Tuesday, March 20, 2018

How Badly Has The Corrupt Stench Of The DCCC Spread Across America? Now It's Infected California


Imagine if the DCCC did something useful instead of trying to destroy progressive candidates

Monday morning Emily Cadei updated her Sacramento Bee story about how the establishment intends to further marginalize Democratic voters in selecting party candidates for Congress. First a warning: poor Emily used the phrase "liberal groups" to describe corrupt conservative establishment operations. I don't think she understands the difference; maybe she wasn't paying attention at school that day. Take the first "liberal group" she mentions, Fight Back California. This is ex-Congresswoman Ellen Taucher's group. She was a Democrat so she must be "liberal," right? Wrong. Tauscher was once the head of the New Dems, a vice chair of the DLC, and a proud Blue Dog. Tauscher is working with her original campaign manager, strategist Katie Merrill, who loses all her races, and, as you should expect, they've been hiding who has been funneling 6-figures into their SuperPAC-- just what you would expect of a slimy character like Tauscher: dark money fueling her efforts to sucker the grassroots into contributing to a gaggle of dreadful right-of-center Republican-lite candidates just like herself. Their main goal will be to make sure no Berniecrats win any nominations, just Tauscher-like offal from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. One source told me she’s getting money from Gill Cisneros, the "ex"-Republican lottery winner the DCCC wants to sell the CA-39 nomination to. That has been impossible to confirm since Tauscher takes advantage of the dark money Supreme Court rulings to hide her sources.

My history with Tauscher goes back a ways. In 2006, she recruited another “ex”-Republican to run against the grassroots candidate in California who she and Rahm Emanuel, then chair of the DCCC, were eager too defeat, Jerry McNerney. They decided McNerney was too liberal to beat Republican Natural Resources Committee chair Richard Pombo and they dug up a Republican masquerading as a Democrat instead. McNerney slaughtered the interloper in the primary and Tauscher and Rahm put a hex on the district, calling donors and telling them not to contribute to McNerney in the general. That’s how Rahm taught the DCCC to play-- a practice continued by Steve Israel and whoever tells the hapless Ben Ray Lujan what he should do. In any case, McNerney pulverized Pombo, shocking the GOP (and Tauscher’s and Rahm’s Republican wing of the Democratic Party). It was one of the biggest races of the year and McNerney, propelled by grassroots enthusiasm, took 109,868 votes (53.3%) to Pombo’s 96,396 (46.7%). Pombo spent $4,629,983 that year, to McNerney’s $2,422,962. The NRCC came to Pombo’s defense with a then-massive $1,442,492, while Rahm grudgingly allowed the DCCC to spend a mere $295,366, less that the Sierra Club or even the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. The media has always white-washed Tauscher and given her favorable treatment. But she's a monster-- and far from "a liberal." Luckily for Emily, you don't have to actually know anything to write for the Sacramento Bee.
Katie Merrill, advisor to the Democratic Super PAC Fight Back California, still intends to target Republican incumbents in key California congressional races-- its original purpose. “But if it looks like we’re in danger of a Democrat not advancing to a general election as we get closer to June, we might have to-- and other groups might have to--focus on supporting a particular Democratic candidate.”
Did you contribute to Tauscher's and Merrill's PAC, thinking you were helping "liberals?" Too bad. They back the worst conservative garbage, just like themselves. We warned you.

Now let's look at sleazy right-wing Democrat Kyle Layman, who I'm certain Cadei was referring to when she wrote this:
An aide at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) confirmed that the party committee hasn’t ruled out supporting or even attacking a particular Democratic candidate in California, despite the backlash that produced in Texas last month. The DCCC sparked outrage from liberals after it publicized negative research on Laura Moser, one of a handful of candidates running in the Democratic primary for a Houston-area congressional seat. Their rationale was she was not a good fit for the moderate district.
Cadei's very biased sources claim that the "problem for the party stems from the fact that many of these races have also drawn more than one well-funded Republican." Really? "Many?" Looks like Cadei was also asleep in her math class. Not "many." Perhaps 3, a problem created by the DCCC itself by recruiting and encouraging too many corrupt conservative self-funding candidates in CA-39 and (thanks to Layman's incredible incompetence; he recruited Harley and DC recruited Hans, two nearly interchangeable New Dems) CA-48. The DCCC never believed they could win CA-39... until GOP incumbent, Ed Royce, who did believe and withdrew. So the DCCC asked candidates looking to run in CA-48, Republican lottery winner Gil Cisneros and a very random, very wealthy lady doctor from CA-48, to run in CA-39 instead. So they're stuck juggling candidates instead instead of fighting Republicans, the same old position the spectacularly failed GOP is always in. What the DCCC is whining about now is that California's ridiculous top-2 jungle primary could produce outcomes where the Democratic vote is splintered and two Republicans proceed to the general.

Kyle Lameman (DCCC)
Zoe Lofgren, chair of the California Democratic congressional caucus, commenting on DCCC bullying tactics to clear the field for their preferred corrupt conservative candidates: "I think people don’t like that, I don’t like it. I would expect to at least be consulted." Note, for example, that there was no reason to push Emilio Huerta out of his race (at least not that fit that criteria) against David Valadao-- the only Republican running in CA-21. What the DCCC really wants to do is make sure they could guarantee the nomination for the fake Democrat lottery winner, Gil Cisneros, who bribes them and their members-- bigly. He's a fool and can't win but the DCCC would rather lose than not deliver for Cisneros. He only got one vote (1) is the district pre-emdorsement convention and 4% in the Indivisble poll. The DCCC is now manufacturing their own absurd polling that shows him with a chance. It's really disgraceful especially when you take into account that Cisneros lives in a multimillion dollar beach mansion nowhere near CA-39 and has a life that is nothing like the people in the district that the DCCC parachuted him into. "Party officials and lawmakers," wrote Cadei, "say they’ll continue to have conversations with other candidates they think could play a spoiler role, even though it’s virtually impossible for a candidate to get his or her name off the primary ballot once they’ve filed to run. But they and other strategists believe that the party’s best chance to influence the California races is to get involved directly in the campaign." But they won't ask the worst candidate they have, Cisneros, to drop out. Instead Kyle the Lame is threatening to destroy Andy Thorburn's reputation if he doesn't get out of the race.

