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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, 18 Aug 2017 03:23:12 +0000


How Badly Will Trump's Stroll Through The Garden Of Racism Hurt GOP Candidates In 2018?

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 01:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">Yesterday we noted that Randy Bryce is calling on Paul Ryan to lead the House in censuring Trump for his pro-Nazi, pro-KKK remarks. Up top is the video and yesterday 3 of Congress' most serious progressives, Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) announced a resolution of censure in the House against Señor Trumpanzee for his remarks at Trumpanzee Tower Tuesday re-asserting earlier comments that "both sides" were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and excusing the behavior of participants in the 'Unite the Right' rally. Pramila, in announcing the resolution, noted that "not even a week has passed since the tragedy in Charlottesville. But on Tuesday, the president poured salt on the nation’s wounds by defending those who marched with white supremacists. In an unscripted press conference, we saw the real and unfiltered Donald Trump-- the logical endpoint for a man who has consistently trafficked in racism throughout his career. The American people expect their leaders to condemn white supremacy in unambiguous terms. President Trump not only failed at condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis, he stood up for them-- for that he must be censured. The president’s conduct is un-American and it must stop." The resolution censuring and condemning Trump is set to be introduced on Friday, August 18, when the House is next in pro forma session. This is it: RESOLUTIONCensuring and condemning President Donald Trump.Whereas on August 11, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, a gathering of white supremacists, including neo-Nazis, Klu Klux Klan (KKK) members, and other alt-Right, white nationalist groups, marched through the streets with torches as part of a coordinated ‘Unite the Right’ rally spewing racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred;Whereas on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, a car driven by James Alex Fields, Jr. rammed into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 20 others;Whereas President Donald Trump’s immediate public comments rebuked “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and failed to specifically condemn the ‘Unite the Right’ rally or cite the white supremacist, neo-Nazi gathering as responsible for actions of domestic terrorism;Whereas on August 15, 2017 President Donald Trump held a press conference at Trump Tower where he re-asserted that “both sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and attempted to create a moral equivalency between white supremacist, KKK, neo-Nazi groups and those counter-protesting the ‘Unite the Right’ rally;Whereas President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with, and cultivated the influence of, senior advisors and spokespeople who have long histories of promoting white nationalist, alt-Right, racist and anti-Semitic principles and policies within the country;Whereas President Donald Trump has provided tacit encouragement and little to no denunciation of white supremacist groups and individuals who promote their bigoted, nationalist ideology and policies;Whereas President Donald Trump has failed to provide adequate condemnation and assure the American people of his resolve to opposing domestic terrorism: Now, therefore, be itResolved, That the House of Representatives--(1)   does hereby censure and condemn President Donald Trump for his inadequate response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017, his failure to immediately and specifically name and condemn the white supremacist groups responsible for actions of domestic terrorism, for re-asserting that “both sides” were to blame and excusing the violent behavior of participants in the ‘Unite the Right’ rally, and for employing people with ties to white supremacist movements in the White House, such as Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka; and(2)   does hereby urge President Donald Trump to fire any and all Whit[...]

Charlottesville: Trump's Very Fine People

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 21:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">It's absolutely crucial to watch the video above to get an understanding about who the "alt-right"-- the American neo-Nazi movement Trump has been equivocating about-- is, and what happened in Charlottesville and why it happened. It wasn't a "both sides" kind of thing that Bannon has Trump saying it was. Hundreds of the Nazis descended on Charlottesville, heavily armed and filled with anti-semitism, racism and intense feelings on inadequacy and victimhood. They were looking for attention for their movement-- and for excitement and a sense of belonging... justifications for pointless, brutish, failed lives.This is Steve Bannon's wing of the Republican Party that Republicans in Congress are horrified by but reluctant to admit is an inherent part of Trumpism. This could happen in your town too-- and Bannon wants you to know that... just in case you have any ideas about removing Trump from office. This is the threat. Here's how a small city in Bavaria, Wunsiedel-- where Nazi Rudolph Hess was born and buried-- successfully got rid of their neo-Nazi problem starting in 2014. The folks in the town decided to start contributing money to anti-fascist organizations for every step the neo-Nazis took in their marches through their city. They were welcomed to the town as part of a Nazis Against Nazis walkathon. The more the Nazis marched, the more money "they" raised for anti-Nazi organizations.This morning Trumpanzee was up and tweeting his disdain for America-- maliciously pouring gasoline of the fire. FDR famously said he welcomes the hatred of the predatory banksters. Trump seems to welcome the hatred of the American people. Or is he just trying to push the adults in his regime out with tweets like this? I wonder if this is enough for Paul Ryan to finally denounce him and allow the resolution of censure to come to the floor.Oh, and that spokesman for the Nazis in the Vice video in Charlottesville up top... the one who just couldn't stop running his foul, ugly mouth... he posted a followup clip on YouTube yesterday, poor widdle snowflake... but ultimately, this is Trumpanzee himself and every single Trump supporter rolled up into one: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">[...]

​The Liberal Meritocracy at Work

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Liberal meritocracy in action. Slick new buses like these ferry high tech workers to and from Bay Area jobs, using city bus stops as pickup points. The city gets "a pittance" for each "stop event" while the city's less-connected citizens get no right at all to ride them (source).by Gaius PubliusThomas Frank has made the point many times that the modern Democratic Party has abandoned the working class, and indeed most of the middle class, and that today its true constituency is really just the "professional" class, the upper 10%, more or less.That makes a kind of sense if, cynical electoral financing decisions aside, people who actually run the Democratic Party inhabit a culture that considers only the "smart" and "accomplished" truly deserving. Consider the constant praise from mainstream Democrats, for example, of the "entrepreneurial" or "creative" class and how these wannabe billionaires — riders of Google Buses in San Francisco, a kind of alt-transportation system to which only high tech workers have access — can be counted on to lift the rest of the country out of the depths and into a new age of job creation (in China).There could not be a more striking example of this kind of meritocracy than the following email from the Podesta Wikileaks archives (h/t commenter John Wright in this Naked Capitalism thread). It was sent from Clinton supporter and UC Berkeley Professor Brad DeLong during the primary season to Clinton supporter and Center for American Progress chief Neera Tanden:From:brad.delong@gmail.comTo: ntanden@americanprogress.orgCC: john.podesta@gmail.comDate: 2015-07-31 15:42Subject: So my 25-year-old Michael DeLong has applied for a Firearms Safety Policy job at CAP…Dear Neera (and John)—So my 25-year-old Michael DeLong has applied for a Firearms Safety Policy job at CAP…I think he is a very, very strong candidate on the merits, given what he has been doing in Portland at Ceasefire Oregon in the three years since he graduated from Reed College, and how effective he has been there. But I find myself somewhat anxious [that] somebody already in Washington and with better connections might crowd him out…May I beg you to reassure me?Yours,Brad DeLongWhen the working class does this, of course, it's called nepotism. I'm sure at Neera Tanden's level it's called "networking." There were several notes about DeLong's son's job availability sprinkled among the Podesta emails that involved Professor DeLong, and it's certainly true that fathers and mothers everywhere have attempted to ease their children's entry into the job market by asking for a boost from friends. I don't fault the act. What makes this stand out, though, is not DeLong's interest in seeing his son hired, but his stated fear that his son would be lose his slot at CAP, not to someone better qualified, but to someone better connected.Thus the "meritorious" competition seems recognized as not between the talented and connected; just between the connected. "I find myself somewhat anxious [that] somebody already in Washington and with better connections might crowd him out… May I beg you to reassure me?"A small thing perhaps, and certainly not a strike against DeLong for asking. Every father should love his children, and DeLong's son does sound accomplished. Nevertheless, this is a striking reminder of what concepts like "democracy" and "rights" mean to mainstream (Clinton wing and Obama wing) Democrats as a group, as they struggle with the problem of offering to the rest of us — or working to deny it — the same "rights" that the Party elite and its servicing ecosystem already enjoy as privileges of class, like access to affordable, quality medical care. Schedule note: I'll be reading but not writing for about two weeks, restarting after Labor Day.GP  [...]

