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

Last Build Date: Fri, 26 May 2017 15:01:42 +0000


Republican Candidates Are In A State Of Delusion Headed Towards The Midterms

Fri, 26 May 2017 13:00:00 +0000

The GOP mess has crossed over into popular culture; it ain't going' awayOne week ago, Politico interviewed Mike Madrid, a well-known Republican political consultant in California. "The Democrats," he reminded them, "were absolutely convinced that running against Trump down-ticket was going to create the biggest Democratic blue wave of all time, and it did not work at all… What we’re really seeing in America right now is incredibly intense, wired up Democratic base that’s lighting its hair on fire and driving the media narrative, but it’s not driving polling data, and you’re not seeing it in increased turnout in elections."Is that so? While Trump's approval rating is languishing in the mid-30s, I've never seen as big a gap open in the generic congressional polling. A Quinnipiac poll released a few days before Madrid spoke with Politico reported their results this way: By a 54 – 38 percent margin, American voters want the Democratic Party to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives. This is the widest margin ever measured for this question in a Quinnipiac University poll, exceeding a 5 percentage point margin for Republicans in 2013.As for the chief Republican in Congress, PPP polled Paul Ryan's own southeast Wisconsin district and found this:As for not translating into votes, that's just really insane. Tuesday two deep red legislative districts in New Hampshire and Long Island, the former having never elected a Democrat before ever, and that latter in which Trump's margin of victory had been 20 points, both dumped GOP candidates. The Long Island Assembly district is the only deep red part of Peter King's congressional district. If Republicans can't hold that area, 2018 will be the last anyone ever hears of Peter King, unless he's arrested for robbing a Dunkin' Donuts. Last night Republican Greg Gianforte managed to keep Montana's at-large congressional seat in Republican hands-- but at an immense cost ($29.55 per vote, compared to Quist's $3.94 per vote)-- and by a very reduced margin. Gianfote scored 189,473 votes (50.3%) to 166,483 (44.0%) for Quist and 21,509 (5.7%) for Libertarian Mark Wicks. Last November Ryan Zinke was reelected with 56.19% over Democrat Denise Juneau's 40.55% (and 3.26% for the Libertarian). Trump scored 56.5% over Clinton's 35.9%. Quist's performance was up 8 points over Clinton and 3.5% over Juneau's. The 6.5% swing away from Trump, on a nationwide basis, would be enough for Democrats to take back the House in 2018. Many Republican incumbents and their campaign consultants are in states of denial, which isn't uncommon when people see a tsunami headed their way. That same Politico article that quoted Madrid, also quoted another GOP political consultant, Dave Gillaird, who is a strategist for 4 of the 7 Republicans the DCCC is targeting in 2018, Jeff Denham, Mimi Walters, Darrell Issa and Ed Royce, said "all four of them had campaigns for re-election saying they were going to repeal Obamacare in favor of something better… They all came to the conclusion that this was better than Obamacare, and that was what they campaigned for re-election on." He called concerns about voter anger at Republicans over healthcare "overblown." That's what I meant by a state of denial. I turned to the progressive Democrats running against the fools Gillaird has lulled into a state of clueless complacency. Katie Porter and Kia Hamadanchy are both awesome candidates running for the Orange County seat Mimi Walters refuses to move into and claims to represent in Congress. Katie, a consumer advocate and UC Irvine professor told us, simply that "After the House passed Trumpcare, Congresswoman Walters was one of the first people President Trump thanked at the White House. And thanks to the CBO report released yesterday, her constituents now know that the bill Walters helped write would end coverage for 23 million Americans-- including tens of thousands of people in her district. Walters' unconditional support of Trump's plan is completely at odds with the needs and lived experience of families here in O[...]

People For the American Way Launches The Next Up Victory Fund

Fri, 26 May 2017 04:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">Progressives like Keith Ellison, Pramila Jayapal and Jamie Raskin-- as well as other Democrats-- joined the folks at PFAW this week at an event introducing the launch of their newest in a series of progressive bench-building initiatives the Next Up Victory Fun. the purpose of the new program is to elect young progressives to state and local offices.Next Up will support young progressive candidates running for state and local office across the country by providing endorsements and direct contributions, as well as a platform and greater access to the broader progressive community. PFAW has focused on young people as a major part of its work for more than a decade through its c3 affiliate, PFAW Foundation, which runs Young People For (YP4), a training program for college-age activists and the Young Elected Officials Network. PFAW also has an extensive track record in electoral politics, and this program will be an extension of its state and local work.In particular, Next Up will target critical races in states where Democrats are poised to regain control of state legislatures—including states where legislatures can impact 2020 redistricting—and in helping candidates win races that will allow them to make credible runs for higher office in years to come.Crisanta Duran is the Speaker of Colorado's House and a member of the Next Up advisory board. She said that "in order to transform our political system, we need to be working on the local and state levels to elect progressive leaders nationwide. If we want strong, progressive candidates to run for Congress and the presidency in five, ten or fifteen years, we need to make sure they’re getting elected to city councils and the statehouse right now. We’re going to fight for change from the bottom up. This work is critical to building power in the progressive movement and I am proud to be a part of its launch."Michael Keegan, the PFAW president, made the point that "Republicans have methodically taken complete control of 32 legislatures and control every branch of government in 25 states-- half of the entire country, allowing them to ram through gerrymandering, voter suppression, and attacks on the rights of women, workers, LGBTQ people, and others unchecked... The goal of Next Up is to significantly shift the map within the next few election cycles to retake power in the states, win vital Democratic control over the redistricting process, and nurture a crop of progressive officeholders well positioned to win in their districts, statewide, and in future pursuits of federal office."Despite all the anti-Trump energy, if we take off our blinders we can see that the landscape in the states is still dismal for progressives. I bet you agree with PFAW that that has to change, not the kind of phony DCCC one-cycle-- elect our sheathed instead of the other shithead-change, but a long-term infrastructure building change that PFAW has been doing for 3 decades. Keegan went on to say that "The Next Up Victory Fund is the next step in our deep, long-term investment in youth leadership development. It’s the continuation and expansion of our former Young Elected Progressives program. Our nonpartisan affiliate People For the American Way Foundation has supported young leaders for over a decade, through Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network and Young People For (YP4). PFAW has more than 30 years of expertise and a proven track record of success in helping strong progressive candidates win tight races. This is going to be one of our most important endeavors of the next several election cycles-- including elections taking place this year, in advance of the all-important 2018 midterms."If you'd like to contribute to their efforts, you can do that here.[...]

Is The CBO Score A Death Sentence For The Republican Congressional Majorities?

Fri, 26 May 2017 01:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">The CBO sums up their report on the new version of TrumpCare with one sentence: "CBO and JCT estimate that enacting the American Health Care Act would reduce federal deficits by $119 billion over the coming decade and increase the number of people who are uninsured by 23 million in 2026 relative to current law." The original version would have kicked 24 million off their health insurance but it would have reduced the deficit by $150 billion. The NY Times reported that the Senate Majority Turtle (R-KY) looked at it and sniffed "I don’t know how we get to 50 at the moment... but that’s the goal."Congressional Republicans spent the day running around quacking out their focus group-tested talking points: "The status quo under Obamacare is completely unacceptable and totally unsustainable... Prices are skyrocketing, choice is plummeting, the marketplace is collapsing and countless more Americans will get hurt if we don’t act." Snd doing all in their power to undercut, sabotage and destabilize the Affordable Care Act, regardless of how much it hurts people in need of healthcare. Democrats say much of that instability stems from Republican efforts to repeal and undermine the Affordable Care Act. The Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, harshly criticized House Republicans for voting on their revised repeal measure without an updated analysis from the budget office.“Republicans were haunted by the ghost of C.B.O. scores past, so they went ahead without one,” Mr. Schumer said. That action, he said, was reckless-- “like test-driving a brand-new car three weeks after you’ve already signed on the dotted line and paid the dealer in full.”The House repeal bill was approved on May 4 by a vote of 217 to 213, without support from any Democrats. It would eliminate tax penalties for people who go without health insurance and would roll back state-by-state expansions of Medicaid, which have provided coverage to millions of low-income people. And in place of government-subsidized insurance policies offered exclusively on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, the bill would offer tax credits of $2,000 to $4,000 a year, depending on age.A family could receive up to $14,000 a year in credits. The credits would be reduced for individuals making more than $75,000 a year and families making more than $150,000.Senior Republican senators say they want to reconfigure the tax credits to provide more financial assistance to lower-income people and to older Americans, who could face much higher premiums under the House bill.The House bill would roll back a number of insurance requirements in the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans say have driven up the cost of coverage.In the weeks leading up to passage of the House bill, Republican leaders revised it to win support from some of the most conservative members of their party.Under the House bill, states could opt out of certain provisions of the health care law, including one that requires insurers to provide a minimum set of health benefits and another that prohibits them from charging higher premiums based on a person’s health status.Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) emphasized in a statement to his constituents that the new version is even worse than the old version. "Twenty days ago, House Republicans turned their backs on millions of Americans by passing the American Health Care Act. The Congressional Budget Office’s score released today confirms what we had known all along; dismantling our healthcare system will leave millions uninsured, roll back basic coverage, and increase premiums for the most vulnerable populations. It will send costs skyrocketing for seniors and those with pre-existing conditions in order to provide financial windfall to millionaires and billionaires... Instead of dismantling the progress that has been made to improve health care in this country, we should work together on behalf of our[...]

Is Tom MacArthur's Self-Financed Political Career Crumbling Before Our Eyes?

