Sunday, January 21, 2018

Midnight Meme Of TheDay!

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-by Noah

OK, let's talk about Stormy Daniels. For those of you who have been vacationing in Siberia or fishing for the rare Arapaima in the headwaters of the Amazon, Stormy is the porn star who slept with Señor Trumpanzee and got $130,000 for her troubles. Not only that, she slept with this sweaty, orange ball of slimy follicle-challenged ectoplasm for a year, a whole eff-ing year! Really, can you imagine 5 minutes? 2 minutes? 30 seconds? 5 seconds? The later is what it would be anyway, but, no matter what, $130,000 isn't enough. Talk about selling yourself cheap! $130 Billion wouldn't be enough. She's an idiot and so is the assclown who paid her to keep her silence. But, maybe he actually does know something about The Art Of The Deal. Nah, Stormy is the proverbial $10 whore that you can find on any afternoon on any street that runs from the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal to the Lincoln Tunnel. She's enjoying her 15 minuets of fame. It is, however a second 15 minutes. She once explored running for the Senate in Louisiana against none other than Senator David "Diapers" Vitter. Her candidacy never got off the ground.

Stormy did earn her money of course. You'd have to pay me $130,000 just to be in the same room with Trump but it would have to be The Thunderdome, you know, that "2 go in 1 man leaves" place from one of the Road Warrior movies. One night, about 25 years ago, I was almost in the same room as Trumpanzee. I was sent to the wrong room at a famous New York recording studio, opened the door, and there was Trump on the control room couch, sitting there listening to something, a blonde on either side. I guess some actress, model, whatever thought she could sing, or someone told her she could. Anyway, nice guy that I am, I said excuse me, closed the door, and went and found the right room, the room, very ironically, where a fine band named Spread Eagle was recording their second album. To think, I could have changed history simply by going into that first room and jamming a live cable into Señor Trumpanzee's ear. I often think of that night. It haunts me. I think about what a service I could have performed for all humankind and every creature that walks, swims, or flies on this planet. Then, I stop myself when I realize, that all I would have done would have been to pave the way for Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, or some other total jerkoff to take his place.

So what is it that Stormy did for her $130,000? Did she use his tiny dick for dental floss? Did she "Oh baby, baby, you're the best I ever had!" Or, did she just smile and then run to the bathroom to throw up? Well, the details are coming out. Stormy says that one of the services she performed was that the man that is now the President Of The United States had her spank him with a rolled up copy of an issue of Forbes Magazine. I think it was the one from 2006 that had him and a couple of his insipid kids on the cover. Given his love of fake magazines with him on the cover, who knows whether the magazine of choice was all real or not, but just think of having to look at that blotchy orange cellulite farm of an ass as you beat it with a magazine. It makes me wonder what other magazines did Stormy have to bring to her "job." I've composed a list:
1. Any one of a number of fake Time Magazine issues with Trump's face on the cover.
2. That issue of Time from the 1930s that had Hitler on the cover.
3. Guns and Ammo.
4. A male gay porn magazine that caters strictly to overly chubby men?
5. A Miss Universe pageant program?
6. Better yet, a Teen Miss Universe pageant program?
7. A copy of the defunct Trump Magazine?
8. A copy of a New Jersey Generals yearbook, his failed pro football team?
9. Loser?
10. The American Journal of Proctology?
So, was it all "Donnie, you're a bad, bad boy!" Did he make her address him or his penis as "Mr. President?" Were there dirty emails? Let's see the emails! Calling wiki-leaks!

What if this news had come out before the election? Would it have made a difference? I seriously doubt it. His supporters hear stuff like this and say "That Trump, he's the man!" They love pedophiles, too, so if you support pedophile candidates, why wouldn't you support a wacko who pays porn stars to spank him? Meanwhile, they and their whole damn party will talk you to death about "Family Values."


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Saturday, January 20, 2018

How Do Members Of Congress Get So Rich While They're In Congress (A Full Time Job)?

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Ken Calvert

There are some really, really wealthy members of Congress, most of them-- though not all-- crooks. 7 House members are ungodly rich:
Darrell Issa (R-CA)- stealing cars & the starting a car alarm company-- $330,050,015
Jared Polis (D-CO)- internet entrepreneur-- $313,556,22
John Delaney (New Dem-MD)- bankster-- $232,816,089
David Trott (R-MI)- foreclosure and eviction king-- $177,149,145
Vernon Buchanan (R-FL)- used car salesman, offshore insurance and charter jets-- $115,534,558
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)- married an investment banker-- $100,643,521
Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)- says he was a humble pigeon cage cleaner before he married an heiress-- $95,569,028
They were rich before they got to Congress and some may have used their offices to increase their wealth, none of them are in the Open Secrets list of members of Congress with the mega-increases of wealth for the decade from 2005-2015. That list indicates that 8 House members became very wealthy while they were in Congress, each of them increasing their net worth by over a 1,000%. The worst is a notorious crook, Ken Calvert from California's Inland Empire. His district is one of the reddest in the state and he's likely to be one of the last Republicans left in the California congressional delegation, which will probably shrink by half this year. Calvert knows there's no accountability headed his way. The district (CA-42) starts in the suburbs west of Riverside and goes from Eastvale, Norco and Corona. south past Lake Elsinore through Menifee and Murrieta to the suburbs north of Temecula. Obama lost the district both times he ran, 55-44% against McCain and 57-41% to Romney. Trump beat Hillary 53.4% to 41.4% and the PVI stands at R+9. Calvert has never been in a competitive reelection. His opponents have never raised, if anything, more than a fraction of what he has and the best they do, generally, is just over 40% of the vote. This cycle there are 3 Democrats vying to take him on, Julia Peacock, Norman Quintero and Thomas Price. As of the Sept. 30 FEC reporting deadline Peacock had raised $23,060 and neither Quintero nor Price had raised the $5,000 that triggers a report. Calvert has a $962,663 warchest. Hde isn't worried.

Calvert had a 4900% increase in net worth since he 2005. At that time he was in debt (around $100,000) and now his net worth is $4,800,003. So how did he get so rich? Well, Calvert graduated from San Diego State in 1975 and managed his family's restaurant, the Jolly Fox, in Corona before becoming a real estate agent and starting his own realty company, Ken Calvert Real Properties. He was elected to Congress in 1992. He is thought to use his perch on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and as chairman of the Subcommittee on Interior and Environment to enrich himself. He is notorious for frequently using taxpayer money to build highways to worthless land he owned to increase its value. That's why he's a multimillionaire today.

