Sunday, November 29, 2015

Do Airbnb And Uber Herald The End Times?


When we've been warning readers in San Francisco about Airbnb there were numerous reasons. This week former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, took on the whole idea of the sharing economy-- aka-- the "gig economy" or the "on-demand economy"-- and the inherent dangers at least in the transition. Obviously, it's not just Airbnb. Another example everyone is aware of is Uber (as well as Lyft). Reich is concerned because so few people are talking about what it'll mean for the social safety net built in this country, built with so much effort, over the past century. "In five years," he insists, "this new economic trend will encompass 40% of American workers"... in a society where "already 2/3s of American workers live paycheck to paycheck."

He wrote to his followers that "that's why it's important that we take action now to figure out how to provide critical labor protections, even as our economy undergoes massive changes. We have to help make sure the changing economy works for workers by preventing the elimination of worker protections such as unemployment insurance, health insurance, worker safety, family and medical leave, and more."
In this holiday season it’s especially appropriate to acknowledge how many Americans don’t have steady work.

The so-called “share economy” includes independent contractors, temporary workers, the self-employed, part-timers, freelancers, and free agents. Most file 1099s rather than W2s, for tax purposes.

...This trend shifts all economic risks onto workers. A downturn in demand, or sudden change in consumer needs, or a personal injury or sickness, can make it impossible to pay the bills.

It eliminates labor protections such as the minimum wage, worker safety, family and medical leave, and overtime.

And it ends employer-financed insurance-- Social Security, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, and employer-provided health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

No wonder, according to polls, almost a quarter of American workers worry they won’t be earning enough in the future. That’s up from 15 percent a decade ago.

Such uncertainty can be hard on families, too. Children of parents working unpredictable schedules or outside standard daytime working hours are likely to have lower cognitive skills and more behavioral problems, according to new research.

What to do?

Courts are overflowing with lawsuits over whether companies have misclassified “employees” as “independent contractors,” resulting in a profusion of criteria and definitions.

We should aim instead for simplicity: Whoever pays more than half of someone’s income, or provides more than half their working hours should be responsible for all the labor protections and insurance an employee is entitled to.

In addition, to restore some certainty to people’s lives, we need to move away from unemployment insurance and toward income insurance.

Say, for example, your monthly income dips more than 50 percent below the average monthly income you’ve received from all the jobs you’ve taken over the preceding five years. With income insurance, you’d automatically receive half the difference for up to a year.

It’s possible to have a flexible economy and also provide workers some minimal level of security.

A decent society requires no less.
You uncomfortable with all the Trumpf supporters now? This is a trend that will inevitably bring a lot more of the kind of anger, frustration, anomie and hopelessness that turns ordinary people into Trumpfists.

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The TPP And Terri Sewell, The Only Democrat Elected To Federal Office In Alabama


Sometimes Democrats aren't even the lesser of two evils

Thanksgiving reminder. On June 12, the House passed H.R. 1314, a bill to allow the TPP to move forward without congressional scrutiny. Pushed strenuously by Paul Ryan, it passed in a close vote, 219-211, 54 Republicans joined the 157 Democrats who opposed it. The list below is of the fake-Democrats who joined Ryan and the GOP majority to push this trade legislation through the House:

Brad Ashford (Blue Dog-NE)- R+4
Ami Bera (New Dem-CA)- even PVI
Don Beyer (New Dem-VA)- D+16
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)- D+22
Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)- D+7
Gerry Connolly (New Dem-VA)- D+10
Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)- D+5
Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA)- D+7
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)- D+7
Susan Davis (New Dem-CA)- D+10
John Delaney (New Dem-MD)- D+4
Suzan DelBene (New Dem-WA)- D+4
Sam Farr (D-CA)- D+21
Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)- D+5
Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX)- D+5
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)- D+27
Derek Kilmer (New Dem-WA)- D+5
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)- D+5
Rick Larsen (New Dem-WA)- D+8
Greg Meeks (New Dem-NY)- D+35
Beto O'Rourke (New Dem-TX)- D+12
Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)- D+2
Jared Polis (New Dem-CO)- D+8
Mike Quigley (New Dem-IL) D+16
Kathleen Rice (New Dem-NY)- D+3
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)- even PVI
Terri Sewell (New Dem-AL)- D+20
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (New Dem-FL)- D+9
Often, an excuse is floated that a Democrat has no choice but to vote against working families and with Wall Street and the Republicans because their district is so red and they would be defeated if they didn't badly. For that reason I've included the PVI of each of the offending congressmembers' district. In Terri Sewell's D+20 district for example, the chances of her being defeated by a Republican are non-existent. Ditto for Debbie Wasserman Schultz in her D+9 district, not to mention overtly corrupt Greg Meeks' D+35 district. Matter of fact, only one of these bad Dems represents a red district and only 2 others are even in competitive districts.

In fact, speaking to Sewell and her perfectly safe seat and horrible Republican-lite voting record, Andrew Perez, in his article for International Business Times a few days ago about Wall Street Democrats who are working to block consumer protection legislation in return for legalized bribes, has Sewell right up there with the most corrupt Democrats in the House, Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL), Kyrsten Sinema (New Dem-AZ), Jim Himes (New Dem-CT) and David Scott (New Dem-GA).

Sewell, who has raised over $1 million from the financial industry, joined Sinema in co-sponsoring the bill to eliminate protections for borrowers with mobile-home loans. Like Sinema, she also voted in favor of the Wall Street grab-bag bill combining language from nearly a dozen pieces of legislation to deregulate the financial industry and roll back Dodd-Frank. In 2012, Sewell signed on to a letter requesting the Federal Reserve amend the so-called Volcker Rule in Dodd-Frank, which would prohibit banks from making speculative trades with their own money.
Sewell, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, has taken more in legalized bribes from the Financial Sector this year than any other congressmember from Alabama. She's already scooped up $151,500 and second-most-corrupt Alabamian, Republican Martha Roby, hasn't even gotten half that, "just" $60,800. Since first entering Congress in 2011, Sewell has taken $1,067,970 from the Finance Sector alone. Last year she had no general election opponent and only token primary opposition; the last time a Republican challenged her, she beat him 232,520 (76%) to 85,106 (27%). So why sell out to Wall Street for all that money? Even with no opponent last year, she reported spending $1,468,013-- after taking in a shocking $899,949 from pro-business PACs. Something doesn't smell right.

