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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: Tue, 06 Dec 2016 23:49:21 +0000

 



The Democrats' Super-Majorities In Sacramento-- Basically Rendered Meaningless By Corrupt ConservaDems

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 22:00:00 +0000

Assemblyman Jimmy GomezYesterday, Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, who represents a huge swath of hipster and Hispanic Los Angeles (Silverlake, Echo Park, Boyle Heights, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Montecito Heights, Cypress Park, Chinatown, East L.A.) yielded to an animated draft movement by progressives in his district to run for the congressional seat Xavier Becerra is giving up to become California Attorney General. There is tremendous fear that charter school shill Sarah Hernandez, backed by the usual array of anti-union, anti-education fanatics and, of course, EMILY's List, will be able to sneak her into Congress. Last month, Jimmy was reelected to the Assembly with a nice healthy 86.4% of the vote.The Assembly... the Democrats just regained a super-majority-- and there's a Democratic governor. So Jimmy and and the Democratic Party would be able to get a lot accomplished, right? (The state Senate also regained a super-majority.) But... not right. The state government can't do much-- and that's because lobbyists have so much sway in Sacramento. How is that even possible? The misnamed "Moderate Caucus"-- corrupt right wing Democrats, the Republican wing of the party always looking to get it's collective palm greased-- work with the Republicans to stop anything and everything that smacks of a progressive vision for governance. Celebrate that Democrats have a super-majority in each house but remember that the anti-union charter school thugs, for example, just elected more garbage Democrats-on-the-take (cash pouring in from robber barons like Gap co-founder Doris F. Fisher, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Carrie W. Penner, the granddaughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, developer Eli Broad and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg) like Tom Grayson from Contra Costa and Solano counties and, worst of all, Laura Friedman in Glendale and Los Feliz. Friedman was just elected in my own district and she's basically a pro-Choice Republican masquerading as a Democrat with TONS of money from the bad guys allowing her to absolutely swamp the district in deceitful advertising about her progressive opponent.Back to the problem of the conservatives disguising themselves as Democrats and getting elected to the legislature. Dan Walters explained for Sacramento Bee readers why the super-majorities the Democrats just won mean little in practical terms. In fact, it could result in more real clout by business, education reformers and other interests that do battle in the Capitol with liberal groups such as unions, consumer advocates, personal injury attorneys and environmentalists-- and more frustration for Gov. Jerry Brown’s legacy war on carbon emissions.As Democrats were capturing enough Republican-held seats to reestablish the supermajorities they lost in 2014, the ranks of moderate Democrats were also increasing, thanks to big infusions of campaign cash from business and its new, albeit informal, partners in the education reform movement.The Assembly’s “mod squad,” as it’s been dubbed, was instrumental during the 2015-16 session in blocking key elements of Brown’s multi-point assault on climate change, which he describes as an “existential threat.” He couldn’t win approval of a tight “low-carbon fuel” mandate or reauthorization of the “cap-and-trade” program of emission allowances.One member of the loose moderate coalition, San Bernardino’s Cheryl Brown, was taken out by a union-backed campaign that dubbed her “Chevron Cheryl.”However, the coalition’s ranks were bolstered by several victories in other Democrat vs. Democrat clashes. The education reform activists were particularly pleased by the defeat of Mae Torlakson, wife of state schools chief Tom Torlakson, who had strong backing from their foes in school unions.Meanwhile, the Senate, which had supported Brown on climate change, may be developing a mod squad of its own with wins by business-backed Democrats such as Bill Dodd of Napa and Steven Bradford of Gardena.In theory, the supermajorities could be used to impose new taxes or place constitutional amendments[...]



Climate Change in the Age of Trump: A "Humanitarian Crisis of Epic Proportions"

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:00:00 +0000

Notice the massive river deltas (blue dots) and other large low-lying areas (purple), including the North China Plain, the Chinese "breadbasket" (source; click to open at full size in a new tab).by Gaius PubliusWe're about to witness a kind of "perfect storm," perhaps in our lifetime — the confluence of soon-to-be out-of-control climate degradation with the perfect person in the perfect place to make that degradation worse, President Donald Trump.First, on the effect of Trump on military climate policy, from Scientific American (emphasis mine):The military and intelligence communities may soon turn a blinder eye toward some climate change-related threats, indicated by President-Elect Donald Trump’s recent choices of climate-change skeptics for  national security jobs, along with his own dismissive comments. But though experts say Trump and his team could roll back some recent initiatives, the momentum of bureaucracy, along with a military need to take the long view, mean climate-related plans are unlikely to be abandoned entirely.The Department of Defense and the intelligence community have long considered climate change a crucial input into national security planning and policy. Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said climate “can significantly add to the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict.” The Pentagon calls this a “threat multiplier.”Yet Trump has tapped retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn to be his national security advisor, and Flynn has ridiculed the idea that climate change poses any particular threat to the country. Congressman Mike Pompeo (R–KS) has been named to head the CIA, and he has questioned the scientific consensus on climate change and has voted for more oil drilling and against any regulation of carbon emissions. Joshua Busby, an associate professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, who has studied the intersection of climate change and national security, says the appointments mean “some of the gains made by the Pentagon and other executive agencies to prepare for the security consequences of climate change could be undone.”Anti-climate policy changes at the Pentagon will almost certainly be replicated in NASA via the defunding of its climate science research:Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said.Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century.This would mean the elimination of Nasa’s world-renowned research into temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena. Nasa’s network of satellites provide a wealth of information on climate change, with the Earth science division’s budget set to grow to $2bn next year. By comparison, space exploration has been scaled back somewhat, with a proposed budget of $2.8bn in 2017. Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, said there was no need for Nasa to do what he has previously described as “politically correct environmental monitoring”.Let's set aside the fact that this and similar moves will make the U.S. a pariah among nations. Set aside the consequences of moving, but not quickly enough, to mitigate (lessen) the climate disaster — a likely outcome under Clinton. Consider instead the consequences of moving as aggressively as possible to increase the problem and magnify the disaster.That's climate change in the Age of Trump — accelerating over the cliff.The Coming Climate Refugee Crisis — 200 Million and CountingIt's estimated that in the world today there are more than 36 million refugees from climate and other natural disasters, more than for any other cause, including war. Under any president that number would increase, but certainly under Trump it's set to increase to disastrous propor[...]



Buyers' Remorse? Or Trumpy-the-Clown Can Do No Wrong?

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gmmKzEKYvdM" width="420">Will Americans suddenly like obstructionism now that it's coming from the Democrats rather than from Republicans? Or will they agree that the collection of misfits and rogues Trump has been nominating for office are beyond the pale and really do need to be stopped? Or will Americans think the GOP needs to be taught a lesson for what they did to President Obama's nominations, particularly Merrick Garland? Or... is the plan to obstruct Trumps' nominees-- a plan that can only end in Trumpy-the-Clown victories-- going to further alienate the public from government and make them hate it more, something that always serves the long-term strategies of conservatives, who strive to make the public distrust and dislike government? You know the answer already-- in a deeply divided nation, all of the above will prove true, dividing the nation even more deeply.Sure Democrats say it isn't just about revenge-- something Trump voters can at least understand-- but that some of Trump's "more controversial Cabinet picks-- such as Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary-- demand a thorough public airing." Who says Sessions is "controversial?" Not the people of Alabama. Not voters who elected Trump. Of course the Democrats should "demand a thorough public airing," but why announce it as some kind of strategy that re-focuses the argument away from Sessions? Sherrod Brown: "They’ve been rewarded for stealing a Supreme Court justice. We’re going to help them confirm their nominees, many of whom are disqualified? It’s not obstruction, it’s not partisan, it’s just a duty to find out what they’d do in these jobs." The tit-for-tat between the parties looks like it's here to stay.“I’m not into retribution. I really think public service should be more than that,” said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat. “But they’ve set a pretty harsh standard.”Republicans are betting that "the public" doesn't care about the Democrats' complaints-- and, at this point, they're probably right. Only 11% of Trump voters wish the election could be a do over and they could not vote for him. 23% say they would have voted for Bernie Sanders if they had the chance. But when that 11% number turns into 50%, that's when the public won't be buying into lies promoted by Michael Flynn about Hillary child sex rings in the back of DC pizzerias and maybe buyers' remorseful be strong enough for the public to rally behind the flawed and unattractive Democratic Party alternative.Now... as Darren Samuelsohn reported for Politico yesterday, too many Americans just don't even care that Trump has more conflicts of interest than every president before him combined. That's what McConnell and Ryan are counting on to push their their toxic agendas. Republicans, he wrote, are "dismissing Democratic threats of investigations and ethicists’ calls for divestment out of a belief that the political landscape has shifted. Voters rewarded Trump in part on the idea that success in business will equal success in government, and Republicans are therefore unwilling to encourage the president-elect to put distance between the Oval Office and Trump Tower, or between himself and the children who serve him as trusted advisers." Newt Gingrich suggest the Democrats "get over it." [P]olitically, Trump and many Republicans sense he is insulated from the heat Democrats intend to bring. He said as much himself last month amid a wave of news accounts and Democratic congressional oversight requests demanding closer scrutiny of his finances. “Prior to the election it was well known that I have interests in properties all over the world. Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!” Trump posted on Twitter....Almost daily, Trump’s critics fire off letters demanding action or introducing resolutions with little chance of picking up speed. They’re circulating op-eds and n[...]



