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"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

Last Build Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:20:49 +0000


What Political Debates Would Look Like If I Was In Charge

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 04:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">-by NoahIntro: Ok. The last presidential debate is over. Done. Like anyone else with at least half a mind (Yeah, I know that leaves out Rudy Giuliani and others). I am disgusted with the whole enterprise. With that in mind, I thought I would benefit mankind by drawing up a plan for how political debates would run if I were in charge. Here you go: 14 steps to a more sensible approach to our political debate process. Says who? Says me!1. All debates would be held in a court of law. There would be background music as the show began. This music could be faded up and down throughout the proceedings at the discretion of the moderator. The music will be by Ennio Morricone. The intro to the show would feature the theme to “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.”2. All participants would be under oath.3. Audiences would be small in number. I envision a Grand Jury size panel of 30 citizens chosen at random.4. All audience members would wear uniform generic clothing so as not to give any indication or their economic status or fashion sense. Jeans are suggested. T-shirts are also suggested but they would be plain. No symbols. No pictures. No words. Also, no jewelry is allowed. No watches to be worn. No visible tattoos.5. In addition, all audience members would wear black, execution style hoods.6. The debate participants can dress as they please. This, in itself, can be revealing.7. All participants should be identified with their full names, including what their mob nickname would be, even if, by some chance, they are not known to be associates of any crime syndicate, corporate, mafia, or otherwise. Some suggested examples follow: • Rand “Paulie White Hoods” Paul• John “Johnny Drinks” Boehner• Scott “The Pension Graber” Walker• Hillary “Hill The Shill” Clinton• Rick “Ricky No Brains” Perry• Rick “Mr. Rogers” Santorum• Elizabeth “Fuck You Wall Street” Warren• Donald “The Bankruptcy King” Trump• Mitch “Nancy Boy” McConnell• Newt “The Flab Curtain” Gingrich”8. I strongly feel that the first question is all-important in setting the tone. The first question would be: Have you ever paid for, or had, an abortion? Forget the old, outmoded questions about military service. More and more of our politicians seem to be of a class that does not go to the battlefield anyway. The reasons for that are worth discussion but the issue of military service is no longer number one. Neither is the old “Did you ever smoke pot?”In America today, subjects such as immigration, and gun rights elicit strong passions on all sides but nothing tops the abortion issue. Time and time again, for Trump supporters (and Clinton’s), their vote comes down to the Supreme Court nd the implications regarding Roe v. Wade.Abortion is now the biggest motivator of today’s single-issue voters. Since, for example, there are many Trump supporters that are willing to forgive any insanity on the part of their guy, as long as he states an anti-abortion stance, it would be useful to know what any candidate’s past is in relation to this issue.The answer a candidate provides would best be the truth since a lie could be, whether likely or not, contradicted by a person who received that abortion coming forward with the medical records to prove it. The documentation could even show up in the hacking of a hospital’s or clinic’s records. Considering how volatile this subject is, lying about it would be a very big gamble. So, if a candidate is going to make abortion a central issue of their campaign, let’s hear it. Answer the question. Yes or no. How many times might also be relevant. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">As it is now, we have a situation in our society, where a political party could nominate The Zodiac Killer for President and The Zodiac Killer would get millions of votes as long as he pledged to nominate justices who were[...]

Congress And Food Policy-- The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 01:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="450">The stated mission of Tom Colicchio's group, Food Policy Action, is to highlight the importance of food policy and to promote policies that support healthy diets, reduce hunger at home and abroad, improve food access and affordability, uphold the rights and dignity of food and farm workers, increase transparency, improve public health, reduce the risk of food-borne illness, support local and regional food systems, protect and maintain sustainable fisheries, treat farm animals humanely and reduce the environmental impact of farming and food production. This week they put out their 3rd annual scorecard to highlight how members of Congress have been voting on food-related issues.Among the many bills they focused on were these dozen with very specific aims: • H.R. 1284- Directs EPA to suspend registration of certain pesticides until they can be proven safe for bees, and to conduct research on the health of bees and bee mortality.• S. 1332- Gives USDA the authority to issue mandatory recall of contaminated meat and poultry products.• H.R. 913 and  S. 511- Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the sale of food that has been genetically engineered or contains genetically engineered ingredients, unless that information is clearly disclosed.• H.R. 1061 and  S. 569- Increases annual mandatory Farm to School funding from $5 million to $15 million and increases the maximum grant award to $200,000. Expands the program scope to include pre-schools, summer food service programs, and after-school programs. Creates incentives for beginning, veteran and socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to participate in the program.• H.R. 1728 and S. 613- Expands eligibility for summer food service, increases the number of reimbursable meals, and establishes a competitive grant program for solutions to limited transportation to congregate summer food sites.• H.R. 2627- Requires USDA to establish and implement a plan to increase the use of salad bars in schools, including through a competitive grant program.• H.R. 3164 and S. 1832- Raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour for most workers by 2020, and provides a formula for an annual increase after that.• H.R. 3316 and S. 540 - Authorizes USDA loan guarantee program for school kitchen infrastructure improvements, and authorizes targeted grants for infrastructure and training and technical assistance.• H.R. 704- Eliminates the Renewable Fuel Standard’s corn-based ethanol requirement, caps the ethanol blend amount into gas at 10%, and requires EPA to cap cellulosic biofuels levels at current production levels.• S. 190- Authorizes FDA program for inspection of imported seafood, and amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the importation of any seafood from a foreign country unless the country complies with U.S. standards for seafood manufacturing, processing, and holding.They singled out six congressmen as "Food Policy Failures," Tom Graves (R-GA), Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Kenny Marchant (R-TX). Most Democrats did well and most Republicans did poorly. But... there were some exceptions. Democrats with failing grades included this batch of shit-heads: • Collin Peterson (Blue Dpg-MN)- 41%• Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)- 43%• Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA)- 50%• Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog)- 53%• Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog)- 56%• Brad Ashford (Blue Dog-NE)- 60%• Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA)- 60%• Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)- 63%• Bennie Thompson (D-MS)- 64%• David Scott (Blue Dog-GA)- 65%• Cedrick Richmond (New Dem-LA)- 67%• Terri Sewell (New Dem-AL)- 67%• Tim Walz (D-MN)- 67%• Jim Clyburn (D-SC)- 69%• Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL)- 69%• George Butterfield (D-NC)- 69%• Filemon Vela (Blue Dog-TX)- 71%• Gwen Graham (Blue Dog-FL)- 71%Ironically, the last name on the list, Gwen Graham, was elected as Food Policy Action[...]

Trump And Ryan-- The Marriage Forged On Satan's Anvil

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 21:00:00 +0000

In their post Wednesday morning about what to look for in the debate Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns of the NY Times suggested watching to see if Trump torches his own party. Sounded like fun to me. Snubbed by Mr. Ryan in the final month of the campaign, Mr. Trump has seemed as eager to attack turncoat leaders in his own party as to make the case against Mrs. Clinton. He has reserved special venom for Mr. Ryan, blasting him as a weak leader with bad ideas about trade and immigration, and suggesting that Mr. Ryan might be sabotaging Mr. Trump’s campaign to pave the way for a presidential run of his own in four years.These attacks have the potential to rip apart the Republican Party in ways that will last long beyond Election Day. Should Mr. Trump use a prime-time debate to sic the Republican base on its leaders-- and to cast himself, essentially, as an independent candidate challenging elites on the left and right-- he could inflict damage on the party far deeper than what Mrs. Clinton might deliver on her own.And should Mr. Trump strafe the party that nominated him, it could have immediate consequences for Republicans seeking election to the House and Senate, who cannot afford an abrupt drop in turnout from demoralized and angry voters in their own camp.But during the debate, the Adderall-impaired Trump had other things on his mind. He didn't attack Ryan. Last night, in the spin room after the debate, Hannity, a full-fledged Trump surrogate, told Robert Costa that Ryan is a "saboteur" and called on Republicans to force him from office and replace him with... Louie Gohmert. (No, I did not make that up.) If Ryan watched Trump giving the election to Hillary, he must have wanted to kill himself. Trump is clearly unhinged and deranged. And Ryan's cowardice and bad judgment in regard to the threat Trump poses to America, have caused his own favorability among Republicans to crater. And does he ever deserve it-- and worse... although being replaced by Louie Gohmert is kind of weird, even in terms of the 2016 election cycle. Ryan’s cratering popularity follows his public denunciation of Trump’s 2005 hot-mic statements to Access Hollywood in which the GOP nominee bragged about sexual assault. Ryan said he continues to endorse Trump’s campaign, but will no longer defend  him. In response, Trump accused Ryan of conspiring against him and of being part of a “sinister deal” to help defeat him.Only 40 percent of Republicans now hold a positive view of Ryan (R-Wis.), according to the poll, down from 54 percent 10 days ago.Among Trump supporters, just 28 percent still like Ryan, down from 48 percent. About 6 in 10 Trump supporters disliked the speaker in the latest poll. Four in 10 Republicans disliked him in last week’s poll.Among all voters, Ryan favorability rating has sunk to negative 20, the lowest rating recorded in a YouGov/Economist poll for the GOP leader since he became speaker of the House one year ago.Similarly, a new Morning Consult/Politico poll shows Ryan’s popularity taking a nosedive among Trump supporters and Republicans overall, though by a smaller margin. The poll shows Ryan’s net favorable among Trump supporters fell by 32 points since an Oct. 8 survey. Among Republicans, Ryan’s favorability fell 23 points.If things weren’t already looking sad enough for Ryan, the Morning Consult poll also found that more Trump supporters would rather see Ryan replaced as speaker of the House than continue to hold his job in the next Congress.Meanwhile Trump's doofus ally from New Jersey, wallowing in his own misery, didn't show up. Maybe he's getting ready for his impending court case-- or maybe just enjoying his record-breaking 21% approval rating among New Jersey voters. Overall, rightist Jonah Goldberg summed last night up for conservatives in his National Review column: "[W]here I dissent somewhat from the conventional wisdom is the notion that Trump was doing great until that one response. He lied repeatedly and shamelessl[...]

