Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Primaries-- Against Long Island Incumbents


Yesterday we took a look at some of the prospective 2020 Democratic congressional primaries in New York City, based on a NY Times piece by Shane Goldmacher. I promised to finish up today with a look at the two possible Long Island primaries. I'll describe both. NY-03 is the North Shore district that starts in Suffolk County around Kings Park and Commack, heads west through Huntington, and into Nassau County towns like Oyster Bay, Hicksville, Glen Cove and Great Neck, winding up in northeast Queens (Douglaston and Beechhurst) ending at Alexandria Ocasio's district. It's a pretty affluent district (3rd wealthiest in the country with a $101,695 medium income) and a D+1 PVI. Obama won twice and Hillary beat Trump 51.6% to 45.5%. The district is 73% white, 13% Asian, 9% Latino and 3% Black. It's Steve Israel's old district and the current congressman, Tom Suozzi, is the former Nassau County Executive.

In 2016, when Israel retired, Suozzi decisively won a crowded primary and went on to beat Republican Jack Martins 53-47%. In 2018, there was no primary challenger and Suozzi has no problem in the general, beating Republican Dan DeBono 157,456 (59%) to 109,514 (41%).

Unlike Israel, Suozzi didn't join the ultra-reactionary Blue Dogs. Instead he signed up with the less reactionary New Dems. Goldmacher highlights his membership in the "bipartisan [albeit misleadingly named] Problem Solvers Caucus," and explains that he "has angered progressive activists, including on immigration, after he went on Fox and Friends last summer to embrace 'some physical structures on the border' and defend the Immigration and Customs and Enforcement agency. This is ironic, single Suozzi-- despite his conservatism some things, is pretty much considered a super-star when it comes to progressive immigration policy.

In 1994, as Mayor of Glen Cove, Suozzi created one of the first day laborer centers on the East Coast. When he was honored by the New York Immigration Coalition (for creating an environment of welcome and inclusion for immigrants in Nassau County) in 2011, he told the audience that "Those men who were standing on the street corner looking for work back in 1994 are the same men who now have their own businesses as landscapers and contractors. They have bought their own homes. Their children are now going to the same public schools as my children. They are living the American Dream... What ICE officials were doing [massive raids] was wrong. [He asked the audience to put themselves in the place of immigrant children] "who saw ICE come bursting through the door in the middle of the night, some of them carrying shotguns, to take away members of their family. Do you think that child will ever trust law enforcement again? This issue has become an excuse for racism in this country and we have to constantly work to persuade people that we are talking about human beings and their lives. We have a lot more work to do together. We have a lot of people to convince."

So... someone may want to primary Suozzi for being too conservative or not progressive enough... but immigration is the wrong issue. And so is anything to do with Climate Change. He quickly offered to co-sponsor AOC's GreenNewDeal resolution.

Goldmacher asserts that "some on the left have encouraged Robert Zimmerman, a D.N.C. member who lives in the district and once ran for Congress in the early 1980s, to challenge Mr. Suozzi from the left. Zimmerman, 64, did not rule out a run as he slammed Mr. Suozzi as a 'Trump sympathizer' in an interview. 'I understand it’s unusual,' Mr. Zimmerman said of a party official attacking his local congressman. 'It’s more unusual to have a member not stand up for mainstream Democratic principles.' Friends and relatives of mine in the district laughed at the idea of Zimmerman being encouraged by "some on the left." One told me that whatever I may think of Suozzi, Zimmerman is just an opportunist and careerist hack with nothing to offer.

South of Suozzi's district is Kathleen Rice's-- NY-04. It's where I grew up (Valley Stream and then Roosevelt) and it's entirely within Nassau County. It goes from Westbury, Garden City, Mineola and Floral Park through Hempstead, Freeport, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook and East Roackaway down to Jones Beach, Long Beach and the Five Towns. The PVI is D+4 and Obama and Hillary both won by low double digits. It's the 14th most affluent congressional district in America. Demographically it's 60.5% white, 17.7% Latino, 14% Black and 6% Asian.

Rice was always a very right-wing Democrat who made a career by prosecuting poor people. She's been a horrible careerist and Wall Street shill for her whole career and a nightmare New Dem in Congress. There are several Democrats considering primary challenges. Goldmacher wrote that "Kevan Abrahams, the Democratic leader in the Nassau County Legislature who lost a primary to Ms. Rice in 2014, is considering running again," but he's one of many.
Jay Jacobs, the incoming chairman of the New York Democratic Party, acknowledged that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s success had emboldened potential challengers. But he noted that the primary rules in New York have changed since 2018, when it was the only state in America to hold a separate state and congressional elections, driving down turnout to abysmal lows. Plus, incumbents won't be “caught sleeping.”

“It’s going to be a real fight,” Mr. Jacobs said. “And in a real fight, my money is with the incumbents.”
No doubt Jacobs' money is with the incumbents.

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Americans Are Asked What The Biggest Threats Are To The U.S. And Trump Tops The List


Along with a poll released yesterday, Gallup noted that 35% of Americans "name the government, poor leadership or politicians as the greatest problem facing the U.S. This is the highest percentage Gallup has recorded for this concern... 11% specifically citing Trump as the most important problem (5% name the Democrats or liberals and 1% Congress). When asked to name the #1 biggest problem for the country, this is how it came out in the wash:
The government/Poor leadership- 35%
Immigration- 19%
Healthcare- 6%
Race relations/Racism- 5%
Unifying the country- 4%
Poverty/Hunger/Homelessness- 4%
Environment/Pollution- 3%
Ethics/Moral/Religious/Family decline-3%
Federal budget deficit/Federal debt- 3%
Economy in general- 3%
Unemployment/Jobs- 3%
Lack of respect for each other- 2%
Education- 2%

As we approach the heart of tax season, the mood of the country is getting surly and more surly. It's not what the Trump regime and their lickspittles in Congress were expecting. Reporting for HuffPo, Arthur Delaney wrote that "Republicans boasted all last year that their new tax law boosted paychecks and showered bonuses on several million workers. But now that tax season is upon us, several million Americans are getting a nasty surprise: a bill from the Internal Revenue Service that they never expected."