Media Takes a Crack at Critiquing Itself, Sort of, at the National Press Club

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4jp3vNM-B6k" width="420">- by Skip KaltenheuserThursday night, Dec. 1st, the National Press Club in Washington, DC put up a panel discussion, The Trump Victory and 2016 Election-- What the Media Got Right & Wrong. A promising title, it filled every seat. I expected much would be made of media lost in a labyrinth of echo chambers, unable to dodge the bull-headed minotaur of Clinton surrogates, but I was wrong. Other than pesky polling, there wasn’t as much “why” in the journalists’ analysis as hoped. Or of what they got wrong. You can watch a video of the panel above.Uncertain I could attend that night, early in the day I sent the panel written questions I’d welcome their consideration of. Two of the panelists were from the Washington Post, so among my questions was a request for comment on the Harper’s article by Thomas Frank, Swat Team, in which Frank noted a sustained editorial drumbeat throughout the primaries against Bernie Sanders that took its rhythm from Clinton campaign talking points. Another request was for comment on a Washington Post article that uncritically amplified the nonsense of an incognito organization-- my money’s on ? and the Mysterians. This group, Propornot.com, cries tears for a couple hundred online outfits the incognito’s claim are Ruskie tools.I was disappointed that neither request found takers, as both relate to the why of what the media got wrong. To be fair, the panel allocated time to questions from the floor and I didn’t get one in before the clock ran out.By the way, there is a Rootstrikers petition to give the Washingon Post a piece of your mind. Would I be shocked if the whole damn list of stooges and useful idiots was a hoax to see who’d take the bait of Russian caviar, if they’d get a big fish like the Washington Post? No. But it’s probably too much to hope for.At the end of this post are excerpts of issues I sent to the panelists, on which I’d welcome any comment. The issues drifted into something of an essay, but they might form the bones of a good discussion in the future.Though there wasn’t a great deal of introspection as to the why, there were still some good offerings. CNN Politics Senior Digital Correspondent Chris Moody gave an interesting account of a smart idea CNN had, to have him travel around with a crew avoiding campaign professionals, experts and strategists. Instead, they traveled in a Winnebago for a month, from New York City to Las Vegas.Speaking with regular folks wherever they found them, then news crew soon picked up that for undecided voters, it wasn’t the normal response of "I like this candidate or that one." It was indecision over whether they could stomach voting for either one. Many people were honestly struggling right up to election day. Among those Moody spoke with were ranchers near the Mexican border, who were getting the brunt of immigrants passing through, as policies drove them from populated areas to rural areas, while government claimed it had solved the problem. They’d been very frustrated for a long time.There were many besides ranchers who expressed similar disillusionment with government not working for them. A lot of people simply concluded that whatever Trump stood for, he was different, he was change, so what did they have to lose? Though surprised when watching the returns, Moody was no where near shocked. If I had cable, Moody is someone I’d look forward to.Another item of interest, regarding the ubiquitous presence of Trump in media throughout the primaries, some of it has a simple explanation. Bookers lining up guests on shows would call all of the primary candidates. Often all but one would reject interview requests, and that one was Trump. And Trump was ever-ready on the dial to call in and hijack a program.Also of note was RNC National Spokeswoman Lindsay Walters account of the strategy of the Republican ground game.[...]



Special Congressional Election In Georgia Is Not As Open-And-Shut As It Would Have Once Been

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 02:00:00 +0000

Price and Ryan-- these 2 want to end MedicareGeorgia doesn't have any swing districts. The state's 14 congressional districts are gerrymandered up to pack Democrats huge numbers of Democrats into 4 districts. John Lewis' 5th (metro Atlanta-- D+32), Hank Johnson's 4th district (mostly DeKalb County east of Atlanta plus Rockdale County and parts of Gwinnett and most of Newton counties-- D+21), David Scott's 13th district (the mostly African-American suburbs southwest of Atlanta-- D+16) and Sanford Bishop's 2nd district (Macon, Columbus and Albany- D+6). By packing so many Democrats intro just 4 districts, Republicans have free rides in 10 districts... or have had free rides.Something interesting was going on in the wealthy white suburbs north of Atlanta this year, GA-06, Tom Price's district. The PVI is R+14 and in 2008 McCain beat Obama 59-40%. Four years later Romney beat Obama 61-37% in these Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb county towns. These year, however, it was a little different. Price won reelection handily-- 61.6-38.4%, having raised $2,225,897 and spent $2,220,447. His opponent, Rodney Stooksbury spent... nothing. Zero. Really; look:And in past races, even with Democrats spending a little money-- nothing competitive, but something-- Price did better. 66% in 2014, 65% in 2012. In fact, until this year, 65% was his lowest-ever win. This year, Hillary's suburban strategy that failed her in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan actually worked pretty well-- albeit pointlessly-- in the Atlanta area. She fought Trump to a virtual tie-- 47.7% to 47.5%. The numbers aren't all available yet to be able to figure out why so many wealthy Republicans in Chamblee, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, and up the Georgia 400 to Alpharetta abandoned Trump-- either staying home or actually voting for Hillary. In the primary, the district went for Rubio, not Trump. That doesn't suddenly make GA-06 a swing district, of course, but...Price is going to resign to take the job of destroying Obamacare and Medicare in the Trump administration (officially, Secretary of Health and Human Services). As soon as Price resigns-- presumably when he's confirmed after a bloody battle in the Senate-- the governor will announce a special election within 30 days. Everyone, regardless of party, runs on one ballot and, presuming no one gets over 50%, there's a run-off between the two top vote-getters. One Republican, state Sen. Judson Hill, has already declared. Another dozen Republicans (literally 12) are sniffing around and a few are very likely to run, including 3 other state senators, 3 state Reps (one of whom is Betty Price, Tom's wife), former Secretary of State Karen Handel, who has huge name recognition because of campaigns for Governor and the U.S. Senate, and a wealthy Trump crony, jeweler Bruce LeVell. There is also a Democratic state Rep interested in running, Scott Holcomb, and an ex-state Rep, one-time Georgia Tech quarterback, Taylor Bennett, who was just defeated, narrowly, last month.Is this a race worth contesting? Definitely. Is it a race worth the time and effort and resources of Democrats from outside the district? Possibly. We're going to look at it more closely. And there are some obvious possibilities that could make this a winnable seat, not least of which will be a vicious primary among the Republicans. Holcomb, age 44, is widely considered a rising star in the Georgia Democratic Party and he was just reelected convincingly, 59.2-40.8%, winning in both the DeKalb and Gwinnett parts of his district.GA-06 voters will have a chance to caution Trump and the Republican Congress to not make an extreme moves in dismantling the health care system. Polling shows that even GOP voters are not eager for Paul Ryan's, Mike Pence's and, of course, Tom Price's stated intentions to disembowel the country's health care system. If GA-06 elects a Democrat to replace Price, the message would send a chill through an already jittery Republican con[...]



The Democratic Party's Scourge: Identity Politics

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 22:00:00 +0000

Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)-- the worst of the worstSince 1964 more women have voted in presidential elections than men. In 2008, for example, 70.4 million women voted, compared to 60.7 million men. That's a big difference. 65.7% of eligible women voted but only 61.5% of eligible men. In the last House there were 84 women out of 365 members-- 22 Republicans (8.9% of their party) and 62 Democrats (33.0% of their party). Statistically, it's odd that over half the members of Congress aren't women. In the out-going Senate 20% of the members are women-- 6 Republicans and 14 Democrats. Starting next month, that percentage goes up to 22%-- 5 Republicans and 17 Democrats, including 4 new ones, Kamala Harris (CA), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV) and Maggie Hassan (NH). There still hasn't been a woman president, although several women are prominently mentioned as 2020 candidates, starting with Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar. I want to see a woman president and I'd certainly support Elizabeth Warren with everything I could muster. The other two... not so much.I know for me, for the sake of justice, if two candidates were exactly equal on the issues and on every other measurement scale from courageousness to electability-- something virtually impossible-- I would vote for the woman.I'm gay. I'm proud that the highest lifetime crucial vote score of any member of Congress is Mark Pocan, a gay man. His ProgressivePunch score is 98.95. Does he rock! Unfortunately, the single worst voter of all members being returned in 2107 is also gay-- Arizona Blue Dog Kyrsten Sinema, whose lifetime score is a an abysmal 36,63. And Sinema isn't the only LGBTQ person at the bottom on the garbage pile. Sean Patrick Maloney, currently making a bid for chairman of the DCCC, is not just a married gay man but also a New Dem Wall Street whore and the proud owner of 5th worst voting record score (45.19) among Democrats.I don't vote for people based on identity politics. I know many people do. I was asked by a reporter recently why the heavily backed state Senator Isadore Hall was beaten by the relatively unknown Nanette Barragan in a South L.A. congressional district. I would have loved to have said that she is a progressive reformer and he is a corrupt conservative. She is and he is-- and I'm sure there were some voters who made up their minds based on that, though probably not enough to swing the election. This election probably swung because over 70% of of the people in CA-44 are Latinos and they registered and voted in record numbers-- inspired by El Presidente-elect Señor Trumpanzee-- and probably didn't know much about down-ballot candidates Nanette or Isadore but did recognize a Latino name and an Anglo name.In California's Dem vs Dem Senate race, Kamala Harris beat Loretta Sanchez almost two to one-- 6,495,907 (62.4%) to 3,918,486 (37.6%). Harris was the heavily-backed establishment candidate and Sanchez was viewed as an interloper. No one really knows where Harris stands politically but people assume she's vaguely progressive. Sanchez is a Blue Dog who was endorsed by Darrell Issa and tried appealing to Republicans. Harris won every single county in the state, which may be a first. Sanchez was reasonably competitive in some tiny deep red Republican counties with meaninglessly small populations but she was racking up real votes in 6 sounties-- Kern (48.9%), Kings (47.0%), Madera (49.9%), Fresno (49.0%), Merced (47.7%) and Tulare (47.2%)-- which have big Latino populations but without strong Democratic establishment control of those populations. Many of those people voted for Sanchez because they didn't know squat about anyone but Trump and identified with her name.At Salon over the weekend, Conor Lynch, addressed the albatross around Democrats' neck: identity politics. The kind of self-serving identity politics that we saw from the Clinton camp during the Democratic primar[...]