Are the Parties Losing the People?

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 17:00:00 +0000

Bernie Sanders speaks to the Democratic Party's natural constituency at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. Will the Party serve these people, or ask them to serve the Party?by Gaius PubliusNote: This is not about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It's about change and the status quo. I want to take a preliminary look at a larger topic than just this election, a topic I'll return to at length after the election. This first look will lean on Matt Taibbi's recent take on the apparently crashing Trump campaign. In a longer piece, I'll add more of my own analysis."People represented by literally no one"Taibbi hits the nail on the head, I think, or rather, both nails, one for each of our major political parties. His overarching metaphor is this — a ruling class that's inbred, played out, self-satisfied, out-of-touch and therefore ripe for a fall. Think for example, as Taibbi reminds us, of the Romanovs, floating in an effete world of fortune-telling and mysticism as Russian soldiers starved and died on the World War I eastern front. Out of touch aristocrats, ripe for a fall.Here's Taibbi, from the middle of the piece, making that metaphorical point (my emphases):Trump's early rampage through the Republican field made literary sense. It was classic farce. He was the lewd, unwelcome guest who horrified priggish, decent society, a theme that has mesmerized audiences for centuries, from Vanity Fair to The Government Inspector to (closer to home) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. When you let a hands-y, drunken slob loose at an aristocrats' ball, the satirical power of the story comes from the aristocrats deserving what comes next. And nothing has ever deserved a comeuppance quite like the American presidential electoral process, which had become as exclusive and cut off from the people as a tsarist shooting party.The first symptom of a degraded aristocracy is a lack of capable candidates for the throne. After years of indulgence, ruling families become frail, inbred and isolated, with no one but mystics, impotents and children to put forward as kings. Think of Nikolai Romanov reading fortunes as his troops starved at the front. Weak princes lead to popular uprisings....Which lets him pivot perfectly to this:... Which brings us to this year's Republican field. ...There wasn't one capable or inspiring person in the infamous "Clown Car" lineup. All 16 of the non-Trump entrants were dunces, religious zealots, wimps or tyrants, all equally out of touch with voters. Scott Walker was a lipless sadist who in centuries past would have worn a leather jerkin and thrown dogs off the castle walls for recreation. Marco Rubio was the young rake with debts. Jeb Bush was the last offering in a fast-diminishing hereditary line. Ted Cruz was the Zodiac Killer. And so on.The party spent 50 years preaching rich people bromides like "trickle-down economics" and "picking yourself up by your bootstraps" as solutions to the growing alienation and financial privation of the ordinary voter. In place of jobs, exported overseas by the millions by their financial backers, Republicans glibly offered the flag, Jesus and Willie Horton.In recent years it all went stale. They started to run out of lines to sell the public. Things got so desperate that during the Tea Party phase, some GOP candidates began dabbling in the truth. They told voters that all Washington politicians, including their own leaders, had abandoned them and become whores for special interests. It was a slapstick routine: Throw us bums out!Republican voters ate it up and spent the whole of last primary season howling for blood as Trump shredded one party-approved hack after another. By the time the other 16 candidates finished their mass-suicide-squad routine, a tail-chasing, sewer-mouthed septuagenarian New Yorker was accepting the nomination of the Family Values Party. Taibbi's opening paragraph make this Republican-themed point as well:The Fury and Failure of Donald Trump Win, lose or drop out, the Republican n[...]

State Of The Race: Rubio vs Murphy-- Lazy Pundit Jonathan Chait Gets It All Wrong

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">The Brits want us to see this film before we vote. He's a really repressible, profoundly ignorant man. And so are his supporters. Monday I watched the Florida Senate debate between Republican incumbent Marco Rubio, a slick career politician with big ambitions, and Patrick Murphy, surely one of the stupidest and worthless men to have ever served in Congress and recently voted among the least effective members of Congress. Rubio was a far better debater and a somewhat more appealing candidate. Murphy looked like he would start crying when Rubio hit him with accusations he had no answers to-- like how he voted to deport DREAMers, despite the bullshit take he paints now about being a champion of immigrants. Murphy has just spent 4 years being a champion of one group and one group only: Wall Street banksters. Policy-wise, Murphy, a "former" Republican is as vile and contemptible as... Rubio. But in this election Rubio has been unable to unglue himself from Trump and from the Republican agenda. So despite running against the least competent and least attractive Democratic candidate in any state, Murphy could still beat Rubio.In another showing of his worst partisan hackishness and utter disregard-- if not contempt-- for the well-being of the country, President Obama (who, according to a top Biden staffer, has been promised massive financial help with his presidential library in return for getting Murphy elected) just cut another dishonest ad touting the worthless Murphy to unsuspecting low-info voters-- which is exactly how Murphy won the primary. Obama... also once the lesser of evils candidate, has been a mediocre president whose only really significant accomplishment has been to be the first African-American elected president. Other than that he's as much a crap-president as any I've watched since LBJ-- Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II... an unbroken string of ineffective mediocrities, some worse than others, but none worth a dime. Sorry for the tangent. Yesterday, Jonathan Chait asked the wrong question in New York Magazine: Why Are Senate Democrats Letting Marco Rubio Win? A better question-- not that I'd expect it of Chait-- would have been, "Why Are Senate Democrats About To Elect Chuck Schumer Their Leader After He Stuck Them With Patrick Murphy And A Stable Of Other Less Than Worthless Candidates?"Murphy, Kathy McGinty (PA), Ted Strickland (OH), Ann Kirkpatrick, (AZ) Patty Judge (IA) are 5 detestable candidates who have two things working in their favor: Trump and the horribleness of the Republican agenda. But none of them is a good candidate or good political leader. Each is the political equivalent of a steaming pile of manure. And at this point the only one of them that looks like they still have a reasonable shot is McGinty-- and strictly because the former fracking lobbyist is being dishonestly touted by Elizabeth Warren as worthwhile and because Clinton's Pennsylvania coattails look extremely strong. (And because Pat Toomey is as horrible a candidate as McGinty.) The rest will all be flushed down the toilet, unfortunately not with Schumer's ambitions.OK, back to Chait. Apparently not knowing a thing about Murphy, he's shocked the DSCC has pulled all their money out of the race-- transferring it to campaigns they think they can win (Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Indiana, maybe even Missouri) and vengeful after Murphy's father (and Saudi connections) have renegged on funds promised to Schumer and Tester. "[P]olls can turn out wrong," whines Chait, apparently not cognizant that Rubio is leading Murphy by an average of 4.2 points, according to RealClearPolitics, and that the lackluster endorsement by the Miami Herald-- Murphy possibly just embellished his résumé, didn't actually lie-- isn't going to save him. Basically the endorsement is about how disappointing Rubio is-[...]

Conservatives Rejoice At The Criminally Low Social Security Cost Of Living Increase But Want Even Bigger Cuts

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 04:00:00 +0000

AKA-- A Bitter WayOne of Chris Wallace's debate topics tonight was "Debt and Entitlements," which is how conservatives frame their arguments for cutting Social Security and Medicare. The moron who ran the VP debate last month also read a card someone gave her that implied that Social Security would "run out of mone," a falsify conservatives never tire of pushing on low-info/low-intelligence media folks like Elaine Quijano. As Social Security Works pointed out after Quijano stumbled into it, "This bogus framing sets up Social Security as a problem to be solved, not a solution to the retirement income crisis. The Republicans have used this framing to undermine confidence in the program and open the door for cuts to our earned benefits. Now we've learned that Freshman Senator David Perdue (R-GA) is working behind the scenes with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other Republican leaders to put cuts to Social Security at the top of the Republican agenda in 2017."What Perdue and McConnell have come up with is a plan to remove Social Security's guarantee by allowing Congress the power to vote each year on Social Security's spending, something that would allow conservatives to tie Social Security to the federal budget-- even though Social Security is independently funded by the payroll tax and has never contributed one penny to our country's debt."At the same time, congressional conservatives are refusing to use a sensible index to decide on the annual cost-of-living-adjustments, resulting this coming year in a 0.3% increase-- last year it was zero-- even though costs for medical care and other actual expenses seniors are confronted with have gone up many times that amount. Elizabeth Warren is fighting to pass the Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act, which would boost Social Security and other critical benefits for seniors, veterans, and Americans with disabilities. but Republicans and other conservatives are standing in the way. Yesterday she said that "For many seniors and other Americans struggling to make ends meet on tight budgets with rising expenses, today's COLA announcement offers little relief. There is still time to help make up for the fact that there was no cost-of-living adjustment in 2016. Congress should pass the SAVE Benefits Act when we are back in session in November to give a much-needed boost to millions of Americans who have earned it." The SAVE Benefits Act would give about 70 million seniors, veterans, Americans with disabilities, and others an emergency payment equal to 3.9 percent of the average annual Social Security benefit, about $581-- the same percentage raise that top CEOs received last year.A $581 increase could cover almost three months of groceries for seniors or a year's worth of out-of-pocket costs on critical prescription drugs for the average Medicare beneficiary. The bill would lift more than 1 million Americans out of poverty. The cost of this emergency payment would be covered by closing a tax loophole allowing corporations to write off executive bonuses as a business expense for "performance pay." The substantial additional revenue saved by closing the CEO compensation loophole would be used to bolster and extend the life of the Social Security and Disability trust funds.Bernie pointed out that the 0.3% increase announced yesterday amounts to an average of $4/month for the typical Social Security recipient. "Seniors and disabled veterans need more help than a few extra dollars in their monthly checks," he said. "These are the people who built this country-- our parents, our grandparents and our soldiers. At a time when senior poverty is going up and more than two-thirds of the elderly population rely on Social Security for more than half of their income, we must do everything we can to expand Social Security. Seniors and disabled veterans deserve a fair cost-of-living adjustment to keep up with the sk[...]

