Sunday, May 28, 2017

Better Than Electing More Backbenchers-- How About An Actual Leader? From Pennsylvania!


Suburban Philly's PA-07-- one of the country's most bizarrely gerrymandered districts-- was once the Delaware County district. Joe Sestak was the congressman. But Republicans cut out many of the African-American and minority neighborhoods and wound up drawing an embarrassing-looking hodgepodge that twists and turns from Valley Forge Park through Radnor, Wayne Marple Township, Springfield, Upper Providence and Chester Heights up and down and all around, avoiding as many Democrats as possible while heading out from Delaware and Montgomery counties into GOP bastions in Chester, Berks and even Lancaster County. It's a purple district that still has some swing to it but it leans Republican and the current congressman is a garden variety knee-jerk conservative, Pat Meehan. Many of the voters there, though, just unable to cast their ballots for Trump and Hillary won the district 49.3% to 47.0%, out-performing Obama when he faced Romney there in 2012.

After the DCCC decided to sabotage the progressive Democrat running there in 2016, Mary Ellen Balchunis-- who had had the temerity to beat their handpicked shill in a primary (74-26%)-- they basically just gave Meehan a free pass to reelection, a real class act by Pelosi and Lujan. He won 59.7% to 40.3%, outspending Balchunis $2,155,483 to $198,954.

This cycle, the DCCC is doing what they always do: search for wealthy Republican-lite, self-funders and "ex"-Republicans. They do this all over the country and they seem to be trying to hide their choices from Democratic activists so as to not draw the withering fire they know will follow. So far there are at least half a dozen Democrats running in what promises to be a fierce primary. It isn't clear who the DCCC supports but one, Elizabeth Moro, is an "ex"-Republican and she fits their profile. Most of the candidates son't live in the district and have nothing to do with it, like Dan Muroff, who was last seen running for a Philly congressional seat, which is where he lives. Other candidates include Paul-David Perry II, Molly Sheehan, John McGinty. Mary Ellen is thinking about running again and so is another sterling progressive, our old friend, state Senator Daylin Leach, who lives in the Montgomery County part of the district.

Last week, the Philadelphia News broke the story that Daylin may give it a shot. There are several people in the district-- and in Washington-- trying to recruit him to run. Jonathan Tamari announced to the paper's readers that "State Sen. Daylin Leach, an outspoken liberal who once called President Trump a 'fascist, loofah-faced, shit-gibbon' is considering challenging Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan next year, potentially setting up a clash of two well-known political figures as Democrats try to capitalize on the left’s anti-Trump fervor."

Daylin told me he's leaning towards a run and I gather he said the same thing to Tamari.
Leach said constituents had encouraged him to run as a check on the president.

“I was reluctant to take on that large of a project, frankly, but as things have unfolded I have become increasingly concerned that we are facing way beyond what is the normal angst that one feels when there’s a president of the other party,” Leach said. “We are actually facing an existential threat to many of the basic rights we enjoy in this country and to our way of life in a lot of ways.”

Leach, 55, said he wanted to be “thoughtful” about his decision and hoped to decide on a run by the first week of June.

“I still go back and forth, sort of on a daily basis,” he said.

Leach would join a crowded field. Five Democrats have already filed papers to run against the four-term Republican congressman, and even more have said they are considering jumping in, said David Landau, chairman of the Delaware County Democrats.

One, Philadelphia ward leader Dan Muroff, touted an endorsement last week by former Gov. Ed Rendell [something a normal Democrat might be embarrassed to share voluntarily].

Some Democrats immediately raised concerns about Leach’s potential candidacy. Several said they think the liberal senator-- who drew international attention when he tweeted the profane insult at Trump in February-- could win a primary, but struggle with a more moderate electorate in the general election. Republicans hold a voter registration advantage in the district, 49 percent to 36 percent, so any Democrat would likely need crossover votes.

Leach argued that voters will be more concerned with resisting Trump than typical conservative vs. liberal ideology.

“This is going to be an election about authenticity and about what kind of America you want to see-- not in terms of what the tax rate should be, but in terms of, ‘Do we have freedom of the press? Do we treat all religions the same? Do we adhere to the rule of law?’ ” he said.
Leach is exactly the kind of strong, principled, values-driven Democrat the party needs as a candidate. The DCCC usually shies away from candidates with records... but voters don't. His record in the state legislature is outstanding and he has been one of the Senate's most effective champions of women's rights. He has also fought hard for reform of the marijuana laws and for redistricting reform. He's going to be making up his mind in the next week or so but this morning he told me that "I've been saying for months that given the utter insanity of the Trump administration, we all have a moral obligation to do all we can to resist and rescue our country. The one thing we need more than anything is some actual checks and balances, which in this case means a Democratic Congress in 2018. I am giving careful thought to whether or not I am the best candidate for PA-07. If I conclude that I am, I will do everything I can to fight for the progressive values that are risk in so many ways today. If I run, it's because this is no time to abandon our battle against climate change, or our fight for free college, paid family leave, a $15 minimum wage and criminal justice reform. Our problems are too serious to take a vacation from addressing them while some narcissistic plutocrat destroys everything we've fought for."

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Is Selling The Saudi Dictator $110 Billion Worth Of Very Deadly Advanced Weaponry A Good Idea?


Señor Trumpanzee is already bragging about how historic and profitable his failed and embarrassing trip abroad was. For me the lasting image will be the fast food-eating, exercise-free, out of shape 71 year old (June 14) slob in Golf Cart One, following behind all the international leaders out for a nice invigorating stroll through Taormina. What a clown! He wants to think his trip generated millions of jobs. He's just catering to the easily-duped morons who still support him. Presumably the "millions of jobs" will come, in part, from selling even more advanced weapons-- $110 billion worth-- to the oppressive Saudi dictatorship. But Congress is already starting to wonder how bad of an idea that is for America.

Michigan Republican Justin Amash is leading an effort to stop the sale-- and he's been joined by a strong bipartisan coalition that initially was made up of Mark Pocan (D-WI), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Jim McGovern (D-MA). Federal law gives Congress 30 days to review arms deals to non-NATO countries and Amash and his colleagues are focussing in on the sale of precision-guided munitions and other advanced offensive weapons in the deal. They proposed a joint resolution of disapproval (H.J. 102).

Many in Congress are concerned that there will be nothing left of Yemen if the Saudis get these weapons. On Thursday Amash said in a statement that "Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records and has supported many of the extremists terrorizing the people of the Middle East and the world. These arms sales extend a reckless policy from the Obama administration and prior administrations, and they come at a time when the Saudi government is escalating a gruesome war in Yemen."