Thu, 25 May 2017 21:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">The biggest group of mainstream conservatives in the House, the Tuesday Group felt betrayed by one of its leaders, New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur, who worked with radical right extremist Mark Meadows of the Freedom Caucus to help pass TrumpCare. Officially, on Tuesday he resigned from the Tuesday Group. But 2 Republican staffers have told me, he was pushed out of the group by angry members who feel that his TrumpCare betrayal will cost dozens of Republicans their seats in the 2018 midterms. "That bill is going to cost [Leonard] Lance and [Mike] Coffman their seats... that's what [MacArthur] accomplished. He's a pariah around here now."Officially, the DCCC has included NJ-03 on their list of targeted districts but they haven't recruited a candidate yet and I was told that the district isn't a priority because Trump beat Hillary there 51.4% to 45.2%-- more typical backward-looking DCCC "strategy." (Obama beat Romney there 51.8% to 47.2% and beat McCain by about the same margin.) NJ-03 is a South Jersey swing district. Most of the voters live in Burlington County, primarily in the suburbs northeast of Philly, like Mount Laurel, Cinnaminson and Willingboro, although the district's biggest city is Tom's River in Ocean County on the other side of the Pine Barrens.The DCCC has insisted on running Republican-lite candidates and the last Democratic congressman to represent the area was Blue Dog John Adler who won the seat in 2008, running as a normal Democrat-- and with a bigger archest than any other Democratic non-incumbent in the country. But he voted with the Republicans so frequently that when the 2010 midterms rolled around his 52-48% win turned into a 53-47% loss as Democratic voters refused to even bother turning out for the DCCC's idea of a candidate (not their own). And this despite Adler spending $3,285,638 to Republican Jon Runyan's $1,518,073.In 2012 the DCCC ran Adler's widow, who lost by 10 points and 2 years later they ran another conservative-leaning Dem, Aimee Belgard, who did even worse (for what was then an open seat) against rich carpetbagger MacArthur. At that point the DCCC gave up on the district. The "Democrat" who took MacArthur on in 2016, Frederick Lavergne, billed himself as a Democrat-Republican, wasn't supported by the DCCC and reported raising only $600 and spending nothing. MacArthur spent $1,910,489.But there's some good news on the horizon. Progressive Andy Kim, a Rhodes Scolar who worked in the Obama White House, is strongly considering running in 2018. The founder and Executive Director of RISE Stronger, a grassroots group whose mission is "to build a dynamic, strategic movement of politically engaged communities that demand a responsible and accountable government which serves the interests of the people." Their story: In the days following the 2016 presidential election, Andy Kim, a former White House Director for Iraq at the National Security Council, gathered several hundred people to a meeting in Washington, D.C. to lay out a vision for a new wave of citizen engagement in this uncertain and tumultuous political landscape in America. That meeting launched RISE Stronger, which has since grown to become a citizen watchdog organization of nearly 30,000 members across the country who are ready to ensure elected officials and government are both responsible and accountable to the people.In that first meeting, people said they felt paralyzed-- unable to think about how to move beyond the uncertainty, disappointment, and fear. Participants struggled to think of actions that regular citizens could take beyond voting, calling their representative, and donating money to a cause. Dissatisfied with these limited options, RISE Stronger emerged to reinvigorate what it means to be a citizen and to empower Americans across the country to find new ways to engage in the American democracy.The goal of RISE Stronger is si[...]

All-Electric Air Travel Is Not an Impossible Dream

Thu, 25 May 2017 17:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="236" src="" width="420">A brief 2015 video report from the WSJ about the Airbus all-electric airplane, the E-Fan. Airbus is not the only company doing this. Go here for an interesting video about Pipistrel's electric Gaius PubliusA brief follow-up to our recent piece on the coming death of Big Oil as a business (see "The Dying Fossil Fuel Industry"). One argument against the demise of Big Oil is that "there will always be a need for oil, somewhere." The most often-used examples for "somewhere" are in the global transportation industries — air travel and international shipping.We've looked at these industries before and agreed that they do represent a problem. For example, from a 2015 piece: "Independent of the [Paris Agreement] pledges of the various nations — which are proving to be entirely inadequate to meeting even the modest goals of the U.N. — pledges by nations aren't the entire solution. In fact, the pledges by a number of nations would be entirely wiped out by the emissions of two international industries. These are international shipping and international air travel." Take the Canadian climate pledge, for example. Canada has promised to cut its pollution by 30% below 2005 levels (a peak year) by 2030, and by 16% below the benchmark year of 1990, from 690 MtCO2e to 579 MtCO2e (megatons of CO2-equivalent emissions). Over the same period, 1990 to 2030, international aviation and international maritime emissions are expected to more than triple in a business-as-usual scenario, for a combined increase in emissions that's more than ten times the promised emissions decrease from Canada (pdf, page 42). When most people think about how to cut global emissions to zero, that's were they get stuck, with an unsolvable problem when it comes to international travel and shipping. Those who don't get stuck there posit a world of less capitalism, less "buying for the sake of buying" — which is needed to feed the capitalists' constant need to "sell for the sake of selling." As admirable as that sounds as a goal, it also sounds impossible to achieve, at least voluntarily. Besides, less capitalism, defined as production of consumer goods, would certainly require less global shipping, but wouldn't solve the problem of global air travel.Can these two industries, international maritime and international aviation, every be freed from the grip of fossil fuels?All-Electric Planes Are Here TodayIt turns out that all-electric airplanes are not that far from the horizon, and what works for air travel could well be adapted to shipping, given the right advances in energy storage. Consider this, from Scientific American in 2014:"Impossible" Electric Airplane Takes FlightThe Berlin Air Show witnessed a silent, clean test flight by Airbus's E-Fan two-seater aircraft, which is entirely propelled by electricity...The fully electric E-Fan aircraft, engineered by Airbus Group, made one of its first public demonstrations here last week following it's first-ever flight in France on March 11.The novel two-seater aircraft was designed from the outset for electrical propulsion, from its energy management system to safety features. In developing this technology, Airbus aims to one day reduce the aerospace industry's carbon dioxide emissions by an order of magnitude."It's a very different way of flying," said Jean Botti, chief technical and innovation officer at Airbus Group, "absolutely no noise, no emissions."A series of lithium-ion batteries fitted into the wings of the plane are the sole power source for the E-Fan's two 30-kilowatt electric motors. A 6 kW electric motor in the main wheel provides extra power during acceleration and taxiing to reduce electrical power consumption on the ground.The obvious problem is range. The 2014 version described above had a one-hour range, which means it didn't stray far from the airport. The 2015 versi[...]

Election Day-- Today... In Montana

Thu, 25 May 2017 13:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">Today's the day. A quarter million people have already voted in Montana but whatever analysis of that available shows that neither side has any advantage so far in the early voting. [For comparison's sake-- even if it's an apples-to-oranges comparison-- the June 6 special election in CA-34 has had 14,820 early votes and the expected total for the entire race is between 40 and 45,000.] This is going to be close and it's totally about getting out the vote. So, if you're in Montana, or you know anyone in Montana... your country needs you today.Rob Quist has raised over $5 million from over 200,000 donors. Gianforte raised around the same amount but from only a tenth as many people-- and includes $1.5 million from himself. In the last week, spending has gone through the roof as internal GOP polls have shown Quist having caught up with Gianforte. Helena's Independent Record reported that "Republicans are significantly outspending Democrats," meaning outside groups... GOP outside groups have ensured that Republicans have a spending advantage, though, airing more than $7 million worth of TV ads, versus about $3 million from Democrats. House Majority PAC, Democrats’ main House outside group, on Tuesday added a last-minute $125,000 TV ad buy to the race, on top of $25,000 announced last week." That's Pelosi, who's decided to spend big in GA-06 and just pretend to be helping in Montana to pacify Berniecrats, many of whom are too new to politics to understand the difference between Pelosi spending $150,000 and Ryan spending $3 million. In the past 20 days, outside groups have spent $228,061 in support of Quist. Groups supporting Gianforte have spent $356,476. Much of that money is being spent on getting out the vote. The Progressive Turnout Project, for example, has spent $14,825 on employees to get out the vote for Quist. The Republican National Committee spent $16,939 on Gianforte phone calls May 20-21.Turnout in rural Montana counties, where Republicans do well, has been strong with more than 70 percent of absentee ballots returned by rural voters, according to Montana’s secretary of state. Turnout through Monday had absentee ballots from rural counties comprising 30 percent of the state’s absentee vote. That’s better than the normal absentee turnout, which is 25 percent, said Craig Wilson, Montana State University Billings political science professor emeritus.Combined, the rural county absentee vote is higher than the turnout in Missoula and Gallatin counties, Montana’s second and third largest counties for absentee ballots. Anchored by the state’s two largest universities, those are counties where Democrats need higher turnout, Wilson said.Money spent against the candidates is more lopsided. Republican groups have spent almost four times as much targeting their opponent as Democrats have. That's $1.93 million against Quist and $442,450 against Gianforte in the past 20 days....The campaign committees of Quist and Gianforte have raised at least $10 million combined, while outside groups have spent more than $7.1 million thus far.The Quist campaign announced Tuesday that it had topped $6 million in contributions, noting that it had generated about $1 million in small donations over the past five days.That amount could not be immediately verified because it had not yet been reported to the Federal Elections Commission.Gianforte's campaign said it has raised about $4.6 million, including a last-minute loan of $500,000 from Gianforte. He had previously lent his campaign $1 million. The combined total in direct contributions is a record haul for a Montana congressional race....The money flowing into the campaign from independent outside groups, which can spend unlimited amounts of money, has mostly benefited Gianforte. Groups supporting the Bozeman entrepreneur have spent more tha[...]

