Friday, December 15, 2017

Ajit Pi Alone Can't Kill Net Neutrality-- It Takes A Village... A Corrupt Conservative Village


Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you
Wu wu wu
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson
Jolting Joe has left and gone away
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey
Actually it's Lyin' Ryan who's gone away... or, at least, going away. And he's leaving behind the mess over net neutrality. "Oh, but it isn't Ryan's mess," you claim. It;'s just that horrid, slimeball lobbyist Ajit Pai. Pai, a former" Verizon lobbyist, was just doing his job, clearly for his "former" employer. It's Ryan who isn't doing his job, if you consider the people in southeast Wisconsin his employer. We'll get to that in a second. First a little update from Tom McKay at Gizmodo.
On Thursday, the Republican-dominated Federal Communications Commission and its chairman, Verizon BFF Ajit Pai, will hold a vote on whether to repeal Barack Obama-era net neutrality rules. If passed, the FCC would allow ISPs to begin setting up a tiered internet designed to suck as much money from customers’ pockets as possible while screwing with their ability to access competitors’ content, or really anything that might suck up amounts of bandwidth inconvenient for their profit margins.

The plan is immensely unpopular, even with Republicans. This type of situation would typically call for a charm offensive, though Pai has apparently decided to resort to his time-honored tactic of being incredibly condescending instead. In a video with the conservative site Daily Caller’s Benny Johnson [above]-- the dude who got fired from BuzzFeed for plagiarizing Yahoo Answers-- Pai urged the country to understand that even if he succeeds in his plan to let ISPs strangle the rest of the internet to death, they’ll let us continue to take selfies and other stupid bullshit.

...All of these claims on what users “will still be able to do” are actually questionable, seeing as under Pai’s plan, ISPs could easily hit up their customers with crushing fees to let them access any of these services at reasonable speeds-- particularly those binge-watching streaming services he claims to love so much. Strangely, Pai didn’t mention torrenting, one of the applications of the internet he believes ISPs should be able to turn off entirely to save on bandwidth.

The debate over net neutrality isn’t whether people are literally going to be unable to upload photos of cute puppies to the internet, but whether they’re going to be able to do so on fair terms or arcane, extortionate ones dictated entirely by a handful of ultra-wealthy service providers. But that’s beside the point; just like with a previous video mocking Twitter critics he filmed with the right-wing site Independent Journal Review, the intent seems to be finding friendly last-minute venues for Pai to publicly laugh off the intense criticism being directed at his plan.

He’s trying to buy precious cover by painting everyone who disagrees with him as a simple-minded idiot.
Beto O'Rourke, an ardent defender of net neutrality, is running for the Texas Senate seat held by the odious Ted Cruz, a fanatic anti-neutrality backer. He's been working on a bill and so has Sean Patrick Maloney. But no one is deluded into thinking Ryan-- who has taken oodles of cash from the telecomms; this cycle $59,195, more than anyone else in Congress other than Greg Walden (R-OR), chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology ($105,100).

Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), everyone's favorite congresswoman, also emphasized that "this fight is not over with today’s vote. In Congress, I am an original co-sponsor, with Rep. Mike Doyle, of the Congressional Review Act that will reverse the FCC’s terrible vote. It is a top priority for me to do everything I can, working with people across the country, to protect net neutrality and preserve an open internet for all."

Another member of Congress told me he called for a constitutional amendment on net neutrality 7 years ago! He said the "most likely reason why nothing has passed is that the phone companies and cable companies would try to jam up any effort like that, and the internet companies aren’t strong enough on K Street to neutralize their effort.  AT&T, for instance, has the single largest federal PAC in DC, if I recall correctly. So the New Dems stop it in the House, and the Schumer Dems in the Senate." Hawaii's progressive champion, Kaniela Ing came up with a very interesting solution he tweeted last night. What do you think of this?

Carol Shea-Porter, the progressive congresswoman from New Hampshire, told her constituents that the fight isn't over as far as she's concerned. "I strongly oppose the result of today’s shameful FCC vote, and I will work to restore the net neutrality protections American consumers expect and deserve. Net neutrality is the simple principle that lawful content on the Internet should be equally accessible to everyone, and that Internet service providers should not be allowed to discriminate against some content providers. Without the guarantee of net neutrality, the Internet superhighway’s rules of the road will favor big businesses over newer startups. The Internet has allowed the proud tradition of American ingenuity and entrepreneurship to reach every corner of the globe. Its openness has enabled a new generation of New Hampshire innovators to turn a bright idea and a laptop into a business. We can’t stand by as the FCC and big corporations steal our right to equal access."

Goal ThermometerAlmost all the Blue America-endorsed candidates sent out e-mails today campaigning on net neutrality. Wise. Sam Jammal (CA-39): "Ajit Pai and the FCC just voted to ignore the overwhelming majority of Americans who begged to save net neutrality. Too much of our economy is reliant on a free and open internet for us to stand back and do nothing... It's time to elect a Congressman who refuses to sell out his community." Derrick Crowe is our candidate in the Austin-San Antonio corridor (TX21): "The internet is ours-- the people's. But, the FCC sided with corporate America and voted to kill the open Internet. Send me to Congress and I will fight to pass strong legislation that will undo this terrible decision. This is what Donald Trump's appointees are here to do: sell us out to corporate America. The best way to fight back now is to take back Congress, and to put representatives in place who will force an open Internet policy on the FCC. I am refusing corporate-PAC money because you need to know whose side I am on." Katie Hill, up in the Santa Clarita Valley, got it perfectly: "Today, the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality, ignoring the millions of us who stood up in support of it. They allowed a handful of billionaires and corporations to control our access to information. Now, the best way for us to stand up and fight back is right here in the 25th district. Steve Knight has taken $60,000 from telecom companies, and has stayed completely silent on net neutrality. These telecom companies are emboldened by politicians like Knight, and they won't be stopped until there are leaders in place who can't be bought by special interests."

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

This meme should be made into stickers that we can place everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I imagine them plastered to the hallway, office, and bathroom walls of the White House, just in case there are any women who work there who would actually object to being grabbed by Señor Trumpanzee or one of his sons. It should become the White House equivalent of that "what to do for a choking victim" poster we see in restaurants. I'd also like to see it plastered all over and all around any Trump hotels, casinos, etc. We could even affix them to those huge dump trucks they use as barricades at Trump Tower here in NYC.

I realize the print instructions are small, but if someone printed the sticker up to bumper sticker size, that should suffice. Certainly the visual depicts what to do, but, if you, like me, have a little trouble reading the small print, here are the steps to take to protect yourself. Keep in mind that, given his reported diet, Trump's breath and body odor is probably so awful that you may faint before you can act. Best not to be in Trump's proximately anyway.