Why Targeting Corporate Democrats in the Age of Trump Is a Good Thing (for Democrats)

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 18:00:00 +0000

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer. Will he lead a loyal opposition to Trump or a disloyal one? How many Democrats will collaborate in the Age of Trump? by Gaius PubliusIf Democrats do not succeed at being seen as the nation's rescuer, someone else will. And that will definitely not be good ... for Democrats.Inside the DC Beltway the following is becoming a "what everyone knows to be true" kind of statement. From The Hill (emphasis added):Dem blame game rages over Clinton lossAlmost a month after Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump, recriminations are still flying among liberals and Democrats.At least one prominent Clinton loyalist has turned his fire on Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), arguing that the left-winger’s challenge wounded the former secretary of State ahead of her general election campaign.Sanders partisans, meanwhile, say that he would have been a better candidate than Clinton to win over an electorate hungry for change.Both sides express concern that re-litigating the primary battle could be a distraction, wasting energy that would be better spent resisting President-elect Trump.But even if all sides agree in theory on the need to focus on Trump, not everyone is ready to leave the primary in the past. [...]In what casts itself as a news piece (and largely is), one "given" stands out. That given: "Both sides express concern that re-litigating the primary battle could be a distraction, wasting energy that would be better spent resisting President-elect Trump."First, that's not a true statement, or if it is true, it's true only if the group covered by "both sides" includes just those connected to the benefits side of the Democratic Party ecosystem; the people with a vested interests (career; income) in not shaking things up too much, the winners no matter which party is in office. Second, even though the statement is not true, its opposite — that some people argue strongly for a shake-up within the Party — is not presented. That is, the author's statement is presented benignly as part of the background, part of the "what everyone agrees on" or "knows to be true," for the rest of the news the piece covers — that people within the Party infrastructure are still fighting about who's at fault for Clinton's loss. The statement, in other words, has a propagandistic goal; it's meant to prevent something from happening. Draining the Other SwampLet's look at the other side of this "given," a side where people are saying that re-litigating the primary isn't a distraction, but part of what has to happen, and a side where that's a good thing.The fact that people are litigating this battle is obvious, especially if one looks at Sanders supporters and partisans, instead of simply interviewing named Beltway insiders and a "Democratic strategist who requested anonymity." There are plenty of people on the left who want to drain the Democratic swamp too, if you bother to look for them. Instead of just finding those voices, however, a task easily done, I want to look instead at the benefits of Sanders supporters and progressives pursuing such a strategy. The following is from a nicely argued piece in Truthout by Mark Engler. He starts with the obvious question: Is it really true that attacking corporate Democrats now — his example is the recent sit-in at Chuck Schumer's Senate office — is the wrong thing to do? Engler adds, "After all, isn't that attacking the wrong side?" Why Targeting Corporate Democrats Is Part of the Fight Against Trump On November 14, six days after the election of Donald Trump, some 40 young people walked into the office of New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, calling on the senior lawmaker to step aside in his bid to be Senate minority leader. Carrying a banner that read "Wall St. Democrats Failed Us," they argued that Schumer, who has received more than $3 million in campaign contributions from the securities and investment industry in the la[...]



Does Trump Stand For Something?

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000

As you can see from the twitter time stamps, El Presidente-elect Señor Trumpanzee only got-- at most-- 6 hours sleep, probably less. He was up whining about Alex Baldwin's acting ability late Saturday night and then six hours later he had apparently chopped up some Adderall, snorted it and was off and running threatening American companies with 35% tariffs if they manufacture their products abroad, something that is going to be very popular with his voters and with Bernie's voters but probably not that popular with Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, their respective conferences or, for that matter, the Trumpanzee Cabinet. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tI3g_laToxE" width="420">Evan McMullin, who's become something of the voice of mainstream conservatism in opposition to Trump, called Trump's tariff threats "incredibly unwise and will discourage companies from creating jobs in the US in the first place. This is not a recipe for growth... And again, this is the approach of an authoritarian. Forget about the rule of law. Forget Congress's constitutional role in lawmaking." He then went on the slag off Mike Pence (after his silly appearance on This Week defending Trump's tweet storm) as Trumpanzee's "enabler in chief & we can expect him to continue to play that role. But other Republicans must stand up."I'm not sure when other Republicans will but it's worth noting that Harvard Professor Robert Lawrence was right on top of it back in March when he called out Trump's hypocrisy on this very issue for PBS. Is Trump going to slap a tariff on all the products Ivanka manufactures overseas too? "Trump," he wrote at the time, "castigates American companies like Apple, Ford, Carrier and Kraft that use their brands to sell goods in the U.S., but produce them in other countries. Indeed, he appears to be so outraged by the practice that he proposes a 15 percent tax on companies for outsourcing jobs and a 20 percent tax for importing goods. More recently, he has spoken of a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports... Yet despite these deep convictions, when it comes to his own businesses, Trump doesn’t exactly walk the walk." [M]any of Trump’s businesses are based not on risking his money and directly creating employment in the United States, but in licensing his brand to help others sell their properties and products. As is now well known, the Trump brand has been used to sell casinos, condominiums, hotels and golf courses at home and abroad, as well as steaks, vodka and a “university” education... But for exploring whether he puts his moniker where his mouth is when it comes to trade, it’s the branch of the business labeled merchandise that merits closer attention.In a recent debate Marco Rubio mentioned ties. But the ties made in China are just the tip of the iceberg. What about Donald J Trump sports jackets, cufflinks and eyeglass frames? All made in China. Inexpensive Donald J Trump shirts? Made in Bangladesh. More expensive Trump shirts? “Imported.” The Trump brand also has a more feminine side-- the Ivanka Trump brand. And where are the dresses, purses, shoes and other accessories that reflect Trump’s daughter’s taste made? Of the 838 Ivanka products advertised through the site, none appear to be made exclusively in the U.S.; 628 are said to be imported and 354 made specifically in China.If you are an American economist like myself who believes that international trade is good for the U.S., there is nothing wrong with what the Trumps have been doing. Indeed, he and his daughter have been providing Americans with products they want at relatively low prices. But how do you reconcile a business model based on importing with professions of deep belief that manufacturing should be brought back to America? Trump argues he has no choice, since foreigners have made their products so chea[...]



The Democratic Party Establishment Desperately Needs Reform-- Instead It Got More Schumer, Pelosi And Hoyer

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 04:58:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/x2ZI4f4Emr4" width="420">Friday night Bernie was at Dominican University in Marin County, ostensibly to promote his new book, Our Revolution: A Future To Believe In. In launched right into an attack against the Democratic Party establishment, blaming party elites for creating the environment in which Trumpism could thrive. His point, not unlike Thomas Frank's in Listen Liberal, is that Democratic Party leadership abandoned the working class and offered them nothing with which to address the severe economic dislocation brought on by the globalization the elites had embraced. Bernie told the crowd that he looks "at this election not as a victory for Mr. Trump, who wins the election as the most unpopular candidate in perhaps the history of our country but as a loss for the Democratic Party." To Bernie, as it has always been, the defeat of the Democratic Party was all about their unwillingness and inability to address gross economic inequality. He had no interest in the critique of Trumpism that blames the phenomenon on racism, sexism or the rise of the alt-right. "I don’t believe that at all,” he told the overflowing crowd. "I think a lot of people ended up holding their noses and voting for Trump because they are in pain... There are a lot of people in our country who are hurting and they are hurting very, very badly. The political establishment is not hearing their pain; the financial and economic establishment could care less about their lives; and the media establishment is not dealing with the reality of their lives... and along comes Mr. Trump." He attacked Obamacare from the left-- for leaving out millions of people, for overly expensive prescription drugs and for prohibitive deductibles that puts insurance out of reach for many struggling families. He talked about an increase in drug addiction and stagnating life expectancy for the poor and that, in the end Trump would disappoint the people who turned to him to solve these problems. Trump's own tendency towards oligarchy will make things worse for working people-- much worse. What does he want to do? Easy: "transform the Democratic Party from a party led by a liberal elite to a party led by working people and young people and people who really want to transform society." He is trying to rally Americans not beholden to Wall Street. Shaun King is a Bernie-oriented reporter for the New York Daily News. Last Wednesday he wrote a scathing piece on the Democratic Party leadership that I've been trying to work into a DWT post. It doesn't go after the party elites from the same direction Bernie prefers (economically) but King's analysis is no less crucial. A Senate staffer clued him into the soft bigotry of Senate leaders. Here we've talked a lot about the not so soft bigotry within the ranks of the House Democratic leadership, particularly Steve Israel who has enforced his ugly racist diktat as head of the DCCC, namely that African-Americans should not be candidates for Congress except in black-majority districts. But King didn't have obscure grubby little hacks like Israel in his sights, but Democratic Senate leaders. “They are all so phony,” the staffer told me. “Every time I hear any of the Democratic senators, including my own boss, talk about diversity, I cringe, because it’s all one big lie. That they’ve been allowed to enjoy this reputation as a party that values diversity, while doing next to nothing of substance to align their actions with their words, is expert-level deception.”I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.The staffer went on to detail a private network of conversations being held by staff members of color in the U.S. Senate which they half-jokingly call the “Underground Railroad.”“Democrats in the Senate use demographics as their e[...]



