truth. They see this as their worst fears which they predicted ahead of time came to pass because we did not listen to them and choose their preferred nominee. I absolutely love Hillary Clinton. I have been a Hillary Clinton partisan since she gave the fullest measure of devotion to the party in 2008 in the most excruciatingly painful act of love for country in recent memory. She gave everything she had to offer as a human being and as a candidate. She tried her best to save the country from Trump. She was unsuccessful in that attempt even though she tried her best. I am convinced that the other main candidate would not have been any more successful than Hillary Clinton for reasons already delineated elsewhere. However, even though I disagree strongly about their relative strengths as general election candidates, upon painful reflection, I find certain critiques about her[...]

You Can't Do the Jan. 3rd Idea

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:45:43 +0000

I have seen some great diaries around about having Biden pull a fast one on Republicans in the Senate by forestalling their swearing in, thus creating a Democratic majority and moving Garland’s nomination to confirmation.  Why might you ask?

The Twentieth Amendment.  Specifically Section 1:

Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

The old term ends at noon on the 3rd of January, and the new term for them/their successor begins at noon.  The need to be officially sworn in is, well, not really necessary.  The Constitution, via the 20th Amendment, makes it clear of when a new term begins for all members of federally elected office.

Hell, the oath for President is the only one specified in the Constitution, and thanks to the 20th Amendment it can be given at 12:32 PM on January 20th and it wouldn’t really matter as power was transferred automatically at 12:00 PM.

I hate to throw the cold water on this idea, but this is a Constitutional fact.

Senate Republicans fighting on Obamacare repeal, Democrats passing the popcorn

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:06:19 +0000

After a meeting with the guy who will be doing popular vote loser Donald Trump's work in the White House, Mike Pence, Senate Republicans are no closer to having a plan for their Obamacare repeal plan. They know they want to do it. They know they want to do it first thing and have it on Pence's Trump's desk on day one, but how—and mostly importantly when—the law is unraveled is a bone of major contention, and the Pence meeting didn't provide any help. “The view on that probably is in a constant state of evolution, based on who you talk to,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 3 GOP leader. “The question is: What’s that duration? Structurally, it’s at this point an open question. We’re hoping to get some direction.” […] The length of the transition is pitting hard-line conservatives such as Sen. Ted Cruz and members of the House Freedom Caucus, who favor a relatively speedy replacement, against Senate leaders who are pushing the three-year option. “It took six years to get into this mess; it’s going to take us a while to get out of it,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). “One thing I know for sure is we can’t fail to deliver on the promise to repeal Obamacare.” […] “The sooner we can get rid of it, the better,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the outgoing leader of the Freedom Caucus. “The Democrats passed it in 14 months,” added Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.). “I’m not going to vote for anything that’s longer than two years.” It's almost as if they don't understand how all this stuff works. But the Freedom Caucus maniacs have never really put a whole lot of effort into the making of stuff, like laws, just the blowing up part. They haven't bothered to figure out the ramifications of the blowing up part—destruction is their end, and the sooner the better. But for slightly more sophisticated lawmakers who aren't in gerrymandered safe districts, instant gratification isn't enough—they have to think about the next election, of course. And they have to realize just how much damage they'll be doing by taking insurance away from 20+ million people. If they go for a three-year transition, they'll be right back in the middle of a presidential election. But two years is probably not long enough to have any kind of replacement plan ready. Speaking of replacement, it's pretty telling that they can't even get on the same page on how to repeal the damn law. There's not a chance in hell they can actually make a replacement law that they can get all Republicans on board with. So incoming Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is piling on: "They have nothing to put in its place. […] And believe me, just repealing Obamacare, even though they have nothing to put in its place, and saying they’ll do it sometime down the road, will cause huge calamity, from one end of America to the other. They don’t know what to do. They’re like the dog that caught the bus." So this rush to repeal? "To our Republican friends across the aisle," he said, "bring it on."  [...]

