Thursday, April 26, 2018

CA-39-- Ask Lulu


One of the moist rotten of the DCCC's many rotten moves this cycle was endorsing the least competent "serious" candidate--"serious" implying in this case only one thing: loaded with cash-- anywhere in the country. Gil Cisneros wouldn't be a good candidate for dog-catcher; just ask Lulu (above). He won $266 million in a lottery and was able to quit his gig as a potato chip taster for Frito-Lay's and become... a slumlord. He lives in a multimillion dollar mansion in one of the most exclusive zip codes in America-- Newport Coast-- and has been successful at one thing: bribing lots of shameless organizations and congressional sleaze balls into endorsing him. Newport Coast in nowhere near CA-39, where he's running for Congress. He lies and tells people he's moved. He hasn't. (In fact, he lies about everything... all the time, very much like Trump.) The people who endorsed him must all be completely like him; his lies aren't secret or hidden-- and now we know who they are as well. Cisneros, for example, claimed he supported Bernie in the primary. But he didn't. He contributed massive amounts of money to Hillary during the primary and exactly nothing to Bernie during the primary. Maybe he prayer for Bernie; does that count as support? Those are the kinds of lies-about-everything bullshit that comes out of his mouth every time he opens it. This guy is the essence of an untrustworthy DCCC type of candidate-- perfect for DCCC right-of-center staffers who found him, Kyle Layman and Jason Bresler.

The DCCC didn't want him getting in the way of their candidate in CA-48, where he lives, and felt there was no chance to take back CA-39 anyway, so it didn't matter. But Ed Royce decided to retire and now the chance of flipping CA-39 is better than the chance of flipping CA-48. And the DCCC is stuck with Cisneros in one and two recruits-- Keirstead and Rouda-- in the other.

Cisneros is just one of the self-funders who wants to buy a congressional seat-- for no particular reason other than to have a business card that says "congressman on it. Here are the self-funders running in CA-39, none of whom live in CA-39:
Andy Thorburn- $2,335,900
Gil Cisneros- $2,052,762
Mai-Khanh Tran- $480,000
There's one good candidate in CA-39, someone who will make an actual difference in Congress and isn't running to get a business card-- Sam Jammal. He's an accomplished guy-- in the Washington and in the private sector. Here's how he explains why he's running for Congress:
I am running because during these divided times we need the next generation of leaders to step up and lead. Too many of us are falling further and further behind. The American Dream was in trouble before Donald Trump and now it’s on life support.

We need new voices that will fight to make sure students and young professionals can get a good job, afford a down payment on a home, and start a family. We need leaders who can stand up and fight to make sure our government gets back to the basics and represents our best interest.

I have spoken with seniors who are worried about whether their retirement savings will be enough. I have seen small business owners struggling to get a loan or stay afloat for their employees. I have spoken to students and young professionals facing crippling student debt and putting off life decisions as a result. Our community deserves a fair shot and Washington is too busy with empty rhetoric and partisan fights to look out for us.

I will champion the values we believe in as Americans, the ones our parents and grandparents taught us: in America, nobody should have to choose between paying their utility bill and taking their child to the doctor. In America, we welcome our new neighbors who want to put in an honest day’s work and make a better life for their families, because we were once those new neighbors and America welcomed us. In America, we go for bold ideas, we think big, we don’t settle for second place and we lead in every sector, from health care and higher education to clean energy.

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Breaking News: Trump Doesn't Wake Up In The Morning And Say "How Can We Drain The Swamp Today?"


Ronny's gone-- is Mulvaney next? Pruitt? Kushner-in-law?

Historians tend to agree that the most corrupt adminstrations-- at least before Trump's-- were those put together by Warren "Teapot Dome" Harding, who had the first cabinet secretary in history to go to prison for corruption, Andrew Jackson, who was proud to have started the "spoiler system," James Buchanan, who had a cabinet that helped the Confederacy as the Civil War began and, pdf course, Richard Nixon. Trump is worse than all 4 put together.

Last week, Washington Post ventured that Trump is on track to becoming the most corrupt in U.S. history. Half a year earlier Newsweek asserted that he already was there, a real first-class kleptocracy.
On October 17, 2016, the Trump-Pence campaign released a five-point plan for ethics reform that featured lobbying restrictions that would insulate Trump and his administration from corporate and interests. The plan was called “drain the swamp.”... “We’re going to end the government corruption,” Trump vowed, “and we’re going to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.”

...“Drain the swamp” fit perfectly with Trump’s constant complaints about the “rigged system,” thereby excusing what some said was going to be a historic defeat. As the campaign concluded, Trump turned himself into a martyr for the cause of American democracy, waging a principled but doomed campaign.

...Now, a year after the election-- and more than a year after Trump first made that pledge to the American people-- many observers believe the swamp has grown into a sinkhole that threatens to swallow the entire Trump administration. The number of White House officials currently facing questions, lawsuits or investigation is astonishing: Trump, being sued for violating the “emoluments clause” of the U.S. Constitution by running his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.; Paul J. Manafort, the second Trump campaign manager, indicted on money laundering charges in late October; Flynn, for undisclosed lobbying work done on behalf of the Turkish government; son-in-law and consigliere Jared Kushner, for failing to disclose $1 billion in loans tied to his real-estate company; and at least six Cabinet heads being investigated for or asked about exorbitant travel expenses, security details or business dealings.

...Trump friend Christopher Ruddy, the publisher of conservative outlet Newsmax, laughed off the suggestion that Trump would enter public service to enrich himself, as critics have suggested. At the same time, he added, "I don't think it's like they wake up in the morning and say, 'How can we drain the swamp today?'"

Ruddy thinks Trump can only do so much to fulfill his promise on ethics. "At the end of the day, the swamp rules," he told me, referencing the enormous class of unelected technocrats that will outlast Trump's presidency, as well as all the ones that come after.

But according to the presidential historian Robert Dallek, no American leader has acted with more unadulterated self-interest as Trump. Dallek says that in terms of outright corruption, Trump is worse than both Ulysses S. Grant and Warren G. Harding, presidents who oversaw the most flagrant instances of graft in American political history. Grant’s stellar reputation as a Civil War general is tarnished in part by the Whiskey Ring scandal, in which Treasury Department officials stole taxes from alcohol distillers; members of Harding’s administration plundered oil reserves in Teapot Dome, a rock outcropping in Wyoming that has lent its name to the most notorious example of government corruption in American political history. In both cases, the fault of the president was in his lack of oversight. As far as Dallek is concerned, something more nefarious is at work in the White House of Donald Trump.