There are at least 4 other congressional criminals who became millionaires while in Congress. You can see their net worth in 2005 followed by their net worth in 2015
Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)-- $267,511--> $12,193,002
David Scott (Blue Dog-GA)-- $81,537--> $2,523,001
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)-- $83,001--> $1,687,509
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)-- $175,505--> $3,547,506
In 2015, CNN made the point that "the typical American family is still struggling to recover from the Great Recession, but Congress is getting wealthier every year. The median net worth of lawmakers was just over $1 million in 2013, or 18 times the wealth of the typical American household, according to new research released Monday by the Center for Responsive Politics. And while Americans' median wealth is down 43% since 2007, Congress members' net worth has jumped 28%."

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The NRA-Kremlin-Trump Triangle-- Will Mueller Sort That One Out?

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Thursday, McClatchy ran a pretty eye-popping piece by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon, FBI investigating whether Russian money went to NRA to help Trump. The jist of it was that Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank-- a Putin crony-- was illegally funneling cash to the Trump campaign via the NRA.
[T]he NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump-- triple what the group devoted to backing Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Most of that was money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors.

Two people with close connections to the powerful gun lobby said its total election spending actually approached or exceeded $70 million. The reporting gap could be explained by the fact that independent groups are not required to reveal how much they spend on Internet ads or field operations, including get-out-the-vote efforts.


...Torshin, a leading figure in Putin’s party, has been implicated in money laundering by judicial authorities in Spain, as Bloomberg News first revealed in 2016. Spanish investigators alleged in an almost 500-page internal report that Torshin, who was then a senator, capitalized on his government role to assist mobsters laundering funds through Spanish properties and banks, Bloomberg reported.

A summary obtained by McClatchy of the still-secret report links Torshin to Russian money laundering and describes him as a godfather in a major Russian criminal organization called Taganskaya.

Investigators for three congressional committees probing Russia’s 2016 operations also have shown interest in Torshin, a lifetime NRA member who has attended several of its annual conventions. At the group’s meeting in Kentucky in May 2016, Torshin spoke to Donald Trump Jr. during a gala event at the group’s national gathering in Kentucky in May 2016, when his father won an earlier-than-usual NRA presidential endorsement.

I bet Maddow wishes she could get Torshin for an interview on her show! Yesterday, Bob Bauer, reporting for JustSecurity.org wrote that "recent commentaries and press reports have tended to downgrade the prospects for a special counsel prosecution of campaign finance charges. Moving ahead of them in the Mueller speculation sweepstakes are obstruction of justice and, in some accounts, business crimes. No one knows, of course, what the special counsel, or the congressional investigating committees, have learned that has not appeared in the press. Steven Bannon’s outburst about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting may have stoked fresh interest in the 'collusion' issues. But it is useful to ask, and to question, why-- knowing what we know and could reasonably expect to discover-- the campaign finance dimension has generally encountered skepticism."

He writes about why it is so difficult to prove that all the help Russia gave Trump-- other than the NRA money-laundering cash into Trump's campaign, which he didn't cover-- has Mueller's investigation probably looking in different directions. Obviously, the Torshin-NRA connection could change all that.
A former senior DOJ attorney recently offered me one theory for why the special counsel may hesitate to bring campaign finance charges. Mueller may fear that case is insufficiently concrete or direct to win over a jury. While the law bars contributions of any kind, including providing campaigns with “things of value,” a jury may struggle with the extraordinary circumstances of Russia’ support for the Trump campaign. Rather than make the more familiar cash contribution, the Russian government generated “things of value” in the form of hacked Clinton and DNC material that WikiLeaks then made public. There is no evidence that Trump or his campaign arranged in advance for the hacking, though they were plainly pleased and eager to have the support and conveyed their receptivity to the Russians.

This experienced attorney suggests that both factors-- the nature of the “things of value” as stolen goods and the absence of direct campaign complicity in illegally acquiring them-- will make prosecutors uneasy about bringing criminal charges. They may feel that the case is so “out there” that it lacks the look or feel of a campaign finance matter in any conventional sense of the term. It has not helped that the shorthand for the Trump-Russia connection has become “collusion,” which is not a legal term.

Prosecutors might well also worry that the recent history of high-profile criminal prosecutions under campaign finance laws is not encouraging. The aggressive case brought against John Edwards failed. In another more obscure prosecution, the government unsuccessfully sought to hold a fundraiser for the Clinton Senate campaign liable for lying about unreported “in-kind” payments for a campaign event. The jury in the Senator Bob Menendez prosecution deadlocked on multiple counts that included alleged corrupt pay-offs in the form of contributions to a Super PAC. Maybe juries, cynical about politics, nonetheless fear “criminalizing” it. Or this skepticism may cause them to distrust the prosecution more than the defense.

The question these considerations raise is whether there is any way to put clear boundaries around the term “things of value” and give it the heft it deserves, making it a firm basis on which to prosecute such a case. It is a fair question, to which there is a reasonably clear answer. It is not necessary to construct a theory that captures the notion behind “collusion” by making the case for illegal “’coordination.” One could, as there is a respectable case for coordination to be made. But there are two other clear grounds for federal campaign finance law liability: soliciting a “thing of value” from a foreign national, and “substantially assisting” the foreign national in spending to influence an election.


The law does not reach every “thing of value” a foreign national might provide to a campaign. However, the coverage of prohibited “things of value” is broad, subject to some specific exceptions. For example, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has concluded that an individual foreign national may volunteer time or services to a campaign. The commission notably struggled with this question before resolving it, first deciding that foreign nationals did not have the benefit of the general exception from the definition of contribution for “uncompensated services.” It later concluded that they did.

What may have given the agency pause, driving the first negative judgment, was the legislative drafters’ intention to keep foreign influence entirely out of American elections. The lead sponsor of a key amendment to the foreign national ban, Senator Lloyd Bentsen, had declared that foreign nationals had “no business” in political campaigns.

After issuing inconsistent opinions, however the FEC ultimately came down on the side of reading the definition of “contribution,” along with the express exceptions, the same for foreign nationals as for U.S. donors. It relied on a specific exemption in the statute and rules. Absent that exemption, the term “thing of value” is comprehensive: whatever is not “money” but is donated or spent for the purpose of influencing an election. Items of opposition research are clearly “things of value.” It is odd that there should be any question about this in the Russia-Trump case, given the evident importance in the campaign of the WikiLeaks hacks.