Madison, Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan is the lead Democratic co-sponsor. He added that "Trump's proposed $110-billion weapons sale sends the wrong message to Saudi Arabia. In addition to regularly dropping U.S. bombs on Yemeni civilians, Saudi Arabia appears to have every intention of using the U.S. weapons from this sale to enforce a blockade on Yemen that prevents food and medicine from reaching millions of people on the brink of starvation. For months, my colleagues and I have been demanding answers to the most basic questions on the U.S. role in the disastrous war in Yemen and have been met with deafening silence from the White House. As we introduce a resolution of disapproval against this unprecedented weapons sale, we are concerned about U.S. complicity in the world’s largest humanitarian crisis now consuming Yemen. Our bipartisan group of lawmakers will be urging our colleagues to take seriously our constitutional duty to vigorously debate the merits of arming the Saudis even further."

Amash, who was very outspoken in his opposition to Obama selling the Saudis one billion dollars worth of these deadly weapons, noted that Trump's deal is a hundred times bigger (and more deadly).

Goal Thermometer A bipartisan companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Rand Paul (R-KY), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Al Franken (D-MN). We asked two of our favorite southern California congressional candidates, Katie Hill in a district just north of L.A. and Doug Applegate in a San Diego/Orange County district he nearly won against Darrell Issa (1,600 vote gap) in 2016. Katie asked a key question we all need to ask ourselves-- even if Trump and her opponent, Steve Knight won't: "This deal goes against our values as a country. How can we be fighting a war on terrorism and then provide weapons that we know will be used against civilians-- all in the name of profit?"

Doug Applegate, was a Marine colonel and is a very savvy national security expert who worries about Trump's lack of experience and chops in this crucial area. He told us this morning that "U.S. weapons should come with binding obligations to adhere to the Law of War and Geneva Conventions. That contingency should also include appropriate training of Saudi armed forces. To do otherwise makes America the world’s arms dealer no different than Russia. Once again Darrell Issa is MIA despite having Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base in the middle of his Congressional District. What do you say to the Marines, Darrell?"

Bonus: Jimmy Kimmel has been ON FIRE lately:

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Was It Bannon Who Blew The Whistle On Kushner-in-Law?


While monkey man was in Europe whining to the EU leaders how hard it is for him to set up golf courses in their countries-- at least he wasn't lobbying them to allow him to open Trump Unibersities (as far as we know)-- his Regime was collapsing around his ears back home. Secretary of Everything Kushner-in-law appears to be guilty of treason. ""I don’t want to overstate this because obviously there is a lot we don’t know," said former CIA Director John McLaughlan on MSNBC's The Last Word Friday evening. "We don’t know the exact content of the conversation. We don’t know the objective that was a part of the conversation-- those things we don’t know. But I can’t keep out of my mind the thought that, if an American intelligence officer had done anything like this, we’d consider it espionage." That's serious enough for our art director to have... well, you see it above.
Mark Kramer, the program director of the Project on Cold War Studies at Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, said Saturday that Kushner's reported backchannel plan is "a huge red flag."

"If the report accurately recounts what Kislyak transmitted, and if Kislyak's transmission accurately reflects what Kushner was seeking, then it's a very damaging piece of evidence," Kramer said.

He added: "A back channel in itself would not be suspicious, but a back channel relying solely on Russia's facilities would be egregiously unwise and dangerous. It's a huge red flag, and it's not surprising that the FBI investigators would have been taken aback by it."

Carle said that while this reported back channel is "explosive," it is worth questioning who [Bannon] tipped off The Post to the story. The Post said it received an anonymous letter in December tipping it off to the Kushner-Kislyak meeting.

Additionally, as a longtime diplomat, Kislyak would have known that his communications were being monitored. So the possibility remains, Carle said, that the Russians used the meeting with Kushner to distract the intelligence community and the public from potentially more incriminating relationships between the campaign and Moscow.

Indeed, "FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump," Reuters reported on Friday, citing a current US law enforcement official.

Kushner met with the CEO of Russia's state-owned Vnesheconombank, Sergey Gorkov, in December 2016, The New York Times reported in late March. The meeting-- which had not previously been disclosed and came on the heels of Kushner's meeting with Kislyak at Trump Tower-- caught the eye of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own investigation Russia's election interference.

Kislyak reportedly orchestrated the meeting between Kushner and Gorkov, who was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 2016 as part of a restructuring of the bank's management team, Bloomberg reported last year.

The Kremlin and the White House have provided conflicting explanations for why Kushner met with Gorkov.

Former CIA Director John Brennan, in testimony last week before the House Intelligence Committee, said that "the information and intelligence" he saw before leaving office in January "revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals."

"It raised questions in my mind about whether the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of such individuals," he said.
It would have been Señor T to have seem the Politico headline, Russia scandal casts uncertainty over Kushner’s future role-- and strange for the rest of us to hear the conversation between el Señor and Kushner-in-law and Natasha about the Code of Omerta and who it is who's allowed to pardon anyone he wants for any reason-- or no reason at all. "Once the untouchable son-in-law," wrote Annie Karnie and Josh Dawsey, "in a White House where top aides jockey for the president’s ear, Jared Kushner has now been cast in a new role: reassuring people that he’s not going to resign, while colleagues question whether he can survive politically." Bannon must be laughing his ass off... with his office door shut.

The news of Kushner trying to set up communications directly with the Kremlin that American intelligence agencies couldn't listen in on "puts Kushner squarely in the middle of a wide-ranging FBI investigation into whether Trump campaign advisers were working with Russian operatives to influence the results of the 2016 election... 'It’s clear that Jared Kushner will be under intense scrutiny at a time when his father-in-law has named him everything but Chief Cook and Bottle Washer,' said Democratic strategist David Axelrod, a former top White House adviser to President Barack Obama. 'It’s bad for the prospects of calm at the White House.'"
A senior administration official said there was widespread concern, predating the foreign trip, that Kushner was in trouble-- but “no one that I know has been asked to provide documents” and that it wasn’t talked about openly in the White House or staff meetings.

“No one knows what to make of it because he’s there every day, making decisions, in the Oval,” this person said. “So everyone just tries to act normal.”

A White House spokesman declined to comment.

But outside of Kushner’s small circle of trust-- a group that includes Kushner’s wife Ivanka Trump, and advisers Hope Hicks, Josh Raffel, Dina Powell, Gary Cohn, Chris Liddell and Reed Cordish-- many West Wing advisers are simultaneously rattled by the backchannel revelations, and feeling a sense of schadenfreude.

The focus on a family member also brings the Russia-related heat closer to Trump. Kushner has risen so quickly in the White House that his colleagues grumble about “principal confusion”-- when a staffer thinks that the reflected spotlight of the boss is actually shining on him. Colleagues have rolled their eyes that Kushner has hired a communications adviser to work on his own portfolio. That aide, Raffel, traveled abroad with him to Riyadh, Jerusalem and Rome.

