Saturday, September 26, 2020

Donald Trying To Use Taxpayer Money To Buy Seniors' Votes For $200 Each



Decade after decade, seniors have always been the most reliable voters. In 2016, Trump won among voters over 65 years old. He beat Hillary 53-44% in this cohort, which is how he managed to win. This cycle, polls have been showing his numbers among the elderly slipping drastically, enough to cost him senior-heavy states like Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and possibly Iowa, Ohio, Montana and Georgia.

Seniors have noticed that Trump is full of crap and that his three and a half years in office have been a disaster for them. So he's trying to buy their votes with a cheap scheme-- a $200 discount card for prescription drugs that he's stealing from Medicare.

Wall Street Journal reporter Stephanie Armour wrote early yesterday that his coupon program will be funded by the Medicare Trust Fund, under a program that lets him waive standards to test new initiatives. The regime expects to send out 33 Trump cards before the election. Always the smooth talking snake oil salesman , Señor T told an audience at a super-spreader event in North Carolina that "Nobody’s seen this before, these cards are incredible. The cards will be mailed out in coming weeks, I will always take care of our wonderful senior citizens. Joe Biden won’t be doing this."

This election stunt will cost the taxpayers $6.6 billion. Stat News reported that "It is unclear whether Trump’s promises on $200 credits for prescription drug coupons will come to fruition. Under the Constitution, it is Congress, not the White House, that is empowered to spend taxpayer money, and it is unclear where the roughly $6.6 billion for the program would come from. The idea has never been formally proposed or sketched out by health officials, though the New York Times reported this week that Trump officials had tried to convince the pharmaceutical industry to pay for similar cards worth $100. The drug industry refused."

Goal ThermometerTexas has one of the biggest populations of senior citizens anywhere and Julie Oliver is running in a central Texas district on a platform that includes protecting and expanding the rights of seniors, not on cheap election eve shenanigans. She told me that her mom "was a public school teacher who really struggled to survive on Social Security, and I understand that we need to expand it, not allow multi-millionaires like Roger Williams to game the system, and pay less into Social Security than their fair share. For years, he’s been threatening to cut Social Security so that Wall Street CEOs can keep getting richer. So let’s be clear. When I’m elected, we’re going to protect the earned benefits that Mexican seniors have paid into their whole lives, and we’re going to expand social security by making billionaires pay their fair share."

Cathy Kunkel is running for a House seat in the middle of the Trumpiest state in America West Virginia. She's campaigning on uplifting work families and noted yesterday that "Instead of poorly conceived election-day gimmicks, West Virginians need real healthcare reform. And we certainly won't get there with a president and Congressional representative who have tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to take away healthcare from people with pre-existing conditions-- and who have made no real attempt in the past 4 year to challenge the power of the pharmaceutical industry and bring down prescription drug prices."

The are a bunch of Republican, ex-Republican and #NeverTrump groups releasing ads attacking Trump, his morals, his allies, his tactics, and his policies. They seem to be mostly talking to each other, to some right-wing elites and to Democrats who already hate Donald's guts. But the State Government Leadership Foundation, which is the dark money PAC of the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), isn't part of that bubble. They are very much a part of the Republican Party Establishment. But yesterday they started running an ad that savages a Trumpanzee election stunt-- his new drug pricing proposal-- albeit without mentioning Donald by name. They're working with PhRMA against Trump and I doubt they would be doing anything like this if they thought he had a real chance to serve a second term. PhRMA is one of the top financial backers of the RSLC and the State Government Leadership Foundation and Trump doesn't have the guts to go after them. Watch:

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!



by Noah

Meet the latest goon in the Trump Best People Brigade!

You have to be a real extraordinary piece of crap to tweet out the statement that Angela Stanton King tweeted out immediately upon hearing about the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Look at the time, 8:06 pm, last Friday night. Who does that? Well, one person is Angela Stanton King. She is a QAnon-supporting author of several autobiographical vanity press books, a reality TV personality who got herself entwined in a legal dispute with "The Real Housewives Of Atlanta, and a "motivational speaker" for who knows what poor lost suckers. She is also one of those republicans who is virulently against the LGBTQ community and compares LGBTQ people to pedophiles.

But wait! That's not all! Angela Stanton King is also an ex-con who served time (2 Years) on a conspiracy charge for her role in an auto theft ring and was, wait for it... pardoned by our psychopathic president. She is now running as the Republican candidate for the House of Representatives in Georgia's 5th district, the district recently represented by the legendary Rep. John Lewis who passed away this summer. As Trump always says, he knows the best people. Perhaps she got him a great deal on a spiffy golf cart with all the extra bells and whistles, or maybe that big red firetruck he's always wanted.

So, maybe Miss Grand Theft Auto will be a newly minted congresswoman come January. But, I would like to point out that these disingenuous repug anti-abortion nutters who call themselves pro-life never seem to have a conscience about the pro-death positions of their party. If I was debating her, I would love to respond to her by saying "Just think of all the people who will die because of the anti-environmental, anti-healthcare, anti-climate, desperate amateur backroom abrotions, santi-food security, anti-safe food policies, the placement of kids in cages, and general anti-family policies you and your kind push."

If elected, Angela Stanton King's main job in the House will be to take some of the heat off of Gym Shower Jordan, Louie Gohmert, and Matt Gaetz by making them look like rocket scientists in comparison.

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Friday, September 25, 2020

Will Biden Ever Sign A Letter "In Solidarity?"



I made up my mind about Joe Biden in the 1970s-- that he was my enemy and that I would always oppose him. Today, he's what stands between us and Trumpism soooo... I'm still not voting for him but, I'm rooting for him. Or, as I like to tell myself, I'm rooting that Trump lose... in a landslide. I grapple with intellectual dishonesty when I think about it. Imagine though the letter I'm about to share with you came from Biden and not from Bernie. Bernie sent it to his supporters yesterday but imagine for a moment it came from Biden. Could anyone resist being enthusiastic about seeing him win and become president? If you didn't read it already... well, this is what the Democrat running for president against Trump should be saying-- loud and clear and all over the media. But instead... Obama stuck us with Joe Biden.
This country faces an unprecedented set of crises. We are struggling with a pandemic that has already cost us over 200,000 lives.

We have an economy in which we have a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality, where the middle class is being decimated, where millions of workers have lost their jobs and half of our people continue to work paycheck to paycheck-- many for starvation wages.

We are living in the moment when climate change is ravaging this planet, leading to massive fires on the West Coast, drought and unprecedented levels of extreme weather disturbances all across the globe.

We are the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a right, over 90 million Americans are uninsured or under-insured, and we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

All of these issues, and others, are enormously important and should be the issues that are being debated in this campaign. But, today, I'm not going to talk about any of them.

What I am going to talk about is something that, in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be discussing. And that is the need to make certain that the President of the United States, if he loses this election, will abide by the will of the voters and leave office peacefully.

What I will be discussing today is the danger that this country faces from a president who is a pathological liar, who has strong authoritarian tendencies, who neither understands nor respects our constitution and who is prepared to undermine American democracy in order to stay in power.

With less than 6 weeks left to go in this campaign it is my fervent hope that all Americans-- Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, moderates, conservatives-- come together to defend American democracy, our constitution and the rule of law. We must ensure, in this unprecedented moment in American history that this is an election that is free and fair, an election in which voters are not intimidated, an election in which all votes are counted and an election in which the loser accepts the results.

This is not just an election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy-- and democracy must win.

The United States is the oldest continuous democracy in the modern world. We held elections in the middle of a Civil War in 1864. We held free and fair elections during World War I, during the Great Depression, and during World War II. After all of those elections, held in extremely difficult circumstances, the loser acknowledged defeat and the winner was inaugurated and took office. That is what America is all about. That’s what democracy is all about.

