Saturday, August 20, 2016

Can The Democrats Still Lose This Thing?


Remember how Herr Trumpf used to go on endlessly at his bund rallies, in interviews and on Twitter about his polling numbers? That's when he was pulverizing the Republican Party's deep bench and bitch-slapping Sweaty Little Marco, Lyin' Ted, Low Energy Jeb and the rest of the sad sacks who thought they could go up against a NYC playground bully. These days... well, if he mentions polls it's only to whine that they're all fixed, like that sinister Fox poll that shows substantially more voters see Hillary as the lesser of two evils.

The newest poll, released yesterday and showing Hillary ahead of Mr. Trumpanzee 50-40% in a head-to-head match up, shows her beating him 45-37% if Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are in the running. The poll shows a 48-41% preference for which party voters would back for Congress. Looking' good for Team Blue, right? Perhaps, but there's still plenty of time for them to screw it up-- on every level. It is, after all, what moribund catastrophically-run operations like the DNC, DCCC and DSCC do better than anyone. In fact, screwing up is pretty much all they do. Let's start at the top with President Obama who can't stop sending loud, clear signals to the Democratic base that he's going to put all he's got into getting the almost universally hated TPP passed.
President Obama started a fresh push for the Transpacific Partnership on Friday when he sent Congress a draft Statement of Administrative Action.

That action means that after 30 days, the White House will be able to present Congress with legislation on the TPP.

And on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton chose Ken Salazar, who is an aggressively outspoken supporter of the Transpacific Partnership, to lead her White House transition team, despite the fact that Hillary Clinton has come out firmly against the TPP.

Salazar's appointment raises serious questions about what we can expect from a Hillary Clinton administration and whether she's sincere in her opposition to the TPP and other so-called "free trade" deals that are still being negotiated.

...[B]y far the most sweeping deal that's being negotiated in secret and largely overlooked by activists is the Trade in Services Agreement, also known as TiSA.

TiSA will undermine citizens' privacy and governments' sovereignty, and negotiators are hoping to have a deal finalized by the end of this year.

Paola Casale at EconomyInCrisis writes bluntly about TiSA that "You may be asking: 'how does this affect me?' The best one sentence response I can come up with is: 'how does this not affect you.'"

Fifty-one countries would be initially governed by TiSA, including the United States, the European Union, and 22 other nations from around the world, representing 70% of the world's services' trade.

If it goes into effect, it would cover close to 80% of the U.S. economy that falls under the heading of "services."

"Services" is a broad term that covers all sorts of things, such as shipping, air travel, e-commerce, telecommunications, the internet, healthcare, financial services, engineering, and the list goes on and on.

Based on leaked texts and summaries published by the European Union, it's clear that TiSA aims to go even further than the WTO to globalize markets, functionally destroy national borders, and to create new corporate-friendly rules and regulations in sectors like e-commerce and financial services.

TiSA would include a "standstill clause" for financial services, and Switzerland has proposed that the agreement force all signatories to allow "any new financial service" to enter the market, which would virtually guarantee that banks all over the world, freed from sovereign regulation, would adopt the same sort of reckless speculation that destroyed the global economy just 8 years ago.

...[I]t will cripple our democratic republic by making it even easier for corporations to manage or strike down our public laws.

In recent months under existing trade laws, we've seen Canada and Mexico successfully sue the United States to force us to overturn our Country Of Origin Labeling law for meat imports.

And TransCanada is suing the United States right now for $15 billion as retaliation for Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.

...TiSA isn't just another sweeping regional trade agreement like the TPP or the TTIP.

TiSA aims to corporatize markets and functionally destroy borders around the world so that Corporate Big Brother can know everything about everyone and so that Big Business can sell anything to anyone, no matter the harm it may cause.

Call your lawmakers and tell them that you oppose any trade deal that gives corporations the ability to challenge the sovereignty of governments around the world.

Instead, democratic republics should be able to pass and enforce laws and trade policies that first serve the best interests of its citizens instead of transnational corporations and billionaires.

