"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
-- Sinclair Lewis
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Meet Billionaire Hedge Fund Crook John Paulson, Trumpist And Guillotine Candidate Du Jour
John Paulson, who has managed to accrue 10 billion lightly taxed dollars for himself, made his fortune in 2007, using credit default swaps to bet against the subprime mortgage market, profiting as people were kicked out of their homes. A few years later he threatened that he would move to Singapore if his taxes went up. Instead he moved to Puerto Rico, where he pays no local or federal capital-gains tax, and no local taxes on dividend or interest income for 20 years. Paulson's contributes primarily to Republicans, although he gives a little to corrupt conservative Democrats as well and his appreciation of Chuck Schumer has seen him pour over $55,000 into the DSCC to help them demolish progressives. Among all the Republicans he maxes out to-- Wall Street whores like Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, Patrick McHenry, John Faso (Zephyr Teachout's opponent this year), Chris Christie, Kelly Ayotte, Chuck Grassley, Mitch McConnell, Scott Garrett, Roy Blunt, Rand Paul and Rob Portman were some huge checks to one Charles Schumer, easily the most corrupt Democrat in the Senate. He's best known for the $1,000,000 check he wrote to Mitt Romney's SuperPAC and for hundreds of thousands of dollars he's given to the RNC and other GOP committees and PACs. Recently he signed on to Señor Trumpanzee's economic policy team. the Trumpanzee team only includes 2 actual economists and the rest are just modern day robber barons like Paulson, primarily real estate developers and Wall Street swindlers.
The most eyebrow-raising name on the list is John Paulson, the hedge funder who famously bet the American housing market would flop and subprime mortgages would collapse in value—events more colloquially known as the financial crisis that toppled the U.S. economy in 2007. Paulson’s firm, Paulson & Co., made $15 billion that year, while Paulson himself pocketed about $4 billion, or as the Wall Street Journal put it, $10 million a day.
Right now, price gouging for the EpiPen is putting a lifesaving medication out of reach for thousands of American families, while at the same time helping a manipulative hedge fund billionaire get even richer. Families shouldn’t have to choose between lifesaving drugs and putting food on the table-- it’s unfair, and it’s morally wrong. But hedge fund billionaire John Paulson, who is now an economic adviser and big campaign contributor to Donald Trump, seems totally fine with the profiteering-- he’s increased his stake in the corporation that makes the EpiPen to nearly a billion dollars. Paulson is one of the biggest investors in Mylan Pharmaceutical, which makes the EpiPen, and he’s been a top shareholder since he started investing in the company in 2010. In just one year, from June 2013 to June 2014-- during the period when Mylan began increasing EpiPen prices most dramatically-- his fund appears to have made around $250 million: a 66% profit on its investment in just one year. ...Denying American families things they need like housing and lifesaving medications don’t seem to bother Paulson. And his shift from manipulating the housing market towards massive investments in pharmaceuticals-- which has profits higher than any other industry-- has been smooth and effortless. ...Sharp observers agree that even passive investments by activists like Paulson put profit-maximizing pressure on CEOs like Heather Bresch. And John Paulson has proven he wants profits from his investments-- and he doesn’t seem to care about families, children or anyone who stands in his way.
When Paulson started buying share in Mylan the EpiPen price. He's continued buying aggressively as Bresch raised the price north of $600. Hard to imagine a more perfect economic advisor for Mr. Trumpanzee.
The Donald's so-far-successful withholding of his tax returns tells us something terrible about us
Doesn't it feel as if we're intruding on a private moment between Little Eric and Daddy The Donald?
Okay, this isn't breaking news, and it's Trump-themed, despite my avowed preference for avoiding that whole subject. But on the second count, I think a lot of things about the Trump Phenomenon need to be talked about because of things they tell us about ourselves as an electorate and populace, and on the first count, I think Daily Kos's Mark Sumner hit just the right note in his post last week "Eric Trump says you wouldn't understand his daddy's taxes."
Donald Trump is the first presidential candidate in a generation to hide his financial data from the electorate. But according to son Eric, daddy Trump has a good reason. You wouldn't understand it anyway.
A son of Donald Trump says it would be foolish for his father to release his tax returns. ...
His son, Eric Trump, said Wednesday on CNBC not much can be learned from tax returns. He said his father's returns are massive and "you would have a bunch of people who know nothing about taxes" looking through them and making "assumptions on things they know nothing about.".
No one should be surprised, though, if Donald J. Trump has paid far less — perhaps even zero federal income tax in some years. Indeed, that’s the expectation of numerous real estate and tax professionals I’ve interviewed in recent weeks.
Yes. It’s certainly hard for people who make a normal living and pay their fair share of taxes each year to understand how someone who literally sits on a gold throne, in a gold room, in a gold tower could pay absolutely nothing.
Two things, somewhat related:
(1) There is of course some truth to the notion that those of us untutored in the complexities of the tax codes won't fully understand a lot of what's in The Donald's tax returns, and indeed will mis-understand assorted details in ways that are apt to be embarrassing to the subject.
(2) It's possible that Little Eric Trump isn't the halfwit we assume, based on, well, everything we know and intuit about him.
Because if (2) isn't the case, and Little Eric isn't an utter buffoon, then it's less appropriate to respond to (1) by saying: "Well, Eric, if you understand it, shouldn't it be possible for anyone to?
Beyond these considerations, though, what Little Eric is telling us in his ham-handed way --
• mostly underlines the very importance of those tax returns being made accessible, so that they can be looked at by people who do understand -- every bit as well as the tax finaglers who prepared those returns. (And you can be sure that there are legions of tax experts at the ready to dive into the material if and when it's made public;
• suggests that The Donald has aptly absorbed the value of stonewalling and avoidance, going back to the glory days of Tricky Dick Nixon and the famous gap in the Watergate tapes. It's a good bet that His Trickiness regretted the rest of his days that he hadn't had the good sense to make all the tapes disappear rather than turn them over. Probably The Donald won't ever have to face that decision, since it's hard to imagine circumstances under which he might be legally compelled to release the returns, but it certainly appears that he appreciates the wisdom of taking whatever heat he has to rather than risking the worst-possible-case consequences of disclosure.
As I suggested earlier, though, for me there's one additional lesson, perhaps a corollary to the above, which for me is what's most important: the full measure of The Donald's contempt for the American public, and the degree to which that contempt is earned. While it's possible that there are indeed bombshells buried in those tax returns which could have serious negative consequences, not just for The Donald's presidential campaign but -- obviously more importantly -- for his future financial well-being, it's also pretty likely that people who would consider voting for such an individual for the office of president of the United States wouldn't understand or care about any of this. Because if they did, they wouldn't even be considering voting for him without full disclosure.
