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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: Wed, 28 Jun 2017 03:33:19 +0000

 



Both Parties... Are Fumbling Around In The Dark Looking For An Identity

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 01:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CaCO16_tzj4" width="420">Fareed Zakaria had GOP establishment NY Times columnist David Brooks on his CNN show Sunday to talk about Señor Trumpanzee’s role within the conservative movement. I don’t know who watches Zakaria’s show-- no one I know-- but I bet there was a lot of teeth gnashing from Republicans when Zakaria opened the segment by setting up a comparison between Saint Ronnie and Trumpanzee. “Where does conservatism go from here? Where does the Republican Party go from here?… Is there a new conservatism developing?”Brooks said he doesn’t think so-- “not in this administration.” In his universe Democrats want to use government to enhance equality and Republicans want to use government to enhance freedom. Most Republicans who want to use government to enhance freedom are thinking about the freedom of the rich and powerful to lord over the rest of us-- it’s like the freedom for everyone to have access to really expensive healthcare… if they have the money to afford it. But what he doesn’t mention is that the Grifter First Family wants to use government to enhance to enhance its own wealth, pure and simple. Is the Russian brand of kleptocracy the new conservatism? Brooks, I’d bet, hopes not.Trump, Brooks says, opened a new debate-- populism vs statism-- but hasn’t delivered on the promises of his campaign “because there’s not a lot of Trumpians in the world of policy. So he hasn’t exactly helped the people who got him into office. He staffed his administration-- to the extent it is staffed-- with people who basically believed in the Reagan bargain of 1984… cut tax rates, reducegovernmoent regulation… I think he opened the door too a new kind of conservatism but has not fulfilled it. That’s for somebody in the future.” [This vicious little jerk?]So what about Republican politicians? Do the party’s elected officials want to swing in a more populist direction? Trump, he says, punctured the worn out Reaganism balloon and now conservatives have nothing; they’re in a period of chaos, Trump’s preferred milieu. He sees various paradigms competing within the Republican Party for dominance-- libertarianism, Buchanan-like paleo-conservatism… But, he said, “if I had to bet, I would like an Alexander Hamilton open trade, lot of immigration, lot of economic dynamism… When I look at the polls, there aren’t a lot of people who want what I want. The Steve Bannons of the world, that’s where a lot of the people are; they’re older, they’re economically disadvantaged; they want a national conservatism that will protect them.”Really? They want-- or will accept-- a snake oil salesman and kleptocrat like Trump, rather than a sensible populist like Bernie? I bet there were an awful lot of Trump voters at Bernie’s Sunday night rally in Charleston, cheering wildly when he called for Medicare-For-All, not exactly a conservative policy goal-- although it is certainly one that “will protect them.” There were over 2,000 in the Charleston Municipal Auditorium for his Protect Our Health Care Rally. Remember, Bernie pulverized Clinton in the West Virginia primary-- 123,860 (51.4%) to 86,354 (35.8%) but Wassermann Schultz had fixed the system so in the end, Bernie got 19 delegates and Clinton got 18. Bernie won every county in the state-- even the counties considered parti of the DC suburbs-- although Kanawha (Charleston) was close-- 48.0% to 45.0%. Bernie and Trump had virtually the same number of votes in Kanawha too.If the Democratic Party was united, the ideological battlelines would be much clearer, with the Democrats behind a set of policies wildly popular among the American people while the Republicans argued about the benefits of a society with no rules and regulations versus a fascist state. Instead… the conservatives of “moderate” Republicans is competing for dominance of the Democratic Party under the guise of New Dems and Blue Dogs, “pragmatism” and-- the same kind of kleptocr[...]



In Honor Of Pride Day: A Compendium Of Mike Pence Memes

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 21:00:00 +0000

-by NoahAs I write this, today is Pride Day. By the time you read this, it will be over, however, that does not mean we shouldn’t spend some of our time reflecting on what it says about America that a vile, hate-filled homophobe named Mike Pence is our Vice President and 69 Million Republicans endorsed him and his severely mentally ill boss with their votes.Here In New York, where I live, there’s one helluva large parade in support of the LGBTQ community. The parade began in 1970 as a way to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the Stonewall Inn rioting which galvanized the gay rights movement.The parade is now the focal point of a whole week of gay pride and gay rights and heritage events. And, you don’t have to be non-hetero in any way, shape, or form to join in. I’m pretty sure that Mike Pence was nowhere to be found.I even woke up this warm, muggy Sunday morning thinking of Pence. I know that’s a horrible way to start the day, but, it is what it is. So, instantly thinking what little thing a rapidly aging senior like myself could do about Pence, I made up a list… and chose one of the legal things.As might be expected of me, I chose derision and snark, proudly. They are weapons that come naturally to me. I feel that one little thing we can all do for America is heap as much mockery and derision upon enemies of humanity as we possibly can. I do it in hopes of at least waking a few people up. The only other thing we have is the ballot box but that’s a ways off and I’m sure Putin is no friend of the LGBTQ community.Since Mike Pence has such a virulent phobia in regards to so many of our fellow citizens, what better way to, as I say, legally, deal with such a malformed, horrid little man, a man who is the nation’s foremost supporter of torturing gay people with his Republican Party-endorsed sadistic dream of “gay-conversion therapy,” a man who soils the ground with every step he takes, a man who, because of that, was chosen for the VP slot by the orange fascist himself. Republicans have a very narrow idea of what a man or woman is after all.When it came to choosing Pence and what he stands for, the Republican Party could not have stooped any lower but that’s who and what they are. Even now, in 2017, well into the 21st century, President Trump and his trusty sidekick are even being so petty as to “consider”, as apart of a review of the status of national monuments named in the last 21 years, particularly those named under President Obama, an effort to remove the landmark status of New York’s Stonewall Inn, a powerful symbol regarded as the flashpoint of the gay rights movement. Such a heinous act would be yet another in the endless expressions of hate for LGBTQ folks by Republicans. It would be no different than a political party (present or future) removing the cracked Liberty Bell from its display in Philadelphia and finishing the job, then melting down the pieces.In the case of The Stonewall Inn, nothing should surprise us, not even Trump ending buying the property, tearing it down, and erecting another one of his gold-topped penis-compensating towers. But, I digress…So, here’s to you, Mike Pence. It’s not giving you a dose of your own “medicine” but it will have to do. Not all of the memes below deal with your hate for gays but you have sooo many issues. Since there is so much speculation about you being a serious closet case yourself, I’ve even included a meme with a fictional quote about you and your own personal home “gay-conversion” machine. It is fictional, isn’t it?[...]



Is TrumpCare Toxic Enough To Help Tom Guild Win The Oklahoma City Congressional Seat?

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:00:00 +0000

One of the states the DCCC isn’t looking at at all for 2018 is red, red Oklahoma. Trump won there, overwhelmingly 949,136 (65.3%) to 420,375 (28.9%). It was one of Trump’s best performances anywhere-- although that probably had more to do with the dislike many Okalhomans have for Hillary. Bernie beat her in the primary 174,228 (51.9%) to 139,443 (41.5%). And Trump came in a distant second in the GOP primary that same day, winning just 130,267 votes (28.32%), far fewer votes than Bernie got. Bernie’s message resonated with a lot of voters in "red, red Oklahoma." Trump’s weakest area, of course, was the district with the highest education level, OK-05 (Oklahoma City), where he only beat Hillary 53.2% to 39.8%. Trump did 6 points worse than Romney had in the district, but Hillary under-performed Obama as well. (If only…)In the OK-05 congressional race, right-wing incumbent Steve Russell crushed a very weak establishment Democrat, Al McAffrey, 57.1% to 36.8%. Russell did better than Trump and McAffrey did even worse than Hillary. The Democratic primary for that nomination was the closest in the country. It pitted the wishy-washy careerist establishment guy against Berniecrat Tom Guild. There were two rounds. First: • Al McAffrey- 10,013 (36.8%)• Tom Guild- 10,000 (36.8%)• Leonora Leonard- 7,190 (26.4%) And the runoff: • Al McAffrey- 8,032 (50.1%)• Tom Guild- 7,988 (49.9%) McAffrey wasn’t even a serious candidate, just the establishment’s pawn to keep the nomination from going to an outspoken progressive and Berniecrat. Once he won the primary, the DCCC didn’t come in to help their guy take on Russell-- quite the contrary; they never gave OK-05 a second glance. McAffrey didn’t campaign at all and only raised $134 to the $847,193 Russell spent. What a tragedy, but that’s how the DCCC works-- keep a progressive out of the race and then… whatever.Tom Guild is running-- hard-- again and he’s determined to knock on every door in the district. This time EMILY’s List will try to play the role of spoiler for their DCCC allies, the same way they're doing in WI-01. A local EMILY’s List ally, Kendra Horn will be announcing right after the 2nd quarter filling deadline, the kind of phony timeline crap establishment candidates controlled by DC consultants always do. She was executive director of Sally’s List in Oklahoma (renamed Women Leading Women), a pure identity politics play. It’s never about who the best candidate is on policy-- always about personal identity. But while she headed the organization, it was an utter failure even on their own terms. Horn’s stated goal was to increase the number of women in the Oklahoma State Legislature, a reasonable goal. But in her three years as ED the number of women in the legislature went down, not up. Her brittle, officious personality turned off everyone-- except the DC people at EMILY's List.Blue America has endorsed Tom Guild-- not because of any identity stuff, but because he’s a stalwart, dedicated progressive with a populist approach to politics and a fierce platform for working families. Yesterday, for example, he sent the letter below to his Oklahoma supporters. Please give it a look and if you would like to see Tom go up against a very vulnerable Russell in 2018, consider contributing what you can by tapping on the Blue America thermometer on the right. Remember, a swing in OK-05 the size of the swing Democrats in Montana, Kansas and South Carolina just experienced in the special elections, would send Russell packing and finally turn this relatively swingy Oklahoma district blue. The DCCC isn't taking OK-05 seriously. We are. Here's the message Tom Guild, who has pledged to co-sign John Conyers' Medicare-For-All legislation as soon as he gets to Washington, sent out yesterday: There they go again! The Senate GOP health care proposal severely cuts Medicaid, defunds Planned Parenthood, and eliminates the mandate that Americans have health insurance. The bill provides states the right t[...]



