Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

Given to us as a gift, the Statue Of Liberty was designed by French sculptor Frederic August Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel. It arrived in New York in 1884, was assembled, and dedicated on October 28, 1886. Since then it has been exactly what it was meant to be; a beacon of liberty and a welcome to all immigrants. Liberty herself is Libertas, the Roman Goddess of Liberty. She holds a torch, not of the republican Tiki variety, but a symbol of "Liberty enlightening the world." The book Liberty holds is inscribed with the date of our Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. The most powerful, and, sadly, most ignored symbol lies at her feet. It is a broken chain.

Recently, Donald Trump's Senior Policy Advisor, Stephen Miller, made a sick, twisted effort to neuter the words "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" by saying the words were added to the statue after it was dedicated. In fact, the words were added 17 years later in 1903 but, what the bigoted to his core Miller conveniently neglected to mention was that the words are the most crucial part of a sonnet written by Emma Lazarus to help raise the funding for the statue itself in 1883. Miller's statement amounts to just one more example of the White House attitude toward immigrants.

In past sad eras of our American history, lots of countries have been considered shitholes by our most strident and disgusting bigots. In the mid-19th century, one of those countries was Ireland. Businesses looking for people to employ made a habit of putting signs in their windows that read "Irish Need Not Apply." As we entered the 20th century, the same conservative types regarded Italians as coming from a shithole country. Even as late as the 1930s, the great baseball player Joe DiMaggio was called a "The Dago Yankee" by Life magazine, right on its cover. Later, Nixon's tapes revealed his hate for Jews. In more recent times, not much has changed, only the ethnic targets. What is different is that we have an overtly fascist president who is not just cheerleading this hate and emboldening other bigots, but also trying to make his hate into law; counter to the meanings of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and the words that we can find on the Statue of Liberty.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party backs Trump's language and actions. On Friday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Senator David Perdue (R-GA) issued a joint statement saying that, although they were at the White House meeting where Trump issued his shithole statement, they just "couldn't recall" hearing it. Really? Wouldn't you? Thankfully, both Democratic Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and, surprisingly, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) made it clear that they could confirm that Trump said the words that have been attributed to him, although Graham did so more indirectly. And, really, given Trump's past statements, we should, in no way, be surprised he said what he said? Trump, of course, denied it all. Perhaps, he can't handle the truth.

Sadly, this whole incident shows us that the feelings or the Republican Party and it's leadership represent a perversion of what the Statue of Liberty is supposed to represent.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

House Republicans Talking About Winning Back The House In 2022


The Beltway prognosticators never understand the power of a wave as it forms. Never. They always get it wrong. That's because they've got their heads up each others' asses... inside the Beltway. But the Republicans who are in the wave's path this cycle sure understand what's coming, which explains why so many powerful-- albeit demoralized-- senior Republicans have raised the white flag and bowed out already. Let's see... House Financial Services Committee chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), House Science Committee chair Lamar Smith (R-TX), House Transportation Committee chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ed Royce (R-CA), House Judiciary Committee chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), House Ethics Committee chairman Charlie Dent (R-PA), Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet chair Darrell Issa (R-CA), House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), House Subcommittee on Social Security Sam Johnson (R-TX), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures Dave Reichert (R-WA), Dave Trott (R-MI), Joint Economic Committee chair Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Subcommittee on Aviation chair Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Subcommittee on Terrorism chair Ted Poe (R-TX), Tim Murphy (R-PA), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), House Trabsportation Committee vice chair Johnny Duncan (R-TN), Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution chairman Trent Franks (R-AZ), Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census chair Blake Farenthold (R-TX), House Administration Committee chair Gregg Harper (R-MS). That's 21 senior Republicans leaving-- a significant hollowing out of Ryan's leadership team-- and those are the ones who are just flat out retiring. Another dozen are retiring from the House to run for higher office, including Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black of Tennessee, Todd Rokita and Luke Messer of Indiana, Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Jim Renacci (R-OH), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Kristi Noem (R-SD), Lou Barletta (R-PA), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Evan Jenkins (R-WV).

Yesterday, Michael Scherer of the Washington Post referred to that as "a raft of retirements" and also pointed to "difficulty recruiting candidates and President Trump’s continuing pattern of throwing his party off message" as reasons prompting "new alarm among Republicans that they could be facing a Democratic electoral wave in November."
The concern has grown so acute that Trump received what one congressional aide described as a "sobering" slide presentation about the difficult midterm landscape at Camp David last weekend, leading the president to pledge a robust schedule of fundraising and campaign travel in the coming months.

But the trends have continued, and perhaps worsened, since that briefing, with two more prominent Republican House members announcing plans to retire from vulnerable seats and a would-be recruit begging off a Senate challenge to Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota despite pressure from Trump to run.

Meanwhile, Trumpist lunatic Corey Lewandowski-- who, reportedly, will be interviewed by Nunes' foolish and obstructionist House committee this week-- was on John Catsimatidis' New York radio show (AM 970) yesterday-- audio above-- admitting that Trump and Republicans are "in trouble" when the Democrats retake the House in November. "The real concern right now," he said, "is the Democrats are exceptionally motivated to run a campaign against this president. And if that's the case, they may have some good opportunities in front of them in the 2018 cycle... Their goal is to first and foremost stop the president’s agenda. And, I think, their secondary goal is to file articles of impeachment against this president, which are completely unfounded.”

So who will be the next Republican to announce retirement? Ryan says he ("and his wife") will make up their minds in the coming months, but it is completely unlikely, given the polling-- which shows that WI-01 independents (40% of his districts' voters) have turned against him-- that Ryan will run again and allow himself to be beaten by a union iron worker (known all over the internet as "IronStache"). One trusted Republican House staffer told me (on condition of anonymity) that up-coming or potential retirements are one of the main topics members and their staffs talk about and that they see Trump as "a ball and chain around the legs of every member" in districts where independent voters are the key to elections. He told me that "even incumbents in districts with PVIs above R+5 could be in trouble this year... Trump has a loyal following but it's a 2 headed sword for us. If we please them, we lose independents and if we make a play for independents, the Trump supporters could turn against us or sit out the election... Trump is the most divisive party leader in history... I've been hearing people talking about winning back Congress in 2022. It's that bad. And it's not going to get better; it's going to get worse."