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A Message For Our Republican Amigos-- Christie? Trumpf? There's A Better Solution To Your Anguish


Artist Darkblack foresees a Jersey Bounce in New Hampshire

The funnest news Saturday night was the announcement that New Hampshire's Union Leader has endorsed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie-- generally written off as an also-ran in the mode of a Pete du Pont, Steve Forbes, Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich. Du Pont, Forbes, Buchanan (1992), Forbes and Gingrich were each endorsed by the Union Leader and each went on to lose the primary, although the Union Leader stuck to its guns in 1996 and endorsed Buchanan again and he did manage to win the New Hampshire primary, although went on to lose 44 states to Bob Dole (and 2 states to Steve Forbes before Forbes withdrew). Buchanan had already won the Alaska and Louisiana caucuses before the New Hampshire primary gave him a 27- 26% win over Dole. Eventually Dole prevailed nationally with 1,928 convention delegate votes to Buchanan's 43, Forbes' 2, Alan Keyes' 1 and Robert Bork's 1. What a Grand Ole Party it's been! And if you want to see more of Darkblack's poignant and pointed artwork, you can check out his website.

Today publisher Joseph McQuaid, without so much as a hint about any bridge scandals, wrote that Christie "is the one candidate who has the range and type of experience the nation desperately needs," before going on to slam the other contenders in the primary. In a harsh critique of prohibitive frontrunner Trumpf, McQuaid wrote that "the one reason [Christie] may be best-suited to lead during these times is because he tells it like it is and isn't shy about it. Other candidates have gained public and media attention by speaking bluntly. But it's important when you are telling it like it is to actually know what you are talking about. Gov. Christie knows what he is saying because he has experienced it. And unlike some others, he believes in what he says because he has a strong set of conservative values," implying that Trumpf neither knows what he's talking about nor bases what he spouts on a strong set of conservative values. Fair enough.

McQuaid was thought to be describing Rubio when he wrote "We don't need another fast-talking, well-meaning freshman U.S. senator trying to run the government," though that could also have been a back-handed slap at Ted Cruz or even poor Rand Paul. He handled both Fiorina and Dr. Ben, deftly, with the line "We don't need as President some well-meaning person from the private sector who has no public experience."

The most recent Fox poll of New Hampshire Republican voters has Trumpf up 2 at 28%, Dr. Ben down 5 at 18%, Cruz up 3 at 14%, Rubio also up 3 and also at 14% and no one else in serious contention. Christie's tied for 6th place with Huckabee and Fiorina at 3% each-- Huck down 1, Fiorina steady as she goes and Christie with the Big Mo, up 1. The Jebster has the same Big Mo as Christie, up a point from 4% to 5% but in 5th place, still the top choice of those who prefer an establishment hack. Kasich, like the Jebster and Christie, is spending all his money in New Hampshire but he's fallen from 4% to 2%, although that was before he released his startling new ad equating Herr Trumpf with Herr Hitler and forever burying Godwin's Rule.

It was also before the Jebster went on CBS' Face the Nation this morning to assert that, although he would vote for Trumpf over Hillary Clinton, Trumpf is not a serious candidate and that he is "scary" and "uninformed," which, poor Jeb apparently still hasn't noticed is exactly how his party's base voters want their candidate to be. "Anybody is better than Hillary Clinton," quoth the Jebster, who probably isn't a Bernie Sanders backer, "but I have great doubts about Donald Trump's ability to be commander in chief. I really do." He really does. But he'd vote for him anyway. Now that is scary! Maybe he's just saying' it and, in the privacy of the voting booth, would really cast his ballot for Hillary, with whom he has much more in common.

Overshadowing McQuaid's silly endorsement, though, was the more serious speculation that many from the GOP Establishment, unlike the Jebster, will not support Trump if he gets the nomination, including many of the big money GOP donors. Kasich-- who makes a lot more sense than the pusillanimous Jeb-- obviously won't, but The Hill has started asking establishment types not running for office. Former L.A. mayor Dick Riordan, who's spent over half a million dollars on GOP candidates over the years told them, given the choice between Trumpf and Hillary he "would probably go find a deserted island. I think Hillary is disgusting. And I think Trump is crazy." They didn't report what he would do if Bernie were the nominee.
Riordan is not alone. In conversations over the past month, GOP establishment donors have confided to The Hill that for the first time in recent memory, they find themselves contemplating not supporting a Republican nominee for president.
Max Boot knows what a fascist is, although he would never call himself one. After all, he works at the right-wing establishment's Council on Foreign Relations and he's toiling away for the Rubio campaign on the side. Boot did, however, label Herr Trumpf a fascist. "Trump is a fascist. And that’s not a term I use loosely or often. But he’s earned it." Indeed. At a recent Beverly Hills lunch for major West Coast GOP fatcats-for-Jeb at the Hotel Bel-Air the .001 percenters giggled about being forced to chose between Trumpf and Hillary. "One version," reported The Hill, "has it that most of the Republicans at the table put their hands up for Clinton."
Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski says he is not surprised that establishment GOP donors are sour on Trump.

"The GOP establishment will do anything they can to stop Mr. Trump from being the GOP nominee," Lewandowski said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

"Mr. Trump is the only one who is not controlled by the special interests. ... They want a puppet that they can control, and Donald Trump will never be that person."

While Trump flaunts the fact that he is uninterested in the support of elites, there have also been reports that he has privately wooed billionaires such as Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Trump says he has turned down multiple offers of $5 million-plus from lobbyists who he says would have wanted favors from his administration if he took the money.

When The Washington Post broke a story about a pro-Trump super-PAC with closer-than-advertised connections to the Trump campaign, the billionaire front-runner and his aides pushed back forcefully.

The super-PAC ultimately shut down, and Trump called on all super-PACs supporting him to return their donations. [Neither The Post more any other corporate media sources have acknowledged that Trumpf himself solicited huge contributions from friends, family and business associates for one off his SuperPACs before he was caught and exposed.]

The most generous Republican donors appear to be taking note of Trump's hostility. When The Hill studied the donation patterns of 190 donors and their families connected with the powerful conservative network founded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, not a single contribution could be found to Trump's campaign.

But some opinions are changing, if ever so slightly, the longer Trump stays atop the polls.