Jimmy Kimmel: "I Would Feel More Comfortable If Cercei Lannister Was Running This Country At This Point"

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">Tuesday night, reported Maggie Haberman, Señor Trumpanzee was in a very good mood after his press conference. Her White House sources told her he felt liberated after doing what he wanted. The next morning, Heather Heyer was buried. Neither Trump nor Pence bothered to attend. Not one of the "very fine people?" Haberman also reported that Gary Cohn is said to be deeply upset by the events of the last few days and Trump's responses, "per multiple sources," but that he's not leaving administration-- not happy but not leaving. One twitter wag came up with this:Jonathan Chait's account about the horror that gripped the non-Bannonites on White House staff when Trump unmasked himself in front of the media Tuesday is worth reading. These staffers, he wrote "have rarely registered their dismay as nakedly as they did Tuesday night, when he spontaneously altered a plan to deliver remarks on infrastructure without taking questions into a free-form defense of white supremacists. One official told NBC News that Trump had 'gone rogue.' Mike Allen reports that chief economic adviser Gary Cohn is 'between appalled and furious,' and that there is a danger one or more high-level officials could resign." Chief of staff John Kelly looked like someone kicked him in the stomach while Trump decided it was acceptable to call his Nazi supporters "fine people" and to equate them, morally, to anti-Nazis-- or even not as good as the Nazis because the Nazis had a permit and the counter-demonstrators didn't. But it is important to understand the precise nature of their distress. It is emphatically not because they are shocked to learn their boss is a racist, a fact that has been established through numerous episodes, such as Trump’s insistence a Mexican-American judge was inherently biased against him, his call for a Muslim immigration ban, his slander of Ghazala Khan, and so on. They are angry that Trump revealed beliefs they wish to keep hidden. “Members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private,” reports the New York Times.This raises the question once again of why they are working for Trump at all. A legitimate public rationale can be made for serving the administration in certain roles. The federal government plays a vital role in domestic and global security, Trump is a dangerous and erratic figure, and somebody needs to try to steer him away from decisions that would provoke unalterable tragedy. That justification covers serving Trump as a foreign-policy adviser, or as homeland security and disaster-response officials.But what what justification can the domestic and political advisers offer? Any benefit they can get by helping produce what they regard as better policies is surely offset by the cover they (and their policy successes, should they produce any) provide him.Suppose yesterday’s remarks had gone off as planned. Suppose Trump had pushed his message of infrastructure. Suppose further every subsequent step also worked as planned-- Trump manages to build political support for the huge infrastructure build-out he campaigned upon, and created millions of jobs and the backdrops for several powerful reelection campaign ads. All they would have done is fulfill Steve Bannon’s dream of a worker’s party uniting economic populism with ethnonationalist grievance. “Shipyards, ironworks, get them all jacked up,” he told Michael Wolff after the election, “We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution-- conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.” ... Preventing Trump from doing something damaging is a legitimate and even noble calling. But that admirable motivation can easily mutate into ra[...]

The Midnight Meme Of The Day!

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:01:00 +0000

-by NoahLast year, when NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, then of the San Francisco 49ers franchise, famously took a knee during a pre-game playing of the National Anthem, he did it to call attention to racial and economic injustice. That caused Republicans, all too predictably, to go ballistic. How dare he protest injustice! Injustice is our creed! It’s why we live!In short order, the braying hounds of hypocrisy twisted Kaepernick’s dastardly deed into some sort of insult against police, the military, the banks, white America, the entire country, Miss America, deep dish apple pie, you have it. It was and remains a frenzy bordering on their insane claims that ol’ “Lock her up” HRC is running a child sex slave business out of a pizza shop in suburban Maryland and some guy was born in Kenya, or something.Since then, Kaepernick, who was good enough to lead his team to the 2013 Super Bowl, first got demoted to second string. When he did appear on the field, he was booed by his now brainwashed former fans and others who felt the need to pile on. Despite his talent, he is now not even a second stringer. He is a free agent, looking for a job in the NFL while other quarterbacks of lesser talent are eagerly scooped up. It appears that he is being blackballed from playing in the NFL. Joe McCarthy is smiling way down in the depths of Hell.In the meantime, a variety of players who beat their wives, girlfriends, and/or children, or, have been arrested on gun or drug charges have merely served a brief suspension or paid a fine, and been forgiven and reinstated to take the field and play every week, but not Colin Kaepernick. He took a knee!!!Colin Kaepernick: That guy! There’s something way more wrong with that guy! The fans who boo Kaepernick have no problem wildly cheering for their reinstated criminal wife-beating, child abusing heroes. It makes one wonder what would happen if O.J. Simpson still had enough youth and ability to play.It now gets even worse: Those same people who had soooo much to say about Colin Kaepernick; those same Republicans and media hacks have zero problem with people who raise their hands in a Nazi salute and chant anti-Semitic and racist slogans to their charred little hearts’ content. They remain eerily and disgustingly silent about all of that. Where does NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stand on all of this? Who knows? Except for a few excruciatingly bland statements, he’s strangely silent, too, or just completely gutless.Now that the NFL pre-season is underway, this seems to be an appropriate day for this meme. Don’t forget to share with your friends. Why not even tweet the meme to Roger Goodell, and that mentally ill goon in the White House, too? Ooooh, and I bet Sean Hannity would absolutely love it! Think how torn and confused he’ll be when he sees a black man and some neo-Nazis suddenly appear on his phone at the very same instant! He won’t know what to do. 10 to 1 odds, he burns his phone and goes out to get a new one. Then you can send it to him again.[...]

Trumpanzee's Jews Aren't Anything Like Normal Jews

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 04:00:00 +0000

I wonder if all the vehement anti-Semitism on display from a newly empowered fascist movement-- they call it "alt-right" these days-- is making the modern day Bugsy Siegal-- Vegas mob boss Sheldon Adelson-- just a little nervous. If the Steve Bannon wing of the Republican power ever gains ultimate power, I'm sure there's a gas chamber that even someone as grossly rotund as Adelson can be stuffed into. Maybe that's why he's getting a little nervous about the fascist campaign to demonize H.R. McMaster. Normal people don't hear much about it, but the Bannon vs McMaster brawl is center stage in the fever swamps of the far right and inside TrumpWorld. Adelson weighing in is a big deal since he routinely funnels millions of dollars annually into the Republican Party from the Mafia, from interests in China and from interests in Israel.Writing for Axios yesterday, Jonathan Swan reported that the virulently anti-union billionaire "has disavowed a campaign against National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, which is being pushed by a group Adelson funds, the Zionist Organization of America. Andy Abboud, who represents Adelson, tells me: 'Sheldon Adelson has nothing to do with the ZOA campaign against McMaster. Had no knowledge of it. And has provided zero support, and is perfectly comfortable with the role that McMaster is playing.'"Since then Adelson has updated his position with a telephone clarification to Axios which emphasizes that Adelson doesn't know McMaster and hasn't developed an opinion about him. Adelson doesn't want his intervention to be interpreted as a political endorsement; but rather that he has had nothing to do with, and doesn't support, the campaign against McMaster.This is of interest and some import because Adelson is one of the biggest financial contributors "in Republican politics, and his influence over national security and Israel-related matters is substantial. His is a voice listened to by President Trump and other senior White House officials like Jared Kushner." Not by serious policy experts, of course, but by grifters like Trump and Kushner. Zionist Organization of America represents the far right of Israeli politics in America and the Adelsons give them immense sums of money. Somewhat ironically, they have thrown their lot in with the alt-right, the center of American anti-Semitism and their completely deranged crackpot president, Mort Klein, is about one step away from buying a tiki torch and waving a swastika banner at shuel. Klein is very tight with Trump's neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who accuses McMaster of being "soft on Israel and unserious about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. He's called for Trump to 'reassign' McMaster 'to another position where he can do no further harm on these critical national security issues.' Klein is increasingly isolated in his opposition to McMaster. His only senior ally inside the White House is Bannon; the rest of the senior staff has united in disgust at the outside campaign against McMaster. David Friedman, Trump's staunchly pro-Israel ambassador, is vouching for McMaster, though he was unable to convince Klein."David Frum noted on Twitter this morning that his rabbi had posted this comment (above) on his Facebook page. It's from a Charlottesville resident. Did Señor Trumpanzee think these were some of the "very fine people" marching around Friday and Saturday with Nazi and KKK symbols and waving "Elect Trump-Pence" signs? Virginia's governor certainly didn't think they were very fine.As Emma Green pointed out for Atlantic readers yesterday, Trump's very fine Charlottesville marchers were obsessed with Jews. Trumpanzee can insist all he wants that the "Unite the Right" activities were about protecting their cultural heritage and the Robert E. Lee statue, but what does that have to do with "Jews will not replace us?" She wrote that "Marchers displayed swastikas on banners and shouted s[...]