Many people who had less in federal taxes withheld from the paychecks last year are having to pay for it-- and then some-- in surprise demands from the IRS, demands as much as 5 times more than what they thought they had saved because of the Republican Tax Scam! Two reasons: the Republicans purposely limited deductions that would hurt tax payers in blue states like New York, California, New Jersey and Massachusetts, Hawaii, Minnesota, Connecticut, Vermont, Illinois, Oregon-- and is also hitting Iowa and Wisconsin hard. Voters responded last year by defeating 7 of the 14 California members of Congress from California. All but one of New Jersey's red congressional districts flipped. Iowa went from 1 Democrat and 3 Republicans in their delegation to 1 Republican and 3 Democrats. 2 Red seats flipped in Minnesota and in Illinois and 3 flipped in New York. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Hawaii went into the election already Republican-frei.

The average refund is down 8.7% so far this year. "By capping deductions for state and local taxes," explained Delaney, "Republicans knew the tax hikes in their law would be concentrated on states with high taxes-- which tend to be led by Democrats, who use the taxes to provide more social services." Republican voters in Wisconsin and Iowa are "collateral damage." And although Wisconsin is gerrymandered enough to protect Republican legislators, every single Republican running statewide in the Badger state was defeated in 2018.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

Given the incremental fascism that American voters have been choosing over the past many decades, a complete fascist in the White House was inevitable. Over the years, the waters pushed and pushed against the dike. Now the tsunami has come and its name is a madman named Trump. If we accept Trump and do nothing, the next crazy will not just be putting kids in cages, he'll be cooking and eating them like Idi Amin. The country will be completely done by then, though.

As a whole, we have repeatedly accepted whatever we have gotten, so now we have a cheap, impulsive, petulant central casting mobster/dictator masquerading as a president in the greatest show on Earth. He's doing so with the full support of our other elected officials and their Wall Street masters; in even worse cases, their Moscow masters. Moscow Masters. Has a certain ring to it, doesn't it? Trump and his White House staff and cabinet aren't the only vile traitors in our midst. One need look no further than Mitch McConnell but if you do, you'll find he is only a capo in the game. Wise Guys and Made Men abound. A few women, too. How modern.

Now, Trump has thrown one of his tiny gauntlets in our faces. He wants to be all powerful and has decided to test his limits, much like the small, spoiled, tantrum-throwing child that he is. How did the child get that way? No one ever said "No!" to him. Now, he has declared a national emergency, a national emergency that he arrogantly admits that he doesn't really need to declare. He wants to see how much he can get away with in going around Congress and subverting the Constitution. His cult cheers him on, as does his TV channel. His party takes Putin's cash and keeps their silence, for obvious reasons. And the rest of us?

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Can Trump's Phony Emergency Declaration Be Stopped?


A new poll from YouGov for HuffPo taken last week showed that most registered voters oppose Trump's fake emergency, 57-39%. Among independents, 30% approve and 55% disapprove. So what's next?

The House-- 235 Democrats and 197 Republicans-- will pass a resolution of disapproval-- which can't be blocked by McTurtle. The national emergency law requires the Senate to take up the resolution within 18 days of the House passing it. But would a Republican-majority Senate pass it?

We'll get to that in a moment. Are there House Dems who would vote against the resolution? And are there Republicans who would vote for it? Probably and yes. The likeliest Democrats to cross the aisle on a high-profile vote like this are hard-core right-wing Blue Dogs. The two worst in the House are Jeff Van Drew (NJ) and Joe Cunningham (SC). I'm not certain who else would dare but maybe Kendra Horn (OK), Elaine Luria (VA), Anthony Brindisi (NY), Daniel Lipinski (IL) and Stephanie Murphy (FL).

On the other side, there are probably more Republicans who want to be seen as not backing Trump on this unconstitutional declaration. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) would be a sure NO. Justin Amash MI) will make a decision based on constitutionality, which Tom Massie (KY) may do as well. Other Republicans I would watch closely include 5 New Yorkers--John Katko, Elise Stefanik, Peter King, Tom Reed and Lee Zeldin. Then there are some Republicans in very close races coming up in which independents will decide whether or not they will have another term in Congress: Fred Upton (MI), Greg Walden (OR), Chris Smith (NJ), Rodney Davis (IL), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), Tom McClintock (CA) and Brian Mast (FL).

In the Senate, there are 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats and the resolution can't be filibustered-- so just 4 Republican defections would pass it... or at least a net of 4 Republicans. That caveat is there because it isn't unlikely that two Democrats, Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) will vote against it. If both do, the Dems will need 6 Republicans. 8 Republicans have already said they oppose the declaration:
Susan Collins (ME)
Lamar Alexander (TN)
Rand Paul (KY)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Marco Rubio (FL)
Thom Tillis (NC)
Pat Toomey (PA)
Ben Sasse (NE)
Just because these Republicans say they oppose the declaration doesn't mean they will vote with the Democrats. Look at the record of Sasse, Rubio and Rand Paul, for example, making noise and then folding and sticking with Trump at the first sign of trouble. But... there are several other Republicans who have serious doubts and could vote no. The senators who have already gone on record that they agree with Trump and think he made the right decision: Mike Braun (IN), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Bill Cassidy (LA), Kevin Cramer (ND), Mike Crapo (ID), Steve Daines (MT), Nan Fischer (NE), Lindsey Graham (SC), Josh Hawley (MO), John Hoeven (ND), James Inhofe (OK), John Kennedy (LA), McTurtle (KY), David Perdue (GA), James Risch (ID), Rick Scott (FL), Tim Scott (SC), Richard Shelby (AL). Everybody else, in theory, is up for grabs. Cory Gardner (CO) is a maybe. So are John Cornyn (TX), Ron Johnson (WI), Mike Lee (UT), Mitt Romney (UT) , Pat Roberts (KS) and Martha McSally (AZ). Hey imagine if McSally votes against the state of emergency and Sinema votes for it!

If it passes, Trump will veto it-- at least according to Steven Miller Sunday. Then the Senate would need 67 votes to override. That seems like quite a stretch, especially if Sinema and Manchin stick with Trump.

Meanwhile 16 states are suing Trump over his emergency declaration-- California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia.

California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra: "Today, on Presidents Day, we take President Trump to court to block his misuse of presidential power... [Trump] is willing to manipulate the Office of the Presidency to engage in unconstitutional theatre performed to convince his audience that he is committed to his 'beautiful' border wall. We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states... Unlawful southern border entries are at their lowest point in 20 years, immigrants are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes, and illegal drugs are more likely to come through official ports of entry."

