Monday, June 25, 2018

Tomorrow's Primary Day-- And Crowley Is A Villain Not Just In Queens And The Bronx, But In Staten Island And Brooklyn Too!


Today, the furthermost corner of NY-11 is at Avenue P and East 15th Street. When I was a pre-teen, my family had a house on 17th right off Avenue P. One of my friends, Anne, lived with her family on East 14th Street between Avenue P and Kings Highway. We both went to PS 197. Back then we were also in the same congressional district-- Manny Celler's. First elected in 1923, Celler's district was redrawn at least 4 times and back in the early '60s it was NY-11, as it is now-- albeit without Staten Island-- when Anne and I lived in it. Actually she still does. I didn't know that until this week. I hadn't heard from her since we went away to college. We hadn't been in touch. She e-mailed me, inspired to finally reach out by Fred Moguls' WNYC piece, and told me she reads DWT everyday. She told me something I didn't know anything about-- that Grimm called Rose "a pussy" in public, and that mister "courage to lead" said nothing in retort and went on to whine to multiple people about it. That's not a guy who's ready to take on Grimm in a general, and when there was a candidate forum in the very red South shore of Staten Island and it was confirmed Grimm would be there, Rose was a no-show coward. I called her and we caught up. We exchanged pictures. She said she would recognize me instantly. Something like sixty years have passed. I would never have recognized myself. Anyway, Anne said she agrees with everything I write... everything. I love her; no one else agrees with everything. No one. She's petrified the DCCC is going to wind up giving NY-11 back to Michael "Mikie Suits" Grimm by supporting a crummy Blue Dog, Max Rose. She had written a post about her fears but was nervous about sending it to me. Why, I asked, you were always a much better writer than I was. She used to help me with my homework. Here's her guest post. Please encourage her to write more.

The 2 bad guys in the NY-11 race-- Grimm and Rose

Please, Stop Michael Grimm... And The DCCC
-by Anne From Brooklyn

The Darwin awards for political ineptness have yet to be invented, but the DCCC is doing everything it can to win the coveted Most Embarrassing Congressional Election That Doesn't Have To Be Lost category in a landslide.

In 2015, it took the grand prize without breaking a sweat. Never content to settle, the D-trip now aims to break its already impressive record-- in the same district, against the same flawed Republican. It may very well work. But it may also fail spectacularly; particularly if The People have their way.

In 2015, they put up the most clownish Democrat they could think of to screw their hopes so shamefully that Candidate Recchia earned star status on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Recchia went on to raise more funds than any Congressional candidate in history, right before setting another record when he suffered an epically humiliating loss to Republican Michael Grimm. Grimm was not only under indictment at the time, but had just threatened (on live tv!) to break a reporter "in half-- like a little boy" and throw him "over this balcony." The balcony was DC's Congressional Rayburn Building and Grimm ultimately resigned his seat, pleaded guilty to felony tax fraud, and served an eight-month sentence.

Now that he's out and wants his seat back, he is Trumpily primarying the Trumpiest schlump representative, Dan Donovan (the DA who could indict a ham sandwich, but not the NYPD officer who caused the death of Eric Garner with an illegal chokehold).

The DCCC can glide to November victory with the most populist Democrat the district has known in decades by working to help elect Michael DeVito, a guy well-known for his deep integrity, empathy and non-partisan service throughout the district. He's mentored Donovan's own stepson, and, as a Marine, serves as the perfect foil to Grimm. The DCCC is far too masochistic to ever do anything so sensible, though. Instead, they dropped a Blue Dog elitist unknown into the mix to alienate every voter with Nancy Pelosi-isms and empty platitudes. Max Rose isn't just the perfect picture of a limousine Blue Dog, he's a plastic puppet devoid of substance who has in his remarkably short time living amongst the plebs of NY-11 already dropped enough Trumpian whoppers on voters to qualify as the hollowest of candidates, straight from the Build-A-Politician Factory located on K Street.

Max Rose is a compact package of arrogance, spitting out lines fed to him by his D.C. handlers, and while he does, obfuscating that fact at every turn, presenting himself as some sort of anti-establishment everyman. In the early days of his campaign (at least as it was announced; he's been secretly running for office for years) he launched a 100-day "listening tour," which is exactly what you do when you don't know anyone in and anything about the district you're trying to represent. At the beginning of this stunt, he issued his first public lie,"All too often politicians-- both Democrats and Republicans-- develop their policy platforms behind closed doors with lobbyists and truckloads of polling data guiding their decision making. That's not who I am and that's not what this campaign will be about..." Yet just seven days prior, he announced his campaign team, a roster full of D.C. troupers from the revolving door of the DCCC and its consultant class, with one exception: his campaign manager, Kevin Elkins. And if we are the company we keep, then Rose is already a dirty rat.

Elkins' involvement as a Rose staffer didn't happen through old fashioned recruiting, but through a backroom deal akin to extortion that filters through the local county committee. Elkins, formerly the Executive Director of the County Committee, approached the Chairman, John Gulino, to inform him that he would primary the City Councilwoman, Debi Rose. Debi Rose was-- and remains-- the only woman of color elected to office in Staten Island history. With Elkins' notoriety as a dirty player, Gulino had to know the race would get ugly fast, and that the very popular and progressive Debi Rose would get dragged through the difficulty of a filthy campaign-- ostensibly risking the loss of the seat to a Republican in an already strongly-held Republican borough. Gulino offered Elkins the campaign manager slot on Max Rose's team as a way to keep him at bay. And it was this that led the tail to wag the dog, from before the Congressional campaign was announced to the present day.

Elkins is so reviled in Staten Island politics that after he was revealed to be the target of a $10,000 hit by Richard Luthmann (a Staten Island attorney who is himself notorious for suing for the right to a trial by combat), the dark joke throughout the borough was that the $10,000 plan to shoot Elkins failed because there were too many people willing to do it for free. Elkins would use the "hit" revelation for public sympathy, as is his modus operandi, morphing the story that there was a plot into,"I survived an assassination attempt." Elkins remains closely tied to Mike McMahon, having worked on his successful Congressional campaign (followed by his failed one, which he lost to Michael Grimm in 2010), and when Luthmann was remanded without bail, a propensity for violence was presented as grounds for remand, based on the story about Elkins. With McMahon's connections, and a personal aversion to Luthmann (McMahon's wife, Judge Judy McMahon, was a target of online bullying by Luthmann,) it is suspected that the bail revocation and "hit" story may not be entirely as it appears.