Step 1: Don't panic. Swerve to the right wile breaking perpetrator's tiny fingers. I would add that you can probably go for a full elbow dislocation fairly easily.

Step 2: Follow with a knee to the groin. Precision is required due to small target area. Hell, at this point, he's probably got a roll of protective blubber covering up his genitals. And, why do you think he wears such long ties?

Step 3: Spray attacker in the eyes with his own aerosol hair spray. I suggest that, if his hairspray is not readily available, you should look for his spray tan or just grab a can of his always present diet coke, shake it up and pop the tab.

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Let's Forget About Trump For A Moment And Think About Otto


Harvey Meets The Resistance by Nancy Ohanian

You may not think this is funny-- and you may be pissed because I'm not going to name any names-- but I'm going to muse a little on the guys I know who are getting busted for predatory behavior. I live in L.A, and have worked in the entertainment business (and in politics) for long enough so that it was inevitable that I'd know some of these creeps. And I don't mean having had an experience or two with them. I mean really knowing them. (Yeah, Warners had a corporate jet and I once shared a flight with Harvey Weinstein. But I don't recall ever saying anything more than "hi" to him, either on the flight or in the studio's executive dining room. That's not what I mean.)

What I mean is when a major scandal broke about one entertainment top name I had to recall that I knew him when he was just a kid and I figured out exactly why he thought he could get away with using his power inside the power dynamic to prey on women. He managed a band, wanted a deal and a predatory monster executive showed him-- still a teenager at the time-- how it's done: "You want your band signed, bend over... here's the lube." Poor kid, it must've traumatized him and-- decades later-- he was pulling the same crap on your women looking to get ahead in the biz.

Today my phone lit up and I must have had at least a dozen messages about an old friend of mine-- let's call him Fred-- whose name was splashed across the headlines for being a pig. I've known him since he was in college. I still think of him, fondly, as a kid. But a pig, first and foremost, a pig I don't stay in touch with much either. Do you want to play around with a pig? The first time I met him, I was managing a band and he was the chairman of his school's concert committee and booked the band. After the show, I wandered over to the box office and he was stuffing cash into his pocket. That was late 70's. He hasn't changed, although his field of activities has gotten way bigger.

So, many years ago, I met this guy, Otto-- totally my... um, type. At least for a date. I wasn't his type at all. He was basically straight. But... it was late at night and he had no place to stay and it was cold and... one thing led to another. He never admitted he was gay but was sort of my on-again-off-again-on-again boyfriend for the better part of a decade. Otto was a smart guy... very, very smart-- an actual chess master in fact. But he got off to a bad start in life. Half German, half Japanese, he was recruited by a gang when he was 12 and he shot two policemen. The gangs used very young kids like that because the kids would get off easy. Otto had a rough few years but he didn't get the electric chair or even a real prison sentence and by the time he was 21 he was given a "fresh start" in life. Except whenever he did something wrong-- which he did-- they would throw the book at him. I used to send him chess sets to whichever prison he wound up in.

Anyway, one day, we were backstage at a Prince concert-- or maybe in was a Bangles concert that Prince was playing at as a surprise guest or something. It doesn't matter. Fred was working for the promoter and he was backstage too. No one else was around and he came over and started insinuating Otto was gay. He didn't understand that Otto could have killed him. Fortunately he didn't, but he did set his pants on fire. Bad, Otto! Bad, bad, bad. Fred thought putting Otto down wasn't like a "real world" thing-- just words-- and was totally shocked when the response was very "real world"-- being set on fire. Poor, Fred... recently, ladies who worked for him came forward with some pretty sordid stories that are laying his life's book open now. He's ruined. I wonder what ever happened to Otto though. I still have his letters that he sent me from prison. He was supposed to move with me to L.A. when I came down here, but he never showed up the day of the move. Eventually he wrote to me when he wanted another chess set and some Ramen sent to his new state-provided address. And then once he was out of prison I took him to see a Madonna concert. Never saw him after that and never heard from him either. Must have died. I wish I had a picture; I'd show it to you.


Marianne Williamson's Love America Tour


Our old friend and comrade in arms, Marianne Williamson, is starting a tour of the U.S. in which she'll be-- among other things-- introducing some of the Blue America candidates to her followers. She's just setting the dates now. In fact this morning she started working with Kaniela Ing to set up an event in Honolulu. So far though, these are the set dates:
Richmond Virginia, Huguenot High School Auditorium- Saturday, January 6, 2pm

Winston-Salem, Benton Convention Center- Sunday, January 7, 4pm with Jenny Marshall

Houston, Texas, Unity of Houston- Thursday, January 11, 7:30 pm

Austin, Wyndham Garden Hotel- Friday, January 12, 7:30 pm with Derrick Crowe

Las Vegas, Center for Spiritual Living- Saturday, January 20, 7pm

Miami, Unity of the Bay- Friday, March 2, 6pm

Phoenix, Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center- Friday, March 16, 7:30pm

Raleigh, Unity Church- Friday, March 31, 7pm

Denver, Mile Hi Church- April 20, 7pm
Jenny Marshall, in a touch battle with far right incumbent Virginia Foxx in North Carolina, has been getting tremendous help from Marianne. "We are thrilled," she told us, "to have the help of Marianne as we fight for change in the 5th district. Since meeting Marianne back in June, she has shown us unwavering support.  We were thrilled to be included in the Sister Giant slate of endorsed candidates and now Marianne is coming to North Carolina as our special guest for a fundraiser.  The event is called Ignite the Change NC with Marianne Williamson.  It will take place on January 7th, 2018 at the Benton Convention Center 301 West 5th Street Winston-Salem, NC 27101.  We are hosting a private reception from 3:00-4:00pm for select ticket holders. the main event will be from from 4:00-6:00pm. Tickets can be purchased at this link.

Inviting her followers, Marianne noted that "The times in which we’re living are dramatic and unstable, yet pregnant with new possibilities for a future released from the shackles of fear. At a time when fear and hatred have been turned into a political force, is it possible to harness the powers of love and decency for political purposes as well?" And she has an answer:
Our task is to create a new, whole-person politics, breaking free of a paradigm based on a decidedly outdated view of the world and embracing a more enlightened understanding of our relation to the universe. We need a deeper, multi-dimensional understanding of our national story: where we have been, where we are, and where we need to go now.