“What makes this different,” Dallek says, “is that the president can’t seem to speak the truth about a host of things.” Trump isn’t just allowing corruption, in Dallek’s view, but encouraging it. "The fish rots from the head," he reminds.
So, here we are, less than half a year later, and the corruption has ramped up... a lot. Jonathan Chait had a perfect example for New York Magazine this week: Mick Mulvaney Tells Bankers to Pay Up If They Want Favors From Trump. "Trump," he wrote, "ran for the presidency as an economic populist who promised to implement stringent new reforms to limit the power of money in government. Not only has he ignored these promises, he’s likewise failed to observe even the old norms, which called for some pretense of good government. For instance, people in government might have always given their donors more influence over their decisions, but they at least pretended that was not the case in public. The Trump administration is not even bothering to put up a façade.
Mick Mulvaney, the budget director and director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has gutted the latter agency’s role in preventing consumer fraud. Tuesday, he met with lobbyists and executives from the banking industry, promising further steps to gut regulations to prevent them from cheating customers. That’s not even the scandalous part! The scandalous part is that Mulvaney asked the executives and lobbyists to donate more money, and told them the more they donated, the more influence they would have. Mulvaney didn’t offer this as a sad concession to reality but an actual principle of governance he had personally abided:
“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mr. Mulvaney, a former Republican lawmaker from South Carolina, told 1,300 bankers and lobbyists at an American Bankers Association conference in Washington. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”
The levels of corruption in this administration are simply staggering, and they range from open self-enrichment to openly selling policy to the highest bidder. The completely accurate sense that Trump and his party are out to get themselves and their friends rich is the administration’s gaping vulnerability. What’s especially odd is that nobody in the administration seems to have taken even cursory steps to address or paper over this weakness. They’re all just grabbing as much cash for themselves and their allies as they can, while they can.

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What Do Desperate Republican Primary Candidates Do When They Get REALLY Desperate? West Virginia, Mountain Mama


New polling for West Virginia's Republican primary-- which in May 8th-- is making felon and far right crackpot Don Blankenship desperate. He's been leading establishment candidates Congressman Evan Jenkins and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey-- and now he isn't. Fox shows both considerably ahead of him now. In a state where Trump had an 87% approval rating among Republican primary voters, Blankenship, the candidate most like him, is coming in a distant third.

So how's he responding? He's on the attack-- against Mitch McConnell, who has been leading establishment attacks against him. But blankenship has now gone beyond just reminding West Virginia GOP voters that "McConnell should not be in the U.S. Senate, let alone be the Republican Majority Leader. He is a Swamp captain. The Russians and McConnell should both stop interfering with elections outside their jurisdictions." Now he's attacking McConnell's personal life.

He hasn't mentioned that McConnell is a closet case, used to pick up young men in Louisville's "pickle park" and that his marriage to Elaine Chao is a farce. But that may come next. Right now he's just talking about the marriage from another perspective, one's we've been pointing out for over a decade-- that the marriage has helped make McConnell wealthy because of China trade

On Monday, Blankenship told a West Virginia radio show on 106.3 FM, that McConnell has a conflict of interest because his father-in-law is a "wealthy Chinaperson." His "wife" was Secretary of Labor under Bush and Trumpanzee appointed her Transportation Secretary. The New York Times exposed Blankenship as not even living in West Virginia any longer (but near Las Vegas) and that he himself had once mulled Chinese citizenship for himself because he admires authoritarian governance.

He didn't bring up the rumors that McConnell is a closet queen, but only said that he has "an issue when the father-in-law is a wealthy Chinaperson"-- Chao’s father owning a shipping company in China-- and that "there’s a lot of connections to some of the brass, if you will, in China."

The Times noted that Blankenship’s own fiancée, Farrah Meiling Hobbs, was born in China and moved to the U.S. in 1996, tand that she's a "former Chinese professional basketball player and part-time model." While he was criticizing McConnell for being "soft on China" and demanding that McConnell and other senators need to be "more transparent," about their business ties, Blankenship is the only candidate in the West Virginia race who is refusing to disclose his personal finances-- required by state law-- claiming that the penalties are so light that he has no incentive to do so. Last week he said "I don’t personally think anybody should have to disclose private information," quite different from what he now saying about McConnell

Josh Holmes was Miss McConnell's campaign manager and later his chief of "staff." Here's a recent tweet he put out about Blankenship in regard to his fears about Blankenship exposing the close relationship and a McConnell have always enjoyed:

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What To Do About Facebook — First Thoughts


If a billion-user, private, hugely profitable company were truly this powerful, what should be done about it?

by Gaius Publius

The revelations about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have come and gone quickly, like a fiery auto crash into a ten-foot wall, the remains of which nevertheless disappear overnight — in this case replaced by the next Trump scandal to hit the news. Pedestrians walking past the crash site today can only smell the fumes of earlier fevered concerns.

Yet the Facebook problem remains, if barely considered now. As we wrote earlier, what Facebook did in that case was no more than it was designed to do. Not only that, but what Cambridge Analytica did was follow a path others had tread before, except that this time the "Trump! Russia!" taint had made its own deeds unacceptable.

But ask yourself, if either political party had done what CA did, would this be news? A scandal? Or just "how things are done around here"? And given the power of this kind of private company over the public, is its very existence in the public interest at all?

The questions surrounding Facebook are many and serious. Facebook is first a monopoly; next, a mass manipulator capable of swinging elections and other social decisions in an order-of-magnitude-greater way than simple common advertising, no matter how targeted; third, a source of enormous wealth to a powerful few; and finally, it performs an almost utility-like, ubiquitous social function in today's Internet age. (Consider the telephone network as a utility that connects masses of people and enables communication. Now consider Facebook as a kind of modern-day telephone network. The communication is what we're interested in. The monetizable data and metadata of our communication is what its owners are interested in. The data collection is not necessary to the communication function.)

Each of these aspects of its nature adds implications to the "What to do about Facebook?" question. As a monopoly, should it be broken up? If so how? As a mass manipulator, should its activities be curtailed? As a source of great wealth to very powerful people, it presents all of the obstacles to altering its activity as does, for example, the problem of addressing the harms done by Wall Street. And as a utility, should it be allowed to continue as a private operation, or be nationalized and run in the public interest only?

"Nine Steps to Restructure Facebook"

These are heady questions. This piece represents a first attempt to grapple with some of them, and I may well return to the full topic later. But let's start here, with a look at an article in the Guardian by Barry Lynn and Matt Stoller, both of the Open Markets Institute, a think tank that studies monopolies.

The article's title: "Facebook must be restructured. The FTC should take these nine steps now". I recommend reading it in full, but I want to present today just the authors' suggestions for "fixing" Facebook. These are their recommended nine steps:
1) Impose strict privacy rules on Facebook, perhaps using Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation as a guide.

2) Spin off Facebook’s ad network. This will eliminate, in one swoop, most of the incentive that Facebook now has to amass data and to interfere and discriminate in the provision of information and news.

3) Reverse the approvals for Facebook purchases of WhatsApp and Instagram, and re-establish these as competing social networks.

