Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I Wish It Was More Shocking That Florida Democratic Primary Voters Picked Conservatives Over Democratc


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?

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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.

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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.

Goal ThermometerUnfortunately, 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.

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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.


Tanden, as quoted in The Hill:
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.”
On the same story, Politico adds this:
[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.


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An Advance In Grassroots Campaign Phone Banking


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.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

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:
Romney- 47.15%
McCain- 45.6%
Kerry- 48.26%
Gore- 48.38%
Dole- 40.72%
Bush I- 37.45%
Dukakis- 45.65%
Mondale- 40.56%
Jimmy Carter- 41.01%
Jerry Ford- 48.01%
McGovern- 37.52%
Humphrey- 42.72%
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):

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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:

Goal Thermometer

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Mr. Trumpanzee And Steve Israel Should Debate-- On Long Island-- Who's Been The Worst Racist


Hillary, her campaign and her surrogates, backed by the media and by prominent African Americans played the race card against Mr. Trumpanzee last week. It was an effective attack. Hillary's speech was one of the best I've ever heard her give. (Listen to it on the video above.) The NY Times went into more depth about Trumpanzee family racism going all the way back to when his father was a street-brawling KKK thug and Donald was a snot-nosed, spoiled teenager discriminating against would-be African American renters (the theme of a new, rediscovered Woody Guthrie song you can listen to here). Trumpanzee, Sr. was grooming his 17 year old heir who "would soon enroll at Fordham University in the Bronx, living at his parents’ home in Queens and spending much of his free time touring construction sites in his father’s Cadillac, driven by a black chauffeur."
Over the next decade, as Donald J. Trump assumed an increasingly prominent role in the business, the company’s practice of turning away potential black tenants was painstakingly documented by activists and organizations that viewed equal housing as the next frontier in the civil rights struggle.

The Justice Department undertook its own investigation and, in 1973, sued Trump Management for discriminating against blacks. Both Fred Trump, the company’s chairman, and Donald Trump, its president, were named as defendants. It was front-page news, and for Donald, amounted to his debut in the public eye.

“Absolutely ridiculous,” he was quoted as saying of the government’s allegations.

Looking back, Mr. Trump’s response to the lawsuit can be seen as presaging his handling of subsequent challenges, in business and in politics. Rather than quietly trying to settle-- as another New York developer had done a couple of years earlier-- he turned the lawsuit into a protracted battle, complete with angry denials, character assassination, charges that the government was trying to force him to rent to “welfare recipients” and a $100 million countersuit accusing the Justice Department of defamation.

When it was over, Mr. Trump declared victory, emphasizing that the consent decree he ultimately signed did not include an admission of guilt.

But an investigation by the New York Times-- drawing on decades-old files from the New York City Commission on Human Rights, internal Justice Department records, court documents and interviews with tenants, civil rights activists and prosecutors-- uncovered a long history of racial bias at his family’s properties, in New York and beyond.
The Times successfully lays out the case proving the Trumpanzees-- Fred and Donald-- were vicious racists and acted on that racism again and again over the course of decades, basically telling qualified black and Hispanic families that there were no vacancies in their buildings and then renting them to white families instead. Horrible and intolerable. AND, the Democratic Party hypocrites who are self-righteously denouncing Trump could look a little closer to home if they want to denounce a vile and disgusting racist.

I don't know for sure whether Pelosi knew Steve Israel is a virulent racist when she appointed him DCCC chair. I'm told the appointment was just about 3 things: Israel could raise a lot of dirty Wall Street money without any feelings of guilt; Israel's only rival for the job was Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who Pelosi detests and doesn't trust; and Pelosi knew Israel would be loyal. Why should she have suspected Israel was a racist at the time? He was one of the only Democrats in the northeast to join the largely Southern, totally racist Blue Dogs. And as a low-end political hack back on Long Island, he always catered to the same kind of bigots the Trumpanzee family was catering to with their racist housing policies.