Appointed Vice-Mayor in Very Red Nebraska Town

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:09:44 +0000

Forgive me for lack of posts; I have been working hard with a moribund Nebraska Democratic Party to get our candidates elected (someone’s gotta work on lost causes). I was appointed the chairman pro-tempore (vice-mayor) of the Village Board of Trustees of Broadwater, Nebr. on 5 December 2016 after reorganisation of the village board following the election. I am now the senior-most member of the village board. In this precinct, where less than five percent of the voters chose Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, Evan McMullin, or Dr. Jill Stein, I was rather surprised the village wanted me in the position. (The town is quite aware of my left-leaning political position and the fact I am an atheist.) The first order of business was swearing in the person who won election to the village board (a Cherokee woman who won on a write-in candidacy). Following that, as the Chairwoman Pro-Tempore (our Chairwoman resigned as she moved out of the village) was leaving her position (she did not run for reëlection), she consulted with the Village Attorney on who might best serve as Chair and Chair Pro-Tempore. The village attorney’s (a Republican, as is everyone else in my town government) recommendation was a lifelong resident in town on the village board, and me (as I’d served the longest and understand how the Village Board is supposed to run). The majority of the village’s residents were in attendance, both for the installation of the new member and  over concern about a boil water order just issued. Had there been any serious objection to advancing my name for Chairman Pro-Tempore, the outgoing Chairwoman Pro-Tempore would have immediately withdrawn my name. Vice-mayor does not include the duties of hookers and blow. I was also appointed to the position of Public Health Committee Chair (which by state law must be the chair or chair pro-tempore in a village). The previous chairwoman resigned (as she chose not to run for reëlection to the Village Board). I am now the longest-serving trustee on my village board (approximately the equivalent of a city council in a bigger town than 124 people). Democrats can fight and win in areas that are deeply red. In fact, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight noted that this House District was most likely to go for Mr. Donald Trump for President. (Surprise, it did.) We just have to find local people willing to put forth effort. My reëlection campaign here in 2014 cost $0: It consisted of talking with everyone in town. As all politics is local, and the way you train up national politicians is to start at the bottom and work up, I encourage everyone that cares about progressive and liberal causes to engage in their communities. No one here in this very conservative village is out with pitchforks and torches to “burn the liberal” out — my community knows who I am, and knows I care about it.   "When they come, they come, to build a wall between us, we know that they won't win." -- Neil Finn of Crowded Houe (from the song "Don't Dream It's Over" by Crowded House, 1986). Neil Finn performs in Auckland on acoustic guitar backed by strings in a mesmerising performance in 2015 (4:44) Additional: I am aware that Daily Kos has a rule th[...]

Accept My 10 Idea Challenge To Fix The DNC!

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:00:16 +0000

10 Idea Challenge For DNC for 2018/2020. As we start (sigh) the era of Republican-controlled Washington and Republican-controlled states across the country, the Democrats must start organizing where it matters. As we continue to process the 2016 loss, let’s put one thing to rest: Democrats did not have an enthusiasm problem. Democrats had a focus problem. We took our eyes off the ball, and the ball was Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. So as we go forward, let’s find ways to make sure we do not lose focus but also have a plan for what will be inevitable mistakes. We Democrats need a focused plan if we are to start winning elections with large numbers again. Moreover, make no mistake, we will win elections and win them big again IF we have a plan. This time, however, the plan must come from the people and the voters. So, I have come up with an idea for organizers, voters, and activists to get involved in a direct level. My idea is to start a challenge where we each come up with 10 ideas for the Democratic Party to incorporate at both the federal and local level. If you cannot come up with 10 ideas, 5 will do! We need new ideas to lead us forward in these dark but not insurmountable times. Here are my 10 ideas for the Democratic Party: 1. When we do GOTV, we must include Voter ID help and outreach for voters that are directly affected by these laws (poor, minorities, college students). We spend millions on television ads that have proven to be less effective than direct voter outreach. As we talk to voters, we need to start asking, “Do you have a valid ID as your state requires one to vote. If you do not have one, we will help you get one.” So money that was once dedicated purely to television ads can and must be divided up to help voters get the identification necessary to vote in the states that it is required. 2. We must return to a true 50-State strategy that fights for every seat that is available to run in.     You cannot have a wave election if you do not have candidates to ride the wave. From dog catcher on up, voters need to have a choice. Even if the candidate does not win, just having the name on the ballot will boost turnout for other races that could mean the difference between winning and losing. With this strategy, we must also localize the races to issues that are important at the local level. What might play in Pittsburgh might not play in Eastern Washington. 3. We must put 2016 behind us, both the primary and general election. There is nothing we can do about it now. We must analyze where we went wrong but blaming Clinton for Sanders and vice versa; we are nowhere. Clinton beat Sanders; Trump beat Clinton. It is over. Let’s move on. Rehashing expired battles is not only a drain on the mind for those listening but also for those fighting them. It is over. It is done. Let’s move on. 4. We must have a 24/7 voter outreach and engagement. This includes radio spots, flyers, commercials and most definitely social media. While I believe that Twitter will be the downfall of Trump; he wields it like a precision knife when he wants his message out there. It is time we caught up to this. One of the[...]

Democrats Drop A Bombshell Report That Exposes Trump’s Planned Devious War On Seniors

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:40:02 +0000

PoliticsUSA has a jaw-dropping report on just how badly the Orange Scrooge and Company plan on completely demolishing our seniors and disabled folks: 

  • Sneaking massive benefit cuts through the back door – The Price (incoming HHS destroyer decimator nominee) proposal includes a devious plan that would likely trigger deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other priorities, while avoiding the need for members of Congress to vote directly for the cuts [my note — & would deny Democrats the ability to stop them]  …  If Republicans were to pass President-Elect Trump’s tax plan, the resulting increase to the deficit, under this plan, could require cuts to Social Security and Medicare of 13.5 percent, meaning the average Social Security beneficiary would lose more than $2,000 a year. 
  • … subject all benefits to sequestration …
  • Unraveling longstanding guarantees to those who rely on Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance and other Benefits – ... Americans would have to fight annually for these benefits in the uncertain appropriations process, with no assurance their hard-earned benefits will be there at the end. Given the Republican Congress’s long record of failure to even consider appropriations bills on time, this could threaten the security of millions who rely on promised benefits. 

Seriously, read it. What the gop plans for seniors and disabled Americans will devastate millions.