4) Prohibit all future acquisitions by Facebook for at least five years.

5) Establish a system to ensure the transparency of all political communications on Facebook, similar to other major communication networks in the United States.

6) Require Facebook to adopt open and transparent standards, similar to conditions the FTC imposed on AOL Messenger in the AOL-Time Warner merger settlement in 2001.

7) Establish whether Facebook violated the 2011 consent decree and, if so, seek court sanctions.

8) Threaten to bring further legal action against Facebook unless top executives immediately agree to work with the FTC to restructure their corporation to ensure the safety and stability of our government and economy.

9) Establish whether top executives enabled, encouraged, or oversaw violations of the 2011 consent decree and, if so, pursue personal fines against them.
Some of these suggestions touch on the behavior of the company relative to its users and data — numbers 1, 5, 6, and all of those relating to the 2011 FTC consent decree, which "required that users be notified and that they explicitly give their permission before data about them is shared beyond the privacy settings they have established. The developer of the [Cambridge Analytica] app sought permission from those who downloaded it but not their Facebook friends."

Some of these suggestions touch on Facebook as a monopoly — numbers 2, 3, and 4. Some of them would indirectly but materially affect the wealth of the Facebook owners (but not the political power their wealth purchases).

None of these suggestions, however, direct addresses whether Facebook should (a) be allowed to exist at all; or (b) be nationalized and regulated like a utility, meaning operated in the public interest and not for the acquisition of private wealth and power.

So these are just first thoughts to answering the question, "What should be done about Facebook?" and only first thoughts. Still, they are important thoughts. If something isn't done about Facebook, it will continue to be used as a mass manipulator (and grow more effective as one) by a great many actors not tainted with the "Trump! Russia!" stink — meaning both American political parties, plus our various special-interest elites, such as the military.

Facebook, Democracy & the Next Sanders-Like Candidate

The implications for our democracy, assuming we have one, are great.

To consider just one, imagine a Bernie Sanders candidacy in 2020 (or a candidacy very like it), with Facebook still on the loose, and conscienceless Establishment operatives, who hate and fear him, willing to "do anything it takes" to protect their insider grip on the political process. No "Trump!" no "Russia!" in this scenario, but an outcome nevertheless as tragic for the nation, as I see it, as the one currently mourned as having already happened.

If 2020 is indeed the last electoral cycle for America to escape the twin tsunamis of, first, chaotic violent revolt against "rule by the rich," and second, the wave of climate chaos that races toward us, it may not matter much who wins in 2020, even if the winning candidate promises nothing more than "let's just get back to normal."

 Imperial Storm Troopers protecting a bank in Portland

In the post-2020 world, getting back to "normal" may not be enough.


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DCCC Is Forcing Crappy Status Quo Candidates In Districts That Voted For Bernie Over Hillary-- CO-06


This morning Lee Fang broke a story at The Intercept that we touched on back in January-- basically how the Democratic establishment is trying to crush progressive CO-06 candidate Levi Tillemann in order to push their corrupt conservative candidate Jason Crow. The story stars Steny Hoyer and if it reminds you of what the DCCC did to Laura Moser in Texas, it should... for more reasons that are apparent.

Last year Pelosi (along with her incompetent DCCC chair, Ben Ray Lujan) were forced to allow the Democratic House conference to elect the leaders of the DCCC. No one ran against Lujan. And only one member ran for vice chair in each region. So... more an election in a dictatorship than in a democracy. In the region that includes Colorado and Texas, Jared Polis was the candidate and the new regional vice chair. But his interest in doing the job was exactly zero since he is running for governor of Colorado. There are at least half a dozen GOP-occupied winnable seats in the region-- and no regional vice chair. That's bad. Polis finally did the right thing and resigned. But Lujan and Pelosi have adamantly refused to replace him. They promised "soon" but it's been over a year and they've allowed the corrupt conservative staffers to run the show-- ergo: the Laura Moser scandal and now the Levi Tillemann one.

Lee Fang:
The secretly taped audio recording, released here for the first time, reveals how senior Democratic officials have worked to crush competitive primaries and steer political resources, money, and other support to hand-picked candidates in key races across the country, long before the party publicly announces a preference. The invisible assistance boosts the preferred candidate in fundraising and endorsements, and then that fundraising success and those endorsements are used to justify national party support. Meanwhile, opponents of the party’s unspoken pick are driven into paranoia, wondering if they are merely imagining that unseen hands are working against them.

Hoyer bluntly told Tillemann that it wasn’t his imagination, and that mobilizing support for one Democratic candidate over another in a primary isn’t unusual. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., chair of the DCCC, has a “policy that early on, we’d try to agree on a candidate who we thought could win the general and give the candidate all the help we could give them,” Hoyer told Tillemann matter-of-factly.

“Yeah, I’m for Crow,” Hoyer explained. “I am for Crow because a judgment was made very early on. I didn’t know Crow. I didn’t participate in the decision. But a decision was made early on by the Colorado delegation,” he said, referencing the three House Democrats elected from Colorado.

“So your position is, a decision was made very early on before voters had a say, and that’s fine because the DCCC knows better than the voters of the 6th Congressional District, and we should line up behind that candidate,” asked Tillemann during the conversation.

“That’s certainly a consequence of our decision,” responded Hoyer.

“Staying out of primaries sounds small-D democratic, very intellectual, and very interesting,” said Hoyer. “But if you stay out of primaries, and somebody wins in the primary who can’t possibly win in the general,” the Maryland representative said, citing the surprise victory of Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate election, “I’m not saying you’re that person.” But staying out of primaries, he argued, is “not very smart strategy.”

...During the conversation, Hoyer asked Tillemann to leave the race multiple times and make way for Crow. “You keep saying I would like you to get out of the race, and of course that’s correct,” Hoyer said, adding that he hoped Tillemann would refrain from criticizing the party’s chosen candidate if he decided to stay in.

The party, notably, has a poor track record in selecting candidates that can win the general election.

...In races in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Texas, Nebraska, California, and beyond, progressive candidates are finding that the DCCC has mobilized support for moderate candidates with access to early campaign cash at the expense of progressives. As we’ve reported, many first-time candidates are told by the DCCC that before they can even be considered, they have to perform the “rolodex” test to show they can raise $250,000 or more from the contact list on their phone.

...For the 2018 midterm cycle, the party has not only courted moderate Democrats and formed a renewed partnership with the conservative Blue Dog caucus for candidate recruitment, but has discouraged candidates from embracing populist ideas, such as single-payer health care.

For Tillemann, however, the party’s closeness with the corporate elite is the very reason why the DCCC continues to lose general elections.

“They squash progressive candidates. They destroy the diversity of ideas in their caucus. They keep ideas like ‘Medicare for All,’ free community college, or impeaching Donald Trump from having a significant role in the national conversation,” says Tillemann. “The issues that resonate most with voters are not the issues that the DCCC is telling candidates to focus on.”

