Sunday, May 20, 2018

Vote For Mary Street Wilson On Tuesday

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Mary Wilson is a progressive. Kopser is not, not at all

The Austin Chronicle editorial board made its endorsements for the May 22 run- off last week. In the preface they describe themselves as "left-leaning," but their non-endorsement in TX-21 is absurd and, perhaps, sexist:
No Endorsement

We could not reach a consensus of support in this race. The Chronicle issued a dual endorsement in the primary, of Elliott McFad­den and Derrick Crowe, who both lost out on the run-off. (Crowe took 23%, McFad­den 17%.) But we remain split on Mary Wilson and Joseph Kopser, whose run-off represents a litmus test of what a party's nominee in a historically Republican district should be, and what we believe the 2018 electorate will want. Though he classifies his political transition from Reagan Republican to registered Democrat (with two decades of military service sandwiched in between) as "progress" and not opportunism, Kopser remains a centrist Democrat who is pro-business, and whose measured approach to enacting progressive policies raised concerns from some of our Board that he is, in essence, Republican-lite. His political credentials are indisputable-- establishment party support, both locally and nationally-- but what remains open to interpretation is the utility of that support following the 2016 presidential election, when he and his opponent were both galvanized to wage their first campaigns for public office. Kopser believes a combination of that support and a friendly rapport with Joe Strausian Republicans, who care more about economic development than who uses which bathroom, makes him the best candidate for a general election. For those who see irrelevance in that establishment and want the party to move more left, there's Mary Wilson, a dyed-in-the-wool progressive who does not employ a generic campaign staff. She is a lesbian minister in suburban Texas (Cedar Park) with experience bringing individuals from all political stripes together under her congregation and who believes her place on the political spectrum (unapologetically on the social justice left) will be a feature and not a fault in both energizing Democrats and winning over disenfranchised Republicans should she make it to the first general midterm election since America got stuck with Donald Trump.
Blue America originally endorsed Derrick Crowe, with great enthusiasm. When he missed out on the run-off, we had no problem going over to Mary Wilson. Kopser is exactly what the Democratic Party and Texas do not need. Derrick endorsed Mary as well. He sent me this post yesterday about this current state of the race for the 21st, which goes from West Campus, the Drag, Downtown and Claksville in Austin, through Travis Heights, Sunburst, Tanglewood Forest, south though Buda, San Marcos and New Braunfels into northeastern San Antonio and west into the Hill Country beyond Fredericksburg, Boerne, Bandera and Medina.
Yesterday, one of Joseph Kopser’s most visible public supporters requested that I respond to his social media posts about Mary Street Wilson’s public disclosure that her family holds shares in Exxon. Given the issues it raised for both candidates and the fact that voting is underway in the runoff, I initially thought it best not to respond and just stay out of it. However, since subsequent social media posts make it clear that Team Kopser will continue to request that I respond, I’ve reconsidered.

Let me be absolutely, crystal clear: Exxon is a terrible company, and everyone should divest from it. No other corporation is more responsible for deceiving the public about the effects of fossil fuels on the climate, and their actions may have already cost us a livable future in the long term. Prior to running for this congressional seat, I took part in numerous protest actions and public education efforts to hold Exxon accountable. That climate-change-focused activism was eventually what drew me back into politics to challenge climate change denier Lamar Smith in TX-21. So, of course, I was concerned by the prospect that a candidate I support would hold shares in Exxon.

However, Team Kopser left out an important piece of context: the assets in question were left to Wilson’s spouse as an inheritance from a close family member. That changes things significantly. Since the asset wasn’t left to Wilson, divesting from it is not her decision alone to make-- just like it’s not Kopser’s decision alone to dispose of his wife’s holdings that include significant fossil fuel investments.

According to Kopser’s financial disclosure form, Amy Kopser has personal investments (not received from a deceased person’s estate, mind you) in funds GWX, SPDW, SPEM, SPMD, SPSM, SPYG, SPYV. According to Fossil Free Funds, all of these funds have significant oil, gas, and coal investments, including investments in:
top owners of coal/oil/gas reserves;
the largest coal-fired utilities;
coal-/natural-gas-fired utilities; and
the fossil fuel industry in general.
Again, a candidate’s spouse is a person who makes their own choices, and how they resolve that kind of thing and how it will relate to the campaign’s climate change platform is a matter for them as a couple. What should be a matter of concern to voters, however, are Kopser’s own investments in those funds. He also holds his own investments in all of them. A self-described “clean energy warrior” ought to go to war to clean up his personal investment portfolio.

This same disclosure document also reveals that Kopser has a lovely $50,000–$100,000 investment in a company, Cross CHX, whose most visible product is Olive, a medical services AI intended to replace workers doing repetitive tasks in the for-profit medical industry! Here’s how Cross CHX introduces your “new employee,” the 24-hour, 7-day-a-week, 365-day, salary-free droid! Sorry, workers!

This AI investment is flabbergasting to me. Kopser and I had repeated discussions and debates about automation, labor, and the minimum wage, and not once did he disclose his financial interest in automation and AI — which I’m sure would have been of note to the labor unions who backed him in the runoff.

Wilson and Kopser have significant, important differences between them on climate change, fracking, and whether and when we should set a deadline for our country’s transition to net-zero carbon emissions. Kopser’s evasiveness on these points and his willingness to accept additional fossil fuel use “for centuries” as part of a “holistic mix” are nonstarters for me. By contrast, Wilson’s support for a 2035 deadline for getting this country to net-zero carbon emissions fits with my own view of the urgency of the climate crisis. Furthermore, her participation in the heroic protests at Standing Rock show me that she’s willing to put herself on the line to fight for a livable future and for environmental justice.

Everyone should divest from Exxon. Everyone should leave candidate spouses out of it (a stance #TeamKopser has hitherto held to, admirably). And Kopser and his supporters have absolutely no standing to make this kind of attack.

Vote for Mary Wilson on May 22.

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Kara Beat The Conservative In The Primary-- Now It's On To The Conservative In The General

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Last Tuesday, one of the biggest victories for progressives was Kara Eastman's win in the Nebraska Democratic primary. She beat Blue Dog and DCCC endorsee Brad Ashford 20,239 (51.43%) to 19,113 (48.57%). It was another case of local Democrats slapping down the DCCC for their pig-headed interference in a local primary, where they tried to tell a district that voted for Bernie in 2016 that they needed to nominate a proven reactionary and an "ex"-Republican instead of a woman running on many of the same issues that made Bernie so attractive to the local Democrats.

