Published: Wed, 29 Mar 2017 23:23:36 +0000
Last Build Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2017 23:23:36 +0000Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 22:18:20 +0000Received this e-mail today from Democracy for America: DC Democrats and beltway consultants have written off entire states for far too long. That's why Democracy for America is excited to announce our endorsement of two Bernie-style red state progressive populists -- Rob Quist in Montana and James Thompson in Kansas -- who are ready to show that progressives can win in red prairie states. Last week DFA members like you helped stop the Republican attack on Obamacare. States like Montana and Kansas would have been some of the hardest hit had Trumpcare passed. Winning in Kansas and Montana will send shockwaves through the entire Republican Party. Rob Quist is a beloved rancher and musician. He supports single-payer health care, opposes Citizens United and he's ready to take on corporations that outsource jobs and hurt workers -- but first he has to beat the carpet-bagging New Jersey billionaire the Republican is running against him. James Thompson is a civil rights attorney and military veteran from Wichita who acutely understands the struggles both urban and rural working class families are facing under increasingly unpopular Republican leadership in his deep red district. He's running for the seat vacated by fringe right-winger Mike Pompeo, just appointed to head Trump's CIA. If Democrats are going to stop Donald Trump and the GOP, we need to be able to win in red, blue and purple districts, in all 50 states. By winning these two critical special elections, we can prove to the Democratic party establishment that progressive populism is the key to defeating Trumpism. Can you pitch in $3 to help Rob Quist and James Thompson take back House seats from the GOP this April and May -- and show the Democratic elite that progressive populism wins elections? After November's upset defeat, Republicans crowed that Hillary Clinton's failure to compete in rural areas meant that Democrats were doomed. But we know better. Bernie Sanders won both Montana and Kansas by running on populist progressive ideas, focusing on real conversations with voters, and refusing to compromise away core values of racial, gender, and economic justice. These candidates are ready to make that happen at the Congressional level and send shock waves to the Republican party. Donald Trump's horrible policy proposals may be giving progressive Democrats a unique opening in states like Kansas and Montana. A recent Priorities USA poll found that when Republican voters were told that their member of Congress supports Trumpcare, their support for GOP candidates dropped from +12 to -21. Backlash against Trump could give us an opportunity to change the entire map up and down the ballot in 2018. But it won't happen with status quo candidates running on the old playbook - voters have made it clear that's not what they want either. If Democrats want to win big against Trump's Republican Party, they need to run candidates who stand up for all working families, not corporations or wealthy donors. Rob Quist and James Thompson will do that. But they need the help of DFA members like you -- right now. Will you chip in $3 or more right now to help progressive populists Rob Quist and James Thompson take back their Congressional districts this spring and send a clear message to Donald Trump and the political establishment? Thanks for supporting DFA's 50 state strategy to build populist progressive power in Congress and defeat Donald Trump. - Jim Jim Dean, Chair Democracy for America Click here to donate to Quist and Thimpson’s campaigns. [...]
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:38:11 +0000
Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D. NY):
Social Security hasn’t been in the spotlight much during the Trump presidency, but for millions of Americans it’s both a lifeline and a promise. It means that after a lifetime of hard work, they can rest easy knowing that the benefits they’ve earned will be there.
We should be giving more families that peace of mind. That’s why I’m cosponsoring a bill to boost benefits, especially for lower-income seniors. We’re asking high earners to pay their fair share so that our seniors will have economic security in retirement, now and in the decades to come.
I’m doing everything I can to protect and expand Social Security, but I need you with me. Add your name to tell Congress to protect and expand Social Security!
Thanks for standing with me.
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:27:05 +0000
Received this e-mail today from former Rep. Betty Sutton’s (D. OH) gubernatorial campaign:
Make no mistake -- our environment is under attack by Republicans.
Yesterday, Donald Trump signed an executive order rolling back essential climate protections implemented under President Obama.
Meanwhile in Columbus, Republicans are looking to kill off renewable energy growth that helps save our environment while creating jobs - a plan the Cleveland Plain Dealer characterized as "in denial of the jobs, investment, growth and future economic stability that come from a broad energy portfolio in Ohio."
At a time when politicians should be doing everything possible to create jobs and protect our environment, Republican policies will do just the opposite.
We can stop these attacks on our jobs and the environment by speaking up with one voice.
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:17:03 +0000
Sen. Amy Klobuchar told the News Tribune on Wednesday that she will not support President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
"Senators have a solemn obligation to advise and consent on a president's nominee for the Supreme Court," Klobuchar said in an emailed statement to the News Tribune. "... His judicial record on critical issues including the rights of children with disabilities, campaign finance, and preserving health and safety protections have led me to conclude that I cannot support his nomination."
Klobuchar joins Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., in denying support to Gorsuch. Franken announced his decision earlier this week, telling WCCO Sunday Morning that he feared Gorsuch would favor corporations over workers and consumers.
Klobuchar's cited Gorsuch's responses during his confirmation hearings in the Senate earlier this month in her reasoning.
"During Judge Gorsuch's hearing, I asked about an opinion he wrote on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a law passed to ensure that students with disabilities are supported in school," she wrote the News Tribune. "In a unanimous 8-0 decision last week, the Supreme Court ruled against the narrow interpretation of that law supported by the judge that limited the educational opportunities of children with disabilities."
Glad to hear. As a way of saying thank you, Klobuchar’s colleague, U.S. Senator Al Franken (D. MN), would like it if you could help her get ready for re-election:
Amy Klobuchar is my friend and colleague in Washington. We're a good team -- taking on issues that matter.
I couldn't imagine a better person to serve with in the Senate. But Amy is up for reelection. If we want to keep her in the Senate, we need to make sure she has the support she needs.
Amy is getting an early start on building up her grassroots defenses. Will you help me help Amy by giving $5, $10, or even more to her campaign?
When President Trump tried to ban Muslims from entering America, Amy stood side-by-side with refugees to denounce it. All throughout Republican attempts to strip Minnesotans of affordable health care, Amy fought to protect it.
Amy has spent her entire career fighting for the working families of Minnesota. She always puts the middle class first and special interests... well, never.
I'm excited to vote for her as my Senator. But we don't have to wait until November 2018 to do some good for Amy.
Thanks for helping me help Amy.
P.S.: Amy deserves all of our support -- and that includes all the extra support she'll get through my patented "extra ask in the P.S." Click here and give to Amy's campaign.
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 20:58:22 +0000
Hey, Tom Brock, let me tell you what else Ocean View girls can do, we can organize and VOTE and make sure your political life ends before it gets started
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 19:11:00 +0000A good man says on the brink of disaster, “I sure hope I am wrong” a bad man says, “I told you so.” America has temporarily dodged the healthcare destruction bullet. Now badly in need of a win, Donald Trump has decided, the increased pollution of the planet will give him a Pyrrhic victory. In exchange for 75, 000 dwindling coal mining jobs, Trump gave artificial hope to a dying industry, while he grinned and preened before the cameras yesterday hyping the return of the coal mining business. Flanked by a bevy of stoic but hardworking coal miners, Trump gave them an approving thumbs up. Unfortunately, the thumbs up were really an affirmation of the impending demise of the industry. The oxymoronic declaration that “clean coal” will save American jobs, came on the worn heels of a reversal of former President Barack Obama’s climate change initiatives. With the stroke of a pen, President Trump set the course of ecology in reverse, circa 1970, when taking a deep breath in Los Angeles and New York City was at best difficult and at worse suicidal. Paraphrasing Robert Duvall from the movie Apocalypse Now, I love the smell of ‘methane’ in the morning. Barack Obama, despite the obstruction of the anti-science right, did the good thing and joined the world and the scientific community’s effort to save the planet. Big C conservatives constantly talk about the financial burden Democrats will leave their grandchildren. Better the debt be leveraged on the future of a clean sky, rather than burn the mortgage of a condemned planet. Trump reversed plans to control power plant emissions, crippled methane and carbon dioxide regulations that allows pollution by oil and gas drillers to virtually be self-regulated again. All this under the approving eye of coal magnates and industry barons http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-energy-idUSKBN16Z1L6. Ahhhh for the days of a good man… With no help from obstructionist Republicans and Democrats hiding in gerrymandered closets, President Obama made sure America took the first steps toward single payer insurance, joined the climate change fight and got America up off the canvas. The saddest part of the changes the current President is making is that they come from a policy free mind. Mr. Trump couldn’t tell you how a piece of coal is mined, even if it were under 45 and 60 kilobars of pressure and heated at 2000 degrees. We had something rare in American history, a diamond in the rough. President Barack Obama, wrote books and read them. He was a first many times over, first African American president of the Harvard Law Review, first President to recognize the rights of LGBTQ community in an Inaugural speech http://www.npr.org/2013/01/21/169920898/obama-the-first-president-to-mention-gay-rights-in-inaugural-address and oh yeah, there was that first Black President thing. He was a good man not a perfect man, as he would tell you himself. Former President Obama implored his Republican counterparts, to help him help America. He told them, if I am wrong help me. Obama wanted the leaders of both parties to, "go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward."http://www.nbcnews.com/id/35296874/ns/politics-health_care_reform/t/gop-cool-obamas-call-health-talks/ The day after his healthcare initiative failed President Trump talked of implosion and explosion of the system. A bad man could not wait to say, I told you so, “let Obamacare explode, its exploding right now” https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000005008006/trump-health-bill-vote.html. Trump considered the vote a test of loyalty to him. Obama considered voting for his bill a test one American’s loyalty to his fellow American. A good man versus a bad man… you decide. ’18 and Change’ [...]
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:33:28 +0000If Senate Democrats are looking for good reasons to not just oppose Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court, but to force Mitch McConnell to go nuclear to get him on the court, there's plenty. Let's start with the fact that this is a stolen seat. By all rights, the only person who should be considered for the court is Merrick Garland, President Obama's highly qualified and completely noncontroversial nominee who was blockaded by Republicans in an unprecedented and unprincipled display of partisanship. You don't like the idea that maybe it's tit-for-tat and you don't want to look petty. Get over it. There are plenty of reasons based in Gorsuch's person, however, if Democrats need them. Like the fact that Gorsuch is a right-wing extremist so bought-into right-wing extremism that he uses "Democrat" as an adjective. That's an implicit tip-off to anyone paying attention that he is a supremely political actor and will be serving the far-right before serving the constitution. He's an ideologue and will rule as one. There's also little indication that Gorsuch will be an independent actor when—and it's increasingly looking like it will be when and not if—the court has to weigh in on a constitutional crisis created by popular vote loser Donald Trump. Further, any senator who is worried about justifying a filibuster vote to their constituents only needs one story to justify their vote—the story of Alphonse Maddin, the "frozen trucker." Gorsuch actually ruled that Maddin was justifiably fired by his employer when he disobeyed an order so that he could save himself from freezing to death. Gorsuch was in the minority in that decision, because it was an extreme position to take, but that's who Gorsuch is. Any senator will be able to relate that story to a constituent to justify his or her vote to block Gorsuch. As of now, as many as 30 senators, out of the 41 necessary to block the confirmation or force McConnell to end the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees, and there are more lining up against Trump and Gorsuch every day. There are a few holdouts—Joe Manchin (WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) are the likeliest to wimp out. Another is approaching this from a position of longstanding, and anachronistic principle. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has said he is "not inclined" to filibuster, but needs answers from Gorsuch to his written questions before deciding on whether to join the growing majority of his colleagues to filibuster. With all due respect to the senator, what more information could he possibly need to decide to stand up against this nominee and this president? The answers he gets from Gorsuch won't be any more definitive or more helpful than what he got in the hearings. Gorsuch is not going to put anything in writing—just as he wasn't going to say it out loud in a hearing—that will inform or elucidate his positions. There's enough information now. Sen. Leahy needs to take a leadership role, and join with the majority of his conference. Help resist popular vote loser Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Click here to call your Democratic senator(s) and tell them to filibuster Neil Gorsuch's confirmation. [...]