I realize it violates the principle of the presumption of innocence to assume the worst about what's buried in those returns. But at this point, don't the lengths to which the candidate has gone to withhold them entitle us, even oblige us, to shift our presumption? While Americans have happily bought into the importance of the comparatively trivial matter of Hillary's e-mails (and never mind that it's right-wingers who pioneered to process of using alternative e-mail systems to keep their nefarious business private), they can't be made to care about the increasing likelihood that what's in the Trump tax returns would make even clearer how preposterous it is to imagine that The Donald could be any kind of solution to Americans' economic woes rather than a stellar exemplar of the problems.
This morning Señor Trumpanzee had a fundraiser in California and has a much-touted anti-immigrant speech scheduled for Phoenix tonight. In between he decided to go on a last minute jaunt to Mexico City on TrumpForce One. Mexico's embattled and extremely unpopular president (23% approval rating), Enrique Peña Nieto, invited El Trumpanzee down for his own domestic reasons, probably to use him as a piñata. Only 4% of Mexicans see Señor Trumpanzee in a positive light. The video above, from 1958, will give you an idea of what I think Bannon had in mind when he proposed the Trump trip.
Trump tweet: "I want nothing to do with Mexico other than to build an impenetrable WALL and stop them from ripping off U.S."
I was only 10 when Vice President Nixon, encouraged by imperialist Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, went on his "good will tour of Latin America," where he was boo-ed and reviled everywhere. Lt. Colonel Manuel Chavez, a retired Air Force Command Pilot and intelligence officer who was assigned to the US Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela as a military attaché, when Nixon made his trip wrote about it last year for the History News Network. He referred to the trip to Venezuela as "Nixon's Folly" and claimed it shouldn't have been included by Dulles. "The country," he wrote, "was still in political turmoil following the ousting of a military dictator, General Perez Jimenez, who had been very supportive of the US and big business, particularly oil companies. Demonstrations and disorders were frequent because the secret police had been disbanded and police left their posts for fear of being killed. There was no law and order and curfews were frequent. The protestors encouraged by leftist reformers, university students and perhaps some communist sympathizers, were protesting US policies favoring military ruled governments such as Perez Jimenez and now a military junta. Following a long meeting with the Embassy staff all agreed that it would be risky and perhaps dangerous for the Vice President of the United States to visit Venezuela at this time. Ambassador Sharp sent a message to Washington recommending that the Vice Present not come to Venezuela. Nixon came anyway. Why? Dulles' mindset was not significantly less warped than Bannon's is today! Chavez attributes Nixon's trip, at least in part to "being out of touch and lacking realism." Nixon and his team claimed they hoped he would be received "with flags and good cheers" and "they also specifically requested that he ride in an open (convertible) limousine." The embassy suggested he not come at all and emphasized the danger of him being assassinated. But Nixon seemed to be craving and even encouraging exactly what was about to happen.
Trump no es bienvenido
As soon as the Nixons were on the stairs the anti-Nixon placards were unfurled by the crowd on the balcony. “Yankee go home, you are not welcomed, American Dogs, Imperialists” were yelled in English and Spanish. After a fast review of a small honor guard and greeting Venezuelan and embassy officials airport military guards cleared a path through a large group of protesters that were in the terminal. Another unruly crowd was at the entrance but Nixon finally went directly to the open doors of the Cadillac limo instead of the convertible. This may have saved their lives. Nixon only had 12 US Secret Service agents accompanying him and they were no match against the pushing and shoving mob. The five car caravan, led by a flatbed truck full of reporters and photographers, sped up the 13 mile Autopista (expressway) to Caracas. The expressway rises from sea level to three thousand feet and through two tunnels, one of which is a mile long. Just past the toll plaza exit, a very large and unruly mob had descended from the slums of the nearby hills and blocked the road to stop the cars. One of these slums is known as Sierra Maestre, named for Castro’s guerrilla camp. It was also a no-man’s land because police feared going there. The crowd, in a violent frenzy, began rocking the Nixon’s limo, throwing rocks at the windows and then using a battering ram to break the thick glass. Flying glass wounded the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, who sat next to VP Nixon, but the Nixons were not hurt. Colonel Walters who was in the front seat received facial cuts from the shattered glass. After approximately 15 minutes of being blocked the flatbed truck inched its way through the mob to the opposite lane and the limo followed bumper to bumper until it was clear. They then rapidly sped another five miles on Urdaneta Avenue to the side street leading to the Bolivar Panteon. However, all was not well. The street was completely blocked by a mob of people so the limo driver drove past it with instructions to precede directly the US Ambassor’s residence on the north edge of Caracas instead of the Circulo Militar. Finally Ambassador Sharp requested assistance from the Military Command and within an hour they had secured the Embassy Residence perimeter surrounded by tanks, armored cars and squads of military personnel. Road blocks were established to control access to the residence area. The US Marine guards were assigned to patrol the residence yard and Ambassador Sharp requested that some the US Military Attachés be present inside the residence at all times. When the shocking news from Caracas reached President Eisenhower he took immediate action by ordering a US Naval Squadron to go to a position offshore of the La Guardia Port which was adjacent to the Miaquetia airport. Helicopters would evacuate the Nixon’s to a waiting ship in case it was needed.
Remember when he said, "Mexico is not our friend, believe me"
When Eisenhower called Nixon to see how he was, Nixon "asked if he could arrange for a large crowd to welcome their return... When the Nixons finally arrived back in Washington they were received by a friendly and cheerful crowd of 15,000 well wishers. It is easy to arrange a friendly welcome when the President of the United States orders it, especially in Washington, with thousands of government employees volunteering to take the afternoon off." Chavez is still wondering, almost 6 decades later, why Nixon took the risks-- including his own and his wife's lives-- to make a trip he subsequnetly wrote he didn't really want to go on. "Was it," Chavez asked, "to enhance his political image as a hero for political reasons?" On MSNBC today Republican strategist Rick Wilson predicted that Señor Trumpanzee's Mexico trip will be "a dumpster fire on top of a mountain of burning tires." By early this morning, Mexican politicians were denouncing Trump's trip vociferously. And they were hardly alone. The Mexico City legislature declared Trumpanzee a persona non-grata. The Secret Service avoided violent demonstrations in Mexico City by helicoptering Trumpanzee to and from the presidential palace so he wouldn't have to interact with any of the people he claims he loves so, so much.
Bill Black & Norman Solomon: Clinton's Transition Team Foretells a Corporate Presidency
Economist William Black discusses the Clinton transition team with The Real News. Continue playing after my programmed stopping point to hear Black discuss Trump's transition team.
by Gaius Publius
There is no question that if Donald Trump becomes president, corporations will have the run of the place. Trump is not a populist; he just plays one on TV. There are other negatives to a Trump presidency as well — rampant nativism, religious intolerance and bigotry, and the full Pandora's list of right-wing evils, coupled with the right-wing's eager willingness to go full-speed in the wrong direction every time they have real power.