Kevin Elkins has a petty history as well in his nefariousness, having a years-long reputation for campaign lawn sign shenanigans, which was unable to be proven until he was caught-- himself-- on camera removing an opponent's lawn signs under cover of night in 2015. The race was for District Attorney, the opponent was Joan Illuzzi, and the candidate Elkins was working for-- Mike McMahon. Not content to end his lawn sign pettiness three years ago, he seems to be continuing his scheme on Max Rose's campaign, directing staff to engage in lawn sign destruction and removal, and planting his candidate's signs where they are not wanted or requested, in an effort to give the appearance his candidate is more popular than he is (lawn signs are a big deal on Staten Island.) With the dearth of local press coverage in the race, this all plays out on Facebook and Twitter, where voters air their grievances.

It is likely Kevin Elkins' language that Max Rose deploys when he issues his pretentiously folksy utterances of "you bet!" And "I'm running because I'm fed up!" and deploys a manufactured Brooklyn accent which doesn't exist in the elitist circles in which he grew up. It's all part of dumbing things down for the lowly voters. And it is Elkins' condescension and detachment from voters, combined with the typical DCCC arrogance and tone deafness that created the narrative of Rose's campaign that he has gleefully followed from Day One. By presenting himself as a soldier hero with the "Courage to Lead," co-opting the Army's motif and logo for his campaign, and talking about his purple heart and Afghanistan at every step, Rose and his ilk are counting on appealing to the militant right wing of the base for the General election, and to scrape through the primary by attempting to scare the bejesus out of anyone left of Reagan: if you don't vote for me, you'll get a convicted felon! I have more money than anyone!

Rose's entire persona is manufactured. Any fans he has parrot "his résumé" which includes a one-year stint at a couple of patronage jobs, respectively, that he touts as the experience needed to advocate for some 700,000+ constituents. He and his handlers have tried to avoid referencing his organic history, so the "elitist" label can be dodged, but his non-political biography reveals the holes of the conceit.

A product of the tony Park Slope section of Brooklyn with a sprinkling of the Hamptons, Rose did not have an association with CD-11 outside of his prep school education (Poly Prep, where his family's ties to the Board and connections with other affluent Brooklynites would provide a deep-pocketed fundraising base.) According to past acquaintances, he was looking for a district to move into run for Congress, and parts of New Jersey were contenders. One such prospect may have been Hoboken, where Leigh Marsanico-Byrne, who he introduced as his fiancee (and now his wife), resided or resides. According to neighbors in the luxury waterfront apartment building he moved into upon his transplantation into Staten Island, she has not lived there throughout their courtship or his campaign, and indeed she is rarely seen on the campaign trail. Further investigation revealed that she owns a property in Hoboken, New Jersey. She registered to vote at Rose's address on November 3, 2017, having never voted in an election (nor been registered to) before in New York or New Jersey. A "child stylist" by profession who runs in socialite circles, it is possible that her absence is a strategy as much as it is a byproduct of her residency.

Rose is sure to highlight his Wesleyan education with his Masters from the London School of Economics. But he quickly zooms to emphasize his work with those he presents as the poor and downtrodden-- lest we forget he actually has a little consideration for people of color and those in poverty (his public statements and answers to questions posed reveal him to believe they are one and the same.) There are three pieces of background he emphasizes repeatedly: his one-year-ish stint as Chief of Staff at Brightpoint Health, his job as "Special Assistant" to Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson, and his membership in Occupy the Block. Ken Thompson was a beloved district attorney who died in the course of his tenure. Rose does not reveal the length of his employment there, but touts his indispensable involvement in the "Begin Again" program which was designed to help clear low-level offenses. The program was launched in July 2015; Rose was working for Brightpoint by the following June. Despite an exhaustive online search to find Max Rose's name on anything associated with the program, he appears on a single piece of correspondence, in minutes of a meeting. As Brooklyn lost its cherished DA, checking the facts with him about Rose's "invaluable" role is impossible.

Rose was at a women's breakfast in Staten Island on Saturday... demonstrating his "stamina to lead?"

Rose repeats his talking points about his position at Brightpoint Health, that he "helped deliver" healthcare to low-income patients and those suffering with addiction and that he "helped bring a medical clinic and drug recovery center to the island." But there was ALREADY a clinic functioning before Brightpoint acquired it, and the grants reveal that funding was in place years before Rose was ever involved. In March 2016, ostensibly around or before the time Rose became involved with the organization, the collaboration between the existing entity, Community Health Action Staten Island ("CHASI") and Brightpoint was already in the works. In Brightpoint, Rose attempts to claim credit for accomplishments he didn't earn. Whether the healthcare "delivered" by Brightpoint is even altruistic at all is another question. Max makes hay of his dedicated volunteerism with Occupy the Block, a neighborhood watch-type initiative that sets up dedicated volunteerism with Occupy the Block, a neighborhood watch-type initiative that sets up twice weekly in the most challenged areas of Staten Island where violence can build. He uses his "Occupy" status in ample photo ops, campaign materials, and speeches. Many of the men of Occupy the Block will tell you they've never heard of him, or that they saw him a few times before he declared his run for office. Others will change the subject immediately to Michael DeVito, and how he's "the real" volunteer for Occupy the Block (a fact specifically cited in DeVito's induction into the NYS Senate Veterans' Hall of Fame.) They may tell you even more about DeVito, and they may tell you nothing else about Max Rose but shoot you a glance that tells you they are not happy with opportunists.

And as with every Blue Dog, that gets right to the root of it all: opportunism. Max Rose is neither a Democrat nor a Blue Dog for his principles. He certainly isn't the progressive he purports himself to be, nor does he have the "courage" he said he has to lead. He is credibly a pro-choice candidate, and that appears to be the sum of his authentic convictions, so the label "Democrat" seems convenient enough. The blind ambition within him makes him a natural choice for the Blue Dog team, and the zeal he has to perpetuate the Military-Industrial Complex at great taxpayer expense and huge profit to the Defense PACs which provide his benefaction makes him a perfect New Dem as well. A perfunctory amateur analysis of the Blue Dog/New Dem combo yielded a predicted "Trump Score" in legislation for of New Dem/Blue Dog cross-endorsed candidate of 43.44, meaning that Rose could be more of a Republican in a House voting record than the existing Congressman, Donovan, and even out-flank from the right Grimm's legislative voting history.

When challenged on his positions, the source of his funding, or to explain his actual experience, he quickly rushes to his combat veteran credentials. "Afghanistan" seems to be the safe word he and his consultants are counting on; that, and to sow enough fear for Democrats and discord between voters of Donovan and Grimm to split the vote and squeak into place. And while he sprinkles his GI Joe tales around, he often forgets his audience. The 11th District has a large population of Muslims of varying ethnicities and origins. It's not surprising to learn that the presentation of the candidate in combat fatigues talking about shooting people in the desert has not resonated pleasantly in congregations of Pakistani-Americans, at Muslim festival celebrations, and among memberships of organizations where peace is fervently pursued.