Yesterday one of these dip-shits (who backs Brooklyn big spending Qualcomm heiress Sarah Jacobs) told me Applegate-- who ran the closest congressional election in America last quarter and nearly beat Darrell Issa and then drove him into announcing his retirement-- "can't win" in the CA-49 general election. These are the public polls that have come out this year:

DCCC should stand for Democratic Corrupt Conservative Crap

Goal ThermometerIf the DCCC cared in the slightest about policies, they would either be staying out of the CA-39 primary or be fighting tooth and nail for Sam Jammal, the local, progressive non-self funder. Yesterday Sam issued a position paper on protecting the environment. The DCCC staffers never would, but you should read it-- and then consider contributing to the California candidates who aren't involved with the DCCC. It's called Jumpstarting A Clean Energy Revolution. He writes that he's running to be a champion for our environment and to help us reach our still untapped potential when it comes to clean energy innovation. Nice sounds, right, but in Sam's case that's no cliche, but a plan for action:
Save Our Open Spaces in the 39th District: Whether listening to the will of our voters and preserving Coyote Hills, keeping Tres Hermanos available to everyone or preserving the hills above Yorba Linda Blvd., our open spaces are a community treasure. We have a long history of open spaces throughout our community, but, as areas have been developed, we are losing our natural beauty. The reality is that once land becomes developed, we don’t get it back and the next generation misses out on hiking the trails and having the needed escape from busy urban areas. While I am not opposed to development and support addressing our housing shortage, we can do this without removing the hills and open spaces that make our community a destination. Protect Our Beaches from Drilling: In January, the Trump Administration announced its plan to expand offshore drilling on California’s coast. Our coastline sets our state apart from the rest of the world. In Congress, I will use every means available to block attempts to open drilling on our beaches and will work with policymakers in the state to slow any efforts to drill. Whether it’s through litigation or restricting funds for implementation of Trump’s plan, we must stop this extreme attempt to destroy our coast.

Fund the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): We all remember the days of smog alerts and, while we have made progress, we cannot let Republicans undermine the EPA. The EPA has helped transform the air we breathe and the water we drink for the better. Under President Trump and climate denying Scott Pruitt, there is an active attempt to dismantle this organization and take us back to days where going outside or drinking tap water can make one sick. We should not allow what is happening in places like Flint to occur anywhere in America in 2018 and beyond. Whether its undermining Obama-era regulations or cutting funds for enforcing environmental protections, the mission of the EPA is under attack. In Congress, I will fight to make sure the EPA is fully-funded and we are holding Scott Pruitt accountable.

Transition to 100% Clean Energy: We have the technology today to begin the transition to 100% clean energy. The biggest hurdle we face is politics. The Koch brothers and fossil fuel industry have overpowered Republicans and even some Democrats at the expense of our environment and economy. This is why I have pledged to reject any donations from the oil and natural gas industries. I have also pledged to do all I can to move our nation towards 100% clean energy. This means transitioning away from fossil fuels and investing in the next generation of jobs.

Lead on Clean Energy Innovation: According to the non-profit Solar Foundation, there are over 100,000 solar jobs in California. This includes thousands of solar jobs and small businesses throughout Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. Solar is creating middle class jobs throughout our district. Across the country, the solar industry already employs more people than coal and natural gas. Combined with a rapidly growing energy storage sector and growth in electric vehicle adoption, our state is leading on clean energy innovation and we are just getting started.

The key is making sure we have smart policies that encourage competition, deployment and job creation. This starts by removing Trump’s anti-competitive tariffs on solar panels as well as steel and aluminum. While we must encourage American manufacturing, the use of tariffs is an outdated solution that only serves to drive up the costs of solar panels. Instead, we should look for targeted incentives to encourage solar and battery storage manufacturing and deployment to help these industries compete and promote American leadership in clean energy innovation. The fossil fuel industry enjoys millions in subsidies that, along with their political influence, creates an uneven playing field, which hurts our ability to lead. It’s time we correct this and promote the industries and technologies that represent our future.

Promote Clean Energy Adoption: As noted earlier, the technology is here to build a clean energy future. The challenge is building political will. We can do this if we focus on solutions encouraging local adoption. Here are my ideas for building a clean energy future:
Green School Infrastructure Bank-- Earlier this year, the City of Anaheim Public Utilities announced a partnership with the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District to build shade structures over schools’ parking spaces and picnic tables and cover them with solar panels that generate energy for the utility. The schools will receive a lease fee for use of their campuses. This is the type of program Congress should be encouraging. In Congress, I will introduce legislation to establish a green school infrastructure bank funded by matching public and private dollars to promote the deployment of solar, wind and battery storage to power our schools. This fund will support projects that provide energy to our schools, which will enable schools to sell excess power back to the grid and utilize their energy cost savings to fund our schools.
Veterans in Clean Energy-- Modeled after the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Ready Vets program, I will draft legislation to create a job training partnership between our military, community colleges, apprenticeship programs and the clean energy sector to train veterans for jobs in clean energy. Today, the U.S. solar industry employs 13,000 veterans of the armed forces, a figure which represents 9.2% of all solar workers in the nation, exceeding the percentage of veteran employment in the overall economy. As clean energy adoption expands, we have an opportunity to help those who served once more serve our nation by leading the fight against climate change. It is critical we make sure local training resources are available to train our veterans for these jobs.
Community Solar and the Post Office-- The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) maintains more than 25,300 leased spaces in its facilities inventory nationwide. These facilities encompass thousands of acres and unutilized roofs that could be the site for solar projects. I will introduce legislation to promote using USPS facilities to provide solar power in the communities they serve. Solar produced at the facility can be used to power the USPS, which will lower their operating costs, and excess power generated can be used for community solar projects that power surrounding neighborhoods.
Electric Vehicles Adoption-- According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all U.S. emissions-- emitting around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases for every gallon of gas. These emissions are also a leading cause of respiratory illness. While electric vehicle adoption continues to grow as cars become more affordable, we do not have sufficient infrastructure to support purchase of these cars. We also have incentives that promote foreign manufacturing over domestic suppliers. In Congress, I will propose inclusion of funding for electric vehicle charging stations in any infrastructure bill. I will also work to fix the electric vehicle tax credit to apply to make sure American manufacturers are not disadvantaged and we are promoting middle class adoption of electric vehicles.
Budget and Plan to Adapt to Climate Change

Climate change is real and it comes with significant costs. We have already seen these costs in Puerto Rico, Houston and South Florida as a result of massive and unprecedented hurricanes. We have to put a price on climate change now, which means we must begin to budget for our response to natural disasters made worse by climate change, as well as prevention; otherwise, we will continue to absorb “unexpected” costs, which will be a drain on our budget. As Trump’s tax reform severely tightens our federal budget, we must double down on adaptation programs in order to avoid the high costs of catastrophe.

In Congress, I will introduce a matching grant program geared to support state and local climate adaptation efforts. For the 39th district, these funds can help with efforts to wildfire prevention efforts in our hills and canyons already underway by our local fire departments. Funds can also be used to address droughts that will likely be the new normal in the coming years. We must increase water conservation efforts, supporter waste water treatment and water recycling and invest in rebuilding our aging water infrastructure. Climate change is already causing catastrophic financial burden which will only get worse, we must begin making these investments for the future now.
Or vote for some out-of-touch "ex"- Republican, serially untruthful lottery winner who only knows one thing: tasting potato chips for Frito-Lays and bribing grotesque corrupt Democrats in return for endorsements.