Virginia Special Elections-- January 10

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 02:00:00 +0000

Rocky Holcomb (R) and Cheryl Turpin (D)Virginia has a Democratic Governor, Terry McAuliffe, an overwhelmingly Republican House of Delegates (66 Republicans to 34 Democrats) and an almost evenly split state Senate (21 Republicans to 19 Democrats). Virginia Republicans are notorious for outrageous gerrymandering and unless the Democrats either retain the governor's office-- McAuliffe can't run again next year-- or win a Senate majority, the Democrats will be screwed there once again after the 2020 census. Keep in mind that statewide-- so no gerrymandering--the Dems do great. Both U.S. senators are Democrats. In 2012 Tim Kaine ousted George Allen 1,944,992 (53%) to 1,758,857 (47%) and in 2014 Mark Warner was reelected against Ed Gillespie 1,073,667 (49%) to 1,55,940 (48%) in a very Republican year. Obama won the state both times-- 53-46% against McCain and 51-47% against Romney. Hillary just beat Trump 1,916,845 (49.9%) to 1,731,156 (45.0%). And all three constitutional offices are held by Democrats, Governor Terry McAuliffe, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring. It's just the gerrymandered state legislative districts and congressional districts that are so dire for Democrats.So here's the lay of the land. State Sen. Donald McEachin was elected to Congress, opening up the 9th senatorial district, which covers all of Charles City County and parts of Henrico and Hanover counties and part of the city of Richmond (Shockoe Bottom and Shockoe Slip, Court End, Capitol Square, Jackson Ward, parts of the Fan District, Carytown, Windsor Farms, Brookland Park, Ginter Park and Washington Park). The district is so blue that Republicans don't even run there. In 2014 Mark Warner took 72% of the votes there.-- the same percentage that Obama got over Romney in 2012. McEachin was reelected last time he ran with 90%. Del. Jennifer McClellan is the Senate candidate to replace McEachin and it's pretty much a done deal. So, an easy Democratic hold.The other Senate seat, the one the Democrats really need is probably out of their grasp-- the 22nd district. It encompasses part of Lynchburg and all of Amherst, Fluvanna, Goochland, Prince Edward, Appomattox, Buckingham and Cumberland counties and a small sliver of Louisa County. It's very red. In 2014 Gillespie beat Warner 57-40% and in 2013 Cuccinelli beat McAuliffe 54-38%. Romney beat Obama 56-44%. State Senator Thomas Garrett beat Jane Dittmar for the open congressional seat 58.3% to 41.7%, Robert Hurt having decided to retire. So the state Senate seat is probably a GOP hold. In the 2011 race for the seat, Garrett beat Democrat Bert Dodson 58.1% to 41.8%. This time Goochland County Supervisor Ken Peterson is competing with Richmond attorney Mark Peake for the Republican nomination. Yesterday former Fluvanna County Sheriff Ryant Washington won the Democratic nomination at a district caucus. It's the most important of the 3 special elections for a Democrat to win but it would be really tough, some would say impossible.The most competitive race is for a very swingy red House of Delegates seat in Virginia Beach, where Del. Scott Taylor (R) beat Shaun Brown, a Berniecrat (62-38%) when Scott Rigell decided to retire from Virginia's 2nd congressional district. Republicans have had better turnout in the district and have usually been winning it-- but never by much. Romney edged Obama by a handful of votes but it was basically a 49-49% tie. Gillespie beat Warner 50-47% and Cuccinelli beat McAuliffe 48-46%. On the other hand, Tim Kaine beat George Allen 51-49%. So this is definitely a pick-up opportunity for Virginia Democrats, who will be represented by public school teacher Cheryl Turpin against Rocky Holcomb, an intelligence officer in the city sheriff's office. Holcomb graduated from Regent "University," which is in the district. Turpin went [...]



From one president to the next, it seems a reasonable enough request, no?

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 22:00:00 +0000

Today from The Borowitz Report: today
(image)
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In an Oval Office meeting that White House aides described as “friendly but strained,” President Obama politely asked President-elect Donald Trump to wait until he is officially sworn in to begin destroying the world.

According to the aides, Obama said that, while he understood that Trump was eager to create potentially cataclysmic diplomatic crises around the world, tradition dictated that he wait until he is actually President to do so.

Obama cited the example of George W. Bush, who waited until he took the oath of office before wreaking destruction on a massive scale.

“There’ll be loads of time for you to do stuff like that,” Obama reportedly said.

During the meeting, which lasted nearly an hour, Obama repeatedly asked Trump “if he understood what was being said to him,” the aides reported.

After the meeting, Trump spoke briefly with reporters but cut the session short to “jump on a phone call with Kim Jong-un.”

“He’s a terrific guy, he’s doing just a terrific job over there,” Trump said, of the North Korean leader.

Obama did not take questions from reporters but was later seen sitting at his desk, holding his head in his hands.
I dunno, it seems a reasonable enough request. But look who's being asked for reasonableness. -- Ken
#



Gun Violence Is Preventable-- But Trump's Election Means There'll Be Four More Years Of It

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 18:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/A8syQeFtBKc" width="420">If you watch the ad above very closely the first time, it won't shock the hell out of you the way it shocked the hell out of me as it approaches the end. It's an amazing ad and it's the reason for this post. Please watch it. You'll thank me.I'm not sure how many NRA shills the Democrats brought into Congress. I do know that two very sane gun safety advocates-- Carol Shea-Porter (NH) and Ruben Kihuen (NV)-- replaced two total gun loons, respectively, Frank Guinta and Cresent Hardy. Other Republican gun nuts who won't be coming back to the House in 2017 include Joe Heck (NV), John Mica (FL), David Jolly (FL), Jeff Miller (FL), Ander Crenshaw (FL), Rich Nugent (FL), Curt Clawson (FL), Renee Ellmers (NC), Marlin Stutzman (IN), Ed Whitfield (KY), Tim Huelskamp (KS), Matt Salmon (AZ), Randy Forbes (VA), Robert Hurt (VA), Lynn Westmoreland (GA), Stephen Fincher (TN), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Randy Neugebauer (TX), John Kline (MN), Dan Benichek (MN), Charles Boustany (LA), John Fleming (LA), Joe Pitts (PA) and Scott Garrett (NJ). Good; they all have blood on their hands and the American people are better off without them in Congress. Unfortunately, almost all of them were replaced by more NRA shills; that's today's Republican Party.Back to the Democrats, I know they elected at least two exceptionally bad NRA creeps-- Lou Correa (CA) and Darren Soto (FL). I know about them and their sordid relationships with the gun lobbyists from their records in their state legislatures. We'll have to wait and see how some of the other new members vote in the House. I would suspect a conservative like Vicente González (TX) but we'll have to keep an open mind and wait and see, right?That said, the NRA spent $30 million helping to elect Trump this year-- and many millions more electing gun nuts to the House and Senate. Aside from $19,065,039 in independent expenditures for gun loons, the NRA spent $764,450 for House Republicans, $15,500 for House Democrats and $151,350 for Senate Republicans as campaign contributions. The Democrats they paid off were Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA), Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX), Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN) and Tim Walz (MN). The biggest recipient of gun bribes this year was Paul Ryan ($139,982) and other House Dems who got money from gun groups besides the NRA included Ron Kind (New Dem-WI), Gene Green (TX), Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR) and Ben Ray Lujan (head of the DCCC-NM). Here's the NRA's ugly perspective on the results: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ChGXaHYk0Ng" width="420">As the L.A. Times pointed out over the weekend "At the top of LaPierre’s wish list is an absurd and dangerous federal law to require any state that issues permits for carrying concealed weapons to recognize similar permits issued by other states, even if they have different eligibility and training requirements and even if they have less stringent restrictions on gun ownership. Proponents of so-called concealed-carried reciprocity equate it with state driver’s licenses, which are recognized nationwide. But that’s a false comparison. All states follow similar standards for issuing driver’s licenses, and basic vehicle and traffic laws are largely standardized. That’s not so for gun laws, which vary widely by state, not to mention that county and city governments are allowed to enact their own restrictions based on local needs and preferences. The reciprocity movement is nothing more than an effort to drive states’ concealed-carry laws to the lowest common denominator. Consider Utah, for instance. To qualify for a Utah permit, which is available to nonresident[...]



