Monday, October 31, 2016

Endorsements From Weird Places


The case for Hillary

The 3 biggest newspapers in South Carolina, The Post and Courier, The State and the Greenville News are all reliably Republican in a reliably red state. In 1964 South Carolina was one of only 6 states to vote for Barry Goldwater when he was crushed by Lyndon Johnson, 43,127,041 to 27,175,754 in the popular vote and 486-52 in the electoral college. The last time South Carolina voted for a Democrat was in 1976 when they helped elect neighboring Georgia's Jimmy Carter; that was 40 years ago and this year they will certainly give their 9 electoral votes to Trump. Romney beat Obama 55-45% in 2012. A week from tomorrow, Hillary is on track to win all 22 South Carolina counties Obama won plus Florence and possibly Georgetown and Chesterfield counties (which are toss-ups right now). The endorsement of her presidential bif by The State this weekend came as something of a shock. The editors made the case that conservatives have no logical choice but to vote for her. By dint of "character and personality" they pronounce Trump "simply unfit for the presidency, or any public office" and that Americans "must rely on Hillary Clinton for any meaningful change in Washington politics" despite her "significant flaws."
This is the first time our editorial board has endorsed a Democratic presidential nominee since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Through the years, we evaluated nominees based on our support for reducing the national debt, strengthening national security and other conservative values. Those values compel us to endorse Mrs. Clinton this year.

...In this era of voter discontent, Americans want change. But we must consider carefully what will change and who will lead it. Of the two candidates, the choice is clear. Mrs. Clinton’s experience, stability and knowledge make her more likely than Mr. Trump to effectively tackle the nation’s problems.
Ostensibly an even weirder editorial board will to look past Hillary's "weaknesses" (and partisan affiliation) came this morning from the Financial Times, which pointed out enthusiastically that "She is manifestly more competent than Trump and his braggadocio and divisiveness." They are a mothpiece for elite conservatism and Hillary fits the bill just fine for them.

Rarely in a US presidential election has the choice been so stark and the stakes so high. The contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has provided high drama, amply demonstrated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s reckless, last-minute intervention in the saga of Mrs Clinton’s emails. But there must be no doubt about the gravity of the 2016 election, for America and the world.

The international order of the past 70 years is fraying, maybe even breaking down. The Brexit vote in June likely removes a pillar of the EU. The Middle East points to a shattered system; further east, in the Pacific, China is becoming more assertive, challenging America’s dominant role in the region and the postwar Bretton Woods system. Under Vladimir Putin, Russia has become emboldened, threatening Nato’s borders, spreading havoc in Syria, and apparently orchestrating leaks to influence the US election itself.

This is a moment for the renewal of American leadership. One candidate has the credentials. Mrs Clinton has served as first lady, senator for New York and US secretary of state. Mr Trump deals in denigration not diplomacy. He has abused allies, threatening to remove east Asia’s nuclear umbrella, sideline Nato and unleash trade wars. Mr Trump casts himself in the role of a western strongman to stand alongside the likes of Mr Putin.

Mr Trump has demonstrated contempt towards American democracy itself. He has persistently raised the prospect of a rigged election and declined, even when pressed, to guarantee he would accept the result. He has threatened to jail Mrs Clinton. Such arrogance is unprecedented and it points to a fatal flaw in his character. The first role of the president is to be commander-in-chief, in charge of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal. Mr Trump has a thin skin and a questionable temperament. For all his many years as a reality TV host, he is simply not ready for prime time.