But today, under Donald Trump, we have a president who has little respect for our constitution or the rule of law. Today, that peaceful transition of power, the bedrock of American democracy, is being threatened like never before.

I am not in the habit of quoting former President Ronald Reagan, but I think something that he said in his first inaugural address makes the point about how important-- how precious-- is this part of our heritage. I quote: “The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place as it has for almost two centuries and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every 4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle."

Protecting this “orderly transfer of authority” as President Reagan characterized it, this miracle, is absolutely essential if we together-- all of us, Republicans, Democrats, Independents-- want to keep faith with the American ideals we hold so dear and with the sacrifices that so many made in order to protect our democracy.

And in that regard I think it is terribly important that we actually listen to, and take seriously, what Donald Trump is saying.

Several weeks ago, speaking at the Republican National Convention, Trump said, “The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election.” What is remarkable about that statement is that he made it at a time when almost every national poll had him behind and when he was trailing in polls in most battleground states.

Think about what that statement means. What he is saying is that if he wins the election, that's great. But if he loses, it’s rigged, because the only way, the only way, he can lose is if it's rigged. And if it’s rigged, then he is not leaving office. Heads I win. Tails you lose. In other words, in Trump's mind, there is no conceivable way that he should leave office.

And just last night Donald Trump went even further down the path of authoritarianism by being the first president in the history of this country to refuse to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election.

When asked by a reporter in the White House briefing room: "Win, lose or draw in this election, will you commit here today for a peaceful transferal of power after the election?" Trump responded:

“We’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster. We want to get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful-- there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation.”

That’s not his choice. That’s for the American people to determine. Let us be very clear. There is nothing in our constitution or in our laws that give Donald Trump the privilege of deciding whether or not he will step aside if he loses. In the United States the president does not determine who can or cannot vote and what ballots will be counted. That may be what his friend Putin does in Russia. It may be what is done in other authoritarian countries. But it is not and will not be done in America. This is a democracy.

I do understand that Donald Trump is a billionaire, or so he says. I do understand that he was born to a very wealthy family and, from his earliest days, was able to get anything he wanted because his family was rich and his family was powerful. I do understand that when you’re rich and you’re powerful you don’t have to pay taxes like ordinary people and that it’s easy for you to avoid the military draft. I do understand that when you’re rich and you’re powerful you can buy politicians and get hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate welfare for your real estate empire.

But this I also understand. No matter how rich and powerful you may be, no matter how arrogant and narcissistic you may be, no matter how much you think you can get anything you want, let me make this clear to Donald Trump: Too many people have fought and died to defend American democracy. You are not going to destroy it. The American people will not allow that to happen.

Despite all of the evidence, Trump continues to be obsessed with the belief that there is massive voter fraud in this country.

In 2017, after he won the presidency, Trump insisted that he would have won the popular vote, which he lost by 3 million votes, if “millions of illegal votes had not been cast." There is absolutely no evidence of that being true. In fact, it is totally preposterous to believe that millions of votes, or any significant number of votes at all, were cast illegally. This is an assertion supported by no one. Not Democratic officials. Not Republican officials. No one. And yet that is what Trump said after he won.

There have been numerous studies done on the issue of voter fraud in our country. They have all concluded essentially the same thing. Voter fraud in the United States of America is extremely rare.

A study by Dartmouth University found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election.

An article in the New York Times from December 18, 2016 stated: “In an election in which more than 137.7 million Americans cast ballots, election and law enforcement officials in 26 states and the District of Columbia-- Democratic-leaning, Republican-leaning and in-between-- said that so far they knew of no credible allegations of fraudulent voting. Officials in another eight states said they knew of only one allegation... In Georgia, where more than 4.1 million ballots were cast, officials said they had opened 25 inquiries into “suspicious voting or election-related activity.” But inquiries to all 50 states (every one but Kansas responded) found no states that reported indications of widespread fraud.”

A report by the Brennan Center for Justice reviewed elections that had been meticulously studied for voter fraud, and found incident rates between 0.0003 percent and 0.0025 percent. The report concluded that it is more likely that an American, “will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.”

Even the conservative Heritage Foundation, which maintains a database on election fraud, could only find 143 criminal convictions of mail-in voter fraud out of 250 million mail-in votes cast over the past 20 years, a rate of 0.00006 percent.

But you don’t have to trust me on this issue. Benjamin Ginsburg, one of the leading Republican experts on elections, a man who served as national counsel to the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, a man who played a major role for the Republican Party in the 2000 Florida recount, and who co-chaired the bipartisan 2013 Presidential Commission on Election Administration, recently wrote in the Washington Post, “The truth is that after decades of looking for illegal voting, there’s no proof of widespread fraud. At most, there are isolated incidents-- by both Democrats and Republicans. Elections are not rigged."

Let me repeat from one of the Republican Party’s leading experts on elections: “The truth is that after decades of looking for illegal voting, there’s no proof of widespread fraud. At most, there are isolated incidents-- by both Democrats and Republicans. Elections are not rigged.”

And if even the statement of Mr. Ginsburg is not good enough for you, here is what the Trump administration’s own voting integrity commission reported. According to an analysis of administration documents by the Associated Press, Trump’s commission uncovered “no evidence to support claims of widespread voter fraud,” and disbanded in 2018.

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tamped down concerns about mail-in ballots last month, saying “Many parts of our country vote by mail. Oregon, Washington and Colorado have voted by mail for years.”

And yet we have a president who calls mail-in ballots “a hoax” and “a scam.”

Trump's strategy to delegitimize this election and to stay in office if he loses is not complicated. Finding himself behind in many polls, he is attempting massive voter suppression. He and his Republican colleagues are doing everything they can to make it harder and harder for people to vote. In addition, he is sowing the seeds of chaos, confusion and conspiracy theories by casting doubt on the integrity of this election and, if he loses, justifying why he should remain in office.

In an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News, Trump refused to say that he would leave office if he lost. Asked to give a direct answer on whether he would accept the election results, Trump refused. He said, "I have to see. No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either." Pretty much what he said yesterday.

In the middle of a pandemic Trump made clear that he wants to defund the Postal Service in order to limit the use of mail-in ballots. In an interview on August 13, discussing a possible deal for a relief package that would have funded the post office, Trump let the cat out of the bag by admitting that, "If we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money. That means they can't have universal mail-in voting; they just can't have it.”

In other words, what Trump is saying to tens of millions of Americans is that at a time when over 200,000 people have already died from the coronavirus, you have a choice: You can either risk your health or even your life by walking into a voting booth, or you can’t vote. How disgusting is that?

Amazingly, at the very same time Trump is making completely baseless allegations about voter fraud, last month he urged his supporters in North Carolina to try voting twice, which is a felony.

In order to advance his plan for mass voter suppression, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in Nevada, which fortunately was dismissed, challenging the state’s mail-in voting laws.

In July, Trump used false claims of voter fraud to propose delaying this year’s election, which he does not have the power to do. This was so outrageous that Steven Calabresi, the co-founder of the conservative Federalist Society, wrote that it was “grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.”

Last week, Trump told his supporters at a rally in Nevada that he “was entitled” to serve a third term, which is obviously a violation of the Constitution’s 22nd Amendment.

On Saturday, Trump suggested to his supporters in North Carolina that he might sign an executive order to prevent Joe Biden from becoming president.

Trump has also urged his supporters to become “poll watchers,” but what he is really saying is he wants his supporters, some of whom are members of armed militias, to intimidate voters. We’re already seeing this in Virginia, where early voters were confronted by Trump supporters, and election officials in Fairfax County said that some voters and polling staff felt intimidated.

On and on it goes. Every day, over and over again, Trump is making it harder for the American people to participate in the political process and is attempting to delegitimize the outcome of this election so that if he loses he can remain in office.