Kushner, who some say has sealed himself off from the competing White House power centers, may now be in a position of needing allies. And the pool of people in New York City eager to come to his defense has shrunk.

Internally at the White House, according to multiple sources, there is a feeling of resentment among people about Kushner’s special status as a family member, and a feeling that it’s about time for him to have a turn under the gun.

There is also a sense of uncertainty about how long Kushner and Ivanka Trump-- who associates say likes, but doesn’t love, Washington-- are planning to stick it out. Some have noted that they rent their Kalorama mansion, which allows them to keep their options of moving back to Manhattan more open.

But for now, according to a person familiar with the situation, Kushner isn’t going anywhere.

On Friday, a White House official said, Kushner was back in his West Wing office and had a working lunch with chief of staff Reince Priebus to recap the trip.

Kushner, who flew home from Rome commercial on Thursday with his wife, Ivanka, after deciding a week earlier to cut his trip short, is not easily ruffled, this person said. His plan moving forward is to keep his head down and focus on his work, including turning his attention back to building his Office of American Innovation now that the foreign trip is behind him.

The news about Kushner, whose face blanketed cable news on Saturday, overshadowed Trump’s foreign trip on its final day [a cardinal sin in Trumpanzee World].

...[M]any outside observers pointed to Kushner’s naiveté in understanding the need for caution when it comes to handling relationships with Moscow.

The spotlight on Kushner’s involvement with the Russians comes at a time when the powerful son-in-law has been telling associates that he is frustrated with his job.

Two associates who have spoken to Kushner in recent weeks described him as “unhappy” and “miserable,” in part because he has not been able to make the changes he wants to under his father-in-law. Kushner, the source said, has recently seemed resigned to the fact that the internal dysfunction that has defined the first months of Trump’s administration is unlikely to pass. “He’s still trying to tell people it will improve but he seems like he was trying to convince himself,” the source said.

... Meanwhile, Democrats said they are planning to make Kushner a focus in the coming weeks.

“There is no way Jared Kushner should have a top-level security clearance right now,” said Brian Fallon, who served as press secretary to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and before that as a spokesman for the Department of Justice. “In light of what we now know he discussed with Kislyak, it is impossible to believe Kushner’s omission of that secret meeting from his clearance application form was an accident. His clearance should be stripped at least until the FBI gets to the bottom of this.”

He added: “If Republicans will not join in demanding this of the White House, Democrats would be more than justified in grinding the Senate to a halt and opposing any new Trump nominees.”

And Senate Democrats said that they were planning to use the latest Russia-related crisis to increase pressure on attaching Russia sanctions to the Iran sanctions bill that passed the Foreign Relations Committee last week. One source on the Hill said many Democrats don’t want that bill to move without Russia sanctions bill alongside it, and that pressure will now only increase.

UPDATE: Is Bannon Orchestrating Anti-Kushner-in-law Campaign?

This morning, ABC News' Jon Karl reported that Regime officials close to Trumpanzee are pushing Kushner to "take a leave of absence."

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Jeremy Corbyn Is Catching Up To The Vile Right Wing Party Screwing British Working People


Remember back in April when Theresa May was leading Jeremy Corbyn 50-25%? Corbyn has been slowly gaining ground over the last few weeks and a new poll out Friday from YouGov shows the gap closing further: 43-38%. A few days before those numbers came out, The Independent did some extremely interesting reporting on why Labour is surging, primarily because the media is finally giving Corbyn impartial coverage. Forget for a moment that Labor's establishment "Blue Dogs" and "New Dems"-- the Conservative wing of the Labour Party-- has been undercutting and sabotaging Corbyn relentlessly and let's concentrate on The Independent's observation that the "poll bounce coincides with general election broadcast rules kicking in. The public are finally seeing that Corbyn is not the person he has been portrayed as." Political hacks in the Labour establishment and their friends in the media are about as excited about Corbyn as Democratic Party shitheads like Wasserman Schultz is about Bernie-- and just as vicious and destructive.
There are two reasons for this [surge]. Firstly, the public tends to only engage with politics during a general election campaign. Very few people follow all the twists and turns of Westminster in their day to day lives. They might pick up the odd bit of information, often through the prism of a right wing tabloid press which usually sets the agenda, but as we near 8 June and people have to make their minds up about who to vote for, a lot more attention will be paid to what the parties are saying. This is why a link to Labour’s very popular manifesto went viral on Facebook last week.

It is also interesting how Labour’s poll bounce coincides with general election broadcast rules kicking in. The public are finally seeing that Jeremy Corbyn is not the person he has been portrayed as in sections of the right wing press, although some broadcasters still insist on using the pejorative term “hard left,” which is somewhat at odds with polling that indicates the public supports the policies in the Labour manifesto.

Labour under Jeremy Corbyn isn’t hard left-- it’s mainstream.

This is one reason why Theresa May has avoided debating Jeremy Corbyn. Another is that parroting pre-prepared lines doesn’t get you very far in a debate format. Conservative strategists are caught between the necessity of using May’s popularity to detoxify their party’s brand in the north of England, but also knowing that her popularity is based on a perception borne out of carefully choreographed public appearances.

Jeremy is the only leader whose approval ratings have improved since the election was called, jumping 11 points. But approval ratings don’t tell the whole story. Pollsters ask for a judgement on whether the leader is doing a good job, which is effectively asking people to second guess what everyone else thinks about a politician. Much more interesting is YouGov’s net positivity rating, and Jeremy’s has gone from -19 to +22 within the space of a month, with 57 per cent either liking or really liking him. This is one reason why more people would consider voting for Jeremy Corbyn compared to alternative Labour candidates.

One of Labour’s challenges in the coming weeks is to win over Ukip voters who have switched to the Conservatives, which is the primary reason for their current lead in the polls. This task is much easier because Jeremy won the second leadership contest and, as a result, the party accepted the result of the referendum.

Another priority will be mobilising young voters. What has been impressive is Jeremy’s capacity to appear on stage at Wirral Live and not look out of place, and his ability to attract the support of key influencers such as actor Danny DeVito, Geordie Shore’s Scotty T and grime artists including JME and Lowkey, whose powerful tribute went viral [below]. Labour is way ahead among 18-24 year olds, so turnout will have a big impact on the outcome of this election, and the Conservatives will be concerned that many older voters may switch to Labour or not vote at all because of their disastrous social care plans, which are borne out of a reluctance to tax the wealthiest and big business just a little bit more.

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A Republican Who Used To Be In The House: "You Republicans In The House Have Been Lying Non-Stop About What You're Not Going To Cut"


I don't watch Morning Joe but Bernie tweeted some of this rant Friday and it really is awesome. Before he became a Morning Zoo host on MSNBC Joe Scarborough was a Republican congressman from Florida's Panhandle (basically Alabama)-- 1995 'til 2001 when he was forced to resign after being implicated in the death of a 28 year old staffer, Lori Klausutis, a case that was dropped after the resignation.

