Tuesday, October 16, 2018

I'm Following A Dream

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The clip above is from Sueños Ilegales, a film still being shot with the goal of a February release. Director Angel Camilo, a naturalized U.S. citizen who immigrated from the Dominican Republic, presents the story of two young brothers of Salvadoran origin crossing the U.S./Mexico border illegally. It's a trip that changes their lives forever. Sueños Ilegales is an emotionally powerful and compelling drama, as you can see from the clip above, that shows the courage and determination of Rafa Guerra to help his brother after he become paraplegic while fighting to fulfill his own dreams of becoming a successful artist in a cruel and foreign land. I spoke with Sandra Hernández of Latino Media, Angel's executive producer. Her family moved to the U.S. from El Salvador when she was a child and she is also a naturalized citizen. She sees the necessity of increasing voter awareness and action, especially among the young Latino population and feels that, although that's not what  Sueños Ilegales is about, crossing the border to follow your dreams very much is. "If," she told me, "we allowed our leaders to change the laws so that people like the main character of the movie have access to policies that are more open. The purpose of young voters is to change the policies for a better and more inclusive future." For those who would like to support the production of the movie please click on this GoFundMe link to make a donation.


Can anyone blame their plight on the DCCC? Only me. Other than the sheer incompetence and corruption of the DCCC, it has never made any sense to me that Republicans keep getting elected over and over again in congressional districts with huge Latino populations-- like CA-10 (Jeff Denham), CA-21 (David Valadao), CA-22 (Devin Nunes) and TX-23 (Will Hurd). Except for Denham, they are favored to win next month. These are the 538 forecasts in these districts:
CA-10- 40.0% Latino-- Denham reelection chances- 27.2% (2 in 7)
CA-21- 72.1% Latino-- Valadao reelection chances- 79.9% (4 in 5)
CA-22- 47% Latino-- Nunes reelection chances- 97% (29 in 30)
TX-23- 71% Latino-- Hurd reelection chances- 65.9% (2 in 3)


Needless to say, the DCCC was guilty of jaw-dropping weak recruitment again. You'd think, may they would have recruited a Latino in the 4 districts? They didn't-- not even one. And if you're asking, yes, Pelosi has lost her marbles. NBC News, however, pointed to greater Democratic problems with Latinos in a piece Sunday by Alex Seitz-Wall and Benjy Sarlin. First the obvious: "Given Trump's rhetoric about immigrants and his border policies, you'd think Hispanics would be leading a march to the polls. They aren't."

"Even with phenom Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke at the top of the Texas ticket," they wrote," it hasn't been easy, as Democratic officials, party operatives and tied-in organizations in this state and across the country are seeing signs-- surprising to some-- that many Hispanics may sit out the midterms. The lack of enthusiasm among Latinos has party leaders concerned that a key part of the coalition needed to take back the House and Senate may stay home." People are pissed off and discouraged and ask-- why bother to vote if people like Trump win anyway? Cook's House editor, Dave Wasserman: "There's a mountain of evidence showing Latino voters are a weak point for Democrats this cycle."
Nationally, Latino voters favor a Democratic Congress over a Republican one by 64-21 percent, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal Telemundo poll last month. But self-reported interest in the election is low, according to the same survey, and the picture in some individual races looks even worse for Democrats.

On paper, some of congressional Democrats' best opportunities to pick up seats come from heavily Hispanic districts that are currently held by Republicans, but which Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Yet those are also some of the places where recent polls are showing Democratic candidates not doing as well as anticipated.

In Miami, Democrats risk blowing what was once seen as a sure-thing after they nominated former Bill Clinton Cabinet secretary Donna Shalala, who doesn't speak Spanish. Next door, GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo is neck-and-neck with a Democratic challenger in a 70 percent Latino district that Clinton won by 16 percentage points.

In Nevada, incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller has been able to cling to a narrow lead by keeping a healthy 38 percent of Latino voters in his camp, according to a recent NBC News/Marist poll. And in the Las Vegas suburbs, handicappers just downgraded Democrats' prospects of holding onto the majority non-white 4th Congressional District.

Not far away in California, where Democrats are well-positioned to overcome 80 years of Republican dominance in the wealthy suburbs of Orange County, two GOP incumbents, Reps. Jeff Denham and David Valadao, look relatively strong in heavily Hispanic parts of the Central Valley.

And in Arizona, Democrat David Garcia's campaign to become the state’s first Latino governor has struggled to gain traction, even though Clinton came closer to winning that state in 2016 than any Democrat in years.

But nowhere is the Latino challenge this year more evident than Texas.

O'Rourke, who is of Irish descent but adopted a Hispanic nickname, needs strong backing from Latinos to win against Cruz in the heavily Republican state. Cruz, whose father was born in Cuba, is earning the support of almost four-in-10 Latino voters, according to a Quinnipiac poll.

"The problem with Texas for Democrats is not that it's a red state, it's that it's a non-voting state," Julian Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development Secretary and ex-mayor of San Antonio, told NBC News. "The issue we have is with ourselves00 it's getting more people registered to vote, it's getting the Hispanic community to turn out and vote."

...About 55 percent of Latino voters reported that they had not yet been contacted by a campaign or party about registering to vote this year, according to a Latino Decisions survey for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials last week.

Hispanic turnout traditionally lags behind other demographic groups, especially in midterm elections, where it dropped to a record low of 27 percent nationally in 2014, compared with 45 percent among whites, according to the Pew Research Center. And recent polls show Latinos less enthused about November than other minorities.

The issue is compounded by the fact that the Latino voting population skews younger than the overall one... Some Democrats worry this dynamic has created a dangerous cycle of futility: The party needs to engage millions of young Hispanic voters to win tomorrow, but pursuing them means less time spent on voters who are likely to show up and decide elections today.

...O'Rourke told NBC News that he's had to defy political consultants and experts who encourage him to focus only on those voters who data show are most likely to turn out next month.

"They say, 'There are so few days left, time and money is so precious, don't spend it on people who traditionally don't vote,'" O'Rourke said. "Our response to that is, I would't vote either if no one ever showed up to where I am, listened to me, included me in what they campaigned on and what they wanted to delivered on."

But Democrats and activists worry that years of neglect may put a ceiling on O’Rourke's potential.