As of the April 25 FEC filing deadline, Ashford had raised, with the help of the DCCC, $558,946 and spent $397,194, while Kara had raised $355,887 and spent $284,880. Ashford was endorsed by anyone the DCCC could round up from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, not just the Blue Dogs but the New Dems, Gabby Giffords, the labor unions that do whatever the DCCC tells them to and, of course ambitious Blue Dog/New Dem Adam Schiff, who has been traveling around the country using his new-found celebrity to help right-of-center candidates like himself beat progressive candidates like Kara. 

Kara had the support of Blue America and of other progressive forces independent of the Democratic Party establishment, from the Nebraska Unity PAC and Nebraska Grassroots Progressives and the Working Families Party to Climate Hawks Vote, the PCCC, VoteProChoice, local independent-minded uinions like the Plasterers and Cement Masons, the Insulators and the Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transportation union, as well as local political leaders like state Senators Tony Vargas and Justin Wayne and Omaha City Council president Ben Gray.

As soon as Kara's victory over Ashford was official, the DCCC removed him from their Red-to-Blue page. But instead of replacing him with Kara, they took NE-02 entirely off their radar. One of the country's most flippable districts, suddenly no longer existed! What happened to Pelosi's spiel about unity? Is it only the unity of progressives backing successful conservative Democrats but not unity when progressives win? Is that unity? And what happened to Pelosi's spiel about how we all win when women win? Instead we hear Pelosi thundering about how the DCCC won't help party nominees unless the conservative establishment backed them.

Goal ThermometerThe DCCC candidate was Brad Ashford who, as a Republican state Senator in 1994, had run for the congressional seat in the Republican primary and was defeated. Eventually he decided to run for Congress again, this time as a fake Democrat. More recently, Ashford, the most right-wing Blue Dog in Congress for his one miserable term, served as a Hillary super-delegate to the Democratic National Convention, despite his district having gone for Bernie. In the primary his website had no issues page because he knew the voters would never back him on the issues. After he lost a debate with Kara, he canceled all debates. An anti-healthcare Blue Dog, he didn't want to be compared with Kara who was running on Medicare-for-all. "It’s time for our country to acknowledge that quality healthcare and access to health insurance is an American right," her website states clearly. "Families deserve to be able to get the medical treatment and medications they need, when they need them, without breaking the bank. We must ensure that no mother ever weighs the costs before taking her children to the emergency room when they are in the need of immediate care. No father should ever forgo life-saving medication because he is afraid of being unable to pay the medical bills. No family should ever need to claim bankruptcy because they had the audacity to live after an accident or illness. Our country should move toward the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. We need to force big business and the pharmaceutical industry to offer more competitive prices."

When we endorsed her campaign last February, she told us that "over the last decade, Nebraska’s second Congressional district is one of the two most competitive in the nation. So why can’t Democrats consistently win here? They don’t ignite the base, and they don’t go out and talk to voters. I'm the first serious progressive candidate to run in Nebraska’s second district. I’m pro-choice, I support common-sense gun safety regulation, I’m passionate about health and environmental protection, and I’ve opposed the Keystone XL pipeline. I will fight for a Medicare for All system because healthcare is a right. I also will fight for debt-free education, because I’m tired of seeing students, even at Metro Community College where I serve on the Board of Governors, drowning in student loans. The U.S. has to compete in a global market by investing in green and healthy housing. Climate change is the number one moral and national security threat to our children, and we need to address it now."

Now Kara needs our help to beat a tougher candidate in November, Republican incumbent Don Bacon, a Trump rubber stamp very much out of touch with voters in the Omaha Metro. With the DCCC already signaling they'd rather let Bacon stay in his seat then help a progressive win it, Kara is going to need our help more than ever. She's a fighter and winner. Please contribute what you can by clicking on the Blue America 2018 congressional thermometer above.

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Will Single Payer Turn Texas Blue?

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Rick doesn't have the most money, but he has the best issue for Tuesday

The media tended to cover Kara Eastman's startling-- at least to them-- win of DCCC/Blue Dog Ben Ashbrook in Omaha last week as a win for Medicare-for-All versus a status quo approach. And there is no doubt that that was a part of the equation that, despite the DCCC, catapulted Kara into the Democratic Party nomination. But it wasn't just their two respective approaches to health care. Heath care is very important, but the progressive gestalt was more important for Kara, as it has been for winning candidates all around the country.

The DCCC has warned their collection of crappy status quo candidates to talk in general terms about "universal heath care" and "improving" Obamacare but to avoid anything specific about Medicare for All or single payer other than-- if they must-- bringing the concepts up as "options." The leaders of the DCCC-- whether members or staffers-- don't believe in single payer and they don't think general election voters want it. The DCCC is way too conservative for anything that changey and foward and progressive.

Yesterday Politico noted that Democratic candidates in Texas-- at least some-- are counting on single payer to get them over the hump... at least in contested primary runoffs Tuesday. True progressives in the races think it will take them all the way to Congress in November. "Democrats hoping to wrest congressional seats away from diehard repeal-and-replace Republicans are campaigning on an unlikely issue for Texas-- single-payer health care. Across the country, many Democrats are trying to minimize internal battles on health care. But Democrats in this deep red state have also watched closely races where single-payer advocates have upset centrist primary opponents. And some believe that moving left on health care will mobilize new voters in primaries-- and offer a shot at winning come November." The Texas primaries were first and the DCCC saw many iff their crappy conservative candidates miss even making it into the runoffs, like Jay Hulings in TX-23.
More than half the 22 Democratic House candidates competing in the Texas primary runoff next Tuesday openly tout their support for single-payer health care. On the Senate side, Democrat Beto O'Rourke, who handily won his March primary, will face Sen. Ted Cruz. Cruz built his reputation on shutting down down the government in a failed bid to stop Obamacare in 2013. O'Rourke says he supports strengthening the Affordable Care Act now but starting on a path to an eventual single-payer health system.

“One of the things that exists for us is a large, very large number of people who are progressive who are not participating in the ballot box,” said Wendy Davis, a Texas Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2014. “I’ve heard the analogy before that we aren’t trying to get people to convert from Catholicism to Baptism, but trying to get people who are Baptist to come to church.”

Pulling up Texas' entrenched Republican roots is a tough task for Democrats, and the state is unlikely to lean left anytime soon. Still, the state's Democrats face a very different political climate in 2018. For starters, GOP attacks on the Affordable Care Act resonate less with voters.