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Cleaning Up After Trump Is Going To Be A Full-Time Job-- He Really Does Need To Be Impeached So America Can Move Forward


Today's NY Times exposé by Mark Mazzetti, Maggie Haberman, Nicholas Fandos and Michael Schmidt would be the most shocking thing to read about a White House occupant at any time in history... before 2016. Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him reads like a crime thriller or a spy thriller. It's way too long for Trump to read or to even have it read to him. Will someone in the White House do a coloring book version? Will Ivanka condense it down to half a page? There are pictures... and a chart. Actually I'm going to try to do that for Ivanka since I'm sure she's busy with... whatever she does.

Matthew Whitaker, who has privately told associates that part of his role at the Justice Department was to "jump on a grenade" for Señor Trumpanzee, said he wouldn't be able to grant his boss' wish of putting one of his cronies Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of NY, in charge of the escalating investigation of all (criminal) things Trump. So... Trump quickly "soured on Mr. Whitaker, as he often does with his aides, and complained about his inability to pull levers at the Justice Department that could make the president’s many legal problems go away." Another in a long list of Trumpy-the-Clown attempts to obstruct justice thwarted!

The Times team makes the point that Trump’s very public war against the Putin-Gate investigation has been almost normalized, "Trump," they wrote "rages almost daily to his 58 million Twitter followers that it's all a treasonous witch hunt against him. That's the public face. But there have been some less public aspects to Trump's attempts to obstruct justice as well-- the basis for this latest exposé, fusing strands that reveal "an extraordinary story of a president who has attacked the law enforcement apparatus of his own government like no other president in history, and who has turned the effort into an obsession."

It is a public relations strategy as much as a legal strategy-- a campaign to create a narrative of a president hounded by his “deep state” foes. The new Democratic majority in the House, and the prospect of a wave of investigations on Capitol Hill this year, will test whether the strategy shores up Mr. Trump’s political support or puts his presidency in greater peril. The president has spent much of his time venting publicly about there being “no collusion” with Russia before the 2016 election, which has diverted attention from a growing body of evidence that he has tried to impede the various investigations.

...It was Feb. 14, 2017, and Mr. Trump and his advisers were in the Oval Office debating how to explain the resignation of Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, the previous night. Mr. Flynn, who had been a top campaign adviser to Mr. Trump, was under investigation by the F.B.I. for his contacts with Russians and secret foreign lobbying efforts for Turkey.

The Justice Department had already raised questions that Mr. Flynn might be subject to blackmail by the Russians for misleading White House officials about the Russian contacts, and inside the White House there was a palpable fear that the Russia investigation could consume the early months of a new administration.

As the group in the Oval Office talked, one of Mr. Trump’s advisers mentioned in passing what Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, then the speaker of the House, had told reporters-- that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Flynn to resign.

It was unclear where Mr. Ryan had gotten that information, but Mr. Trump seized on Mr. Ryan’s words. “That sounds better,” the president said, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. Mr. Trump turned to the White House press secretary at the time, Sean Spicer, who was preparing to brief the news media.

“Say that,” Mr. Trump ordered.

But was that true, Mr. Spicer pressed.

“Say that I asked for his resignation,” Mr. Trump repeated.

The president appeared to have little concern about what he told the public about Mr. Flynn’s departure, and he quickly warmed to the new narrative. The episode was among the first of multiple ham-handed efforts by the president to carry out a dual strategy: publicly casting the Russia story as an overblown hoax and privately trying to contain the investigation’s reach.

“This Russia thing is all over now because I fired Flynn,” Mr. Trump said over lunch that day, according to a new book by Chris Christie, a former New Jersey governor and a longtime Trump ally.

Mr. Christie was taken aback. “This Russia thing is far from over,” Mr. Christie wrote that he told Mr. Trump, who responded: “What do you mean? Flynn met with the Russians. That was the problem. I fired Flynn. It’s over.”

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who was also at the lunch, chimed in, according to Mr. Christie’s book: “That’s right, firing Flynn ends the whole Russia thing.”

As Mr. Trump was lunching with Mr. Christie, lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office met with Mr. Spicer about what he should say from the White House podium about what was a sensitive national security investigation. But when Mr. Spicer’s briefing began, the lawyers started hearing numerous misstatements-- some bigger than others-- and ended up compiling them all in a memo.

The lawyers’ main concern was that Mr. Spicer overstated how exhaustively the White House had investigated Mr. Flynn and that he said, wrongly, that administration lawyers had concluded there were no legal issues surrounding Mr. Flynn’s conduct.

Mr. Spicer later told people he stuck to talking points that he was given by the counsel’s office, and that White House lawyers expressed concern only about how he had described the thoroughness of the internal inquiry into Mr. Flynn. The memo written by the lawyers said that Mr. Spicer was presented with a longer list of his misstatements. The White House never publicly corrected the record.

Later that day, Mr. Trump confronted the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, in the Oval Office. The president told him that Mr. Spicer had done a great job explaining how the White House had handled the firing. Then he asked Mr. Comey to end the F.B.I.’s investigation into Mr. Flynn, and that Mr. Flynn was a good guy.

Mr. Comey responded, according to a memo he wrote at the time, that Mr. Flynn was indeed a good guy. But he said nothing about ending the F.B.I. investigation.

By March, Mr. Trump was in a rage that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, had recused himself from the Russia inquiry because investigators were looking into the campaign, of which Mr. Sessions had been a part. Mr. Trump was also growing increasingly frustrated with Mr. Comey, who refused to say publicly that the president was not under investigation.

Mr. Trump finally fired Mr. Comey in May. But the president and the White House gave conflicting accounts of their reasoning for the dismissal, which only served to exacerbate the president’s legal exposure.

A week after the firing, the New York Times disclosed that the president had asked Mr. Comey to end the Flynn investigation. The next day, the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, appointed Mr. Mueller, a Republican, as special counsel.

Instead of ending the Russia investigation by firing Mr. Comey, Mr. Trump had drastically raised the stakes.

Mr. Mueller’s appointment fueled Mr. Trump’s anger and what became increasingly reckless behavior-- triggering a string of actions over the summer of 2017 that could end up as building blocks in a case by Congress that the president engaged in a broad effort to thwart the investigation.

On Twitter and in news media interviews, Mr. Trump tried to pressure investigators and undermine the credibility of potential witnesses in the Mueller investigation.