As my interlocutor suggested, the sticking point for some commentators may be the illegality of these “things of value.” Some may believe that while there is clearly a legal problem here, it is not a campaign finance problem. Nothing in the rule supports this line of argument or justifies this hesitation. If a candidate’s supporter were to steal a fleet of cars and vans for a get-out-the-vote drive, he would be donating a “thing of value.” Whether an item is valuable depends on the use of the good or service, not its origin. As a matter of enforcement policy, it makes little sense to give a campaign a pass on a violation of the campaign finance laws because the contributor or spender trafficked in stolen goods.

This Bill Maher clip below (from last night) doesn't have much to do with the Kremlin coup but... it's hilarious and everyone really needs to watch it. So... take a minute and enjoy yourself:



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Can One Family Of Psychotic, Fascist Billionaires Turn 250 Years Of American History On Its Head? Meet The Mercers

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Because I was asked to share a dais honoring us both, I've been covering the Mercer family-- dangerous American fascists-- longer than most. I persuaded our hosts to have two seperate ceremonies so I never got a chance to meet Mercer in person, probably a mistake. At the time he was the biggest single donor to the Ted Cruz presidential campaign-- bad enough-- although he soon took over the Trumpanzee circus and started calling all the shots at his campaign through family vassals Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Patrick Caddell, Jeff Sessions and David Bossie, as well three nefarious far right firms he controls-- Breitbart News, Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center, and, most importantly, the dark data firm Cambridge Analytica.

American mainstream media hasn't given the Mercers nearly the exposure they deserve, primarily because the Mercers are media phobic and refuse to do interviews. This week, Keith Boag, for Canada's biggest media outlet, the CBC, asked the question about Mercer's ultimate goal in helping to place Trump in the White House. David Magerman is a former employee of Mercer’s hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, and he's suing Mercer. He told Boag that "If the world knew what [Mercer] was trying to do, they wouldn’t stand for it."
Seen from a distance, Mercer can appear like a Bond movie villain. A computer scientist-turned hedge fund billionaire, he is reclusive and taciturn. He does not do interviews. He stays out of sight sailing the world in his luxurious, high-tech super yacht, Sea Owl, or holed up in his Long Island estate, Owl’s Nest, while plotting the political transformation of America.

But when he backed Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 and helped install Bannon to run it, people began asking more seriously, “Who is this man?”

Mercer barely talks to anyone. Trump once joked at a party that the longest conversation he’s ever had with “Bob” was just “two words.” That’s an anecdote from Jane Mayer’s 2017 profile of Mercer in the New Yorker, which, like most of what’s been written about him, was based on evidence from people such as Magerman.

Magerman is a multi-millionaire-- the lower nine-figure range, he said-- who, like many employees at Renaissance Technologies, became rich through his relationship with Mercer. Unlike most of them, Magerman is not afraid to be publicly critical of how Mercer has used his money in politics.

“People weren’t aware of what was going on [in 2016]. It looked like some eccentric billionaire was giving money to political causes the way people normally do,” Magerman said. “I knew that he was actually trying to do something different than that.”


Mercer’s fortune and Bannon’s media instincts combined with a shared ideology to produce the anti-liberal, anti-Clinton ecosystem that includes Breitbart, the conservative non-profit Citizens United, the book Clinton Cash and much more. Together, they oversaw the data analysis company Cambridge Analytica, whose impact on the UK’s Brexit referendum and the 2016 U.S. election remain troublesomely murky.

For a long time, even Magerman didn’t know about Mercer’s political interests or his ultra-libertarian, minimalist-government goals.

“When I read all that, I felt not only did I have to do something,” Magerman said, “but I’d been negligent in not doing something earlier.”

...Magerman thinks Mercer has bought special access to impose “extra-societal” views on the Trump administration.

Magerman, who now spends much of his time at his sprawling estate in the wealthy Philadelphia suburb of Merion Station, is uncommonly thoughtful about the impact on U.S. political life of rich people like himself, and especially the ones he calls “the instant billionaires,” like Mercer.

“The ultra-wealthy of today differ from the ultra-wealthy in past eras in that they have, a lot of them, no stake in the infrastructure of society,” Magerman said. He’s seen that their wealth does not depend on the health and stability of the country. In fact, they get rich on volatility and instability.

Organizations that track who spends money in politics have noted the same thing. Sarah Bryner, research director at the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, said “hedge fund wealth is a sort of recent phenomenon, at least in the campaign finance world.”

“It’s not like you’re working for [big banks such as] Chase or Wells Fargo, in a very well-regulated and huge industry” with obvious policy aims.

High net worth individuals aren’t like that at all, she said. “With Mercer, we don’t really know much about why he’s getting involved.”

...The problem that Renaissance Technologies faced trying to predict market behaviour is, he said, essentially the same problem that Cambridge Analytica faces in voter analysis and persuasion.

Data analysts are largely skeptical that Cambridge Analytica could have had a decisive impact on the 2016 U.S. election or the Brexit referendum, but Magerman brushes that off with a reminder that so-called experts were also skeptical that computer algorithms could predict financial markets.

“They said there is no way they can do that with the data available,” he said. And yet, there’s Medallion [Renaissance Technologies' big money-maker, open only to employees], with its unheard-of nearly 80 per cent annualized returns. There's Cambridge Analytica, on the winning side of two political upsets.

And there is Mercer, a brilliant scientist at the helm of both companies.

In January 2017, before Trump’s inauguration, Magerman called Mercer to chat about politics and the new administration. He wanted to persuade Mercer to withdraw support from Trump.

They talked about Obamacare and the social safety net and disagreed about Trump’s positions on those issues. Then, Magerman says Mercer made a series of comments on U.S. society:
The United States began to go in the wrong direction after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s;
African-Americans were doing fine in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s before The Civil Rights Act;
The Civil Rights Act “infantilized” African Americans by making them dependent on government and removing any incentive to work;
The only racist people remaining in the U.S. are black; and
White people have no racial animus toward African-Americans anymore, and if there is any, it’s not something the government should be concerned with.
Magerman felt he couldn’t keep that to himself.


“I really thought I was just going to let people know what I know and that would be the end of it,” Magerman said of his decision to do an interview with the Wall Street Journal, which amounted to a warning flare about Mercer to anyone paying attention.

The story quoted Magerman saying that Mercer has contempt for the social safety net and that he now wants to use the money Magerman helped him make to “shrink government to the size of a pinhead.”

But the most sensational part was what Magerman relayed that Mercer had said to him on the phone one day. “I hear you’re going around saying I’m a white supremacist. That’s ridiculous.”