The concerns that I am raising today are not just mine alone, and are not just concerns shared by progressives and Democrats.

Miles Taylor, a lifelong Republican who previously served as chief of staff inside the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security, warned that there is nothing that Trump will not do or say to defeat Biden.

"Put nothing past Donald Trump," Taylor told The Associated Press. "He will do anything to win. If that means climbing over other people, climbing over his own people, or climbing over U.S. law, he will do it. People are right to be concerned."

Well, I agree with Mr. Taylor. I am concerned. I am very concerned.

Last week, my former Senate colleague Dan Coats, Trump’s own former Director of National Intelligence, published a piece in the New York Times calling for a high-level bipartisan and nonpartisan commission to oversee the election to reassure all Americans that it has been carried out fairly. Coats wrote, “The most urgent task American leaders face is to ensure that the election’s results are accepted as legitimate. Electoral legitimacy is the essential linchpin of our entire political culture. We should see the challenge clearly in advance and take immediate action to respond.”

I couldn't agree more. I strongly second Director Coats’ call for this election commission.

Last week as well, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and I sent a letter to Senator McConnell urging him to hold hearings on the issue of election and post-election security. Senator Schumer and I stated, "We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful."

Majority Leader McConnell: Please respond to that letter. Please establish that bi-partisan committee.

And today I call on every elected official in America whether they be Republican, Democrat or Independent to vigorously oppose voter suppression and voter intimidation, to make sure that every vote is counted, and that no one is declared the winner until those votes are counted.

And to my Republican colleagues in the Congress: Please do not continue to tell the American people how much you love America if, at this critical moment, you are not prepared to stand up to defend American democracy and our way of life. Stop the hypocrisy.

With or without Donald Trump this election is unique in American history because it’s taking place during a pandemic and a public health crisis.

As a result, states all over America are taking the appropriate steps to ensure more Americans can safely vote by mail in their own homes instead of risking their health or their lives to vote in person.

The result is that this election will see, by far, the largest number of mail-in ballots ever.

And let’s be clear. Despite what Donald Trump says, voting by mail is not a new or dangerous idea. Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah conduct their elections almost entirely by mail. California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia and my state of Vermont have pledged to mail ballots to all registered voters for the upcoming election. And many other states are making it easier to vote by mail. Trump himself, as well as members of his administration, have repeatedly voted by mail. Members of the U.S. military have regularly voted by mail since the 1800s.

Given the significant increase in mail-in ballots why, you might ask, are Trump and his allies trying to attack the integrity of our vote by mail system?

The answer is simple. A number of studies have shown that for, whatever reasons, Republicans are more likely to vote in person while Democrats are more likely to use mail-in ballots.

In fact, one poll found that only about a quarter of Biden supporters would vote in person on Election Day while some two-thirds of Trump voters planned to vote in person.

In other words, if Trump can undermine people’s confidence in the validity of votes cast by mail, he will be calling into question the validity of votes that may overwhelmingly support Joe Biden.

Let us consider the following scenario:

On election night, Trump is ahead in many battleground states based on the votes of those who voted in person on Election Day. All across the television screens people see Trump ahead before they turn in for the night. But as more and more mail-in ballots are counted, Trump’s lead falls. Trump then announces, with no proof, that there has been massive mail-in ballot fraud and that these votes should not be counted-- and that he has won the election.

In other words, Trump may well announce that he has won the election before all of the votes are counted and that large numbers of mail-in ballots should be discarded.

Furthermore, in states where Republicans control the legislature, it is possible that the election results will be ignored because of false accusations of voter fraud and that the legislature itself will use its power to appoint electors pledged to vote for Trump, overriding the will of the people.

And, in the midst of all of this, with the death of Justice Ginsburg, Trump is attempting to push through a Supreme Court Justice who may very well cast a vote in a case that will determine the outcome of this election. He is doing that at a time when early voting has already begun and millions of ballots will have already been cast.

In this unprecedented moment what can we as a people do in the struggle to preserve American democracy?

First, it is absolutely imperative that we have, by far, the largest voter turnout in American history and that people vote as early as possible.

As someone who is strongly supporting Joe Biden, let’s be clear: A landslide victory for Biden will make it virtually impossible for Trump to deny the results and is our best means for defending democracy.

Second, with the pandemic and a massive increase in mail-in voting, state legislatures must take immediate action now to allow mail-in votes to be counted before Election Day-- as they come in.

In fact, 32 states allow for the counting or processing of absentee ballots-- verifying signatures for example-- before Election Day. All states should do the same. The faster all ballots are counted, the less window there is for chaos and conspiracy theories.

Third, the news media needs to prepare the American people to understand there is no longer a single Election Day and that it is very possible that we may not know the results on November 3.

Fourth, social media companies must finally get their act together and stop people from using their tools to spread disinformation and to threaten and harass election officials.

Fifth, in the Congress and in state legislatures hearings must be held as soon as possible to explain to the public how the Election Day process and the days that follow will be handled. As we count every vote, and prevent voter intimidation everything possible must be done to prevent chaos, disinformation, and even violence.

Lastly, and most importantly, the American people, no matter what their political persuasion, must make it clear that American democracy will not be destroyed. Our country from its inception and through the sacrifices of millions has been a model to the world with regard to representative government. In 1863, in the midst of the terrible Civil War, Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg stated that this government “of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

That was true then. That is true today. Regardless of what Donald Trump wants the American people will preserve democracy in our country.

In solidarity

Bernie Sanders

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Tepidly, Republicans Reject Trump's Ideas About Stealing The Election-- Too Tepidly... And Unconvincingly



I watched yesterday to see which Republicans would reject Trump's bullshit about a transfer of power. The first two I saw were Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) and then late in the day a half-assed whimper from Lindsey Graham. But luckily, Paul Kane and Rachel Bade watched the same thing more consistently and even wrote a story about it for the Washington Post last night: GOP senators reject Trump’s assertion about transfer of power-- with no direct criticism of the president. Of course with no direct criticism of Trumpanzee... they're all afraid of him. "Republicans," they reported, "with almost no direct criticism of Trump’s statements, uniformly asserted that if Joe Biden wins the election, they will support a peaceful transition to the Democrat’s inauguration in January." That's at least what they want the voting public to think... but can you trust them?
“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted early Thursday, following the president’s comments late Wednesday night.

He declined to further address the controversial statements. “Did you see my tweet? That pretty well sums it up,” McConnell told reporters in the Capitol.

Most Republicans tried to dodge how they would respond if the president refused to accept the results if he lost and stoked violence among his supporters, either calling it a hypothetical they would not contemplate or saying Trump just talks like that but does not follow through on such threats.

“The president says crazy stuff. We’ve always had a peaceful transition of power. It’s not going to change,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) said.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) credited the controversy to Trump’s tendency to speak in “very extreme manners occasionally” and dismissed the latest controversy as part of that trend.

A few Republicans, however, did pledge to stand up to Trump if Biden is the clear winner and the president refuses to accept the results.

“No question that all the people sworn to support the Constitution would assure that there would be a peaceful transition of power,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) told reporters.

“Well, Republicans believe in the rule of law, we believe in the Constitution, and that’s what dictates what happens,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD), McConnell’s deputy in the leadership team, told reporters.

The Tipping Point by Nancy Ohanian

...Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) has reached out to GOP colleagues to encourage them to hold the line for democracy. Murphy said Republicans are in denial that the president would ever ignore the results of the election. But Democrats, he said, are trying to get them to acknowledge that every absentee ballot should be counted, fearful that the president could try to head off the results by contesting mail-in ballots.