As with other extraordinary times in our history-- from our Founding to Abolition to Women’s Suffrage to the Civil Rights era-- it is time once again to break free of an old way of being and embrace a new story going forward. As in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “… we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

I will be touring the country this year, discussing how a revolution in consciousness paves the way to both personal and national renewal. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”
This just came in as an email from Marianne as we were about to publish. And just as David Feldman was telling me that Derrick Crowe (TX-21) was the most effective guest I had gotten him for his podcast:

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Odious Wisconsin Granny Starver Retiring-- Too Late For GOP Incumbents Bracing For A Tsunami?


Every Beltway insider who read the DWT predictions for the last couple of months-- once I started seeing the WI-01 internal polling numbers-- that Ryan would retire, rolled their eyes. Then, today, Tim Alberta and Rachel Bade went with the story at Politico-Pro: Paul Ryan Sees His Wild Washington Journey Coming To An End.

Last night I was at a fundraiser here in L.A. for Kaniela Ing. Kaniela told his life story and how that story turned him into a progressive. While he was telling it-- he came from a modest background and his father passed away when he was young and he was dependent on a then-strong social safety net to make it and, in his case, escape from the pineapple fields. Except for the part about the pineapple fields--and the conclusion-- it's almost the same as Paul Ryan's life story. But Kaniela internalized the struggle and decided to devote his career to helping others struggling the same way he ands family struggled. Ryan took a different approach, working tirelessly, after reading and internalizing Ayn Rand's simplistic adolescent novels, to pull up the ladder behind him and shred the social safety net that helped him escape from poverty.

Ryan's Tax Scam was carefully written to eventually end what's left of the New Deal and completely shred what remains of the social safety net, which, he has said many times, makes people lazy. Alberta and Bade were more generous about how they phrased it: "Having spent a quarter-century in Washington-- as an intern, waiter, junior think-tanker, Hill staffer and, since 1999, as a member of Congress-- he had never wavered in his obsession with fixing what he viewed as the nation’s two fundamental weaknesses: its Byzantine tax system and ballooning entitlement state... The speaker has since gone public with this aspiration, suggesting that 2018 should be the year Washington finally tackles what he sees as the systemic problems with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."
Tinkering with the social safety net is a bold undertaking, particularly in an election year. But Ryan has good reason for throwing caution to the wind: His time in Congress is running short.

Despite several landmark legislative wins this year, and a better-than-expected relationship with President Donald Trump, Ryan has made it known to some of his closest confidants that this will be his final term as speaker. He consults a small crew of family, friends and staff for career advice, and is always cautious not to telegraph his political maneuvers. But the expectation of his impending departure has escaped the hushed confines of Ryan’s inner circle and permeated the upper-most echelons of the GOP. In recent interviews with three dozen people who know the speaker-- fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists-- not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018.

...He would like to serve through Election Day 2018 and retire ahead of the next Congress. This would give Ryan a final legislative year to chase his second white whale, entitlement reform, while using his unrivaled fundraising prowess to help protect the House majority-- all with the benefit of averting an ugly internecine power struggle during election season. Ryan has never loved the job; he oozes aggravation when discussing intra-party debates over “micro-tactics," and friends say he feels like he’s running a daycare center. On a personal level, going home at the end of next year would allow Ryan, who turns 48 next month, to keep promises to family; his three children are in or entering their teenage years, and Ryan, whose father died at 55, wants desperately to live at home with them full-time before they begin flying the nest. The best part of this scenario, people close to the speaker emphasize: He wouldn’t have to share the ballot with Trump again in 2020.
The bad news for House Republicans is that Ryan is even less popular among voters than Trump and having him leading the House Republicans into the midterms is likely to be catastrophic. Sunday, we ran this polling data showing Ryan's approval/disapproval numbers in key congressional districts around the country:
VA-10 (Barbara Comstock)- 20/71%
PA-06 (Ryan Costello)- 21/70%
WA-08 (Dave Reichert)- 20/67%
AZ-02 (Martha McSally)- 23/65%
IA-03 (David Young)- 24/65%
MI-11 (Dave Trott)- 22/65%
CO-06 (Mike Coffman)- 25/64%
CA-49 (Darrell Issa)- 25/63%
MN-02 (Jason Lewis)- 29/62%
IA-01 (Rod Blum)- 26/61%
ME-02 (Bruce Poliquin)- 25/61%
PA-15 (Charlie Dent)- 25/61%
NY-22 (Claudia Tenney)- 26/52%
CO-03 (Scott Tipton)- 24/52%
PA-08 (Brian Fitzpatrick)- 30/52%
NY-27 (Chris Collins)- 29/51%
NY-24 (John Katko)- 32/49%
CA-25 (Steve Knight)- 26/48%
CA-39 (Ed Royce)- 26/43%
Randy's campaign manager, David Keith, just told us that "It is no surprise that Paul Ryan is contemplating going home. From day one of Randy's campaign, southeast Wisconsin-- and the nation-- has woken up to the sound of hope and a working class vision of fairness and justice. Paul Ryan has been spending too much time in bourbon-filled back rooms on Wall Street to hear that message, but clearly, it's loud enough now. He's more than welcome to apply for an iron working apprenticeship so he can learn a thing or two about how he'll spend his time during retirement."

Randy Bryce: "We knew Paul Ryan was too afraid to stand up to Donald Trump, but now it appears that he's too afraid to face the voters of his own district as well. Ryan must be seeing the same thing we are: his poll numbers are dropping, while our campaign has caught fire." Randy's campaign chief strategist, Bill Hyers brought up the new poll from Global Strategy Group which shows Ryan's poll numbers are tanking at home, with 47% of district voters saying they view Ryan negatively, compared to just 46% with a positive impression-- a net drop of 9 points since August. Despite having a fraction of Ryan's name recognition, Bryce is already within striking distance, trailing 46-40%-- and when voters learn about Bryce, he pulls substantially into the lead, which must have driven Ryan to make this decision to retire. Hyers: "Ryan would rather retire than be held accountable for what he's done, but one way or another, Paul Ryan will be out of a job in 2018."

Did the Politico story even mention Randy Bryce, the construction worker on the verge on defeating Ryan on election day? Is Ryan's plea to voters in Kenosha, Janesville, Racine and across southeast Wisconsin going to now be, "hey, I'm leaving anyway... don't embarrass me now? Have pity." Regardless of what he says this is the time to double down... triple down. Whether Ryan runs with the intention of retiring of doesn't run, the key has always been to replace him with a stalwart defender of the legitimate aspirations of working families... Randy Bryce. See that thermometer below?