Yesterday Scarborough lit into his old party repeatedly calling them liars and saying they are "going straight to hell politically." He seemed overwrought, complaining that the "lie through their teeth every day... My party is going straight to hell politically. They really are. They're going straight to hell. They have embraced the coarsening of culture where the truth means absolutely nothing, conservative values mean absolutely nothing... Did [Mick Mulvaney] say we don't cut Medicaid? That is just a lie. That is a certifiable lie... If you want to do it, embrace it. Don't lie about it. Stop lying about it. We know you're lying about it. We're not stupid, and you Republicans in the House have been lying non-stop about what you're not going to cut."

It sounds better than it reads. Watch that clip up top. And backing up Scarborough's assertion that the House Republicans are all mimicking compulsive, congenital liars Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Tom Price, Mick Mulvaney and, worst of all, Paul Ryan is the CBO score that came out this week showing just how devastating TrumpCare would be for millions of Americans-- and all so the people least in need of tax breaks, get massive ones. Thursday the Center for America Progress posted what those numbers are like in every congressional district, based on the CBO’s projections. By 2026, on average, about 53,000 fewer people will have coverage in each congressional district but people in some districts are hurt far more than others. The South Florida districts, for example are hit especially hard. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, one of the last hold-outs among Democrats refusing to co-sponsor John Conyers' Medicare-For-All Act, is in a Broward/Miami-Dade district where 88,700 people will lose coverage.

Worse yet is how badly folks in western North Carolina fare under this plan-- not just twice as badly as the average congressional district-- but under the very provisions forced on Congress by the congressman from western North Carolina: Freedom Caucus headman Mark Meadows. We spoke to the progressive Democrat running for his seat this cycle, Matt Coffay. "My opponent, Mark Meadows, crafted and pushed the AHCA 2.0 bill through the House," he told us. "He specifically inserted the state waiver loopholes that, according to CBO, are going to result in 23 million Americans losing their health coverage.

Goal Thermometer "Now, the Center for American Progress has released a report detailing coverage losses state-by-state. They've also run the numbers on how many people will lose health coverage in each Congressional district nationwide. This isn't just how many people will lose their private insurance--this is how many people will flat out lose healthcare, including Medicaid and employer-provided insurance plans.

"The national average across all 435 Congressional districts is 53,000. But here in Western North Carolina, in NC-11, that number is 102,600. That's right: Mark Meadows crafted AHCA 2.0, and it's going to result in more than one hundred thousand people in his district losing health coverage. That's twice the national average.

"Nearly half of those people are on private insurance; another 47,500 are on Medicaid, and will lose their benefits. This law impacts everyone: whether you're low income and receiving Medicaid, or running a small business and buying your own insurance, or receiving benefits through your employer, you stand to lose your coverage.

"When I'm in the House, one of the first bills I intend to sign onto as a co-sponsor is H.R. 676: Medicare for All. It's time we passed a bill that ensures healthcare for every American, and not a bill that takes coverage away from working people."

The other western North Carolina district that gets devastated-- 102,000 citizens of NC-05 will be without health insurance-- by this is radical right Republican's Virginia Foxx. And like Meadows, Foxx has a dedicated progressive activist holding her accountable this cycle, Jenny Marshall. Earlier today Jenny told us that "1 out of every 7 citizens in the 5th district will lose their healthcare within the next 9 years. For years Virginia Foxx has voted against the best interests of fellow North Carolinian's. She refuses to invest in their future with good paying jobs, their education, and their health. 57% of the households earn less than $49,000 and 75% earn less than $75,000 annually. They cannot afford to choose between putting food on their table and the rising cost of healthcare. Since North Carolina refused to expand Medicaid, people bought their new healthcare plans using subsidies from the government. Under Trump's budget those subsidies are eliminated then couple that with the CBO report on the AHCA, we are going to have a catastrophic loss of access to healthcare in the 5th district. In contrast to Foxx's opinion, I view healthcare as a basic right and therefor advocate for a single payer plan that provides people with the security of knowing their healthcare needs are covered."


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Will The Man With The Smallest Penis Please Step To The Front? Trump Shoves Fellow NATO Leader


-by Noah

Check out the above clip of our boorish, ill-mannered, egomaniacal monstrosity, and Republican excuse for a president as he shoves his way to front and center for the camera.

Trump was in Brussels, Belgium (a city he has previously rudely called a “hellhole”) for meetings with the other leaders of NATO. There he is, Don the Con, folks, in all his glory, pride of the Republican Party, a “man” who lives off loans and largesse from Russian oligarchs and praises Putin while denigrating our NATO allies and their leaders and the very concept of NATO itself, just like his Russian friends do-- and wanted him to do.

When we were attacked on 9/11/01, it was NATO that was the first to come to our defense with troops and aid. But, here Trump is, acting like a gorilla, disrespectfully shoving his way past Montenegro’s new Prime Minister, Dusk Markovic, to the front of the group to primp and pose for the camera, acting like some overly full of himself 3rd world dictator.

To Markovic’s credit and as a sign of the class that is notably missing form our leader, he diplomatically said that he wasn’t offended. Sure.

If I’d been Markovic’s place, I would have quickly tripped Don the Con and grabbed him by the tie as he fell to the ground, saying, “when you’re the PM, they let you do it.” But then, no one ever accused me of being a politician.

What an embarrassment for our country! Notice how Trump also dismisses one of the other leaders by turning his head from her. How much more damage from this miscreant before he's gone? I hope the other leaders checked for their wallets as Trump moved through the crowd.

By the way, Prime Minister Markovic, is the NATO leader that Putin has been particularly outspoken against and working to sabotage. So, this was Trump delivering a message from Putin as much as anything else.

Ring Of Fire’s Farron Cousins has more, much more on the Trumpanzee’s shitwalk through the Middle East and Europe:

If only we could, like I said last week, ban Trump and his gang of future convicts from re-entering what is still, for now, our country!

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Nehlen's Not Going To Nail Ryan In 2018 But There Is A Candidate Who Will


Far right Trump-worshipping crackpot Paul Nehlen wants a rematch. He's challenging Paul Ryan in Ryan's southeast Wisconsin congressional district to a primary battle again. In 2016 Nehlen put up $62,766 of his own and raised another $1,379,852 in a clash with Ryan. Nehlen was the Breitbart candidate and had very vocal support from Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter and Phyllis Schlafly. That kind of lunatic fringe support may help account for Ryan crushing him with 57,364 votes (84.1%) to Nehlen's 10,864 (15.9%).