How Much Longer Will It Take To Institute Single Payer Here In America?

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-BacU-lRUos" width="420">Saturday evening Bernie was in Pittsburgh Saturday for a Don’t Take Away Our Health Care rally at the Convention Center. He addressed Republican Pat Toomey directly. I hope he takes the same message to Ted Cruz in Texas and to Jeff Flake in Arizona, two Republicans up for reelection in 2018. (Dean Heller has already said he’s voting no.) Sunday he brought the message to Rob Portman in Columbus and then to Shelley Moore Capito in Charleston. Listen to his 27 minutes speech above; you can’t hear his points enough. “This so-called health care bill passed in the House last month is the most anti-working-class piece legislation passed by the House of Representatives in the modern history of this country,” he said to loud applause. “And the Senate bill... is even worse… We will not allow 23 million Americans to be thrown off of the health insurance they currently have in order to give over $500 billion in tax breaks to the top two percent, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, and to other multi-national corporations... What kind of a country are we if anyone can come before you and talk about cutting health care for children with disabilities in order to give tax breaks to the richest people on earth?”After the Pittsburgh rally he appeared briefly on Meet the Press, where he told Chuck Todd much the same message he explained to the audience in Pittsburgh (and Columbus and Charleston), even though Todd just wanted to talk about disunity and divisiveness. Bernie’s learned how to use questions like that to springboard into getting to the message he wants to deliver. “For the last 9 years,” he replied to a question about why Ossoff lost, “Democrats have lost the White House, we’ve lost the Senate, we’ve lost the U.S. House. Two-thirds of governor’s chairs are controlled by Republicans. A thousand seats have been lost the Republicans in state legislatures all over this country… There is a massive amount of demoralization on the part of the American people, with the Democratic Party, with the Republican Party. I think the American people, in many cases, are seeing themselves work longer hours for lower wages. They’re worried about their kids not being able to go to college. They’re worried about what’s going to happen to them when they are retiring. They’re seeing almost all new income and wealth going to the top 1 percent. There is an enormous amount of pain in this country, Chuck. People are saying, ‘Does anybody in Washington know what’s going on in my life-- that I’m 60 years of age and I have nothing in the bank and I’m going too be retiring in 5 years or that I have $50,000 in college debt and can’t find a decent job. Does anybody know that? Do the Republicans know it? Do the Democrats know it?’ And I think what the Democrats have got to say is that we will be on the side of the working class of this country. We are prepared to stand up to Wall Street and the drug companies who rip us off everyday and the insurance companies. [at this point Todd got nervous that Bernie was attacking his advertisers and started trying to cut him off] And that we’re going to fight for an agenda that makes sense to working families.”Ah, and there’s the rub… that elusive agenda. Look how close the Democrats in blue, blue California came to passing single-payer-- only to see Jerry Brown have Assembly Speaker Rendon kill it? The Intercept pointed out that someone who disagrees with Governor Brown’s opposition-- that single payer is too expensive, the Republican argument, which somehow always manages to manipulate the facts and forget to mention the “the efficiencies created from having one public insurer save a lot of money-- was, none other than presidential candidate Jerry Brown in 1992 (when he was still toying around with the idea of posing as a progressive). It was a cornerstone o[...]



Don't Buy Into The Idea That Trumpcare Is Too Horrible To Pass-- That's Not Criteria Republicans Use

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 04:00:00 +0000

George Stephanopoulos had two very different Senate Republican opponents of TrumpCare on his show Sunday, Susan Collins (R-ME), who finds the bill cruel and even draconian, and Rand Paul (R-KY), who doesn’t find it nearly draconian or cruel enough. He started with Rand Paul, pointing out to him that his position is at odds even with Señor Trumpanzee, who said the bill that bears his name should “have more heart.” Paul scoffed and ran off in directions unrelated to the debate outside of the one in his own head. Well, you know, the fundamental flaw of Obamacare was that it added regulations to insurance, mandates, which made insurance more expensive, but then it also told individuals, you know what, if you don't want to buy now, you can wait and buy it after you're sick. That still remains, 10 of 12 regulations that add cost to insurance remain under the Republican bill. And we still say you can still by insurance after you're sick.If you add those two together, you still get the death spiral. The Republican plan acknowledges that we're going to still have this death spiral, which is sicker and sicker people in the individual market and the healthy people don't buy insurance, they acknowledge this by putting over $100 billion of insurance bailout money to try to say, oh we're going to tamp down prices. We're going to fix the problem, we're going to acknowledge the will continue forever and we're just going to pile taxpayer money into it. That is just not a conservative notion to add a new federal program to bailout insurance programs… I'm not voting for something that looks just like Obamacare and still doesn't fix the fundamental flaw of Obamacare.It was a weird discussion. Stephanopoulos kept babbling about the politics on the bill-- how many no votes are there? What will it take for McConnell to get your vote? That kind of stuff-- while Paul just wanted to make a tired libertarian case about abolishing all regulations. So George said au revoir and moved on to Susan Collins. He started by asking her if there is “any way this week for Senator McConnell and President Trump to come up with a bill that both you and Senator Paul can support?” Collins: It's certainly going to be very difficult. For my part, I'm very concerned about the cost of insurance for older people with serious chronic illnesses, and the impact of the Medicaid cuts on our state governments, the most vulnerable people in our society, and health care providers such as our rural hospitals and nursing homes, most of whom are very dependent on the Medicaid program.So threading that needle is going to be extremely difficult.Stephanopoulos: You just heard Kellyanne Conway say though that those are not Medicaid cuts. What is your response to that?Collins: Well, I respectfully disagree with her analysis. But this is why we need the Congressional Budget Office assessment of the impact of the Senate bill on costs and coverage, including its analysis of Medicaid. And that will be coming out tomorrow.But based on what I've seen, given the inflation rate that would be applied in the outer years to the Medicaid program, the Senate bill is going to have more impact on the Medicaid program than even the House bill.Stephanopoulos: So that means-- if that's true, and if that is confirmed by the Congressional Budget Office, you're a no?Collins: I want to wait to see the CBO analysis. But I have very serious concerns about the bill.Stephanopoulos: You also have concerns about Planned Parenthood. This bill would deny funding of Planned Parenthood for a year. I know you're planning on introducing an amendment with Senator Murkowski that would restore the funding for Planned Parenthood.If that amendment fails, will you oppose final passage?Collins: Well, first, let me say that it makes absolutely no sense to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood. There already are longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion. So that's not w[...]



Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon Tosses California TrumpCare Victims Overboard

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 01:00:00 +0000

Remember how the first version of TrumpCare in the House wasn’t quite good enough for the far right savages in the Republican caucus? So they called in Freedom Caucus lunatic Mark Meadows to work with spineless south Jersey multimillionaire Tom MacArthur and they came up with a far worse and more deadly version that the radical right could-- and did-- get behind. That same process is playing out in the Senate now. You have the off-the-cliff extremists like Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson and Mike Lee threatening to tank the bill if it doesn’t kill more people than the bill already worse than the House version will kill. And your have jellyfish Republicans like Rob Portman, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Dean Heller whining that the bill is already too extreme but… ready to make a deal with Cruz, who’s father was implicated in the assassination of JFK, as you know-- just ask the obese orange baboon who took a moment out from obsessing about his role as Putin’s cockholster to tweet some nonsense over the weekend about Obamacare being dead. In any case, soon after Pence was summoned into the Koch presence Friday, Koch operative Tim Phillips, went publicly bonkers that TrumpCare 3.0 isn’t “conservative” enough, describing it as an “immoral… slight nip and tuck” in the far right’s war against healthcare for working families. “This Senate bill needs to get better,” drooled the well-paid fascist Koch mouthpiece. “It has to get better.” By “better,” they want to see higher projections for likely annual deaths, thousands apparently not sufficient to sate their bloodlust. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IUATQT_9900" width="420">In line with Trump’s bogus claim-- terrorism, pure and simple-- that Obamacare is dead, The Hill reported yesterday that “One of the primary arguments from Republicans for repealing ObamaCare is that the healthcare law is ‘collapsing.’ But experts warn that the GOP’s legislation might destabilize insurance markets even more over time” and drive premiums through the roof. The Senate’s ObamaCare repeal bill, released Thursday, would abolish ObamaCare’s mandate for people to have insurance, but it would still bar insurers from denying people coverage for pre-existing conditions.Experts warn that arrangement would allow people to wait until they get sick to buy insurance coverage, likely driving up premiums.  On top of that, the GOP bill cuts back on ObamaCare’s tax credits, providing less financial assistance to help people afford a plan. So in addition to the lack of an enforcement “stick” to get healthy people to enroll, there would also be less of a “carrot,” in the form of financial assistance.This combination could lead to more insurers pulling out of the market or spiking premiums, experts say, exactly the problems under ObamaCare that Republicans have talked about solving.“A combination of repealing the individual mandate and diminishing premium subsidies would tend to destabilize the market,” said Larry Levitt, a healthcare expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation.Rodney Whitlock, a former Republican congressional staffer now a healthcare consultant, wrote on Twitter that the lack of a mandate combined with lower financial assistance “is pretty much the definition of a death spiral.”The GOP seems to have rigged the bill to trigger a real collapse of the healthcare system to kick it in 2022, so after Trump or Pence theoretically wins the White House. So we were all waiting for California to offer the alternative, right? The state Senate passed a single payer bill and the state Assembly has a massive super-majority so… no brainer, right? Wrong. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who often pretends to be a progressive-- I realized he wasn’t when he endorsed uber-corrupt conservative Isadore Hall over progressive reformer Nanette Barragan last year-- [...]