All The Rage On The Fringes Of Republicanville: Anyone but McCain & Ryan!

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 00:30:00 +0000

Not likelyToday I received an e-mail from a far right group I hadn't heard much about lately Alipac, with the subject line "'Vote Anyone but McCain & Ryan' Movement Picks Up Steam. Alipac-- Americans for Legal Immigration PAC-- is widely considered one of the most hateful of the anti-immigrant groups. I first heard about them in 2011 when they backed fringe GOP candidates Ken Buck (CO) and Sharon Angle (NV) in failed Senate runs and when they went on a pretty hilarious weeks-long tirade about Lindsey Graham's homosexuality. This was the ad they ran in the Republican primary this summer. Their candidate, far right crackpot and hate-monger Kelli Ward, was defeated by McCain on August 30, 51.7% to 39.2%. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">Like virtually every hate group in the country, Alipac, is fanatically behind Trump's ugly, bigoted campaign. And their email today claims they are expanding their "efforts to encourage Arizona and Wisconsin GOP voters to abandon John McCain and Paul Ryan due to their opposition to Donald Trump and their support for Amnesty for illegals by increasing the organization's endorsements in each race and changing the title of the strategy to 'Anyone but McCain & Ryan'!"They have actually endorsed Democrats Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), a conservative New Dem and Ryan Solen (WI), a normal Democrat running against Ryan. They consider the endorsements brilliant and revolutionary strategy. "After carefully analyzing the strong level of support the plan received in comments beneath articles written by Breitbart News (view) and World Net Daily (view), ALIPAC is now calling the effort 'Vote Anyone But McCain & Ryan' and creating the hashtag #NeverMcCainRyan for use in social media." "The strongest protest vote GOP voters can cast is for the Democrats challenging McCain and Ryan," said William Gheen, President of ALPAC. "But for those that just can't bring themselves to vote for a Democrat, we are asking them to write in the GOP Primary challengers we endorsed earlier like Kelli Ward and Paul Nehlen. Or they can vote for an independent or third party candidate. The key is for GOP voters, in just these two targeted races, to rid Washington DC of two corrupt, untrustworthy, illegal immigration fostering, Trump opposing incumbents McCain & Ryan. Remember on Election Day to Vote Anyone But McCain & Ryan!"ALIPAC is asking supporters of this plan to work on polls election day Nov 8 with signs that say "Vote Anyone But McCain & Ryan." ALIPAC is also starting online ads that begin running today that will broadcast this request to GOP voters in Wisconsin and Arizona.What a shame! Don't you just hate it when Republicans decide to go to war against each other just weeks before an election! Yesterday, Rachael Bade and Jake Sherman, headlined a report for Politico, Republicans rush to build firewall to save the House.A superPAC controlled by Ryan is spending "millions in districts once thought invincible for the GOP. The top House Republican super PAC had always planned to spend big to protect GOP lawmakers in Democratic-friendly districts. But Donald Trump’s free fall is forcing American Action Network and its sister PAC, Congressional Leadership Fund, to also shell out millions in red-leaning districts that weren’t even in play until this month. Their suddenly urgent mission: Build a firewall to prevent a Democratic takeover of the House. With Trump fending off allegations of sexual harassment and his tanking numbers threatening to pull down once-safe GOP lawmakers, this is what 2016 now looks like for the pair of related conservative outside groups: They're dropping $500,000 on TV ads in deep-red Utah to protect Rep. Mia Love, whose Mormon-heavy district has recoiled from Trump’s vulgar comments about women. They’re spending another $700,000 in Tucson, Ariz[...]

Urban Gadabout: Last call for Jack Eichenbaum's big day on the L train (this Saturday!)

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 21:00:00 +0000

With the rapid gentrification of Williamsburg, then Bushwick, and continuing farther out on the line, NYC's L train has gone from a forlorn stepchild of the subway system to its "boom" KenI'm hoping that by now urban geographer Jack Eichenbaum -- who's also the Queens borough historian -- needs no introduction to readers, and if he does, just click on the tag below. As I've noted, Jack's wide-ranging tours around NYC (I've toured all five boroughs except Staten Island with him), with their emphasis on the evolving forces of urban geography, have done more than I could tell to enable me to see how and why the city has developed and continues to develop.One of Jack's choice tour modes is to devote an entire day to a single subway line, usually involving a half-dozen off-the-subway mini-walking tours along the route, giving urban gadders a sense of how variously the urban fabric both absorbed and was shaped by the line. He's probably best-known for what he calls his "signature" tour, "The World of the #7 Train," showcasing the diversity of what may be the world's most "international" rail line. But with Jack I've also toured the J train (from Lower Manhattan across the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn and then Queens) and the Brighton line in Brooklyn (revisiting Howie's and my old lifeline into "the City").Now, as I've noted here previously, Jack is taking on the L train, in advance of the year-and-a-half shutdown of its connection from Williamsburg to Manhattan, to make possible desperately needed reconstruction and repair of damage caused by the ravages of time and Superstorm Sandy.The Subway Nut's caption: "A Manhattan-bound R143 L train leaves Atlantic Avenue passing the tracks that lead from the L to the East New York L. (29 May, 2007)"Life and Art Along the L TrainSaturday, October 22, 10am - 5:30pmSince its expansion to 8th Avenue in Manhattan in the 1930s, the L line has stimulated gentrification along its route which traverses three boroughs. We explore the West Village and meatpacking district -- including a portion of the new Highline Park— and on to the East Village, Williamsburg, East Williamsburg, Bushwick and Ridgewood noting the continuous transformation of each of these neighborhoods, stimulated by the movement of artists.This tour requires registration and payment in advance and is restricted to 25 participants. Fee $49  For a complete prospectus, email: jaconet@aol.comThe L train will soon be shut down for repairs; join this tour prior to that.Obviously, it isn't going to be possible to do this tour again at least until the L line reopens, and even then, who knows? So if this sounds like something you might be interested in, now is the time to get on board. At last word from Jack, there's still space, but since we're talking about this coming Saturday, you need to contact Jack ASAP, either by e-mail or by phone (if you e-mail me at, I'll send you the number).While the Manhattan connection is still operational, before it closes for post-Sandy reconstruction and repairs, rhe L train runs from Eighth Avenue and 14th Street crosstown under 14th Street, then under the East River to Williamsburg (Brooklyn) and then eastward, eventually hooking southeastward to Canarsie, within bus range of Canarsie's Jamaica Bay shore. [Click to enlarge.]#[...]

Yahoo Plans "Smart Billboards" That Watch and Listen To You

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 17:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="236" src="" width="420">Smart billboards in the movie Minority Reportby Gaius PubliusThose billboards in the movie Minority Report, the ones that watch you, listen as you speak, then address you by name? They're on the drawing board at Yahoo. You can look at this product as another form of "targeted marketing," like when the google sends ads your way based on the latest text in your gmail account. Or you can look at it as a way for a company to profile you as completely as possible when you move around in public — connecting your public behavior with all of your other stored behaviors — then do anything it wants with that information. The Yahoo story was broken by Ethan Baron in the San Jose Mercury News. Here's his report (my emphasis):Yahoo eyes billboard that can spy on drivers inside their carsYahoo, under fire over this week’s revelation that it helped the federal government spy on its users, has applied for two related patents describing a camera-equipped billboard that can spy on drivers.The patent applications, submitted in March 2015 and made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, describe a billboard that has sensors including cameras, microphones and even retina scanners built in or positioned nearby.“Image or video data may be processed to determine whether any individuals looked directly at the advertising content (e.g., using image recognition and/or eye tracking techniques),” said the patent documents, which use much of the same language in describing the technology.Verbal reactions by passersby could be collected via microphones. “Audio data captured by one or more microphones may be processed using speech recognition techniques to identify keywords relating to the advertising that are spoken by members of the audience,” the documents said. “Image data or motion/proximity sensor data may be processed to determine whether any members of the audience paused or slowed down near the advertising content, from which it may be inferred that the pause or slowing was in response to the advertising content.The tech site The Stack, in its own report on the project, appears to be quoting from Yahoo's product description when it includes this quote:‘Various types of data (e.g., cell tower data, mobile app location data, image data, etc.) can be used to identify specific individuals in an audience in position to view advertising content. Similarly, vehicle navigation/tracking data from vehicles equipped with such systems could be used to identify specific vehicles and/or vehicle owners. Demographic data (e.g., as obtained from a marketing or user database) for the audience can thus be determined for the purpose of, for example, determining whether and/or the degree to which the demographic profile of the audience corresponds to a target demographic.’So, a billboard that watches and listens inside every passing car to the best of its ability, then matches what it sees and hears with vehicle navigation and tracking systems (like Onstar?) — and certainly the DMV data, right? — as well as with "demographic data" from "marketing or user" databases. Welcome to ... what? A world in which you're always monitored, in which you're basically an extension of the state, if by the "state" we mean "the collective corporate-political super-entity that pretends to hold open elections from time to time, but regardless of that, can't ever be stopped or dismantled."The concept of constant surveillance leading to near-perfect compliance on the part of the watched is not a new one. Jeremy Bentham designed a prison, called a Panopticon, this way:The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. Th[...]