A number of Republican donors interviewed by The Hill, including Minnesota billionaire Stanley Hubbard-- who is himself part of the Koch network-- are making peace with the fact that there is some chance Trump could win the nomination.

When interviewed several months ago, Hubbard said he would "really have to think about" whether he could bring himself to support Trump.

But in a more recent interview, Hubbard was adamant that he would support whomever the Republican nominee is because they would make a better president than Clinton.
Republicano fatcats (and others), listen up! ¡Escucha! Forget Trumpf and forget Hillary and forget the whole idea of being forced to pick the lesser of two evils. How about a truly great president who will actually make America a better place? Try this. What do you have to lose? Really. Max out; feel good. Do it for your grandchildren and for humanity. Et maintenant, la voix de l'établissement d'en haut nous, simples mortels

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Can Alan Grayson Keep Ted Cruz Out Of The White House?


Does this schmuck from New York pick Florida's senators?

De facto DCCC chair Steve Israel is contemptible and utterly worthless. Chuck Schumer, incoming Democratic Senate Leader is also contemptible and utterly worthless but because Israel is as dumb as a brick and Schumer is anything but, Schumer is far more dangerous. Once the entire Senate Democratic caucus played down and kissed his ring, Schumer immediately moved to affirm control over the schmuck from Montana ostensibly running the DSCC. The DSCC, which tried, under then chairman Little Chucky Schmucky, to sabotage Tester's candidacy when he first ran for the Senate in 2006 against one of Schumer's Wall Street shills, John Morrison. We loved the fiery, populist Tester back then and Tester detested Schumer-- with a passion. He changed quickly-- really quickly.

A few months after he beat Schumer's primary candidate and then the Republican incumbent, and was sworn in as a United States Senator, I had dinner with Tester. At the time, I wrote that "back in 2006 Tester was the populist underdog in the Democratic primary race to the DSCC's anointed candidate, State Auditor John Morrison, a DLC hack. Blue America endorsed him and raised money for him from 900 of our members; he beat Morrison and went on to beat the very corrupt and entrenched reactionary incumbent, Conrad Burns. The ostensible raison de etre for the get together was so Tester could raise some money for his new leadership PAC. He wants to support Democratic candidates running for the Senate. Admirable goal. I asked him a question though. Would he be using his PAC to help real Democrats-- populists and progressives like himself-- or if he'd be using it to support any ole generic Democrat like John Morrison, the DLC hack the Establishment ran against him?"

I pointed out Oklahoma state Senator Andrew Rice, then running for U.S. Senate against far right lunatic Jim Inhofe, as an example of someone who I found very much like Tester in so many ways. Tester didn't address the part of the question that draws a distinction between good Democrats and bad Democrats but said he was following Rice's campaign and that if it looked like he had a real shot to win, he'd be there to help! He never helped Rice and Rice didn't win and Tester got progressively worse as a senator month by month. By the time he became chair of the DSCC, there was absolutely nothing to distinguish him in any way from the Wall Street shill he beat in the 2006 primary.

Tester and Schumer do little else now besides undercutting Alan Grayson's Senate campaign on behalf of a worse Wall Street shill than John Morrison ever was, Patrick Murphy. I'm confident, though, that Florida voters-- despite Schumer and Tester-- know the difference between a real Democrat like Grayson and one who barely even tries to be one, like Murphy. Schumer has been working the phones like a madman, calling Grayson's donors and telling them not to help fund his campaign. If Grayson, who was the most effective member of the House this year, is to beat Murphy, who was one of the least effect, he's going to need to stay competitive financially. So I want to ask DWT readers to give to Grayson's campaign. Why should you? We've been writing about how he fights for peace, fights for justice, battle for seniors and the less fortunate for a full decade. But how about this? Grayson had pledged that if the Republican Party tries putting Ted Cruz up as their nominee for president, he will sue on constitutional grounds since Cruz admits he was born in Canada. Born in Canada= not constitutionally eligible to be president of the United States. Schumer isn't suing, Tester isn't suing, Murphy isn't suing. Their heads are so far up Wall Street's ass that none of them are aware that Cruz is even in position to win the GOP primary.

Grayson was a guest on the Alan Colmes Show on Wednesday. When Colmes asked him what he thought about Cruz coming polling ahead of Dr. Ben in Iowa, Grayson mentioned that the Republican primary race has "resolved itself into this weird reality show. It’s not 'The Biggest Loser' that they’re choosing, it’s 'The Biggest Bigot,' which quickly led to a discussion of Cruz's qualifications to be president.
GRAYSON: I don’t know, the Constitution says natural born Americans, so now we’re counting Canadians as natural born Americans? How does that work? I’m waiting for the moment that he gets the nomination and then I will file that beautiful lawsuit saying that he’s unqualified for the job because he’s in eligible.

COLMES: So you’re saying should he get the nomination, Alan Grayson will file a lawsuit against his candidacy.

GRAYSON: Absolutely! Call me crazy but I think the President of America should be an American.
Although the Supreme Court has never ruled on it, the Constitution states plainly that "No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President." Like many Americans, Grayson says "It’s interesting to me that the people who had a problem with Obama’s birth certificate don’t have a problem with Ted Cruz, who literally was born in another country and renounced his Canadian citizenry." Cruz waited until this year when he decided to run for the presidency to renounce his Canadian citizenship. Dullish media lackeys of the political establishment will, of course, mock and attack Grayson, but this is a serious matter for people who actually believe in the Constitution. Meanwhile please consider helping save the country and the Democratic Party from the likes of Chuck Schumer. Here's how, the only hope I see on the horizon (other than a Bernie Sanders primary win, of course).

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The Real Donald Trumpf Has Indeed Stood Up-- And It's President Gas!