Failed Paper Ballot Scanners in Detroit Put MI 'Recount' at Risk: 'BradCast' 12/6/2016

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 02:10:32 +0000

Plus: Team Trump ups efforts to shut down 'recounts'; New VT law undermines democracy; Paper v. Computer counts; More... On today's BradCast, the latest breaking news on how broken optical-scan tabulation computers may have undermined the ability to count tens of thousands of ballots in Michigan -- specifically in or near Detroit -- and much more "recount" 2016 related news, even from Vermont! [Audio link to show is posted below.] With a reported margin of just over 10,000 votes for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in MI -- out of some 5 million votes tallied in the state -- the ability to hand-count tens of thousands of votes in Green Party candidate Jill Stein's federal court-ordered [PDF] "recount" may be at risk of "chaos" under state law, thanks to the failure of computerized paper-ballot optical-scanners which may have mistallied ballots in some fashion on Election Day. Hopefully, hand-counts can reconcile mismatches between poll book signatures and computer printouts from "610 of 1,680" precincts in Wayne County, which includes heavily Democratic-leaning Detroit, where "392 of 662" or 59% of precincts may now be uncountable. That's a major concern, obviously, not just due to the state's razor thin margin, but also, as Stein points out today, since some 75,000 ballots -- until now, completely unexamined by human beings -- were reported by the computers to have no vote at all for President. That's a 70% increase from 2012 in the number of ballots reported to have Presidential undervotes, a number that is more than seven-fold the margin of votes that could flip the state from Trump to Clinton. All of that as Team Trump ups their efforts in both state and federal court to stop the counting in MI entirely and as Stein pushes back in both court cases, including a move to force the recusal of two state Supreme Court judges named by Trump as potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees. Also, while a recent change to state law by Republicans in WI has resulted in many of the largest counties simply running paper ballots through the same computer scanners that tallied them (either correctly or incorrectly, who knows?) the first time in that state's "recount", it's not just Republicans who prefer unverified computer tallies over hand-counts. In Vermont, the will of the voters may never been known in two exceedingly close state legislative races, thanks to a 2014 state law supported Democrats, requiring that computers, not people, tally ballots during ongoing "recounts" there. Two incumbent Democratic lawmakers who supported the new law may now be undone by it, as one is set to lose a "recounted" race by just six votes, and the other is facing a tie, depending on whether two questionably marked paper ballots were tallied by the scanner or not. (I wonder how they could figure out if they were?) All of that may be good news to the Washington Post, however, which published an op-ed yesterday explaining why the authors believe, in contravention of computer scientists and voting systems experts, that "computers are better than humans at counting ballots." Of course, to know that for certain, [...]

How Democrats Can Start Winning Again

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:00:16 +0000

With a few notable exceptions the Democratic Party has suffered catastrophic defeats in most elections for the last 22 years (since 1994). This is part of a larger pattern that illustrates the rift we currently have within our party. Here is how we overcome this, reunite with a bold new vision, and start to actually win again. The two predominant philosophies in the Democratic Party consist of: 1. The people in this nation has shifted to the right, we have gone too far to the left, we need to shift to the right to appeal to more centrists.  2. While the dominant political discussions have shifted to the right, Americans continue to be progressive on most issues, we have gone too far to the right, we need to shift back to the left to fight for progress.  I am firmly in the #2 camp. I have fought in the trenches in deep red areas for bold progress for many years. This is a fight I absolutely know we can win when we are united. But to make this happen, we have to stop bottling up our efforts into GOTV (get out the vote) efforts in blue strongholds, particularly big cities. We absolutely need to fight in all 50 states and all 3000+ counties, even the ones where conservative Republicans often win by 4:1 margins. According to philosophy #1, we need to run conservative Democrats in these disadvantaged districts, because it’s a matter of stopping an even worse conservative Republican from getting the seat. The only thing that does is make the district turn more and more red every election cycle. People need to hear the progressive side of things, and I can attest to the fact that while there may be some very strong disagreements (I’ve had someone threaten to pull their sidearm on me once for instance), fighting for progress starts to turn things in our direction. The Bernie Sanders Model_______________ Democrats really screwed the pooch by tilting the scales in favor of a candidate that was widely perceived as an establishment insider during what was clearly an anti-establishment election cycle. It wasn’t just Bernie Sanders, it was his engaging model of activism and his ability to bring the fight to the doors of our opponents in every district that was lost.  1.5 million people attended Bernie rallies While attendance size at rallies does not necessarily indicate who will win a state, it is an accurate measure of a very key and often overlooked factor in elections: enthusiasm. Bernie had it, and his crowds dwarfed Trump. These folks are likely to donate, volunteer, and actually fight to convince people they know.  Enthusiasm leads to a bump in the polls Another reason why enthusiasm is important is because it results in election results higher than what the polls predicted. Trump had an enthusiasm edge over Clinton (like #Brexit), leading to higher than expected results from what the polls stated. Bernie Sanders was doing even better than the polls predicted due to his exceptionally enthusiastic supporters. In fact, 538 even had some states like New Hampshire listed as 85% in the Clinton column until very shortly before the election. In near[...]

RI-Sen: Whitehouse (D) On Fighting Climate Change, "I Can’t Let Our Country Become An Idiot Country"

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:44:11 +0000

Well said:

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) is determined to see the United States act on climate change.