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 17:56:46 +0000
Now that the White House realizes it’s bound to a suicide vest known as the "Freedom Caucus," Donald Trump’s aides are on the hunt for Democrats who will help the popular vote loser bring his legislative agenda to fruition.
Under normal circumstances, building a relationship with a Republican president in order to influence legislation might make sense. But these are not normal times. To negotiate with Trump would be to lend credibility to someone who is quite possibly an illegitimate occupant of the Oval Office, has stacked his cabinet with unqualified hacks intended to undercut the very foundation of the federal government, tests the Constitutional limitations of his office at every turn, and who, as our own Laura Clawson pointed out, can't go two sentences without expelling a lie.
Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch gets that, which is why he refused a White House invitation to meet next week with Trump's top legislative aides, writes Matt Viser:
“I was asked if I would be interested in going over to the White House for a meeting,” Lynch said in a statement to the [Boston] Globe. “They said they were looking for ‘moderate’ Democrats – which I am. But under the circumstances I felt like they were trying to divide our party so I declined the invitation.”
“My feeling is that the Trump White House has taken a ‘scorched earth’ approach so far,” he added. “I am usually someone who looks for middle ground, but Mr. Trump’s opening position, especially as reflected in his budget, has been so extreme that there is no middle ground. It’s a non-starter for me.”
Here, here, Mr. Lynch.
And by the way, any Democrat who attends that meeting better be ready for a reckoning on the other side of the White House doors.
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 17:35:54 +0000Poor people, indeed middle class people, experience powerlessness on a daily basis, and as Saul Alinsky teaches us: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don’t address the “real” issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.) Poor and middle class people, the 99%, have no control over their rent or mortgage, no control over their bank, their utility company, their insurance company, children’s school, place of employment, or a host of other institutions that shape their life. Political parties are asking people to believe that once a year they can go into a booth, press some buttons, and materially affect their life. Nothing in their experience in life suggests that this simple act will have real consequences. So how can party activists at the local level change that? Well, it would be nice if Democrats who won elections didn’t instantly turn around and start attacking Social Security and other institutions crucial to the well being of the 99%. But even in the face of that sort of betrayal, there are things that local activists can do to drive up turn out. Traditional voter registration drives are exhausting for volunteers for the few new voters who are identified. Traditionally you have a card table, some clip boards, and voter registration forms. You locate yourself in a in front of a grocery store or some other location where you will meet like low income citizens who are mostly likely not registered to vote and try to convince people to register. After an entire Saturday if you come away with even half a dozen new voters you will have done well. But there is a far more efficient method, which I describe in my book The precinct captain's guide to political victory. Go to your local Registrar's office and get a few cartons of voter registration forms. Then print out some labels with the proper address, probably the Registrar's, so that people won't have to figure out where to send the from once they have filled it out. Pre-addressing the from saves the citizen trouble and confusion. Next make up a simple flier asking them to register to vote, something along these lines: Please register to vote. Your country needs your voice. No one understands your family and community as you do. No one else understands their issues. No one can take your place. If you are already registered, or not eligible to vote, please pass this form to a friend or family member who is not registered and is eligible to vote. By authority of [your name, city and zip code] Assuming that you have done your precinct analysis, you will know what other languages your flier needs to be translated into and have recruited someone to do that. Then you collate the fliers and voter registration forms and distribute them door to door. Just roll them up together and place them between the door handle and the frame, just as the pizza places do. You do not need the landlord's permission to distribute voter registration forms or political literature on their property. It is urgently necessary that we separate economic power from political legitimacy. The one does not equal the other. Tenants and employees are in no way obliged to take any notice of the political views of their landlords and employers. Don't be discouraged if no one else on your local Democratic committee understands or supports your voter registration effort. At first I went out by myself; no one on the committee understood what I was doing. But after I was able to report that indeed, voter registration applications were trickling into the registrar's office, committee members began to volunteer. After a few months I had a regular group who could be depended upon to go out, ev[...]
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 16:32:49 +0000
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell certainly isn't one to be plagued by guilt. After all, he presided over the most baselessly obstructionist Senate in history, including the unprecedented and unprincipled total blockade of President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. So when he tells his conference to "feel no guilt" over getting rid of the filibuster to install the right-wing extremist Neil Gorsuch to the bench, he's speaking from personal experience.
Mitch McConnell told his leadership team in private this week what's becoming increasingly obvious on Capitol Hill: Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch probably won't get 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.
But the Senate majority leader had an equally pressing message: Republicans should have no compunction about pulling the trigger on the "nuclear option" — with Democrats resisting a high court nominee as well-pedigreed as Gorsuch.
"Feel no guilt," McConnell said, according to attendees.
McConnell's attempt to buck up his GOP ranks, relayed by three sources in attendance, underscores the high stakes of the Gorsuch battle as the Senate barrels toward a likely nuclear showdown next week: His confirmation is, to put it mildly, a can't-lose for Republicans.
That's the same McConnell who declared it was "a sad day in the history of the Senate," when Democrats under Harry Reid ended the filibuster on nominees for the lower courts and government agencies. McConnell called it a "power grab" and said Democrats were "picking a 'fake fight over judges' to try and 'distract the public' from the problems of ObamaCare."
“It only reinforces the narrative of party willing to do or say just about anything to get its way,” said McConnell. “One again, Democrats are threatening to break the rules of the Senate ... in order to change the rules of the Senate,” he said. […]
“I don’t think this is the time to be talking about reprisals. I think it’s a time to be sad about what’s been done to the United States Senate,” he said.
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:26:12 +0000I know you. You do your best to be a good employee, spouse, child, parent, friend and neighbor. You pray, often at odd times because you feel like you just can’t catch a break. Every time you get $100 ahead of the bills, there’s a doctor bill, or a mechanic’s bill to make sure you’re back to square one. Even though sometimes it’s harder than you thought, you never let despair overtake you because you simply can’t afford that. Too many people are relying on you. Despite your struggles, you rarely pass a person stranded on the highway without stopping or at least calling to report it; you’re the guy/gal who sees an empty paper cup in the parking lot and stops to pick it up and toss it in a waste can. You teach your children to respect others, to respect themselves and to respect the earth. You never let them leave waste behind when you take them camping. You’re proud of your fishing/hunting skills, knowledge of the weather patterns and the outdoors -- wild-growing plants, herbs and animals. If you had to, you could live off the land. You like a good joke, enjoy the company of friends and family at a simple barbecue, and watching TV with your spouse or the kids curled up next to you. You have the capacity to love. But the past decade has been a tough one; an hour of the news and you’re ready to scream. You don’t know what to believe – who can be trusted. Every talking head has a spin. Generally you stick to the channels that claim to reflect what you believe, whether that’s liberal or conservative. I know you. You’re like me. We both look back wistfully to a time when employers were loyal to hard-working, loyal employees; when there was no such thing as cellphones or I-Pads and people had to actually visit, or write letters, or take road trips to connect; when you knew all your neighbors by name and could count on them to watch out for your kids, take in your mail when you were out of town and water your lawn. We both blink at some of the shows – even commercials! - on TV, shocked at how standards became so relaxed. We remember when commercials for bras were either animated or bras were shown on mannequins; when shows entertained, made us laugh, or caught us up in drama and when even the word damn never made it on the airwaves. You’re like me. We are both frustrated with what’s become of the world - although perhaps for different reasons – and we’re both being infected. Times have changed. No longer is optimism the order of the day; no longer is the news just the news. Day after day, night after night, paper after paper, we are given facts mixed with one-sided fairy tales and rhetoric which is divisive and hateful and which puts us on edge. You’re like me. When you hear accusatory or derogatory rhetoric that starts with “white people…”, “women [men]…” or “Muslims…”, “Christians…” or “Conservatives…” you feel that stab of hurt. Because you know that’s not you. And it’s not fair. More importantly, you recognize that any attempt to defend YOUR honor is futile. Because people are no longer treated like individuals for purposes of rhetoric and reporting. We are – often unfairly – lumped together based on our race, gender, profession, religion or politics. But not all whites are racist, not all blacks are violent, not all Christians are judgmental or crazy, not all women are bitches, not all conservatives are mean and not all liberals believe in big government. And therein lies the rub. And the infection. Those same stereotypes uttered here and there by celebrities or politicians that are so immediately and roundly denounced or applauded (based on which channel you watch) are repeated by those same damned pundits in stati[...]
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:06:46 +0000
"When is it OK for Democrats to work with Trump? A handy guide" is the headline at Politico Magazine, but it turns out not to be such a handy guide. “Never” is probably not an answer Politico was interested in—too short, not wishy-washy enough—but author Bill Scher gets a little confused trying to come up with a Politico-friendly answer to this important question.
Scher’s best answer is buried deep in the piece: “The only time it will ever be OK for Democrats to work with Trump is if Trump comes begging for votes and Democrats can dictate the terms.” But even that misses it. Sure, if congressional Republicans allow a vote on a bill that represents capitulation to a Democratic agenda, Democrats can think about voting for it, after carefully inspecting it from every angle to find any hidden traps. But work with Trump? Join with him to craft policy?
Since January, Donald Trump has twice signed executive orders attempting to put into practice his campaign promise of a Muslim ban. He has released a budget that would slash education, environmental protection, medical research, and more while further bloating the defense budget. He has weakened consumer protections. He is moving to reverse an important clean water rule. He signed a bill effectively saying that federal contracts can go to labor law violators. He worked hard to pass a disastrous, unpopular healthcare bill. And as that bill’s failure shows, even if Democrats worked with Trump (which they should not) and came up with something they liked, it would still have to get past congressional Republicans.
Also, Donald Trump cannot go two sentences without lying. Working with him is asking to be deceived, manipulated, abused, and betrayed.
So there’s your handy guide to when it’s okay for Democrats to work with Trump.
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 14:03:49 +0000Full disclosure — I thought Bernie Sanders would have been a MUCH better candidate to this election cycle. That being said, this is not a troll article, and this is not designed to re-litigate the primaries, or stir up any kind of contention. I do suspect, that many will not be happy with it though. I’m simply going to state what was reported, then offer a little opinion. However, I did make the title click bait so you would read it. Please forgive me. Also, although I have lurked around this site since the ACA debates, I only recently signed up to contribute. By now, you must have heard or read that Tom Perez has asked for the resignation letters of all DNC staffers. This in itself is not surprising. Most new management wants to bring in it’s own people or re-evaluate the talent that it will be overseeing. That’s a given. What struck me as interesting, and what NBC News is reporting, is that before Perez did this, he had a meeting with Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, and Keith Ellison: Earlier this month, Perez held a meeting to discuss the issue with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sanders, both of whom supported Rep. Keith Ellison in the DNC chair race. Schumer, pointing to Ellison and Sanders, told Perez, "If he's happy, and if he's happy, then I'm happy," according to two sources. (Emphasis mine) “Pointing to Ellison and Sanders”. WOW! Recently, Nancy Pelosi was asked who the leader of the Democratic Party is, and she named Obama and Clinton when Anderson Cooper pressed her on it. He then reminded her that under their watch, Democrats have been devastated across the country electorally. Obama has been on vacation, and Hillary has not been as busy as many would have liked her to be. She’s tweeted a few things out, but largely has remained out of the spotlight since the election. Meanwhile, Bernie is out doing town halls with MSNBC. He’s out marching with unions. And he’s doing all of this in RED states. He was given the Chair of the Democratic Senate Outreach Committee, and he has literally ran with that. Chuck Schumer wants to stay in power. He’s not an idiot. He saw that while having mega-donors got them a lot of money, it didn’t get them a lot of results. Chuck. Schumer. This is the same guy who took millions in contributions from banks, investment firms, and defense contractors. He’s now telling the leader of the DNC to get behind the guy that, in a perfect world, will eliminate these donors and all the sweet, sweet, cash, lavish trips, and gifts. This, to me, signals that more of a grassroots push will be taking place. Who had the best grassroots support during this past election cycle? Bernie. Who’s out taking the lead and showing that progressive policies can be pushed everywhere? Bernie. Who gets young people the most excited and beside themselves when talking about their policies? Bernie. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Ladies and gentleman, your new leader of the Democratic Party: [...]