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Most New Dems Voted For The Republican FISA Bill-- Here Are Their Crap Candidates For 2018


I have one more thing-- two lists-- to say about last week's FISA vote and the betrayal by the New Dems and Blue Dogs (the Republican wing of the Democratic Party). Currently there are 51 New Dems in Congress, mostly corrupt garbage with a very few exceptions.The New Dems provided Ryan, Trumpanzee and McCarthy with the votes they needed to pass the Republican FISA bill. Without the treacherous Dems they couldn't have passed it because 45 Republicans bailed on them. Of the 51 New Dems these 35 voted with Ryan and the Republicans against the overwhelming majority of actual Democrats:
Pete Aguilar (CA)
Ami Bera (CA)
Lisa Blunt (DE)
Anthony Brown (MD)
Julia Brownley (CA)
Cheri Bustos (IL)
Andre Carson (IN)
Jim Costa (CA)
Charlie Crist (FL)
Henry Cuellar (TX)
John Delaney (MD)
Val Demings (FL)
Bill Foster (IL)
Josh Gottheimer (NJ)
Jim Himes (CT)
Bill Keating (MA)
Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL)
Ann Kuster (NH)
Sean Patrick Maloney (NY)
Gregory Meeks (NY)
Seth Moulton (MA)
Stephanie Murphy (FL)
Don Norcross (NJ)
Tom O'Halleran (AZ)
Ed Perlmutter (CO)
Scott Peters (CA)
Mike Quigley (IL)
Kathleen Rice (NY)
Adam Schiff (CA)
Brad Schneider (IL)
David Scott (GA)
Terri Sewell (AL)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ)
Norma Torres (CA)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL)
As of this week, these are the congressional candidates the New Dems are trying-- with copious help from the DCCC-- to get into Congress. Please use the list as a guide to who not to support or vote for, particularly not in primaries. Obviously, there are no progressive candidates on this list:
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02)
Greg Stanton (AZ-09)
Dave Min (CA-45)
Harley Rouda (CA-48)
Hans Keirstead (CA-48)
Lauren Baer (FL-18)
Jason Crow (CO-06)
Paul Davis (KS-02)
Elissa Slotkin (MI-08)
Angie Craig (MN-02)
Dean Phillips (MN-03)
Dan McCready (NC-09)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11)
Max Rose (NY-11)
Anthony Brindisi (NY-22)
Mob-connected socialite Susie Lee (NV-03)
Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06)
Jana Lynne Sanchez (TX-06)
Jay Hulings (TX-23)
Ben McAdams (UT-04)
R.D. Huffstetler (VA-05)
Dan Kohl (WI-06)

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Bernie Draws The Battle Lines


Yesterday, Bernie penned an OpEd for The Guardian, Let’s Wrench Power Back From The Billionaires. I wonder if he offered it to the NY Times, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and USA Today first. His point: "If we stand together against powerful special interests we can eliminate poverty, increase life expectancy and tackle climate change." OK, scratch the Wall Street Journal. "Here," he began, "we are as a planet in 2018: after all of the wars, revolutions and international summits of the past 100 years, we live in a world where a tiny handful of incredibly wealthy individuals exercise disproportionate levels of control over the economic and political life of the global community."

Presumably, we'll be hearing a lot more of that from the Sanders-Warren ticket as we head towards the very consequential 2020 face-off. Even before that will be the very consequential midterms in November. When one of the Democratic Party's rising young superstars, Iowan Austin Frerick, read Bernie's OpEd he emailed me this: "This is why we need to start using the word 'monopoly' again. I believe that corporate concentration is the issue of our time. We’re living in a 2nd Gilded Age where the middle class is disappearing while the rich get richer. And it’s all caused by this monopoly power and the robber barons it has created." Yep... and back to Bernie for a few moments:

At the same time, all over the world corrupt elites, oligarchs and anachronistic monarchies spend billions on the most absurd extravagances. The Sultan of Brunei owns some 500 Rolls-Royces and lives in one of the world’s largest palaces, a building with 1,788 rooms once valued at $350m. In the Middle East, which boasts five of the world’s 10 richest monarchs, young royals jet-set around the globe while the region suffers from the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, and at least 29 million children are living in poverty without access to decent housing, safe water or nutritious food. Moreover, while hundreds of millions of people live in abysmal conditions, the arms merchants of the world grow increasingly rich as governments spend trillions of dollars on weapons.

In the United States, Jeff Bezos-- founder of Amazon, and currently the world’s wealthiest person-- has a net worth of more than $100bn. He owns at least four mansions, together worth many tens of millions of dollars. As if that weren’t enough, he is spending $42m on the construction of a clock inside a mountain in Texas that will supposedly run for 10,000 years. But, in Amazon warehouses across the country, his employees often work long, gruelling hours and earn wages so low they rely on Medicaid, food stamps and public housing paid for by US taxpayers.

Not only that, but at a time of massive wealth and income inequality, people all over the world are losing their faith in democracy-- government by the people, for the people and of the people. They increasingly recognise that the global economy has been rigged to reward those at the top at the expense of everyone else, and they are angry.

Millions of people are working longer hours for lower wages than they did 40 years ago, in both the United States and many other countries. They look on, feeling helpless in the face of a powerful few who buy elections, and a political and economic elite that grows wealthier, even as their own children’s future grows dimmer.

In the midst of all of this economic disparity, the world is witnessing an alarming rise in authoritarianism and rightwing extremism-- which feeds off, exploits and amplifies the resentments of those left behind, and fans the flames of ethnic and racial hatred.

Now, more than ever, those of us who believe in democracy and progressive government must bring low-income and working people all over the world together behind an agenda that reflects their needs. Instead of hate and divisiveness, we must offer a message of hope and solidarity. We must develop an international movement that takes on the greed and ideology of the billionaire class and leads us to a world of economic, social and environmental justice. Will this be an easy struggle? Certainly not. But it is a fight that we cannot avoid. The stakes are just too high.

As Pope Francis correctly noted in a speech at the Vatican in 2013: “We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.” He continued: “Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalised: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.”

A new and international progressive movement must commit itself to tackling structural inequality both between and within nations. Such a movement must overcome “the cult of money” and “survival of the fittest” mentalities that the pope warned against. It must support national and international policies aimed at raising standards of living for poor and working-class people-- from full employment and a living wage to universal higher education, healthcare and fair trade agreements. In addition, we must rein in corporate power and prevent the environmental destruction of our planet as a result of climate change.