As DCCC chair Israel didn't cotton to the idea of black politicians running in non-black majority districts. We started looking into that after Israel's and the DCCC's disastrous performance during the 2014 midterms. One unexpected loss for the Democrats came in Cliven Bundy country-- NV-04, a blue district that includes the Vegas suburbs with a PVI of D+4 and where Obama beat McCain 56-41% and beat Romney 54-44%. GOP nut-case Cresent Hardy beat freshman Steven Horsford 63,435 (48.5%) to 59,800 (45.8%). Horsford spent $1,251,106 to Hardy's $266,412. But it was a massive and unanswered $1,072,596 smear campaign by Rove's Crossroads GPS that did Horsford in. (All in the DCCC and its House Majority PAC was too busy wasting tens of millions of dollars on hopeless Blue Dogs like Barrow and Rahall to help Horsford; they only spent an inadequate $478,691 on his race.) The Crew of 42, which blogs about the Congressional Black Caucus, posted an interesting twist on how Steve Israel and the DCCC pushed Horsford into a loss.
Several sources close to the situation reveal that Rep. Horsford was asked to match a DCCC contribution of $80,000 to assist his campaign in closing weeks before November 4th. Horsford’s fellow Black Caucus members were particularly incensed by this tidbit of information because they say Horsford was asked to match while other Dems were being funded by DCCC in a big way.

As a freshman member in a swing district, many believe Horsford should have been selected for the “frontline” list as so many other freshman in challenging districts are. Now that members find Horsford was asked to match funds in late October-- the outrage has swung into a new phase.

A dozen members and staffers with decades of experience who were asked if they ever heard of a member having to match funds with DCCC in late October say they’ve never heard of such a thing happening before. That, mixed with Horsford not being included on a list of “frontline candidates” announced by DCCC Chair Steve Israel in March 2013 has members mad. The anger is connected to the fact that Horsford, the former Majority Leader or the Nevada Senate, is viewed as exactly the type of young member House Democrats should fiercely protect. Horsford’s district is majority white and his rise to Congress represents a winning moment over the new demographics that is rarely seen in the House: A Black member winning in a non-majority white district in a red state. Horsford has been seen at meetings this week and his colleague are confident they will see him again in 2017. But to be sure, he’s taking the loss way better than they are.

The "frontline" candidate list for 2014 included several freshman Democrats in swing districts including Reps. Ron Barber, Ami Bera, Elizabeth Esty, Cheri Bustos, Ann Kuster and Bill Enyart. Being part of the DCCC’s frontline effort is a way of “protecting nearly every vulnerable incumbent who was not affected by redistricting,” according to the DCCC. Those candidates were very well funded by DCCC this cycle.

...One of the more interesting late October money drops from DCCC went to Domenic Recchia, who lost to Rep. Michael Grimm 55-42%-- even though Grimm was indicted on 2o counts by federal prosecutors for fraud, obstruction and perjury in April 2014.

After two candidates declined to take Grimm on, DCCC Chair Steve Israel’s third recruiting choice was Recchia. Though he proved to be less than an inspiring candidate, DCCC spent $1,570,059 to assist his campaign. On October 16, the DCCC spent $127,000 on opposition ads on Grimm. On October 23, the DCCC spent $129,000 on another media buy to assist Recchia. House Majority PAC also dropped $1.1 million to assist Recchia on October 29.

The sanctimonious Israel defended himself in-- of course-- Politico, telling them that "I will accept full responsibility for not doing all we should have, or for doing things we shouldn’t have, [but-- finishing the sentence by rejecting any sense of responsibility whatsoever] this criticism is misplaced. We had been talking to Steve for a very long time, knowing how tough that district was. I am not going to get into private conversations, but there was a consensus with his team and our team that he should not have Frontline status." The CBC-- and chairwoman Marcia Fudge in particular, could barely contain their rage at Israel's racism. And Israel's role in letting Horsford lose the seat wasn't the first time he pulled that kind of a stunt. Two years earlier, Pelosi should have been alerted to what he was up to in regard to a House seat in Omaha. The same folks at Crew of 42 who told us about the Horsford news, went back into history and saw the DCCC doing the same thing in 2012 to an African-American candidate in Omaha, Nebraska. This cycle, the DCCC spent $1,432,187 on white Blue Dog Brad Ashford and managed to defeat GOP incumbent Lee Terry, one of only two Republican incumbents defeated this cycle. In 2012, when John Ewing ran, the DCCC spent nothing, although Pelosi's own House Majority PAC threw in an ineffective $164,736... and Ewing lost by less than 6,000 votes-- 127,119 (51%) to 121,165 (49%). It's "one of the many reasons why there is a continuing schism between the Black Caucus and the DCCC. The simple fact is that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has shown little interest in recruiting and funding Black candidates for Congress-- even at a time when African Americans are winning in congressional districts that are not even close to being majority Black (see: Reps. Waters, Rangel, Cleaver, Bass, Green, Ellison, Lee, Carson, Horsford, Hurd, Coleman, Veasey, Moore, Love…)." Steve Israel's resignation from the DCCC may help fix this problem-- but not this cycle.