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The GOP Has Decided To Gamble Their Senate Majority With A Big Bet On Señor Trumpanzee


The first Republican candidate that Trump really got behind in a big way-- an actual test of his coattails vs his toxicity-- was Renee Ellmers in North Carolina's second congressional district. Ellmers was the first woman in Congress to back Trump and he reciprocated with an ad when she was challenged in a primary by George Holding and Greg Brannon. It was the very first indication that Trump's support is a kiss of death. Although Trump won NC-02 (a mostly suburban district that surrounds Raleigh on the north, east and south and has a PVI of R+7) 53.2% to 43.6%, Ellmers was absolutely crushed in the primary. She was the Trump candidate and just barely held onto second place against an outright and completely insane neo-fascist. Republicans apparently haven't paid close enough attention to the stunning results that demonstrate exactly what Trump can-- and will-- do for them:
George Holding- 53.38%
Renee Ellmers- 23.64%
Greg Brannon- 22.99%
Since then, almost every candidate Trump has actively campaigned for has lost, some in purple constituencies like Virginia, but some in impossibly red constituencies like Alabama and PA-18. In fact, Trump's toxicity has been largely responsible for a 20 point swing towards the Democrats in special elections across the country. Int augurs poorly for Republicans in November. Yet, McConnell and the NRSC are gambling the Senate majority on the hope that Trump can motivate the Republican base and close the enthusiasm gap with the Democrats without pissing off independents enough to swing the midterms in red states to the Democrats. The plan is all they've got and it might not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Politico's Burgess Everett and Kevin Robillard reported Monday that despite his national approval ratings, Trump can be carefully deployed in a few places where he isn't as toxic and he is nationally. Their bet is counter-intuitive and recognizes that Trump will cost Republicans the House. "Senate Republicans," they wrote, "say the president will play a starring role in the closely contested campaigns that will decide control of the chamber. Trump will be front and center in every state that helped elect the president, according to GOP senators and strategists, making the case that Democrats are hindering his agenda." Some Democrats running for reelection in states Trump won-- like Bob Casey (PA), Sherrod Brown (OH), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Bill Nelson (FL) and Debbie Stabenow (MI)-- couldn't be happier. Others... not so much.
“If you look at a race in a state like Missouri or North Dakota-- or any of these states-- he’ll be very involved,” said Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, chairman of the GOP’s campaign arm, who speaks with Trump about political strategy regularly. “He’ll be actively campaigning for a Senate majority. Absolutely.”

Republicans will lean most heavily on Trump in five deeply conservative states where the president remains highly popular and where he crushed Hillary Clinton: West Virginia, North Dakota, Indiana, Missouri and Montana. But they say they will also deploy Trump in the next tier of swing states that Trump won more narrowly: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida. And they expect him to help preserve GOP seats in Nevada, where he narrowly lost, and in Arizona.

In fact, despite his unpopularity on the national level, Republicans insist there isn’t a state on the Senate map where they are nervous about deploying Trump. Republicans reason that opposition to Trump is already baked into the Democratic electorate. They figure Democrats will be motivated to vote whether Trump shows up or not, so they might as well use him to fire up their base, too.

Republicans have “got to have some intensity in our base,” as Sen. John Thune (R-SD) put it.

“Base mobilization is absolutely essential for victory, and there is absolutely no one better at energizing the GOP base than President Donald Trump,” said Josh Holmes, a former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

The president can also help raise gobs of money for candidates, Republicans say.
Yes, Democrats will vote for Democrats and Trump could horribly get more Republicans to come out and vote for GOP candidates, but polls show he is absolutely toxic for independent voters and his lying and name-calling and general style motivates them to back Democrats. In other words, the more red meat Trump throws the Republican base, the more he turns off independent voters and motivates them too-- but to favor Democrats who can help keep him in check. Everett and Robillard cautiously warn that "There might be a difference between what Republicans say now and what Trump actually does on the campaign trail come September. No one knows where all the controversies swirling around him will end up." Democrats say "bring it on."
[E]ven if the GOP does follow through on its full Trump deployment plan, Democrats argue that the president’s personality and popularity among some voters is neither transferable to other Republicans nor enough to put their candidates over the top. Just look at the two latest examples, they say: Trump went all in for Rick Saccone in last week’s Pennsylvania special House election, and before that for Roy Moore’s Senate bid in Alabama.

Both lost.

“The pattern here is every time he goes in, they lose,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Still, Democrats are gearing up what are sure to be personal and vicious battles with the president, and some are already making their case to Trump voters. Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester’s first ad highlighted 13 bills he sponsored that Trump signed into law, even though Tester opposed Trump’s tax bill as well as the president’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, and his attempt to repeal Obamacare. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) similarly has noted 23 bills she has been involved with this Congress that Trump signed. But she doesn’t expect that to spare her from Trump’s scorched-earth campaign tactics. “He’s going to trash me. Have you met him? His method in campaigns is to trash, in fact, do character assaults on opponents,” McCaskill said. Still, she noted there is an upside: “Nothing motivates our base more than Donald Trump.”

Seven of the 10 most vulnerable Senate Democrats said in interviews that they were prepared for Trump to come to their states and make a spectacle of them. Few said they expected it to change the trajectory of their race.

“If it were Ronald Reagan? Yes.” But Trump’s effect is “TBD,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who is expected to face Republican Gov. Rick Scott this fall.

“I don’t think he will persuade many people. He barely won in Michigan. And frankly [it was] because 51,000 people voted for Jill Stein,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

If there is a wild card to the GOP’s Trump strategy, it’s whether the president can actually focus on promoting their candidates or going after Democrats. At the most recent Saccone rally, the president spent far more of the time talking about himself than the Republican hopeful.

Another factor: Trump enjoys warm relationships with some Senate Democrats, most notably Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

“He does like Sen. Manchin,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). “So it’ll be interesting to see when he does come-- because I know he will-- how he approaches” it. Republicans predicted that Trump will be plenty motivated to take on those Democrats because they have opposed so much of his agenda. There was scant Democratic support for Trump’s most controversial nominees and his rollbacks of Obama-era regulations, and none for the president’s tax cuts and Obamacare repeal push.

“He’s learned his lesson. Trump thought there was going to be bipartisan support? Not happening. Supreme Court, [deregulation], circuit judges, tax bill-- that’s a pretty long list,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT).

Republican Senate candidates have already given Trump a bear hug. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) has gone from “99 percent” against Trump to claiming that everything Trump has touched has been “incredible."

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) chose to retire rather than try to run as an anti-Trump Republican in Arizona, which is trending away from Republicans. The hopeful to replace him, establishment pick Rep. Martha McSally, has been using Trump in ads.

In Missouri, a state where Trump received a higher percentage of the vote than any GOP presidential candidate this century, Attorney General Josh Hawley said in his Senate campaign kickoff speech he hopes Trump comes to Missouri “often.”

“Look at the president's popularity there in those states relative to his national popularity,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) of the top-tier races. “He’s doing much better.”

Even in Michigan, a state Trump won by less than a quarter of a percentage point, the campaign of John James, an Iraq War veteran who is challenging Stabenow, said he hopes to campaign with the president.

Though Trump may be a major drag on endangered House Republicans from the suburbs, who have to appeal to a concentrated set of moderate voters, statewide races in rural places like North Dakota and West Virginia are a far different story. So top GOP operatives see bringing Trump out to the states as a way to alleviate one of their biggest fears for 2018: that a depressed base will allow Democrats to run roughshod over them even in heavily conservative areas.

“There are some dangers in running away from the president of your own party,” Holmes said. “People don’t buy it, and you risk alienating your own base.”

Republicans also said Trump could help Republicans close the fundraising gap plaguing many of their candidates, which is forcing them to rely on outside groups for television ads.