California Blue Dog Ellen Tauscher Is Back-- Lock Away Your Wallet

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 21:00:00 +0000

She's back-- and up to no good again!It’s 10 years later and right-wing Democrat Ellen Tauscher-- once the head of the New Dems, a vice chair of the DLC, and a proud Blue Dog-- is rearing her head in Democratic politics again. She’s the chair of the California 7 Project (AKA- Fight Back California), which purports to being trying to defeat 7 California Republicans in 2018: Jeff Denham and David Valadao in the Central Valley, Steve Knight in the L.A./Ventura 25the district and the 4 vulnerable GOPers in Orange County, Ed Royce, Dana Rohrabacher, Darrell Issa and Mimi Walters. Typical of crooked political operations, Tauscher’s outfit-- a shady SuperPAC-- is raising money for itself, not for any Democratic candidates. Tauscher told Roll Call she plans to raise $10,000,000, money that could be used to defeat conservatives that will instead be used to bolster conservatives and, in all likelihood, Tauscher’s and her cronies’ own accounts. You just have to trust she’ll spend it right. But you shouldn’t… because history shows exactly how she’ll spend it.Tauscher is working with her original campaign manager, strategist Katie Merrill, who loses all her races, and they hiding who has already funneled 6-figures into their SuperPAC. So just what you would expect of a slimy character like Tauscher-- dark money fueling her efforts to sucker the grassroots into contributing to… probably herself and a gaggle of dreadful right-of-center Republican-lite candidates just like herself. Their main goal will be to make sure no Berniecrats win any nominations, just Tauscher-like offal from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. One source told me she’s getting money from the lottery winner the DCCC wants to sell the CA-39 nomination to, Gil Cisneros, but it’s impossible to confirm who’s giving Tauscher’s operation the cash, since she’s taking advantage of the dark money Supreme Court rulings to hide her sources.My history with Tauscher goes back a ways. In 2006, she recruited an “ex”-Republican to run against the grassroots candidate in California she and Rahm were eager too defeat, Jerry McNerney. They decided McNerney was too liberal to beat Republican Natural Resources Committee chair Richard Pombo and they dug up a Republican masquerading as a Democrat instead. McNerney slaughtered the interloper in the primary and Tauscher and Rahm put a hex on the district, calling donors and telling them not to contribute to McNerney in the general. That’s how Rahm taught the DCCC to play-- a practice continued by Steve Israel and whoever tells the hapless Ben Ray Lujan what he should do. In any case, McNerney pulverized Pombo, shocking the GOP (and Tauscher’s and Rahm’s Republican wing of the Democratic Party). It was one of the biggest races of the year and McNerney, propelled by grassroots enthusiasm, took 109,868 votes (53.3%) to Pombo’s 96,396 (46.7%). Pombo spent $4,629,983 that year, to McNerney’s $2,422,962. The NRCC came to Pombo’s defense with a then-massive $1,442,492, while Rahm grudgingly allowed the DCCC to spend a mere $295,366, less that the Sierra Club or even the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.The media has always white-washed Tauscher and given her favorable treatment. Ten years ago, I wrote about a Washington Post puff piece on her. Eilperin and Grunwald have written an inherently dishonest piece-- pure Inside-the-Beltway ass-kissery for the powers-that-be. Reading their whitewash you would never know that Tauscher recruited and pushed a pro-corporate, anti-grassroots shill to run against Democratic grassroots hero Jerry McNerney, only that she's being victimized by some left wing bullies for being a hard-working "moderate." From Eilperin and Grunwald a reader would reasonably conclude that Tauscher had merely "supported McNerney's centrist opponent in his primary, to the disgust of the Net roots." Not a word about the[...]



The Anti-Medicaid Bomb in the Republican "Health Care" Bill

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Tom Toles/Washington Post (source)by Gaius PubliusJust one more note on the Senate "health care" bill, to add to the information you're already reading. Via Robert Reich, the bill's real aim is the destruction of Medicaid (see explanation below), one of the three great social programs passed by FDR and his fervent New Deal acolyte, LBJ.There's a trick with the Medicaid death trap though — most of the destruction is timed to occur after the CBO's 10-year analysis window, which means it's not going to show up when the CBO scores the bill.Will Americans be fooled? Who knows? Will Republicans think Americans will be fooled? Likely. Here's Reich on that (h/t Naked Capitalism; source RobertReich.org; emphasis mine):The Secret Republican Plan to Unravel MedicaidBad enough that the Republican Senate bill would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act. Even worse, it unravels the Medicaid Act of 1965 – which, even before Obamacare, provided health insurance to millions of poor households and elderly.It’s done with a sleight-of-hand intended to elude not only the public but also the Congressional Budget Office. Here’s how the Senate Republican bill does it. The bill sets a per-person cap on Medicaid spending in each state. That cap looks innocent enough because it rises every year with inflation. But there’s a catch. Starting 8 years from now, in 2025, the Senate bill switches its measure of inflation – from how rapidly medical costs are rising, to how rapidly overall costs in the economy are rising.Yet medical costs are rising faster than overall costs. They’ll almost surely continue to do so – as America’s elderly population grows, and as new medical devices, technologies, and drugs prolong life.Which means that after 2025, Medicaid will cover less and less of the costs of health care for the poor and elderly. Over time, that gap becomes huge. The nonpartisan Urban Institute estimates that just between 2025 and 2035, about $467 billion less will be spent on Medicaid than would be spent than if Medicaid funding were to keep up with the expected rise in medical costs.So millions of Americans will lose the Medicaid coverage they would have received under the 1965 Medicaid act. Over the long term, Medicaid will unravel. Note that date — after 2025. That means that the bulk of the damage will occur outside the 10-year window of the Congressional Budget Office's typical analysis.Reich again:Does anyone now know this time bomb is buried in this bill? It doesn’t seem so. McConnell won’t even hold hearings on it. Next week the Congressional Budget Office will publish its analysis of the bill. CBO reports on major bills like this are widely disseminated in the media. The CBO’s belated conclusion that the House’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would cause 23 million Americans to lose their health care prompted even Donald Trump to call it “mean, mean, mean.” But because the CBO’s estimates of the consequences of bills are typically limited to 10 years (in this case, 2018 to 2028), the CBO’s analysis of the Senate Republican bill will dramatically underestimate how many people will be knocked off Medicaid over the long term.Which is exactly what Mitch McConnell has planned. This way, the public won’t be tipped off to the Medicaid unraveling hidden inside the bill.The long-term goal? To entirely delete the New Deal from U.S. social policy. This is step one:For years, Republicans have been looking for ways to undermine America’s three core social insurance programs – Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. The three constitute the major legacies of the Democrats, of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. All continue to be immensely popular. Now, McConnell and his Senate Republican colleagues think they’ve found a way to unravel Medicaid without anyone noticing.Don’t be fooled. Spread t[...]



Screw Mitch And The Turtle He Rode In On

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:00:00 +0000

Sometimes people ask me to put them on the Blue America mailing list. I don’t know how-- literally; no idea. The only way I know to get on the list is to contribute-- even if just one dollar-- to any of the candidates on any of our endorsement lists-- like this one for the House or this one for the Senate or this one for worthy incumbents or this one for primarying Blue Dogs… or this one to send Paul Ryan back to the weinermobile. There are others too… always fun to come up with new pages. Anyway, pick a page, pick a candidate, give a buck-- or 20 bucks or 1,000 bucks and you’re automatically on the mailing list. And if you were yesterday, you would have gotten this e-mail from Blue America by Digby, albeit with a slightly more family-friendly subject line.“We are living,” she began in way of introduction, “in a Dickens novel come to life: Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump are planning to steal our tax money. Money that sick children, disabled adults and nursing home patients need in order to stay alive-- only to brazenly distribute it all among Eric, Don Jr., Ivanka, Jared Kusher and their investor class friends. They have no shame. They have no hearts. This has to stop. Can you pitch in something for our candidates, to help them get into Congress where legislative resistance can occur? And then she went after that fucking Turtle and his cronies.Another week in Trump's America and it just gets worse and worse. Everyone said that when the atrocity known as Trumpcare was barely passed in the House that we shouldn't worry. "They'll fix it in the Senate" they said. Well, they didn't. They tweaked it a little bit in some ways, but overall they made it worse. This week they're planning to vote on it and then skip town before anyone has a chance to chase them down the halls of Congress holding pitchforks and torches.If they get that done when they return from the 4th of July break they may skip the usual conference committee to reconcile the two bills, quickly pass the very similar Senate version through the House and then get ready to play their roles as props in the the greatest show on earth: the Oval Office in which President Trump will bask in the glow of his greatest success so far-- enacting the cruelest piece of legislation in modern memory.By all accounts that's Mitch McConnell's plan anyway. At this moment there are still a number of possible choke points. The so-called “moderates” who will have to face voters are nervous, but they're known for their cowardice so it's highly likely they will accept some superficial changes and then rush before the cameras to defend the lie that it's been substantially "improved" from being monstrous and evil to simply malevolent and brutal. Counting on them to stop this heinous disgrace of a "health care" bill is a fools errand.It's much better to look to the ruthless sadism of the far right and "libertarians" such as Rand Paul and Mike Lee. They are known for their refusal to take for an answer when offered the opportunity to rip holes in the safety net because they demand its total destruction all at once. Unfortunately, counting on them would require one more wingnut vote in the Senate, probably Ron Johnson from Wisconsin or Ted Cruz from Texas. Johnson is the most "intellectually limited" man in the chamber so it's a totally random shot with him. Cruz is well... Cruz. He will be the hero who votes for it unless it won't pass anyway at which point he will join the "rebels" and pretend he was their leader.If it does pass the Senate they will have to go home next week and face their constituents before a final vote. It's not going to be pretty. If you saw the appalling footage of the disabled protesters in front of Mitch McConnell's office being pulled out of their wheelchairs and dragged down the hall by police you know what it's going to look like. [...]