In 2018 Ryan will be vulnerable to a solid Democratic challenge. The DCCC wants nothing too do with that but one gets the sense that iron worker and union activist Randy Bryce from Caledonia is putting together a challenge that will better reflect the swing nature of a district the DCCC had purposefully ignored for a decade. Polling in the district shows Ryan very beatable and Bryce is just the candidate to bring voters a nitty gritty contrast to Ryan's slick and increasingly unbelievable barrage of shallow lies.

Voters from Kenosha and Racine through Burlington and Elkhorn out to Janesville are wising up to Ryan's austerity bullshit. This summer will be the 7th anniversary of Paul Krugman's explanation of why Paul Ryan is America's ultimate Flimflam Man, something worth re-visiting today. Long before Ryan was Speaker, Krugman put him into context:
One depressing aspect of American politics is the susceptibility of the political and media establishment to charlatans. You might have thought, given past experience, that D.C. insiders would be on their guard against conservatives with grandiose plans. But no: as long as someone on the right claims to have bold new proposals, he’s hailed as an innovative thinker. And nobody checks his arithmetic.

Which brings me to the innovative thinker du jour: Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Mr. Ryan has become the Republican Party’s poster child for new ideas thanks to his “Roadmap for America’s Future,” a plan for a major overhaul of federal spending and taxes. News media coverage has been overwhelmingly favorable; on Monday, The Washington Post put a glowing profile of Mr. Ryan on its front page, portraying him as the G.O.P.’s fiscal conscience. He’s often described with phrases like “intellectually audacious.”

But it’s the audacity of dopes. Mr. Ryan isn’t offering fresh food for thought; he’s serving up leftovers from the 1990s, drenched in flimflam sauce.

Mr. Ryan’s plan calls for steep cuts in both spending and taxes. He’d have you believe that the combined effect would be much lower budget deficits, and, according to that Washington Post report, he speaks about deficits “in apocalyptic terms.” And The Post also tells us that his plan would, indeed, sharply reduce the flow of red ink: “The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan would cut the budget deficit in half by 2020.”

But the budget office has done no such thing. At Mr. Ryan’s request, it produced an estimate of the budget effects of his proposed spending cuts-- period. It didn’t address the revenue losses from his tax cuts.

...[W]why have so many in Washington, especially in the news media, been taken in by this flimflam? It’s not just inability to do the math, although that’s part of it. There’s also the unwillingness of self-styled centrists to face up to the realities of the modern Republican Party; they want to pretend, in the teeth of overwhelming evidence, that there are still people in the G.O.P. making sense. And last but not least, there’s deference to power-- the G.O.P. is a resurgent political force, so one mustn’t point out that its intellectual heroes have no clothes.

But they don’t. The Ryan plan is a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America’s fiscal future.
Even earlier, in a column titled "Don't Know Much About Economics," Krugman explained to his readers that Ryan is "stone-cold ignorant" and laughed about how he's "the smartest Republican Congress has to offer," eviscerating the notion that Ryan has any idea of what he's talking about. "Ryan’s idea of fiscal reform," Krugman warned us even back then, "is to run huge deficits for decades, but claim that it’s all OK because we’ll cut spending 40 years from now; and he throws a hissy fit when people challenge his numbers, or call privatization by its real name. But hey, he’s intellectually ambitious."

Ambitious, yes. Intellectually ambitious? Well for someone who thinks Ayn Rand is an intellectual... sure. In 2011 Ryan was on Face the Nation doing what Wall Street pays him to do: lying his ass off about his "cause," or what the GOP was passing off as his budget proposal. Soon after he started reciting his talking points it was impossible to keep track of all the misinformation and outright deception. Remember, Ryan, who was basing his budget on "closing loopholes" has adamantly supported corporate loopholes for his entire career, even voting against closing tax loopholes for companies shipping jobs overseas and using those loopholes to lower their tax liability. Underscoring his lack of credibility on loopholes, he voted against closing them again that year when the Democrats proposed stopping the federal government from giving contracts to companies that outsource American jobs overseas. When Ryan runs to the media insisting that “we're saying keep tax rates where they are right now, get rid of all those loopholes and deductions which are mostly enjoyed by wealthy people so you can lower tax rates” he's determined to mislead his listeners. He does the same thing when-- petrified Americans see though his plan to end Medicare-- he insists Republicans don't want to ration Medicare. But the CBO warned even back then that higher payments could affect care as beneficiaries might be less likely to use new, costly, but possibly beneficial, technologies and techniques-- "free market rationing," pure and simple. Even the Wall Street Journal acknowledged Ryan's plan would end Medicare: "The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills. Mr. Ryan and other conservatives say this is necessary because of the program's soaring costs." And Ryan's most current plan to destroy America's families-- TrumpCare-- would remove 48,900 residents of his own district from the rolls of Americans who are covered by health insurance.

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The Democratic Party Brand Needs Some Work-- But Not By The People Who Ruined It


In his Rolling Stone essay after Gianforte beat Quist in Montana Thursday night, The Democrats Need A New Message, Matt Taibbi included a litany of excuses the DC Dems always have on hand to explain why they've been losing all the time-- even to monstrosities like Gianforte, Staten Island Mafia thug Michael Grimm, patient-raping-doctor Scott Desjarlais, and, worst by far, Señor Trumpanze.

One of the excuses Taibbi mentioned was how the GOP uses corporate cash to overwhelm less well-financed Democrats. It reminded me of a conversation I had with an exceptionally bright congressmember last November. I predicted that the Republicans would use their all-branch dominance to overreach and turn the voters against them. My congressional friend disagreed--not about the overreach but about voters turning against them. He predicted that they would leverage their power to unleash a flood of corporate money into party coffers and drown the Democrats with it. And Taibbi acknowledged that "Republicans have often, but not always, had fundraising advantages in key races.