But the biggest contribution he can provide is the attention that comes with a presidential visit and nonstop news coverage.

If there is an upside for Democrats in having the president campaign against them in their backyards, it’s that Trump’s presence also brings a reminder that Democratic moderates will be a more effective check on the president than a Republican who would replace them.

“It’s no mystery that if you want someone who’s going to vote with the president 100 percent of the time and do whatever the president wants you to do … then I am probably not someone you should elect in North Dakota,” Heitkamp said. That independence, she added, “is not what the president expects from Congressman [Kevin] Cramer,” her opponent.
Goal ThermometerSo far this year Blue America has endorsed seven Senate candidates, 5 incumbents and 2 challengers. Two-- Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH)-- are incumbents who have remained true to progressive values in states Trump won. Along with challengers going up against conservatives-- Beto O'Rourke in Texas and Kevin de León in California-- are the ones who need the most help. If you're in a giving mood, please click on the ActBlue Senate thermometer on the right and contribute what you can. Blue America doesn't raise money for conservative Democrats like Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Donnelly, (IN) Claire McCaskill (MO) and Joe Manchin (WV), even if they're generally "better" than their Republican challengers. The Senate needs to be bluer and more progressive. The candidates we're asking you to consider donating to are going to work hard to make the Senate and the country better, not just a little less terrible (some of the time). Vote for them if you want to choose the lesser-of-two-evils candidate, but please consider contributing to candidates who aren't all about triangulation.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

The word is that Señor Trumpanzee wants his $30,000,000 penis compensation parade of mighty missile might on Veterans Day. It's the least he can do to sort out the problems of caring for our veterans, so, the least is exactly what he's doing. But, really our vets have nothing to do with it. As always, it's all about Trump. Cadet Bone Spurs doesn't have a caring or patriotic bone in his bloated body.

Maybe Señor Trumpanzee will even invite his crazy brother from another mother, Kim Jong-un. Would it surprise you if they both stood there, together on the Pennsylvania Avenue reviewing stand while the rockets rolled by? I wouldn't be surprised if they got matching haircuts, wore $150 "Trump, The Real Rocket Man" shirts, and announced that their deal includes gold-tipped Trump Towers all over North Korea. What a fine tribute that would be to all our vets who served in the Korean War, eh? Meanwhile, Trump will turn to his new buddy and say, "See, mine's bigger than yours."

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Monday, March 19, 2018

North Dakota-- One Of The Least Likely States To Flip Blue... But Not Totally Impossible


In 2016 North Dakota was one of Trump's strongest states. He beat Hillary 216,794 (62.96%) to 93,758 (27.23%). Libertarian Gary Johnson took 21,434 votes (6.22%). Only West Virginia, Wyoming and Oklahoma were redder. And only New Mexico, where he had once served as governor, gave Johnson a bigger share of its votes than North Dakota. Clinton won just two of North Dakota's 53 counties counties, Sioux and Rolette. 73% of Rolette County and 85% of Sioux County are populated by Native Americans, in fact, all of Sioux County is encompassed by the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The last time North Dakota gave its 3 electoral votes to a Democrat was in 1964, when LBJ beat Goldwater. The state's PVI is R+17, the 5th worst in the country. In North Dakota's caucuses Bernie crushed Hillary 64.2% to 25.6%.

This year, the race that everyone is watching in North Dakota is the Senate race, where the Senate's most conservative Democrat, Heidi Heitkamp will be defending her seat from Republican Kevin Cramer, who is leaving his safe Senate seat to challenge her. The most recent poll (late February), by Republican firm Gravis Marketing, shows a dead-heat, Heitkamp leading 43-40% with 17% undecided. But what about the at-large House race to replace Cramer?

The primary is June 12, but the state party had its convention on Saturday. The main events were to endorse candidates for attorney general and agriculture commissioner. Convention endorsements are important because they come with a guaranteed spot on the June 12 primary ballot and party support that includes access to lists of previous Democratic campaign donors. Endorsements don't protect a candidate from a primary challenge, but they are rare within the Democratic party. And, indeed the 3 Democrats running for Congress had all agreed to withdraw for the endorsed candidate. The candidates were Jamestown state Sen. John Grabinger (assistant minority leader) and former state lawmakers Ben Hanson of Fargo and Mac Schneider of Grand Forks. Schneider won after having just entered the race a couple of weeks ago. He's well-known to state Democrats because he had represented Grand Forks from 2009 until his defeat for re-election in 2016.

The last Democrat North Dakota sent to the House was Earl Pomeroy, a Blue Dog. Schneider used to work for him as a press secretary. Is he a Blue Dog too? Well, when he announced his interest in running, he said he would be "honored to work with President Trump." So I'll guess yes. By the way, Biden was there looking for support for his presidential run from the same kind of establishment Democrats who backed Hillary but saw grassroots voted go overwhelmingly for Bernie. The North Dakota Democratic Party hasn't figured that out yet.

The Republican field includes former GOP Chairman Kelly Armstrong, a state senator from Dickinson, and Tom Campbell, a potato farmer and state senator from Grafton, who has already self-funded $745,000 into his campaign.

UPDATE: And About Tomorrow In Illinois

The above fun and catchy music video highlights some of the stakes, in tomorrow’s Illinois primaries, for #Medicare4All and many other issues, and the role of an unsung villain in whipping for the wants of big money rather than the needs of the American people.

In majority-Democratic IL-03, Nancy Pelosi recently stumbled in allowing public visibility of her support for Dan Lipinski, the anti-ACA, anti-reproductive rights, anti-LGBTQ, anti-DREAMer, anti-#FightFor15, anti-gun control incumbent (originally installed by the local machine through a sneaky late resignation by Lipinski’s father). This money-over-principles support suddenly looks lonely after many other incumbent Democrats took the rare step of endorsing a primary challenger: Marie Newman.

More typical is Illinois’ purple IL-13, where Pelosi has personally avoided visibility while her appointed leadership of the DCCC continues its vendetta, against a longtime leader of the single-payer movement, Dr. David Gill, for continuing to demonstrate that he is a much stronger candidate, than the DCCC’s series of under-performing, donor-focused puppet-candidates, against the vulnerable Republican incumbent.

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It's Not Like Corruption Is Just A Republican Thing-- But It Is SUCH A Republican Thing!


Last week, Vicky Ward wrote the definitive piece on GOP slime machine Nick Ayers, Swamp Thing. It's like a book about an insider that few people know about. Ayers is Mike Pence's brain in the same way Rove was Bush's. He's also very handsome and the first-- of many-- pictures in the piece in the one everyone uses to imply that Pence is an obsessed repressed homosexual. This one:

Ayers in from a poor family and he's worth something like $50 million today-- having never had an honest job in his life. For years people have implied he sold his ass to rich old Republican closet cases. Washington is a city like that but... not $50 million worth. My favorite part of Ward's post is how people like Ward so get rich. I recognized it from my studies of the DCCC staffers.
Astonishingly, when Ayers entered the White House, he didn’t immediately sell his lucrative business, C5 Creative Consulting, as previous administrations would have required. He also obtained a broad waiver permitting him to talk to former clients. His ownership of C5 turned his White House job into a minefield of possible conflicts of interest. As chief of staff to the vice president, Ayers’ duties can include advising Pence on which candidates to support—decisions that can have a huge influence on fundraising and, hence, political advertising. In addition, in his private work for the Pence PAC, he is in a position to steer donor dollars into races where the company could potentially benefit. “That’s staggering,” one seasoned Republican operative told me.

