Sunday, March 18, 2018

Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

An open letter to Melania:

Dear Melania,

We've been going over various statistics relating to your husband's failure of a life and failure of a career (if one can call it that). After this examination, it appears that you are, to use, a precise, scientific term, slacking off. You have not, yet, reached the standards of your set by your husband's other business ventures. To do that, you would have to join his other wives and whatevers and walk out of the "relationship." If nothing else, ask yourself if that thing you call a husband is a good role model for Baron. Do you really want him to turn out hideously, almost freakishly, like Don Jr., Eric, or Ivanka? It's not too late, and we'd like to point out that there are plenty of children being well-raised in single parent households.

I know you probably think that you are trapped in some sort of ironclad prenup or other contract, but, as Stormy Daniels has shown, sometimes an agreement is not an agreement. I'm sure that there are plenty of lawyers that are ready willing and very able to be of assistance to you and Baron. From what we've seen, you can certainly find a lawyer that is better than any who will work for your husband at this point.

So, Melania, why not trade in your humiliation for some redemption? In fact, if you want to go the extra mile, you could lead the entire White House staff right out the door with you. Now, that's the kind of parade that your husband deserves!



PS. No, I am not a Russian Bot.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Marijuana Legalization And The 2018 Congressional Elections


Goal ThermometerAs you may know, Blue America has been working with the Greenwave PAC to help candidates campaigning on marijuana legalization with ads like the one above-- and the one below. Progressive candidates campaigning on legalization can be found-- and supported-- by clicking on the Blue America Green Wave thermometer on the right. NORML is also working hard for candidates including legalization in their platforms. This week they released an awesome Marijuana Law Reform Candidate Packet. The packet encourages candidates to consider adding the issue to their platforms by providing them with important scientific research and statistics related to the legalization of marijuana for both adult and medicinal use and deals with these 7 points:

●  Sixty-four percent of Americans support legalization; including outright majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans (Gallup, 2017).

●  Seventy-six percent of Americans oppose federal intervention in state-lawful marijuana programs (Survey USA, 2017).

●  Ninety-four percent of Americans support the legalization of medical marijuana (Quinnipiac, 2017).

●  Twenty-two percent of Veterans consume marijuana to alleviate symptoms of a physical or mental ailment (American Legion, 2017).
Sample text for policy platform
The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant's medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color. It is time for federal lawmakers to acknowledge this reality. As your voice in Congress, I will support the descheduling of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Once marijuana is federally descheduled similarly to alcohol, states will possess the autonomy to set their own cannabis regulatory policies, free from federal interference.
Suggested stump speech paragraph
A crucial component to reforming our nation’s criminal justice system is the reform of America’s marijuana laws. Over 600,000 Americans are arrested every year for minor marijuana possession offenses. These individuals, overwhelmingly young people and individuals of color, are often saddled with a lifelong criminal record as well as the stigma and lost opportunities associated with it-- such as the loss of student financial aid or employment. We should not be squandering precious law enforcement and judicial resources to target these otherwise law-abiding citizens.

By continuing to criminally prohibit the use, production, and sale of marijuana, we are ceding control to the black market. Doing so denies states’ crucial tax revenue that could fund important social services, and leaves marijuana production and distribution in the control of unregulated dealers who have no incentive to keep it out of the hands of our youth. If our 13-year experiment with alcohol prohibition in this country is deemed a failure, then how else can anyone define the 80-year long prohibition on marijuana? It is time to end this failed and morally bankrupt policy, remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act where it is currently considered on par with dangerous substances such as heroin, and allow states to set their own policies on this issue.

The majority of the American people agree that it is time to legalize and regulate marijuana, and it is time our state and federal laws reflect that reality.
Key points on the benefits of marijuana legalization

●  The legal market for adult and medical use of marijuana accounted for 149,304 jobs in 2017, a 22 percent increase since 2016. Equating to 26,490 new jobs added over a 12 month period.

●  In 2016, Colorado alone generated over $1.4 billion in combined recreational and medical marijuana sales. This accounted for nearly $200 million in tax and fees revenue, which was mostly designated for new school construction projects in the state. The state is expected to exceed $225 million in tax and fees revenue for 2017.
●  Oregon collected a total of $108.6 million in state and local taxes between Jan. 4, 2016, and Aug. 31, 2017. That revenue was divided between multiple agencies and programs: the state school fund receives 40 percent, or $34 million; mental health, alcoholism and drug services receive 20 percent, or $17 million; Oregon State Police receive 15 percent, or $12.75 million, and the Oregon Health Authority receives five percent, or $4.25 million.
●  Nevada generated $3.8 million in tax and fee revenue in just the first month of legal recreational marijuana sales.

●  Legal cannabis markets are estimated to reach sales of $24.5 billion by 2021.

Social and Racial Justice

 ●  Even with a growing number of states reforming their marijuana laws, over 650,000 individuals nationwide were charged for marijuana related offenses in 2016.

 ●  Despite similar use rates to their white counterparts, African Americans are more 
than four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana offenses nationwide.

 ●  After legalization, Colorado experienced nearly a 50 percent decline in the number of traffic searches of black drivers and Washington State experienced a 33 percent decline.
Key points on the benefits of medical marijuana
Marijuana has been part of humanity's medicine cabinet for almost as long as history has been recorded.
Of all the negative consequences of marijuana prohibition, few are as tragic as the denial of medicinal cannabis to the tens of thousands of patients who could benefit from its therapeutic use.
Currently, 30 states and the District of Columbia have implemented a medical cannabis program and an additional 16 states have enacted more limited medical cannabis laws for access to CBD to treat qualifying conditions such as intractable epilepsy.

Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief-- particularly of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage)-- nausea, spasticity, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome, or dementia. Emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties are neuroprotective and may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors.

Changes in the legal status of marijuana at the state level have not negatively impacted workplace safety. In fact, a pair of studies from 2016 find that the legalization of medical marijuana access is associated with greater workforce participation and with fewer workplace absences. Most recently, the National Academies of Sciences just-released marijuana and health report found “insufficient evidence” to support an association between cannabis use and occupational accidents or injuries.