Magerman, having cleared his conscience in the Wall Street Journal, expected to go back to work at Renaissance Technologies. Instead, he was suspended.

“If they hadn’t suspended me, I think the story would have kind of died quickly,” he said, but that’s probably not true. After the article appeared, Magerman continued to talk to the media.

He wrote a piece for the Philadelphia Inquirer in which he said that, during the presidential election, Mercer “was effectively buying shares in the candidate” and “now owns a sizable share of the United States presidency” and that “Mercer has surrounded our president with his people, and his people have an outsized influence over the running of our country simply because Robert Mercer paid for their seats.”

After that, Magerman’s suspension was made permanent and he sued his boss for wrongful dismissal.

...Mercer was the third-largest Republican donor ($25.5 million) in the 2016 presidential race. In the New Yorker profile, a “high-level Renaissance employee” is quoted as saying, “Bob thinks the less government the better. He’s happy if people don’t trust the government. And if the president’s a bozo? He’s fine with that. He wants it all to fall down.”

I asked Magerman if he was the anonymous employee behind the quote. He said he couldn’t remember saying it, but it certainly sounded like something he would say.

Of course it does. One of Magerman’s cautions about “instant billionaires” is that they really don’t understand what the government is for. They didn’t get rich by providing the goods, services and infrastructure that bring people into direct contact with their community and its interests-- they got rich in financial markets, making money for the sake of it.

Often cited among the accomplishments of the Trump administration’s first year are the number of regulations that have been eliminated in the name of freeing businesses to create jobs. But the real shrinking of the role of government has been in Trump’s choice of cabinet members, whose aim seems to be to assail the policy goals of their departments.

Thus, the secretary of energy is someone who once campaigned to get rid of the Energy Department; the Secretary of Education has advocated against the public schools system; the Environmental Protection Agency director has a record of repeatedly suing the EPA; and the Attorney General has a reputation for opposing the expansion of civil rights.

Other departments are reportedly withering from neglect, as key positions are filled by unqualified people or not filled at all. The tax cut bill passed in December is forecast to add about a trillion dollars to the federal deficit, forcing further restraint on future governments.

It’s hard to imagine that Mercer would be unhappy about any of that given his thoughts about the size of government and the observation that he “wants it all to fall down”-- and especially since his daughter Rebekah was part of the transition team that helped Trump choose his cabinet.

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The House Says NO To Impeachment Again

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On Friday, while the Senate was trying too figure out how to not shut down the government, the House voted to table-- like in kill-- another impeachment resolution. Just so we're all on the same page here, a vote to impeach Trumpanzee is not the same as removing him from office. It just begins the process with hearings and an investigation by the House Judiciary Committee. Why would anyone deny that is warranted. And yet, yesterday every Republican and 121 Democrats voted to kill the whole idea of it by supporting the resolution to table the bill. 66 Democrats-- see graphic below-- voted against the motion (in other words to proceed with beginning the impeachment process).


click on this and you'll see the names more clearly

All of our favorite members voted to get the show on the road: Pramila Jayapal, Mark Pocan, Barbara Lee, Ted Lieu, Jamie Raskin, Raul Grijalva...

Alan Grayson certainly would have led the clamour for impeachment had he still been in Congress. I noticed that none of the 3 conservative Democrats representing Orlando-- Val Demings, Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy-- backs impeachment. I asked Grayson what he thinks about istarting the process. He told me that "the Constitutional standard for impeachment is "high crimes and misdemeanors."  Mis- means "badly."  Demeanor, from the Latin word minari, means how you conduct yourself.  Is there anyone left, in the entire world, who doubts that Donald Trump conducts himself badly?"


Although the establishment candidate in IN-09 is mouthing some progressive phrases she thinks will "work," Dan Canon is the progressive candidate in the flippable district that goes from the suburbs of north of Louisville to the suburbs through Salem, Bloomington and Martinsville into the suburbs south of Indianapolis. One thing Dan is not is a GOP-lite establishment shill. "The Republicans in Congress," he told us, "wouldn't vote to impeach Donald Trump if he unhinged his jaw and swallowed a child on live television. The integrity of American institutions, including the office of the president, matters far less to these oligarchs than retaining power. It's been that way for a while, but standards of decency in the age of Trump have been visibly and unmistakably discarded. I think that American voters are starting to see that, and they don't like it."

Good point and not that different from the one NC-05 progressive Jenny Marshall made: "The process of impeachment is established by our constitution as a remedy for those government officials who commit offenses deemed treasonous, for bribery or other crimes.  If President Trump has met the requirements for impeachment then it is the sworn duty of Congress to file the articles and proceed with the process. Period. Congress should and must do its job of upholding the constitution. Virginia Foxx has shown once again that she will put party before the people of this country."

But not every Blue America candidate is in accord on the strategy of when and how to impeach Trump. One member we respect and who delivers is Ro Khanna, the Silicon Valley Democrat who voted to table the motion yesterday. He told us that "We need to let the process play out and let Mueller do his job. If the Republicans were to say that they don’t care about the evidence and will vote against impeach even if Mueller finds that Trump collided with Russia, we would say that’s irresponsible and a dereliction of duty. How then can we vote to impeach before considering the evidence Mueller presents? We have to remain the party of facts, of reason, and of evidence based decision making. As abhorrent as Trump’s statements have been, our highest responsibility is to our nation’s institutions and democratic process."

Some of our candidates agreed with Ro's approach. One said that "My guess is that Mueller’s report will shock the conscience of the nation and lead to 45’s impeachment, conviction, and removal from office." Another said, "I want an investigation and report to be concluded first before an impeachment. I want the record to be clear of why such an extreme measure is needed."

Goal ThermometerOK... but how much more damage does he do before the process begins? Which side to you come down on yourself? How about this? If you think the right move was to start the impeachment process, contribute a couple of dollars to Dan Canon, Alan Grayson and Jenny Marshall by clicking on the ActBlue congressional thermometer on the right. If you don't agree, just sit this one out and signal that you don't think the time is right to strat the long hard process of impeaching The Donald for one reason or another. I've very curious to see where DWT readers come down on this. And if you feel contributing $3.00 is a poll tax, feel free to express your opinion in the comments section, on Twitter or on Facebook. Its pretty rare that Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna are on opposite sides of a question. Have you noticed?

I hope John Kennedy (R-LA) wasn't excluding himself when he blasted his Senate colleagues on yesterday: "Our country was founded by geniuses, but it’s being run by idiots."