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 11:17:44 +0000
This will be short, because the idea is simple. Democrats already have the house, the senate and presidency, but that power is in the future. However, like a dollar to be earned in the future, that power is a real asset that has value today. So, let’s project our future power, NOW.
Let’s project our future power, NOW.
Business hates uncertainty. So lets help understand what is going to happen. This way they can prepare and take intelligent steps to future proof their business.
Internet Companies: You want to sell the privacy of your customers without their consent? We Democrats say, don’t get too married to that business model. WHEN we get in power, that is going away, because it’s wrong.
Think we’re going to be building the giant border wall? Don’t purchase too many extra excavators, because WHEN the Democrats get back in power, that project is scrap.
Defense contractors: thinking of investing billions into new (I dunno) bomb factory stuff? What will happen in less than two years when Democrats control the House and the Senate?
Red states thinking of screwing up Medicare and Medicaid even more than they already have? Are you sure you want to do that? Because very soon, when the Democrats are back in power, you may find yourself in a hurt pot.
Employers, think you can take short cuts on worker safety in your factory? It might be better for you and less expensive for you now to adopt safer rules than to try to do it after the Democrats get back in power.
Mitch McConnell… thinking of going nuclear? When the Democrats return to power with a permanent liberal majority, they will well remember the “McConnell rule.”
Hey, Mr. Big Business Man investing in dirty fuel technologies, when Democrats return to power, they plan to repeal and replace every Donald Trump so-called ‘Executive Order’ that cozies up to your lobby.
WHEN Democrats get to power, businesses may be subject to extremely radical emission rules to attempt to undo the damage Trump has caused.
We can undermine this so-called President’s power today by making those who benefit from his insanity, question whether the insanity is permanent or just temporary.
The WHEN is coming sooner than Republicans think. Lets remind them and all of their cronies that this pause in sanity is only temporary.
We can undermine this so-called President’s power today by making those who benefit from his insanity, question whether the insanity is permanent or just temporary.
Having future power doesn’t solve all of our problems today. It also doesn’t put us in power, so there’s no excuse for not getting out and organizing your community. However, lets also not forget that the future is a powerful tool in our bag. We can use our future power to shape the present. We are not powerless now, because the future is with us.
We can use our future power to shape the present. We are not powerless now, because the future is with us.
Let’s leverage our future power, starting today. Tell Nancy P. and Chuck S. to start leveraging our future power NOW.
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 09:01:58 +0000
On Monday, Facebook rolled out a new tool called “Town Hall” that allows its users to contact their local government officials. Folks like Kerry Flynn with Mashable believe this is probably the best thing Facebook has ever done. “Like it or not, Facebook has an impact on politics.”
To get started: go to Facebook.com/TownHall (or find the “Town Hall” tab in your Setting pages on the Facebook app).
Depending on how your Facebook notifications are set up, the representatives in your district might appear once you open the link. If you don’t see your local lawmakers, you can enter an address or just a zip code that will not be viewed or shared. When you see your list you can call, message, email and/or go onto your rep’s Facebook page to post a comments and messages via Facebook Messenger. Easy squeasy.
This, of course, would not take the place of attending live Town Hall meetings, which can be informative and incredibly gratifying when successful, as were many these last several months, especially regarding the issue of recent GOP heath care insurance changes. Thousands attended town halls across the country showing up in numbers that sometimes scared lawmakers into canceling. The people were angry and demanded to be heard.
This new social media tool gives everyday concerned citizens and activists another way to be proactive on other issues including Trump’s cabinet members, the Supreme Court, immigration, education, environmental protections, (i.e., Muslim bans/Mexican walls), foreign/Russian interference and Donald Trump’s ties to Vladimir Putin.
This is great news for the Resistance — not so much for Republicans. It’s turning out to be more of a challenge to support Trump than perhaps many GOP members anticipated. And now it’s even easier for voters to keep track of who’s on the right side of history, and who will not be getting our votes come Election Day.
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 04:33:03 +0000On Wednesday, March 29th, the House Judiciary Committee will consider two Democratic resolutions of inquiry. H.Res. 184, introduced by Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Ted Lieu(D-CA), asks the White House and Department of Justice for information oncontacts between Trump officials and the Russians. The committee will also consider H.Res. 203, introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), which asks the White House and Justice Department to provide information, if any, on Trump’s allegation that President Obama wiretapped him. Just last week, FBI Director James Comey publicly acknowledged that there is no evidence to support President Trump’s wiretapping claims. Considering that fact, this resolution will be amended. House Judiciary Committee Democrats have long been calling for House Judiciary Republicans to provide proper oversight over Trump and his Administration. On March 10th, every Democratic member of the Committee called on Chairman Goodlatte to “get moving on Trump oversight.” Despite Judiciary Republicans’ attempts to block Democratic efforts, these resolutions of inquiry should be the proper next step in the Committee’s oversight of theTrump Administration. They follow two letters to Chairman Bob Goodlatte—both signed by every Democratic member of the Committee—requesting hearings about federal conflict-of-interest and ethics provisions that may apply to the President. Democrats have also sent several letters to Speaker Paul Ryan, the Department of Justice and the White House requesting this and related information concerning Trump’s ties to Russia. Just a few weeks ago, House Judiciary Republicans blocked Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s(D-NY) resolution of inquiry from reaching the House floor. TheNadler resolution would have provided Congress with information relevant to President Trump’s conflicts of interest, his potential violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause, and ties between his advisors and the Russianregime. During that markup, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Chairman Goodlatte(R-VA) indicated that the Nadler resolution was unnecessary because the Majority was drafting a bipartisan letter to Attorney General Sessions. To date, no such letter has been sent. The markup is open to the public and starts at 10AM. The resolutions are expected to come up toward the middle of the markup. DATE: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 LOCATION: 2141 Rayburn House Office Building, House Judiciary Committee Room LIVESTREAM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQSvbrmMkd0 [...]
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 03:36:15 +0000
So I went to Wikipedia to look at the 2016 Congressional Election results. The second state alphabetically is “Arkansas” so I looked at that.
Here’s the 2016 results from Arkansas.
What we see is that out of 4 seats, only one seat even had a Democrat running.
That’s kind of inexplicable isn’t it? I mean maybe Democrats aren’t super popular in Arkansas, but shouldn’t the Democrats at least have a candidate in every race?
And how much would it cost to run a modest campaign? Even with $50,000 someone could print up some leaflets or whatever.
I hope in 2018 that the Democrats put up a credible candidate in every race. If you don’t run then you can’t win. I bet there are even some readers of this website who live in those very districts. If you see a race without anyone running, why not jump in???
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:35:05 +0000It is March, if you are a Democratic precinct captain that means you should be analyzing your precinct, if you have not already done so. So I thought I might excerpt the section of my book that deals with this subject: What sort of precinct do you live in? The first order of business is to get a map of your precinct. You might be able to download it from the Registrar's office's website. But more likely, you will have to go to their office and buy a precinct map of your jurisdiction. There is no possibility of doing proper precinct work if you do not know the actual boundaries of your precinct. The next order of business is to analyze the returns of at least the last four elections. So far as I am aware, every jurisdiction now has precinct returns going back to 1996 online. When you look at the returns you need to consider who wins in your precinct, what the trend has been, and by what sort of margin. Do Democrats win? Republicans? Do you live in one of those rare precincts that vote for emergent parties? (Yes, Greens, Independents, and other emergent parties do win from time to time.) Until you have actually looked at the returns you know nothing. The other thing you need to look at is turnout, is the turnout in your precinct 50% of registered voters or better? Or is it less than 50%? Obviously this will vary greatly from year to year, which is why you need to look at more than one election. The next order of business is to actually walk your precinct. If it is a very large precinct, this will not be possible to do in one afternoon. You will need to walk sections of it until you have surveyed the entire precinct. What sort of precinct is it? Is it older houses? A new development? Townhouses? high-rises? Garden apartments? Some mix of these? The sort of neighborhood you live in determines your overall approach. If you live in an older neighborhood with detached houses where there is little turnover, you will want to spend a great deal of time doing voter ID. I will discuss that later. For now you need to determine where you need to spend your time. If your precinct is mostly new developments, but detached houses that look like future turnover will be limited, you will also need to spend your time doing voter ID. If your precinct has mostly townhouses and/or condominiums, where turnover looks like it would be every 3-5 years, you will still need to do some work on voter ID, but visibility and leafleting will be more important. If your precinct is mostly rentals with a turnover of 6-18 months, you will need to put your energy into leafleting, visibility, and possibly voter registration. So the initial question is, do you live in a low, medium, or high turnover precinct? The sort of precinct you live in will determine how you spend your time. The next question is what sort of people live in your neighborhood? Families with small children? Families with adolescents? Older adults? Single adults? It would be an error to assume that the single gentleman in his thirties does not care about schools, but you can be very sure that the family with school age children DOES care about schools. Looking at the sort of people who live in your neighborhood will give you a feel for what sort of concerns they have. Notice that I did not suggest you observe the ethnic character of your neighborhood. Precinct operations are about treating voters as individuals, not as members of a group. Having said that, you should be aware of voters who speak English as a second language. You will want to know if you need political literature in a language other than English, and if so[...]
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:16:32 +0000
Ever since Tom Perez’s election to head of the DNC he has said the right things in public to unify the party and to get the DNC back on track. Many though have been worried if this was going to be all political posturing without any action. Today we found out the answer to that is “HELL NO”. He's taken a big step forward today that Democrats have been begging for for years and only portends to good things ahead with him at the helm.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has launched a major overhaul of the party's organization, which has been stung by recent crises — and the DNC has requested resignation letters from all current staffers.
Party staff routinely see major turnover with a new boss and they had been alerted to expect such a move. However, the mass resignation letters will give Perez a chance to completely remake the DNC's headquarters from scratch. Staffing had already reached unusual lows following a round of post-election layoffs in December.
To find those essential staff members that make or break the DNC he is not just searching in Washington among the pundits class.
The overhaul is not limited to staffers however as all political vendor contracts will be reviewed given how poorly they've performed over the last 6 years. This is something the grassroots has been begging for and I'm glad to see it actually happen.
The DNC will embark on a national search to fill key party positions, overseen by the 30-odd members of the transition advisory committee.
The committee is also reviewing the DNC's contracts with outside vendors and consultants, a source of complaints from many Democrats.
The party is unified in finding out what went wrong and fixing those mistakes that cost Democrats and the country dearly. Tom Perez has done a fantastic job in his short tenure and I look forward to seeing what new ideas he can bring to the table. Until that diary I'll leave you with this.
Schumer, pointing to Ellison and Sanders, told Perez, "If he's happy, and if he's happy, then I'm happy," according to two sources.
If that isn't party unity I don't know what is. Onward and Upward!