"(Democrats) don't invest in grassroots organization, they don't invest in the year-round work that needs to happen after an election cycle," said Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez, the founder of Jolt, which is trying to organize young Latino voters in the state. "Beto's greatest hurdle is the lack of infrastructure that exists in the Latino community."


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Pennsylvania Voters Ready To Get Revenge

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Pennsylvania was one of the states targeted by Russian hackers in 2016. They helped put an illegitimate "president" into the White House by a handful of votes. In Pennsylvania it was 44,292 votes out of 5,897,174 cast. Kushner's team told the Russians to concentrate on four counties: Erie, Luzerne, Northampton, Lackawanna, Obama country in 2012, all of whom provided Trump with "plausible" wins in 2016. He took the state's 20 electoral votes by beating Hillary 2,970,733 (48.18%) to 2,926,441 (47.46%). In 3 weeks, the Keystone State gets its revenge.

The partisan makeup of the state's congressional delegation is about to shift radically, with likely wins by Democratic challengers Scott Wallace (PA-01), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Mary Scanlon (PA-05), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), Susan Wild (PA-07), a guaranteed incumbent vs incumbent win by Democrat Conor Lamb (against walking dead Keith Rothfus) and two toss-ups that could put George Scott and-- God willing-- Jess King (the best candidate running in the state) into Congress instead of Trump rubber stamps Scott Perry and Lloyd Smucker.

On Monday morning Steven Shepard, writing for Politico, reported that the Democratic surge in Pennsylvania is being powered by concerns over healthcare. Fair enough-- though I'd say it's being powered at least as much by disdain for Trump. His greater point though, is that the state that was the 2016 linchpin of Trumpanzee's victory, will be be "ground zero of Democrats’ 2018 comeback." He's going by an AARP poll showing both Sen. Bob Casey and Gov. Tom Wolf with double-digit leads over their GOP challengers and Democrats ahead on the generic congressional ballot.


The top issue for voters in Pennsylvania is health care: Nearly three-in-four, 74 percent, say it’s “very important” to their vote in November, outrating the economy and jobs (72 percent), Social Security (67 percent) and national security and terrorism (65 percent). For voters 50 and older, Social Security (81 percent) only slightly outpaces health care (79 percent).

In the Senate race, Casey leads Rep. Lou Barletta by 15 percentage points, 47 percent to 32 percent. Casey leads Barletta-- a four-term congressman who forged his political identity as an immigration hardliner as the then-mayor of Hazelton, Pa.-- by a similar margin among voters 50 and older, 49 percent to 34 percent.

Casey is one of 10 Senate Democrats seeking reelection this year in a state Trump won in 2016. But like his colleagues in other Midwestern states-- Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Debbie Stabenow in Michigan and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin-- he is a strong favorite for reelection...



Wolf, meanwhile, has a 12-point lead over former state Sen. Scott Wagner, 48 percent to 36 percent. Wagner has struggled to gain traction in his effort to unseat Wolf. The Republican released a Facebook video last week, in which he tells the incumbent, “Gov. Wolf-- let me tell you-- between now and November 6, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.”


Which reminds me-- you've probably already heard about Wagner’s utter meltdown on Friday. He stood in front of a billboard highlighting all the folks he sued and asserted, insanely, to Gov. Wolf: "I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes" [video up top]. The billboard was put up by Pennsylvania Spotlight-- a group dedicated to shining a light on extremism and the deep-pocketed special interests acting against the best interest of Pennsylvanians. Obviously, they were delighted that it received national attention and showed what a lunatic and extremist Wagner is. An old friend of mine from Pennsylvania Spotlight, Joshua Henne, wrote this Op-Ed over the weekend showcasing a few more reasons that Wagner is completely unfit.
Scott Wagner needs cash and he needs it now.

That's at least what his most recent email to supporters laid out. Wagner-- who likes to portray himself as a tough guy and always in command-- pleaded, "With more than $10 million of my own money already invested in this race, I am tapped out."

What Wagner conveniently fails to mention is how he recently blew over $2 million investing campaign money into the stock market... and lost. This is far from standard practice. And it's pretty pathetic for a candidate who revolved his entire campaign the notion that he'd be running the state like he runs his business.

Wagner's desperate financial appeal comes on the heels of bellyaching about the recent gubernatorial debate. He's begging for more chances to make his pitch to the public.

As if Wagner hasn't had ample opportunity since announcing his campaign 21 long months ago on the floor of Penn Waste-- the politically connected trash-hauling behemoth he owns.

However, Wagner couldn't possibly have enjoyed a more receptive audience and forum than the one he already participated in, as incredulously, Penn Waste was the sponsor of last week's Chamber debate.

This is simply the latest example in a long litany of Wagner inappropriately and cunningly using his political campaign to benefit his personal bottom line... Some of Wagner's abusive business tactics are already well-documented. Infamously, he sued an 84-year old Springettsbury woman who didn't use Penn Waste's trash services... For years, the occasions of Wagner suing customers has been pegged by the press at a mere "hundreds of people that Penn Waste has sued for nonpayment of trash bills." However, the real number of lawsuits against customers stands at a whopping 6,979 individuals from January 2012 to May 2018 alone, filing over 10,000 total lawsuits.

The public deserves to know the true scope of Wagner's litigious nature at the expense of working families. So, we put up a website at www.PennWasterAlert.com, as well as some billboards laying out the real numbers.

Many Penn Waste lawsuits were filed against people who don't have the means to defend themselves. In some cases, they've been hammered for being late on one lousy bill.Wagner is a model intimidator who sues those without the ability to fight back.

His actions compound financial problems for working families. Moreover, Wagner's heavy-handed practices are predatory, with pressure going beyond the norm of other garbage removal companies in the operating area.

Penn Waste even goes so far as sending sheriffs to customers' homes to harass them.

...His Republican primary opponent, Paul Mango excoriated him, saying "Wagner has a lengthy history as a greedy bully who preys on those in our society who can't fight back. He does this simply to ensure that his personal wealth continues to grow. It should be clear to all that Scott Wagner is not trustworthy and will never put the needs of Pennsylvanians first."

Even though Wagner claims he's "far from an insider," the truth is that, for far too long, Wagner's used his political perch to enrich himself and his business.

Wagner has pocketed millions off municipal contracts and used his time in the state Senate to push legislation aimed at plumping his own piggybank - all at the expense of taxpayers.