Is he worried that even if he is successful in his campaign, that he’s already betrayed one of the most powerful Democrats, making him an outsider as soon as he arrives in Washington?

“To a certain extent, people like Elizabeth Warren and people like Bernie Sanders have been ostracized by the party, and they have been marginalized by the establishment to the extent that is possible,” says Tillemann. “But the fact of the matter is that the people are crying out for genuine leaders, and the people are crying out for a solution to inequality and systemic injustice, and to the extent that I am fighting for those solutions, then I think there will be a powerful constituency for that.”

“I’m proud to be on the side of truth,” he added. “I’m proud to be on the right side of democracy, and I’m proud to be on the right side of free and fair elections.”
Crow applied for-- and got-- an endorsement from the corrupt, Wall Street owned nd operated New Dem PAC. It fits him well, considering his background as an attorney who made a living protecting payday lenders and other vultures who preyed on working families. He was also added to the DCCC's list of shame, the Red to Blue page.

Goal ThermometerThis is a district, represented by Republican Mike Coffman, that should have flipped blue years ago. DCCC interence prevented that. Obama beat McCain in the district 175,487 (54%) to 147,091 (45%) and then beat Romney 182,464 (52%) to 164,398 (47%). In 2016 Trump was rejected by CO-06 voters and Hillary beat him 50.2% to 41.3%. Meanwhile, Democrats in the district were clear in the 2016 caucuses that they wanted a progressive like Tillemann, not a conservative like Crow. In all three counties that make up CO-06 Bernie won, not Hillary.
Adams- 61.0%, Hillary- 38.3%
Arapahoe- Bernie- 53.0%, Hillary- 46.3%
Douglas- Bernie- 49.7%, Hillary- 49.6%
The folks in the district want real change and real reform, not a status quo nothing candidate with a biography like Crow. They're not looking for an establishment character who will have trouble holding the seat-- part of the New Dems, the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- who will probably be swept away in the next midterm.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

There are actually people who will try to convince you that Paul Ryan is not a fan of Señor Trumpanzee. The photo for tonight's meme puts the lie to that in an instant. Just look at that adoring expression on Ryan's face. This is a man with his idol, a puppy with his master. It's also a picture of a pair of mangy disease carrying rodents that are the faces of the Republican Party.

I wonder what was discussed the day this photo was taken. I have little doubt that there was a snickering nudge-nudge discussion of porn stars and whores. I have even less doubt that that would have been the point where Ryan, a career whore himself, made his plea of love. After all, the two rodents have a bond. That bond, is based on, among other evils, the Trump-Ryan Tax Scam, a tax scam that is as transparent as can be, a con of tremendous proportions, a con that, predictably, is doing the opposite of the claims that were made for it. It's now also exploding the deficit by $1.5 Trillion even faster than expected; all so the republicans can push to get rid of Social Security and Medicare and pull the rug out from under as many Americans as possible. What a real pair of sweethearts.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

After Pompeo Is Confirmed We'll Be Hearing Lots About "Bloody Gina"


I'm really looking forward to former Democrat Joe Lieberman's OpEd on why Democrats need to confirm Torture Princess Gina Haspell. He hasn't published it yet, just one called Senate should fulfill constitutional duty, confirm Mike Pompeo. Pompeo has to move on the State before Haspell cn be voted on for his old job at the CIA. Lieberman hectored Democratic senators that the pro-Pompeo and anti-Pompeo votes are "breaking along partisan lines which is contrary to precedent for this important position and bad for our country because it sends a message of internal division to our allies and adversaries around the world." But he doesn't lecture the Republicans about serving the country by rejecting him-- only the Democrats about confirming him. "Pompeo’s academic and professional credentials," he insists, "are stellar. He graduated first in his class from West Point, and served as a U.S. Army cavalry officer. Later, he graduated from Harvard Law School, as an editor at the Harvard Law Review. Afterwards, he was successful in business, co-forming an aerospace company and serving as president of an oilfield equipment company. During Mike Pompeo’s three terms in the House of Representatives, he became known as a thoughtful voice on national security, serving on the House Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Intelligence Subcommittee on the CIA. While in the House, he focused on homeland security and the War on Terror, sponsoring numerous bills to contain Iranian aggression. Nothing that indicates he would be a good Secretary of State.
For the last 15 months, Pompeo has served as director of the CIA. His tenure there has been considered broadly successful, including efforts to pare bureaucracy and squeeze North Korea’s supply routes. Pompeo delivered President Trump’s daily intelligence briefings, giving him insight about emerging security threats and how the president comprehends them. These briefings earned him the trust of the president, crucial to the success of any cabinet member. This president’s confidence in Pompeo is such that he dispatched Pompeo to handle the sensitive portfolio of meeting with North Korean despot Kim Jong Un earlier this month.

Given his strong background, Pompeo is certainly qualified to be secretary of State. His narrow path to confirmation in the Senate isn’t a reflection on his qualifications; instead, it reflects our country’s growing political polarization.
No-one doubts that had Democrats not driven Lieberman out of the Senate, he would be joining DINOs Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp in supporting the nomination. He insists that "the Advise and Consent clause has become increasingly used in these hyper-partisan times as another way for senators to prove their conservative or liberal bona fides to their political bases. This risks turning every nomination into an exercise in ideological posturing. It is time to time to return to the traditional understanding of 'advise and consent,' putting the national interest above partisanship-- and judging simply if the candidate can do the job. Director Pompeo has shown he can. He deserves confirmation."

So what about Gina? Did he read her college record from the University of Kentucky? How about her record as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency? There must be a reason that more than 100 retired admirals and generals are raising serious concerns about her.

I'd trust former CIA officer and torture whistleblower John Kiriakou, who personally knew her, far more than Lieberman. He told Amy Goodman at Democracy Now! that Haspel "tortured Just for the Sake of Torture." Perfect for Trump and his budding fascist state! And percent for Team Bolton! And Lieberman. What about Manchin and Heitkamp on this one?

He's not a big fan of Pompeo either but feels we could have done worse with that nomination "Gina Haspel, however, is a problem, a big problem. I’ve been talking about Gina Haspel for more than a year. She was a dreadful choice to be the deputy director. She’s a worse choice to be the director. I think it’s wonderful that there’s a possibility of a woman heading the CIA, but there are 50 different women who are qualified to lead the CIA. It shouldn’t be Gina Haspel... We did call her Bloody Gina. Gina was always very quick and very willing to use force. You know, there was a group of officers in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, when I was serving there, who I hate to even make the accusation out loud, but I’m going to say it: who enjoyed using force. Yeah, everybody knew that torture didn’t work. That’s not even the issue. Lots of different things work. Was it moral, and was it ethical, and was it legal? I think the answers to those questions are very clearly no. But Gina and people like Gina did it, I think, because they enjoyed doing it. They tortured just for the sake of torture, not for the sake of gathering information."
[A] black site is a site that’s more or less off the books, meaning it doesn’t officially exist. It exists, but nobody is supposed to know that it exists. And in many cases, that includes the congressional oversight committees. So, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the CIA set up such black sites all around the world, with the idea being that if we captured someone from al-Qaeda or kidnapped someone from al-Qaeda, we could send him to one of these black sites, interrogate him without having to worry about the law, about ethics or morality or the FBI breathing down their backs. They could do whatever they wanted. And that’s how this torture program spiraled out of control. There were people who were murdered in the course of their interrogations.

