Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mark Penn-- Worst Of The Fox Democrats Working For Trump

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In order to understand The Hill OpEd Stopping Robert Mueller to protect us all, you have to know who its author, Mark Penn, is. He has nothing to do with Penn and Teller, magicians, atheists and comedians who have been performing together since the '70s. Mark Penn also started his career-- as a pollster-- in the '70s. He is best known for his work with partner Doug Schoen for conservative Democrats (as well as Menachem Begin and his neo-fascist Likud Party in Israel and for war criminal Tony Blair in the U.K.) They also specialized in whitewashing corporate criminals like Texaco, AT&T, BP, Merck, McDonald's and Verizon. They were largely behind Bill Clinton's lurch to the right and his adoption of Republican policies. He had a great deal to do with the Democratic Party abandoning working class voters in pursuit of white collar, suburban voters and was a key advisor to Hillary Clinton's failed presidential run in 2008.

Mark Penn, who is married to one of the most vile and repulsive actors in American politics, Nancy Jacobson, founder of No Labels, the group that recently financed the reelection of Dan Lipinski, is currently another Fox Democrat who talks incessantly about how there is no blue wave and how the Mueller investigation in tainted and phony. He's a "No Collusion" fanatic who is pretending to still be a Democrat. When Hillary passed on hiring him for her 2016 campaign, he turned away from whatever was left of his Democratic roots and went all the way over to the Dark Side.



Currently he's trying to break out of Fox and spread his poison to a wider audience, especially to the Clinton Democrats, who still think of him as part of "the good old days":
The “deep state” is in a deep state of desperation. With little time left before the Justice Department inspector general’s report becomes public, and with special counsel Robert Mueller having failed to bring down Donald Trump after a year of trying, they know a reckoning is coming.

At this point, there is little doubt that the highest echelons of the FBI and the Justice Department broke their own rules to end the Hillary Clinton “matter,” but we can expect the inspector general to document what was done or, more pointedly, not done. It is hard to see how a year-long investigation of this won’t come down hard on former FBI Director James Comey and perhaps even former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who definitely wasn’t playing mahjong in a secret “no aides allowed” meeting with former President Clinton on a Phoenix airport tarmac.

With this report on the way and congressional investigators beginning to zero in on the lack of hard, verified evidence for starting the Trump probe, current and former intelligence and Justice Department officials are dumping everything they can think of to save their reputations.

But it is backfiring. They started by telling the story of Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat, as having remembered a bar conversation with George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. But how did the FBI know they should talk to him? That’s left out of their narrative. Downer’s signature appears on a $25 million contribution to the Clinton Foundation. You don’t need much imagination to figure that he was close with Clinton Foundation operatives who relayed information to the State Department, which then called the FBI to complete the loop. This wasn’t intelligence. It was likely opposition research from the start.

In no way would a fourth-hand report from a Maltese professor justify wholesale targeting of four or five members of the Trump campaign. It took Christopher Steele, with his funding concealed through false campaign filings, to be incredibly successful at creating a vast echo chamber around his unverified, fanciful dossier, bouncing it back and forth between the press and the FBI so it appeared that there were multiple sources all coming to the same conclusion.

Time and time again, investigators came up empty. Even several sting operations with an FBI spy we just learned about failed to produce a Delorean-like video with cash on the table. But rather than close the probe, the deep state just expanded it. All they had were a few isolated contacts with Russians and absolutely nothing related to Trump himself, yet they pressed forward. Egged on by Steele, they simply believed Trump and his team must be dirty. They just needed to dig deep enough.

Perhaps the murkiest event in the timeline is Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of a special counsel after he personally recommended Comey’s firing in blistering terms. With Attorney General Jeff Sessions shoved out of the way, Rosenstein and Mueller then ignored their own conflicts and took charge anyway. Rosenstein is a fact witness, and Mueller is a friend of Comey, disqualifying them both.

Flush with 16 prosecutors, including a former lawyer for the Clinton Foundation, and an undisclosed budget, the Mueller investigation has been a scorched-earth effort to investigate the entirety of the Trump campaign, Trump business dealings, the entire administration and now, if it was not Russia, maybe it’s some other country.

The president’s earlier legal team was naive in believing that, when Mueller found nothing, he would just end it. Instead, the less investigators found, the more determined and expansive they became. This president and his team now are on a better road to put appropriate limits on all this.

This process must now be stopped, preferably long before a vote in the Senate. Rather than a fair, limited and impartial investigation, the Mueller investigation became a partisan, open-ended inquisition that, by its precedent, is a threat to all those who ever want to participate in a national campaign or an administration again.

Its prosecutions have all been principally to pressure witnesses with unrelated charges and threats to family, or just for a public relations effect, like the indictment of Russian internet trolls. Unfortunately, just like the Doomsday Machine in “Dr. Strangelove” that was supposed to save the world but instead destroys it, the Mueller investigation comes with no “off” switch: You can’t fire Mueller. He needs to be defeated, like Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated President Clinton.

Finding the “off” switch will not be easy. Step one here is for the Justice Department inspector general report to knock Comey out of the witness box. Next, the full origins of the investigation and its lack of any real intelligence needs to come out in the open. The attorney general, himself the target of a secret investigation, needs to take back his Justice Department. Sessions needs to act quickly, along with U.S. Attorney John Huber, appointed to conduct an internal review of the FBI, on the Comey and McCabe matters following the inspector general report, and then announce an expanded probe into other abuses of power.