Even though Wagner's personal wealth is directly tied to Penn Waste's ability to garner municipal contracts, he refuses to put his business interests in a blind trust. This is obscene, since local governments constitute Penn Waste's current-- and potentially future-- clients.

Moreover, Wagner steadfastly rejects releasing his tax returns. The trash tycoon explained it's because he didn't want Penn Waste workers knowing the full extent of how much he makes off their sweat and toil, lest they'd decide to organize a union to fight for their rights.

Much like President Trump, Wagner measures every step against how it will personally benefit both his ambition and bottom line.

In fact, Wagner embraces the comparison, once going so far as to proclaim "Donald Trump is actually a mini-Scott Wagner." Both men have a history of mistreating and intimidating customers. And both clearly relish frivolously suing vulnerable people who don't have the resources to fight back.

We already have a hot mess down in D.C. with this archetype. Pennsylvanians simply can't afford the same story to play out in Harrisburg, with Wagner taking not just a page, but chapter and verse from Trump's grotesque playbook.
Back to Shepard's Politico piece again. He reminded us that House Democrats "chances to make further gains were turbocharged earlier this year, when the state Supreme Court ordered the implementation of a new congressional-district map. It found the old one, drawn by Republicans after the 2010 election, was a gerrymander so egregious that it violated the state constitution. In the three elections held under the old map-- 2012, 2014 and 2016-- Republicans won 13 of the state’s 18 congressional districts, even in 2012, when Democratic candidates, on aggregate, won more votes than Republicans."

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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by Noah

Oh poor you, Melania. So abused. So picked upon. Fuck you! The last First Lady got repeatedly subjected to typically Republican racial diatribes calling her an ape and a man, complete with idiotic YouTube videos offered as so-called evidence. Fuck you to the heavens and all the way down to the hell where you belong.

Melania, you signed up for any abuse you get when you married what you married. You won the Slovenian Whore Championship and snuck into America as a mail order blow up doll for your orange Jabba the Hutt. You even got your relatives here via chain migration, no irony there, eh? What more do you want? You want Borat to come from Kazakhstahn hand you a trophy?

Melania, do you think you're bullied? Is this you playing the victim card? If so, I'm surprised there are any of those cards left at the White House. Or, is this your way of trolling us and claiming that Cheeto the Hutt bullies you and maybe even hits you? Put up the evidence. Please, just do it. It'll be a joy to watch Kellyanne Conartist and Sarah Huckabee Sanders trying to explain it all away. They need another challenge. It's been hours, no minutes, since the last one.

You want to know what it's really like to be bullied, Melania? Then walk out on Cheeto Jabba and walk the streets of Washington or New York where millions of us will tell you "No. We really don't care. Fuck off."

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Does Adelson Own The GOP? Or Is He Just Leasing It?

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On Friday Alex Isenstadt reported for Politico that "a deluge of Democratic spending in the final days of the battle for the House has triggered recriminations among Republicans and forced the party to lean on its biggest patron to salvage their majority. Since the end of July, Republican candidates in the 70 most contested races have reserved $60 million in TV ads, compared to $109 million for Democratic hopefuls... The disparity is almost certain to grow, as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg makes good on plans to spend nearly $80 million to help Democrats flip the House."
“From Democrat candidates to outside groups, we’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Brian Walsh, president of the pro-Trump America First Action super PAC. “They are dumping in cash by the truckload.”

Desperate for help, Republicans are turning to their go-to benefactor: Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. The 85-year-old ally of President Donald Trump has made another contribution in the range of $20 million to the House GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC, according to two Republican officials familiar with the donation. Party leaders are hopeful he'll fork over even more.

Senior Republicans are in touch with other influential givers. On Tuesday, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who’s been in regular contact with Adelson and courted many of the party’s most elite donors in recent weeks, appeared at a board meeting of the influential Republican Jewish Coalition. That evening, at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, he addressed a gathering hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

...Charlie Black, a longtime Republican Party hand who attended the breakfast, said the problem isn’t hard to diagnose: Democrats want to send a message to the president, so they’re pumping the war chests of House candidates with online donations.

“We’re raising more money than we usually do on our side, and they’re raising more than they ever do and it’s because of Trump," Black said. "He’s the great motivator.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee is expected to secure a loan to help the party compete in the final weeks. Party officials declined to divulge the size of the credit line though in previous election years the committee has received loans of between $10 million and $20 million.

...[A] blame game is underway. Many Republican lawmakers and strategists are frustrated with the NRCC over its failure to raise more money, they said in interviews. The committee has reserved $46 million on the TV airwaves, compared to $64 million by their Democratic counterpart. A committee spokesman said the NRCC has eclipsed its fundraising record by $20 million this election cycle.
But in the end, just as the Democrats are counting on Bloomberg; the GOP is counting on Adelson. It would be really useful if both sides just told both billionaires to stop, since their contributions 1-neutralize each other, 2- result in worthless TV ads do nothing to change the ballgame, 3- make a bunch of consultants and middlemen extremely wealthy but have no other impact on the election, and, at least in Adelson's case, results in immense public corruption on a grand scale. Pro-Publica exposed a piece of that corruption last week.



Justin Elliott reported that last February "Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plane landed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland for his first visit with President Donald Trump. A few hours earlier, the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s Boeing 737, which is so large it can seat 149 people, touched down at Reagan National Airport after a flight from Las Vegas. Adelson dined that night at the White House with Trump, Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Adelson and his wife, Miriam, were among Trump’s biggest benefactors, writing checks for $20 million in the campaign and pitching in an additional $5 million for the inaugural festivities. Adelson was in town to see the Japanese prime minister about a much greater sum of money. Japan, after years of acrimonious public debate, has legalized casinos. For more than a decade, Adelson and his company, Las Vegas Sands, have sought to build a multibillion-dollar casino resort there. He has called expanding to the country, one of the world’s last major untapped markets, the 'holy grail.' Nearly every major casino company in the world is competing to secure one of a limited number of licenses to enter a market worth up to $25 billion per year. 'This opportunity won’t come along again, potentially ever,' said Kahlil Philander, an academic who studies the industry."
The morning after his White House dinner, Adelson attended a breakfast in Washington with Abe and a small group of American CEOs, including two others from the casino industry. Adelson and the other executives raised the casino issue with Abe, according to an attendee.

