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Published: Sun, 19 Feb 2017 18:52:46 +0000

Last Build Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2017 18:52:46 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want
 



This Week in Wisconsin Politics 02/12-18/ 2017

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 15:35:30 +0000

This is about my fourth time writing " This week in Wisconsin Politics".  Every week gets wilder. I hope everyone had a great week so let's get to the news.... 7th District Congressman Sean Duffy announced he will not challenge incumbent Democrat Tammy Baldwin This news breaks after the northern congressman were criticized for comments he made on national television. Some thought that did this come as a surprise because Duffy could be her biggest threat. This creates a wide open field that may include Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, State Senator Leah Vukmir, State Representative Dale Kooyenga and private sector businessmen Eric Hovde and Kevin Nicholson. Governor Walker signed a Cheese Plant Expansion Bill. Walker on Thursday signed the bill making it possible for tax incentives to be extended to help finance construction of a $30 million cheese packaging and distribution plant in the village of Oostburg near Sheboygan. At the end of the day, this might create about 120 new jobs. The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin has hired Christopher Ott as its new executive director Ott has been with the ACLU in Massachusetts for 10 years.  He was born in Milwaukee and graduated high school in Wisconsin. State Representative Dana Wachs will serve on the building commission The Eau Claire representative gave a press release about being appointed to the building commission.  He also serves on the Judiciary Committee and is on the short list for the democratic nomination for governor in 2018. More Budget News Governor Walker's Budget would re-establish the WEDC Loan Program Bringing back the controversial loan program could be a tough sell to Wisconsinites. Due to tot he fact that it created a "pay for play scenario." It should be welcomed as good news if you contacted to Walker's campaign.   Governor Walker's Budget would allow state parks to raise camping fees The state eliminated state taxpayer funding for state parks. Secretary Stepp suggested that camping fees could be raised to cover the cost. Regardless of how the governor paints it. The cost is still going to the consumer. Governor Walker's Budget would give a $5 Million contribution to upgrade the Lacrosse Center Governor Scott Walker’s capital budget will include a $5 million contribution toward the renovation and expansion of the La Crosse Center. Walker was expected to make the announcement this afternoon at the La Crosse Center, where he was to be joined by La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat and Art Fahey, the arena and convention center’s director. Governor Walker proposes ranking UW campuses to divide new money The idea behind this would rank the UW campuses to compete for funding.  This includes graduation rates, time it takes to graduate and how many graduates result in employment. Governor Walker claims that the technical colleges already are on this system. Governor Walker's Budget would move the Judicial Commission underneath the State Supreme Court. This is the watchdog of the judicial branch of Wisconsin. Moving the watchdog underneath the agency its suppose to be watching does open the door up to corruption. Governor Walker's budget would abolish the Educational Approval Board This is like Christmas for " for profit" institutions. This was the board that investigates  " for profit" colleges. A couple of other things in the budget that I want to point out. 1. Governor Walker's budget abolishes the Labor and Industry Review Commission 2. The Budget also abolishes the Commission on Parole and replaces it with a Parole Director in the Department of Corrections. Wisconsin Politics Stock Report Rising: Tony Evers. Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction Reporter JR Ross said that if you want to promise someone a six figure job to drop out of the race don't have it in writing. These backroom deals is a reminder to everyone why they hate politicians. There hasn't been a strong effort behind Evers opponents and turnout is only supposed to be around 5%. Quick Note: The primary for Wisconsi[...]



Trump Will have a Failed Presidency for next 4 years, Democrats get ready

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 12:38:56 +0000

Trump will have a failed Presidency for the next 4 years. Its time for liars and Con Artists to pay for their crimes they committed against the American people. Its time for the democrats who didn't vote in the last election to wake up. Neither will trump bring jobs from Mexico nor from China. Running a government is not like a running a hotel. One can lie and cheat people once , may  be twice , but not forever. Liars and Con Artists always lose the battle at one point and learn their lessons. If you look at the history this is what happened to all the evil doers in the past throughout  many centuries.

you can't keep on lying and cheating people and get away with your crimes. Whether its Trump or the GOP congress. Trump consider this as a Curse  and a Prediction . You will have a failed presidency for the next 4 years. No one can change this.

Trump has been groping women in the past and say all kind of crazy things about women and other people and get away with his remarks and comments. This is not going to work anymore democrats. He can't lie or say things anymore and get away with everything what he said like the way he used to .

Nothing is going to work anymore. He doesn't have the magical power he used to have to fool and hypnotize the American people anymore. All of the magical powers he used to exercise on people are being destroyed. So anything whatever he says in the future will come back and hunt him down. Over all he is cursed and he will have a failed presidency for the next 4 years. I remember people threw shoes at Bush. But this time I don't know what the American people are going to do,..

Therefore democrats please reunite your party and everyone come together to take back the white house. No matter whether you are a Hillary  supporter or Senator Sander supporter or Obama supporter everyone must come together to elect one good democratic  leader.

Yes democrats will choose a great candidate and win the White House in 2020.




Ready for Some Good News?

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 17:46:48 +0000

(Cross-posted at The Political Bridge) And now, finally, for some good news. From the broadest landscape, the biggest structural shift between the Obama administration and what so far has transpired under Donald Trump is that last administration faced an opposition Congress while this one does not. Congress is on Trump’s side, at least for now. This means that the responsibility for fighting Trump is squarely on the people. Those who favor sanity in their government know that they can’t rely on Congress to keep the president on his political meds. The good news is that the people are responding. From yesterday’s New York Times: Protests against the Republican agenda have become routine since President Trump took office, with momentum building through widely shared videos of lawmakers being confronted by constituents angry over efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Now, national groups see the recess as the chance to capitalize on that local activism, with a show of might aimed at declaring the arrival of a new, and sustainable, political force — barely three months after their humiliating defeat in November. The story suggests that the real impetus is coming from the people. Arms of the Democratic party and independent but aligned organizations such as MoveOn.org are not in the vanguard. They are struggling to keep up with a far more locally-based and pure nascent activism. From the same article: In fact, some of the most formidable and well-established organizing groups on the left have found themselves scrambling to track all of the local groups sprouting up through social media channels like Facebook and Slack, or in local “huddles” that grew out of the women’s marches across the country the day after the inauguration. This is how it should be. It is our country. Contrast this to the logical scenario if Trump was facing a Congress in which one or both chambers was controlled by democrats. A dynamic superficially similar to the Obama years would have emerged. The key difference would have been that the democrats wouldn’t have had the inclination to block Trump as Republicans did Obama. The democrats would have lacked the discipline even if it they wanted to do so. It is not in our DNA. Instead, some the hardest edges would have been taken off Trump’s bad ideas and they would have become law. That landscape would have been a replay of the Reagan years. It would have been less dramatic and less likely to have inspired the spontaneous grass roots reaction – much of it comprised of heretofore apolitical people — that is happening today. The reality underlying all this is that the emergence of the Internet and, more recently, social media has democratized political action. Many people think that the change was first felt in the Tea Party battle against the Affordable Care Act. Others say that change first was apparent in the fight against George Bush’s drive to reform Social Security in 2005. Whatever the timing, the tools have been refined. Now is the time to drive a wedge between Congress and the president. Make no mistake: As many republicans in Washington as democrats think Trump is nuts. The difference is that he is their nut. It’s a fragile alliance, however, and the damage can be minimized by convincing republican politicians that that their re-election chances are reduced by support for Trump. The prospects in 2018 are not good for the democrats in either the House or the Senate. That is unfortunate. It is far from a hopeless situation, however. If Trump’s approval ratings crater into the 20-percent range – he already is below 40 percent, an unheard of level for a new president – anything is possible. The pressure will have a deep impact on how the politicians act and subsequently vote. Each is fighting his or her race and will cast votes accordingly. There is value in the protests even if neither chamber flips. The president is a flamboyant tool. A majority of Americans know it. Elected republicans know[...]



It aint a "purity test," it's a job evaluation

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 17:27:01 +0000

If the people with modest houses hire the same landscaper to take care of their yard as the massive mansions across the street, and notice that the landscaper hardly ever works on their yard, and half the time he shows up, he throws the trimmings from the big house on their lawn, it is not a purity test to say they are doing a shitty job. 

It's a job evaluation. 

Likewise, it is not a defense of the shitty job to say they are doing more for us than a gang of con men, who sometimes convince some neighbors to pay for lawn care, and then never deliver at all, or "take care of" their lawn with a flame thrower. 

If elected Democrats and party operatives don't take criticism from the base of voters seriously--DEMOCRATIC PARTY voters, not swing or Republican voters, they will continue to struggle and just barely win. 

Also, if you are not loyal to those who working and middle class people who are members of your own party, why would swing and conservative voters expect you to take care of them? 

The New Dem/DLC/Third Way wing of the party does push for some progressive change. The problem is, too often the progressive change is structured to give the financial sector or some other corporate interest a big chunk of the money that was supposed to go a program to help the rest of us, when the government itself could deliver the program more cheaply and effectively. 

A good example is Obamacare. Many aspects of the private insurance part were huge improvements. But the Medicare portion is more efficient and costs are driven up by the avarice of spoiled trust fund babies. Those insurance companies don't even seem grateful that Democrats delivered tens of millions of new customers to them, and keep jacking up prices to pad their profits. 

If the only consideration was delivering healthcare at a good price to average Americans, there should have been a timetable for all health insurance companies to rein in their overhead or Medicare would start expanding until it covered everyone. 

That kind of accountability would make giving the private sector a role more palatable because it would make it clear that in "public private partnerships," the public part was in the driver's seat.




Let’s Make America More Equal Again!

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 16:08:30 +0000

As defeated Democrats mull over what slogan can equal or overcome President Trump’s “Make America Great Again”, I have a suggestion, one that might even enthuse populist Republicans.  Let’s make American more equal again, just as it was in the 1960s and 70s, when we had a thriving middle class in which its children could hope to exceed their parents’ station in life.   After all, it was our thriving middle class that kept the more extreme elements of both political parties and persuasions at bay, so that Republicans and Democrats actually talked to each other.  And a middle class will only thrive where there is less income inequality, something that most well-meaning Americans support. But that was then and we live in now, when most children of the baby boomers now retiring do not hope to do better than their parents.  Household incomes have stagnated since the 1970s, and the top income earners since the Great Recession now have garnered almost all of the increase. That is why two out of three Americans are dissatisfied with the way income and wealth are currently distributed in the U.S. This includes three-fourths of Democrats and 54 percent of Republicans, according to a recent Gallup poll. The Great Recession was brought on by Wall Street’s excesses, and the deregulation boom of the Clinton and GW Bush presidential reigns.  So why not create programs that Make America More Equal Again? Overall, the share of Americans living in middle-class households has declined from 61 percent in 1971 to 50 percent, reports a recent Pew Research study. The hollowing out of the middle class has been a source of consternation among many economists, politicians and the public at large, says those surveyed. They say as Americans move toward the economic extremes it is harder to find common ground, and a common sense of what it means to be an American. Much of that inequality is in the Midwestern rust belt states that lost those blue collar manufacturing jobs during the globalization and multi-nationalization of US corporations that President Trump promised to bring back again. So President Trump was no dummy in recognizing this fact.  Then how could Democrats be so blasé and oblivious to this fact among their former supporters?  Everyone saw it coming; the disenfranchisement of whole segments of working class voters that had descended into depression and drug use in those formerly blue and Democrat-voting states. There have been many suggestions of how to bring back higher-paying jobs, but candidate Trump seems to have fastened on just three—building more infrastructure, destroying multi-lateral trade agreements like the TPP and NAFTA, as well as limiting immigration inflows to make more jobs available to those suffering American workers. The first suggestion has been backed by both Democrats and Republicans, and now that President Trump wants it Republicans will stop opposing infrastructure spending, even if it busts the federal budget.   However, building more immigration and trade barriers won’t create greater equality, nor will opposition to minimum wage laws, such as advocated by the Trump pick for new Labor Secretary—CEO of fast food chains Andrew Puzder.  Because most immigrant jobs are low-paying, jobs that Americans don’t want anyway.  And higher trade barriers for the purpose of bringing jobs home will raise the prices of imported goods, cancelling out much of the income boost from higher-paying jobs. What won’t work either is the blatant voter and collective bargaining-suppression laws enacted, or about to be enacted in the 25 all-red states with absolute Republican majorities.  Such a blatant suppression of minority voters and the wages of working class Americans will suppress their wages, hardly the road to greater equality. What also won’t work are the attempts to destroy Obama’s Affordable Care Act that have boosted the buying power of at least 20 million working c[...]