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Ready To Say Bye-Bye To Scott Pruitt? It's Not The Bad Policies Doing Him In... It's The Graft And Corruption


The White House has been sending signals to Senate allies to not go out on any limbs defending EPA Director Scott Pruitt. On Monday, Bloomberg was already reporting that the Pruitt defenses were starting to crumble. "White House officials are cautioning Republican lawmakers and other conservative allies to temper their defense of Scott Pruitt, according to two people familiar with the discussions, in a sign that administration support for the embattled EPA chief may be waning." There were already some Republicans that didn't need the warnings. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Susan Collins (R-ME) had already called on Pruitt to resign.

The San Francisco Chronicle published a blistering editorial on Monday demanding Trump replace him.
Scott Pruitt’s only tenuous claim to environmental protection concerns a sort of wetland preservation-- namely, his immense contributions to the ethical swamp President Trump promised to drain.

And yet the notoriously antienvironment Environmental Protection Agency chief remains employed by a president renowned for firing people on and off television (and Twitter). Pruitt’s remarkable longevity amid accumulating scandal sends a clear signal that the Trump administration-- which is, after all, often run from Florida-- is as swampy as they come.

Thanks to Pruitt’s penchant for expensive, extraneous and ethically dubious personal luxuries, official trappings and security measures, his drive to undo decades of hard-won environmental progress threatens to become bogged down in, according to the New York Times’ count, 10 different investigations. Recent reports by the Times and others suggest these habits date to Pruitt’s time as a state legislator and attorney general in Oklahoma, where he also maintained mutually beneficial relationships with industry and lobbyists.

...When he’s not being accommodated by the industries he largely fails to regulate, Pruitt can be found traveling about the country and even the world at inflated expense to taxpayers. Part of the extraordinary cost can be attributed to first-class airfare and accommodations for his sizable retinue, present even on personal trips to Disneyland and the Rose Bowl. The administrator, who has been roundly criticized by predecessors from both parties, apparently believes his courageous defiance of climate science necessitates an unprecedented 24-hour security detail that has cost taxpayers nearly $3 million.

Perhaps the most enduring and absurd symbol of the Pruitt era is the $43,000 custom soundproof phone booth installed in his office in violation of spending laws to allow the administrator to “make and receive calls to discuss sensitive information.” It would be the ideal place for him to take a call from the White House regarding the sensitive matter of his departure.
Even Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, a staunch and longtime Pruitt ally seems to be finished defending him and now supports hearing in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee looking into the former Oklahoma attorney general's actions. Rubber stamp Trump senators Shelley Moore Capito (WV) and John Boozman (AR) are also calling for hearings, a sure sign the White House is ready to throw in the towel on Pruitt.

And West Virginia is no longer the #1 coal state. Wyoming is. The committee chairman is far right Wyoming senator John Barrasso who told reporters he expects Pruitt to come over to Capitol Hill and answer questions from the committee. Barrasso has never uttered an independent word in his entire life.
The House Oversight Committee has requested interviews with five senior agency aides and the White House said it would formally investigate Pruitt’s expenses after the Government Accountability Office last week found EPA broke the law by failing to notify Congress about a $43,000 privacy booth Pruitt had built in his office.

Pruitt will go to the Hill on Thursday to testify before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee in the morning and at a House Appropriations subpanel in the afternoon. Those appearances will mark his first time before Congress since the recent allegations broke.

Both Inhofe and Capito said they thought those House hearings would prove pivotal for Pruitt’s long-term future in the administration.

“It’s really important,” Capito said. “He’s going to have to answer some tough questions. I’m sure they’ll be put to him by both sides and we’ll see what his response is.”

Meanwhile, EPW ranking member Tom Carper (D-DE) said he had a good conversation with House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) regarding Pruitt, but he said there was no formal bipartisan agreement to work together on an investigation.

“I just gave him plenty of encouragement that he’s doing the right thing,” he said.

But the mounting public criticism from Republicans suggests GOP lawmakers' patience in defending the EPA chief's behavior is waning.

"Some of the things that he’s done and that he’s been alleged to do are just indefensible," Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said. "You just can’t put lipstick on those pigs. You can’t."
Goal ThermometerBasically all of the Blue America-endorsed candidates have environmental and climate change planks in their platforms. We don't endorse candidates don't. Sam Jammal, who is running in CA-39 (northeast Orange County) has had some experience, both in the private sector and on Capitol Hill working in these areas. He pointed out that "The EPA is always a challenge under Republican Administrations. But Pruitt is a special breed. Aside from the corruption, he has spent his entire term undermining any action on climate and taking every opportunity to roll back protections on our environment. The Trump Administration is going after every environmental protection most people thought the debate was settled on-- drilling on our beaches, undermining climate science and polluting our water. It sometimes seems like they are undermining our environment with new attacks on a weekly basis, especially for California. While removing Pruitt won't put a stop on everything, it will slow things down and empower career employees to do the right thing for our environment. It also opens the door for a congressional debate on what the EPA is doing with the next nominee since Pruitt and his allies are largely undermining our environmental protections in the dark."

Levi Tillemann is running in a suburban Denver district (CO-06) and he has similarly hard feeling towards Pruitt's and the Trump Regime's anti-environmental aggressiveness. "Pruitt," he told us, "seems to believe that gutting environmental protections will make our economy stronger. (His assault on common sense policies to protect clean air, clean water and reduce carbon pollution has been unrelenting.) The problem is, he's wrong and particularly in the automotive space. The rest of the world is on track for aggressive electrification and increases in fuel economy. If U.S. regulations don't keep pace, our industry will lag behind in a globalized industry worth trillions of dollars. Eliminating the incentives for increased fuel economy is going to make our economy weaker, not stronger."