In the music business there were people just as inherently dishonest, narcissistic and predatory Trumpf. I managed to avoid them. Because of the damn media's lust for ratings, Trump is impossible to avoid. I'm glad when he exposes and attacks them I remember how much they deserve it for imposing him on the rest of us. Yesterday, writing for the Daily Beast, Michael D'Antonio examined the origins of the exaggerations and the unverifiable boasts. In fact, he pins it on a NY Times reporter, long-forgotten Iowan Judy Klemesrud, who died, prematurely, 30 years and one month ago. She wrote in her Trumpf fawning puff piece in 1976 that "he looks ever so much like Robert Redford" and quoted his spurious claim that he was "worth $200 million" and possessed, more importantly, the mysterious quality he called "flair." A man with flair, said Trump, is "bound to be successful in New York." Thus began, writes D'Antonio, what might be called the longest-running publicity con of our time, highlighted by "his lifelong effort to exploit reporters who were happy to collude in promoting him as an exciting and important person on the flimsiest of evidence." D'Antonio wasn't impressed with Klemesrud's approach. I guess he would have liked to have had her say "hey everybody, the emperor has no clothes."
What wasn’t gold in Donald’s life she presented as glittery and glamorous. He had “dazzling white teeth.” He dated “slinky fashion models,” frequented the fanciest clubs, and dashed around the city in a Cadillac driven by a “gun-toting, laid-off New York City policeman who doubles as a body guard.” Why would a 30-year-old real estate promoter need an armed chauffer? Why would the driver reveal he was carrying a gun? Klemesrud never said, but the detail added a frisson of exciting danger to the portrait.

  Reporting on a day in the life of Donald Trump, Klemesrud noted that he spent time on his car phone-- a true rarity of the day-- and earned commission of $140,000 (equivalent to $585,000 today) by helping a friend sell some property. The job required all of 20 minutes of his time. Donald claimed to be shy about publicity and personally conservative. But he dressed in a mod burgundy suit and a white shirt with his initials-- DJT-- sewn into his cuff in matching colored thread. He wore patent leather shoes, also dyed burgundy, and invited the reporter and a photographer to tour his posh apartment. [Today his creepy, smarmy son Eric is exactly like him.]

As a foundational document, the first newspaper account of Donald Trump’s life is a classic example of the showmanship and hype that would keep him in the public eye for decades to come. Most of the grand projects trumpeted in the article never came to pass. The $200 million fortune Trump claimed was actually built by his father. The slinky fashion models were never named. Klemesrud let Trump say he was of Swedish descent, when his family actually came from Germany and Scotland. And Trump’s connections to powerful politicians, observed as he dined at the swanky restaurant 21, were in fact the product of his father’s efforts.

A masterpiece of shading, atmospherics, and unverified suggestions of greatness, the article gave Trump the Times’ imprimatur. He was, by virtue of gracing the paper’s pages, important. It led to a TV appearance where the host declared the unaccomplished Trump a rising young “mogul.” A torrent of articles and broadcast reports followed and became, as they accumulated, proof that Donald was a very important person. Along the way Trump began to achieve some real successes, including the renovation of the old Commodore Hotel and the construction of his garish Trump Tower. However most of his grandiose proposals including plans for the world’s tallest building, a huge convention center, and a football stadium, never got off the drawing board.

Remarkably, Trump got away with some obvious whoppers. He presented his first wife Ivana as an athlete who had competed in the Sapporo Olympics as a member of the Czech ski team. Apparently no one in the press discovered that Czechoslovakia hadn’t sent a team to the games. The deception remains on the public record to this day. Next came Trump’s use of fake personas—John Baron and John Miller—who told reporters things he couldn’t say himself. It was Baron who defended Trump against complaints over the destruction of artwork when he demolished an old department store. It was Miller who shared the news that a great many famous and beautiful women were interested in dating him.

If much of what Trump offered to reporters and TV presenters was manipulative and deceptive, they were often willing participants in the dance. His claims of stupendous wealth were impossible to verify but they gave Robin Leach something to offer viewers of his program, which was called Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. When Trump claimed that members of the British family were inquiring about buying property from him, it didn’t matter that Buckingham Palace would never address such a statement. What mattered was the excitement tabloid readers might feel as they imagined seeing Princes Diana coming and going in Manhattan.

...Besides fake personas and gutter-brawling, Trump’s tricks include making brash assertions that cannot be fact checked, and brazen claims larded with so many caveats that their dissolve under examination. His claim that the Mexican government is “sending” rapists and murders to cross the border into the United States was not offered as a statement that can be supported by fact. It was a play for attention and it worked. The same dynamic applied when he brayed about President Obama’s birth certificate, implying that the president might not have a legitimate claim to the office. The president’s birth status was never in doubt, but birtherism won Trump lots of publicity. Trump said he had backed an investigator who turned up important information. Was this true? Who knows? But it was a good story.

...In the end, Donald Trump has always been about the stories he tells and that the press repeats with limited fact checking. He is a self promoter devoted to the long game. At many moments reporters and the public at large have seemed to enjoy being fooled by the showman, appreciating his con artist gifts, especially when they cause no apparent harm. People loved P.T. Barnum for the same reason. The process seems less entertaining when Trump seeks to delegitimize a president or appeals to the fears people harbor about immigrants. But the polls suggest that Trump may yet talk his way into the GOP nomination for president. It all depends on how long the voters remain amused.

After eating New York City real estate, media and society for lunch, the Republican Party was as formidable as... an olive in a Martini. He's danced circles around them with his eyes closed. The Establishment never believed an easy-to-see through buffoon like Trumpf could ever capture their party. And now they suddenly realize he has-- thanks in great part to their own role in carefully creating a base built on anger, frustration and sheer stupidity. They claim, via magic-thinking, that Cruz is beating him in Iowa but that he's got South Carolina and New Hampshire in the bag. And by even more bizarre magic-thinking they are convincing themselves that Marco Rubio, who used to be a Mormon, can beat him in Nevada.
Roughly three-in-four GOP insiders in New Hampshire and South Carolina, many of whom have been repeatedly and consistently skeptical of Trump’s chances, now say he would win their states if their primaries were held today.

“For the first time, I think the Trump phenomenon is becoming real,” a South Carolina Republican said.

“I do not think the media or the party establishment have a real grasp on how deep the anger and frustration is around the country,” that insider said when most recently surveyed last week. “After what have been ‘missteps’ by Trump in comparison of previous elections, he seems to have only strengthened. I still do not know if he can sustain it into the New Year-- but after the Paris attacks, his stance on illegal immigration and unverified people coming into our nation has real impact.”
The Wall Street Journal, in accessing the state of Hate Talk Radio's role in the Republican Party talks about how the tables have turned on the party's establishment. 98% of Hate Talk Radio listeners (i.e., everyone but the people who listen for the comedy value) "think the country is headed in the wrong direction, a view regularly reinforced on the airwaves by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and other talk-radio hosts who don’t have much nice to say about GOP leaders in Washington" and who are professional malcontents, who have become multimillionaires through a business model bemoaning the state of the world.
Those views are informing the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

The most avid conservative talk-radio listeners ranked retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson as their top pick, followed by celebrity businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Just 3% gave the nod to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the heir to the party’s longest-standing political dynasty, and only a third of these voters said they were even open to voting for Mr. Bush, down from half in September.