Goal ThermometerThis morning, the folks at VoteVets alerted their members about Ryan's decision: "Moments ago, news broke that Congressman Paul Ryan is considering retiring after the midterm elections. But honestly, Paul Ryan doesn't deserve to retire with dignity, he deserves to be sent out with an embarrassing defeat... Paul Ryan thinks he is going loot the U.S. Treasury to rain cash on some of the richest Americans in this country and then leave out the back door? No way. No how. We're gonna beat him first." And by "we," they meant everyone coalescing around Randy Bryce to defeat Ryan. You can chip into Randy's campaign by tapping the Blue America Stop Paul Ryan thermometer on the right. One of the candidates we're eager to see working in Congress on behalf of working families alongside Bryce is Iowa's Austin Frerick, a former Treasury Department economist under Obama. "For once, I encourage Rep. David Young," he told us moments ago about his rubber stamp opponent, "to take Speaker Ryan's lead and retire at the end of this session as well. He can save himself the humiliation come November 2018."

Sam Jammal, who's running for Ed Royce's Orange County seat had a similar point of view today" "Ryan can announce he is retiring, but Ed's still stuck with him. Ed's a yes vote that Ryan has banked on for votes to raise taxes on families in our district, cut Medicare for our seniors , undermine our environment and push Donald Trump's reckless agenda that does nothing for our community. Just like with Trump, there is no running away from Ryan next year." And Katie Hill, running north of there for the seat Steve Knight has such a tenuous grasp on told us that "Ryan is less popular in the 25th district than any other elected official. CA-25 voters know that his tax 'plan' and his efforts to repeal the ACA hurt the residents of the district. Steve Knight has continually supported his corporate cronyism agenda. After Virginia, New Jersey, Alabama, and other elections around the country the writing on the wall is clear; voters have had enough. The 2018 elections will turn Speaker Ryan into the Minority leader. A blue wave is coming and I look forward to making the 25th district part of it." Doug Applegate, the progressive in the race to unseat Darrell Issa, saw the Politico story and reminded us that "Without Paul Ryan leading the GOP herd, Darrell Issa will be lost. Constituents of the 49th will see that the GOP only wants to make sure their government does nothing for working men and women of America."

And to quote Beyonce, "tell 'em boy bye"

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Campaigning On A Guaranteed Jobs Program Makes Sense-- And More Candidates Are Catching On, Although The DCCC Has Never Heard Of The Idea


The Guaranteed Income (UBI) proposals floating around, courtesy of the Silicon Valley aristocracy, is a dangerous trap, fraught with right-wing austerity dangers. Progressives who have put any time into it are far more interested in the Job Guarantee models, as we discussed here on Tuesday. In fact, if you missed Pavlina Tcherneva's explanatory video of JG, I've posted it again (just above).

Progressive candidates need to shut down the Pavlovian impulse to repeat Peterson’s talking points because, let's face it, there is no progressive agenda in a deficit-neutral world-- and, even if liberals aren't, the Peterson people are very aware of that, exquisitely so. Candidates who accidentally reinforce the idea that everything must be "paid for" in a deficit-neutral way are falling into a trap and killing the progressive agenda and any semblance of the kind of bold game-changing actions that will shake up the status quo. Several of the Blue America candidates have already been campaigning on Job Guarantee as part of their platforms. Dan Canon (IN-09), for example, has this up on his campaign website:
A guaranteed public-jobs program that provides meaningful work to those who are willing and able to take it, primarily in rebuilding and improving American roads, bridges, public transportation, energy grids, rural broadband access, and in environmental cleanup/preservation; ultimately the program would aim to result in 100% (voluntary) employment over time.
When I spoke with him yesterday, he told me that "Ultimately, I think we're going to have to come up with some kind of solution to the massive job drain that we are about to face due to the rise of automation. I don't hear very many politicians talking about this, but it's a huge concern. We're looking at millions of over-the-road trucker jobs disappearing overnight, probably within the next 5 years. This is a problem that we need to get out ahead of, and a guaranteed job program is one possible solution that we need to consider. The added benefit is that it allows us to make much-needed investments in our crumbling infrastructure; we could put people who want good-paying jobs to work rebuilding roads, bridges, and water systems, and expanding broadband access. Even if you're terrified of deficit spending, it's hard to see this as a losing proposition, since you're investing directly in the working-class and in America's infrastructure, and those investments will pay dividends for the economy over the long haul."

Goal ThermometerAnd Tim Canova, who's in a tight race with crooked New Dem Debbie Wasserman Schultz in South Florida has been a supporter of a federal job guarantee for many years." He told me that "In the 1990s, at the National Jobs For All Coalition, we called for this approach. The need for a federal job guarantee has been even greater since the 2008 financial collapse and the trickle down recovery that has followed. New Deal public works programs helped build so much of the country’s infrastructure while providing hope and dignity to millions of people. Today there are millions of Americans, particularly among our youth, who are unemployed or underemployed in bad part time jobs. We need to provide them with opportunities in public jobs programs, building our crumbling infrastructure, in conservation projects, and in service to others. This is a big part of our agenda."

But not every candidate feels they can campaign on the issue. One guy we're still vetting told me that he's "a big fan of the JG and agree with everything Stephanie and Pavlina have said on the issue. That being said, I don't plan on making it a part of my campaign just yet; I think it's still in the developmental phase and hasn't been widely publicized to the extent that any voters in my district would know what I was talking about. I see my current platform of payroll tax cuts and massive infrastructure projects as basically providing full employment/employment guarantee to people in the district, but I don't explicitly refer to it as a job guarantee. Same ends, different means. However I think in just a few years the JG could catch on in a major way, and if I'm elected to Congress I'd be its strongest advocate. Few things I or anyone could do as a member of Congress would be as progressive, powerful, and transformational as a JG because it totally upends the centuries-long power relationship between capital/management and labor. Given political realities I think it could start catching on after 2021, if things work well for progressives."

Another candidate who asked me to leave his comments off the record, told me that "Yes, a job guarantee is better than an income guarantee, and as a fundamental part of social justice, our social compact, and how to build a good society, we should have it. However it is foreign to most Americans' thinking and implementing it presents significant administrative and coordination challenges. In Congress I would push for trials in a few regions, in cooperation with state governments that want to try it out. But I don't see making it an immediate priority or a prominent feature of my campaign."