In an environment where ethical scandals are spilling into public view on a near-daily basis, each seemingly more flagrant than the last, no one paid much attention to Nick Ayers’ consulting firm. Ayers himself declined to speak on the record and did not respond to a detailed list of questions for this article. After multiple attempts to clarify the status of Ayers’ business, Pence’s office sent a statement just as this story was going to press to say that his next financial disclosure in May “will reflect” the sale of his company. The White House provided no proof that the sale had occurred.

Waiting for so long into his White House tenure to address the issues posed by his ownership of C5 (and seemingly only under pressure) was a characteristic move from Ayers-- and one strikingly at odds with the plain-spoken virtue that the vice president seeks to project. But, as is clear to those who have followed Ayers’ rapid ascent to the top of his profession, he has made an art form of skillfully navigating the gray areas in electoral politics. And in the process, he has demonstrated that the real danger in our porous, post-Citizens United campaign-finance regime isn’t always what’s illegal, but what’s been made possible.

...No one has ever made a fortune in electoral politics merely by giving sound advice to candidates. The real money is in political advertising. “Everybody sees the media budget as the golden ticket,” said a senior executive at one of the five largest Republican media buying firms.

Even the standard way of doing business is, frankly, dubious. There can be variations on the model, but usually a consultant hired by a campaign or political action committee chooses a creative firm to make its TV ads. The consultant also hires a media buying firm to negotiate with TV stations over distribution. A commission of up to 15 percent of the advertising expense is split in various combinations between the consultant, the creative firm and the media buyer. And this is where the dubiousness comes in: Neither the candidate nor the donors typically have any idea how the split is divided. Often, at the end of the election, the TV station will not have run the exact number of ads the media buyer purchased. So the stations rebate the media buyer, who—in theory—is supposed to return that money to the campaign. But “only the media buyer knows the true amount of the rebate,” said one veteran creative director.

The sheer volume and speed of the transactions can obfuscate a lot of double-dealing. Campaigns are largely forced to trust that the media buyers pay the TV stations the contracted amount for the right ad spots. Two buyers emphasized to me that they pride themselves on returning leftover funds, suggesting that such scrupulousness may be the exception rather than the rule.

It is also not unusual, I was informed by a handful of industry insiders, for the consultant to privately negotiate a fee for bringing the media buyer the business. These sums can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, far outstripping a consultant’s typical monthly retainer of around $15,000 on a gubernatorial or senate race. All of which provides a powerful incentive for the consultant to use the media buyer who will give him the best deal, not the one who will deliver the most effective ads. “That’s what happens a lot,” said one top buyer. Most political campaigns don’t conduct even perfunctory oversight of their spending. “There is no CFO on any campaign,” said the buyer. “There is a treasurer. The treasurer’s job is to make sure that the reports get filed properly at the FEC. That’s it.”

Until about a decade ago, Target Enterprises hardly had a presence in national political advertising. But in his West Coast milieu, David Bienstock was known as a consummate hustler. A flashy figure, he “was the kind of man to carry cash,” said a former colleague who remembers him being visited monthly at his offices by a banker who delivered envelopes of bills. Bienstock, who did not comment for this article, has a taste for lavish real estate. He changes cars often and used to drive a gullwing model with doors that opened upward. The former colleague recalls a framed photo in Target’s hallway of Bienstock standing next to his favored private plane. He’s known as both a charmer and a screamer who sometimes holds court at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, dressed in a black T-shirt and blue jeans. When discussing pitches with colleagues, he talks a lot about “the dangle”—that is, what the client really wants. He might say, “So, the dangle is... ”

In 2009, Bienstock acquired a right-hand man who could help him break into national politics. Adam Stoll, a former Goldman Sachs executive then in his mid-30s, had run New York governor George Pataki’s 2002 reelection campaign. Quiet and preppy, Stoll is Bienstock’s outward opposite. Someone who has worked with him remarked to me that “he probably showers in his suit.” Stoll was also a longtime friend of Ayers, who was then midway through his tenure at the RGA.

The RGA had never used Target before 2009. That year, the firm was hired to work on, among other things, the Virginia gubernatorial race—a “test run” of sorts, said someone involved with discussions between Ayers and Target. But Bienstock and Stoll wanted a much closer relationship with the RGA for 2010. So they invited Ayers and Bennecke to a retreat at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas over the weekend of November 20 to cement a deal. The weekend “has become legend,” said one media consultant. “Nobody could figure out why Nick and Paul would even go anywhere with Bienstock. You’d see why if you met him ... [he] makes my skin crawl.” One of the items on Saturday’s agenda was a talk by Bienstock: “Media Buying: The Inside Story … A View from Behind the Curtain.”

I talked to four people who have heard Target’s pitch. Their experiences were not identical, but two consultants gave very similar accounts of someone at Target proposing the following arrangement: Target would charge the campaign a much lower fee than its competitors. The Target representative would go on to explain that the company would later invoice for an amount that represented a payment for how much the firm had saved the campaign-- with Target determining what the savings had been. This model might be described as “performance-based pay,” said an industry insider. A more accurate term, said one person who listened to the pitch, is “fucking bullshit.” However, most campaigns either lack the expertise to spot the catch in a highly technical pitch or are too focused on winning to closely monitor how their media budgets are spent. “It’s much easier for someone to pull the wool over the eyes of a political client than a consumer client,” said a veteran buyer in both spaces.

Whatever Target’s dangle to Ayers and Bennecke was, it seemed to be persuasive. “David can be very charismatic,” said the former colleague. In 2010, according to IRS filings, Target suddenly became the RGA’s biggest vendor, receiving $31 million for buying ads—about 36 percent of the RGA’s budget. (The next-highest-paid media buyer was Crossroads Media, which got $7 million.) Bennecke and Target did not respond to questions about Target, its business practices and its relationship with the RGA. I asked Haley Barbour why the RGA had chosen to give Target so much of its business. He told me he could “not recall that one firm got an especially large [share] of the media buy.”

Fourteen months into Trump's presidency, the idea that he would fulfill his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” is the stuff of black humor. His failure to sell his real estate business-- while technically legal because the president is exempt from conflict-of-interest statutes-- has cast suspicion over nearly everything he does. It is impossible to tell whether a decision has been motivated by policy or financial self-interest or some combination of the two. This uncertainty undermines public trust in government-- and the dynamic is far from limited to Trump.

Although Ayers had been a valued member of the transition, he was initially reluctant to take an official administration role. People who know him believed he was hesitant because he didn’t want to sell his business. “I was doubtful he was going to give up his financial empire,” mused the Pence ally. Ayers had lobbied unsuccessfully to succeed Reince Priebus as the chairman of the Republican National Committee. (Priebus, according to one source, couldn’t dismiss the chatter about Ayers’ prodigious self-promotion over the years.) After that, Ayers briefly ran Trump’s outside advocacy group, America First Policies. And he remained indispensable to Pence. Last spring, he was flying regularly to D.C. from the exclusive Atlanta neighborhood of Buckhead, where he has a $2.3 million home, to advise the vice president.