In the last four years, he has delivered 150 speeches — amounting to 50 hours on the Senate floor — about the threat of global warming.

“I can’t let our country become an idiot country,” Whitehouse told Circa in a video interview published Monday.

“I wish that we had made more progress,” he added. “I keep hoping that one of [the speeches] will be like the Chinese water torture drop that finally makes the other side break and say, ‘Alright, I can’t take it any longer,’ but that hasn’t happened quite yet.”

Each of his 20-minute speeches considers a different angle of the climate argument, including the negative effects of climate change on human health and the role special interests play in the climate debate.

It’s important to keep Senators like Whitehouse because he’s in for the long haul in the fight to protect not only our environment but our plant’s well being. Click here to get involved with his re-election campaign.

The Progressive Political Revolution Continues in Northern Virginia!

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:50:09 +0000

It has often been said that the true character of a person or group is revealed when they are tested. The 2016 election cycle — both the primaries and the general — has tested us all in one way or another, particularly those of us who are politically active. The nature of this year’s race has revealed much about the issues we as Americans still must work out on the path to a more perfect union, and it has also solidified the differences within each of the major political parties. For better or worse, we are at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history, and our political mettle is on the line. In many ways, the progressive movement has been both galvanized and suppressed this election cycle from several directions. Despite that, the populist message intoned by those on the Left and Right continue to resound strongly; this past Sunday proved that at least in terms of the Left. Over 80 progressives met in a restaurant in Vienna, Virginia this past Sunday to attend the last monthly meeting of the year for the progressive grassroots organization known as Our Revolution — Northern Virginia. As the name might suggest, the group has its roots as Northern Virginia for Bernie Sanders, which was dedicated to spreading the Vermont Senator’s vision of a more progressive, energized, and engaged electorate.  The group has remained active even after the primaries came to a close, and continues to garner ever-growing membership as time goes on. This month’s meeting marked a moment of reflection and solidarity for Our Revolution — Northern Virginia. Several of those who attended the meeting were given a chance to speak on their frustrations and worries regarding the results of the 2016 General Election. The intent of the group was far more than looking at what went on, however; it also served as a pivot point to then look ahead toward 2017. Each table split into smaller discussion groups to begin brainstorming what could and should be done to resist the various regressive and divisive rhetoric taken this year as well as to form a positive, progressive strategy moving forward. Numerous proposals were pitched to the entire group, and they largely centered around engagement on all levels of the political process, forging an inclusive relationship with allies and diverse members, participation in resisting the incoming administration, and reaching out to those who voted Republican this year. Candidates from the Prince William Progress Coalition — a progressive slate of candidates running for various House of Delegate seats in Prince William County next year — had the opportunity to address the group as well, and signal that we stand with the progressive movement as the first electoral answer to what occurred this year. We also highlighted the fact that we are running as Democrats and as such will be pulling together a broad coalition of the left in order to fight for progress; we will also serve as a legislative firewall between the new federal government and our fellow Virginians. Lee Ca[...]

VA-Gov: Trump's Takeover Of The GOP Could Cost Ed Gillespie (R) Next Year's Governor's Race

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:18:49 +0000

While the midterms are a little less than two years away, there are two big governor races in New Jersey and Virgina that we Democrats and Progressives can turn our attention to. Both years are great times for the party out of power to take back some key races. In New Jersey, we’re battling hard to take back the Governorship from disgraced corrupt Governor and failed Presidential candidate, Chris Christie (R. NJ) (I’ll be writing about that race soon. In Virginia, we’re going to be fighting hard to hold onto the Governorship since Governor Terry McAuliffe (D. VA) is term-limited. The big question is how much damage President-Elect Donald Trump will have not just on the country but on the GOP. A lot can happen in the span of a year and he’s already off to a bad start with his transitional team. But what should be worrisome to the GOP is his die hard supporters are already running hard to push out establishment leaders on state levels. Politico is out with an article highlighting how Trump’s supporters are gearing up for complete party takeover and Virginia is already a top state on their list: In Virginia, Corey Stewart, Trump’s former state chairman, is preparing a 2017 bid for the governor that will first pit him against fellow Republican Ed Gillespie, a former RNC chairman who was lukewarm in his support of Trump during the presidential campaign and never appeared onstage with him. Already, Gillespie's strained relationship with the GOP's new landlord is emerging as an issue, with Stewart accusing the former party leader of being insufficiently supportive of the incoming president. “People know that I’m a true-blue Trump supporter,” said Stewart, adding that he wanted to campaign with Trump. “It’s been like rocket-fuel for my campaign as soon he won. It’s a complete change from what it was before Nov. 8.” “That yearning for change, that anger at the establishment, it’s still out there,” he said. “I’m grabbing hold of that movement in Virginia. I’m effectively the leader of it.” So far, it remains a mystery as to how Trump will engage on political matters and whether he will campaign for former aides and volunteers. Here’s a little information on Stewart: Donald Trump’s presidential campaign fired its Virginia state co-chairman, Corey Stewart, on Monday after he took part in a protest in front of Republican National Committee headquarters, a move with repercussions in both the national campaign and the 2017 governor’s race. The messy parting of ways came just weeks before the election and was the latest sign of turmoil in a campaign that has recently been in a free-fall. Stewart and senior Trump campaign officials blamed each other for problems in Virginia, where polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton leads comfortably. “Former Virginia State Chairman Corey Stewart is no longer affiliated with the Donald J. Trump for President campaign,” said Trump’s deputy campaign manager, David Bossie, in a statement.[...]