Economic Inequality Matters

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 01:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">This afternoon, Alan Grayson, who had just watched the video above, told us that "Since the Enlightenment began, people have been fishing around for some kind of extrinsic validation of the concept of 'justice' For instance, the first two sentences of the Declaration of Independence appeal to 'the Laws of Nature,' 'Nature’s God,' the 'opinions of mankind' and the 'Creator.' What the de Waal experiment shows is that there is no need to look outside of ourselves to justify justice; we can look inside. If it’s in capuchin monkeys, then surely it’s in us, too. All of us."David Gill is an emergency room physician running for Congress in Illinois' 13th congressional district against hapless rubber stamp Republican Rodney Davis. There was no one I could think of better to help explain the experiment in the video above. "Economic inequality," he told us this morning, "has been an ever-expanding problem in America for two generations now, with so many Americans coming to realize that no matter how hard they work, they will never have the opportunity to better their lot in life. And the driving force behind this loss of the American Dream for the majority of us is this: for at least the past three decades, we've had both major political parties groveling at the feet of Wall Street banks and large multi-national corporations. This corporate ownership of our politics and our government leaves the vast majority of us without proper representation and results in overwhelming economic injustice."The consequences of having both parties selling themselves to Corporate America are numerous: lack of a single-payer healthcare system, a ridiculously inadequate minimum wage, an incredibly bloated defense budget at the expense of needed social programs, a tax system designed to maintain the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a select few."The chronicity and the ever-widening nature of our economic inequality takes its toll-- it feeds a hopelessness and a political apathy that then results in the election of individuals even less concerned with the well-being of ordinary Americans, and resulting in turn in a vicious cycle. I'm running for Congress to be a part of breaking that cycle." Please help Dr. Gill get his message out in IL-13 by contributing to his entirely grassroots campaign here at the Blue America ActBlue page.Yesterday, Nate Cohn tried explaining to NY Times readers what the 9.2% of Trump voters who backed Obama in 2012-- basically white voters without a college degree-- have in their minds. He reminds us that these voters are pivotal-- and up for grabs. Hillary isn't president, he wrote, "primarily because of the narrow but deep swing among white working-class voters who were overrepresented in decisive battleground states... Just 74 percent of white Obama voters with a high school diploma or less backed Mrs. Clinton in the voter study group study cited by Mr. Milbank... The data from these surveys sends a mixed message. Strong evidence suggests a lot of these voters will lean Republican for the foreseeable future, and certainly will lean toward Mr. Trump. But Democrats can still win a meaningful and potentially decisive share of these voters, many of whom probably voted Democratic down-ballot in 2016. Here’s what one survey, the C.C.E.S., says about these voters:" THEY HAD SOURED ON MR. OBAMA Just 29 percent of white, no-college Obama-Trump voters approved of his performance, and 69 percent disapproved. Similarly, 75 percent said they would repeal the Affordable Care Act. Only 15 percent believed the economy had improved over the last year, and just 23 percent said their income had increased over the last four years.THEY LARGELY BACK THE TRUMP AGENDA The Obama-Trump voters generally support Mr. Trump’s key campaign pledges[...]

Dems Need To Learn From The Failures The Bad Policies The Corporate Wing Of The Party Have Saddled Them With-- CA-22 Mea Culpa

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 21:00:00 +0000

Ricardo Franco (D)You may recall that a few days ago we looked at the race for the Democratic nomination for the Central Valley district (CA-22) occupied by increasingly despised Trump crony Devin Nunes. The DCCC has never contested this district before. At the time, we promised to get you more information about the two most recent candidates, Ricardo Franco and Bobby Bliatout. We're just starting discussions with the latter but we've been talking with Franco since then.When I asked Franco if it is OK to campaign specifically on Medicare-for-All he responded-- too late for Sunday's post, that he's "been using the the phrases 'Universal Healthcare' and 'single-payer' system, but I think 'Medicare-for-all' is a much better phrase. I believe in it, it's a clear policy position to solve an important issue and I think voters are intelligent enough to know what it means. I'm going to start using it now!" He added that he's "not convinced that being a moderate in a district like mine will win swing voters, but rather being upfront and honest about your progressive values will show a genuineness that's attractive to moderate voters (I spoke with other voters over the weekend that said they would have voted for Bernie if it was him versus Trump!) You must also develop a plan. I believe voters are tired of talking points and want to see a concrete plan from candidates to spur discussion. No more wishy-washy statements generalized for broad appeal, but rather concrete plans of actions based upon your morals." So I asked him to pen a guest post for us. This is it: I Voted For Hillary Over Bernie. I Was Wrong.-by Ricardo Franco,congressional candidate, CA-22 Back in November I cast my vote for Secretary Clinton with enthusiasm. She was the most experienced candidate in history. She would be the first female president. I had campaigned, donated and phone banked for her more than anyone else in my life. Love would surely Trump hate.And then we lost.It was inconceivable. I had gone to my parent's house so I could share Hillary's historic win with my family--  a day they thought they'd never live to see. We have hosted funeral receptions in their house that didn't feel as bad as that night. Somehow I muttered the words, "I was wrong."In 2006 the house I had been living in at the time burnt down to the ground. I broke my foot and suffered burns jumping from a second story window. Eight hours later as I was getting discharged from the hospital with a cast on my foot I muttered to myself, "well, looks like I'm homeless."Being wrong in 2016 felt worse than being homeless in 2006.When reality bites, you have to admit you've been bitten. For me that meant admitting that Bernie could have beaten Trump, that moderate Democrats continue to lose swing territory elections and that all the polling experts know nothing about which they speak. It's time to stop listening to other people and listen to your neighbors and your gut.I have met so many conservatives in my district that have told me they would have gladly voted for Bernie over Trump, but the Democratic party didn't give them that chance. "Bernie was a cool guy! I would have voted for him. Trump's an asshole, but there's no way I'd ever vote for Hillary," they tell me. Now, as a businessman, when clients and customers tell you exactly what they are willing to pay for I will tell you that you better listen. It's time for the Democratic party to do the same.The more progressive platform that Senator Sanders is proposing is one that almost all Democrats would love to have enacted as well as being appealing to other non-traditionally Democratic voters. It's time we accept this bite from reality and find candidates that message it from the heart. Why have we not evolved as a party with t[...]

Trump-Supporting Crackpots In Indiana Are Destroying Each Other-- Can That Save Joe Donnelly's Senate Seat

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Mess of Indiana conservatismBefore we get into the Indiana Senate race, there's some breaking news I want to share. Randy Bryce, the progressive Democrat and iron worker running for the southeast Wisconsin congressional seat occupied by Paul Ryan just moments ago issued a statementcalling on Ryan to initiate censure proceedings in the House against Trump for his divisive 'both sides' comments. "There is no moral equivalence between the repugnant peddlers of hate and violence, and those who bravely stand up to them," said Bryce. "Yesterday President Trump used the presidential seal to give political cover to vile racist extremists. The forces of deadly bigotry will only be emboldened by Trump's comments. When former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke thanks you for your remarks-- as he did to the president yesterday-- you are on the wrong side of history, decency, and American values. These comments yesterday require more than statements of outrage.  They demand an official expression of denunciation from Congress, on the record for all the world to see, and made permanent for history. Speaker Ryan," he said, addressing his opponent directly, "it is time to put action to your words. Only you as the leader of the House can compel that body to move decisively. Demonstrate courage and leadership, not only rhetoric. Initiate censure proceedings now in the U.S. House of Representatives against President Trump for the chief executive's outrageous, unacceptable and un-Amercian remarks."And now back to our regularly scheduled programming:Neither of them had to do this-- they each have a safe, comfy, congressional seat-for-life in red parts of Indiana-- but their rivalry is going to cost one of them-- perhaps both of them-- his career in politics. Todd Rokita was elected to Congress in 2010. The 4th congressional district west of Indianapolis has a PVI of R+11. Hillary didn't even hot a third of the vote last year in the district. This is one RED seat. And Luke Messer's 6th district, east of Indianapolis, is even redder. The PVI is R+12. It's Mike Pence's old House seat and Messer took over in 2012 when Pence became governor of Indiana. The district gave Trump a huge win, his biggest in the state-- 67.7% to 27.4%. Both are right-wing extremists and total Trump rubber stamps. Rokita's ifetime ProgressivePunch crucial vote score is 6.10 and Messer's score is 2.62. Politico termed their primary for the Republican Party nomination to go up against vulnerable and unpopular Blue Dog Joe Donnelly the GOP's nastiest Senate primary. And it's personal. The two right-wing goof-balls went the same sub-par college, the all-males Wabash College in Crawfordsville. "The slugfest underway between Republican Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita in Indiana isn’t just for the right to compete for possibly the GOP’s best opportunity to seize a Senate seat from Democrats in next year’s midterms," wrote Maggie Severns and Kevin Robillard. "It’s a chance to finally settle the score between two ambitious pols who’ve been vying to outdo one another politically since they graduated from the same small college more than 25 years ago. Yes, this one is personal. Their campaign didn’t officially get underway until last week, but Messer, 48, has already accused Rokita of attacking his wife and 'spreading lies' about his record. Rokita, 47, has questioned his rival’s mental health, calling Messer 'unhinged' and a 'ticking time bomb.'"Indiana is Trump country-- he beat Hillary 1,557,286 (56.8%) to 1,033,126 (37.9%)-- and Donnelly is disliked by significant numbers of Democrats for his right-of-center approach. He's the GOP's easiest target for 2018. Donnelly only won in 2012 because he was up against a certifiably insane person, Richard Mourdock, who kept destroying his own chances-- and even then[...]