Kaniela Ing is very forward on this proposal and he's already working directly with one of Bernie's chief economists, Stephanie Kelton, on how to make sure Job Guarantee serves the needs Hawaii's working families. Last night Kaniela told us that "America’s promise has always been clear-- work hard and your family will prosper. Today, too many hard-working Americans feel that our leaders have gone bad on that promise. I talk to folks who tell me everyday, they grind and sweat, but struggle to get by. Wages are stagnant, unemployment and underemployment are rising, the threats of automation and globalization are becoming real, all while costs are skyrocketing. But just take a walk outside and look around at all the work that needs to be done in America. There are bridges to be built, highways needing repair, kids to be taught, aging folks needing care, oceans to be cleaned, trees to be planted. But private markets fall short. For every job opening in America, four people are gunning for it. This pits worker against worker and creates a power imbalance between workers and their bosses. It’s too risky for a worker to stand up to wage theft, inhumane working conditions, or sexual harassment, when they know there’s nowhere else to go. Our elected representatives must stop pretending that everything is okay, and that the job market will some home fix itself. It’s time for real solutions that will actually help working families across America. It’s time for a new New deal. Since the start of my campaign, I’ve been leading with a universal job guarantee, and I ask other progressive candidates to join me. Let’s remind the establishment that the ability to work for a livable wage is a human right that should be afforded to all. In these uncertain times, progressives will lead with real solutions that offer hope to the many, and just the privileged few."

Jenny Marshall is in a very similar district, North Carolina's 5th and she agrees that it's a great idea but sees the idea of Job Guarantee as something relatively easy to explain to voters. (Maybe that's because she's a school teacher.) She's campaigning for the seat held by a multimillionaire, Virginia Foxx, who has never exhibited any interest whatsoever in giving a hand to working families. "People," Jenny told us," want to work and give back to their communities in real tangible ways. They also want to provide a decent, secure life for their family. Think of all the New Deal programs such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Works Progress Administration that helped put people to work and which began to pull us out of the Great Depression in the 1930's. While those programs did not lift all out of abject poverty it did jump start our economy in a way that can still be witnessed today. Frankly, our infrastructure is long outdated and our national parks and memorials need tending to. Here in the 5th district we have national forest that needs trail cleanup, buildings that need to be repaired and programs that need to be staffed. We need to repair dams, bridges and other infrastructure projects. People need jobs and ones that pay a living wage. Why not offer work that would put an investment back into our communities?"

Our newest Blue America endorsee, Jess King (PA-16), has the same kind of perspective as Jenny. She told us that "We've known for a long time that stubbornly high unemployment not only hurts our economy, it also threatens our democracy. In 1944, as World War II raged, FDR observed that 'people who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.' He proposed a Second Bill of Rights that would establish a right to meaningful and sustaining employment. We need to renew that debate and decide how we as a nation are going to guarantee economic security in a rapidly changing economy."

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Can A Progressive Former Marine Colonel Disloge Republican Crook Darrell Issa?


The slimiest of California's "Democratic" political consultants, slate vendor and ping-pong player Parke Skelton, is being paid a great deal of money to undermine Doug Applegate, in effect, guaranteeing that Darrell Issa retains his seat. I don't know exactly who's paying him but first, let's look at a little background. Issa, a former car thief and the richest member of Congress, was first elected in 2000. Currently his district spans northern San Diego County and coastal southern Orange County, from a thin strip of coastline in the northern reaches of La Jolla up through most of UC, through Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas and Carlsbad up along the 5 Freeway to Oceanside, right through Camp Pendleton to San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano and Ladera Ranch. CA 49 meets Rohrabacher's district, CA-48, at Three Arch Bay. In 2015 the district's PVI was R+4. Obama had managed to scrape out a 50-49% win over McCain but lost to Romney 52-46%. Last year the residents were horrified by the loutish Trump and Hillary won 50.7% to 43.2%. The PVI is now a more electorally attractive R+1.

The DCCC had never been remotely interested in challenging Issa and has studiously avoided the district. In 2014 the candidate was Dave Peiser and Issa creamed him 98,161 (60.2%) to 64,981 (39.8%) a race that saw Issa spending $1,749,467 to Peiser's $85,321. The DCCC spent zero, as usual. But last year a remarkable candidate jumped in against Issa, former Marine Colonel Doug Applegate. The DCCC ignored, ignored, ignored... until Applegate started raising some real money and making some significant headway in the polls. The DCCC kept waiting and watching and making nice noises about Applegate. When he was within a few polling points of Issa, a couple of months before the election, the DCCC jumped into the race-- too little too late. Issa raised $2,854,882 but panicked and dug deep, spending a gargantuan $6,275,754 to Applegate's 2,041,091. The DCCC + Pelosi's Super PAC bought about $3.5 in broadcast spots, primarily to enrich consultants/staffers from their inner circle. It was the year's last election called because it was so close, but in the end Issa won 155,888 (50.3%) to 154,267 (49.7%).

2 of Skelton's in-it-for-the-money conservaDem clients, Schiff and Levin

Applegate and his grassroots army of supporters decided early to finish what they had started and defeat Issa in 2018. However several multimillionaires have other ideas, thinking it looked so easy. One Pelosi crony who never lifted a finger to defeat Issa, a transplanted failed politician and fixer from Virginia, Ira Lechner, persuaded a friend of his, Mike Levin, to run. Members of Skeltons staff say it is Lechner who has been paying Skelton to undermine Applegate, primarily by having Levin run around with Issa's discredited opposition smears as though they were knew. Skelton specializes in seedy conservative clients and he's gotten a batch of them-- Blue Dog Adam Schiff, legislative conservaDems Tom Daly and charter school shill Laura Friedman, to endorse Levin. Without any honor whatsoever, Lying Levin has spread manure on Capitol Hill saying that Applegate has Domestic Violence baggage and more will come out. That’s apparently enough manure to have multiple congressional Representatives who are pawns of Skelton to refer to Applegate as a "wife beater." Court records clearly show that (1) no violence (or even threats of violence) allegations were ever made against Applegate by the ex-wife's DV petition "form" pleadings and that (2) the case was dismissed even with the court viewing all allegations in the context most favorable to ex-wife, without requiring any evidence or defense from Applegate. This was all made up by Issa last year-- rejected by voters last year-- and resuscitated by Skelton and Levin this year.

Goal ThermometerIs it working? Well, Skelton himself doesn't think so. He was overheard this week predicting his client-- Levin-- couldn't win the primary because Applegate was so well-liked by Democrats and independents, but vowing to destroy Applegate anyway, in effect turning off enough voters to let Issa slip in again in the hope that Levin would run in 2020 and beat him then. Meanwhile Applegate continues a completely progressive, straight ahead grassroots campaign, basically ignoring the poison being spread by Skelton, Levin and Lechner in DC. If you haven't heard it yet, please listen to the interview labor champion Jonathan Tasini did with Applegate this week (up top). And consider helping him beat back the slime by contributing to his grassroots campaign (at the Bluer California thermometer on the right).