Just say "no" to TPP, TTIP, and especially to TiSA.
So there's Obama giving Democratic voters a big middle finger. After all, someone has to pay for the most expensive presidential library in history! And it's not going to all fall on Patrick Murphy's parents and Saudi backers. Meanwhile grassroots Democrats are campaigning on stopping TPP. This morning, for example, Wisconsin progressive Mary Hoeft told us her Republican opponent, "Sean Duffy voted in support of the Trans Pacific Partnership knowing full well the devastating impact such a partnership will have on American jobs. More than 5 million manufacturing jobs have left our country thanks to tax incentives making it 'cost effective' for company owners to terminate American employees. When elected to Congress, I will work to end all tax incentives that make it easy for company owners to profit at the expense of American workers."

Plenty of progressive Democrats still have a queasy feeling about Hillary Clinton, the lesser of two evils candidate who's still too evil for many self-respecting progressives to vote for. As Maureen Dowd pointed out last weekend, she's really a less right-win, more mainstream GOP nominee at heart anyway. She wrote that Republicans revolted by Mr. Trumpanzee and who find him "too volatile and unhinged... already have a 1-percenter who will be totally fine in the Oval Office, someone they can trust to help Wall Street, boost the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, cuddle with hedge funds, secure the trade deals beloved by corporate America, seek guidance from Henry Kissinger and hawk it up-- unleashing hell on Syria and heaven knows where else" and that, of course is Hillary.
The erstwhile Goldwater Girl and Goldman Sachs busker can be counted on to do the normal political things, not the abnormal haywire things. Trump’s propounding could drag us into war, plunge us into a recession and shatter Washington into a thousand tiny bits.

Hillary will keep the establishment safe. Who is more of an establishment figure, after all? Her husband was president, and he repealed Glass-Steagall, signed the Defense of Marriage Act and got rid of those pesky welfare queens.

Pushing her Midwestern Methodist roots, taking advantage of primogeniture, Hillary often seems more Republican than the Gotham bling king, who used to be a Democrat and donor to Democratic candidates before he jumped the turnstile.

Hillary is a reliable creature of Wall Street. Her tax return showed the Clintons made $10.6 million last year, and like other superrich families, they incorporated with the Clinton Executive Services Corporation (which was billed for the infamous server). Trump has started holding up goofy charts at rallies showing Hillary has gotten $48,500,000 in contributions from hedge funders, compared to his $19,000.

Unlike Trump, she hasn’t been trashing leading Republicans. You know that her pals John McCain and Lindsey Graham are secretly rooting for her. There is a cascade of prominent Republicans endorsing Hillary, donating to Hillary, appearing in Hillary ads, talking up Hillary’s charms.

Robert Kagan, a former Reagan State Department aide, adviser to the McCain and Mitt Romney campaigns and Iraq war booster, headlined a Hillary fund-raiser this summer. Another neocon, James Kirchick, keened in The Daily Beast, “Hillary Clinton is the one person standing between America and the abyss.”

She has finally stirred up some emotion in women, even if it is just moderate suburban Republican women palpitating to leave their own nominee, who has the retro air of a guy who just left the dim recesses of a Playboy bunny club.

The Democratic nominee put out an ad featuring Trump-bashing Michael Hayden, an N.S.A. and C.I.A. chief under W. who was deemed “incongruent” by the Senate when he testified about torture methods. And she earned an endorsement from John Negroponte, a Reagan hand linked to American-trained death squads in Latin America.

Politico reports that the Clinton team sent out feelers to see if Kissinger, the Voldemort of Vietnam, and Condi Rice, the conjurer of Saddam’s apocalyptic mushroom cloud, would back Hillary.

Hillary has written that Kissinger is an “idealistic” friend whose counsel she valued as secretary of state, drawing a rebuke from Bernie Sanders during the primaries: “I’m proud to say Henry Kissinger is not my friend.”

The Hillary team seems giddy over its windfall of Republicans and neocons running from the Trump sharknado. But as David Weigel wrote in the Washington Post, the specter of Kissinger, the man who advised Nixon to prolong the Vietnam War to help with his re-election, fed a perception that “the Democratic nominee has returned to her old, hawkish ways and is again taking progressives for granted.”

...As Republican strategist Steve Schmidt noted on MSNBC, “the candidate in the race most like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a foreign policy perspective is in fact Hillary Clinton, not the Republican nominee.”

And that’s how Republicans prefer their crazy-- not like Trump, but like Cheney.