Republican presidential contenders would be unwise to write off this bloc; roughly a third of Republican primary voters strongly identify with conservative talk radio, about 10 percentage points higher than the share of GOP primary voters who consider themselves moderate or liberal, according to the survey conducted by the Democrats at Hart Research Associates and the Republicans at Public Opinion Research.

It’s hardly a surprise that these anti-establishment views have upended the GOP-- and made compromise in Washington that much harder-- but the extent of shift will continue to reverberate for years to come in how Republicans deal with issues including foreign policy, taxes and regulation.

A narrow 52% majority of Republican primary voters disagreed with the statement that “the economic and political systems in the country are stacked against people like” them, compared with the 45% who agreed. But the numbers flipped for the 52% of GOP primary voters who named Messrs. Carson or Trump as their top pick for the nomination.

That deep distrust of big institutions could present major headwinds for the next commander in chief, even if he or she is a Republican.
If that last documentary left you for more information about how as truly a disgusting human being as Trumpf is, could be riding so high in the race for the presidency... well, take a look at a documentary that Trumpf has worked very hard it keep people from seeing:

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

More Misery In Mali


When I worked at Warner Bros, I visited our French company as often as I could and I usually would go see a band at the now infamous Bataclan Theatre. I saw some of our French bands play there-- like Les Negresses Vertes-- but once to see the Queens of the Stone Age, who were the progenitor of the Eagles of Death Metal. I wanted to see them play live because they covered a Romeo Void song I had an interest in (above).

Even when I went to Mali a few years ago there was a music component-- a trip out to Quizambougou to watch Bassekou Kouyate finish recording his second album. We were staying in Bamako, where I saw Bassekou play a live show at the French Cultural Center, and where, most recently a group of Daesh-related terrorists shot up the Radisson Blu Hotel and took over 100 guests hostage, killing 18 of them as well as a security guard.
The attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in the Malian capital Bamako, which killed 19 people, is the latest terrorist act on an African continent now stricken daily by fundamentalist horror and obscurantism.

Despite billions of dollars pledged to address this scourge, terrorism thrives in Africa due to the failure of states, the plundering of resources, and endemic corruption. Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, and more recently the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have engaged in deadly and constant destabilization in the hope of extending their power.

...The recently released Global Terrorism Index confirms this increase in violence. Boko Haram is ranked the deadliest organization with 6,644 deaths in 2014, compared with 6,073 for ISIS. Even as it loses ground to the Nigerian army, Boko Haram has multiplied its attacks, primarily against markets and public gatherings. Regular attacks in Mali and Kenya suggest that Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabaab will continue contributing to this violent one-upmanship.

Opening the second Dakar International Forum on Security in Africa on Nov. 9, Senegalese President Macky Sall reiterated his call for more resources. However, addressing terrorism in Africa demands more than financial means. According to him, the framework of intervention based on U.N. peacekeeping operations, to which his country is a major contributor, needs to adapt. The urgency of the situation requires fighting rather than simply maintaining peace.
Above and beyond the State Department's warning to Americans about travel, Mali was singled out even before this latest attack as a place to stay away from, a real shame in light of what an incredibly unique and fascinating place it is for American tourists. (That Radisson Blu, didn't have tourists but business people staying there.)
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Mali. We especially warn against travel to the northern parts of the country and along the border with Mauritania because of ongoing military operations and threats of attacks and kidnappings targeting westerners. Mali faces significant security challenges because of the presence in northern Mali of extremists and militant factions. The potential for attacks throughout the country, including in Bamako, remains. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated January 13, 2015.

Violent extremist and militant elements, including al- Qaeda in the Lands of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar al-Dine, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad (MUJAO), and al-Murabitun are present in northern Mali. While these extremist elements have been mostly dislodged from the major population centers of Gao and Timbuktu, they continue to conduct attacks targeting security forces in and around these locations.

During the past year, there has been an increase in attacks targeting the United Nations peacekeepers of the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Rocket attacks targeting MINUSMA camps in various northern locations were reported. In addition, separate violent incidents involving suicide bombings, explosives, and land mines have occurred. The majority of these incidents resulted in numerous injuries and casualties.

Terrorist groups have increased their rhetoric calling for additional attacks or kidnapping attempts on westerners and others, particularly those linked to support for international military intervention.

While the security situation in Bamako and southern Mali has been relatively stable, on March 7, there was an armed attack on La Terrasse, a nightclub in the Hippodrome area of Bamako, in which a French citizen, a Belgian citizen, and three Malian citizens were killed. The Government of Mali has increased security in the capital, but the potential for additional attacks targeting Westerners in the capital city and throughout the country remains. Police harassment and violent crime in Bamako persist, including several armed carjacking incidents, one of which resulted in the death of a French citizen.

...The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens of the potential for terrorist activity throughout Mali. U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution, be alert to their surroundings, and avoid crowds, demonstrations, or any other form of public gatherings when visiting locations frequented by westerners, in and around Bamako. Periodic public demonstrations occur throughout Mali. While most demonstrations are peaceful, a few have become confrontational. U.S. citizens throughout Mali should develop a personal security plan. We recommend you vary your daily routine, and travel only on main roads to the extent this is possible. Malian security forces regularly update security safeguards, including checkpoints and other movement control measures, without prior notice.
They also warn about unsafe domestic air flights and Ebola.

Bamako doesn't have much to offer, other than a good restaurant-- if it's still open (which I doubt). But the really great things to see in Mali are accessed through Bamako via insecure roads. As much as I loved Djenne, Timbuktu, the Dogon country and experiencing the birthplace of the blues, there's nothing that would get me there at this point. In fact, today there was another terrorist attack, this one up north in Kidal, where UN peacekeepers were targeted and several were killed by mortar shells.

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Bill DeBlasio's Upcoming Political Demise


by David Keith

I’ve been spending my time in New York City these days and while 2017 is well over a year away, voters (and political junkies) are beginning to smell blood in the water. A lot of people have been following Mayor Bill DeBlasio lately, particularly due to his horrific poll numbers, and have asked me my thoughts on his political future.