How Many Trump Supporters Would Rather See Their Families Die Than See The Policies Of A Black President That Help Them Succeed?

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 04:00:00 +0000

That was my favorite tweet yesterday and I have to admit that I almost wish he gets his way. Almost. I don’t want to wish death on anyone, not even a vicious, racist Trump moron. Unless you define anyone who voted for Trump as a moron-- not an unreasonable conclusion to jump to-- you have to admit that not all Trump voters are morons. Racists, perhaps but not morons. Some are college graduates with good jobs in complicated fields. Although a friend of mine told me the other day that he was picked up by a black Uber driver with a MAGA cap who ranted and raved like a maniac for the whole trip about the greatness of his idol.Nick Harwood, reporting for CNBC, wrote last week about a study that shows that racism was a bigger factor for the Trump electorate-- except that Uber driver-- than issues like faire trade. If that shocks you… have you met any of them? A broad-based group of analysts conducted the study with support from the Democracy Fund. Emily Ekins of the libertarian Cato Institute identified five distinct groups of Trump voters.Most of them are consistent Republicans. The least loyal Republican group, which formed the core of Trump's support for the nomination from the beginning, is what Ekins calls "American Preservationists." [a nicer word than racists]She described this segment-- about 20 percent of Trump backers overall-- as having relatively low levels of income and formal education. They are the most likely Republican group to be on Medicaid and to be disabled.These voters lean left on economic issues such as trade, income inequality, anger at Wall Street and support for federal entitlement programs. For those reasons, Trump's rhetoric about protecting entitlement programs and raising taxes on the rich offered a natural fit.When people talk about Trump voters with 2-digit IQs, this is part of the bunch they’re talking about. I know one personally. These vile, contemptible, sub-human racist slobs “American Preservationists” were willing to let everything else slide-- like the imbecile in the tweet up top-- in return for a wall to, in their simple minds, would keep out the Mex’cans. They "have a strong sense of their own racial identity… and believe that anti-white discrimination is as pervasive as other forms of discrimination," Ekins wrote. "They have cooler feelings toward minorities. They agree in overwhelming numbers that real Americans need to have been born in America, or have lived here most of their lives, and be Christian."And the study found that those views of racial solidarity helped propel Trump's general election victory more than his "populism" on trade or entitlements. [In other words, they don’t care that he lied about not cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and long as he sticks it to the colored folks.]"What stands out most," concluded George Washington University political scientist John Sides, "is the attitudes that became more strongly related to the vote in 2016: attitudes about immigration, feelings toward black people and feelings toward Muslims."As president, Trump has reflected their attitudes through a series of actions. His administration has toughened immigration enforcement, pursued his travel ban targeted at six majority-Muslim nations, and targeted Obama administration initiatives designed to change law enforcement and sentencing practices.Though five months of controversy have eroded the president's public standing, polls show Trump retains backing from roughly 8 in 10 Republicans. What's unclear now is whether a direct hit from health-care legislation could trigger accelerated fallout among his base of white working-class support.In the swing states Trump carried, those voters gained health insurance coverage in large numbers from Obamacare. They included 376,000 whites without college degrees in Ohio, 355,0[...]



Was It The Lobotomizing Of Conservative Intellectualism That Guaranteed The Rise Of Trumpy-The-Clown?

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 01:00:00 +0000

The end of the GOP?Friday, writing for The Atlantic, former Bush staffer David Frum noted the “mounting evidence” that Putin inflicted Trump on us by putting him into the White House and asked a poignant question for all Americans: What Happens When A Presidency Loses Its Legitimacy?. For many millions of Americans, perhaps most Americans, that’s already happened. Frum points to a n”thick cloud of discredit over the Trump presidency” that grows darker by the day and reminded his readers that, unaware he was being taped, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted his his members that Trump is on Putin’s payroll. It’s not seriously disputed by anyone in a position of authority in the U.S. government-- apart from the president himself-- that Donald Trump holds his high office in considerable part because a foreign spy agency helped place him there. So now what?…The U.S. government is already osmotically working around the presidency, a process enabled by the president’s visible distaste for the work of governance. The National Security Council staff is increasingly a double-headed institution, a zone of struggle between Kushner-Flynn-Bannon types on one side, and a growing staff of capable, experienced, and Russia-skeptical functionaries on the other. The Senate has voted 97-2 to restrict the president’s authority to relax Russia sanctions. It seems the president has been persuaded to take himself out of the chain of command in the escalating military operations in Afghanistan. National-Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently assured the nation that Trump could not have done much harm when he blabbed a vital secret to the Russian foreign minister in the Oval Office, precisely because the president was not briefed on crucial “sources and methods” information.In their way, these workarounds are almost as dangerous to the American system of government as the Trump presidency itself. They tend to reduce the president to the status of an absentee emperor while promoting his subordinates into shoguns who exercise power in his name. Maybe that is the least-bad practicable solution to the unprecedented threat of a presidency-under-suspicion. But what a terrible price for the failure of so many American institutions-- not least the voters!-- to protect the country in 2016 from Russia’s attack on its election and its democracy.I don’t think he was responding to Frum yesterday, but Bruce Bartlett, another former Republican staffer-- this one for Reagan and then Bush’s father-- wrote in Politico that he only endorsed Trump-- and voted for him in the primary-- last year because he “thought he would lose to Hillary Clinton, disastrously, and that his defeat would cleanse the Republican Party of the extremism and nuttiness that drove me out of it. I had hoped that post-2016, what remained of the moderate wing of the GOP would reassert itself as it did after the Goldwater debacle in 1964, and exorcise the crazies.” But that’s not what happened. Instead, the crazies are in running the GOP asylum. Almost everything that has happened since November 8 has been the inverse of what I’d imagined. Trump didn’t lose; he won. The Republican Party isn’t undergoing some sort of reckoning over what it believes; his branch of the Republican Party has taken control. Most troubling, perhaps, is that rather than reassert themselves, the moderate Republicans have almost all rolled over entirely.Trump has turned out to be far, far worse than I imagined. He has instituted policies so right wing they make Ronald Reagan, for whom I worked, look like a liberal Democrat. He has appointed staff people far to the right of the Republican mainstream in many positions, and they are instituting policies that are frighteningly extreme. Environmental Protect[...]



I Hear Frederick Douglas Is Doing Great Things With Healthcare

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 21:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nMKtWEV4sec" width="420">-by NoahWell, it’s out. The mangy, one-eyed, 3-legged cat is out of the bag. We have now seen Trumpcare, AKA the Republican Party’s “healthcare” plan. It may go down as Trump’s biggest bait and switch ever. It’s pay more for worse insurance and while we’re at it, we’re cutting Medicaid and redistributing the wealth of American citizens upward, bigly. You didn’t really think Trump was going to give us something that didn’t increase the flow of cash to his own pockets, did you? This thing kinda sounds like Russia’s post-revolution Communist Party back when party members took all the power and money and created a poverty class for everyone else. Trumpcare is, as Bernie Sanders said, “what oligarchy is all about.”Republicans are calling it the AHCA, short for American Health Care Act. That name follows the proud tradition of Republicans calling their legislation the exact opposite of what it really is. Who can forget some of the Republican Party’s biggest (or biggliest) legislative hits on America from the past. Remember Dubya’s “Healthy Forests Act” that was designed to let timber companies clear-cut our nation’s forests?May I suggest a better name for the lovechild of a 3-way between Messrs Ryan, McConnell, and Trump? How about the AHTA, the American Healthcare Terrorism Act? It has a ring to it. It’s much more accurate in what it does for or should I say, to, the average American citizen. The Republican Party plan is for Americans to live in absolute terror and fear of contracting a serious, even life-threatening illness and not being able to do a damn thing about it. Got a child who depends on you? Too bad. Got a child who has cancer? Too bad. Ain’t no skin off of Trump’s fat ass. This plan has the stench of Mitch McConnell’s corruption all over it. Paul Ryan? His psychotic smirk is permanent now, like the Batman Joker’s smile.But, first things first: This Trumpcare bill is not even a healthcare bill. If you understand one thing at all about it, it’s that calling it a healthcare bill is just a marketing ploy. The truth is that it is not designed to alleviate the healthcare situations in our country. No matter what our politicians and our media call it, this Republican Party bill is really a bill designed to handout welfare to multi-millionaires, billionaires, Big Pharma, insurance companies, and other corporations, and, by doing so, create a campaign slush fund for Republican Party politicians.It could not be more obvious that the biggest, most cynical, and most devious purpose of Trumpcare is this: Just as Republicans put the fix in on congressional districts with their devious and precedent-breaking extreme gerrymandering, they are presenting a bill which will provide them with an additional source of untold amounts of money that they intend to use to guarantee their re-election. Portions of the money handed out in the form of tax cuts will, with out a doubt, slide back to campaign coffers and be handed out as checks before votes in the House and Senate. This is nothing new, but we will see more of it. They call such things “campaign contributions.”If and when Donald Trump signs this bill into law, you will not be wrong in thinking that each Republican lawn sign or TV commercial that you see represents what would have been a life-saving check-up, medical treatment, or nursing home stay for someone in your family. Ladies and gents: This is today’s Republican Party.Here are some of the details of what this evil insults and assaults us with: • Like the House version of Trumpcare, the Senate version will force approximately 23 Million Americans out of insurance.• [...]