Here is just one example of what we have to do. Just a few years ago, the Tax Justice Network estimated that the wealthiest people and largest corporations throughout the world have been stashing at least $21tn-$32tn in offshore tax havens in order to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. If we work together to eliminate offshore tax abuse, the new revenue that would be generated could put an end to global hunger, create hundreds of millions of new jobs, and substantially reduce extreme income and wealth inequality. It could be used to move us aggressively toward sustainable agriculture and to accelerate the transformation of our energy system away from fossil fuels and towards renewable sources of power.

Taking on the greed of Wall Street, the power of gigantic multinational corporations and the influence of the global billionaire class is not only the moral thing to do-- it is a strategic geopolitical imperative. Research by the United Nations development programme has shown that citizens’ perceptions of inequality, corruption and exclusion are among the most consistent predictors of whether communities will support rightwing extremism and violent groups. When people feel that the cards are stacked against them and see no way forward for legitimate recourse, they are more likely to turn to damaging solutions that only exacerbate the problem.

Damaging solutions? Like fascism? And like the solution implied in Kourtney Roy's incredibly powerful photograph (above)-- pure self defense. Also on Sunday, E.J. Dionne, Jr. wrote a column, for The Post, We Could Be A Much Better Country. Trump Makes it Impossible. "There are more important and interesting issues than the psyche of a deeply damaged man," he tweeted to alert people to his column. "We can be a far better nation. But we need leaders who call us to our obligations to each other-- not a president who knows only how to sow division and hatred... His stunts dominate the conversation and diminish our capacity to self-govern... Political leaders in democracies have a few core obligations. They are charged with solving today’s problems and preparing their nations for the future. They are responsible for creating some sense of shared purpose and mutual respect among their citizens-- above all a common commitment to preserving the very freedoms on which democracy depends." This is exactly what Bernie is worried about.
Our current debate is frustrating, and not only because Trump doesn’t understand what “mutual toleration” and “forbearance” even mean. By persistently making himself, his personality, his needs, his prejudices and his stability the central topics of our political conversation, Trump is blocking the public conversation we ought to be having about how to move forward.

And while Trump’s enablers in the Republican Party will do all they can to avoid the issue, there should now be no doubt (even if this was clear long ago) that we have a blatant racist as our president. His reference to immigrants from “sh--hole countries” and his expressed preference for Norwegians over Haitians, Salvadorans and new arrivals from Africa make this abundantly clear. Racist leaders do not help us reach mutual toleration. His semi-denial 15 hours after his comment was first reported lacked credibility, especially because he called around first to see how his original words would play with his base.

But notice also what Trump’s outburst did to our capacity to govern ourselves and make progress. Democrats and Republicans sympathetic to the plight of the “dreamers” worked out an immigration compromise designed carefully to give Trump what he had said he needed.
Stephanie Kelton is one of the most cutting edge economists in the world. She served as the chief Democratic staffer on the Senate Budget Committee and now teaches Public Policy and Economics at Stony Brook. Earlier today she told that "As usual, Sen. Sanders is right on the money in terms of identifying the many social, economic and environmental problems plaguing nations across the globe. But how can we afford an agenda that addresses the myriad of challenges he describes? It will take trillions of dollars to deal with climate change, guarantee health care to all Americans, make public colleges and universities tuition-free, get big money out of politics with publicly-funded elections, etc., etc., etc. Where will the money come from? Britain’s Prime Minister, Teresa May, is trying to beat back calls for a similarly progressive agenda by asserting, 'there isn’t a magic money tree that we can shake that suddenly provides for everything that people want.' This is a clear attempt to revive Margaret Thatcher’s dictum-- 'the state has no source money other than the money people earn themselves'-- in order to prevent the use of public money to serve the public good.

"Bernie essentially accepts this framing. For him, money doesn’t grow on trees, it grows on rich people and large, profitable corporations. And while there are plenty of good reasons to clamp down on tax havens and to fight for a more progressive tax code, it would be far better to decouple these fights from any spending proposals and argue each on its own merits. Our government already has the capacity to deploy public money in the public interest. There is no point holding the moral agenda hostage while we wait for success on the tax front. Jeff Spross had this right."

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The Fire Next Time


 A meme from the "Sanders or Bust" camp after the primary.

by Gaius Publius

I want to keep this short because it's really simple (emphasis mine throughout).

Stuff like this...
Taking Short Break From Denouncing Trump Authoritarianism, House Dems Join With GOP to 'Violate the Privacy Rights of Everyone in United States'

Democratic leadership in the House—who say that Trump is currently abusing his power to go after his political enemies—just helped him pass dangerous domestic surveillance powers.
...explained here...
45 Republicans looked at the stinky FISA bill on Thursday and could not pull themselves to vote YES. That means that had Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn held their caucus together, it could have been defeated. Instead, it passed 256-164. How the hell did that happen? Well, start with Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn; they all voted for it. In fact 65 Democrats did-- basically the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, pretty much all the Blue Dogs and all the New Dems and their fellow travelers. 119 Democrats voted NO and 65 voted with the GOP. All the garbage Dems were over on the other side of the aisle as fast as they could get there[.]
...as well as stuff like this...
If Democrats Want the Support of Millennials, They Should Cut Ties with the Fossil Fuel Industry

...Oil and gas executives strive to maintain company profits, which means holding back this very transition [to 100% renewables]. They are adept at using their deep pockets to pressure politicians into carrying out their pro-fossil-fuels agenda. If Democratic candidates choose to let Big Oil ride the Blue Wave this year, the prospects for action at the scale we need are grim. partnering with these oil and gas executives would not only be disastrous for our society’s ability to stop climate change, it would also be deadly for millennial voter turnout.
...produces anger like this...
I Promise To Sabotage The 2020 Campaign Of Any Establishment Democrat

If the Democratic party tries to run a pro-establishment presidential candidate in 2020, I, Caitlin Johnstone, promise unequivocally and unconditionally that I will do every single thing in my power to sabotage their candidacy and make them lose the election. ... I don’t care if it’s a transgender Muslim eskimo with a Senate seat and their own talk show — I will do my very best to ruin them, and I will do my very best to recruit others like me to help....

[I]f the Democratic party doesn’t run a very solid anti-war, pro-environment, pro-economic justice candidate in the next presidential election, there is at least one very loud voice out here who will relentlessly dedicate all available resources to making sure that it hurts. I will find every scrap of dirt I can find to help ruin your campaign. I will throw my support behind a third party candidate. I will shamelessly collaborate with conservatives. Everything legal and truthful that I can do to bring you down, I will do. You cannot manipulate me onto any other path. I will not compromise, and I will not stop. You have my most solemn word on that.
She closes, "America has become the central nesting space for an unelected power establishment which is threatening the existence of our entire species with ecocidal neoliberal policies and a neoconservative new cold war, and the Democratic establishment has been actively facilitating both. ... The only way to get change is to force it, and the only way to force it is to make enforceable threats."