The president’s lawyers need to extend their new aggressiveness from words to action, filing complaints with Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility on the failure of Mueller and Rosenstein to recuse themselves, and going into court to question the tactics of the special counsel, from selective prosecutions on unrelated matters, illegally seizing Government Services Administration emails, covering up the phone texts of FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and operating without a scope approved by the attorney general. (The regulations call for the attorney general to recuse himself from the investigation but appear to still leave him responsible for the scope.)

The final stopper may be the president himself, offering two hours of testimony, perhaps even televised live from the White House. The last time America became obsessed with Russian influence in America was the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s. Those ended only when Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) attacked an associate of the U.S. Army counsel, Joseph Welch, and Welch famously responded: “Sir, have you no decency?” In this case, virtually every associate and family member of the president has been subject to smears conveniently leaked to the press.

Stopping Mueller isn’t about one president or one party. It’s about all presidents and all parties. It’s about cleaning out and reforming the deep state so that our intelligence operations are never used against opposing campaigns without the firmest of evidence. It’s about letting people work for campaigns and administrations without needing legal defense funds. It’s about relying on our elections to decide our differences.

Penn and Jacobson, pure evil inside the GOP wing of the Democratic Party

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Trump Unhinged

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Did anyone really believe Giuliani when the NY Times reported over the weekend that he told them that Mueller had assured him that the Putin-Gate investigation would be wrapped up by September 1? Of course Mueller's office wouldn't respond to Giuliani's nonsense but Reuters reported on Monday that a source familiar with the probe told them that the deadline was "entirely made-up" and "another apparent effort to pressure the special counsel to hasten the end of his work."

The source said the obvious-- that "He’ll wrap it up when he thinks he’s turned over every rock, and when that is will depend on how cooperative witnesses, persons of interest and maybe even some targets are, if any of those emerge, and on what new evidence he finds, not on some arbitrary, first-of-the-month deadline one of the president’s attorneys cooks up."

Giuliani sounds like he's as credible as Trumpanee and, in fact, must be taking his orders directly from Trump, who just 13% of Americans tells the truth and is trustworthy. As Mueller closes in on him and his crime family, Trump is becoming increasingly desperate and unhinged.
Trump’s simmering anger over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s year-old Russia probe appeared to spill over into a series of well-worn recriminations in several tweets, including that the investigation was politically motivated and had its roots in the administration of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

Federal investigators are looking into whether Russia tried to sway the election and if it worked with the Trump campaign to do so. Trump has denied any collusion and repeatedly dismissed the investigation as a “witch hunt.”

“I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes-- and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump also escalated his attacks on the Justice Department on Friday, suggesting that the FBI may have planted or recruited an informant in his 2016 presidential campaign. He cited unidentified reports that at least one FBI representative was “implanted” for political purposes into his campaign.

Neither Trump nor Rudy Giuliani, a former New York mayor who is now one of Trump’s lawyers, provided any evidence of government infiltration into Trump’s presidential campaign. Giuliani acknowledged in a CNN interview on Friday that neither he nor the president really knew if such action took place.

Giuliani was quoted by the New York Times later on Sunday as saying that Mueller had said the investigation would wrap up by Sept. 1.

A source familiar with the probe called the Sept. 1 deadline “entirely made-up” and “another apparent effort to pressure the special counsel to hasten the end of his work.”

“He’ll wrap it up when he thinks he’s turned over every rock, and when that is will depend on how cooperative witnesses, persons of interest and maybe even some targets are, if any of those emerge, and on what new evidence he finds, not on some arbitrary, first-of-the-month deadline one of the president’s attorneys cooks up,” said the source, a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In September, the Justice Department said it had no evidence to support another of Trump’s unsubstantiated assertions: that Obama had ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.

It was unclear what kind of response Trump was seeking from the Justice Department this time, since investigations are kept secret and designed to be insulated from political influence and White House meddling.

A spokeswoman said the Justice Department had asked the Inspector General to expand a review of the process for requesting surveillance warrants to include determining whether there was impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its investigation.

Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, called Trump’s suspicion of an embedded spy “nonsense.” “His ‘demand’ DOJ investigate something they know to be untrue is an abuse of power, and an effort to distract from his growing legal problems,” Schiff said on Twitter.

In his earlier tweets on Sunday, Trump reprised his attacks on Hillary Clinton, his Democratic challenger in 2016, and maintained that Democrats were not submitted to the same FBI scrutiny.

Trump also implied that the special counsel investigation of whether foreign governments tried to influence the presidential campaign was designed to hurt Republicans in the November congressional elections.

“Now that the Witch Hunt has given up on Russia and is looking at the rest of the World, they should easily be able to take it into the Mid-Term Elections where they can put some hurt on the Republican Party,” he wrote.

Trump, who has long complained the Russia probe has overstepped its bounds, referred to reports that his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., met in August 2016 with an envoy representing the crown princes of United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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by Noah
"The right thing to do is to pray in moments like this because you know what, prayer works."
- House Speaker Paul "Crazy Eyes" Ryan, 11/6/17, after 26 died in a hail of bullets in a church no less.
Prayer is no match for massive bribes from the NRA. Prayer hasn't been much of a solution to our guns gone wild problem. Prayer: It's the least you can do, so do it!

Prayer hasn't worked, not even when combined with thoughts. But, perhaps politicians, being self-serving and of limited brain power by nature, believe in lots of fairytales, probably because they know that so many voters do, too. The con is strong with them all.