Privately, however, he was less than thrilled with his situation. He had rare behind-the-scenes access to the president and vice president and wasn’t fully utilizing it. A big problem, as he saw it, was that he wasn’t getting paid. He called a political veteran asking if there was some kind of “special purpose vehicle,” such as a 501(c)(4) or PAC, that he could set up so he could at least be reimbursed (it was unclear by whom) for his trips to and from D.C.

After checking around with others, this person told Ayers that the proper way to cover those costs was to go through the RNC. Furthermore, this person added, Ayers could not advise the vice president-- even voluntarily-- while on a business trip paid for by private clients. Ayers, the political veteran recalled, seemed unsatisfied by the conversation.

Within weeks of this exchange, Pence launched a leadership PAC headed by Ayers and another Pence adviser, Marty Obst. A front-page New York Times article would later describe the PAC as the possible vehicle for a “shadow campaign” for the presidency, which would be unheard of so early in a new administration. (Pence called this claim “offensive.”) One of the PAC’s first large expenditures was $50,000 to C5. According to the most recent available records, C5 has received over $110,000 from the Great America Committee, including a payment as late as October. It occurred to the person whom Ayers had approached for advice that perhaps The New York Times had misread the point of the PAC. Ayers “was calling around about a [special purpose vehicle] and then weeks later suddenly there was the PAC. Oh my God: The PAC was the SPV for Ayers,” this person said. (Obst did not respond to a request for comment.)

These ethical questions only became more acute when Ayers finally entered the White House. Ordinarily, someone with a political consultancy would have been expected to divest himself of it to avoid the potential for conflicts of interest. For instance, when Karl Rove became George W. Bush’s senior adviser, he sold his political consulting business on the advice of Richard Painter, then the chief White House ethics lawyer. Rove also went on to sell his stock portfolio. While the sale was processing, he was prohibited from attending any meetings on energy because he owned Enron stock. Separately, Rove got a waiver allowing him to talk to former clients if, for example, there was a government investigation or regulation that directly involved them. By selling his business, Rove had removed the prospect of those conversations being motivated by personal gain.

In contrast, by retaining his business, Ayers created a situation where even the most mundane matters could create the appearance of an improper conflict. Under 18 U.S.C. 208 it is illegal for a government employee to participate in any matters in his official position that could have a direct or predictable effect on his business. A chief of staff to the vice president can be called upon to help make all kinds of decisions that would have implications for a consulting firm looking for work—whom to endorse, whom to welcome into the White House, where to campaign, which event to show up for. “I think it’s a very dangerous situation,” Painter said. “It’s hard to avoid doing something in your official capacity that’s not going to affect [the consultancy].”
If there wasn't already so much crap queueing up to upend the Trump Regime, the obsessive, all-consuming greed of Nick Ayers would be a sure bet to be a defining scandal. Now a lot of stuff like that-- that would have been 5 alarm fires at any time pre-Trump-- is barely noticed. Like Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan has gotten awful rich as a public servant. With all that money sloshing around for corporate donors, it's not to hard to figure out how-- generally speaking. But how about specifically speaking. I never see much about Ryan's crookedness. In 2012 though, Dominic Rushe tackled one aspect of it for The Guardian: Paul Ryan sold shares on same day as private briefing of banking crisis. It may have disappeared down the national memory hole, but that doesn't erase the fact that Ryan profited from a 2008 meeting with Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, and Hank Paulson , then Secretary of the Treasury, in which officials outlined fears for financial crisis. And when he sold stock in US banks right after that meeting-- on the same day in fact-- (when it was disclosed the banking sector was heading for a deep crisis)...well, that's called insider trading. Right after the meeting Ryan sold stock in banks that we're disclosed as troubled, including Wachovia and Citigroup, and bought shares in Goldman Sachs, Paulson’s old employer and a bank that he had been told was stronger than its rivals. About a week after Ryan sold his shares, Wachovia plunged 39% and was soon absorbed by Wells Fargo for a fraction of its former value. Citigroup’s share price fell soon after the meeting and was among the largest beneficiaries of the the taxpayer-funded bailout that Ryan pushed through Congress. (After the bailout, which was opposed by many Republicans, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo flooded Ryan's campaign apparatus with huge "contributions."

It's our Congress, but they pass their own behavioral rules... and no one ever thought of bringing up criminal charges against Paul Ryan or any of the dozens of any of the other members who have become very wealthy by trading on insider information. Accountability is up to the voters.

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Do You Ever Wonder About The Things We've Done, As A Nation, That Have Made Us Deserve Trump?-- Just Asking For A Friend


A psychologist friend of mine diagnosed Trump last night. Prognosis doesn't sound good-- for us. "Trump’s ego has dissipated and his id has risen to the surface of consciousness. Trump has realized he can do whatever he wants and he is letting his id loose. It is growing and morphing into a lethal andromeda strain. A malicious, gleeful, vindictive, wrecking crew of impulses is on the move." Schumer warned him of "severe consequences" if he shuts down the Mueller investigation. Oh, yeah, that'll stop him. I think it was the Washington Post that hissed from the sidelines that we're a country of laws. Oh, yeah, that's shut him down for sure. Nothing will stop him-- short of American Secret Service martyrs on a level of Satwant Singh and Beant Singh. 30 bullets... wow!

And his Republican enablers-- in Congress and in the media-- have gotten more aggressive... not in the slightest bit outraged. ICE agents haven't been rounding up MS-13 members in California... they're been rounding up just normal folks... IN CALIFORNIA. And no one seems to be able to do anything about it.

Meanwhile one piece of shit from a gerrymandered Virginia district, Trump fellator Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote a hideously racist, xenophobic, Trumpist immigration bill, Securing America’s Future Act, which funds the Great Wall of Trump, end the kind of family-based visas that Melania just used to get her family over here, and create a guest worker program that's somewhat better than indentured servitude. Oh, yeah-- and withhold federal funds from "sanctuary cities." Don't ask me why there are Hispanic Republicans but, somehow, Hispanic Republicans-- or some at least-- are giving Goodlatte some pushback.

Goodlatte put together a propaganda event last week to tout all these Hispanic groups that back his bill. But the groups his office said were coming didn't show up and many denounced Goodlatte and his fascist bill, like the Latino Coalition. Omar Franco, from the Latino Coalition-- and former chief of staff for Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL)-- said he opposes the bill. "That bill," he said, "is a sellout to the entire community, we would never support something like that." Goodlatte had promised Rev. Tony Suárez and Rev. Gus Reyes of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Lourdes Aguirre of Eres America, and Danny Vargas, the former chairman of the National Republican Hispanic Assembly would all be there. None of them showed up.

Mario López, head of the Hispanic Leadership Fund, a conservative advocacy organization, opposes the bill described the bill as "a piece of shit," the exact same way I described Goodlatte!

With every Democrat in the House opposing it, the bill doesn't have the 218 Republican votes it needs to pass and move on to the Senate and Señor Trumpanzee. Who thinks it will stop Trump's agenda? Who thinks anything will stop Trump's destruction of American norms? Can he get away with shutting down the Mueller investigation? He's going to try... and ta majority of congressional Republicans back him. A majority... most of them. It looks like nearly all of them.