Now that we're out of power I think we should turn up the Heat.

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 08:59:29 +0000

Criticize the status quo with even more Venom than ever before. 

en.wikipedia.org/…

Educate along the way.

www.vox.com/…

I noticed Kos was talking about how the electoral college was designed to protect the Slave states and the interest of Slave owners and I was like right on.

Sean Illing

So this raises an obvious question: Why do we still have the Electoral College? What’s the utility now?

Akhil Reed Amar

Well, inertia is one reason. It's the system that we have. A constitutional amendment is a very difficult thing to accomplish. As a matter of public education, most people are not taught the slavery story. They're taught that the Electoral College was about, say, federalism and institutional checks.

They're not told that the Electoral College was not the framers’ finest hour.

www.pbs.org/…

James Madison was a slave owner himself. 

if we’re going to be stuck in the minority then demonizing the status quo with as much vitriol as possible has no political consequences from what I can tell so I’m all in favor.

I’m in favor of abolishing the electoral college and I believe exposing it’s Slavery origins will help convince more Americans to turn against it.




Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 11:27:36 +0000

The ugly truth is, too many liberals, progressives, leftists, Democrats, whatever name you choose for yourself… we all-too-often allow ourselves to be talked out of them. Case in point: I recently read someone asking how we could buy American without being so nationalist as to tell store managers we didn’t want them selling imported products. Yet why are the People of these United States responsible for the employment of foreign nationals—often under exploitative conditions—to the detriment of their fellow citizens, and for the benefit of corporate c-suites? Failing to ask this question, then answer it with a resounding “We’re not!” is part of what got us Trump. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Automation, outsourcing, globalization and immigration, legal and illegal, are the major ways in which our very own American corporations have made many of us redundant. This denies us the right not only to live in dignity off our labor but also the satisfaction of a basic human need: to contribute our energy and intellect to our world. These techniques have been used to create a large pool of surplus labor, to the detriment of all of us who are not of independent means. And surplus labor always favors capital, especially when combined with America’s thin safety net. It means we live in fear of destitution. The anger and meanness that is such a central characteristic of our time is that buried fear of destitution. Yet these policies, made and advocated at the highest levels of American government and industry, have made a few people almost unimaginably wealthy. And it is meaningless to point out that Hillary Clinton’s policies would have helped Americans more than Trump’s would have. She is certainly a more decent and human version of Mitt Romney, offering us far more crumbs from the oligarchs’ table than he ever would have. Yet that is not enough in a time of declining life expectancy and diminished opportunities compared to your parents and grandparents. The truth is, many of those who voted for Trump are those with something left to lose… and can see themselves losing it. Yes, some are utterly deplorable yet even many of them are nevertheless rightfully afraid for themselves, their children and their communities, and they’re right to be. They know they are being reduced to the inadequate civic and human dignity most Americans are only beginning to escape. Right now, however, the Democratic Party, the natural locus of opposition to Trump, is hearing we must choose between responding to the declining fortunes of whites, especially men (this country’s largest ethnicity) or the legal and civic equality of women and gay people, blacks and Hispanics (the absolute majority of American citizens). BS. Those pushing this narrative, no matter their putative party affiliation or political identification, are the lackeys of oligarchs. These oligarchs, of course believe they can live with whoever wins, and when catastrophe does eventually befall the Republic, they can escape. They should not be permitted that delusion. While the road out of the political wilderness we find ourselves in, is straightforward. We insist the Democratic Party put Americans, all Americans equally, before corporations. It’s such a simple policy that it’s time to accept the fact that many major donors have invested considerable money and effort to keep us from coalescing around the issue. Distracting us by telling us that we should celebrate competition from foreign imports and cherish nearly unlimited immigration (both legal and illegal). Pretending that the only alternative is ignorant isolationism and the grotesque cruelty we have seen displayed in recent raids. (Beware those who define your choices for you.) We ignore those telling us that we can stand for all Americans having legal rights or we can have the political power necessary to make changes. [...]



Dear Press Corps: Please Do Your Job

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 04:42:01 +0000

I suppose it's well and good to have White House correspondents from major news organizations like CNN, the BBC and NBC News sparring with Comrade Donny during his so-called press conferences. But, that's not where the real journalistic work needs to be done.

We need deep reporting from investigative reporters who have the time, expertise and resources to uncover the truth. It's that truth that is likely to bring down the Trump presidency.

In the meantime, Trump will continue to work his con, because he is indeed very skilled at manipulating the conversation, disarming his perceived enemies, dissembling the truth and selling his snake oil to willing customers.

Ranting about the egregious nature of his personality and the outrageousness of his actions is, in some manner, just pissing in the wind.

We need hard and fast evidence that Trump colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin or is otherwise in the control of Putin or other Russian oligarchs. That would be grounds for impeachment.

So, while the press corps chases Trump-inspired mini-crises, all of which are mostly distractions, the 'United Republican Government' is fast at work at decimating health care access, environmental protections and fair taxation.

And Trump's consigliere team, Bannon & Miller, are at work trying to blow up the establishment to bring forth radical changes that conform to their perverted world views.

Lastly, Trump's cabal of wealthy business executives, whom he has installed on private councils that have no governmental oversight, are also busy making plans to mold our economy to their financial benefit.

So, yeah, it's cool to stand up and challenge Trump's hyperbole and insults in public press conferences. But, that is not doing the real job of reporting how this administration, its puppets and its puppeteers, are molding the future of our country and the world.

Dear press corps:  Please do you job.




Flipping the Clinton 24.

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 21:03:22 +0000

Kerry Elevald posted this diary a short time ago listing the house districts won by Hillary Clinton which managed to also elect Republican representatives who are now stonewalling their progressive constituents. I should not have to remind people that it is absolutely essential that we retake one of the chambers of Congress in the next election cycle, lest Trump and the the rest of the Republican party destroy everything we’ve ever fought for. We should target these districts first. It’s not enough anymore to hope that Republican voters change their minds. We have to go out and make sure that they understand exactly what is at risk for them should these folks remain in power. We need to start right now, going door to door, registering people to vote, raising awareness of the attacks on our democracy, informing the public of what is at stake and steadily attacking the margins of the electorate that can be convinced that voting Democratic is in their best interest. I’m proposing that people on this site, living in these states and districts, take things into their own hands by organizing on this site, getting in contact with their local party affiliates and using their knowledge and energy to push for local democratic reps in the next election. There’s a huge amount of energy and anger in the democratic base right now and we absolutely have to harness it to take back our government. It’s not enough to talk platitudes anymore. I live in Washington. I’m going to figure out how to work phones or something to knock Dave Reichert out of office. We need to flip 23 seats and maintain all others to retake the house. Let’s start with these. It’s going to be difficult, for sure but if we start now, we can build a base from which we will have a good chance to succeed. Trump and the Republican party are also doing their best to give us the ammunition to destroy them. Let’s start with targeting these representatives and driving down their local popularity by informing folks on how much they hate freedom and democracy. Writing diaries on the progress made will allow us to bounce strategy off one another and keep everyone updated. Here is the list Kerry posted. Maybe we can call this project by the name he gave the districts? The Clinton 24 1. Martha McSally, AZ-02, Clinton 2. Jeff Denham, CA-10, Clinton 3. David Valadao, CA-21, Clinton 4. Steve Knight, CA-25, Clinton, 5. Ed Royce, CA-39, Clinton 6. Mimi Walters, CA-45, Clinton 7. Dana Rohrabacher, CA-48, Clinton 8. Darrell Issa, CA-49, Clinton 9. Mike Coffman, CO-06, Clinton 10. Carlos Curbelo, FL-26, Clinton 11. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, FL-27, Clinton 12. Peter Roskam, IL-06, Clinton 13. Kevin Yoder, KS-03, Clinton 14. Erik Paulsen, MN-03, Clinton 15. Lance Leonard, NJ-07, Clinton 16. John Katko, NY-24, Clinton 17. Ryan Costello, PA-06, Clinton 18. Pat Meehan, PA-07, Clinton 19. *Brian Fitzpatrick, PA-08, (Tossup, C: 48%, T: 48.2%) 20. John Culberson, TX-07, Clinton 21. Will Hurd, TX-23, Clinton 22. Pete Sessions, TX-32, Clinton 23. Barbara Comstock, VA-10, Clinton 24. David Reichert, WA-08, Clinton Anybody up for writing diaries about statistics and strategy in the district which they live in or giving feedback on the idea? The townhalls and protests have been a great start but it’s going to take more than that and we at Dailykos are informed constituents who can help direct the energy. [...]