Right now, I'm waiting for some douchebag politician to take a page out of "Peter Pan" and propose "Tinker Bell Solutions." Yeah, that's the ticket. Forget prayer. If we can just get everybody to clap, the problem of mass shootings will go away. We can all clap for better health, too. Next time a tumor shows up, just clap it away! Why, I bet that clapping will even clean up our air and drinking water.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Has A Speaker Ever Been Deposed By His Own Party And Then Stayed On As A Plain Ole Member Of The House?

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I can't imagine why Paul Ryan would want to stay on as Speaker. Is it to help the GOP minimize their losses in November and to hold off on leadership elections and instead allowing the GOP to focus on campaign season rather than engaging in a bloody intra-party feud? Ryan may be popular with billionaire contributors but the independent voters who will decide the midterm certainly don't like him. He doesn't seem to have some kind of a deal with Trump to stick around, although I'd think Trump would prefer the more easily manipulated Kevin McCarthy. But Sunday, Republican Party news outlet, Weeely Standard floated the rumor that there's a coup a-brewing to remove Ryan before November. The coup plotters include "the White House" and the benefactor would be McCarthy. Supposedly Trump has been briefed and "believes there is merit to the plan, but has not formed a final position."

The likeliest coup plotters, in my mind, would be the House Freedom Caucus extremists and they have their own candidate: Jim Jordan. It sure isn't McCarthy. The Standard claims "McCarthy has been weighing the effort alongside a small group of trusted advisers, considering the pros and cons of forcing Ryan's hand, and debating the best time to launch the effort. As of last week he had not spoken to Ryan about the idea, the source said."
Proponents say that the benefits are twofold. It would trigger a vote to replace Ryan, giving McCarthy an opening to become speaker of the House-- that is, if he can avoid crashing and burning on takeoff like he did in 2015. But it would also force Democrats to cast votes for-- or against-- Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a favorite target of Republican campaign strategists, to be speaker. That vote could then be used against vulnerable Democrats during the height of campaign season, the source said.

...Friday appeared to have been a breaking point for the forces eager to see Ryan step down sooner, after GOP leaders were unable to navigate the demands of the hard-line conservative Freedom Caucus, resulting in the embarrassing failure of the Farm Bill. In the aftermath of the bill’s demise on the House floor, a “senior Republican source” lashed out at Ryan in aPolitico story about the legislative failure. The “senior Republican source” argued that “this is the problem when you have a lame duck speaker who announces he’s leaving eight months in advance.”

“He can make calls to members to urge them to vote for something, but who will care?” the individual added.

A remarkably similar quote later appeared in The Hill, also attributed to a senior GOP source. "If you have somebody who’s going to be stepping down eight months in advance, a lot of people are not going to care what you have to say,” the source said.

McCarthy’s first run for speaker failed for a number of reasons. He drew Republican criticism during the race when he made comments implying the Benghazi investigation was politically-motivated. “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping,” McCarthy said on Fox News. “Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”


Those remarks were condemned immediately by Republicans involved in the investigation. “That was not the reason we started. We started because there were four dead Americans and we didn't have answers,” Jason Chaffetz, who challenged McCarthy for the speakership, said at the time. On top of his Benghazi gaffe, McCarthy struggled to win the support of conservative members, some of whom were reluctant to support him amid concerns that he would not represent enough of a change from the tactics of former speaker John Boehner.

Three years later, Ryan argues that McCarthy has accumulated more political experience than he had the first time around. "I think we all believe that Kevin is the right person," Ryan said during an interview with NBC after he announced his retirement.

But conflict between McCarthy and Ryan has been growing.

The two hold vastly different opinions about how to approach the DACA debate in the House. While Ryan has repeatedly said he would like to find a solution to the issue-- recently saying he wants to vote on an immigration measure before the election-- McCarthy is far more skeptical about the political benefits of doing so. During a Republican conference meeting last week, he told members that “If you want to depress [GOP voter] intensity, this is the No. 1 way to do it,” Politico’s Rachael Bade reported.

That argument highlights the difference in their leadership styles, with Ryan more policy-focused and McCarthy more interested in politics. Right now, the speaker’s race is more of a shadow campaign to win favor from the conference-- “This is the time of the year where I get all the area codes I’ve never seen before on my phone,” Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie quipped-- but members are having heated conversations about who they want to lead the party.

Other contenders for the role include Freedom Caucus founding member Jim Jordan, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Scalise has said he would not run against McCarthy, but members say it is likely he would run if McCarthy proves unable to garner enough support for the position.
I can't imagine someone as extreme as Jordan would actually win and become Speaker but the Freedom Caucus could probably block anyone else they oppose from winning-- anyone with too many mainstream views, for example. I have a feeling that may be in Ryan's mind-- the spectacle of a long-drawn out, bloody leadership battle all over TV right before the midterms... possibly a bad way to present the party to the voters.


UPDATE: The GOP's Pelosi Strategy Again

In a follow-up Weekly Standard post by John McCormack he noted that on Sunday, Mick Mulvaney had harped on the idea of dumping Ryan to force House Democrats to vote for or against the "unpopular Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi." He and McCarthy discussed the idea. "Wouldn't it be great to force a Democrat running in a tight race to have to put up or shut up about voting for Nancy Pelosi eight weeks before an election? That's a really, really good vote for us to force if we can figure out how to do it."