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Patrick Murphy And David Jolly Want To Insert Third Way Into The Florida Governor's Race


Patrick Murphy's papa bought him a congressional seat in the West Palm area (FL-18) in 2012. It was incredibly close but Murphy had a perfect foil-- lunatic fringe neo-fascist Allen West. Even Murphy looked almost like a lesser of two evils. Murphy's father started a PAC, American Sunrise, and financed his ne'rer-do-well son with $118,578. Sensing thew kind of DINO they love, the DCCC put in another $548,517. The final score was 166,257 (50.3%) to 164,353 (49.7%). Murphy went on to be lazy, incompetent backbencher with no achievements at all except to raise Wall Street cash by backing the banksters (along with Republicans and his fellow corrupt New Dems) on the House Financial Services Committee. In 2016 Schumer and Reid picked him to run for the U.S. Senate and Rubio beat him 52-44%. He drew 4,122,088 votes while Hillary Clinton was getting 4,504,975 votes on the same day. Nearly 400,000 Democratic voters decided to not cast a ballot for Murphy. Maybe his "F" rating by Progressive Punch helps explain why.

There is a lively election to replace Rick Scott as governor now. And Murphy is back, rearing his ugly drunken heard again. Now he's the "bipartisan candidate," offering to run on a ticket with with former Congressman David Jolly, who was ousted in 2016 by flip-floppy conservative Charlie Crist from his Pinellas County seat.

There are already 4 serious Democrats in the race, a female version of Murphy, DINO Gwen Graham, plus two other wretched conservaDems, former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine and random rich businessman Christopher King, and one progressive, Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum. (There are also a dozen of so Republicans running for their party's nomination, though the top two are mainstream establishment conservative Adam Putnam and neo-fascist Trumpist Ron DeSantis.)

Monday evening Alex Leary broke the news in the Tampa Bay Times that Murphy and Jolly had put together a DINO/RINO ruse to attract attention. Their theory of the race is that a "split ticket idea recognizes growing dissatisfaction with the polarization of both parties and a possible third way."
"Working across the aisle was a hallmark of my two terms in Congress, and the relationships I formed with members of both parties were invaluable," Murphy said at the outset of the town-hall tour last summer. "I look forward to joining my former colleague as we share our perspectives on ways we must work together to improve our broken political system."

Jolly added, "Even in times of great disagreement there are ways of finding common ground, there are opportunities for bipartisan leadership to solve some of our country's toughest issues."
Geoff Burgan, Gillum's communications director, had a riotous response: "We welcome anyone who wants to talk about Florida’s future. The contrast in vision and background between the three millionaires running against Andrew Gillum couldn’t be more clear." Meanwhile, one of Murphy's former congressional colleagues laughed and told me that "it's sad but true: being unprincipled and unscrupulous, zero accomplishments to your name, and standing for nothing except self-promotion, now qualifies as 'bipartisan.'" Another of his former colleagues (from the House Financial Services Committee) referred to him as "a smarmy jerk-boy" and that was really the only think I can repeat about what she had to say about Murphy.

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When Will Beltway Pundits Feel Safe Enough To Predict An 80 Seat Swing?


Trump beat Hillary in Mississippi 700,714 (57.9%) to 485,131 (40.1%). Basically, Hillary won the black belt counties in the western part of the state and Trump won the rest. She won Bennie Thompson's congressional district 64-35% and Trump won the 3 other congressional districts by around the same number, reversed. The statewide PVI is R+9 so those numbers were predictable. A new Mason-Dixon poll of Mississippi released yesterday was anything but predictable. It shows Democrat Jim Hood ahead of Republican Lt. Governor Tate Reeves in the gubernatorial race-- 44-39%. Similar story from today's Tennessee Mason-Dixon poll-- Democrat Phil Bredesen leading GOP extremist Marsha Blackburn, 46-43% in a state with an R+14 that Trump won 1,522,925 (60.7%) to 870,695 (34.7%). That's part of what you hear people talking about when they mention the word "swing." Like they did last night while the votes in New York and Arizona were rolling in.

Yes, the Republicans held onto AZ-08 in the suburbs west and northwest of Phoenix... so why were Republican celebrations this morning ringing a little hollow? The swing away from the GOP was frightening. Trump had won that district by 21 points. The district is so red that the Democrats hadn't bothered running a candidate in 2016-- nor in 2014. The last time a Democrat ran was in 2012 and the result was ugly. Right-wing extremist Trent Franks beat Democrat Gene Scharer 63.3% to 35.1%. Last night Debbie Lasko, a lunatic fringe GOP extremist, who already announced she's joining the neo-fascist Freedom Caucus, beat random Democrat Hiral Tipirneni 91,390 (52.6%) to 82,318 (47.4%). Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight noted that "Lesko’s margin of victory was only 5 percentage points in a district that typically votes Republican by much, much more than that. The outcome represented a 20-point swing toward Democrats relative to the district’s FiveThirtyEight partisan lean, which is derived from how it voted for president in 2016 and 2012 relative to the country... If Republicans are winning by only 5 points in this sort of extremely red district in November, dozens of more competitive seats will flop to Democrats-- more than enough for them to take the House. In fact, Cook's David Wasserman, tweeted, while the last votes were still be counted that "There are 147 GOP-held House seats less Republican than #AZ08. It's time to start rethinking how many of those are truly safe in November."

This morning, Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen painted a dismal picture for the Republican Party as they were taking solace that at least the million dollars they spent shoring up Lesko allowed them to keep the seat. Trump's Election Nightmare brings up how the far-fetched possibility that the Democrats could win both the House and the Senate is turning into a probability. "Republicans," they remind us, "have underperformed in every special election since Trump became president... Even the reddest of districts in a red state can be in play this year."

Steven Law, a top Mitch McConnell ally who runs American Crossroads, the most powerful and well-funded outside group supporting Republican Senate campaigns, said it's "not likely but not out of the question" to lose the Senate.
Law said: "[W]e do have more defensive terrain to hold than when the cycle started... And targeted Democratic incumbents have been over-performing in terms of their early fundraising activity."
A Republican lobbyist who is well-connected in the Senate is becoming increasingly bearish about holding the chamber: “Everyone just universally assumed it would be status quo or Republicans would win a seat or two. And now it feels like Republicans are at a risk of losing one, which would be a 50-50 Senate or two, which would be a Democratic Senate.”
Goal ThermometerGOP Senate candidates are in trouble in Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee... and even Texas, where longshot Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke-- anything but a DSCC Schumer candidate-- is running neck-and-neck with right-wing crackpot Ted Cruz. And we all know that in the House, Democrats need to pick up 2 dozen seats. At the rate things are going, they'll be closer to 80 seats than to 24 seats. Things keep getting worse for the Republicans... and with Trump off his leash, there's no reason they won't get even worse.

If you'd like to help the Democrats win back the Senate-- and not turn it into a conservative hellhole, please consider tapping on the Blue America Senate Thermometer on the right and contributing what you can, especially to Beto O'Rourke and Dianne Feinstein's progressive opponent, Kevin de León. And keep in mind, if Bernie and Elizabeth Warren run as a ticket in 2020, anything they collect in their 2018 Senate campaigns can be transferred to the presidential race.