“The Republican Party in Texas took a position that was more extreme than others, vilifying anything associated with the term Obamacare,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston. “It’s less and less effective, every year that passes from the Obama administration.”

For the first time in 25 years, Democratic candidates are running in every congressional race in Texas. Many of them, like Democrats across the country, have made health care their central campaign issue.

But Democrats in Texas believe that talking about health care gives them an even greater advantage. The state has the highest uninsured rate in the country. Its Republican attorney general is once again suing to overturn Obamacare.

And while the state remains one of 19 that hasn't expanded Medicaid, 95 percent of Democratic primary voters in March replied yes to a non-binding proposition asking if everyone in Texas should have a right to health care.

“Health care is one of our number one issues this election,” said Tariq Thowfeek, communications director for the Texas Democratic Party. “Our platform is far more progressive” than the national Democratic party's, he said.

Still, the issue of whether to support single-payer vs. the less provocative goal of expanding existing ACA protections has become divisive in the handful of races where Democrats believe they have a shot at flipping Republican seats.

That includes the 7th Congressional District, just west of Houston, which backed Hillary Clinton for president over Donald Trump. It has been represented by Republican Rep. John Culberson since 2001 and is home to many health care workers at the Texas Medical Center.

Primary voters winnowed the crowded Democratic field to Laura Moser, who embraces single-payer health care, and Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, who supports building on ACA coverage gains. They will face off again on Tuesday.

Fletcher, an attorney, believes that single-payer is too extreme a position for voters in the district.

“This is a traditionally Republican district that doesn’t think government is the solution to everything,” Fletcher said.

The DCCC published opposition research on Moser ahead of the March primary, arguing that she carries too much baggage to win the general election-- and in the process drawing national attention for its attack on the more liberal candidate. Moser, described on her website as a "working mom turned progressive activist turned candidate," promised that if she prevails on Tuesday she won’t back away from single-payer.

“I hate it when Democrats use Republican talking points,” she said. “Obviously we aren’t going to wake up tomorrow with single-payer, but we have to stake out our position unapologetically.”

Elsewhere in Texas the divide is more muddled.

In the 21st Congressional District, where Republican Rep. Lamar Smith is retiring after more than three decades, the Democratic primary runoff pits progressive Mary Street Wilson against the more centrist Joseph Kopser, an Army veteran and former Republican favored by the national Democrats.

Kopser told Politico that he would support a single-payer health system if he had to vote on a bill. But he doesn’t talk about it on the campaign trail. Nor does he tout specific ideas like “Medicare-for-all” that could alienate conservative voters in the district, which stretches from Austin to San Antonio and west into the Texas Hill Country.

On the other hand, Wilson-- a pastor and former math teacher whose first-place March finish was among the biggest primary surprises in the state-- has been touting her support for a Medicare-for-all bill, believing it will appeal to older voters who dominate the district.

“I’m not just a bleeding-heart liberal saying everyone should have health care,” said Wilson. “I believe it’s a practical solution.”

But the polling power of single-payer is unclear. More than half the Democratic challengers who won the first round of primary voting outright include single-payer health care in their campaign platforms. None of the nine Democratic incumbents do. (Democrats currently hold 11 seats in the Texas delegation to the GOP's 24, with last month's resignation of Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold leaving one vacancy.)

In the general election campaign, Republicans are sure to argue that support for single-payer amounts to a tax hike-- anathema to conservative Texans.

Goal ThermometerEven in blue California, single-payer has stalled in the state Legislature amid cost projections and worries about new taxes.

Still, a fire has been lit in Texas. Talk of single-payer health care won’t die down even if progressive candidates lose, said Jim Hightower, head of Our Revolution Texas, which is building on Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign message. Hightower is kicking off a 12-city tour this summer aimed at rallying support to introduce a Medicare-for-All bill in the 2019 state legislative session.
Many of the single payer supporters in Texas' run-offs Tuesday can be found by clicking on the ActBlue Turning Texas Blue thermometer on the right. If Single payer doesn't turn Texas blue... will Trump manage to do it himself? Well, not himself... with the whole fabulous team he's somehow managed to assemble:

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What Will Iran Do Now?

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by Reese Erlich

President Donald Trump announced that the US is pulling out of the Iran nuclear accord--and Iranians are really pissed.

Thousands of Iranians demonstrated in Tehran chanting “Death to America.” Thousands more attended Friday prayers in Tehran to hear hardline leaders denounce Trump’s actions.

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, an influential Friday prayer leader in Tehran, warned against making deals with the west “since they cannot be trusted.”

While Iran’s hardliners spearheaded those protests,Iranians of all political views united against Trump. Interviewed at the Tehran Bazaar during a recent trip, Massoud Nashebegi anticipated Trump's action. US animosity towards Iran "is getting worse," he told me. "It's because we in Iran stood up to the Americans."

Foad Izadi, an assistant professor at the University of Tehran, told me in a phone interview that Iranians are angry at imposition of new sanctions despite Iran living up to terms of the nuclear accord, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iranian officials are meeting with European leaders in hopes they will defy Trump’s sanctions. But so far European corporations have started cancelling their investments rather than risk American ire.

“If the Europeans are not able or not willing to oppose Trump,” Izadi said, “then Iran will leave the JCPOA sooner or later.”

In 2015 seven countries signed the JCPOA in which Iran agreed to intrusive inspections of its nuclear power facilities in return for lifting of economic sanctions. The US, Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China reached the accord after years of difficult negotiations. The JCPOA was codified into international law by a unanimous vote of the UN Security Council.

Nevertheless, the Trump administration renounced the JCPOA and announced unilateral resumption of harsh economic sanctions in 90-180 days, setting the stage for a major confrontation with Iran.

Trump's actions have rallied Iranians around their government. An Iran Poll survey conducted in April showed that 67% of Iranians want their government to retaliate against the US in response to any cancellation of the agreement. They want Iran to restart portions of the country's nuclear program suspended since the accord took effect.

And Iran’s leaders are preparing to do just that, although they differ sharply on how.

Some hardliners want to withdraw from both the JCPOA and the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT prohibits signatories from developing nuclear weapons. Once out of the NPT, Tehran could block all international inspectors from entering the country . The US would then have a much harder time determining if Iran was developing a nuclear weapon.

Izadi said Iran is also considering how to stay within the NPT and JCPOA while sending a sharp message to Washington.
Iran may step up the training of nuclear scientists. University level programs have lapsed in recent years, according to Izadi. By encouraging graduate studies in nuclear engineering, future personnel could go to work in Iran's nuclear power industry, but also be ready to research nuclear weapons technology. Such academic research carried out before 2003 was a contentious issue in the JCPOA negotiations. Iran maintained that academic research didn’t violate the NPT while the US and Israel argued that it was part of a nuclear weapons program.