Trump Ready To Get His Revenge Against Iowans

Thu, 25 May 2017 04:00:00 +0000

On February 1, 2016, the day of the Iowa caucuses, Trump was still just a joke. He was sputtering that Iowa Republicans had brain damage from too much fertilizer after polls started showing him losing to Ben Carson and Ted Cruz. On the day of the caucuses Cruz won-- with 51,666 (27.6%). Trump came in second with 45,429 votes (24.3%), much closer to Rubio's 43,228 (23.1%) than to Cruz. Trump, who did beat Carson-- currently his Secretary of Housing-- was still basically a stand-up comic back then: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">Though Obama won Iowa both times he ran-- 54-44% against McCain and 52-46% against Romney-- Hillary couldn't have been a worse fit for the state. She lost the state's 6 e;sectoral votes by almost 10 points-- 800,983 (51.1%) for Trumpanzee to 653,669 (41.9). Trump has still never apologized to the state's rural voters for repeatedly accusing them of being stupid and brain-damaged. And his new budget is particularly devastating for Iowans.Forget for a moment how TrumpCare will be catastrophic for a state that has already utterly sabotaged the Affordable Care Act. And lets not think about what the draconian cuts in food stamps will do to Iowa's farmers. The Trump budget, if ever enacted, will completely eliminate 66 federal programs, several of which are vital for Iowa's economy and well-being. For starters Mulvaney has slashed the Agriculture Department mercilessly and completely eliminated nearly a billion dollars by ending 4 programs that benefit Iowans: the Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program Account, the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, the Single Family Housing Direct Loans, the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education. Other programs being eliminated include the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration, the Labor Department's Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Training and their Senior Community Service Employment Program, Health and Human Service's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program-- for those cold Iowa winters-- even Homeland Security's Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program. Also the over $4 billion cut from the State Department's aid programs will be disatrous for farmers, since much of that aid is in the form of surplus agricultural products that will otherwise flood domestic markets driving down prices. Trump manages to save $43 million by shutting down the Treasury Department's Global Agriculture and Food Security Program.And, as you've probably read, some of ind independent agency's Trump and Mulvaney are targeting for elimination especially serve rural communities, like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.Even as much a knee-jerk Trump supporter as Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is, even he admits he's concerned about some of the Trump cuts that target farmers and rural communities. Iowa Public Radio reported that Grassely is bitching that, although he doesn't especially care about Trump and Mulvaney further squeezing the food stamps program, "reducing crop insurance subsidies would leave taxpayers on the hook to pay for farm damages from natural disasters... Isn’t it better to have the farmers pay part of it and the taxpayers pay part of it instead of the taxpayers paying 100 percent, like they do for other natural disasters, like hurricanes and earthquakes?"Dave Loebsack, the only Democrat left in Iowa's delegation to Washington said "this budget is a direct attack on Iowa’s hardworking families, rural communities and small businesses, all while giving more and more to those who are wealthy and well." Although all of Iowa's Trump puppets in DC have taken an uncomfortably supportive posture towards the budget, other Republicans around the country are denouncing it. Nevada Republican Dean Heller is already using it as a piñata in his reelection campaign. "From [...]

Which GOP Garbage Will Be Swept Away In The Great Wave?

Thu, 25 May 2017 01:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">The wave that's forming up now could well be an anti-Trump/anti-Ryan tsunami by 2018. When Republicans say there are 18 months and a lot can change they are sweating under their suit jackets because they know the intensity of voters' reaction against the Republican agenda is intensifying, not dissipating. It won't just be Republicans in the blue districts that the DCCC has botched who get decimated but Republicans in districts who represent districts with R+4 and R+5 PVIs, seats that are normally considered "safe." I was struck by a conversation between Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and Chris Hayes Tuesday night. Merkley, who makes a point of visiting every county in his state, including the blood red ones where he's lost massively-- like Wallowa (34.4%), Lake (30.9%), Grant (32.8%), Malheur (27.6%), Linn (42.5%) and Klamath (36.3%). Merkley recalled that in the past he has been booed and heckled in some of these rural counties where people get their information from Hate Talk Radio and Fox. This year, he said, he's walking into town halls and getting standing ovations. "They are looking for champions to stop this craziness, this destructive set of strategies that trump is putting forward." Watch the last couple of minutes of the video above.While Hayes and Merkley were chatting on MSNBC results were starting to come in from special election to fill red legislative seats in New Hampshire and on Long Island-- results that help explain why it isn't just Republicans like Carlos Curbelo (FL), John Katko (NY) and Erik Paulsen (MN) in districts Hillary won, but also Republicans like Steve Chabot (OH), Mark Amodei (NV), Steve King (IA), Tom Reed (NY) and Paul Ryan (WI), who the DCCC traditionally declares too red to contest, who are in trouble.Both the legislative districts last night were won by Romney and Trump. The Long Island district-- right in the heart of Peter King's congressional district (Massapequa, West Babylon, Babylon Village, West Islip and West Bay Shore)-- had gone to Trump with a massive 23 point margin over Hillary! Last night, progressive activist, Berniecrat Christine Pellegrino defeated Conservative sociopath Tom Gargiulo 5,590 (57.89%) to 4,049 (41.93%). In a victory statement Pellegrino made it clear she isn't just another garden variety Democratic hack politician. "This is a thunderbolt of resistance," she said. "This is for all the supporters and voters who understand a strong progressive agenda is the way forward in New York." She had been a Bernie delegate to the Democratic National Convention last year.In New Hampshire, GOP state Rep. Harold Parker had resigned to join the Sununu administration, triggering the special election in Wolfeboro (Carroll County). Democrat Edith DesMarais defeated Republican Matthew Plache 811 (52%) to 755 (48%), the first time a Democrat had ever won the seat.Every time Ryan and Trump do something to further undermine working families, the enthusiasm to defeat Republicans ticks up, even in "safe" Republican districts like these two. Once again, the DCCC has adamantly refused to target Steve Israel-crony Peter King. But there is no doubt there will be a grassroots candidate running against him in 2018, with or without assistance from Pelosi and her clueless DC Democrats.The most important lesson to remember from last night is that these candidates do NOT fit the DCCC candidate profile which results in the recruitment of loser candidates who are wealthy self-funders and Republican-lite conservatives. This morning DNC chair Tom Perez may have been happy but he wasn't particularly inspiring in his remarks: "To rebuild the Democratic party, we need to win from the school board to the Senate. No seat is too small, and to be competitive we have to get back to the basics of grassroots o[...]

Why Are The Imbeciles At The DCCC Boycotting Wisconsin This Cycle?

Wed, 24 May 2017 21:00:00 +0000

There are 16 House Democrats with perfect scores from ProgressivePunch for the current session-- a score of 100. One, Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is a freshman, which means her lifetime crucial vote score is also 100. The other freshmen with eye-popping great scores are Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) and Ro Khanna (D-CA). ProgressivePunch is a very imperfect tool but where it fails in precision, it excels in relative direction, especially over long periods of time. My gut tells me that Pramila at 5 months in will still be a super-progressive champion at 5 years in. Meanwhile, though, the non-freshman-- so people with a longer and more complicated voting record-- with the best voting record in the House is Mark Pocan from Madison, Wisconsin. Pocan has a 98.99 crucial vote score, almost unbelievable for someone elected to Congress in 2012.And the voters back home in Wisconsin know it. In November, Mark out-performed Hillary in his blue collar Midwest district, scoring 69% of the vote against his Republican opponent. Yesterday Mark was elected co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, taking over for Keith Ellison who is now Deputy Chairman of the DNC. Pocan is one of the Democrats in Congress insistent on the Democrats presenting a positive agenda ago voters, not just a list of complaints about Trump and Putin. He bridges the gap nicely-- something his colleagues should try to incorporate into their own presentations: "With the Trump Administration attacking both the values we hold dear and the programs which provide vital services to people across the country, it is my goal to help make the Congressional Progressive Caucus the voice of the resistance. All we need to do is take a look at the devastating cuts proposed in the budget President Trump released today to see the clear distinction between progressives and this Administration and Congress. I am proud to help lead the charge in Congress for progressive ideas that lay the foundation for our resistance in this era of Trump. The CPC will fight the fights against bad policies and offer positive alternatives which demonstrate progressives have a pulse on the will of the people and a plan forward."As a lifelong progressive, I will continue to fight for the kitchen table issues we all care about and put forward pragmatic, progressive policies to combat Donald Trump and Paul Ryan’s radical agenda," he emphasized. "House Republicans think they can get away with passing a health care bill that will cause 24 million Americans to lose coverage, but the CPC will work with outside groups to ensure people understand what Congress is doing. We know progressives have a winning message across the country and in America’s heartland. I hope to help the Congressional Progressive Congress make sure the voices of the American people are heard in the halls of Congress."As we mentioned yesterday, the DCCC announced their expanded list of target districts for the 2018 midterms. Not a single one was in the great progressive bastion Wisconsin has been and will be again, despite the fact that several of the congressional districts are true swing districts and that one, in particular, WI-01, is occupied by the most obvious target in the whole Congress: Paul Ryan. These are all Wisconsin districts Obama won and have been abandoned by a DCCC incapable of thinking beyond the newest shiniest object (red suburban districts Trump managed to lose in Texas and Orange County, CA). The percentage was Obama's winning number against McCain. • WI-01 (Ryan)- 51%• WI-06 (Glenn Grothman)- 49%• WI-07 (Sean Duff)- 53%• WI-08 (Mike Gallagher)- 54%Maybe worth the effort? Especially in a year when Tammy Baldwin will be at the top of the ticket asking voters to send her back to the Senate.Virtually all of the Democratic campaign managers operating independently of the DCCC[...]