And, by the way, as long as we're talking about getting rid of Trumpanzee, Axios commissioned a new poll of Republican voters from Survey Monkey. The older the voter, the more likely they seem to be satisfied or even happy with Trump. When the question-- "Do you want another Republican to challenge President Trump for the party's nomination in 2020?"-- was asked, 56% of Republicans said NO and only 42% said YES. But look at the age breakdown in this chart below. 24% of Republicans over 65 want a challenger but it isn't until the 35-44 year old cohort that a majority are looking for an alternative to Trump. And when you get to GOP voters between 18 and 24, it's a whopping 82% who would like an alternative.


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A Miserable First Anniversary For Señor Trumpanzee, The Fake TV President

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by Richard Serra

Tonight, Señor T has planned a gala celebration for multimillionaires only at his palatial Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Pikers will have to cough up $100,000 a couple but the ones who really want to kiss TRump's lard ass have to pay a quarter million dollars for a pair of tickets, which entitles them to participate in a "roundtable." Everybody who buys a ticket gets a notoriously shitty Mar-a-Lago dinner plus a picture of themselves with Trumpanzee and an opportunity to laugh at the working class suckers who voted for Trump in 2016. Members of Congress-- from both parties-- have noted that the optics of Trumpanzee taking off on Air Force One for his estate while the government is preparing to shut down-- something 32% of voters blame of congressional Republicans and 21% blame on Trump himself-- is less than ideal.

North Carolina congressional candidate Jenny Marshall noted that her opponent, Trump rubber stamp Virginia Foxx said she " hadn't given much thought to" Trump’s performance in his first year in office and that she "wasn’t sure if there was anything Trump hadn’t done well." Marshall reminded her Piedmont supporters that Foxx "sides with him on nearly everything, from his discriminatory travel ban to his attempt to repeal Obamacare to his appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education (the worst Secretary of Education in our nation’s history!) She’s made it clear, time and again, that she would rather toe party lines and cozy up to GOP leadership than stand for the people of the 5th district... [What] really angers me about Virginia Foxx’s recent interview is the fact that she didn’t even think about the performance of the leader of our country. As a representative of the people, it is her job to serve them and their communities, not ignore their needs by refusing to think critically about the policies being put in place by the leader of the free world. The bottom line? Rep. Foxx needs to be removed from office in November. More than that, she needs to be replaced by someone who actually does care about the people of this district and is willing to do the hard work needed to make sure they all enjoy economic, racial, social, and environmental equity-- no exceptions." Democratic candidates across the country are hanging Trump around the necks of incumbents like the albatross he has become.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Times reported Friday morning that As Trump's first year in office ends, his support base has eroded and the opposition is energized. They noted that he started his Oval Office occupancy as a polarizing figure and "ends his first year a beleaguered one." They cite a new poll to back up their assertion.




Just under one-third of those polled, 32%, approved of Trump’s job performance, compared with 55% who disapproved and 12% who were neutral. That 23-point deficit represents a significant decline since April and the last USC/L.A. Times national poll, which found Trump with a 7-point approval deficit, 40% to 47%.

Looking just at residents of 11 key swing states, Trump’s standing is virtually the same-- 33% approve, 54% disapprove-- evidence that his problem goes far beyond the big, Democratic coastal states.

Moreover, opposition to him has intensified-- 42% in the poll said they disapproved strongly of Trump’s job performance, up from 35% in April. A much smaller group, 15%, voiced strong approval, down slightly from April.

The 55% disapproval closely matches the average of other recent, nonpartisan polls; the 32% approval is several points lower than the average, most likely because the USC/L.A. Times poll explicitly gives people the option of saying they neither approve nor disapprove, which not all polls do.

Widespread disapproval of Trump’s performance has also dragged down his party’s standing. Asked which party’s candidates they would favor if the congressional elections were being held today, those polled sided with the Democrats by 11 points, 51% for Democrats to 40% for the Republicans.

Democrats have held their own supporters better than Republicans have: Eight in 10 people who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 said they definitely would vote for a Democrat for Congress if the election were held now. Just two-thirds of people who voted for Trump had a similarly definite intention of voting for a Republican.

History indicates that with a double-digit lead on the congressional ballot question, “the Democrats would be very likely to take the House” in November, said Robert Shrum, the veteran Democratic strategist who directs USC’s Unruh Institute of Politics, which co-sponsored the poll. “The Republicans could be in real trouble.”




...Most of those who had not made up their minds in April now have done so, and by almost 2 to 1, they have gone against Trump.

“The people who were ‘waiting to see’ in the spring have mostly moved toward disapproval,” said Jill Darling, survey director for the USC economic and social research center.

Even among those who voted for him, Trump’s popularity is tepid. Asked to rate him on a 0-100 thermometer, Trump voters gave the president personally an average score of 64. His policies won a score of 72. By contrast, the antipathy from Clinton voters was intense-- they gave Trump a personal score of 7 and a policy score of 9.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll also released yesterday isn't quite as dire for Trump... but still pretty dire. It would Trump's approval at 39%, which is still "the lowest mark in the poll’s history for any modern president ending his first year. Fifty-seven percent disapprove of Trump’s job, including a majority of respondents-- 51 percent-- who now say they strongly disapprove, which is a record high for Trump in the survey. That’s compared with 26 percent of Americans who strongly approve of the president’s job."

The only group that approves? Republicans (78%). Democrats' approval is 8% but what is catastrophic for the GOP's midterm election hopes is that among independent, just 33% approval of how Trump is doing his job. The biggest voting block in midterms, seniors, give Trump a 41% approval, and those under 35 give him a 35% approval.

"Asked which words best described how they felt about Trump’s first year as president, respondents' top answers (allowing for multiple responses) were 'disgusted' (38 percent), 'scared' (24 percent), 'hopeful' (23 percent), 'proud' (12 percent) and 'angry' (11 percent)... 'A dumpster fire,' said an independent male from California in summing up Trump's first year in office. 'He does not represent the values of the country,' added a female Democrat from Wisconsin. 'He has no compassion and he should not be our president.'"

Wisconsin voters have buyers' remorse-- and they'll take it out on Trump enabler and apologist Paul Ryan in November

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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-by Noah

First, let me, as Richard "I am not a crook" Nixon liked to say, make something perfectly clear: By posting this meme as a Midnight Meme Of The Day!, I am not fat-shaming Señor Trumpanzee. Definitely not. No way. Instead, I am, as I always do, Asshole Shaming him. Got it?