If Ryan Pushes Through His Plans To Wreck The Health Care System, The GOP Will Lose Over Two Dozen House Seats In 2018

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000

The closest Blue America ever came to actually endorsing a Republican was in 2012 when thoughtful Libertarian Justin Amash was the GOP candidate against rot-gut conservative hack, Steve Pestka, an anti-Choice crackpot and vicious homophobe. Michigan's local anti-Choice organization endorsed Pestka over Amash. We didn't exactly endorse Amash, but we told our Michigan members to consider him.If I had to guess which of them voted for Trump last month in the secrecy of the voting booth, it wouldn't be Amash. Friday Amash told a reporter from The Hill that he doesn't think Trump has an understanding of the Constitution-- if he's even ever bothered to read it. "He seems to believe that government works like a business and he is the CEO of the business, and that is not how it works. We have separate branches, checks and balances, federalism. I don’t think it’s out of any bad intention. I think he just views the job in a sort of  'extra-constitutional' way, outside of the Constitution. I don’t think our framework in this country really comes into play when he’s thinking about how the job should operate." Smash has attacked Trump for appointing Jeff Sessions Attorney General and for strip U.S. citizenship from anyone who burns a flag, and has been one of his harshest Republicans critics about Trump's obvious and glaring conflicts of interest and about Trump's crony capitalism approach to Carrier. "It’s cronyism. We have a Constitution. The president doesn’t just get to do anything he wants. He has to work within the constitutional framework, regardless of why people elected him. And deals like that hurt the people of Indiana; they don’t help the people of Indiana. They redistribute resources and offer benefits to one company when another company down the road doesn’t get those same benefits. Sometimes competitors don’t get those same benefits. That’s just central planning. That was tried in the Soviet Union. It didn’t work very well... My job [on the House Oversight Committee] is to uphold the Constitution, follow the rule of law and represent all my constituents. I think we should treat [Trump] the same way we treat any president. That means we need to make sure there are no conflicts of interest, just like we would do if Hillary Clinton had won.If we were going to look at the issues for Hillary Clinton, then we should also look at them for Donald Trump. I just think the same standard should apply."Amash founded the House Freedom Caucus and progressives disagree with him on almost everything. But not everything. When it comes to health care, though, Amash is plain old GOP bad news. There are a few Republicans who understand that destroying Obamacare-- let alone Medicare-- is extremely harmful to America... and to the GOP. Sarah Ferris and Scott Wong reported Friday about a handful of mainstream conservative Republicans who are getting nervous with Ryan's, Pence's and Price's stated intention of dismantling the social safety net. The ones who are nervous aren't the extremists in the South whose constituents are too stupid to understand what's about to happen to them but Republicans in swing districts primarily in the suburbs.The repeal and not-replace plan that Ryan and his team are hellbent on passing is freaking out Charlie Dent (R-PA), Ryan Costello (R-PA) and John Katko (R-NY), who will be the first to go in a 2018 wave election in the GOP actually dismantles Medicare. One lawmaker said the moderates were “getting skittish” about leadership’s plan to replace the sprawling healthcare law within about a year of Trump’s inauguration, which they said would run too close to the 2018 midterms.“It’s going to be technical, all the insurance stuff. It’s hard work, pu[...]



Will France Be The Next Democracy To Fall Into The Grasp Of Neo-Fascists?

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000

About a week ago we looked at the upcoming French presidential elections from the perspective of the primary of the center-right party, Les Républicains, which have since had their run-off and selected the further right of the two party front-runners, François Fillon. The betting is now that Fillon will eventually face neo-fascist leader Marine Le Pen. But what about the Socialists, you wonder? French conventional wisdom is that they've made a hash of governing and stand no chance. In fact, this week their standard bearer, President François Hollande, announced that he won't seek reelection, a not entirely unexpected development, although he is the first French President to not seek reelection since the 1940s. With a satisfaction rating so low it recently dropped to just 4%, the Socialist president appeared shaken and emotional as he said in a live televised address from the Élysée palace that he would not attempt to run for a second term, conscious of the “risks” to the French left if he did so.Hollande’s decision leaves the way open for a bitter Socialist primary race in January to decide who will run in his place. Manuel Valls, the ambitious prime minister who is a tough law-and-order voice and pro-business reformist on the right of the party, could now decide to run to become the Socialist candidate.If he does run, Valls will face opposition from several former government ministers who are part of a leftwing rebel movement, including the ambitious former economy minister Arnaud Montebourg, who is fiercely critical of Hollande’s pro-business line.Hollande’s popularity slumped right from the start of his presidency in 2012. He beat the rightwing Nicolas Sarkozy after a classic leftwing campaign in which he targeted big business and pledged to raise taxes for high earners. He began his presidency with a leftist programme that included a wealth super-tax of 75% on top earners but he shifted course midway through his term.Grassroots supporters were further alienated by a pro-business switch in 2014, a wavering over security reforms, and labour laws that brought thousands out onto the streets in protests early this year.Hollande was accused of a lack of preparation, zigzagging on policy and being unable to keep a lid on his government’s internal feuding on how to address the economy. His initial attempt to style himself as a “normal president”-- paying no heed to the superficial trappings of office-- backfired and endeared him even less to the electorate.Accused of lacking authority and coherence, dithering over policy decisions from tax increases to pro-business reform, failing to kickstart the sluggish economy and failing to protect France from a series of devastating terrorist attacks, he was eventually abandoned by his own core of Socialist party voters who felt betrayed by his muddled, stop-start pro-business reforms.One recent poll by Odoxa put him at only 7.5% in the first round of the presidential race, behind the right’s Fillon, the far-right Marine Le Pen, his former economy minister and maverick independent candidate Emmanuel Macron, and the hard-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon.The Socialist primary will be next month and then the first round will be April 23 and the runoff will be on May 7. Every recent poll shows Fillon and Le Pen emerging from the first round-- which would be akin to a face-off between Ted Cruz and Trumpy-the-Clown. And polling shows Fillon then trouncing her, in the most recent poll-- with a mammoth sample size-- 67-33%. Recent polls also show that with the Socialist, Valls, or the Independent (ex-Socialist), Emmanuel Macron, making it through the first round instead of Fillon (very unlikely) either would beat Le Pen handily as[...]



Fascism Is On The March In Europe-- Elections Tomorrow In Austria And Italy

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 02:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MJ0D3ZG1nHY" width="420">Tomorrow Italy votes on a package of complex referendums that are extremely difficult for voters without post-graduate degrees to understand. But rejection could be another devastating blow the EU. The BBC tried sorting out what it means and why it's important. The reforms Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is trying to impose on his fractious country are tied up in the referendum and he says he'll step down if they lose-- the 3rd domino after Brexit and Trump in "he onward march of the right-wing (neo-fascist) populists. Italy's been there before-- and it worked out badly for them. Unfortunately by making the referendum about himself, Renzi has put the country in unnecessary danger with plenty of voters looking at the referendum as nothing but an opportunity to punish a government they have beefs with. Renzi has had strong support from global leaders... The concern is that if Renzi goes, Italy's politicians will squabble, the country's fragile economy will suffer, borrowing costs will spike and once again Europe will be facing a crisis in the eurozone.Waiting in the wings are anti-establishment parties like the Five Star movement which is promising that if it eventually wins power, it will offer a referendum on retaining the euro. The very idea of another vote sends shivers down the spines of Europe's leaders.Five Star's leader, the former comedian Beppe Grillo, has spoken of an "era going up in flames." It is a similar sentiment to that expressed by Nigel Farage, UKIP's former leader, who declared after Mr Trump's victory that the "democratic revolution" is only just beginning.If polls retain any credibility after this year of political shocks then a No vote is expected on Sunday. The financial markets, caught out by both Brexit and Trump, have already factored in a Renzi defeat.There is no doubt that Italy needs reforming. The tangle of bureaucracy and judicial delays snares investment projects, reforms get diluted or blocked in the two houses of parliament and the Senate, with its 315 members, needs shrinking.But there are legitimate concerns that Renzi's plan will lead to a centralising of power. The winning party will gain a premium of seats, ensuring an absolute majority. Five Star campaigners argue that the "reforms serve to give more power to those who are already in power."...The risk is that a No vote and a Renzi resignation would tip Italy into an early election. And that might give the Five Star movement and the anti-establishment Northern League an opportunity of success at the polls.The prospect of two Eurosceptic parties gaining ground in the eurozone's third-biggest economy might well rattle the markets.Government ministers will tell you that unemployment is inching down, that the deficit is falling and that labour markets have become more flexible. But the economy is 12% smaller than when the financial crisis began in 2008.Italy's banks remain weak. The problem of non-performing loans has not been sorted out and the country's debt-to-GDP ratio, at 133%, is second only to Greece's.The Italian vote is not about Europe or the EU but it will be interpreted as an indicator of the strength of the anti-establishment winds blowing through Europe in the aftermath of Mr Trump's unexpected victory.Obama has been very supportive of Renzi's referendum and made a big deal about a recent trip to DC which played well in Italian media back home. Trump's not on the same side-- to put it mildly. Meanwhile European socialists met in Prague today to figure out how to deal with the rise of neo-fascism-- they call it populism-- in the western democra[...]