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

Well, now that the horrid Alabama Senate race is over (more or less), and the Republican Party won't have its chosen wunderkind to swear in, it will be back to scary, sicko business as usual for the still Republican-controlled, McConnell-run Senate. The above cartoon got the election result wrong but it sure nailed everything else. And, now that Missy McConnell has announced that Doug Jones won't be sworn in just yet and the state of Alabama will drag its heals on certifying the election, that means that it will still be Republican incumbent Luther Strange casting a vote for whatever Trump's Repug Party wants and not Democrat Doug Jones. After all, they still want to ram their evil Tax Scam down our throats and start pocketing the money they'll get from their benefactors for that.

The Untied States Senate is still infested with 52 Republicans. That means that, when it comes to voting on the final version of the Tax Scam, 3 of them will have to vote with the Democrats and independents Angus King and Bernie Sanders on the side of decency and morality is this country isn't to go down the path of destruction. Who are those 3 who will step up, resist the pressure, and put country over party? Corker? He did it last time. Who else? 2 more. Who? Collins? Remember when McCain ran for president using the slogan "Country First? Flake? Who, if any of the 52, will find the guts to be real Americans? Who will decide that they don't want to go down in history as being living, breathing piles of shit?

Time to put the pressure on like never before.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

'Tis a Fearful Thing To Love What Death Can Touch


Judah Halevi-- first name also spelled Yehuda and second named sometimes spelled ha-Levi-- was an 12th Century Jewish philosopher and poet living in Spain. Among those who keep track of such things, he's considered one of the greatest Hebrew poets. There's even a statue of "him," in Toledo, although I suspect that was put up relatively recently. That's the statue next to the poem 'Tis A Fearful Thing.
‘Tis a fearful thing
to love what death can touch.

A fearful thing
to love, to hope, to dream, to be--

to be,
And oh, to lose.

A thing for fools, this,

And a holy thing,

a holy thing
to love.

For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.<
To remember this brings painful joy.

‘Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing, to love
what death has touched.
Above is the trailer from Scott Frank's new Netflix series, a western called Godless. It's how I heard of Judah Halevi, since a preacher reads a couple of lines in it. I haven't watched it but I may. I just wanted the poem. Vanity Fair included it in their list this week of the best new TV shows of 2017. I don't watch much TV but I did like Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and VEEP (kind of) so maybe I should trust their list enough to watch an episode or two. There are only 7 in total. The other shows they on the list include Alias Grace, American Vandal and The Handmaid's Tale. Here's what Richard Lawson had to say about Godless:
For all of Netflix’s crowing about how this mini-series is a Western centered on women, there sure are a lot of men leading the story. Jack O’Connell-- finally clearly stating his case for stardom to American audiences-- plays an outlaw on the run from his old gang, led by a mean and saturnine Jeff Daniels. That great hangdog Scoot McNairy plays a former sharpshooter sheriff who’s losing his eyesight, while little Thomas Brodie-Sangster, mostly grown up, is his cocksure but sweet deputy. That’s a bunch of guys! But near about everyone else-- including Michelle Dockery as a flinty homesteader and the great Merritt Wever as a lesbian who used to be married to the mayor of her small town-- is a lady. Godless tells the story of a bunch of bad dudes invading a community mostly populated by women (a mining accident killed all the husbands and fathers and sons) and laying waste to it-- until the women stand up to defend themselves in the series’s rousing, bullet-riddled finale. I don’t think Godless-- created by Scott Frank and produced by Steven Soderbergh-- should pat itself on the back too much; despite its telegraphed feminism, it is ultimately the tale of a lone rebel cowboy. But what’s good about Godless is really good: a gorgeously filmed, finely acted tweak on a well-worn genre that also graciously honors many of the form’s classic tropes.
All that does-- my fault, of course-- is take us away from the chilling certitude of Halevi's "'Tis a fearful thing to love what death can touch," which reminds me of why I'm friends with every dog in my neighborhood and buy them the best treats-- human grade-- money can buy but never get a dog of my own. That's one way to put it, I guess.

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Guess Who 2017's Liar Of The Year Is


Trumpanzee so, so, so wanted to be Time's Man of the Year. But he wasn't. Instead he was, in effect, PolitiFact's Liar of the Year. Or, to be more precise, he told-- over and over and over-- the lie of the year.
A mountain of evidence points to a single fact: Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election of 2016.

In both classified and public reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered actions to interfere with the election. Those actions included the cyber-theft of private data, the placement of propaganda against particular candidates, and an overall effort to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process.

Members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, have held open and closed door hearings to probe Russia’s actions. The congressional investigations are ongoing.

Facebook, Google and Twitter have investigated their own networks, and their executives have concluded-- in some cases after initial foot-dragging-- that Russia used the online platforms in attempts to influence the election.

After all this, one man keeps saying it didn’t even happen.

"This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should've won," said President Donald Trump in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt in May.

...Trump continually asserts that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election is fake news, a hoax or a made-up story, even though there is widespread, bipartisan evidence to the contrary.

When the nation’s commander-in-chief refuses to acknowledge a threat to U.S. democracy, it makes it all the more difficult to address the problem. For this reason, we name Trump’s claim that the Russia interference is a hoax as our Lie of the Year for 2017.

Readers of PolitiFact also chose the claim as the year's most significant falsehood by an overwhelming margin.

...Trump’s labeling of the Russia story as a hoax fits in with his pattern of dismissing critical coverage as "fake news." He’s used the term when he believes his administration doesn’t get complimentary coverage, such as hurricane cleanup in Puerto Rico, or even when his comments have been reported accurately, such as his remarks about white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va.

Since the beginning of 2017, President Trump has publicly invoked the phrase "fake news" more than 170 times. Virtually every instance has been in response to critical news coverage.

Trump has insisted there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.

And that will turn out to be the year's most consequential lie of all. Of course there was collusion-- massive collusion by Trump and his disgusting family and all the monstrosities around him... every single one of them.

This Ted Lieu tweet would indicate, quite credibly, that Putin is still intering in U.S. domestic politics with complete impunity-- and at all times on behalf of the Trumpist Regime... and their goals. Writing yesterday for Business Insider Natasha Bertrand reported that a jailed Russian hacker testified he had hacked the Democrats under the command of Putin's FSB.
A Russian hacker believed to be a member of a hacking collective called Lurk said in court over the summer that he was ordered by Russia's security services, known as the FSB, to hack the Democratic National Committee.