LA-Sen: Senator-Elect Catherine Cortez Masto (D. NV) Helps Foster Campbell (D) Win The Runoff

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:47:25 +0000

Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator-Elect Catherine Cortez Masto (D. NV) in support of Foster Campbell’s (D. LA) U.S. Senate campaign: Nov. 8 may be behind us – but with the Louisiana Senate runoff still ahead, Democrats have one last chance to stand up to Donald Trump and the hateful, disgusting rhetoric that fueled his campaign. Democrat Foster Campbell needs our help in Louisiana. Winning this seat would give Democrats 49 seats in the U.S. Senate – and another check on Republicans’ disastrous and dangerous policies as we defend all our hard-won progress. But with only five days left until Foster’s runoff election, I really need this team to help him cross the finish line – just like you helped me. Can I count on you to give $5 or more today to help Foster Campbell win in Louisiana and become the 49th Democrat in the U.S. Senate? POLITICO has reported just how high the stakes are in this runoff for a seat in the Mitch McConnell-led Senate: “If his majority is only 51 seats, just two GOP defectors could cripple his and Trump’s agenda.” And it’s true: Just two Republicans crossing party lines could completely devastate Trump’s efforts to undo all of our progress. Foster Campbell is a cattle rancher who was born and raised in Louisiana, and he has a real chance to turn this seat blue. Foster has stood up to Big Oil time and time again – the same Big Oil that ravaged the state’s coast, and the same Big Oil that’s got Foster’s Republican opponent in its back pocket. This is truly Democrats’ last chance to help put a stop to a Trump-McConnell-Ryan agenda: Can you step up to give $5 or more today to help Foster Campbell win in Louisiana, flip the seat blue and serve in Washington as another check on Donald Trump? Washington Republicans took enough on Election Day. But they didn’t take our seat here in Nevada, and I know, with you on his team, Foster is not going to let them win in Louisiana either. ¡La lucha sigue! The fight continues! Catherine Click here to donate Campbell’s campaign. [...]

Freedom Caucus nixes idea of Obamacare 'repeal and delay'

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 15:43:46 +0000

Now that Republicans are faced with the reality of actually being in a position to repeal Obamacare, their feet are getting colder by the minute. But the "repeal and delay" plan they've cooked up—go ahead with a repeal vote but delay its effect for a few years—isn't good enough for the problem children.

The Republican congressman who made his name as the instigator of John Boehner’s ouster last year was set to take the reins of the House Freedom Caucus on Monday night.

And first up on Rep. Mark Meadows’ to-do list: Torpedoing GOP leadership’s tentative plans to take as long as three years to replace Obamacare.

The proposal “will meet with major resistance from Freedom Caucus members,” the North Carolina Republican vowed in an interview, calling it “the first big fight I see coming for the Freedom Caucus.”

“It should be repealed and replaced, and all of that should be done in the 115th Congress” — the two-year period starting in January through 2018 — and “not left to a future Congress to deal with,” Meadows added.

In case you're wondering, no, the Freedom Caucus does not have a plan for replacing Obamacare that could be immediately enacted. Nothing is official yet, but Meadows promises that his group will "formally" oppose a long phase-out of the law by next month, which creates the ongoing headache House Speaker Paul Ryan so richly deserves. Ryan needs the 40 or so maniacs' votes to overcome what will likely be unanimous Democratic opposition. Ryan is onboard with the delay plan, saying that "clearly there will be a transition and a bridge so that no one is left out in the cold, so that no one is worse off." Because Paul Ryan cares so much about the peoples. "It will clearly take time. It took them about six years to stand up to Obamacare. It’s not going to be replaced come next football season." He'll have fun convincing the maniacs of that.

That makes Democrats' essential job of resisting repeal a bit easier. Ryan is going to be having to do all his negotiating with the Freedom Caucus, and Democrats can just pass the popcorn while he fights that out. The only thing Democrats will have to do is resist the urge to help Ryan out and negotiate with him. On this one, they have to let him do his worst. And reap the consequences.