Is A Deranged, Vengeful Trumpanzee Ready To Destroy GOP Hopes Of Holding Onto The Nevada Senate Seat?

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Friday evening, we warned that by handing the Nevada Senate nomination over to worthless conservaDem Jackie Rosen-- who has already managed to stake out a claim as one of the worst freshman Dems in Congress (with a ProgressivePunch “F” score and a crucial vote rating of 33.33 for the current session, worse than conservative North Carolina Republican Walter Jones and tied with Michigan Republican Justin Amash, and the 4th worst of any Democratic first termer-- Schumer would be snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory in the best shot the Democrats have for picking up a Republican-held Senate seat. However, Schumer’s malfeasance may actually be matched by the Trump Regime’s. America First Policies is a shady big money SuperPAC intimately connected to the Regime. Pence personally raises big money for them from secret right-wing donors and they are an attack machine for he and Trump. Except now they’re attacking-- absolutely with Pence’s and Trump’s encouragement-- a Republican: embattled Nevada Senator Dean Heller.On Friday, encouraged by Nevada’s Republican Governor, Brian Sandoval, Heller explained to Nevadans why he won’t vote for the Senate’s “healthcare” bill, TrumpCare 3.0. “This bill,” he said, “is simply not the answer… I will not support it. It doesn’t protect Nevadans on Medicaid and the most vulnerable Nevadans: the elderly, Nevadans struggling with mental health issues, substance abuse, and people with disabilities.”America First Policies, judging Heller to be the most vulnerable senator-- and seeking to send a clear, ugly message to other mainstream Republicans who are wavering (primarily Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Rob Portman), pounced immediately. They vowed to spend a million dollars in TV ads against Heller, undermining his viability with Trump-supporting Republicans.The NRSC, speaking off the record in fear of offending Señor Trumapnzee and his henchman Pence, allowed a spokesperson to tell the media "If true, it's totally insane. It will put them on opposite sides of the party, donors and common sense."In the past the group has run attack ads in GA-06 against Jon Ossoff and has run ads thanking vulnerable Republicans like David Joyce (OH) and Martha McSally (AZ) for voting against their own constituents to back Trump on eviscerating the healthcare system. Most of the money for the dark money groups Trump and pence control comes from just two pro-fascist American families, the Mercers and the Ricketts and run by right-wing extremists Brian Walsh, Brad Parscale and two Pence operatives, Nick Ayers and Marty Obst.One of the characters running America First Policies told the media that they plan to keep Republican members of Congress in line by cracking the whip in a big way. "You do not want to mess with Donald Trump’s base in a primary, particularly in a place like Nevada,” he seethed menacingly. “This kind of money in Nevada is real... This is a beginning." Sounds like Bannon is helping them design the anti-Heller campaign, which will paint the senator as "a typical politician" in cahoots with Schumer and Pelosi. McConnell is reported to be upset.[...]



TrumpCare 3.0 vs Medicare-For-All

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 13:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/x5GjVEkm88I" width="420">Last night Bernie spoke about TrumpCare at the Pittsburgh Convention Center and this morning he’ll be doing the same at Express Live in Columbus, Ohio and again this evening at the West Virginia Civic Center in Charleston. You can get to the essence of his message by watching the short clip he released (above). Do you doubt anything that he says in his response to the Republican “healthcare” bill? All those assertions about what Americans want, for example? On Friday, the Pew Research Center released a new poll, senators might want to look at before they vote on TrumpCare 3.0. Top line: "a majority of Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. And a growing share now supports a 'single payer' approach to health insurance."Currently, 60% say the federal government is responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, while 39% say this is not the government’s responsibility. These views are unchanged from January, but the share saying health coverage is a government responsibility remains at its highest level in nearly a decade.Among those who see a government responsibility to provide health coverage for all, more now say it should be provided through a single health insurance system run by the government, rather than through a mix of private companies and government programs. Overall, 33% of the public now favors such a “single payer” approach to health insurance, up 5 percentage points since January and 12 points since 2014. Democrats-- especially liberal Democrats-- are much more supportive of this approach than they were even at the start of this year.Even among those who say the federal government is not responsible for ensuring Americans have health care coverage, there is little public appetite for government withdrawing entirely from involvement in health care coverage. Among the public, 33% say that health care coverage is not the government’s responsibility, but that programs like Medicare and Medicaid should be continued; just 5% of Americans say the government should not be involved at all in providing health insurance.The issue of the government’s responsibility in ensuring health coverage remains deeply divisive politically, according to the new survey, conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults. More than eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (85%) say that this responsibility falls to the federal government, while about two-thirds of Republicans and Republican leaners (68%) say it does not.Still, most Republicans (57%) say the government “should continue programs like Medicare and Medicaid for seniors and the very poor.” Just 9% of Republicans say the government should not be involved in providing health insurance at all.Among Democrats, 52% now say health insurance should be provided through a single national insurance system run by the government, while fewer (31%) say it should be provided through a mix of private companies and government programs. The share of Democrats supporting a single national program to provide health insurance has increased 9 percentage points since January and 19 points since 2014.Nearly two-thirds of liberal Democrats (64%) now support a single-payer health insurance system, up 13 percentage points since January. Conservative and moderate Democrats remain about evenly divided: 38% prefer that health insurance continue to be provided by a mix of private insurance companies and government programs, while 42% favor a single-payer approach.Overall, support for a single-payer health insurance system is m[...]



A Crumbling Regime... Built On A Thin Tissue Of Compulsive Lies

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 04:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zw_KAW7NvKA" width="420">“Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies,” wrote David Leonhardt in today’s NY Times. Does that statement seem odd, coming on the pages of one of the country’s most prestigious, and even staid, newspapers? But that was just the beginning. Leonhardt continued by warning that “as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office.” I’ve never seen coverage like that of a president by the media. But, of course, there’s never been a president like Trump, an inveterate liar incapable of being truthful. It would be safe to assume that everything he ever says is a lie meant to manipulate his audience. That’s who close to a majority plurality of Americans put into the White House. And even today something like 35% of American voters still fail to see his utter unfitness for the presidency… which says an awful lot, uncomfortably, about just over a third of our fellow citizens. What followed was the longest paragraph in the history of the New York Times: a chronological catalogue of Señor Trumpanzee’s presidential lies: JAN. 21 “I wasn't a fan of Iraq. I didn't want to go into Iraq.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.) JAN. 21 “A reporter for Time magazine-- and I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.” (Trump was on the cover 11 times and Nixon appeared 55 times.) JAN. 23 “Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote.” (There's no evidence of illegal voting.) JAN. 25 “Now, the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive.” (Official aerial photos show Obama's 2009 inauguration was much more heavily attended.) JAN. 25 “Take a look at the Pew reports (which show voter fraud.)” (The report never mentioned voter fraud.) JAN. 25 “You had millions of people that now aren't insured anymore.” (The real number is less than 1 million, according to the Urban Institute.) JAN. 25 “So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can't have that.” (There were no gun homicide victims in Chicago that day.) JAN. 26 “We've taken in tens of thousands of people. We know nothing about them. They can say they vet them. They didn't vet them. They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don't know anything about them and you have no papers? How do you vet them? You can't.” (Vetting lasts up to two years.) JAN. 26 “I cut off hundreds of millions of dollars off one particular plane, hundreds of millions of dollars in a short period of time. It wasn't like I spent, like, weeks, hours, less than hours, and many, many hundreds of millions of dollars. And the plane's going to be better.” (Most of the cuts were already planned.) JAN. 28 “The coverage about me in the @nytimes and the @washingtonpost has been so false and angry that the times actually apologized to its dwindling subscribers and readers.” (It never apologized.) JAN. 29 “The Cuban-Americans, I got 84 percent of that vote.” (There is no support for this.) JAN. 30 “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage” (At least 746 people were detained and proce[...]



When Will The Drip, Drip, Drip Of Putin-Gate Drive Trump From Office?