Take the Free Narcissistic Personality Test

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 01:37:06 +0000

At PsychCentral.com, there is a Narcissistic Personality Quiz  that anyone can take to measure the degree,  or lack thereof,  of a person’s  narcissism level. While everyone has a little narcissism, one should love your neighbor as one loves your self, if it’s in the Bible, then it is perfectly normal to have some level of self love. But some people we know have too much narcissism and that can be a problem. . Among the traits measured by the quiz are the extent of a person’s sense of entitlement, the level of a person’s vanity, a person’s willingness to exploit others,  the degree of a person’s exhibitionism, an assessment of the level of one’s sense of superiority, as well as measuring a person’s degree of self sufficiency, which can be good,  and a person’s tendency to engage in authoritarianism, which is rarely or never good. http://psychcentral.com/cgi=bin/narcissisticquiz,cgi My purpose in using this quiz was to measure the level of narcissism of  Donald J. Trump, U.S. President. The quiz contains 40 questions, each of which counts as one point. According to psychCentral, the average citizen scores between 12 and 15. Celebrities, and we all know how narcissistic they are, here’s looking at you Barbra, usually score around 18, Any score over 20 means, congratulations,  you are a flaming narcissist.   In order to be scientifically correct, I used myself as a control. Since president Trump was engaged in a news conference Thursday, and he hasn’t been taking my calls, I took the test for him based on my observation of his behavior over the years, not just the presidential campaign. Obviously, the outcome will be debatable. Other test takers will come up with different results. I do believe that whoever takes the test in President Trump’s name, will universally come up with a score above 20. Part of Trump’s charm to his supporters is his bluster, bullying and dishonesty. No matter what Trump’s score will be, I doubt that many of his supporters will quibble. They like him for who he is. As a control, I took the test first, and my score was 2. Frankly, I doubt that a dead person would score that low. I always thought I was a little conceited, but apparently, according to the quiz, I’m not. Remember, the average citizen’s score is between 12 and 15. It’s possible that I cheated but I don’t think so. The score is broken down into 7 categories. One point for each narcissistic answer, zero points for a non narcissistic answer. According to the breakdown, my score was as follows: Authority: 1.00 Self Sufficiency: 0.00 Superiority: 1.00 Exhibitionism; 0.00 Exploitativeness; 0.00 Vanity; 0.00 Entitlement; 0.00 In my defense, according to the quiz, “authority refers to a person’s leadership skills and power.” I don’t have much lust for power but most people who have experience in an industry eventually develop some leadership skills based on that experience. As for my score in Superiority, that was a trick question. In question 15, the  choices  were:  (a). I don’t particularly like to show off my body and (b) I like to show off my body. .I picked (b)  The test is not reliable unless one answers truthfully. In order to accurately take the test in President Trump’s name, I attempted to channel the President’s ego and sub-conscience for the ten minutes necessary to finish the test. I believe I was successful, because my mind began to ramble incoherently, my face turned orange, my hair, of which I don’t have that much, floated up into a impossible comb over, and I told half a dozen lies to my 4 dogs when I didn’t even need to. After taking the test and resuming my own persona, with some trepidation I  clicked the button to tabulate the results. Trump would be proud to know that he almost achieved a perfect  s[...]



Should We Primary Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D) ND?

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 00:40:22 +0000

Two Democratic Senators voted to confirm Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA; Manchin of WV and Heitkamp of ND.  As far as I am concerned Manchin is a DINO and the state of WV is a lost cause at this point.  I have serious doubts a real Democrat could win there.  What about Heidi Heitkamp? Should progressives try to defeat her in the primary?  She is up for re-election in 2018.  We must retake the Senate so we can block any Supreme Court nominations.  Are we willing to allow a Senator like Heitkamp, who represents a very conservative state break, with Democratic Senators from time to time?  Even if both Heitkamp and Manchin voted no, Pruitt still would have won confirmation.  It’s not like they were the deciding vote.  Frankly I am more pissed that only one GOP Senator voted against his confirmation.  

I imagine Heitkamp supported Pruitt to cater to the oil industry in ND.  She probably needs to pick her battles and can’t be seen blocking all of Trump’s nominees.  On the other hand, why have Democratic Senators that don’t vote to stop someone as terrible as Pruitt. Unfortunately 2018 doesn’t look good for taking back the Senate.  Very few GOP are up for re-election and Heitkamp (D) ND and McGaskill (D) MO, are both vulnerable.  Both represent states that voted overwhelmingly for Trump.  

Personally I am pissed as hell that she voted to confirm that asshole and if I lived in ND I might be inclined to vote against her in the primary, but I would still back her against a Repuklican.  Do we have any hope of running a true progressive Democrat and winning in ND?  Any NoDak KOS care to comment?  Would running a primary opponent damage her chances in the general election?




Leadership by Serving Others: Jay Breneman for Mayor of Erie, Pennsylvania

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 16:46:33 +0000

It wasn’t the best week for pretty much anyone who reads Daily Kos. The national results were in, and the unthinkable had happened in terms of who would be heading to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue come January 20. The residents of the deeply blue City of Erie were in no different a space, as their solid vote for Hillary Clinton — she won all 69 voting districts in the City of Erie — was not enough to keep the suburbs and small towns and rural areas from pushing the county into the red column for the first time since 1984, and the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania into the red column for the first time since 1988. The deeply blue City of Erie was experiencing a different kind of being deeply blue that week.  Jay Breneman Mayoral Campaign announcement, 11/11/2016 Enter Jay Breneman. Conventional wisdom wouldn’t have said this was the best week to launch a campaign to be the next Mayor of Erie. But conventional wisdom has not really been successful in charting this journey. He told the Erie Times, "People are incredibly concerned about the future of our city and of our community. Probably now more than ever. I've already demonstrated an approach to doing things differently, and I want people to know they will have a voice in the future of Erie." And so it was, on November 11, 2016, a whole lot of Erie folks who were feeling really trumped gathered at Wayne Park in Erie’s Historic East Bayfront neighborhood to hear a different message. Jay Breneman announced his candidacy for Mayor of the City of Erie.  The other night, Jay and I were talking about this. We both talked about how awful everyone was feeling after the Presidential election, but also that his unconventional announcement timing sparked people, giving them some optimism in a a very difficult time, particularly in city as Democratic as Erie. I first met Jay Breneman by going on a long walk with him — #JayWalking as he calls it. Jay has spent much of his weekend free time going on lengthy walks through Erie neighborhoods with Erie residents, spending 1-2 hours with them hearing their stories and concerns, talking about their neighborhoods and their dreams for their city. I cannot say I’ve ever had a candidate spend an hour and a half with me talking about what matters to me — ever. But as we walked and talked, what I had read about Jay in the media and on his website came to life -— real, authentic, intelligent, caring. The real deal. And in a city like Erie with great bones and great potential, but much in need of a major push forward, it was obvious that he is the real thing. No #AlternativeFacts.  And he doesn’t back down. In perhaps the most important Mayoral election in the history of Erie, we need to make the right choice. Pat Howard, in the Erie Times 11/13/2016: Also essential to aspirations for a resurgent Erie is addressing one of the community's most glaring deficits — a chronic shortage of engaged, catalytic political leadership. Erie residents will soon have a chance to do something about that. In becoming the first candidate to formally announce a 2017 mayoral run, Breneman, 34, went straight at that, explicitly calling out three-term Mayor Joe Sinnott and his crimped view of the office's role and responsibilities. We'll see whether Breneman can make the case that he's the right person to take the rudder, but he has the broad outlines right. Breneman will likely be one of a number of candidates seeking to succeed Sinnott, who reaches the three-term limit at the end of 2017. But on Friday he staked out ground that must be covered by anyone running in what could be the most consequential election in Erie's history. Jay Breneman engaging with Erie voters at the Downtown Starbucks Erie is a city with a strong trad[...]



45 Senate and House members introduce bill requiring Trump to disclose foreign business interests

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:28:56 +0000

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden (D-WA) and House Representative Richard Neal (D-MA) have introduced legislation, along with 45 other members, that would force the president to disclose his foreign business interests and ties before being allowed to take any trade actions in his capacity as commander and chief.

“Americans have a right to know if the President is looking out for the good of the country or just his own bottom line when he negotiates a trade deal, decides whether or not to enforce our trade laws, or decides whether to cut tariffs on imports from a developing country,” Wyden said. “Trump has business interests around the world, but he continues to keep the full nature of those ties secret.”

“It is imperative that all Presidents of the United States – including President Trump – are fully transparent about the nature and extent of their ties to foreign nations,” said Ranking Member Neal. “This bill would cement in law that Presidents must disclose all of their financial interests with countries that are involved in trade actions with the United States, a commonsense measure. We have to know that the interests of the American people and our country come first at all times, not just when it’s economically convenient or beneficial to a sitting President.”

It is imperative that all presidents can show enough transparency that potential conflicts of interest do not plague their administration.




PA-Sen: Bob Casey (D), "Trump caved to far-right demands on SCOTUS pick"

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 15:37:02 +0000

Sounds like we’re getting through to him:

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., may have shared a few laughs on Thursday with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, but he walked away with concerns about the judge's candidacy for the high court.

Casey excoriated President Trump's "decision to give in to" the demands of far-right groups to select a nominee for the high court from their "approved list" in exchange for support.

"President Trump's decision to give in to their demand and choose from only their list of nominees was unprecedented," Casey said, in a written statement.

"It is essential that the next Supreme Court justice be truly independent so the court can fulfill its vital institutional role in our system of checks and balances. The decisions made by the next Supreme Court Justice will be extraordinarily consequential; the next Justice will be the deciding vote on a range of cases impacting the lives of tens of millions of Americans for a generation or more."

Here’s where Casey shared the most concern over Gorsuch’s nomination:

Casey said that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts had ruled overwhelmingly in favor of big corporations and that Gorsuch's judicial record suggests he may continue that trend.

"I discussed with Judge Gorsuch some of his decisions pertaining to critical civil rights laws protecting individuals with disabilities, like the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act," Casey said. "The rights of those with disabilities, particularly the right to an equal education, must be vigorously protected by the courts."

Hearings are scheduled for March 20th and Casey has said he will continue to review Gorsuch’s record. He sounds like he’s leaning towards a No vote but he still needs to be pushed. Click below to tell Casey to reject Gorsuch:

https://www.casey.senate.gov/contact




Trump's Press Conference Was NOT Chaotic

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 15:53:50 +0000

(image)

From the Alt Department of State’s Twitter:

“Today’s Trump news conference wasn’t chaos. It was the administration’s first move to energize their base in creating a nationwide whip operation. It is considered political calculus likely authored by Steve Bannon. Be prepared to counter this strategy.

Bannon and other strategists know that the resistance movement is having a more substantial impact that initially expected. The impact is evident in Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee joining Democrats who are calling for an investigation on the administration ties to Russia.

To combat this negative momentum, Bannon and others sent Trump out with an attack strategy designed to appeal directly to his core supporters. This will likely be effective in energizing his base.

The goal of this strategy isn’t to move move the polls, but to mobilize a swell of small, yet fervent support aimed at putting pressure on a Republican congress who might consider abandoning Trump if the political climate in their constituencies demands any abandonment. The Bannon directed administration is likely strategizing to mobilize their base as a nationwide whip operation to counter the effect of the resistance.

Expect more of these base-directed strategies, beginning with Saturday’s inexplicable campaign rally in Florida.

The resistance must be louder. We cannot simply expect his erratic behavior to damage his effect. Most importantly, we must see these strategies for what they are and continue to pressure lawmakers to do their job in putting country over blind part loyalty.

-State of Resistance”




Trump Owned His Press Conference

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 09:18:06 +0000

Progressives are missing the point in their universal condemnation and ridicule of Trump's performance today at his news conference. Trump knew what he was doing and he did it well. He was the victor.

To his supporters, and to himself, Trump came off as bold, determined and unbowed. He has a remarkable ability to seize and control the conversation.

Of course he was arrogant, insulting, deflecting, hyperbolic and self-aggrandizing. That won him an election. And for his base and for reluctant congressional Republicans, this press conference is going to play very well. It showed him as strong and unbeaten.

From Trump's point of view, in spite of being reviled by progressives, he defended his actions, positions and people quite forcefully and convincingly. He came across as honest and sincere in his concerns about fairness and mis-reporting, regardless of facts to the contrary.

Again and again Trump's powers of persuasion are underestimated by the Left. Trump owned that presser and was able to speak loudly and clearly to those who support him and to those who seem to be powerless to stop him.

His message was that he would not be deterred from making America great again. He won't be distracted by whatever scandal or criticism comes his way, even though he doesn't have the discipline to just let it go. As he said in his campaign, if he is punched, he punches back harder. That works for him.