Sure, it's no secret that he’s not popular, but people find it hard to understand how or even if he can be taken down. They see NYC as so Democratic that they just don't think its possible. (These are millennials who don't remember how Rudy won and assume Bloomberg only won because of his cash.)

My response: he’s going down in 2017. And it will not be in the primary. Here’s my analysis:

New York City may be, as the Mayor calls it, A Tale of Two Cities, however that is not what voters actually care about. And if you don’t believe me, look at the polls. Mayor DeBlasio’s job performance numbers are at 38%, and falling. He will probably sit at 35% until he ramps up his campaign and begins running a paid advertising program.

Now, if this were other cities like say, Chicago, DeBlasio could recover and still win re-election (remember, Emanuel was in the low 30’s over a year out from the 2015 election and he still won, by over 10 percentage points).

But New York—- particularly the politics of New York—- is not like Chicago (or any other city for that matter). The key to New York City politics is that voters don’t consider themselves pure Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. Rather, they consider themselves part of individual power bases under the umbrellas of the 3 major political groups: Independents, Democrats, Republicans. That is why the endorsements of local polticial groups (referred to as “clubs”) are so coveted by aspiring elected officials in the City.

So, the Mayor’s at 38%, what does that mean? For one, Republicans don’t like him. In fact, they hate him. In 2013, when DeBlasio was elected by a staggering super majority of voters, the independent power bases in New York City’s Republican Party knew they had no hope. It had been over two Decades of Republican (or pseudo-Republican) rule and they knew it was not financially (or politically) worth it to make a hard run at City Hall. But now, all of the power bases (the conservatives, the libertarians, the special interests, etc)... they all dislike the mayor and intend to take him down in 2017.

Independents hate DeBlasio just as much as Republicans do. New York independents (who will be voting for Hillary in 2016) consider themselves “Rockefeller Republicans.” They hate social conservatives but don’t want any liberals raising their taxes to pay for public housing, welfare, or the like. So independents HATE the mayor. These white, former Democrats were the strength behind Rudy Giuliani’s multiple wins and will be at the core of the winning candidacy which takes down DeBlasio. You can find such voters in the outer boroughs (particularly Staten Island and Queens). A lot of them are Catholic and working class.

And finally, the Democrats. It may surprise you that a lot of Democrats don’t like the mayor.

If you look at his polling, the Democrats who like him are union members (outside of the conservative building trades) and minorities from the outer boroughs. That leaves a lot of Democratic power bases out of the picture. Particularly, quintessential white liberals from Manhattan (who care about the poor and even don't mind helping them) are fed up with DeBlasio. The polling shows, these liberals are focused on the staggering amounts of homeless that have found themselves back on the streets. These liberals (who tend to be wealthy and chatter about the direction the city is headed while at Upper West/East Side cocktail parties) don’t mind higher taxes for social services but don’t like homeless people on their sidewalks.

So now that you can understand why the Mayor is going down, here is who will take him down.

I don’t know who exactly, but I can tell you the type of candidate who will NOT be beating the mayor.

First of all, no Democrat will beat DeBlasio in a primary. Yes, Hakeem Jeffries and Ruben Diaz Jr. are talking a big game, but they know (or at least should know) that they would have no chance. The major unions that impact NYC primaries (teachers and service employees) will be with the mayor and the minority vote (particularly the “Brooklyn black” vote) will be with the Mayor. He will have a clear path to at least 55% of the primary vote.

What you will see is as follows:

Republicans and Independents in New York actually get along. Sure there are some nut job teabaggers who will get behind a crazy person like John Castimitidas in the Republican primary, but overwhelmingly, Independents and Republicans know that they must work together if they want to win a City wide election.

So the winning candidate in the Republican primary will be an independent who has the backing of much of the Republican power bases, just like the winning model Bloomberg used in 2001.

And then comes the General. With a united Republican and Independent power base lined up behind the eventual nominee, against the mayor, that gets their candidate to about 45% of the vote in NYC and puts DeBlasio at about 40%, roughly 2-5% points higher above where he is polling right now.

You will see a group of wealthy liberals (remember, those who don’t like the poor homeless people on their sidewalks) get behind the Reblican nominee (who is de facto an independent) forming what has not been seen in New York since the days of John Lindsay: “the Liberal line.”

If you would like to beat DeBlasio, this is how its done! Looking at the numbers, and basing my conjecture off of my analysis, the perfect candidate would be:

1. Hispanic

2. Independent (it's ok if he/she is a former Democrat)

3. Able to raise $1 million so that matching funds are reached.
Watch someone like Adolfo Carrión, Jr...

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The Wretched Of The Earth


Last night, meditating on a Facebook page that was peremptorily taken down by the Facebook censors, I started thinking about a book that impacted me when I was in high school, Frantz Fanon's now classic/then brand new The Wretched of The Earth. It was on the school's curriculum so I know Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer, Norm Coleman and Ruth Bader Ginsburg probably read it too. I'm guessing Bernie and RBG were affected by it as strongly as I was. The other two... I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they read the Cliff Notes version. The book is a powerful psychological analysis of the dehumanizing effects of colonization and racism on individuals and on the victimized societies and is the ultimate critique of imperialism and nationalism. Fanon's conclusion:
Come, then, comrades; it would be as well to decide at once to change our ways. We must shake off the heavy darkness in which we were plunged, and leave it behind. The new day which is already at hand must find us firm, prudent and resolute.

We must leave our dreams and abandon our old beliefs and friendships of the time before life began. Let us waste no time in sterile litanies and nauseating mimicry. Leave this Europe where they are never done talking of Man, yet murder men everywhere they find them, at the corner of every one of their own streets, in all the corners of the globe. For centuries they have stifled almost the whole of humanity in the name of a so-called spiritual experience. Look at them today swaying between atomic and spiritual disintegration.

And yet it may be said that Europe has been successful in as much as everything that she has attempted has succeeded.

Europe undertook the leadership of the world with ardour, cynicism and violence. Look at how the shadow of her palaces stretches out ever farther! Every one of her movements has burst the bounds of space and thought. Europe has declined all humility and all modesty; but she has also set her face against all solicitude and all tenderness.

She has only shown herself parsimonious and niggardly where men are concerned; it is only men that she has killed and devoured.