Florida Democratic Party Continues To Aim Low, Enabling GOP Dominance

Wed, 24 May 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Looking at the cluelessness, the incompetence (and, yes, the corruption) of the DCCC, we often worry if they will, once again, wreck the chances of Democrats to take back the House. Between Trump's unpopularity and Ryan's draconian anti-working family agenda, it should be hard for Republicans to hold onto their House majority in 2018. But if there's anything that will make it possible for them, it's Pelosi's ever-putrid DCCC.Here in California, where Ted lieu was elected DCCC regional vice chair, recruitment and candidate support are actually working the way they should. No matter how unlikely to win a candidate is, when I call them I'm finding Lieu or his chief of staff, Marc Cevasco, have already touched bases and been generously sharing advice and encouragement. Unfortunately, I'm not finding anything like that in any of the other regions. I've yet to find a candidate in the South, the Midwest, the Rocky Mountain states (and Texas) or the Northeast who have even heard that Don McEachin, Betty McCollum, Jared Polis or Joe Kennedy are regional vice chairs. I'm not sure what they're waiting for-- or why they bothered running for the positions. Sad. Tiny Update: When I was complaining to one of the top party leaders in the House about this yesterday, this is what I was told by e-mail: "Confidently [I think they meant confidentially]-- those new DCCC titles were a part of when Nancy was challenged by Tim Ryan, and they were handing out titles. Not sure if they actually do anything..." True dat! (Except Ted Lieu, one of the real heroes in a House that needs more heroic figures.)Yesterday, the new chairman of the California Democratic Party, Eric Bauman, asked me to be part of his circle of advisors. My first advice to him was to work with Ted Lieu to make sure California is no longer at the mercy of the vision-free imbeciles Rahm Emanuel puked up to run the DC Dems. I hope I can get him to understand what I'm talking about before the midterms.This week, Jerry Iannelli, writing for Miami's New Times, showed why the problems Democrats have go beyond the clueless lunkheads at the DCCC and have permeated into the state parties as well. "There is truly no defeat the Florida Democratic Party will avoid snatching from the hands of victory," he wrote. "Donald Trump has turned the Republican Party radioactive. His polling numbers are plummeting right alongside the GOP as a whole. And the nation is seeing a groundswell of progressive activism at levels not witnessed since the 1960s.So how does the new, incoming brass running the Florida Democratic Party respond? By telling constituents that 'issues' don't matter and that it's not the party's job to focus on policies that will actually help anyone, like single-payer health care." Ah... yes, welcome to the party of Debbie Wasserman Schultz! Last night, the party's new second-in-command, Sally Boynton Brown, spoke in front of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Broward County. And throughout the exchange, she steadfastly refused to commit to changing the party's economic or health-care messaging in any concrete way."This is not going to be popular, but this is my belief of the time and place we're in now: I believe that we're in a place where it's very hard to get voters excited about 'issues,' the type of voters that are not voting," Brown said.Brown, the former executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party, was hired last month to take over for the outgoing executive director, Scott Arceneaux. Last night was her first encounter with local progressives, who are already disgruntled after [Wasserman Schultz puppet] Stephen Bittel-- a billionaire real-estate developer, gas station franchiser, environmental dredging company executive, and major political donor-- was elected to serve as party chair earlier this year. Many progressives [...]

Will Montana And Georgia Special Election Voters Help Stop Trump? Lookin' Good

Wed, 24 May 2017 13:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">A new poll of GA-06 voters is a dire warning to congressional Republicans. Paul Ryan's SuperPAC has put more money into the campaign on behalf of Karen Handel than any outside group has ever spent on any congressional race in history. And those millions and millions of dollars appear to have been wasted as Jon Ossoff has pulled ahead: • Jon Ossoff- 51%• Karen Handel- 44%At the same time, tomorrow's at-large race in Montana is looking so close that no one can call it-- again, after massive expenditure from Ryan and the GOP on behalf of billionaire self-funder Greg Gianforte.In his NY Times column yesterday, David Leonhardt emphasized that "while the rest of the country has been transfixed by Trumpian chaos, members of the Senate have spent the last two weeks talking about taking health insurance from millions of Americans... The effort to take health insurance from the middle class and poor and funnel the savings into tax cuts for the rich is a little like mold. It grows best in the dark. That’s why Republican leaders in the House handled their bill as they did. They did not hold a single hearing, because they knew that attention would have been devastating."But the Republican posture towards healthcare-- which has largely driven the polling numbers up for Ossoff in Georgia and for Quist in Montana-- will now be reinforced by the Republican posture towards Social Security. As the NY Times explained, the $4.1 trillion budget Señor Trumpanzee proposed "cuts deeply into programs for the poor, from health care and food stamps to student loans and disability payments, laying out an austere vision for reordering the nation’s priorities." The Republicans are trying to redefine "Social Security" to leave out of the definition the parts they want to cut-- aid to people with disabilities.Yesterday, Chuck Todd hammered Trump on the broken promise to protect Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare from his fellow Republicans whose grasp on power makes them think they have a mandate to destroy all three. Mantra-like, Trump always claimed during his campaign that he wouldn't allow that to happen. "Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it," he said. "[T]wo subjects-- seizing on immigration/race and protecting entitlements-- eventually made him the first Republican since 1988 to carry Pennsylvania and Michigan, and the first since 1984 to win Wisconsin. So it's striking that President Trump's first budget cuts Medicaid and a part of Social Security, arguably hurting many of the voters who helped him win in 2016." Will Montana and Georgia special election voters take it out on Gianforte and Handel? They should-- and more important, midterm voters should decimate the GOP ranks in Congress next year. The Regime "proposes reducing spending on Medicaid programs by more than $600 billion over the next decade, a massive cut that appears to go on top of $839 billion in Medicaid cuts included in the House bill... [Señor Trumpanzee] opposed cuts to Social Security during the campaign, but the new budget would make cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance, which covered over 10 million recipients as of December 2015. It would save about $72 billion through changes to disability programs over the next ten years. Asked about the discrepancy, Mulvaney suggested that the president intended his promises to apply only to retirement benefits. 'If you ask 990 people out of a thousand, they'd tell you Social Security disability is not part of Social Security,' Mulvaney said." [W]hat's extraordinary about this Trump budget-- released just six months after his presidential victory-- is how it undercuts a central campaign promise... [I]t mor[...]

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against North Carolina GOP Racists Who Control The State Legislature

Wed, 24 May 2017 04:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">The Republican-dominated North Carolina legislature has given Governor Roy Cooper every reason in the world for him to want to do them some harm. The House has 74 Republicans, 45 Democrats and an independent and the Senate has 35 Republicans and 16 Democrats. Yesterday, after the 5-3 U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming that the Republicans in the legislature are a pack of racist animals who should immediately lined up against a wall and shot-- not blindfolds and no cigarettes-- Cooper pointed out that "for the second time in two weeks, the Supreme Court ruled that Republican legislative leaders broke the law. Today's ruling showed they tried to rig elections by drawing unconstitutional districts that discriminated against African Americans." Except they didn't try; they did it. In 2012 Obama won North Carolina 2,270,395 (50%) to 2,178,391 (48%). And this year Señor Trumpanzee beat Hillary 2,362,631 (49.8%) to 2,189,316 (46.2%). So let's say it's a 50/50 state.But the state's 13 congressional districts have been drawn in such a way to create 3 Democratic districts and 10 Republican districts. A fair redraw would result in one party winning 6 and the other winning 7. Gerrymandering has been very pernicious in North Carolina. I was kidding about the firing squad for the Republican state legislators. With no punishment, there is no reason for them-- or other monsters like them around the country-- to alter their behavior. "Their gerrymandered electoral maps and their bogus voter access law-- both struck down by the Supreme Court-- have the same goal: To win elections at all costs," continued Cooper. "Being able to hold free and fair elections is a pillar of our democracy, and today's ruling is a big step in the fight for fairer districts... [W]e must continue to work to ensure that all of us have an equal shot at the ballot box." The Republican legislators won't. What do they have to lose. Maybe even if just one in ten were randomly pulled out and shot they would change their behavior. Maybe. It's worth a try. After all the Supreme Court ruled that they had used drawn on their racism to violate the Constitution. That sounds like a serious offense, no? The NY Times' Adam Liptak reported that "The court rejected arguments from state lawmakers that their purpose in drawing the maps was not racial discrimination but partisan advantage." The decision was the court’s latest attempt to solve a constitutional puzzle: how to disentangle the roles of race and partisanship when black voters overwhelmingly favor Democrats. The difference matters because the Supreme Court has said that only racial gerrymandering is constitutionally suspect.Election law experts said the ruling would make it easier to challenge voting districts based partly on partisan affiliations and partly on race.“This will lead to many more successful racial gerrymandering cases in the American South and elsewhere,” said Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine.Democrats welcomed the ruling.“This is a watershed moment in the fight to end racial gerrymandering,” Eric H. Holder Jr., the former attorney general and the chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said in a statement. “North Carolina’s maps were among the worst racial gerrymanders in the nation.”Conservatives complained that the Supreme Court had succeeded only in making the law murkier.“The Supreme Court says race can be a factor in redistricting, but not the predominant factor, a rule that is so vague, so broad and so lacking in a definable legal standard that it is not really a rule at all,” Hans von Spakovsky, a lawyer with the [...]