He directed much of his venom at Mr. Sessions, who had recused himself in March from overseeing the Russia investigation because of contacts he had during the election with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

The president humiliated Mr. Sessions at every turn, and stunned Washington when he said during an interview with The Times that he never would have named Mr. Sessions attorney general if he had known Mr. Sessions would step aside from the investigation.

...One of Mr. Trump’s lawyers also reached out that summer to the attorneys for two of his former aides-- Paul J. Manafort and Mr. Flynn-- to discuss possible pardons. The discussions raised questions about whether the president was willing to offer pardons to influence their decisions about whether to plead guilty and cooperate in the Mueller investigation.

The president even tried to fire Mr. Mueller himself, a move that could have brought an end to the investigation. Just weeks after Mr. Mueller’s appointment, the president insisted that he ought to be fired because of perceived conflicts of interest. Mr. Trump’s White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, who would have been responsible for carrying out the order, refused and threatened to quit.

The president eventually backed off.

Gaetz grabs a selfie with Trumpanzee

Sitting in the Delta Sky Lounge during a layover in Atlanta’s airport in July 2017, Representative Matt Gaetz, a first-term Republican from the Florida Panhandle, decided it was time to attack. Mr. Gaetz, then 35, believed that the president’s allies in Congress needed a coordinated strategy to fight back against an investigation they viewed as deeply unfair and politically biased.

He called Representative Gym Jordan, a conservative Republican from Ohio, and told him the party needed “to go play offense,” Mr. Gaetz recalled in an interview.

The two men believed that Republican leaders, who publicly praised the appointment of Mr. Mueller, had been beaten into a defensive crouch by the unending chaos and were leaving Democrats unchecked to “pistol whip” the president with constant accusations about his campaign and Russia.

So they began to investigate the investigators. Mr. Trump and his lawyers enthusiastically encouraged the strategy, which, according to some polls, convinced many Americans that the country’s law enforcement apparatus was determined to bring down the president.

Within days of their conversation, Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Jordan drafted a letter to Mr. Sessions and Mr. Rosenstein, the first call for the appointment of a second special counsel to essentially reinvestigate Hillary Clinton for her handling of her emails while secretary of state-- the case had ended in the summer of 2016-- as well as the origins of the F.B.I.’s investigation of Mr. Flynn and other Trump associates.

The letter itself, with the signatures of only 20 House Republicans, gained little traction at first. But an important shift was underway: At a time when Mr. Trump’s lawyers were urging him to cooperate with Mr. Mueller and tone down his Twitter feed, the president’s fiercest allies in Congress and the conservative media were busy trying to flip the script on the federal law enforcement agencies and officials who began the inquiry into Mr. Trump’s campaign.

Gym Jordan and Trump, a match made in GOP Heaven

Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Jordan began huddling with like-minded Republicans, sometimes including Representative Mark Meadows, a press-savvy North Carolinian close to Mr. Trump, and Representative Devin Nunes of California, the head of the House Intelligence Committee.

Mr. Nunes, the product of a dairy farming family in California’s Central Valley, had already emerged as one of Mr. Trump’s strongest allies in Congress. He worked closely with Mr. Flynn during the Trump transition after the 2016 election, and he had a history of battling the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies, which he sometimes accused of coloring their analysis for partisan reasons. In the spring of 2017, he sought to bolster Mr. Trump’s false claim that President Barack Obama had ordered an illegal wiretap on Trump Tower.

Using Congress’s oversight powers, the Republican lawmakers succeeded in doing what Mr. Trump could not realistically do on his own: forcing into the open some of the government’s most sensitive investigative files-- including secret wiretaps and the existence of an F.B.I. informant-- which were part of the Russia inquiry. House Republicans opened investigationsinto the F.B.I.’s handling of the Clinton email case and a debunked Obama-era uranium deal indirectly linked to Mrs. Clinton. The lawmakers got a big assist from the Justice Department, which gave them private text messages recovered from two senior F.B.I. officials who had been on the Russia case. The officials-- Peter Strzok and Lisa Page-- repeatedly criticized Mr. Trump in their texts, which were featured in a loop on Fox News and became a centerpiece of an evolving and powerful conservative narrative about a cabal inside the F.B.I. and Justice Department to take down Mr. Trump.

The president cheered the lawmakers on Twitter, in interviews and in private, urging Mr. Gaetz on Air Force One in December 2017 and in subsequent phone calls to keep up the House Republicans’ oversight work. He was hoping for fair treatment from Mr. Mueller, Mr. Trump told Mr. Gaetz in one of the calls just after the congressman appeared on Fox News, but that did not preclude him from encouraging his allies’ scrutiny of the investigation.

Later, when Mr. Nunes produced a memo alleging that the F.B.I. had abused its authority in spying on a former Trump campaign associate, Carter Page, Mr. Trump called Mr. Nunes a “Great American hero.”(The F.B.I. said it had “grave concerns” about the memo’s accuracy.)

The president became an active participant in the campaign. He repeatedly leaned on administration officials on behalf of the lawmakers-- urging Mr. Rosenstein and other law enforcement leaders to flout procedure and share sensitive materials about the ongoing case with Congress. As president, Mr. Trump has ultimate authority over information that passes through the government, but his interventions were unusual.

By the spring of 2018, Mr. Nunes zeroed in on new targets. In one case, he threatened to hold Mr. Rosenstein in contempt of Congress or even try to impeach him if the documents he wanted were not turned over, including the file used to open the Russia case. In another, he pressed the Justice Department for sensitive information about a trusted F.B.I. informant used in the Russia investigation, a Cambridge professor named Stefan Halper-- even as intelligence officials said that the release of the information could damage relationships with important allies.

...Gaetz makes no apologies.

“Do I think it’s right that our work in the Congress has aided in the president’s defense?” he asked, before answering his own question.

“Yeah, I think it is right.”

Ultimately, his strategy was successful in softening the ground for a shift in the president’s legal strategy-- away from relatively quiet cooperation with Mr. Mueller’s investigators and toward a targeted and relentless frontal attack on their credibility and impartiality.

Last April, Mr. Trump hired Rudolph W. Giuliani, his longtime friend and a famously combative former mayor of New York, as his personal lawyer and ubiquitous television attack dog. A new war had begun.

In jettisoning his previous legal team-- which had counseled that Mr. Trump should cooperate with the investigation-- the president decided to combine a legal strategy with a public-relations campaign in an aggressive effort to undermine the credibility of both Mr. Mueller and the Justice Department.