Business Leaders And Political Leaders Abandon Trump In Disgust

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 13:00:00 +0000

The Last Supper by Nancy OhanianIf you've never heard of it before, Trump's Manufacturing Jobs Initiative council has come into the public eye in the last couple of days-- and for all the wrong reasons. He established the council in January to informally advice him on job creation issues. This is the list of the initial roster of executives: • Andrew Liveris, Dow Chemical• Bill Brown, Harris Corporation• Michael Dell, Dell Technologies• John Ferriola, Nucor Corporation• Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool Corporation• Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company• Ken Frazier, Merck & Co.• Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson• Greg Hayes, United Technologies Corp.• Marilynn Hewson, Lockheed Martin Corp.• Jeff Immelt, General Electric• Jim Kamsickas, Dana Inc.• Klaus Kleinfeld, Arconic• Brian Krzanich, Intel Corp.• Rich Kyle, The Timken Company• Thea Lee, AFL-CIO• Mario Longhi, U.S. Steel• Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup• Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing• Elon Musk, Tesla• Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar• Scott Paul, Alliance for American Manufacturing• Kevin Plank, Under Armour• Michael Polk, Newell Brands• Mark Sutton, International Paper• Inge Thulin, 3M• Richard Tumka, AFL-CIO• Wendell Weeks, CorningTrump's policies on immigration and Climate Change have alienated some of the members and some, like Tesla's Elon Musk, Uber's Travis Kalanick and Disney's Bob Iger saw the writing on the wall long ago and resigned. When anyone leaves, Trump curses them out and adds new members. Typical Trumpy-the-Clown tweet from yesterday:His response to the tragedy in Charlottesville was widely seen as too sympathetic to domestic terrorists, the KKK and Nazis and more members quit, infuriating Señor Trumpanzee and driving him into a rage. Ken Frazier, the CEO of Merck was the first to bail, issuing this statement that left Trump climbing the walls at Bedminster. When Trump read "America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal," Trump immediately tweeted menacingly-- in a Queens middle school playground kind of way-- "Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!" Trump is such a douche bag!And his bullying tactics didn't seem to deter anyone. Right after his screed against Frazier, Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour announced that he had "joined the American Manufacturing Council because I believed it was important for Under Armour to have an active seat at the table and represent our industry. We remain resolute in our potential and ability to improve American manufacturing. However, Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics. I am appreciative of the opportunity to have served, but have decided to step down from the council. I love our country and our company and will continue to focus my efforts on inspiring every person that they can do anything through the power of sport which promotes unity, diversity and inclusion."Next came Intel CEO Brian Krzanich with this statement condemning the "very fine" racists at the core of Trump's support, something that further enraged the already enraged Trump: "Earlier today, I tendered my resignation from the American Manufacturing Council. I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing. Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base. I have already made clear my abhorrence at the recent hate-spawned violence in Charlottesville, and earlier toda[...]

Introducing A New Feature Of Down With Tyranny: The Midnight Meme Of The Day

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 07:01:00 +0000

-by Noah

We live in a short attention span era and memes of all kinds have become increasingly more popular. Long before Twitter, those trying to make a point came up with catchphrases and buzz-words. Now, with Social Media, we have a new take or variation on the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

It’s not that people shouldn’t read something that may take a few minutes of their valuable time; they should continue to do that by all means. But, for that quick hit or that on the run, driveby statement, memes can certainly pack a punch. It’s just advertising when you get down to it.

I approached Howie with this idea a few days ago and he liked the concept. So, with so many fine memes to choose from in any given day, some funny, some poignant, I will attempt to select one per day. I may miss a day here or there, but, hopefully that will just increase your anticipation for the next one.

As the name says, your daily meme will be posted at midnight. Sometimes, I might add a comment. More often, I will just post the meme itself. A warning though, I reserve the right to break things up at least once a week by using any great cartoons or tweets that I encounter over the course of the day. It’s the message that matters! I strongly encourage you to forward the memes to your friends and, especially, any Republikooks you may still associate with. It irritates their little brainwashed minds. In the rare instance, it may even get them thinking, but, please don’t count on it. Just be satisfied that you’ve given a little jab in an effort to save their soul, if they still have one.

So, without further ado, here is the debut Midnight Meme of the day. It’s always going to be hard to choose just one, but the one below seemed to fit best for today, and hopefully, the efforts of the Republican Party and their Señor Trumpanzee to bring about their dream of “the end of days”, or at least a new Reich, will fail, thus allowing us many, many, many more days.

Time To Stock Up On Those Forever Postage Stamps?

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 04:00:00 +0000

The Postal Workers Union is gearing up for a battle with the Trump Regime. The Trump/Ryan budget, if it passes, will be devastating for the U.S. Post Office. It calls for a $47 billion cut (over 10 years) to retirement benefits and mail delivery costs. The budget forces postal workers to pay an additional billion dollars in contributions to their health and life insurance plans. The budget would end Saturday delivery-- freeing up the post office to work for UPS and FedEx on the weekends-- cut back on delivery service, especially in rural areas (that voted overwhelmingly for Trump) to a frequency rate "where there is a business case for doing so," and reduces door-to-door delivery, allowing the Post Office to move toward centralized "cluster box" delivery.Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, called Trump's plan a threat to "the long-term viability of the Postal Service... It is unfortunate and disappointing that the administration would so recklessly attack the livelihoods of active and retired federal retirees who have devoted their lives to our country. NALC will vigorously fight any budget proposal that attacks our members or the Postal Service." Updated wikipedia page-- Presidents of the ConfederacyThis morning, Paul Ryan's rival for the southeast Wisconsin congressional seat, Randy Bryce, told me that the budgetary cuts to the post office would be very damaging to rural parts of his own district. "This would absolutely hurt rural areas in WI-01," he said. "It’s an attempt to privatize yet another national treasure. Unlike other services, USPS has to pay for their pensions decades in advance! This is yet another blatant attempt by the GOP to reward their donors on the backs of hard working people. Private delivery companies don’t travel anywhere near the extent of USPS routes. Instead of continuing to pick off American workers by dividing and conquering, we need to unite and stop this garbage right now-- right here."The Trump-Ryan budget will also increase the price of first class postage significantly-- possibly as soon as this fall or maybe not until after the 2018 elections. (A first class stamp, which used to cost 3 cents for my entire childhood is now 49 cents and could rise as high as 75 cents or even a dollar.) A friend of mine in Florida just got a letter from his union today starting the mobilization process against Trump's and Ryan's plans to destroy their livelihoods-- and the postal service in general:[...]

Losers At Life-- Trump's Most Ardent Supporters... The Bannon-Wing Of The Republican Party

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 01:00:00 +0000

All during the campaign we mentioned how Trump's most loyal followers hated life, hated their families, their communities their own children, themselves and, most of all, their lot in life. They're losers incoherently crying for a fairer shot... which is what makes it hard for progressives to condemn them wholesale. We feel their pain. Until something like Charlottesville happens.KKK grand dragon of whatever they call themselves David Duke, a former Republican state senator from Louisiana, and Nazi fuehrer Richard Spencer have put themselves out as leaders of the Unite the Right movement. Duke noted that "Russia is the key to white survival" and Spencer told his supporters that "Russia is the sole white power in the world." That works out fortuitously... for the TrumpWorld money launderers and kleptocrats.But, of course, the movement isn't just Richard Spencer, David Duke, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Gorka, and Señor Trumpanzee. No, no, no... there are lots and lots of losers at life we're talking about here. Remember, these are people that identify with our country's defeated enemies, Nazi Germany and the slave-holding Confederate rebels and mythologize about their greatness. And, God bless them, the NY Daily News took it upon themselves to report on the outing of these right-wing miscreants-- in case one of them wants to marry your daughter or apply for a job doing something where you work. (Now, remember, we're anti-violence here.) White nationalists who caused mayhem protesting in Charlottesville over the weekend can’t run away from the internet.A Twitter account dubbed “Yes, You're Racist” is exposing the white nationalists who attended the “Unite the Right” rally at Emancipation Park condemning the city's decision to take down the Robert E. Lee statue.“If you recognize any of the Nazis marching in #Charlottesville, send me their names/profiles and I'll make them famous #GoodNightAltRight,” user @YesYoureRacist tweeted Saturday.Among those identified was Peter Cvjetanovic of Reno, Nev.Photos of the 20-year-old college student showed him holding a tiki torch among other protesters during the white supremacist gathering Friday night. The snapshots quickly spread on social media with people slamming him as a racist.However, the white nationalist told KTVN-TV that he wasn’t a racist and didn’t expect to receive such backlash.“I did not expect the photo to be shared as much as it was. I understand the photo has a very negative connotation, Cvjetanovic told the station. “But I hope that the people sharing the photo are willing to listen that I’m not the angry racist they see in that photo.”James Fields, center, has been charged with crashing a car into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Va., killing a 32-year-old womanCvjetanovic, who traveled to Charlottesville to show his disapproval over the ordered removal of the statue, also defended his white supremacist beliefs.“As a white nationalist, I care for all people. We all deserve a future for our children and for our culture,” he told KTVN. White nationalists aren’t all hateful; we just want to preserve what we have.”Cole White — another protester pictured on the account-- was fired from his job at Top Dog, a restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., the company said.“Effective Saturday 12th August, Cole White no longer works at Top Dog. The actions of those in Charlottesville are not supported by Top Dog,” the company told the Daily News Sunday. “We believe in individual freedom, and voluntary association for everyone.”The “Yes, You’re Racist” page also featured shots of James Fields, the 20-year-old of Ohio who allegedly rammed his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of demonstrators, killing 32-year-old [...]