“The president’s made very clear that he’s not going to acknowledge the results... His ability to get away with that will be largely dependent on whether the Republican Party goes with him, so you know a lot of what we’re doing now is just talking to our colleagues to make sure they’re ready for a potential transition,” Murphy said Thursday.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) offered a harsher assessment.

“Usually dictators don’t announce in advance what their plans are. He wants to be named a president for life, king to the contrary. That’s not how our democracy works. It is up to Democrats and Republicans, and independents, it is up to all Americans to make clear that we are a democracy,” she said.

In interviews, along with statements and social media posts, more than two dozen Senate Republicans pledged support for a peaceful transition should Biden win, yet Romney was the only one who, again without naming Trump, took on his statements.

Meanwhile, Colorado's fierce, 35 year old Secretary of State, Jena Griswold used Twitter to teach Señor Trumpanzee a little lesson in basic civics. Here it is as a couple of paragraphs:
39 days out from the most important election in my lifetime and yesterday, the President of the United States refused to commit to a “peaceful transfer of power.” As Colorado’s chief election official, let me set the record straight. [Donald] will not circumvent the law in Colorado. Under Colorado law, the presidential candidate that receives the most votes WILL receive our electoral votes. Colorado has enforced this law in the past and will enforce it again. Just a few months ago, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed with Colorado that a state can remove presidential electors who ignore state law & the vote of the people. Colorado took our case to the Supreme Court to stop bribery and political chaos from ensuing. That’s called planning ahead.

We’ve seen [Donald] use similar reprehensible tactics to undermine confidence in our elections: From telling his supporters to vote twice to attacking what historically has been the most trusted institution in America, the US Postal Service, for political gain. Instead of sowing doubt in our democracy and tasking the Department of Justice to try to help him steal the election, a real leader would ask voters to:
1. Double check your local voting deadlines
2. Register to vote
3. Make a plan to vote
4. Vote early
One of the reasons that I am proud to serve as Colorado's Secretary of State is that we have the best voting system in the nation. I’ll always fight so that all Americans can have their voice heard in safe, secure, and accessible elections.

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Will Women-- Including Rural Women-- In Red States Break Away From Their Menfolk On November 3rd And Save The Country From The Authoritarianism The Men Crave?



New polling by YouGov for The Economist suggests a bigger swing away from Trump in rural America than in the suburbs. The magazine reported that Democrats are doing less badly among rural voters We'll get to that in a second. But first let me give you a little background on Howard County, Iowa (no relation). It's in the northeast part of the state, hard up on the Minnesota border, with a dwindling population of around 9,000. It's 99% white and the median family income is around $43,000. The closest thing to a city is Cresco (less than 4,000 people). In 2016 Bernie won the Democratic caucuses with 215 votes (54%) and Trump won the Republican caucuses with 112 votes (30.5%). The county had gone for Obama in 2008 and 2012 but flipped hard against Hillary in 2016-- 2,611 (57.9%) to 1,674 (37.1%). That's a 41% swing, othe worst in Iowa and one of the worst in the country.

The county "is populated by older, white, religious, non-college-educated and often disaffected voters, including many independents. This is the sort of place where diversity means people are descended from both Norwegians and Germans."

Neil Shaffer, the county GOP chair expects another big victory "over 60%, " he told The Economist. The Democratic county chair, Laura Hubka told them she "hopes to contain her side’s loss. If Democrats limit rural pain but stir enthusiasm in cities, notably Des Moines, Mr Biden might eke out a statewide victory, as Mr Obama twice did." Iowa's Senate race is even more promising for the Democratic challenger, Theresa Greenfield. The Real Clear Politics polling average shows her up 2.6% over Trumpist incumbent Joni Ernst, and all the most recent polls show her winning. On Tuesday, Monmouth's turnout models showed Greenfield up over Ernst by 3 points on a high turnout election and winning by one point in a low turnout election.

The Economist's point, though, is that "Democrats can take heart" because polling shows "rural voters everywhere have cooled a bit" on the Orange Menace. "He still has a 14-point lead in rural places, but that is well short of his 22-point advantage four years ago. Commentators seem not to have noticed that Mr Biden has so far gained a bigger swing in rural places than he has in the suburbs. Polling by YouGov for The Economist also shows he is doing better than Hillary Clinton managed among the elderly. And among non-college-educated whites, Mr Biden has managed a ten-point gain over Mrs Clinton."

Yesterday, NY Times reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin looked at 3 states that Siena polled for them-- Georgia, Iowa and Texas and concluded that Donald is on the defensive in those three red states that he carried in 2016. Their polling shows him losing Iowa and struggling in Georgia and Texas. Why? "Trump," they wrote, "continues to face a wall of opposition from women that has also endangered his party’s control of the Senate... A yawning gender gap in all three states is working in Mr. Biden’s favor, with the former vice president making inroads into conservative territory with strong support from women. In Iowa, where Mr. Biden is ahead of Mr. Trump, 45 percent to 42 percent, he is up among women by 14 percentage points. Men favor Mr. Trump by eight points. In Georgia, where the two candidates are tied at 45 percent, Mr. Biden leads among women by 10 points. Mr. Trump is ahead with men by a similar margin of 11 percentage points. Mr. Trump’s large advantage among men in Texas is enough to give him a small advantage there, 46 percent to 43 percent. Men prefer the president to his Democratic challenger by 16 points, while women favor Mr. Biden by an eight-point margin."
The lopsided gender dynamics of the presidential contest extend to Senate races in Iowa, Georgia and Texas, with Republican incumbents facing strong challenges from Democratic candidates favored heavily by women. The gender gap is pronounced even in Iowa, where both Senate candidates are women. The Democratic challenger, Theresa Greenfield, has a two-point lead over Senator Joni Ernst and an 11-point advantage with women.

...The Senate races in the three states also highlight the same forces that are propelling Mr. Biden’s candidacy. Democrats currently appear to have a good shot of achieving a 50-50 split in the Senate, but in order to win an outright majority they would have to push deeper into Republican-leaning states.

The party may have its best chance of such a pickup in Iowa, where Ms. Greenfield, the Democrat, is capturing 42 percent of the vote to 40 percent for Ms. Ernst, a dangerously low number for an incumbent this late in the race.

In addition to leading among women, Ms. Greenfield is ahead by 10 points among voters older than 65, a group that Ms. Ernst won overwhelmingly when she captured her seat six years ago.

In Georgia, where there are two Senate races on the ballot, Republicans appear better positioned but are still facing highly competitive campaigns. David Perdue is currently winning 41 percent, while his Democratic rival, Jon Ossoff, is taking 38 percent. Sixteen percent of Georgia voters said they were undecided, including a significant number of African-Americans, who historically side overwhelmingly with Democrats.

The state’s other Senate race, to fill the unexpired term of former Senator Johnny Isakson, is even more uncertain. Senator Kelly Loeffler, the Republican appointed to replace Mr. Isakson, is in a multicandidate race with a host of other contenders. If nobody gets 50 percent, the top two vote-getters would advance to a January runoff, which could prove pivotal in a narrowly divided Senate.

Ms. Loeffler is winning 23 percent of the vote right now, while her nearest Republican rival, Representative Doug Collins, is garnering 19 percent. The top Democratic vote-getter is the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who’s also taking 19 percent of the vote. The highest vote share in the race, however, is not currently residing with any candidate: 27 percent of Georgians said they were undecided in the race.

Both Ms. Loeffler and Mr. Collins have tied themselves closely to Mr. Trump in the hope of gaining a decisive advantage with conservatives in the first round of voting. But in a runoff, either of them would be confronting a rising population of younger people and Black and Latino voters who reject the president.

...The Texas Senate race appears to be the best bet for Republicans among the three states. Senator John Cornyn, who’s seeking a fourth term, is winning 42 percent of the vote, while M.J. Hegar, the Democrat, is taking 37 percent.