Over the weekend, there was a lot of buzz about Peter Baker's NY Times piece, Trump and the Truth: A President Tests His Own Credibility. Señor T "has made so many claims that stretch the bounds of accuracy," he wrote, "that full-time fact-checkers struggle to keep up. Most Americans long ago concluded that he is dishonest, according to polls. While most presidents lie at times, Trump’s speeches and Twitter posts are embedded with so many false, distorted, misleading or unsubstantiated claims that he has tested even the normally low standards of U.S. politics."
Trump’s presidency has been marked from the start with false or misleading statements, such as his outlandish claims that more people came to his inauguration than any before and that more than 3 million people voted illegally against him, costing him the popular vote. He has gone on to assert that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, a claim that his own Justice Department refuted, and that he would not benefit from his tax-cutting plan.

The lack of fidelity to facts has real-world consequences in both foreign affairs and domestic policymaking. Foreign diplomats and lawmakers of both parties say they do not assume anything he says is necessarily true. In a White House where one aide described the existence of “alternative facts” and another acknowledged telling “white lies,” staff members scramble to defend his claims without putting their own credibility on the line. News organizations debate when to use the word “lie” because it implies intent.

...Advisers say privately that Trump may not always be precise, but is speaking a larger truth that many Americans understand. Flyspecking, tut-tutting critics in the news media, they say, fail to grasp the connection he has with a section of the country that feels profoundly misled by a self-serving establishment. To them, the particular facts do not matter as much as this deeper truth.

...As a businessman, Trump often fabricated or exaggerated to sell a narrative or advance his interests. In his memoir, The Art of the Deal, he called it “truthful hyperbole” or “innocent exaggeration.”

When trying to lure investors to a hotel project, he had bulldozers dig on one side of the site and dump the dirt on the other to give the impression that the project was making progress. He would call reporters and pretend to be a publicity agent for himself named John Barron. He claimed to earn $1 million from a speech when it was $400,000. He claimed to be worth $3.5 billion when seeking a bank loan, four times what the bank eventually found.

“He’s a salesman and that’s not about telling the truth, that’s not the DNA about being a salesman,” said Gwenda Blair, the author of The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a President, a biography of his family. “The DNA of being a salesman is telling people what they want to hear. And he’s got it.”

Jack O’Donnell, who was president of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, recalled Trump telling New Jersey authorities that he had secured bank financing for a new casino and would not use junk bonds, only to turn around and then use junk bonds.

“In my experience with him, there are times when he just compulsively lies, and there are times when he strategically lies,” said O’Donnell, who wrote a scathing book about Trump. “In both regards, after he says something, I do think he believes that whatever he says becomes his reality. That’s my experience with him. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but it certainly can be.”

Trump continued his practice as president. The Washington Post’s fact-checker documented more than 2,000 false or misleading claims in Trump’s first year in office, a rate of more than five a day, many of them repeated even after he was corrected.

Polls show that only 35 percent of Americans consider him honest, while 60 percent do not. In their first terms, more than 50 percent considered Bush honest and more than 60 percent considered Obama honest, although those numbers fell for both by their second terms.

Republicans as well as Democrats express concern. Amanda Carpenter, a former aide to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, has a new book coming out in May called Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies to Us. On the cover is an illustration of Trump with a Pinocchio nose.

Her explanation is that Trump’s supporters do not see deception, they see a commitment to winning. “Donald Trump’s lies and fabrications don’t horrify America,” says the publisher’s summary of her book. “They enthrall us.”
Goal ThermometerWe've all got to keep our eyes on the ball-- the one way to actually slow him down: defeating Republicans in November, as many as possible, and replacing them with courageous Democrats, not wooses. You ready for that? Please consider supporting the progressive Democratic candidates running for the House that you'll find by clicking on the Blue America thermometer on the right. There is virtually no other way to slow this maniac, seemingly hell-bent on destroying our country, down. We can do it; if this post sounded pessimistic, I'm extremely optimistic. What happened in PA-18 Tuesday indicates Democrats can win over 100 seats in November. That means impeachment, not any kind of need for Satwant Singh and Beant Singh.

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Why Climate Activists Must Include Supply-Side Restrictions in Their Recommended Policy Mix


Daily average Arctic surface temperature since 1958. The red line is now — 2018 year-to-date (source: Bill McKibben).

by Gaius Publius

Climate policy recommendations, to date, cluster around a very small number of recommendations, all designed to discourage demand for fossil fuels and encourage demand for renewable energy sources. Few policy recommendations address the plentiful, cheap and growing supply of fossil fuels.

This is a major mistake. It may even prove fatal to the great task ahead. And only the climate activist and policy community can fix this error.

Consider the following six points.

The Argument for Restricting the Supply of Fossil Fuels

1. Note the graph above. If it's not already clear that global warming has not just reached truly dangerous proportions, but is accelerating, what's shown in graphs like that should dispel all doubt.

Here's another, from the same series of tweets by climate writer Bill McKibben:
The Chukchi Sea is the region of the Arctic north of the Bering Strait. As you can see, the extent of sea ice is declining precipitously. (See also here and here.) All those tiny lines are measurements from the most recent previous years.

(Both of these graphs come from the website of climate scientist and student Zachary Labe, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Earth System Science at UC Irvine. The site is rich in graphs like these. For more Arctic sea ice figures, see here and also the links at the bottom of the page.)

If this isn't an emergency, what is? The World War II analogy would be: Germany has been arming for war for years and has now massed troops on the Polish border. There's no time to waste in preparing the Polish people for the onslaught.

2. If there's no time to waste in addressing the climate crisis, it's necessary not just to restrict the demand for fossil fuels — for example, via carbon taxes and mandatory emissions standards — but also the supply.

This means, in turn, putting the squeeze on the economy to force a conversion to renewable energy supply, rather than simply put pressure on the economy via more gentle restrictions and encouragements that allow the economy to adjust, if it wishes, in a way that's "comfortable."

Examples of "comfortable" demand restrictions include carbon taxes and mandatory cap-and-trade systems. "Comfortable" demand encouragements include subsidies for renewable energy infrastructure.

Supply restrictions, in contrast, tend to be uncomfortable — for consumers because supply is restricted in advance of changes in buying behavior or availability of alternatives; for suppliers because the flow of profit is artificially constrained; and for segments of the economy as a whole because money is forced out of fully operating sectors (fossil fuel production, delivery and use) and into alternative, less-developed areas.

The purpose of supply restrictions, in fact, is to use that discomfort to force changes in behavior, to force the development of alternatives — and not to settle for waiting until the market or consumers decide to make these changes on their own.

The World War II analogy would be the transfer of money from the consumer part of the U.S. economy via rationing into the war-making part of the economy, in order to force the production of ships, tanks, guns and other materiel needed by the military. The constricting factor, the reason the U.S. couldn't support both parts of the economy at full capacity, is manufacturing capacity. No developed nation can double manufacturing capacity in a year, even with all the money in the world to do it. Capacity to make cars, for example, had to be converted to make tanks. In the same way, overall spending had to be diverted, since a nation's ability to expand government spending, while large, isn't infinite.