Adelson had a potent ally in his quest: the new president of the United States. Following the business breakfast, Abe had a meeting with Trump before boarding Air Force One for a weekend at Mar-a-Lago. The two heads of state dined with Patriots owner Bob Kraft and golfed at Trump National Jupiter Golf Club with the South African golfer Ernie Els. During a meeting at Mar-a-Lago that weekend, Trump raised Adelson’s casino bid to Abe, according to two people briefed on the meeting. The Japanese side was surprised.

“It was totally brought up out of the blue,” according to one of the people briefed on the exchange. “They were a little incredulous that he would be so brazen.” After Trump told Abe he should strongly consider Las Vegas Sands for a license, “Abe didn’t really respond, and said thank you for the information,” this person said.

Trump also mentioned at least one other casino operator. Accounts differ on whether it was MGM or Wynn Resorts, then run by Trump donor and then-Republican National Committee finance chairman Steve Wynn. The Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported the president also mentioned MGM and Abe instructed an aide who was present to jot down the names of both companies. Questioned about the meeting, Abe said in remarks before the Japanese legislature in July that Trump had not passed on requests from casino companies but did not deny that the topic had come up.

The president raising a top donor’s personal business interests directly with a foreign head of state would violate longstanding norms. “That should be nowhere near the agenda of senior officials,” said Brian Harding, a Japan expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “U.S.-Japan relations is about the security of the Asia-Pacific, China and economic issues.”

Adelson has told his shareholders to expect good news. On a recent earnings call, Adelson cited unnamed insiders as saying Sands’ efforts to win a place in the Japanese market will pay off. “The estimates by people who know, say they know, whom we believe they know, say that we’re in the No. 1 pole position,” he said.

After decades as a major Republican donor, Adelson is known as an ideological figure, motivated by his desire to influence U.S. policy to help Israel. “I’m a one-issue person. That issue is Israel,” he said last year. On that issue-- Israel-- Trump has delivered. The administration has slashed funding for aid to Palestinian refugees and scrapped the Iran nuclear deal. Attending the recent opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Adelson seemed to almost weep with joy, according to an attendee.

] But his reputation as an Israel advocate has obscured a through-line in his career: He has used his political access to push his financial self-interest. Not only has Trump touted Sands’ interests in Japan, but his administration also installed an executive from the casino industry in a top position in the U.S. embassy in Tokyo. Adelson’s influence reverberates through this administration. Cabinet-level officials jump when he calls. One who displeased him was replaced. He has helped a friend’s company get a research deal with the Environmental Protection Agency. And Adelson has already received a windfall from Trump’s new tax law, which particularly favored companies like Las Vegas Sands. The company estimated the benefit of the law at $1.2 billion.

...Adelson has spent the Trump era hustling to expand his gambling empire. With Trump occupying the White House, Adelson has found the greatest political ally he’s ever had.

“I would put Adelson at the very top of the list of both access and influence in the Trump administration,” said Craig Holman of the watchdog group Public Citizen. “I’ve never seen anything like it before, and I’ve been studying money in politics for 40 years.”

...The Adelsons came through with $20 million in donations to the pro-Trump super PAC, part of at least $83 million in donations to Republicans. By the time of the October 2016 release of the Access Hollywood tape featuring Trump bragging about sexual assault, Adelson was among his staunchest supporters. “Sheldon Adelson had Donald Trump’s back,” said Steve Bannon in a speech last year, speaking of the time after the scandal broke. “He was there.”

In December 2016, Adelson donated $5 million to the Trump inaugural festivities. The Adelsons had better seats at Trump’s inauguration than many Cabinet secretaries. The whole family, including their two college-age sons, came to Washington for the celebration. One of his sons posted a picture on Instagram of the event with the hashtag #HuckFillary.

The investment paid off in access and in financial returns. Adelson has met with Trump or visited the White House at least six times since Trump’s election victory. The two speak regularly. Adelson has also had access to others in the White House. He met privately with Vice President Mike Pence before Pence gave a speech at Adelson’s Venetian resort in Las Vegas last year. “He just calls the president all the time. Donald Trump takes Sheldon Adelson’s calls,” said Alan Dershowitz, who has done legal work for Adelson and advised Trump.

Adelson’s tens of millions in donations to Trump have already been paid back many times over by the new tax law. While all corporations benefited from the lower tax rate in the new law, many incurred an extra bill in the transition because profits overseas were hit with a one-time tax. But not Sands. Adelson’s company hired lobbyists to press Trump’s Treasury Department and Congress on provisions that would help companies like Sands that paid high taxes abroad, according to public filings and tax experts. The lobbying effort appears to have worked. After Trump signed the tax overhaul into law in December, Las Vegas Sands recorded a benefit from the new law the company estimated at $1.2 billion.

The Adelson family owns 55 percent of Las Vegas Sands, which is publicly traded, according to filings. The Treasury Department didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Now as Trump and the Republican Party face a reckoning in the midterm elections in November, they have once again turned to Adelson. He has given at least $55 million so far.


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Are "Ex"-Republicans Ever Really Ex-Republicans? (Spoiler: Yes, But Almost Never)

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If there was a Howie Klein Award for Political Truth-Telling and I got to award it, last week's would have gone to DailyKos diarist Tom Brock for his Saturday essay, Former Republican Chairs Local Dem Committee... What Could Go Wrong?!, nominated by my friend Fergie, the best source of Virginia political intelligence I know.

Here at DWT, we often discuss the DCCC's absolutely-positively favorite kind of Democratic candidate, "ex"-Republicans. They recruit them at every opportunity and then spend millions of dollars trying to get them into Congress while stiffing actual Democrats running. The quotation marks around "ex," indicates that though they may changed their party registration... for those of us who are looking for a little something more, well... they are not actual Democrats. The DCCC is not-- not ever-- looking for a little something more. The other day when I heard long-time Trump shyster attorney Michael Cohen had switched his voter registration from Republican to Democrat, my first thought was that Pelosi and Ben Ray Lujan would have him running for Peter King's seat on his native Long Island in 2020. Not just an "ex"-Republican but a celebrity with lots of wealthy friends... a DCCC wet dream.