Fred Upton And Richard Nixon Never Served In Congress Together, But...

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 13:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">There is no better example in Congress of America's descent into plutocracy than southwest Michigan's 15-term Republican incumbent, Fred Upton. He was born into one of the state's wealthiest families and he has served the interests of his class-- and exclusively those interests-- since first getting into Congress in the 1980s. Blue America is supporting Paul Clements to replace Upton and his new TV ad (above) delineates the Upton policies to this day that have marked him as the servant of plutocracy. After you watch it, please consider contributing to Paul's campaign here, so that he can keep it on the air. Paul has been added to the DCCC's worthless Red-to-Blue list but, as of today, they have expended exactly zero dollars on his behalf.In his new book, Breaking Through Power, Ralph Nader wrote that the right-wing Richard Nixon "responded to public pressure, and even went beyond the Congress [controlled by the Democratic Party] that rejected his proposals for a minimum-income policy, a drug bill that emphasized rehabilitation over incarceration, a better health insurance plan than President Clinton later introduced, and Congressional voting rights for the residents of the District of Columbia." Hard to believe, huh? Nader put those years into the context of the grip of the plutocracy-- Fred Upton's plutocracy-- over America. Actively engaged in Washington at that time, I watched Nixon’s political antennae quiver and turn again and again, ending with his ultimate betrayal of right-wingers in 1973 when he instituted wage and price controls to fight inflation. Nixon went against the grain of the plutocracy of his time because he feared social unrest and felt that the national change in political climate warranted, for him at least, “extreme expediency.” He sometimes responded to the rumble. The U.S. plutocracy and general population reacted very differently toward Nixon’s performance. While many in America collectively seemed not to see how a little rumble could result in material and political advancement of their well-being and as a result did not fight for further progress, the stung corporatist class saw all too clearly what was possible. They knew democracy could regulate their profiteering, so they greatly remobilized their forces to subordinate and minimize institutions, organizations, networks, and individuals dedicated to expanding democracy.In August 1971, Lewis Powell, a corporate lawyer in Richmond, Virginia, and soon-to-be Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, issued what would later be referred to as the “Powell memorandum.” The memorandum offered his analysis of the power balance in Washington and pronounced it a crisis for big business. The forces of reform had brought many industries under a variety of regulations, and business was on the defensive. Powell urged a fundamental expansion and strengthening of the corporate lobbying apparatus, using some of the very techniques that the consumer, environmental, and other interests were deploying. These included corporate think tanks, aggressive use of the media, advancing business views on campus and in the curriculum, greater involvement in elections, and a mobilization of chief executives. It was time, Powell said, to mount an energetic far-reaching counterattack against those who, he believed, would subvert the free enterprise system.The collision of the operational interests of private commerce and public governance has elicited warnings going back to Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt. The following quotes illustrate the historic concerns of our country’s leaders about unbridled corporate power: “Big business is not dangerous because it is big, but because its bigness is an u[...]

Olbermann Tries Warning Les Déplorables: "You Know This Man, You Have Always Known This Man"

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 04:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">"The monster you see, is the monster you will get... Elect him and you are signing the death warrant to your own freedoms. Three weeks until that election and the leaders of one party are still chained, of their own volition, to the captain of the Titanic. Three weeks until that election and their candidate has shown himself, more and more, hour by hour, day by day, to be manifestly unstable, sexually criminal, deranged, bigoted and despotic. Yet, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, these so-called leaders have been given the choice between shame and loss of office. They have chosen shame; they will get loss of office later."...If you're thinking of voting for Donald Trump, I'm sorry this country and your life in it are not what you thought they would be nor what you thought was promised to you. I'm sorry that you think that you have been denied something by Americans who don't look like you or pray like you. I would remind you that when your grandfather or great-grandfather, or whoever came here, and whenever they came here, they were blamed identically because they were Catholic or Italian or Irish or just foreign... I am here to urge you to recognize that what you see as your solution will, in fact, end with your slavery. Because... you know this man; you have always known this man. Voting for Donald Trump is like not getting the car you want. So instead you take the car you have and you drive it into the wall-- while you're in it, while your family is in it, while your country is in it."This election is not question of policy or political correctness or rebellion against The Machine. This is sanity versus insanity and freedom versus a police state. This man is crazy! We have indications that he is violent against women; he has been vioelnt since he was a child. He hates and disparages people based on how they look or where their parents are from... He has uncontrollable anger-- and you want to give him nuclear weapons. You know this man; you have always known this man. He is the lying used car salesman across town. He is the contractor who puts a hole in your wall then vanishes. He is the fast-talking huckster on the late night TV commercial. He is the husband or the wife or the girlfriend or the boyfriend who promised you 'forever' and ran off with your heart and your money and your life... Trump will give nothing to you but shame, and regret and shackles. He will take and he will keep whatever he can get his hands on. It is the story of his life. He boasts about that!"There's a lot more-- which is why I've embedded the video above. But I want to turn now to a story by Kaitlin Fontana for Spy in the October 14th Esquire, How Do You Solve A Problem Child Like Donald Trump You may have watched Anderson Cooper interview the most recent of Trump's mail-order brides on CNN last night, in which she admitted she has two childish boys to contend with in Trump Tower, her ten year old son, Barron, and her seventy year old husband, Donald. Here's a clip from the interview: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">Fontana wrote that "to the casual observer, Donald Trump's behavior could easily be interpreted as irascibly childish-- with all due respect to irascible children. His speeches and tweets are dominated by the kind of constant name-calling, defensive outbursts, mendacious gossip and repugnant innuendos usually overheard during schoolyard recess. To find out if his behavior can be fixed, we consulted an expert in this kind of behavior: Dr. Megan Seltz, a clinical psychologist specializing in children with learning disabilities and cognitive disorders. However, to get an unvarnishe[...]

McCain And Toomey Are Running On A Platform Of Dysfunctional Obstruction Against The American People

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 01:00:00 +0000

Chuck Schumer and Jon Tester have recruited some really dreadful hacks to run for the Senate this cycle. In fact, their interference could cost the Democrats dearly. They worked to sabotage solid candidates like Alan Grayson (FL), Joe Sestak and John Fetterman (PA), Rob Hogg (IA) and PG Sittenfeld (OH) so they could please Wall Street with bankster-friendly candidates Patrick Murphy, Katie McGinty, Patty Judge and Ted Strickland. It appears that Murphy, Judge and Strickland are going down to disastrous defeat and that McGinty can only win by dint of strong enough Clinton coattails. Perhaps Schumer's worst recruit though was Ann Kirkpatrick, a worthless Arizona New Dem who is the exact example of the kind of reactionary and cowardly political careerist that Americans just HATE. Despite running against an even worse Republican, John McCain, she has virtually no chance win at all, offering nothing to working families beyond "I'm not quite as odious as McCain."A new poll of Arizona likely voters, released yesterday, shows Hillary beating Trump 38.5% to 36.5% in this solidly red state. But Hillary's coattails are doing nothing for the fatally-flawed Ann Kirkpatrick from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. I mean if you want a Republican, why not vote for a real one, instead of a confused one who doesn't know what the hell she is. Her putrid voting record-- which cost her her House seat in 2010, when Democratic voters just refused to show up at the polls for her-- is why McCain is beating her 45.3% to 35.3%.She probably won't even be able to capitalize on the stupidest comment made by a Senate candidate this cycle, McCain's shocking admission that he's part of a Republican Party conspiracy to obstruct the Senate if they keep control of Congress and Hillary wins the presidency. Jonathan Chait explained it succinctly-- context and all-- for New York Magazine readers: Senate Republicans have formed a united front around the principle Barack Obama should not be able to appoint a replacement for Antonin Scalia, and that the seat should instead be selected by the winner of the 2016 election. This “principle” rests on a wildly selective reading of senatorial history, according to which it is somehow improper for a president to fill a Supreme Court seat in his final year. In reality, this principle has never existed before and was concocted on the fly in order to justify the simple exertion of power.The implication of this claim, though, is that if Hillary Clinton wins the election, Republicans will give her latitude to appoint a reasonably well-qualified, non-extreme jurist to the vacant spot. I have long been skeptical that Republicans would actually go along with this if it comes to pass. And now John McCain confirms it. In an interview touting fellow Republican Senator Pat Toomey, McCain pledges that he and his party will continue the Supreme Court blockade throughout Clinton’s term. “I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up,” McCain said. “I promise you. This is where we need the majority and Pat Toomey is probably as articulate and effective on the floor of the Senate as anyone I have encountered.”If Clinton wins and Democrats pull enough Senate seats, Republicans will oppose her nominee, and then, eventually, Democrats will change the rules to abolish filibusters of Supreme Court nominees. (Republicans will decry this foul measure and justify any subsequent actions of their own as justified revenge.) If Clinton wins and Republicans hold on to 51 seats, they will simply refuse to let any nominee through. The fact that it is McCain, a personal friend of Clinton and as strong an institutionalist as can be found in the Senate, [...]