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:30:11 +0000I hope Dems are serious about threatening a government shutdown. Hoyer predicted that, because House budget hawks will almost certainly oppose any spending package that can pass both chambers, Republican leaders will need to reach across the aisle for Democratic support to keep the government open — a process that must yield “a consensus,” he said, “not a take-it-or-leave-it” proposition. With Congressional Dems it can kinda seem like they don’t always get the message, but I hope in this case, they realize they need to be serious about the threat of a government shutdown. To begin with, the budget cuts proposed by Trump and Republicans are so severe, so draconian, that making deals to overall allow such a heinous budget to pass at the expense of preventing a shutdown is seriously counter-productive, like painting a burning house. It is also a monumental political opportunity that cannot be allowed to be passed up. Because under a President Trump, whose persona and base support is premised on how he is this uber-Mensch winner who always wins and lives and eats and breathes wins, a shutdown under his regime would be a total humiliation. It would be a mortal wound to the Trump agenda, not just symbolically, as it will only strain relations between the White House and Capitol further. This goes to show that Trump should want nothing more than to avoid a shutdown. But not just Trump, but the Republicans in control of Congress, as well. With the previous shutdown, Republicans held the majority in the House, so whether it was to avert or undo the shutdown, it required Republican votes. So it was all about obstruction. In this scenario, where the GOP controls everything, mathematically they should need zero Democrat votes to prevent/undo a government shutdown. Meaning as long as Democrats play hard ball, it is entirely on the GOP and their incompetence if the government shuts down. Possibility of a government shutdown will also put the GOP in the position to having to explain why running huge government deficits was so goddamn immoral under Obama, but suddenly totally OK and not that big of a deal now. If I were in the media, I would be licking my chops at the chance to eviscerate Republicans on this hill. This is where it may be a tough leap for some Dems: They need to play real hardball, and call for real concessions if the GOP wants to avert a shutdown, not mealy-mouthed compromises. The starting point should be Progressive agenda planks like expanding social security, raising the minimum wage, and undoing the Muslim Ban (i.e. actual concessions from Trump too as he would have to undo Executive Orders). Not that all these demands necessarily need to be met to avoid the shutdown, but in negotiating, it is important to anchor the expectations. This is what the GOP does everytime the possibility of a shutdown presents itself. Democrats need to do the same, and quit letting Republicans set the baseline at cat food all the damn time. But, put those proposals out there clearly and unequivocally. Let Americans see: when they vote in Republicans, these are the policies they are giving up. Because, and this may be a news to some Dems: they are the minority party in Congress. As such, one of the few political cards they still have in their hand is the power to resist. And if Congressional Democrats are paying attention, they would see that power, the resistance is working. Through things like Indivisible and the frequent protests, resisting the Trump agenda has not only been effective in the[...]
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:05:10 +0000
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency that in just a few short years has provided nearly $12 billion in financial relief to about 27 million American consumers—money Wall Street and financial services companies have swindled out of us—is one of the many good things we can't have any more if Republicans have their way. For some damn reason, some Democrats are wondering if they should help dismantle it.
"At this point, it's impossible. They've tried to destroy [the CFPB] so many times, they've lost their credibility, really," said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), a veteran on the House Financial Services Committee. "That's their end game here."
Progressive groups are pushing Democrats to defend the bureau, the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The party's liberal base, still fuming over the 2016 elections, does not want to see any compromise with Republicans over policies won by the left during the Obama era. […]
Several House Financial Services Committee Democrats say backing a coalition, for example, could protect the agency from withering under a Trump appointee.
"I've been warning my party for a long time that at some point you're going to have a Republican president," said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.). "I prefer a bipartisan commission."
Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) said he discussed backing a CFPB commission last year with Republican colleagues, but only if Cordray would be part of it and the commission wouldn't form until a majority of members were approved by the Senate.
What Lynch says—Republicans don't want to "improve" the CFBP any more than they wanted to "improve" Obamacare. They want to destroy it. They've wanted to since it was proposed by Elizabeth Warren and championed by President Obama precisely because it's part of their legacy and achievement. That and their buddies on Wall Street have been bitching incessantly about how they have to now not swindle their customers because there's a watchdog on the beat.
No, Democrats, do not be complicit in this. Resist. Resist it and win. If you don't win, you use it to run against Republicans in 2018 and 2020. Because what's easier to demonstrate just how beholden to Wall Street Republicans are than the side they picked in this fight.
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:22:56 +0000Recently I wrote a diary called, “False Equivalence is the Worst Kind of ‘Alternative Fact.’” The second-worst kind is related, but takes a little longer to explain. Avid readers of and listeners to driftglass and the Professional Left Podcast probably know that in his not-so-humble opinion, the most insidious, destructive, indefatigable political lie of the last quarter-century may be expressed in a simple seven-word trope that seems programmed into the See-’N’-Say of every political pundit and opinion-haver on the planet: “Yeah, but Democrats are just as bad.” Of course, they’re not. Which is not to say they’re not “bad” in certain respects, or that they’re immune to bad political behavior or that Republicans have a monopoly thereon. The key words are, “just as” (and, to a lesser extent, “Yeah, but”; more on that presently). No one is innocent of, or has a monopoly on, bad political behavior in general. But pretending that the nature, character, scale, scope, frequency, proportion and magnitude of such behavior is precisely and in all respects the same on Both Sides™ is just wrong, because it simply isn't. If nothing else, this is borne out by the fact that for every time we’ve heard someone say, “Yeah, but Democrats are just as bad,” we haven’t heard the expression, “Yeah, but Republicans are just as bad” in anywhere close to the same proportion, if ever. The “Yeah” part of the former expression is typically an acknowledgment of some Republican political atrocity, while the rest of it attempts to excuse, forgive, justify, understate or minimize the magnitude or grotesquery of whatever “Yeah” refers to. If there have been Democratic atrocities that led purported Centrist™ pundits like Matthew Dowd or David Brooks or Ron Fournier, or even for that matter any liberal or Democratic-friendly pundits, to say, “Yeah, but Republicans are just as bad,” I’ve missed them. The assumption — and the statement — that Both Sides™ are in all respects equally guilty of equivalent atrocities, is practically a requirement now in any political discussion one might have with anyone, be it with ideological rivals or allies. But that’s just the foundation for what I think is the second-worst kind of “alternative fact,” which coincidentally I’ve also written about before. Yesterday on Facebook, in reaction to a report on Mediaite (sorry, I won’t link to that cesspool of bad craziness anymore) that blonde right-wing firebrand Tomi Lahren had been “banned permanently” from The Blaze because she had gone on The View and announced to the world that she was pro-choice, a friend of a friend wrote the following: The bottom line is that there really is no room in the modern GOP for actively pro-choice sentiment. And there is similar hostility to pro-life sentiment amongst Democrats. For reasons passing understanding, I violated my longstanding rule of never discussing politics on Facebook and called BS on this, saying it was a false equivalence. Without getting into a discussion here (or recapping the discussion there) of how and why the “hostility to pro-life sentiment amongst Democrats” (to the extent there is such a thing) is in no way “similar” to the “modern GOP”’s “hostility” to “actively pro-choice sentiment,” let alone the inherent dishonesty and hypocrisy of using a phony, self-congratulatory phrase like “pro-life” to disguise support for[...]
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:37:13 +0000Far too often in our society these days, folks believe that ethics and politics are in opposition to one another. As someone who’s running for office, I’m often told that I will not be able to get very far unless I compromise my principles or ethics in one way or another, and that even the most altruistic of us eventually becomes corrupted or leaves the process. The Sorensen Institute (which is affiliated with the University of Virginia) seeks to change that. Per their about page: The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership was founded in 1993 to bring together diverse individuals with a passion for politics and public service. All have a wide variety of viewpoints and backgrounds but want to work together for the common good. Our non-partisan mission is to strengthen and enhance the quality of government at all levels throughout Virginia. Through a variety of programs—for high school and college leaders to first-time political candidates and influential business and community leaders—the Sorensen Institute has established itself as a powerful and effective force for restoring public confidence in our political system. At the heart of every Sorensen program are three central themes: ethics in public service, the power of bipartisanship, and a concentrated study of public policy issues. This past weekend, I had the honor of attending their Candidate Training Program, which is a four-day program geared toward folks who are running for office, or have an interest in running. It’s open to folks regardless of political persuasion and background, and even offers financial aid to ensure that the ability to pay for admittance isn’t a barrier. Program Facilitator Lauren Gilbert giving us closing remarks on running an ethical campaign. The program covered the nuts and bolts of running a successful campaign, but it also covered some of the lesser-known aspects of running for office; the role of spouses and family members, dealing with negative and attack materials, etc. Everything covered, however, was wrapped in what isn’t offered by most other programs out there like this — ethics and a proper code of conduct. Throughout the program, we were taught an ethical structure through which to view our conduct as candidates and office-holders, and at the near the end we were tasked with drafting a Code of Ethical Conduct for our campaigns. One look at the list of alumni will tell you why I consider it an honor to have been among this year’s graduating class. My Diploma I could very well end this diary here, but there’s one last important piece — the camaraderie that was developed among those of us who attended, and even with the instructors and presenters. Even though we all spent only four days together, we formed life-long bonds that will carry us well beyond the next few campaign cycles. We come from all parts of the Commonwealth, but now we feel as if we carry those parts with us as well. No matter political persuasion or background, I felt a kinship with everyone there, and I know that we have a brighter future ahead of us once these folks get elected. Here are some more pictures! Carter Hall — where the training took place — is one of the most beautiful houses I’ve ever visited. We managed to eek out SOME time to reconnect with civilization, but that was few and far between. We had very full days, usually from 7:30 AM until wee hours of the night. Coffee was a mu[...]
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:24:16 +0000
As Democratic opposition to Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court solidifies, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has to consider going nuclear on the filibuster for the high court and has to line up enough Republicans to make that happen. That outcome is in doubt. Gorsuch, though he was as slippery as any nominee in his confirmation hearings, did not provide enough solid answers for many Democrats. He is an extremist, and many of his decisions reflect that. An "aw, shucks" Eddie Haskell demeanor couldn't overcome what Jeffery Toobin calls his "predilection for employers over employees [that] yielded a circuit-court opinion of almost Gothic cruelty."
The Supreme Court is, as political scientists like to say, a counter-majoritarian institution: the President and the members of Congress must answer to the voters; the Justices, who serve for life, answer only to the commands of the Constitution. But, in doing so, it’s their duty to speak for those who lack political power. The Trump era has already meant trouble for these people—the poor, the sick, dissenters, immigrants—and Gorsuch, for all his intellectual distinction, has shown scant regard for their concerns. There’s little reason to believe that he would as a Justice, either.
That's the conclusion more and more Democratic senators seem to be reaching. They succeeded in delaying a vote on the nomination in committee Monday, giving Gorsuch a week to provide better answers, but at the same time two more Democrats—Sens. Bill Nelson (FL) and Mazie Hirono (HI) announced they would oppose cloture—they would join the filibuster led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Democrats now believe they're very close to blocking a cloture vote. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is the only Democrat admitting he'll vote for cloture.
Sen. Jon Tester of Montana said he is “still undecided,” as did Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said he’s continuing to study Gorsuch’s record and that the threat of the nuclear option wouldn’t influence his choice. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who like Nelson voted to break the filibuster on Alito, said Gorsuch’s stance on privacy rights would be a central factor in her still-unmade decision on confirmation.
“I’m reviewing the hearings,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who is facing parochial pressure to back Gorsuch because the judge hails from Denver.
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:15:28 +0000I’ve taken the advice of many and made my pushback to Trump and the GOP a part of my daily routine, calling my Reps every day (5 Calls App), organizing with my local Dems, marching, online petitions and whatnot. I feel the knowledge I gain from journalists is the foundation of these activities. Even when I roll my eyes at our male-dominated political media I know they are essential. I’m a mom with 3 kids and a busy life, not a lot of free time. How can I effectively raise three responsible citizens if they don’t see the actions I take outside the home matching what I say inside it? How can I take all the info out there and translate it into real knowledge for them? For these reasons and basic personal curiosity, reading up on the events of the world is like breathing air or taking a shower to me. Sometimes amidst all the news and analysis I scroll through, read and listen to each day, one article or tweet or comment sticks out. It is likely a few words that makes me think about something in a new way, challenges my assumptions or simply hits me in the feels. It could be a simple factoid that sticks in my brain or a photo that brings up some strong feelings or even just a quote or anecdote. But it comes back, floating through the random thoughts of dinner or laundry, again and again. This is the real power of good journalism I guess. Changing and expanding our minds. Yesterday it was this piece in the New Yorker by Rachel Aviv: The Trauma of Facing Deportation. I’ve been a New Yorker reader since I was in high school 20 years ago. My HS English teacher printed out a really , really long piece about the history of the school district in East St Louis, including what the current conditions were like at the time (1990’s) and had us read it and then break it down talking as a group. Quite an eye-opener for a bunch of white kids from a rural town in WI enjoying a pretty decent K-12 education. It was a real lesson in non fiction. Please read the entire thing...it is about hundreds of refugee children who have fallen unconscious, lost the will to live, after they find out they will be deported from Sweden. It is a very well researched and thoughtful take on the Refugee Crisis, on the challenges faced by liberal free societies and the ways different cultures experience and handle mental health. Here are some excerpts I thought that DK readers may find interesting: Sweden has been a haven for refugees since the seventies, accepting more asylum seekers per capita than any other European nation, but the country’s definition of political refugees had recently narrowed. Families fleeing countries that were not at war were often denied asylum. In an open letter to the Swedish minister of migration, forty-two psychiatrists asserted that the new restrictions on asylum seekers and the time it took the Migration Board to process their applications—children could be in limbo for years—were causing the disease. They accused the government of “systematic public child abuse.” Opinion within the medical community converged on the theory that the illness was a reaction to two traumas: harassment in the children’s home country, and the dread, after acclimating to Swedish society, of returning. A hundred and sixty thousand Swedes signed a petition to stop the deportations of apathetic children and other asylum seekers. Five of Sweden’s seven pol[...]