That doesn't mean a Clinton presidency will be peaches and roses. Analyzing Clinton's recently announced transition team, it looks like corporate rule will be a feature of her regime as well, at least as a number of writers see it — for example, progressive Norman Solomon (below) and economist and professor Bill Black (quoted below and in the video above).
I write this (a) in the full expectation that a Clinton presidency is fully in our future (assuming none of the remaining black swans land), and (b) that the Becky Bond Rule — which requires anti-Sanders Clinton activists to be first in line to fix what she breaks — is still in place.
So, what might be broken if the next four years are Clinton-controlled? No one can know for sure, of course, and the candidate is still on the stump, so we won't hear wicked plans even if there are some, which if we're lucky there won't be.
But a candidate's transition team is a strong indicator of future policy, since the transition team basically stocks a new administration with people, or at least, strongly suggests candidates — a lot of them. With that in mind, here's Norman Solomon, writing at the Huffington Post, on the recently announced Clinton transition team. Solomon quotes economist and professor Bill Black, from the video above, and offers his own analysis (my emphasis throughout):
Clinton's Transition Team: A Corporate Presidency Foretold
... Clinton is showing her solidarity with the nemesis of the Sanders campaign -- Wall Street. The trend continued last week with the announcement that Clinton has tapped former senator and Interior secretary Ken Salazar to chair her transition team.
After many months of asserting that her support for the "gold standard" Trans-Pacific Partnership was a thing of the past -- and after declaring that she wants restrictions on fracking so stringent that it could scarcely continue -- Clinton has now selected a vehement advocate for the TPP and for fracking, to coordinate the process of staffing the top of her administration.
But wait, there's more -- much more than Salazar's record -- to tell us where the planning for the Hillary Clinton presidency is headed.
On the surface, it might seem like mere inside baseball to read about the transition team's four co-chairs, described by Politico as "veteran Clinton aides Maggie Williams and Neera Tanden" along with "former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm." But the leaders of the transition team -- including Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, who is also president of the Clinton-Kaine Transition Project -- will wield enormous power.
"The transition team is one of the absolute most important things in the world for a new administration," says William K. Black, who has held key positions at several major regulatory agencies such as the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. Along with "deciding what are we actually going to make our policy priorities," the transition team will handle key questions: "Who will the top people be? Who are we going to vet, to hold all of the cabinet positions, and many non-cabinet positions, as well? The whole staffing of the senior leadership of the White House."
Black's assessment of Salazar, Podesta and the transition team's four co-chairs is withering. "These aren't just DNC regulars, Democratic National Committee regulars," he said in an interview with The Real News Network [video above]. "What you're seeing is complete domination by what used to be the Democratic Leadership Council."
What are the politics of this group, according to Black?
[Black:] "So this was a group we talked about in the past. Very, very, very right-wing on foreign policy, what they called a muscular foreign policy, which was a euphemism for invading places. And very, very tough on crime..."
Black added: "And on the economic side, they were all in favor of austerity. All in favor of privatization. Tried to do a deal with Newt Gingrich to privatize Social Security. And of course, were all in favor of [trade agreements] like NAFTA."
Another writer looking at the same subject (and quoting the same Bill Black interview), Paul Street, offers this about other members of Clinton's transition team:
It Takes a Ruling-Class Village to Staff the White House
... Also on Clinton’s transition leadership team is [Tom] Donilon, a member of the Bilderberg Group’s steering committee. After serving as Obama’s national security adviser from late 2010 through the spring of 2013, he became a distinguished fellow at the CFR [Council on Foreign Relations] and resumed his prior longstanding position as a partner in the leading multinational corporate law firmO’Melveny & Myers.
Other senior Clinton transition officials are longstanding, Democratic Leadership Council-style operatives Neera Tanden (a Yale Law graduate and president of the CAP), Maggie Williams (partner in a leading Washington, D.C., management consulting firm and former director of a top mortgage lending firm that collapsed in late 2007) and Harvard Law graduate Jennifer Granholm (whose pro-Big Business record as a two-term Michigan governor helped score her lucrative positions on the boards of Universal Forest Products Inc. and Dow Chemical).
I don't want to turn this into an essay. I just want to give the short strokes and list some names to watch — Tom Donilan, Neera Tanden, Maggie Williams, Jennifer Granholm — along with the truly terrible, pro-TPP, pro-fracking Ken Salazar. We'll have more about these fine people in due time, I'm sure. (About Neera Tanden, we've already written a little bit.)
Hillary Clinton may turn out to be a progressive's dream as president. That's certainly the claim, and perhaps the belief, of her most ardent activist supporters. If that turns out to be true, we'll all celebrate together.
But if it doesn't, remember the Becky Bond Rule — those who broke it (the campaign of the genuinely progressive Bernie Sanders) have the first obligation to fix what their own choice does wrong. Looking at the transition team, the odds that Clinton-supporting anti-Sanders progressives (and "progressives") will have their work cut out for them.
How Chuck Schumer And Jon Tester Screwed Up The Democrats' Best Shot To Succeed In The Senate
Because of the seats that are up in 2016, it is almost a foregone conclusion that the Democrats would take back the Senate regardless of the top of the ticket. Trump just makes GOP defense more difficult. Unfortunately, because of the seats that are up in 2018, it is almost a foregone conclusion that the Republicans will take back the Senate. In 2018, battlegrounds will be Democratic-held seats in red and purple states-- Indiana, North Dakota, Missouri, Montana, Florida, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania-- plus New Jersey, where Bob Menendez's corruption case will be coming to a head. So... the job for the DSCC this year wasn't just to win back a measly 3 or 4 seats to take back a bare majority, but to bank a bunch seats in preparation for a horrible 2018. Largely because of Chuck Schumer's philosophy that Democratic primary voters are too stupid to pick their own nominees, the DSCC has failed miserably already. I'll explain in a minute. First a little background on the head of the DSCC, Schumer sock-puppet Jon Tester.