Mr. Mueller was unlikely to indict Mr. Trump, the president’s advisers believed, so the real danger to his presidency was impeachment-- a political act that Congress would probably only carry out only with broad public support. If Mr. Mueller’s investigation could be discredited, then impeachment might be less likely.

Months of caustic presidential tweets and fiery television interviews by Mr. Giuliani unfolded. The former mayor accused Mr. Mueller, without evidence, of bias and ignoring facts to carry out an anti-Trump agenda. He called one of Mr. Mueller’s top prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann, a “complete scoundrel.”

Behind the scenes, Mr. Giuliani was getting help from a curious source: Kevin Downing, the lawyer for Paul Manafort, who had been the president’s 2016 campaign chairman. Mr. Manafort had agreed to cooperate with the special counsel after being convicted of financial crimes in an attempt to lessen a potentially lengthy prison sentence. Mr. Downing shared details about prosecutors’ lines of questioning, Mr. Giuliani admitted late last year.

It was a highly unusual arrangement-- the lawyer for a cooperating witness providing valuable information to the president’s lawyer at a time when his client remained in the sights of the special counsel’s prosecutors. The arrangement angered Mr. Mueller’s investigators, who questioned what Mr. Manafort was trying to gain from the arrangement.

The attacks on the Mueller investigation appeared to have an effect. Last summer, polling showeda 14-point uptick in the percentage of Americans polled who disapproved of how Mr. Mueller was handling the inquiry. “Mueller is now slightly more distrusted than trusted, and Trump is a little ahead of the game,” Mr. Giuliani said during an interview in August.

“So I think we’ve done really well,” Mr. Giuliani added. “And my client’s happy.”

But Mr. Giuliani and his client had a serious problem, which they were slow to comprehend.

In April the F.B.I. raided the Manhattan office and residences of Mr. Cohen-- the president’s lawyer and fixer-- walking off with business records, emails and other documents dating back years. At first, Mr. Trump wasn’t concerned.

The president told advisers that Mr. Rosenstein assured him at the time that the Cohen investigation had nothing to do with him. In the president’s recounting, Mr. Rosenstein told him that the inquiry in New York was about Mr. Cohen’s business dealings, it did not involve the president and was not about Russia. Since then, Mr. Trump has asked his advisers if Mr. Rosenstein was deliberately misleading him to keep him calm.

Mr. Giuliani initially portrayed Mr. Cohen as “honest,” and Mr. Trump praised him publicly. But Mr. Cohen soon told prosecutors in New York how Mr. Trump had ordered him during the 2016 campaign to buy the silence of women who claimed they had sex with the president. In a separate bid for leniency, Mr. Cohen told Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors about Mr. Trump’s participation in negotiations during the height of the presidential campaign to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Mr. Trump was now battling twin investigations that seemed to be moving ever close to him. And Mr. Cohen, once the president’s fiercest defender, was becoming his chief tormentor.

In a court appearance in August, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty and told a judge that Mr. Trump had ordered him to arrange the payments to the women, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. Mr. Cohen’s descriptions of the president’s actions made Mr. Trump, in effect, an unindicted co-conspirator and raised the prospect of the president being charged after he leaves office. Representative Jerrold Nadler, the New York Democrat who in January became the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the matter, said the implied offense was probably impeachable.

The president struck back, launching a volley of tweets that savaged Mr. Cohen and his family-- insinuating that Mr. Cohen’s father-in-law had engaged in unexamined criminal activity. He called Mr. Cohen a “rat.” The messages infuriated Democratic lawmakers, who claimed the president was trying to threaten and intimidate a witness ahead of testimony Mr. Cohen planned before Congress.

“He’s only been threatened by the truth,” the president responded.

As the prosecutors closed in, Mr. Trump felt a more urgent need to gain control of the investigation.

He made the call to Mr. Whitaker to see if he could put Mr. Berman in charge of the New York investigation. The inquiry is run by Robert Khuzami, a career prosecutor who took over after Mr. Berman, whom Mr. Trump appointed, recused himself because of a routine conflict of interest.

What exactly Mr. Whitaker did after the call is unclear, but there is no evidence that he took any direct steps to intervene in the Manhattan investigation. He did, however, tell some associates at the Justice Department that the prosecutors in New York required “adult supervision.”

Second, Mr. Trump moved on to a new attorney general, William P. Barr, whom Mr. Trump nominated for the job in part because of a memo Mr. Barr wrote last summer making a case that a sitting American president cannot be charged with obstruction of justice for acts well within his power-- like firing an F.B.I. director.

A president cannot be found to have broken the law, Mr. Barr argued, if he was exercising his executive powers to fire subordinates or use his “complete authority to start or stop a law enforcement proceeding.”

The memo might have ingratiated Mr. Barr to his future boss, but Mr. Barr is also respected among the rank and file in the Justice Department. Many officials there hope he will try to change the Trump administration’s combative tone toward the department as well as the F.B.I.

Whether it is too late is another question. Mr. Trump's language, and allegations of “deep state” excesses, are now embedded in the political conversation, used as a cudgel by the president’s supporters.

This past December, days before Mr. Flynn was to be sentenced for lying to the F.B.I., his lawyers wrote a memo to the judge suggesting that federal agents had tricked the former national security adviser into lying. The judge roundly rejected that argument, and on sentencing day he excoriated Mr. Flynn for his crimes.

The argument about F.B.I. trickery did, however, appear to please the one man who holds great power over Mr. Flynn’s future-- the constitutional power to pardon.

“Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn,” Mr. Trump tweeted cheerily on the morning of the sentencing.

Yeah... couldn't do the synopsis version for Ivanka the way I planned. Too much important stuff here. And Saudi Arabia... that's a very big deal on top of all this. We'll have to get more into that one. I'd trust Ro to make sure everyone in the country understands exactly with Trump and his little cabal have been up to with the Saudis.