The 2016 election, more than any in recent memory, is a test for the legitimacy of the US political system, with profound implications for the liberal world order. Mrs Clinton carries enough baggage to fill a Boeing 747. She is not trusted by the majority of voters. But she is manifestly more competent than Mr Trump whose braggadocio, divisiveness and meanness are on daily display. Despite her faults, Mrs Clinton is eminently qualified to be the first woman elected to the White House. She has the Financial Times’ endorsement.
The Financial Times is published in London by Nikkei and it is an engine for the fake free trade agreements so hated at the grassroots level. In the past their most enthusiastic editorial support has been for Reagan and Thatcher. A different kind of endorsement:

And now for the kind of endorsement no sane candidate would ever want. No sane candidate-- so that leaves out Donald Trump, who seems delighted with this kind of support from supporters like this racist, homophobic crackpot:

The sound clip above is from William Johnson a Trump supporting neo-Nazi. It's being called in to every Republican in Utah and it typifies what Trump supporters are all about. "I am a farmer and a white nationalist. I make this call against Evan McMullin and in support of Donald Trump... Evan has two mommies. His mother is a lesbian, married to another woman. Evan is okay with that. Indeed Evan supports the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage. Evan is over 40 years old and is not married and doesn’t even have a girlfriend. I believe Evan is a closet homosexual." Nice, huh? Evan tweeted it today:

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Looking For Candidate Advice-- From The U.S. Senate To State Legislatures


Blue America spends most of its time and energy on House races. As far as the 2016 Senate races go, after Donna Edwards (MD), PG Sittenfeld (OH) and Alan Grayson (FL) were defeated in their primaries by establishment candidates the only Senate endorsements we have left are for Russ Feingold (WI), who looks like he'll probably win a week from tomorrow, and two long-shots who beat their more conservative opponents, Ray Metcalfe (AK) and Misty Kathrine Snow (UT). Still, people are always asking who's worth supporting and who isn't. For anyone interested in my opinion, I have a list below of the 34 states that have Senate races being decided next Tuesday and what I would do in each one. Obviously, there is not a single Republican worthy of voting for, even Republicans running against the worst Schumercrats that the Democrats have put up.

I've rated the candidates from 1-4. A 1 means, they're good enough to contribute money to and badger your friends into voting for. A 2 means they're good enough to vote for. A 3 means bring along a clothespin and vote for the crap candidate. A 4 means don't vote at all in that race because the candidate is so bad that it would be better to see Schemer choke on their loss than see them win a Senate seat where they would be in position to do grievous harm for years if not decades.
Alabama- Ron Crumpton 2
Alaska- Ray Metcalfe 1
Arizona- 4
Arkansas- Conner Eldridge 3
California- Kamala Harris 2 or 3
Colorado- Michael Bennet 3
Connecticut- Richard Blumenthal 2
Florida- 4
Georgia- Jim Barksdale 3
Hawaii- Brain Schatz 2
Idaho- Jerry Sturgill 2 or 3
Illinois- Tammy Duckworth 2 or 3
Indiana- 4
Iowa- 4
Kansas- Patrick Wiesner 2 or 3
Kentucky- Jim Gray 2
Louisiana- Foster Campbell 2 or 3
Maryland- Chris Van Hollen 2
Missouri- Jason Kander 3
Nevada- Catherine Cortez Masto 2 or 3
New Hampshire- Maggie Hassan 3
New York- 4
North Carolina- Deborah Ross 2
North Dakota- Eliot Glasheim 2 or 3
Ohio- Strickland 3
Oklahoma- Mike Workman 2 or 3
Oregon- Ron Wyden 3 (although Gaius, who lives there, says 4)
Pennsylvania- Katie McGinty- 3
South Carolina- Thomas Dixon 2 or 3
South Dakota- Jay Williams 2 or 3
Utah- Misty Snow 1
Vermont Patrick Leahy 2
Washington- Patty Murray 2
Wisconsin- Russ Feingold 1
Goal Thermometer On the other end of the power spectrum are the folks running for state legislative seats, another area that Blue America hasn't gotten as involved with as we wish we could. But we have endorsed several of the best candidates who we've gotten to know. There are literally hundreds running. You can see all the ones we endorsed by tapping on the thermometer on the right. Below are a couple of random bits and pieces about the campaigns that have kept in touch. Let's start with our old friend and comrade Darcy Burner up in Washington state. Her race is a twofer-- getting an incredible progressive woman, a born leader, into the legislature and making sure the Democrats maintain their precariously narrow hold on the state House. Darcy is ahead by a fraction but the GOP is throwing a lot of money against her.