I went to the same high school as Chuck Schumer, James Madison, in the early 1960s. He was just the same way he is now and not many people liked him. But I never met anyone who really hated him as much as Jon Tester did in 2006. At the time, Tester was a populist organic farmer and state legislator and he was one of the first Senate candidates who Blue America had ever endorsed. Schumer himself was the head of the DSCC and he recruited some Wall Street hack, John Morrison, the state Auditor, and the very wealthy former president of the Montana Trial Lawyers Association, He outspent Tester's grassroots campaign two to one-- and was being pushed by Schumer without regard to party rules about not interfering in primaries. At least once a week, Tester would call me and curse Schumer to high heaven. Fueled by hatred for Schumer, Tester slaughtered Schumer's puppet candidate in a massive 61-35% landslide and then went on to beat Republican incumbent Conrad Burns. It didn't take a week before Tester completely sold out to Schumer and became one of his minions. It's how things tend to work in Washington. I was stunned and sickened. Today Tester is a Schumer lap-dog and his rubber-stamp head of the DSCC. New polling shows two of the most wretched of the candidates Schumer-- with help from Tester-- backed in the primary, poor old Ted Strickland and former fracking lobbyist Katie McGinty-- are failing miserably in races where PJ Sittenfeld and Joe Sestak would probably be trouncing Rob Portman and Pat Toomey now. In fact, Portman is crushing Strickland so decisively-- something that we predicted all of last year-- that the Senate Majority PAC, also controlled by Schumer, just "postponed" wasting $191,000 on Strickland TV spots.
Yesterday, Schumer's expenditure of several million dollars and a campaign of lies and innuendo against Alan Grayson paid off-- for Marco Rubio. Rubio, a weak and damaged incumbent, would have never been able to stand up to Grayson for two seconds. But in his rush to get talentless Wall Street pet Patrick Murphy the nomination, Schumer has all but guaranteed Rubio his unearned and undeserved reelection. First thing this morning, Rubio challenged the hapless Murphy to 6 debates. Murphy doesn't know how to debate and is probably hoping Schumer will think up some excuse for him. The race in Florida will be one where there is not even a lesser of two evils! Even the most optimistic of the journalists who always buys into the most pathetic DSCC spin, Chuck Todd, predicts a miserable November performance: wins in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, which would give the Democrats bare control with the help of Vice President Kaine. That would be an easily thwartable majority, especially with Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin, Tester and Joe Donnelly-- all petrified of 2018 defeat-- voting regularly across the aisle, probably with Evan Bayh. And then along comes 2018 and that's the end of any chance Hillary will have to accomplish anything at all that isn't on the GOP agenda. Todd gives the Democrats a shot to win in 3 states if Hillary has big enough coattails: New Hampshire, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. I think New Hampshire is the most likely. He claims if every Greek god takes part in a concerted effort on behalf of the Democrats, the conservatives Schumer picked for Arizona, Florida, Missouri and Ohio could win too, but none of those are likely all I'm betting Mt. Olympus has other things on its plate right now. "So you if you're the Democrats," Todd adds, "you can realistically get to four pickups and control of the Senate, if Clinton wins the presidential race. But Nevada is key here, because a GOP win means Democrats will have to win another seat to win control." Chuck Schumer is about to be elected Democratic Senate leader, probably unanimously, by a Senate Democratic caucus that doesn't deserve anything better than what's coming its way.
I Wish It Was More Shocking That Florida Democratic Primary Voters Picked Conservatives Over Democrats
Last night, for a post I was working on, I was trying to figure out what major party presidential candidate has done as badly as Trump's latest polling indicates he will. I looked at the results of campaigns I remember tanking badly-- Goldwater, McGovern and George H.W. Bush's failed reelection campaign. But all of them ended up better than the 35% Señor Trumpanzee is polling today. I had to go all the way back to the 3-way race in 1924 to find a candidate who did worse than Trump is doing. It was the conservative Democrat from West Virginia, John Davis, in a three-way race with Republican incumbent Calvin Coolidge and Progressive Bob LaFollette. Davis, won less than 30% of the vote, the only Democratic presidential candidate to have ever done so. Davis did some good things and some bad things and he's not easy to pigeon-hole from a century on. It would be hard not to call him a racist pig, although his denunciation of the KKK had a lot to do with his losses in the South, even though he was against anti-lynching laws. He was against women getting the right to vote, opposed child labor laws, fought against civil rights and backed state's rights when southern states used a poll tax to prevent poor people, especially poor black people, from voting. He was the U.S. Solicitor General from 1913 to 1918 and he successfully argued a guess for Oklahoma's racist literacy law, which exempted voters who were descended from anyone voting in 1866 (i.e., white people), a law that disenfranchised blacks in the state. Later in was implicated in the Smedley Butler or Business Plot, an aborted coup d'état against FDR. On the other hand, he was an anti-trust guy and a co-author of the Clayton Anti-Trust Act when he was in Congress. His very last case in front of the Supreme Court was to defend for South Carolina-- unsuccessfully-- "separate but equal" in part of the Brown v Board of Education case that led to forced school desegregation. He was an unpopular compromise candidate at the Democratic Convention in 1924, when progressive California Senator William McAdoo was favored, getting more primary votes than all 11 other candidates combined. Davis took the nomination on the 103rd ballot, ironically, in part, because McAdoo neglected to reject the endorsement of the KKK. Today in Florida, Democratic primary voters-- pushed by their thoroughly corrupt leaders, from Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden to Barack "Gimme money for my presidential library" Obama-- chose a supposedly "ex" Republican, an incompetent, corrupt and steadfast conservative who was backed by Wall Street, Patrick Murphy, over, arguably the most progressive and brilliant member of Congress, Alan Grayson. I shudder at the thought that I ever considered myself a Democrat. Among the other especially heinous choices the Florida primary voters made was Murphy's replacement on the Treasure Coast (FL-18). As I mentioned several times before, there's nothing remotely Democratic about Randy Perkins, who basically bought the DCCC endorsement and then the primary election by transferring $3,017,688 from his personal bank account to his campaign. As I feared, progressives Den Grayson and Susannah Randolph split the progressive vote in FL-09, allowing conservative state Sen. Darren Soto to win the nomination. And, worst of all, #DebtTrapDebbie Wasserman Schultz was reelected over Tim Canova. What a mess! Let standing to represent progressives: Alina Valdes, who will face Mario Diaz-Balart in November. Want to lend her a hand?
Are Congressional Republican Extremists Getting Ready To Fuckitol Up?
I wonder if Ryan wishes he hadn't screwed Hueslkamp over and caused him to lose his reelection bid by reneging on his promise to reappoint him to the House Agriculture Committee. Now the House Freedom Caucus is ready for war against Ryan. Next year there's a good chance poor Paul Ryan-- who just wants to be left alone so he can try to pass his silly BetterWay think tanks gibberish off as a 2020 or 2024 presidential platform for himself-- will have to deal with two years of a Democratic Senate plus a Hillary presidency and a Trumpanzee Media Empire, likely to be pushing a breakup of the GOP. And on top of that the Freedom Caucus wants his head hanging on their club house wall in the basement of Tortilla Coast. This morning, Matt Fuller, writing for HuffPo, reported on the looming showdown between Ryan's Chamber of Commerce wing of the Republican Party and the extremists who forced out Boehner and Cantor. He asserts they probably can't oust him but they could deny him a first ballot win that "would undermine his political future and cast him as a conservative pariah... and may give conservatives leverage to enact rules changes that would help them push their agenda for years... That there is coup chatter at all, however, suggests Ryan’s relationship with conservatives is already fraying, less than a year into his speakership." Fuller interviewed 8 rebel congresscritters, all too frightened to go on the record. This one sounds like it could be Justin Amash or Mick Mulvaney: "The only leverage any Republican member of the House has for getting rule changes is the speaker vote."