Taibbi was talking about how much more Hillary had to spend in 2016 than Trump did. I want to reinforce that on a congressional level. A few days ago we looked at how the Rahm Emanuel DCCC's toxic candidate recruitment resulted in dozens and dozens of Blue Dogs and New Dems been swept out of Congress in the 2010 midterms when Democratic voters boycotted the elections rather than vote again for the DCCC's Republican-lite candidates. And that wasn't because of the Republicans having more corporate cash. In fact, in many cases it was the exact opposite. Republicans beat shitty Blue Dogs and New Dems who had more special interest cash than their GOP opponent did. Here are just a few random examples:
Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL)- $1,435,526 vs Martha Roby- $1,240,276
Harry Mitchell (Blue Dog-AZ)- $2,308,400) vs Dave Schweikert- $1,721,364
Ann Kirkpatrick (New Dem-AZ)- $1,956,364 vs Paul Gosar- $1,168,287
Tim Mahoney (Blue Dog-FL)- $2,756,453 vs Tom Rooney- $1,597,768
Suzanne Kosmas (Blue Dog-FL)- $2,561,831 vs Sandy Adams- $1,266,664
Walt Minnick (Blue Dog-ID)- $2,473,287 vs Raul Labrador- $686,293
Debbie Halvorson (New Dem-IL)- $2,502,037 vs Adam Kinzinger- $1,827,192
Baron Hill (Blue Dog-IN)- $2,167,570 vs Todd Young- $1,950,159
Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD)- $2,621,893 vs Andy Harris $2,383,184
John Adler (Blue Dog-NJ)- $3,285,638 vs Jon Runyan- $1,518,073
Michael McMahon (Blue Dog-NY)- $2,897,473 vs Michael Grimm- $1,249,139
Dan Maffei (New Dem-NY)- $3,114,128 vs Ann Marie Buerkle- $758,777
Scott Murphy (Blue Dog-NY)- $5,321,745 vs Chris Gibson- $1,734,219
Mike Acuri (Blue Dog-NY)- $1,886,555 vs Richard Hanna- $1,260,258
Zack Space (Blue Dog-OH)- $2,931,978 vs Bob Gibbs- $1,090,872
Kathy Dahlkemper (Blue Dog-PA)- $1,957,701 vs Mike Kelly- $1,235,460
Patrick Murphy (New Dem-PA)- $4,287,244 vs Mike Fitzpatrick- $2,062,733
Chris Carney (Blue Dog-PA)- $1,657,586 vs Tom Marino- $704,457
Taibbi continued that "The unspoken subtext of a lot of the Democrats' excuse-making is their growing belief that the situation is hopeless-- and not just because of fixable institutional factors like gerrymandering, but because we simply have a bad/irredeemable electorate that can never be reached. This is why the 'basket of deplorables' comment last summer was so devastating."
But the "deplorables" comment didn't just further alienate already lost Republican votes. It spoke to an internal sickness within the Democratic Party, which had surrendered to a negativistic vision of a hopelessly divided country.

Things are so polarized now that, as Georgia State professor Jennifer McCoy put it on NPR this spring, each side views the other not as fellow citizens with whom they happen to disagree, but as a "threatening enemy to be vanquished."

The "deplorables" comment formalized this idea that Democrats had given up on a huge chunk of the population, and now sought only to defeat and subdue their enemies.

Barack Obama, for all his faults, never gave in to that mindset. He continually insisted that the Democrats needed to find a way to reach lost voters. Even in the infamous "guns and religion" episode, this was so. Obama then was talking about the challenge the Democrats faced in finding ways to reconnect with people who felt ignored and had fled to "antipathy toward people who aren't like them" as a consequence.

Even as he himself was the subject of vicious and racist rhetoric, Obama stumped in the reddest of red districts. In his post-mortem on the Trump-Clinton race, he made a point of mentioning this-- that in Iowa he had gone to every small town and fish fry and VFW hall, and "there were some counties where I might have lost, but maybe I lost by 20 points instead of 50 points."

Most people took his comments to be a dig at Clinton's strategic shortcomings-- she didn't campaign much in many of the key states she lost-- but it was actually more profound than that. Obama was trying to point out that people respond when you demonstrate that you don't believe they're unredeemable.

You can't just dismiss people as lost, even bad or misguided people. Unless every great thinker from Christ to Tolstoy to Gandhi to Dr. King is wrong, it's especially those people you have to keep believing in, and trying to reach.

The Democrats have forgotten this. While it may not be the case with Quist, who seems to have run a decent campaign, the Democrats in general have lost the ability (and the inclination) to reach out to the entire population.

They're continuing, if not worsening, last year's mistake of running almost exclusively on Trump/Republican negatives... But "Republicans are bad" isn't a message or a plan, which is why the Democrats have managed the near impossible: losing ground overall during the singular catastrophe of the Trump presidency.

The party doesn't see that the largest group of potential swing voters out there doesn't need to be talked out of voting Republican. It needs to be talked out of not voting at all. The recent polls bear this out, showing that the people who have been turned off to the Democrats in recent months now say that in a do-over, they would vote for third parties or not at all.

People need a reason to be excited by politics, and not just disgusted with the other side. Until the Democrats figure that out, these improbable losses will keep piling up.
One Democratic congressman who gets it right is California's Ro Khanna. Watch this clip of a powerful messaging interview he did yesterday with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC. We talked to him about it after he was done with Andrea. He reiterated that "the Democrats need to be for fairer rules in the economy. But we also have to have a vision of job creation in middle America. We need to be a party that is both progressive and aspirational."

We talked to two Illinois progressives who are running against entrenched conservative incumbents this cycle. Marie Newman's Chicagoland district around Bridgeport, Canaryville, West Lawn, Midway Airport, Oak Lawn, Hickory Hills and the way out into the suburbs as far as Lockport and Homer Glen. It's a solid blue bungalow belt district with a far right-wing Blue Dog incumbent, Dan Lipinski. Newman's campaign platform has been very focused on the struggles of small businesses. "To be clear," she told us, "Trump’s budget is anti-small and mid market business. Defunding programs enabling small and mid-size manufacturing companies to retrain, scale and in turn, drive jobs, is ridiculous. Rather than taking away those programs, we should be increasing them. Small business is the fastest growing sector and where most jobs are being created, it should be supported. We need to stop favoring large corporations and start supporting small business."

Greg Petzel is also a small businessman and a Chicagoland candidate, running in a district further west. And his opponent, knee-jerk Republican Pete Roskam, is even further right than Lipinski.
I have always believed that the majority of people who enter political life do so because they want to make their community, state or nation better and improve the lives of the people they represent. Based on that concept I also believe that almost everyone shares the same values and that our elected officials have a responsibility to transfer those values into legislation. I believe this is fundamentally true. Have you ever met anyone who prefers polluted air and toxic water over fresh air and clean water? Have you ever met someone who seeks less opportunity at improving their income, or someone who would prefer to go without essential medical treatment? I think Americans have a united set of values.

Unfortunately we often divide ourselves into class, race, or party and our values get trampled on by rhetoric, money, power or special interest agendas. In my district, we have a large number of folks considering running against our radical right-wing congressman, Peter Roskam. Most will tell you they are running because they oppose the Trump Agenda and want to get rid of our congressman because he votes with Trump every time. But simply not liking our congressman isn't enough-- if it were, we would have 143,591 (votes against him in 2016) candidates qualified to run against him. This idea that we oppose an agenda and have no clear agenda or values as a party is exactly why we keep losing elections.

Democrats controlled the House of Representatives from 1955-1995 and stood firmly for strong values-- civil rights, workers rights, women's rights and environmental protection. During that time we created almost all of the nations environmental laws, we created Medicare, and we solidified civil rights legislation. The Democratic Party stood for values that most Americans believed in. And we won elections. And we made our nation and peoples lives better.