Thanks to Trump, Washington state Republicans are on the defensive down-ballot. The polling average has Hilalry up by 13.5 points-- 48.8% to 35.3%-- and the most recent poll, by Elway, just over a week ago, shows Democrats up and down the ticket picking up momentum. Hillary is up over Trump 48-31%, as he continues hemorrhaging support. Democratic Governor Jay Inslee in beating GOP challenger Bill Bryant 51-39%. Democratic Senator Patty Murray is beating GOP challenger Chris Vance 58-34%. Democrats are leading in most of the statewide races-- Lt. Governor, Auditor, Lands Commissioner, Insurance Commissioner, Treasurer and Superindant of Public Instruction. The Republican is leading, narrowly, in the Secretary of State race. Likely to help Democrats next week is the big lead-- 58 to 31%-- for increasing the minimum wage, gradually, to $13.50/hour by 2020.
“I think we have a lot of seats in play,” said Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon of the House Democratic Campaign Committee.

“Our plan all along has been to run as if we were behind, and as if we had a chance to lose the majority of the House. I don't think we're going to lose the majority of the house,” he continued.

Instead, Fitzgibbon believes his Party is in a position to grow its majority, in large part because of Donald Trump.

House Republicans, meanwhile, downplay concerns about a possible Trump effect down ballot, arguing voters will identify local candidates with local issues, not the national presidential race.

“I’m still pretty optimistic,” said Rep. Drew Stokesbary of the House Republican Organizational Committee.

“I know that Trump isn’t the most popular person in Washington State or the United States right now, but the fact of the matter is that Hillary Clinton is the most unpopular major party nominee in history among anybody not named Donald Trump, so there’s really an effect on both sides of the ticket,” Stokesbary argued.

But recent polling shows Clinton with a double-digit lead in Washington State, and Democrats believe that will give them the edge.

“A lot of voters who have traditionally considered themselves to be Republican voters feel more alienated from that party right now because of the kind of rhetoric they’re hearing at the state and national level,” Fitzgibbon told KING 5.

“I feel like there’s a realistic shot we’ll be at 52 (seats),” Fitzgibbon predicted.

Stokesbary believes Republicans could take the House 51 to 47.

So, here’s a look at some the most competitive races that both Parties are targeting:

...District 5 , East King County, Carnation, North Bend, Snoqualmie, Issaquah, parts of Renton.

House Position 2—An open seat vacated by Republican Rep. Chad Magandanz who is running for state Senate. Republican Paul Graves led Democrat Darcy Burner in the August primary.

Money raised: Graves, $249,698.20; Burner, $186,240.66

Independent spending: $14,140.91 in support of Graves, none in opposition, as of Thursday.

$1,131.96 in support of Burner, $45,938.91 in opposition.

Helping Darcy close that gap this week is urgent. Please contribute if you can. Another progressive woman, like Darcy, who we first met when she was running for Congress is our old friend Eloise Reyes, in San Bernardino County. She's running against a corrupt Democratic hack, Cheryl Brown, for a state Assembly seat. Brown is being heavily financed by Big Oil, which is running a massive SuperPAC independent expenditure campaign-- over $8 million-- against Eloise. Bernie has stepped in and has been helping Eloise raise money to combat the flood of oil money. This is the most expensive state legislative race anywhere in the country. And Eloise is running against a bribe-happy buffoon who abused her expense account more than any legislator in Sacramento and who solicits personal gifts from lobbyists and others with a legislative agenda. She's infamous for a gold watch she sports that was given to her by Russia when she was on a junket there.

Last week, the L.A. Times reported that the League of Conservation Voters named Brown to a list of what it calls the "most anti-environment" state candidates nationwide. The group's 'Dirty Dozen in the states' list, maintained by state chapters of the League of Conservation Voters, was first compiled in 2010."

Brown is the first Californian to be named to the state-level list, which is modeled after a "Dirty Dozen" list of federal candidates that the national organization has kept for 20 years.

Brown's environmental record in the Legislature has become a central issue in her pitched battle against fellow Democrat Eloise Reyes, who has received endorsements from the California League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups.