Violence... Non-Violence... What About When It Comes To Nazis?

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 21:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">That's American Nazi leader Richard Spencer pretending to be Dave Gahan a couple months ago in front of a crowd of drunken fascists who appear to have left their tiki torches at home that night. As a longtime, devoted Depeche Mode fan, that doesn't give me the right to kill him-- even if I'm going to be haunted for weeks after I watching him mincing around the stage like that. Even punching him in the face is... well, just something to laugh about. I've been a non-violent kind of guy for my whole life (except once). allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">The video's funny. I wish it went on longer. But I don't mean to advocate violence-- just Depeche Mode's music (mostly). Ryan Clayton is the president of Americans Take Action, a populist network formed to restore free and fair elections in America, create a purpose driven economy, and save the free and open internet-- but not to advocate violent action. Definitely not, in fact. Yesterday, on a provate e-mail listserv, Ryan wrote that since Charlottesville he's been seeing "a radical uptick in the number of people on the left calling for us to reciprocate the violence, the most notable example being a new t-shirt campaign called Punch More Nazis. Here's how the argument generally proceeds: 'Practice love and non-violence, except where Nazis are concerned. You must punch Nazis, as they don't speak any other language than violence. Therefore, we much be violent towards them so they understand we mean serious bizness. Yeah, bruh.'" Tempting, right? Ryan says NO-- and you know he's right."Punch More Nazis" = Promotion of Violence.  Period.  Full stop.The Young Turks showed a video of Ryan being attacked by some neo-Nazis a few months ago. Watch: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">Ryan: Honestly, going into this action, I thought they might get violent, but the most I imagined they may was punch us in the face once or twice-- that was the upper limit of what I considered a room full of conservatives might do. But this is a different breed of political animal, folks, these people are straight up right-wing white nationalist fascists, and they heartily embrace violence as a means to an end. Red hats are the new brown-shirts. "Alt-right" just means new nazis, same as the old nazis. I get it. So later on, when having a conversation with a political ally on the left who's a friend, they asked me what it would take to commit violence? I responded simply, "Nothing." After giving me a few scenarios that evoked the same response, he delivered his final salvo, "Yeah, but what about self-defense. What if you thought someone was going to kill you, what would you do then?" I responded, I've actually been in that situation recently, where I thought people were going to kill me, and I held on to my camera; I didn't strike back. The temptation was there that day to ram the person restraining me into the window and free myself from their grip (it ended up being a woman holding me from behind, imagine the delight that O'Keefe would have in flaunting that violent reaction to the world).  When I was being choked, the temptation was there to use training I've received to free myself from such a choke-hold, but that could have been interpreted as an attempt to strike back and escalated the violence. The temptation was definitely there to fight back as I was being thrown down a stairwell, where the thought crossed my mind in that instant that I [...]

Does Trumpanzee Deserve All The Blame For Charlottesville? Or Just Part Of The Blame?

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Vanilla ISISThe Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin predicted Trumapnzee's excuses for the new realization among some who missed the first decades of Trump as racist that Trump is a racist: 1. I was kidding2. the fake news is at fault3. I am the least racist person everDemocratic pollster Matt Canter added the obvious "my grandchildren are Jews."On Sunday, the Regime sent some guy, Tom Bossert, some kind of homeland security advisor, to defend Trump on Jake Tapper's CNN show, State of the Union. "The president not only condemned the violence and stood up at a time and a moment when calm was necessary and didn't dignify the names of these groups of people, but rather addressed the fundamental issue." He didn't directly explain why Trump, who grew up in a Nazi household and whose father was arrested as a KKK street brawler at least once, referred to "many sides" being responsible other than just calling out the Nazis and Klan like all responsible leaders have.Instead there was this kind of drivel: "What you need to focus on is the rest of his statement. The president didn't just call for human beings to respect one another, which is his pragmatist, core fundamental bare minimum, but he called for ideally Americans to love one another, for all of God's children to love one another. That is a fundamental assault on the hatred that we're seeing here."Nazis and the alt-right in general are happy with Trump's non-condemnation and have been celebrating what they view as his support of what they're doing. Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News called it a shameful moral void that leaves America without a leader. He noted that the citronella in the tiki torches from the outdoor patio department at Home Depot "might be great for keeping away flying insects, but it does nothing to deter vermin... "[T]here was," he wrote, "absolutely no mistaking which of the 'many sides of modern American politics was the Bad Side in Charlottesville." Unless you happened to be Donald J. Trump, son of Nazis. And that was before the unspeakable tragedy that took place early Saturday afternoon, when a 20-year Ohio attendee of this neo-Nazi Woodstock jammed the accelerator pedal of his Dodge Challenger and plowed into a crowd of marchers who had flocked to Charlottesville to protest against fascism. The marchers were the Good Side. This act of blatant terrorism against them created an image-- innocent black and white bodies, flying in the air and flipped upside down in a blur of deadly metal and speed-- that will forever remain as an indelible stain on American history, much like the pictures from a generation past of parking-lot grief at Kent State or naked terror on a dirt roadway in Vietnam. When the shrieking stopped, at least 19 people were hurt and 32-year-old Heather Heyer lay dead on the pavement. (Meanwhile, two Virginia state troopers who had been pressed into duty to monitor the neo-Nazi protests died when their helicopter crashed.) Heyer’s final words on Facebook-- decrying the things that were already taking place in America in 2017-- said that “if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”You could speculate whether President Trump-- with his empty and stunningly vacant reaction to the nature of the hatred on display in Charlottesville, first on Twitter and later at a public appearance from his New Jersey golf resort-- has been truly paying attention to what’s been going in this country since he descended down his Trump Tower escalator and America started descending into madness two summers ago. But it’s almost certain that our 45th president knew exactly what he was doing when he failed to denounce white supremacy and Nazism, with his vapid [...]

Kamala Harris May Turn Out To Be Great-- Give Her A Chance

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 13:00:00 +0000

God save us!I'm old. New Rule: When you're old you don't have to vote for the lesser of two evils any more. Now if a candidate isn't offering me something I want, I won't vote for them. I've never voted for my Democratic congressman, Adam Schiff, who was, until recently when he switched to the almost-as-bad New Dems, a Blue Dog. I never voted for Dianne Feinstein-- which includes when she ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and, later, for mayor-- and last year I didn't vote for Kamala Harris in either the primary or the general. I don't hate Kamala Harris. I don't even have much against her-- other than her generally mediocre job as Attorney General. The problem was that although her opponents were much worse, she wasn't offering anything to me that I thought me voting to give her the incredible job of senator from the best state in the union. Now they-- the powers that be-- want her, for some unfathomable reason, to be considered as a candidate for president. She's hasn't done a fuckingthing, not.a.fuckingthing. Yes, she's a woman. She's she's got a bunch of races in her bloodstream. Very nice. But that isn't how I pick who I'm going to vote for for president. Elizabeth Warren is accomplished and has done a lot. I'd die happy if I could vote for her and see her become leader of our great country. Or Bernie. But Kamala Harris? Are you kidding? She shouldn't be a senator. I don't even know if she'd be a good City Council member. Maybe. But why don't we wait and see what she does before we start nattering like a bunch of imbeciles about her as a presidential candidate! This is insane!Writing for the New Republic last week, Sarah Jones asserted that Harris is widely considered one of the party’s rising stars. Widely? Really? By someone who isn't on her payroll? Bu people with 3-digit IQs? I never met or spoke to one person that sees Kamala Harris as a potential 2020 candidate other than people who have something to directly gain financially by that prospect. Not one! It's beyond comprehension why this is a discussion.Jones writes that it's "a problem for the left" that Harris is being considered. Thank God, someone is awake! Recently Ryan Cooper wrote that "Harris is mistrusted by the left mostly because of her roots as a prosecutor" and he also criticized two other heavily self-promoted theoretical candidates, Senator Cory Booker and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Establishment liberals who have invested in these three went crazy. Some have their futures tied up in their futures. But as Jones pointed out, "Harris has a deeply troubling record: As a district attorney, she implemented a law that penalized the parents of truant children with a fine of up to $2,000 and a year in jail. Later, as California’s attorney general, Harris fought a transgender prisoner’s attempts to access necessary health care. And her record on prosecuting financial crimes is poor, particularly her decision to refrain from going after OneWest Bank for allegedly breaking foreclosure laws. And she’s not the only one-- as David Dayen wrote for the New Republic, virtually the entire Democratic Party has been criminally negligent when it comes to taking on corporate malfeasance during the housing crisis. The Democratic Party hasn’t met the left’s standards in this area, and that is a problem with the party, not the left. But all of this prompts a question: Under what circumstances could the left accept a flawed candidate for high office?To understand where the left might draw that line, it is necessary to first understand the substance of its critique. By questioning Harris and the party’s other rising stars, the[...]