Currently, more than sixty U.S. and international health organizations support granting patients immediate legal access to medicinal marijuana under a physician's supervision.
Data dispelling the common myths around cannabis
Despite what opponents of marijuana legalization claim, the legalization and regulation of marijuana for medical or recreational use is NOT associated with an increase in automobile accidents, traffic fatalities, youth use rates, crime, or workplace injuries.

Drugged Driving

●  Fatal traffic accident rates in legal marijuana states are no different than those in states where cannabis remains illegal.

●  "We (the state of Colorado) have not experienced any significant issue as a 
result of legalization. ... We have actually seen an overall decrease in DUI's since legalization. So, the short answer is: There has been no increase since the legalization of marijuana here."

Youth Use

●  "For adults and adolescents [in Colorado], past-month marijuana use has not 
changed since legalization either in terms of the number of people using or the 
frequency of use among users. Based on the most comprehensive data 
available, past month marijuana use among Colorado adolescents is nearly 
identical to the national average."


 ●  "There is evidence in this table that the legalization of recreational cannabis enacted in Washington caused a decrease in crime rates. The point estimates for rape, assault, robbery, burglary and theft are all negative. This conclusion is reinforced by the statistical significance of the drop in rapes and thefts. ... Our estimates reveal that the legalization decreased... both ordinary alcohol and binge alcohol... These effects on consumption suggest that one of the mechanisms underlying the reduction in crime may be a substitution away from other drugs ... such as alcohol, which makes consumers more aggressive than if consuming cannabis."

●  "[T]he introduction of medical marijuana laws (MMLs) leads to a decrease in violent crime in states that border Mexico. The reduction in crime is strongest for counties close to the border (less than 350 kilometres) and for crimes that relate to drug trafficking. In addition, we find that MMLs in inland states lead to a reduction in crime in the nearest border state. Our results are consistent with the theory that decriminalization of the production and distribution of marijuana leads to a reduction in violent crime in markets that are traditionally controlled by Mexican drug trafficking organizations."

Impact on the Workplace

●  "There is no or insufficient evidence to support ... a statistical association between cannabis use and ... occupational accidents or injuries."
●  Employees who test positive for marijuana in workplace drug tests are no more likely to be involved in occupational accidents as compared to those who test negative. "This study fell short of finding an association between marijuana use and involvement of workplace accidents... This study cannot be taken as 
definitive evidence of absence of an association between marijuana and work 
related accidents but the findings are compelling."

●  "Utilizing the Current Population Survey, the study identifies that absences due to sickness decline following the legalization of medical marijuana... The results of this paper therefore suggest that medical marijuana legalization would decrease costs for employers as it has reduced self-reported absence from work due to illness/medical issues."
●  The enactment of medical marijuana laws is associated with a "9.4 percent increase in the probability of employment and a 4.6 percent to 4.9 percent increase in hours worked per week" among those over the age of 50. "Medical marijuana law implementation leads to increases in labor supply among older 
adult men and women."
●  Marijuana decriminalization is associated with increased probability of employment, particularly for young males, and an average increase of 4.5 percent in weekly earnings. African American males experienced the greatest average wage increase. "This data provides suggestive evidence that marijuana decriminalization laws improve extrinsic labor market outcomes... This result is consistent with existing literature that suggests black adults, especially men, stand to benefit the most from removing these penalties."
How marijuana can be used to combat the opioid crisis
With our nation in the midst of a serious opioid crisis, recent research has revealed that access to marijuana is one proven strategy for helping curb the harms caused by opioid abuse.

Cannabis access is associated with reduced rates of opioid use and abuse, opioid- related hospitalizations, opioid-related traffic fatalities, opioid-related drug treatment admissions, and opioid-related overdose deaths.

Below are excerpts of important medical research highlighting these effects:
● “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws.”

● “We used an interrupted time-series design (2000-2015) to compare changes in level and slope of monthly opioid-related deaths before and after Colorado stores began selling recreational cannabis. ... Colorado's legalization of recreational cannabis sales and use resulted in a 0.7 deaths per month reduction in opioid-related deaths. This reduction represents a reversal of the upward trend in opioid-related deaths in Colorado."

● Compared to non-users, medical cannabis enrollees "were more likely either to reduce daily opioid prescription dosages between the beginning and end of the sample period (83.8 percent versus 44.8 percent) or to cease filling opioid prescriptions altogether (40.5 percent versus 3.4 percent)." Enrollees were also more likely to report an improved quality of life. "The clinically and statistically significant evidence of an association between MCP enrollment and opioid prescription cessation and reductions and improved quality of life warrants further investigations on cannabis as a potential alternative to prescription opioids for treating chronic pain."

● "Medical marijuana policies were significantly associated with reduced opioid pain reliever-related hospitalizations but had no associations with marijuana-related hospitalizations. ... Medical marijuana legalization was associated with 23% (p=0.008) and 13% (p=0.025) reductions in hospitalizations related to opioid dependence or abuse and OPR overdose, respectively; lagged effects were observed after policy implementation."