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 02:45:27 +0000Everybody knows a void sucks (a little science humor there to kick things off). Right now nobody knows that more than the members of the Republican Party, who despite controlling the White House and both houses of Congress are caught in the spiraling vortex of a disastrous leadership void. And what really sucks is that the prospects of filling that void anytime soon appear slimmer than Devin Nunes’ credibility. That void is at or near the top of the reasons Trump/Ryan ScrewYouCare failed last week, the absolute lack of Republican leadership at every level. Are you paying attention, Democrats? The Republicans have no clothes. They are hip deep in ideology and agendas and plumb out of governance. Following is an assessment of who should or could lead the Republicans out of the abyss and the main reasons they won’t or can’t: THE “A” LIST At the top is Donald Trump. When the president is from your party, it’s generally assumed he’s your party’s leader. Except in this case. Donald Trump is not really a Republican. He’s never worked for or within the party. He’s given money willy-nilly to whoever he thinks can help him, Democrat and Republican alike, but he’s never paid his party dues. Is it any wonder the members of the Freedumb Carcass gave him and Steve Bannon the finger – with both hands – when they threatened them last week? Trump has no cred in Congress, and a decreasing amount with the GOP outside. Until he learns to say “Please” and “Thank you,” prominent Republicans, especially in Congress, will continue to treat him like the joke he is. And then there’s Russia. Mike Pence (the vice-president, remember?). Since he’s one of theirs – former governor, former congressman – you’d expect he’d be next man up in Trump’s absence as party leader. Only problem is, most of theirs don’t like him very much. He’s not very popular in his home state of Indiana, and he’s even less popular in Washington. Maybe that’s why he always looks like he just got back from the proctologist under ScrewYouCare. Add to that the fact he’s wedded to Trump (but not in a gay-marriage sort of way), so whether he wants to or not he owns Trump’s policies, Trump’s actions and Trump’s tweets. Then there’s the fact he’s a theocrat who wants the government run on Christian principles (well, some of them, not ALL of them). There are a few in Congress who talk that talk, but most aren’t ready to walk that walk. Mikie’s ready. Plus he’s nearly as much of a pathological liar as Trump, a fact to which I can personally attest. And finally, he’s got a little of that new Russia smell on him too. Paul Ryan. Who’d of thought that somebody someday would say that Paul Ryan couldn’t carry John Boehner’s jock strap. Well, I just did. Continuing the metaphor, and since we’re in March Madness, let’s just say that Pistol Paul chunked a slam dunk last week on ACA repeal and – cough(bullshit)cough – replace. Given 7-1/2 years to craft a replacement healthcare bill, and given a unanimous Republican mandate to kill Obamacare, and given a majority in the House and Senate, and given a Republican in the White House, Paul Ryan managed to spectacularly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with a piece of crap bill that even school children were pointing out was nothing but a tax cut for the rich. He couldn’t even [...]
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 01:55:52 +0000
They called it the AHCA
It was the Republican way
The Tea Party's yell
Was, “Go straight to hell”
And Democrats all voted nay.
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 01:06:20 +0000Guest: Frank Schaeffer on what Dems must do to win again; Also: U.S. civilian massacres explode in Middle East; NC paying high price for anti-LGBT law; ND pipeline leak much worse than previously known... On today's BradCast, a former evangelical Christian who, after decades of participating in the political rightwing anti-abortion con has since seen the light, joins us to explain what Democrats need to do in order to encourage his "brainwashed" former followers to realize they've been scammed by Donald Trump. [Audio link to show at end of article.] But first up today, U.S. officials admit some 200 Iraqi civilians in Mosul may have been killed during a U.S. bombing campaign last week, in what has become a startling and savage escalation in the so-called "War on Terror" since Trump has taken office. While the Obama Administration had carried out similar campaigns, the increase in indiscriminate lethality by the new President's campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Yemen is both alarming and vastly underreported or downplayed by U.S. media -- not to mention, counter-productive in the so-called "War on Terror". Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the GOP's anti-LGBT "bathroom bill" is costing the state economy thousands of jobs and billions of dollars, according to a new analysis by the Associated Press. That, even as Republicans in other states, like Texas, are quickly moving to enact similarly "conservative" anti-LGBT laws in their own state. Then, as Trump's approval rating continues to plummet to record lows, even his numbers among his own base of supporters -- white, male Republicans -- are beginning to erode. Still, overall support for the President remains high among Republicans as a whole, for now. Author Frank Schaeffer, who formerly spent decades along with his father, theologian Dr. Francis Schaeffer, creating (and profiting from) the far right anti-abortion political movement, joins us to discuss how he believes Democrats can win back both the White House and Congress, from the perspective of someone who, for many years, had preyed on the fears and false facts favored by rightwing, so-called "values voters". You can't convince them of facts, a fired-up Schaeffer tells me today, but you can drop a lit metaphorical match into their gas tanks by helping them understand how Trump himself has "betrayed them." "The over-arching bloc of people without whom [Trump] could not have been elected are white evangelicals, and that's my stomping ground." Schaeffer explains. "This was all before I left the evangelical world and changed sides both, you might say, theologically and politically. When it comes to understanding the brain of the evangelical movement, I know what I'm talking about. From birth, people raised in the fundamentalist subculture are taught to mistrust, distrust, renounce so-called 'world facts'. So, when science says that evolution proves something, or that the Earth is very old, or there wasn't a Noah's ark, you are taught from birth they are lying. We have our own facts. We have our own truth. That truth is in the Bible and our denomination's interpretation of it." You can't convince these folks with facts alone that they are wrong, he argues, but you can help them see how they have been scammed. "If you come up with a fact-based argument, people's eyes in the evangelical world just glaz[...]
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:37:49 +0000Written by Joe Blakely: With so much of the media focus on national politics and the Trump administration, state-level politics are often overlooked. New York, my home state, has quite an interesting political arrangement of which many are not aware. First, some background on New York and its status as a blue state. In presidential races, “New York has not voted for a Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984. With 29 electoral votes, it is tied with Florida as the third-largest Electoral College prize. Barack Obama won New York in 2012 by 28.1 percentage points.” (1) In the 2016 presidential elections, Hillary Clinton also won New York State by a sizable margin: Candidate Party Votes Pct. E.V. Hillary Clinton Democrat 4,556,124 59.0% 29 Donald J. Trump Republican 2,819,534 36.5% — Gary Johnson Libertarian 176,598 2.3% — Jill Stein Green 107,934 1.4% — Others Independent 61,263 0.8% — (2 - http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/new-york) When the presidential vote is analyzed at the county level, suddenly New York does not seem so blue. Referring to the election map below, much of the state voted for Donald Trump as indicated by the pink and red counties. The deeper the red, the more heavily the votes went for Trump. The blue counties voted for Hillary Clinton. The deeper the blue, the more heavily the votes went for Clinton. It is important to note that many of the blue counties include the largest and most populous cities in the state, such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and New York City. This reinforces the urban vs. suburban/rural divide in the electorate with urban centers overwhelmingly voting Democratic and suburban and rural centers voting more reliably Republican. 3 — http://alloveralbany.com/archive/2016/11/09/new-york-state-presidential-election-2016-county-r Here is where it gets more interesting. Currently, in the 63-member senate there are 32 Democratic state senators and 31 Republican state senators. Technically, that would be a Democratic majority, but Democratic senator Simcha Felder of Queens, votes with Republicans and has never caucused with members of his own party. (4) That puts the majority in favor of Republicans 32-31, but wait it gets worse. There is a group of eight Democratic senators that formed a group called the Independent Democratic Conference. This group aligns with Republicans and votes along Republican Party lines. On the surface, it may seem like a cross-party cooperative effort to break through partisan gridlock and actually pass legislation, but that would be a mischaracterization of the arrangement between these strange bedfellows. In reality, “IDC members get personal perks and district-specific goodies while statewide progressive legislation lingers.” (5) The Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) is described by http://www.n[...]
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 22:33:41 +0000In the aftermath of the failure of Trumpcare, Republicans are now calling on Democrats to work with them on a bipartisan solution to address the weaknesses that currently exist in Obamacare. Trump virtually begged the Democrats to come to the table in his speech immediately after Trumpcare. And Republicans Charlie Dent, Peter King, Senator Bob Corker, and Reince Priebus have all spoken out in favor of trying to reach some bipartisan solution in the last two days. And some of the ideas being floated seem eminently reasonable. Kevin Drum offers up a hybrid solution of Trumpcare and Obamacare. His plan reduces ACA subsidies by one-third but then adds in the Trumpcare tax credits but at a flat $500 per person and not scaled by age. He adds a compromise on the age-based ratio of rates at 4:1, from the current 3:1 and the Trumpcare 5:1 ratio. Lastly, the GOP would drop the court case against the insurance cost-sharing funding, ensuring its continuation. Steven Waldman offers up a compromise leveraging off a proposed by Christopher Ruddy, owner of Newsmax, of all people. Ruddy’s solution relies on Medicaid becoming “the country’s blanket insurer for the uninsured.” Ruddy prefers to use Medicaid rather then Medicare primarily because it has proven more effective than even Medicare in keeping costs down. Waldman uses this idea as his launching point, allowing anyone to buy into Medicaid with premiums tied to income. He then adds allowing all veterans and their immediate family to buy into VA health care. The last prong, to use the GOP terminology, of Waldman’s plan is adopting the Democratic policy of allowing Medicare buy-in at age 55. There are plenty of other solutions out there, even I’ve offered up some. And I’m sure many of them are great ideas that would greatly improve the ACA. But frankly every one of these, even my own, just sticks in my craw. Once again, Democrats are being asked to be the adult in the room and just “do the right thing”. Republicans spent seven long years lying about the ACA, railing about its impending collapse, and making no effort to improve Obamacare. And now, having failed spectacularly to not only repeal the ACA but also destroy Medicaid at the same time, all in pursuit of massive tax cuts for the wealthy overlords, and without any input from Democrats, Republicans want to talk about a bipartisan solution. Obama and the Democrats spent months trying to build bipartisan consensus for the ACA. In the end, Republicans would not provide a single vote. And yet, even to this today, the GOP claims that Democrats simply rammed Obamacare through without any input from Republicans. That’s just pure BS. And it’s not just Obamacare. Republican Senator Jeff Flake wrote an editorial the other day in praise of Neil Gorsuch and imploring Democrats to vote for his confirmation. In that piece, Flake had the nerve to say this, “Even President Obama’s two Supreme Court nominees were recognized for their ability to do the job and confirmed without incident. Unfortunately, it appears that Judge Gorsuch will not be afforded the same courtesy and respect. Senate Democrats’ decision to filibuster Judge Gorsuch is a sad commentary on this institution and reflects the breakdown in comity that once characterized thi[...]
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 01:20:17 +0000
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 19:42:26 +0000
That was some torrent of “We need bipartisanship!” BS from Trump and the Republicans that I just went through in the last couple of hours. I’m driving home and listening to NPR, and some talking heads on there are going on about how Democrats could work some kind of deal with Trump on healthcare. I get home and turn on MSNBC, and I’m hearing and seeing that Trump can “absolutely” work with Democrats on healthcare. It’s amazing what wonders can happen when Trump fucks up.