3. Restrictions on supply, when coupled with constrictions on demand, work very well in other areas where public policy intervention is needed to create a positive social change. Consider the attempt to limit tobacco use in Australia, from a recent academic study ("Cutting with both arms of the scissors: the economic and political case for restrictive supply-side climate policies" by Fergus Green & Richard Denniss) that looks at the utility of supply-side restriction in the battle to mitigate climate change (emphasis added):
Significantly, many countries rely on complicated and evolving combinations of these measures, wherein restrictive supply-side policies play an important role complementing demand-side policies.

Policies to control tobacco smoking in Australia provide an instructive example. The policy mix includes prohibitions on producing tobacco without a license, selling tobacco without a license, selling tobacco to children, tobacco advertising, tobacco sponsorship, and smoking cigarettes in confined public spaces. It also includes heavy taxation of tobacco consumption, hard-hitting public information campaigns, “plain packaging” laws, mandatory health warnings on cigarette packages, and the subsidisation of certain substitutes for cigarettes such as nicotine patches.
None of these anti-"free market" measures is considered out of bounds by the public in the war on tobacco use:
Far from being derided as an inefficient mire of “red tape”, Australia’s tobacco regulatory environment is lauded as a global model of effective public health policy, with the country seen as an early mover in innovative regulation in the sector (Chapman and Wakefield 2001). The combination of a wide range of policies, rather than an ‘optimal’ policy, is, moreover, endorsed in the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which states that “‘tobacco control’ means a range of supply, demand and harm reduction strategies that aim to improve the health of a population by eliminating or reducing their consumption of tobacco products and their exposure to tobacco smoke…” (article 1(d)).
As the authors also note, supply-side restrictions "have also played an important role in efforts to reduce negative environmental pollution externalities, including chlorofluorocarbons (Haas 1992), asbestos (Kameda et al. 2014), and lead in petroleum products (Needleman 2000)."

4. Restrictions on demand for fossil fuels alone aren't doing the job, certainly not fast enough. The march to a far less human-friendly climate — what I've been calling the Next New Stone Age — is relentless and accelerating. Again, we are now seeing zero degree Celsius days in February in the Arctic. In plain English, that means this: air, warm enough to melt ice, in the Arctic, in winter.

Restrictions on supply are therefore critically needed. Yet restrictions on supply create discomfort, both for producers and consumers. Can counter-arguments that point to "discomfort" as a reason not to address climate change via fossil fuel supply restrictions be overcome?

5. The surprising answer is yes, those arguments can be overcome. The paper cited above notes both economic and political benefits of restricting the supply of fossil fuels, and shows that, controlling for other factors, those arguments can be popular and effective. To my knowledge, it's the first paper to do so.

It points out that the economic benefits of supply-side restrictions include low administrative and transaction costs, higher certainty of abatement outcomes, positive price and efficiency effects, the avoidance of infrastructure "lock in," and others.

On the political side, the authors assert that "supply-side policies are generally likely to attract higher public support than demand-side policies, all else equal."
Scholars have identified various reasons, related to these factors [perceived benefits, distributional fairness, and so on], why people tend to prefer certain kinds of climate policy instruments over others (e.g. command and control regulation over market-based instruments) (Jenkins 2014; Karplus 2011; Rabe 2010) and, within a given class of policy instrument, certain design features (e.g. explicit earmarking of revenue from market-based instruments) (Drews and van den Bergh 2015, 863; Rabe and Borick 2012). What has not been analysed is the effect on public support resulting from whether the instrument targets the supply side or the demand side (controlling for instrument type and relevant design features such as, where applicable, revenue allocation). 
The point of the study is to support that point by "controlling for instrument type and relevant design features such as, where applicable, revenue allocation".

For example, on the "perceived benefits" of demand-side vs. supply-side climate policies, the authors state:
A common conclusion from climate-related public opinion research is that climate science is poorly understood and concern about the problem, though widespread, is shallow, i.e. it tends to be a low-salience, low-priority concern and individuals have a low “willingness to pay” for solutions (Ansolabehere and Konisky 2014; Guber 2003; Jenkins 2014, 470–72; van der Linden et al. 2015). This is unsurprising: the climate benefits of mitigation policies are diffused widely across time and space; they disproportionately accrue (and are perceived accrue) to future generations and people in other countries; and their magnitude is uncertain, meaning they are likely to be strongly discounted by voters (van der Linden et al. 2015).
Supply-side policies suffer none of these disadvantages:
By contrast, supply-side instruments typically target fossil fuels per se. Survey evidence suggests that people more readily link co-costs/co-benefits (environmental, health, security, social, economic) to specific energy sources than to the more abstract concepts of “carbon”/“climate” (e.g., Ansolabehere and Konisky 2014); and fossil fuels are well-understood commodities that many people more readily associate with a range of higher-priority, more localised and more immediate negative (non-climate) impacts, resulting in negative attitudes toward fossil fuels, especially coal (see Green 2018, section 3.1.1 and references there cited). These features give supply-side policies considerable advantages in attracting public support for climate policy. Relatively high public support for fossil fuel severance (resource extraction) taxes, even in climate-ambivalent, tax-averse north-American states and provinces (Rabe and Borick 2012, 377–79), provides circumstantial empirical support for these arguments.
The paper studied similar support for supply-side policies based on perceptions of distributional fairness and lower costs.

6. The bottom line is: This is the first study that controls for other factors in determining support for supply-side climate policies vs. demand-side policies by themselves, and finds much to be encouraged about.

The authors conclude:
In our experience, the climate policy community has for too long been excessively narrow in its preference for certain kinds of policy instruments (carbon taxes, cap-and trade), largely ignoring the characteristics of such instruments that affect their political feasibility and feedback effects. At the very least, then, we hope we have shown that supply-side policies should be in the toolkit, ready to be wielded when circumstances favour.

Better, we think, to cut with both arms of the scissors.
Cutting with "both arms of the scissors" means using both supply-side policies and demand-side policies in addressing the looming climate crisis. It's clearly ineffective to use just one.

Only the Climate Policy Community Can Lead in Making This Change

Note the addressee of the authors' conclusion — the "climate policy community." This recommendation is not addressed primarily to politicians, who in the West are natively "free market" apologists, which means, natively Big Money enablers.

And it's not addressed to the public at large, who fear — and are led to fear — the "discomfort" of supply restrictions. Recent American Petroleum Institute ads, for example, say this in effect to consumers: "Do you like that big-screen, smart-phone lifestyle of yours? Be sure to keep carbon in the energy mix, or you'll lose it." Yet the reality is, if Mr. and Ms. Consumer truly hope to keep their smart-phone lifestyle intact, they better start now to arrest the devolution to Stone Age life that constantly burning carbon will cause — just the opposite of what the API is telling them to do.

It makes sense then, does it not, that a message that clearly explain the benefits of reduction — and destruction — of fossil fuel supply can only be carried at first by leading climate activists and the broader policy community?

I see no one else to offer it. And considering both the existential nature of the coming emergency and its near-suffocational timeline, that leadership needs to start ... well, now.


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