Labels: , ,

Senators-- Democratic Senators-- Who Vote To Confirm Trump's New Cabinet Garbage Are Voting For Torture As A Legitimate Policy


Revolving Door by Nancy Ohanian

The Trump White Mad House is still a chaotic mess, in complete turmoil orchestrated my the fool Putin placed there. Supposedly, at least according to the Wall Street Journal John Kelly is staying on-- for now-- as chief of staff. H.R. McMaster, on the other hand, will be replaced as soon as Trump can persuade someone to take the job. This week a West Wing staffer in Señor Trumpanzee's White House was widely quoted saying that "This is the most toxic working environment on the planet... There's no leadership, no trust, no direction and at this point there's very little hope." Other heads on the chopping block-- reputations ruined because of their collaboration with the fascist clown-- include Ben Carson, David Shulkin, Steven Mnuchin, Jeff Sessions, Betsy DeVos, Ryan Zinke and Vanessa Trump, estranged wife of Trumpanzee Jr., and others who have been using taxpayer dollars to live like royalty.
At least a half-dozen current or former Trump Cabinet officials have been mired in federal investigations over everything from high-end travel and spending on items such as a soundproof phone booth to the role of family members weighing in on official business. On Wednesday alone, newly disclosed documents revealed fresh details about spending scandals at both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

...The controversies surrounding members of Trump’s Cabinet have caused upheaval within the administration, prompting White House officials to scramble in an effort to avert any further political fallout and to summon agency leaders for face-to-face ethics meetings.
Meanwhile, Señor Trumpanzee is using Ivanka as a substitute for fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. CNN and Politico are both reporteing that Trump could have trouble getting new appointments confirmed. CNN was mild, reporting that Trumpanzee's "appetite for an ambitious shake-up of his Cabinet and other key advisers is already facing headwinds from inside his own administration and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. Trump's nominee to run the CIA, Gina Haspel, is causing heartburn among Senate Republicans because of her role in overseeing an interrogation and detention program. Meanwhile, at least one Republican and a handful of Democrats in the narrowly divided Senate are already planning to oppose Mike Pompeo, Trump's nominee to succeed Rex Tillerson, who the President fired Tuesday from his post as secretary of state. There is also some trepidation among the national security establishment about the potential of hardliner John Bolton replacing H.R. McMaster, whose fate as national security adviser is in doubt, according to several sources. And some top Senate Republicans are warning the White House of overburdening lawmakers with too many nominations. 'With everything else we have to do around here, having the prospect of two additional confirmation fights perhaps is going to be a challenge,' said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican." Politico went much further with the idea of the Democrats actually being able to block the worst of the dreck Trump wants to bring into government.
The White House was hoping for a smooth 2018 on Capitol Hill. Instead, President Donald Trump is staring at two bitter confirmation fights-- and the possibility emboldened Democrats could block his new Cabinet nominees.

Trump’s decision to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson at the State Department-- and to elevate Pompeo’s controversial deputy Gina Haspel, who hasn’t previously been confirmed-- has created a pair of high-stakes battles in the Senate, where the GOP enjoys a threadbare 51-49 advantage.

With Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) opposing both nominees and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) absent while he undergoes treatment for brain cancer, Trump will need Democrats to support his picks.

The looming struggle to get Cabinet replacements through underscores just how much the political calculus has changed for Trump since the early days of his administration, as Democrats look ahead to the midterms and throw off any semblance of cooperation with the White House.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), for example, supported Pompeo to be CIA director, as did 14 of his colleagues in the minority. Democrats say Pompeo will fall far short of that-- if he gets any Democratic support at all.

“Both of them have serious questions to answer and neither confirmation is a sure thing,” Schumer told Politico in a statement.

Republicans agree that failed confirmation votes are a real possibility.

...Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Z), who serves on the Foreign Relations panel, has been privately cited by Democrats as a potential flip vote on both Pompeo and Haspel. A vocal Trump critic, he said he’s “looking into” Haspel’s record and wants to hear willingness from Pompeo to break with Trump on Russia.

“We need people who will stand up to the president, frankly, on some of these issues. I want to make sure he’s willing to do that,” Flake said in an interview.

...Trump’s demonstrated preference for unorthodox figures could leave some Democrats inclined to accept the pair, who few would label unqualified even if they disagree with them on policy.

Republicans also have the advantage of a cadre of Democratic senators facing reelection in 2018 in states Trump easily won: Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. All four voted to confirm Pompeo at the CIA.

...Short of blocking the picks altogether, Democrats could still cause serious headaches for the White House throughout the process.

“The biggest danger for the White House is that both of these people are coming from inside the administration and are going to be asked to talk about what’s happened inside the administration during their confirmation hearings,” said Matthew Miller, who helped shepherd former Attorney General Eric Holder through his confirmation hearings and joined him at DOJ as a spokesman.

He pointed as an example to a Washington Post report from June 2017 that Trump complained to Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats early in his presidency about then-FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the Russia probe.

If Pompeo refuses to address that conversation, Democrats could use that as justification for voting against him, Miller said, since such questions go to how Pompeo reacted to presidential pressure while leading the CIA.

“If you invoke executive privilege at your oversight hearing, there’s nothing the senators can do to you,” Miller said. “In a confirmation hearing, you can lose votes over it.”
Is it a "purity test" to support and vote for Democrats who are not going to help block garbage nominees like Haspel and Bolton to influential posts? Fake Democrats like Heitkamp, McCaskill and Manchin are going to make the difference whether or not the U.S. goes back to torturing people.

Labels: , , , ,

Australia Solved The Gun Problem. We Can Too


-by Reese Erlich

Progressives aren’t supposed to say this. But none of the major gun control proposals now being debated in Washington would actually stop mass shootings. I know that sounds heretical, or even worse, like an echo of the National Rifle Association line. But it’s true.

An AR-15 assault rifle

Let’s take a look:

Ban sales of AR-15 and other assault rifles. Assault rifles are deadly. But other semi-automatic weapons, which would not be banned, are just as dangerous. And even if all semi-automatic rifles were banned, Americans still have access to plenty of deadly ordinance. In 1966 a shooter at the University of Texas used a bolt action and pump action rifles to murder 14 and wound 31.

Better background checks will stop the shooters. Such checks might stop a random shooter or two, but almost all the recent mass killers would have passed background checks. Proposed stricter background checks would not stop gun sales to the severely mentally ill.

Require gun purchasers to be 21. Ask any teens who have had an adult buy them bottles of alcohol how well that works. In a number of recent shootings, young teens stole guns from their parents’ gun cabinets.

There’s a fundamental flaw in gun reform laws currently under consideration. America is flooded with firearms. Potential mass murderers have access to tens of millions of legal and illegal guns. The spousal abuser or the psychopath can find a very deadly weapon with relative ease. So even the most positive, partial reforms won’t solve the problem.