Tom Brock is a member of the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee and he started with a perfect paragraph: "When we allow Republicans into local Democratic committee leadership, we end up with Republicans on the most effective voter outreach tool that we have. The  local Virginia Beach Democratic Chair has unilaterally included Republicans on the VBDC Ballot guide that is handed out at every polling location in the city. (Low information voters rely on these to make voting decisions.)"




Maybe we should have seen this coming based on a previous article posted right here on DailyKos back in March of 2018, calling into question the Chairwoman’s past political activities.

Vice Mayor Louis Jones is currently listed as an “Elected Leader” on the Republican Party of Virginia Beach.




How did these guys get on the ballot guide? Maybe it’s as simple as pay-to-play.  A local Democratic fundraiser was held in which these Republicans, and their immediate family were allowed to become “Sponsors” with $1000 + donations. Two days after this fundraiser these two Republican candidates, were included on the ballot guide pictured above, despite their public support for the Local Republican nominee for Congress.

You can’t make this stuff up. Within the VBDC this is being contested.  The members of the VBDC are in the process of putting a stop to this right now.

The Democratic Party of Virginia has a rule regarding this situation.



Can an "ex"-Republican ever really be an ex-Republican for real and be a worthwhile leader for Democrats? The answer is: rarely. In Congress, there are real garbage members-- take reactionary Blue Dogs Tom O'Halleran of Arizona, who votes against progressive legislation 60% of the time, and Charlie Crist of Florida, who votes against progressive legislation 50% of the time-- and they are typical of "ex"-Republicans. They have no understanding of what the Democratic Party is and what it is supposed to represent. That's because to them it only represents one thing: a vehicle for their own careers. Elizabeth Warren used to be a Republican too; she was born into a Republican family. After years and years of being a Democrat, she was elected to office, already a proven quantity. She's more a Democrat than 90% of the current Congress and a thousand times more a Democrat than any of the DSCC crap recruits this cycle. As for the DCCC, they've recruited so many "ex"-Republicans this cycle that odds are good that if you vote for a DCCC recruit you're voting for an "ex"-Republican... especially if you vote for one that the DCCC is spending millions of dollars on, like Gill Cisneros (so far $2,068,341 from the DCCC, another $538,167 from Pelosi's SuperPAC and $119,977 from Priorities USA, a DCCC cut-out). That may not bother you. Or perhaps you're resigned to just voting for every creature with a "D" next to its name because of Trump. I'm just doing my Eyes Wide Open bit. And by the way, here's a very ex-Republican:



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Kevin McCarthy Wants To Be Speaker-- And He's Very, Very Corrupt

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The DCCC never seems to be very enthusiastic about targeting Republican leaders. This cycle, for example, they made sure there would be relatively strong opponents for the candidates in the districts that surround Kevin McCarthy's CA-23, while ignoring McCarthy entirely. They have no candidate opposing him, not even someone viable enough to build towards a 2020 challenge. CA-25 has a hot race between Katie Hill (D) and Steve Knight (R). CA-22 has a hot race-- although ignored by the DCCC-- between Andrew Janz (D) and Devin Nunes (R) and CA-21 has a warm race between TJ Cox and David Valadao, CA-04 has a hot race between Jessica Morse and Tom McClintock, CA-24 has a Democratic incumbent and CA-08, has two Republicans facing off in the general. And in McCarthy's own CA-23? Not a creature is stirring.

Going into the final stretch, the pitiful and meaningless Democrat "running," Tatiana Matta, has $6,103 up against McCarthy's $4,135,573. Neither the DCCC nor Pelosi's SuperPAC has spent a cent against McCarthy-- something like how they treated Paul Ryan for his entire career. The L.A. Times exposed an interesting McCarthy story today, one that the DCCC will not publicize and that Tatiana Matta doesn't have the means to spread: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s family benefited from U.S. program for minorities based on disputed ancestry




A company owned by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s in-laws won more than $7 million in no-bid and other federal contracts at U.S. military installations and other government properties in California based on a dubious claim of Native American identity by McCarthy’s brother-in-law, a Times investigation has found.

The prime contracts, awarded through a federal program designed to help disadvantaged minorities, were mostly for construction projects at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in McCarthy’s Bakersfield-based district, and the Naval Air Station Lemoore in nearby Kings County.

Vortex Construction, whose principal owner is William Wages, the brother of McCarthy’s wife, Judy, received a total of $7.6 million in no-bid and other prime federal contracts since 2000, The Times found.

The Bakersfield company is co-owned by McCarthy’s mother-in-law and employs his father-in-law and sister-in-law, Wages said. McCarthy’s wife was a partner in Vortex in the early 1990s.

Vortex faced no competitive bids for most of the contracts because the Small Business Administration accepted Wages’ claim in 1998 that he is a Cherokee Indian. Under the SBA program, his company became eligible for federal contracts set aside for economically and socially disadvantaged members of minority groups, a boon to its business.

Wages says he is one-eighth Cherokee. An examination of government and tribal records by The Times and a leading Cherokee genealogist casts doubt on that claim, however. He is a member of a group called the Northern Cherokee Nation, which has no federal or state recognition as a legitimate tribe. It is considered a fraud by leaders of tribes that have federal recognition.

Vortex was awarded more than $4 million in minority set-aside contracts for projects at China Lake. McCarthy has been a staunch advocate in Congress for funding and staffing for China Lake, the Navy’s largest property at more than 1.1 million acres, and spearheaded successful efforts to expand its borders.

McCarthy is no ordinary member of Congress, but one of the most powerful elected officials in California and on the national stage. The contracts obtained by Wages’ company have prompted questions about whether he improperly benefited from being McCarthy’s brother-in-law.

...“There is a direct and symbiotic connection between who McCarthy is and what he does and what his brother-in-law does,” said Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson, a former member of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. She said Wages’ work on federal contracts important to McCarthy’s in-laws and his district “should never have happened at all.”

...All three Cherokee tribes with federal recognition consider the Northern Cherokee group illegitimate.

“It’s very much a con,” said David Cornsilk, the Cherokee genealogist and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, the largest of the recognized Cherokee tribes.

At The Times’ request, Cornsilk cross-checked Wages and his ancestors against census records and the membership rolls of the recognized Cherokee tribes. Neither Wages nor any of his known ancestors appear on the rolls, which date to the early 19th century, Cornsilk said.