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Politics Putinesca-- Why Republicans Love the New Russia


-by Dorothy Reik

Democrats don't understand why Republicans aren't worried about Russian interference in America and in other western democracies we used to call our allies-- so let me explain: Russia is no longer communist. It is a fascist kleptocracy the likes of which Lewis Powell envisioned back in 1971. A country where corporate oligarchs rule and elections are a foregone conclusion-- where opposing candidates are jailed or worse. He wrote his memorandum at a time when corporations were frightened by the upheaval of the sixties, and he envisioned a future of corporate control from the campuses to the media to the White House itself-- a vision which the Republican Party whores directed by their whoremeisters-- the Kochs, the Waltons, et al-- have been working towards ever since. In Russia the "government" has no power. The country is ruled by kleptocratic oligarchs who run the companies that control the government, such as it is, and who operate as a Mafia which is probably why Manafort is content to die in the relative safety of an American jail rather than be tortured to death like Serge Magnitsky. In Russia, the Mafia is the real government and that is what Republicans are trying to accomplish here.

If Russia can help the Republican Party suppress the vote of Democrats, that is an outcome to be aided and applauded. The Republican Party is happy to approve judges who will help the process along. And while they are suppressing the vote - remember the Voting Rights Act was gutted BEFORE Trump was elected-- if they can install judges who will advance White Supremacy, weaken the rights of women and minorities, and close our borders to Black and Brown people, so much the better. They use ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) to write laws which are given to Republicans tools, "elected" in gerrymandered districts, to pass - laws which let these same corporations donate unlimited money to elect these puppet legislators and keep them in power. They use their Senators to approve judges who will advance their agenda while their entire Congress passes laws that deny rights to minorities, women and LBGTQI citizens, and both the judges and Congress dnable the atrocities taking place on our Southern border and in visa offices all over the world where desperate people are denied entry into the US because of their religion. If the Republicans get their way soon these refugees will look elsewhere and our country will suffer mightily.

Russia is the model. Russia is white as white can be and to make it better the Russian Orthodox Church is the only accepted religion. Beating homosexuals is accepted practice-- except if they are American figure skaters! Our corporate masters would make Christianity (tolerating Judaism as needed to advance the apocalypse) the state religion. One of Trump's favorite pastors, Robert Jeffress, states that America was founded as a Christian nation:
The founding fathers, Pastor Robert Jeffress told listeners at First Baptist Church Dallas, were predominately Christians who wanted to found a Christian country and believed that "our future success depends on our country being faithful to those eternal truths of God’s will."
This is the America of Lewis Powell whose quote "The day is long past when the chief executive officer of a major corporation discharges his responsibility by maintaining a satisfactory growth of profits, with due regard to the corporation’s public and social responsibilities," is cited by Sheila Kennedy. He had a particular hatred for Ralph Nader, who wanted corporations to stop killing people:

The passion that rules in him-- and he is a passionate man-- is aimed at smashing utterly the target of his hatred, which is corporate power. He thinks, and says quite bluntly, that a great many corporate executives belong in prison-- for defrauding the consumer with shoddy merchandise, poisoning the food supply with chemical additives, and willfully manufacturing unsafe products that will maim or kill the buyer. He emphasizes that he is not talking just about ‘fly-by-night hucksters’ but the top management of blue chip business.
Tom Hayden wrote the Port Huron Statement at about the same time as Powell wrote his Powell Memorandum. Tom saw a democratic, pluralistic, fair and loving future. Powell had a very different view and, sadly, with the Republican whores in the Senate, the White House and the Courts, Powell's vision is prevailing. Greenpeace says Powell wanted corporations to "dominate democracy"-- I would say Powell wanted corporations to destroy it. Don't be fooled by the aroma of that pasta! Be careful where it leads you!

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2020 Primary Challenges Could Get Pretty Ugly-- No, No... They Will Be Ugly For Sure


No one can put the Ocasio-Crowley primary in a box and sell it in other districts

Last week the New York Times published a lazy piece by Shane Goldmacher, The Ocasio-Cortez Effect: Wave of Challenges Hits Entrenched N.Y. Democrats, that defines superficial reporting. It should be lost on no one that Ocasio Cortez's stunning and successful campaign against New York's ultimate congressional insider ("the next speaker of the House"), Queens County machine boss, Joe Crowley, was utterly missed-- if not purposefully ignored-- by her hometown paper. Perhaps they're making a half-assed attempt to make up for it by covering some generally non-existent primaries in the area. "Half assed" is better described as quarter-assed... if that. The first sentence may be correct-- let's hope: "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be just the beginning." But Goldmacher goes nowhere from the correct way to begin his piece.

Blue America has been involved, on one level or another, in every successful Democratic primary against a conservative incumbent since 2006-- Donna Edwards, Beto, Matt Cartwright, AOC... We have also been involved on a ton of them that haven't been successful. If I've learned one thing it's that they succeed when a determined and capable challenger (very, very hard to find, let alone invent) takes on an easily-defined villain with an established bad record. That was certainly the case with Edwards in Maryland, Beto in Texas, Cartwright in Pennsylvania and Ocasio Cortez in New York. Each of them is an extremely talented and charismatic politician and each ran against a corrupt, out-of-touch conservative who was supported fully by an establishment generally loathed by the grassroots.

Goldmacher generally neglected to look at any of that and instead spouts irrelevant nonsense like "Party insurgents are plotting and preparing to battle with the entrenched establishment-- targeting as many as a half-dozen Congress members in and around New York City-- over what it means to be a Democrat and a progressive in the age of President Trump. The coming New York uprising could result in a series of races that lay bare some of the same generational, racial, gender and ideological cleavages expected to define the 2020 presidential primary. The activist left, in particular, hopes that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s victory will inspire a brush fire of Democrat-on-Democrat campaigns that will spread from New York across the nation."

"Party insurgents?" Really? Grass roots activists might be a better way to describe the point he's fumbling towards. As for "generational, racial, gender and ideological cleavages," which worked in Ocasio Cortez's campaign, we'll have to look at each race Goldmacher is reporting to be a potential primary battle. He's certainly right when he claims "serious primary challengers for House seats have historically been rare, and it is almost unheard of for so many to emerge in one region so early in the election cycle." And they haven't emerged, except on the page in the Times his piece was published on.