So, my brothers, how is it that we do not understand that we have better things to do than to follow that same Europe?

That same Europe where they were never done talking of Man, and where they never stopped proclaiming that they were only anxious for the welfare of Man: today we know with what sufferings humanity has paid for every one of their triumphs of the mind.

Come, then, comrades, the European game has finally ended; we must find something different. We today can do everything, so long as we do not imitate Europe, so long as we are not obsessed by the desire to catch up with Europe.

Europe now lives at such a mad, reckless pace that she has shaken off all guidance and all reason, and she is running headlong into the abyss; we would do well to avoid it with all possible speed.

Yet it is very true that we need a model, and that we want blueprints and examples. For many among us the European model is the most inspiring. We have therefore seen in the preceding pages to what mortifying set-backs such an imitation has led us. European achievements, European techniques and the European style ought no longer to tempt us and to throw us off our balance.

When I search for Man in the technique and the style of Europe, I see only a succession of negations of man, and an avalanche of murders.

The human condition, plans for mankind and collaboration between men in those tasks which increase the sum total of humanity are new problems, which demand true inventions.

Let us decide not to imitate Europe; let us combine our muscles and our brains in a new direction. Let us try to create the whole man, whom Europe has been incapable of bringing to triumphant birth.

Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions.

Comrades, have we not other work to do than to create a third Europe? The West saw itself as a spiritual adventure. It is in the name of the spirit, in the name of the spirit of Europe, that Europe has made her encroachments, that she has justified her crimes and legitimized the slavery in which she holds four-fifths of humanity.

Yes, the European spirit has strange roots. All European thought has unfolded in places which were increasingly more deserted and more encircled by precipices; and thus it was that the custom grew up in those places of very seldom meeting man.

A permanent dialogue with oneself and an increasingly obscene narcissism never ceased to prepare the way for a half delirious state, where intellectual work became suffering and the reality was not at all that of a living man, working and creating himself, but rather words, different combinations of words, and the tensions springing from the meanings contained in words. Yet some Europeans were found to urge the European workers to shatter this narcissism and to break with this un-reality.

But in general the workers of Europe have not replied to these calls; for the workers believe, too, that they are part of the prodigious adventure of the European spirit.

All the elements of a solution to the great problems of humanity have, at different times, existed in European thought. But Europeans have not carried out in practice the mission which fell to them, which consisted of bringing their whole weight to bear violently upon these elements, of modifying their arrangement and their nature, of changing them and, finally, of bringing the problem of mankind to an infinitely higher plane.

Today, we are present at the stasis of Europe. Comrades, let us flee from this motionless movement where gradually dialectic is changing into the logic of equilibrium. Let us reconsider the question of mankind. Let us reconsider the question of cerebral reality and of the cerebral mass of all humanity, whose connexions must be increased, whose channels must be diversified and whose messages must be re-humanized.

Come, brothers, we have far too much work to do for us to play the game of rear-guard. Europe has done what she set out to do and on the whole she has done it well; let us stop blaming her, but let us say to her firmly that she should not make such a song and dance about it. We have no more to fear; so let us stop envying her.

The Third World today faces Europe like a colossal mass whose aim should be to try to resolve the problems to which Europe has not been able to find the answers.

But let us be clear: what matters is to stop talking about output, and intensification, and the rhythm of work.

No, there is no question of a return to Nature. It is simply a very concrete question of not dragging men towards mutilation, of not imposing upon the brain rhythms which very quickly obliterate it and wreck it. The pretext of catching up must not be used to push man around, to tear him away from himself or from his privacy, to break and kill him.

No, we do not want to catch up with anyone. What we want to do is to go forward all the time, night and day, in the company of Man, in the company of all men. The caravan should not be stretched out, for in that case each line will hardly see those who precede it; and men who no longer recognize each other meet less and less together, and talk to each other less and less.

It is a question of the Third World starting a new history of Man, a history which will have regard to the sometimes prodigious theses which Europe has put forward, but which will also not forget Europe’s crimes, of which the most horrible was committed in the heart of man, and consisted of the pathological tearing apart of his functions and the crumbling away of his unity. And in the framework of the collectivity there were the differentiations, the stratification and the bloodthirsty tensions fed by classes; and finally, on the immense scale of humanity, there were racial hatreds, slavery, exploitation and above all the bloodless genocide which consisted in the setting aside of fifteen thousand millions of men.

So, comrades, let us not pay tribute to Europe by creating states, institutions and societies which draw their inspiration from her.

Humanity is waiting for something other from us than such an imitation, which would be almost an obscene caricature.

If we want to turn Africa into a new Europe, and America into a new Europe, then let us leave the destiny of our countries to Europeans. They will know how to do it better than the most gifted among us.

But if we want humanity to advance a step farther, if we want to bring it up to a different level than that which Europe has shown it, then we must invent and we must make discoveries.

If we wish to live up to our peoples’ expectations, we must seek the response elsewhere than in Europe.

Moreover, if we wish to reply to the expectations of the people of Europe, it is no good sending them back a reflection, even an ideal reflection, of their society and their thought with which from time to time they feel immeasurably sickened.

For Europe, for ourselves and for humanity, comrades, we must turn over a new leaf, we must work out new concepts, and try to set afoot a new man.
I thought about Fanon again this morning when I saw this pseudo-ad in Modern Luxury's Interior magazine:
BUZZ: With construction of an airport for international private jets and charter flights nearing completion along its Emerald Coast, southwestern Nicaragua has become an intriguing market for second homes. In the private beach community of Guacalito de la Isla, six mini-neighborhoods (four of which have been completed) feature ocean-view homesites. Residents will have have full access to Mokul Beach, Golf & Spa, which opened in 2013 and features the luxurious Spa Mukul surrounded by rain forest; La Cocina Nikul restaurant; and the Dave McLay Kidd-designed golf course. In addition, residents will be able to charter excursions on the property's 31-foot-yacht, Spirit of Mukul.

DETAILS: Lots from $395,000, homes from $495,000, Antal Legacy Villas from $1.35 million, La Reserva and Beachfront lots currently available, Las Terrazas and Antal Legacy Villas available late 2015.