Trump, a fat-shamer himself, knows he is obese. What's more, he is ashamed of his obsesity. If he wasn't ashamed of it, he would not go to such absurd lengths to, at least technically, hide the fact that he is obese. Lots of people have a weight issue. Some on the plus side. Some are anorexic. None of that speaks to one's value or character. What's interesting to me about Trump running from his reality (and I'm not solely talking about his obesity here), is that his reaction to his obesity is a reflection of his character. He is using it as just one more opportunity to be a compulsive liar, a fake, a fraud, an asshole of maximum proportions.

When the story of the results of Señor Trumpanzee's physical exam were released earlier this week, the looney bin known as the White House took great pains to "adjust" both Trump's height and weight so as to make it appear that he is not obese. They reported him as being 6'3" tall and weighing 239 pounds. At 6'3", 240 pounds would mean Trump is officially obese. Hmmm. Maybe we can call him "nearly obese?" Now, consider this: After dinner on the day of his physical, Trump undoubtedly weighed 240 pounds, or more. So, Señor Trumpanzee went to bed obese that night. Whatever. If Trump was weighed at 239, somebody please get me one of of those "magic scales!"

When the White House issued Dr. Ronny Jackson's statement about the physical, Dr. Jackson managed to spell his own name wrong, spelling it Ronnie. This means that either Dr. Jackson didn't write or sign the statement, or, that he did but he is so dumb, brain damaged, or whatever that he should not have been selected to give Trump a physical in the first place. When Dr. Jackson got pulled in to address the press, ostensibly to lend some emergency credibility to the mis-signed health report, the whole thing came off just like a Saturday Night Live skit. Jackson even claimed that Trump passed a test of his cognitive abilities and is "mentally sharp." This is all right out of the Kim Jong-un playbook of grandiosity when it comes to lying.

There's also another possibility about the report: Maybe, the White house has something on Dr. Jackson and is blackmailing him into giving a somewhat positive report. Certainly, other people have been way too willing to sell what integrity they ever had in the service of our shithole president; talking 'bout you Gen. Kelly, $enator Cotton, $enator Perdue... Could we soon be hearing that Dr. Jackson will be replacing Sarah Huckabee Sanders? He fits the part. Dr. Jackson would make a perfect Baghdad Bob.


In any event, since Señor Trumpanzee's alleged physical and the cavalcade of alternative facts that came spewing from the White House about it, a seemingly endless amount of memes and tweets dealing with the subject have surfaced. There's even now a Girther movement of people wanting to see his "Girth Certificate" and offering money if Trump will step on an accurate scale in public. Most of the memes depict comparisons of Trump's 239 pounds to other well known men of similar weight. Most tellingly, some show Trump standing next to men who are known to be 6'1" and appearing to be the exact same height as Trump, thus, at 239 pounds, making him officially obese for his real height. Anyway, enough about all this. Imagine how Trump feels when he stands in front of a mirror and all that ever-ballooning weight keeps making his hands look smaller and smaller.


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Friday, January 19, 2018

The Physical

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-by Helen Klein

It is rather surprising that “The Physical” is not getting more attention in the media. The lack of mention in the New York Times is particularly troubling and disappointing.

Trump recently had his first annual physical by Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, Navy Rear Admiral. When I saw a brief clip of the doctor’s presentation of his findings on MSNBC, I was surprised and struck by his manner and wording, which seemed weird and veered off toward inappropriate and unprofessional. He was gushing with praise and positivity for Trump and he was rather loose with his words. This is not what Americans expect of their doctors.



Clearly, I was not the only one with this reaction. In yesterday’s editorial in the Washington Post, “Is Trump’s Doctor Okay?” Dana Milbank was “alarmed, not about the president’s health, but the doctor’s.”


Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson was so effusive in extolling the totally amazing, surpassingly marvelous, superbly stupendous and extremely awesome health of the president that the doctor sounded almost Trumpian. “The president’s overall health is excellent,” he said, repeating “excellent” eight times: “Hands down, there’s no question that he is in the excellent range... I put out in the statement that the president’s health is excellent, because his overall health is excellent... Overall, he has very, very good health. Excellent health.”

And just how excellent is His Excellency’s excellent health, doctor? “Incredible cardiac fitness,” was Dr. Jackson’s professional opinion. “He has incredible genes... He has incredibly good genes, and it’s just the way God made him.”
Really? Some of this sounds much like Trump’s own doctor, the disheveled hippie one who claimed that Trump’s health was better than any President ever. And Johnson’s comment about “his incredibly good genes” is virtually a direct quote from Trump.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN, making a rare house call to the White House briefing room, offered a second opinion. “He is taking a cholesterol-lowering medication, he has evidence of heart disease, and he’s borderline obese,” Gupta pointed out, citing Jackson’s own findings. “Can you characterize that as excellent health?”
Milbank further noted:
And not just his heart! The doctor rhapsodized about Trump’s vision, his stamina (“more energy than just about anybody”) and above all his mental acuity, which, Jackson made sure to note, he examined only “because the president asked me to.” Trump is “very sharp, and he’s very articulate... Very, very sharp, very intact... Absolutely no cognitive or mental issues whatsoever... The president did exceedingly well.”
There is definitely something not quite right here. In fact, Howard Dean, also a physician, questioned Johnson’s last statement, “absolutely no cognitive or mental issues whatsoever” when he was interviewed about his impressions on MSNBC.

Dean stated that the physical did not indicate that Trump was mentally fit for office and it was evident that Dean did not think so. He described Trump as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which has been zeroed in on by many professionals along with other possible categories in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, the bible for psychiatrists. In fact, while not a bona fide diagnostic category, Malignant Narcissism has often been described as fitting Trump to a T. Surely it is becoming increasingly obvious that Trump is “malignant” for our country.

What is important to emphasize is that Jackson did not actually assess Trump’s cognitive or mental acuity or his psychological or language functioning: Jackson had no basis for his conclusion that Trump has “absolutely no cognitive or mental issues whatsoever.”

Dean mentioned that Trump was administered the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. What is this scale?
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was designed as a rapid screening instrument for mild cognitive dysfunction. It assesses different cognitive domains: attention and concentration, executive functions, memory, language, visuoconstructional skills, conceptual thinking, calculations, and orientation. Time to administer the MoCA is approximately 10 minutes. The total possible score is 30 points; a score of 26 or above is considered normal.
Thus the MoCA scale is a screening instrument, a brief battery for dementia. It is by no means comprehensive and it is not a neuropsychological battery, an intelligence test or an assessment of psychological or language functioning. It is a mini mental state neuropsychological assessment tool that screens for cognitive decline. The scale uses “snippets” from various neuropsychological measures-- it does NOT provide in depth assessment of any cognitive area. While it is helpful in picking up moderate to severe dementia, it is not necessarily effective in picking up some aspects of mild dementia. An individual could have other issues related to declining cognitive functions that would not show up on the MoCA.