Reyes has criticized Brown for helping block a major provision in Gov. Jerry Brown's climate change bill last year, and for the $1.1 million Chevron has contributed to an independent expenditure committee supporting the incumbent. Overall, oil companies have contributed more than $8 million to various committees supporting Brown as well as other candidates this cycle.

Local environmental groups were up in arms earlier this year when Brown supporters sent out mailers calling the assemblywoman an "environmental champion," and some have dubbed her "Chevron Cheryl."

“The Inland Empire has some of the dirtiest air in the country. Yet time and again Cheryl Brown has sided with Chevron and Big Oil, who fuel her campaign, rather than act to protect the health of her constituents,” said CLCV Political Director James Johnson in a statement Tuesday.

This, in short, is LCV's case against Cheryl Brown:
Chevron is spending a mind-blowing $1 million to help re-elect Cheryl Brown, earning her the moniker “Chevron Cheryl.”
In addition, Cheryl Brown has accepted huge direct campaign contributions from Big Oil including BP, ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum, Tesero, and Valero.
Brown voted against a bill that would have prevented oil companies from cheating customers by manipulating the price of a gallon of gas.
Brown not only opposed expanding California’s landmark climate and clean energy law, but she tried to help Big Oil dodge complying with the law.
Brown is key player in the “Oil Caucus,” a group of oil-funded Democrats who work against reducing California’s dependence on oil.
Brown voted for MORE fracking and FEWER regulations on fracking.
Last race-- a third progressive we first met in a congressional campaign-- is Stanley Chang in Hawaii. There's is an especially interesting race because of the potentially historic ramifications. In 1980 the state Senate in Alabama was 100% Democratic. Same in Louisiana-- all Democrats, no Republicans. Today, only 8 of the 35 Alabama state senators are Democrats. And Louisiana has 14 Democrats in it's 39 seat state Senate. Hawaii has 25 state senators-- 24 Democrats and one Republican, Sam Slom. (The state House has 51 members and 7 of them are Republicans.) Our old friend, Stanley, is taking on Slom, who's been the state senator for 20 years. Obama beat Romney with about 66% but the district is wealthy and other Republicans have been elected there. But it's very tough because many people think it's unique to have the only Republican in the state Senate and people feel sorry for the 74 year old Slom, who's been in the seat for 20 years and who is sick and has been rushed to the hospital from the Senate floor several times.

But Trump is playing a role even in this race. His presence on the top of the ticket is so revolting to many Republicans that they've decided to just stay home, although Stanley says he's counting on his record to win, not on Trump's toxicity. Slom is a friendly guy but a big NRA supporter and a total economic reactionary. Stanley describes himself as an Elizabeth Warren Democrat-- and that's how we remember him as well.

Stanley Chang with Alan Grayson

Oh... and speaking of Alan Grayson... yesterday he asked his supporters to lend a hand to Russ Feingold's campaign. Like many of his, he was offended by loathesome right-wing billionaire, Diane Hendricks, shoving $5 million into negative TV commercials to poison Wisconsin voters' minds against Russ Feingold. "Feingold is winning," he wrote. "But some faceless whatsis billionaire has calculated that Ron Johnson might deliver a personal tax cut to her, so she has put her money where her math is.
If Feingold wins, then you can at least make the case that America is a democracy. (“Demos” = people. “Cracy” = form of government. “Crazy” = this year’s election.) Thanks to you and people like you, I was first among Senate candidates this year in percentage of money from small donors. Feingold was second.

But if Ron Johnson wins, then the only debate left is whether America is a plutocracy or an oligarchy. Kind of like Diet Coke vs. Coke Zero. One billionaire swings a Senate election with ten days to go by peeling off 0.1% of her net worth? Fuhgeddaboudit. Democracy R.I.P.

Please contribute $15, $40, $75 or whatever you can give in order to help Russ Feingold win, and help perpetuate government of the people, by the people and for the people.

On the day that the Citizens United decision was rendered, I appeared on MSNBC, and I said “if we do nothing, you can kiss this country goodbye.” This really is one of those crucial moments.