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 01:00:00 +0000

Trump is obsessed with Putin-Gate-- and for good reason. He knows what he’s done. He knows it’s just a matter of time before Mueller exposes him. So he tweets away when no one’s around to keep him calm and he screeches and rages at the White House TV sets, even in front of witnesses. Now he’s blaming his chief White House lawyer, Donald McGahn for not containing Putin-Gate before it got so messy and so embarrassingly public. In it’s June 12 poll, PPP reported-- and other polls have corroborated-- that most voters think Trump has obstructed justice and is dishonest and do not trust the congressional Republicans to get to the bottom of Putin-Gate.The special report that Greg Miller wrote for the Washington Post Friday night probably sent him into another breakdown-- Obama’s Secret Struggle To Punish Russia For Putin’s Election Assault. “Early last August,” wrote Miller, “an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried ‘eyes only’ instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides. Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race. But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives-- defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump… The post-election period has been dominated by the overlapping investigations into whether Trump associates colluded with Russia before the election and whether the president sought to obstruct the FBI probe afterward. That spectacle has obscured the magnitude of Moscow’s attempt to hijack a precious and now vulnerable-seeming American democratic process.” Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year. In July, the FBI had opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks.But at the highest levels of government, among those responsible for managing the crisis, the first moment of true foreboding about Russia’s intentions arrived with that CIA intelligence.The material was so sensitive that CIA Director John Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief, concerned that even that restricted report’s distribution was too broad. The CIA package came with instructions that it be returned immediately after it was read. To guard against leaks, subsequent meetings in the Situation Room followed the same protocols as planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid.It took time for other parts of the intelligence community to endorse the CIA’s view. Only in the administration’s final weeks in office did it tell the public, in a declassified report, what officials had learned from Brennan in August-- that Putin was working to elect Trump.…[I]n late December, Obama approved a modest package combining measures that had been drawn up to punish Russia for other issues-- expulsions of 35 diplomats and the closure of two Russian compounds-- with economic sanctions so narrowly targeted that even those who helped design them describe their impact as largely symbolic.Obama also approved a previously undisclosed covert measure that author[...]



DCCC-- Never Too Busy To Protect Paul Ryan's House Seat In Wisconsin-- It's In Their DNA Now

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 21:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JaNNzq0kZo4" width="420">That’s an old Blue America radio spot we ran against Paul Ryan at some point in the distant past. As you may know, Randy Bryce isn’t the first Democrat to go up against Ryan. In 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 Ryan's Democratic challenger was Jeffrey Thomas, a retired orthopedic surgeon from Ryan's hometown of Janesville. The Ryan-friendly Thomas' only issue for his first three runs was healthcare and he never quite cracked a third of the vote, but in 2006 he ran against Ryan's shady relationship with Republican corruptionists Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay and went all the way to 37%. In 2006 Ryan raised over $1.6 million and Thomas, who always refused to raise money for campaigns, spent $5,000 of his own. He was the ideal candidate for a DCCC uninterested in offering Ryan any kind of a challenge.In 2008 Obama won Ryan’s district, 51-48%. Predictably (albeit irrationally), the DCCC had refused to back the Democratic candidate that year, Margaret Krupp, and she was only able to spend $134,042 against the $2,251,389 Ryan spent. He took 64.0% of the vote to her 34.7%. The following cycle, there was a lot of excitement about building on Obama’s win and finding a strong candidate to the on Ryan. The DCCC, in no uncertain terms, told Wisconsin politicians that they shouldn’t waste their time. A progressive activist, Paulette Garin, a member of the National Single Payer Alliance and the Wisconsin state Coordinator for both Progressive Democrats of America and the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care, stood up anyway. Paulette spent almost all of her time campaigning for healthcare reform rather than for Congress but in August, 2009, she faced off against Ryan in the only contest he agreed to participate in-- a goat-milking event at the Racine County Fair. Paulette beat him. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0ajyhY5THaM" width="420">Maybe that made the DCCC nervous, because they smacked her down like a ton of bricks falling on her head. How dare she! She had only raised $3,549 in the primary. The DCCC found their own candidate to run against her, someone they were quite certain would offer no threat to Ryan, and put up John Heckenlively, a hugely oversized unemployed man who lived in his parents basement. After the DCCC worked to sabotage Garin and deliver the nomination to Heckenlively, they promptly abandoned the district and “their” candidate, who went on to raise just $12,066 and accrue just 30% of the vote (two years after Obama had won the district with 51%). That's the DCCC. They've been protecting Ryan's reelection bids every 2 years since 2000. I'm sure there must be a great reason and maybe Pelosi will tell us in her memoir someday.When we set out to recruit a candidate for the 2018 cycle, we were fully aware that the DCCC would, once again, do whatever they had to do to keep Ryan in his seat. And so were all the local elected officials. Each one of them passed on the race. Finally, progressive state Senator Chris Larson and former candidate Rob Zerban each suggested I call union activist and progressive stalwart Randy Bryce. So I did. He told me he was leaning towards running and that the Wisconsin Working Families Party was urging him to as well. I started to get to know him and I could see immediately that Randy was not going to be another childish, wishy-washy moderate in the Ossoff mold. This was a fully-mature, independent-minded working class family man with a life of experience that has shaped his political p[...]



Despite The Corrosive Effect Of The DCCC, There Is A Reason To Believe

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Hard to imagine, but even today 42% of Americans still prefer to see Republicans control Congress. A new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows that just 50% of Americans would prefer Democrats take over Congress in 2018. NBC reports “that’s the largest lead either party has held on that generic ballot question in the NBC/WSJ poll since 2013, and the first time either party reached 50 percent on that question since 2008.” But still… this is the Republican Party those 42% want in control, the GOP so eloquently described by Charles Pierce for Esquire: Today is not the day for you to ask for my understanding as to how you're going to afford Grandma's chemo now that she's busted the lifetime cap on her insurance. Today is not the day for you to ask for my sympathy for Grandpa who's going to get his ass hoisted out of his rest home and dropped onto the couch in your basement family room because his Medicaid ran out. Today is not the day for you to moan into TV cameras about how Cousin Clyde with the opioid problem has to go back to sticking up tourists for his fix because the little hospital up by the mountain closed.Not today. Not this particular Thursday. Maybe by Monday.The Senate unveiled its big secret tax-cut plan on Thursday morning. It also contains some elements dealing with healthcare that will make the lives of millions of sick and elderly Americans immeasurably worse, but, since it's actually a tax-cut bill, and it actually does cut taxes for the wealthiest among us, then I guess you can say the strategy was a success. And they say the Republicans can't govern. Hah.Of course, it's as bad as we all thought it would be. It virtually zeroes out Medicaid down the line-- letting it "die on the vine," just the way Newt Gingrich recommended 20 years ago. It forces low-income people to pay more for policies once called "street-surance" back in the day. (John Grisham should sue these guys.They stole the entire plot from The Rainmaker.) There's a lot of "handing back to the states," which can be translated as "Give Sam Brownback more money to hand out to his donors." The bill is such a transparent sham that one of its provisions, the repeal of the tax on investment income for wealthy individuals and families, was made retroactive to the end of last year. There is no reason on god's earth to make this retroactive unless your main purpose is to shove more of the nation's wealth upwards. Which is what this bill is primarily designed to do.Let me put it in measurements that are particularly of interest to me. By 2050, it is estimated that there will be 16 million people in the United States with Alzheimer's Disease. Right now, in 2017 dollars, the estimated costs of treating and caring for AD patients is $236 billion dollars. Of that, $154 billion is picked up by Medicare and Medicaid. Tell me now how that gap is made up by a plan that virtually eliminates Medicaid entirely by the time we get to 2025. Churches? Families? Winning the Lotto?A cure?Fat chance.So, yeah, suckers. This is what you voted for. In fact, this is what you've been voting for, over and over again, ever since the Death Valley Days of jellybeans and missiles to the mullahs. This bill is the pot of gold at the end of Paul Ryan's personal rainbow. This bill is everything that every young conservative brought up in the luxurious terrariums of wingnut welfare is taught to revere from the first day of his political gestation, right down to its playing-to-the-cheap-seats whack at Planned Parenthood.So far, four GOP senators have said they cannot vote for the bill. They are Ron (Shreds of[...]



Is The DCCC A Racket? You Bet Your Sweet Ass It Is!

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 13:00:00 +0000

Gone-- but the stench was left behindLast week Roll Call reported that the DCCC hit a record-breaking fundraising number-- over $9.3 million in May… and that most of it came from grassroots contributions. A DCCC robot read a prepared statement: “The huge enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans has shown up in special elections, primaries, and with record-breaking small-dollar fundraising. Democrats are unified heading into the 2018 midterms, and we will continue to channel grassroots energy towards flipping seats on the largest House battleground we’ve seen in a decade.” According to the fundraising figures, the DCCC raised $6.55 million through its grassroots programs, with $4.5 million coming from online donations, with an average donation of $19.…The committee also reported that over the first five months of the year it has received online donations from 167,000 first-time donors, and added 2.4 million people to its email list.Also over the last five months, the committee has raised nearly $22.3 million in online donations, surpassing its total online donations for the entire year in 2015.What a shame so many sincere grassroots Democrats fall prey, not just to endemic DCCC incompetence, but to the overwhelming corruption that drives the organization and determines every decision. That link goes to an exposé from 2010 that delineates DCCC corruption and how it works… and DCCC corruption has, if anything, gotten much worse in the interim. Thursday night we looked at a real-time sale of a nomination in a very winnable Orange County seat that the DCCC is willing to write off in exchange for some fat checks from an ambitious lottery winner. But that isn’t even the kind of corruption I mean. Gaius hit on it earlier on the same day here, the systemic kind of corruption which should send small dollar contributors fleeing.Let’s take the Ossoff race for example. One of the consulting firms the DCCC saddled him with-- the kind of thing corruption organizations like them and EMILY’s List do with all their candidates-- is owned by former (and future?) DCCC staffers, Greg Berlin, Jake Lipsett, and Charles Starnes, who pocketed-- as in personally pocketed-- $3.9 million. Some of that was money I contributed! You too? Nd that was just one of the many DCCC-connected consulting firms on the Ossoff gravy train. You know all those dull and ineffective TV ads? The DCCC encourages that kind of garbage, not because they win elections-- they don’t-- but because they are commissionable and the ex/future staffers make millions off them (personally make millions, becoming very wealthy-- regardless of whether a candidate wins or loses… and most-- the vast majority-- lose).Solution? Never, never, never, never contribute to shady organizations like the DCCC or EMILY’s List. Always and exclusively make your contributions directly to candidates who stand for the issues you want. Chances are if the DCCC solicits money by touting popular progressive agenda items-- like single payer health care, for example-- whatever money doesn’t get pocketed by avaricious staffers, goes to prop up conservatives who vehemently oppose the very policies they hoodwink donors into thinking they’re advancing. When an organization with a massive overhead like the DCCC, End Citizens United or EMILY’s List encourages you to give your money to them, rather than the candidate, that money is more likely to go towards defeating what you want than to advancing what you want. Trustworthy operations like Blue America, DFA, the PCCC, Daily Kos, e[...]