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Smug GOP Congressman, Adam Kinzinger, Stokes The Flames Of Hatred During Colorado Springs Terrorism


It wasn't Fox, but CNN thant invited Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) to come on the air and denounce Planned Parenthood while Robert Dear was still inside a Colorado Planned Parenthood facility-- that has been targeted by right-wing extremists many times-- shooting people. Maybe Kinzinger, who had been rumored earlier this year to be having an affair with disgraced GOP ex-congressman and best-bud Aaron Schock, should learn to shut his pretty face. CNN didn't mention that it was patently false, self-serving political statements by anti-Choice extremists like Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Trumpf that are "controversial," but that Planned Parenthood is! The idiot anchor went so far as to claim-- with Kinzinger agreeing-- that "we don't know if Planned Parenthood was targeted" while the murderer was still inside the Planned Parenthood clinic shooting people! Kinzinger:
best buds
If we find out he was not targeting Planned Parenthood, I would fully expect an apology from the Planned Parenthood director for saying that. But regardless, if somebody is targeting Planned Parenthood, it's not indicative of what folks that are opposed to some of the practices that Planned Parenthood commits, how we feel. We saw these barbaric videos and that was something that many of us had a legitimate concern about. That doesn't mean we're going to take guns and walk into Planned Parenthood clinics. Obviously this is a person who has a mental health issue that's to some level psychotic and crazy and if he's targeting Planned Parenthood-- and, again, we don't know-- if he is, he has taken a legitimate disagreement with a practice and turned it into an evil response which is to go and shoot people. But again, we don't know that answer yet.
Kinzinger doesn't know if the gunman inside the Planned Parenthood clinic shooting people is targeting Planned Parenthood but he's already diagnosed the right-wing, anti-choice terrorist to be "crazy" and "psychotic." If the anchor wasn't brain-dead she might have asked him if the suicide bombers from Arab countries, who, do after all, have grievances are also psychotic and if being crazy excuses them from being called "terrorists."

Obama's statement was quite a bit different from Kinzinger's:
The last thing Americans should have to do, over the holidays or any day, is comfort the families of people killed by gun violence-- people who woke up in the morning and bid their loved ones goodbye with no idea it would be for the last time.

And yet, two days after Thanksgiving, that’s what we are forced to do again.

We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was for shooting twelve people, or for terrorizing an entire community, when he opened fire with an assault weapon and took hostages at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado. What we do know is that he killed a cop in the line of duty, along with two of the citizens that police officer was trying to protect. We know that law enforcement saved lives, as so many of them do every day, all across America. And we know that more Americans and their families had fear forced upon them.

This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this-- if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience-- then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.

May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save-- and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing.
Kinzinger's north-central Illinois district, the sixteenth, would be competitive if Nancy Pelosi didn't keep appointing conservative incompetents-- Rahm Emanuel, Chris Van Hollen, Steve Israel and Steve Israel sock puppet Ben Ray Luján to chair the DCCC. Although part of the population base of the district, Rockford, was gerrymandered into IL-17 to give that district a Democratic edge, IL-16 is still winnable. In fact, in 2008, Obama did win it.

The DCCC didn't recruit a candidate in 2008 and GOP incumbent Don Manzullo beat Bob Abboud 60.9- 36.1%, even though Obama beat McCain there. In 2012 the DCCC once again didn't recruit a candidate. This time Obama lost to Romney but won in Winnebago, Putnam and DeKalb counties, while Kinzinger, who had narrowly beaten conservaDem Deborah Halverson 2 years earlier (57-43%) triumphed over Wanda Rohl 61.9- 38.1%, Kinzinger spending $1,972,830 to Rohl's $31,837. In 2014 the DCCC ignored the district again and Kinzinger was reelected against Randall Olsen 70.6-29.4%. Kinzinger spent $1,377,467 to Olsen's $11,506. You don't win, if you don't try and you never win if you allow the party to atrophy and fade away, as Van Hollen and Israel have both done. This cycle there is, once again, no DCCC recruit running against Kinzinger-- and not even an independent Democrat, just a teabagger, Colin McGroarty, challenging him from the far right. Kinzinger is Jeb Bush's Illinois co-chair.

Yes, innocent until proven guilty, but we already know they're both murderers

Alan Grayson issued a statement this morning that sounded nothing like Kinzinger's:
Yesterday, a homegrown terrorist attacked us on our own soil. He was not a Syrian refugee, and he was not a Muslim. We don’t know yet whether or not he attacked Planned Parenthood because he was anti-choice, or for some other reason.

But either way, today we are reminded of the continuing struggle to insure one of the most sacred rights-- the right to control our own bodies.

Earlier this year, I got a taste of what Planned Parenthood staff, volunteers, and patients face every day when dozens of anti-Planned Parenthood protesters came to demonstrate outside my office. And a few months later, when I attended a fundraiser for our local Planned Parenthood, protesters took pictures of one of my staff and put it up online as an intimidation tactic. Neither method worked.
I was talking with one of the Blue America candidates this morning, former marine and LAPD police officer, Lou Vince-- running in CA-25 against anti-Choice/pro-NRA extremist Steve Knight in northern L.A. and eastern Ventura counties. He told me that "the horrendous act of terrorism committed in Colorado against the Planned Parenthood clinic illustrates why this election is so critical. We must stand up for a woman's right to choose and her right to control her own body, a right that Republicans like Steve Knight want to take away. Secondly, we must stand up to the NRA and stop putting up with their woefully misguided lobbying efforts that ultimately contribute to so much violence. As a cop, I know a thing or two about guns and enough is enough, we need sensible gun control reforms. Unfortunately, these things will never happen with Steve Knight in Congress. It's time for him to go." I agree. We need fewer Kinzingers and fewer Knights and more level headed men and women like Lou Vince and Alan Grayson.

UPDATE From Iowa

Congressional candidate in northeast Iowa, Pat Murphy, put out a statement today too. "The recent news from Colorado Springs deeply saddens me. Yesterday, three victims were killed and nine injured when a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Attacks like these are extremely troubling and a heartbreaking reminder of how important it is to continue the fight for women's access to health care. We must stand with Planned Parenthood and show a united front against acts of violence and hatred like those of yesterday."

In reading that, it's important to recall that when Pat was Speaker of the Iowa state House, he led the successful fight to protect women's right to choice while expanding state family planning services and stem cell research so more life saving procedures could be done for medical research in his state. One of the reasons we originally endorsed Pat was because, while he was Speaker he led the successful battle to take gun rights away from individuals who were convicted of domestic abuse."

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