Still, that a long-serving official such as Mr. Cornyn is not more firmly in control of the race illustrates the increasingly competitive nature of Texas elections and the G.O.P.’s struggles with suburban voters. Mr. Cornyn’s advantage is powered almost entirely by rural voters: he’s trailing significantly among those who live in cities and has just a two-point advantage with suburbanites, 17 percent of whom said they were still undecided.

A significant danger looming for Texas Republicans is that Mr. Trump’s hard-line immigration policies are increasingly out of step with where the state is today, and where it is heading.

Three-quarters of the state’s voters support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently living in the country, including 98 percent of Texans under 30. Just 20 percent of Texans over all opposed such a process.

Texans were closely split on Mr. Trump’s proposal for a border wall. But opposition to such a wall is overwhelming among younger voters and significant among independents and those living in the state’s cities and suburbs.
In Texas, Heger may be a lost cause but there are at least half a dozen Republican-held congressional districts that aren't. Two of the likeliest to be flipped are partially in Austin, TX-10 (Michael McCaul's seat) and TX-25 (Roger Williams' seat). The Democrats running are both stellar progressives: Mike Siegel and Julie Oliver. Earlier Siegel told me that "Texas women turned the Texas 10th from a 'safe Republican' seat to a national battleground district during my 2018 campaign, and Texas women will help me finish the job in 2020. My core platform is based on service to the community, building on my 21 years of service as a public school teacher and civil rights lawyer. In a district with many retired teachers, especially in the rural areas, this resonates-- folks see me as someone who will protect our safety net and restore common decency. My advocacy against voter suppression and family separation policies also means a lot to Texas women, many of whom take their civic engagement and Christian values seriously."

Goal ThermometerMike continued, saying that "Most importantly, I think, is my willingness to show up and listen, and to be a healer instead of a divider, is what will carry us to victory. The Republican incumbent in the Texas 10th, Michael McCaul, is currently running ads that use racial tropes and demonize the Black Lives Matter movement. He highlights a rural law enforcement official with a demonstrated history of racist public statements. Meanwhile, I'm married to a Nigerian-American woman who is a veterinarian and business owner, and we are raising two children of mixed heritage. We represent the new Texas-- one that is a land of opportunity but also diverse and progressive-- and that image resonates with many women. While the Republicans yearn to look back to Nixonian politics of the 1960s, we are showing a path forward, a Texas where we respect and take care of each other. Through these messages we are building a broad movement. And I'm confident we will prevail."

Please consider helping Mike and Julie prevail by clicking on the Turning Texas Blue thermometer above and splitting a contribution between them.

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There's Something Very Strange-- And Very Dangerous-- Going On In Milwaukee's Republican Suburbs


Back To School With Betsy And Donald by Nancy Ohanian


Wisconsin is a thinking state and in 2016 both national parties nominated the worst possible contenders for people accustomed to using their brains. By the end of the campaign thoughtful voters on both sides of the partisan divide were ready to puke. Many sat it out and others were motivated by a lesser of two evils strategy. In the end Trump narrowly flipped Wisconsin, startling the terribly-run and completely inept Clinton campaign. Trump had fewer votes than Romney and Hillary had far fewer voters than Obama. In 2012, 3,028,951 cheeseheads voted. in the presidential race. In 2016 just 2,787,820 did. Most abstainers were Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who just could not stomach Hillary.

Wisconsin has been a state leaning blue since the mid-80s. Even Michael Dukakis, while losing nationally to George H.W. Bush, won Wisconsin-- 51.4% to 47.8%. That was followed by 2 wins for Bill Clinton, one for Al Gore, one for John Kerry and two for Obama. The Democrats almost had to try to lose Wisconsin. And they did. On primary day, the state belonged to Bernie:
Bernie- 567,936
Cruz- 531,129
Hillary- 432,767
Trumpy-the-Clown- 386,370
Milwaukee is a very blue city but the Milwaukee suburbs tend to be more red. Let's leave Waukesha County out of this discussion and just look at Ozaukee (north of the city) and Washington (to the northwest) counties. Although Bernie beat Hillary in both counties' 2016 primaries, both were Ted Cruz country. In the general both counties went overwhelmingly for Trump. Washington County gave Trump 67.8% to Hillary's 27.4% and Ozaukee County gave Trump 57.1% to Hillary's 37.8%. In the two counties combined 82,187 people voted for Trump. These are both well-off and well-educated counties. Ozaukee County, for example, is the 25th wealthiest county in the country with the second lowest poverty rate in America. But something is very, very, very wrong with the people there. The only Democrat to win a presidential race in the two counties since 1940 was LBJ in his contest with Barry Goldwater.

Yesterday, writing for the Washington Post, Tim Elfrink reported that this wealthy white elite GOP parents are sending their COVID-infected kids to schools in Washington and Ozaukee counties. They may be educated and wealthy-- but they are classic "idiots" by the Greek origins of the word.

"As authorities in suburban Milwaukee gamed out the complex preparations to allow children back into classrooms amid the coronavirus pandemic," wrote Elfrink, "they didn’t plan for one scenario: parents deliberately sending infected kids to school. Yet that’s exactly what’s happened multiple times in Washington and Ozaukee counties, health officials said this week."
“Something that happened and continued to happen … which I never in my wildest dreams imagined it would happen, is people sent their known positive kids to school,” Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department Officer Kirsten Johnson told television station WISN.

As health officials investigate cases in more than two dozens schools in the counties, some are demanding harsh repercussions for any parent caught sending a child to class after they test positive.

“When you have parents lying to contact tracers, refusing to get kids tested, that’s just beyond the pale,” said Washington County Board member Don Kriefall, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. “That becomes very problematic for the health department to manage this whole situation. The hammer may have to be dropped.”

Wisconsin, which has recorded more than 1,200 covid-19 deaths, isn’t the only place struggling to cope with parents who purposely evade the safety systems set up to prevent school outbreaks of a virus that has killed at least 201,000 Americans. In Massachusetts last week, a student attended the first day of high school despite a positive test, sending dozens of classmates into quarantine. A similar situation in Oklahoma forced 17 students into quarantine.

In Washington and Ozaukee counties, which sit just north of Milwaukee, a patchwork of school districts have adopted a range of back-to-school plans, but many have offered students the option of going to school in person five days a week.

Health officials already know of at least three cases where students have tested positive and showed up to class anyway, Johnson told the Journal Sentinel. One student who tested positive felt so sick after coming to school that they went to the school nurse.

In several other cases, Johnson said, parents have lied to contract tracers about test results and about whom their child had contact with. Other parents have also refused to test children, even when they are obviously ill.

“The biggest challenge for us that we’re experiencing right now is people are just being dishonest,” Johnson told the Journal Sentinel. “They don’t want their children to be quarantined from school. They don’t want to have to miss work. In doing that, they’re jeopardizing the ability to have school in person and other people’s health.”

Health officials are urging schools in Washington and Ozaukee counties to use attendance software to keep track of students who test positive for the virus, and to ensure they don’t show up for class when they’re supposed to be at home in quarantine.

The counties also plan to hire more contract tracers and will consider ordering schools to close if cases rise. As of Tuesday, the two counties were investigating cases at 25 schools.

While early evidence suggests schools have not become hot spots for coronavirus transmission so far, health officials said they will have no choice but to take drastic action if sick kids keep coming to school.

“We’re not going to be able to keep our schools open,” Kriefall told WISN. “It’s going to, I mean, just a few parents that are irresponsible are going to affect the entire school district.”

How many of these parents have heard the Trump propaganda and decided to take matters into their own hands with some good ole fashioned Republican herd mentality in furtherance of misguided concepts of herd immunity? Yesterday, Wisconsin reported another 1,762 cases (5th most in the U.S.), bringing the state's total to a rapidly-rising 105,932.