And it's not much better down-ballot. Chuck Schumer and Jon Tester have spent more money against progressives than against Republicans, eagerly delivering the party nomination to conservative puppets with no chance to win other than being swept along on Clinton coattails, like fracking lobbyist Katie McGinty, make believe Democrat Patrick Murphy, reactionary New Dem Ann Kirkpatrick, corporate shill Patty Judge, and poor old confused Ted Strickland. The DCCC is even worse. They've systematically abandoned districts where progressives have won the primaries-- even districts they've identified themselves as "must win" and districts where Hillary is going to pulverize Trump. Instead the DCCC is once again putting virtually all their resources into the kind of corrupt conservative candidates that replicates DCCC heavy-weights like Steve Israel, Ben Ray Luján, Denny Heck and Jim Himes. This week, writing for Rewire, Ally Boguhn, reported on how conservaDems are trying to sneak thoroughly discredited anti-Choice politicians-- discredited by the Democratic grassroots at least-- back into Congress.
Former Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) contends that’s what happened to her and other anti-choice Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections, which resulted in Republicans wresting control of the House.

“I believe that pro-life Democrats are the biggest threat to the Republicans, and that’s why we were targeted-- and I’ll say harshly targeted-- in 2010,” Dahlkemper said in an interview.

She alleged that anti-choice groups, often funded by Republicans, attacked her for supporting the Affordable Care Act. A 2010 Politico story describes how the Susan B. Anthony List funneled millions of dollars into equating the vote with support for abortion access, even though President Obama signed an executive order in the vein of the Hyde Amendment’s prohibition on federal funds for abortion care.

Dalhkemper advocated for perhaps the clearest strategy to counter the narrative that anti-choice Democrats somehow aren’t really opposed to abortion.

“What we need is support from our party at large, and we also need to band together, and we also need to continue to talk about that consistent life message that I think the vast majority of us believe in,” she said.

Self-described pro-choice Georgia House Minority Leader Rep. Stacey Abrams (D) rejected the narratives spun by DFLA to supporters. In an interview with Rewire at the convention, Abrams called the organization’s claim that Democrats should work to elect anti-choice politicians from within their ranks in order to win in places like the South a “dangerous” strategy that assumes “that the South is the same static place it was 50 or 100 years ago.”

“I think what they’re reacting to is … a very strong religious current that runs throughout the South,” that pushes people to discuss their values when it comes to abortion, Abrams said. “But we are capable of complexity. And that’s the problem I have. [Its strategy] assumes and reduces Democrats to a single issue, but more importantly, it reduces the decision to one that is a binary decision-- yes or no.”

That strategy also doesn’t take into account the intersectional identities of Southern voters and instead only focuses on appealing to the sensibilities of white men, noted Abrams.

“We are only successful when we acknowledge that I can be a Black woman who may be raised religiously pro-life but believe that other women have the right to make a choice,” she continued. “And the extent to which we think about ourselves only in terms of white men and trying to convince that very and increasingly narrow population to be our saviors in elections, that’s when we face the likelihood of being obsolete.”

Understanding that nuances exist among Southern voters-- even those who are opposed to abortion personally-- is instead the key to reaching them, Abrams said.

“Most of the women and most of the voters, we are used to having complex conversations about what happens,” she said. “And I do believe that it is both reductive and it’s self-defeating for us to say that you can only win if you’re a pro-life Democrat.”

To Abrams, being pro-choice means allowing people to “decide their path.”

“The use of reproductive choice is endemic to how we as women can be involved in society: how we can go to work, how we can raise families, make choices about who we are. And so while I am sympathetic to the concern that you have to … cut against the national narrative, being pro-choice means exactly that,” Abrams continued. “If their path is pro-life, fine. If their path is to decide to make other choices, to have an abortion, they can do so.”

“I’m a pro-choice woman who has strongly embraced the conversation and the option for women to choose whatever they want to choose,” Abrams said. “That is the best and, I think, most profound path we can take as legislators and as elected officials.”
I might add that Kathy Dahlkemper served one term in Congress, where she proved herself to be one of the worst members anywhere in the county. She didn't just lose her seat because she was anti-Choice. She lost her seat because she was a reactionary Blue Dog who voted against almost everything the Democratic base expected. So when she was up for reelection, they simply didn't show up at the polls-- not for her and not for most of the Blue Dogs in the House.

Trump Vs Hillary: Who Raised More Money?

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