Trumpy-The-Clown Gals, Ann Coulter And Tulsi Gabbard

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 22:00:00 +0000

Ann Coulter had an anti-Trump impurity breakdown on twitter yesterday, ostensibly over Nikki Haley, although as you can see above, she got a little more general a few minutes later. Remember, Trump took his whole xenophobic shtik directly from Coulter and she made like she was worshipping at his bigoted alter for the duration of the campaign-- primarily because he wanted to round up Hispanics and ship 'em to camps and beyond. She's a Pence-and-Ryan hater and flipped out when Pence told Scott Pelley of CBS News today that he and Ryan are going to work on an immigration bill. That's what inspired the "If Trump sells out" tweet.But she does hate Nikki Haley. Remember a week or two ago when she wrote that if Trump wants an Indian Secretary of State, he should pick Tonto. Although Trump has no use for Native Americans at all, he is smitten by Hindu nationalists and just loves Narendra Modi-- and crackpot right-wing cultist Tulsi Gabbard, who he interviewed a week or so ago, ostensibly for some second-tier job that the crazy-ambitious Gabbard would never take anyway. Haley got an errand-boy job (UN Ambassador-- no decision-making allowed) so that Secretary of state gig... well, I bet Tulsi would eat all the requisite frogs legs to get that. I'd guess she has as much a chance as Dana Rohrabacher... but Steve Bannon sure likes her, so who knows.Maxwell Anderson, a Hill contributor and Tulsiphile, thinks he knows: Tulsi Gabbard is the pick for Secretary of State, not Mitt Romney. After all, like Trump, Gabbard is an American nationalist and an Islamophobic maniac. "Whoever," he wrote, "the President-Elect taps to be his secretary of state will play a crucial role in shaping the President-Elect’s vision for the future of American foreign policy. One person reportedly 'under serious consideration' to fill the position is United States Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who made headlines in February when she resigned as vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee in order to endorse Bernie Sanders for President."Never mind that she played the Bernie card to help her in her plan to primary progressive Senator Mazie Hirono (an actual progressive), not because she agrees with Bernie on much of anything. His ProgressivePunch score is "A" (as is Mazie's), while Tulsi's is "F." Just keep in mind that an "F" isn't a "C" or a "D." You have to work really hard on a wide array of issues for a long time to earn an "F." He continued that "Gabbard embodies the very essence of the President-Elect’s ideological departure from the interventionist policies that have plagued this nation for the past two decades" pointing out that Gabbard, from a very prominent, very right-wing family ran for the Legislature in 2002 (age 21) and became the leader of her state's small but noisy anti-gay faction.Tulsi with her fanatically homophobic dad, also part of Chris Butler, aka Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda  Paramahamsa's crackpot cultThe legislature was too hot for her and she enlisted in the Hawaii National Guard and volunteered to deploy to Iraq, very loudly singing her own patriotic praises every step of the way, like many aspiring politicians do. Anderson doesn't quite see it that way; he misses Gabbard's entire essence. Gabbard is not one to play politics. On Monday, the President-Elect invited her to Trump Tower to discuss the United States’ Syria policies and approaches to fighting terrorism. Rep. Gabbard did not let her differences with the President-Elect dictate whether she accepted his invitation.After their meeting, the Congresswoman put out a statement describing the substance of the meeting, and declared, “Let me be clear,[...]



Ryan, Pence And Price Have A Problem: Even Republicans Want Health Care

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:00:00 +0000

Yesterday, Greg Sargent started the news cycle rolling at the Washington Post with a simple question: Will Donald Trump really go through with all of it?. Like many of us, Sargent is rightfully worried that Trump, Pence, Ryan and McConnell "may soon be going forward with an agenda that could inflict radical, disruptive change on millions of people," especially in regard to gutting the Affordable Care Act and destroying Medicare. "We don’t know," he wrote, "how far Trump will actually go. It’s also true that Republicans are taking steps to mitigate the short-term impact of some of the changes being mulled, and are struggling internally with the details in ways that suggest their best laid plans could conceivably go bust. But is there any particular reason not to anticipate the worst at this point?"Los Angeles Congressman Ted Lieu is thinking along similar lines but he focused on another GOP threat to healthcare-- V.A. privatization. "As the Member of Congress representing the nation’s largest VA hospital," Lieu told the media, "I oppose any effort to privatize VA healthcare.  My opposition to privatization is guided by the voices of veterans and advocates in my district, who understand that we can improve service delivery to our veterans without tearing the VA down brick by brick.  On average, our veteran population is older and sicker than the rest of America-- they have earned and deserve a world-class healthcare system designed to meet their unique needs. Finally, as a veteran myself who served on active duty, I humbly believe that a veteran should be at the helm of the VA.  Our nation’s warriors deserve a leader with a profound understanding of their service and sacrifice.  They deserve a leader dedicated to guaranteeing timely access to the highest quality care."A poll taken between Nov 15 and 21 by the the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that only 1 in 4 Americans want the Republicans to repeal Obamacare. 52% of Republicans would like that to happen, significantly less than the 69% would said they wanted that to happened before the election, but majorities across party lines support many Obamacare provisions-- though not the mandate-- which basically pays for the goodies they all want. This is what the vast majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents all support from the Affordable Care Act: • allowing young adults to stay on a parent's insurance until age 26.• no copayments for many preventive services.• closing the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole."• financial help for low- and moderate-income people to pay their insurance premiums.• a state option to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income adults.• barring insurance companies from denying coverage because of a person's medical history.• increased Medicare payroll taxes for upper-income earners.Some Republicans are getting nervous about moving from demagoguery to actually taking away people's-- voters'-- healthcare. But not all. Ryan, Pence and Tom Price are all willing to set themselves aflame on a pyre that burns up Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security if it comes to that. Trump... perhaps not so much-- not that anyone knows what Trump thinks about any policies. In his column yesterday, Paul Krugman asserted that Trump is about to betray the white working class voters in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania who made him the electoral college winner. The evidence of that coming betrayal is obvious in the choice of an array of pro-corporate, anti-labor figures for key positions. In particular, the most important [...]



Trumpy-the Clown And Paul Ryan Aren't The Only Problem Progressives Have To Confront-- First There's The DCCC

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000

Right on the heels of the election, Pollfish did a survey of Trump voters, some of whom were already suffering buyer's remorse. Almost a third of his voters said they didn't think he had a real chance to win and fully 11%-- that's about 6.8 million people-- said if they had it to do all over again, they wouldn't vote for him. They don't have it to do all over again-- although they can check him by helping elect a progressive House in 2018. Many voters, enough to take a chance on a deranged narcissistic clown, wanted change-- and Hillary was the candidate of the status quo-- aggressively so.Yesterday in this time-slot we looked at the "changes" House Democrats are instituting at the DCCC. Unlike the change-for-the-worse agenda Trump, Pence and Paul Ryan are ushering in at breakneck speed, is there even a glimmer of hope that DCCC change will be for the better? DWT has advocated replacing the Pelosi/Hoyer regime among House Democrats for years. Yet this week, the only alternative offered was Tim Ryan who, on no conceivable level, was a better option than Pelosi. Even members disenchanted with her leadership voted, some with trepidation, for her again over the woefully unaccomplished Ryan.One of the reforms we discussed is that finally Democratic members will get to vote for a DCCC chair, just the way the Republicans vote for their NRCC chair. Pelosi was reluctant but caved in the end. She nominated the hapless and totally inadequate Ben Ray Luján for another term. As Simone Pathé put it succinctly for Roll Call readers Thursday, "the House Democrats’ campaign arm is under scrutiny from members who are demanding change after the party netted just six seats this year-- below even the most pessimistic projections of how many seats the party could gain in a presidential year." A vaguely competent DCCC could have netted double that and a really together and functional DCCC would have won back the majority. Luján and his dysfunctional and self-serving careerist staff are programmed to lose. It's in their DNA. They can't win; they can only lose. They can't be reformed-- only fired and banished from ever setting foot in the building again. All DCCC phone numbers should be changed and it should be a firing offense for anyone to ever give out a new number to Kelli Ward or anyone she ever employed.Luján is running again and an awful lot of vision-free Democratic members are happy to reelect him. Progressives, as usual, are an incoherent mess and a thoroughly ineffective voice of opposition. The only opposition to Luján appears to be coming from the Wall Street-owned and operated New Dems, who are getting behind one of Congress' slimiest Democrats, Sean Patrick Maloney. Luján is offering some "reforms" to boost enthusiasm for his reelection bid. If re-elected, Luján said he plans to increase member involvement in the committee’s operations, including upping lawmaker-driven recruitment of Democratic candidates. The New Mexico Democrat said he’d also make the DCCC more transparent-- a long running complaint of members who say the committee staff is only beholden to leadership-- and look at overhauling polling operations.Probably not going to win any extra seats but it will flatter some members. Luján wrote in a letter to all members that "We have honed in on critical improvements that can be made to form a more inclusive messaging strategy, the need for more member-driven recruitment, and an interest in setting up a regional structure to better tap the expertise of our members." Yeah, yeah, yeah... They'll never win back the House with this kind of bullshit.We'v[...]