The first member Goldmacher identifies as a potential target is Jerry Nadler-- who represents a district that includes areas of Manhattan (the Upper West Side, Soho, Chelsea, the Village, the Financial District) and Brooklyn (mostly Borough Park). His super-highly educated Manhattan constituents are not likely to be persuaded he's a villain at all. His ProgressivePunch score is "A" and has always been "A" and his voting record is ranked-- and has always been ranked-- among the 20 most perfect progressive records in Congress. I don't think Nadler or his team ever thought he could be primaried from the left. His last primary was in 2016 when the far right Hassidics who run Borough Park recruited and supported a candidate, Mikhail Oliver Rosenberg, son of a millionaire, to run against Nadler when he voted for the Iran nuclear deal. It looked like if they could order their zombie followers to go out and vote against Nadler-- in what was predicted to be a low-turn-out election, they could pull off an upset. (They even persuaded racist former comedian Jackie Mason to cut a robocall for their candidate.) Instead it was the second highest turn-out primary in the state that year and Mason and the zombies were nowhere to be seen.

Rosenberg fancied himself the new generation (and a part of a strong LGBTQ community) up against an old and tired Nadler. (Nadler has been in the forefront of every pro-gay initiative in his career and gay organizations backed Nadler.) Rosenberg campaigned on a solid green energy platform, on legalizing marijuana, and as an advocate for Israel. 85% of his campaign expenditures ($366,852) came from his own bank account and, like Trump, he claimed he wouldn't be beholden to special interests. Nadler beat Rosenberg in a landslide-- 88.78% to 10.26%.

Goldmacher reports that next year "Nadler could face a primary from Lindsey Boylan, a former economic development adviser to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who appears to want to run on a platform of "I'm a woman and he's not."
She said she was considering a run after watching the 2018 midterms, as “these women decided not to wait their turn because it was never going to be their turn.”

“I just can’t justify having my daughter watch me sit on the sidelines,” she said.

A huge X-factor in any Nadler primary would be the billionaire activist Tom Steyer, who has pushed for the impeachment of Mr. Trump. Mr. Steyer has already polled the popularity of impeachment in the district and is launching a $200,000 direct mail, television and digital ad campaign this week urging Mr. Nadler to begin impeachment hearings in his committee.
Goldmacher identified Tom Suozzi, Eliot Engel, Yvette Clarke, José Serrano, Carolyn Maloney and Kathleen Rice as likely targets. Suozzi, Engel and Rice are New Dems with relatively conservative voting records. Serrano, Maloney and Clarke are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Engel is rumored to be buying his way into the Progressive Caucus so he will be able to use that membership to claim he's progressive. These are the crucial vote scores for all 7 candidates identified in the piece.
Yvette Clarke- 95.88- A
Jerry Nadler- 94.98- A
José Serrano- 93.71- A
Carolyn Maloney- 86.47- C
Eliot Engel- 85.30- C
Kathleen Rice- 63.16- F
Tom Suozzi- 54.05- F
"Not every challenge in New York," wrote Goldmacher, "will be run on ideological grounds. Some will be powered by more local disputes, longstanding grudges or just timely ambition. But for many progressives, the goal is to police the Democratic Party ideologically, much in the way the Tea Party pushed Republicans to the right."
“We are trying to elect more Alexandrias,” said Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats, the insurgent group devoted to recruiting progressive primary challengers nationally. “She is an example of what one victory can do. Imagine what we can do with more primary wins across the country.”

After Mr. Crowley’s defeat almost no one is seen as untouchable.

“They should be afraid,” Maria L. Svart, the national director of the Democratic Socialists of America, which backed Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, said of incumbent House Democrats.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez herself appeared in a promotional video for Justice Democrats and on an organizing call for the group last November during which Saikat Chakrabarti, now her chief of staff, declared, “We gotta primary folks.”
True, but targets should be carefully chosen. It amazes me, for example, that Justice Democrats and DSA have seemingly ignored, at least so far, corrupt New Dem Gregory Meeks. Nadler and Serrano may not be perfect-- but they certainly are in comparison to Meeks, who seems to exist in Congress primarily to collect bribes. A member of the House Financial Services Committee, he's taken $3,665,788 from the Finance Sector, including $564,100 in the last cycle. What's more, Meeks' likely challenger is the ideal candidate for the seat. Khaair Morrison is a 25 year old African-American attorney born and raised in the district, which, he told me yesterday "is ripe for a fresh leadership after having ineffective leadership for 20+ years. Working class neighborhoods like South East Queens, Nassau, Valley Stream, and Far Rockaway have had an up-close seat to the major issues of our time. After Hurricane Sandy, areas are still rebuilding as we see the effects of Global Warming. We were the epicenter for the foreclosure crisis and many have still not able to get their homes back. We see the brutality of broken windows and mass incarceration as our kids are constantly targeted for low-level offenses that ruin opportunities for black and brown lives to be productive members of our society. We have seen how poor infrastructure and lack of planning can ruin a neighborhood's vitality. We have seen the decrepit state of public housing and are still without creative ideas to make housing more equitable. It is time we do things differently and that we speak truth to power." True, that-- and time for a self-serving do-nothing congressman like Meeks to bow out and let a fresh can-do kind of guy like Morrison take the seat.

Meeks is one of the New York congressmembers who Goldmacher was no doubt referring to when he wrote that they "have sought to establish personal or professional bonds with Ocasio-Cortez, signing onto her Green New Deal, for instance-- recognizing the power of her megaphone. In an interview in January, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said she had 'put zero energy' into the question of primarying colleagues. She said the freshman class had 'already changed the opinions and commitments of a lot of incumbent members already. And I think that is something we should absolutely consider.' Whether or not Ms. Ocasio-Cortez gets personally involved, insurgent groups are plowing ahead."

Let me jump to Carolyn Maloney, a difficult target ideologically put perfect for a reformist challenger to take on based on ethics. Her corruption is just mind-boggling, even if her voting record is pretty good. She's not just a member of the House Financial Services Committee, she's the chair of the Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets-- and exploits that to the max in her fundraising efforts. Among current members of the House, only 3 have been bigger Finance Sector money pigs than Maloney. A case can-- and should-- be made that these are the half dozen most corrupt members of Congress, at least in regard to Wall Street banksters, and that they should all be carted off to jail holding tanks before their trials:
Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)- $8,086,692
Steny Hoyer (D-MD)- $6,865,814
Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)- $6,376,379
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)- $6,309,318
Patrick McHenry (R-NC)- $5,627,242
Steve Stivers (R-OH)- $5,620,077
Suraj Patel ran against Maloney in 2018 and may do it again next year. He ought to. NY-12 is a solidly blue district (D+31) that spans Manhattan (Yorkville, the Upper East Side, Midtown, Kips Bay, Gramercy Park, Alphabet City and the Lower East Side), Queens (Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside) and Brooklyn (Greenpoint and north Williamsburg). Interstate 278 separates Maloney's district from Ocasio's in Queens. Of the 251,604 people who voted in 2018, 190,771 were in Manhattan, 35,728 in Queens and 25,105 in Brooklyn. The district has changed-- and rapidly, as Ocasio's had-- and in similar ways. First of all, though not most important per se, the D+27 PVI in 2017 jumped to D+31 in 2019. That's a big jump and it's the other changes that account for it. The white population is smaller but still dominant, though the fastest growing demos are Asians, Latinos, Arabs and-- very significantly-- highly educated and politicized millennials. Patel: "The status quo isn’t good enough. Our values are under attack by leaders that don’t share or understand our lived experiences, and it’s going to take new ideas and louder voices to make real change... We deserve a congressperson who isn’t recklessly indifferent to the less privileged."