Bernie Won The Wisconsin Primary, 567,936 to 432,767. Trump Won Wisconsin Too... With Just 531,129 Votes

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 04:00:00 +0000

I spent about an hour or so, spread over a couple of phone calls, with Jon Ossoff right after he declared. I was impressed with his energy and verve, his dedication to oppose Trump and the House Republicans and his eagerness to do what’s necessary to win. He didn’t come across as a Bernie Sanders or a Pramila Jayapal or Elizabeth Warren but he did come across as kind of progressive. Blue America endorsed him, I contributed some money to his campaign and we started raising money for him.It didn’t take long before I started regretting it. It wasn’t even that he started inching inextricably towards the center really fast, as much as something else I smelled. The DCCC moved in immediately and took over with their crooked money-sucking consultants. Everything I started seeing coming out of the Ossoff campaign started looking bad to me-- the multiple e-mails with no content everyday was an immediate give-away. When I complained, they took me off their mailing list. Every time I asked Jon substantive policy questions for follow-up posts, he wouldn’t respond. By the time he said he opposed single payer, I realized I’d been had by another establishment suck-up. But I generally held my tongue and hoped he’d win just for the message it would send to Republicans wavering in their support for the Ryan-Trump agenda. That was fucked up of me. Because there was another message an Ossoff victory would have sent, one the media would have crowed about endlessly-- how the Democratic Party can only win with centrist candidates who don’t have campaigns based on strong values. Maybe Ossoff can now go off and join Jason Kander in whatever he’s doing to push backward centrism on unsuspecting Democrats.Right after the votes were countered and people started asking themselves what happened down in Georgia, Matthew Yglesias took the opportunity to propose that this might be a good time for the Democrats to stop trying to expand their Big Tent to accommodate every Republican who isn’t a neo-Nazi and instead come up with a coherent and substantive agenda. Imagine that! Ossoff falling short-- while coming closer than Rob Quist-- and Jeremy Corbyn’s surprisingly strong showing in the recent UK election suggest a possible synthesis of these views.Corbyn’s electoral map, in the end, turns out to look a lot like Hillary Clinton’s. He did well in the most diverse and most educated parts of the United Kingdom and worst among older voters. Whites with college degrees, in short, weren’t secretly dreaming of socialism. At the same time, running on a bold progressive policy agenda didn’t stop him from picking up support in exactly the kind of upscale precincts that the Democratic establishment has been trying to target. And it did succeed in doing what post-Obama Democrats have failed to do-- engage young voters and encourage them to come to the polls.But perhaps most of all, running on a bold policy agenda helped focus voters’ minds on policy rather than on the (extremely long) list of controversial Corbyn statements and associations from past years. Pundits had long expected Corbyn to get crushed at the polls, and had Theresa May succeeded in running an election focused on the Falklands War, the Irish Republican Army, and unilateral nuclear disarmament, she would have won. But instead, the UK ended up with a campaign about promises to nationalize utilities, eliminate university tuition, and raise taxes.Ossoff’s effort to stay bland and inoffensive let hazy personal and culture war issues dominate the campaign-- and [...]



Schumer Prepares To Throw Away A Chance To Beat Dean Heller in Nevada With Another Garbage Blue Dog

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 01:00:00 +0000

The biggest electoral battle progressives have coming up is to help the Democrats win back the House, something that would likely stymie Trump’s toxic and destructive agenda. Sometimes the DCCC makes that next to impossible, recruiting “ex”-Republican conservatives-- like Brad Ashford-- and their newest kick: anti-Choice Democrats or worthless slugs who fit some identity politics formula. But there is no other ballgame right now-- it’s the House or bust. That’s why primaries are so, so crucial-- keeping the DCCC slugs recruited by anti-progressive fanatics Cheri Bustos and Denny Heck-- away from nominations and encouraging and supporting grassroots, values-driven progressive candidates like these men and women.Conventional wisdom has it that the Senate is out of bounds for 2018. The Democrats blew their shot for the Senate by following Schumer and Tester’s diktat that only corruptible conservatives like Patrick Murphy (FL), Ted Strickland (OH), Katie McGinty (PA), Evan Bayh (IN), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ) and Patty Judge (IA) could win. They all lost. And those were contestable states. In 2018, fate has dealt the Democrats a bad table-- almost no winnable Senate races. No matter how unpopular Trump and McConnell are nationally, Roger Wicker, John Barrasso and Deb Fischer aren’t losing their seats in Mississippi, Wyoming and Nebraska. Instead, 11 Democrats have to defend seats in swing states or even red states-- Joe Manchin (WV), Joe Donnelly (IN), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Bill Nelson (FL), Claire McCaskill (MO), Jon Tester (MT), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Sherrod Brown (OH), Tim Kaine (VA), Debbie Stabenow (MI), and Bob Casey (PA).But Trump and McConnell (and Ryan and the GOP) are proving to be even more unpopular than anyone expected. Their overreach is breathtaking and the chances that all these Democrats can hold on is looking possible-- even utterly worthless slugs like Heitkamp and Manchin in die-hard Trump bastions. Yesterday the DSCC sent out an e-mail, “DSCC Targets Three Senate Republicans with Health-Care Ads.” The letter boasts that “voters in the home states of Senators Jeff Flake (AZ), Dean Heller (NV), and Ted Cruz (TX) will be seeing updated versions of our hard-hitting “The Price” ad-- asking what their senator’s health care plan will truly cost their constituents. It’s a weak and ineffective ad but the point is that the DSCC has identified 3 states they need to win if they are too have any chance to win back the Senate: Arizona, Nevada and Texas.Arizona has no definitive Democratic candidate yet although there’s a strong buzz that the state House’s Assistant Minority Leader, Randall Friese, will run. (Other potential candidates include far right-wing Blue Dog Kyrsten Sinema and almost-as-bad loser Ann Kirkpatrick. Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut and husband of former conservative Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, is also talking about running. If Sinema or Kirkpatrick is the nominee, any chance of the Democrats winning back the Senate ends immediately.In Texas, the most difficult stretch by far, the Democrats have as good as candidate as they’re going to find-- cerebral, principled and charismatic El Paso congressman Beto O’Rourke, a great contrast to Ted Cruz.Today, though, let’s take a look at Nevada, the most likely Democratic pickup. Hillary beat Trump in Nevada 539,260 (47.9%) to 512,058 (45.5%) and on the same day, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto defeated the far better-known Joe Heck 521,994 (47.1%) to 495,079 (44.7%). The state has been tren[...]



The Philando Castile Case: Trevor Noah Calls Out The NRA

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 21:00:00 +0000

width="420" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0IJSSBMLz6g" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>-by NoahFor those who don’t remember, Philando Castile was a Missouri-born American citizen who was shot at, 7 times, while sitting in his car, by St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez back on July 6, 2016.Castile had been stopped by the police in a traffic stop as local police were looking for a pair of robbery suspects. Castile was cooperating with the police and he was merely returning home from having dinner and doing some grocery shopping.The crime reached national notoriety, not because it was unusual, but because its immediate aftermath was streamed live on Facebook by the victim’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who had been riding with Castile and her daughter. On the Facebook clip, you can clearly hear Ms. Reynolds interacting with the police.7 times. Clearly, officer Yanez was not merely attempting to disable or stop an assailant. Castile was not running away. He was not running towards police, weapon in hand, even though police had been told by Castile that he had a legally permitted firearm. Castile was shot in the process of handing over his wallet. He had already handed Yanez his proof of insurance and was making what he was doing very clear.Diamond’s Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter was sitting in the backseat as Yanez pumped 5 bullets (2 missed) into his victim from point blank range, shooting through the driver’s side window. 2 bullets pierced Castile’s heart. Both Reynolds and the girl were miraculously not physically hurt; emotionally and mentally will be another story altogether.The police car dashcam recorder shows that Yanez spoke to Castile for approximately 40 seconds before he started shooting. 7 times. Point blank. You can see it all as part of the video at the end of this post.After the shooting, Yanez was unable to say that he had definitely seen a gun in Castile’s hand. However, almost a year later, during the trial, he emphatically said he had. When paramedics arrived, they found the gun still in Castile’s pocket. Yanez and his partner, Joseph Kauser hadn’t even bothered to take the pistol out and place it on the floor or on the seat of the car to make their story look good, as might happen in a TV crime drama.7 times. Point blank. 2 in the heart. Yanez was acquitted of all charges (only 2nd Degree Manslaughter and 2 counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm) last week. To the city’s credit, he was fired the same day.The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah has addressed this tragic story, along with similar tragic stories numerous times. This story, as Mr. Noah points out, has something different about it: Philando Castile was not just deferential to the police. He was legally licensed to carry a firearm. He did everything he was supposed to do. He had a gun that the NRA says so vociferously that he has a right to bear. He threatened nobody, and, he got killed by the police in cold blood. Did the NRA wail about jackbooted cops attacking a legally armed citizen? Nope. A few days ago, Trevor Noah asked why. His 2:20 discussion, which I’ve placed at the beginning of this post, is must see TV. This is the kind of thing that makes The Daily Show special.Trevor Noah followed up the next day. Please see below. Mr. Noah’s words are even more poignant, more moving. The laws, the lawyers, the courts, the jury; they all failed Philando Castile, and every one of us. It would be easy to make a cheap joke and [...]