A Times examination of census, birth, death, marriage and other available public records show Wages’ ancestors were identified as white. He is listed as white on his birth certificate.

“It’s disheartening to see this,” Cornsilk said. Native Americans are “the poorest people in the United States,” and “the poverty gets worse” if there are abuses in the SBA program, he added.

Cherokee leaders said the Northern Cherokee group is one of many masquerading as bona fide tribes. Chuck Hoskin Jr., secretary of state for the Cherokee Nation, said “it is particularly disturbing” when minority set-aside contracts are granted to members of “a group that is posing as a tribe.”




UPDATE: Will Tax Cheat Donald J. Trumpanzee Now Welch On The Million Dollars He Owes The Charity Of Elizabeth Warren's Choice?

As you probably know by now, on Sunday Elizabeth Warren released a DNA test that provides "strong evidence" she had a Native American in her family tree dating back 6 to 10 generations. Earlier today, she released the biographical video below. The DNA analysis was done by Carlos Bustamante, a Stanford University professor and expert in the field who won a 2010 MacArthur fellowship, also known as a "genius grant," for his work on tracking population migration via DNA analysis. So when will Trumpy-The-Clown hand over the million dollar check to the National Indigenous Womer's Resouce Center, the charity of her choice, like he publicly promised he would? (SPOILER: Never.) In fact, a couple of hours ago, Trump lied and said that he never promised to send a million dollars to a charity of Warren's choice if she took a DNA test. Maybe he needs to look at his segment in the video below:



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IPCC Releases Climate Report — First Thoughts

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by Gaius Publius

I'm just delving into the new IPCC special report on the effects of limiting, or not limiting, global warming of 1.5°C (full report here), and there are a number of bottom lines coming out of it, including this one, which we reported earlier: "IPCC Manipulating Climate Report Summary to Favor Wealthy Nations."

The reference to manipulation refers to the executive summary part of the report (titled "Summary for Policymakers"), which national representatives are allowed to edit line by line. The rest of the report is written by climate scientists, but written by consensus, which causes it to "lean conservative" in its prognostication and prescriptions.

On that last point, Climate Central wrote in 2012:
Across two decades and thousands of pages of reports, the world's most authoritative voice on climate science has consistently understated the rate and intensity of climate change and the danger those impacts represent, say a growing number of studies on the topic.

This conservative bias, say some scientists, could have significant political implications, as reports from the group – the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – influence policy and planning decisions worldwide, from national governments down to local town councils. ...

A comparison of past IPCC predictions against 22 years of weather data and the latest climate science find that the IPCC has consistently underplayed the intensity of global warming in each of its four major reports released since 1990.

The drastic decline of summer Arctic sea ice is one recent example: In the 2007 report [here], the IPCC concluded the Arctic would not lose its summer ice before 2070 at the earliest. But the ice pack has shrunk far faster than any scenario scientists felt policymakers should consider; now researchers say the region could see nearly ice-free summers within 20 years.
Sea ice predictions that are way off the mark are just the first of the prognostication failures the articl lists.

Yet taking all that into account, the bulk of which will strike most people as obvious, I still want to write several pieces about this publication, starting with this one. Greenpeace bottom-lines the report as follows:
Key takeaways

2°C is much more dangerous than thought when the Paris deal was signed. We are closer to critical tipping points and other key risks than we thought. Four out of the five main Reasons for Concern have been revised to signal substantially higher risks with lower levels of warming for humans, species and economies.

Limiting warming to 1.5°C instead of 2°C would make a huge difference for the life in oceans and land. It would protect hundreds of millions of people from frequent extreme heatwaves, halve the proportion of additional populations suffering water scarcity and help achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication goals.

Limiting warming to 1.5°C or below is challenging but still achievable, if we are fast, bold and lucky, and accelerate action on all fronts now.

Solutions exist that could enable halving global carbon emissions by 2030 in ways that support development goals, build climate resilience and deliver us healthier and more prosperous societies.

The next few years are critical for the world to embark on a transformational path to reduce its carbon emissions and increase its forests to bring emissions to net zero by mid century the latest. With countries’ current climate targets for 2030, we would have no chance. So they must be improved.

We need to think big, at all levels, with everyone on board. The challenge is unprecedented and it won’t be solved by technology or economics alone. We need better governance and deeper understanding of system transformations, agency and motivation for change. And we need to prepare for the impacts and losses that can no longer be avoided, meeting the needs of people at risk.
Greenpeace has other takeaways with more detail; the short info-sheet is worth reading in its entirety. Two that caught my eye are this one:
With countries’ current climate targets we are heading for well above 3°C. ...
and this one:
To get below 1.5°C global CO2 emissions would need to be halved by 2030 and reach net zero by mid-century at the latest, with substantial reductions in other gases.
Greenpeace is doing its best to be equally alarming and encouraging, as is, I suspect the IPCC (though we'll find out more after reading the full report). Since no one really knows the future (an obvious statement that's still only partly true), there may be a chance to avoid the worst of the climiate outcomes by stopping our emissions "now" — meaning ASAP, on an WWII-style emergency timeline.

The problem, of course, is that even though everyone, including the Fox News drones, believes the worst is on the way, no one among the masses believes a real solution is possible. Thus, nothing meaningful will be done, since no one thinks a meaningful think can be done. A circular checkmate, to mix metaphors.

Climate Change and Confederate Flags

More on the last point later, but I do want to show you a recent Saturday Night Live take on the IPCC report, which restates the above problem in a novel and comic way. This is from their "Weekend Update" segment. After talking about the Kanye West's bizarre appearance in the Oval Office, the hosts pivot to the climate report (emphasis added):
Colin Jost: This [Kanye West's pro-Trump pronouncement] was pretty crazy. But look, it’s not the end of the world, O.K., because this is the end of the world. That’s right. Scientists basically published an obituary for the earth this week and people were like, yeah, but like what does Taylor Swift think?

We don’t really worry about climate change because it’s too overwhelming and we’re already in too deep. It’s like if you owe your bookie $1,000, you’re like, oh yeah, I gotta pay this dude back. But if you owe your bookie $1 million, you’re like, I guess I’m just gonna die.

Michael Che: This story has been stressing me out all week. I just keep asking myself, why don’t I care about this? Don’t get me wrong: I 100-percent believe in climate change. Yet, I’m willing to do absolutely nothing about it.