And the progressive Democrat running for the seat Ryan has been occupying, Randy Bryce, says he agrees with the GOP that Ryan should resign now-- even if not for the same reasons the Republicans are using. "Now that some members of the GOP have turned their back on Paul Ryan by plotting to remove him as Speaker, he is clearly most concerned with party politics and not the voters in Southeast Wisconsin. The people of the First District deserve a Congressman who will actually represent them and fight for their interests, not one who is going to dedicate the better part of a year to fundraising for other Republican Representatives across the country. Voters in Southeast Wisconsin were going to reject Ryan in November-- and now some in his own party are abandoning him too. He should give up his speakership and resign now in order to help address the needs of working families, rather than the needs of his legacy."

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Have Medical Bills Ever Bankrupt You Or Anyone You Were Close To?

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Remember this photo of Roger Stone and I? I was backstage at Politicon, where Randy was giving a keynote address at the Latino Victory Project. Afterwards we ditched Stone and went for dinner. The waiter recognized him and treated him like a celebrity. Randy didn't have a credit card. He doesn't have a credit card. He's not a rich guy. I picked up the modest tab. Over the weekend, Randy sent this to his supporters:
Like a lot of veterans, after I was discharged from the Army, I struggled to find work that paid enough. Eventually I took two full-time jobs, and was able to just squeeze by-- but then I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I was only in my late 20s, and despite my two jobs, I didn't have insurance. In the end, the bills from my cancer treatment bankrupted me.

My story is not unique. Thousands of working people and families across Wisconsin have experienced the same soul-crushing decision to file for bankruptcy. But the Republicans in D.C. gave millionaires and billionaires more tax cuts while telling us that we can't pay for Medicare for All, or anything else that would help families struggling to make ends meet.

A single-payer healthcare system like Medicare for All would lower costs for families and businesses by giving the government greater negotiating power with health insurance companies and untying health insurance from employment.

For too many families, the scariest thing about cancer is the cost. When they get the diagnosis, their first thought isn't, "will I make it?" it's "can I afford it?" And sadly, it's true for people with and without insurance.

I was lucky. I survived and was able to come out on the other side of some incredibly hard times -- but I know many, many more have not been so lucky. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege-- and no one should have to file bankruptcy just to afford life-saving treatment.

The U.S. already has the most expensive healthcare system in the world, but Donald Trump's allies in Congress are doing everything they can to make it even harder for families to pay for healthcare. And the industry's for-profit model means families are often faced with inexplicably high drug and test costs.

We have to pass Medicare for All. If we do better, no one will ever have to go through what I went through ever again.
See that word, "bankrupted?" A lot of people know what that is from first-hand experience. Media elites tend not to... though they've heard of it as something that happens to other people. Randy has the most valuable brand-- @IronStache-- of any candidate running for Congress. He had 271,000 followers on Twitter. He has 200,000 Facebook likes. His first video had 4 million social media views. Members of Congress have asked him to come to their districts to campaign for them. I've never heard of that before. It's usually the other way-- members of Congress campaign for candidates. The first member of Congress who came to Randy's district, aside from his immediate neighbors Mark Pocan and Gwen Moore, was Bernie Sanders to announce that he had endorsed Randy.

A lot of people are jealous. And a lot of media folks would like to enhance their own reputations by knocking Randy down a peg or two. Some journalist who can dig up some dirt can make a name for himself.

Randy has a couple of primary opponents and one lies about him all the time. A Hillary supporter when Randy was stumping with Bernie in 2016 she's persuaded her followers that she was the Berniecrat instead. Every time she's throwing her bullshit I want to write about it. Randy has asked me not to. He doesn't believe in negative campaigning against other Democrats ever and he asked me to try changing my behavior as well. "Let's save the negativity for Ryan or Nehlen or for whoever the GOP nominates he told me one time."

But... her campaign operative-- a consultant who she pays $6,000 a month-- has been going to members of the media bad-mouthing Randy and trying to get made up stories going about him from when he was struggling in poverty. The working people Randy appeals to don't pay any of the bullshit much heed. The same stories could be told about them or their families or their friends. But not about the media elites who gobble it up. Gobble this up instead; it's just as real.



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Blankenship Wants Revenge Against Trumpanzee And Cocaine Mitch

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A couple of weeks ago we looked at a logical question: Will Blankenship Get Revenge Against Cocaine Mitch And Señor Trumpanzee? Early this morning, Alex Isenstadt had the answer at Politico: Yup. Start by watching the hilarious Facebook ad above. Today Blankenship announced he is running in the general election as the nominee of the Constitution Party and it seems like his only goal is to take votes from the Republican nominee, Patrick Morrisey, handing reelection to conservative Democrat Joe Manchin, who could probably win without the help anyway. One problem Blankenship needs to face up to first: "[H]e would need to overcome a 'sore loser' law in West Virginia that prevents failed candidates in a main-party primary from refiling to run in the general election under another party’s banner." And that law could have had him or someone just like him in mind when it passed.
Blankenship said he’s prepared to challenge that law in court if needed. If he’s successful, his move that could hurt the GOP’s prospects of unseating Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin in November.

“It is especially appropriate for me to be nominated by the Constitution Party given its staunch and uncompromising commitment to upholding the United States Constitution,” Blankenship said.

Should he follow through on his threat, Blankenship, who spent a year behind bars following the 2010 explosion at his Upper Big Branch Mine that killed 29 workers, could play spoiler in the general election by drawing votes from the GOP nominee, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Since the primary, Blankenship has refused to endorse Morrisey, whom he says is incapable of defeating Manchin.

Under West Virginia law, minor party candidates have until Aug. 1 to file the necessary number of signatures to qualify for the ballot. Still, it is unclear whether Blankenship is eligible.