Don’t get me wrong. I support significant reform measures-- but for political reasons-- not because they will have much immediate impact. The NRA’s stranglehold on US politics must be broken. Oregon took a good step recently by prohibiting domestic abusers and those subject to restraining orders from owning guns. Banning assault rifles and high capacity magazines would definitely weaken the gun lobby’s power.

And I think it’s time Americans seriously consider gun reform that would actually stop mass killings. Australians did it and so can we.

The US and Australia share some common history. The British sent settlers to occupy colonial land, although the Australians had to get out of prison first. Both countries encouraged gun ownership by white settlers, Rebecca Peters, a representative of Australia’s International Action Network on Small Arms, told me. “Early settlers depended on killing animals and the indigenous people who lived there before.”

And in modern times both countries had strong gun lobbies paid for by firearm manufacturers. The Australian gun lobby had blocked effective gun control at both the federal and state levels.

For Australians, everything changed on April 28, 1996. That day a young curly haired, blond man brought an AR-15 and another semi–automatic rifle to the popular tourist town of Pt. Arthur in southeastern Tasmania. He fired randomly, killing 35 people and wounding 18. The massacre of men, women and children shocked Australians much like the Parkland, Florida impacted Americans.

But the Aussies did something about it.

Just 12 days after the shooting, conservative Prime Minister John Howard brought together legislators to pass comprehensive, national gun control laws. But what appeared to be a legislative miracle was actually the culmination of years of grass-roots efforts.

Local activists and public health professionals had been educating the public since the late 1980s, said Peters. They found a sympathetic audience among trade unionists and some Labor Party politicians. “We built a solid grassroots movement,” she said. “We didn’t just leap into tragedy mode after a shooting.”

Activists called for universal gun registration, and it was just as controversial in Australia as in the US. The gun lobby argued that the government would confiscate everyone’s guns.

Simon Chapman, emeritus professor in public health at the University of Sydney, remembers the most effective argument gun reform campaigners made on that topic.

“We register cars,” he would say. “We register boats. We even register dogs. So what’s the problem in registering guns?”

So in the spring of 1996, the federal parliament passed a comprehensive measures that included:
All semi-automatic rifles and pump action shotguns were banned, as were high capacity magazines.

The government purchased existing firearms that had been banned, paying retail plus 10 percent.

All firearms were registered and new buyers were required to prove a “genuine reason” for gun ownership such as hunting or target practice at a shooter’s club.

New gun owners must wait 28 days to take delivery, be subject to a comprehensive background check, and take a gun safety course.
The results were striking. There have been no mass shootings. Gun murders and suicides have dropped precipitously. There are 200 fewer deaths every year as a result of gun control, according to Peters.

And, oh yes, hunters continue to hunt, and target shooters continue to plink. No armies of jack booted police have stormed private residences to seize weapons.

Australia’s stringent gun control laws aren’t likely to be adopted in the U.S. anytime soon. But we can learn something from their political organizing.

Today, the NRA stops even the smallest gun reforms from passing the U.S Congress. But other, seemingly undefeatable lobbies nave been weakened. Look at Big Tobacco and the right-wing Cuba Lobby. The NRA could be next.

Today the NRA faces a formidable enemy. The Parkland high school students have sparked grass-roots efforts among other students and their parents. They’ve sat in at the Florida state house and in the U.S. Senate.

Peters said grass roots organizing defeated the gun lobby in Australia and it can be done in the US as well. “The NRA uses power of intimidation,” she said. “And they often win the public relations war. But they can be defeated.”

Labels: , , ,

Lipinski's Campaign Of Filth And Smear Ends Tuesday-- Hopefully With His Disgraceful Political Career


This Tuesday is primary day in Illinois. There are several crucial battles going on between progressives and corporate Democrats but there are4 none where the contrast is clearer than in the Chicagoland seat which pits Marie Newman against right-of-center Blue Dog Dan Lipinski. The DCCC has sided with Lipinski of course, but progressive Democrats from Jan Schakowsky, Luis Gutiérrez and Ro Khanna to Bernie Sanders and Chuy Garcia are strongly backing Marie (also endorsed by Blue America). Yesterday new Spanish-Language TV and Radio Ads Hitting the anti-immigrant incumbent started running for his vote against the Dream Act in 2010. The ads blast Lipinski for voting out-of-step with his constituents on immigration issues and urge voters to back Marie Newman.

While independent groups are running ads educate voters about Lipinski’s actual voting record, Lipinski and his supporters are making up crap to smear Newman, the latest implying that she's a Holocaust denier. Lipinski's campaign is targeting Jewish voters with texts from a woman identifying herself as "Leslie Benjamini" from the Washington, D.C.-based No Labels group-- a shady conservative group that backed Trump in 2016 and backs Lipinksi and other right-wing Democrats now. When voters reply to texts by saying the plan to vote for Newman, "Benjamini" states that Lipinski's opponent is a Holocaust denier. "His opponent is a Holocaust denier among other things," the text claims. "Please educate yourself before you vote. All I ask."

After Newman beats Lipinski she will have an opponent who is a Holocaust denier, Nazi leader Arthur Jones, a lunatic Republican, running unopposed in the GOP primary. Marie's response:
"Dan Lipinski is playing politics with a tragedy in human history that cost the lives of millions-- and which deeply affects those of Jewish heritage, including my husband and his family. I did not think Dan Lipinski could stoop any lower than the dishonest machine campaign he has been running, but this is a new level of moral bankruptcy. He should issue a public apology immediately."
Late Thursday, Politico reported that Obama alumni in Chicago were meting out some payback to Lipinski for his non-stop opposition to President Obama.
A collection of former Obama aides and supporters banded together to deliver some Chicago-style payback, just days before the embattled congressman faces a tough Democratic primary challenge that could end his career.

A campaign mailer from a super PAC backing Lipinski gave the group the opportunity to pile on Lipinski at the worst possible moment. The mail piece featured a photo of the former president on one side, and the words, “Known for Leading.” The flip side offered a picture of Democratic opponent Marie Newman under the headline, “Known for Misleading.”