Trump needs opponents to prove himself a winner. Today, he sparred with the international press corps and he won the bout.




Rachel Maddow... Please stop calling us democrats!

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 06:19:15 +0000

Dear Rachel… Please, STOP CALLING US DEMOCRATS! Rachel, I love you. I’ve loved you since I first heard your show on Serius Radio’s America Left Channel. You, Ed Schultz, Mark Thompson, and Tom Hartman were voices in the wilderness. Back then, I was living in Tennessee, surrounded by folks who viewed the world through a very different lens. Still, I couldn’t keep my lefty-liberal opinions to myself. My many letters to the editor of The Tennessean provoked some unsettling responses, the most worrisome of which came in a hand-scrawled envelope I discovered one evening in the mailbox of the vintage Craftsman house I shared with my wife and daughter. After accusing me of sedition, the author of the aforementioned missive capped off his neighborly message with, “I only wish I could put a bullet between your traitorous eyes.” But, every afternoon, there you were, somewhere out there, wafting to me over the radio waves, with a dollop of sanity. And that helped. A lot. A belated, but sincere thank you for the comfort, the sense of solidarity you provided me at that time. And so, for that reason, and because without a doubt you’re pretty much the smartest person on TV, I’ve remained a fan, a devotee, an apostle ever since.  But, please, please, please, Rachel, stop calling us democrats! Admittedly, you’re not the only offender, and certainly not the worst. That very same presumption, that same simplified generalization gets repeated day after day on network and cable news, even on NPR. Phrases like, “An angry group of democrats showed up at Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz’s town hall meeting today,” followed by footage of protesters chanting, “Do your job!” With all due respect, I must pose this question… Why do you assume, HOW can you possibly assume, simply because a person demands accountability from his or her elected representative, that he or she represents the opposition party, or is affiliated with any party, for that matter? Certainly, it’s not beyond comprehension — especially at this critical juncture in the history of this very troubled nation — that individual citizens are finding the motivation to get out there and join the resistance without needing to pin some prescribed party label to their chests.  Democratic candidates may benefit from our passion, our conviction, our energy. This we can only hope. But, beneficiaries be warned: You better freakin’ represent! That positive outcome, however, does not justify the assumption that this very essential, extremely important resistance is, in any way shape or form, a faction of the Democratic Party or a movement for which the party can take any credit whatsoever. (I will restrain myself from discussing how that pack of lamebrains are directly responsible for the quagmire in which we find ourselves today.)   This much is true, my dear Rachel. We are citizens. We are individuals. Many of us are Independents, some are Greens or Libertarians. Regardless, it is imperative that this coalition remain united in our conscientious resistance to bigotry, fear, and willful ignorance and in our commitment to progressive ideals.  And by labeling us Democrats, you, along with the media at large, run the risk of alienating, fragmenting the many who refuse to or simply cannot identify with major party labels because of what our dysfunctional, two-party, us-against-them, always-blame-the-other side system has wrought. Please, Rachel, stop calling us democrats. I love you. Sincerely, Rand Bishop Newport, OR [...]



McCarthy on 1600 Pensylvania Ave

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 03:38:25 +0000

 One of Donald Trumps scariest advisors is not even in his cabinet. Understanding the presidency of Donald J. Takes America down a dark path. One we have been to before, but it's worse this time.

When Donald Trump was younger he hired mob lawyer Roy Cohn to help him with some legal problems. The Cohn/Trump bond doesn't end there. Cohn shaped the way Donald Trump conducts himself. Cohn told Trump when they attack you " hit back ten times harder". Cohn would also mentor Trump into believing that if you say it loud enough it will become true.

  Earlier in Cohn's career, he was hired by Wisconsin U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy. Senator Joe McCarthy went on a communist witch hunt. He proclaimed that he had a list of people who were working in the state department as spies for the communist party. There was no basis for this claim, no evidence to present other than the mouth of Senator McCarthy.

  Journalist Edward R Murrow exposed McCarthy for what he was. A fraudulent demagogue "who made us insecure at home and gave comfort to our enemies". The damage was done by then. Lives were destroyed and reputations were already ruined. It seemed McCarthy had already won.

  McCarthy even responded by accusing Murrow of using propaganda to aid the communist cause. He also accused Murrow of being from the industrial workers of the world. A claim that entirely false. " He proved that anyone who doesn't share his total disregard for decency must be a communist. Murrow won. American citizens got tired of McCarthy. McCarthy was eventually censured.

  Both Cohn and McCarthy are no longer with us today, but their alive and well in the White House. Any reporter who exposes Trump is "fake news". Judges who strike down his legislation are " so called judges".  Former President Obama was a Muslim born in Kenya and bus loads of people illegally voted in New Hampshire.  These are just examples of blatant lies told by Trump.  Like McCarthy Trump doubles down on these lies.  Now it is up to the American people to decipher fact from fiction.  

  When progressives say Republicans will take you back to the 1950’s they were not kidding. This time Joe McCarthy is President of the United States. Think about that for a second. This is why facts still matter because Edward R. Murrow hit back harder.  

GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK

Derek Avery- Patz




Nearly One Million Signatures Given to Congress Calling for Impeachment: 'BradCast' 2/16/2017

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 02:20:15 +0000

Guest: Author, activist Norman Solomon of ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org | Plus: Trump's latest insane press conference; More on Flynn and the Logan Act; and our 8th Anniversary 'Green News Report'... On today's BradCast: Donald Trump holds his first solo press conference as President...and it's a doozy. But just before that presser was going on at the White House, so was another at the National Press Club in D.C. to announce that nearly 1 million signatures calling for Trump's immediate impeachment were being delivered to Congress. [Audio link to complete show follows below.] Journalist, author and activist Norman Solomon of Roots Action -- who, with Free Speech for People, have created the ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org campaign -- joins us to explain the grounds for the remarkable effort to begin Congressional proceedings to remove Trump from office, not even one month into his Presidency. "This is a very long process, but not as long as many people think. This could be a lot quicker than we might have imagined just a few weeks ago," Solomon tells me, detailing what he sees as crystal clear violations of the U.S. Constitution's foreign and domestic "Emoluments" clauses, as well as a number of statutes as well. Solomon charges that "It's such a dangerous precedent to have a President willfully, flagrantly, violating the Constitution," why he believes this can be done even with Republicans in control of both the House and Senate, and why the question of whether Vice President Mike Pence would be even worse for progressives, if he were to ascend to the Presidency, does not matter. "If we shrug and say 'Well, we don't think it's practical', or 'We don't like the result of the Vice President becoming President', then we've bought further into what, frankly, is moving towards dictatorship," he argues. "If we say this is okay, that the President is above the supreme law of the land, then that opens the floodgates to autocracy and the antithesis of democracy." The author of War Made Easy: How President and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death also discusses what he sees as the "big danger" of "Democrats attacking Trump with over-the-top extreme rhetoric" concerning Russia. Then, Desi Doyen joins us for our 8th Anniversary(!) episode of the Green News Report! And, finally, I respond to some listener mail which disagrees with my take on the Logan Act (as detailed during Tuesday's BradCast), and how some believe it should be used to prosecute former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in regard to his conversation about sanctions with Russia's ambassador prior to the Inauguration... CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SHOW!... * * * While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed! [Cross-posted from The BRAD BLOG...] [...]



Andrew Sullivan: We are living through an emergency

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 23:01:50 +0000

One of the great achievements of free society in a stable democracy is that many people, for much of the time, need not think about politics at all. The president of a free country may dominate the news cycle many days — but he is not omnipresent — and because we live under the rule of law, we can afford to turn the news off at times. A free society means being free of those who rule over you — to do the things you care about, your passions, your pastimes, your loves — to exult in that blessed space where politics doesn’t intervene. In that sense, it seems to me, we already live in a country with markedly less freedom than we did a month ago. It’s less like living in a democracy than being a child trapped in a house where there is an abusive and unpredictable father, who will brook no reason, respect no counter-argument, admit no error, and always, always up the ante until catastrophe inevitably strikes. This is what I mean by the idea that we are living through an emergency.

The Madness of King Donald

There has been no other time in my life when I have been so absorbed in the news. I am also communicating with my Representative and my Senators more often, which is good. But this long news cycle is dominating my life. I used to get lost in novels, my favorite pastime since childhood. But now it’s all I can do to keep up with the international dismantling of civilization by populist hucksters. This shit is tedious. The War of the Five Kings had better dialogue! 

I don’t want to complain too much. I’m not living with hyperinflation or literal civil war. But I am watching tragic stupidity ruin our politics and institutions, and I can’t look away. If I have to be obsessed, I must do everything I can to help the Democrats, and they must know — you are the hope of this nation. Ain’t no fucking around. We are day and night consumed with worry and we need a party that works for us. 




A New National Holiday--Minority Friday

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 22:17:51 +0000

Many years ago a marvelous play was written called Day of Absence, in which African-Americans proposed doing exactly what immigrants proposed for today, February 16, 2017—a Day of Absence for immigrants from jobs, schools and any other way in which they interact with the capitalistic, profit driven economy of the United States of America.

As of this writing, I do not know how successful this day has been in accomplishing its mission.  What I do know, however, is that it is the PERFECT way for any American in this country to protest what s/he perceives to be feeling that they are less valued, less worthy and less appreciated than those we know to be referred to as the “real Americans.”  Those of us who feel as I (and you) feel know to what I am referring.  Not all, but many, many African-Americans (men and women), gays (men) and lesbians (women), immigrants (many nations), Native Americans, unequally paid white women, disenfranchised and powerless poverty-stricken men and women, etc. can fully appreciate and understand how corporate and government people in power use all of us as pawns, feeding us psychologically manipulative and false information to advance the economic and social agenda of the people in power—the power elite.

And so, in this blog I am asking, suggesting, that any and every individual in this country who feels themselves to be a victim of a white privileged American society that believes themselves to be better than the rest of us “other Americans” to band together and establish another Day of Absence here in 2017.  I would also suggest, and recommend, that we allow ourselves time to fully advertise and rally everyone to this day of absence.

To fully maximize and make the point to the power elite of the absolute power of those they hold below them, I would strongly suggest that this event occur on what has formerly been referred to as Black Friday in America—the day after Thanksgiving when the vast majority of Americans go out and lavish billions of dollars on corporations that view this day as one of their most important of the year.  Could we minorities possibly band together for just one day to let them know how we feel about their day to day treatment of us?  One day.  One time.  What do we, as minorities in this country have to lose—not to be confused with SCOTUS’s admonition to African-Americans regarding what they would have to lose if he were to become POTUS!