A guide book for 2018 candidates posted on the West Virginia secretary of state’s website states: “Candidates affiliated with a recognized political party who run for election in a primary election and who lose the nomination cannot change her or his voter registration to a minor party organization/unaffiliated candidate to take advantage of the later filing deadlines and have their name on the subsequent general election ballot.”

Blankenship, who spent millions out of his own pockets to fund his Senate campaign, hinted that he was ready for a legal fight.

“Although the establishment will likely begin their efforts against us by mounting a legal challenge to my candidacy, we are confident that-- if challenged-- our legal position will prevail, absent a politically motivated decision by the courts,” he said.

The coal baron also said that the establishment was “determined to keep me-- the most anti-establishment candidate in the nation-- out of the United States Senate,” and that “the press and the establishment have colluded and lied to convince the public that I am a moron, a bigot, and a felon.”

Since the primary, the Republican Party has moved to prevent Blankenship from waging a drawn-out battle that could damage Morrisey’s prospects. President Donald Trump, hoping to smooth over any residual hurt feelings, phoned Blankenship the day after the nomination was settled to congratulate him on his campaign.

Blankenship has said he believes the president played a key role in his defeat. On the day before the primary, Trump sent out a tweet pleading for West Virginia Republicans to reject Blankenship.

...A few days after the primary, his top political strategist, Greg Thomas, said on a radio program that Blankenship would work to defeat Morrisey. And Blankenship released an advertisement [above] in which he warned the Senate GOP leader, “It’s not over.” 
No doubt Miss McConnell is fucking sorry he ever poked the bear with this, the day after the primary. And no, that's not fairy dust all around him... it's Colombian cocaine from his father-in-law's smuggling operation:

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Progressive Democrats Help Enshrine "Blue Lives Matter" Into Law

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"Hands up, don't shoot" — this is one form of defiance against police at the Ferguson protests. It's only in the context of state-sanctioned murder that a symbolic act of surrender can be taken as defiance (source).

by Gaius Publius

The Blue Lives Matter movement is a political counterattack against the Black Lives Matter movement. It doesn't include the concept that black lives also matter (notice the catch phrase isn't "blue lives matter too"), but enshrines a defiant, contrary opinion thinly disguised in a superficially innocuous phrase. In the same way, "America First" or "Make America Great Again" is a thinly disguised, pretend-innocuous phrase that delivers a defiant and contrary message, in this case against ideas like "immigrants have human rights."

"Blue lives matter" conceals its hatred beneath its language — barely conceals — but conceals it cleverly enough that arguments based on words alone lead nowhere. In many respects the "blue lives matter" slogan is like the American Flag when worn by cops but not nurses — an innocent-looking symbol with an angry, defiant, threatening meaning that's been widely understood since hippie days.

Affirming that "blue lives matter" is tantamount to saying "Yes, cops can kill." Affirming the Blue Lives Matter movement, or in this case, voting for Blue Lives Matter laws, throws the Black Lives Matter effort to resist and criminalize police murder under the bus.

Raúl Grijalva, Keith Ellison, Beto O'Rourke, Ro Khanna and other noted "progressives" did just that recently by voting yes on the "Protect and Serve Act of 2018" (roll call here). Anthony Rogers-Wright, writing at Medium:
This Wednesday, with little attention, the House of Representative just passed the “Protect and Serve Act of 2018” sponsored by Representative John H. Rutherford (R-FL). The bill would make it a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for “knowingly causing serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer, or attempts to do so.” It joins a host of others deemed “Blue Lives Matter” laws, which have been introduced and passed, in part as a reaction to rising defiance to documented brutality and racism practiced by law enforcement in this county.
This act encapsulates the essence of the "blue lives matter" movement. Why? Because cops lie when they commit their own violence, and resistance of any kind to police violence frequently spurs more police violence. Wright again:
Let us be clear: police departments across the country have justified brutality and murder by accusing their victims of assault, for actions as heinous as dodging a night stick or pushing back on a barricade that is crushing against a crowd. And we don’t need body cameras to know that law enforcement officials are not always honest about their actions that result in arrests and lethal force — assuming the cameras aren’t turned off as was the case with Stephon Clark in Sacramento. Cops in the U.S. already have more of a License to Kill than James Bond, and in many cases enjoy more impunity that he does (Bond at least, at times, faces some scrutiny from M for his actions.)
And now there's a federal law that can be added to the crimes laid against victims of police violence, thanks to Raúl Grijalva, Keith Ellison, Ro Khanna and others who supposedly, publicly "stand with the people." Shameful.

By the way, don't fail to note the irony in the name of the act. Whom does the law "protect and serve"? The police, of course, in a perfect inversion of the phrase's usual meaning. 

The Violence of the State and Non-Violent Protest

It's not just at Black Lives Matter marches and protests that police violence occurs. And it's not just people of color who experience it. Police are also front-line enforcers of many types of Establishment control (how often have you seen political protests treated as crimes against the state?), and police and military violence is frequently directed against anyone who opposes state violence.

 Pepper spray directed by police into the eyes of seated non-violent pro-Occupy protesters at UC Davis, punishment for the crime of opposing state-sanctioned rule by bankers

Consider Chelsea Manning and her years of torture for the crime of revealing crimes by the state, including, appropriately, torture and murder.

Or consider the police treatment of ex-CIA officer and Ray McGovern shown in the hard-to-watch video below, a 78-year-old retired national security officer abused for the crime of protesting the confirmation of CIA torturer Gina Haspel as, again appropriately, the next head of the CIA.