There Are Going To Be Special Elections Coming Up-- Here's One In L.A. For Xavier Becerra's Seat

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000

CA-34-- Perez and GomezXavier Becerra was first elected to Congress in 1992 and, until yesterday he was the 4th-ranking Democrat in the House leadership. He's a generally liberalish guy, charismatic, polished, more often on the side of the angels than the rest of the House leadership. Coincidental with his last day as Democratic Party Caucus Chair, Jerry Brown appointed him to fill the Attorney General vacancy created by Kamala Harris' election to the U.S. Senate. Attorney General is probably the second most important state job in California, after governor. From what I'm hearing, Gov. Brown wanted a place-holder and Becerra wants to run for Senate in 2018 (Feinstein's seat, whether she's in it-- unlikely-- or not. She'll be just about to turn 86 when when the next Senate is seated.) Having a statewide, high-profile job gives Becerra the leg-up he needs to run and win. Fine; I don't see anyone better thinking about running anyway.Now, what about his seat? The special election primary is scheduled for March 7th and the special election runoff will be May 9th. CA-34-- just a few blocks from my house-- is a densely populated, compact, urban district that includes-- for those familiar with Los Angeles-- Boyle Heights in the southeast, the downtown core from the Fashion District through the Financial District, right through Chinatown. The southwest of the district is Koreatown and a bit of the less gentrified part of Echo Park/Angelino Heights, all of Mount Washington, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, El Sereno, Lincoln Heights. On the east it borders on South Pasadena, Alhambra and Monterey Park. The district is about 67% Latino, 19% Asian. Whites make up less than 10% and, with a medium income of $34,752, it's one of the poorest congressional districts in the country-- 422nd out of 435. Parts of the district are rapidly gentrifying and I'd predict that after the next census the medium income will have increased very substantially.All that said, Romney got a mere 14% in 2012. Locally, Republicans don't even bother to run candidates. Becerra was just reelected with 78.2% of the vote and his opponent was another Democrat. Within minutes of it becoming public that Brown had tapped Becerra for the A.G. gig, former Assembly Speaker John Pérez sent out a press release saying he had already filed. (Becerra had tipped off Villaraigosa who is behind Pérez's run in a big way, prep for his own gubernatorial campaign.) There is no question that Pérez is the establishment pick. The endorsements were ready immediately: congressmembers Karen Bass and Ted Lieu, Controller Betty Yee, ex-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, of course... He's generally progressive in a California establishment kind of way. He's openly gay to boot.His likeliest opponents will be Gloria Molina, City Councilman José Huizar or Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (who will probably announce Monday). Jimmy's a guy with a load of street cred, a grassroots organizer who was just reelected to his Assembly seat with 86.4% of the vote, a district that includes most of the congressional district, from Boyle Heights through Chinatown to Eagle Rock.Before the above PPP survey leaked out a few hours ago all the smart money was on Pérez. But if Gomez or Huizar decides to run, it looks like either could have a reasonable shot at beating Pérez. Also, keep in mind that lately Los Angeles voters have been uncharacteristically thumbling their noses at the candidates the establishment tries to shove down their throats, so... this could be exciting. It will, in the words of one top union operative, be[...]



How Much Of A Scam Was Trump's Carrier Announcement Yesterday?

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 02:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kAWxVJjjPK0" width="420">"Trump, who lost the popular vote, has now sent the message it is open season for massive corporations to seek specialized tax breaks from the incoming Administration. This is crony capitalism at its worst. Trump is not only failing to drain the swamp, he is fertilizing the swamp."-Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA)In reference to what Gaius was talking about this morning, let's look at some of the fallout from Trump's Carrier announcement. The first time I ever heard about Carrier announcing they would move their plant from Indiana to Mexico was when Bernie started campaigning on it-- loudly. Trump saw that too and quickly started parroting Bernie's complaints on the the campaign trail. Yesterday Bernie penned an OpEd for the Washington Post, Carrier just showed corporations how to beat Donald Trump, warning that American workers have a lot to be worried about because of the nature of the deal Trump cut with United Technologies, Carrier's parent company (in which Trump holds an immense financial stake personally). The deal, he writes, "keeps less than 1,000 of the 2100 jobs in America that were previously scheduled to be transferred to Mexico. Let’s be clear: It is not good enough to save some of these jobs. Trump made a promise that he would save all of these jobs, and we cannot rest until an ironclad contract is signed to ensure that all of these workers are able to continue working in Indiana without having their pay or benefits slashed."In exchange for allowing United Technologies to continue to offshore more than 1,000 jobs, Trump will reportedly give the company tax and regulatory favors that the corporation has sought. Just a short few months ago, Trump was pledging to force United Technologies to “pay a damn tax.” He was insisting on very steep tariffs for companies like Carrier that left the United States and wanted to sell their foreign-made products back in the United States. Instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut. Wow! How’s that for standing up to corporate greed? How’s that for punishing corporations that shut down in the United States and move abroad?In essence, United Technologies took Trump hostage and won. And that should send a shock wave of fear through all workers across the country.Trump scores publicity win after Carrier keeps jobs in Indiana. Now will other companies take advantage?...Trump has endangered the jobs of workers who were previously safe in the United States. Why? Because he has signaled to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives. Even corporations that weren’t thinking of offshoring jobs will most probably be re-evaluating their stance this morning. And who would pay for the high cost for tax cuts that go to the richest businessmen in America? The working class of America.Let’s be clear. United Technologies is not going broke. Last year, it made a profit of $7.6 billion and received more than $6 billion in defense contracts. It has also received more than $50 million from the Export-Import Bank and very generous tax breaks. In 2014, United Technologies gave its former chief executive Louis Chenevert a golden parachute worth more than $172 million. Last year, the company’s five highest-paid executives made more than $50 million. The firm also spent $12 billion to inflate its stock price instead of using that money to invest in new plants and wo[...]



Ian Welsh suggests, "Maybe It Is Time To Stop Underestimating Trump?" -- and Steve Bannon too

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 22:00:00 +0000

Andy B. strikes again -- and note especiallythe "Carol Foyer" fake-quote at the endNEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) -- A once-prominent political career came to a shocking end on Friday as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was arrested for keying the limo of President-elect Donald J. Trump.The incident, which rocked political circles in Trenton and Washington, happened in full view of the midtown-Manhattan crowds outside of Trump Tower, where the vandalized limo had been parked.“Suddenly, this guy broke through security, whipped out his keys, and made a gigantic gash along the side of the limo,” said Harland Dorrinson, a tourist from Missouri who witnessed the incident. “Police started wrestling him to the ground, and I was, like, ‘Holy crap, that’s Chris Christie.’ ”Fellow-Republicans reacted to Christie’s arrest with sadness and sympathy. “This whole transition period has been tough on a lot of folks,” former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said.Across New Jersey, residents like Carol Foyler, of Teaneck, said that they were shocked by their governor’s spectacular fall. “I never would have guessed that this would be the thing he’d go to jail for,” she said."Trump’s opposition will continue getting their asses handed to them if they keep assuming that he’s a boob, or that he can’t take good advice. He’s a very savvy operator, and the people he trusts most, Bannon and Kushner, are extraordinarily competent men who have proved their loyalty."-- Ian Welsh, in "Maybe It Is Time To StopUnderestimating Trump?" (Wednesday)"Bannon, for all he is decried as a racist, is the person you want to win most of the Trump White House fights, at least if you care about ordinary people, because he’s the guy who wants ordinary Americans to do well, and he knows he needs Hispanics and Blacks to get jobs too. . . . Bannon is right that if the Trump White House can deliver for enough people, they get to rule DC and America for 50 years. . . ."This is going to be a very interesting White House and administration, just because Trump does not have decided views on a lot of issues. Who wins the internal fights will determine the entire course of Trump’s presidency, and may well determine America’s (and the world’s) future for decades."Place your bets and don’t underestimate these people."-- Ian, in "Don't Underestimate Steve Bannon" (Thursday)by KenOkay, enough fun with Andy B. Now down to business, in the form of Ian Welsh's posts from the last two days, referenced above. The thing to do, really, would be just to encourage you to read the whole posts at the links, in chronological order -- Trump first, then Bannon. I'm going to blunder ahead anyway, but really Ian deserves to make his case(s) his own way (and while you're on his site, don't forget pondering kicking in some $$$ to help enable him to continue giving us his distinctive perspective on, you know, stuff.)In recommending these posts, I realize that the first danger is readers assuming that Ian is endorsing whatever it is that President The Donald decides to do, failing to make the fairly obvious distinction between saying that the guy is extremely competent and usually gets what he goes after and saying that he's an agent of goodness. So let's go first to the "qualifier":Trump just convinced Carrier to keep some manufacturing jobs in the US (by bribing them with tax cuts, it seems).  That sort of high profile personal intervention will be remembered, and has alrea[...]



Sanders: "United Technologies Took Trump Hostage and Won"

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="235" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/30jtbkUTJEE?rel=0" width="420">"You think you're so clever and classless and free..."(so many versions, so little time)by Gaius PubliusThis matters, both the Carrier settlement itself (how it was achieved) and the Sanders pushback against it. Let's start with Sanders, then go to the settlement. Sanders writes (my bolded emphasis):Bernie Sanders: Carrier just showed corporations how to beat Donald TrumpWe need a president who can stand up to big corporations, not fold to their demands.Today, about 1,000 Carrier workers and their families should be rejoicing. But the rest of our nation’s workers should be very nervous.President-elect Donald Trump will reportedly announce a deal with United Technologies, the corporation that owns Carrier, that keeps less than 1,000 of the 2100 jobs in America that were previously scheduled to be transferred to Mexico. Let’s be clear: It is not good enough to save some of these jobs. Trump made a promise that he would save all of these jobs, and we cannot rest until an ironclad contract is signed to ensure that all of these workers are able to continue working in Indiana without having their pay or benefits slashed.In exchange for allowing United Technologies to continue to offshore more than 1,000 jobs, Trump will reportedly give the company tax and regulatory favors that the corporation has sought. Just a short few months ago, Trump was pledging to force United Technologies to “pay a damn tax.” He was insisting on very steep tariffs for companies like Carrier that left the United States and wanted to sell their foreign-made products back in the United States. Instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut. Wow! How’s that for standing up to corporate greed? How’s that for punishing corporations that shut down in the United States and move abroad?In essence, United Technologies took Trump hostage and won. And that should send a shock wave of fear through all workers across the country.Or, as Politico succinctly put it, "Carrier tariff now Carrier tax cut?" Trump went toe-to-toe with United Technology, and lost. Trump As Enabler of OffshoringThis is a 180 degree reversal and he's not even in office yet. But Sanders is exactly right: Trump has endangered the jobs of workers who were previously safe in the United States. Why? Because he has signaled to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives. Even corporations that weren’t thinking of offshoring jobs will most probably be re-evaluating their stance this morning. And who would pay for the high cost for tax cuts that go to the richest businessmen in America? The working class of America. Sanders closes: "I will soon be introducing the Outsourcing Prevention Ac [details here]t, which will address exactly that. If Donald Trump won’t stand up for America’s working class, we must."Some working class hero Trump turned out to be. I guess we're still peasants after all.The "Deal"A little more detail on the so-called "deal." They say "1000 jobs" were saved, but of those only 800 were originally at risk. Plus, 1300 jobs will still move to Mexico. From The Hill:The company that owns Carrier will receive $7 million worth of tax breaks over 10 years from Indiana to keep 1,000 jobs in the state, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.Carrier confirmed the news Thursday[...]