Patel ended up with a bit over 40% of the vote, a great accomplishment against a forever incumbent on a first try. Goldmacher interviewed Sean McElwee, who has been involved in finding primary challengers in New York and who was a co-founder of the progressive think tank Data for Progress. McElwee told him that "in deep blue states, Republicans increasingly don’t exist. We spend a lot of time thinking about why we have right-wing corporate Democrats selling out our interests." McElwee told him the push to recruit a challenger to Engel, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee and has been in Congress for three decades (and who represents the Likud Party of Israel and their lobbyists, AIPAC, far more than he does the folks who live in the 16th district (including Riverdale, Fieldston and Eastchester in the Bronx, abutting Ocasio's district, and New Rochelle, Yonkers, Mount Vernon, Mamaroneck, Scarsdale and up to Rye and Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester.

Blue America has been trying to find a local elected official to take Engel on for years, but with not a nibble. McElwee calls finding a primary opponent for him a "top priority" and recently commissioned a poll there. The district used to be overwhelming white but now whites only make up 39% of the population. Blacks, Latinos and Asians make it a minority-majority district. McElwee is eager to find "a younger candidate of color in 2020; only about a half-dozen white Democratic men represent a more diverse district in Congress than Mr. Engel," wrote Goldmacher.
One potential challenger mulling a run is Andom Ghebreghiorgis, a Yale graduate and 33-year-old educator in Mount Vernon, who said that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez "showed there’s a hunger, especially here in New York, for representatives who reflect the changing progressive politics of their communities."

In a statement, Mr. Engel praised the party’s "new energy" and said the fact that anyone can run "is the beauty of our electoral system." But, he added, "think we’re doing the people we represent and the country a disservice by focusing on 2020 primaries when we have so much to do right now in Washington."
Yeah-- but not in NY-16. There are 4 congressmembers who represent parts of the Bronx, Ocasio, Engel, Adriano Espaillat-- a relatively new member, a progressive and a very good fit for the district-- and José Serrano (NY-15) in the center of the borough, in some ways the furthest left district in New York. The PVI is D+44, the bluest in the state and Trump only managed to win 4.9% of the vote in 2016 (slightly better than Romney did, but still Trump's worst performance anywhere in America. Only 2% of the population is white. The last Republican who won this district was Calvin Coolidge in 1924. The Bronx Machine has been eager to take Serrano out for some time but no one wants to run against him. In 2014 his primary opponent, Sam Sloan won 9% of the vote. His 2016 primary opponent, Leonel Baez won 10.8% and in 2018 there was no primary opponent. In the 2018 general election, the Republican candidate was Jason Gonzalez and Serrano beat him 124,469 (96%) to 5,205 (4%). City Councilman Ritchie Torres, a 30-year-old often described as a rising star, is weighing a run based on the whole "it's my turn, you're too old" thing.

Yvette Clarke, who won with only 53%, is facing a rematch with Adem Bunkeddeko, the Harvard-educated son of war Ugandan refugees who had been endorsed by the New York Times. "We’re at a moment of reckoning. Some people get it and some people don’t. Maybe someone’s seventh term is the charm? But most of us aren’t holding our breath." Goldmacher spoke with her and she told him that "she had reorganized her district office following the 2018 close call and is aggressively selling her progressive credentials in the more gentrified and liberal parts of the district, such as Park Slope. 'I definitely will not be caught by surprise.' She has among the dozen most progressive voting records in Congress. Bunkeddeko's point is that she's basically just a backbencher who votes well and doesn't do much for the district.

The last two likely primary races are on Long Island-- Tom Suozzi and Kathleen Rice, both New Dems who are going to be challenged from the left. I'm going to do a separate post on these two races because both are swingy districts that could, at least in theory, flip red if the incumbents are beaten.

UPDATE: Democratic Primary In Arizona

At dawn today, the Arizona Republic reported that Eva Putzova, a former Flagstaff city councilwoman, is running for the AZ-01 seat currently held by reactionary Blue Dog Tom O'Halleran.
Putzova, who announced her candidacy in January, said her top priority in Congress would be to address the process immigrants have to go through to become citizens. She said the current system takes too long and leaves people at the mercy of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers for far too long.

She also wants ICE restructured.

“Nobody is saying that enforcement in immigration is not important, but ICE as an agency is rogue,” she said. “It needs to be completely restructured.”

..."A #GreenNewDeal should be every candidates priority in 2020," she tweeted Feb. 10 in support of the "Green New Deal" environmental plan championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

Her campaign website lists other top issues: universal health care, tuition-free college, indigenous peoples' rights, "meaningful climate action," "no more wars," women's reproductive health and workers' rights.

...O’Halleran, the two-term incumbent, appears to have the support of national Democrats.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently added him to its "Frontline" program.

The DCCC's Frontline program is designed to help provide Democratic members of Congress with the support they need to win re-election. O’Halleran is now one of 44 members of Congress in the program.

Goal Thermometer“Tom O’Halleran wins tough races because he understands the concerns of hard-working Arizonans, and because he never forgot where he came from,” Rep. Cheri Bustos, the 2020 cycle's DCCC chairwoman, said in a written statement.

“We’re proud to stand with Tom as a member of our Frontline program to ensure he has the support he needs to win and keep working for Arizona,” Bustos (Blue Dog-IL) added.
Blue America has already endorsed Eva Putzova and if you'd like to see another member of Congress who supports Bernie's platform replace an "ex"-Republican Blue Dog, please click on the ActBlue Primary A Blue Dog thermometer on the right and contribute what you can.

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