I mean, we’re all going to lose the planet. We should be sad, right? This whole episode should be like a telethon or something, but it’s not. I think it’s because they keep telling us we’re going to lose everything and nobody cares about everything.

People only care about some things. Like, if Fox News reported that climate change is going to take away all the flags and Confederate statues? Oh, there’d be recycling bins outside of every Cracker Barrel and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Nice double use of "cracker" and two good points. First, disaster freezes action (until it doesn't). And second, most people don't care about the planet or "humanity" in the abstract nearly as much as they care about their kin, their immediate friends, and their tribe. So what will make the TV-watching masses care enough to act?

I've often thought, for example, that something as non-lethal as the permanent inability to play college football anywhere on the East Coast from October 1 through November 30 — eight solid weeks — due to constant hurricanes and torrential rainstorms might do the trick.

After all, imagine: no home games for two entire months in much of the ACC or SEC, none in Florida, the Carolinas or Georgia, ever again. Would that get the Fox News and Fox Sports fanboys' attention, enough for them to act? I think it might, and with a lot less loss of life than something much more drastic.

GP
 

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Iowa Is About To Look A Lot Bluer, Even If Just A Pale Shade Of Blue

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The Des Moines Register and Elizabeth Warren agree that J.D. should be the next congressman from IA-04-- while the DCCC snoozes

There was a big stir Saturday night when an early version of the Des Moines Register hit the internet. Iowa's leading newspaper announced their congressional endorsements: GOP has failed to govern; give Democrats a chance. They endorsed Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack and 3 Democratic challengers to Republican incumbents: garden variety Democrats Abby Finkenauer, and Cindy Axne plus cutting edge progressive J.D. Scholten.
When Republicans achieved the trifecta in 2016, winning the presidency as well as holding the House and Senate, it seemed the country was poised to move beyond the GOP-engineered partisan gridlock that had characterized much of the previous six years.

Americans had reason to expect action from Congress, for better or worse, on a variety of issues ranging from health care and immigration to reducing government overspending.

Not so much, as it turned out. The Republican majority in Congress tried and failed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without offering a plan of their own that a majority of their own members-- let alone a majority of the American people-- could support.  Instead, they have allowed the system to become increasingly unstable, leading to a lack of competition and rising premiums.

Republicans in Congress have not only failed at comprehensive immigration reform, but their action allowed protection to expire on young, undocumented Americans brought here as children. They haven’t even fully funded President Trump’s border wall. They stood by as the administration tried to bar Muslims from certain countries from entering the United States. They looked the other way as the administration shocked and dismayed the nation by separating young children from their parents at the border, holding them in detention and losing track of some of the kids.

Republicans promised fiscal responsibility, yet they have punted on putting the nation back on sound financial footing. Their one major legislative success, the 2017 tax cut, is projected to add $1.9 trillion to the debt. This, after Republicans howled endlessly about the comparatively meager deficits created during the Obama administration. The Congressional Budget Office said in August that these tax cuts and spending increases would become “unsustainable” if extended. But the House GOP, including Iowa’s three Republican representatives, voted last month for another $3.8 trillion in tax cuts.

The Republican majority has twiddled its thumbs while President Trump started a trade war with China, imposing tariffs and provoking retaliation that is hurting Iowa farmers by threatening export markets. They have even allowed the Farm Bill to expire, leaving town without resolving differences.

Some have argued that this election should be a referendum on President Trump. We disagree. This is about Congress, which has abdicated much of its constitutional duty and has failed to provide a check and balance to the executive branch.

Not only has the party failed to act as a check on the president, key Republicans have been complicit in trying to obstruct and undermine the investigation of a foreign power’s interference in a U.S. election. And by their silence they have tacitly endorsed the president’s racism, misogyny, white nationalism, divisiveness and crudity.

In becoming the party of Trump, the Republicans have forsaken traditional conservatism and given voters no rational alternative to the Democrats. The party needs to be voted out of power and spend a few years becoming again the party of Lincoln, not the party of Trump.

...4th District: Scholten

This one’s a no-brainer for any Iowan who has cringed at eight-term incumbent King’s increasing obsession with being a cultural provocateur. In his almost 16 years in Congress, King has passed exactly one bill as primary sponsor, redesignating a post office. He won’t debate his opponent and rarely holds public town halls. Instead, he spends his time meeting with fascist leaders in Europe and retweeting neo-Nazis.

His Democratic challenger, J.D. Scholten, a 38-year-old former professional baseball player from Sioux City, is a breath of fresh air. He’s focused entirely on working for the 4th District, particularly rural communities that are struggling with the effects of low commodity prices, Trump’s trade war and workforce shortages as a result of the immigration crackdown. His party label doesn’t match that of many of his voters, but he can relate to people across the political spectrum.

We particularly like Scholten’s willingness to vote for new leadership of his caucus in the interest of easing partisan gridlock. We endorse him not just as an antidote for King’s virulent xenophobia but as a promising new leader.
A few hours later the Washington Post noted that across the country, "Enthusiasm is up across almost all demographic groups, but the increases are greater among younger adults, nonwhite voters and those who say they favor Democrats for the House." This was based on a Langer Research poll they released with ABC News. It shows Trump's national approval/disapproval at 41-54% and generic Democratic candidates leading generic Republican candidates nationally by 11 points-- 53-42% among registered voters and even higher among likely voters.




Now, back to Iowa for a moment. In the first district, Rod Blum has already been tossed overboard by Ryan, basically among the walking dead. The 538 Forecaster gives him a 1 in 30 chance to win, a dismal 3.6% in a district Obama won twice but where Trump beat Hillary 48.7% to 46.2%. This is Bernie country and the PVI is still D+1. Abby Finkenauer is a mediocre candidate but she will beat Blum, a very far right incumbent. He has struggled to keep up with her fundraising by writing himself a $500,000 personal check. As of June 30 he had "raised" $1,780,866 to her $1,861,542. Democratic SuperPACs have spent $828,045 attacking Blum and no GOP PACs have spent on his behalf.




The 3rd district is closer. David Young is a wealthy, sad sack closet case who is about to lose his seat to a not very special Democrat, Cindy Axne. The 538 Forecaster gives him a 42.7% chance of reelection-- 3 in 7... and dropping. The PVI is R+1 and, again, Obama won twice with Trump beating Hillary 48.5% to 45.0%.