While Trump’s 30 out of 30 score on the MoCA doers not indicate signs of dementia, findings do not rule out the possibility of other aspects of brain function that could be problematic and revealed through further neuropsychological and medical evaluations. The test takes only ten minutes!

While Trump has been crowing about the results, claiming he did “exceedingly well,” as usual he is way off base-- not showing signs of dementia is nothing to crow about.

Furthermore, there is absolutely no basis for Jackson’s conclusion that Trump’s physical indicates he has “absolutely no cognitive or mental issues.” This is not the case as Jackson did not examine these areas at all, or are they typically assessed as part of a routine physical. Trump did not undergo intelligence testing or psychiatric evaluation, which would zero in on his fitness for office. This is a broad area of concern by the American public, many in Congress and via Wolff’s book, many in the White House.

Jackson also viewed Trump as “very articulate.” This was obviously based on his superficial impressions during their brief interaction. This description is shocking, given the many examples of Trump’s off topic ruminations, incoherent remarks, difficulty putting a full sentence together, inability to finish a thought, poor grammar and syntax and struggles with word finding. A language evaluation would certainly be another area to pursue.

More from Milbank:
Jackson has been a well-regarded doctor. But since finding himself in Trump’s orbit, he has adopted the hyperbolic style and excessive flattery of the boss that we see in other, previously respectable members of Trump’s court.
In conclusion, while Trump’s basic general health appears satisfactory, Jackson’s presentation of the findings leaves much to be desired and is alarming to many. His use of over the top superlatives was unwarranted and uncalled for. His conclusions about Trump’s mental, cognitive and language skills are well beyond that indicated from a routine physical and appear misleading, unethical, unprofessional and even untrustworthy. Unfortunately, Jackson gives the impression of being a political lackey rather than a professional doctor of medicine. This is worrisome. One wonders if there were any findings he is hiding.

By the way, this morning Dr. Jackson commented that Trump could live to be 200, a scary thought. Need I say more?

Gail Collins: "Trump took something called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and got a perfect score. Not perhaps the highest bar possible, unless you were concerned about whether he can identify pictures of animals and draw hands on a clock."

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Major Political Explosion In Chicago!

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Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) has a great voting record-- pretty much as good as it comes. ProgressivePunch rates her record a strong "A" and she's one of only 6 members of Congress this cycle with 100% scores (along with people like Barbara Lee, Jim McGovern and Jamie Raskin). When it comes to politics, though... she's on a different path, more often than not backing crappy DCCC/EMILY's List candidates who aren't nearly as good as she is on issues. One of the best grassroots activists in Illinois described her to me like this yesterday: "Schakowsky is a progressive on policy and establishment politically" and when I asked him why, he said "She is part of the good ol boy network... Pork for the district, her legislation moves forward, etc. All of these clowns are there for their own survival." Example: in IL-14, Randy Hultgren's Chicagoland seat primarily in McHenry, Kane and Lake counties she-- along with New Dem Bill Foster-- endorsed Matt Browley, a Republican pretending to be a Democrat. He's the establishment pick running against the grassroots progressive in the race, Jim Walz.

But how about an opposite example-- one that shows Schakowsky as the most amazing progressive fighter in Congress? This week, she and Luis Gutiérrez (who is retiring) did something no one ever does in Congress-- they endorsed a challenger and reformer against one of their own colleagues in a primary. No one does that. Pelosi and Hoyer come down on anyone who even thinks of doing that like 2 tons of bricks. But Schakowsky and Gutiérrez both announced they are backing progressive reformer Marie Newman in her tight primary race against reactionary and bigoted Chicagoland Blue Dog Dan Lipinski.




In Marie's own words: "It’s hard to overstate how big a deal this is. These two leaders know Dan Lipinski better than anyone, and they’re tired of seeing one of their fellow Democrats vote with President Trump and against the values of the Third District’s voters. They’re saying Marie Newman can do better. And they’re saying she can win.


Just look at the fight playing out on Capitol Hill right now. The vast majority of Democrats are banding together to stand with Dreamers, innocent young people who were brought to this country as children—many of whom know no other home.

This fall, President Trump announced he would end DACA, which President Obama put in place to protect Dreamers from deportation. Just this weekend, he rejected a bipartisan deal that writes these protections into the law.

We can’t count on Dan Lipinski to do what's right for Dreamers. After all, he voted against the DREAM Act and holds positions on immigration that look a lot like Trump’s.

This is why Reps. Schakowsky and Gutiérrez are eager for a new voice-- someone who will stand up for Dreamers and fight discrimination of all kinds.
Voters in IL-03 want change, not more status quo politics. In the presidential primary they backed Bernie who beat Hillary." Chicago's most credible political journalist, Lynn Sweet, wrote in Wednesday's Sun-Times that the move by Schakowsky and Gutiérrez "a rare break from the usual tradition of House incumbents either backing each other or staying neutral in a primary." Gutiérrez pointed out that "It’s not easy to endorse a challenger over a colleague in the House of Representatives, especially when that colleague is a member of your party... “Primaries are about definition of a party. I want to define myself with Marie Newman, and I hope the Democratic Party does too."




Schakowsky made it clear the move wasn't personal but about issues. Lipinski has been wrong on almost everything important to Democrats and has been especially egregious on Choice, health care, immigration and LGBT issues, where he virtually always votes with the Republicans.

Goal ThermometerThe DCCC and its corrupt conservative allies, like the Blue Dogs, New Dems, EMILY's List and the corrupt segments of the labor movement, will move with speed to counter Schakowsky and Gutiérrez and do what they can to prevent any kind of groundswell to develop for Newman. If you'd like to help Marie replace one of the absolute worst fake-Democrats in Congress, please consider clicking on the Blue America Primary A Blue Dog thermometer on the right and contributing what you can. When Blue America endorsed Marie 7 months ago, she explained in a guest post why she's running and what her priorities will be in Congress.
First, we must fight to protect and extend health care for all Americans. I believe the best way to do that is through phased-in approach to include some of the key proposals out there currently such as the Medicare for All initiative, introduced by Congressman Conyers and Senator Sanders. Until we have a President and Congress that will pass such a measure, we must fight to protect the Affordable Care Act from repeal. This includes retaining the elements of that law focused on women’s healthcare and reproductive rights, protecting Planned Parenthood and the millions of women it serves, and requiring insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions.