The hacker, Konstantin Kozlovsky, told a Moscow court in August of this year that his nine-member hacking group-- which has been accused of stealing over $17 million from Russia's largest financial institutions since 2013-- has been cooperating with the FSB for several years, according to the independent Russian news outlet The Bell. Part of that cooperation included hacking the DNC, he said.

Kozlovsky said during a hearing on August 15 that he "performed various tasks under the supervision of FSB officers," including a DNC hack and cyberattacks on "very serious military enterprises of the United States and other organizations."

Minutes from the hearing, as well as an audio recording, were posted on Kozlovsky's Facebook page. The Bell said it confirmed their authenticity with two sources, including a person who was present at the hearing. Kozlovsky also posted a letter that he wrote on November 1, 2016. The letter outlined what he said was his work for the FSB, which he said had spanned nearly a decade and, most recently, involved attacking the DNC servers.

Kozlovsky identified his FSB handler as Dmitry Dokuchaev, a cybersecurity expert who worked as a hacker under the alias "Forb" before joining the FSB. Dokuchaev has been linked to a group of hackers known as Shaltai Boltai, or Humpty Dumpty, that has published emails from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other Kremlin officials.

The cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike publicly concluded in June 2016 that hackers associated with the FSB breached the DNC in late 2015. WikiLeaks published internal committee emails during the Democratic National Committee in July 2016.

Kozlovsky also named Ruslan Stoyanov, a key cybercrime investigator at the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky who was arrested last December along with Dokuchaev and Sergei Mikhailov, the deputy head of the information security department of the FSB.

Mikhailov has been accused of giving US intelligence officials information about a server-rental company, King Servers, through which Russian hackers have been known to attack the US, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported last December. The Bell reported earlier this month that he could soon be charged with treason.

...If confirmed, Kozlovsky's work with the FSB could undermine the Kremlin's repeated claims that it had nothing to do with DNC hacks during the 2016 campaign. And it would fit a consistent pattern in which Russian intelligence officials recruit skilled hackers to engage in cybercrime.

Hiring elite criminal hackers, or cultivating them from a young age, has allowed Russian intelligence agencies like the FSB and the GRU (Russia's military intelligence arm) both to improve their foreign espionage capabilities and keep potentially rogue hackers under government control.

The New York Times' Andrew Kramer reported on this phenomenon last December, writing that "for  more than three years, rather than rely on military officers working out of isolated bunkers, Russian government recruiters have scouted a wide range of programmers, placing prominent ads on social media sites, offering jobs to college students and professional coders, and even speaking openly about looking in Russia’s criminal underworld for potential talent."

"If you graduated from college, if you are a technical specialist, if you are ready to use your knowledge, we give you an opportunity," one of these ads read, according to the Times.

Kozlovsky, for his part, wrote in his November 1 letter that he began cooperating with the FSB in 2008, when he was just 16 years old. He said he was recruited by Dokuchaev and "did everything they said."

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Zephyr Teachout Has A Practical Solution Rather Than A Gillibrand-Trump Type Lynch Mob


Trump is such a detestable excuse for a human being that his ugly criticism of Kirsten Gillibrand makes it impossible for even her harshest critics not to rally to her defense. On the other hand, nothing could have buoyed Gillibrand's opportunistic quest for the presidential nomination more than Trump's deranged and vicious tweet rage Tuesday morning. That said, a far better-- in every conceivable way-- New York political leader than Gillibrand or Trump will ever be, Zephyr Teachout, published an OpEd in Monday's NY Times, I'm Not Convinced Franken Should Quit, imparts both Trump and Gillibrand, each of whom is quite convinced Franken should, albeit for vastly different reasons. Like all progressives, Teachout is a backer of the #MeToo movement and wrote that "women are routinely demeaned, dismissed, discouraged and assaulted. Too many women’s careers are stymied or ended because of harassment and abuse. In politics, where I have worked much of my adult life, this behavior is rampant. I also believe in zero tolerance. And yet, a lot of women I know-- myself included-- were left with a sense that something went wrong last week with the effective ouster of Al Franken from the United States Senate. He resigned after a groundswell of his own Democratic colleagues called for him to step down." Keep in mind what Eugene Puryear said last week-- in part, "This moment is bigger than the Democrats or the Republicans, it is bigger than partisan politics. We are seeing truly mass steps towards an extremely necessary, critical, indispensable cultural change in this country. We need to fan the flames. The time to fight to take on (and hopefully crush) the patriarchy is now, women are fighting and leading, we need to join them not lament that some pissed off dudes are gonna vote next year." And now read Zephyr:
Zero tolerance should go hand in hand with two other things: due process and proportionality. As citizens, we need a way to make sense of accusations that does not depend only on what we read or see in the news or on social media.

Due process means a fair, full investigation, with a chance for the accused to respond. And proportionality means that while all forms of inappropriate sexual behavior should be addressed, the response should be based on the nature of the transgressions.

Both were missing in the hasty call for Senator Franken’s resignation. Some might point out, rightly, that Congress doesn’t have good procedures for dealing with harassment accusations. In fact, the congressional process to date has gone something like this: Lift up the rug and sweep the accusations underneath. It’s delay, deny, pay hush money and avoid the consequences.

Instead, here’s what a fair system might look like: Congress should empower an independent arbiter to investigate complaints-- like a Government Accountability Office, with trained experts in the field. Clearly understood mechanisms for reporting should be established. A timetable should be set that ensures complaints receive a prompt response. Both the accuser and the accused could submit questions and would have access to trained advocates and free legal consultation.

The independent arbiter would then make a nonbinding proposal addressing what happened and what should be done. It could include a call to resign or for censure, or a range of other responses tailored to the findings.

This isn’t just about Senator Franken. Other lawmakers have also been accused of harassment. We need a system to deal with that messy reality, and the current one of investigating those complaints is opaque, takes too long and has not worked to protect vulnerable women and men from harassment. And the current alternative-- off with the head of the accused, regardless of the accusation-- is too quick, too easily subject to political manipulation and too vulnerable to the passions of the moment.

We don’t have the system I’m suggesting. But that doesn’t mean we should give up on process. On Nov. 30, a Senate ethics panel announced the beginning of an investigation into the allegations against Senator Franken. It should run its course, and we should see the results. Then we’ll know whether his planned resignation was warranted.

With time, and the existing ethics procedures, things are likely to emerge that will surprise us all. New facts may put Senator Franken in a better light, or a far worse one, and we should be open to both.

Elections are different. Voters have a responsibility to make a judgment with whatever facts are available on Election Day. In the case of Roy Moore, voters in Alabama ought take the very serious accusations into account. But if Mr. Moore is elected to the Senate, he should immediately be subject to the same kind of ethics inquiry that I am recommending for Senator Franken.