House Freedom Caucus members are discussing four major proposals, though the talks are in early stages and haven’t gained formal backing. Their ideas include increasing caucus representation on committees, bulking up subcommittee staff with hard-liners who could be groomed for election, allowing the GOP House campaign arm to collect contributions for the Freedom Caucus that could be directed to conservative candidates, and clarifying rules-suspension votes. Ryan’s re-election as speaker could be greatly complicated if Republicans lose more than a dozen seats on Nov. 8. Republicans currently hold 247 seats in the House, with 218 votes needed to win the speakership (if every member votes). One conservative noted that nine Republicans opposed Ryan’s election to speaker in October-- technically 10, if you count Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) abstaining-- and at least that many would be against him in January. Another conservative predicted more than 20 Republicans would disapprove of Ryan. ...[I]f there were 40 Freedom Caucus members in a 240-Republican majority, caucus members would get one-sixth of the GOP seats on committees. Another Freedom Caucus idea is to allow subcommittee chairs to pick the staff for their panels. The conservative goal is for subcommittee chairs to select hard-line Republican staff members who would create a bench of potential candidates for the future, in addition to giving the subcommittees more independence and power. The House Freedom Caucus also wants the National Republican Campaign Committee to set up a separate account to accept Freedom Caucus donations. The caucus could direct those donations to candidates of its choosing. The Freedom Caucus also wants to end an informal requirement that GOP committee and subcommittee leaders contribute to the NRCC. Finally, Freedom Caucus members want more transparency on bills brought to a vote under rules that are suspended. They want to know what rules are suspended, and who voted to suspend them. These rules changes, on their face, all are long shots, according to a GOP leadership aide. But one conservative said his allies hope to be able to extract concessions by opposing Ryan. “But they better get a better promise than Huelskamp got on committee assignments,” the member said, referring to conservative Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), who just lost his primary, in part, because of uncertainty over whether he would return to the Agriculture Committee. Huelskamp’s primary loss in early August seems a major part of Ryan’s worsening relationship with conservatives. Freedom Caucus members said Ryan could have done more to prevent outside groups from spending millions to defeat one of their own. One HFC member said Ryan came into the speakership promising to try to stop establishment GOP groups from going after conservatives. “In a way, it’s only accelerated under Ryan,” the member said... Conservatives, nevertheless, are looking for payback. “How can you have a gang, and have one in your gang get stabbed, and do nothing?” another member asked. “You got to stab somebody, or else what’s the point of having a gang?” As Congress works through spending decisions this fall, and an election that may be disastrous for Republicans, conservatives said other members may be more willing to go after Ryan in January. One member suggested researching Robin Williams’ joke on a fictitious prescription drug the late comedian called “Fukitol.” “After this Nov. 8, I think there’s a lot of members who will be taking Fukitol,” the member said.
Another "Safe Republican" House Seat Is In Play in New Jersey-- Guest Post By Peter Jacobs
Six people were murdered in a 72-hour period in Newark in late August. In the same time frame, in Bridgeport, Conn., 13 people were shot at a house party. And one man shot another man to death in a Minnesota park in some kind of dispute. And on and on and on. No surprises here. We’re all becoming-- or have become-- numb to news of shootings in the United States. After all, roughly 87 people are killed from gun violence in the U.S. every single day, according to Americans for Responsible Solutions, the organization headed by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and astronaut Mark Kelly. How many of these shooters have mental-health issues? No one could know the answer to that, but considering that many of these shootings are the result of gang violence, or innocent toddlers getting ahold of guns, or crimes of passion, the percentage of those suffering with mental illness is likely small. Even if 100 percent of shooters had mental-health problems, it would be impossible to identify a significant percentage of them-- especially among populations with limited or non-existent access to physical-health professionals, let alone mental-health professionals. Preventing those with mental-health issues from acquiring guns is an important part of solving gun violence. But it’s clear that it’s just that: a part, and a small one at that. And yet, certain members of our federal legislative branch-- let’s call them Republicans-- want us to think that if we could just keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, everything would be great. One of these is Leonard Lance, the Congressman for New Jersey’s 7th District. Despite the fact that Lance represents a district in which 92 percent of voters support universal background checks, he follows the deep-pocketed National Rifle Association’s playbook, instead. He has worked hard to earn his 93-percent rating from the NRA. Lance was questioned in a 2014 town-hall meeting on his vote in favor of the National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Act. The act would have authorized concealed-carry permit owners to travel with their guns through all states – even those with laws against concealed-carry, including his own state of New Jersey. In answering, he said that the best way to tackle gun violence nationally is to address mental health issues. More recently, in January, after President Obama issued executive orders on gun control, Lance said in an official statement that “we must focus on keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill by enforcing the laws currently on the books and better addressing the root cause of many gun-related tragedies: mental health illness.” Ironically, Lance’s statement lacked a reference to the part of Obama’s announcement proposing $500 million for expanded access to mental health services and the addition of mental health information on background checks for gun purchases. The omission probably shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s easier to continue blaming shootings on mental illness, rather than facing the reality of a marketplace with more gun shops than Starbucks outlets. It’s easier to preach to the NRA’s national choir than to do the bidding of one’s own constituents. Of course, as a longtime politician, Lance is smart enough to give his derriere some cover with home-district voters, who prefer to go to parks and restaurants and movie theaters where people aren’t packing. He actually signed on as a co-sponsor to H.R. 4237, the Protect America Act of 2015, AKA the no-fly no-buy bill. The trouble is, he only joined it on June 16, four days after the Orlando nightclub shooting. And he did so likely knowing that Govtrack.us gives the bill a 6% chance of getting out of committee and a 1% chance of being enacted. Co-sponsoring bills that have little chance of becoming law, but which can be held up as evidence of support for citizens’ safety and common sense and bipartisanship, seems to be a trend with Lance: He also co-sponsored H.R. 1076, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015. But when it came time to send the bill send the bill out of committee to the House for consideration, Lance passed. And the bill stalled in committee. This kind of two-faced opportunism, the desire to sustain one’s own political career first and foremost and at all costs, has led to an environment in which the likes of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump can gain wide support among voters.