As we explained earlier, Long Island's 2nd congressional district-- the South Shore, stretching from Levittown, Seaford and Massapequa in Nassau through Lindenhurst and Babylon deep into some of the bluest parts of Suffolk County like Islip, Brentwood and Ronkonkoma to the outskirts of Patchogue-- has it's best candidate in living memory against Trumpist Peter King. That candidate is DuWayne Gregory, a military vet and the well-respected presiding officer of the Suffolk County legislature. With Trump tanking in the Long Island suburbs and Hillary (and Schumer) expected to run up massive wins in Nassau and Suffolk, the Democrats have never had such a great opportunity to win NY-02. Unfortunately, in Israel's eyes, Gregory is African-American and shouldn't be running in a white district. He's persuaded the DCCC to ignore the election and just let King walk away with it again without a fight. That's Steve Israel-- and that'sNancy Pelosi and, I'm afraid, that's the Democratic Party-- denouncing Trump's racism out of one side of it's mouth, while enabling a racist pig like Steve Israel to destroy the careers of promising African-American politicians.

Despite Steve Israel and Nancy Pelosi, DuWayne Gregory can still win the seat, but he'll need some grassroots help. So... if you can, please consider contributing to his campaign by tapping on the thermometer:
Goal Thermometer

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Some Bridge Fuel — Energy Emissions from Methane Surpass Coal, But Oil Emissions Still Rising


Emissions from methane (natural gas) are replacing emissions from coal, but not petroleum (source; click to enlarge).

by Gaius Publius

Methane ("America's clean natural gas") is being touted and sold as the "bridge fuel" from carbon emissions from all sources, including oil. In fact, methane is turning out to be a bridge fuel away from coal only. See the charts at the top and note the rise of emissions from petroleum as methane emissions replace coal emissions.

In the meantime total CO2 emission in the U.S from all sources is essentially flat:

Total U.S. CO2 emissions, 1990–2014 (source; click to enlarge)

Methane may be a bridge fuel from coal, but it's not a bridge to fewer overall emissions, not by a long shot.

This news comes from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (which is touting methane, by the way):
Energy-related CO2 emissions from natural gas surpass coal as fuel use patterns change

Energy-associated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from natural gas are expected to surpass those from coal for the first time since 1972. Even though natural gas is less carbon-intensive than coal, increases in natural gas consumption and decreases in coal consumption in the past decade have resulted in natural gas-related CO2 emissions surpassing those from coal. EIA's latest Short-Term Energy Outlook projects energy-related CO2 emissions from natural gas to be 10% greater than those from coal in 2016....

In 2015, natural gas consumption was 81% higher than coal consumption, and their emissions were nearly equal. Both fuels were associated with about 1.5 billion metric tons of energy-related CO2 emissions in the United States in 2015.
Three points about this announcement.

First, it's good that coal is being used less and less, but coal still has a large emissions footprint, as this 2006 chart shows.

Second, reducing the use of coal is a mixed blessing. Coal emissions (poisonously) contain particulate matter (various kinds of soot, or as scientists say, "aerosols") that in part act to reduce global warming because they tend to reflect some of the sun's energy back into space before it hits the earth and becomes heat. Dr. Michael Mann has a fuller explanation here.

Bottom line, if we don't reduce coal use, Mann estimates we "lock in" +2°C global warming likely in the early 2030s, as atmospheric CO2 reaches 450 ppm. If we (somehow, miraculously) do eliminate coal use, we lock in +2°C global warming as soon as atmospheric CO2 reaches 405 ppm, a level we've already crossed on the monthly chart (source and discussion here). Climate people call the use of coal a "Faustian bargain."

Third, look again at the total emissions chart above. People, especially in government and the energy industry (like the EIA), like to tout the CO2 emissions reduction "since 2005." That reduction was (a) caused almost completely by the global slowdown in economic activity due to the financial crisis that followed, and (b) not much of a reduction, unless you eliminate most of the bottom of the chart to exaggerate the change (as here).

Is It an Emergency Yet?

Yes. For one thing, methane is not a bridge fuel. I'm willing to bet money that no prospective investor in a methane-burning energy facility is being told that the facility will be torn down in 10 years and replaced with something else, like a zero-carbon power plant. On the contrary, I think investors are being told that putting money into new methane (natural gas) infrastructure is a long-term profit-maker. No bridge fuel for us; just the words.

And it probably doesn't hurt the industry's future that Exxon is the "largest natural gas producer in the U.S."