A plus B results in C. The eager screwing of Sanders (A), plus the eager and cynical Party self-branding as complicit faux-resisters (B), produces the happy-to-sabotage anger of people like Johnstone (C).

Make no mistake. In the world of the betrayed, she is not alone. Some may not sabotage, as she will do. Some may just stay home — with pleasure. This is the fire the Party is playing with.

Is the Democratic Leaders' "Resistance" Entirely Cynical?

Is Democratic leaders' "resistance" entirely cynical, or only partially cynical? Let's consider: If Trump is indeed a blackmailed agent of Russia, as Nancy Pelosi, surely speaking for Democratic congressional leadership, seems to think, why on earth is Nancy Pelosi handing Trump (and Putin) expanded surveillance powers, as she absolutely did, as did such noted Heroes of the Resistance as MSNBC regulars Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell.

Again: "Democratic leadership in the House—who say that Trump is currently abusing his power to go after his political enemies—just helped him pass dangerous domestic surveillance powers."

As Johnstone writes elsewhere: "This same president who Democratic representatives like Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell have been loudly claiming is a treasonous Russian agent has been granted uninhibited surveillance powers by both Schiff and Swalwell, as well as House opposition leader Nancy Pelosi. They do not believe that Trump is a Kremlin asset, and they do not oppose him."

What should a sane and thinking person make of that, other than the obvious — that when it comes to their own claims that Trump is a Russian agent, no one in Democratic leadership believes a word of it. 

The Fire Next Time

We may be headed for a national crackup of epic proportions thanks to current Democratic leadership. The next electoral opportunity for the failed electoral revolt of 2016 to succeed is the congressional election of 2018, yet Democratic leaders seem determined to turn one more wave opportunity into another squeaker, just as they did in 2016.

To be clear, all of the anger exemplified above comes from potential Democratic voters — the next wave, if you will, of what would have been their new base — a group of voters now so disgusted with both parties that they may well stay home in droves for most of a generation. Having watched the Democrats casually and deliberately screw over Sanders, then crow about their win ("not a Democrat; not one of us; deserves what he got"); having watched Democrats, time and again, prove they've not changed at all — many of these potential voters have settled in neither camp, hating both and trusting no one at all, save maybe Sanders.

In fact, many of these voters are solidly in the impossible-to-achieve we-want-a-third-party camp. Both mainstream parties, of course, have solidly closed that door.

A Progressive Leadership Coup, or More of the Same?

So much for the wave election of 2018, if these voters have their way. Democrats may still win Congress back, but it won't be in a wave. And lord knows what their complicit-with-Republicans leadership will field in 2020 as a presidential choice. Another neoliberal with the right identity credentials and a superficial, "populist" cover story? Or a true hero of the people — for once?

Unless current progressives in Congress stage an actual coup, replacing those leaders with their own, we're almost certain to see a series of 2016 reruns. Until enough of the nation loses patience, of course, and stages a real revolt — a situation no one will enjoy.

In 2016, Democratic leaders' hubris guaranteed a squeaker. So too it will in 2018, and barring the coup imagined above, in 2020 as well. For independent voters who are not tribally loyal to Team Blue, it's just that hard to like them.

Will I be proved wrong? Will the Democrats field so many unpalatable mainstreamers that no one will want them? We'll know in just a few months, and 2020 is just around the corner.


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Hoyer Admits Trying To Rig A Colorado Congressional Race For The Corrupt Conservative Candidate


DCCC incompetence has kept CO-06 in Republican hands for years after the district turned blue. And it's almost as though Steny Hoyer and Ben Ray Lujan are working to keep up their unlikely record of failure. Obama won the district-- the suburbs south and east of Denver (including Aurora, Littleton and Centennial-- in 2008 with 54% and in 2012 with 52%. In 2016 Hillary beat Trump 50.2% to 41.3%. and the PVI went from D+1 in 2015 to D+2 now. In 2016 Bernie won the district and beat Hillary in all 3 counties (Arapahoe, Douglas and Adams). Even though Democratic voters in the district expressed that they were not interested in another status quo establishment candidate, last week, the DCCC interfered in the district primary by endorsing a more-of-the-same corrupt conservative New Dem, Jason Crow (who isn't from the district), over the grassroots progressive in the race, Levi Tillemann, and then going a step further by meeting with Levi and trying to bully him into dropping out.

First a little about Crow, from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party who was recruited by the DCCC. As I've explained before, Steny Hoyer and Ben Ray Luján have taken great pains to present their puppet candidate as a veteran and a family guy. He has no real issues page on his website, of course-- just a lot of identity politics bullshit and superficial platitudes galore. Crow's a lawyer in Denver who spent his career rigging the system against the poor, the marginalized, the vulnerable, and the forgotten. The DCCC will never let on that they are completely aware that he profited by making sure that there’s one type of "justice" for rich, white, well-connected men, and no justice at all for those they harm. For years, Crow’s marketing bio described him as an expert in everything from protecting abusive private medical groups and con men guilty of wire fraud to making sure bankers guilty of securities fraud and insider trading and business owners who bribed foreign governments got off the hook. He got rich by siding with the big guys and against the little guys and by defending payday lenders from justice-- again and again and again, systematically and with a sense of purpose. The DCCC looks at that and sees only the capacity for self-funding and low ethics-- their top two requirements for recruitment. Suddenly, with a little of that DCCC magic that has caused the Democratic Party to lose dozens and dozens of seats over the past decade-- including CO-06-- the guy is Captain America (and also Mother Teresa).

On the DCCC's Red-to-Blue endorsement page-- all shit right-of-center candidates-- they describe Crow as having "a stellar record of service. The son of small business owners [a laugh since his father had a private wealth management firm], Jason worked minimum-wage jobs during high school, enlisted in the National Guard, and worked construction to help pay his way through college. After the horrific 9/11 attacks, he served as a paratrooper in the invasion of Iraq where he earned a Bronze Star. Jason then served two combat tours in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger. Now he’s an attorney and veterans advocate." He's one of their very worst this cycle. Hoyer and Luján are helping him raise money and telling institutional donors and bu Democratic contributors to not give any money to Tillemann, the typical DCCC trick which then allows them to claim the candidates they don't back aren't "serious contenders."