And then there is the money. Max Rose has only one notable opponent, the aforementioned DeVito. He has made it his business to hit Rose publicly about the sources of some of his funds. Rose had already publicly announced his "corporate PAC money pledge" and subsequently received the endorsement of End Citizens United, the AstroTurf organization that runs a circular conveyor belt with the DNC, Emily's List, and now VoteVets. Let it be stated for the record that this decoy was not deployed until after Rose's overlords were able to ensure they could funnel enough corporate money effectively through other Democratic "leadership" PACs such as the JOEPAC of his chief benefactor, Joe Crowley, and through the joint fundraising agreement Rose shares with Crowley.

On February 15th, the day after the Parkland massacre, a Twitter user later determined to be New York physician Matthew Brown tagged both Rose and Anthony Brindisi for the Blue Dog PAC's $20,000 in NRA cash since 2016 with, "you really want to be supported by blood money? Will you repudiate the NRA's dirty cash?" DeVito issued a scathing rebuke immediately, and apparently earned a reputation for being a shit-stirrer in the district-- something that Centrist Democrats didn't welcome. Rose's handling of the question, however, fared worse. Rose continued to get pressed on the matter on social media, yet never answered. A March for Our Lives group had formed locally with the leadership of a Parkland survivor's cousin, and when a town hall was requested to Donovan and rejected as is the norm, the "MFOL" group began to assemble one of their own, inviting all Congressional candidates to participate, including Grimm and the present Congressman. Max Rose attempted to reclaim his image as a guy against the NRA (some arguments from his surrogates included that it's only a little bit of NRA money in his PAC) and offered to pay for a town hall out of his campaign funds. Both the town hall organizers in Staten Island, and a smaller town hall organization that followed in Brooklyn (which he did not attend) refused his offer and privately expressed their disgust at the hypocrisy.

On April 7th, the "Town Hall for our Lives" proceeded at a Staten Island college, with recitations and tears and statements and elected officials, all surrounding the Parkland massacre and what legislative steps are necessary. Max Rose was able to get through the entire town hall without the question of the Blue Dog NRA funds until the end, when a woman was able to plead for a last question. She posed it, and he answered, "I'm so glad you asked this question," (as if anyone was stopping him from answering at any moment before.) "The Blue Dogs gave it back, and he went on to offer more platitudes and rehearsed sentences about the "F-U" rating he is going to get in Congress, but not before declaring that "an opponent on this stage with me" spread "this lie." With crocodile tears welling up that he had rented from Kevin Elkins, he proceeded to explain how hurtful it was to be damaged by "lies." "We have to be done with these lies" he whined, and declared himself "a proud Blue Dog" while the audience shuffled out.

The Blue Dog's NRA money no longer a focus, a debate was hosted by Swing Left on April 26th, and the subject of PAC money was raised-- once again by DeVito, but this time, with fire, as part of his closing remarks."The Blue Dog Democrats take money from corporations, from Big Pharma, from Monsanto... Max Rose has signed a fundraising agreement with Joe Crowley. THAT'S where the money comes from. You need to believe in your candidate." The moderator allows the microphone to return to Rose for an answer, and his retort was a pompous, "I have raised more money in this race than all of the candidates" [heckles and boos; an audience member shouts, "FROM WHERE?!" And a chant of "from where, from where" begins.] DeVito grabs another mic, "from the oligarchy, from corporate donors, that's from where," and Max Rose shuts down his comments for the rest of the evening, unable to face the criticisms of the voters.

If the notion of Rose's mendacity hadn't yet spread far from the debates and town halls, the trade unions have been tenacious in getting word out throughout the working class voters of the district that he has been particularly disloyal and dishonest regarding Local Union No. 3 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and their strike, which began in March 2017. Near the beginning of Rose's announced candidacy, he was already made aware of the strike that was in effect and published a cursory statement of cheer for the union. He did not join the strike line. Over the course of the following months as the strike continued, he would occasionally send out a tweet or post on social media in statement of support to the Local #3 workers. But on October 27th, he sat down for an interview with the network owned by Charter/Spectrum and said on air that he was proud not to take money from unions. Amongst workers, this caused an outrage. But it was a photo he posted on December 17th that sealed his dishonor among Local #3, and the wider population of trade unionists, "all the political pros told me not to worry about speaking with voters until 3 months before the election" he captioned it, with a fundraising list he purported to represent a voter list. Local #3 workers and family members, who have been using Twitter to publicize their plight during the media blackout about it, began slamming him about the Spectrum remote they spied on his table. He offered an empty "you bet" response to whether he would cancel his service, and claimed he had already called upon the Mayor to cancel Spectrum's franchise agreement in July. A scan of his tweets revealed that he had merely tagged the Mayor in a tweet and considered the matter handled. As a protege of Crowley, who directly accepts campaign funds from Charter/Spectrum as well as Related-- the company union busting at Hudson Yards-- he will soon see that "Union Strong" is a term that brings voting voices with it.

In an atmosphere that is ripe with disgust over corporate greed and politicians who lie; at a time when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is challenging Joe Crowley in a primary that she just may win, the DCCC needs a mandate this year to send them packing and hand the business of being a Democrat back to the voters. The Ivory Tower has proven itself haughty and clueless for long enough, and this season, when a comedian asks, "How the fuck does that happen?!" about CD-11, let's hope it's about how a working-class Marine veteran outraised by nearly a million dollars got a Blue Dog to lie down.

UPDATE: Curtains For Grimm?

There's been a lot of bullshit journalism out in NY-11 about how folks in Staten Island see Mkey Suits as Jesus-reincarnated. Maybe that's because the "journalists" involved were only interviewing his rabid, mentally ill supporters. Yesterday, a Remington Research poll came out and it told a very different story. Interviewing likely 2018 Republican primary voters, they found 83% with favorable attitudes towards Trumpanzee, 55% with favorable attitudes towards incumbent Dan Donovan and just 45% (remember, of Republicans not of normal people) with favorable attitudes towards Grimm. 47% of these Republicans said they will vote for Donovan in tomorrow's primary, 40% said they'll vote for Grimm and 13% are still undecided. Republicans in the Staten Island part of the district say they'll vote for Donovan 47-39% and in the Brooklyn part of the district they'll vote for Donovan 59-26%.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

As the new week begins, we look back at Herr Trump's biggest lie of last week and await, with grim anticipation, what lies he will spew upon America this week.

Some might say that a dishonorable mention should go to his related lie that only Congress could fix the situation, a situation his policy created, and then pretending to make everything all better with a toothless executive order that was only designed to deflect and quiet down the angry reaction to his policy. That was just smoke and mirrors. However, I will give Señor Trumpanzee a little slack on this one. You see, Congress could fix the situation, just not in the way he and his supporters would like.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Could Trump's Destabilazation Agenda Make U.S. Treasury Bonds Less Safe?