But more to the point, we just don't have the time, even if methane were used as a true bridge fuel. Atmospheric CO2 is accelerating, with 2014 and 2015 being named, successively, "the hottest year on record." Also, the 10 warmest years in the historical record all occurred since 1998. If we don't put the brakes on now — the real brakes, not just the rhetorical ones — it won't matter who's president for the next eight years, Sanders, Trump or Genghis Khan. They'll all be powerless to stop what everyone can see coming and is panicked about.

For more on why a "WWII-style mobilization" is both possible and necessary, see the section "The Zero Carbon Economy, a Rationing Regime that Works" here. To work to build a Mobilize Now awareness, you might start here.


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DuWayne Gregory-- Ready To Turn Long Island Blue Again


Republican Peter King has been in Congress since 1993 and his Democratic neighbor and crony, Blue Dog Steve Israel, has seen to it that he would have no serious challenges from the DCCC. With Israel himself finally retiring, there were hopes that the DCCC would finally take on King, an outspoken and belligerent Trump supporter. The Democrats have their best candidate for the seat in living memory, DuWayne Gregory, the respected and well-liked presiding officer of the Suffolk County legislature.

The Long Island South Shore district has moved significantly east into bright blue Suffolk County and is no longer primarily in Republican-safe Nassau territory. In fact, two-thirds of the voters now live in Suffolk-- and many of them don't know very much about Peter King. There was every expectation that once DuWayne Gregory became the official Democratic Party's candidate, the DCCC would come in and help him get the message out about who King is. After all, Obama won the district twice, 51-48% against McCain and 52-47% against Romney. And the district, the most Hispanic on Long Island, is bluer now than it was then.

In 2014 Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand won both counties with gigantic landslide margins and this cycle Chuck Schumer's reelection campaign is expected to do just as well. It looks like Hillary will beat Trump very substantially in the New York suburbs, Nassau and Suffolk counties included. More Democrats than Republicans voted in the presidential primaries in NY-02 and polling shows enthusiasm for Trump since the primaries has all but evaporated. But Steve Israel has persuaded the DCCC to once again take a hands-off posture towards his old pal Peter King.

Needless to say, he hasn't persuaded Blue America and we've endorsed DuWayne Gregory with great enthusiasm and urge all of our members to consider contributing to his strong grassroots campaign.

Friday we spent some time talking with DuWayne and I want to share some of his unvarnished thoughts with you:
"Ever since I announced my run for Congress people have asked me why do you want to run and why do you think you can beat Peter King? The answer for me was simple for two reasons. First, I strongly believe we need new leadership in Washington. Secondly, the decision to run, specifically, against Peter King was a personal decision for me. I take the responsibility of holding public office seriously. It is an awesome responsibility to have the ability to have a positive impact on people's lives. I also believe because of the oath of office we take we represent all residents of our district and not just the ones who voted for us or who we personally agree with. Peter King has violated this rule, in my opinion. I don't begrudge anyone with a more conservative set of principles than myself, but I do begrudge abhorrent values.

"My decision to run was due in large part because of my son Julian, who is gay. When district lines changed I took it upon myself to research my Congressman's voting record on LGBT issues and was astonished at how narrowed minded his voting history has been: he voted against gay couples adopting children in Washington DC; supported a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a woman and a man; voted against expanding hate crimes to cover LGBT victims; voted against protecting LGBT members from being discriminated at work etc. As a LGBT parent Peter King does not understand the fear that a parent has, because of the same bigotry that is displayed with a voting record like his. I will never forget the day my son Julian came out to me while we were going to get ice cream. He was 12 years old! I immediately told him that I loved him and want him to be happy, but in my mind I was worried about how less accepting people will respond. People like Peter King who wrongly think gays make a choice regarding their sexual orientation. People like the shooter in the Orlando club massacre where my son was just two weeks prior.

"So I made a choice that our country and my Congressional district needs new leadership and one less voice against equality in America. We deserve to have a representative that will work to protect my son just as fervently as all other children without bigotry or hate. It is Peter King's job to work to protect all people from harm and discrimination regardless of religious or personal beliefs. As an African-American I know hate all to well and to think my protection and safety would be sacrificed by an elected official because that person didn't approve I find appalling and dereliction of duty. The oath that public officials take does not ask them to protect only certain segments of the country, the one's they agree with, but all citizens of our country."
All the candidates on the page that comes up when you tap the Blue America thermometer below are, like DuWayne Gregory, the official candidates of the Democratic Party. And they all have something else in common-- the DCCC refuses to assist any of them, even though all of them are in districts that are good red-to-blue targets, especially in a year where Señor Trumpanzee is at the top of the Republican ticket. Please take a look and please consider helping out:
Goal Thermometer

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Could A Battle Over The Carried Interest Loophole Determine Sean Duffy's Political Fate In Northwest Wisconsin?