Iran could enrich uranium to 20%, which is well above the 4% level needed for nuclear power but far less than that needed for a bomb. Under terms of the JCPOA, Iran can enrich up to 20% for medical research. Iran had enriched to 20% during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran could even enrich well above the 20% level to have fuel for nuclear submarines.
"Having a nuclear powered submarine is not a violation of the nuclear agreement," Izadi noted. He admitted that Iran doesn't have a nuclear submarine program. But implementing high levels of enrichment sends "a sign to the other side that Iran is not happy with all these sanctions."

Most Iranians believe the nuclear issue is only an excuse to attack Iran. Izadi said even if Iran completely stopped its nuclear power program entirely, the US would invent a new excuse, such as Iranian support for "terrorism." All these assertions are a cover for the US to expand its hegemony in the Middle East, he said.

"One of the primary objectives that the US has in this part of the world is to make sure that the oil that exists here is directly or indirectly controlled by the United States," he said.

American companies once dominated Iran’s oil production. After the 1979 Iranian revolution, U.S. oil companies lost a major source of profits. Izadi said "the US wants to restore economic, political and military control over Iran as it tried to do in Iraq."

The Trump administration is pursuing two-track military policy towards Iran. If Iran attacks Israel, the US and Israel would launch a large scale military attack. Otherwise, Trump will use harsh sanctions to worsen economic conditions for ordinary Iranians in hopes they would overthrow their government and install a US friendly regime.

The Securities Study Group (SSG), a right wing think tank close to National Security Advisor John Bolton, is circulating an Iran position paper to Trump’s national security team calling for regime change.

"The Trump administration has no desire to roll tanks in an effort to directly topple the Iranian regime," said SSG President Jim Hanson. "But they would be much happier dealing with a post-Mullah government.”

Republican neocons tried such policies during President George W. Bush’s first term, and it failed miserably, noted William Beeman, an anthropology professor at the University of Minnesota and an Iran expert.

"The Trump administration is only the latest Republican administration to advocate regime change," Beeman told me. "Accusations that Iran was developing nuclear weapons was promulgated to convince the American public that this was desirable."

Republican neoconservatives now play a prominent role in Trump's cabinet as seen by the appointment of Bolton and Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State.

"The idea that creating harsh conditions would cause the population of that country to rise up and overthrow their rulers is a longstanding act of faith on the part of the US government," Beeman said. "Iran is only the latest nation to which this bankrupt strategy has been applied."

Military conflict with Iran has already begun. Earlier this month Israel accused Iran of firing missiles into the Golan Heights, and Israel bombed what it said were Iranian military facilities in Syria. The decision to withdraw from the JCPOA has sent a signal to the region. The prospects for military conflict have increased-- whether in Syria, Lebanon or Iran itself.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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by Noah

May 18, 2018: Yet another big, successful day for the National Republican Blood Drive. How many gallons are enough for Smiling Paul Ryan (pictured here), Mitch The Treason Turtle, and Señor Trumpanzee?

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

The DCCC Is Still Undermining Laura Moser, The Likely Democratic Party Nominee

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Tuesday is primary run-off day in Texas. The DCCC is counting on an anti-union middle-of-the-road nothing candidate to win the primary and go on to face dull Republican incumbent John Culberson in a suburban Houston district (TX-07) where Hillary unexpectedly beat Señor Trumpanzee 48.5% to 47.1%. Going into that election the PVI was R+13 and Obama had only managed 39% against Romney. Al Gore had only gotten 31%. Now the PVI is a more manageable R+7. But the corrupt rotgut conservatives who infest the DCCC have lit their hair on fire and run around for months screaming that the progressive in the runoff, Laura Moser, can't win a general election. Then they set out to make sure it will be very hard for her, wave or no wave.

Not long ago Pelosi was in Austin, telling the editors of the Austin American-Statesman if primary voters don't nominate the establishment choices, the DCCC will abandon them. That's been a DCCC tactic for over a decade when Rahm Emanuel was chair-- but no one has ever spoken about it publicly before. And I might add that when Emanuel was doing it he failed over and over again as progressives who won primaries against his conservative candidates, they then won general elections without DCCC assistance. And that brings us back to Laura Moser. The DCCC released an especially vicious hit piece on her, claiming that they had to put it out because if they didn't keep her from winning the primary, Culberson would release it and she would lose the general. The DCCC is using this ugly tactic all over the country to get their corrupt conservatives to win against progressives. what it did in TX-07, though, was guarantee an explosion of contributions for Moser and enough votes to put her into the run-off, while the DCCC-backed candidate came in a distant 4th.

Bridget Bowman, writing for RollCall, a website that usually specializes in reprinting press releases and "inside info" from the Beltway committees, asked this week if the DCCC will pay a price for what they did to Moser. "Tuesday’s result," she wrote, "could signal whether that intervention-- which prompted some backlash among liberal activists-- made a lasting impact on the race. And the runoff could be an early sign of which general election strategy Democratic voters find most viable: firing up the base or reaching across the aisle."
“When it comes to what it takes to beat Culberson in November, what sets me apart is my belief that Democrats need to stand firm for our progressive values,” Moser said in a statement. “To win this district, we must bring new voters into the process. I believe we do that by talking to people about the issues that affect their lives-- like income inequality, the spiraling costs of higher education, and the urgent threat of climate change.”

...“At this point, it’s sort of a two-month-old process story,” said Sonia Van Meter, a Texas Democratic consultant based in Austin. “I think voters are not especially concerned with who the D-trip is interested in.”

But the move did rankle local activists, who were concerned about dampened enthusiasm and the perception that the primary was not a fair fight.

“It poses a challenge to us, as the activist community, to unite the entire base under whoever it is that prevails,” said Jon Rosenthal, a founder of a local Indivisible group that has not endorsed either candidate. “From our perspective as activist leaders … we wish that they would butt the hell out so that we could have a clean win.”

“I was really, really upset with what they did,” said Rufi Natarajan, who lives in a neighboring congressional district but is active in Harris County Democratic politics and the Bayou Blue Democrats. Natarajan originally backed Moser but is now supporting Fletcher.

“In a way, it was done very badly, but I guess they were saying what I’m saying, which is, ‘Hey, she’s not electable,’” Natarajan said.