A Step Backward by Nancy Ohanian

Russia isn't one of the biggest holders of U.S. Treasury bonds-- and they became a much smaller holder recently. The Treasury report for April has published about a week ago and it showed that Russia sold about half it's holdings-- $47.4 billion out of the $96.1 it held. Russia had already sold off $9.3 billion in February and another $1.6 billion in March. Russia had gone from the 16th biggest hold of bonds to the 22nd biggest in just a month. For those who feared that Trump's trade was might cause a sell-off on Treasury bonds... their fears may be justified. In April Ireland sold off $17 billion, Japan sold $12 billion and China, our biggest creditor, sold $7 billion. At the end of April these were the 2 dozen biggest holders of U.S. treasury bonds:
China- 1,181.9 trillion
Japan- 1,031.2 trillion
Ireland- 300.4 billion
Brazil- 294.1 billion
U.K.- 262.7 billion
Switzerland- 242.2 billion
Luxembourg- 213.9 billion
Hong Kong- 194.0 billion
Cayman Islands- 180.7 billion
Taiwan- 168.1 billion
Saudi Arabia- 159.9 billion
India- 152.8 billion
Belgium- 137.6 billion
Singapore- 118.0 billion
South Korea- 100.1 billion
Canada- 89.4 billion
Germany- 86.0 billion
France- 82.5 billion
' Bermuda- 64.7 billion
Thailand- 60.8 billion
United Arab Emirates- 59.7 billion
Russia- 48.7 billion
Sweden- 45.1 billion
Kuwait- 42.6
The reason China has all those Treasuies is because they have no choice but to accept payment for goods that cause the surplus between us in dollars. Were they to convert dollars into renminbi, their own currency, it would make the renminbi stronger, making their goods less competitive. So they recycle all those dollars back into the US economy by buying Treasuries, which also gives them interest. Were China to sell off its treasury bonds it would likely hurt them more than it would hurt us-- unless other countries didn't want to buy them, unlikely... unless Trump actually triggers a real trade war.

Not everyone agrees. A couple of days ago Stephen Roach, former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, currently teaching economics at Yale, was on CNBC talking about the risks of a China sell-off. "We depend on China to fund our budget deficits, which as you know are going to get bigger and bigger. If they just reduce their buying at a time when we are increasing our supply of new Treasuries into the market that could lead to a real rout in the bond market."
Earlier Wednesday, China announced additional tariffs on 106 U.S. products. The move came less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump unveiled a list of Chinese imports the administration plans to target as part of what the president deems unfair trade practices.

Treasury purchases have not been brought to the table, but some fear that could come to pass if tensions escalate.
Russia's holdings of Treasury bonds wouldn't even be felt by the U.S. economy, even if they sold them off in one day-- although it might hurt Russia. If however other countries follow Russia's lead... well, think of that massive deficit Trump and the Republican Congress just put in place with the tax scam. WHo's going to pay for that? Republicans already want to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Would they have to cut the safety net even more?

Earlier this month, Arkady Savitsky wrote for the Strategic Culture Foundation (slightly right of center but factual) that "the supremacy of the US dollar is not as solid as many people believe it is. A sell-by date as a global reserve currency is looming. The process of de-dollarization is gradually gaining momentum. Moscow and Beijing are making agreements to move away from the American currency. On June 8, their leaders signed an agreement to raise the share of trade settlements in national currencies. Last year, nine percent of payments for supplies from Russia to China were made in the Russian rubles. In October 2017, China launched a payment system for transactions in the renminbi and the Russian currency. The launch of the petro-yuan allows Moscow and Beijing to use national currencies for settlements.
The worse the US relations with other countries become, the more likely are other nations to reconsider their reliance on the dollar. The US bonds market is going through hard times, the dollar is facing uncertain future and gold is becoming the best investment one could think of. With sanctions constantly used as a tool of foreign policy, trade wars waged, and the huge debt growing, America’s economic prospects are clouded in doubt to make other countries gradually move away from its currency and T-bonds. It does not augur well for the US. Its policy of confrontation makes it weaker, not stronger. There are clear signs the American century is coming to an end.

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What Happens If Trump's Trade Agenda Brings On Another Great Depression?


Something like 9,000 of barrels of bourbon were destroyed in a Kentucky warehouse crash Friday. I wonder if insurance will cover the damages. Maybe the company was lucky... since bourbon is one of the U.S. exports being targeted by countries around the world in retaliation for Trump's trade war.

The NY Times reported yesterday-- Lobsters, Small-Batch Whiskey and Trump’s Trade War-- that Trump's trade war may become politically perilous for Republicans because his "trade policies are starting to inflict economic pain across the country, including in areas that are home to the voters who helped him win election... Business owners across the country are fearing the worst and wondering if Mr. Trump, who calls himself a master negotiator, will get the better end of the deal." Malcolm Broome, executive director of the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association, is worried because now China is moving into the U.S. share of European peanut butter exports. He said that many of the peanut farmers in his state have been supportive of Trump’s economic agenda, but that they will be watching carefully to see how he manages the trade negotiations. "If this can give him some leverage to get a deal made, they’d be all for that," Broome said. "If it doesn’t work and he’s miscalculated, then it could be a different story."
The cascade of tit-for-tat tariffs has spooked corporate executives, potentially slowing investment, and the Federal Reserve suggested this week that it might have to rethink its economic forecasts if the trade wars continue.

On Friday, Mr. Trump only added fuel to the fire when he threatened in a tweet to impose a 20 percent tariff on all European cars coming into the United States if the European Union did not remove its auto tariffs. “Build them here!” the president wrote.

...In the 2016 presidential election, George Skarich, the vice president of sales for the Missouri-based Mid Continent Nail Corporation, voted for Mr. Trump and hoped that he would use his business acumen to supercharge the economy.

The economy is booming, but Mr. Skarich said he was not reaping the benefits. Instead, as a result of Mr. Trump’s trade policies, Mr. Skarich said his nail company may soon be out of business.

Mid Continent, the largest American producer of nails, imports steel from Mexico to make its nails. That steel is now subject to the 25 percent tariffs that Mr. Trump imposed on dozens of countries, forcing Mid Continent to raise its prices by nearly 20 percent.

Orders have plummeted by 50 percent this month as the company tries to compete with cheaper foreign-made nails. Those foreign manufacturers are not facing higher steel costs, giving them an advantage over Mid Continent.

The company, which employs about 500 workers, has already cut 60 jobs. It could potentially cut 200 more in the coming weeks.

While Mr. Trump might propose that Mid Continent simply buy American-made steel, it might not be so simple: Mr. Skarich notes that the cost of American-made metal is much higher than what the company had been importing from Mexico, meaning it would still have to raise prices for its nails if it used domestic steel.

Mr. Skarich, a Republican, has lobbied Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, for help.

“He ran on ‘Make America Great Again,’ and the point was to defend and protect jobs in the United States,” Mr. Skarich said. “Now here is an action he decides to take that has the potential to cost 500 U.S. citizens their jobs.”