Who Wrote The Guam Governor's Imbecilic Lines Of Praise For The Lord Of Bedminster?

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 04:00:00 +0000

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Republican Eddie Baza Calvo, son of former Governor Paul Calvo, was elected in 2010. He was a Ted Cruz primary supporter last year but has quickly come around to a very Trumpian worldview after Trump beat Cruz in the GOP primary. Guam doesn't get to vote for president but their official presidential preference poll was a lopsided landlside-- against Trump. Hillary won 23,052 votes (71.6%) to Trump's 7,779 votes (24.2%). Calvos and Trump staged an absurd and embarrassingly choreographed phone conversation (above) on Saturday. Calvos' statements of devotion to Señor Trumpanzee were likely written by Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller or one of the other goofballs in the Trumpanzee White House. Trump babbling about the North Korean nukes crisis helping tourism was pure off-the-cuff Trumpanzee, no Bannon or Miller needed: "I have to tell you, you have become extremely famous all over the world. They are talking about Guam; and they’re talking about you... I can say this: You’re going to go up, like, tenfold with the expenditure of no money."

On the other hand, there is no doubt that this is Trumpanzee White House-created propaganda silliness: "I have never felt more safe or so confident than with you at the helm. So, with all the criticism going on over there from a guy who is being targeted, we need a president like you. So I’m just so thankful. And I’m glad you’re holding the helm, sir." Sick!

Robert Underwood, who was Guam's congressional Representative for a decade, had a very different perspective than the sadly sycophantic Calvos. "For the United States, [Guam is] the place from which you can project power into Asia in an unfettered way... When President Trump says, 'Go ahead and do what you're gonna do on Guam and see what happens subsequently,' it causes you to think, 'Well, would he say that if Anchorage had that same threat? If Kim Jong Un said he would hit Anchorage, would he say, 'Go ahead hit Anchorage and see what happens?' How do people really see Guam in the context of the U.S. family? So are we just like cannon fodder? Are we just extras? Are we just not part of the equation?" Are Eric and Trumpanzee, Jr. scurrying to build a new Trump Tower on Tumon Bay?

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Statues Of The Traitor Robert E. Lee Are An Affront To Every Patriotic American

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 01:00:00 +0000

On the same day of alt-right/KKK violence and domestic terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, Jim Gray, the popular mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, announced that he's relocating the city's Confederate statues, much as Louisville had already done. The Klan and Nazi terrorists worked for months to plan a violent confrontation in Charlottesville, angered that the city had renamed Lee Park and was removing a statue of the Confederate traitor Robert E. Lee. Lee should have been hung after he led a slavers' rebellion against the United States. Statues in his honor are an ugly celebration of treason and racism. In June Adam Serwer, writing for The Atlantic, exposed the lies that have conspired to re-make the traitor Lee as some kind of a hero and patriot instead of the pile of shit he always was. "The strangest part about the continued personality cult of Robert E. Lee," wrote Serwer, "is how few of the qualities his admirers profess to see in him he actually possessed... The myth of Lee goes something like this: He was a brilliant strategist and devoted Christian man who abhorred slavery and labored tirelessly after the war to bring the country back together. There is little truth in this. Lee was a devout Christian, and historians regard him as an accomplished tactician. But despite his ability to win individual battles, his decision to fight a conventional war against the more densely populated and industrialized North is considered by many historians to have been a fatal strategic error. But even if one conceded Lee’s military prowess, he would still be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans in defense of the South’s authority to own millions of human beings as property because they are black. Lee’s elevation is a key part of a 150-year-old propaganda campaign designed to erase slavery as the cause of the war and whitewash the Confederate cause as a noble one. That ideology is known as the Lost Cause, and as historian David Blight writes, it provided a 'foundation on which Southerners built the Jim Crow system.'" There are unwitting victims of this campaign-- those who lack the knowledge to separate history from sentiment. Then there are those whose reverence for Lee relies on replacing the actual Lee with a mythical figure who never truly existed.In the Richmond Times Dispatch, R. David Cox wrote that “For white supremacist protesters to invoke his name violates Lee’s most fundamental convictions.” In the conservative publication Townhall,  Jack Kerwick concluded that Lee was “among the finest human beings that has ever walked the Earth.” John Daniel Davidson, in an essay for The Federalist, opposed the removal of the Lee statute in part on the grounds that Lee “arguably did more than anyone to unite the country after the war and bind up its wounds.” Praise for Lee of this sort has flowed forth from past historians and presidents alike.This is too divorced from Lee’s actual life to even be classed as fan fiction; it is simply historical illiteracy.White supremacy does not “violate” Lee’s “most fundamental convictions.” White supremacy was one of Lee’s most fundamental convictions.Lee was a slaveowner-- his own views on slavery were explicated in an 1856 letter that it often misquoted to give the impression that Lee was some kind of an abolitionist. In the letter, he describes slavery as “a moral & political evil,” but goes on to explain that: I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympat[...]

Beto O'Rourke-- Town Hauling Across Texas

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 21:00:00 +0000

It's a wonder El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke has any time to tweet. He seems determined to drive to every corner of gi-normous Texas and meet all the voters who haven't seen a live Democrat running for office since Ann Richards ran for governor or, in some cases, since LBJ ran for the U.S. Senate! Beto is giving up his safe blue congressional seat to take on one of the monsters on the Republican Party, extremist Ted Cruz. The first time he ran, Cruz was seen as an unattractive and divisive in the GOP. He came in a distant second to establishment Republican David Dewhurst-- 627,731 (44.63%) to 480,558 (34.16%). Cruz's ugly scorched-earth runoff campaign destroyed Dewhurst who actually got far fewer votes than in the original balloting!In the general election Cruz spent $7,600,914 to Democrat Paul Sadler's sad $108,442. Sadler's biggest single contributor was the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ($5,000), while Cruz's was the neo-fascist group Club for Growth ($659,777). He raked in over $40,000 from Goldman Sachs executives and the Oil and Gas Industry was there for him with $325,850, even more than Wall Street's $305,110. It was an easy win for Cruz-- 4,440,137 (56.46%) to 3,194,927 (40.62%).Although Sadler managed to win a few big counties-- Bexar (50.5%), Dallas (55.7%), El Paso (61%), Hidalgo (66.4%), Travis (59%)-- Cruz managed to slip past him in mammoth Harris County-- 581,197 (49.6%) to 562,955 (48.0%)-- and swept rural areas, small towns and small cities with massive margins.Today Beto is favored to win Harris County and perhaps Tarrant County, which Cruz took in 2012, and he's spending a lot of his time and energy engaging the voters in places like Lubbock. Cruz won Lubbock County in 2012-- 62,313 (69.7%) to 24,139 (27.0%). No one thinks the vote next year is going to be anywhere near as lopsided. Same in places like San Angelo. Cruz won Tom Green County-- San Angelo is the county seat-- 25,806 (71.6%) to 8,993 (25.0%) in 2012. A friend of mine who works at the Goodfellow Air Force Base there told me he expects Cruz to win the area, but not by the kind of margin it takes to make up for Beto's probable majorities in places like Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston. "My guess is that O'Rourke will be around 40%, maybe even a little more... He's making a very favorable impression around here." Right now, Beto is on another non-stop, breakneck month-long tour of the state... 34 days worth that started when he bought a new truck in San Antonio. "No other candidate," pointed out Patrick Svitek for the Texas Tribune, "is currently campaigning across Texas quite as aggressively." "I want to do this as hard as I can and make every effort to meet every Texan as possible," O'Rourke said in an interview Thursday. In a state as large as Texas, he added, such an itinerary is the "only way you're going to have any hope of meeting the people that you want to represent."O'Rourke's campaign has a name for the trip: "Town Hauling Across Texas."The trip, much of which O'Rourke has been livestreaming on his Facebook page, has already taken him to the Rio Grande Valley, Far West Texas and the Panhandle. In those places, he has held traditional campaign events such as town halls and meet and greets, as well as less-formal activities-- such as block walking Thursday in Wichita Falls.Over the next week, he's set to hit North Texas and East Texas, with stops planned after that in Houston, College Station, Waco, Victoria, LaGrange, San Angelo, Midland, Odessa and Abilene.It's an intense pace of campaigning more than a year o[...]