The Blue America Trucks Started Rolling Today

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 21:00:00 +0000

Today at 10 AM our first mobile billboard truck rolled down the road; well actually last night it drove into NH-01 so I guess that counts too. I mean, people saw it as the driver made his way to Nashua. We have four of them starting this week, spread out around the country. And the one we deployed for Carol Shea-Porter officially started in Nashua, New Hampshire this morning. The driver told me he's spending most of the day in the Merrimack, most of tomorrow in Bedford. Thurdsay will be Goffstown day and Friday will be his first day in Manchester. And he trucks around on weekends too-- Hookset and Laconia this weekend, for example... Dover and Durham next weekend.Rockingham County includes 36% of the voters in Carol's district and our truck will spend 7 full days there. And 5 days in Himmsborough County, where 26% of the NH-01 voters live, 4 days in Stafford County, where 19% of the voters live, even a couple days in Belnap County (9% of the voters), etc. This map shows where the truck's driver will concentrate most of his time:Now, as you may know, I live in Los Angeles, Jacqiue lives in San Leandro up in the Bay Area, John lives in Venice and Digby's in Santa Monica. And we're not legally permitted to discuss the truck with Carol Shea-Porter or her campaign. So... we need advice about where to go... especially if there are any events in that would be good targets for the truck. Any suggestions? Please leave 'em in the comments section.More great news. The truck in Las Vegas gets on the road in time for the final presidential debate tomorrow. I'm figuring that people in Clark County are going to be excited not just because of the debate tomorrow but because the Las Vegas Sun just endorsed Ruben Kihuen, our candidate. "The opposing candidates in this race," they wrote, "cling to dramatically different values. Cresent Hardy, a Republican from Mesquite, was surprisingly elected to the seat two years ago over incumbent Steven Horsford when lethargic Democratic voters in the very blue district stayed home on Election Day. Previously, Hardy served in the Assembly for two sessions." Yeah... there was that, plus the DCCC's Steve Israel and his racist idea that blacks shouldn't represent white districts. But this cycle, the DCCC isn't ignoring NV-04 and they are supportive of Ruben's campaign and have thus far spent-- along with Pelosi's House Majority PAC-- $2,032,589 on independent expenditures against Cresent Hardy and for Ruben. Back to The Sun: Hardy had fully supported Trump’s candidacy, then withdrew his backing this month following the release of the tape in which Trump boasted of aggressively groping women. Hardy is sympathetic to Cliven Bundy’s anti-government rants, opposes closing loopholes in background checks, suggests conserving Social Security funds by pushing retirement age to 70 or 75, has voted to defund Planned Parenthood, opposes the immigration-reform bill that won bipartisan support in the Senate and says that if he were still in the Legislature, he would have opposed Gov. Brian Sandoval’s bipartisan education-reform package in 2015.Kihuen, whose family arrived to the United States when he was 8, was elected to the Assembly when he was 25. He served two terms and has been elected and re-elected to the state Senate, where he now serves.His positions are essentially the opposite of Hardy’s. Kihuen wants background-check loopholes closed, a ban on the sale of firearms to individuals on no-fly lists, immigration reform with a path to citizenship and an increase in the minimum wage, and he supported Sandoval’s school-reforms package.We endorse Kihuen for Congress and implore the district’s Democrats to get off their duffs this time and vote. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" h[...]

Five (Plus One) Climate Questions for the Next Presidential Debate

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 17:00:00 +0000

Projected changes over the 21st century in the atmospheric concentrations of three greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). These projections by the United States Environmental Protection Agency are based on emissions scenarios contained in the IPCC SRES document.[13] The A2 scenario is near the middle in each chart. Note that the worse case, or "business as usual," scenario, A1FI, reaches nearly 1000 ppm CO2 by end-of-century (source; click to enlarge).by Gaius PubliusAs you may have heard, the topics for the next presidential debate have been chosen:Debt and entitlementsImmigrationEconomySupreme CourtForeign hot spotsFitness to be Presidentand quelle surprise, not one is about the climate. Unless, of course, Brad Johnson has sussed this one out.Good to see global warming on agenda of final debate. #VoteClimate— Brad Johnson (@climatebrad) October 13, 2016At Media Matters, though, Andrew Seifter has figured out how climate can enter the debate after all. His piece is longer than just these questions, and worth reading in full, but as debate prep for viewers, consider his list of climate questions under five of the six topics chosen:Topic: ImmigrationPossible Debate Question: Studies show that climate change worsened the extreme drought in Syria that contributed to the Syrian refugee crisis, and that the effects of climate change on crop yields will drive millions of Mexicans to seek entry into the United States in the coming decades. Will you incorporate climate change into your immigration policies, and if so, how? Topic: EconomyPossible Debate Question: A 2016 survey of 750 top economists found that climate change is now the single greatest threat to the global economy. What will you do to protect our economy from the effects of climate change?Topic: Supreme CourtPossible Debate Question: Following a 2007 Supreme Court ruling and a scientific assessment by the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA is legally required to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change under the Clean Air Act. Will you implement the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of the EPA’s emissions reduction strategy, and if not, how will your administration fulfill the Supreme Court’s mandate to cut greenhouse gas pollution?Topic: Foreign Hot SpotsPossible Debate Question: The Pentagon has determined that climate change will “aggravate existing problems -- such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions -- that threaten domestic stability in a number of countries.” To what extent do you believe climate-related risks should be integrated into military planning?Topic: Fitness To Be PresidentPossible Debate Question: The scientific community is nearly unanimous in saying that global warming is happening and caused by burning fossil fuels, yet many politicians refuse to acknowledge this is the case. Will you listen to the scientists on climate change, and do you believe that those who refuse to do so are unfit for our nation’s highest office?These are almost softball questions, and Chris Wallace could easily ask them:How will you deal with climate refugees from Mexico? How will you protect our economy from climate-driven devastation? (More on that here.)How will you implement the Supreme Court's climate mandate?Will you direct military planners to integrate climate chaos into their scenarios? (Hint: They already do.)Is a climate denier fit to serve as president?You can tweet Chris Wallace at @FoxNewsSunday. But that's just five of the six debate categories. I think I can offer one more, and it's no softball.A "Deb[...]

What's Next For Señor Trumpanzee Now That His Dreadful Campaign Is Dead In The Water?

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 13:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">Yesterday started with polls from Georgia, Alaska, Utah and Arizona-- four deep red states that Romney won, respectively, with 53%, 55%, 73% and 54% of the vote. It's unlikely, but Trump could actually lose all four-- and not because those states' Republican governors are rigging the election against him. Even mainstream Republican voters are starting to finally realize what has infected their party.Let's look at the results in Utah in 2012 and then compare them to yesterday's polling results from the very biased Republican Party polling firm Rasmussen, which basically exists to make Republican candidates think they have a chance to win even when they don't. Utah, 2012, actual election results: • Mitt Romney- 72.79%• Barack Obama- 24.75%• Gary Johnson- 1.24• Jill Stein- 0.38%Rasmussen's Utah survey of likely voters released yesterday: • Donald Trump- 30%• Evan McMullin- 29%• Hillary Clinton- 28%• Gary Johnson- 5%• Jill Stein- 1%Margin of error is 4%, which means Trump, McMullin and Clinton are tied... in Utah. So what's next for Trump after what seems to be turning into a spectacular defeat in exactly 3 weeks from today? Is there some strategy behind the apparent madness of the Donald Trump campaign? It sure isn't an exercise in GOP party building-- quite the opposite, in fact. Olbermann hinted at it in his video above and we've discussed it here before: Trump TV. He sure has an audience ready for all the unhinged hatred, paranoia, bigotry and white nationalism he's built his campaign on. I expect crackpot hedge fund billionaire, Robert Mercer, a fringy right-wing loon, will bankroll a proto-fascist network fronted by Trump and run by Roger Ailes, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Con-man. The Financial Times reported that Ivanka's husband, Jared Kushner, publisher of the money-losing New York Observer, is trying to make a deal-- or might be trying to make a deal, having "approached one of the media industry’s top dealmakers about the prospect of setting up a Trump television network after the presidential election in November... [He] contacted Aryeh Bourkoff, the founder and chief executive of LionTree, a boutique investment bank, within the past couple of months, according to three people with knowledge of the matter... [T]he approach suggests Mr Kushner and the Republican candidate himself are thinking about how to capitalise on the populist movement that has sprung up around their campaign in the event of an election defeat to Democrat Hillary Clinton next month." Mr Bourkoff, who launched LionTree in 2012, has advised on transactions worth more than $300bn, including Liberty Global’s $23.3bn acquisition of Virgin Media and Verizon’s $4.4bn takeover of AOL. He is also John Malone’s favoured adviser and helped the so-called “Cable Cowboy” consolidate the US pay-TV industry — in deals that culminated in Charter Communications’ $78bn takeover of Time Warner Cable this year.More importantly, Mr Bourkoff is a friend of Mr Kushner, who is married to Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka. The two have worked together in the past: Mr Bourkoff advised Mr Kushner, who also owns the weekly New York Observer newspaper, when he tried to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team four years ago.Establishing a Trump television network would be difficult, even with a potentially large audience for its programming.Cable and satellite companies are loath to take on extra channels in an era of shrinking audiences and “cord-cutting”-- the cancellation of pricey pay-TV subscriptions in favour of cheaper, online alternatives. An “ove[...]