I've been fighting with Hoyer about this for over a decade and I found this post I did from November 2006 after he asked me to interview him. It's a hoot. After the DCCC backed Crow last November, Tillemann slammed them for getting involved with one Democratic candidate while giving a cold shoulder to the others.
Levi Tillemann, a clean energy expert and former Obama administration official, said the results of last week’s election-- including sweeping wins by Democrats in swing states and in longstanding Republican-held districts across the country-- make it clear that voters in Colorado’s 6th District are ready to elect a Democrat, something they’ve never done.

“You saw a slate of progressive school board members and a number of strong, progressive city council members elected,” Tillemann told Colorado Politics, referring to election results in Aurora and Douglas County-- both parts of the 6th District. “This is a red-to-blue district, it’s been a red-to-blue district. The question is how we can actually flip the 6th in 2018.

“Let’s be honest. The DNC has put its finger on the scale before voters even have had a chance to meet the candidates. We’ve seen what happened when the DNC gets involved in primaries, and it’s not pretty. I’d suggest they let the Democrats vote rather than seeking to inflict their will on the voters of Colorado.”

While the DCCC insists it maintains strict neutrality in races with contested primaries-- “provid[ing] support to all Democratic House candidates willing to have open lines of communication and work collaboratively with the Committee,” a spokesperson said in a statement-- skeptics made hay when it turned out that leadership PACs run by Luján and Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House Democrats’ No. 2 leader, both donated to Crow’s campaign earlier this year but not to his primary opponents.
Yesterday ColoradoPolitics updated a post from last week about Hoyer's attempt to bully Tillemann out of the race, something I've seen him do dozens of times all over the country, always to help corrupt conservative candidates against progressives. He's real piece of shit. It's because of scumbags like Hoyer that the Democrats will never be anything more than the lesser of two evils in a corrupt political system. The sooner he's gone from Congress the better. He's 78; keep your fingers crossed.
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in House leadership, encouraged Democrat Levi Tillemann to end his primary campaign in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District during a December meeting at a Denver hotel, saying that state and national congressional and party leaders had decided “very early on” to consolidate their resources behind another Democrat, Jason Crow, to run against Republican incumbent Mike Coffman, according to detailed notes Tillemann wrote immediately after the meeting.

Hoyer told Tillemann that party leaders who had been through a few go-arounds in the district-- one of the top-targeted and most expensive congressional races in the country the past two cycles-- would be “negligent” if they didn’t get involved, adding, “If we just lay back as leaders that have some experience, as leaders that have gone thorough that district four or five times and lost, that’s not a rational thing to do,” according to the notes and a conversation Tillemann had with his campaign manager, Juan Rodriguez, minutes after the meeting ended.

“If you stay in the race-- and, frankly I would hope you would not-- but if you stay in the race, it is not useful to the objective to tear down Crow,” Hoyer told Tillemann, according to the notes.

Hoyer doesn’t comment on private meetings, a spokeswoman told Colorado Politics, but the veteran lawmaker said in a statement he was proud to support Crow.

...Hoyer’s support for Crow, one of four Democrats running in a primary in the district, has been public since his leadership PAC made campaign contributions to Crow last year. But his explanation that party bosses consider Tillemann a spoiler and are leaning on him to stand down, in part because the party’s state delegation recruited Crow-- and recommended that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee support him-- directly contradicts the DCCC’s repeated insistence it’s staying neutral in the battleground race.

U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette, Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter, Colorado’s Democratic House members, disputed the account through spokespersons. While Perlmutter acknowledged he supports Crow-- he’s known Crow and worked with him for a decade on veterans’ issues-- all three lawmakers denied they had a hand in recruiting Crow and maintained there had been no decision by the delegation to marshal resources in support of his campaign.

A spokeswoman for the DCCC declined to comment for this story.

The DCCC, the campaign arm of the House Democrats, in mid-November listed Crow among 11 congressional candidates named to its Red to Blue program to provide fundraising and organizational support. The announcement drew protests on social media from Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll, Coffman’s 2016 challenger and a DCCC Red to Blue candidate in that year’s election, who said the move amounted to an endorsement. It was, she said, contrary to both what DCCC officials had told her to expect and the organization’s stated policy of neutrality.

“The DCCC verbally said they would be neutral and in practice just endorsed one of the candidates in CD6,” Carroll wrote in a Nov. 16 Facebook comment reacting to news Crow had receivd the DCCC’s designation. “The neutrality policy is ours at the Colorado Democratic Party but it SHOULD be their policy too at the national level. My 2 cents.”

...Tillemann and Rodriguez told Colorado Politics that Hoyer’s exhortation, and the extraordinarily candid explanation that accompanied it, suggest Democratic party leaders haven’t learned from the scandals that rocked the party during and after the 2016 presidential contest, when accusations emerged that the party tilted the nomination toward Hillary Clinton and away from Bernie Sanders.

“It’s about the DCCC not trusting the judgment of their own people, not trusting the efforts of local party officials who have worked assiduously to make sure it’s a fair fight,” Tillemann said in an interview.

“It’s about a systemic effort to disenfranchise Democratic voters. The DCCC is acting like these contests are fair fights, and they’re not. It’s happening all across the country, and it’s at odds with our fundamental values of fairness and democracy. It’s a form of voter suppression, and it’s something we would condemn in the strongest terms if we saw the Republicans doing anything analogous.”

Rodriguez, who worked on the Sanders campaign in Nevada and Colorado, said he was appalled but not surprised.

“The DCCC is deciding months before the primary who’s going to be the nominee, who they’re going to back and who they’re going to try to force out. It comes down to who has the willingness to do what they tell them to do,” he said.

...Rodriguez said his description of Tillemann’s meeting with Hoyer was based on a discussion with Tillemann that took place almost as soon as the meeting had concluded, along with his review of notes the candidate took right after it had occurred, which was also Rodriguez’ first day on the job. He said Tillemann, author of the book The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future and a journalist with credits in the New Yorker, among other publications, wrote an extensive and detailed narration of the meeting, including numerous direct quotes.

Hoyer had proposed that the two sit down late on the afternoon of Dec. 15 at the downtown Denver hotel where Hoyer would be attending a Crow fundraiser later that evening.