Finally, the nature of the behaviors matter, too. Proportionality means that after investigating, Congress should fully consider the best response to the revealed conduct.

My first job out of law school was representing people on death row in North Carolina, where I often saw the impact of hasty prosecutions. I represented a man on death row whose lawyers had spent all of eight hours looking into his claim of innocence. I met men whose lawyers had never looked into their backgrounds. I also lived in the legal environment that produced the Duke University lacrosse case, in which three students were falsely accused of rape by the prosecutor in the case, who was later disbarred for his conduct. The quick rush to public condemnation of the players, fueled by the media, ended up hurting the accuser and the accused.

As citizens, we should all be willing to stay ambivalent while the facts are gathered and we collect our thoughts. While the choice to fire the television hosts Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer were the choices of private companies, condemning a sitting lawmaker is a public choice and one our representatives should make judiciously.
Not everyone accused by every women is Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Blake Farenthold or Roy Moore.

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Everyone Agrees That Trump "Is Not Fit To Clean Toilets In The Obama Library"-- What Does The Alabama Election Tell Us About The Midterms?


Alabama's 4th congressional district-- it's whitest and most Appalachian district-- seat of dull right-wing backbencher Robert Aderholt, is likely to disappear after the next census. It's easily the reddest and most politically and socially backward part of Alabama-- cutting clear across the state from Mississippi (east of Tupelo) to Georgia northwest of Rome. There are no real cities, the biggest population center being Gadsden with 100,000 residents. Last November AL-04 gave Señor Trumpanzee his biggest margin in Alabama, 80.4% to 17.5% and Tuesday, it gave Roy Moore his biggest margin too-- 30.8% to 67.7%. What a hellhole! But even that was a 13.3% increased performance for Doug Jones over Hillary Clinton. As you can see from the map above, each of the Alabama congressional districts had significant performance increases from Clinton to Jones. The biggest increase was in Gary Palmer's 6th district-- suburban Birmingham and, by far, the wealthiest district in the state-- where the 2015 PVI of R+28 sent down to R+26, still the second reddest after the 4th but trending, ever so slightly, in the other direction. Trump won it with 70.8% last year. Moore with only 51.0%.The increased Democratic performance was 20.6%.

Do you know what would happen to the GOP in next year's midterms if every Republican-held seat saw a 20 point performance increase from 2016's congressional race? First let's look at the 16 House candidates in GOP-held districts who have been endorsed so far by Blue America.
CA-49- Doug Applegate would beat Darrell Issa with 69%
WI-01- Randy Bryce would beat Paul Ryan with just over 50%
IN-09- Dan Cannon would beat Trey Hollingsworth with 60%
MI-06- Paul Clements would beat Fred Upton with 56%
TX-21- Derrick Crowe would beat whichever Republican they pick with 56%
IA-03- Austin Frerick would beat David Young with 60%
IL-13- David Gill would beat Rodney Davis with 60%
ME-02- Jared Golden would beat Bruce Poliquin with 65%
OK-05- Tom Guild would beat Steve Russell with 57% (Yes that OK stands for Oklahoma)
CA-25- Katie Hill would beat Steve Knight with 66%
CA-39- Sam Jammal would beat Ed Royce with 62%
PA-16- Jess King would beat Lloyd Smucker with 63%
NC-05- Jenny Marshall would beat Virginia Foxx with 61%
TX-32- Lillian Salerno would beat Pete Sessions but it isn't clear by what percentage since the DCCC didn't run a candidate against Sessions. Hillary did win the district though
KS-04- James Thompson would beat Ron Estes with 66% (using this year's special election as the baseline)
TX-07- Jason Westin would beat John Culberson with 64%
And these numbers don't take into account how much better the 2018 candidates are and how much better financed they are. For example, in WI-01 Ryan didn't have a serious opponent last year at all, just a vanity candidate who spent $16,890. Polling already shows Randy Bryce beating Ryan and as of the September 30 FEC reporting deadline he had already raised $1,460,210.

Goal ThermometerNow let's just look at the state of Texas. Using the results in Alabama as a comparison, Beto O'Rourke would beat Ted Cruz and can you guess how many of Texas' 25 Republican congressmembers would be reelected? Maybe 9! Louie Gohmert, John Ratcliffe (although he had no Democratic opponent in 2016), Jeb Hensarling (another one with no Democratic opponent in 2016), Kevin Brady (no Democratic opponent in 2016), Mike Conaway (no Democratic opponent in 2016), Kay Granger, Mac Thornberry (no Democratic opponent in 2016), Jodey Arrington (no Democratic opponent in 2016), Brian Babin (no Democratic opponent in 2016). California has 14 Republicans in the House. I bet you can guess how many would be defeated. It wouldn't just be the ones in the districts on the verge of flipping; say goodbye to Devin Nunes, GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Duncan Hunter (event he doesn't get indicted. In fact, every single Republican-- all 14-- would go down to defeat.

Nationally, the midterms would leave the congressional Republican Party as some kind of laughable rump for Trump-- something like 50-60 members of Congress, almost all of them insane crackpots like Paul Gosar (AZ), a couple of nuts in Idaho, Roger Marshall in Kansas, Cheney's loony daughter in Wyoming, Doug Collins and Tom Graves from Georgia, James Comer, Brett Guthrie, and Hal Rogers in Kentucky, John Shimkus (IL), Bill Johnson (OH), one or two in Indiana, Clay Higgins and Steve Scalise (meet the next Minority Leader) from Louisiana, Jeff Duncan (SC), Adrian Smith (NE), Bill Shuster (PA), Steven Palazzo in Mississippi, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Vicki Hartzler, Billy Long and Jason Smith in Missouri, Frank Lucas, Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullin in Oklahoma, probably a congressman in North Dakota, Phil Roe, Scott DesJarlais and if she doesn't run for governor, Diane Black in Tennessee, a couple in Utah, the West Virginians and one in Virginia... with a couple more, that would be about it.

The counter-argument is that we have a long way to go 'til the midterns and things could start looking better for Trump and the Republicans and that's true. However it's more likely that things will change for them for the worse. Trump is obviously insane and all the worst in him always comes out when he feels cornered. He's already the most unpopular president in history and his favorability ratings are very likely to keep dropping and keep dragging the GOP down the toilet with him. In fact, the new Quinnipiac poll that came out Tuesday asked respondents to come up for a single word description of Trump. The most often used words were "idiot," "liar" and "incompetent." You think that's going to change? Other popular words included "asshole," "arrogant" and "moron."

Art by Richard Serra, courtesy of People for the American Way

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