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Trump's Longshot Hope For A Single Electoral Vote In Maine Has Largely Evaporated


Lisbon, Maine-- Trump's beloved "poorly educated"

Tomorrow Bernie will be back in Maine (Deering High School in Portland at 6:30)-- where he earlier beat Hillary in the primary caucuses 64.3% to 35.5%-- vigorously campaigning for her and doing what he can to save the nation from Trump, who, back in caucus time, only won two Maine counties, Knox and Aroostook. Trump was back in Maine Friday-- his fifth visit-- this time in Lisbon, southeast of Lewiston. Lisbon Street, which goes directly from Lewiston to Lisbon was lined with a motley collection of Trump supporters waving "Make America Great Again" signs. Their leader spoke at the Chrstian Academy Gym. Lisbon, like Lewiston, is in the second congressional district, the more Republican-leaning of Maine's two districts. In Maine that matters since the state's 4 electoral voters are assigned differently than in most states. Two votes go to whomever wins statewide and one vote goes for whomever wins each of the congressional districts. Trump has been hoping he could grab one of the 4 votes by winning in ME-02.

In 2012 Obama won Maine in a landslide-- 401,306 (56%) to 292,276 (41%). It was even more of a landslide in ME-01, where Obama won 59-38%. He didn't do badly in ME-02 either. While the more conservative and backward district was electing right-wing crackpot Bruce Poliquin to Congress over hackish conservaDem Emily Cain (47-42%), ME-02 voters gave Obama a healthy 53-44% win over Romney, a nice 9 point margin. Romney did best in Aroonstook way up north and west of Bangor in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties. Today Piscataguis is the heart of Trump country in Maine. where he leads Hillary by 8 points. He's also doing OK in Washington County (+3) and Somerset County (+1) but Aroostook has swung around to Hillary (+5) and so have Bangor, dragging along the rest of Penobscot County, although very narrowly. Hillary is strongest in the three most heavily populated counties that make up Greater Portland-- Cumberland (+25%), York (+14%) and Sagadahoc (+12%).

Yesterday, the Maine Sunday Telegram released a poll showing that Trump now appears basically washed up among Maine voters-- even in ME-02. In recent weeks Hillary has continued expanding her lead and is now beating him 48-37% statewide, an 11 point margin.
The results also suggest Clinton has surged in the 2nd District, where Trump previously led by double digits. The latest results show Clinton ahead in that district by 43 percent to Trump’s 40 percent. Clinton’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error, but her campaign appears to have made up significant ground since late September, when Trump was leading Clinton in the 2nd District by 15 points.

Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, said the latest results seem to show a growing cohesion among Democrats that has not been replicated by Republicans. Smith said Clinton’s strengthened support is not surprising in a state that has ultimately settled on the Democratic nominee for six presidential elections in a row.

He said even in Maine’s 2nd District, momentum appears to have swung toward the Democrat, narrowing the chance that Maine, for the first time in modern political history, would split its Electoral College votes. Maine is one of only two states that splits its Electoral College votes, with one vote going to the winner of each congressional district and two votes going to the statewide winner.

Some of Trump’s heavy emphasis on Maine, especially the 2nd District, has been attributed to hopes he might peel off that vote. Smith said he’s plotted possible pathways for a Trump victory that could come down to a single Electoral College vote. But with just nine days to the election, Democratic voters appear to have turned the corner on Trump in Maine.

“It may still be a Republican district, but it’s still going to be impacted by the overall partisan turnout in the state and in this case what we are seeing is the Democrats, as we get closer to the election, have decided they are going to come out and vote,” Smith said.

Democrats consistently outnumber Republicans in Maine. Recent voter registration numbers this year showed Democrats enrolled 16,000 new members compared to just 4,000 new Republicans.

Smith said younger Democratic voters, those who early on were supporting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, are also now committing to Clinton, under the realization that doing otherwise could result in a Trump presidency.

Trump was last in Maine on Friday, when he appeared at a Christian school in Lisbon, the neighboring town to the 2nd District’s largest city, Lewiston. It was his second visit to Maine this month and followed two other visits by family members.