Today that Democratic Party-- the one I was taught growing up would fight for me, only exists through a minority of progressive members of Congress. I am happy to bash Democrats or Republicans who try to crush the values I am fighting for. As a party, or at least as individual candidates, we should be fighting for the values that historically drove the Democratic Party. Those values are American values- they are fundamentally ingrained in our hearts and minds and souls as Americans. We don't need the DCCC or any political party to tell us what our common values are. I believe that our fight should be one based on fundamental values that are shared by all people-- Democrat, Republican and Independent. If we can overcome the rhetoric and money and special interests and win elections on real fundamental values, rather than opposition and dislike of our opponents, we can re-establish not only the America I believe in, but the Democratic Party that once fought for us. And in that America, we all win.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Lessons From Montana’s Special Election Of May 25


1.       Republicans cannot coast to re-election even in districts where they have had big majorities.

2.       Republicans have a lot of money to spend, and are being forced to spend it in those districts.

3.       The pressure of unexpected competition, and unwelcome questions about taking healthcare away from low income people, tend to provoke displays of Republicans' dark side.

4.       The Democratic establishment’s small and late funding of progressive nominees slows and reduces the pressure on Republicans.

5.       Montana Democratic nominee Rob Quist deserves our thanks for a valiant effort, and his progress in putting the "country" back in "country music."

Blue America’s latest music video (above) puts even more country back into country music, to help raise funds for many other progressives who are making the personal sacrifice of running for Congress without money from big business, PACs or, in general, the Democratic establishment.
Goal Thermometer
Check it out, and we think you’ll agree, that

freedom’s just another word when monied politicians leave us nothing left to lose
and feeling good is easy when supporting Progressive Democratic candidates.

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"This Is A Gangster Family"-- The FBI's Person Of Interest


The quote in the subject line was something reporter Michelle Goldberg said to Chris Hayes last night, about Prince Jared or, as we know him, Kushner-in-law. Her point was that the Kushners-- like the Trumps-- may be able to afford to clean up nicely but that they are nothing but vicious, merciless predators. And now the law is catching up with them (again). As more than one Twitter wag remarked this morning, "Gangsters don't hire family members because they're qualified. Gangsters hire family members because they're less likely to talk to the FBI." The FBI is looking into Kushner's Putin-Gate role. NBC first reported that Kushner is under scrutiny.
The FBI's scrutiny of Kushner places the bureau's sprawling counterintelligence and criminal investigation not only on the doorstep of the White House, but the Trump family circle. The Washington Post first reported last week that a senior White House official close to Trump was a "person of interest," but did not name the person. The term "person of interest" has no legal meaning.

The officials said Kushner is in a different category from former Trump aides Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, who are formally considered subjects of the investigation. According to the Justice Department's U.S. Attorneys' Manual, "A 'subject' of an investigation is a person whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury's investigation."

...Kushner met at least once in December with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and he also met last year with a Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov... Congressional aides have said they would like to question Kushner about that meeting, and Kushner has said he would voluntarily appear before the Senate intelligence committee as part of its Russia investigation.

Gorkov is chairman of VneshEconomBank, a Russian government-owned institution that has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014. Gorkov studied at the training school for the FSB, one of Russia's intelligence services.
Sources on the fringe right say Bannon is taking a victory lap over the widely reported FBI news. We've been writing about Jared's fabulous adventure for over a year now, from the jailbird father to the visa-selling in China. But a must-read on this slimy crook came out this week at Slate by Jamelle Bouie, Nothing But Slumlords. "In a feature for ProPublica and the New York Times Magazine," wrote Bouie, "journalist Alec MacGillis shined light on the role of Jared Kushner-- son-in-law and close adviser to President Trump-- as a real estate developer and landlord. In 2011 and 2012, seeking a stable source of revenue, Kushner and his partners purchased thousands of units of working-class housing in the inner-ring suburbs of cities like Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Their largest holdings are in Baltimore County, Maryland, where they control 15 complexes that house up to 20,000 people in total. And in managing these properties, reports MacGillis, Kushner is a harsh and unforgiving landlord." A friend of mine, who was Kushner's tutor when he was in high school tells me Kushner isn't very bright and her son told me he's "a violent, spoiled asshole." No one could believe he got into Harvard-- until it came out that his father bought him a slot in the freshman class.
Kushner’s company is relentless in its pursuit of “virtually any unpaid rent or broken lease-- even in the numerous cases where the facts appear to be on the tenants’ side.” Residents are slapped with thousands of dollars in fees and penalties, even if they had previously won permission to terminate a lease. All of this is compounded by poor upkeep of facilities. MacGillis describes one family that has had to deal with mold, broken appliances, and physical damage to their unit-- even after paying the management company for repairs. In one complex, a resident “had a mouse infestation that was severe enough that her 12-year-old daughter recently found one in her bed.” In another, raw sewage flowed into the apartment.

Jared Kushner stepped down as chief executive of Kushner Companies upon taking his position in the White House, although he retains a $600 million stake in the business, which still holds and manages these properties. “They’re nothing but slumlords,” said one tenant to MacGillis. For someone whose company all but exploits the precariousness and desperation of people who have few other choices for decent housing, it is a fair charge.

...Kushner... is working in an administration whose policies would make life more precarious for even more people. The priorities include a health care plan that would take insurance from tens of millions of people, a budget plan that would slash vital aid for up to one-fifth of all Americans, and a tax plan that would use those funds to lower rates for the wealthiest Americans. In turn, that precariousness opens new opportunities for those, like Kushner and Trump, who will not hesitate to exploit vulnerable people for profit.

The past eight years of Democratic government were far from perfect, but liberal policymakers were at least attuned to the reality of exploitation and the need for policies and protections to stop and punish the businesses that work to make life more difficult, and more expensive, for ordinary Americans. Like President Trump’s “university,” Jared Kushner’s history in the low-income housing market is a reminder: With this White House, we don’t just have an indifference to exploitation-- we have an administration of actual predatory capitalists eager to reshape the government in their image, for their interests.
Last night Politico ran a story by David Freedlander, Meet the Real Jared Kushner in which he reiterates that Kushner "in a White House sullied by ties to Russia and all sorts of unsavory characters from the fringe, Kushner was set to float above, surrounding himself with fellow figures from the elite worlds of Manhattan finance and real estate and deep-sixing the harder-edged ideas of the White House’s 'nationalist' wing... Because he is soft-spoken, slim and handsome, with degrees from Harvard and NYU and a family that donates to Democrats, he couldn’t possibly be the same guy knifing his West Wing rivals and urging the president to go to war with the Justice Department and the FBI."
Except that this isn’t quite how it has gone in the White House over the last several months. It was Kushner who reportedly pushed for the firing of FBI Director James Comey over the objections of Bannon. And it was Kushner who was the lone voice urging for a counterattack after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the appointment of a special prosecutor, according to the New York Times. And it is now Kushner whose family’s business activities leave him open to the same level of charges of conflict of interest that have dogged his wife and father-in-law, and Kushner who appears to be as closely tied to the Russian government as anyone serving in the White House: NBC News and the Washington Post reported Thursday that the FBI is taking a close look at his contacts with the Russians.