This is the direct violence of the state as executed by police and the military. The violence of the state comes from many other people in many other forms as well, including the building of pipelines that carry poisonous liquids and gases across land and water owned by those who oppose it. Those who resist these forms of indirect state violence, even passively and non-violently, are often treated with direct violence in response. This new law affirms the state's defense of its violence. And it will certainly be broadly applied.

An Interstate Law

Note also, as Rogers-Wright points out, that this creates a federal crime under interstate law:
For purposes of subsection (a), the circumstances described in this subparagraph are that —

(1) the conduct described in subsection (a) occurs during the course of, or as the result of, the travel of the defendant or the victim —

(A) across a State line or national border; or

(B) using a channel, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce;

(2) the defendant uses a channel, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce in connection with the conduct described in subsection (a);
Which means it can and will be applied to protesters who cross state lines — and also applied in defense of victims who cross state lines, i.e., imported police and "deputized" mercenaries, even if the protesters are locals. How useful would this law as a way of further criminalizing water protectors and environmental activists who cross state lines and find themselves subjected to this?

Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protesters (source)

And this?

Source: NBC News

And dare to resist, as Ray McGovern "resisted" in the video above?

Messrs. Grijalva, Ellison, O'Rourke, Khanna: You will have much to answer for as this unfolds. 

A Note About Police Murder and the Gun Lobby

An full examination of the relationship of ideas between these elements — the NRA; public support for whites with guns; and police execution of blacks without guns — would be fascinating and productive.

The segment of society that loves guns and the NRA also loves whites who carry guns, yet fears with a passion blacks and those in the restless underclass who do the same. This is more than reminiscent of the pre-Civil War South and its roving gangs of escaped-slave hunters, aka Second Amendment–protected "state militias," whose job was to make sure any slave thinking of escape — or worse, of armed rebellion — is quickly reminded that those thoughts lead to death.

My own thoughts: Worshipers of guns and worshipers of violence by the state have much in common. Also, America's slave-punishing past is still with us, but with a greatly expanded list of victims.

I've been saying that the nation is in a pre-revolutionary state and predicting a "rolling civil war." I've called it that, a civil war, for a reason. This piece explains that reason.

GP
 

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The Worst Democrat In Congress Is, I'm Sorry To Report, A Woman

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Not second worst or third worst

The worst Democrat in Congress, chair of the Blue Dogs, is Kyrsten Sinema. Kyrsten is a woman. Of the 78 Democrats rated "F" by ProgressivePunch 15 are women. Any list of the worst Democrats in the House would have to include, Kyrsten Sinema, of course, as well as Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL), Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL), Jacky Rosen (NV), and Kathleen Rice (New Dem-NY). ProgressivePunch rates 37 House Dems "A." 16 are women and this cycle only 3 members of Congress have 100% perfect crucial vote scores, two of whom-- Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Barbara Lee (CA)-- are women. It's hard to say who the best member of Congress is, but any list of contenders would have to include Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Judy Chu (D-CA). All of these people I've mentioned-- both the best and the worst-- are women, the biggest identity group in American politics. And then there's Debbie Wasserman Schultz. What can I say?

In Pennsylvania last week, there were really good women candidates who defeated really bad male candidates. And that's excellent. But what happens when a terrible woman candidate beats an excellent male candidate? That happens too-- and that isn't so wonderful, is it? (It may be to EMILY's List, which has a business model it's concerned about.)

That said, Lauren Gambino, writing for The Guardian Sunday asked if the wave of females House candidates lead to a tsunami of wins for the Democrats. She starts with a candidate from not just the female identity group, but from the military identity group. (Again, there are great veterans running and far less than great veterans running. VoteVets doesn't distinguish much. "This should anger you greatly," Jon Soltz, their chairman wrote yesterday. He was pissed off about an ad running against Amy McGrath, a Marine combat fighter pilot running for Congress in Kentucky. "[H]er opponent released an ad on Friday night attacking her for not living in Kentucky for much of her life. "Why... well, because she was overseas serving our country, fighting in wars. The ad also includes the line, 'In fact she moved here from Maryland just last year to run for Congress.' Yeah, it's true... because she was teaching at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis." I can see why Soltz was pissed off.

By the way, McGrath is a mediocre candidate and, if she wins-- unlikely-- she'll make a dreadful member pf Congress. Her opponent is not just worse than she is... he's way worse than she is. And he's from another identity group: LGBTQ... also Blue Dog. What a mess. "Every once is a while," wrote Gambino in The Guardian, "a voter will approach Amy McGrath, a first-time candidate for Congress in Kentucky and a retired Marine fighter pilot, and tell her they won’t support her because she is the mother of young children who need her at home. 'I always point out that the incumbent who serves in the seat has young children the same ages as mine,' McGrath said. 'But I can’t imagine they would say that if I was a man.' ...[It] illustrates the challenges women still face on the road to Washington even as record numbers of them prepare to run."
There are 408 Democratic and Republican women still in the running for the US House of Representatives, compared with 167 in 2016 and 159 in 2014, according to Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), which tracks women in elective office.

The wave of women running also have more diverse backgrounds and résumés. Many are political newcomers, spurred by the rage of losing a presidential election to a candidate with a history of berating women and the #MeToo reckoning against sexual assault and workplace harassment.

“For years, women have had to walk this fine line between being capable and being likable,” said Erin Loos Cutraro, the CEO and co-founder of She Should Run, a nonpartisan organization that seeks to increase the number of women in elective office. “But with this massive groundswell we’re seeing women from all backgrounds run as themselves.”