The other day we first met Richland County Supervisor Shaun Murphy-Lopez, an Assembly candidate in a rural district in the southwest corner of the state. Today he noted that "In rural Southwest Wisconsin, we have a high percentage of residents who are seniors. Unfortunately we've lost several beloved friends, neighbors, and relatives to COVID. In my travels around Assembly District 49, I see a growing number of residents who are following guidance from our local health care professionals. That's welcome news, because we need a healthy and thriving rural population. If a parent were to send their COVID-positive kid to school, they would put other students, educators, and community members at risk of severe illness or death. My hope is that this type of activity will be non-existent in rural Southwest Wisconsin. I encourage quarantined people who need help with getting groceries or other supplies to contact me at 608-462-3715. We'll make sure people get the help they need until they recover from the virus."

Goal ThermometerEmily Voight is running for an Assembly seat in the northeast part of the state, south of Green Bay. She reminded me that she's "a mom of three children, two of which are still in elementary school. My middle child is attending school virtually but my youngest is going to school in person 3 days a week and doing online school 2 days at home. I never send my kids to school when they are sick, and it completely blows my mind that anyone would send their child to school with Covid-19! Scientists have said that Covid-19 is not the flu, that it is much more dangerous and deadly than the typical seasonal flu. Schools have always had the rule in place that children need to be healthy (24 hours fever free) while attending. We need to hold these parents that send their children to school with COVID-19 accountable."

Jacob Malinowski is running in a suburban Milwaukee district that is adjacent to... Waukesha County, even worse than Washington and Ozaukee counties! A school board member himself, he's the youngest Democrat running for the Assembly this cycle. He told me that "Parents and administrators were both forced to make tough choices because the Wisconsin State Assembly has refused to show up for work in over 155 days. With no guidance, no plans, and absolutely no assistance, students and teachers are struggling to figure out the new school year. Our politicians failed to step up, and our families are paying the price-- and every day I'm praying for the safety of everyone inside of our schools and throughout our communities."

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Reforming Government-- Raúl Grijalva Wants To-- Pelosi And Her Team Want To Pretend They Do Too... But They Don't



McConnell's never going to allow the Senate to debate it and even if he did and it passed, Trump would never sign it. But that didn't stop Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) from introducing new legislation to end the common practice of hiring lobbyists in a revolving door scheme that swampifies the executive branch-- and it's not just something corrupt Republican do. Corrupt Democrats do it too. Last week, writing for the American Prospect, David Dayen showed how Grijalva is forcing corporate conservative Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party "to take a stand on whether they will hold a potential Joe Biden administration to at least the same anti-corruption standard that Barack Obama held for himself as president."

Grijalva's new bill would "deny confirmation of any nominee to an executive branch position who is currently or has been a lobbyist for any corporate client or officer for a private corporation, in this or any future administration. That would include all Cabinet officials, and any of the roughly 1,200 Senate-confirmed positions throughout the federal government. The letter, endorsed by Demand Progress, the American Economic Liberties Project, the Revolving Door Project, and the Sunrise Movement, represents a baseline request for personnel in the next administration. Groups had proposed something similar to this for months, but not this sweeping a ban, and not with the full-throated support of a House committee chair."
The Grijalva rule is a stronger version of President Obama’s lobbyist ban. Under Obama, any registered lobbyist was barred from government service in the issue area where they lobbied until they had been unregistered for two years. On the way out, these officials couldn’t lobby the government for the remainder of the administration. Obama’s rule was a little leaky, as it didn’t apply to unregistered, de facto lobbyists who were obviously engaged in influence-peddling, lobbyists registered outside the two-year ban, or lobbyists hired for a government job outside their lobbying area.

It’s been long forgotten and is now somewhat risible, but Donald Trump also has a lobbying order in place, which replaced his predecessor’s. The Trump rule allows lobbyists into the government as long as they recuse themselves from anything they lobbied on for two years. It also allegedly bans former executive branch members from lobbying the government for five years, though it only applies to the agency where they worked.

According to one count, 281 lobbyists had worked in the Trump administration as of last October, including the secretaries of defense, interior, energy, labor, and homeland security, along with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler. In addition, several former Trump officials found a way around the modest post-government lobbying ban.

The Grijalva rule tightens the Trump and even the Obama standard significantly. Not only is there no safe-harbor period for former lobbyists-- they’re out of government no matter how long ago they lobbied-- but the rule includes all officers of private corporations, of which there have been many in the past two administrations.

...Biden hasn’t committed even to restoring the weaker Obama-era order on lobbying, despite promising a kind of Obama restoration throughout his campaign. Numerous business types have been pitched for top slots in a Biden administration, and his transition team includes former Apple lobbyist Cynthia Hogan, Facebook director Jessica Hertz, and Jeffrey Zients, former Facebook board member and president of Cranemere, a conglomerate that buys and sells businesses. TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Ferguson and co-CEOs of Ariel Investments John Rogers and Mellody Hobson have also been mentioned as potential Cabinet-level officials.
Yesterday Grijalva told me that "No democracy can survive if it has one set of rules for the public and another for insiders. Americans have seen decades of special corporate favors and billion-dollar giveaways, and they won’t accept that as the natural state of things any longer. If we’re going to restore faith in our government, we have to end the revolving door, not just reverse it, and we have to end corporate government once and for all." We need to ask ourselves what the leaders of both parties find unacceptable about that premise-- and why they are so doggedly in favor of the status quo. 

Wednesday, the Washington Post ran a Pelosi-generated piece on House Democrats' unveiling "a sweeping package of reforms... designed to strengthen Congress’s ability to check the executive branch and prevent abuses of power, especially by the president." No mention of Grijalva or his proposal-- just more bullshit from Pelosi and her disgustingly GOP-like, corrupt leadership team. "The package," wrote Karoun Demirjian, "which its architects have informally referred to as “post-Trump reforms,” includes measures to restrain the president’s power to grant pardons and declare national emergencies, to prevent federal officials from enriching themselves, and to accelerate the process of enforcing congressional subpoenas in court. It also includes provisions to protect inspectors general and whistleblowers, increase penalties for officials who subvert congressional appropriations or engage in overt political activity, and safeguard against foreign election interference. Taken together, the proposals represent the Democrats’ long-awaited attempt to correct what they have identified as systematic deficiencies during the course of President Trump’s tenure and impeachment, in the style of changes Congress adopted after Richard Nixon left office. Unlike the post-Watergate reforms, however, which took years to enact, today’s House Democrats have collected their proposed changes under one bill reflecting several measures that have been percolating piecemeal through the House."

It's all about Trump and doesn't touch any of the systemic corruption that has made DC one of the swampiest cities on the planet. Pelosi and Hoyer should have learned a lesson from all the millions of Americans who voted for Trump in 2016. They're incapable of learning any such lesson.

Goal ThermometerShahid Buttar is the San Francisco reformer running for Pelosi's seat in November; there's no progressive, just a contest between a corrupt garden variety Democrat and a real fighting progressive. Today, Buttar told me that "Unfortunately, Democrats have followed the Republican playbook in Washington for years. The bipartisan revolving door between K St. and Capitol Hill is the dirty secret of Washington-- and a big part of the reason why our government has grown so unresponsive to the needs of voters struggling to endure the compounding crises of our times."

He said he's "running to replace the leading corporate Democrat in part to help the party grow more responsive to grassroots concerns, and to help make our government more responsive to We the People. I’d be eager to support Rep. Grijalva’s bill in Congress, and to promote other checks and balances to limit and counteract corporate influence peddling in Washington."