Amid Trump Chaos, Dems Need To Focus On Elections

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 21:08:34 +0000

It's time for Democrats to start preparing for 2018 when it will be imperative for them to either somehow win the Senate or, what incredibly seems more reachable today, win back the House. Today, Democrats are motivated like they've never been in decades but it remains to be seen whether that will result in running competitive, credible campaigns both at the state level as well as federal. It would have been nice if we could have hit the ground running at some point after the election so that the DNC would be in place and able to capitalize on the enormous protest and activism triggered by the inauguration of Donald Trump. Instead, as usual, we have been subjected to a brutal internecine war that supposedly pits Keith Ellison against Tom Perez but are seen as proxies for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. That war has to end immediately if Democrats really want to maximize their chances in 2018. The agonizing decision will finally be made next week but already special elections that Democrats could win and need to win are under way. I would prefer to see Perez become DNC chair if only because Democrats need every House member we have and Ellison has promised to leave his seat in order to devote his full attention to the DNC. Do we really need to put resources into defending that seat when Ellison leaves - you can be sure that the GOP will flood that race with money purely to make a point. What I hope doesn't happen is that, whoever is selected, it will just continue the Bernie-Hillary feud within the party. Meanwhile, important races are already underway. In Minnesota, a special election there for a seat in the state House was won by the Republican yesterday. Trump received around 60% in this district but the DFL candidate put up a decent fight, winning 47% of the vote. The turnout was, as usual in special elections, low.  In Delaware, a special election for the state Senate holds control of that body in the balance. The seat is very competitive but is being vacated by a Democrat who became Lieutenant Governor.  The state Senate in Connecticut is similarly up for grabs where there are two special elections scheduled. One district is solidly Republican and one Democratic so, if the past holds, the Senate will not change hands. Later on this year, the state Senate in Washington will offer an opportunity for Democrats to flip that chamber as there will be three special elections and Democrats should be favored or competitive in two of them. On the national level, there will be a special election in Georgia to fill Tom Price's House seat on April 18 with a runoff on June 20, if necessary. Hillary Clinton lost this district by just 1%, while Price romped by 23%. This seems incredible when his confirmation hearings showed that Price was clearly violating the STOCK Act and enriching himself while in office. Where was the Democratic opposition research on this? Hopefully, Democrats will unify around a former John Lewis staffer Jon Ossoff while Republicans remain fragmented. There are currently nine Republicans, five Democrats, and one independent currently qualified for the ballot with more expected. The Daily Kos community has already raised over $500,000 for Ossoff. It would be nice if the DNC could also focus its support. This is the most important election Democrats will face this year.  If Democrats could pick up a win in this election, it would truly be a warning shot to the GOP in Congress and their prospects in 2018. Another, longer shot, for a Hou[...]



Justice Thomas's wife is back to the teabaggy politics, this time on the Muslim ban

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 17:45:46 +0000

Campaign Action

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been under fire by judicial watchdog groups for ethics issues for a good part of his tenure, but particularly since the rise of the tea party. That's because his wife, Ginni, has been an integral organizer in that movement. She's still at it, this time in a way that suggests her husband should be recusing himself from any challenge to the Trump administration's actions. In the immediate term, that means a potential challenge to his Muslim ban.

In an email sent to a conservative listserv on Feb. 13 and obtained by The Daily Beast, Ginni Thomas asked an interesting question: How could she organize activists to push for Trump’s policies?

“What is the best way to, with minimal costs, set up a daily text capacity for a ground up-grassroots army for pro-Trump daily action items to push back against the left’s resistance efforts who are trying to make America ungovernable?” she wrote.

“I see the left has Daily Action @YourDailyAction and their Facebook likes are up to 61K,” she continued. [...]

“But there are some grassroots activists, who seem beyond the Republican party or the conservative movement, who wish to join the fray on social media for Trump and link shields and build momentum,” she wrote. “I met with a house load of them yesterday and we want a daily textable tool to start… Suggestions?”




U.S. Election Assistance Commission hacked—GOP moves to terminate agency altogether during FBI probe

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 03:20:22 +0000

Joseph Menn with Reuters reported that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which was set up to ensure voting machines meet security standards — was itself pervaded by a hacker after the November elections. Last week Think Progress reports EAC is to be eliminated altogether. "The Committee on House Administration voted 6-3, along party lines, to move forward with the Election Assistance Commission Terminatihon Act ..." The EAC is an independent, bipartisan commission established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). After the GOP’s vote, a group of 38 organizations including the NAACP and League of Women Voters began protesting the vote. It’s unknown if the GOP voted to terminate the commission as another means of voter suppression or to keep the FBI from further investigation into the foreign hacking. Either way the GOP’s move is suspicious. Republicans have nothing set up to replace the commission that would protect voters. It would seem lawmakers would want to strengthen the commission rather than terminate it. It would seem lawmakers would want to help people vote. This is often not the case with Republicans, especially in states where the majority of voters are Democrats.  Menn’s story about the hacking  was published in December 2016 about a month after Election Day and was largely ignored by much of the media. A security intelligence firm Recorded Future was monitoring underground electronic markets and discovered a Russian-speaking hacker was offering log-on credentials for access to computers at the EAC. Posing as electronic market buyers, Recorded Future officials Levi Gundert and Andrei Barysevich conversed with the cyber carpetbagger. It was discovered that the hacker had obtained the “credentials of more than 100 people at the EAC  after exploiting a common database vulnerability.”  In the case of the election commission, the hacker used methods including an SQL injection, a well-known and preventable flaw, obtaining a list of user names and obfuscated passwords, which he was then able to crack. Gander and Barysevich believed the hacker was trying to sell information regarding the vulnerability to a Middle Eastern government for several thousand dollars. The case was put under FBI investigation. Recorded Future assured law enforcement the “hole had been patched.” The researchers also said the hacker had an unusual business model and was able to scan for ways to break into all manner of businesses and other entities and then move rapidly to sell that access, rather than stealing the data himself. Barysevich said “We don’t think he actually works for any government or is super sophisticated. Though much of the commission’s work is public, the hacker gained access to non-public reports on flaws in voting machines.  In theory, someone could have used knowledge of such flaws to attack specific machines, said Matt Blaze, an electronic voting expert and professor at the University of Pennsylvania. The researchers felt confident that the hacker was not inside the system before Election Day, and so far there have no been no reports of widespread fraud occurring in November.  But there is a problem with phrases like, we “think,” we’re “confident” and “so far” — they do not offer any assurance whatsoever that the nation’s voting machines weren’t compromised befor[...]



Trump's back on the campaign trail, so Senate must wait until after the election to fill SCOTUS seat

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 16:00:37 +0000

Campaign Action

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a new rule last year when he blockaded President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland: no new confirmations during a presidential campaign. Now that popular vote loser Donald Trump is back on the campaign trail, Democrats should make sure that the rule continues.

WASHINGTON — In an extraordinarily swift return to politicking after a tumultuous first month in office, the White House on Wednesday said President Trump will hold the first campaign rally of his four-week-old administration on Saturday.

The rally, to be held in an airplane hangar in Melbourne, Fla., is an indication that Mr. Trump, who has sometimes felt isolated in the White House, is eager to get outside of Washington and relive the rapturous reception that greeted him during the presidential campaign. Mr. Trump exulted in large crowds assembled at cavernous venues throughout his 2016 bid, and spent the first days of his presidency quibbling over how many Americans attended his inauguration. […]

The White House would not provide any additional information about the rally. Officials referred questions to a member of Mr. Trump’s political organization, who also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“It’s being run by the campaign,” Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said on Wednesday, without elaborating. He would not say why the president would be holding a campaign rally so soon after taking office.

It's clearly a campaign event, the White House says so. A campaign event open to the public, so the resistance can and should attend. And while you're at it, tell your senators they should not be voting on a Supreme Court nominee from Trump, not until the people have a chance to speak in the next election.




Where are the damn Democrats??

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 14:00:33 +0000

It’s been a few days now since reports about the Trump campaign’s contacts with the Russians started coming out, and a few days since Flynn resigned. Where are the big Democratic voices complaining about this, attacking Trump and his administration for their ties to Putin?

It’s time for Obama and Hillary to weigh in, along with Bill Clinton and any of the big names that are considering running for president in 2020.

I realize that by tradition former presidents aren’t supposed to criticize what current presidents are doing, but the current situation is unprecedented. It’s time to get rid of many of those old traditions that Republicans clearly have no respect for at all, unless it helps them. 

Democrats need to loudly point out just how unprecedented, and dangerous, the situation is, and tie the whole Republican party to Trump and his disgrace of an administration. 




Who Cost Dems the Election? Dem Voters, That’s Who.

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 13:28:08 +0000

Months after the election dems are still gathering in town halls and strategy sessions trying to figure out how in the world we could have possibly lost the election to the world’s biggest orange buffoon.

Many blame the Clinton campaign; there is no doubt that they could have done a lot of things better.  Ignoring blue-collar workers, taking states like Michigan and Wisconsin for granted, and not addressing the concerns that Trump supporters were raising was foolish and short-sighted.  Calling millions of voters “deplorable” (even if many of them truly are) isn’t going to win over many votes and the persistent scandals that plagued her could have been handled with more transparency and forth-rightness.

Then of course there is the Democratic party itself, who can be criticized for running a candidate with decades of baggage.  A candidate seen by many as just another establishment hack only concerned about Wall Street and the Washington elite.  Revelations that the DNC was far less than fair in allowing the primary process to play out between Hillary and Bernie certainly didn’t help, angering Bernie supporters and costing the DNC a lot of trust.  Perhaps Bernie could have beaten Trump.  We’ll never know, because the Republicans were only running against Hillary from the start.  That is where all their efforts were focused.  Who knows if Bernie could have stood up to that kind of attack?

All we really know is that arguably the most qualified presidential candidate in American history was defeated by a candidate who is the least qualified person to ever be nominated to the office.   While we can heap blame on the campaign for that and curse the party for its failures we need to be honest about the real reason for the catastrophe called “President” Trump: Democrat voters failed to do their duty.

Trump won for one simple reason.  Republican voters, many of whom despise him, held their nose and voted for him anyway, because he was their nominee and they didn’t want to see Hillary in the White House.

Meanwhile Democrats cast “protest” votes for 3rd party candidates or didn’t vote at all because their great, white hope, Bernie, was “cheated” out of the nomination and they couldn’t stand “S’hillary”.  With our national security and the future of the supreme court at stake instead of doing our duty and casting our vote for Democratic party nominee we went to the ballot box and threw a tantrum.

So now we get to enjoy daily tantrums thrown by a septuagenarian toddler with nuclear weapons. We can only hope we’re all still here in 2020 to learn from our mistakes and remember next time to do our damn job and support the nominee!




Trump's Chaotic Weapons of Mass Distraction: 'BradCast' 2/15/2017

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 02:07:21 +0000

Guest: D.D. Guttenplan of The Nation | Also: Puzder out; Congress makes it easier for mentally disabled to buy guns; ICE detains a 'DREAMer'... On today's BradCast: There may appear to be chaos right now at the federal level of lawmaking -- in both the Executive and Legislative branches. But that disarray may be working out just fine for Donald Trump and his supporters, as my guest today explains. [Audio link to show is posted below.] First up, however, Senate Democrats win one for a change, as Andrew Puzder, Trump's labor-hating billionaire nominee to head the Department of Labor removes himself from contention after a number of Republicans threaten to vote against his confirmation. At the same time, however, Congress sends a bill to the President that will kill an Obama era regulation, instituted in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, that would have made it slightly more difficult for some with mental disabilities to purchase fire arms. Then, while the "unbelievable turmoil" surrounding this insane White House right now may be alarming to many Democrats and progressives and other reality-based individuals, for Trump supporters living in their own versions of "reality", they may be hearing and seeing exactly what they had hoped from this President -- even as chaos continues to keep both critics and the non-wingnut media off balance and on edge. D.D. Guttenplan, editor-at-large at The Nation, joins us to explain how much of the on-going chaos is being purposely deployed, not unlike a military strategy developed to avoid anti-aircraft fire during World War II. "I think it's deliberate, and I think it's working," he tells me. And while the temptation to respond to every outrage from this White House may be "satisfying, in the long run it's going to exhaust us." He makes the case, based on his reporting in the industrial rust belt, that many Trump's supporters are quite pleased with his Administration so far, and that until Democrats begin to focus on winning back those otherwise Dem-leaning voters, they will continue to be overwhelmed by the "barrage of comments, and picked fights, and scandals, and daily assaults on whoever is most vulnerable among us." "As long as we're being reactive, we're not prioritizing, and we need to prioritize," Guttenplan contends, before going on to detail what he believes some of those priorities need to be in order for Democrats to both win back their voters and the White House along with it. Finally, speaking of avoiding distractions, last week, while everything else has been going on, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) arrested and detained a man who came here from Mexico with his parents illegally when he was seven years old. Despite legal work permits from the federal government's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program under Obama, no criminal record, and claims by Trump that immigrants like him would not be rounded up, he has been detained for the past week in Tacoma, Washington, according to his attorneys, in the first such case reported since the new President took office... CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SHOW!... * * * While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're availabl[...]