Friday, The Atlantic published a piece, How Do You Know When It's Officially a Trade War?. Thanks to Trump's idiocy, we're now locked in a trade war with our closest allies. Imposing tariffs, which are met with retaliatory tariffs, which are then met with even more retaliatory tariffs, is the kind of tit-for-tat behavior global trading rules were designed to prevent. On Friday Trump was threatening more tariffs on counties that respond the tariffs he's already imposed, which they're doing anyway. "[T]he EU’s new tariffs, on items like bourbon and blue jeans, went into effect Friday. It’s not clear whether Trump’s new threat was timed to mark that event. After all, it was only two days ago that U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told American lawmakers that the White House had made “no decision” on whether to recommend tariffs on automobile imports.
But how do you know when it has materialized? Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, a U.S. geoeconomics fellow at the London-based Chatham House, told me a trade war requires two elements. “One is the tit-for-tat tariffs that set off a downward spiral of protectionism,” she said. Check. “The other element is that there is no more space for negotiations to potentially de-escalate the dispute.”

It’s this element that’s missing so far. Though the EU has previously stated that it will not negotiate under threat, the bloc hasn’t ruled out negotiations entirely. In fact, Germany’s auto industry—which would be hardest hit by automobile tariffs—has said it would be amenable to reducing auto tariffs between the U.S. and Europe, provided that it be discussed through negotiations. “The basis for future agreements between the EU and the U.S. must be the rules of the WTO,” the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) said this week in a statement. “There is no proposal for unilateral concessions or the mutual dismantling of car duties exclusively.”

Whether the Trump administration would be open to such negotiations is still unclear. The American president instructed the Commerce Department to investigate whether there could be national-security grounds for imposing tariffs on European automobiles and auto parts, which was the justification the administration used to impose its metal tariffs. Ross, the commerce secretary, said the department aims to wrap up its review within the next two months.

But if the Trump administration is not open to negotiations, the EU has already signaled its willingness to make a collective response. “We did not want to be in this position,” Malmström said Wednesday in a statement in reference to its retaliatory tariffs, adding that when it comes to the bloc’s retaliatory measures, “Our response is measured, proportionate and fully in line with WTO rules. Needless to say, if the U.S. removes its tariffs, our measures will also be removed.”

“I do think that at the moment Trump is using this as more of a negotiation tactic-- I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that he tweets that on the same day that the European [retaliatory] tariffs go into effect,” Schneider-Petsinger said. “There are tensions that cannot be ignored and shots are being fired, but it’s not a full-blown trade war yet because there is still room for de-escalation.”

If it’s still something less than a trade war, it will no doubt incur casualties-- on both sides. Germany sold 1.35 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2017. And as the VDA pointed out last month, U.S.-based German automobile plants employ as many as 110,000 people. Half of those jobs, the VDA says, are dependent on German exports.
Saturday, David Lynch, writing for the Washington Post, reported that "in less than two weeks, U.S. customs officers are scheduled to begin collecting tariffs on Chinese imports, a step that will either give President Donald Trump the leverage he needs to secure a trade deal with Beijing or plunge the world's two largest economies into a dangerous commercial conflict. With no talks underway between the two sides, prospects for an early deal that averts imposition of the import levies appear dim.
Once the U.S. tariffs on the first $34 billion in Chinese goods take effect on July 6-- and trigger Chinese retaliation against American farmers and exporters-- the political pain will mount for the president, according to several former U.S. negotiators and trade analysts.

Complaints from affected voters could push Trump to settle for a limited deal involving higher Chinese purchases of American products and promises of future market openings and leave the president vulnerable to charges of having blinked in his confrontation with China, the former officials said.

...Trump's base, which cheers his attacks on Beijing as a hostile power guilty of "economic aggression," expects him to fulfill his promise to shrink the trade gap, which he blames for the loss of millions of American manufacturing jobs.

So far, that gap has widened during his presidency and is on course to set a record in 2018. Through the first four months of this year, the U.S. trade deficit with China was nearly 12 percent higher than during the same period last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

...More than twice as many jobs are exposed to Chinese tariffs in counties that voted for Trump in 2016 as in areas that backed Hillary Clinton, according to the Brookings Institution.

"They have mapped this out to a very fine level of detail, down to congressional districts," said China expert Aaron Friedberg of Princeton University. "It is intended to inflict maximum pain on people they recognize as being Trump's primary constituents in hopes that it will make him change course."

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Tuesday Is The Big Day In Colorado Between Progressive Levi Tillermann And The DC Bosses' Candidate


With all the excitement over Alexandria Ocasio's shot at beating Joe Crowley on Tuesday another crucial race that hasn't gotten the kind of traction it deserves is the contest in the Denver suburbs (CO-06), a district that wraps around the city on three sides, from Littleton in the south west, across through Centennial, up through Aurora in the east and then across Brighton in the north. The PVI is a swingy D+2. Obama beat McCain and Romney and Hillary beat Trump 50.2% to 41.3%. So why is a unaccomplished Republican, Mike Coffman, still in office? Have you ever heard of the DCCC, the GOP's most potent weapon?

And the DCCC is at it again. They found a really worthless New Dem, Jason Crow, who they're trying to pass off as an attorney who fights for working families. Actually he fights for pay day lenders who are screwing working families. But what's a word or two difference. The tragedy here is that the DCCC, by blatantly backing the conservative hack in the race, has been blatantly undercutting the grassroots progressive, Levi Tillemann.

After Hoyer's stunt, Blue America got in touch with Adgreetz, one of the most innovative digital ad agencies in the world, to see if we could help even-out the playing field a little. They haven't worked in the political world but among their current and past clients are Amazon, Google, BMW, Anheuser-Busch, Quaker, Pepsi, Kraft, Disney, HBO, the Wall Street Journal, Acura, NBC, Universal Pictures, ABC, Intel and Toyota.

They specialize in very targeted, personalized communications. This one is a video they developed with Levi and have been getting out to likely Democratic primary voters in the district-- in this instance to "someone" named Eric.

This similarly personalized GIF was sent via e-mail to all the likely Democratic primary voters in the district; again to "Eric."

The company CEO, Eric Frankel, told the company's clients that "the Levi for Colorado personalized messages are a prime example of the positive ways in which data-driven technology can be used in our ever-changing world. This upcoming midterm election is a very important one for the country, and finding smart and innovative ways to cut through the noise of disinformation is paramount... The personalized messaging content was tailored to recipients by name, contribution history and location.

Tillemann said that he has been "blown away by the power of the platform and how easy it was for us to build videos that were specifically targeted to each voter. We're looking forward to collaborating with them in the general election."