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Winning In 2020-- Something Bold... Or More Status Quo?


King of Diamonds by Nancy Ohanian

University of Pennsylvania professor Diana Mutz published a study Monday that asserts that "Fear of losing their privileged status in America and the world motivated many 2016 voters, notably whites, men, and Christians. She calls into question the whole theory that it was anger rather than fear that motivatived Trump voters-- that the white working class, having faced job losses and stagnant wages under Obama, voted with their pocketbooks when they chose Señor Trumpanzee.

Mutz's point is "that many Trump voters are feeling left behind, but not for reasons related to personal financial problems or economic anxiety about the future. Based on survey data from a nationally representative panel of the same 1,200 American voters polled in both 2012 and 2016... Mutz found that traditionally high-status Americans, namely whites, feel their status in America and the world is threatened by America's growing racial diversity and a perceived loss of US global dominance. Under threat by these engines of change, America's socially dominant groups increased their support in 2016 for the candidate who most emphasised reestablishing status hierarchies of the past... [She] followed voters over a four-year period to assess their changing views of trade, the threat posed by China, their sense of group threat, and perceptions of their own personal finances, as well as experiences of unemployment and the economic conditions in their local communities. As in previous elections, most voters in 2016 simply supported the candidate of the same party that they voted for in 2012. But the key to understanding the 2016 outcome lies in what changed from 2012 to 2016 that predicted changing vote choice.
Trump's rhetoric during the 2016 election capitalised on the fears of Americans who currently enjoy dominant status in society, most notably those who were white, Christian, male, or some combination of the three. Many of those Americans, Mutz found, switched from voting for the Democrat in 2012 to the Republican in 2016. Particularly those who found societal changes threatening voted for Trump in an effort to maintain their perceived social dominance in the country and the world.

The status threat experienced by many Americans was not only about their place in American society. In contrast to the conventional wisdom in political science that "voting ends at the water's edge"-- that international affairs don't matter to how people vote-- Mutz found that Americans feel increasingly threatened by the interdependence of the United States with other countries.

  Their sense that America is no longer the dominant superpower it once was influenced their vote in 2016.

"Political uprisings are often about downtrodden groups rising up to assert their right to better treatment and more equal life conditions relative to high-status groups," Mutz writes. "The 2016 election, in contrast, was an effort by members of already dominant groups to assure their continued dominance and by those in an already powerful and wealthy country to assure its continued dominance."

Interestingly, Mutz found that Americans' own positions on issues such as trade, China, and immigration did not change dramatically between 2012 and 2016. In fact, Americans on the whole became more open to citizenship for undocumented immigrants than in 2012.

What did shift, however, were their perceptions of where the Republican candidate stood in 2016 relative to 2012, particularly on issues such as free trade and the threat posed by China. The greater the distance voters perceived between their own positions and those of the Democratic candidate on these issues, and the closer they were to the Republican candidate's position, the more likely they were to switch their votes from how they had voted in 2012.

Despite exhaustive data analysis, the study did not show any relationship between financial hardship and voting for Trump. In addition, those whose financial situations declined between 2012 and 2016 relative to others' economic well-being were no more likely to switch to Trump.

..."The 2016 election was a result of anxiety about dominant groups' future status rather than a result of being overlooked in the past," she writes. "In many ways, a sense of group threat is a much tougher opponent than an economic downturn, because it is a psychological mindset rather than an actual event or misfortune. Given current demographic trends within the United States, minority influence will only increase with time, thus heightening this source of perceived status threat."
Her findings help explain the large numbers of white voters nationally where counties didn't just pick Bernie over Hillary but picked Bernie (in the primaries) over Trump. Some examples:

In Boone County, West Virginia, Bernie beat Hillary 52% to 26.8% but he also beat Trump on primary day 24,410 to 1,388. It was very similar in many counties in the state, like Marion Co., where Bernie beat Hillary 52.4% to 35.0% and also beat Trump 5,324 to 4,035; Mingo Co., Bernie 48.3% and Hillary 23.7% and Bernie 2,425 votes to Trump's 1,161; Calhoun County, where Bernie beat Hillary 60.6% to 23.6% and beat Trump 803 to 480; Logan Co.-- Bernie 50.5% to Hillary 23.5% while Bernie took 3,201 votes to Trump's 1,665; Fayette Co., where it was 52.3% Bernie to 33.8% Hillary and 3,585 Bernie to 2,683 Trump; McDowell Co., where it was Bernie 55.5%, Hillary 29.9% and Bernie 1,453 to Trump's 760; and Monongalia Co., Bernie 57.6% to Hillary's 35.3% and Bernie 8,096 to Trump's 5,571. And, of course it wasn't just West Virginia:
Dupage, Illinois- Bernie 52%, Hillary 47%; Bernie beating Trump 65,159 to 45,1313
Kane, IL- Bernie 56%, Hillary 43%; Bernie beating Trump 31,085 to 21,605
Champaign, IL- Bernie 66%, Hillary 34%; Bernie beating Trump 20,581 to 7,645
Jackson, IL- Bernie 62%, Hillary 38%; Bernie beating Trump 4,656 to 2,215
DeKalb, IL- Bernie 66%, Hillary 31%; Bernie beating Trump 8,315 to 5,139
statewide in New Hampshire- Bernie 60%, Hillary 38%; Bernie beating Trump 151,584 to 100,405
Kalamazoo Co., Michigan- Bernie 61%, Hillary 38%; Bernie beating Trump 20,145 to 9,104
Ingham Co., MI- Bernie 55%, Hillary 44%; Bernie beating Trump 22,909 to 8,056
Isabella Co., MI- Bernie 66%, Hillary 33%; Bernie beating Trump 4,024 to 2,180
Kent, Co., MI- Bernie 62.5%, Hillary 37.3%; Bernie beating Trump 43,375 to 22,742
Grand Traverse Co., MI- Bernie 65%, Hillary 33%; Bernie beating Trump 8,091 to 5,891
Dane Co, Wisconsin- Bernie 62.6%, Hillary 37.3%; Bernie beating Trump 102,585 to 20,884
Los Crosse Co, WI- Bernie 63%, Hillary 37%; Bernie beating Trump 15,139 to 8,271
Bayfield, Co., WI- Bernie 63.5%, Hillary 36.2%; Bernie beating Trump 8,315 to 5,139
Rock, WI- Bernie 60%, Hillary 39%; Bernie beating Trump 17,337 to 10,264
Eau Claire Co., WI- Bernie 64%, Hillary 36%; Bernie beating Trump 13,058 to 6,505
Portage Co., WI- Bernie 65%, Hillary 35%; Bernie beating Trump 9,348 to 5,112
Kenosha Co., WI- Bernie 57%, Hillary 42%; Bernie beating Trump 14,612 to 11,139
That was just a sample where voters wanted change-- and preferred the kind of change Bernie was offering over the bullshit Trump was offering. We've been talking a lot here about Job Guarantee, a major plank in the Bernie platform for 2020. This week, Jeff Stein tried fleshing it out a bit for Washington Post readers. "Sanders's jobs guarantee," he wrote, "would fund hundreds of projects throughout the United States aimed at addressing priorities such as infrastructure, heath care, the environment, education and other goals. Under the job guarantee, every American would be entitled to a job under one of these projects or receive job training to be able to do so." Bernie's going to unveil his plan-- which, predictably, is opposed by Republicans and by Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- soon.
Job guarantee advocates say their plan would drive up wages by dramatically increasing competition for workers, ensuring corporations have to offer more generous salaries and benefits if they want to keep their employees from working for the government. Supporters say it would also reduce racial inequality, since black workers face unemployment at about twice the rates of white workers, as well as gender inequality, since many iterations of the plan call for the expansion of federal child-care work.