Who Has Bad Judgment?-- Wall Street Version

Wed, 24 May 2017 01:00:00 +0000

Zach Carter is one of Huff Po's most perceptive reporters and yesterday he warned his readers that while we were all distracted by the clown show Trump had finally delivered one on big campaign promise-- not for his voters, of course, but for his Wall Street donors-- he pretty much gutted Dodd-Frank. "Trump," he reminded us, "campaigned on conflicting promises about big banks. One minute, he was going to stick it to the corrupt financial insiders who had wrecked the middle class. The next, he’d vow to liberate our benevolent princes of capital from crushing regulations Obama had cruelly imposed." Pushed by the traditional GOP swamp creatures all around him-- from Pence, Ryan, Priebus and Hensarling to Mnuchin, Ross and Cohn-- the Trump Regime has been all about deregulation. Last week, a council of top regulators quietly met to discuss the future of the Volcker rule-- the most important structural change Obama established for the financial system. A few days later, a freshly installed Trump official went further, threatening to defang the rule “unilaterally” by “reinterpreting” its entire purpose.The rule is basically dead, Keefe Bruyette & Woods analyst Brian Gardner wrote in a note to clients last Monday: “Examiners can start giving banks the benefit of the doubt regarding compliance with Volcker almost immediately.”The Volcker rule was conceived as an update to the Depression-era Glass-Steagall law, which banned traditional banks from engaging in risky, high-stakes securities ventures, which became the domain of investment banks, hedge funds and other firms that didn’t rely on federal support. Until its repeal in the 1990s, Glass-Steagall put an end to many conflicts of interest that had plagued banking during the Roaring Twenties, and prevented government subsidies from flowing into speculative securities schemes, which made it harder for big crazy asset bubbles to accumulate.Glass-Steagall was as powerful as a sledgehammer, but only slightly more precise. The Volcker rule tried to draw a finer distinction. Instead of banning banks from the securities business outright, it only barred proprietary trading. Banks were no longer allowed to make reckless bets for their own accounts, but other types of trading to help clients meet legitimate market needs would be permitted. Done right, the Volcker rule would have been a technocratic improvement on Glass-Steagall, providing all the benefits of its New Deal predecessor without its costs.It reflected the broader approach Obama and congressional Democrats took with Wall Street reform, treating the financial crisis as a mechanical malfunction best corrected by expert regulators who could write specific rules for nuanced situations. The economic system, they believed, could not be properly repaired with blunt instruments or lines in the sand.Twenty-first-century banking is indeed a nasty thicket of money and numbers. But the financial crisis was more than a technocratic breakdown. It was an abuse of power. And the 2010 Dodd-Frank law didn’t really try to reshape the political dynamic between Wall Street and Washington. A handful of financial titans retained control over multitrillion-dollar institutions tasked with socially essential functions. They were not prosecuted for fraud, they continued to lobby both Congress and federal agencies with ferocity, and their firms continued to provide lucrative jobs for political operatives from both parties. Against this mountain, Obama set the willpower of individual regulators.It didn’t work. Consider the Volcker rule, which ran into trouble almost immediately. “One of the world’s largest banking firms” enlisted the Podesta Group-- a lobbying powerhouse founded by Democratic power broke[...]

In Which Country Will Trump Make The Biggest Fool Of Himself?

Tue, 23 May 2017 21:00:00 +0000

Everyone knows how Roger Stone said watching Trump bowing and scraping-- actually curtsying-- to the Saudi dictator made him want to puke. And we all know how clueless doofus (and murderer)Wilbur Ross slept thru Trump's speech after his strenuous sword dance and that he then went on CNBC to say that "There was not a single hint of a protester" in Saudi Arabia during Trump's visit, apparently unaware that protesters are beheaded in Saudi Arabia. By the next morning, Secretary of State T-Rex was calling Tel-Aviv, the most secular city in Israel, the home of Judaism. Wingnutia back home as been buzzing that Señor Trumpanzee didn't use the sacred phrase of right-wing morons, "radical Islamoc terrorism. The White House has put out the word that it was just an oversight and that Trump was exhausted from his trip. I thought Hillary was the one with no stamina. Kellyanne Con-man told reporters el Señor mixed up the wording of his prepared remarks in Saudi Arabia because he was pooped. "He’s just an exhausted guy," she said on background. PolitiFact, though looked into the whole change of tenor between tough campaign-mode Trump and Arab-ass-kissing Trump. In his quest for the GOP nomination, Trump distinguished himself for his readiness to embrace policies that went beyond what other Republicans would endorse.Following the shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., he called on Dec. 7, 2015, for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."In a March 9, 2016, interview on CNN, Trump said "Islam hates us." When pressed a day later if he meant all Muslims, Trump said "I mean a lot of them."In contrast, during his speech in Riyadh, Trump said, "I have always heard about the splendor of your country and the kindness of your citizens."Throughout the campaign, when Trump spoke of Islam, it generally followed the word "radical.""When will President Obama issue the words RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM?" Trump tweeted Nov. 15, 2015. "He  can't say it, and unless he will,  the problem will not be solved!"After the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Trump leveled the same charge at Hillary Clinton on June 13, 2016. He derided her for a tweet in which she said "Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people, and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.""She is in total denial," Trump said. "And her continuing reluctance to ever name the enemy broadcasts weakness across the world."At one point, Trump said he was open to creating a database of all Muslims in America, and on a few occasions said he would strongly consider closing some mosques.In Riyadh, Trump didn’t use the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism" and seemed to go out of his way to suggest that only a few extremists engaged in terrorism."This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations," Trump said. "This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it."...During the campaign, attacks at home drew the strongest responses from Trump.  Overseas at least, Trump has embraced the view that while there are many Muslims who hate America, there are at least as many who don’t.But the question that everyone has been asking was about the Saudi orb. What was that thing and why did Trump take part in what looked like a satanic ritual with the Egyptian dictator and the Saudi "king?" The NY Times reported that the 3 authoritarian rulers "placed their hands atop a radiant whitish sphere, which illuminated their faces like a campfire, and kept them there for nearly two minutes."With t[...]

The Trumpy-The-Clown Budget Cuts Social Security, Despite His Repeated Promises That He Wouldn't

Tue, 23 May 2017 17:00:00 +0000

The short version is that the budget proposal cuts vital programs including Social Security and Medicaid in order to pump money into tax cuts for the very richest Americans and for money cash for the bloated and wasteful Pentagon. Trump was always consistent and insistent on the campaign trail that he would not ever, under any circumstances cut Social Security. He told Republican primary voters again and again that the other Republicans would all cut Social Security-- which was true-- but that he alone never would and that, in fact, no one else could figure out how to save it-- only Trumpanzee. Of course, he didn't mean a word of what he said. Does he ever?The in-house brain surgeon's department accidentally posted-- and then took down-- the Health and Human Services summary, which makes clear that the $837 billion in cuts to Medicaid in TrumpCare wasn't enough punishment for poor people and that Trump's cabinet of billionaires wants to cut another $610 billion from Medicaid on top of that!As Dylan Matthews reminded Vox readers yesterday, "He’s even challenged other Republicans on the issue, telling WROK radio in Wisconsin, 'Paul [Ryan] wants to knock out Social Security, knock it down, way down. He wants to knock Medicare way down... I want to keep Social Security intact... I’m not going to cut it, and I’m not going to raise ages, and I’m not going to do all of the things that they want to do. But they want to really cut it, and they want to cut it very substantially, the Republicans, and I’m not going to do that.'"The $1.7 trillion in cuts decimates SNAP (food stamps), CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program), and SSDI (Disability Insurance)-- which is part of Social Security. SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. In yesterday's L.A. Times, Michael Hiltzik went after Trump for his betrayal, making it clear that Budget Director and Freedom Caucus refugee Mick Mulvaney is likely at fault. It turns out that Mulvaney was setting up a flagrant deception during that “Face the Nation” appearance. He asked moderator John Dickerson, “Do you really think that Social Security disability insurance is part of what people think of when they think of Social Security? I don't think so.”Dickerson let the remark, which we described then as “a drive-by shooting” aimed at some of the nation’s neediest and most defenseless people, slide without comment.But Mulvaney was tapping into a knowledge vacuum that appears to extend more deeply into the Washington press corps. Politico, which reports that the budget document will “avoid revamping Social Security and Medicare,” and the Associated Press, which says the budget “won’t touch Social Security or Medicare,” get snowed by the implication that a cut in disability isn’t a cut to Social Security. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">A four-page “talking points” memo being circulated by the White House and published by Politico gives the game away, by stating the budget “does not cut core Social Security benefits.” (Emphasis ours.) This shows that on Face the Nation, Mulvaney was merely seeding the landscape with a rank deception....Disability insurance is an inextricable part of Social Security. It’s a core part of the program, just like retirement benefits. It was created as an add-on to Social Security in 1956, under President Eisenhower. It’s financed by the payroll tax, and the reserve funds that cover both aspects of the program are more entwined than ever, thanks to a reform measure passed by Congress in 2015. Social Security’s financing structure is based on its role as a co[...]