Rosenthal, who is running for the Texas House, said activist leaders are still irked by the move. But they’re telling their members not to let anger toward the DCCC affect their vote, and to support the candidate they believe could defeat Culberson.

“I am more optimistic now rather than right after it happened,” Rosenthal said of chances for unity despite the intraparty fight. “People have come to terms with the fact that either [candidate] is a huge step up and we all need to be pulling together to actually flip that seat.”

But how exactly to flip the seat is still up for debate-- and it’s a major question in the primary.

Both Moser and Fletcher are in line on most policy issues (aside from health care-- Moser backs a single-payer system). So their style and general election strategies have become stark dividing lines in the runoff.

“I’m going to win because I’m a fighter,” Moser said at a debate earlier this month. “And people in this district, including Republicans, want someone who is going to pop it to John Culberson and who will take it to the mat from Day One.”

Moser said the focus should be on energizing existing supporters and new voters. Fletcher, on the other hand, stressed reaching across the aisle.

...That debate over which strategy is best is something Democrats are talking about every day in the 7th District, Rosenthal said. And it’s a debate happening among Democrats across the country.

For some, the answer is clear.

“I like the idea of appealing to as many people on the political spectrum as possible, but right now, Democrats are pissed,” Van Meter said. “They’re angry, they’re galvanized, they’re motivated. And we just need to give them a reason to turn out.”
Goal ThermometerLike too many Democratic Party candidates, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher doesn't stand for anything at all but the status quo and her own career trajectory. Electing her is nothing but a waste of a House seat. Moser is a dedicated fighter for working families. Electing her would be meaningful on many levels. Originally, Blue America supported a different candidate who didn't make it to the run-off. Moser is at least as good a candidate and we endorsed her the day after the first round. If you'd like to make sure she goes up against Culberson, please click on the ActBlue Turning Texas Blue thermometer on the right. One thing I can tell you for sure-- she won't owe anything to Pelosi, Hoyer or Lujan... nothing to anyone but the working families who are fueling her grassroots campaign.

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Pennsylvania Is More Than Likely To Swing Back To Sanity In November

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No one will need that graphic again

It wasn't that long ago that Pennsylvania was a Republican state. In my lifetime presidential elections went to Republicans in the Keystone State 8 times and to Democrats 10 times. In 1980, 1984 and 1988 Pennsylvania voters went for Reagan over Carter (49.6% to 42.8%), for Reagan over Mondale (53.3% to 46.0%) and for George W. Bush over Michael Dukakis (50.7% to 48.4%). After that Bill Clinton won the state twice, Al Gore beat George Bush, John Kerry beat Bush, and then Obama won twice, giving Pennsylvania the reputation for being a blue state. And then along came 2016, where the nation watched in horror as Trump unexpectedly beat Hillary 2,970,733 (48.18%) to 2,926,441 (47.46%)-- just 44,292. Did Putin monkey around in Erie, Luzerne and Chester counties? Hillary still won Obama counties like Delaware, Lackawanna and Dauphine but with far fewer votes. Really, what happened?

Since Tuesday, we've been looking at the excellent results for Democrats-- particularly progressive Democrats-- across the state. Democrats were more motivated to get out and vote than Republicans were. And in many cases progressive candidates beat establishment, right-of-center Democrats. Yesterday Gabriel Debenedetti did a post for New York magazine asking Is Pennsylvania Still Trump Country? Still? Like it ever really was?

As we mentioned Friday, Trump and the Democrats got their dream candidate in Tuesday's GOP Senate primary, racist, xenophobe and lackadaisical Lou Barletta. The state and national GOP was less enthused. It's not likely Barletta can even come close to winning a general election. Debenedetti wrote that "When the fiery Barletta first emerged as the party’s likely standard-bearer there last year, it seemed a clear test of the replicability of Trump’s road map to victory in Pennsylvania, where he was the first GOP presidential candidate to win since 1988. If Barletta could win, that would be a clear sign that Trump might be better positioned to run through Pennsylvania in 2020 than he was even in 2016, when he beat Hillary Clinton there by just 0.7 points. But if Barletta-- as close a Trump ally as exists in Congress-- couldn’t, it would be an obvious warning sign for" Señor Trumpanzee.
That sign is now flashing.

Whereas Pennsylvania was once viewed as a high-profile Senate battleground in 2018-- one of the ten seats up for grabs featuring a Democratic incumbent in a state Trump won-- on Thursday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to even put it in his top tier of interest, in an interview with the Washington Post. He called Barletta and Representative Jim Renacci, his counterpart in Ohio, “credible counterparts that could get onto the radar screen,” but in Pennsylvania’s place he listed states like Arizona and Tennessee, both traditionally conservative states held by retiring Republicans.

It’s an understandable pivot: In Tennessee, which Trump won by 26 points in 2016, his approval rating is at 53 percent-- and the Democratic Senate front-runner’s approval rating is still 67 percent, compared to the Republican front-runner’s 49 percent. But Trump’s approval rating in Pennsylvania was down to 30 percent this spring, according to a Franklin & Marshall poll. That won’t help Barletta-- who’s relatively unknown back home-- in his strategy to hug Trump tight and follow his trail through the state. He appears to be ditching the traditional moderate GOP plan of competing in and around Philadelphia (where Casey is now going for a blowout), and instead aiming to win the northeastern regions that Trump flipped away from Barack Obama.

That means Trump’s 2016, and maybe 2020, plan is, indeed, getting a road test in 2018. And national Republicans are looking away.

It’s simple, say relieved Democrats. “Barletta will get wiped out because he won’t do well in the Philadelphia suburbs, and he won’t do as well as Trump did in other places” either, predicted former Pennsylvania governor and Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell, a Democrat. Without Clinton to beat up on-- and thereby no way to dampen voter turnout in the fired-up suburbs-- and without a flood of national GOP time, energy, and money to engage Trump’s base, Barletta’s attempt to duplicate Trump’s path through Pennsylvania is just too far-fetched, he said. “It’s not credible at all.”
And it isn't just Barletta who's going down in 2018. After the 2016 elections, Pennsylvania sent 13 Republicans and 5 Democrats to Congress. In 2019 it looks likely that Pennsylvania will be sending something like 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans to Congress. If the wave is big enough, it could be 11 Democrats and 7 Republicans. That doesn't look like Trump country-- especially not with the up-and-comer next Lt. Governor, John Fetterman, helping define what Pennsylvania looks like politically.