Defending Trump's Misogyny... A Hopeless Task

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 04:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">Renee Ellmers (R-NC) is the only Republican member of Congress who Trump cut an ad for. It didn't help Ellmers win her primary. In fact, it probably hurt her She barely managed to come in second in a 3 way primary race and will be hoping for some kind of a job-- any kind of a job-- from Trump after January. These were the results: • George Holding- 16,999 (53.4%)• Renee Ellmers- 7,527 (23.6%)• Greg Brannon- 7,320 (23.0%)She was the first woman in Congress to endorse Trump and she's one of the Republican female elected officials who has stuck with him, despite his bragging about groping women and despite all the assault allegations flooding in by the day. Sunday Ellmers was on CNN's State of the Union in her capacity as a Trump surrogate. It didn't go well, her on-air bullshit helping make it clear why her constituents retired her by such a massive vote. (Watch the video above.)Ellmers is the go-to-person-- or go-to-female-person for the media if they need someone to defend Trump no matter how disgusting his behavior. While many of his best known surrogates hid when Trump attacked former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, the craven and desperate Ellmers was on TV defending the indefensible. After Trump's 3AM twitter storm about Machado and her weight and a phony claim she was a porn star, Ellmers dutifully went on TV and answered for Trump. "Why," asked the interviewer, "does Donald Trump keep this issue alive? What do you think he thinks he has to gain by revisiting a topic that a lot of people have obviously been turned off by?" Ellmers had to say something, so she tried, "Obviously, Hillary Clinton brought this up in the debate and she did it clearly to try to paint Donald Trump in a negative light, so now Donald Trump is addressing the issue, as he did in the debate. He’s using social media because he knows it's the most effective manner to get his message out. He knows that, unfortunately, he cannot depend upon you, the media, to tell his story, and really what is happening. You know, you heard a lot about fact checking during the debate. Donald Trump is setting the record straight and he's using social media. That's the kind of president we need. Someone who goes right to the root of the problem... This isn't about the Miss Universe. This is about Hillary Clinton using this former Miss Universe pageant winner as a pawn in her bid for this White House presidential race." That's some stretch! And she wasn't done digging. When the interviewer asked her why Trump was still talking smack about Machado rather than addressing the issues the voters want to hear about, she said that Trump " is absolutely talking about these issues. But here, again, this is part of the Hillary Clinton strategy. This is part of her playbook—corruption and making things appear something that are not there. And this is how she's trying to attack him. Her main issue is to say that he doesn't have the temperament to be president of the United States. I completely disagree... He's setting the record straight. I mean unfortunately in Washington, when you're accused of something or painted in a certain light, typically, the reaction is not to fight back. If you do, then you’re playing into it. He is setting the record straight... I think that Donald Trump needs to move on and, again, the American people want to hear about the future. He is the future of this country. He is going to turn this country around and make America great again. Unlike Hillary Clinton that remains in the gutter." Something tells me we're not going to be hearin[...]

California's Democrat vs Democrat Conundrum

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 01:00:00 +0000

-by Samuel HagarHow to cross party lines for votes without abandoning your ethnicity-- The first thing a pollster tells you when you ask “how do you win a Democrat on Democrat” general election (a phenomenon we're finding more and more frequently on the West Coast due to the somewhat dysfunctional jungle primary system) is: You need to create a coalition. Democrats, Decline to States, and Republicans must be patched together to create a coalition across demographics...This may seem simple and not worthy of the thousands of dollars in consulting and pollster fees, however it is true. To win a Democrat on Democrat race, a candidate must build out from his or her natural constituency (race, gender, region, ideology etc) to attract the necessary support in order to earn 50+1 percent of the vote.The glaring example of this type of race is the United States Senate race to replace Barbara Boxer this year in California. This race pits California Attorney General Kamala Harris (an African American statewide elected official and Establishment fave from the Bay Area) against Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (a Latina Blue Dog congresswoman, somewhat reknowned for being the dumber of two congressional sisters). The nature of the race (and the candidates in it) is that Loretta (having only received 18% of the vote in the primary) faces a general election in which she must get a ton of votes (compared to Kamala) that are outside of her geographic territory (where she picked up most of her votes in the primary)-- let’s face it, a Congressmember in a state as large as California has a minuscule base of support (speaking in geographic terms) as compared to a candidate who’s name has appeared on a statewide ballot before.Loretta is a Blue Dog Democrat, a conservaDem who frequently votes with the GOP against the best interests of working families, so there was no way that the progressive/liberal community in California (a lot of votes!) would rally around her, leaving the remaining winnable votes for Loretta in the following constituencies: Latinos and Republicans.Now, given her voting record, Loretta can make (and has made) a play for Republican votes. Her courting of an endorsement from Congressman Darrell Issa, not just a Republican but one of the best-known and most hated Republicans in the state, is the prime example of this strategy. But let’s remember, California is a deep blue state with far more Democratic votes than Republican votes, so the Republican vote alone cannot get Loretta Sanchez across the finish line (even after adding that to her Orange County name identification base).So, as a Latina, Loretta must win a significant number of latino votes and add those to her base and iffy Republican support. While that may seem simple (such as 1+1 = 2), it is not.Latinos have faced a year and a half of absolute brutal, vitriolic language from the Republican nominee. Polling indicates that the latino vote identifies Republicans as espousing the Donald Trump view points. And, it is no secret that Issa, who has a stridently anti-immigrant record, is one of Trump's most devoted followers in the state.Unless Loretta thinks she can win every latino who agrees that “we must build a beautiful beautiful wall” along the Mexican border (and assumes that that plus her Republican vote is enough) then her strategy points to the exact problem facing so-called Democrats in these intra party races: to cross party lines for votes often involves stabbing your natural constituency directly in the back. Today Christopher Cadelago reported for the Sacramento Bee that as part of her campaign to entice[...]

Pelosi's DCCC-- Still Recruiting And Supporting ConservaDems, Not Progressives

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 21:00:00 +0000

Peter King has over $3 million cash on hand but racist Blue Dog Steve Israel has made sure the DCCC refuses to help DuWayne Gregory in a very winnable districtLate last week investigative journalists Lee Fang and Zaid Jilani went through a leaked DCCC memo compiled for chairman Ben Ray Luján that includes Wall Street lobbyists being reassured that Elizabeth Warren doesn't speak for the Democratic Party after they complained about her messaging about protecting consumers from financial predators. The DCCC and DSCC have aggressively courted, recruited and backed conservative Democrats and done all they could to discourage, block and sabotage progressives running for Congress. The Wall Street owned and operated New Dems has endorsed 23 House candidates so far this cycle, candidates their research shows to be conservative enough for what amounts to the Republican wings the Democratic Party: • Tom O'Halleran (AZ)• Matt Heinz (AZ)• Salud Carbajal (CA)• Isadore Hall (CA)• Lou Correa (CA)• Gail Schwartz (CO)• Darren Soto (FL)• Val Demings (FL)• Charlie Crist (FL)• Randy Perkins (FL)• Joe Garcia (FL)• Colleen Hanabusa (HI)• Monica Vernon (IA)• Brad Schneider (IL)• Emily Cain (ME)• Angie Craig (MN)• Terri Bonoff (MN)• Josh Gottheimer (NJ)• Kim Myers (NY)• John Plumb (NY)• Pete Gallego (TX)• Doug Owens (UT)• LuAnn Bennett (VA)There's some dispute over which is worse, the New Dems or the Blue Dogs, although the question is pretty academic since many conservaDems are in both groups. In theory, the Blue Dogs tend more towards bigotry as well as economic, anti-family conservatism, where the New Dems are just Wall Street puppets and don't care about the social issues that motivate many of the reactionary Blue Dogs. For example, the last few hardcore Democratic homophobes in the House are Blue Dogs, not New Dems. And the NRA shills among Democrats will gravitate more towards the Blue Dogs than the New Dems who are most preoccupied by scarfing up bribes from banksters. These are the 11 conservative Democrats the Blue Dogs have endorsed this cycle: • Tom O'Halleran (AZ)• Lon Johnson (MI)• Lou Correa (CA)• Gail Schwartz (CO)• Brad Schneider (IL)• Shelli Yoder (IN)• Gretchen Driskell (MI)• Josh Gottheimer (NJ)• Kim Myers (NY)• Doug Owens (UT)• Pete Gallego (TX)So now let's look at a list of which non-incumbent candidates the DCCC and Pelosi's House Majority PAC have spent the most on so far this cycle. These are the candidates who have gotten independent expenditures of at least $500,000 so far. Anything under a million denotes that the House Democratic leadership isn't serious about the campaign at this point, but all of these numbers could easily double: • Jacky Rosen (NV)- $3,470,333• Pete Gallego (TX)- $2,651,421• Steve Santarsiero (PA)- $2,402,433• Morgan Carroll (CO)- $2,286,632• Joe Garcia  (FL)- $2,189,953• Josh Gottheimer (NJ)- $2,146,504• Michael Eggman (CA)- $2,068,556• Charlie Crist (FL)- $2,053,027• Ruben Kihuen (NV)- $2,032,589• Emily Cain (ME)- $1,986,904• Terri Bonoff (MN-) $1,808,005• Tom O'Halleran (AZ)- $1,673,909• Kim Myers (NY)- $1,587,847• Jim Mowrer (IA)- $1,351,519• Salud Carbajal (CA)- $1,264,533• Angie Craig (MN)- $1,264,339• LuAnn Bennett (VA)- $1,121,672• Stephanie Murphy (FL)- $1,085,160• Bryan Cafario (CA)- $943,831• Lon Johnson (MI)- $927,077• Gail Schwartz (CO)- $824,170• Colleen Deacon (NY)- $711,447• Monica Vernon (IA)- $690,917• Doug Applegate (CA)- $667,071• Zephyr Teachout (NY)- $613,240• Brad Schneider (IL)- $596,322• Emil[...]