At least two women running for governor-- Kelda Roys in Wisconsin and Krish Vignarajah in Maryland-- have run ads featuring them breastfeeding their babies while discussing their political platforms. Nadia Hashimi, who is running for Congress in Maryland, promised voters less “mansplaining.” And Sol Flores, who lost her bid for Congress in Illinois, shared her story of sexual abuse in a campaign ad, promising: “I’ll fight as hard for you in Congress as I did to protect myself.”
[No need to mention Flores only got 21.6% of the vote and was beaten by a much better candidate, Jesus "Chewy" Garcia. She's the woman candidate and what else could possibly matter? Next up: another mediocre candidate running against an accomplished man, Duwayne Gregory, who's actually gotten stuff done while she... hasn't.]
“It feels like we have this support system in women running across the country,” said Liuba Grechen Shirley, a first-time Democratic candidate for Congress in New York.

This month, Grechen Shirley, the mother of two young children, won approval from the Federal Election Commission to use campaign funds for childcare. Two dozen members of Congress and Hillary Clinton sent letters of support for her request.

“This ruling will allow more women-- and men-- to run for office,” she said, adding: “Our babysitter is a staff member in the same way that our field director and finance manager are staff members.”

As women storm the ramparts of the Democratic party, female Republican candidates are fewer in number. Of the 408 women still running for the House, 305 are Democrats and 103 are Republicans, according to CAWP.

Still, Republicans boast an impressive and unusually large crop of female hopefuls, said Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for Winning for Women, a new political organization that aims to be the conservative counterweight to Emily’s List.

“Our goal is to build a lasting momentum that’s not just contained to a year,” Bozek said. “We want a lot of ‘years of the woman’.”

She noted that the top two Republican fundraisers last quarter were women: Marsha Blackburn, who is running for Senate in Tennessee, and Martha McSally, who is running for Senate in Arizona. And the only two women elected to Congress since Donald Trump took office have been Republicans: Karen Handel in Georgia and Debbie Lesko in Arizona.
Women, yes, but-- with the exception of McSally, a mediocre mainstream congresswoman-- also dangerous right-wing insane people. You like Trump? Then you'll love Blackburn Handel and Lesko who don't differ from much policy-wise, just personality, character and Physiognomy. All that said, this is important:
Whatever happens in November, the quest for a more representative democracy will still be far from realized. Women currently comprise 19% of the House of Representatives and 23% of the Senate, shares that are unlikely to swing significantly even if more women are elected. And the women in Congress are disproportionately Democratic and white.

“Let’s absolutely celebrate the women who are on the ballot but let’s also look at who’s not there,” Cutraro said. “This is just the beginning-- we still have so much more work to do.”

The results of the early primaries show that women aren’t just running-- they’re winning.

More than 50 women filed to run in Texas. Nearly half of the candidates who finished first in the Democratic primaries were women, including two Latinas who are likely to head to Congress in November. In Nebraska, Kara Eastman bested a former congressman to win a primary to represent a congressional district in Omaha. Meanwhile, the Democrat Jane Raybould will face off against the Republican senator Deb Fischer, in one of several general election races featuring or likely to feature two women.

Pennsylvania, a state with an all-male Congressional delegation of 20, stands out as a particularly bright spot for women this year. Last Tuesday, voters selected female candidates in seven primaries held in the state’s newly redrawn congressional map, three of whom are running in districts favorable to Democrats.

But for all the enthusiasm and energy, political observers warn it is too early to declare 2018 a “year of the woman.”

“We’re really hopeful that we’ll see gains for women in November,” said Kelly Dittmar, a political scientist at CAWP.

“But we’re being careful about the extent to which this wave of women running will translate into a tsunami of women winning in November.”

The route to Washington is complicated by several factors, Dittmar explains.

More Democratic men are running, too, which means primary races are crowded. Plenty of Democratic women are running in the same districts as each other, such as in Texas, where a handful of races featured as many as three female candidates. This means that women will be eliminated in the primaries.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle for women this election cycle is that many are running against incumbents, who almost always win re-election. More than half of the female candidates running for House and Senate hope to unseat sitting members of Congress.

Ten states have held primaries so far this election cycle. Of the 125 women running for the House of Representatives in those races, nearly half-- 60-- have won, according to CAWP. But a large number of the Democratic primary winners will go on to face incumbents in safely Republican districts.

Even if 2018 falls short of being a historic “year of the woman”, the wave of female candidates has already changed attitudes to running, organizers say.

For decades, organizations like Emily’s List, the fundraising juggernaut dedicated to electing Democratic women who support abortion rights, have tried to narrow a so-called ambition gap by encouraging women to run for office and providing them with the resources to do it. Traditionally, those conversations require a degree of coaxing. But since the 2016 election, the phones have been ringing with women putting themselves forward.

“What’s so inspiring is that we have so many women who have crossed over that first obstacle: desire to run,” Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily’s List, told reporters at the group’s national conference earlier this month. “Once that seed is planted, it doesn’t stop growing.”
Goal ThermometerIt's easier to babble about identity politics than it is to look for signs that will tell you who will be a better candidate in Congress. There can be, for example, no doubt what Kyrsten Sinema will be in the Senate if she wins. She's the worst member of the House-- the worst-- and she would be fighting a battle with Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly Claire McCaskill and Joe Manchin, if they make it through the midterms-- for the title of "worst Democratic Senator." Not a peep about anything remotely like that in The Guardian piece. It's a difficult thing to report on. Which is why we need better reporters. I just decided to count how many women are on the Blue America endorsement list of 2018 congressional candidates. There are 20 candidates in total. 9 are women and 11 are men. Damned! I wish it was 50-50. We need to try harder. Do you look at gender or any other identity group when you decide to contribute to a candidate?