They met for more than an hour in a roped-off section of the lobby of the Hilton Denver Downtown, a regular site of Democratic events and fundraisers-- the 2017 state reorganization meeting and annual fundraising dinner were held there, as will be next month’s Obama Dinner. First they engaged in what Tillemann characterized as a pleasant talk, for a time discussing their shared acquaintance with Tillemann’s grandfather, the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, a Bay Area Democrat who entered Congress in 1981, the same year Hoyer was first elected.

Soon, however, the conversation took a turn.

Hoyer told Tillemann he hadn’t known he was planning on getting in the race and added that it wasn’t personal, but maintained that “very early on” a decision had been made by congressional leaders in Colorado and people in Washington, D.C., that Crow was the candidate they were going to run against Coffman, and they had decided to consolidate their money, resources and political capital around Crow.

He repeated the assertion several times that the decision to back Crow had been made “very early on” and said that party elders would be “negligent” if they didn’t get involved in the race.

An incredulous Tillemann asked if that meant Democratic leaders had made their decision before voters would have a say and if that meant they’d decided the DCCC knows best.

“That’s certainly the consequence of our decision,” Hoyer replied, adding, “A judgment was made very early on by the Colorado delegation, and that decision redounds to your detriment.”

Pressing, Tillemann asked whether Democrats shouldn’t have a say in the caucus and assembly process, to which Hoyer said, “They’ll make a choice of one candidate over the other in the primary, but the choice they will make that will make a consequence to the Congress of the United States is in the general (election).”

At another point, Hoyer agreed with Levi’s characterization of Hoyer’s position to mean voters should just line up behind the party’s candidate.

“That’s certainly the consequence of our decision,” Hoyer said, admonishing Tillemann for putting “it in the most negative of terms.” He suggested Tillemann was “reject[ing] out of hand” the responsibility of “the party and the DCCC and the leadership of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives” to do their best to win the seat, which could help hand the gavel to Democrats after the 2018 election.

Then Hoyer stated in no uncertain terms: “I’m for Crow. Because a judgement was made very early on. I don’t know Crow. I didn’t participate in the decision. But a decision was made very early on by the Colorado delegation.”

Soon after, a Hoyer staffer interrupted to say the congressman had to wrap things up.

Tillemann said he appreciated Hoyer’s time and respected his service to the country but disagreed with the approach Hoyer had articulated and would be in touch. Hoyer closed the meeting by asking Tillemann to call his office to discuss Tillemann’s allegation that his campaign was facing attacks from Democrats like Hoyer had said could damage the party’s prospects in the fall election.

Tillemann told Colorado Politics the exchange with Hoyer confirmed his worst qualms about the Democratic Party.

“Our system is committed to the idea that primaries are an important step within the process during which party voters have a say as to which candidate represents their values, their community and their vision for the future,” he said. “What we see not only in the 6th Congressional District but across the country is a proactive and systematic effort by backroom politicians to circumvent the democratic process. That is not democracy, that is paternalism. That is what turns people off from the entire political process.”

Tillemann added that Hoyer’s message, while unexpectedly explicit, wasn’t a surprise.

“We had the sense the DCCC was trying to rig the primary,” he said. After meeting with DCCC officials early last year, Tillemann said he felt frustrated, so his campaign reached out to other Democrats in Washington but ran into cold shoulders there too.

“We don’t want favoritism; all we want is a fair fight,” he said. “We couldn’t get past a receptionist. What we requested was that the DCCC stop jumping on the scales and that they give all candidates within that primary process a fair shot.”

Through a spokeswoman, DCCC officials confirmed they met with Tillemann multiple times.

It isn’t just an insiders’ game, he continued, but an attempt to “drag us toward the center” when the Democratic establishment supports more conservative candidates regardless of the district-- even when the chances of electing Democrats appears higher this year than in memory, as evidenced by results late last year in Virginia, Alabama and across Colorado in local elections.

“What we see is a systemic set of forces that is driving the Democratic Party toward a conservative bias, candidates who are cookie-cutter and uninspiring chosen by party apparatchiks,” Tilleman said.

“This is what I call trickle down democracy. They’re doing the exact same thing we criticize Republicans for in the economic sphere. They are drowning out the voices of voters with money and backroom deal-making. It doesn’t work when you give all the resources to someone at the top in an economy, and it doesn’t produce the best results for your constituents when you give all the resources to a favored candidate in an election in Democratic primaries.”
Hoyer is a slimy character, even by DC standards, 100% owned by the K Street lobbyists. I remember when he used this bullying tactic to win right-wing Republican sex maniac Tim Mahoney a Florida congressional seat. Mahoney was a wretched Blue Dog pretending to be a Democrat and served one term after Hoyer got him the seat and was then driven from office for a series of sex escapades. Hoyer tried the same tactic to drive now-Congressman Matt Cartwright out of his first race against corrupt Hoyer crony Tim Holden. Despite Hoyer's efforts, Pennsylvania Democrats helped Cartwright bury Holden-- along with his disgraceful political career. As long as creatures like Hoyer are crawling around Washington, our country's politics will be something decent people will be hard-pressed to stomach.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

Is Señor Trumpanzee not just a pussy grabber? Obviously, Republicans have no problem with what Señor Trumpanzee is known for, but what if he's also a penis grabber? We all know how homophobic and transphobic Republicans are. Could that be the one thing that would make such people start to fall out of love with their big fat orange fascist?

I know it must be Killing Ann Coulter (not a book by Bill O'Reilly) that so many other loons like Steve Bannon, Trumpanzee, and, Stephen Miller have been getting so much extra attention this week. Poor Ann Coulter! It probably takes her back to her school days when all the other kids ran away form her so as not to get a bad case of Coulter Cooties. She longs for the days when she was a Republican hero. So, I guess it was only a matter of time before she played he #MeToo card. The thing is, although some have speculated about which equipment Ann was born with, this news will confuse and conflict the party of her choice.

But Ann, there is a party to whom such details don't matter. Too bad your personality and politics make you such an asshole.

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Sickness Of Coming Out As A Trumpist-- A Gay One No Less


Not the real Adam Levine, obviously

Mel Levine was an over-achiever. A graduate of Beverly Hills High, he was elected student body president of UC Berkely in 1963 before heading off first to Princeton and then to Harvard. He was elected to the state Assembly in 1983 and ten years later became a congressman. He voted for the Iraq war in 1991 and was defeated in the Democratic Senate primary by Barbara Boxer the following year. Currently (age 74) he's the president of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. He has 3 grown children. One is Adam Levine, a yappy gay Republican, considerably less of an achiever than his dad, who wrote a self-pitying essay for The Federalist last week about how much harder it was to come put as a Trump-supporting Republican than it had been to come out as gay. Many of his friends have abandoned him, not because he's gay but because he joined the Republican Party.