“The goal is to eliminate working poverty and involuntary unemployment altogether,” said Darrick Hamilton, an economist at the New School who has advocated for a jobs guarantee program along with Stony Brook University’s Stephanie Kelton and a group of left-leaning economists at the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College. “This is an opportunity for something transformative, beyond the tinkering we’ve been doing for the last 40 years, where all the productivity gains have gone to the elite of society.”

...It’s not clear exactly what would happen to a worker who violated the terms of employment. The plan suggests creating a Division of Progress Investigation to “take disciplinary action if needed,” leaving authority to the head of the Labor Department. Aides to Sanders stress that the policy details remain in their initial stages.

Proponents trace the idea back to the New Deal Era, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt pitched a “Second Bill of Rights” to Congress in 1944. First on the list: the “right to a useful and remunerative job.”

“This is not a radical idea,” Hamilton said. “It was well-couched in the Democratic platform that existed during its heyday. I’m glad Democrats are trending back to their roots.”

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah
Whatever it was, I'm innocent"
-Vinnie "The Chin" Gigante
The symbiotic relationship of Donnie and Rudy continues. People sure do find each other, don't they? These two turkeys have been washing each other's hands for decades now, so, it was no surprise that Señor Trumpanzee would reach into the Giuliani family crypt last week and resuscitate his old pal Rudy in his latest effort to save his own festering ass.

No doubt, Señor Trumpanzee would love to have Rudy replace Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Hell, he'd probably love to have another of NYC's 1980's luminaries, Vinnie "The Chin" Gigante as AG. Many of the media would have you believe that there's no way the $enate would confirm Rudy at this point, but, in light of the $enate's continued belief and support of their Trumpanzee, that's a patently absurd assertion. After all, it was just a few days ago when another dirtbag of extreme proportions, Mitch McConnell, refused to hear of any protections for Robert Mueller. Trump's $enate might as well be the legislature of any 2-bit dictatorship in the world or the old Soviet Union's Politburo.

Meanwhile, the laughter coming from "Modern Russia" can be heard 'round the world.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Jim Clyburn-- What A Swell Fella!


Anyone-- almost-- than Crowley

The other day I was speaking to a top staffer on Capitol Hill. I mentioned that Jim Clyburn, was so drunk no one even understand what he's saying. "It's easier to make a list of members who aren't drunkards," he offered, than members who are. It'll take you half as much time." Maybe he was on his best behavior when David Siders interviewed him for Politico last week. Clyburn, who has some kind of phony baloney title-- assistant to the Leader-- will be 78 in three months. In 1990 the Supreme Court mandated that the 6th district be redrawn as an African-American district (it is now a "packed" district that is 56.5% African-America and just 36.4% white). Clyburn, elected in 1992, is the only congressman to have ever represented the newly configured district. He's been in Congress for two dozen years and, although no one would ever admit this in public, he's "in charge" of the black Democrats in Congress. Not long ago I spoke to an African-American freshman who ran for and won a plum intra party position. I asked him what he plans to do with the job. He said he has "no idea" what the job entails and what it's all about. He asked me if I could tell him. I asked him why he ran and he said Clyburn told him to.

When Siders interviewed Clyburn at his annual fish fry in Columbia on Friday, he said "If we’re still in the minority [after Election Day] all of us [the party's sclerotic leadership] have got to go."

Many Democrats in Congress have finally come to the conclusion that despite their love for Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn, it's time for the 3 of them to go anyway-- win, lose or draw. Clyburn's special guest Friday was Tim Ryan (D-OH), another notorious alcoholic, who Clyburn introduced-- repeatedly-- as a good friend and a favorite drinking partner in Washington.
Clyburn said the party will undertake a “real assessment” of leadership after the November elections, regardless of the outcome.

For his part, Ryan, a longshot potential presidential candidate, lauded Clyburn, pointing to a growing number of young people in the South Carolina Democratic Party.

“Look at what he’s doing here in South Carolina,” Ryan told Politico. “Part of his genius is that he gets the fact that you’ve got to bring up young people.”

Ryan has said he will not challenge Pelosi again. Of his position that the party would be better served if she weren’t speaker, he said, “My view on that has not changed.”
And not a single mention of Joe Crowley, who's part of the leadership but not as old and decrepit as Pelosi-- who repeatedly referred to Conor Lamb as Collin Lamb over the weekend-- Hoyer (even older than Pelosi) and Clyburn. Crowley, far lamer than any of them is "only" 56. He's considered a youngster-- if you compare him to Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn. Progressives who would make far better Democratic Leaders/Speakers are all younger-- and more importantly, have much younger and more vibrant ideas:
Ro Khanna- 41
Ted Lieu- 49
Pramila Jayapal- 52
Mark Pocan- 53
Jamie Raskin- 55
Goal ThermometerBlue America has been trying to start a groundswell in favor of Lieu to run so that-- at the very minimum-- there's a progressive and a non-corrupt candidate in the contest and so that Crowley-- neither progressive nor non-corrupt doesn't just walk into the job without being challenged. See that thermometer on the right? That's for the Progressive Speaker Fund. Lieu isn't going to run against Pelosi-- and Crowley says he won't either-- but she's 400 years old so it won't be much longer before she decides enough is enough. I'm pretty sure we can convince Ted to run if Pelosi doesn't. If you contribute to Blue America's IE PAC, we can collect any amount of money-- the way Republicans do. The Blue Momentum PAC (still listed as the LIEU PAC) is Ted's leadership PAC. You already know that Ted's own fund-raising page doesn't accept anything over $2,700. That helps his own reelection objectives. The LIEU PAC helps him contribute to other candidates (but not himself). So, please take a look at the new ActBlue page, The ProgressiveSpeakerFund by clicking on the brand new thermometer on the right. And please chip in what you can. And... if you know any progressive millionaires send them our way. Meanwhile... please enjoy the art:

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