“Trump’s support has remained kind of flat and it’s Democratic support that we are seeing increasing, which is not surprising-- this is a state that’s a Democratic state,” Smith said. “And those younger voters, the Bernie Sanders voters, who didn’t like Clinton so much, they are coming around now.”

...The latest Maine Sunday Telegram poll also suggests that Democrat Emily Cain, a former state senator from Orono, is gaining steam against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the race for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat. Like Clinton, Cain has made up the double-digit deficit she faced in September and now appears to be in a dead heat with Poliquin, as 43 percent of voters said they would pick her compared to 42 percent who said they are going with the incumbent.

...Support for both the Green Party’s Jill Stein and the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson also appears to have softened since September, with only 3 percent of voters picking Stein and 5 percent picking Johnson.

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TPP Is a Monopoly Protection Scheme, the Exact Opposite of a "Free Trade" Deal


A little confusing, but follow the gray lines. The above figure illustrates how the duration of the copyright that the Walt Disney company claims in Steamboat Willie — marked by the solid gray line — has twice approached expiration — by the dashed gray line. In both instances, federal lawmakers amended the Copyright Act to extend the duration, both of copyrighted works generally and works, such as Steamboat Willie, that predated the amendments (source; click to enlarge). In 2023, expect copyright protection in general to be extended again. This law is colloquially called "The Mouse Protection Act."

by Gaius Publius

Normally when we think of "free trade," us lay people, we think of removing barriers to the exchange of goods and services. Removing barriers is the "free" part of "free trade." Of course, there really is no such thing as a "no barriers" market, since even the simplest of markets always has rules, and those who write the rules are "picking winners and losers" by definition.

Consider, for example, a flea market held in the parking lot of a local fairground on a Saturday. To participate, you have to register for a space with the organizers (the parking lot isn't infinitely long or wide), set up an approved tent or table, and usually, if your goods are sold by weight or volume, have your weights and measuring devices certified by the organizers as honest.

All of the restrictions above place limits on the "market" — put it under control of the organizers — but consider for a minute just the last one, certified weights and measures. How is that not "picking winners and losers"? Winners — Vendors with honest scales. Losers — Vendors who cheat their customers.

Or consider a flea market without that requirement. Winners — Vendors who cheat their customers. Losers — Vendors with honest scales.

A lot has been written, in fact, about the non-existence, by definition, of anything resembling a "free market," including much by the writer Masaccio (main site here).

Monopolies and "Free Trade"

But that point aside, let's consider TPP from another standpoint. Monopolies are the enemies of so-called "free trade" since, by definition, they destroy competition and invert the usual assumptions about pricing power. In a well-supplied market, a market with much available product, pricing power is with the buyers, the customers, since it is they who, in the aggregate, set the limits of "what the market will bear."

But in a market in which the supply of something essential for life — water, food, life-saving medical supplies and care, even apartment housing in an old-style "company town" — is not "well-supplied," but is instead controlled and constrained by a single supplier or a small cartel of non-competing suppliers, that's just the opposite of a "free market." It's in fact the least free a market can get.

Thus it is with TPP. Very little actual trade will be freed up if TPP is passed, since barriers to "trade" among the many of the potential signing nations are nearly non-existent.

On the other hand, one of the most important outcomes of  theTPP will be the destruction of a competitive market, the one for life-saving drugs and other "intellecual property." For these products, the TPP raises barriers as surely as tariffs would do.

Economist Dean Baker calls the TPP a "protectionist" agreement. Baker (my emphasis):
The TPP And Free Trade: Time To Retake The English Language

The proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are planning to do a full court press in the lame duck session of Congress following the election. We will be bombarded with speeches and columns from President Obama and other illustrious figures telling us how it is important to approve the TPP for a variety of reasons.

We can be certain that one of the reasons will be the inherent virtues of free trade. They will not be telling the truth.