The DCCC Has Another Terrible Idea-- Copying The 2006 Midterms, A Recipe For Catastrophe

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:00:00 +0000

When Politico needed a writer do do a story on the false narrative of how successful Rahm Emanuel was in 2006 and how it's the model for 2018, ultimate DC establishment shill Edward-Issac Dovere, the most superficial reporter in Washington, was the obvious choice. Mr. Superficial: "An unpopular president, the scent of corruption in Washington, a riled-up liberal base-- to House Democrats, 2018 is already looking like 2006 on overdrive. Now Democrats see the same ugly storm forming for Republicans that delivered them the majority 11 years ago, and they’re digging out the blueprint. The party is vastly expanding the number of districts it plans to contest, recruiting veterans and business owners to compete in conservative terrain as it did back then. Three senior House Democrats are soon heading to Chicago to seek advice from Rahm Emanuel, the party’s 2006 master strategist."Before we look at the statistics of what actually happened, one apocryphal story. First a little from CNN: Rahm knew Foley was molesting underage pages a full year before he finally blew the whistle on the very day it would be too late for the Republicans to be able to replace Foley on the ballot. Blue America was working with a progressive union candidate at the time, Dave Lutrin, in the very red district. Suddenly, long before anyone had any inkling that Foley was about to be exposed, Rahm and Hoyer started pressuring Lutrin to drop out of the race. That was confusing; why would they care about this district? But they had recruited a wealthy Republican, Tim Mahoney, talked him into switching his registration to "D" and promised to clear the field so he wouldn't have a primary. Long story short: Lutrin dropped out, Rahm leaked the Foley story, Mahoney won, Mahoney joined the Blue Dogs and spent his miserable one term in Congress voting with the Republicans and chasing women, Mahoney got caught up in a sex scandal, Mahoney was defeated in 2008. Dovere forgot to mention that one-- or any of the stories that challenge the establishment narrative he is helping his beloved crooked conservaDems to push.One more thing before the statistics: primary season, 2006. Rahm was on the warpath against progressive and grassroots candidates coast to coast. And when the progressive candidates defeated his pathetic corporate and Wall Street shills, he abandoned their districts to the Republicans with a vengeance. But from Carol Shea-Porter (NH) and John Hall (NY) in the northeast to Jerry McNerney in California's Central Valley, the candidates Rahm worked so hard to sabotage, beat his candidates and then went on to beat Republican incumbents without his help. That's not part of Dovere's narrative either.There were 30 seats that flipped from Republican to Democrat that year: • Arizona Blue Dog Harry Mitchell replaced GOP arch-villain JD Hayworth. Mitchell was defeated in 2010• Arizona Blue Dog Gabby Gifford won an open Tucson seat and was shot, replaced by Blue Dog Ron Barber, who was defeated in 2014 after one Republican-lite term• Grassroots Dem Jerry McNerney defeated powerful GOP chairman and is still serving his California district in Congress• Colorado New Dem won an open seat in Denver's suburbs and is still serving• Connecticut New Dem Joe Courtney defeated GOP incumbent Rob Simmons and is still serving• Connecticut New Dem Chris Murphy defeated GOP incumbent Nancy Johnson and was later elected to the Senate• Florida New Dem Ron Klein beat GOP incumbent Clay Shaw and lost his seat in 2010• Florida "ex"-Republican won Foley's open seat and was immediately defeated in 2008• Indiana Blue Dog Joe Donnelly defeated GOP incumbent Chris Chocola a[...]

New Jersey: Defeating A Frelinghuysen

Tue, 23 May 2017 04:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">When I was very young, my family used to rent a summer bungalow in Ft. Freedom, New Jersey, northwest of Morristown in what is now Rodney Frelinghuysen's congressional district (NJ-11). He inherited this political domain from the Frelinghuysen dynasty and his great wealth from his mother's family, Beatice Proctor an heir to the Proctor and Gamble fortune. His father represented the area from 1953 to 1975 and his grandfather, Freddy Frelinghuysen was a New Jersey senator (and a vice presidential nominee under Henry Clay in 1844. Frelinghuysen's great-great-great-great-grandfather, another Freddy Frelinghuysen, was one of the framers of the U.S. Constitution and later a U.S. Senator from New Jersey. The current inbred goof-ball, Rodney Procter Frelinghuysen the 4th or 5th or 6th, was a spoiled, poor student but everything has always been handed to him on a silver platter. And if he didn't have enough from the GOP, the DCCC has never challenged him and has been giving him free passes to reelection since 1994. He normally wins reelection with well over 60% of the vote, sometimes with over 70%, against Democrats with no support and no money. Last year's 194,299 (58.0%) to 130,162 (38.9%) was his narrowest-ever win. Maybe his support for Trump dragged him down. Romney had beaten Obama in the R+6 district 53-47% but underperformed, taking the district narrowly, 48.8% to 47.9%.That caught the DCCC's attention and they're now saying they're interested in supporting a candidate. Two weak candidates have put themselves forward, Jack Gebbia and Mikie Sherrill but locals-- as well as the DCCC-- are eager to recruit progressive West Orange Assemblyman John McKeon. Aside from an excellent voting record and record of leadership in the Assembly, in New Jersey's corrupt political cesspool, McKeon is a rare incumbent with a good reputation. As far back as March, Politico was speculating that Frelinghuysen’s streak of effortless elections may come to an end in 2018, just as he’s at the height of his power as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. And that was before he flip-flopped on TrumpCare, first claiming he couldn't vote for it and then-- even as the House Freedom Cuacus made it a worse bill-- decided to vote for it anyway.Anti-Trump activists have incessantly called on Frelinghuysen to hold a town hall somewhere in North Jersey’s 11th District, which includes all or parts of Morris, Essex Passaic and Sussex counties. He’s refused, so they’ve protested at his office asking "Where's Rodney?" and held mock town halls. The recently-started Facebook group “NJ 11th for Change,” through which protests against Frelinghuysen are publicized, has more than 7,000 members.And now, NJ 11th for Change has a super PAC, founded last month by Google executive Jonathan Bellack and local bank executive Saily Avelenda. Organizers claim it raised $10,000 in its first day and another $10,000 in its first week simply through seeking contributions on Facebook.“We’re not your traditional super PAC,” said Debra Caplan, who serves on the super PAC’s board and on the steering committee of the larger NJ 11th for Change organization. “We’re a citizens super PAC. We’re a group of ordinary people who decided to start a super PAC because we want to be able to create material and distribute information about what’s happening in the congressional district and things that are coming down the line....Critics point to Frelinghuysen's decreasing vote ratings by groups like Planned Parenthood and his[...]

Unless A Supine GOP Stops Him, Trump Will Do To America What Brownback Did To Kansas

Tue, 23 May 2017 01:00:00 +0000

You know how states are supposed to be petri dishes for new ideas? Long before the federal government was looking into protecting consumers from predatory mortgage banksters, Assemblyman (and then state Senator) Ted Lieu was hammering out and passing controversial legislation that did just that in California. Today California Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez's revamped paid family leave plan-- revamped so that the benefits go to working class families, not just the upper middle class-- is a model for state legislatures across the country and will eventually become the foundation for a national law. But this same kind of thing happens when Republicans gain control of states-- or at least the mirror imagine happens. Last week Dominic Rushe, writing for The Guardian from Kansas, wrote about how Trump is using that state as a model for his tax cut plans. The problem, of course, is that, after years as a radical right petri dish under Gov. Sam Brownback, Kansas is a fiscal basket-case.Details like that seem to escape Trump and he's bringing the widely despised Brownback into his Regime and bringing Brownback's failed ideological point of view into his tax agenda. "Kansas is broke," wrote Rushe, "but you wouldn’t guess it looking at its shining state capitol in Topeka. The imposing limestone monument, crowned by a shiny copper dome and limned with John Steuart Curry’s luminous murals, has just undergone a $325m facelift. What’s happening inside the state house is a lot less pretty, and may well foreshadow the far uglier battle looming over the future of taxation in the United States."Kansas is one of the reddest states in America. The entire delegation to Washington is Republican, as are the state wide constitutional officers. The state Senate has 32 Republicans and 8 Democrats and the state House contains 97 Republicans and just 28 Democrats. And Kansas hasn't awarded a Democratic presidential candidate its electoral votes since LBJ in 1964. Trump beat Hillary 671,018 (56.6%) to 427,005 (36.0%), winning 103 of Kansas' 105 counties. Nevertheless, the underfunded Democratic candidate for the special election to replace Mike Pompeo in April, James Thompson, stunned Republicans by closing the gap by over 20 points and winning the biggest county in the district despite having been massively outspent by Republican state Treasurer Ron Estes. In the end Estes won with 63,505 votes (52.5%) to Thompson's 55,310 (45.7%). 5 months earlier Trump had won the district 60.2% to 33.0% and in 2014 Pompeo had been re-elected 60.7% to 29.6%. Two years before that Pompeo had taken 67%. Thompson will be running against Estes again in 2018. Democrats sense a change in the air in their battered state. Trump doesn't. Trump's chief economic advisor Gary Cohn and his Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin-- a couple of swamp-dwelling Goldman Sachs banksters-- have used Kansas' failed model for a national model. The plan’s similarity to the one that has left Kansas in crisis is “unbelievable,” according to Duane Goossen, the former Kansas secretary of administration.The economic spirit behind Trump’s plan is Arthur Laffer-- the go-to guru of “supply-side economics” since the Reagan era, and one of the architects of Kansas governor Sam Brownback’s original tax plan.The former member of Reagan’s economic policy advisory board is best known for the “Laffer curve,” an illustration of the theory (not his own) that economic activity is tied to taxation, and that lower taxes, up to a point, mean more revenues.That curve was famously scribbled by Laffer on a napkin over cocktails with Dick Ch[...]

Will Their Dogged Opposition To Health Care Catch Up With Republicans In 2018?