The Hard Left Needs To Make Up Their Minds On The DNC!

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:59:34 +0000

Okay, so lots and lots of people, myself included, were upset that the DNC under Debbie Wasserman-Schultz had interfered in the Democratic primary regarding the scheduling of primaries and the debates. We wanted the Democratic National Committee to be neutral in primaries, and now we get this from the hard left????  xProtesters get up at DNC forum in DC, demanding Perez "commit to supporting primary challengers" against Dems who vote for Trump noms.— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) February 16, 2017 So much for wanting the DNC to be neutral in primaries??? And funnily enough, there’s a new organization called We Will Replace You that doesn’t list funders, or actual staff team members (just a list of people associated with the organization, no positions, etc). They want 100% party fealty, and want elected Democratic officials to oppose EVERY law that comes up in the Republican Congress, and want them to VOTE against any nominees that come up. Otherwise they’ll primary Democrats in all districts. They’re threatening to primary elected Democrats who are fighting back and resisting the Trump regime because their votes are not 100% fealty enough to the hard left. Remember my earlier post about how Russia tends to fund both the hard left and the hard right to destabilize democracies by creating constant infighting? Here it is here again, for reading again to remember why we should be suspicious of new organizations that don’t have funding transparency or links to existing Democratic Party infrastructure.  Am I saying that Democrats shouldn’t oppose Trump? I’m not saying that. I am saying that Democrats need to be smart, to strategize, and to oppose Trump on many laws that come up to destroy civil liberties, to roll back women’s rights, and to impose further religious tests within our country.  I am saying that Trump will likely box Democrats in for the upcoming 2018 midterms by proposing some bills that will be very popular with a wide base of Americans, such as pharmaceutical reform, and other issues that Americans support. If Democrats in swing districts vote against the Pharma reform bills because the hard left wants them to oppose the bill, those Democrats will be targets against Trump-backed candidates.  Primarying elected Democrats because they don't vote in 100% ideological lockstep is a stupid idea. Look at how Trump carries their district/state, and you’ll see why we have to preserve that seat electorally.  THE GOAL SHOULD BE TO EXPAND THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY RATHER THAN TO REDUCE IT.   Fact is that Senate Democrats have many more seats than Senate Republicans to defend in 2018. We need to support them in defending those seats and expanding the map in swing districts and at the local, state, and federal level.  [...]



PA-Sen: Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) Gives Bob Casey (D) A Boost In Fighting Back Against Trump

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 23:54:58 +0000

Received this e-mail today from Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D. PA) in support of U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr.’s (D. PA) re-election bid:

(image)
Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D. PA)

Our campaign was built on the idea that the people of Pennsylvania deserve leadership that always puts their priorities first, not the special interests or well-connected. I'll always be fighting for you, and I'll take on anyone -- from a drug dealer to a scam artist to the President of the United States -- who threatens the health or safety of Pennsylvanians.

That's why I'm asking you to support the re-election of my friend, Senator Bob Casey. The Washington Post reported that Pennsylvania's Senate seat is being eyed as a potential target by a shadowy pro-Trump organization looking to remove all checks on Trump's power. They could spend millions to tarnish Bob Casey on behalf of Donald Trump.

Bob needs your help -- and that's why I'm asking you to chip in $5 or more to his campaign today.

We simply can't allow Donald Trump to continue to abuse his power and reward extreme special interests at the expense of working families. Trump and his allies must answer to the people, especially given everything that's transpired in the news recently.

Bob Casey has always fought for Pennsylvanians -- and he's been a leader in the Senate to hold President Donald Trump accountable, voting "no" on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and pledging to do the same with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator nominee Scott Pruitt.

So please donate $5 or more to help Bob Casey defend himself and our values against Donald Trump's dark allies.

Thank you,
Josh Shapiro  

Click here to help Casey fight back against Trump.




Sally Harrell, candidate for the GA-6 special election, sets an example for party unity

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 22:31:23 +0000

sallyharrell.org/…

It is my goal for a progressive Democrat to win the 6th district, but it has always been my mission to help my party develop a platform that addresses the economic struggles of the middle class. To that end, I saw this special election as a way to test a new message prior to the 2018 elections. That message has been warmly received by those who have heard it and the campaign has gained incredible traction. However, the special election timeline is moving fast, and another Democratic candidate was able to utilize Washington connections to raise very large sums of money extremely quickly. Put simply, our campaign cannot compete, and to move forward at this point would not be a test of message, but of money. For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of my party and the progressive cause to not compete in the special election this spring.

Though she’s obviously not too happy about the other Democratic candidates’ rapid fundraising, she realizes that there is a bigger issue at stake here, and that is the need to check a tyrannical president. Only a Democratic Congress, it seems, would stand a good chance of doing that.

Good for her. Perhaps if we don’t win this special election, she might be a worthwhile candidate in 2018.

I hope that other Democrats, candidates and voters alike, are listening to Harrell’s positive message. Perfect is one of the greatest enemies of good.




Democrat Elite Echo Chamber forgotten? Not quite.

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 22:51:41 +0000

I was browsing through some websites and came across “Reminder: WikiLeaks Revealed The Deliberate Construction Of A Liberal ‘Echo Chamber’ “ by Caitlin Johnstone, posted on Newslogue. I read it, then checked out the mentioned e-mail. The attachments are enlightening.

I probably have not done sufficient vetting to confirm the implications, but I think that the attachments should be part of the bubbling grassroots reconstruction of the Democrat party. We need to be aware of … issues that will… color our roots and narrative.

This is NOT a call for name-calling or character-defaming.  What was done in the past is part of our history.  This IS a call for discussion and consideration.  We need to decide how we address the described aspects of Democrat policy and whether we include them going forward.  To borrow from and paraphrase some gun advocates, the described means are tools — it is the intent of the users when those tools are used that matters most.

So, going forward: What is our intent?  How much transparency of our processes are we going to include?  Will we draw any lines? (Hopefully, deliberate lies will be one of our lines that we will not cross.)  What tools will we use?




Maryland lawmakers pass resolution allowing attorney general to file suit against Trump's policies

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:20:44 +0000

In Maryland, the General Assembly has just taken an intriguing new step in the efforts to resist Donald Trump's most ridiculous orders. By a party line vote, they've authorized the state's (Democratic) attorney general to sue the federal government over immigration or other policies—whether (Republican) Gov. Larry Hogan wants him to or not.

Until Wednesday, Maryland reserved the power to sue the federal government to the governor and the General Assembly — one of only eight states that do not grants that autonomy to attorney generals.

The joint resolution allows [Attorney General] Frosh to initiate a lawsuit against the government for a long list of action or inaction that the attorney general judges an infringement of Marylanders' rights.

Republicans are, of course, nonplussed by this, with Republican Del. Pat McDonough expressing worry that the move will result in retaliation by Trump: "if you keep poking him in the eye ... are [we] going to get anything?"

The resistance keeps resisting. America isn't going to devolve into Trump's preferred brand of nationalism and stupidity without a fight.




PA-Gov: Gov. Tom Wolf (D) Goes After PA House GOP On Bill To Criminalize Abortion Rights

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 21:16:49 +0000

Received this e-mail today from Governor Tom Wolf’s (D. PA) re-election campaign:

Last week, the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Senate passed the most extreme anti-choice bill in the country. If enacted into law, SB3 would hit doctors with third-degree-felony charges and make no exceptions for rape or incest.
Without any public hearings or input from medical doctors, SB3 will now head to the House, where it will likely pass before being vetoed by Governor Tom Wolf.

Republicans only need to flip two votes in the Senate to override Governor Wolf's veto, and that's why we need you to make your voice heard -- add your name to the petition and help protect a woman's right to choose.

The politicians in Harrisburg who are pushing for SB3 wouldn't even listen to Republican senators who came forward to passionately oppose SB3, including one senator who shared a personal story about how she delivered a baby stillborn from a serious genetic defect that wasn't detected until past the 20-week mark.

This senator said SB3 would only "compound the suffering" of women who had to make the difficult choice to end a pregnancy due to complications like hers.

Since the Senate passed this legislation, outrage has spread across Pennsylvania and the nation. Newspapers from the Daily News to national magazines such as Glamour have released editorials expressing their indignation and urging readers to stand up for women's rights.

Don't let Harrisburg get away with trying to silence women, families, and the medical community so they can reward extreme special interests -- sign the petition:

http://action.WolfForPa.com/Reject-SB3

Thank you,

Rachele

Rachele Fortier
Research Director Tom Wolf for Governor

Click here to add your name.




MD-Gov: Since Hogan (R) Is Too Scared To Fight Trump, MD Dems Give AG The Power To Do So

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 20:57:06 +0000

Fuck. Yeah. Maryland’s General Assembly on Wednesday approved a blanket authorization for state Attorney General Brian E. Frosh to sue the federal government, illustrating the eagerness of Democratic legislative leaders to challenge the Trump administration over undocumented immigrants, refugees, health care and other issues. The proposal passed quickly through the legislature over the past two weeks on party-line votes that exposed an increasingly bitter partisan divide in Annapolis. It will take effect without the signature of Gov. Larry Hogan (R), whose spokeswoman accused Democrats of engaging in “Washington-style party politics” and “philosophizing over what might or might not happen in Washington, D.C. — instead of focusing on Maryland.” The joint resolution is one in a series of Democratic measures in response to Trump administration policies, including a bill that would set aside $3 million in the state budget for Frosh to protect Marylanders from “harmful” federal efforts. Another measure, the Trust Act, would prohibit police and sheriff’s departments from complying with federal requests to hold undocumented immigrants; bar local authorities from arresting people for immigration purposes; and try to limit federal immigration officials’ authority to remove people from schools, hospitals or courthouses. It’s funny how Hogan is accusing Democrats of “Washington-style party politics” when Hogan himself is doing the exact same thing: Frosh said last week he asked Hogan on Feb. 1 for permission to challenge the constitutionality of Trump's travel ban. Hogan did not answer the request. Republicans in the General Assembly have argued it is unwise to grant unchecked and expanded powers to the attorney general. The Maryland Senate approved the measure on Friday. House Republicans unsuccessfully tried to water down the proposal on Tuesday by requiring Frosh to get approval from a panel of state lawmakers before he filed a lawsuit. The amendment failed. Hogan is suppose to be this super popular Governor but he’s representing a Blue State which hates Trump. Democrats in Maryland found a way to shape the narrative so here to tie Hogan to Trump. Now all we need is a strong candidate to defeat him in 2018. Stay tuned.  [...]