The TPP is not about free trade. It does little to reduce tariffs and quotas for the simple reason that these barriers are already very low. In fact, the United States already has trade deals with six of the other eleven countries in the TPP. This is why the non-partisan United States International Trade Commission (ITC) estimated that when the full gains from the TPP are realized in 2032, they will come to just 0.23 percent of GDP. This is a bit more than a normal month’s growth.
Again, the full gains from the TPP will come to just 0.23% of GDP — one month's growth. So what is going on with the TPP? Why do people like Barack Obama (and Pfizer, etc.) want it to pass so badly? Among the reasons is this one:
[T]he TPP goes far in the opposite direction, increasing protectionism in the form of stronger and longer patent and copyright protection. These forms of protection for prescription drugs, software, and other products, often raise the price by a factor of a hundred or more above the free market price. This makes them equivalent to tariffs of several thousand percent.

These forms of protection do serve a purpose in promoting innovation and creative work, but we have other more efficient mechanisms to accomplish this goal. Furthermore, the fact that they serve a purpose doesn’t mean they are not protectionist. 
Tilting the playing field toward Money, a scheme that protects the holders of intellectual property ... forever, if they can get away with it. For example, consider this:
Copyright Length And The Life Of Mickey Mouse

Last week, we reported on Rep. Zoe Lofgren's statement that copyright law has become equal to the life of Mickey Mouse. Tom Bell has a couple of recent posts exploring issues related to Mickey Mouse and copyright, that seem worth exploring, given Rep. Lofgren's recognition of this fact. While he notes (as we have) that there's ample evidence to suggest that the earliest Mickey Mouse cartoons really are in the public domain, he first explores how the length of copyright has followed the age of Mickey Mouse:
Bottom line: Until the current, neo-liberal capital-protecting political regime falls or is taken over, Mickey Mouse will never be in the public domain.

What About a "Free Market" for Doctors Too?

Baker finds something else significant about our so-called "free trade" agreements — they're very selective about which markets are "freed." Consider, for example, the market for relatively powerless manufacturing labor and the market for much more powerful (and wealthy) doctors.

The other point to be made about free trade and protectionism is that our push for free trade has always been very selective. NAFTA and other trade deals were explicitly designed to make it as easy as possible for U.S. corporations to manufacture goods in the developing world and ship them back to the United States. ...

But [while] manufacturing workers in the developing world are willing to work for much lower pay than manufacturing workers in the United States, so are doctors in the developing world.

Unlike manufacturing workers, doctors are powerful enough to get protection. It is not generally possible for a doctor trained in another country to practice medicine in the United States unless they pass a U.S. residency program — for which there is a strict quota on foreign trained students. As a result of this restriction, doctors in the United States earn on average twice as much as doctors in Canada, Germany, and other wealthy countries. This protectionism costs the United States roughly $100 billion a year (around $700 per family) in higher health care costs.

If our trade negotiators actually were interested in “free trade,” they would have constructed a system whereby foreign trained doctors could be certified as meeting U.S. standards. They would then have the same freedom to practice as any doctor born and trained in the United States.
Again, a straight-up wealth protection scheme. Baker goes on to note that the "market for doctors" really is a trade issue, not an immigration one, since many German, Canadian, French and Indian doctors could most like get into the U.S. and get jobs — as waiters, for example — they just couldn't work as doctors.

Baker's conclusion is exactly right, that calling a deal like the TPP a "free trade agreement" is just propaganda: "When reporters call the TPP a 'free trade' deal, they are acting as advocates, not reporters. The TPP is a protectionist pact for those at the top who are worried that free trade will undermine their income — like it did for those at the middle and bottom."

There's No "Free Market" for Political Parties Either

I think if Democrats think that the Trumpist revolt against "free trade" deals is just an expression of anti-immigrant racism — and that they can pass TPP in the lame duck session without consequences — there may be a surprise in store for them. After all, there's no "free market" for U.S. political parties either — we have a carefully protected two-party monopoly — and there are only two ways to disrupt and revolt against it that I can think of. Neither is pretty, neither is orderly, and neither will be good for Democrats.

Forewarned? Let's hope so. The lame duck session is just weeks away.


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Will Zephyr Teachout Be The Face Of A New Congress? Or Will It Be Sleazy Lobbyist John Faso?