Three Ways a President Alone Can Rein In Prescription Drug Prices

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 17:00:00 +0000

High prescription prices are an industry problem, not a problem of "outliers" (source; click to enlarge)by Gaius PubliusAlong with many others, we recently wrote about Mylan's predatory price increases on the life-saving prescription drug product EpiPen. Then came the news that the interestingly named Valeant had increased the price of a prescription drug it had purchased, not developed, more than 2700%, apparently anticipating a growing lead poisoning crisis like the one in Flint, Michigan. ("Did your kids get sick from eating lead paint? We'll fix them right up ... for $27,000.") At the end of the Valeant piece, I added a section that argued for an industry-wide — and Executive Branch-only — fix. Don't play Whack-a-Mole with individual companies, I argued. Whack drug prices industry-wide, or we'll always be chasing a shadow and fixing problems only when they're reported as scandals.It turns out that Rep. Mark Pocan and a number of his colleagues have the same idea. From a letter Pocan wrote, and dozens of his colleagues signed, here are three specific suggestions that the next president can unilaterally enact, whoever she or he may be.First, use existing statutory power to make sure that drugs developed in whole or in part by taxpayer funds are not monopoly-priced:We believe your Administration should issue fair and transparent guidelines to ensure the public has access to lifesaving drugs developed using federally funded research. Specifically, you should instruct the Director of the National Institutes of Health to ensure that drugs researched and developed with taxpayer funds are kept accessible to the public by authorizing new competition for unaffordable, monopoly-priced medications—an existing statutory power granted by the Bayh-Dole Act (Pub. L. 96-517). This is an important step in deterring corporations from holding federally funded patented drugs from setting unreasonable prices.This applies to a large number of drugs, by the way.Second, there's existing authority to authorize prescription drug importation under some qualifications. Pocan, and frankly, the vast majority of the public, believes this authority should be used, and now.Moreover, we also encourage your administration to explore implementing drug importation rules that are already part of U.S. law. Under authority from the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, the Secretary of Health and Human Services can certify the importation of prescription drugs from other countries under specific qualifications. This regulatory action would pose no risk to public health and safety and could result in a significant reduction in the cost of prescription drugs to American families.This authority, if used, should not be "triangulated" as a bargaining chip to negotiate just certain drug prices down. It should be applied as quickly, as broadly, and as aggressively as possible.Put simply: The government is not in the business of making sure businesses make money — that's their job. The government has a Constitutional mandate to "promote the general welfare," the welfare, in other words, of the natural humans whose "consent of the governed" keeps that government in business.(Remember the phrase "consent of the governed" and what it means. It's the ultimate source of any government's legitimacy. When a government is too captured and too corrupt to be tolerated, consent of the governed will inevitably be withdrawn. What happens next is too painful to contemplate, but once started, it's very hard to stop. In my view, we're nearer that point — th[...]

Kind Of Shocking The Kind Of Sewage They're Forcing Us To Wade Through To Elect The First Woman President

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 13:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">Trump didn't enjoy the skit. The thin-skinned authoritarian wasn't amused. Early Sunday morning he tweeted what amounted to a classic SNL advertisement that belongs on the sides of buses and that they would be crazy to not use:Virginia has produced more presidents than any other state-- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson. They know a president when they see one and they don't see one on Trump. George W. Bush won there narrowly, with 52.5% in 2000 and 53.8% in 2004. Barack Obama won narrowly , with 52.6% in 2008 and with 51.2% in 2012. This year doesn't look like it's going to be narrow. A poll of likely Virginia voters released yesterday shows Trump at 29%-- Clinton beating him by 15 points. She's even leading him among men!One of the more reliable national polls-- by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal had even worse news for Trump Tower Sunday morning: "In a four-way race, Democrat Clinton holds an 11-point lead over Republican Trump among likely voters, 48% to 37%. In a two way match-up, she leads him 51-41% And in one of the Utah polls just out, Trump comes in 4th, behind McMullin, Clinton and Johnson, among young voters 30 and under. The last time the Omaha World-Herald endorsed a Democrat for president, it wasn't LBJ over Goldwater. They punted that year. It was back in 1932, when they endorsed Franklin Roosevelt over Herbert Hoover. It was the last time they backed FDR and by 1936 they were pushing Alf Landon, who lost Nebraska's 7 electoral votes 347,445 (57.14%) to 247,731 (40.74%). And then yesterday this most staid, Republican of newspapers, endorsed Clinton as the prudent pick. No doubt part of the giant conspiracy against Trump. "The risk of a Donald Trump presidency," the editors opined, "is simply too great."His alienation of so many groups-- women, the disabled, Muslim-Americans, former prisoners of war, the family of a Muslim soldier killed in action, Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans-- is too divisive.Trump shows a lack of statesmanship that is fundamental to serving in the Oval Office.Trump has repeatedly shown a disdain for our nation’s allies and alliances and an affection for its enemies.He has revealed a lack of command over key issues, such as the nation’s nuclear triad, Russian aggression and the significance of NATO alliances, paired with a propensity for unrealistic hyperbole, such as his promise to end all crime and violence in the country, or to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and have the Mexican government pay for it, with no pragmatic path to achieve such aims.His claim that he would have Iranian gunboats “shot out of the water” for taunting a U.S. Navy ship shows a reckless response that could trigger yet another Middle East war.A man who lashes out impulsively when attacked should not be entrusted to command the world’s most powerful military.These issues, coupled with his statements regarding women, including the taped comments about grabbing women’s genitals and forcing kisses on them, simply make it too difficult to inspire confidence in him as president and commander-in-chief.This is as good a time as any to ask you to read yesterday's Times column by Nick Kristof, If Hillary Clinton Groped Men. Kristof asks his readers to consider the double standard for women in American politics, by posing situations like: Imagine that the Clintons had[...]

If You Snort A Couple Of Adderalls Does It Show Up In A Drug Test?

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 04:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">Much has been made of Trump's snorting and sniffling at the debates. So Saturday, Mr. Projection Man suggested that Hillary was hopped up on drugs and that they should both agree to a drug test. Great idea-- and I suggested it an hour into the first debate when he was so obviously out of his mind on something he tooted before he went out on stage. Many have said cocaine, though I subsequently found out through his former doctor's office that it was Adderall.Since Trump was in New Hampshire Saturday morning, ostensibly to address the state's serious opioid problem, what better time to accuse his opponent who is leading him in every poll in the state by increasing numbers, of being a drug abuser? (The RealClearPolitics polling average shows Hillary beating him in the Granite State by 3.6 points. The most recent poll, from U. Mass shows her up by 6 points-- 45-39% among likely voters). But he was in Portsmouth and none of the Republican candidates in state where anywhere in sight (just Jeff Sessions and Rudy Giuliani), so he decided to channel his rage into claiming Hillary had been "getting pumped up" before the last two debates. He then described his own state of drug abuse and attributed it to her, claiming, for example, that "at the beginning of her last debate, she was all pumped up at the beginning, and at the end it was like, huff, take me down." Tens of millions of Americans had seen that had been Trump, not Hillary. Anyway, as you can hear on the video above, Trump wants drug tests. Hillary should call him on it. And, while we're at it, how about an evaluation by a panel of impartial psychologists and psychiatrists?I'm not taking the Wikileaks revelations all that seriously. There's no way of knowing how much of it is doctored Russian propaganda and how much is real. So I'm basically ignoring it all. Although, when investigating the numerous claims about Trump's cocaine use back in his Studio 54 days, I did stumble across a report from Kenneth Vogel in Saturday's Politico about how Clinton operatives tested out a line of attack against candidate Obama in 2008 that involved his own admitted youthful cocaine use. They never used it. But he wasn't sniffling like a mad dog on the debate stage.[...]