I cannot believe someone would even IMAGINE that Democrats could work with Trump on healthcare legislation.
Quick hits on why no rational person would negotiate with Trump or Republicans on healthcare:
Anyway, that is the short list of reasons why Democrats should not even think for a nanosecond of working with Trump or the Republicans on healthcare legislation.
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 19:17:36 +0000Democratic pols and supporters had a weekend of earned gloating but now it is time to get real. Supporters of the Affordable Care Act have spent the past three days watching President Trump, Paul Ryan, the House Freedom Caucus and moderate Republicans form a circular firing squad. Their motto, ‘shoot from the lip.’ Steve Bannon reportedly walked into a meeting with resistant Republicans and ordered them to vote for the new American Health Care Act. That landed with a resounding thud http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/47015_Bannon_Ordered_the_House_Freedom_Caucus_Loons_to_Vote_for_Trumpcare._It_Didnt_Go_Over_Well.. The President admitted he had no idea what was contained in the bill but he needed a win. Even the conservative publication, the Washington Examiner pointed out the dangers of Donald Trump’s waffling ignorance when it comes to healthcare http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/what-trump-doesnt-know-about-healthcare-could-hurt-you/article/2584304. Now is the time for Democrats to stop incorporating the talking point, “we know Obamacare is not perfect” and propose meaningful legislation to fix it. Waiting for Republicans to get their act together and not be the party of sabotage, is a waste of a good gloat. Part of the reason that only one health insurer is available in some areas, is because of a wrench thrown in the works by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl.). Rubio loosened the nuts on the government driven promise to cover risk corridors for insurers. Basically, this was insurance for the insurers. Money was to be made available from a pool of profitable insurers, along with government guarantees to insurance carriers who were inundated with new customers paying lower premiums. A promised cash incentive to help offset the cost was essential to the success of Obamacare https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/10/us/politics/marco-rubio-obamacare-affordable-care-act.html?_r=0. Rubio introduced language to negate those payments. If you wanted to help destroy a program, Rubio found a way to do it and he did it. The lesson that should be learned from this by Democrats, is waiting for Republicans to place health above profits is a fool’s errand. The destruction of Obamacare by Republicans has advanced far beyond ideology and public welfare, it is the obsession with taking away an Obama legacy. Republicans have run for eight years, and successfully I might add, on hating Barack Obama and his wife. This is a golden opportunity for Democrats to get on the offensive. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY.) could literally talk circles around Donald Trump. As unsavory for the Democratic faithful as it may seem, tricking him[Trump] into believing he is victorious would be child’s play. Single payer has a chance now. The Republican caucus is divided into three factions, the moderates, the establishment and the so-called freedom caucus. Filling the void of power is at the fingertips of liberals. Afterall, “nature abhors a vacuum.” America is entangled in a reality tv mentality, fostered by a President whose main news source is te[...]
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 18:26:35 +0000Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), a centrist Democrat who is up for re-election in 2018 just took a brave and principled step in saying he won't only oppose Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, but will join in a filibuster. "Deciding whether to confirm a president's nominee for the highest court in the land is a responsibility I take very seriously," Nelson said in a statement. "Over the past few weeks, I have met with Judge Gorsuch, listened to the Judiciary Committee's hearings and reviewed his record with an open mind. I have real concerns with his thinking on protecting the right to vote and allowing unlimited money in political campaigns. In addition, the judge has consistently sided with corporations over employees, as in the case of a freezing truck drive who, contrary to common sense, Judge Gorsuch would have allowed to be fired for abandoning his disabled rig during extreme weather conditions. "I will vote no on the motion to invoke cloture and, if that succeeds, I will vote no on his confirmation." This comes after Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would filibuster the nominee and another centrist Democrat, Chris Coons of Delaware floated the abysmal idea of coming up with some kind of appeasement scheme to keep Mitch McConnell from being mean to Democrats. The idea was to let Gorsuch go without a filibuster if McConnell agreed not to get rid of the filibuster for any other of Trump's nominees. Because, boy, if you can count on something it's . . . an agreement with Mitch McConnell? That was bullshit. If ever there were a nominee to resist—since Scalia, anyway—it's this guy. And if there was ever a moment to resist—and a president to resist!—it's now and it's this one. Bill Nelson, a moderate who is up for re-election in 2018, is showing how. Take notice, fellow Democrats. And we're looking at you in Vermont, Patrick Leahy! Help resist popular vote loser Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Click here to call your Democratic senator(s) and tell them to filibuster Neil Gorsuch's confirmation. Monday, Mar 27, 2017 · 8:20:49 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter This is better, but do you really need to put that qualifier on it, Senator? Do you really expect “REAL” answers? xTo repeat: Unless #JudgeGorsuch provides REAL answers to written Qs & senators have ample time for review & debate, he WILL be filibustered— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) March 27, 2017 [...]
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 17:19:36 +0000Received this e-mail today from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee: With the Republicans' defeat in trying to repeal the ACA, we have a big opportunity to go on offense and propose forward-looking solutions like Medicare for All. This would give every American access to Medicare so we are not dependent on private insurance companies that profit by denying care. Republicans haven't given up attacking healthcare. The Hill reports that Mike Pence told supporters this weekend that Trump "won't rest until we repeal and replace ObamaCare." More importantly, if we look with clear eyes, we have to admit that the ACA was a step forward, but it has significant shortcomings. Even with improvements to increase competition and lower costs, tens of millions of Americans will still be uninsured. Friday, Bernie Sanders told CNN's Anderson Cooper, "What the American people are asking is how does it happen that we are the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a right?" And Saturday, Bernie Sanders told CNN "I'm going to introduce a Medicare-for-All single-payer program." If you agree with Bernie Sanders that we need a Medicare-for-All single-payer program, sign the petition. Tell Congress it's time to pass MEDICARE FOR ALL that will significantly lower costs, improve care, and cover everyone. During the Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders proved that millions of Americans are ready to fight for Medicare for All. A recent Pew Research study showed that 85% of Democrats and Democratic leaners (and 60% of Americans overall) say the government has a responsibility to provide health coverage for all. Even 52% of Republicans and Republican leaners with incomes under $30,000 agree. The impact of grassroots activism has shocked political insiders this year. Many Democrats have fought Trump's nominations and agenda with more backbone because of our pressure. And millions of Americans speaking out against repealing the ACA gave enough Republicans cold feet to stymie their repeal effort. Now, we can apply that same grassroots pressure to finally achieve expanded and improved Medicare for All. If you agree with Bernie Sanders that we need a Medicare-for-All single-payer program, sign the petition. Tell Congress it's time to pass expanded and improved MEDICARE FOR ALL that will significantly lower costs, improve care, and cover everyone. Thanks for being a bold progressive. -- Keith Rouda, PCCC organizer Click here to add your name. [...]
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 17:16:27 +0000
In between his lashing out—especially Democrats—at everybody for failing him on Trumpcare, popular vote loser Donald Trump tweeted to the people not to worry, because "we will all get together." Democrats have basically two words in response. Fat chance.
While it is far too soon to suggest that the House Republican majority may be imperiled, Democrats are newly optimistic about picking up seats in 2018, hoping to ride a backlash against Mr. Trump. Seeing an opportunity, they say they will not throw Mr. Trump a political life preserver at what they sense could be the first turns of a downward spiral. […]
And while his electoral success in states represented by Democrats in Congress had been thought to put such lawmakers in a vise between their party and their president, Mr. Trump demonstrated no ability to pick off centrist Democrats in his first significant legislative push. Democrats — red-state moderates and blue-state liberals alike — formed an unbroken front of opposition to the repeal-and-replace campaign.
“We’re not going to sacrifice our values for the sake of compromise,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “You think people from red states are going to be for tax reform with 98 percent of tax breaks going to the top 1 percent?” […]
“The unity we had internally, combined with the outside mobilization, really made this success possible,” said Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the top House Democrat.
New DNC chair Tom Perez chimed in: "I could not be more thrilled that they have failed," Perez told NBC News. "But if your question is am I going to remind voters of this effort, then the answer is, 'You're damn right I will!'"
They like winning, and they like getting popular support for doing so. Which means we—the people giving them that support—have as big a job as ever now that we've won on Trumpcare. They're thrilled to have us with them and will want to keep it that way. So on everything else—whether it's protecting our privacy or filibustering Gorsuch, we need to keep the pressure on!
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 14:57:33 +0000As Seven Days reported The line of the day, surprisingly, didn’t come from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) but from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). “I am not going to vote for $25 billion for a dumb-ass wall!” he thundered, referring to President Donald Trump's proposed barrier along the United States' southern border. The crowd leaped to its feet and roared. VT Digger was on the scene as well, noting Leahy accused Trump and the Republican Congress of “treating America like a leveraged buyout” that will “leave a shell company behind.” “They want to make it a country for the oligarchs,” Leahy said. “Oh, I’m sorry, Bernie, I’m taking your speech away.” According to Seven Days It was that kind of an afternoon in the gymnasium at Hardwick's Hazen Union High School, an unlikely venue for a gathering of Vermont’s entire congressional delegation. After all, we’re talking about a town of 3,000 that’s, honestly, kind of hard to get to. Worth the effort, but an unlikely gathering place for top-shelf national politicos.
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:25:23 +0000Since the GOP health bill's spectacular and hilarious crash and burn, I've read lots of celebratory pieces about the strength of Obamacare and the power of compassion over greed. A President. I'm sorry, but if you're drunk on champagne right now, setting TRUMP yardsigns on fire and wearing the neighbor's cat on your head, you've tragically misinterpreted the facts. Our appeals about the the urgent need for health care were a moral win. But it wasn't us who stopped this process in its tracks. It was members of the Freedom Caucus, who not only opposed the use of tax credits in this bill, but oppose federal funding for ANY health program -- or social services, period. To be clear: This bill wasn't killed because it was cruel. It was killed because it wasn't cruel ENOUGH. The "tiny splinter group" President Dwight Eisenhower dismissed as "negligible (in number) ... and stupid" has evolved since 1954. Today, they have the Cabinet, the Speaker's chair, Congress, and the offices of elected officials nationwide. (Who knows whether the POTUS even has a coherent political ideology. But he picked the people.) Oh no. Citizens Angry About The Way Things Are have jumped on board, as has the Conservative Christian extension of the Reagan Revolution. They believe it's immoral (if not illegal) for the Federal Government to fund health care, period. They favor ending Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; Disability, Unemployment, and food stamps. And our Secretary of Health agrees. In their crosshairs are virtually every institution that once provided the US the highest standard of living in the world. They say the answer's in the free market, but no other nation trusts the market to provide for its citizens' needs. They're a minority but an exceptionally loud, organized and powerful one. It's suicidal to pretend they're a few kooks. Another President. Mr. Trump has said, more than once, that Obamacare should be left to "explode" so the Democrats could be blamed. (An "explosion" of the health system would kill many Americans -- but whatever.) It doesn't matter that Obamacare isn't even in a "death spiral" at all. The spiral is already being imposed from outside. In February, the IRS stopped inquiring filers about their insurance. This was on 45's order. It means the mandate funding Obamacare no longer includes a penalty for those who disregard it. So it's not really a mandate anymore. And this will de-fund the program. Advertising for ACA enrollment periods has been discontinued. Another President. And there's an ongoing appeal to a lawsuit, brought by the House against the Obama Administration, arguing the legality of subsidies -- a ruling with which this Administration agrees. The ACA contains lots of health and safety regulations to enforce. They can't be erased, but can be rewritten. There are countless things within the Administrstion's purview that can be altered, while leaving the ACA "in place" yet functionally absent. It would take more effort to "fix" Obamacare than to wait for the"explosion." [...]