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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by Noah

Of all the double armpit-scratching monkey goons that Señor Trumpanzee coulda picked to represent him as his newest "TV Lawyer," Rudy Giuliani has proven to be the best, most tremendous choice. I have no doubt that Trumpanzee considered other republican luminaries such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Judge Roy Moore, Speaker Ryan, and various Grand Wizards, but Donnie and Rudy go way back with their natural affinity for each other, an affinity based on New York City's underbelly of "You scratch my back I'll scratch yours, and fill your wallet" sleaze.

Seeing Rudy figuratively picking the lice off of Donnie on Sean Hannity's nightly political romper room has been a thing to behold. One almost feels sorry for the FOX studio janitors and clean-up crews. Rudy's recent Alex Jones-ish pronouncements are so out to lunch that it seems that it's only a matter of days before he claims that the FBI or some other "deep state" "cabal" has planted a surveillance chip in the president's ass. The FOX audience, believing that Obama hangs out in their microwave ovens, will of course eat it up.

Giuliani's "Sell By" date really did expire long, long ago. It's no exaggeration to say that on September 10th, 2001, Rudy was detested here in NYC. By then, he had worn out the welcome that even most of those who had voted for him had once extended to him. His racism, the way he treated his own family, and his three-car monte style of "government" was being exposed for what it was. Then came his hideously sociopathic desire and ability to exploit 9/11 for all it was worth, never mind that the deaths of so many of New York's firemen on 9/11 can be laid right on his sagging shoulders due to his not thinking their lives were worth better communications systems. Then, there was the "genius" idea of putting the World Trade Center's security center right in the WTC itself, even after the WTC had already been attacked in 1993.

Still, you have to give Rudy some kind of credit. With the help of media sycophants such as Wolf Blitzer, Chris Matthews, and all of Rupert Murdoch's minions, Rudy Giuliani was able to re-brand himself as "America's Mayor." It was always an illusion, though, and, fortunately voters were eventually wise enough to give the opposable thumbs down to his efforts to become "America's President." That title unfortunately fell to his buddy Señor Trumpanzee. So, you see, for Rudy, it has kind of come full circle. He couldn't be the official Assclown Of The American Apocalypse, but he has embraced his role of trying to save the one who is.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Can The Koch Brothers Buy Democratic Primaries Too? Rhode Island

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Yesterday, we looked at a few Democrats with their greasy palms out for cash from the Koch brothers, like Ben Ray Luján (NM), Raul Ruiz (CA) and Pete Aguilar (CA). And it isn't just corrupt conservative Democrats in Congress who have been compromised by the Koch brothers and their network. A Koch aligned organization is sending out attack mailers against progressive Rhode Island Lt. Governor candidate Aaron Regunberg. And here’s the thing-- they're attacking him in the DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY.

We're starting to see this more and more frequently around the country-- right-wing groups backing New Dems, Blue Dogs and other faux-Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party in Democratic primaries. It's revolting... especially whenBen Ray Luján, chair of the DCCC is very much a part of it. almost every candidate endorsed by the DCCC this cycle is from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. It was horrifying yesterday when the bodies of the dead students in Texas weren't even counted yet and Democrats had two contend with the DCCC's recruitment of NRA allies-- like Jeff Van Drew (NJ), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Anthony Brindisi (NY), Paul Davis (KS) and Elaine Luria (VA). Establishment Democrats have been accusing progressives of not being "real Democrats."

And in Rhode Island, a blue blue state, state Rep. Aaron Regunberg, who's running for Lieutenant Governor against a corporate DINO extraordinaire, incumbent Dan McKee, is watching his own progressive record being savaged by people who have nothing to do with Democratic values and principles. McKee-- while technically a “Democrat”-- looks a lot like a Republican on every important issue. He fought against increasing the minimum wage and job protections like paid sick days for workers (both legislative wins that Regunberg successfully led the charge for in the state legislature). He opposes single payer (Regunberg has introduced single payer legislation each year since he’s been elected).

Furthermore, McKee was singled out for praise by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for being one of the leading proponents of school privatization in the country (Regunberg is a champion for public education). And McKee has dismissed efforts to protect abortion rights at the state level (Regunberg is endorsed by Planned Parenthood, RI-NOW, and other reproductive justice groups for his leadership on choice).

The media routinely labels McKee a "moderate," but is an anti-Choice, anti-worker, anti-public education conservaDem a "moderate?" Give me a break!

Goal ThermometerLuckily, in Rhode Island, there actually is a chance to pass bold progressive policy, from universal healthcare to the Fight for $15 to 100% clean energy transition and more, and those successes can ripple out to the rest of the nation. And for that to happen we need to elect a bold progressive like Aaron Regunberg, the first Lt. Governor candidate ever endorsed by Blue America. We thought this race was too important to pass by-- Aaron is too good a candidate and McKee is absolutely too horrible. The Blue America thermometer on the right includes the state executive branch candidates we've endorsed so far this cycle. There aren't many. In Rhode Island, the Koch brothers are trying to decide the Democratic primaries. Let's not let them. Click on that thermometer and help Aaron win. Or go right to his campaign's own ActBlue page. Let's not let them turn the phrase "progressive" into something reactionaries can use against champions of working families.

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Vote For Mary Street Wilson On Tuesday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vote for Mary Wilson on May 22.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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