One Good Side Effect Of Trumpism: Knowledge Of Paul Ryan's Toxicity Is Spreading To Millions More Voters

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 01:00:00 +0000

I didn't know NY Times reporter reporter Josh Barro was a Republican who has only this week registered as a Democrat. He explained his metamorphosis earlier today. "The most important thing we have learned this year," he wrote, is that, when the Republican Party was hijacked by a dangerous fascist who threatens to destroy the institutions that make America great and free, most Republicans up and down the organizational chart stood behind him and insisted he ought to be president." He pointed out that "some did this because they are fools who do not understand why Trump is dangerous" and that "some did it because they were naïve enough to believe he could be controlled and manipulated into implementing a normal Republican agenda." But the ones that really pissed him off were the cowards and scoundrels-- "Republican politicians who understand exactly how dangerous Donald Trump is, but who have chosen to support him anyway for reasons of strategy, careerism, or cowardice." He singled out Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and "most of all" Paul Ryan, "a man whose pained, blue eyes suggest he desperately wants to cry for help. He's a man who runs around the country pathetically trying to pretend that Trump does not exist and that the key issue is his congressional caucus' #Better Way agenda. And he's a man who, of his own free will, seeks to help Donald Trump become president. These men are not fools like Ben Carson. To borrow a phrase from Rubio, they know exactly what they are doing: They are taking an action that risks the destruction of the American republic to advance their personal interests. They know what Meg Whitman knows about the risks Trump poses to America. Rubio himself warned specifically of the risk of Trump starting a nuclear war! But they do not care. I can only conclude from the available evidence that they love their careers more than they love America. And they are why I quit the Republican Party this week."One of the remarkable subplots of the 2016 presidential race is the unravelling of the very substantial threat Paul Ryan has posed to the hard-fought strides America has made since the 1930's. Ryan's own outlandish presidential ambitions, based on a slick-but-utterly-superficial repackaging of classic 1920's neo-liberal dogma, appear to be on life-support, if not already moribund. His toxicity among normal people-- based on a budget framework meant to destroy Social Security and Medicare and his time as Romney's running mate-- has now spread to Trump's intolerables. They see him as their enemy now, as Matt Taibbi pointed out in Rolling Stone this weekend. Saturday, early October, at a fairground 40 minutes southwest of Milwaukee. The very name of this place, Elkhorn, conjures images of past massacres on now-silent fields across our blood-soaked history. Nobody will die here; this is not Wounded Knee, but it is the end of an era. The modern Republican Party will perish on this stretch of grass.Trump had been scheduled to come here today, to kiss defenseless babies and pose next to pumpkins and haystacks at Wisconsin congressman and House Speaker Paul Ryan's annual "GOP Fall Fest."Instead, the two men declared war on each other. The last straw was the release of a tape capturing Donald Trump uttering five words-- "Grab them by the pussy"-- during an off-camera discussion with former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush about what you can do to women when you're a star.Keeping up with Trump revelations is exhausting. By la[...]

A solitary day syncs up with thoughts on solitude from two distinguished writers -- plus a brilliantly funny take on the Billion-Dollar Loser

Sun, 16 Oct 2016 21:00:00 +0000

Donald Hall with, uh, some other guy"Now and then, especially at night, solitude loses its soft power and loneliness takes over. I am grateful when solitude returns."-- the poet Donald Hall, writing at age 87for The New Yorker, in "Double Solitude"by KenDonald Hall's piece is one of two literary plugs I absorbed this afternoon from Jonathan Schwartz's radio show. As readers familiar with both Jonathan's and my musical predilections will realize, they're not exactly the same. Nevertheless, for decades now one or another of his radio shows has come on after shows I listened to by choice on public radio that I've had lots of exposure to his agreeably quirky way of looking at the world that I don't race to shut the radio off when he comes on.Jonathan's first hearty endorsement was for Mark Singer's Trump and Me, a slender (112-page) book -- which comes complete with a ringing promotional denunciation of the author by the subject -- that I have no difficulty believing is not only the funniest but the most telling piece of writing there has been on the subject of our beloved Billion-Dollar Loser, whom he was first more or less commanded to write about in 1996 by then-New Yorker editor Tina Brown. I do recall reading a magazine version of what was presumably subsequently expanded to book form, and being delighted -- as I always am by Mark Singer's writing. He must surely be the funniest of all writers on dead-serious subjects. (For most of us he first came to attention with his spectacular and spectacularly hilarious book Funny Money, this native Oklahoman's account of the staggering 1982 collapse of Oklahoma's Penn Square Bank, the shopping-mall bank that skyrocketed and crashed on funny business in the crazed oil-and-gas and banking industries.From what I could tell, we've been enjoying a humdinger of a day here in the Big Apple, with blue skies and temp reaching into the upper 60s. I've had to glean this from sources like radio and TV weather reports and the limited view out my apartment windows, because I've wound up basically checking out of the outside world for the day while continuing to nurse a condition for which I believe the correct medical term is "a really nasty cold," in combination with some accumulated fatigue.This has meant checking out of Day 2 of Open House New York, which had the advantage of sparing my having to sort through my assorted scribblings of possible destinations to see which among the extensive offerings that don't require reservations might be doable in what kind of combination. It would have had to be non-reservation sites, because the only reservation I secured on that nightmarish morning when online reservation-making opened was for yesterday: a tour of the construction site for the New York Wheel, the giant Ferris wheel under construction on the north shore of Staten Island. OHNY itself had organized a presentation on the project awhile back, as part of its valuable "Projects in Planning" series, and that made me curious to visit the actual site. Among the "by reservation only" events it was apparently enough off the beaten path to enable me to book it, and by lucky chance I went for the last tour of the day.I think my thinking was that maybe the last tour would be the last to fill up, so I went straight for that, after being shut out of the only other even I tried to book, a tour of the backstage workings of the Metropolitan Opera. As I expected, those tours were booked solidly by the time I su[...]

Our Fleet Of Trucks... Needs Gas Money

Sun, 16 Oct 2016 17:00:00 +0000

It's that time of year again. Staring tomorrow we have trucks, 2-sided mobile billboards prowling the highways and byways of at least 4 districts with Republican incumbents that we think are flippable. These are the four races: • NV-04, where we expect Ruben Kihuen to beat NRA patsy Cresent Hardy• NH-01, where Carol Shea-Porter looks like she can end the political career of dishonest Trumpist Frank Guinta• NY-02, where Suffolk County legislator DuWayne Gregory is on track to oust right-wing crackpot Peter King• TX-21, our long-shot race, where Berniecrat Tom Wakely has made tremendous inroad in the San Antonio and Austin suburbs thanks, in great part to the tight bond between Lamar Smith and Donald J. TrumpThese four trucks are already in production and the first two-- in New Hampshire and Nevada-- will be on the road Tuesday; Long Island starts Wednesday and Texas starts Thursday. We are asking for some money to keep these four rolling right up until November 8. And... if anyone is feeling flush, we'd like to get trucks on the road against Issa in Orange and San Diego counties, against Pet Meehan in the Philly suburbs and against John Faso in upstate New York (Zephyr Teachout's district). Enough $20 contributions will be great for the gas but trucks will cost around $15,000 each for for a run between now and election day. Fortunately, the Blue America Independent Expenditure Committee can take bigger contributions than is permitted to candidates. If you want to give enough for a truck or for a significant part of a truck and it's for a specific candidate, just let us know by e-mailing me at IE Committee ActBlue page is here.Meanwhile, if you want to help the candidates directly, you can contribute to their campaigns on this page, but remember, none of that money goes for the mobile billboard campaign and none of the I.E. money can be shared with the candidates.And if you like the thermometer style of contributing... here's the thermometer for our Independent Expenditure Committee; don't be shy. There's no such thing as a "too small" contribution:[...]

Just Because It's A Congenital Liar Like Trump Who Says The System Is Rigged, That Doesn't Mean It Isn't. It Is

Sun, 16 Oct 2016 13:00:00 +0000

Yes, Trump is a disgusting monster, unfit for public office. And, yes, almost every self-promoting utterance out of his mouth is a lie. But there are kernels of truth in much of his bullshit. This weekend the establishment media outlets (and Democratic Party) are OD-ing on smelling salts because Trump is undermining American democracy by calling the system rigged. He says the system wanted to see Hillary Clinton in the White House. He doesn't say, the media started the process by making sure the GOP would nominate the most flawed candidate imaginable. (Friday, CNN president-- and Trump associate-- Jeff Zucker admitted he made a mistake by airing so many Trump rallies during the primary season.) How did that help Hillary? In a contest that was bound to be a lesser-of-two-evils election, could she have beaten a more standard, garden variety Republican like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, even Kasich or Walker?Saturday the Washington Post and the Boston Globe both featured the idea that Trump is undermining democracy with all his talk about rigged elections. Anger and hostility were the most overwhelming sentiments at a Trump rally in Cincinnati last week, a deep sense of frustration, an us-versus-them mentality, and a belief that they are part of an unstoppable and underestimated movement. Unlike many in the country, however, these hard-core Trump followers do not believe the real estate mogul’s misfortunes are of his own making.They believe what Trump has told them over and over, that this election is rigged, and if he loses, it will be because of a massive conspiracy to take him down.At a time when trust in government is at a low point, Trump is actively stoking fears that a core tenet of American democracy is also in peril: that you can trust what happens at the ballot box.His supporters here said they plan to go to their local precincts to look for illegal immigrants who may attempt to vote. They are worried that Democrats will load up buses of minorities and take them to vote several times in different areas of the city. They’ve heard rumors that boxes of Clinton votes are already waiting somewhere.And if Trump doesn’t win, some are even openly talking about violent rebellion and assassination, as fantastical and unhinged as that may seem.“If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it,” Dan Bowman, a 50-year-old contractor, said of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. “We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take... I would do whatever I can for my country.”He then placed a Trump mask on his face and posed for pictures.Trump’s campaign has taken a sharp turn toward such dark warnings in recent days. He says he is a victim of conspiracies, portrays himself as a martyr to the cause of the right wing, and is stoking anger in advance of what may be a defeat on Nov. 8.His campaign has been stamped with improbability ever since he announced his candidacy in June 2015. He captured the nomination with rhetoric appealing to the angriest voters in the conservative base....Mainstream Republicans are watching these developments at the top of the ticket with a growing sense of alarm, calling Trump’s latest conspiracy theories of a rigged election irresponsible and dangerous. They also s[...]