Why Red-State Senate Democrats May Not Be as Vulnerable in 2018 as Many Think

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:29:54 +0000

The upcoming midterm elections for Senate Democrats have been called “brutal” and “daunting” by the media. One reason given is that Democrats have to defend many more seats than Republicans do. That is indeed a good reason for thinking that Democrats will have a tough time making substantial gains in the Senate. There is another, not-so-good reason: 10 Senate Democrats will be running for re-election in states that Trump won. 2 of them, Senators Heitkamp and Manchin, are from states where Trump won by a margin of over 30 points. However, it has been very rare for Senators to lose re-election in circumstances that resemble the one these Democrats will be in in 2018. Since 1982, there have been 60 cases that fit the following description: a Senator is running for re-election in a midterm year the Senator is from the party opposite the President the Senator’s state voted for the President in the prior election it is not a special election Out of these 60 cases, only 3 (5%) resulted in loss. Senator Year Democratic-Republican Margin Democratic-Republican Margin of State in Prior Presidential Election Max Cleland 2002 -6.8 -11.69 Al D'Amato 1998 10.5 28.86 Howard Cannon 1982 -2.4 -35.65 Source: Wikipedia In the 95% of cases where re-election was won, the average difference between the margin that the Senator won by and the margin that the Senator’s party lost by in the prior presidential election was about 40 percentage points. In other words, on average, these Senators improved on the performance of their party’s presidential candidate by an amount larger than the margin Trump won by in North Dakota and close to the one in West Virginia. Senator Year Democratic-Republican Margin Democratic-Republican Margin of State in Prior Presidential election Difference Susan Collins 2014 -37 15.29 52.29 Chuck Grassley 2010 -31.3 9.54 40.84 Richard Burr 2010 -12.1 0.32 12.42 Bill Nelson 2006 22.2 -5.01 27.21 Ben Nelson 2006 27.8 -33.22 61.02 Jeff Bingaman 2006 41.3 -0.79 42.09 Kent Conrad 2006 39.3 -27.36 66.66 Robert Byrd 2006 30.7 -12.86 43.56 The rest of the data is here. One reason that these Senators did so well is that the President’s party usually loses power during midterm elections. In the 21 midterm elections since 1934, the President’s party gained Senate seats in only 5. Another reason is the incumbency advantage. Since World War II, incumbent Senators have won reelection about 80 percent of the time. Red-state Senate Democrats may very well lose in 2018, but there is no reason at this time to think that it is likely that they will. While it is surely more difficult to win re-election in[...]

Joe Biden for President? NO WAY!

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:25:22 +0000

Multiple news outlets are reporting that soon-to-be former Vice President Joe Biden is considering seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, when Republican President-elect Donald Trump is expected to seek a second term in office (unless he alienates too many people in his own party before then, that is).

While Biden is an interesting character, if Biden were to run for president and win the Democratic nomination, he’d lose to Trump, probably in a landslide.

While Biden comes from a blue-collar area of the country, he has no real appeal to blue-collar Americans. He supports the free trade deals, such as the failed TPP deal, that Obama supported, and it’s not that hard to tie Obama’s agenda of corporate giveaways like the automobile industry bailout, free trade deals with countries like South Korea, and Obamacare to Biden...after all, Biden supported Obama and his corporate agenda the entire time Biden was vice president. To give you a general idea of how weak the Obama Administration is going to be viewed as four years from now, it took the Standing Rock Sioux and an actress named Shailene Woodley to get Obama’s Army Corps of Engineers to reroute the Dakota Access Pipeline. Oh, and if you want to talk about Biden’s actual accomplishments as vice president, his “cancer moonshot” is nothing more than a taxpayer-funded giveaway to the medical research industry that would probably lead to no real advancements in the fight against cancer. Elizabeth Warren gets it; she voted against Biden’s “cancer moonshot”.

The American people are sick and tired of foreign countries taking their manufacturing jobs, corporations getting preferential treatment from politicians, NATO and the Defense Department getting more and more money and wasting more and more money at the expense of government programs designed to help the American people, and a Democratic Party that does not much more than cater to political professionals and corporate special interests. I’d be more than happy if someone like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders were our party’s presidential nominee in 2020, and, if Warren runs for the Democratic nomination, she’ll have my vote if she makes it to the Illinois primary. The Democratic Party must become an isolationist, anti-globalization party promising to usher in a new era of manufacturing in this country, or the party will go the way of the Whigs.

Stein Campaign Chief: 'Corporate Media Lied. We are Escalating Fight in PA': 'BradCast' 12/5/2016

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 02:19:00 +0000

Guest: David Cobb, Green Presidential campaign manager, 2004 nominee | Also: U.S. Army halts construction of Dakota Access Pipeline (for now)... On today's BradCast, we cover an enormous amount of news, breaking and otherwise, on both the Presidential "recount" story in three different states, as well as the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. And we speak to Green Party candidate Jill Stein's campaign manager, David Cobb, about the ongoing and "escalating" legal battles and fights for citizen oversight of election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. [Audio link to show posted at bottom of article.] First today, the latest on the breaking news over the weekend in the story of the denial of a permit for the controversial pipeline in ND, where thousands of native Americans have been protesting for months against its construction near tribal lands. On Sunday, in a huge victory, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied an easement to Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners that would have allowed them to complete the pipeline by building on disputed land near and beneath Lake Oahe, the Standing Rock Sioux's source of drinking water. The victory, while monumental -- even as the protests and violent attempts by law enforcement to stop them have been almost entirely ignored by mainstream corporate media -- may be short-lived, depending on legal actions and decisions made by the next President. Desi Doyen joins us for the latest. At the same time, over the weekend, the corporate media was busy misreporting and misleading the legal maneuvers of Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein, who has dropped just one of the statewide voter-initiated suits demanding a PA "recount", in favor of a federal filing [PDF] today, on Constitutional grounds, seeking federal intervention for a statewide count and forensic analysis of 100% unverifiable voting systems used there. Stein and her attorneys held a press conference and rally today outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan, to explain the efforts. Also, a federal judge this morning ordered [PDF] the state of Michigan to being counting ballots today, after successful maneuvers by Team Trump delayed the start of that effort late last week and had hoped to further delay or deny citizen oversight of results entirely. MI's Attorney General (a Trump supporter) falsely argued in his filing and during an unusual emergency hearing in federal court on Sunday, that the count might endanger the state's Electoral College votes. U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith ordered the counting to begin at noon today, however, finding that any further delay "would likely violate [plaintiffs'] right to vote under the First and Fourteenth Amendments" and that "there is a credible threat to the voters' right to have a determination made that Michigan's vote for president was properly tabulated." The MI [...]