Mon, 22 May 2017 21:00:00 +0000

Earlier today we looked at the need for Democratic candidates to talk with voters more about the issues voters are most concerned with and less about what a walking freak show Trump is. Trump and Putin-Gate may be lots of fun to watch and discuss with friends and colleagues but Americans are going to decide whether or not to vote in the 2018 midterms based, at least in part, whether or not Democrats are offering sound, realistic alternatives to the issues they themselves are most concerned about. And there's nothing that trumps healthcare policy and the way Paul Ryan, Tom Price, Mike Pence and the Republican Party have botched that up.In his column in Sunday's L.A. Times Michael Hilzik got into the reasons why the entire healthcare industry is panicking that Trump is about to blow up Obamacare. It's no coincidence that the photo The Times led with was of Trump and Ryan. "Action being contemplated by Trump," wrote Hilzik, "could lead to millions of Americans suddenly moving 'to the ranks of the uninsured,' a coalition of healthcare groups wrote in a letter to Senate Republican and Democratic leaders. 'This threatens not just their own health and financial stability, but also the economic stability of their communities.'... The industry leaders and states are reacting to signs that Trump is a thin reed to rely on to preserve health coverage for millions. 'The President has increasingly made clear that he views decisions about providing access to health little more than political bargaining chips,' the states say in the motion to the appeals court." The healthcare industry and attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia are taking the Regime to court. The issue before the court is a dangerous one for the Affordable Care Act and some 10 million Americans who depend on its individual exchanges for their health coverage. At the center of the case are the act’s cost-sharing reductions-- subsidies covering deductibles and co-pays for individual buyers with income less than 250% of the federal poverty line.The subsidies this year come to $7 billion, to be paid to insurers covering 7 million customers. The subsidies are authorized under the healthcare act, but House Republicans filed a lawsuit in 2014 asserting that because the money hadn’t been specifically appropriated, paying the money is illegal. They won the first round in U.S. District Court last year, but the judge stayed her ruling pending an appeals court decision.Ending the cost-sharing reductions would destroy the individual insurance market in many states, where insurers have the legal right to cancel policies immediately if the CSRs aren’t paid.That’s where matters stand. Since his inauguration, Trump has dithered over whether to pay out the subsidies and continue fighting for them in court. On occasion, he’s threatened to kill the payments as a bargaining chip to force Democrats to negotiate an Obamacare repeal.On Tuesday, according to Politico, Trump told aides he wants to end the subsidies. And as my colleague Noam Levey reported Thursday, at a recent meeting, Trump’s new Medicaid and Medicare chief, Seema Verna, offered a bargain to stunned industry officials: The administration would fund the cost-sharing reductions if insurers supported House Republicans’ hugely unpopular bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.These alarming signals prompted the flurry of letters and pleas filed Friday by insurers and state officials. The industry letter was signed by America’s Health Insurance Plans, the insurance industry lobbying group; the Amer[...]

The Dying Fossil Fuel Industry

Mon, 22 May 2017 17:00:00 +0000

The classic shape of an economic bubble (source). Notice "New Paradigm" at the top, the point at which market participants decide "this can go forever." Big Oil CEOs think nothing can topple the technology that turns fossil fuel into energy — that unlike every other technology in history, their technology will never be Gaius PubliusWhom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.—Sophocles (tr. Longfellow)We've written before about the coming crisis in the fossil fuel industry, the one that extracts oil, gas and coal from deep in the earth so it can be burned as fuel. For example, this from December 13:Big Oil In Trouble, Enters "No Man’s Land" of Collapsing Balance Sheets and this from March 16: Oil and Gas Price War Looms; Trump to Worsen It Despite the stranglehold Big Oil has on energy production — to enhance their wealth and for no other reason — the industry is doomed to die. There are just three questions left unanswered:Will the industry die quickly or slowly?Will it be brought down in an orderly way, by government intervention, or by its own self-destructive internal forces? Will the industry fatally worsen climate change before it goes, or will humans escape the grip of Big Oil in time to prevent most of the preventable damage? Because, make no mistake, Big Oil has a fatal disease, two of them in fact, and either or both are going to end its life as an industry. (The companies may survive, but not as carbon extraction companies; I have an interesting fantasy, in fact, about an event that would instantly kickstart a U.S. return to global climate change leadership, but I'll save it for later.)Disease One — Vulnerability to Climate Change Itself The first of those diseases is the industry's vulnerability to the inevitable climate crisis. There are only two ways our current, business-as-usual climate behavior — where we pump gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year and watch ocean and atmospheric temperatures relentlessly rise — will end: 1. The Chaotic climate-response scenario — Humans don't stop pumping carbon into the air until, as a species, we're pre-industrial or worse; we live through the all the chaos that devolution implies; we lose the technology and numbers to do further damage; then we watch the result play out for centuries, if we survive that long. In other words, our response is to allow whatever happens to happen and try to live through it.A chaotic, multi-decade transition from where we are now to that point (note: multi-decade, not multi-century) will be the stuff of dystopian nightmares. That transition will be global in scope, obvious as to its cause, and will play out monstrously in full view of anyone who lives into the 2030s. That's not too many years away. In fact, the transition has started already in the Middle East and Europe. (For more, see "Climate Change in the Age of Trump".)Keep in mind, systemic collapses don't always happen quickly, but many do. 2. The Voluntary climate-response scenario — Humans voluntarily and proactively end the extractive carbon industry because it's an existential threat to survival. Whether humans do this in time to avoid the worst of what's coming is another question. The point is that we play an effective proactive role, not a passive, reactive one, before the chaos mentioned in the Chaotic scenario overwhelms everyone.Either of these outcomes spells the end of the fossil fuel industry. In the Chaotic scenario, the end comes when global chaos shrinks the industrial base of the planet, causing fuel prices [...]

Democratic Candidates Need To Talk More About Paul Ryan's And The GOP's Dystopian Vision Than About Trump's Insanity

Mon, 22 May 2017 13:00:00 +0000

Yesterday, writing for The Hill, Christina Marcos reported that Republican members of Congress are now afraid angry constituents will kill them or do them physical harm. A growing number of House Republicans are facing physical threats from angry constituents in their districts, leading many to fear for their safety.In the last few weeks alone, the FBI arrested a man threatening Rep. Martha McSally's (R-AZ) life, a woman pursued Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN) in her car, and Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA) heightened security at a town hall event in response to death threats.Other Republicans still holding town halls say they haven't felt physically threatened by protesters, but they worry about the depth of anger from some constituents in the polarized environment and what it means for political civility... [A]n increasing number of lawmakers’ encounters with constituents, even in deep-red districts, have gotten ugly.Poor snowflakes... maybe they should contemplate why their constituents are so angry-- starting with the ugliness behind a Republican agenda that includes gutting the social safety net, kicking their families off health care and redistributing the nation's wealth further in the direction of the 1%. Georgia Republican Party activist Erick Erickson, has been contemplating this, as he mentioned yesterday in a Washington Post column and has come to the conclusion that "Voters are increasingly dissatisfied with a Republican Party unable to govern. And congressional Republicans increasingly find themselves in an impossible position: If they support the president, many Americans will believe they are neglecting their duty to hold him accountable. But if they do their duty, Trump’s core supporters will attack them as betrayers-- and then run primary candidates against them."Erickson is wrong if he thinks this is all about Trump though, rather than about the Republican agenda. Trump may be a clown and a fool, but Ryan and Ryan's enablers are the real heart of darkness for the Republican Party. Ericsson continued: It is becoming ever clearer that Trump has the potential to cause more damage to the Republican Party than Obama did the Democrats. While there is no doubt the Democrats saw serious electoral setbacks under Obama, there remains a key difference here: Obama is deeply respected and liked by a majority of voters. Trump is increasingly disliked, and the Republicans who enable him are increasingly distrusted.With a horde of vocal Trump supporters cheering on every inane statement, delusion, lie and bad act, the majority of the American people can be forgiven for thinking the GOP as a whole has lost its mind. The Republicans may soon lose a generation of voters through a combination of the sheer incompetence of Trump and a party rank and file with no ability to control its leader.It isn't Ericsson's job to help Democrats figure out how to navigate this-- and the lack of any kind of vision inside the DCCC will insure that nothing meaningful or effective welcome from that quarter but, as Jonathan Martin pointed out over the weekend in a NY Times piece, local Democrats outside of the sway of the DCCC are looking for a way to reach voters over and above the DCCC-pushed themes of "Trump/Bad" and "Putin/Putin/Putin."Katie Hill, the local, progressive, non-DCCC candidate running against Republican backbencher Steve Knight in the Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley district of Southern California dealt with the question in a guest post here at DWT Saturday. "Trump," she wrote[...]