And it’s what compelled me to take on Lance as the Democratic candidate for New Jersey’s 7th District. Typical for New Jersey and many other states, the district has a gerrymandered amoeba shape encompassing everything from densely populated urban areas to gated communities of the rich-- with enough Republicans to overcome pockets of Democrats. I’ve been knocking on doors since I entered the race last November. Many of the homeowners greeted me like this: “What party you running for? Republican or Democrat? Democrat? No thanks, bud, keep walking.” In elections past, that might have been enough to send me on my way. But, having seen enough bumper stickers and lawn signs with “NONE OF THE ABOVE 2016” sentiments, I felt emboldened to press my luck. “But, let me just ask you one thing. Do you feel like our government is corrupt and not working for the vast majority of Americans?” “Yeah. That’s why we need to vote them all out.” “How would you feel about a candidate for Congress who has pledged not only to never accept Super PAC money, but to sponsor strict laws to get big money out of our elections and criminalize corruption at all levels of government?” “Go ahead, I’m listening.” “My name is Peter Jacob, and I want to work for YOU.” I have had this same conversation with hundreds of people throughout the district since I began my campaign. If there is one thing that the insurgent campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have shown us, it’s that the American people are fed up with the status quo in Washington. Whether a Tea Party organizer at a Somerset County Fair or a Sanders Revolutionary at a rally at Rutgers University, one issue has been a uniting force that not a single person I’ve spoken with has been able to deny: The influence of our elected officials is bought and sold long before we step into voting booths on Election Day. Getting big money out of our politics, criminalizing corruption, and returning the power over government to the people of this nation isn’t just an issue, it’s the issue. It is the issue to literally end all other issues. There is not a single major problem that we face today that can be solved so long as the wealthiest and entrenched industries, corporations, and individuals of our world are able to purchase power over government. Even though the district is gerrymandered to Lance’s advantage, we have solid reason to be optimistic: More than 45,000 people voted for me in the primary-- nearly 14,000 more votes than Lance received, and about 12,000 more votes than ANY candidate has ever received in a primary in the district. If the threat of a Donald Trump presidency turns out enough Democrats, we have a real shot at a great upset. Unfortunately, it’s going to take fire to fight fire. Our campaign is not accepting money from Super PACs, and we are being badly out-raised by an incumbent, career politician funded almost entirely by the pharmaceutical, telecom, and fossil fuel industries. We are in this fight to win it, though. Our allegiance is to no one but the American people. Every dollar donated to this campaign is a dollar invested in the war to make sure no private dollars ever again have to be spent on electoral campaigns. Every contribution is a salvo to ensure that representatives in government are actually representing the people rather than the check books of wealthy campaign contributors. We’re looking for people who will stand with us today. We have shown that we can turn heads and hearts when we connect with just this one, all-encompassing issue. We just need the proper funds to be able to get this message out to enough people in our district, and land a resounding blow in the fight to reclaim our government, our society, and our planet from those who seek to control it for themselves, and themselves alone. Let’s put the “public” back in “public service” so that we can ensure a government that is truly of, by, and for the people.
Clinton Insider Neera Tanden: Sanders Did "Significant Damage"
Top Clinton insider Neera Tanden at a Google- and Elle-sponsored DC function (source)
by Gaius Publius
Short and bitter-sweet. The primary election is mainly over (but not quite; there's still a black swan or two hovering overhead). Clinton and her camp have vanquished the challenge from the left wing of her own voting base. We've listened to call after call for "party unity."
And yet we see this — Neera Tanden, a major Clinton insider, current head of the prominent (and Clintonist) thinktank Center for American Progress, someone in line for a significant job in a new Clinton administration, someone currently on Clinton's transition team, takes an unprovoked backhand swipe at Sanders and the left he represented during the primary, a punch in the gut for an offense long past.
The offense? Not surrendering to Clinton early enough.
Clinton confidante: Sanders did 'significant damage'
Longtime Hillary Clinton confidante Neera Tanden in a new podcast commends Bernie Sanders for the issues he raised during his campaign but notes his attacks on the Democratic presidential nominee were harmful.
“I actually have to say, I think he brought a lot of really important issues to the floor, but Senator Sanders was prosecuting a much tougher character attack” than Barack Obama did in 2008, Tanden said during Politico’s “Off Message” podcast.
“He did do significant damage to Hillary's negatives."
During the primary season, the Vermont senator often attacked the eventual Democratic nominee on the campaign trail — at points, questioning her judgment.
“I mean, he drove a lot of those negatives, and the truth of it, I mean, just to be candid — or honest about it, I think getting those kinds of attacks from another Democrat or another liberal or another progressive is much tougher for Hillary," said Tanden, who is the president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.
"If you look at her trust numbers the last six months of that primary ... those numbers took a much sharper dive and [were] hard to recover from.”
[Tanden is] Clinton’s edgy public alter ego, whose stiletto-elbowed Twitter presence is said to closely echo the candidate’s own caustic private musings. And while Tanden respects Sanders and his staff (she helped negotiate the joint Clinton-Sanders college and health proposals and says “they were great”), she echoes Clinton’s own opinion that Sanders let the primary go on too long, too noisily and too nastily. [my emphasis]
“This primary was much tougher [than 2008]. There were many more open attacks on being 'bought and paid for' and all that stuff,” said Tanden, who didn’t like it, not one little bit.
Tanden's "stiletto-elbowed Twitter presence" — about that, more here. If you have a minute, do click. It makes a fascinating side story.
"Echoing the candidate's own caustic musings" — we'll have to take Politico's word for that, since there are no cited sources.
Clinton's opinion that "Sanders let the primary go on too long, too noisily and too nastily" — that's not hard to believe. Though it has a note of entitlement about it, I think — a note of complaining that your opponent should have quit earlier — and entitled is exactly what you don't want to be perceived as, no matter how far ahead of Donald Trump you are. So, on that score, bad move.
Which brings us back to Neera Tanden, and the question, why this slap at Sanders now? It apparently comes from nowhere, or from pique, a winner's swipe at a loser who's laying on the mat.
About that, two points. First, Tanden's comment adds credence to the perception of Clinton-camp entitlement that most Democrats think both Clinton and her team should avoid. Second, this incident has to give pause to that aforementioned Sanders-supporting base, that if this candidate and her new team can't resist unprovoked hippie-punching now, what will they do once they have real power?
Again, bad move, as I see it. This looks like an unforced error to me.