Not only is my opponent the only Democrat from Illinois to vote against establishing the Affordable Care Act; he has voted repeatedly with the Republican majority to defund Planned Parenthood. This is an unacceptable assault on the rights and health needs of millions of women across our country.

Second, we need to put the needs and concerns of small businesses ahead of the big corporations who use their campaign money and lobbyists to turn the tax code to their advantage. It is our small businesses that create most of the new jobs in our country and that make up the majority of the businesses in the 3rd Congressional District.

In any restructuring of our tax code, we need to close the loopholes and special privileges that enable the wealthiest corporations to avoid their fair share of the tax burden and use some of those resources to help small businesses and entrepreneurs. We must also reverse the Citizens United decision, which has given a handful of right-wing billionaires a hugely disproportionate role in our elections and government. I believe every person’s voice and vote should matter the same.

My opponent takes three-quarters of his campaign money from Washington PACs and lobbyists, which is why he’s ignored the needs of small businesses without that kind of political clout. As a Member of Congress, I’ll reverse those misguided priorities and focus on promoting small business growth.

Third, too many students in our country are leaving college with huge debt but without employable skills. We should encourage the development of high school and college curriculums that actually lead to real jobs. For example, creating more cost-effective entry to community colleges and to create one and two year certifications with designated paths to well-paying jobs that will promote both job and community growth. This should apply to federally supported job retraining and career redirection programs, as well-- many of which could be administered through our community college system.
Last night, Natasha Korecki did some further reporting on this for Politico. Other than her refrying to the right-wing conservative Lipinski as "a centrist," there's some worthwhile info in her report, especially about how Lipinski is trying to defend himself.
Gutierrez framed the public shunning as a necessary response in the Donald Trump era: Democrats needed to unite against the president, and Lipinski couldn't be counted on to vote reliably with Democrats.

And yet there’s more to it than that. The act of throwing Lipinski under the bus was an exercise in bare-knuckled Chicago politics, and it was also a tale of a party that is an increasingly awkward fit for centrists like Lipinski.

"There’s an effort that is very detrimental to the Democratic Party, in that there’s the Tea Party of the Left that some people said they wanted to create. That’s bad for the party. That’s not going to be helpful in growing our numbers,” said Lipinski, who noted that the Tea Party movement was responsible for Trump’s ascendance. “I think we have to acknowledge that the way to get back into the majority into the Congress and pick up seats is to make sure we are a big-tent party and reaching out to people are moderate and not just push to the left."

Asked if he felt betrayed by his colleagues, Lipinski said he wasn’t surprised at all.

“Jan has worked against me in the past. She’s never come out formally against me. Her husband has been straight about working against me,” Lipinski told Politico. “It certainly does not surprise me. Even though I have supported her when she ran for vice chair of the caucus … I’ve been back and forth with Luis. He’s been with me, he’s not been with me. I’m not sure what his future is.”

To progressive groups angling to oust Lipinski, the seven-term Democrat is finally getting his comeuppance after years of votes against their interests. He was the only Illinois Democrat to vote against the Affordable Care Act, and the only Democrat in the House not to sign onto the Equality Act, which expands protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. He also voted against the Dream Act, angering Chicago-area Hispanics.

Then there is Lipinski’s position on abortion, a sticking point in a party that has few remaining opponents of abortion rights.

Gutierrez and Schakowsky both cited Lipinski’s opposition to abortion as out of step with his district.

“I assure you that this district is overwhelmingly pro-choice,” said Schakowsky.

By endorsing Marie Newman, a businesswoman and former marketing consultant, Schakowsky and Gutierrez joined powerful national groups that have already coalesced behind the challenger, including NARAL, MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Human Rights Campaign. Those groups expect a surge in progressive votes in the primary, providing the opportunity to oust one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress.

Still, Newman will need all the help-- and money-- she can get against Lipinski, whose family has held a seat in the district for decades.

"I am hoping it will encourage some donors to decide that they would support Marie,” Schakowsky said of her endorsement.

Privately, some Democrats question whether Gutierrez was settling a score with the powerful state party chairman Mike Madigan, a longtime ally of the Lipinski family. Gutierrez, who plans to retire at the end of this term, brought up in the news conference that during the last round of redistricting his district was redrawn to include a portion of Lipinski’s constituents.

“He jettisoned, 50-60,000 voters ... all of a sudden I have the zoo. Brookfield Zoo … Just think about it. Pilsen, Little Village, Humboldt Park, Back of the Yards,” he said, referring to Chicago neighborhoods heavily populated by Latino residents. He then added the punchline: “And I got Brookfield Zoo, thanks to [Dan] Lipinski. But he didn’t do it so I have the zoo in my congressional district. He did it because he was running away from progressive Democrats.”

Gutierrez later told Politico his remarks had "nothing to do" with Madigan or the redistricting process the state Democratic party controls. Rather, he said, they were a commentary that Lipinski had exported a part of his district, around a trademark Chicago-area zoo, that was growing more liberal.

Gutierrez said moving a portion of Lipinski's district into his own was a sign Lipinski and his clout-heavy Democratic backers knew he'd grown too conservative for his district. Lipinski insists he remains in line with his district, which includes Chicago and nearby suburbs, pointing to the endorsements of 30 mayors and village presidents just this week.

Wednesday’s move by Schakowsky and Gutierrez put them at odds with a more pragmatic [better word would be corrupt] faction of Chicago Democrats-- old guard Democrats who remain loyal to Lipinski’s father, former Congressman Bill Lipinski, and would prefer to leave his son be.

Sure, they argue, Lipinski takes some conservative votes and may even be out of step with his district, but “he has a hell of a name,” said one Democratic operative.

In other words: why is the party spending precious resources to oust an incumbent from a safe Democratic seat? Especially when Democrats are busy trying to oust a Republican governor from office and nearby GOP congressmen from their seats?
The party, unfortunately, isn't "spending precious resources to oust " Lipinski. Instead, they will spend precious resources to hold a Republican-supprting reactionary in a safe Democratic seat. Just Wednesday, for example, the Republicans passed a resolution top move forward on one of their crackpot anti-choice bills, HR 4712, and every Democrat opposed it except two, one of those two being Lipinski, of course.


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