The idea that Lipinski-- who voted against the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature achievement, and declined to endorse Obama’s reelection in 2012-- would try to use the former president’s image resurrected such deep feelings of betrayal that the group of former staffers and supporters quickly assembled for a news conference to call out the congressman for what they called hypocrisy.

Goal Thermometer“It’s time to reveal the truth, Congressman Lipinski,” said Obama’s 2008 national field organizer Jon Carson. “You are no Barack Obama.”

The ad wasn’t from the Lipinski campaign. The group behind the direct mail, United for Progress, has funded TV ads attacking Newman, who is threatening to topple the Lipinski family’s storied political regime in the Chicago-based 3rd Congressional District.

But once the ad reached mailboxes in the district this week, it drew strong reactions. Over Twitter on Wednesday night, former Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod called the move “galling.”

In fact, Obama loyalists were so steamed that 10 former aides and volunteers stood in Axelrod’s old offices for the Thursday news conference-- the very place they said Michelle and Barack Obama made their decision to launch a 2008 presidential bid.

The group recounted the difficulties of corralling enough votes to pass the Affordable Care Act eight years ago-- and lamented that Lipinski was the only Illinois Democrat to vote against it.

Organizing for Action National Finance Committee member John Atkinson recalled watching the roll call vote in 2010 with “tears streaming down my face,” from the pride he felt in the moment the landmark health care act passed.

...“I was stunned to watch Dan Lipinski vote to deny 20 million Americans the very coverage that he and I both enjoyed, while defying a president and members of Congress who put their careers on the line to pass this health care reform in this country,” Atkinson said. “We will not allow Dan Lipinski’s hypocrisy to stand.

“Congressman Lipinski was never a supporter of President Obama when he needed him most,” he said.

The mailer raised questions about Newman’s professional claims and experiences as a business owner.

At the news conference, Jennifer Warner, national organizing director for OFA, read from a 2010 Chicago Sun-Times newspaper article recounting Lipinski’s vote against ACA, despite the fact that he would receive the benefits attached to own pre-condition as a diabetic.

“To add insult to injury, Congressman Lipinski refused to endorse Obama,” Warner said. “It’s shameful, and we’re calling him out.”

In 2012, Lipinski had commented to Medill News Service that he would not publicly endorse anyone in the race for president. That report was picked up by The Huffington Post, amplifying the surprising news that a fellow Chicago Democrat declined to publicly support the president’s reelection.

“He voted for Barack. He supported Barack in 2012,” Mayer explained Thursday, but wouldn’t expand on how he supported Obama.

Supporters said their efforts to call out Lipinski had nothing to do with preserving Obama’s legacy.

“I don’t think we need to do anything to preserve the president’s legacy, it stands on its own,” Atkinson said. “This is about calling out hypocrisy, frankly. And letting the voters know what their representative’s actually doing in Congress and the fact that lying to them about his record and about his allegiances is not going to be tolerated.”

Labels: , , ,

Will Lamb And Saccone Wind Up Both Serving In Congress Next Year?


The old gerrymandered map is on top and the new ungerrymandered map is below

When the Pennsylvania Supreme Court moved to ungerrymander the state, the Pittsburgh area changed considerably. The city itself, PA-14 didn't change too much other than being re-numbered from PA-14 to PA-18. The PVI went from D+17 to a still very safe D+13, extra Democrats going to the newly created PA-17 which was formerly Republican Keith Rothfus' safe red seat (PA-12). The old PVI was R+11 and the new PVI is a very competitive R+3. That leaves the sprawling PA-18 district Conor Lamb just won. It's been cut down quite a bit and one of the areas cut out of the district is Lamb's hometown, Mount Lebanon. So what was a blood red district with a PVI of R+11 is now... and even worse R+14 (re-numbered PA-14).

The incumbent in the new PA-18 (Pittsburg's old PA-14) is Democrat Mike Doyle and he should have zero problem being reelected. Technically the incumbent in the new redder PA-14 Is Lamb but no one thinks he'll run there again. And the incumbent in the very red old PA-12 (now the competitive PA-17) is Keith Rothfus, basically a dead man walking. And that's where Lamb's home in and where Lamb will run, even though very few few of Rothfus' constituents were part of the old PA-18 who just participated in the election that put Lamb into office.

Right now there are 4 Democrats campaigning against Rothfus in the new 17th,  Elizabeth Tarasi, Aaron Anthony, Raymond Linsenmayer and Erin McClelland. The district includes Beaver County, part of Cranberry Township in Butler County, and northern and western portions of Allegheny County; it would have gone for Trump by just 2.5 percentage points. Lamb filed papers Wednesday seeking the Beaver County Democratic Party's endorsement in the new 17th. The Beaver County Democratic Committee plans to endorse a candidate next Thursday.

Meanwhile, Rick Saccone-- despite being blamed for his own loss on Tuesday, despite being derided for his "porn mustache" and despite not living in the new district-- is already circulating petitions to run in PA-14 (which includes half, including all the reddest parts of the district, he just lost). Republican State Senator Guy Reschenthaler is also running there. Reschenthaler doesn't live in the district either. The Democrat with the best-- the only-- chance to win in that race is Tom Prigg, who had been running against Rothfus, but decided to switch to the district he grew up in (Washington) after the new boundaries were announced and after Lamb made it clear he would take on Rothfus. (Prigg and Lamb are both veterans and although Prigg is much more progressive than Lamb, he had put a lot of time and energy into campaigning for him over the last month.) The establishment Democrat in the race, if she can get enough signatures by Tuesday, is Bibiana Boerio.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

Actually, Señor Trumpanzee has stated that he'll be running for "re-election" in 2020 several times. He's already been holding private fundraisers with the nation's finest sleazebags to entice those who want a piece of the action to cough up some dough. He's even said that he'd like to be "President for life." That would be fine with me if it meant that his life ended by the time I finish writing this. How fitting would it be if he choked on a piece of chicken or rodent bone from a bucket of his beloved KFC? Still, tonight's meme has a nice ring to it, and, can you imagine watching Trumpanzee literally trying to run from the law, 300+ pounds of fat shaking, bloodied knuckles dragging on the pavement, tripping over his bright red tie? Mueller would have to call one of those animal rescue trucks. Get out the guys with the tranquilizer rifles! Would the NRA approve?