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:00:36 +0000thetrumpwatchdog.com — Check out my site for everything. I started writing this because I thought it was important to have a clear understand of what the hell is going on with the Trump - Russia connections. Some of these are just rumors or probably mean nothing (1, 22, 25, 31) but the sheer number of Russian mobsters who have lived at Trump tower and the fact that 5 people have had to resign over connections to Putin is alarming. Honestly the discovery that surprised me the most is the Abramoff connection. I'm beginning to think that the Russians partnered with the Republican party in the 1990s to build an alliance for reasons not yet known. Trump's son in Law is Jared Kushner, the former owner of the Observer. The Observer received the DNC hacks from Guccifer 2.0 who is rumored to be a Russian agent. Guccifer 2.0 and Roger Stone were apparently in contact up to 16 times during the 2016 campaign. Jared Kushner's parents were friends with Netanyahu. He has forged an alliance with Putin. His Chief Strategist is Steve Bannon. Bannon is the CEO of Breitbart, with the Mercer family having majority ownership. The Mercers, along with Bannon are heavily involved in Cambridge Analytica a data gathering firm. Cambridge Analytica’s parent company is SCL Group, which lists Dmitry Firtash as a board member. Breitbart and Bannon have extensive ties to the far right movement in Europe which is also funded by Putin. His second campaign manager was Paul Manafort. He had to resign in August due to having questionable Russian ties like Dmitry Firtash and the former Ukrainian President. Manafort lives in Trump tower, along with Kellyanne Conway and her husband. Hacked Texts reveal that it looks like Serhiy Leshchenko reached out to Manaforts daughter in an effort to blackmail him. She was not happy about the “blood money’ Mike McSherry, former Delegate strategist for the Trump campaign also lobbied for the same Ukrainian presidential candidate as Paul Manafort. Rick Gates, Manaforts top aide also lobbied for Pro-Putin Ukrainian candidate. Per Politico, Manafort met with Konstantin Kilimnik multiple times during the campaign. The first time appears to be in April, maybe when Trump gave that speech? Kilimnik is thought to be part of Russian intelligence. They worked Oleg Deripaska on investment funds in Ukraine. Oleg paid Manafort 10 million dollars a year to lobby for Putin. Oleg Deripaska obtained a VISA to enter this country, after previously being barred from entry due to the lobbying activities of Bob Dole. Firtash worked with Russian Mob Semion Moglivech boss to help Gazprom oversee Natural Gas distribution to Ukraine. Trump advisor J.D. Gordon is claiming that he was the advisor who had the Ukraine language softened at the Republican National Convention, at the request of Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway's husband has business dealings with the Russian government and deleted tweets about it once Conway was chosen. (Conway, Bannon, and the Mercers are part of the "Council on National Pol[...]
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:46:57 +0000In our current polarized climate, party identity and unity seem to be the order of the day. It’s sometimes hard to believe that our friends across the aisle will actually call out members of their own party when a line is crossed. If there’s one person that can find that line and cross it, it’s County Supervisor Chairman At-Large of Prince William County, Corey Stewart. And boy did he find it — on March 23rd, he crossed it at a dead sprint without looking back. As reported by InsideNova: While Stewart’s often derided Ed Gillespie, the former U.S. Senate candidate and aide to former President George W. Bush, as “Establishment Ed” in tweets and Facebook posts, but he took things a step further on March 23, dubbing his opponent a “cuckservative.” The comment came during a reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session. For the unfamiliar, the term “cuckservative” is far from lighthearted. Per the Southern Poverty Law Center: "Cuckservative" – the unsavory combination of “cuckold” and “conservatism” – aims to depict conservatives who don’t kowtow to ultra-right political views as inept traitors to the conservative base that elected them. But the term, at its core, may be racist. It’s sending shockwaves throughout the Prince William Republican Party, and being reported in news sources all across the spectrum. As reported by the Jeffersoniad: Prince William County School Board member Willie Deutsch is the first public official to call for PWC Chairman Corey Stewart’s resignation after his use of the word “cuckservative” to describe GOP frontrunner and former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie. If you read the article, you’ll notice updates indicating that more and more Republican officials have condemned Stewart’s comments, and this condemnation is spreading throughout the state. As reported by conservative publication BearingDrift, this all comes as a capstone to a rather bad week for Stewart: The fallout for Stewart’s campaign has been apocalyptic, and growing, as we speak. The Republican Party of Virginia via Chairman John Whitbeck repudiated the campaign: “The term ‘cuckservative’ is racist and its use is not acceptable in political discourse under any circumstance. I condemn the use of the term unequivocally and without exception. No Republican should ever use this type of language in a campaign.” Yes, fellow conservatives are referring to Stewart’s actions “apocalyptic” to his campaign, and it is beginning to expose chinks in the armor of the Republican establishment not only in Prince William County, but the entire state. All of this begs the contrast to how the Democratic Party is operating right now, and presents a unique opportunity for us. As I wrote in a diary a few weeks ago, Prince William County is having a Special Election on April 18th for the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Republican House of Delegates Majority Whip Jackson Miller is running for this seat against Democratic-Part[...]
Mon, 27 Mar 2017 02:08:41 +0000Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D. IN): Sen. Joe Donnelly (D. IN) As a member of the Senate Banking Committee, my priority is to make sure that our economy works for working Hoosiers -- not Wall Street. America needs a Securities and Exchange Commission Chair (SEC) who shares that priority. That’s the message my colleague Senator Elizabeth Warren and I sent at the confirmation hearing of Jay Clayton, President Trump’s nominee for SEC Chair. Failures at the SEC have steered companies toward “corporate short-termism,” strategies designed to turn quick corporate profits rather than long-term investments in workforce development and innovation. I believe it's the job of the SEC to look out for regular Americans and their jobs, not only corporate profits -- especially short-term profits that results from investment overseas instead of here at home. Will you stand with me to tell the SEC to put regular Americans ahead of short-term corporate profits? I’ll give you an example of the type of “short-termism” I’m talking about, from right here in Indiana. United Technologies Corporation (UTC), a highly profitable conglomerate, announced last year it would lay off more than a thousand workers at its Carrier subsidiary in order to take advantage of cheap Mexican labor. But at the same time the company was handing out pink slips to Hoosiers, it was rewarding its stockholders through a $16 billion on stock buyback -- a practice that goes unregulated by the SEC. Put simply, a profitable and successful corporation fired our friends and neighbors to reward its activist shareholders. I raised these concerns with Mr. Clayton and told him that Hoosiers are counting on him to stand up for the working families that make corporations like UTC successful businesses. The SEC can start by increasing its oversight of stock buybacks and letting investors know which companies are putting short-term profits ahead of workers here in the U.S. Will you join me in telling the SEC to put regular Americans ahead of short-term corporate profits? My top priority is to make sure all Hoosiers who are able to work have family-supporting jobs. I want to thank you for all your support as I work in the Senate toward making that a reality. Joe Click here to add your name. [...]
Sun, 26 Mar 2017 21:31:23 +0000Donald Trump and the Republicans may want to move on to “tax reform”, which will end up being the usual GOP unfunded tax cuts, but they will have one important hurdle to get over before they even get around to that. In late April, the continuing budget resolution that was put in place last fall will expire and that will provide Democrats with an opportunity to extort some concessions out of Republicans in order to avoid a government shutdown, as the GOP has done to Democrats over the last few years. The continuing resolution is just another example of the failures of the Republican-controlled government to even provide the basics of governing. One of the primary responsibilities of Congress, if not THE primary responsibility, is to simply pass a budget to fund the government. Republicans have simply been unable to do that, simply relying on continuing resolutions that continue to fund the government at existing levels. But continuing resolutions rely on 60 votes to pass in the Senate. In December of last year, when the GOP offered a continuing resolution to fund the government at 2016 levels until April of this year, Democrats flirted with the idea of not providing the votes to get to 60. Joe Manchin, in particular, along with Sherrod Brown, wanted to get a yearlong extension to the miners’ insurance program instead of just through April as the continuing resolution provided. There were not even enough votes among Democrats to make that threat feasible but it did allow those two coal state Democratic Senators to highlight their support of miners. In the end, Democrats provided the votes to pass the continuing resolution and not shut down the government. But that was in December when Democrats were still in shock over losing the election to Donald Trump and having to confront the fact that the GOP now controlled Congress and the White House. It was also a time when Senate Minority Leader Schumer was probing for ways to possibly work with Trump that Democrats could support, such as an infrastructure program. Things look a bit different these days. Democrats are coming off a huge victory with the defeat of Trumpcare, Trump has an abysmally low approval rating bouncing between the high 30s and low 40s, and the Republicans in Congress are in seeming disarray. In addition, Trump is further weakened by the expanding investigation into whether his campaign colluded with the Russians to damage Hillary Clinton. And the Democratic base is energized, not demoralized. The recent history of government shutdowns has shown it to be an action that is always opposed by a strong majority of the American public. The Republican controlled Congress shut down the government in 1995 and 1996 while Democrat Bill Clinton was President. The GOP eventually caved in both instances and got blamed for the shutdown. The shutdown actually increased the strength of Clinton’s support, leading to the ouster of the architect of that strategy, Newt[...]
Sun, 26 Mar 2017 20:47:58 +0000Received this e-mail today from the Council for a Livable World in support of Jon Ossoff’s (D. GA-06) campaign: From his commitment to progressive national security measures to his informed understanding of the policies that keep America and the world safe,Jon Ossoff is the type of voice we need in Congress who will stand up to the White House’s hawkish national security agenda. His vision to enact progressive national security policies and his vow to protect and expand upon the progress we’ve made negotiating arms control and non-proliferation agreements are what make Jon Ossoff the right choice to fill Georgia’s vacant seat. Council for a Livable world has thrown our support behind Jon’s campaign and – thanks to your help – we have made a tremendous difference. The latest poll has Jon far ahead of his competitors, leading the pack with 41 percent of voters’ support, and nearly 25 points ahead of his second place opponent. If we keep our momentum going, we have the power to make the difference and ensure that Jon gets elected to Congress. Split a donation of $5 between Jon Ossoff and Council for a Livable World right now to make certain that Jon will represent the policies and values that we stand for in the halls of Congress. Now is the time to redouble our efforts and continue to fight hard to elect smart, progressive leaders in the House of Representatives. If we work together to continue our success, we will make the difference in ensuring that Jon will be in a position to combat the reckless hawkish national security agenda. Jon is leading in the polls, but we have the power to do more. If Jon wins the primary with just over 50% of the vote, he will be able to avoid a runoff and win decisively. Samuel: if you’re ready to make sure that happens, and that our country will be led by informed leaders likeJon who will combat the threats posed by the Trump Administration, split a donation of $5 between Jon Ossoff and Council for a Livable world today. Thanks for standing alongside us as we fight for a more livable world. Sincerely, John Tierney Executive Director, Council for a Livable World Member of Congress (former) 01/03/1997-01/03/2015 Click here to donate to Ossoff’s campaign. [...]
Sun, 26 Mar 2017 20:39:44 +0000Received this e-mail today from Rob Quist’s (D. MT-AL) congressional campaign: Rob Quist (D. MT-AL) Being free to go fishing, hiking, and hunting in our great outdoors wasn’t just central to my childhood -- it’s central to our Montana way of life. But my millionaire opponent Greg Gianforte and his D.C. Special Interest allies want to sell our public lands to the highest bidder. I won’t stand for it. Sign your name right away to protect our way of life and keep our public lands in public hands: Our shared appreciation and love of the outdoors brings Montanans together. But when the millionaires trying to buy this election look at our streams and mountains, they see a business opportunity. Not on my watch! I refuse to let D.C. insiders ruin Montana’s natural beauty. So join me in standing up for our way of life. Sign your name to tell the millionaires in Washington to keep their hands off our public lands: http://go.robquist.org/Public-Lands Thank you for standing up for what’s right, Rob Quist Click here to add your name. [...]