Goal ThermometerThe 4th district is the real red part of Iowa-- Obama lost both times and Trump took it by a lot: 60.9% to 33.5%. Unlike the other two, the DCCC is ignoring the district, which allowed a grassroots progressive, J.D. Scholten, to win the primary. The DCCC and associated PACs have spent $2,223,318 against Young but not a nickel against King. Scholten and King have raised around half a million dollars each but Scholten has $254,566 going into the final stretch to King's $117,554. The 538 Forecaster gives King an 89.1% chance at reelection, 8 in 9. This could be one of the cycle's biggest upsets. Scholten is running the kind of outside the box, grassroots campaign that isn't picked up by traditional forecasters. If you'd like to contribute to his campaign, please tap on the thermometer on the right that will take you to the ActBlue page for progressives who won their primaries and have been ignored or undercut by the DCCC anyway. This is an important page for Blue America because it includes some of our best candidates who are not just fighting right-wing Republicans but are also fending off the determined negativity of establishment corporate Democrats.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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by Noah

Smug and corrupt from head to toe. On the days these sociopathic two parasites die, the world will truly be a better place because they are no longer in it. In the meantime, the damage they cause to every living, breathing thing in America, even their beloved .05%, is nearly incalculable. McConnell and Ryan: Yes, nearly all of Washington is on the take, but there are no better examples of maximum corruption than these two Trump toadies. They mooch and mooch off of us as we pay them with our hard-earned tax dollars. They suck up a lifetime of medical care as if they are lampreys attached to our necks. Even the office staffs and the meals they eat come out of our pockets, not to mention their pensions. They do it all while they moan about others getting "entitlements" handed to them. But, still, what they greedily guzzle at the public trough just isn't enough. They want more, more, more, and one of the places they get it is from Big Pharma and other healthcare related corporations that have an interest in keeping the status quo gravy death train going. Mitch and Paul know all about handouts. Does anyone get more free stuff?

What do we get from top of the list lowlifes like McConnell and Ryan in return? The human misery of health issues we can't afford to treat even though it is our money that goes to treat theirs. McConnell and Ryan hate the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. They hate the idea of Medicare for all. In fact, they hate the idea of Medicare, period. Human Misery, illness, death. They are it's merchants. They are mass murderers on a huge scale, from doing away with regulations that keep chemicals out of our water and the air that we breathe to doing away with our ability to pay for the aforementioned treatments that become needed for our survival; all because of their sadistic money-grubbing, and sociopathic legislating. Imagine if you were one of McConnell or Ryan's kids and you woke up one morning, truly woke up, and realized what a mass-murdering maggot brain your dad is.

Halloween is coming. Who needs Freddy Krueger when you have the reality of these two?

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Disgrace Of Waller County, Texas

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by Dorothy Reik
President, Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains


In an effort to prevent Mike Siegel, the Democratic challenger, from unseating the incumbent Republican in Texas' 10th Congressional District, Waller County officials announced that one of the addresses students at the historical Black college, Prairie View A & M University (PVAMU) were instructed by the county to use to register to vote was not in the proper precinct so they would have to file additional paperwork. Mike's field representative delivered a letter of complaint to the Waller County clerk and was promptly arrested. when he admitted his boss was a Democrat. He has since been released.

There has been an ongoing war between Waller County and Prairie View over voting rights of its all Black student body since eighteen year olds were given the right to vote, allowing college students to vote where they were enrolled in college. Waller County, home of PVAMU, feared that the Black students votes would affect election outcomes in the predominantly white county.

In 1970 Black students accompanied the only PVAMU student allowed to vote-- he was white! Black students began to fight for their voting rights when the Black students were denied the right to participate in the 1972 presidential election when the County used a form to be filled out only by students whose responses were then used to deny their right to vote. The students sued on the basis of a Fourteenth Amendment violation and won at the Supreme Court-- but that didn't end it.

More attacks were to follow. In 1992 19 students were indicted for illegally participating in general elections. The charges were subsequently dropped. More skirmishes followed in 2004- 2006, when Sheila Jackson Lee had to intervene, and again in 2008 when 3,000 registered voters at PVAMU were informed that the only early voting station was to be located 30 miles from the school. The students have won each battle including this last one. Waller County has announced that no further paperwork will be required from the students. The complete history can be found here.

And if the name Prairie View A & M sounds familiar, that is because it's where Sandra Bland was heading for a new job when her life was abruptly cut short. She died in police custody after being jailed for a traffic stop and kept in jail for days when she couldn't make bail. The street leading to the college is now named after her.

Goal ThermometerAs Democrats continue to rake in online donations surpassing the fundraising of their Republican rivals and Paul Ryan continues his triage, leaving many Republican candidates with no party support, help is on the way. Sheldon Adelson is using millions of his one billion dollar savings from Trump's tax bill to fund attack ads against Democratic candidates. Much of the money is going to attack Randy Bryce in Wisconsin. He drove Paul Ryan out of the race and is facing a Ryan clone in November. Wisconsin is very much in play with incumbent Governor Scott Walker trailing his opponent, Democrat Tony Evers, in the latest polls. Much of Adelson's money, laundered through Ryan's sleazy SuperPAC, has been spent attacking minority Democratic candidates.

Republicans running for Congress in the 25 districts Hillary Clinton won are further endangered by Trump's recent campaigning which concentrates only on riling up his base. The Atlantic predicts that Democrats will definitely pick up 15 seats with another 5 likely and the others still in play. Between 60-88 seats could flip in November if Democrats can get their voters to the polls. One seat that Democrats were counting on may go to Republicans, as Donna Shalala trails her opponent in Florida even as other women are leading. And will Heidi Heidkamp pull off another upset in North Dakota and retain her seat? Polls continue to predict Democrats will take the House while Republicans will keep the Senate but Democrats have a chance to take the Senate if Heidkamp wins and they pick up seats in Arizona and Nevada. And then there's Beto in Texas.

And in Georgia, where we reported on voter suppression yesterday by candidate for governor AND Secretary of State Brian Kemp, voter outrage is growing and his Democratic opponent Stacy Abrams is calling for Kemp to step down as all other Secretaries of State have done in the past when they ran for office.

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