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Politicizing The NRA/GOP Massacre In Santa Fe

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Adrienne Bell and Trump Regime con man

Santa Fe is a small, affluent city-- population just over 12,000-- that sprawls on both sides of state highway 6 in Galveston County, south of Houston. A little context: in 1981, when Vietnamese shrimpers moved into the area, the KKK hosted a fish fry in Santa Fe and ceremonially burned a Vietnamese fishing boat. About 2 decades later Santa Fe was in the news again when the Supreme Court ruled their school district's sneaky way of allowing prayer in the school district was unconstitutional. And last week, about 2 decades later, Santa Fe was in the news again-- 9 dead students and one dead teacher... another NRA/GOP special event.

Goal ThermometerSanta Fe is part of Texas' 14th congressional district, represented by far right Republican Randy Weber, whose lifetime score from the NRA is "A." And, yes, he has accepted NRA bloody money for his votes in their favor. The PVI of TX-14 is R+12 and Obama lost the district both times he ran. In 2016 Trump beat Hillary there, 58.2% to 38.4%. Weber was reelected with an even higher percentage-- 61.9% against an unfunded Democrat, Michael Cole. This cycle his Democratic opponent is Adrienne Bell, a Berniecrat who beat Levy Barnes in the primary with enough votes (79.8% to 20.2%) to avoid Tuesday's run-off. She's a school teacher who has been endorsed by Our Revolution Texas and the Justice Democrats. If you want to contribute to her campaign you can do so by clicking on the ActBlue Turning Texas Blue thermometer on the right. Her grassroots campaign can certainly use the help and support.

As of the March 31 FEC reporting deadline, Weber had raised $471,983 for his campaign compared to Adrienne's $76,960. After the massacre she issued this statement:
My heart goes out to the families impacted by the horrendous act that happened today at Santa Fe High School. As an educator, who has taught in a classroom, we view our students as our own. We are there not only to educate, but also to protect and serve. It breaks my heart to think of the fear our teachers, students, and parents are experiencing. This national tragedy, which has plagued schools across America, made it to our doorsteps in Santa Fe, Texas.

It’s past time for Congress to act. Federal representatives must explore EVERY avenue to make sure our children can learn, and our teachers can teach, in a safe environment. This is not a red/blue issue, it is an American issue.

Parents should be able to send their children to school without fear. Children should be able to attend school without fear. It is time to come together as a community of Americans, in support of our children and their right to learn in a safe environment.
On her campaign website she had made it clear that she believes in and supports the second amendment and supports sane, common sense gun legislation: "This national conversation of arming teachers to prevent gun violence in our schools," she wrote, "is disturbing. Texas teachers are trained to meet pedagogy and professional standards, that make learning relevant for today’s learners. Our responsibility does not, and should not, be that of an armed guard. Teachers have always been on the frontline, and now we are on the front-line of violence. Instead, the conversation should be focused on AR-15s being used in the recent mass murders of students, and school personnel, at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Since 2012, the AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, has been the weapon of choice, in the deadliest mass murders in our country. At Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, the gunman fired 154 rounds in less than five minutes, murdering 20 innocent children, aged 6-7, and six staff members. A recent Quinnipiac poll, released February 20, 2018, found that 67% of Americans, which included 53% gun owners, are in support of a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons. This is the conversation we need to have-- banning assault weapons, and protecting Americans from mass murders. I stand with the majority of Americans, and call for a ban on assault weapons. I support: Assault weapon ban-- including the sale, transfer, manufacturing and importation of customizable semi-automatic rifles Universal background check, Mandatory waiting period for all gun purchases, Ban of high capacity ammunition magazines, Extreme Risk Protection Order."

Right after the massacre, Kellyanne Conway rushed to Fox News Radio to politicize the latest NRA/GOP murder spree by falsely blaming Democrats, claiming-- and without a shred of evidence-- that Democrats are "going right into this gun grab mode." The Con:
There is certain reflexive and thoughtless and pretty predictable and pathetic reaction coming from lots of folks. And frankly, it usually comes from folks who, unlike Donald J. Trump, have been in office for decades and decades and decades and so that certainly applies to the two people you just mentioned. It also is always insensitive that they will… [go] right past the fact that people are suffering, their lives have changed in blink of a second, and they never get all the facts. They just know, right away, they know because it fits the political narrative.
Let's help get rid of NRA handmaiden and Trump rubber stamp Randy Weber and replace him with Adrienne Bell, who does not and will not, take any contributions from the NRA or, for that matter, from any corporate or right-wing PACs. Again, please consider clicking on the thermometer above and contributing what you can to Adrienne's campaign.

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GOP Farm Bill Failed For Lots Of Reasons, But Few Have Anything To Do With Agriculture

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Yesterday, ever single Democrat-- even the Blue Dogs-- voted against the GOP Farm Bill, Michael Conaway's Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. The bill failed, H.R. 2, 198-213 because 30 Republicans voted against it, a weird combination of Freedom Caucus extremists and mainstream conservatives who didn't want to see food stamps cut 5 months before an election. Oddly, even Paul Ryan voted against it! (Western Wisconsin dairy farmers are going bankrupt at an unprecedented rate-- and so are suicides among family farmers. As usual, Ryan's top priority-- only priority-- was tougher work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).




The two biggest dairy counties in Wisconsin are Clark and Fond du Lac, where Trump beat Hillary, respectively, 63.8% to 31.2% and 60.8% to 34.0%. From the Wisconsin State Farmer: "As the dairy industry struggles with low prices in the face of a long-mounting milk glut, more farmers are finding that their woes are escalating. Over the spring of 2017, a pricing dispute with Canada, Wisconsin's large export market, along with ongoing fears of additional trade issues, have helped crystallize what is turning out to be a serious crisis in dairyland... The fallout from the dairy industry's woes has included a rise in farmer suicides. It's contributing to a growing public health crisis, as farmers overall are aging and suicide is among the leading causes of death for middle-aged men."

Wisconsin Republicans Sean Duffy, Glenn Grothman, Jim Sensenbrenner, and Mike Gallagher all voted for a farm bill that would make life worse for Wisconsin farmers.

In the end, the bill was tanked by far right extremists Mark Meadows (R-NC), Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Scott Perry (R-PA) who were bitching about the direction an immigration bill is moving which isn't radical enough for them. But more mainstream Republicans say the tactic will backfire on the neo-fascists in the caucus.
The bill’s failure, some Republicans predicted, will cause a backlash against the Freedom Caucus agitators by compelling more GOP lawmakers to endorse a procedural gambit, known as a discharge petition, that would force floor votes on four separate DACA bills against the wishes of Republican leaders.

The Freedom Caucus opposes the discharge petition, and have sought ways to sink it.