McConnell agrees with Gorsuch that judges shouldn't be criticized, then trashes 9th Circuit judges

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 19:48:00 +0000

Campaign Action

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went on MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday to really go out on a limb and say that he agrees with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch that judges shouldn't be attacked.

"I happen to agree with what [Gorsuch] said," McConnell said Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"I mean I think, you know, criticizing members of the judiciary individually is not a good idea."

And then he went on to attack the three individual judges on the 9th Circuit for upholding a nationwide restraining order on Trump's Muslim ban. You know, the case that caused Trump to attack a federal judge leading to Gorsuch's remarks about how he has a sad when that happens?

From the emailed transcript:

SCARBOROUGH:  That when the Ninth Circuit, I mean the second I knew it was assigned to the Ninth Circuit-
MCCONNELL:  You're absolutely right, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH:  I said OK, so we know how they're going to rule.
MCCONNELL:  Yeah. […]
SCARBOROUGH:   They just acted so shocked.
MCCONNELL:  I wouldn't be shocked by anything the Ninth Circuit did.
SCARBOROUGH:  Right.
MCCONNELL:  I mean we always think of it as a bastion of liberalism and it has been for really a long time. So, no--
SCARBOROUGH:  You know, it reflects the people it represents, just like the Eleventh does or the Fifth does.
MCCONNELL:  Yeah, yeah. I mean it reflects the views of the people who got appointed. […]

For the record, here's the panel of three judges who continued the stay on the executive order: Judge Richard Clifton, an appointee of George W. Bush; Judge William Canby Jr., an appointee of Jimmy Carter; and Judge Michelle Friedland, an appointee of Barack Obama. They ruled unanimously. That means the Bush appointee, too.




This Is What's Wrong With Democrats

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 20:02:29 +0000

I’m a liberal democrat and rarely talk negatively about my party. But this tweet by Hillary Clinton says everything that is wrong with the Democratic Party:

Philippe's got his own way of saying things, but he has a point about the real consequences of fake news...

Democrats all of a sudden have a hard time accepting that there is fake news in the world but never say a word about For-Profit, multinational, billion-dollar corporations generating our news. As if for-profit corporations are incapable of engaging in unethical behavior — as if For-profit news corporations don’t have agendas. For-profit, billion dollar corporations don’t have agendas? Huh?!?

News generated by a For-Profit corporation is the foundation of FAKE NEWS — That Democrats trust billionaire corporations to act without agendas and within ethical standards is sad and just unfortunate.  




In light of the latest Russia news, we should trust Trump with the Supreme Court?

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 19:07:21 +0000

Campaign Action

On Monday, before all Russian hell broke loose at the White House forcing National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to resign (or be fired, or be hounded out by the fake media, depending on who in the WH is doing the talking) The New York Times published this story on the "quandary" facing Democrats over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. "Appease the Base or Honor the Process," the subhead poses.

But as the nominee, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, goes through his paces on Capitol Hill, keeping a bipartisan schedule of Senate meetings, the process has laid bare the dilemma now facing Democrats at every turn, forcing the party into disparate factions over a nominee with copious credentials but deeply conservative roots.

And here's the surprising thing Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's No. 2 guy, Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin, had to say about it.




Democrats keep up the pressure on Russia sanctions and investigation

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:51:56 +0000

Democrats are tackling Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia from multiple directions in the wake of Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser. On Wednesday, Democrats renewed their call for an independent investigation of ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, and announced a bill that would require congressional approval before Trump could ease sanctions on Russia. “We want to have no doubt where we stand with these sanctions,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said in introducing the bill: Hoyer said that the bill, which would let Congress review any sanctions relief granted by the White House before it is enacted, does not yet have any GOP sponsors. But he said that some Republicans have expressed interest in the legislation, and that Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) plan to introduce a partner bill in the Senate. [...] When asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" about potential efforts in Congress to codify sanctions against Russia, [House Speaker Paul] Ryan said he would "for sure support codifying them and making sure that they don’t get watered down." Don’t hold your breath for Ryan to do anything extreme like following through or standing up to the White House, but the fact that he’s pretending it’s a possibility shows the pressure he’s under. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still refusing to consider a select committee to investigate, but Democrats are pushing on that front: [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer urged the creation of two independent investigations: one by Congress and the other by the executive branch, where he urged newly sworn-in Attorney General Jeff Session to appoint an independent investigator. [...] Republicans have taken a scattershot approach on how to respond to the latest revelations. And Democrats have attempted to fill that vacuum by raising up pressure on the Republicans leading existing investigations — and to launch a new, independent investigation. Nearly a dozen Senate Democrats called for an independent counsel to probe the matter Wednesday morning. Republicans are going to do everything they can to protect Trump, since they see him as the key to enacting their agenda of kicking tens of millions of people off health insurance and cutting taxes for the wealthy. But it’s getting harder for them by the day, and these moves by Democrats help ratchet up the pressure.  [...]



MI-Sen: No Joke, Michigan GOP Is Trying To Recruit Kid Rock To Run Against Debbie Stabenow (D)

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 16:45:12 +0000

Um… ok:

A surprising name has been thrown out as a potential Republican contender for Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow’s Senate seat next year: Kid Rock.

The rocker’s name came up as a possible candidate at a Michigan Republican Party convention last weekend. There have been no official decisions announced as of yet.

Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, once said he tended to vote Republican but qualified himself as “more libertarian” to Rolling Stone in 2013. But he has supported several major Republican candidates.

These days, I don’ t really know what’s possible. I doubt that Kid Rock would actually do it because why would he? Even if Stabenow doesn’t draw a serious challenger, it’s still on us to push her to remain true to the Resistance, especially with the upcoming Supreme Court fight taking shape. Click here to tell Stabenow to reject Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.




NM-Sen: Martin Heinrich (D) Pushes Congress To Investigate Trump & Flynn's Links To Russia

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 16:28:02 +0000

Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich’s (D. NM) re-election campaign:

(image)
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D. NM)
 

Michael Flynn’s resignation is in the best interest of our national security, but it does not resolve the swarm of questions about his and the Trump administration’s links with Russia.
President Trump has known for weeks that Flynn's coverup of his communications with the Russians left him open to blackmail. Now, Republicans in Congress cannot ignore these questions any longer, and they must investigate Flynn and the President’s ties to Vladimir Putin immediately.

In the wake of Flynn’s resignation, we cannot back down, and we must make our voices heard.

Sign Martin’s petition and call on Congress to investigate Flynn and the Trump administration’s links to Russia immediately!

Thanks for standing with us,
Team Martin Heinrich

Click here to add your name.




Senate Democrats meet to discuss push for independent investigation of Trump's Russia ties

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 15:09:04 +0000

If there are going to be congressional investigations of the Russian connection in the White House, they’re going to have to come from the Senate. Paul Ryan's House is not going to do anything to undermine popular vote loser Donald Trump until they get their tax cuts out of him. Their chief investigator, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, has already demonstrated he doesn't care about this one. So it's going to come from the Senate where Democrats have more power to make stuff happen—and that's exactly what Senate Democrats are planning.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called a meeting of Democratic senators to discuss the resignation of President Donald Trump's national security adviser and published reports about contacts between Trump's campaign and Moscow.

Another leading Democrat, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, is pressing the Democrats' case for an independent investigation. He and other Democrats say that's the best way to answer questions about the Trump administration's ties to Russia. […]

Durbin tells MSNBC that it's a "graveyard" for investigations when congressional intelligence committees get involved because their work is largely done outside of public view.

Senate Democrats might just be able to shame enough posturing Republicans (like Susan Collins, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Bob Corker) and the never Trump-leaning senators up for re-election in 2018 (Dean Heller, Jeff Flake) into feeling like they have to give the appearance of doing their jobs and being senators before being Republicans. Expect them to be hammering on this by calling for an independent investigation on a daily basis.




A New Election

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 04:27:56 +0000

If it turns out that President Trump colluded with the Russian government to release illegally-acquired information that damaged the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, then BOTH the presidency of Donald Trump and the vice-presidency of Mike Pence are illegitimate. If Trump resigns or is forced from his office, we should not accept the ascendency of Pence to the office of president, even though it is unlikely he is part of this treasonous conspiracy. We should demand instead that we either give the presidency to the woman who received the majority of the popular vote or conduct a new election with Obama as the place-holder president.




What Capital Hill Dems SHOULD Say vs. What They Actually Say.

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 23:05:59 +0000

Introductory Note:  Not all of the Actually Says below aren’t, in fact, verbatim. Some are. Others are offered for illustrative purposes. Also, a few Democrats have spine. Too many, way too many, don’t.

-

SHOULD SAY:  Flynn lied.

ACTUALLY SAY:  Flynn misrepresented.

.

SHOULD SAY:  My and my more patriotic colleagues’ radars are up and coming close to tracking impeachable offenses. If we gather enough evidence (probable cause), we’ll lay it all out for the public to see as we commence our push to impeach Trump.

ACTUALLY SAY:  Impeachment is off the table.

.

SHOULD SAY:  Donald Trump is mentally unfit and unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President and I call upon the Vice President and a majority of the principal officers of the executive departments, the Cabinet Secretaries, to begin the procedure to remove Trump from office by and under the authority granted to them to do so under Article 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.

ACTUALLY SAY:  I’m so looking foward to this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner!

.

SHOULD SAY:  Billionaires make...

ACTUALLY SAY:  Billionaires earn... 

.

SHOULD SAY: I’ll fight Trump and his bigoted, White Supremacist, misogynist, make-the-rich-richer, kowtow-to-Putin agenda tooth and nail, no matter what.

ACTUALLY SAY: Let’s look for ways to work together. Kumbayah’s my favorite song.

_________

Now come up with a few of your own.




Has anyone met a Trump supporter who has changed his mind about him?

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 22:36:48 +0000

I went to get my hair cut today — an old Italian barber type — and he asked me what I thought about Trump.  I could tell he was a Trump supporter, and so I soft pedaled it a bit: “I still don't think he is the right type of person to be president.”  As I thought, this killed the conversation dead.  So, I purposefully threw a few compliments: “He doesn’t seem to be 70 years old, a lot of energy.”  That sparked some life back, and we talked about Trump’s qualities. I say this only because it replicates almost all my conversations.  A Trump friend I know claims that she hasn't been paying attention lately and so “missed” any of the last three weeks of Trump mania. (Nothing to talk about, then.)  Another Trump friend I know — where politics was a major source of fun between us — is palpably hoping that I don't bring up the subject.  Another friend only told me that he is sick and tired of hearing Trump bashing at every Super Bowl, Grammy’s, SNL, etc. The key: I have not heard a single Trump supporting friend suggest a hint of remorse or disagreement with their Trump choice.   We shouldn’t ignore this.  The last three weeks or so to us were a shocking and confirmatory dystopia of not just incompetence, but other-worldly, disqualifying behavior.  We have a “pod,” a malevolent Kramer as President.  But . . . to Trump supporters?  I haven't heard anything. Kevin Drum had a short piece about this the other day.  Reflecting on the chart below, Drum noted that: I've read a bunch of stories saying that Trump's job approval has cratered since he took office, but that's not really true: it's gone up two points. Now, it's also true that his disapproval rating has skyrocketed, which means that his net approval rating (approve minus disapprove) has gone down (from +3 to -6.4). My take is simple: this means that his fans like him more than ever, while everyone else dislikes him more than ever. Perhaps this level of polarization is normal these days. But it's a little more complicated than "Trump's job approval has gone down." That has been my personal experience too and, on a personal level, it is jarring: these folks really can't get what is wrong with him.  It’s no coincidence that my friends who voted for Trump once voted for a ticket with Sarah Palin on it.  They don't get this . . .  What more evidence could you put in front of their face?   What the above tells me — and the Womens March, and the ACA town hall protests, and general cultural elite aversion to Trump — is that everything the Dems do from now on out has to be about reassuring, mobilizing and turning out the base.  Turn out is the magic phrase.  Because the “other side” is a lost cause that will turn-out.   That means Dems should take the maximalist position on cabinet choices, Supreme Court nominees, fil[...]