Pelosi Surrenders-- Agrees To Allow Democratic Members A Vote On DCCC Chairmen-- Will Anyone Good Run?

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000

No more of this choreographed failureAfter a decade of abject failure-- in strategy, tactics, messaging and, of course, results-- House Democrats will no longer allow Pelosi to select her pets to chair the DCCC but will elect the chair of their campaign arm, just the way the Republicans do. One progressive congressman told me she worries that this will mean whoever bribes the most members will get the gig and she suggested that if Wasserman Schultz wants it, being the sleaziest plausible member of the caucus, she could have it. Another member just sent me this e-mail: It's not a real election. Pelosi promised it to some dissidents but pushing immediate vote. Inside BS.Thanks, believe it or not, to Sean Patrick Murphy and Joe Crowley, there won't be an immediate vote, since they agreed that an alternative candidate needed a chance to identify himself or herself and make a case for change. Like Steve Israel, Chris Van Hollen and Rahm Emanuel, the latest incarnation, Ben Ray Luján, who is already running for the job, has been a complete disaster, entirely not up to the job on any level. So far the progressives haven't come up with an alternative. I spoke with a dozen people since the decision was announced and no one wanted to take on the task. I'm sure that behind Crowley's and Murphy's decision is a plan to make sure the job goes to a New Dem. Mark my words.But so far no one is talking about a contract-with-America type messaging effort. No one is talking about mastering the intricacies of new online advertising opportunities. No one is talking about a 24 month, targeted voter registration drive. No one is talking about how to root out the endemic revolving door corruption that literally defines the last decade of DCCC failure. And no one is talking about the dangers of Rahm Emanuel and Steve Israel's diktat that the default situation for recruiting candidates is easily corruptible, self-funding Republican-lite dullards.Instead, one congressman told me, "this is going to be another damn personality contest unrelated to vision... [or] ability to get a very serious, difficult job done." There was also a "battle" for Caucus vice chair that was won by Linda Sanchez (D-CA) over Barbara Lee (D-CA). Why the relatively unaccomplished Sanchez over the heroic and iconic Lee? "The CBC doesn't see strong progressives like Barbara Lee or, for that matter, Keith Ellison or Donna Edwards, as part of their crowd. The CBC didn't back Barbara," a congressman told me after the vote, "not the way the Hispanic Caucus got behind Sanchez. She just sits around and plays video games on her cell phone all day. I couldn't believe that vote! I heard Nancy let it be known to her closest supporters that with Becerra leaving the leadership, she wanted a Hispanic. That's the way she plays. More of that identity politics bullshit that's burying the party."[...]



Talking The 2016 Post-Election Blues

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000

-by Bruce MulkeyOn a warm Texas morning on Wednesday, November 3, 1948, I remember my mom, Sue Mulkey, a life-long Democrat, gleefully asking our next-door neighbor, “Well, how do you like our new president?” Defying the predictions of almost every pundit and pollster, President Harry Truman, who had succeeded to the presidency when FDR died, had won a full term, defeating Republican challenger Thomas Dewey in what some considered one of the greatest political upsets in American history. It was especially astounding when you consider that two Democratic factions split from the party: Henry Wallace, former vice president under FDR, ran as the Progressive Party’s presidential candidate, and Strom Thurman, governor of South Carolina, headed the Dixiecrat ticket. Sixty-eight years later, an electoral shockwave that would dwarf Truman’s surprising victory was unfolding before my eyes.As I watched the returns start to trickle in on election night with Shonnie and our friend Carolyn, I kept saying, “The votes in the Democratic strongholds obviously haven’t come in yet. It’s just a matter of time before Hillary takes the lead in Florida.” But she didn’t. Not in Florida, nor in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, or Wisconsin. Given the almost all the polls had consistently shown Clinton leading, it was difficult to believe what was happening.Disconsolate, I went to bed around midnight after it was clear that Donald Trump was on his way to becoming our next president. I woke up around 3:00 a.m. and fumbled around with my Kindle to see if a miracle had taken place, if some of the battleground states had flipped to the Democratic column. They hadn’t.Let me be clear. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the North Carolina primary when hope was still alive that he could capture the Democratic nomination for president. I supported Sanders because I believed (and still believe) that he understood the necessity of addressing issues such as income inequality, lack of a living wage for many, our two-tiered justice system, institutional racism, the militarization of our police departments, world-wide militarism (800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad), government surveillance of U.S. citizens, and climate change.In contrast, it’s evident to me that, over the past several decades, the Democratic establishment has tilted considerably to the right, and their chosen candidate, Hillary Clinton, qualified as she might be, epitomized that position on the political spectrum. Nowhere near the Republicans’ shift to the far right, but to the right of center nonetheless. Furthermore, Clinton’s sense of entitlement (It’s my turn.), the Clinton dynasty (So, now Chelsea is being groomed to run for Congress.), the Clinton’s relentless pursuit of the almighty dollar (current net worth estimated at over $100 million), and the DNC’s manipulations before and during the Democratic primaries to deliver the nomination to Clinton all made it challenging for me to get behind the Democratic candidate.Nonetheless, I refrained from criticizing Hillary during the general election campaign and voted for her during early voting in North Carolina, though to be honest, mine was more a vote against Trump than a vote for Clinton. But what the hell, I thought, let’s elect a woman. We’re way past due. In addition, of course, I voted for the down-ticket Democrats, including Roy Cooper, North Carolin[...]



Life Of Crime... And So On

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 02:00:00 +0000

This week, I had a call from Steve Knopper, a writer doing a story for Billboard, about how musicians may look at their responsibility to call attention to the political anomalies around Trump and Trumpism. I'll share that with you when it's published next week. Usually when people ask me if I'm involved in the music business any longer I just say "no" or, if I'm feeling garrulous, "no, thank God." In fact when Steve asked me a question for a post-Nirvana period book he's writing, all I could do was offer to talk about how in 1994, the midterm election after Bill Clinton's first victory, saw a loss of 54 Democratic House seats and the rise of Newt Gingrich... but that my mind was blank about anything to do with music of the period other than how we had a huge success with Candlebox in that period. He didn't seem interested in hearing that Ted Strickland, Jack Brooks, Dan Rostenkowski, Maria Cantwell, Jay Inslee, Speaker Tom Foley and Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky all lost their seats that year. Alas, who would be? That said, just hours later I got three music-related e-mails.The first came from the producer of a film, Pitching Tents who is locking down the score and trailer and is eager to use a song my own little company publishes, "Teenage Underground" by the Red Rockers. Here listen: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sPOvLBFFj9c" width="420">I should have told Steve Knopper to call them about how singers and songwriters are going to react to Trump. You can probably guess how the Red Rockers would react. They also recorded Guns of Revolution, the song that persuaded me to sign them to my little indie label, and Dead Heroes. I did mention Bodycount to Steve. That was Ice-T's rock band that got into some trouble for their song, "Cop Killer." I was the executive producer. It's a little harsh but listen: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/517WVJNdO5g" width="420">Why bring that up? That was the second e-mail. It was from a sociology professor at Cal State Long Beach telling me one of her students asked her to invite me to speak to her class about censorship. I'm going to.The third e-mail was from Johnny Strike, who I haven't been in contact with in a couple of decades. He was one of the singer/guitar players in San Francisco's legendary punk rock pioneers, Crime. Crime was mostly Johnny plus Frankie Fix who I believe died about 20 years ago. But there were a delightful cast of characters over the years I lived in San Francisco who came and went from Crime and two of them-- Hank Rank and Joey D'Kaye-- are, according to Johnny's e-mail joining him in a new recording project, Naked Beast. LP out in 2017. I can't wait. Meanwhile, I didn't even realize that Johnny Strike is an author and has a new book out, Name of the Stranger. He described the new music as "Crimey but also experimental." Want to hear what "Crimey" sounds like? This is Crime's classic first single, "Hot Wire My Heart" b/w "Baby You're So Repulsive" from late 1976. This is what I used to play on my radio show: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hBBh7cvxK9w" width="420">UPDATE: New Old PicJohnny just sent me this, a photo, probably backstage at the Mabuhay in 1977, of Crime's Frankie Fix and Johnny Strike and yours truly in the middle. The world has changed so much since then! [...]