Denham said their actions on Friday will instead make his lobbying effort easier.

“Given the breaking of the agreement that was made today, you’re going to see more Republicans that are frustrated and angry enough to sign on to something that they’ve never signed on to before,” Denham said after the farm bill failed.

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), a senior member of the GOP whip team, agreed.

He said Republican leaders had, in fact, delivered a warning to recalcitrant lawmakers in the lead up to Friday’s vote: Oppose the farm bill, they said, and the discharge petition will gain steam.

“Don’t be surprised if there’s a discharge petition that comes out as a result of this, because I think there are a lot of members on my side of the aisle concerned that they are not relevant anymore,” a visibly frustrated Ross said after the vote.

“I think you’re going to see some members on the Republican side who are more inclined to do a discharge petition in order to at least get something done.”

...Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), who sponsored the discharge petition that would force votes on Denham’s resolution, said two Republicans approached him on Thursday to say they’re ready to endorse the petition, though he did not know when they would do so.

At least two House Democrats are withholding their support for the discharge petition, citing concerns that the effort will lead to new construction of President Trump’s border wall.

Curbelo said he’s hoping those Democratic holdouts will change course and sign the petition, but predicted their support ultimately won’t be necessary to reach the 218 mark.

“We’re not too worried about that because we think we’ll get more than 25 [Republicans],” Curbelo said.

The immigration and agriculture issues have become entwined in recent weeks, after the leaders of the Freedom Caucus-- notably Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH)-- threatened to withhold their support for the farm bill unless Ryan solidified a vote on a conservative immigration proposal, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

Although the Goodlatte bill lacks the support to pass the House, conservatives want an opportunity to vote on it, perhaps with amendments. The legislation adopts a hardline approach to immigration reform, boosting interior enforcement and reducing even legal immigration.

“We need to figure out whether we can [pass] Goodlatte as is, or amend it,” Meadows said Thursday. “If that doesn’t work than we know that we have to go with some other option.”

The two groups huddled Thursday night in Ryan’s office in the Capitol, where GOP leaders offered the conservatives a vote on the Goodlatte bill in June. The offer didn’t satisfy some members of the group, however, who wanted to vote on the immigration bill before moving to the agriculture package.

“It was not fully clear,” Meadows said of the leadership offer.

That argument hasn’t appeased Denham, who said he’s agitated with fellow Republicans who “asked for a concession, got the concession, and then took down [the farm bill] anyways.”

“They had asked for a date certain [to consider the Goodlatte bill], and they gave a date certain... It was [a deal] good enough until about 10 minutes before the vote,” Denham said, adding that the agreement is now off.

“If you break an agreement I assume you no longer get what you agreed to. They had gotten their vote, that they had asked for, and we gave them a date. Now they’ve changed their minds. So I would expect that agreement to be null and void, at this point.”
And, obviously, trouble for farmers isn't just in Wisconsin. Listen to the NPR piece about Iowa farmers below. And the Trump economy isn't just moving along and bringing catastrophe for farmers either. Mortgage interest rates rose to their highest in 7 years... and headed up. It had to happen. Without even understanding it at all, Trump has been basking in the glow of Obama's economic achievements... while tearing them apart. That's coming back to bite him in his fat sagging ass-- and to bite the rest of us too, as the regime's economic policies start kicking in. The first victims will be people who drive cars-- as the Trumpanzee foreign policy drives up gas prices-- and people who want to buy homes... and cars.



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Half-Witted Intolerance

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Yesterday, in the Washington Post, Michael Gerson, described a societal problem of Trumpism in terms of social psychology. It reminded me of George Orwell's post-World War II writing. And Huxley's Brave New World pre-World World War II masterpiece. And Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (1968). There were other authors who tackled the dystopian problems that Trump is thrusting on us today, Margaret Atwood (Handmaid’s Tale), Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451), Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange), Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), Stephen King (The Running Man). "Human beings," wrote Gerson, "are wired to favor their ingroup and to view people in outgroups as interchangeable and dispensable. We are willing to form ingroups at the drop of a hat, based even on minor characteristics. We tend to believe that bad things that happen to people in our ingroup are bum luck, while bad things that happen to people in outgroups are evidence of a just universe. Because we are inherently predisposed toward stereotyping, we are particularly vulnerable to propaganda." In a Trumpian Age that's a real problem.
In West Virginia, Republican Senate candidate Don Blankenship accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of creating jobs for "China people" and getting donations from his "China family" (McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, was born in Taiwan). In Georgia, Republican gubernatorial candidate Michael Williams drives around in a bus he promises to fill with "illegals" who will be deported to Mexico. On the rear is stamped: "Murderers, rapists, kidnappers, child molesters, and other criminals on board." In Arizona, Republican Senate candidate (and former sheriff) Joe Arpaio is a proud "birther" with a history of profiling and abusing Hispanic migrants. Vice President Mike Pence recently called Arpaio "a great friend of this president, a tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law." In Wisconsin, Republican House candidate Paul Nehlen runs as a "pro-white Christian American candidate."


Randy Bryce is the progressive Democrat in Wisconsin who will prevent Paul Nehlen-- or some Paul Ryan clone-- from following Paul Ryan as the congressman for southeast part of the state. "Our campaign," he told me today, "was launched by stating we need a bigger table. Not only does everyone deserve to be heard, but, everyone deserves to begin the race from the same starting point. I am committed to working on that and will not rest until it becomes a reality. I will not sit down while nobody else is standing up to a man in the White House referring to people as animals. Every member of Congress who is silent now needs to be silenced in their ability to represent us come November. There is only one thing that I refuse to tolerate. That thing is intolerance."
Yes, these are fringe figures. But they are fringe figures in a political atmosphere they correctly view as favorable. In the Republican Party, cranks and bigots are closer to legitimacy than at any time since William F. Buckley banished the John Birch Society.

For some of us, this was a concern from the beginning of Donald Trump's rise-- not just the policies he would adopt but the attitudes he would encourage and the passions he would provoke.

...Whatever else Trumpism may be, it is the systematic organization of resentment against outgroups. His record is rich in dehumanization. It was evident when Trump called Mexican migrants "criminals" and "rapists." When Trump claimed legal mistreatment from a judge because "he's a Mexican" (Judge Gonzalo Curiel was born in Indiana). When he proposed a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." When Trump attacked Muslim Gold Star parents. When he sidestepped opportunities to criticize former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. When he referred to "very fine people" among the white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville. When he expressed a preference for Norwegian immigrants above those from non-white "shithole countries."