Labels: ,

Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

The yesterday referred to in tonight's meme is, of course, Tuesday. Even though Rex Tillerson is such a close personal friend of Putin and was obviously chosen by Senor Trumpanzee to be his Secretary of State for that very reason, Trump wasn't going to tolerate Tillerson being critical of the man he fears most in the world. And, so, Tillerson had to go. Trump had to show Putin that there would be swift punishment if anyone in his chaotic crackpot administration dared say a word against him.

As I write this on Thursday night, it's worth noting that only today did the White House manage to issue a statement regarding the obvious Russian attack in England. I guess they just felt that they better say something. They also had U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley take some time off from studying up on Binomo and issue a few insincere words of support for England. But, have there been any stern rebukes issued to Russia coming out of the mouth of our so-called president? Not yet, and don't hold your breath waiting. The last thing Trumpanzee wants to do is piss of his master in Moscow.

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 16, 2018

Could Trump Stop Himself From Lying If He Wanted To?


Why would Trump be jealous?

Trump has told intimates that he doesn't want to fire Defense Secretary James Mattis because Mattis "looks" like a general. Appearances mean a lot to the imbecile illegitimate "president." I've heard from someone in the office of one of Trump's cosmetic surgeons that Trump is painfully aware of how ugly he's become over the years no matter how many nips and tucks he gets. That's why he absolutely loathes Justin Trudeau, who is both handsome and, unlike the lard-assed couch potato Trump has turned into, vigorous. On Wednesday evening at a private fundraiser for a right-wing goon, Josh Hawley, running for Claire McCaskill's Senate seat, Trump boasted to the enraptured donors that he just made up shit when he was negotiating with Trudeau.

Someone made a tape and leaked it and Trump told the morons in the room that he insisted that the U.S. had a trade deficit with Canada, but had no idea if he was lying or telling the truth. This is what the crazy orange pig said to the prime minister of our closest and most important ally:
"Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy. Justin. He said 'No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please,'" Trump said. "Nice guy, good looking guy, comes in-- 'Donald we have no trade deficit.'"

"I said, 'Wrong Justin, you do.' I didn’t even know... I had no idea. I just said 'You’re wrong.' You know why? Because we’re so stupid... And I thought they were smart. I said, ‘You’re wrong Justin.'"

"He said, 'Nope we have no trade deficit.' I said, 'Well in that case I feel differently,' I said, 'but I don’t believe it.' I sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, I said 'Check because I can’t believe it.'"

"'Well sir you’re actually right. We have no deficit but that doesn’t include energy and timber… And when you do we lose $17 billion a year.' It’s incredible."
Trump was lying again-- this time to the donors. The U.S. actually has a trade surplus with Canada, not a deficit. How can anyone deal with this raging psychopathic liar? Jeet Heer pointed out in the New Republic that Señor Trumpanzee is worse than a liar and that his clownish perforce for the Hawley donors "reveals the depth of his pathology." Heer asserts that Señor T is "a full-fledged bullshit artist. There’s a difference: Lying involves conscious deception, whereas bullshitting is a more insidious attempt to blur the lines between truth and falsehood."
“It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth,” the philosopher Harry Frankfurt wrote in his 2005 book On Bullshit. “Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all bets are off.... He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of truth than lies are.”

In 2015, I drew on Frankfurt’s work to argue that Trump, then in the early stages of his presidential campaign, had all the characteristics of a bullshit artist: He not only frequently made false statements, but was indifferent to whether they were false or not. In doing so, he undermines the very idea that the truth is relevant or even knowable.

There are several layers of untruth here. There’s the initial statement to Trudeau about the trade deficit, which Trump knowingly makes up (“I had no idea”). But Trump lied again when he said his lie turned out to be true. As The Post notes, “The Office of the United States Trade Representative says the United States has a trade surplus with Canada. It reports that in 2016, the United States exported $12.5 billion more in goods and services than it imported from Canada, leading to a trade surplus, not a deficit.”

In telling his story, Trump implied that his gut instincts are so good that he can, while talking to another world leader, invent facts that turn out to be true. That was perhaps the biggest fiction of all in his speech, and it is squarely aimed at his hardcore Republican supporters. It’s hardly an accident he said this at fundraiser.

After The Post broke the story, Trump responded with a tweet on Thursday morning that reiterated the lie about America has a trade deficit with Canada:

Before he became president, Trump’s bullshitting could be dismissed as a campaign tactic. That he continues to bullshit as president indicates that it’s more than a strategy; it’s a pathology. Trump doesn’t know how not to bullshit. This may stem from his career in real estate, where a certain poetic license is the norm, or perhaps he learned it from his father (a real estate developer himself). And now that he’s in politics, it means he’s always in campaign mode and never really governing.

Frankfurt’s paradigm is helpful in explaining why refuting Trump’s fibs on a case-by-case basis, as fact-checkers exhaustively do, has its limits. Trump is waging a more holistic war against a shared, objective set of facts, and it requires an equally holistic counterattack.

Trump’s bullshitting is integral to his success in fomenting tribalism and polarization. He has created a political movement where his followers will believe whatever he says, no matter how patently false, and disbelieve whatever his opponents say, no matter how objectively true. Only 20 percent of Trump supporters, for instance, believe that his lawyer Michael Cohen paid hush money to the porn star Stormy Daniels, even though that is an undisputed fact: Cohen has admitted as much.