Sun, 26 Mar 2017 20:57:02 +0000United Healthcare did not really leave the ACA Exchanges but created a new unit, Harken Health to work with them. They could not compete in the “fee for service” model, so created a new model Harken Health, which will be working with the “fee per patient” model which is now expanding the concept rapidly, all because of the Affordable Care Act! I was disappointed when they left, but now that I understand why they left, it is much easier to understand. I am ecstatic that they decided to create their new business model, to work specifically with the ACA! It will make it more difficult for Rethugs to crow about all the companies leaving the exchanges. Hopefully, others will take United Health’s lead and work on a better way, to work with the ACA. Recently United Health (NYSE:UNH) announced it would be leaving most of the Obamacare exchanges set up to sell individual health policies under the Affordable Care Act. United Health became a giant under the old fee-for-services model, selling policies in car-load lots to large employers. It is, as it was before the ACA was passed, the dominant presence in the health insurance market. The ACA is helping bring down the cost of health care, when healthcare companies begin to merge, to eliminate overhead. It also helps, when they work together, to come up with new ideas to make healthcare easier, more cost effective and with better outcomes for many more people, while eliminating much of the waste. United has been a leader in applying technology to its business, and spent the last decade buying health IT start-ups, which eventually became Optum Health, but it spent the ACA debate as an implacable foe of the reform, and for several years, thought it could sell its standard policies into the exchanges as a better value. It couldn't. Harken Health - and a political temper tantrum - was the response. I have a United Health Medicare Advantage Plan, called Dual Complete, which works with Medicare & Medicaid. I also have been getting my prescriptions through their mail order service OptumRx, where I am able to get a 3-month supply, of each drug, for 1 copay, per drug, saving me the 2 additional copays. The idea is that instead of waiting for customers to get sick and then funding cures, insurers should keep people from getting sick or keep those with chronic conditions from getting sicker and pocket the savings. This is the purpose of the Affordable Care Act. Several of the large Managed Care Companies are benefiting from the ACA, not only making more profits, but their stock prices are going up, making them look even better, to investors. Harken Health Thank you for letting me know the links were not working! I redid them, so they should be working now. [...]
Sun, 26 Mar 2017 19:13:06 +0000Received this e-mail today from Democracy for America: Important elections at the state and local level are happening now -- this year -- that could determine critical, life-changing policies around health care, the economy, and racial and reproductive justice. One of the most important of these 2017 state fights is in Virginia. Virginia has long been a "purple" battleground state. When voters turn out, the state grows more progressive. But when voters stay home, as they did in 2009, Republicans take over key state legislative seats and push for some of the most reactionary anti-woman, anti-worker, anti-immigrant policies in the country. In 2015, DFA members fought back. You helped elect bold champions like Rep. Jennifer Boysko, and as a result Republicans lost their veto-proof majority in the State House. Now, as support for Republicans collapses across the country and as the GOP reels from our successful defense of the Affordable Care Act, it's time to win big in Virginia -- right now, in 2017. Will you help DFA members elect progressive candidates in the all-important swing state of Virginia this fall? Chip in $3 or more to help elect Justin Fairfax and other progressives in Virginia! Here's the DFA strategy to flip Virginia from purple to blue: first, we need to elect a bold, dynamic progressive to the Lieutenant Governor's seat, an office that can break ties a narrowly split State Senate. Then, we need to hold our gains and take back lots of seats in the Republican-held House of Delegates, where 100 seats will be on the ballot this November. That's why we're endorsing Justin Fairfax for Lieutenant Governor. Fairfax is a young, bold, dynamic leader with a proven track record of fighting effectively for Virginia's most vulnerable communities. As the Assistant U.S. Attorney, he launched a groundbreaking initiative to end human trafficking, prioritized much-needed criminal justice reforms, and helped build a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive bench in his work with the Virginia Coalition for Racial Diversity in the Justice System. Justin Fairfax is running to make education affordable, to create good local jobs, and to protect civil rights and voting rights. Fairfax is a self-identified "proud feminist" and the former vice-chair of the metropolitan regional Planned Parenthood. He would become only the second African-American leader ever elected to statewide office in Virginia, and the first African-American leader in history to serve as the state's Lieutenant Governor. We also have to defend progressives in the Virginia House of Delegates from Republican challenges. That's why we're endorsing a group of powerhouse Democratic delegates running for reelection, as our initial slate of legislative candidates: Lashrecse Aird, 63rd District Lamont Bagby, 74th District Jennifer Boysko, 86th District [...]
Sun, 26 Mar 2017 18:39:38 +0000“I predict it will be an issue where people start looking at the critics and say, ‘What was all that yelling and screaming about? I think you must have misinformed us about the Affordable Care Act” Former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear 2013 The Republican Party’s 2009 decision to mock the black president through the clever weaponization of the Affordable Care Act --- nicknaming the law “Obamacare” in order to fire up what some called “Obama Derangement Syndrome”, in order to feed an angry hate-filled base --- has finally backfired. Surely the Republicans had no reason to oppose a bill based upon their own plan, which by the way, is so desperately needed in many of the communities that they serve. However, they were adamant from the very beginning that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) --- passed during the most productive congress since LBJ’s Great Society (1964 - 1965), is a “bad law” that “cost jobs” and needs to be “repealed and replaced”. They often addressed the law as if it were an unruly slave that at the very least needed to be “fixed” and this was long before the law was fully implemented. Of course, they also vowed from the very beginning never to work with the black president on anything at all and for eight years in this regard they did for the most part keep their word. “Whatever he is for, we are against!” they proudly proclaimed out loud. Thus, Democrats fashioned a law based upon a Republican plan allowing more than 100 Republican amendments only to see it pass with zero Republican votes. Republicans still vehemently opposed the law and continued to mock the black president. They took their pathological hatred and disrespect for President Obama to such an extreme that Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) during a White House meeting in October 2012 reportedly told President Obama to his face “I cannot even stand to look at you! “ And of course, Congressman Joe Wilson famously became a conservative darling for yelling out: “You lie”, interrupting the president in the middle of a 2009 speech in front of a Joint Session of Congress. But, perhaps most revealing of all, former Florida Governor Charlie Christ and New Jersey Governor Chris Christi were both ostracized, if not quarantined for simply “touching” the black president. For eight long years, they qualified their opposition to the Affordable Care Act by mocking the man and now the time has now come for them to “put up“ or “shut up!” And yet, after making “Repeal and Replace Obamacare!” their sacred war cry and central organizing principle throughout the Obama presidency ---- on the seven-year anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, House leader Paul Ryan was forced to propone a vote on the Republican bill. Unlike [...]
Sun, 26 Mar 2017 15:07:45 +0000The failure of the GOP — actually, more of a forbearance than a failure — to immediately, fully and summarily repeal the PPACA/HCERA — which they did about 60 times during Barack Obama’s presidency — within Donald Trump’s first week in office, finally proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything Republicans said about “Obamacare” from the very beginning until last Friday was a lie. But it also demonstrates something else. As even conservative hacks have pointed out, the Democrats led by Obama and Pelosi got the PPACA/HCERA passed because they knew how to govern, cared about governing, and were willing and able to do what it took to get something done, whereas the GOP and its “leaders” don’t, aren’t, never did, never were, and never will. The Democrats saw a serious, pressing national problem — tens of millions of Americans without health insurance, tens of billions of dollars in uninsured medical risk, exorbitant premiums and costs, junk policies, all sorts of consumer abuse — and tried to figure out and come up with an effort to fix it legislatively. To the contrary, Republicans either don’t see any of the foregoing as a problem or are just not interested in fixing it. As I’ve written repeatedly, Republicans are not and never were interested in insuring the uninsured, lowering costs, or curtailing consumer abuses. Their interest lies only in keeping the insurance, biotech and pharmaceutical industries profitable, and minimizing their (and their individual executives’) tax burden. Indeed, at the national level it seems that Republicans only ever see four problems: (1) millionaires and billionaires are over-taxed; (2) corporations are over-regulated; (3) the military doesn’t have enough hardware; and (4) some brown people in some foreign place need a-killin’. Oh, and (5) too many women and queers having un-churchy sexytimes. The party that calls itself “pro-life” has never really done anything that could rightly be called pro-life, at least not legislatively, at least not at the national level. They’ve addressed problems (1) through (4) when they’ve held Congress and/or the White House, and have tried to address (5) in the states and through the courts even though they keep losing battle after battle over the past half-century. They talk a good game about “protecting human life” or “saving American lives,” but they’re only interested in “protecting” or “saving” human and/or American lives from two things, and two things only: (1) abortion, and (2) Radical Islamic Terrorism™. Not from poverty or hunger, not from illness, disease, disability or lack of health insurance, not from polluted air or contaminated water or poisoned food, not from unsafe products or unsafe workplaces or un[...]
Sat, 25 Mar 2017 23:46:26 +0000I had pointed out two of the thirteen Democratic U.S. Senators still undecided about the upcoming vote on Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Here’s another one (who happens to be up for re-election) that needs to hear from you: Democrats are lining up to oppose Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, but Florida Sen. Bill Nelson isn't saying where he stands. "Still undecided on both," Nelson's spokesman tells The Buzz on whether how he will vote or whether he supports growing Democratic calls for a filibuster. A filibuster, which New York Sen. Charles Schumer called for yesterday, would force Republicans to upend Senate rules to allow for a simple majority. Nelson oppossed a filibuster for Sameul Alito in 2006, though voted against him. Yet Nelson previously told us he supports 60-vote threshold for a Supreme Court nominee. We have to keep putting pressure on Nelson because he’s already a top target for the GOP: Florida voters can expect to receive mailers from a veterans group with Republican ties urging them to urge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson to vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court justice. The group Veterans Concerned for America, run by a former GOP state finance chairman, is making a second round of mailings to Florida voters targeting Nelson. Similar efforts are underway in other states with Democratic senators. The mailers ask: “Will Senator Bill Nelson protect the freedoms you fought to defend?” and then urges voters to call his office. Click below to fill Nelson’s answering machines and inbox: www.billnelson.senate.gov/… United States Senate 716 Senate Hart Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Phone: 202-224-5274 Fax: 202-228-2183 3416 South University Drive Fort Lauderdale, FL 33328 Phone: 954-693-4851 Fax: 954-693-4862 2000 Main Street Suite 801 Fort Myers, FL 33901 Phone: 239-334-7760 Fax: 239-334-7710 1301 Riverplace Blvd. Suite 2010 Jacksonville, FL 32207 Phone: 904-346-4500 Fax: 904-346-4506 2555 Ponce De Leon Boulevard Suite 610 Coral Gables, FL 33134 Phone: 305-536-5999 Fax: 305-536-5991 225 East Robinson Street Suite 410 Orlando, FL 32801 Phone: 407-872-7161 or toll free in Florida: 1-888-671-4091 Fax: 407-872-7165 111 North Adams Street Tallahassee, FL 32301 Phone: 850-942-8415 Fax: 850-942-8450 801 N. Florida Ave. 4th Floor Tampa, FL 33602 Phone: 813-225-7040 Fax: 813-225-7050 413 Clematis Street Suite 210 West Palm Beach, FL 33401 Phone: 561-514-0189 Fax: 561-514-4078 [...]
Sat, 25 Mar 2017 22:27:00 +0000
The Democrats have an opportunity to improve ObamaCare by turning it into TrumpCare. It's clear that Trump has little or no interest in what is in a health care reform bill. He just wants it to be better than the Affordable Care Act. And he wants to take credit for the improvement.
So, after a short pause to let the waters calm, the Democrats should seize this opportunity and put forward a health care reform proposal that could engender bi-partisan support. A coalition of determined Democrats and moderate Republicans could actually reach consensus on measures that would strengthen the current law. They would have the combined votes to overrule any objections from the staunchly Right-wing Freedom Caucus, which managed to derail the first effort of Trump and Ryan.
What went largely unreported in his Oval Office blaming of the Democrats for the failure of the Republican "repeal and replace" effort, the American Health Care Act, was Trump's invitation to sit down with the Democrats for a second go at it. Trump doesn't really care who he joins with in an alliance, as long as he comes off as the man who got things done.
This bi-partisan effort would allow Trump and both the Republican and Democratic congressional leaderships to claim victory. And the ultimate benefactor in getting health care reform passed would be the American public.
President Obama always said he would entertain proposals for improvements to the ACA from either side of the aisle in Congress. President Trump is now doing the same. Now is the time to make that happen. The ball is in the court of the Democrats.