This is more than a disturbing pattern; it is an organizing political principle. And it has resulted in a series of radiating consequences.

First, it has given permission for the public expression of shameful sentiments. People such as Blankenship, Williams, Arpaio and Nehlen are part of a relatively (and thankfully) small political group. But the president has set boundaries of political discourse that include them and encourage them. Even when Trump opposes their candidacies, he has enabled the bolder, more confident expression of their bigotry. The Trump era is a renaissance of half-witted intolerance. Trump's Christian supporters in particular must be so proud.

Second, Trump's attacks on outgroups have revealed the cowardice of a much broader faction within the GOP-- those who know better but say little. Some leaders (see House Speaker Paul Ryan) have been willing to criticize specific instances of Trump's prejudice. But few-- and very few with a political future-- have been willing to draw the obvious conclusion that Trump is prejudiced, or to publicly resist the trend toward prejudice among the GOP base.

Third, Trump's attitudes toward diversity have moved the center of gravity of the whole GOP toward immigration restrictionism. In Republican Senate primaries such as the one in Indiana, candidates have engaged in a competition of who can be the most exclusionary. Mainstream attitudes toward refugees and legal immigration have become more xenophobic. Trump has not only given permission to those on the fringes; he has changed the Republican mean to be more mean.

The good news about bias against outgroups is that it can be mitigated. And that, in fact, describes the high calling of a democratic leader-- to set an aspiration of unity, to speak the language of empathy, to emphasize our common goals, our common values and our common fate as a people. The GOP waits on leaders who will make these tasks their own.
Goal ThermometerBlue America isn't waiting for Republican leaders who will make these tasks their own. We're waiting for the November midterms to steer America away from the path Republicans are on. Alan Grayson was an Orlando area congressman when he turned my on to Philip K. Dick's books. I wish other members of Congress understood dystopian visions as fully as he does. Today he told me that "Trump thinking is Neanderthal thinking, and look what happened to them. The things that make us different are the things that make us special. Our differences are not something to be tolerated or overcome; our differences are to be cherished."

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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by Noah

Thursday marked the one year anniversary of the Mueller investigation. Señor Trumpanzee marked the anniversary with, you guessed it, a childish tweet wherein he once again referred to the investigation as a "Witch Hunt," in fact "the greatest Witch Hunt in American history." It figures that Trumpanzee would refer to his "Witch Hunt" as "the greatest." It's only a matter of time until he claims that this "Witch Hunt" has "the highest ratings of any previous 'Witch Hunt."

In his tweet, Trumpanzee also once again, chanted his patented "No collusion. No collusion" personal mantra. Judging by the ever-increasing amount of indictments and guilty pleas, his mantra isn't working. Keep chanting you obese orange mini-handed freak. Maybe this time, America will burn the real witches. Yeah, I know. Fat chance of that. I do have a dream though. I have a dream that you will be judged by the content of your character.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Shutting Down The Government Is Now A Game Of Chicken For Trumpanzee

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A friend of mine used to be in business with one of Trump's lawyers. He told my friend and my friend told me a funny story. Lawyers hate working for Trump and not only because he doesn't pay his bill. This particular lawyer told him that among lawyers who have worked for Trump this is fairly common. He and Trump would be their way to court. The lawyer would say something to the effect of "Now, whatever happens, whatever the judge asks you, do not under any circumstances say 'XYZ.'" So they get to court and the judge says, "For the record, please state your name." And Trump says, "Let's cut the crap and get right to the matter at hand, 'XYZ.'"

Do you think Trump has changed his ways? He hasn't. And it isn't just with lawyers. Trump's a dick who thinks he knows better than anyone else in the room. And wants to prove it. This week Eliana Johnson and Burgess Everett, reporting for Politico, wrote about the GOP Senate luncheon with Señor Trumpanzee. They wrote that the senators didn’t ask too many questions to Señor T "but the party’s most vulnerable incumbent did make one big ask: Please, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller pleaded, don’t shut down the government over funding for a border wall before the midterm elections." But that's exactly what Trumpanzee plans to do and he certainly doesn't care what Dean Heller has to say about it.
Picking that fight during an election season would hurt Republicans at the ballot box, Heller told Trump, according to an attendee and two people briefed on the meeting. Though Heller prefaced his request by heaping praise on the president, Trump was noncommittal. “We’ll see what happens,” he told the group.

Heller, who confirmed he asked Trump not to shut down the government, was speaking for Republican lawmakers who fear that the president’s desire to follow through on one of his signature campaign promises could undermine their attempt to maintain control of the upper chamber. While Trump held campaign rallies with a raucous audience pushing him to “build the wall” at the U.S. border with Mexico, many Senate Republicans want to avoid a government shutdown at all costs-- at least between now and the November elections.

Government funding runs out on Sept. 30, and Trump is laser-focused on getting his wall money in the next fiscal year, telling senators on Twitter not to take their usual August recess unless the border is secured.

...[Trump] has in recent weeks expressed frustration with his advisers about the lack of progress on border security. He blew up at his Homeland Security chief, Kirstjen Nielsen, for example, during a Cabinet meeting earlier this month, telling his advisers that the border remains too porous, and he has privately groused to friends that his team isn’t being aggressive enough.

While the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill Trump signed into law in March allocated $1.6 billion for border security, it focuses on fencing rather than a massive wall as envisioned by the president and is far short of the $25 billion that White House officials wanted. That was one of many aspects of the legislation that infuriated the president and made him tell associates subsequently that he wished he had vetoed the effort and would stop future, similar efforts.

Heller, who is facing Democratic challenger Rep. Jacky Rosen in November, is widely considered the most vulnerable Republican in the Senate and has for months now sought to chart middle-of-the-road positions that will appeal to Nevada’s moderate voters without drawing Trump’s ire.
Alan Grayson was a member of Congress when the Republicans shut down the government last time. Now Trump wants to-- really wants to-- do it again. "Trump hears that you don’t like what Trump is doing," Trump said to Bill Gates, who thought, "Wow, but you are Trump." Grayson wasn't there for that crazy little get-together. Today, he told us that "If you look at the polling during the government shutdown that cost $27 billion during the Obama Administration, you’ll see that the GOP suffered a crushing 10-point drop in generic polling right then. Which they recovered from, because other things happened, and in the following election, I don’t remember a single Democrat in the entire country ran an ad condemning them for the shutdown. But if Trump does it again, maybe the Democrats won’t let the GOP off the hook this time." I'm sure Grayson won't let them off any hooks... anytime.

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