Demirjian continued that "In a joint statement, seven committee chairs [though not Grijalva] signaled their legislation is intended to 'prevent future presidential abuses, restore our checks and balances, strengthen accountability and transparency, and protect our elections. It is time for Congress to strengthen the bedrock of our democracy and ensure our laws are strong enough to withstand a lawless president,' the statement says. 'These reforms are necessary not only because of the abuses of this president, but because the foundation of our democracy is the rule of law and that foundation is deeply at risk.' All good stuff... except for the steaming pile of hypocrisy sitting in the middle of the room in plain view.

Nate McMurray is the progressive Democrat in western New York taking on the newest slimy little Trumpist in Congress, hereditary multimillionaire Chris Jacobs, a complete knee-jerk kind of politician. Nate, in contrast, is an independent-minded leader who told me yesterday that "The Democratic leadership is not really well connected to working people and communities. And it really shows-- Democrats lost a lot of ground over the years at the state and local level. But the situation is fixable. The grassroots of the Democratic party has bold initiatives that excite and inspire voters to get involved, and the Democratic Leadership would do well to really listen."

Liam O'Mara is running for a southern California seat occupied by one of the most overtly corrupt members of Congress, Crooked Ken Calvert. When Fox News was looking for a corrupt slimebag to use as an example of DC corruption, they did a Mike Wallace special on Calvert's corruption. This morning Liam told me to call him old-fashioned or "an idealist; call me whatever you like-- but I believe that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people ought to serve only the people-- not corporations and wealthy special interests. Our elections need to be publicaly funded, and all lobbying, in the sense of contributions, needs to end." The topic boils his blood. He continued:
Goal ThermometerLobbying used to mean catching someone in the lobby and pressing your case-- that's it! And advocates for bills make perfect sense to me. But when someone can come at you flush with cash from a corporation and say, please vote for things we like, and here's a million bucks to keep your job... that shit needs to be illegal. Now. Right fucking now.

We have hundreds of congresscritters taking vast amounts of cash for their campaigns, and that should be understood as bribery, plain and simple. A bribe is something offered in exchange for a decision in your favour. What else can we call it when someone takes a corporation's money, then votes to advance that same corporation's interests? It's a damned bribe!

I don't care which party you call home-- if you take a big wad of cash from someone and then push their legislative agenda, you are violating your oath to serve the people and the Constitution of this country. It's way past time for some changes. We need to apply the laws properly against bribery, pass a total ban on cash lobbying, introduce publicaly-funded elections, and, as the president disingenuously put it, drain the swamp!


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Midnight Meme Of The Day!



by Noah

Attorney General William Barr's reputation is in freefall but history is filled with bootlicking architects of fascist dictatorships just like him. They are true believers. They care not at all for their reputations. Whatever temporary success they gain, they will take. And they will gain whatever we give them.

I've always said that when the scum among us rise to the top, their newly acquired spotlight eventually reveals who they really are, at least to a point that drives them from office even when the majority of the population remains oblivious.. The sad thing is that it takes that step to do it when what they are is so obvious from the start. I remember saying that back when Newt Gingrich became House Speaker. Sure, Republicans still hold him dear. In fact, he's a huge Trump supporter and sycophant these days but becoming Speaker effectively ended his career in elective office and relegated him to a position of sleazoid K-Street bagman and blubbering FOX "News" "contributor" ala Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and a grotesque assortment of quack "doctors" like Scott Atlas, pretend ex-CIA officers like Wayne Simmons, numerous fake scientists, birth certificate "experts" like Pamela Geller, and the rest of the ragtag menagerie they keep coming up with. I look forward to the day when Barr takes his loathsome Jabba the Hutt act to FOX. He's already been on FOX so much lately that he's obviously passed the audition and I just turned off one of the farcical Sunday talk shows when a picture of him polluted my screen. What remains to be determined is Barr's FOX "News" official start date (hopefully very soon) and what poor intern gets the job of cleaning up the gooey slime trail every time he appears. Word is that he even has his own chair at the studio, if only because no one else wants to sit in it after he has; the guy sweats even more than Rudy.

Meanwhile Barr is not just a punchline. He is after all, Trump's Consigliere. I would say that he is Trump's Tom Hagen but that would be a grievous insult to Mr. Hagen and his Don. Meanwhile, he is shamefully politicizing the Justice Department to the max, to extremes that previous bad AGs like John Mitchell only dreamed about. Career Justice Department people with integrity like Nora Dannehy and others have resigned over Barr's flagrant politicization of investigations. Barr is more than Trump's Roy Cohn. He is a traitor to this country and its rule of law.

Barr sees himself not as the protector of the 332,000,000 American people but as the protector of 1 pathetic fascist orange menace to society who is attempting to install himself as dictator for life. Consider William Barr an apprentice madman on this horrid Trump reality TV show we are all living in. Recently, Barr, in a speech at Hillsdale College in Michigan, insanely compared COVID-19 lockdowns to slavery, equating the attempt to save lives to destroying lives by putting people in chains and whipping them every day. Barr also recently even went so far as to run interference for his boss in a rape case (the subject of tonight's meme), even when his boss refuses to submit to a DNA test that would clear his name if he was innocent. Barr's action has turned the United States Justice Department into Donald Trump's private law firm. But, just ask yourself when did anyone of "good standing" in republican circles like William Barr ever come out against rape vote agianst rape. Most of them regard rape as nothing. We saw that in the Kavanaugh hearings. Congress has always been one big frat house where frat boys of both parties have treated rape as ritual or at least nudge-nudge, wink-wink stuff. Now, we have a president and his personal AG who, apparently perversely inspired by the Hussein family rape rooms in Iraq, seek to codify it. 1-800-LUV-RAPE indeed.

Last week, Jabba the Barr revealed still more plans for expanding his brand of personal and ideological corruption for the Department of Justice and modeling it after Fraz Gurtner's German Justice Department of the Third Reich years. This would, of course, fulfill the Republican Party's decades long dream of full nazification of America. The latest sign of his intent was also given during his now notorious Hillsdale speech. In it, he made noises (suggestions) about prosecuting Democratic mayors, not all mayors, just Democratic ones. How long before he and his madman boss try to brand Americans who vote for Democrats as seditious? That will be fine with the red hat-wearing, red flag-waving 62,000,000 who voted for this. The Democrats will, as they always do, either meekly get on the train or just let it run over them.

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Establishment "Democrat" Jamie Dimon Joins Mitch McConnell On The Losing Side Of History



The "Losing Side of History" phraseology comes from yesterday's column about #MoscowMitch in Politico Magazine by John Harris. Harris wrote that McConnell's (and the GOP's) "sprint to install a justice for a lifetime appointment this year, either days before a presidential election or in the lame-duck session afterward, looks a lot like the dying spasms of a political movement that began five decades ago."
Now, at 78, McConnell is leading a party that depends on exploiting every avenue to preserve power despite not commanding national majorities. Starting in 1992, in seven presidential elections, Republicans have won the popular vote just once.

The national electorate is younger, more diverse, and less traditional in cultural attitudes, and more enthusiastic about a robust role for government. The Republican Party for most of this century draws overwhelmingly from people who are older, white, and socially conservative. In recent years, college-educated voters are taking flight from the GOP.

Republicans have won power in significant measure through institutions that buffer the influence of national majorities: The Electoral College, the Senate, and, above all, the Supreme Court.

A conservative movement that in youth worked to rein in the Supreme Court’s unelected power in the name of democracy now hopes in old age to harness the Supreme Court’s unelected power to protect it from the hazards of too much democracy.