'Right to work' laws are about political power, not jobs

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 04:17:15 +0000

By BERRY CRAIG AFT Local 1360 Republican governors and GOP-majority legislatures recently made Kentucky and Missouri “right to work” states. RTW supporters everywhere claim they're all about creating jobs. Those in Kentucky and in Missouri argue that for years many companies bypassed the Bluegrass and Show Me states because they weren't RTW. Baloney. RTW is all about economic and political power, not jobs. Under RTW laws, employees at a workplace with a union can enjoy union-won wages and benefits without joining the union or paying the union service fees, which help cover the cost of union representation and collective bargaining. The real purpose of a RTW law is to reduce union membership, which, in turn, reduces union clout at the bargaining table. “RTW laws harm workers,” said Anna Baumann, policy analyst at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. “Claims to the contrary reflect an unwillingness to look carefully at the evidence--at the actual experience of other states.”  In addition to failing to deliver on job growth, RTW laws lead to lower wages– about $1,500 a year lower for all workers in RTW states, added Baumann. (That’s why unions call RTW “the right to work for less.”) Union membership is lower, too.    So RTW laws are a twofer for Republicans. They weaken unions and the Democratic Party.  Unions are officially non-partisan. Unions back candidates who back unions.  For a long time, Democrats have been a lot more likely to be in organized labor’s corner than Republicans have been. That’s why unions in Kentucky and other states mostly endorse Democrats. Republicans, not Democrats, push RTW laws. In Kentucky, my home state, twenty-five Republican state senators voted for the RTW bill. All 11 senate Democrats and one Republican opposed it. Fifty-eight House Republicans vote voted “aye” on RTW. Five Republicans and 34 Democrats voted “no.”   GOP Gov. Matt Bevin, who ran on RTW in 2015, eagerly signed the RTW bill. Anyway, unions have been a big part of the Democratic base since the 1930's when President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a Democratic-majority New Deal Congress gave workers the legal protection to organize and bargain collectively with their employers—and required employers to recognize unions when they vote in a union. “History will tell you that the Democrats ramrodded every meaningful piece of legislation for the benefit of working people,” said J.R. Gray, a former Democratic state representative, International Association of Machinists union official and Kentucky labor secretary. Anyway, check out the AFL-CIO congressional legislative scorecard online. Almost without exception, Senate and House Democrats vote the union position on bills far more often than Republicans do. In addition, Republican President Donald Trump pref[...]



Not Loving Bernie on Outreach

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 03:46:09 +0000

I know criticizing Bernie is asking to get flagged and man-splained with eight paragraph long comments around here but I really don’t care. He’s supposed to be our Outreach Chair. How hard can it be to do Outreach during the Resistance, when so many are taking political action that they’ve never done before? And please don’t give him credit for the people in the streets. There are brilliant activists and organizers out there making that happen.   I just watched him give the same interview he’s given 10,000 times on All In With Chris Hayes and...he spent the first segment complaining that his Town Hall was canceled in WV tonight. So his latest appearance on a cable news campaign-like event isn’t going to happen. Is that the main thrust of the Outreach we want the Democratic party to be doing? Debating Ted Cruz and talking to Trump voters to try and feel their pain? The majority of this country thinks Trump is awful, even people who voted for him at this point. Second segment he mentioned how he expects more ACA Town Halls, Trump is a pathological liar and finished up with Trump not draining the Wall St swamp.   I give Bernie some credit for seizing the moment and getting people fired up last year. Like many people, I rolled my eyes as he made HRC into the mascot for corporate greed/gov’t. corruption (in the era of the Koch Bros) and questioned her qualifications.  But I volunteer with my local Dems, I’m not ignorant to the fact that he inspired a lot of people. To this day I think if the Democratic Party ran feel-good PSAs about voting 365 days a year, in the vein of his America ad, we could inspire more people to get registered, talk about voting with their kids and show up at the polls.  That’s why I’m expecting more. If he took on the job of Outreach Chair he must agree we need more, and more active, Democrats. As a volunteer in the field, I’m confident in the changes my state party has made. I see things happening. Heads have rolled, there is a game plan, emphasis where it seems it should be (WI). Now I’m waiting for the DNC Chair race to conclude so we can see what will come down the line in terms of organizing and money for offices, etc. I don’t really know anyone in real life who truly cares about or talks about the DNC race, even fellow Dems. Whoever wins will be our leader and we have some good options. But in real life almost everyone I know talks and posts on social media endlessly about what the role of the Party should be in the Resistance. Versions of: take the high road, work with them if we can, Obstruct, Shut Him Down, Impeach...there are a lot of opinions there. You can see our leaders trying on different messages, some going hard at Impeach and others working to bring these circles of activism together with pressers and spe[...]



VA-Gov: Ralph Northam (D) Lays Out A Criminal Justice Reform Plan With A Progressive Agenda

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 23:28:46 +0000

Received this e-mail today from Lt. Governor Ralph Northam’s (D. VA) gubernatorial campaign:

Friend --

I want to make sure you see this -- it’s Ralph's plan to reform our criminal justice system.

We’ve got a long history here in the Commonwealth of holding white people to one set of standards and people of color to another -- and Ralph’s ready to tackle that.

From decriminalizing marijuana possession to standing against gerrymandering and voter suppression, Ralph has a progressive agenda that’s going to continue pushing us toward our highest ideals, that all people -- no matter who they are, where they're from, or the color of their skin -- deserve to be treated equally.

Read his plan here:

https://medium.com/@RalphNortham/a-more-fair-and-just-virginia-5616664acb6a#.gony6eyxg

Yours,

David

David Turner

Communication director

Northam for Governor

Click here to read more about Northam’s criminal justice reform plan.




Little White 'Lie' House

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 18:42:35 +0000

Over the weekend, Congressman Ted Yoho (R-Fl.) told Wolf Blitzer, that he would not jump into the controversy about Mike Flynn possibly lying to VP Mike Pence. This of course concerns the possible breach of protocols and the Logan Act, with an incoming administration conducting foreign policy while the sitting President is still in office. That is the problem with politics, had this happened prior to the inauguration of Hillary Clinton he would have jumped in with flippers and a snorkel.  Of course, Wolf never proffered the comparison and you know, ‘we’ll leave it there.’  The exhortation of speaking for the American people by Congress gets very parochial when it comes to their respective Party. I hear this constant refrain from the media friendly Sen. John McCain(R-AZ.) supporters, of what a good and fair man he is, “straight shooter a maverick.”  Where has he been on the Michael Flynn issue? The frequent flyer Sunday morning talk show miles he amassed verbally stalking the Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice, during the Benghazi witch hunt was amazing. He made more Sunday morning appearances than Alex Baldwin hosting Saturday Night Live.  As a result, of his charge up San ‘Benghazi’ Hill, Susan Rice was virtually humiliated out of contention as Secretary of State.  Her crime, using the information given her to explain the deaths of four Americans in Libya.  Susan Rice became the victim of the aftermath of the fog of war.  The man who once said, “I will not take the low road to the highest office in this land, “never,never,never”www.bostonglobe.com/... is now, conspicuous by his absence. That brings us to the current National Security Adviser for the United States of America, retired Lieutenant General Michael Thomas Flynn. The Vice President, Mike Pence, has all but said General Flynn lied to him about six phone calls he made with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions among other topics discussed.  amp.oregonlive.com/....  None of this was done in the aftermath of the fog of war.  So, with the real possibility of his violating the Logan Act,  www.law.cornell.edu/... NSA Flynn poses a real threat to American Intelligence. Imagine if an Obama or Clinton appointee had done this?  Trey Gowdy  (R-SC) would be auditioning new hairdos in anticipation of hearings. It gets old to continue talking about the cascade of lies and deception coming from the White House but the American public cannot develop Trump fatigue.  In American football, defensive players will often talk about, if I keep committing the same foul repeatedly, eventually the referees will stop penalizing me because it slows the game.  Well the Trump White House is using that precise strategy. His spokespeople flood us [...]



Democrats: Time to put up or shut up!

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 18:23:16 +0000

The direction and future of the Democratic party will be decided on February 25th in Atlanta, Georgia.  After losing to literally the worst presidential candidate in history, Democrats are a very angry bunch. Hillary supporters blame “Bernie bros” for a tough primary while Bernie supporters blame Hillary supporters for their neoliberal policies that alienated the working class. Both are fighting for their place at the table.  On February 25th, the Democratic party will select the new chair that will reshape the party for the next 4 years.  The two favorites are Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Secretary Tom Perez.  As a Bernie State delegate, I am in support and fully endorse Rep. Ellison. Secretary Perez says the right things, but is clearly in the Establishment wing of the Democratic party that lost the presidency, house, senate, and over 1,000 seats in state legislatures across the nation.  Democrats want to win again, that is true. No one wants to be in a losing party. However, many Democrats want to win but still keep the same party structure that is clearly not working.  Ryan Cooper of The Week magazine laid out a clear case of why Tom Perez should not be the leader of the DNC. This excerpt truly shows why Tom Perez shouldn’t be the chair: To rebuild, Democrats obviously need to start winning some elections, particularly the 2018 midterms, which could set the stage for a 2020 victory at the state level when redistricting happens again. The most reliably left-wing (and the most anti-Drumpf) demographic in the country at the moment is young people. But young people often don't vote in midterms, so the party must try to convince them to turn out. Sanders inspired tremendous enthusiasm among this group with his calls for universal Medicare, tuition-free college, repealing Citizens United, fighting police brutality, and so on. It’s clear the anger is in the youth of this country. They are the ones that have to live with the mess of a Donald Trump presidency. Yet, the Democratic party always seems to want the young people vote but not the young people’s ideas.  Throughout the primaries, Hillary Clinton would not give into the Tuition-free college plan that Bernie Sanders proposed even saying “if somebody promises you something for free, read the fine print”. To be fair (I guess), Clinton “adopted” much of Sanders’s plan in an effort to entice young people to vote. But young people aren’t stupid, they want real change.  Tom Perez is the old guard. He will not bring enough momentum and change to the Democratic party that will ensure it’s survival in future elections. By then, people will start to listen to the Republicans more, going to them to resolve their iss[...]