Mandate for 115th Congress: Enforce and Enact Gun Violence Prevention Measures

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 02:26:29 +0000

A GOP Majority in Congress is certain to expand Second Amendment protections in the 115th Congress.  Going into the U.S. elections in November, gun violence prevention advocates were eager for Democratic candidates to win, come to Washington and get things done. The 114th Congress had failed to act on gun violence after a series of mass shootings, especially after the bloodiest in U.S. history at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. And then the election results came in, bringing in a Republican majority that is threatening to strip away gun laws. With toddlers accessing guns to kill 25 people since 2015, and what seems like a mass shooting happening every week, now is not the time for gun violence prevention advocates nor a GOP majority to become complacent. The 115th Congress needs to enforce gun violence prevention laws already in the books and enact new life-saving legislation. Meanwhile, gun violence prevention advocates must hold them accountable for change to truly occur. Throughout 2016, a headline has run in newspapers constantly nationwide; community members injured or killed due to gun violence. But this headline contained subjects who were supposed to protect us: police, who shot defenseless victims, often African Americans doing alleged illegal activities in or around their cars. Also, the headline highlighted the tragic deaths of family members to toddlers who found a gun lying around the home. Most frightening of all were the mass shootings because of ideological hysteria and homophobia, such as in at Pulse Nightclub, and other disturbing reasons such as over an argument as what escalated in one death and nine injured recently on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Citizens have grown restless and outraged at these instances of gun violence, organizing to voice their concerns. Organizations, such as Gays Against Guns (GAG), emerged from the shock and dismay at these mass shootings, police brutality and family violence due to guns. These direct-action groups have protested around the U.S., pressing gun manufacturers, investors, trade associations, lawmakers and others to take action and stop the violence permitted by National Rifle Association-backed shills in Congress. GAG DC, a group affiliated with Gays Against Guns in Washington, D.C., has proposed gun violence prevention actions for implementation in the 115th Congress: Reinstate the assault weapons ban. Close gun show loopholes that permit easy sales and Internet purchases. Establish stronger background checks. Removal of legal shield protecting gun manufacturers from liability in civil suits from victims of gun violence. Permit research at the CDC through government funding. Optimism for action in the 115th Congress can seem slim due to the outcomes in last November’s elections, but some new Members could serve as catalysts for re[...]

An Open Letter to John McCain: It Is Your Duty To Speak Out Against Donald Trump (Even His Tweets)

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 01:49:49 +0000

Dear Senator McCain, I write to you to express my concerns about your recent comments to a CNN reporter regarding the latest disconcerting tweets of our President-Elect, Donald J. Trump.  I’d wager that your office has been flooded with letters and phone calls over the past few weeks.  While it is unlikely that any particular communication will find its way into your hands, the odds must be exponentially greater where, as here, the sender is neither a resident of your State nor a member of your Party.  In fact, I am a fiercely progressive New York City attorney, decidedly secular, pro-ACLU and anti-NRA, who voted for Barack Obama twice—in short, the very sort of “Liberal” well outside the bounds of your primary base of support. And yet, I feel compelled to send this letter—not necessarily because I expect to persuade you, but because I believe you will be open-minded about my message.  As you eloquently stated in your 2008 concession speech, “[w]hatever our differences, we are fellow Americans.”[1]  I know your love for this country would only be enhanced by dialogue with someone who has different opinions but shares your desire to make this country a more perfect union.  I may have voted against you, sir, but I did not doubt your commitment to putting “Country First,” and I do not believe you would doubt mine. That is why I found your November 29, 2016 statements to CNN reporter Manu Raju so troubling.  In response to questions regarding Mr. Trump’s tweet about revocation of citizenship for flag burning—the latest in an exhaustingly long series of irresponsible and troubling statements from the man who will lead our country—you said: “I am not commenting on Mr. Trump and I will continue to not comment on Mr. Trump . . . I do not comment on Mr. Trump’s comments.  I have not and will not . . . Because that’s my choice.  I was just reelected by the people of Arizona and during that campaign, I did not comment on Mr. Trump, and I will continue to not because I have to defend this nation. . . . .  My priority is to try to defend the nation and the men and women who are serving it.  And I cannot carry out that mission by responding to every comment of President-Elect Trump’s.”[2] With all due respect, I could not disagree more with your plan.  I believe that it is not only irresponsible for any patriot to “choose” to stay silent under these circumstances, but—given that you have clearly been troubled by many of Mr. Trump’s utterances[3]—that it is also a dereliction of your duties as a United States Senator to do so.  We, the people, need you to speak up both to push back against demagoguery and to mitigate the effects of Mr. Trump’s reckless statements. your duty as a senator to defend the people against a demagogue First, a[...]