Trump’s continued B.S. as president illustrates how he’s willing to sacrifice broader policy objectives for his short-term political needs. It’s also turning the president into an laughingstock globally. “The Donald and I, we are winning and winning in the polls,” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a speech last June. “We are winning so much, we are winning, we are winning like we have never won before. We are winning in the polls. We are, we are. Not the fake polls. Not the fake polls. They’re the ones we’re not winning in. We’re winning in the real polls. You know, the online polls. They are so easy to win. I know that. Did you know that? I kind of know that. They are so easy to win. I have this Russian guy. Believe me it’s true, it’s true.”

Trudeau and Turnbull know they can ignore Trump’s bullshit. Probably every world leader does. The fact that the words of an American president now count for so little, and are so easily laughed at, is nothing to brag about.

And A Little Message From Facebook Tonight

When will the Mercers go to Prison?

This is by Paul Grewal, Facebook VP and Deputy General Counsel
We are suspending Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), including their political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, from Facebook. Given the public prominence of this organization, we want to take a moment to explain how we came to this decision and why.

We Maintain Strict Standards and Policies

Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do, and we require the same from people who operate apps on Facebook. In 2015, we learned that a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan lied to us and violated our Platform Policies by passing data from an app that was using Facebook Login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica, a firm that does political, government and military work around the globe. He also passed that data to Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, Inc.

Like all app developers, Kogan requested and gained access to information from people after they chose to download his app. His app, “thisisyourdigitallife,” offered a personality prediction, and billed itself on Facebook as “a research app used by psychologists.” Approximately 270,000 people downloaded the app. In so doing, they gave their consent for Kogan to access information such as the city they set on their profile, or content they had liked, as well as more limited information about friends who had their privacy settings set to allow it.

Although Kogan gained access to this information in a legitimate way and through the proper channels that governed all developers on Facebook at that time, he did not subsequently abide by our rules. By passing information on to a third party, including SCL/Cambridge Analytica and Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, he violated our platform policies. When we learned of this violation in 2015, we removed his app from Facebook and demanded certifications from Kogan and all parties he had given data to that the information had been destroyed. Cambridge Analytica, Kogan and Wylie all certified to us that they destroyed the data.

Breaking the Rules Leads to Suspension

Several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted. We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims. If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made. We are suspending SCL/Cambridge Analytica, Wylie and Kogan from Facebook, pending further information.

We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information. We will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens. We will take legal action if necessary to hold them responsible and accountable for any unlawful behavior.

How Things Have Changed

We are constantly working to improve the safety and experience of everyone on Facebook. In the past five years, we have made significant improvements in our ability to detect and prevent violations by app developers. Now all apps requesting detailed user information go through our App Review process, which requires developers to justify the data they’re looking to collect and how they’re going to use it-- before they’re allowed to even ask people for it.

In 2014, after hearing feedback from the Facebook community, we made an update to ensure that each person decides what information they want to share about themselves, including their friend list. This is just one of the many ways we give people the tools to control their experience. Before you decide to use an app, you can review the permissions the developer is requesting and choose which information to share. You can manage or revoke those permissions at any time.

On an ongoing basis, we also do a variety of manual and automated checks to ensure compliance with our policies and a positive experience for users. These include steps such as random audits of existing apps along with the regular and proactive monitoring of the fastest growing apps.

We enforce our policies in a variety of ways-- from working with developers to fix the problem, to suspending developers from our platform, to pursuing litigation.

Labels: , , , ,

Randy Bryce And Kaniela Ing Set The Tone For Progressive Democrats And An Environmental Agenda


Progressive candidates are starting to rollout impressive environmental platforms. Two of the greatest hopes for a stronger progressive future in Congress are Kaniela Ing in Hawaii and Rand Bryce in Wisconsin. Both have impressive plans that will make up for Trumpanzee's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords-- and then some. Let's start with Kaniela's 7-point plan, which he calls the most aggressive/progressive plan for climate action in the nation:
Net-zero carbon emissions by 2035
No fossil fuel powered cars by 2030
Escalating carbon tax, to fund dividend to households making under $150,000
$95 of all miles traveled required to be powered by electricity by 2035
End fossil fuel subsidies
Ban styrofoam containers and plastic bags at grocery bags and stores.
Federal Job Guarantee to efficiency refit appliances and homes/plant tree
It's worth noting that as a state legislator he already holds one of the strongest environmental records in Hawaii's State House and has a proven record of defending his state's air, land, and water. Watch:

He's the only candidate in his race who does not accept fossil fuel money or any corporate money. Hawaii Gas is a big donor there. He also holds an unrelenting record of standing up to corporate polluters and anti-solar electricity monopolies, and championing positive climate solutions on the state level like community solar and the nation's first statewide 100% renewable energy goal. One conservative Dem running against him, Donna Kim, and many in the corporate wing of the party, "supported the takeover of Hawaii's utility by an anti-solar mega-corporation, opposed the Obama-proposed expansion of papahanaumokuakea, and supported bringing in fracked natural gas from the mainland. I stood on the right side of all of these battles, and we won. That's the kind of leadership you can expect form me in Congress."

Goal ThermometerI'm eager to see Kaniela and Randy Bryce both elected in November working on environmental issues. Both guys are predominantly committed to the interests or working families Both are union guys through and through and both put the lie to the claims that environmentally progressive platforms work against the interests of working families. This week Bryce's campaign put out his own 10-point plan. Please read it over and see if it represents the kind of leadership you want in Congress. If you do, please consider contributing to Randy's and Kaniela's campaigns by clicking on the Blue America ActBlue congressional thermometer on the right-- and donating what you feel you can.
Fund a Green New Deal. As a Congressman, Randy would support a massive investment in green infrastructure that would generate tens of thousands of new jobs and transform Wisconsin communities into energy manufacturers. One model for this Green New Deal is the 100 by 50 Act, which provides a framework to move the nation towards 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Another is the Climate Change Adapt America Fund Act of 2017, which would create a fund administered by the Department of Commerce for green infrastructure and to adapt existing infrastructure for climate change. That bill would also provide Americans who want to take on climate change the opportunity to buy up to $200 million in “Climate Change Bonds.”  As an ironworker, Randy got to see firsthand how labor could lead the way on solar technology and other renewable energy sources. Watch this clip tp see why he thinks labor can lead in the way in creating good, family-sustaining green energy jobs.