Full of hate and confusion he wrote that he grew up in a liberal Jewish family and "was indoctrinated with all of the correct values and views. He sounds like a very sick, very unhappy self-loathing twit. He also sounds like an incredibly spoiled, dense moron; Trump is perfect for him:
When I was seven, my dad took me on a celebrity-packed camping trip to Death Valley as part of a campaign to protect California’s deserts. Israel took center stage in family discussions. I attended a Quaker elementary school, where I learned the black national anthem before I knew the “Star Spangled Banner.” In high school art class, I even chose to focus on man’s destruction of the environment. I came out to my family as gay at the ripe age of 20, and they were duly overjoyed.

It was always a given that Republicans are bad people, representative of that shameful sliver of our flawed society that values money above the planet and think the world would be better off if everyone were a straight, white male. At a minimum they are racist, misogynistic and homophobic. Left to their own devices, they would exclude ethnic minorities from everything, kick sinful gay offspring onto the streets, and pave our parks over with oil derricks.

...When, in my adulthood, the liberal policy agenda became problematic for me, I found myself at a loss. I began to raise questions with my family and friends, and met resistance. It was not because my concerns were particularly inappropriate; I was just not supposed to be questioning at all.

One could disagree with nuances, but not the judgment of the (then) president, or the party. Period. The irony of this apparent intolerance for diversity of thought by the party claiming to champion the rights of groups underserved by the status quo was not lost on me.

For the first time in my progressive life, standing up for the values that I most strongly espouse-- truth, morality, self-reliance, boundaries, tolerance, and a healthy dose of Jewish skepticism-- was damaging my reputation and character. When I publicly opposed my dad’s support of the Iran deal, I was admonished. I had few friends with whom I could have a civil political conversation: one stopped all communication with me for two weeks because Trump won the presidency.

If Republicans are bad, Trump is nothing less than Satan embodied. Post-election family gatherings devolved into group Trump-bashing, which intensified as more rumors of my dubious views wafted across town. I did not even bother going to gay pride because it was fused with a Resist march. If you do not want to impeach our president, you have no place in gay life.

I was labeled a white supremacist by a friend I’ve known my entire life, and completely dropped with no explanation by another dear friend and self-anointed giant of the gay civil rights movement to whom my father had introduced me 15 years ago.

Yes, I was in despair, but I was also outraged at not being understood for views that felt so plainly obvious to me logically and experientially. These were not pie-in-the-sky views I was advocating in order to provoke. The Affordable Care Act has made medical treatment of my bipolar disorder more expensive than ever. Under the nuclear agreement, Iran flagrantly continues to enrich uranium and fund terrorist activities.

As a small business owner, I am regularly assaulted with financially crushing, nonsensical red tape and bureaucracy, much implemented as lip service to environmental protection. With few exceptions, every one of my good friends feels more economically hopeless after the “recovery” than before, and abject homelessness on the streets of my beloved city has swelled to egregious levels.

In desperation, like a closeted teenager sneaking into a porn theater, I surreptitiously began to explore the forbidden territories of Fox News and other conservative outlets. Incredibly, I found myself agreeing more often than not.

Fine, I thought, but that is where I had to draw the line. A couple of conservative encounters does not a conservative make, right? Until more liberals began to recognize the disingenuousness and destructiveness of my party’s stances, I just resolved to stick it out. I did everything in my power to avoid that one last unspeakable, fatal option: turning Republican.

Harvey Weinstein Was the Last Straw

Then Harvey Weinstein provided me the impetus I lacked: the media outlets that had enabled and covered up his indiscretions for years were the same major public voices for the Democratic Party, the self-proclaimed party of worker’s and women’s rights. The game was up; two and two could no longer be five. I reached my threshold where no amount of hypothetical Republican bigotry or greed could approach the magnitude of hypocrisy, corruption, or criminality I saw rotting the Democrats to the core. I jumped ship.
Harvey Weinstein? That's what turned someone off to the Democratic Party? Harvey Weinstein and assholes like him have nothing to do with the Democratic Party. Zero-- except in the minds of Republican idiots. Complain about Pelosi or Lipinski or Sinema or Hoyer... but Harvey Weinstein? No one ever heard of him except in the tiny Hollywood crowd and in circles around the Levine family, until he got caught. Jews and gays-- let alone Jewish gays-- should have an historical knowledge of what it means to fool around with fascists. If Mel Levine was an over-achiever it sure wasn't as a father. Voting for the Iraq War and not teaching his sad-sack son the dangers of fascism are serious flaws. 1992 California Democrats had something figured out:
Barbara Boxer- 1,339,126
Leo McCarthy- 943,229
Mel Levine- 667,359

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Birth Tourism... Lots Of Little Manchurian Candidates?


I encouraged Lou Reed to play this song at a state banquet at the White House. I sat next to Orrin Hatch or Richard Lugar-- who remembers?... and whichever it was loved it and swayed to it in his seat.
I travel a lot. All over the world. I started when I was just a kid, hitchhiking first to Montreal and then to Mexico City. I loved it. That was many decades ago and I've been to every continent and to scores of countries. Some countries I go to again and again and some... some once is enough. I just got back from Thailand. I've been there over 20 times. I like Thailand. Others that I can't get enough of and have been to multiple times, sometimes for extended stays, include Morocco, Holland, France, India, Spain, Italy, the U.K., Mexico, Nepal, Turkey... Once is enough countries for me? Hong Kong, Israel, Switzerland, Myanmar, Russia. Why? The people and the food are two easily discernible factors in each group.

Last year I was in Russia for the first time. It has its moments for me for sure but, overall, I wasn't crazy about it. I didn't like the people much, especially not in Moscow, where I found the people cold and suspicious and unfriendly. St. Petersburg was better, at least on the surface. I had an affair there and that was nice, but he was very anti-American. He had been brainwashed in school to hate America, although he was eager to live in Miami and his favorite music was rap and he was very open and attentive to this particular American. I never heard from him again though. Russia's weird. Trump didn't include them in his long list of "shithole countries." He loves Russia.