On Wednesday the local Fox affiliate in Denver spotlighted the primary race, Crow, playing the identity politics game-- "I'm a veteran," focusing on me, me, me-- while Tillermann tried talking about what he hopes to achieve for the residents of the district: "I'm the only progressive running in the 6th congressional district."
Tillemann has positioned himself as the most progressive in the race vowing to impeach Trump and vote out Nancy Pelosi as Democratic Leader.

"I'm the only candidate who is fighting to impeach Donald Trump," Tillemann said.

Crow for his part believes the Mueller probe into Trump should be protected but isn't ready to commit to an impeachment vote.

Crow believes a challenger to Pelosi should emerge but wouldn't rule out voting for her.

"I would like to see healthy competition, I got to win my race first," Crow said.

On the issues the candidates can appear similar but on health care Crow is for a federal public option to improve health care costs while Tillemann supports Medicare for all.
If you want a status quo, establishment candidate who uses words to hide meanings, Crow is your guy. On the other hand if you prefer a straight-talking agent of change who is addressing many of the same issues Bernie addressed in 2016, Tillemann is the candidate to vote for on Tuesday.

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Señor Trumpanzee-- Losing Control Of The Narrative... Womp, Womp


Señor Trumpanzee isn't exactly being subtle in his campaign to gin up fear and loathing towards immigrants, even more so than normally. It looks like this is going to be a major campaign theme for the GOP this year-- more so than their failed tax scam. He feels it won him the White House-- maybe more so than Putin's exertions on his behalf-- and he seems to feel more racism and xenophobia is just what Republican congressional candidates need for the midterms. According to Susan Glasser's post for the New Yorker, "Trump has remained determined to talk about immigration, even when others in his party have resisted. Indeed, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill were furious with Trump as the immigration controversy spiraled out of control this week-- a time they had planned to spend celebrating the G.O.P. tax cut, along with the general strength of the economy, which they hope to make the centerpiece of their fall campaign... On Monday, as the political pressure on Trump was escalating, I met with Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster who has advised G.O.P. leaders about this fall’s elections at a couple of recent retreats. Trump, she told me, had a 'freakishly stable' approval rating; in such a polarized moment, people know where they stand on the President. She said that, unlike in previous midterm elections in which the incumbent President’s party has done poorly, voter enthusiasm for Trump has remained strong among Republican voters, even as a blue wave of Trump-hating Democrats has been building. Said Anderson: 'The question is, if the blue wave is coming, have Republicans built a large enough wall to stop it?'"

On the far right, there's plenty of excitement about locking up brown children, who Trump and his most ardent backers equate with MS-13. This morning, Adam Raymond reported for New York Magazine that Fox and Friends were quick to back up Trump's assertion that these children in prisons are The Other. "Brian Kilmeade," he wrote, "came to the defense of President Trump on Friday for his policy of forced family separation at the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Trump ended the policy with an executive order Wednesday, but the horror for many separated families is not going to end soon. In his comments, Kilmeade defended Trump’s 'zero tolerance' immigration policy as a way to send a message to would-be migrants in other countries. As for the separation of families, which could do real and lasting damage to many parents and children, Kilmeade brushed it off because the children aren’t Americans. 'Like it or not, these aren’t our kids,' Kilmeade said... Trump has taken to talking about immigrants like they’re vermin." That was Hitler brainwashed Germans before he started exterminating Jews.

But Hitler Trump has, according to Vanity Fair's Peter Hamby lost control of the narrative. Trumpanzee has "rarely," he wrote, "been on his heels as he has over the past week. Even during the hottest-burning controversies and scandals of his administration, Trump is usually the stick-and-move president: provoke, evade, pivot to the next thing. The media has a hard time keeping up, and congressional Democrats are too busy holding limp-dick press conferences like it’s still 2006. They’re about as effective as those digital finger-waggers who tweet 'Sir!' at the president every time he burps."
But the wrenching story of migrant children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border has unfolded differently. Trump has been forced to play defense. It’s not just because the policy is cruel, inhumane, and an ugly stain on our country’s moral integrity. It is all of those things. But Trump has done plenty of ugly things. What’s different this time, and the handful of times Trump has found himself losing, is that there are pictures.

Think of the handful of moments when Trump has been subjected to a sustained drubbing that’s lasted more than just a day or two: the Access Hollywood tape. Sean Spicer’s lie about the size of the inauguration crowd. The massive airport protests around the travel ban. Trump’s “very fine people” comment about neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville. The Rob Porter domestic-abuse allegations fiasco. (Porter has denied the allegations.) And now the gross panorama of migrant children being separated from their desperate parents. All of these stories were accompanied by images-- pictures or video-- that either tilted public opinion against the president or blatantly contradicted the dubious claims of Trump and his allies.

As CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted on Wednesday, “It’s not an accident that the US government is making it so difficult for journalists, lawmakers, lawyers and others to bring you images and firsthand accounts from these separated parents and children. They are hiding the truth from you because they fear your reaction.”

The power of images is a simple concept, hardly new in politics... The media gatekeepers-- television news networks, print newspapers, radio-- used to determine how images reached the public. Thanks to Internet-connected smartphone cameras, images today are created and distributed by everyone. In the past, the written and spoken word, whether delivered by a newspaperman or a politician, had a kind of power that not longer exists. Even during Vietnam, as the culture wars were tearing us apart, there was some measure of public agreement on the credibility of news organizations and consensus around facts and the terms of debate.

Today, it’s exceedingly difficult to compete with Trump at the rhetorical level. This is in part because Trump has no shame, while most people do. But it’s also because Trump has so bent, damaged, and disfigured language to a point that we no longer have a shared vocabulary, especially in a world of open platforms and algorithm-fueled polarization. It’s easy for Trump to belittle the press and its reporting as “FAKE NEWS” because the press can’t usually provide contrary evidence other than “sources say.” But hard, concrete, visual evidence-- the pictures we see from the border—seems to be the most effective antidote to Trump and his ability to dominate our mindshare. As the migrant story took hold across every channel and platform, visual media came to feel like a cure, however temporary, for our political schizophrenia.

“Trump lives constantly in search of a positive feedback loop from cable news,” Republican strategist Kevin Madden told me. “When the optics of a news event or controversy turn on him, it causes him to freeze, uncharacteristically. When the images are out of his control or can’t be washed through the news cycle as easily as other controversies, they tend to endure and cause more of a problem.”

The usual Trump outrage cycles are fueled by policy decisions, the Russia investigation, or anonymously sourced stories about some White House drama. These stories are almost always conceptual rather than visual. They unfold in a certain noisy and unfulfilling way-- cable panels, Twitter fights, reporters jousting with Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the briefing room-- that makes them easy to tune out. It cannot be stressed enough: the vast majority of Americans do not watch cable news, do not have Twitter, and could not pick Ronna McDaniel (née Romney) out of a lineup. The controversies that usually consume Washington-- and the cable-viewer in chief-- are usually of little concern to the rest of the country.