Phone banking is one crucial way for grassroots candidates to reach out to voters but I've been hearing from savvy candidates for several years that the commonly available phone banking software for small grassroots campaigns is subpar. One of the sharpest and most agile of the 2016 Blue America primary candidates, Alex Law, worked on creating a phone banking application called Partic, which is extremely simple on the front end for unpaid volunteers. Candidates can have their volunteers make calls from anywhere in a simple system with the best scripting function out there. It has all the features any campaign needs and none it doesn't. Blue America would like to contribute the system to some of the campaigns we felt would make the best use of it. Can you let us know which campaigns you would like us to donate the system to? We'll pick 2 campaigns this weekend based on the number of contributions our candidates get on this ActBlue page, not the amount of money, just the number of contributions. So if you want to help a candidate, please contribute any amount you can afford to his or her campaign. Meanwhile, I asked Alex to explain the system in a guest post.
Why Partic? Why Now?
-by Alex Law
Many of you may remember my race in New Jersey's 1st Congressional District against corrupt Donald Norcross. I appreciate everything the Blue America family has done for me. This was the first organization to believe it me. While we ultimately didn't win the race, we did run one of the most efficient campaigns in 25 years and become the first campaign ever to be endorsed by a major East Coast newspaper against an incumbent in a primary without any major scandal. I know this is just the beginning for me, and I will certainly keep the Blue America family posted with what I do next in politics. With that said, I know our work isn't done now. You may have read my letter fundraising for my friends Tim Canova, Alan Grayson, and Zephyr Teachout. That was successful, but I want to do more for the progressive community. Even though I am not in a position to be able to significantly contribute financially , I do have a lot of knowledge about campaigns. To this end, my partner and I built a phone banking application called Partic. When I looked for a phone banking application during my campaign, I really didn't like the options. Everything was geared towards robo-dialing. The user experience for actual live callers (our volunteers) was terrible on most applications. This is because the major phone banking services are primarily geared to larger volume enterprises that pay their phone callers. When you pay your callers, you can instruct them to deal with what ever the system is. To those of us who have volunteered on progressive campaigns, we know that just isn't how it works. If the program isn't simple and easy to use, volunteers simply won't use it. This is why so many campaigns, especially small progressive campaigns are forced to rely on incredibly inefficient and expensive solutions to phone banking (usually paper, pen, and landlines). Partic changes that. We built our application with the volunteers in mind. Everything on the front end is incredibly simple. There is no syncing with your cell phone-- volunteers can make calls with a push of a button on the computer. The scripting function allows campaigns to create incredibly detailed scripts, but the volunteers will only see one piece at a time to make communication as easy as possible. All of the data is automatically tracked and available in analyzed reports at any time. Soon, pre-recorded voicemails will be able to be dropped in by the volunteer if no one picks up. This application drives efficiency with great tools but also with great simplicity. I want progressive campaigns to use this tool. Not to make money, but because better organizing is key to our progress as a movement. As such, I told the leadership at Blue America that I would make our system available at cost to any Blue America campaigns. The better organized we all are, the more seats we can win together.
The Election Isn't Over Yet-- But It's Probably Too Late For Trumpanzee To Recover
Trumpanzee is looking at a John W. Davis-sized landslide
The Public Religion Research Institute released a poll over the weekend that isn't just bad news for Señor Trumpanzee, but looks like band news for the Republican Party going forward. If America was a country where only white people could vote-- a goal the GOP still works towards whenever they get a chance-- Trump would be OK and the Republican Party would be rocking from coast to coast. But it's 2016 and the U.S. is a far richer and more diverse country today that it was in the 19th Century. And that's why Trumpanzee and the bigoted message the Republicans are helping him to disseminate are losing. The PRRI poll showed Hillary with a nation-wide 13 point lead over Trumpanzee among registered voters. That's huge. Just 35% of registered voters say they will cast a ballot for Trumpy-the-Clown. The dozen most recent losers haven't done as badly as Trump is polling:
Even Goldwater's drubbing in 1964 gave him 38.47% of the popular vote. You have to go all the way back to 1924, a three-way race between Calvin Coolidge (R), John Davis (D) and Robert LaFollette (Progressive) to find a major party candidate doing as badly as Trumpanzee. Among independents, Clinton leads Trumpanzee by seven points (40-33%). She also leads him among Hispanic voters (67-18%), among black voters (85-4%) and among whites with college educations (51-33%). Trumpanzee leads among whites without college degrees (50-32%). Candidate preference also varies significantly by age, though notably, Clinton is leading Trump in every single age bracket. Six in ten (60%) young adult voters (age 18 to 29) prefer Clinton, compared to only one-quarter (25%) who support Trump. Senior voters (age 65 and older) are more divided, with 45% supporting Clinton and 38% supporting Trump. But what makes the PRRI poll interesting and distinct from the other polling organization's work is the religion aspect.
Religious groups are divided by race and ethnicity, with white non-Hispanic Protestants leaning toward Donald Trump and all other religious groups leaning toward Hillary Clinton. A majority of white evangelical Protestant voters (62% Trump vs. 23% Clinton) and a plurality of white mainline Protestant voters (47% Trump vs. 37% Clinton) support Trump over Clinton. Catholic voters are divided along racial and ethnic lines. White Catholic voters are closely divided but lean toward Clinton (44% Clinton vs. 41% Trump), while non-white Catholic voters overwhelmingly support Clinton over Trump (76% vs. 13%, respectively). Majorities of every other major religious group support Clinton over Trump: religiously unaffiliated voters (55% vs. 24%, respectively) and black Protestant voters (89% vs. 2%, respectively).