U.S. Sanctions on Russia & The EU Market for Liquified Natural Gas

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Russia's undersea Nord Stream pipeline, which carries LNG (liquified natural gas) to north European markets. The Nord Stream opening ceremony in November 2011 featured Angela Merkel, Dmitry Medvedev, Mark Rutte and François Fillon. Nord Stream 2, an expansion project that would double Nord Stream's original capacity, was agreed to and signed in June 2015 (source; click to enlarge).by Gaius PubliusAre the U.S. sanctions on Russia just another pipeline war?Like all large developed regions, the nations of the European Union are hungry for energy. Like all resource-rich countries, the Russian Federation is hungry for markets. One of the resources Russia is most rich in is oil and natural gas. Thanks in part to the Paris climate agreement, but also to the existing desire of Western European nations to transition from coal and oil to the so-called "bridge fuel" — methane or "natural gas" — there is an obvious interest in both parties, Russia and the EU, in reaching agreements for the sale of Russian natural gas to the west, and also agreements on funding and building pipelines to deliver it. The graphic below shows the extent of those pipelines, both built and proposed, for delivery of LNG (liquified natural gas, its most transportable form) to European markets.Major existing and planned natural gas pipelines supplying Russian gas to Europe (source; click to enlarge) Three things are clear from looking at the map above. First, Russia is Western Europe's nearest neighbor, and energy purchases from Russia would by nature be less costly than purchases from farther way, from North America, for instance. LNG purchased from North America would have to be shipped by tanker.Second, all pipelines from Russia to Western Europe go though NATO territory — except Nord Stream. Thus Nord Stream frees Russia from worrying about NATO threats to its land-based pipelines. Note also that if tensions between NATO (a U.S. proxy) and Russia heat up, Nord Stream gives Russia an alternate source of LNG revenue from Western Europe should the status of pipelines to and through Eastern Europe fall into dispute. Third, Russia is almost completely surrounded by NATO nations on its western border, the two exceptions being Belarus and Ukraine. NATO has been steadily moving east since the breakup of the Soviet Union, and Ukraine, an ethnically divided nation with a large Russian minority population, is strongly considering joining the NATO alliance. The U.S. is currently considering arming Ukraine with U.S.-made anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, so tensions are clearly escalating, and the U.S. is a player in those escalations. Is Nord Stream 2 the Target of the Latest Anti-Russia Sanctions?One of the outcomes of the recently enacted sanctions on Russia is the closing off of Western funding and penalization of support for a major expansion of the Nord Stream pipeline (all emphasis mine): Nord Stream (former names: North Transgas and North European Gas Pipeline; Russian: Северный поток, Severny potok) is an offshore natural gas pipeline from Vyborg in the Russian Federation to Greifswald in Germany that is owned and operated by Nord Stream AG. The project includes two parallel lines. The first line was laid by May 2011 and was inaugurated on 8 November 2011. The second line was laid in 2011–2012 and was inaugurated on 8 October 2012. At 1,222 kilometres (759 mi) in length, it is the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world, surpassing the Langeled pipeline. It has an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres (1.9 t[...]

It Isn't Just Putin, The Trump Regime Colludes With Nazis And Racists Too

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 13:00:00 +0000

Gabriel Sherman reported that when he asked a señor White House official why Trump didn't condemn the Charlottesville Nazis (and murderers), the response was "What about the leftist mob? Just as violent, if not more so." That's the essence of the Trump Regime's response to the domestic terrorism last week-- the threat the Trump Regime is making to America that if he's removed from office, this is what to expect. As we saw last night, not all Republicans are embracing this descent into civil strife. Attorney General Sessions, though, has apparently recused himself from condemning this kind of domestic violence from "his people." As ProPublica reported, the state police and the National Guard stood by as mayhem mounted in Charlottesville. There was nothing haphazard about the violence that erupted today in this bucolic town in Virginia’s heartland. At about 10 a.m. today, at one of countless such confrontations, an angry mob of white supremacists formed a battle line across from a group of counter-protesters, many of them older and gray-haired, who had gathered near a church parking lot. On command from their leader, the young men charged and pummeled their ideological foes with abandon. One woman was hurled to the pavement, and the blood from her bruised head was instantly visible.Standing nearby, an assortment of Virginia State Police troopers and Charlottesville police wearing protective gear watched silently from behind an array of metal barricades-- and did nothing....[T]he white supremacists who flooded into the city’s Emancipation Park-- a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee sits in the center of the park-- had spent months openly planning for war. The Daily Stormer, a popular neo-Nazi website, encouraged rally attendees to bring shields, pepper spray, and fascist flags and flagpoles. A prominent racist podcast told its listeners to come carrying guns. “Bring whatever you need, that you feel you need for your self defense. Do what you need to do for security of your own person,” said Mike “Enoch” Peinovich on The Right Stuff podcast.And the white supremacists who showed up in Charlottesville did indeed come prepared for violence. Many wore helmets and carried clubs, medieval-looking round wooden shields, and rectangular plexiglass shields, similar to those used by riot police.Clad in a black, Nazi-style helmet, Matthew Heimbach told ProPublica, “We’re defending our heritage.” Heimbach, who heads the Traditionalist Workers Party, a self-declared fascist group, said he was willing to die for his cause and would do whatever it took to defend himself. He was surrounded by a brigade of white supremacists, including members of the League of the South and the National Socialist Movement.By the time Heimbach and his contingent arrived in downtown Charlottesville shortly before 11 a.m., what had started hours earlier with some shoving and a few punches had evolved into a series of wild melees as people attacked one another with fists, feet, and the improvised weapons they’d brought with them to the park. White supremacists and anti-racists began blasting each other with thick orange streams of pepper spray.The police did little to stop the bloodshed. Several times, a group of assault-rifle-toting militia members from New York State, wearing body armor and desert camo, played a more active role in breaking up fights.Is it fair to blame this horror on Trump and his Regime? Absolutely-- 100%. Even the right-wing Weekly Standard asked why won't Trump denounce whit[...]

Trump Coddles His Fascist Followers, Claims Incorrectly Charlottesville Violence Was "On Many Sides"

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 04:00:00 +0000

In Trump's America, all of our AmericaThere was already trouble Friday night when old-fashioned KKK racists and Nazis and new-fashioned alt-right Trump supporters descended on Charlottesville looking for trouble in response to a Trump nut named Jason Keller's call for a "pro-white" rally. This is something they've been promoting for weeks in the fever swamps of TrumpWorld. On Friday night they were screeching anti-Black and anti-Semitic chants, marching around waving cheap Walmart tiki torches.Although officially organized by several fascist groups, the League of the South, the National Socialist Movement, the Traditionalist Workers Party, the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights and Vanguard America and Identity Evropa, this was nothing short of a warning from the Bannon wing of the Trump Regime to remember that Trump's supporters are easily roused to violence and that if Trump is removed there will be blood in the streets.Much of the country was stunned and horrified that after the first death yesterday, Trump was finally forced to say something. But his message was basically to blame both sides, referring to what happened as an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides." Many sides of what? The movement he's the titular head of? Politico noted that "white nationalists cited Trump's victory as validation for their beliefs, and Trump's critics pointed to the president's racially tinged rhetoric as exploiting the nation's festering racial tension."The organizers had named their weekend of racist rallies, "Unite the Right." Both Richard Spencer, the Nazi leader who's always getting punched in the face, and KKK leader David Duke were present. Duke was quick to declare Charlottesville a "turning point" for a movement that aims to "fulfill the promises of Donald Trump." When I asked Alan Grayson what he thought of the conflagration he told me that "David Duke said it far beyond my poor power to add or detract. Duke said that the racists are trying 'to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.' If the hood fits, wear it." This was the poster Richard Spencer-- who hasn't been charged with inciting violence of as accessory to murder yet-- had up on his social media pages.Michael Keegan, President of People for the American Way, spoke for all American-- except Nazis and racists, obviously, when he said that yesterday's events were "heartbreaking and infuriating. When Donald Trump was elected president, many of us feared that his election would embolden radical extremists and white supremacists. Today shows that those concerns were entirely justified. Moreover, the President’s refusal to clearly and emphatically denounce a group of Nazis and white supremacists underscores his longstanding willingness to exploit the Right’s most hateful impulses for political gain-- as well as the GOP’s willingness to abide Trump’s tactics of hate in order to push its own ideological agenda. Elected officials should make clear in no uncertain terms that they condemn the hate and racism of the 'Unite the Right' rally and its leaders, and they won’t associate with those who do otherwise. Our thoughts are with the victims of today’s terror attack, as well as with their families and loved ones. I’m grateful for the activists of every race and creed who are standing up for their values every day in nonviolent protest in Charlottesville and across the country. They, not those who spew bigotry and hatred, represent the true American way."Even a few Repub[...]