You Can Buy Social Justice & Equality

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 01:30:26 +0000

Money is power. One can yield that power by either contributing or withholding money. Use your spending and investing dollars to resist the "Unified Republican Government." Ten suggestions are below. How will you use your money to advance justice and equality?   1. Join a Credit Union: Close you personal accounts with the big predatory consumer credit banks. Instead put your private funds into a local credit union.   2. Join a Community Bank: Close your business accounts with a big self-interested corporate investment bank and put your company monies into a community bank.   3. Fund Legal Actions: There are non-profit social justice organizations that are ready, willing and able to wage legal battles against the Trump administration. Give them money to pay for their lawyers and court fees. They win cases. Places like the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center.   4. Forgo Holiday Gifts: Decide with your family and friends to give the money you would have spent on holiday gifts for each other to local social justice organizations in your community instead.   5. Live an InterFaith Life: Go to the church, mosque, synagogue or temple of another faith. Listen to their concerns. Hear their voices. Put money in their collection plate.   6. Support Local Artists: Artists amplify our voices. There are musicians, visual artists and performance artists out in our neighborhoods with important social messages. Attend their shows. Share their social media. Buy their art, music, books and films.   7. Buy Local: Avoid the big box stores and purchase goods from local businesses that employ your neighbors and contribute to your community's tax base.   8. Stand for Living Wages: Support big companies that provide living wages to their employees with union pay scales, medical benefits, bargaining rights and retirement plans.   9. Buy American: Pay a little more for goods made by American workers at American businesses. Read the labels. Pass on goods made by low-income, oppressed workers overseas.   10. Share Pocket Money: With many critical social services being threatened with de-funding, our brothers and sisters on the streets need help more than ever. Carry some single dollar bills and give them freely. Don't judge. Share. [...]

The one surprising thing shared by every winning Democratic President for the last 56 years

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:06:16 +0000

The answer:  at least one pre-teenage daughter at the time.  (Malia/Sasha Obama — 10 & 7; Chelsea Clinton — 12; Amy Cater — 9; Caroline/John Kennedy — 5/weeks)  (This doesn't include LBJ but his daughter, Luci Barnes Johnson, was 16 when LBJ assumed the office.)

Now, this is just another way of noting that when Democratic leaders connect with the national electorate, they have universally been youngish parents who (likely not coincidentally) were able to share with the country an acute sense of where we are and inspire a vision of where we should go.

Unfairly or not, today’s 70’s-ish class of Democratic leaders (including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Al Gore, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, and Elizabeth Warren (67)) are not well positioned for success.

But I also think it is important to remember in our post-election despair that we likely do not need to change our policies too dramatically.

Rather, for the good of the country, let’s hope instead that our next nominee is about 37 years old today.  And, if we want to increase our odds of winning, let’s hope that he or she, and the respective spouse, is feeling a little horny tonight. 

We need to stop the rants and infighting and focus on the REAL reason we lost this election!

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:03:58 +0000

There is so much blame going around and we can’t see we are complaining that the trees obstruct our view of the forest! There is ONE reason we lost this election. GOP voter suppression actually works!  We have been “gaslighted” by both Trump and the Republicans. Trump made his unpatriotic comments about a “rigged” election and we defended the very system that is to blame for our defeat. Trump wasn’t TALKING about ELECTION fraud...he was talking about non-existent VOTER fraud and we played right into his hands. We blame “lazy” voters for not showing up to vote while ignoring the fact that more than a few of those voters DID vote but were given provisional “placebo” ballots that weren’t counted...we ignore the fact that not everyone can afford to wait 2-4 hours to vote...we ignore the fact that more than ONE MILLION primarily African American and Latino voters were “purged” by Republican controlled states! I posted the following in response to another diarist: “We can’t “blame” people for not voting when millions were discouraged by precinct closings and long lines and wait times (while in predominantly Republican precincts lines and waiting times are short) and even directly prevented from voting through Kris Kobach’s UNCONSTITUTIONAL “Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program” which has over 7 million names of primarily African American and Latino voters and has already “purged” over a MILLION voters from the rolls!” I am appalled  that ANYONE on the left could “blame” members of certain demographics that unlike white voters OVERWHELMINGLY supported Clinton and did so even though a significant percentage of their vote was suppressed by GOP controlled states.   Instead of focusing on these very real systemic disadvantages that the GOP has slowly and steadily implement, we are fighting among ourselves and criticizing our own!  The ONLY LEGITIMATE rant is one directed at the Republicans...otherwise we are simply dividing and conquering ourselves.  Is it really so hard to put it all together? The “battleground” states all of which  Trump coincidentally won by the suspiciously same margin of 1% or so were ALL controlled by Republican legislatures. As an aside for those who “defend” the Electoral College...That anachronism favors the southern States where the white Republicans negate the vote of the minority African American Democratic voters...White southerners determine the “representation” but get the electoral “credit” for the numbers of African American voters Just the way the 3/5th compromise intended… We need to demand changes to our election system and a real AFFIRMATIVE guarantee of voting rights. Until t[...]