This morning the NY Times published a page headlined At Least 110 Republican Leaders Won’t Vote for Donald Trump. Here’s When They Reached Their Breaking Point. The give Club for Growth the credit for being the first GOP operation to break with Trump, announcing an ad campaign to discredit him on September 15, 2015, 3 months after he and the mail-order bribe came down the escalator in Trumpanzee Tower to call Mexican immigrants rapists and two months after he made the gratuitous crack about McCain not being a war hero. But it was Reid Ribble (R-WI) who was the first GOP elected official to say he wouldn't vote for Señor Trumpanzee if he won the nomination. He had already announced his intention of retiring from Congress but on December 11, 2015 Ribble broke with Trump. The following day the former Governor of New Jersey, Christine Todd Whitman, did the same, comparing Trump to Hitler. Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo became the first member of Congress not retiring to say he wouldn't vote for Trumpanzee (Feb. 23, 2016) and 5 days later Ben Sasse (R-NE) became,e the first senator to do the same. Curbelo is in a 90%+ Hispanic district in Miami and will probably lose his seat in November and Sasse isn't up for reelection this cycle. March 1 of this year saw retiring Virginia Congressman Scott Rigell just say no and the next day the current governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, did the same, as did former Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ)-- and over 100 Republican national security experts. Next day: Mitt Romney and Norm Coleman (who was in my class at James Madison High School before he became the mayor of St. Paul and a then a Minnesota senator). One week later, March 9, Richard Hanna (R-NY) weighed in and became the first Republican member of Congress to say that he'd not only not vote for Señor Trumpanzee, but that he'd vote for Hillary. By the end of March, the second sitting Republican governor, Larry Hogan of Maryland, announced he wouldn't vote for Trump. April was quiet and the May 6 came announcements from current congressmembers Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Robert Dold (R-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)... as well as from Jeb Bush. In June Señor Trumpanzee made his insane statement about Judge Curiel and the floodgates started to open. Two days later Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) called Trumpanzee un-American and Connecticut ex-congressman Chris Shays endorsed Hillary Clinton. June saw more Republicans endorsing Hillary, including former Montana Governor Marc Racicot and former Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson-- as well as several high level Bush cabinet members. By August Republican congressmen who are not retiring and not in electoral trouble started giving Trumpanzee the thumbs down. Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) led the way. And August has seen a steady drip stream of Republicans saying they won't vote for him-- from Susan Collins (R-ME), William Howard Taft IV and more and more former congressmen and senators (Connie Morella of Maryland, David Durenberger of Minnesota, Tom Campbell of California and Tom Coleman of Missouri). Capitol Hill insiders are whispering that "most" Republican senators are going to actually vote for Hillary but just won't say so publicly. One super-high ranking House staffer told me that by November I'd be able to write a short post about which Republican congressman are actively backing Trump. "The only one who gave him any money," he told me, not knowing that DWT broke this news last week, "is Lamar Smith and he could be in trouble with his voters back in Bexar County."
Trumpist jokester Rudy Giuliani was on Fox News this morning explaining, among other things, Obama's border policies that Señor Trumpanzee is trying to expropriate as his own (and how, as mayor, he saved more black lives than Beyoncé or any of her dancers at the VMAs last night):
Attention Nancy Pelosi-- You Can Win Back The House... But Not With This DCCC From Loserville
Yesterday the NY Times published another DCCC-hawked article about how an anti-Trumpanzee tsunami could help sweep Paul Ryan's odious majority out of control in the House. Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin know better. It came out just as Blue America launched an effort to direct contributions on Tumblr and Facebook to DuWayne Gregory, the stellar progressive candidate on Long Island who's going up against loudmouthed Trumpist Peter King. DuWayne, however, is taking on King by himself, Pelosi and the DCCC refusing to get involved-- even though Obama won the district twice and both Hillary and Schumer will sweep it in November, basically because Steve Israel, an inveterate racist who doesn't think blacks should represent white districts, is pals with King and has always protected him from Democrats. No mention of any of that in the article by Burns and Martin... of course. In fact, the page we were asking readers and activists to go to to contribute to DuWayne's campaign, also includes 5 other Democrats-- all primary winners-- who are being either ignored or actively sabotaged by Pelsoi's dysfunctional and disastrously failed DCCC: Mary Ellen Balchunis in the Philly suburbs, Alina Valdes in south Florida, Tom Wakely is an irban/suburban Texas district that includes parts of San Antonio, Austin and San Marcos, Mary Hoeft in Wausau and northwest Wisconsin and Peter Jacob in suburban New Jersey, primarily Somerset and Union counties. "Emboldened by Donald J. Trump’s struggles in the presidential race," they wrote, "Democrats in Congress are laying the groundwork to expand the list of House Republicans they will target for defeat as part of an effort to slash the Republicans’ 30-seat majority and even reclaim control if Mr. Trump falls further. Mr. Trump’s unpopularity, which has already undermined the party’s grip on the Senate, now threatens to imperil Republican lawmakers even in traditionally conservative districts, according to strategists and officials in both parties involved in the fight for control of the House."
Mary Ellen Balchunis
Sure, sure... we've heard it all before. The DCCC and DNC use it to trick low-info Democrats into sending them money. The DCCC has told them that they are targeting suburban districts near Kansas City, Kansas-- a district Obama lost with 44% to Romney and Republican Kevin Yoder won in 2014 with 60%-- Minneapolis, Orlando, and San Diego, none of which are "easier" districts than DuWayne Gregory's or, for example, Mary Ellen Balchunis'. They point out that Señor Trumpanzee "is so disliked among college-educated voters, especially white women, that he is at risk of losing by double digits in several districts that the 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, carried comfortably." Sounds like Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York, Bexar, Travis and Hays counties in Texas, Delaware, Chester and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania, Miami-Dade, Collier and Hendry counties in Florida, Somerset, Union, Morris and maybe even Hunterdon in New Jersey and Douglas, St. Croix, Marathon, Oneida and Barron counties in Wisconsin-- the counties our candidates are competing in against Trump-backing GOP incumbents (without any assistance from Pelosi and her gang). Without calling out either the incompetence or corruption of the DCCC leadership and staff, that makes a knockout all but impossible, Burns subtly makes it clear the hype is just hype and parrots Steve Israel's always-ready excuse for his career of catastrophic failure: "Few Democrats say they believe their party is positioned, at this point, to take control of the House, where Republicans hold their largest majority in 87 years. Because of the way congressional districts are drawn, Republicans have a powerful structural advantage even in a punishing political environment." The DCCC is bragging that it raised $12 million to the NRCC's measly $4.6 million in July, "a remarkable disparity given that the party in control usually dominates fund-raising," but instead of using it in winnable districts like DuWayne Gregory's and Mary Ellen Balchunis' they're wasting it entirely in impossible districts, protecting worthless right-wing Democrats who always vote with the GOP and can't raise money like Ami Bera (New Dem-CA) and Brad Ashford (Blue Dog-MN) and in extremely red districts where they are trying to elect more Blue Dogs and New Dems, like UT-04 (PVI is R+16), AZ-01 (PVI is R+4), IN-09 (PVI Is R+9), KS-03 (PVI is R+6), SC-05 (PVI is R+9)and the at large districts in Alaska and Montana where the PVIs are, respectively R+12 and R+7 and the incumbents won last time, again respectively, 51-41% and 55-40%.
Enough (Dayenu) of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s misdeeds! Tomorrow vote Tim Canova: Pass-over Dot Matrix to the Progressive Promised Land, in footsteps of Moses, Fritz Lang, George Lucas, Mel Brooks and Joan Rivers, who all knew how to laugh through their tears after "enough is enough." Florida’s August 30 primary election poses again this age-old question: every generation of slaves must decide when masters’ actions are enough to rebel against.
Attention Nancy Pelosi, fire the whole useless staff, send Ben Ray Lujan, Denny Heck, Cheri Bustos and Steve Israel back home, jettison that list of no-win districts and their candidates from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party and spend your money on these men and women instead: