Saturday, February 13, 2016

Another Progressive Congressional Candidate Endorses Bernie


NY-24, the congressional district centered on Syracuse, is one of the 3 bluest districts (D+5) in the entire country represented by a Republican-- thanks in no small part to the deranged insistence from the DCCC that only conservative DINOs should run there. Obama won the district twice, in 2008 with 56% and in 2012 with 57%, and this cycle Blue America has endorsed a sterling progressive, Eric Kingson, founder of SocialSecurityWorks, who, predictably the DCCC is working hard to sabotage and is instead running two hapless establishment picks. Eric has endorsed Bernie for president and his running on the same issues that Bernie is running on. If you want to contribute to Bernie's and Eric's campaigns, you can do so here. We asked Eric to tell us what went into his courageous decision to buck the Democratic Party Machine and back Bernie-- and in Clinton's own upstate New York backyard no less.

Why I Stand With Bernie
-by Eric Kingson
candidate for Congress, NY-24

When the next president of the United States takes the oath of office on January 20, 2017, he or she will be a Democrat.  By then, the nation will have had its fill of the extremist right wing of the Republican Party-- especially of the disrespectful and racist messages of Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz. To be sure, the mean-spiritedness of the Republican Party will have torn at the nation’s fabric, but the ties that hold us together as a free and compassionate people are ultimately too strong to succumb to anti-democratic demagogues.

We Democrats, and the nation, are fortunate to have a choice between two eminently qualified people-- Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both have contributed greatly to our nation.  Both can do the job and lead by appealing to our “better angels.” And like President Obama, they take strong stands, political and personal, against the politics, fear, divisiveness, and disregard for working families and the poor that is so evident among today’s Republican Party.

That said, I strongly and proudly support Bernie Sanders in his campaign to be our next president. Here’s why.

Bernie is igniting the interest and energies of millions of Americans, many of whom have not been previously engaged in politics. We need this at a time when our nation’s political institutions are at risk; when our economic institutions seem to work well only for the rich and powerful, not for hard-working people and families. We need new generations of Americans and older ones, too, not only to care about what is happening in our nation, but, like Bernie’s supporters, to get involved and become vehicles for a better America.

Putting aside the risks posed by Trump and Cruz to our democracy, we will still face the corporate and billionaire domination of our politics and the coordinated efforts of the Republican Party to suppress voting, especially among minority, young, and low-wage workers. Senator Sanders’ campaign is bringing attention to campaign finance. No one can doubt Bernie’s complete opposition to the domination of our politics by corporate interests and money. He refuses to accept campaign contributions from Wall Street and other corporate donors. His campaign is fueled by millions of small donations. Bernie, whose politics were shaped by involvement in the civil rights movement, is no new-comer to voting rights. He’s always been there and will work to expand the voting franchise.

Wall Street doesn’t like Bernie. And they shouldn’t because he’s the real thing.  When he talks about breaking up too big to fail banks, Wall Street and their handmaidens worry. Wall Street bankers who virtually crashed our economy don’t like the sunshine being cast on their dishonesty and undeserved huge bonuses. Too bad. The public knows that Bernie will walk the talk, and that the economic policy of a Sanders Administration will not be under the control of Wall Street shills. Another good reason to support the Senator…

Bernie is the people’s candidate. From campaign finance to voting rights, from economic inequality to requiring the rich to pay their fair share, from infrastructure to sustainable environment, from corporate regulation to choking-off corporate loop-holes, Bernie has the right ideas. And no one can doubt his commitment. Talking about the difference between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, my 16-year old daughter, Sarah, hit the nail right on the head: “Bernie Sanders wants to serve the people; Donald Trump wants the people to serve him.” That Bernie is a servant of the people is something the people of Vermont-- liberals, conservatives and moderates; rural and urban-- have known for a long time. Not only is Bernie who he is, he has real follow-through-- outstanding constituent service and respectful treatment of everyone regardless of party. And he’s never gone negative in a campaign. Simply put, that’s called integrity.

Another reason for my enthusiastic support of Senator Sanders for president is that as co-founder of Social Security Works and the Strengthen Social Security Coalition, I’ve seen how effective he’s been in stopping Social Security cuts and building the case for expanding Social Security benefits. Six years ago, when we established the organization and coalition, there were only a handful of Senators and Representatives who would say “do not cut our Social Security”-- Bernie Sanders, former Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and a few others. It may not seem so now, but this took political courage in the first few months of 2010. The press, the talking heads, party leaders, White House advisors, and many others were caught in their own echo chamber. Nearly all believed that cuts to Social Security were needed and would soon happen.

Concerned that the fiscal crisis drumbeat would stampede Congress into cutting Social Security, Bernie organized the Senate Defend Social Security Caucus, initially bringing five other Senators along. Later, in the context of budget and deficit negotiations, when it looked like Bowles-Simpson Commission cuts would be enacted, Bernie played a pivotal role in coordinating push-back to proposed cuts to annual cost of living adjustments. In a call that six or seven of us where on, I recall Bernie saying, “Look, we can stop this cut; but we have to act fast and get the voices of  the American people into Washington,” followed by strategic suggestions for doing so. A meeting chaired by Senator Sanders in a Senate hearing room packed to the gills with 200 advocates, seniors and journalists got the message out that the American people did not want their benefits cut. Careful messaging, speeches, and one million signatures stopped the cuts-- much to the credit of the Senator who has never been fearful of standing up for what he knows is right.

Today, the two remaining Democratic candidates for president are now firmly on record for expanding, not cutting, Social Security. This would not have happened without Bernie.

I am running for Congress in Central New York (NY-24). When I go to Washington as a new member of congress, I want to see a Democrat in the White House. And I believe our nation will be best served if that Democrat is Bernie Sanders.

Goal Thermometer

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Hillary The Misleader And Her SuperPACs


At the Democratic Party debate in Milwaukee, Hillary, whose every response was meant to mislead, responded to a question from Judy Woodruff about her corrupt approach to politics-- "Nearly half of your financial sector donations come from ... George Soros and Donald Sussman. You said there's no quid pro quo. Is that also true of the donations that wealthy Republicans give to Republican candidates, contributors including the Koch brothers?"-- like this:
You're referring to a super PAC that we don't coordinate with, that was set up to support President Obama, that has now decided they want to support me. They are the ones who should respond to any questions... But the real issue I think the senator is injecting into this is that if you had a super PAC, like President Obama had, which now says it wants to support me, it's not my PAC, if you take donations from Wall Street you can't be independent.
I know some of the donors who gave to Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action, the two major PACs in question, and there should be no doubt that Hillary (as well as Bill) raised the money for the PAC (well over $30 million so far) and surreptitiously-- and as illegally as Jeb, Rubio, Cruz and the rest of them do-- completely controls it. First lets look at the tiny handful of billionaires and multimillionaires who have funded it:
George Soros- $7,000,000
Haim & Cheryl Saban (Israeli lobbyists)- $5,000,000
Donald Sussman- Chairman of Trust Asset Management, founder of Paloma Funds and New China Capital Management- $2,500,000
Herbert Sandler- founder of Golden West Savings & Loan- $2,500,000
Laure Woods- $1,835,000
Pritzker Family- $1,800,000
Barbara Lee- 1,400,000
Daniel Abraham- founder of Slim-Fast- $1,000,000
Bernard Schwartz- ex-CEO of Loral Space and BLS Investments- $1,000,000
Thomas Tull- $1,000,000
Steven Spielberg- $1,000,000
Jeffrey Katzenberg- $1,000,000
Pat Stryker- $1,000,000
Kathleen McGrath & JJ Abrams- $1,000,000
Stephen Silberstein- $800,000
David Shaw- ex-CEO, Ikaria Pharma and IDEXX Laboratories $750,000

Yesterday, one of Hillary's slimiest and most key operatives-- DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, announced that she had taken it on her corrupt self to roll back Obama's restrictions that banned donations from lobbyists and PACs to the DNC. I guess she feels pretty confident that Hillary has the nomination locked up, since it is only presidents and presidential nominees who can make this kind of a rule change.
The decision was viewed with disappointment Friday morning by good government activists who saw it as a step backward in the effort to limit special interest influence in Washington. Some suggested it could provide an advantage to Hillary Clinton’s fundraising efforts.

“It is a major step in the wrong direction,” said longtime reform advocate Fred Wertheimer. “And it is completely out of touch with the clear public rejection of the role of political money in Washington,” expressed during the 2016 campaign.

...The DNC’s recent, more sweeping reversal of the previous ban on donations from lobbyists and political action committees was confirmed by three Democratic lobbyists who said they have already received solicitations from the committee. The lobbyists requested anonymity to speak freely about the committee’s decision, which has been otherwise kept quiet.

For the most part, they said, the DNC has returned to business as usual, pre-2008. The DNC has even named a finance director specifically for PAC donations who has recently emailed prospective donors to let them know that they can now contribute again... The decision could further inflame tensions between the DNC and supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who has railed against the influence of lobbyists, particularly those representing Wall Street.

Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has set up a joint fundraising committee with the DNC called the Hillary Victory Fund, which raised $26.9 million through the end of 2015. Sanders has set up a similar joint fundraising committee but Federal Election Commission records show it has not been active, raising a total of just $1,000.

The new Clinton Fund collects money from large donors that is then distributed between Clinton’s campaign and 33 state Democratic Party committees. In recent months, a Clinton solicitation asked supporters to give up to $366,100 to the fund. Her campaign then received $2,700 of the total for the primary period, while the rest went to the DNC and 33 state party committees. Federal Election Commission records show that through the end of the year, 56 donors had written checks of $100,000 or more to the Hillary Victory Fund. Most of the contributions came from individuals, but a handful came from corporations or labor unions.

Reformers complain that the new rules have already changed Washington ethics. They provide opportunities for “influence-buying by Washington lobbyists with six-figure contributions to the Hillary Victory Fund,” said Wertheimer, suggesting that lobbyists could also face “political extortion” from those raising the money. He called on Obama to reverse the recent DNC decision to change the rules.

Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin emphasized the grass-roots nature of Clinton’s campaign and the candidate’s commitment to reform.
Yes, the entirety of the Clinton campaign is built on a tissue of lies-- not the Trump/Cruz genre of made up nonsense lies-- but a careful pattern of what one of her congressional colleagues referred to today in private conversation as "oleaginous" lies. everything she says is meant to confuse and mislead the listener. Not on a Trumpian magnitude of blatancy, but enough of a lie so that no one in the country trusts her or thinks she's honest. That wasn't just created by Republican propaganda. Watch her vile, revolting performance at Thursday's debate-- one slimy, unwarranted attack after another, very much like how Chris Christie defined Rubio's debate technique.

Write for the Washington Post yesterday, Matea Gold reported that her Priorities USA Action is about to start spending big, including $4.5 million in South Carolina radio spots.
The early engagement by Priorities USA Action-- which originally planned to hold its fire for the general election-- marks the first major infusion of super-PAC money on Clinton’s behalf and underscores how crucial South Carolina has become in her battle with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The Priorities group is rolling out the early vote campaign Friday in partnership with the League of Conservation Voters, an environmental advocacy organization, and EMILY’s List, which works to elect Democratic women.

Separately, Priorities USA is spending $500,000 to launch the radio ad in South Carolina beginning Friday, casting Clinton as the candidate to build on President Obama’s legacy.

The burst of activity serves as an acknowledgment of the tough fight Clinton finds herself in against Sanders, who trounced her by more than 20 points in New Hampshire Tuesday. It also could provide fresh ammunition for Sanders, who has repeatedly castigated the former secretary of state for being supported by two big-money super PACs.

...Guy Cecil, chief strategist for Priorities USA, said the new ads will solely focus on positive messages about Clinton. He described the early vote campaign as an effort that will also pay dividends this fall if she is the Democratic nominee.

Her advisers have made it clear that turning out African Americans and Latinos in large numbers is vital.

“For Hillary Clinton and her campaign, the March states represent an opportunity to build a coalition of support that’s as diverse as the Democratic Party itself,” campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in a memo released Tuesday. “Hispanics and African Americans play a critical role in who we are as a party and who we are as a nation. Many of the most delegate-rich states also have some of the largest minority and urban populations-- states like Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Illinois and Florida.”

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, Priorities USA is aiming to mobilize black voters to come out for Clinton with its new radio ad, which is set to remain on the air until the Feb. 27 primary. The spot was produced by FUSE Advertising, an African American media firm based in St. Louis.

“We all worked hard in 2008 and 2012 to elect President Obama,” the commercial begins. “And we’ve seen with our own eyes how Republicans have tried to tear him down every step of the way. We can’t let them hold us back. We need a president who will build on all that President Obama has done. President Obama trusted Hillary Clinton to be America’s secretary of state. And we know Hillary Clinton has the vision and courage to help build an economy to support our communities.”

“Hillary Clinton will always stand strong for us,” the ad concludes.
Hillary Clinton will always stand strong for... Hillary Clinton; that's it! Help save America by tapping on the thermometer:
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UPDATE: Define Bribery

Dorothy Reik, president of Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains, wrote a simple explanation of how campaign donations work in response to Clinton's misleading statements in the last two debates about how the millions of dollars corporate special interests have given her political career and put into her personal accounts through millions of dollars in "speaking fees" for herself and her husband. I wonder if someone could put it to music and turn it into the chorus of a song:
Arms companies donate and we get war
Health care companies donate and we get the ACA instead of single payer
Big phama donates and we get high drug prices
Fossil fuel companies donate and we get global warming
Hedge funds donate and we get charter schools
Bankers donate and we get deregulation

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Another Horribly Corrupt PAC Backs Hillary, Attacks Bernie


How does anyone determine who the most corrupt Member of Congress is? Not even counting Republicans-- another universe of self-justified ideological crookedness-- Congress is such a rat's nest of career criminals that every time you focus in on a Debbie Wasserman Schultz or a Steve Israel, up pops a Donald Norcross, an Alcee Hastings, a Patrick Murphy or a Sean Patrick Maloney. But no matter who draws up a list-- or what year it is we're looking at-- one name that is always mentioned in relation to grotesque serial corruption is Gregory Meeks, who represents NY-05, mostly in southeast Queens-- Jamaica, Hollis, St. Albans, Queens Village, South Ozone Park, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway, Rosedale, JFK-- with a bit of Nassau County-- Valley Stream, Inwood and Elmont.

The other day, a friend of mine in Congress told me that if you want to find the worst crooks in Congress, just get the membership list of the House Financial Services Committee. "The only straight shooters on that committee are Keith Ellison and Brad Sherman." It's the committee from which Meeks, a member of the Wall Street-owned New Dems Coalition, sells his votes. In 2008 he endorsed Hillary Clinton over Obama-- until he got a primary challenge and flipped over to Obama. This week he engineered an endorsement for Hillary from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC of which he is the chairman. The endorsement was made to sound like the Congressional Black Caucus had endorsed her, which isn't true, as Keith Ellison made clear:

Like Clinton, Meeks is a complete shill for Wall Street. He's taken $2,724,888 from the Finance Sector, a nice payoff for a Congressman from a D+35 district where Obama beat Romney 200,004 (90%) to 22.026 (10%) and where even the notoriously corrupt Meeks took 80% in his 2014 primary. Republicans don't run in his district, where only 10% of the population is white. And, like Clinton, Meeks bristles at the thought of being part of The Establishment. "We are not from the establishment, we are from the street," he asserted.

Covering the endorsement Thursday for The Intercept, Lee Fang spoke to Ben Branch, the executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, who said that the PAC's 20-member board, made up of 11 lobbyists, seven elected officials, and two PAC staffers, made the decision.

Members of the CBC PAC board include Daron Watts, a lobbyist for Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive opioid OxyContin; Mike Mckay and Chaka Burgess, both lobbyists for Navient, the student loan giant that was spun off of Sallie Mae; former Rep. Albert Wynn, D-Md., a lobbyist who represents a range of clients, including work last year on behalf of Lorillard Tobacco, the maker of Newport cigarettes; and William A. Kirk, who lobbies for a cigar industry trade group on a range of tobacco regulations.

And a significant percentage of the $7,000 raised this cycle by the CBC PAC from individuals was donated by white lobbyists, including Vic Fazio, who represents Philip Morris and served for years as a lobbyist to Corrections Corporation of America, and David Adams, a former Clinton aide who now lobbies for Wal-Mart, the largest gun distributor in America.

The caucus itself, while presenting itself as a champion of progressive causes, has a mixed legislative record. As some reporters have noted, Wall Street and corporate money has flowed to the CBC, through its PAC and nonprofit arms, while a number of CBC members have taken a leading role working with Republicans to chip away at the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

The CBC PAC endorsement comes as Clinton is working furiously to demonstrate that the African-American community stands solidly behind her campaign. Shortly after her crushing defeat in the New Hampshire primary, her campaign hosted a conference call with surrogates who dismissed Sanders as being “absent” on issues important to African-Americans, and belittled his role in Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington as insignificant. Hazel Dukes, the New York state NAACP leader who disparaged Sanders’ role in the civil rights movement, previously helped Wal-Mart in its bid to open stores in New York City after her group received donations from the company.

Not all CBC members have embraced the Clinton endorsement. Speaking this morning on Democracy Now, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., a CBC member, said she has not endorsed either candidate in the Democratic primary, and reminded viewers that the CBC “has nothing to do with the” CBC PAC, which is a legally distinct entity. NBC Capitol Hill producer Frank Thorp tweeted that Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., was one of two abstentions on the CBC PAC board.

"What you find," one Member told me, "is that crooks like Meeks and other New Dems instinctively line up behind Clinton. They're drawn to the stench of corruption. Members who care about policy, like Keith [Ellison] and Barbara [Lee], keep as far away from her campaign as they can... Take someone like Barbara and ask yourself what's she doing in Congress. She's there for peace; she's there for equality and justice. She's there to make the lives of her constituents bettering that's whitish works out day in and day out. And Meeks? To line his pockets; period." Maybe the PAC board members have forgotten how destructive characters like Lloyd Blankfeld and Henry Kissinger, her mentors and allies, have been. Bernie reminded them last night:

Blue America's worthy incumbents ActBlue page includes congressmembers who have endorsed Bernie, Hillary and who have remained neutral. None of them are corrupt though. You can contribute to any of the Members-- which includes both Ellison and Lee-- by tapping on the thermometer:
Goal Thermometer

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Will A Brokered Republican Convention Lead To Bloodshed In Cleveland?


Don't say Herr Trumpf didn't warn you. In a rare moment of self-awareness, he described himself to a bunch of entertainment-starved hicks in Iowa as a "very greedy person... Now, I’ll tell you, I’m good at that-- so, you know, I’ve always taken in money. I like money. I’m very greedy. I’m a greedy person. I shouldn’t tell you that, I’m a greedy-- I’ve always been greedy. I love money, right?" Cruz wanted to make sure South Carolina voters knew about it too... so he put out a new ad this week, emphasizing that particular aspect of the Trumpfian personality disorder:

Sahil Kapur, reporting for Bloomberg, reiterated the Establishment still has no real plan to stop Herr. Their acceptable candidates keep savaging each other-- demanding the others drop out-- while Trumpf and Cruz waltz around the field basically unmolested.
Not only did the billionaire's 20-point blowout in the New Hampshire primary fail to cull the field enough to present a clear mainstream alternative, the three remaining establishment candidates-- U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor-- spent Wednesday going after one another, as they have throughout the nomination fight.

“Enormous pressure is on the establishment wing to consolidate around one candidate soon or else it will hand the Republican nomination over to Trump,” said Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist and former senior congressional aide.

They're running out of time. With plenty of campaign cash to spare, Trump is pushing the kind of America-first message that resonates in South Carolina, a state that flew the Confederate flag on its Capitol's grounds until last year. The primaries beyond are just as southern and just as friendly to Trump's message. And he remains an extremely difficult candidate to beat in a war of words and media attention.

“As long as there's five of six people running, I think Donald benefits from that, no doubt about it,” Rubio said Wednesday on CNN.

The anxiety has grown more palpable as Trump has shattered predictions that his crowds and poll numbers wouldn't translate at the ballot box.

“Donald Trump has proven he can turn his rally-goers into voters, and now it’s time for his challengers to prove they’re capable of taking the steering wheel away from him,” said Rory Cooper, a Republican operative and former House leadership aide.

The GOP's best hope of stopping Trump may be Ted Cruz. The Texas senator has amassed a devoted following of Tea Party conservatives and evangelical Christians, a war chest worth $19 million at year's end, and an enviable ground game that led him to an unexpected victory over Trump in Iowa and a respectable third place finish in New Hampshire.
The Kochs would be OK with that but many Establishmentarians feel Cruz is as bad-- if not worse-- than Trumpf.

While Cruz and Trumpf sniped at each other, the establishment candidates kept attacking each other viciously and Rubio stopped sucking his thumb long enough to crack a tooth on a candy bar. Thursday, the poor little robot told reporters he was chomping on a Twix bar when he cracked a molar. He rushed to a dentist and temporary resin filler. But what he's hoping for now is a broken GOP convention-- deadlocked/brokered, knowing it's the only possible way he's going to be the GOP nominee. Except it won't be, because there's no way the Elders of Right-wingism reject #1 (Herr) and #2 (Cruz) to go to #3 (him)... and they'd much rather have Ryan, the fake budget expert than Rubio, the fake foreign policy expert.

His campaign manager told the media that Rubio's disastrous 5th place finish in New Hampshire will extend the primary season into May, at the earliest, exactly what the Establishment wanted him to guarantee them wouldn't happen.As we saw last week, the Kochs say they'll back him if he eliminates Trumpf, who they detest. And Rubio-- petrified that Trumpf will yell at him-- is now trying to psych himself up for a showdown.
As he shifts his attention to South Carolina's Feb. 20 contest, the 44-year-old freshman senator wants voters to know he's learned an important lesson from his experience in New Hampshire. Instead of trying to avoid attacking his GOP rivals on the debate stage, Rubio said he's now prepared to fight back when necessary-- particularly with his party's front-runner Donald Trump.

"I don't need to start these fights, but if someone starts one in the future we're going to have to point out the differences in our records in a sharper way," Rubio said. "I don't think we have the luxury any longer to basically say 'Look, I don't want to argue with Republicans.'"

Apparently, Ted Cruz and his team came to the same conclusion. This new ad released in South Carolina today speaks right to the audience Herr Trumpf has been reaching. Maybe it will be effective where the others have just fallen on deaf ears:

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DCCC Starts Up Red To Blue-- 2016 Looks Like Another Disaster For Them


Yesterday the DCCC brought back their Red-to-Blue program, almost a decade after Debbie Wasserman Schultz had so damaged its brand by backing 3 Republican pals of hers while he was head of the committee that it was consigned to the deep freeze. One of the inherent problems with the DCCC and their Red to Blue Program is that they use it to interfere in primaries, sabotaging progressives on behalf of the corrupt conservative candidates they prefer seeing in Congress. Until Rahm Emanuel, Chris Van Hollen and Steve Israel were given control of the DCCC by Pelosi, it was DCCC policy to let the Democrats in districts pick their own candidates and to not get involved until after the primaries. Over the past decade the DCCC has become a primary contest progressive-killing machine.

A few weeks ago we wrote about how they're working their magic in FL-10, where there are 4 viable candidates for a very blue district with no GOP incumbent. Rather than let the voters decide, Steve Israel and his sock puppet, Ben Ray Luján, have decided that the most conservative of the 4, Val Demings should be the candidate. They have endorsed her, helped her raise money, pressured Members of Congress to contribute to her campaign and bad-mouthed the other candidates. Luján and Pelosi are refusing to take action against one of their operatives, Jermaine House, who told a reporter in the district that one of the more progressive candidates, the openly gay one, Bob Poe, "does not have the right racial makeup for the district. I was stunned. The district is 27.1% voting age African-American, 22.8% voting Hispanic, 44.3% voting age white and I was unaware Pelosi countenanced this kind of racial game-playing. Her employee, House, told the reporter-- and I confirmed the exact quote again yesterday, that the DCCC "will never support Poe because he's white."

Horrifying! But the e-mail I got from Ben Ray yesterday was any better. "The DCCC just named Monica Vernon to our Red to Blue program," he wrote in big bold type, neglecting to mention that Vernon is a "former" Republican, who, along with her husband-- still a Republican-- have given thousands of dollars to GOP candidates and that she's running against the former Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, Pat Murphy, a very accomplished progressive. "The DCCC’s Red to Blue program supports Democrats running in Republican-leaning districts across the country," continued the deceptive Luján, who neglected to mention that the district is not a "Republican-leaning district" but one with a D+5 that Obama won both times, in 2008 with 58% and in 2012 with 56%. Are all the Red-to-Blue candidates are patently horrible as Vernon? Not every single one-- but many of them are-- but what would you expect. The Red to Blue co-chairs are Blue Dog Cheri Bustos (IL) and New Dem Denny Heck (WA), two of the worst Members of Congress themselves are eager to find other crap politicians like themselves. Before Heck was elected he was a rich, grubby hack with a very flexible set of ethics and thoroughly conservative values.

The DCCC divided the districts into 3 categories-- full-on Red-to-Blue; districts with primaries that they can't interfere in without causing an internal civil war-- like in NY-01, where Steve Israel is backing Anna Throne-Holst, a non-Democrat he has the hots for, and the New Dems and multimillionaire Jared Polis are backing venturer capitalist David Calone, a former member of the board of Long Island's most hated institution, the local Power Authority (LIPA)-- and Red to Blue "emerging races group," an insulting and arbitrary designation that, for example, includes Carol Shea-Porter. Here's their 16 Red-to-Blue candidates:
CA-24- Salud Carbajal (currently represented by retiring Democratic Rep. Lois Capps), so not "red-to-blue" at all, but consistency isn't something the DCCC is known for, other than the consistency of corruption, of backstabbing progressives and of losing races. Carbajal is a good candidate but there are 4 good candidates in the race.

CO-06- Morgan Carroll (currently represented by Republican Rep. Mike Coffman). Good endorsement.

FL-10- Val Demings (currently represented by Republican Rep. Daniel Webster). Terrible endorsement.

FL18- Randall Perkins (currently represented by Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, who is mounting a Senate run). The DCCC chased a better and more electable candidate out of the race by backing multimillionaire Perkins and there are two other Democrats running.

FL-26- Annette Taddeo (currently represented by Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo). Excellent endorsement for a change, especially since former Congressman Joe Garcia, a New Dem and failed and corrupt one at that, is running against Annette.

IA-01- Monica Vernon (currently represented by Republican Rep. Rod Blum). Worst DCCC pick of 2016 so far. Don't these assholes ever learn? In 2002 they supported a Bettendorf City council member, a former Republican over progressive ex-Congressman Dave Nagle and-- of course-- lost the district. They want a repitition?

IL-10- Brad Schneider (currently represented by Republican Rep. Robert Dold). Terrible pick for several reasons, not least of all is that Schneider was defeated because he was terrible, very conservative and Wall Street-oriented and hated by local Democrats and because the DCCC could have actually turned the district blue with Nancy Rotering, the other candidate they're trying to deep-six.

ME-02- Emily Cain (currently represented by Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin). Typically worthless EMILY's List crap candidate; not as bad as Monica Vernon, but approaching that.

• MI-01- Lon Johnson (currently represented by Republican Rep. Dan Benishek). Active primary between two bad candidates.

MI-07- Gretchen Driskell (currently represented by Republican Rep. Tim Walberg). So-so candidate from what I can tell so far.

MN-02- Angie Craig (currently represented by Republican Rep. John Kline). Good endorsement.

NJ-05- Josh Gottheimer (currently represented by Republican Rep. Scott Garrett). Terrible Wall Street shill.

NV-03- Jacky Rosen (currently represented by Republican Rep. Joe Heck). There are half a dozen Democrats in a primary.

TX-23- Pete Gallego (currently represented by Republican Rep. Will Hurd). Extreme right-wing Blue Dog whose only worse feature is his incredible corruption-- perfect DCCC candidate.

UT-04- Doug Owens (currently represented by Republican Rep. Mia Love). What a waste of money this rathole district is! Obama only scored 30% of the vote there against Romney.

VA-10- LuAnn Bennett (currently represented by Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock). Ex-congressmen's third wives are a thing? Well, at least we know they're loaded from all the bribe money he sucked up from the Military Industrial Complex
There are districts whose primaries they don't want to interfere in-- FL-13 (Jolly), NV-04 (Hardy), NY-01 (Zeldin), NY-24 (Katko) and PA-08 (Fitzpatrick)-- and then there are ten more districts that they call "secondary."

So, let me reiterate what I've said a few times before: the DCCC will never win back the House. If Bernie or Hillary has a tsunami victory over Trump or Cruz or Ryan it won't matter. DCCC candidate recruitment is so bad that under the current regime, it won't happen in 1,000 years. But if Pelosi were to step away from the sip cup and let someone competent like Keith Ellison, Ted Lieu or Mark Pocan fire the entire staff, clean out the remnants of Emanuel, Van Hollen and Israel and start from scratch, the Democrats would be back in the majority in ONE CYCLE. It's a shame that Pelosi has some psychological fear of being Speaker again-- the only reason she keeps hiring incompetent losers to run the committee; she should just let it go.

Take a guess what that means

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Clinton Refuses to Pledge Not to Take Fossil Fuel Money


These are the agents of money. We call them lobbyists today, powers behind the throne. Size is a clue to relative importance (source; click to enlarge).

by Gaius Publius

Hillary Clinton has rejected a Greenpeace challenge to pledge not to accept campaign contributions from the coal, oil or natural gas industries. The Greenpeace pledge is here. In part it reads:
I will prove that I work for the people by refusing money from fossil fuel interests...
While her response to Greenpeace affirms the general goals of the pledge, she has refused to take it.

Greenpeace had argued (my emphasis):
“While Secretary Clinton’s commitment to reversing Citizens United and restoring the Voting Rights Act is admirable, she doesn’t have to wait that long to have an impact on our country’s money in politics crisis. She can start right now by rejecting fossil fuel money,” said Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard. “That bold move would prove to everyone that Clinton not only knows that our democracy is broken, but that it is fixable.”
Instead, Clinton offered this:
In Clinton’s statement to Greenpeace, she says, “The fossil fuel companies know my agenda is to stop their agenda. I will take them on and win—and make sure America leads the fight against climate change.”
You can read Clinton's full statement at the end of the Greenpeace report.

How Much Money Has Clinton Taken from the Fossil Fuel Industry?

In these dark money days, it's hard to know for sure how much she's taken. According to, in her career Ms. Clinton has reportedly received $1,784,943 in individual and PAC contributions. This does not include contributions to super PACs supporting her three elections. (According to a recent Maddow show, Clinton at the moment has roughly the same cash on hand from campaign donations and as from super PACs — roughly $35 million from each source — implying that the contributions to each may be somewhat roughly balanced.)

And then there's her strong ties to fossil fuel lobbyists. From Paul Blumenthal writing last July at the Huffington Post (my emphasis throughout):
Hillary Clinton's Biggest Campaign Bundlers Are Fossil Fuel Lobbyists

Nearly all of the lobbyists bundling contributions for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign have at one time or another worked for the fossil fuel industry.

A list of 40 registered lobbyists that the Clinton camp disclosed to the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday revealed a number of Democratic Party lobbyists who have worked against regulations to curb climate change, advocated for offshore drilling, or sought government approval for natural gas exports.

Clinton, the former secretary of state, has called climate change the most “consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world” and says it would be a major focus of her administration if she wins the White House. But having so many supporters who have sold their services to fossil fuel companies may complicate her emphasis on pro-environment policies.
About those lobbyists, Blumenthal writes:
Scott Parven and Brian Pomper, lobbyists at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, have been registered to lobby for the Southern California-based oil giant Chevron since 2006, with contracts totaling more than $3 million. ...

The two Clinton bundlers also were part of a much-criticized campaign by Chevron to manipulate Congress into inserting language into the Andean Trade Preferences Act that would require Ecuador to dismiss a longstanding lawsuit against the company for polluting the Amazon jungle. Democratic lawmakers pushed back against the campaign and the lawsuit is continuing.
About the natural gas industry:
One prominent lobbying topic embraced by Clinton bundlers is the expansion of liquefied natural gas exports and federal approval of new LNG [liquified natural gas] terminals.

Ankit Desai, vice president for government relations at top LNG exporter Cheniere Energy, bundled $82,000 to the Clinton camp, with much of it coming from Cheniere Energy executives. Cheniere executives, including Desai, have donated $38,800 to Clinton’s campaign.

The company has lobbied hard in Washington and maintains close ties to the Obama administration. The company won the first approval to export gas to countries outside of U.S. free-trade agreements. The company is seeking approval to open additional terminals to export LNG, and will likely need a friend in the White House come 2017.
ExxonMobil is not left out:
ML Strategies’ David Leiter lobbied in 2014 on behalf of Sempra Energy when the company received approval for its LNG export facility in Hackberry, Louisiana. Leiter, who bundled $36,550 for Clinton’s campaign, also is a lobbyist for ExxonMobil. Steve Coll noted in a New Yorker article derived from his book on the oil giant, Private Empire, that Leiter, an ex-staffer to former Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), was retained, along with a host of others, to increase the company’s reach into the Democratic Party it had ignored for years.

ExxonMobil’s top lobbyist in Washington, Theresa Fariello, may not be a bundler for Clinton’s campaign, but she is a donor. Fariello, who was a Department of Energy official in President Bill Clinton’s administration, gave $2,700 to Clinton’s campaign. Another Washington-based Exxon lawyer, Judith Batty, donated $2,700. ...
Does Hillary Clinton know that "Exxon knew," that in fact that whole industry knew? So far we don't know. But do read the rest. There's more like this in the piece than I can reasonably quote.

Hillary Clinton, Fossil Fuel Lobbyists & the Donald

Yet Clinton gives us her word: "The fossil fuel companies know my agenda is to stop their agenda."

It's entirely possible she means it, but I guess we'll have to wait until after she's elected to see those words, that agenda, in action. I hope if she's the nominee, she gets that far.

Fair warning, though — it's not just the left that's all over this seeming contradiction. This is grist for the higher-traffic right-wing sites as well (example here). I can't imagine, therefore, that this won't be brought up — again and again and again — in a campaign against Donald Trump.

(Blue America has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. If you'd like to help out, go here; you can adjust the split any way you like at the link. If you'd like to "phone-bank for Bernie," go here. You can volunteer in other ways by going here. And thanks!)


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Women Candidates


I love all our Blue America candidates. Some, however, are a little further along in their evolution towards being... the next Elizabeth Warren or the next Alan Grayson or the next Donna Edwards. After all, that is what we're looking for in candidates. Not John, not Digby, not Jacquie and not yours truly is looking for a candidate we can-- or have to-- tell what to do. I've had hot-under-the-collar disagreements with Donna, with Ted Lieu, with Joe Sestak... but those are people with the brains and the moral fiber to make up their own minds on issues and when they come to a different conclusion about how to proceed... I'm all ears-- well all ears and mouth. If we wanted robots, we'd look for a version of Marco Rubio.

The Blue America House candidates have certain things in common, of course. That's how they got on our list in the first place. Everyone believes in the right of women to exercise control over their own health and bodies without interference from the government. Likewise, everyone believes in equality of opportunity regardless of race, religion, country of origin, sexual preference, gender. Everyone favors peace. Each one is a fighter who will stand up to the bullying from the oligarchs and the puppets of the oligarchs in Congress (like, oh... say Wall Street whore Chuck Schumer or Debbie Wasserman Schultz).

That said, I want to mention that some of the candidates who are far along the road, perhaps because of experience, are state Sen. Pramila Jayapal (WA), Zephyr Teachout (NY), Nanette Barragán (CA), state Rep. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (MD), and former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH). You might have noticed each is a woman. Some have endorsed Hillary and some have been consigned by Madeleine Albright a place in hell; but all are strong, effective and dedicated progressives with records to show why they merit support in their runs for Congress.

We'll come back to them in a moment. I want to take a look at a very personal column Frank Bruni penned for the NY Times Wednesday, Feminism, Hell and Hillary Clinton. I never knew Bruni is gay but he wrote that he is and he seemed offended that there might be an expectation from a gay version of Madeleine Albright that he either vote for a gay nominee or be consigned to hell. Just as the Times was publishing Bruni's column, openly gay Republican Ben West, was announcing his candidacy for the seat held by right-wing Blue Dog Kurt Schrader in an Oregon district that stretches from Portland's southern suburbs through Salem and west to the coast from Manzanita to Yachats. Even though Schrader is one of the very worst Democrats in Congress-- an NRA and Wall Street shill for example-- I suspect Bruni would never vote for West who-- except for his sexual preference-- is a garden variety Republican crackpot. He's running on all the crazy anti-human nonsense Republicans run on. He told the media that he wants "to be very clear that I am much more than a gay man and I’m not defined totally by my sexuality." And that's a good thing.

There are a batch of openly gay Republicans running for Congress this year, including Studboi 1 (AZ), Dan Innis (NH), Chrys Kefalas (MD) and Jacquie Atkinson (CA). I'm going to assume that Bruni wouldn't vote for any of these conservatives, regardless of their sexual preference and that he wouldn't vote for gay conservative Democrat and egregious Wall Street whore Sean Patrick Maloney (NY) either. "Will there be,"he asked in his column, a 'special place in hell' for me if I, as a gay man, don’t support him or her?... I’ll go to the barricades for that imagined gay [presidential] candidate if he or she has talents I trust, positions I respect and a character I admire. If not, I’ll probably go elsewhere, because being gay won’t be the sum of that person, just as womanhood isn’t where Clinton begins and ends." He wrote that he, like many of us, is trying to understand's Albright's idiotic statement.
There’s a weird strain of thought swirling around Clinton’s campaign: that we should vote for her because she’s a woman. Or that she’s inoculated from certain flaws or accusations by dint of gender. Or that, at the least, there’s an onus on forward-looking people who care about gender inequality to promote her candidacy.

I care about gender inequality, and I don’t buy it. It’s bad logic. It’s even worse strategy. People don’t vote out of shame. They vote out of hope.

Perhaps that was among the lessons of Clinton’s defeat in New Hampshire on Tuesday, where she lost to Sanders among all women by at least seven percentage points, according to exit polling, and among women under 30 by more than 60 points.

Clinton is on sturdy ground, morally and tactically, when she mentions a double standard for women. So are her surrogates. Actually, there are so many double standards that you couldn’t fit them in a column eight times the length of this one, and she has bumped into plenty, including, yes, the fuss over her raised voice.

But the argument that she’s somehow not a full-fledged member of the establishment because she’s a woman-- as she contended during the most recent Democratic debate-- is nonsense. On that night, she also echoed a past statement to CBS News that she “cannot imagine anyone being more of an outsider than the first woman president.”

Really? Anyone? Off the top of my head I can think of a person who might quibble with that. His name is Barack Obama.
Anti-Semitism is real and it's deadly and were Bernie to win, he'd be the first Jewish president, something that would have been unimaginable not that many years ago. He doesn't bring that up and neither do his surrogates.

Carol Shea-Porter was an excellent Member of Congress when a Republican wave swept into her district. It's looking like she'll win back her seat this year though, against the same crackpot teabagger. She brought up a good point this morning in a phone conversation: "Even though the House of Representatives does not look very representative when it's not even 20% female, that is not the reason I am running for Congress. I am running again because extremist Republican Rep. Frank Guinta repeatedly votes against what I have always called 'the bottom 99%,' and I have always voted FOR that bottom 99%. His position on women does say it all though: no abortion, not even to save a woman's life."

Let me suggest you take a look at this 90 second video author and activist and Bernie surrogate Marianne Williamson just cut:

Yesterday I was chatting with Marianne about the congressional candidates Blue America and her organization, Sister Giant, are working with for the online progressive summit mentioned in the video. Many of the candidates who are participating are women, from Pramila Jayapal in Washington state to Carol Shea Porter in New Hampshire. But they haven't been invited to participate because they are women. They were invited to participate because they have accomplishments worth sharing and ideas worth supporting.

"I agree with Martin Luther King, Jr.," she told me, "when he argued that the problem with incrementalism is that the status quo co-opts every small change for its own purposes. I think-- and yes, I believe this is in large part because I am a woman-- that passion, and a yearning for the possible, and longing for a more beautiful world -- are the most potent drivers of real change. I guess you could say I agree with Gloria Steinem when she said women get more radical when we get older-- and that's why I'm for Bernie!"

Again, whether you back Bernie or you back Hillary-- or are happy with either-- we are eager to get these incredible candidates into office. This is the kind of messaging we like seeing from our candidates-- Pramila's latest e-mail: "Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a fighter. When I see people being mistreated or see that the system’s rigged to favor the elites, I don’t stand by or wait for easy solutions. I feel compelled to jump into action-- to stand up boldly for what’s right, and take on the important fights even when they’re not easy (and if you’re anything like me, you know they’re never easy). Now, I'm taking the fight for progressive values to the House of Representatives." Congress desperately needs the perspectives of women like her and like Carol. Please tap the thermometer:

Goal Thermometer

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

One Of America's Greatest Jazz Pianists, Marcus Roberts, Feels The Bern


Marcus Roberts is a jazz pianist and composer. And he's blind. He is self-taught but went to the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, where Ray Charles also studied (much earlier). Wynton Marsalis, with whom he toured, called him the "greatest American musician most people have never heard of." Ryan Lizza, writing for the New Yorker this week, broke the news that Roberts, who is also an eloquent teacher, has written songs about four of the presidential candidates, in an effort to show that art has a place in politics. He's releasing an EP, Race for the White House featuring one song each about Bernie ("Feel the Bern," which you can listen to above), Hillary ("It's My Turn"), Herr Trumpf ("Making America Great Again-- All By Myself") and Dr. Ben ("I Did Chop Down That Cherry Tree").

"Feel the Bern," according to Roberts, is meant to "show the different components of Bernie Sanders’s personality. When the piano does it, it’s laid-back and it’s kind of cool and dignified. When the tenor plays it, it starts to get a little more rambunctious. You know, maybe that’s when he tells Hillary, 'I don’t really give a damn about hearing about your e-mails anymore.' It becomes kind of aggressive, and there’s a lot of fire, like, we’re going to get to this. I think that’s why Sanders appeals to young people."
“It’s My Turn” is slower and mellower than “Feel the Bern,” and it attempts to describe the many phases of Clinton’s long career in politics. “We know that she’s undergone a whole lot of changes,” Roberts said. A Clinton supporter, he was originally going to call the song “I Guess I’m Just Overqualified,” but he decided to keep the music as nonpartisan as possible. “People have been messing with the lady for twenty-five years about this and that, so I decided we’ve definitely got to have some changes,” he said, noting that, of the four songs, it is the most complicated and nuanced, just like her campaign. “We start in D-flat minor, but we change to G-flat and then to B-flat, and we change the meter and the tempo.”

Roberts said that he wrote the songs fast, attempting to capture the candidates based on what was happening in debates and on the campaign trail at the time. “I was focussed on something that was literally occurring even as I was writing it,” he said. “I’m listening to Ben Carson on TV, and he’s talking slow. I’m thinking, well, the piece for him can’t be up-tempo.” The Carson song was written at the stage in the campaign when Trump, feeling threatened by Carson’s candidacy, had attacked Carson for some bizarre anecdotes from his opponent’s memoir.

“Carson’s telling people he did all this lawless stuff as a kid,” Roberts said. “I’m like, how can I capture that?” Jason Marsalis’s initial drumming on the song didn’t sound quite right to Roberts. “I said, ‘No, man, I need it to sound like it’s a hammer hitting something, O.K.? I need it to sound like he might be beating up one of his friends at school. It needs to sound that way.’ ” They accomplished the musical equivalent of Carson’s hammer attack with a three-beat rim shot.

Trump’s was the easiest personality to capture. “It was clear that it needed to be bold and up-front and egotistical,” Roberts said. He told Marsalis to whistle as if he were Trump surveying his vast real-estate empire from up high. “You’re rich, you’ve got pretty much everything anybody could want, and you’re just chilling,” Roberts said. A trumpet cuts in on the whistling, to show Trump’s more aggressive and cocksure side. “He interrupts himself,” Roberts explained, “almost to say, ‘I’m going to get all this great stuff done, I don’t need any help, I know what I need to do, just get out of my way and let me do it.’ It almost has a Batman-superhero vibe to it.”

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Hall And Coates (CA-44)


California state Senator Isadore Hall, widely considered the most corrupt politician in Sacramento, must have been feeling his oats when he snagged a cushy deal at the Alameda Court apartments development he helped push through... with a nice subsidy from the City of Compton. Shortly after the initial approval, the developers contributed $10,000 to Hall. Can you spell quid pro quo? Or you thought only Republicans engage in this kind of bribery? Did he get his place rent free while the other tenants were subjected to leases based on the old racist "rent-to-own" program historically foisted upon African-Americans who were red-lined by the banks? The idea is to take the money but find an excuse-- any excuse will do-- to void the agreement and steal the money while evicting the hapless and helpless buyer. In his much discussed Reparations piece for The Atlantic last week, Ta-Nehisi Coates went into this ugly practice in some depth. "From the 1930s through the 1960s," he reminds his readers, "black people across the country were largely cut out of the legitimate home-mortgage market."
Three months after Clyde Ross moved into his house, the boiler blew out. This would normally be a homeowner’s responsibility, but in fact, Ross was not really a homeowner. His payments were made to the seller, not the bank. And Ross had not signed a normal mortgage. He’d bought “on contract”: a predatory agreement that combined all the responsibilities of homeownership with all the disadvantages of renting-- while offering the benefits of neither. Ross had bought his house for $27,500. The seller, not the previous homeowner but a new kind of middleman, had bought it for only $12,000 six months before selling it to Ross. In a contract sale, the seller kept the deed until the contract was paid in full-- and, unlike with a normal mortgage, Ross would acquire no equity in the meantime. If he missed a single payment, he would immediately forfeit his $1,000 down payment, all his monthly payments, and the property itself.

The men who peddled contracts in North Lawndale would sell homes at inflated prices and then evict families who could not pay-- taking their down payment and their monthly installments as profit. Then they’d bring in another black family, rinse, and repeat. “He loads them up with payments they can’t meet,” an office secretary told the Chicago Daily News of her boss, the speculator Lou Fushanis, in 1963. “Then he takes the property away from them. He’s sold some of the buildings three or four times.”

Ross had tried to get a legitimate mortgage in another neighborhood, but was told by a loan officer that there was no financing available. The truth was that there was no financing for people like Clyde Ross. From the 1930s through the 1960s, black people across the country were largely cut out of the legitimate home-mortgage market through means both legal and extralegal. Chicago whites employed every measure, from “restrictive covenants” to bombings, to keep their neighborhoods segregated.

The devastating effects are cogently outlined by Melvin L. Oliver and Thomas M. Shapiro in their 1995 book, Black Wealth/White Wealth:
Locked out of the greatest mass-based opportunity for wealth accumulation in American history, African Americans who desired and were able to afford home ownership found themselves consigned to central-city communities where their investments were affected by the “self-fulfilling prophecies” of the FHA appraisers: cut off from sources of new investment[,] their homes and communities deteriorated and lost value in comparison to those homes and communities that FHA appraisers deemed desirable.
In Chicago and across the country, whites looking to achieve the American dream could rely on a legitimate credit system backed by the government. Blacks were herded into the sights of unscrupulous lenders who took them for money and for sport. “It was like people who like to go out and shoot lions in Africa. It was the same thrill,” a housing attorney told the historian Beryl Satter in her 2009 book, Family Properties. “The thrill of the chase and the kill.” ... Contract sellers became rich.
Now... back to Compton and Hall, the crooked state senator being boosted by the party establishment for a congressional seat (CA-44) that covers, San Pedro, Wilmington, Carson, Compton, North Long Beach, Willowbrook, Lynwood, Watts, South Gate and West Rancho Dominguez, a district that is over 70% Latino.

After some of the Alameda Court tenants filed a lawsuit over the leases, complaining of violations of their supposed "rent-to-own" provisions, claiming that there was never any intention to let these tenants buy their apartments, they were served with eviction papers-- and further claiming that Senator Hall received special "white glove" treatment and was exempt from the harassment that Plaintiffs endured because of his relationship with the landlord. Instead of being credited towards down payments, the additional payments were confiscated by the property managers to cover "repairs" and "deposits." Sound familiar? And Coates thought this was a practice that was used against blacks "from the 1930s through the 1960s?"