Ever hear of birth tourism? It's big in Russia now, as NBC explained last week. Cynthia McFadden wrote that pregnant Russian women are lured to Miami to get citizenship for their newborn children. "In Moscow, it's a status symbol to have a Miami-born baby, and social media is full of Russian women boasting of their little americantsy. It isn't just the warm weather and the good doctors. Like for the wealthy Chinese mothers-to-be who flock to L.A., it's the American passport for the baby. And Trump and other right-wing xenophobes haven't said a word about it, at least not in regard to Russians. For him chain migration is about people of color-- not white people.
What they are doing is completely legal, as long as they don't lie on any immigration or insurance paperwork. In fact, it's protected by the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says anyone born on American soil is automatically a citizen.

The child gets a lifelong right to live and work and collect benefits in the U.S. And when they turn 21 they can sponsor their parents' application for an American green card.

As president, Donald Trump has indicated he is opposed to so-called chain migration, which gives U.S. citizens the right to sponsor relatives, because of recent terror attacks. And as a candidate, he called for an end to birthright citizenship, declaring it in one of his first policy papers the "biggest magnet for illegal immigration."

"You have to get rid of it," he said on Meet the Press on NBC. "They're having a baby and all of a sudden-- nobody knows-- the baby is here. You have no choice."

In a twist, as the Daily Beast first reported, condo buildings that bear the Trump name are the most popular for the out-of-town obstetric patients, although the units are subleased from the individual owners and it's not clear if building management is aware.

There is no indication that Trump or the Trump Organization is profiting directly from birth tourism; the company and the White House did not respond to requests for comment.

Roman Bokeria, the state director of the Florida Association of Realtors told NBC News that Trump-branded buildings in the Sunny Isles Beach area north of Miami are particularly popular with the Russian birth tourists and Russian immigrants.

"Sunny Isles beach has a nickname-- Little Russia-- because people who are moving from Russian-speaking countries to America, they want … a familiar environment."

"They go across the street, they have Russian market, Russian doctor, Russian lawyer," he added. "It's very comfortable for them."

Reshetova came to Miami to have her first child, hiring an agency to help arrange her trip. The services-- which can include finding apartments and doctors and obtaining visas-- don't come cheap. She expects to pay close to $50,000, and some packages run as high as $100,000. Bokeria says some landlords ask for six months rent up front.
My great-grandparents came to the U.S. from Russia, penniless, feeling for their lives, to escape virulent Tsarist persecution. Trump would call them names. These Russians are a very different set of people. And he wants them here, the same way Republicans like Nixon went out of their way to lure Eastern European Nazi collaborators to New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania...

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Ambitious Democrats Decide How To Vote On The Republican FISA Bill


Thanks to Schumer, Arizona won't have a good choice in November

On Thursday, after the FISA vote, we saw how the whole Republican wing of the Democratic Party abandoned the Democrats and voted with Trump and Paul Ryan to expand spying. There had been enough principled Republicans who refused to vote for the bill to have killed it had the Blue Dogs and New Dems not saved it.

Today lets look at it from teh perspective of Democrats itrying to move into other jobs and how they voted. First off wretched New Dem John Delaney (D-MD), a declared-- if ridiculous-- candidate for president. Delaney voted for more FISA spying. And he wants the Democratic nomination for president (of the United States). By the way, his overall Progressive Punch score is "F." Seth Moulton (D-MA) harbors some crazy idea that he's going to be drafted to run on the national ticket. His voting record scored an "F" from Progressive Punch.

Michelle Lujan Grisham was been a mediocre New Mexico congresswoman from a safe Albuquerque seat. (Her Progressive Punch score is also "F.") She's running for governor of New Mexico and she's the frontrunner for the nomination and the likely winner in November. She also wants more spying. The are two House members running for governor of Colorado, Ed Perlmutter (who sports an "F" Progressive Punch rating) and he voted for more spying and Jared Polis (who sports a Progressive Punch "D") and who voted against the Republican FISA bill.

Goal ThermometerThere are 3 House incumbents giving up their seats to run for the U.S. Senate-- Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Jacky Rosen (NV), and Beto O'Rourke (TX). Sinema , who heads the Blue Dogs,is the single worst Democrat in the House and was recruited by Chuck Schumer to run for the open Senate seat. (She and Martha McSally, her likely Republican opponent voted identically.) The DSCC is likely to pour over $10 million into her race. Ditto for Rosen. Both have "F" scores from Progressive Punch and neither is remotely qualified to be in Congress in any capacity and in either house. It should surprise no one that both voted for the GOP FISA bill. O'Rourke voted against it. Schumer and the DSCC are not supporting him, at least not yet. Blue America has endorsed O'Rourke and you can contribute to his campaign for the seat held by the odious Ted Cruz by tapping the 2018 Senate thermometer on the right. There is also talk of Blue Dog/New Dem Adam Schiff running for DiFi's Senate seat if she decides to drop out. He may be another superficial Rachel Maddow hero but he's an awful conservative Democrat in a very deep blue California district. Progressive Punch rates him a "D"-- in a district that deserves an "A"-- and he was an influential pro-FISA vote on Thursday.

Two Hawaiians are looking for political advancement. New Dem Colleen Hanabusa is running for governor and she skipped the vote. Tulsi Gabbard has been a conservative and who sees the future in a different direction and has been reforming herself into a Berniecrat. She voted against the FISA bill. Joe Kennedy III sees himself as running for the Senate if, as is likely, Elizabeth Warren is part of the national ticket with Bernie in 2020. He was savvy enough to vote against the Republican bill. Tim Walz (MN) is very conservative and has accrued an "F" score from Progressive Punch. He's running for governor of Minnesota and voted against this bill. If Bernie is elected president, Peter Welch will be favored to win his Senate seat. Welch is generally pretty progressive but not nearly as progressive as Bernie. Bernie rates an "A" from Progressive Punch and Welch rates a "B/" Welch voted against the bill.

One last observation. Although Jim Himes (New Dem-CT) is the head of the New Dems and Queens Machine boss Joe Crowley has officially left the organization to assume a party leadership role, Crowley is still widely assumed to call the shots there. Lately he has been trying to woo progressives by voting with them on some key bills. That doesn't wipe away his corruption and his Wall Street ties but his Progressive Punch lifetime score-- now a "C"-- is a mediocre 85.66. This year though it is a much bluer 94.87, actually slightly higher than progressive icon Mark Pocan (93.85)! Why? Crowley is making a case to progressives that they shouldn't oppose him when he runs for Democratic Leader. The most corrupt Democrat in Congress wants top be Speaker and he parted ways with Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn on FISA. They voted for it and he voted against it. Blecchhh.

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