Will Randy Bryce Be A Breath Of Fresh Air In Congress?

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 01:00:00 +0000

Over the past 3 days I spoke with 31 Democratic members of Congress and asked each one the same question. With a promise of anonymity I asked them who would you rather have come to their district and campaign with them at a public rally, Joe Crowley or Randy Bryce. I didn't single out Crowley because he's the boss of Queens County, though he is. I didn't single out Crowley because he's the most corrupt Democrat in Congress, though he is. I didn't single out Crowley because he's a Wall Street stooge, though he is. I didn't single out Crowley because he still runs the New Dems, though he does. I didn't single out Crowley because he funnels dirty money into the hands of Democrats in Congress, though he does. I singled out Joe Crowley because he's the handpicked successor to Pelosi and unless someone stops him-- next to impossible without a major upheaval inside the sheep-like Democratic congressional caucus-- this jovial sack of shit will be the next leader of the House Democrats.I'll get to the results of my survey in a moment. First I want to remind you that the first member of Congress to endorse Randy Bryce probably should have surprised no one. Back before many people knew who Randy was, Ro Khanna, a fighter for working families, told us that "We need leaders connected to the community who can speak with authenticity about the need for universal healthcare, better wages, and good jobs. Randy has a bold vision that is rooted in his life experience. It's heartening to see people like Randy step up to serve. That is what our founders envisioned." On the same day, former (and, hopefully future) congressman Alan Grayson said he's backing Bryce because in him "you’ll find two things that are lacking in most Congressional candidates: (1) an understanding about how ordinary people (not rich lawyers or businessmen) live, and (2) common sense."Last Wednesday Ted Lieu endorsed Randy as well. "Randy Bryce," he wrote, "is an extraordinary candidate and we're lucky to have him running for Congress. It would be a very healthy development for the House to have more members who are as committed to the interests of working families and to veterans as he is. I've spoken with Randy and, like several of my colleagues, I've gotten to know him. I can tell you that I look forward to working with him on the issues of social justice, jobs and economic equality. Climate change and national security motivated me to run for Congress, and I know Randy will champion those issues as well. Washington Democrats have a lot to learn from Randy Bryce; he has a big future in our party and for our country. I am endorsing Randy because he will do a far better job for Wisconsin and our nation than Paul Ryan."Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), in endorsing Randy said, "The residents of Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District deserve a representative that will show up and fight for them. As a veteran, ironworker, and cancer survivor, Randy Bryce understands the challenges Wisconsinites face daily. His sleeves are rolled up and ready to work."Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) was another early enthusiast. As part of his endorsement statement he noted that "Randy comes from a working class background and has served his country. As a fellow veteran, I know Randy has the training, toughness, and hard work mentality to fight for the people in Wisconsin. His leadership and values are needed in Congress more, now than ever."Now, I'll get right to the little sur[...]

Flipping A Central New Jersey Suburban District From Red To Blue-- Meet Peter Jacob

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 21:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">Last cycle Peter Jacob was another official candidate of the Democratic Party who the DCCC adamantly ignored. The Democratic Party establishment in Kings Landing sure didn't like anyone getting behind Bernie, the way Peter did! But he didn't let them get him down and, with a completely grassroots campaign he took on rubber-stamp backbencher Leonard Lance in his north central New Jersey district that stretches from the border with Pennsylvania (Hunterdon and Warren counties), clear across the state through Somerset and Morris counties and all the way into Essex and Union and the Elizabeth suburbs. This is a moderate, swingy area filled with independent voters repulsed by Trump. Although McCain and Romney had both won the district, last year Hillary beat Trump 48.6% to 47.5%. Distaste for Trump is much stronger now, and voters were paying attention when Lance, in the most craven way, flip-flopped on healthcare, first voting for TrumpCare in committee and then, when he became fearful for his own career, switching and voting against the bill on the floor.As Peter pointed out at the time, "Lance endorsed Donald Trump within 24-hours of becoming the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee. Many in New Jersey boast that Congressman Lance is a moderate, but this endorsement proves that Congressman Lance will do anything to get re-elected. While serving in the New Jersey state Legislature, Congressman Lance was seen as someone who was pro-environment, pro-choice, and reached over the aisle to get things done. Congressman Lance was initially equivocal about the construction of a natural gas pipeline in our District, and now takes credit for it’s delay as strong local opposition rises and election season is here-- all the while supporting legislation that makes it easier to construct such pipelines in the first place. It is little wonder why the League of Conservation scored his lifetime voting percentage at just 23% on pro-environment legislation. In 2014, his pro-environment score was a mere 6%! Consistently providing contributions to Congressman Lance’s campaign has paid off for the dirty energy industry to have him support their agenda.  Congressman Lance voted to cut off all funding for Planned Parenthood, including clinics that provide health care with no abortion services. Time and time again, Congressman Lance has proved that he isn’t a leader for our District and our nation. Like Trump, he will say anything at any time out of convenience. Congressman Lance toes the party line as Washington becomes more divisive, partisan, and extreme... In my opinion, Congressman Lance’s immediate endorsement of Trump is a result of a ‘tea-party’ candidate, David Larsen, who has challenged him in every primary since 2010. Larsen came within single-digit points of defeating Congressman Lance in the 2014 primary. Congressman Lance’s endorsement of Trump is a political move to help secure the Republican nomination and putting an end to this perennial candidate."He added that Lance's backing for the Lord of Bedminster-- which is in the district-- was "ironic considering Congressman Lance is the kind of bought-and-sold politician that Trump himself has spoken out against, at least during his primary race; one entirely beholden to special interests rather th[...]

Is It OK To Campaign For Congress On "Medicare-For-All?"

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 17:00:00 +0000

The other day I was talking with a first-time Democratic candidate who has a bit of a reputation as a centrist, although he insist-- at least to me-- that he's a progressive. I'm not persuaded. He says he's kind of, sort of good with Medicare-For-All but there's no way he'd say he's going to co-sponsor John Conyers Medicare-For-All bill. He claims the district isn't ready for that yet and maybe he can lead them in that direction and maybe we can go to it incrementally. I do like one argument he makes, which I find refreshingly sincere: he says he doesn't want to pivot after he wins the primary and that whatever he backs now-- to appeal to Democratic audiences-- is exactly what he wants to say to general election audiences. His swingy red district is one of those districts where independents determine who goes to Congress.Thursday L.A. Times reporter Sarah Wire posted a provocative piece about messaging: How does a progressive Democrat try to unseat a Republican? Step one: Don't talk about single-payer healthcare. And the piece was about a Blue America-endorsed candidate, Katie Hill. Katie was "sitting around a kitchen table with a local activist group last spring when one of the attendees asked her a question: Will she have to 'soft pedal' her stance on any issues to unseat Republican Rep. Steve Knight in the 25th District?" The progressive Democrat started to answer, then paused to ask a person livestreaming the meeting on Facebook: “This isn’t going to be something that I’m going to be blasted all over Facebook for, right?”After getting assurances that the video would only be available to a private group, Hill said one of the issues she can’t discuss directly is single-payer healthcare."I shouldn't go into the district and talk about single-payer, right? Like, that word by itself is going to be something that just immediately turns off a lot of people," Hill said. "But, if I talk about how we need to make sure that everybody has access to healthcare and that it's affordable for everybody and how having a government option [is needed] at the very least, that is something people can really get behind. It's more about the way we talk about things than being very far apart on issues."The video, which was posted online to the storage site Dropbox and shared with the Los Angeles Times this week, shows the delicate line some Democratic candidates are walking as the national party goes after the more than 30 seats it needs to win back control of the House. The idea of a single-payer healthcare system, in which the government pays for a base level of healthcare for all citizens, has been growing in popularity in party circles since it became a major policy plank in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. But it remains a nonstarter for many conservatives, and is unlikely to catch on in a Republican-controlled Congress and White House.The path to a House Democratic majority goes through the seven California Republican-held districts that backed Hillary Clinton in 2016. That includes places like the 25th District, where voters have sent Republicans to Congress for decades, but Democrats have a 3-percentage-point voter registration lead and voters there chose Clinton by nearly 7 percentage points in 2016.Hill said in an interview that she believes the country will eventually have single-payer healthcare, but using the term puts off people in [...]