While the plaintiffs continued to proffer rents, their payments were rejected and the retaliatory evictions proceeded. And caught up in the mix was our friend, Senator Hall. He too was served with eviction papers (less than 3 months ago while he was running for Congress)! Somehow he owed rent of $4,800 and ran up utility bills of $5,000! What was he growing?? After allowing Hall to live rent-free in the complex, "Landlord" Doug Baker signed a declaration, under penalty of perjury, that Hall had not paid rent since March, 2015.

Are you listening, California Democrats? You endorsed him for Congress! Yes-- it's a good idea to get him out of LA-- even his landlord agrees-- but is this the best way to do it? Congress has more than enough crooks already.

Blue America has endorsed environmental hero Nanette Barragán in the CA-44 race. If you can, please help her raise the money she needs to compete against the Democratic Party establishment machine behind Hall. You can contribute to her grassroots campaign here.

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Clinton And The Lobbyists


Wednesday morning, we looked at how right-of-center Democratic Members of Congress-- most of them dripping in the kind of corruption you expect from the GOP but not from Democrats-- are all huge Hillary supporters. But when a friend of mine, slightly drunk at a Tuesday night impromptu Bernie celebration in Brooklyn not far from Clinton's national headquarters, asked why I didn't think it would be smooth sailing for Bernie right to the nomination, I didn't point to the corrupt conservative congressmembers-- all of whom are anti-democracy super-delegates-- but to the lobbyist community instead. That-- even more than the banksters-- is where the core support for the Clinton Machine comes from. The lobbyists run her campaign on every level-- and one of them, Campaign Chair Podesta's brother, Tony, signaled a couple of days ago that once Clinton replaces Obama in the White House, she'll tear up his restrictions against lobbyists and K Street will be welcome at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue once again.

A few years ago, Gallup polled the public on lobbyists. The public doesn't feel as warm and fuzzy towards them as Bill and Hill do. In fact, lobbyists are even more despises than Members of Congress! Lobbyist ethical standards were rated as "low" or "very low" by 58% of respondents, even worse than used car salesmen (53%) and congressmembers (45%). Tuesday, Democratic voters in New Hampshire indicated that their contempt for lobbyists has rubbed off on Hillary:

Gallup's annual update on the honesty and ethical standards of people in various professions finds a new entry ranking at the bottom of the list. For the first time, Gallup asked the public to rate the honesty and ethical standards of lobbyists, and only 5% describe their ethics as "very high" or "high." Lobbyists, car salesmen (5%), and advertising practitioners (6%) are the lowest-rated professions. Nurses, typically the top-rated profession each year, again get the highest ratings. Ratings of congressmen are the worst Gallup has ever recorded.

...Eighty-three percent of Americans rate nurses' honesty and ethical standards as very high or high, easily the most positively rated profession. Nurses were first included in 1999 and have averaged an 81% very high/high rating since then. That has been good for first place each year except 2001, when firefighters were included after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and received a 90% rating.

After nurses, grade-school teachers (74%) and pharmacists (71%) are rated next most highly this year. Just under two-thirds of Americans give high ratings to military officers and medical doctors. Clergy and policemen are the only other two professions that receive positive ratings above 50%.

As is typically the case, politicians do not fare that well, but local officeholders (20%) are rated better than state officeholders (12%) and congressmen (9%). In fact, congressmen rank above only lobbyists, car salesmen, and advertising practitioners this year. Lawyers (15%) and business executives (14%) also receive relatively poor ratings.

...The public's ratings of congressmen (14% to 9%), advertising practitioners (11% to 6%), and business executives (18% to 14%) also show significant drops, but not a return to previous levels. In fact, all three have established new lows. The score for congressmen is less than half of what it was in 2004, down from 20% in that year's poll.
This new Bernie ad started running today in Minnesota:

Hillary has taken more from lobbyists than anyone else who has ever served in Congress. This money rep[resents the most blatant and purest form of bribery that doesn't send someone to prison. Only 18 Members of Congress have taken over a million dollars from the lobbyists. Hillary is about to surpass $3 million.
Hillary Clinton- $2,915,238
John McCain- $1,881,850
Harry Reid- $1,765,101
John Kerry- $1,541,462
John Boehner- $1,449,121
Barack Obama- $1,373,848
Mitch McConnell- $1,368,310
Patty Murray- $1,337,372
Ed Markey- $1,300,937
Mary Landrieu- $1,293,716
Chuck Schumer- $1,250,727
Arlen Specter- $1,228,976
John Murtha- $1,205,174
Chris Dodd- $1,182,680
Max Baucus- $1,090,459
Maria Cantwell- $1,081,946
Robert Menendez- $1,026,162
Steny Hoyer- $1,005,382
Yesterday. Lee Fang, writing for The Intercept, documented how freaked out the scummy lobbyists and consultants of Clinton World are over Bernie's much-bigger-than-expected win in New Hampshire Tuesday. He pointed with contempt to TPP lobbyist Tony Fratto, co-founder of Hamilton Place Strategies, which, in a sane environment would be considered a dangerous criminal enterprise. Fratto and other lobbyists, from Alex Castellanos-- who is working full time on smearing Bernie-- and AT&T/Zurich Financial Services lobbyist John Feehery (who referred to Bernie inspiring victory speech Tuesday night as Castro-like to Rory Cooper, a right-wing political strategist as well as managing director of Purple Strategies (which gives money to Republicans and to corrupt right-wing Democrats like Gwen Graham, Ann Kuster, Gary Peters, Mark Pryor and John Barrow.) His Twitter followers didn't appreciate his tweet after the primary results came in:

UPDATE: Wasserman Schultz Makes A Move

Hard to imagine but today, the sleaze ball DNC chair and Hillary operative, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, reversed President Obama's ban on the DNC accepting donations from federal lobbyists. Hillary, whose campaign is tantamount to a K Street/Wall Street cabal, refuses to call Wasserman Schultz off, of course. Tim Canova, the progressive who is running for the South Florida seat Wasserman Schultz operates out of, pointed out that "At the time, this ban was supposed to be about proving that the Democratic Party was going to stand behind their platform and lead by example. But, thanks to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC is allowing federal lobbyists to have enormous influence in the inner workings of the only political party that “promises” to reform our campaign finance laws... It is frustrating to watch Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic National Committee continue to become corrupted by special interests and the billionaire class. After the success of Senator Bernie Sanders in Iowa and New Hampshire, you would think the establishment in the Democratic Party would have learned by now. But apparently they are just too corrupt to see the forest from the trees. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's decision to reverse President Obama's prohibition on pay to play politics and let the DNC accept donations from corporate lobbyists is a major step in the wrong direction."

Please consider contributing to Canova's campaign here and help drive corruption out of Democratic politics. There are few Members of Congress as pernicious and toxic as Wasserman Schultz.

And a little bonus because we love you and this video just will not wait until our next post on Herr Trumpf tomorrow. So... enjoy-- and if you want to contribute to a campaign today, consider these men and women who have endorsed Bernie and are running for Congress on his issues. No matter who wins the White House, we will need more progressives in Congress, right?

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