But when media organizations deliver on their original value proposition-- showing the public something compelling and important-- Trump has a harder time creating his own reality. News today works best when it visualizes the stakes and victims and consequences of policy decisions, rather than just talking or writing about them. People don’t trust reporters. They do trust pictures.

The border story blew up in the last week, but it had been percolating in the print press for more than a month without much national attention. Molly Hennessy-Fiske of the Los Angeles Times, long on the border beat, filed a haunting dispatch from a McAllen, Texas, courtroom on May 18, describing tearful immigrant parents who had been separated from their children. But the story wasn’t roiling the national conversation, and it certainly wasn’t on television. That changed when cameras arrived and pictures emerged, much like the Rob Porter scandal grew once images came to light of his battered ex-wife.

Television journalists like MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff, CBS’s Gayle King, and CNN’s Nick Valencia showed viewers the detention centers, the cages, the tents, the obstinate officials who came off as cold-blooded and tone-deaf. Still photographers, often unsung these days, also led the charge. John Moore of Getty Images, who has covered immigration for a decade, captured the iconic image of a sobbing two-year-old Honduran girl alongside her mother while she was being searched in the Rio Grande Valley. Then there was the ProPublica audio clip that became a video, repeated over and over on television and social media, allowing us to hear the wails of detained, sobbing children.

All of these images and news packages flooded social media, snowballing into a giant content mill of awfulness. It was enough to drown out Trump’s side of the argument and make him feel smaller than usual, a rare thing indeed. “Trump views his ‘success’ as being what makes good TV, as with the North Korea summit. To become himself a media object, or best, to make media become him,” said the social-media theorist Nathan Jurgenson, one of my colleagues at Snapchat. “Given the centrality of media in all this, it makes sense that the things that rile him up the most are media objects, too. Ones that seemingly depict another narrative.”

Trump’s team, ever astute, contributed to the cause, optimizing their callousness for social media. Corey Lewandowski had his “womp womp” moment when responding to news of a disabled child being separated from her mother. Melania Trump smartly wore her “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” jacket for the television cameras. And when Trump signed his executive order halting the family separations on Wednesday, the White House sycophants who had previously claimed the policy was out of his hands were now all memorialized on tape as liars forevermore.
Pictures... and audio. Here's Ted Lieu (D-CA) on the floor of the House with the inept Trump enabler Karen Handel R-GA):


Trump's Zero Tolerance Incarcerations-- Follow The Money


Ben Ray Lujan (right), Pelosi's DCCC chairman, takes blood money from the crooks building private immigrant detention facilities for Trump. Why won't he return the cash?

This week the organization In The Public Interest issued a report-- An examination of private financing for correctional and immigration detention facilities-- that examines the finances behind Trump's ramping up of the criminalization of immigration. The Department of Homeland Security has been instructed to "accelerate resource capacity." The report shows how private prison corporations CoreCivic and GEO Group are primed to provide additional immigration detention space by privately financing new facility construction, a new business frontier-- privately financing new facilities through "public-private partnerships." Providing financing to governments has become a central growth strategy as both companies became Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in 2013, requiring them to have significant real estate holdings.  REIT status allows the corporations to avoid corporate-level taxation. GEO Group received almost $44 million in tax benefits in 2017.
While governments have traditionally used municipal bonds to finance the construction of correctional facilities, there is evidence that the two major private prison companies, CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA) and GEO Group, are actively pushing governments to consider the use of private financing to build new facilities, and that governments are increasingly interested in the idea. This focus on building new prison and immigration detention facilities with private financing (known as “public-private partnerships”) represents a critical shift in these companies’ business model.
Friday, In These Times published an essay by David Dayen, These Private Prison Companies Are Already Profiting Off of Trump’s Order on Family Separation. "[T]he Trump administration," he wrote, "still has the goal, expressed in the order, of detaining families together indefinitely, until their immigration cases are complete. That goal is contingent on convincing a federal judge to rip up the Flores settlement, a 1997 agreement that says migrant children can only be kept up to 20 days in non-secure, licensed facilities. On June 21, Trump’s Department of Justice asked a judge to change the rules, but the Obama administration asked for the same changes in 2016 and was rebuked."

In the last few years, the private prison companies have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trump, Republicans and Blue Dogs in exchange for their support.

Last cycle the dozen members of the House who took the biggest bribes from the GEO Group were:
Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)- $10,000
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)- $9,690
Scott Tipton (R-CO)- $7,500
Mike Bishop (R-MI)- $6,000
Steve Russell (R-OK)- $5,000
Michael McCaul (R-TX)- $5,000
Steve Knight (R-CA)- $5,000
Will Hurd (R-TX)- $5,000
John Culberson (R-TX)- $5,000
Don Bacon (R-NE)- $5,000
Rod Blum (R-IA)
Barbara Comstock (R-VA)
Tom Guild, the progressive Democrat whose Oklahoma primary is Tuesday noted that his far right Republican opponent, Steve Russell, is one of Congress' biggest supporters of the for-profit prison industry-- and, in return, the industry has funded his political career in a big way. "Public-private partnerships," Tom told us yesterday,"between elected officials creating 'demand' for additional detention facilities and private owners of such incarceration factories looking for a big pay day constitute old fashioned pay-for-play corruption. Steve Russell (R-OK) taking huge campaign gratuities from the private detention facilities industry earns him an honorary membership in the DC Swamp and is not a notable man bites dog storyline. Russell and Trump are two peas in a pod sharing the characteristics of avarice and greed while swimming in a putrid smelling self-dealing cesspool. It’s no wonder that Americans who currently approve of Congress' performance are limited to close friends and family members of those serving in Congress. Hopefully, the good folks in Oklahoma’s fifth congressional district will give Steve his walking papers soon. Then, he can go out into the 'real world' and earn an honest living for a change while chafing under the laws he created."