A Total And Complete Ban On Donald J. Trump (And Other White House Personnel) Re-entering Our Country

Mon, 22 May 2017 04:00:00 +0000

-by NoahI, Noah, am proposing a total and complete shutdown of so-called President Trump, and his associates, re-entering the United States, until our country’s investigators can figure out what the hell is going on. We have no choice. We have no choice. Until we are able to determine and understand the full extent of the problems and the dangerous threats they pose, our country cannot continue to be the victim of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in their own enrichment and have no sense of reason or respect for us.On Friday, Donald Trump, aka “Don the Con,” aka “Putin’s Pet President,” left for Saudi Arabia, home of the planners, perpetrators, and financiers of the 9/11 attacks on America, aboard Air Force One with a gang of White House associates which included former Republican Party head Reince Preibus, fellow white supremacy advocates Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, spokesjokers Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Sean “Bushman” Spicer, Secretary of State Rex “Exxon” Tillerson and others of their reeking ilk; a whole plane load; snakes on a plane indeed.Kellyanne Conway was left behind. I bet she’s steaming mad. She’d probably bought a new toy soldier outfit and everything. Not to worry for Kellyanne, though, she’s probably convinced herself that she’s in charge of the White House until the return of her man. I hope she gives a nice press conference while the boss is gone. It would be very entertaining. Don’t forget to order that truckload of shredding machines Donny asked you to get, Kellyanne.The first thing Trump did upon arriving in Saudi Arabia was give the Saudis a sweet $150 Billion arms deal which could end up being worth over $350 Billion. In return, Trump received Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian civilian honor, a tremendously tacky gold (his favorite, of course) necklace with a large medal attached to it would make the other oddly coiffed Mr. T (the good one), or any boastful rapper proud. The first lady is probably wondering where hers is. Note to Melania: it’s a Muslim country. Women don’t get jewelry. They do get beheaded though, so watch it. But, rest assured, Ivanka is probably already planning numbered, made in China, limited edition replicas packaged in a nice box.In a perfect world, Trump will, some day soon, have to pawn the weighty necklace. Also, in a perfect world, none of those weapons, designed and built by Americans, will end up being used against Americans, either here or abroad. Hopefully, they won’t end up being used against Israel in some future seven-day war, either.Don the Con’s official itinerary also includes a visit to the aforementioned Israel, unless, of course, they have the good sense to ban him from their country for giving away their intelligence to his Russian masters in last week’s Oval Office meeting, thus putting Israel’s agents at risk of exposure and death. To date, there is no word if any Israeli agents gathering intelligence on ISIS have died due to Trump’s idiocy. We may never know the answer to that one, but, one thing is for sure, Don the Con don’t give a damn. That’s the kind of guy he is. To him, intelligence agents aren’t hard-working patriots; they are no more than lawn jockeys.The unofficial itinerary will be more interesting. Will there be secret meetings with more Russians? Will Anti-education secretary Betsy DeVos’s brother, Erik “Blackwater” Prince be setting them up. Is that what he was doing already at his recent Seychelles meet[...]

How's Trump's "New Deal For Black America" Working Out So Far?

Mon, 22 May 2017 01:00:00 +0000

Why's everybody laughing?I'm going to guess you've seen enough human interest stories on white Trump voters by name and that you already either feel their pain or wish they're all on rocket ships headed out to colonize Pluto. But while American media has been tripping all over itself to find Trump voters to talk with, it took a Canadian newspaper, the Toronto Star to ask black voters what they think about the orange-hued calamity that has befallen the country. Daniel Dale traveled down to Petersburg, Virginia, which he describes as "a struggling post-industrial city" south of Richmond. Petersburg isn't Trump country. Hillary won the city overwhelmingly-- 12,005 (87.5%) to 1,448 (10.6%). Petersberg was one of the oldest free black settlements in America and today close to 80% of the residents are African-American. He starts his report talking about a Christian factory worker praying "constantly" for Señor Trumpanzee. Ernarda Davis, 65, is the kind of person Trump vowed to help, living in the kind of place Trump vowed to heal, and she wants badly for her president to succeed.You’ve heard this kind of story before. Except people who look like Davis don’t usually qualify for 2017 articles about how voters are feeling about Trump.She is black.And when she was asked in Petersburg, Va., last weekend how Trump is doing so far, she curved her fingers into a rigid circle.Zero.“He needs to get hate out of his heart and open his eyes. And that might help,” she said. “Get hate out of his heart, open his eyes, and see what’s going on.”The U.S. media narrative of the past year has been dominated by accounts of white Trump voters standing by their man no matter what they hear on the news. Their unyielding loyalty is important. But also noteworthy is Trump’s inability to earn even the fleeting honeymoon support of just about anyone who didn’t vote for him.No group is so fiercely opposed to Trump as African Americans, a group he had promised to make a top priority.In a campaign speech last August, Trump offered a “guarantee”: he would so impress black people that he would get 95 per cent of their votes in 2020. In a poll this month, his approval rating among black people was 12 per cent.Such loathing is far from inevitable, even for a Republican. George W. Bush got just 9 per cent of the black vote in 2000, similar to Trump’s 8 per cent. By this point in his first term, though, Bush’s black approval rating had spiked to the high 30s.As the chief promoter of a racist conspiracy about the citizenship of the first black president, Trump assumed the presidency in January with black communities predisposed to dislike him. But in 25 interviews in the majority-black Virginia cities of Petersburg and Richmond, black voters said they were specifically dismayed with actions he has taken since his inauguration.Some of their complaints were about his general behaviour: his lying, his rage, his incoherence, his cronyism. But there was also broad unhappiness with his handling of particular policy issues important to many black people-- and a widespread perception that he has shown he does not care at all about a community he insisted he would “take care of.”At campaign rally after campaign rally, Trump asked black voters a provocative question: “What the hell do you have to lose?” In Petersburg and Richmond, voters said they are already losing, Trump’s promised “New Deal for Black America” replaced by the raw deal they kne[...]

House Judiciary Committee Is Preparing To Give Trump Fair Impeachment Hearings

Sun, 21 May 2017 21:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">While Señor Trumpanzee [السيد ترامبانزي] was embarrassing America by bowing and scraping in front of a genocidal desert despot in Riyadh this weekend-- even making Roger Stone (the guy with the Nixon tattoos on his back) want to throw up-- the very precient Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor, scourges of the mainstream media, were breaking the news that the House Judiciary Committee is already starting to get ready for the impeachment hearings. Multiple sources close to the intelligence, justice and law enforcement communities say that the House Judiciary Committee is considering Articles of Impeachment against the President of the United States.Sources further say that the Supreme Court notified Mr. Trump that the formal process of a case of impeachment against him was begun, before he departed the country on Air Force One. The notification was given, as part of the formal process of the matter, in order that Mr. Trump knew he was not able to use his powers of pardon against other suspects in Trump-Russia cases. Sources have confirmed that the Marshal of the Supreme Court spoke to Mr. Trump.It was reported this week that Mr. Trump had texted Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn the message ‘Stay strong’. This might be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate a witness, sources say.Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein met with the House Judiciary Committee this week in closed session.The authors have previously reported exclusively on Patribotics that a sealed indictment exists against Donald Trump.Every time these two report something like this, the mainstream media sets its hair on fire and denounces them in no uncertain terms, but they've been proven right over and over again, going all the way back to November when they were spat on for daring to report that a FISA court had allowed the FBI to listen in on Trump campaign staffers. How did that turn out for the skeptics?Last week, Ted Lieu, a member of the Judiciary Committee, has been reminding his Twitter followers that if there's going to be an impeachment, it starts in that committee. He's been doing it all week. This is one of the ones-- after the one I just linked to-- that I liked best:The House Judiciary Committee is one of the most overtly partisan committees in Congress. The chairman is GOP fanatic Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and other Trump die-hards on the committee who would probably sacrifice their own careers to held Trump cover-up his criminal behavior are right-wing crackpots Lamar Smith (R-TX), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Steve King (R-IA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Doug Collins (R-GA) and John Ratcliffe (R-TX). The very capable Ranking Member is John Conyers (D-MI)and on his team he's got some first-class minds-- aside from Ted Lieu, also Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Karen Bass (D-CA) and Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL).Trump has always lusted for big ratings. His impeachment hearing and subsequent trial will be the greatest show on earth and he'll finally have bigger audiences than Obama and Bernie for real. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">[...]

Why Do More People Go To The Polls In Iran Than In The U.S. Nowadays?

Sun, 21 May 2017 17:00:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" src="" width="420">In 2008, when Obama faced off against John McCain, turnout for an American presidential election was relatively high-- 63.7%. This past year it fell to 55%. France's voter turnout ion their presidential election earlier this month was also down-- to around 65%. Yesterday Iran voted. The voter turnout was around 70%, higher than turnout in any US election since 1900. Why is that? Well there could be a number of reasons-- some existential, but in Iran Election Day is a national holiday; people get off work to vote. (In 1860, the election that marked the end of the South's political dominance over the nation and gave us Abraham Lincoln, turnout was 81.2%)Turnout has generally been falling in the western democracies since the 1980s, usually attributable to a widespread sense of disillusionment and futility that voting will make any difference. In the U.S. systemic efforts by the Republican Party to decrease election participation has also resulted in lower turnouts, particularly in states where the GOP has been able to enact its voter suppression agenda. Voter participation in Republican-controlled states like Wisconsin are considered responsible, at least in part, for Trump's presidency. In states that have the least voter suppression-- like North Dakota where registration is not required or in Minnesota, Idaho, Maine, and Oregon, where election day registration is permitted, voter participation is relatively high. Minnesota usually has the highest turnout and Maine, North Dakota and Oregon also usually hover around 70%. In the Scandinavian countries, France, and Germany all citizens are automatically registered to vote. Some countries even have compulsory voter participation, including Belgium, Australia, Brazil and Greece.A report from PBS last November pointed out that "according to interviews with research institutions, advocacy groups and legislators involved in those efforts, restrictive voting laws in some states discourage the electorate from registering to vote. Additionally, they said gerrymandered districts cut across party lines reducing the number of competitive races and interest, and disgruntled citizens, fed up with the often contentious nature of politics, can choose not participate." According to the United States Election Project, which tracks voting trends, only 36 percent of registered voters cast ballots during the 2014 election cycle, the lowest turnout in a general election since 1942, when many of the nation’s young people were out of the country fighting in World War II. Becker said only three of 10 voters participated in presidential primaries this year.“A smaller and smaller slice of the electorate are making decisions that are important,” he said.Voter participation also depends on the state where you vote. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis on state participation, fewer Americans vote when their states are less competitive in races between Democrats and Republicans.Many of the states with the lowest turnout are dominated by the Republican Party in the South, where restrictive laws can hamper participation. But two states known to be solid Democratic Party supporters-- Hawaii and New York-- also fall in the bottom 20 percent of turnout.In 2016 alone, at least 14 states installed restrictive voting laws around the country, includin[...]