L.A. Doesn't Allow Slavery-- Indentured Servants, Though... An Entirely Different Matter

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:00:00 +0000

I woke up this morning and my e-mail box was filled with messages about this report, Rigged by Brett Murphy for USA Today. I had missed it when it ran a few days ago but. My correspondents were insistent it is a must-read. And it is. It’s worth reading in full— though probably not on a full stomach. Murphy started off with the story of an immigrant trucker, Samuel Talavera Jr., virtually a modern day American slave. Or does being paid make you not a slave… even if the pay is 67 cents a week? One driver told Murphy that “We are not human. We are machines for making money for these people.” Talavera’s truck, which he was leasing-to-buy from the company he worked for, broke down in October, 2013. When Talavera could not afford repairs, the company fired him and seized the truck-- along with $78,000 he had paid towards owning it.Talavera was a modern-day indentured servant. And there are hundreds, likely thousands more, still on the road, hauling containers for trucking companies that move goods for America’s most beloved retailers, from Costco to Target to Home Depot.These port truckers-- many of them poor immigrants who speak little English-- are responsible for moving almost half of the nation’s container imports out of Los Angeles’ ports. They don't deliver goods to stores. Instead they drive them short distances to warehouses and rail yards, one small step on their journey to a store near you.A yearlong investigation by the USA Today Network found that port trucking companies in southern California have spent the past decade forcing drivers to finance their own trucks by taking on debt they could not afford. Companies then used that debt as leverage to extract forced labor and trap drivers in jobs that left them destitute.If a driver quit, the company seized his truck and kept everything he had paid towards owning it.If drivers missed payments, or if they got sick or became too exhausted to go on, their companies fired them and kept everything. Then they turned around and leased the trucks to someone else.Drivers who manage to hang on to their jobs sometimes end up owing money to their employers— essentially working for free. Reporters identified seven different companies that have told their employees they owe money at week’s end.The USA Today Network pieced together accounts from more than 300 drivers, listened to hundreds of hours of sworn labor dispute testimony and reviewed contracts that have never been seen by the public.Using the contracts, submitted as evidence in labor complaints, and shipping manifests, reporters matched the trucking companies with the most labor violations to dozens of retail brands, including Target, Hewlett-Packard, Home Depot, Hasbro, J.Crew, UPS, Goodyear, Costco, Ralph Lauren and more.Among the findings: • Trucking companies force drivers to work against their will-- up to 20 hours a day-- by threatening to take their trucks and keep the money they paid toward buying them. Bosses create a culture of fear by firing drivers, suspending them without pay or reassigning them the lowest-paying routes.• To keep drivers working, managers at a few companies have physically barred them from going home. More than once, Marvin Figueroa returned from a full day’s work to find the gate to the parking lot locked and a manager ordering drivers back to work. “That was how they forced me to continue working,” he testified in a 2015 labor case. Truckers at two other companies have mad[...]



If Pelosi Goes Who Would You Like To See As Leader, Crowley, Hoyer Or Wasserman Schultz?

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:00:00 +0000

The Dream Team-- for the GOP at leastI gradually stopped being a fan of Nancy Pelosi’s. I went from an admirer to a detractor primarily because of how she ran the DCCC-- an utter catastrophe for Democrats-- and because she imperiously declared an impeachment investigation of Bush was “off the table” after the Democrats won back the House. But my anger towards her has built slowly as the DCCC leaders she appointed went from bad to worse-- and lost more and more House seats. But, I’m not foolish enough to get onboard the train that is most eager to displace her-- the New Dem/Blue Dog choo choo-- i.e., the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- salivating at any prospect of kicking her and her progressive core values to the curb. She may be terrible, but everyone lined up to replace her is much, much, much worse. How many times do I have to say “much” to get the point across? K Street wants their man Steny Hoyer. Wall Street wants their man Joe Crowley. Those are the two most likely successors and Wall Street would as happily settle for Hoyer as K Street would for Crowley. Is there no one else? Not really… unless you want to rev up that ole Wasserman Schultz machine again-- a hopefully no one wants that, not even the members she’s still been funneling the dirty money to that she takes from all the wrong sources.Late Wednesday afternoon two consecutive Politico pieces, one by John Bresnahan at 4pm and then another by Gabe Debenedetti at 5:30, raised the spectre of a revolt against Pelosi’s leadership over Ossoff’s loss. Before we get into them, I just want to remind everyone when House Dems whined and fulminated last year about how the caucus wanted to take control of the DCCC from Pelosi she granted them two concessions. First was that the DCCC chair would be elected not appointed. And second that 5 DCCC regional vice chairs would be elected by members.So here’s what happened. Pelosi nominated the hapless and worthless failure who had been trained by the vile Steve Israel and had already proven himself absolutely incompetent and a detriment to Democrats ever winning anything. No one ran against him and he was unanimously reelected. I don’t think any of the DCCC regional vice chair seats were contested and the 5 members were elected: Joe Kennedy (Northeast), Don McEachin (South), Betty McCollum (Midwest), Jared Polis (Central), Ted Lieu (West Coast). From what I can tell the only one taking the job seriously is, predictably, Ted Lieu. I spoke with one of the other Vice Chairs and he confided in me that he doesn’t know why he ran and doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do. I tried going over some of the live races in his area and he was unaware of any of them. When I call a candidate in California, even really long-shot candidates in non-targeted districts, they tell me they’ve already had conversations with Ted Lieu or with his chief of staff. When I call candidates in crucial states like Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York they mostly say they never heard of a DCCC Regional Vice Chair. “What do they do?” Good question. But "nothing"-- other than in Ted's case-- would be a likely answer.If the fish rots from the head, in the case of the House Democratic Caucus, the rot has spread really deeply… really, really deeply. The leadership is sclerotic; so is much of the membership. “There's a lot of grumbling by rank-and-file members, but [...]



How The Democrats' Worst Enemy Is... The DCCC

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 04:00:00 +0000

Lottery winner Gilbert CisnerosYesterday’s Democratic operative quote of the day was "We no longer have a party caucus capable of riding this wave. We have 80-year-old leaders and 90-year-old ranking members. This isn't a party. It's a giant assisted living center. Complete with field trips, gym, dining room and attendants." I would just add that the younger leaders-in-waiting are even worse-- much worse than the ones on their way out. The shady Wall Street hustler who Pelosi and Hoyer have picked to take over leadership of the House Democrats once they’re finally gone— Caucus Chair Joe Crowley— told Fox’s Chad Program that though the Dems didn’t win GA-06, “2018 will be a different story.” Pelosi’s utterly worthless, zero value-add DCCC chairman, Ben Ray Luján, petrified the grassroots money he’s been wasting might dry up after the loss in GA-06, sent DCCC staffers a memo for them to leak asserting that polling shows the Democrats can win back the House in 2018 by taking seats from vulnerable GOP incumbents-- pointing specifically to Brian Mast (FL-18), Darrell Issa (CA-49), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), David Valadao (CA-21), Jeff Denham (CA-10),Kevin Yoder (KS-03) and Martha McSally (AZ-02). The clueless and ineffective chairman wrote that his pathetic committee has “a unique opportunity to flip control of the House of Representatives in 2018. This is about much more than one race: the national environment, unprecedented grassroots energy and impressive Democratic candidates stepping up to run deep into the battlefield leave no doubt that Democrats can take back the House next fall.” He added that the DCCC is out recruiting, something that should scare the crap out of all Democrats since all the DCCC looks for are uninspiring wealthy self-funders, Republican-lite misanthropes and identity politics garbage. Without a trace of irony, he wrote that the reactionaries who head the recruitment committee-- Blue Dog Cheri Bustos (a Rahm thing) and wealthy New Dem Denny Heck-- are looking for “top-tier candidates to fill the remaining holes in our map… We have our work cut out for us. Taking back the majority will not be easy. Despite the grassroots energy and the winds at our backs, we have a number of real structural disadvantages in these districts.” He should get a giant mirror for himself and his grotesquely corrupt staff if he wants to examine those real structural disadvantages.Or maybe he could hire someone like the NY Times’ Nate Cohn to look into what ails-- and has been ailing for over a decade-- the DCCC, making it dysfunctional and an assert for Republican control. In a column after the Ossoff debacle, Cohn noted that the Democratic candidates outperformed but still lost in red open seats in Kansas, Montana, Georgia and South Carolina. Wutgout mentioning DCCC ineptness and lousy recruitment, Cohn wrote that “this contradiction is the heart of the challenge the party faces in 2018. Democrats will probably benefit from an extremely favorable political environment, as they do today. But the problem is that they’re fighting an uphill battle, even if the wind is strongly at their backs. The 2018 midterm elections will be decided in Republican-leaning terrain. Even a wave the size of the electoral tsunamis that swept Republicans out of power in 2006 and back into it 2010 would not guarantee the Democrats a House majority in 2018.” De[...]