They also put mammoth amounts of cash into directed PACs-- $170,000 into Trump Victory, $50,000 into another Trump front group-- Rebuilding America Now and then $50,000 each to Republican Super PACs and Dark Money committees like Win In 2016, NRSC Targeted State Victory Committee and the Florida First Project and $25,000 each to House Majority 2016, Conservative Congress Now!, NRCC, Growing A Sustainable Future, and the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

So far this cycle they've ponied up big bucks for several shady groups like Kevin McCarthy's Victory Fund ($45,000), various GOP building funds (over $100,000), and $10,000 each for John Culberson's PAC, Rick Scott's PAC, Henry Cuellar's PAC Paul Ryan's PAC and, hold your nose, the DCCC. And this year's dozen biggest GEO Group bribe-takers so far:
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog, TX)- $10,000
John Culberson (R-TX)- $10,000
John Carter (R-TX)- $10,000
Scott Taylor (R-VA)- $6,000
Ron DeSantis (R-FL)- $5,000
Matt Gaetz (R-FL)- $5,000
Tom Graves (R-GA)- $5,000
David Pence (R-IN)- $5,000
 John Katko (R-NY)- $5,000 (returned)
Robert Aderholt (R-AL)- $3,500
Vicente Gonzalez (Blue Dog-TX)- $2,500
Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)- $2,500
The other big private prison spender in Congress is CoreCivic. So who were the big bribe takers from these crooks? Last cycle's dozen worst-- you know with some of these congress crooks, a pattern emerges:
John Culberson (R-TX)- $11,500
Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN)- $11,200
Diane Black (R-TN)-$11,000
Will Hurd (R-TX)-$7,500
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)- $5,000
John Carter (R-TX)- $5,000
Paul Ryan (R-WI)- $5,000
Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)- $5,000
Ander Crenshaw (R-FL)- $5,000
Tim Ryan (D-OH)- $4,500
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)- $4,000
Gregg Harper (R-MS)- $4,000
And so far this cycle... you can recognize some of the names that are constantly getting blood money from the private prison industry... repulsive characters like John Culberson of Texas for example-- always standing up and fighting for the private prison industry. Here are the 5 worst House members so far in 2018
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)- $19,100
John Culberson (R-TX)- $11,000
John Rose (R-TN)- $7,700
Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN)- $5,500
Greg Pence (R-IN)- $3,500
Mike Siegel, the progressive Democrat running for the very gerrymandered Texas seat that Trump enabler Michael McCaul occupies mentioned to my yesterday that "McCaul is responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the Trump Administration. As Homeland Security Chair, he has been an architect of the Travel Ban, a proponent of the Border Wall, and a defender of Family Separation. Not only are his actions immoral, but his acceptance of campaign contributions from the private prison industry-- and his advocacy to demand full occupancy of detention centers-- is downright corrupt. I am confident that the voters of the Texas 10th will not look kindly on his actions."

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

Say one thing for the goons in the White House: They've gone all in your face with their attitude. Other politicos put on a pretense of giving a damn. Other administrations have tried to cover their evil, knowing that you really can fool some of the people some of the time. Not the Trumpies. They want you to know their evil and they relish you living in its effects. They even have rallies for the occasion. This is the Republican Party. Whether it's the congressional hit squads of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell fighting for the forces of starvation and disease by taking away Medicare and Social Security, or stealing children from their parents, Republicans not only don't care, they will rub that fact that they don't care right in your face. It's not that this is all that new, but, Republicans have stepped up their game.

Just a few days ago we had Trump advisor Cory Lewandowski making fun of a 10 year old girl with Down Syndrome. Lewandowski is a former Trump campaign chaircretin. To be clear, he is not the one who is in jail but give it time and he might end up in a cell right next to Paul Manafort. Lewandowski has now been dropped by agencies who book people like him for speaking gigs at 6 figures a clip, so that's at least something. Losing such a lucrative income is more justice than he's likely to see from our aptly named criminal justice system. I wonder if it was his idea for his boss to make fun of a disabled reporter during the 2016 campaign. Nah, I bet Mr. Orange Spray Tan though of that one all by himself.

Also a few days ago, we saw Trump's Homeland Secretary, Kristjen Nielsen, denying that children were being stolen from their parents in the name of Trumpism, getting caught in her lies and making sick attempts to feign ignorance, followed predictably by her own in your face moment when she decided to shamelessly dine out in public, in a Mexican restaurant of all places. I'm surprised that she didn't go visit Wounded Knee, Belsen... or a North Korean gulag and have Mexican take-out delivered to her via Air Force One, at taxpayer expense of course.

Ah, but that wasn't enough for one week, certainly not enough to satisfy those who voted for Trump. To satisfy their cravings for more nihilism and downright evil, none other than the First Lady (Melania, not Ivanka) was dispatched to Texas for a pretend to care about the stolen children incarcerated in her husband's Kiddie Internment Camps. Except, she made it plain as day that she didn't care one iota. Melania had a message to send to anyone who is decent enough to actually really care and she wore it both to and from her photo-op. She dressed for the occasion by wearing her now famous jacket that sported the words "I really don't care. Do u?" Jeez. As if we needed corroboration. Yup. Another in you face moment, brought to us by the Republican Party. As to where she got the jacket, I'll just guess that it's just a jacket one gets when one registers as a Republican.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Republican Trump Enablers Getting Kicked Out Of Restaurants


Hitler thought it up but he could never have done it on his own. He needed enablers and rubber stamps. Same with Trump, of course. So far, as far as we know, only 3 of Trump's henchmen-- Stephen Miller, Kirstjen Nielsen and Sarah Huckabee Sanders-- have been publicly humiliated and thrown out of restaurants.

A couple of days ago, Ben Fearnow, writing for Newsweek reported that Trump's immigration policy architect Stephen Miller was "heckled and called a “fascist” by patrons at a Mexican restaurant in Washington."
Two days before Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was ridiculed by protestors at MXDC Cocina Mexicana, Miller was approached by customers asking if the “real-life fascist” would beg for money for “new cages.” The “zero tolerance” immigration hard-liner had the Espita Mezcaleria encounter Sunday amid intense backlash against a now-reversed policy to separate migrant children from their families. Both Nielsen and Miller’s Mexican restaurant incidents have prompted a deluge of self-proclaimed supporters of President Donald Trump to hit both D.C. establishments with one-star reviews and nasty comments.

...Miller, who was previously communications director for then-Senator Jeff Sessions, called the Trump administration’s policy to separate children from parents who illegally cross the U.S. border a “simple decision,” the New York Times reported. Miller’s vocal and unequivocal stance on immigration culminated with a Wednesday story from the Splinter News website that revealed his cell phone number that caused the publication to be banned briefly from Twitter.

DHS Secretary Nielsen’s Mexican restaurant run-in at DXDC Cocina Mexicana Tuesday evening saw patrons and protesters shouting “shame” and “end Texas concentration camps” as she dined at the D.C. establishment. A barrage of negative, one-star reviews have since littered DXDC Cocina Mexicana’s Google, Yelp and other online review pages for allowing the “leftist anarchists” to disrupt Nielsen’s dinner.
Huckabee's daughter tweeted early this morning that the owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia kicked her out of his restaurant Friday night. According to the owner, she was kicked out on moral grounds (and after the staff voted to do so)-- the exact right reason she should have been! We need a lot more of that from courageous American patriots.

I remember years and years ago I was sitting and having dinner when an old friend and his friends walked in and sat down at a table near ours. In a few minutes he noticed another table with 3 gay guys and bigoted Republican hypocrite Ann Coulter. My friend started exploding at her, loudly and very pointedly. I can't remember if he left (I don't think so) or she left (I do think so). It was a gay restaurant in WEHO. He's a deputy mayor of Los Angeles now.

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