UPDATE: It's Friday So The News Is Coming Hot And Furious

The NY Times has their own new Putin-Gate blockbuster tonight-- just hours after the story about how Kushner proposed to the Russians that they set up a secret channel of communication using secure Russian facilities, something he carefiully hid from American intelligence. This one is about a Putin crony, Oleg Deripaska, who Manafort used to work for. He wants immunity to testify in front of Congress. Congress turned him down. Deripaska lives in Moscow and has been banned from traveling to the U.S. because of his connections to organized crime.
But he was able to enter the country in another way during that period, according to previously undisclosed court documents. Mr. Deripaska came to the United States eight times between 2011 and 2014 with government permission as a Russian diplomat, according to affidavits he gave in a little-noticed lawsuit in a Manhattan court. Mr. Deripaska said in the court papers that his visits were brief and made in connection with meetings of the G-20 and the United Nations, not to conduct business.

The court documents and public records show that Mr. Deripaska, whose companies have long had offices in New York, has expanded his American holdings over the past 10 years, buying high-priced Manhattan townhouses and a major stake in a Russian-language newspaper in New York.

The lawsuit was brought by Alexander Gliklad, a Russian-born businessman, who charged that Mr. Deripaska had used his diplomatic status as a cover to do business, which the oligarch denied. Mr. Gliklad claims he is entitled to collect funds that Mr. Deripaska had agreed to pay to settle a lawsuit with a man who owed Mr. Gliklad money from a court judgment. Last month, a New York State Supreme Court justice rejected Mr. Gliklad’s argument that the Manhattan court had jurisdiction over Mr. Deripaska.

As Mr. Manafort’s dealings with Russia-friendly Ukrainian politicians, business activities and loans have come under examination in recent months, his former client has gotten caught up in the media scrutiny. The two men were partners in an offshore fund set up in 2007 to buy telecommunications and cable television assets in Ukraine, where Mr. Manafort had advised then-President Viktor F. Yanukovych. That deal fell apart, winding up in litigation in the Cayman Islands.

In March, Mr. Deripaska took out newspaper ads stating that he was willing to participate in hearings before Congress after The Associated Press published a report alleging that Mr. Manafort had provided him with a plan in 2005 outlining steps to “greatly benefit the Putin government,” by influencing politics and news coverage in the United States. Mr. Deripaska has denied ever entering into such an arrangement and sued The A.P. for libel last month. The news organization has said it stands by its article. Mr. Manafort has denied that his work for the oligarch was aimed at aiding the Russian government.

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Patrick Murphy-- Not Finished Destroying The Democratic Party Brand Yet?


Is there a contest at the DCCC recruiting committee-- headed by multimillionaire New Dem Denny Heck (WA) and Rahm Emanuel disciple Blue Dog Cheri Bustos-- to see who could come up with the worst possible candidate of the cycle, one that would guarantee the loss of a deep blue seat that almost can't be lost? Bustos generally comes up with more losers than anyone else and has the worst recruitment record of anyone in history. But no one is taking credit for the still secret loser-of-the-cycle, Patrick Murphy.

Murphy, a brainless, spoiled drunken party boy whose daddy bought him a seat in the West Palm area, was one of the worst members of Congress ever. A lifelong Republican who pretended to be a Democrat-- or at least a New Dem-- had an abysmal voting record that was basically all that Wall Street could ever ask for. He was their #1 pick for the U.S. Senate last cycle and the banksters pumped $2,380,989 into his pathetic dead-on-arrival campaign. His haul from the Financial Sector while he was in Congress was $4,014,637,which he repaid them many times over by voting for their reactionary agenda in the House Financial Services Committee. The banksters-- and Chuck Schumer-- just wanted to make sure Alan Grayson wasn't the Democratic nominee. As soon as Murphy-- with an assist from Obama-in-need-of-library-contributions-- defeated Grayson, the DSCC and their allies abandoned Murphy to his dismal fate. Rubio defeated him. Although Trump beat Hillary in Florida 4,617,886 (49.%) to 4,504,975 (48%), Rubio pulverized Murphy 4,835,191 (52%) to 4,122,088 (43%).

When Ileana Ros Lehtinen announced she wouldn't run for reelection next year, her seat instantly became a major Democratic target. After all, although-- at the insistence of Debbie Wasserman Schultz-- they had NEVER contested it before, Obama won the seat 53-47% against Romney and Hillary beat Trump there massively-- 58.6% to 38.9%. This is the bluest seat in the country held by a Republican but the DCCC pretended they never heard of it. Until now. Now it's a top priority.

One of the best possible recruits they could hope for, a Latina in a 73% Hispanic district, who had already won races for other offices in the district, went to the DCCC and said she wanted to run. Instead of kissing her feet and thanking her, they told her to fuck off because they had already given the nomination to... wait for it-- Patrick Murphy. His old district-- which he's too scared to run in again-- is an hour and 45 minutes from Miami up the I-95. You would drive through Frederica Wilson's, Wasserman Schultz's, Lois Frankel's, Alcee Hasting's and Ted Deutch's before hitting Port St. Lucie in the heart of Murphy's old district. And He's about the least Hispanic person you'll ever meet. His connection to the district is that his father docked his yacht there and young Patrick used to go clubbing and drinking (and fighting with police) in the district.

Yesterday Alex Leary from the Tampa Bay Times ran that screen shot of "Congressman" Patrick Murphy's letter asking for contributions-- part of an article entitled Who is Congressman Patrick Murphy?
The former lawmaker, who left the House to run for Senate, has been sending out similar emails that give the impression he's in office.

So what is he up to?

“I want to stay involved to do what I can to stay involved and help like-minded Democrats,” he recently told Politico. “I miss public service, but I don’t miss the House much, especially with Trump and all.”

Murphy said he's interested in running for office again but isn't sure what.
I asked a DCCC staffer. He said it was probably Bustos up to her old tricks but that they hadn't told the staff yet. "He'd be a really bad fit for the district. Bustos is an idiot and no one pays any attention to her anymore... This would be exactly how to lose FL-27. No one around here is that stupid." Uh huh... we'll see. The DCCC can't resist self-funders, conservatives, Wall Street whores and "ex"-Republicans. As far as Murphy goes that's check, check, check, check.

Is there a good candidate running? We hear great stuff about Michael Hepburn but we haven't talked to him yet.

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