End Subsidies to Fossil Fuel Companies. Each year, Washington hands billions of dollars in subsidies to oil and gas CEOs. These taxpayer handouts to one of the richest industries on earth are part of a “dirty energy money cycle” that must end. In return for their subsidies, the fossil fuel industry spends hundreds of millions per year in campaign contributions and lobbying expenses. Over his career, Paul Ryan has received nearly $2 million in contributions from this industry. Randy Bryce has pledged not to accept any contributions from fossil fuel companies and, as a Congressman, he would lobby to end corporate welfare for this billion dollar industry.

It makes little sense to prop up oil companies and create a competitive disadvantage for clean energy companies. In our region, we’ve seen GE do everything in its power to disincentivize community efforts to transition to clean and renewable energy sources. This utility company, like many fossil fuel companies, has not been a good actor in Wisconsin and we must not let them continue to stand in the way of progress.

Hold Greif/ Mid-America Fully Accountable. This company, which operates industrial barrel refurbishing plants in Oak Creek, St. Francis and Milwaukee, has committed more than 70 environmental and safety violations, according to several different government agencies. These violations include serious worker safety violations, some of which led to injury, chronic health conditions, and even death. Mid-America was also cited for dumping mercury into the wastewater and for spewing extraordinarily high levels of toxic emissions into the air of the surrounding communities. Randy is calling on Mid-America to voluntarily establish a fund to pay for medical testing and treatment of workers and community members whose health may have been impacted, so that the victims and the taxpayers are not held accountable for these costs. As a Congressman, Randy will also push to aggressively enforce existing laws to protect workers and communities from environmental hazards, and he will also push to strengthen penalties and criminal enforcement for corporate violators of environmental law.

Prosecute Exxon for Lying to the Public. Records show that ExxonMobil knew about the negative effects of fossil fuels on the health of the public in both the short and long term, and intentionally lied to the public to increase their profits. As Congressman, Randy would support federal efforts to prosecute Exxon for restitution to those communities which have been most negatively affected. Often, those people most negatively impacted by pipelines, pollution and climate change have limited means.

Oppose Further Fossil Fuel Pipelines. It is a false choice to say we can have either good, family-sustaining jobs or a healthy environment. This myth is perpetuated by fossil fuel corporations to justify the disruptions and risks their pipelines bring to our families and communities.  We must make real investments in clean infrastructure, so that we can transform communities currently disrupted by pipelines bringing in fossil fuels from out of state or out of the country into clean energy manufacturers. As a Congressman, Randy would oppose further pipeline expansion, including all tar sands pipelines, and support major investments into clean energy job creation. Bryce would also oppose a proposal to replace the Enbridge Line 5 with a new pipeline through Wisconsin. (As an ironworker, Randy had the chance to work on a pipeline and he turned it down - here's why:

Lobby for Additional Air Testing Around Oak Creek Coal Facility. For too many years, We Energies has been responsible for coal dust contaminating the homes of its workers and surrounding community members. The coal dust is often visible on cars, schools and sidewalks. Despite demands from the community for years, only recently has We Energies considered increasing its air quality monitoring. As a Congressman, Randy would be a vocal advocate demanding that We Energies pay for additional air testing and regular independent monitoring to ensure the health of the community. Bryce also opposes Governor Walker’s request that the Trump Administration exempt Foxconn from laws limiting the amount of smog they can produce. Southeastern Wisconsin residents have  committed billions in taxpayer funding for that company. They should not have to sacrifice their health as well.

Protect the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Trump Administration has proposed reducing this fund, which has helped preserve the Ice Age Trail and numerous Wisconsin state and community parks. As a Congressman, Randy would fight to protect these lands, which in addition to being key to a healthy environment, are also essential to the health of Wisconsin’s economy.  Our state has a nearly $18 billion outdoor recreation industry. Additionally, conserving these lands is important to protecting Wisconsin’s proud hunting, fishing and recreational traditions. Randy fishes frequently with his 11-year-old son, and he wants his future grandkids to be able to share in those experiences. For these same reasons, Randy would also oppose all efforts to expand drilling on public lands.

Rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. By participating in this agreement, the U.S. would commit to reducing its carbon footprint as part of the global effort to mitigate climate change. The impact of climate change is already being felt in Wisconsin with  increased algae production, drought, flooding, and erosion, all of which can be devastating to the state’s agriculture industry. These changes also hurt homeowners, business owners and taxpayers who have had to pay the damage caused by flooding to basements, roads, bridges, sewer systems and other utilities. The state’s fishing and recreation industries have also been hurt by declining fish populations and decreasing snowfall. Wisconsin’s economy loses approximately $179 million during low-snow years. It’s time to secure our state’s economy and our community’s health and structural safety, and rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

Protect Federal Wetlands. Wisconsin Republicans recently passed a bill that will negatively impact an untold number of isolated and non-federal wetlands, in order to increase profits for wealthy developers. The destruction of wetlands hurts Wisconsin’s proud tradition of hunting, fishing, and recreation, and the jobs associated with it, for the benefit of a very wealthy few. As a Congressman, Randy would support expanding protections for wetlands and small streams under the Clean Water Act. The Obama administration had moved to expand the number and types of wetlands protected by the federal government, but the Trump Administration is currently in court fighting to reverse that progress. Randy would support returning to the Clean Water Act standards set by  the Obama administration.

Protect Funding for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. In 2010, the federal government launched an effort to repair, protect and preserve the Great Lakes and the communities and industries they support. When Donald Trump came into office, his EPA proposed eliminating the funding for this initiative, which has cleaned up toxic waste, stopped the spread of invasive species, and made other improvements benefiting communities on the Lake’s shore. As a Congressman, Randy would lobby to protect this essential investment in our Great Lakes. Randy would also oppose other efforts to disrupt the health of our Great Lakes, such as FoxConn’s current plan to pump nearly 7 million gallons of water a day from the Lake.

Labels: , , , , , ,