Duffy reports a $1,222,995 war chest against Mary Hoeft

You've heard about carried interest right? Do you understand what it is and why the carried interest tax loophole has to be shut down? After reading this OpEd from venture capitalist Alan Patricof in the NY Times over the weekend, I wish the loophole could be shut down retroactively and the billions of unpaid taxes by crooked Republicans like Robert Mercer, Steven Cohen, John Paulson and Paul Singer and crooked Democrats like John Arnold and Donald Sussman could be collected-- with penalties. As Patricof explains, "carried interest" is not an investment or a risk that needs to be rewarded. It's basically another form of a management fee that gets taxed at a much lower rate. It's the performance fee money managers charge to manage other people’s money. "Carried interest is the fund manager’s share of the earnings from a profitable investment, normally paid on top of a much smaller management fee." Almost all the candidates this year followed Bernie in denouncing it and pledging to close the loophole, from Jeb and Señor Trumpanzee to Hillary herself. In fact, Hillary "has vowed that if Congress does not close the loophole, as president she would ask the Treasury Department to use its regulatory authority to do so."
Ultimately, the controversy has to do with tax fairness, or the lack thereof. Instead of being taxed as wages or commissions earned, carried interest is currently taxed as if it were a personal investment, or capital gains. This gives us a significant tax advantage since the capital gains tax rate is about 50 percent lower than the top rate on ordinary income.

When I started my first fund, Alan Patricof Associates, in 1970, I vividly remember my accountant telling me about my first sale of an investment: “We’re going to treat this as capital gain, but sooner or later, it will be characterized as ordinary income.”

That was 46 years ago-- and virtually nothing has changed.

Other countries have taken action: Britain recently recognized the wisdom of doing away with the special tax treatment of carried interest by maintaining a much higher tax rate on such income. But not the United States.

It is past time for that to change, and for fund managers like myself to accept the reality: We should not be receiving a tax break meant for investors when our work does not involve the risk of our own investment of capital.

As the former Treasury secretary Larry Summers once said of carried interest, “Rarely has a policy existed so long with such weak arguments in its favor.”

The capital gains tax benefit was originally created for people who invested with their own capital at risk. It was established as an incentive for investors to take greater risk than they would with their ordinary income. But because of the nature of our work, carried interest does not merit that incentive.

...According to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, carried interest costs the American people nearly $2 billion in tax receipts every year. While eliminating the carried interest advantage would make only a small dent in the national debt, it would send a meaningful message to the American people.

Most important, it comes back to a question of fairness. Our current political and cultural environment is marred by a toxic belief that the country’s economic order is rigged against ordinary Americans-- that the world of high finance unjustly supersedes their rights, needs and wants.

A new report by Gallup found that 86 percent of Americans agreed that members of Congress paid too much attention to what their major financial contributors wanted them to do. It feeds the cynicism that is fraying our democracy.

“Congress’s harshest critics,” Gallup reported, “feel more strongly about the undue influence that donors and lobbyists have on Congress than they do about any other major criticism of the institution.”

For that reason alone, my fellow venture capitalists and private equity investors should support the closing of the carried interest loophole: It would carry great symbolic weight.

There needs to be a more realistic attitude from those of us who have benefited from the carried interest loophole for too many years.

We need to demonstrate a little more patriotism, and a greater sense of fairness, even if it affects our pocketbooks.
Goal ThermometerSean Duffy (R-WI) is an especially heinous member of Congress when it comes to serving the interests of the Wall Street banksters who pay him off rather than his own middle class constituents in Wausau, Superior, Marshfield, Rhinelander and Iron Mountain. We asked his progressive Democratic challenger, Mary Hoeft if we were missing something. "My opponent," she told us, "is Wall Street's best friend. He chairs a banking oversight committee and yet, found no ethical problem in accepting $300,000 in political contributions from bankers. In payback for that generous contribution, he authored legislation intended to cripple the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency shaped by Elizabeth Warren and others to make sure that Big Banks are never able to bring our economy to its knees again. More than 7 million Americans lost their homes to bankruptcy. Does Sean Duffy care? No. Does he care if taxation is soft on the wealthy and hard on ordinary middle class working families in Wisconsin? No. Wall Street has a fulltime lobbyist working for them, whose name is Congressman Sean Duffy. It's time for a change! The people of the 7th Congressional District deserve a representative who will work for them."

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