These institutions can slow long-term demographic and ideological trends but they are unlikely to halt them. This means that, in due course-- whether this year or sometime in the future-- we will learn how closely Democrats have been studying the McConnell methods and whether they will choose to emulate them.
So what's all that got to do with JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon? Well... do you recall when Team Biden was touting Dimon as a strong contender for Biden’s dream team-- Secretary of the Treasury was where they saw this Clintonite turd. There was such an uproar that Dimon put out a statement assuring voters he wasn't interested. Still, that was already about as alarming a statement about those advising Biden, and their kowtow to Wall Street, as one can imagine. Now Pam and Russ Martens have revealed that Dimon and JPMorgan's PAC are financially supporting McConnell's reelection bid. Nice, huh?

Dimon, a billionaire, and his PAC have given thousands of dollars to McConnell and McConnell operations. "McConnell doesn’t like taxes on the rich," wrote the Martens. "Perhaps that’s a good enough reason for Dimon to donate to his political campaign and not give a hoot about how that might earn him the hostility of his workforce or doom the country." Actually Dimon says he doesn't really mind if the rich get taxed on their incomes... just not on their wealth.

Biden should be careful to be aware when making cabinet picks of people, like Dimon, who say things like this: "I've gotten disturbed at some of the Democrats' anti-business behavior, the attacks on work ethic and successful people. I think it's very counterproductive... It doesn't mean I don't have their values. I want jobs. I want a more equitable society. I don't mind paying higher taxes... I do think we're our brother's keeper but I think that attacking that which creates all things, is not the right way to go about it." Or perhaps Biden has the same mindset.

In fact, yesterday, David Sirota suggested that Biden is jeopardizing the election by alienating progressives by shitting on them. He's beating Trumop in poll after poll but his enthusiasm gap is wide, even if Republican elites-- though not masses of GOP voters-- seem to like him. Sirota wrote that "he should stop triangulating against the base of his party and publicly dunking on the millions of Democratic voters who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders in the party’s last two presidential primaries.
During an interview with a local Fox affiliate in Wisconsin today, Biden took a shot at Sanders in response to a reporter’s loaded question about “voters that are worried about socialism and you raising taxes.”

There are plenty of ways to answer that question. You can reject the arguments over labels. You can pivot to talking about expanding health care and fighting the pandemic-- two issues that are top concerns to Wisconsin voters, according to the latest Ipsos poll.

Instead, Biden used the opportunity to dunk on Bernie Sanders-- the third most popular Democrat in America, ahead of Biden, according to YouGov’s national poll.

“I beat the socialist. That’s how I got elected. That’s how I got the nomination,” Biden said. “Do I look like a socialist? Look at my career, my whole career. I’m not a socialist.”

That’s certainly true-- Biden has tried to cut Social Security, supported bank deregulation, and is opposed to Medicare for All. The only part of Biden’s record that could be called socialist was his vote to bail out Wall Street executives-- but that was a form of corporate socialism that enriched the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country after they ruined millions of Americans’ lives.

So, yeah, while Biden is no socialist, none of his record proving that is anything to brag about. More important, Biden’s instinct to crap on progressives, rather than energizing them, is totally counterproductive to the effort to defeat Donald Trump. It not only helps Trump by validating his Red Scare framing of the election, but it also tells progressives that Biden may not be the ally he is promising to be.

...A few weeks ago, Biden’s campaign made headlines echoing Republican talking points about the deficit and insinuating that a Biden administration wouldn’t follow through on its budget promises. Biden also told his Wall Street donors that despite his public promises, “I’m not proposing any” legislation to change corporate behavior. That followed his previous promise to his big donors that “nothing would fundamentally change” for them under a Biden administration.

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Dianne Feinstein To Head Up Democratic Effort To Stop Trump's Court Pick: She's "Lucid Sometimes"



Does Nana forget directions-- the way The Donald does?

FDR moved into the White House for the first time a couple of months before Dianne Feinstein was born. When she graduated from Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, Truman was president. Feinstein was first elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969, long before I moved there. I was living in Afghanistan was she was elected and never heard of her. Two years later she ran against Mayor Joseph Alioto from the right and lost with 21.8% of the vote. Four years later, with Alioto retiring, she ran for mayor as the conservative again, and again came in third, this time with 18.7% of the vote. San Francisco voters had gotten to know what a piece of crap she was. And then George Moscone, the mayor (along with Harvey Milk) was assassinated by a Feinstein ally and, as head of the board of supervisors she assumed the mayoralty and was able to run as an incumbent. Her top challenger-- Quentin Kopp-- was even further right than she was. I was a San Francisco resident at the time and the most plausible progressive in the race was Dead Kennedys' lead singer Jello Biafra, who I actively supported. He came in 3rd in a 9-way race.

I'm old. She's older, much older. In fact, she's the oldest member of the Senate. That doesn't matter. What does matter is that she's senile. California voters were out of their collective mind to reelect her in 2018. But in a race without a Republican that pitted her-- still a rotgut conservative-- against a progressive, Kevin de León, Republicans and conservative independents backed her and she won 5,976,440 (54.2%) to 5,047,268 (45.8%), her worst performance since 1994 when oil billionaire Michael Huffington spent a fortune against her.

No one in DC likes talking about senile members of Congress-- and there are plenty; we're looking at you, Pat Roberts (who at least has the good grace to be calling it quits now) and you Jim Inhofe, the snowball climate change denier from Oklahoma, Don Young, a month older than Feinstein and supposedly the first American-- as a trapper --to ever set foot in then Russian-Alaska. But yesterday John Bresnahan and Marianne Levine put a toe over the line: Democrats worry Feinstein can't handle Supreme Court battle. Her colleagues are saying someone sharper needs to head the Judiciary Committee effort on behalf of the Democrats. No shit!

Bresnahan and Levine tiptoe around the senility question, using claptrap like she's "widely respected by senators in both parties, but she has noticeably slowed in recent years." They leave it for readers to figure out what this means: "Interviews with more than a dozen Democratic senators and aides show widespread concern over whether the California Democrat is capable of leading the aggressive effort Democrats need against whoever [The Donald] picks to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg... Some Democrats privately fear that Feinstein could mishandle the situation and hurt their chances of winning back the majority."
Feinstein sometimes gets confused by reporters’ questions, or will offer different answers to the same question depending on where or when she’s asked. Her appearance is frail. And Feinstein's genteel demeanor, which seems like it belongs to a bygone Senate era, can lead to trouble with an increasingly hard-line Democratic base uninterested in collegiality or bipartisan platitudes.

...Feinstein relies heavily on her ever-present staff to deal with any issues, frequently turning to them for help in responding to inquiries. Feinstein had to be coaxed into wearing a mask around the Senate during the early days of the pandemic, despite being part of the most vulnerable age groups for the disease. She’s only made two floor speeches in the last nine months, her last being in early July, although she remains active in committee hearings.

And then there’s the lingering fallout over Feinstein’s role in the hugely controversial Judiciary Committee hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, an issue that factors deeply into the questions about her suitability for this latest nomination fight.

Feinstein waited for several weeks before disclosing allegations by Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. The bombshell accusations nearly sank Kavanaugh’s nomination, and senators in both parties questioned why Feinstein didn’t move more quickly to disclose Blasey Ford’s statement.

A Democratic senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a group of Feinstein’s colleagues want Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) or Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to serve as the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel for the upcoming nomination hearings, which are expected to be extraordinarily contentious. This senator is worried that potential missteps by Feinstein could cost Democrats seats.

“She’s not sure what she’s doing,” the Democratic senator said of Feinstein. “If you take a look at Kavanaugh, we may be short two senators because of that. And if this gets [messed] up, it may be the same result.”
I couldn't find anyone to talk on the record and no one even felt discussing this with me at all. One Senate staffer said she's "lucid sometimes... [and] confused sometimes." He said it could "easily turn into a disaster with her" leading the attack... She's the wrong person for the job, mentally impaired or not." He also told me the chance of Schumer removing her " is exactly zero." Democrats play nice-- they don't play for keeps-- except, of course, when they're eviscerating progressives.

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