Reading beneath the horse-race stats in the new polls yesterday, I noticed an incredible unanimity of opinion on campaign finance reform and Wall Street regulation. The CBS/You Gov polls in Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina and Pennsylvania all show tremendous support for seeing the new president and Congress deal with both issues. In Republican Arizona 77% of respondents want action on campaign finance reform and 74% want action of new regulations for Wall Street. Among Colorado voters, the numbers are 76% for campaign finance reform and 71% on Wall Street. 77% of North Carolina voters want action on campaign finance reform and 72% want it on Wall Street regulations. Bluer Pennsylvania is the most gung-ho on campaign finance reform-- 79%-- and 74% want more regulations on the banksters.

Now let's focus on the congressional race that has-- more than any other in the country-- focused on those two issues in laser-like fashion. In New York's 19th congressional district-- the central Hudson Valley and the Catskills, where the only moderate Republican left in Congress, Chris Gibson, is retiring-- campaign finance reform expert Zephyr Teachout faces off against John Faso, a slimeball lobbyist propped up by a bevy of modern day robber barons and hedge fund crooks. In fact, over the weekend, James Nani from the Times Herald-Record pointed out that more outside money is pouring into NY-19 than in almost any other House race in the country. The predators and crooks don't just want to elect a shady little puppet like Faso, they're willing to spend millions to keep Teachout out of office. She scares them the exact same way Elizabeth Warren scares them. She's incorruptible and focused on the public good-- the opposite of what the plutocrats expect from "democracy." As of Oct 13, wrote Nani, $13 million dollars had flooded into the race-- $7.8 million of it from SuperPACs. This chart shows outside spending so far:

Notice that Paul Ryan's Congressional Leadership Fund has spent over $3 million smearing Zephyr, a number bolstered by the NRCC with another $1.3 million, while the DCCC has responded with an ineffective $1 million in total. The DCCC is too busy spending money on grotesque New Dems and Blue Dogs-- the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- to give Zephyr the kind of help she needs. Pelosi's House Majority PAC has made it's biggest investments on inconsequential right-wing Blue Dogs like Kim Myers ($2,023,202) and Josh Gottheimer (1,622,340) will contributing exactly ZERO towards Zephyr. Gee, and I'm old enough to remember when Nancy Pelosi made a substantial effort to portray herself as a real progressive... and when she was a little more, um, clear-minded.
Increasing the stakes are polls that have shown that the race between Teachout, a Fordham University law school professor, and Faso, a former state Assembly minority leader, is neck-and-neck. Cook Political Report, an online political newsletter, is calling the race a toss-up.

Recent polling has given Faso a one-point edge. Voter rolls as of April showed Democrats with an enrollment edge of about 2,300 people.

With that competitiveness, the cash has flowed. An analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that the 19th District ranks seventh in the nation in outside spending raised in all House races. The district ranks ninth in outside money actually doled out.

...Through the bruising Republican primary, Faso was helped along by the New York Wins PAC, which received $1.15 million from just four super-wealthy donors. They included billionaire New York City hedge fund founder Paul Singer, who gave $600,000, and reclusive Long Island hedge fund manager Robert Mercer, who gave $500,000.

That spending allowed Faso to preserve much of his campaign cash for the general election.

A heavyweight in outside spending in the race has been the Congressional Leadership Fund, which dedicated more than $3 million to oppose Teachout, more than Faso's campaign has raised this whole election cycle. The Washington D.C.-based super PAC, which is dedicated to promoting Republicans, is spending more than $300,000 to canvas the district, with representatives ringing doorbells and telling residents about Teachout's connections to New York City.

The race has also seen big spending by more conventional PACs. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has shelled out more than $1.3 million to oppose Faso. Its partisan counterpart, the National Republican Campaign Committee, has spent about the same amount to oppose Teachout.

Aside from the DCCC, Teachout's biggest outside supporter has been End Citizens United, a PAC dedicated to overturning the U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows for unlimited outside spending in elections. It's spent about $422,000 to oppose Faso.

In all, outside spending that's benefited Faso has reached $5.5 million, dwarfing the $1.98 million benefitting Teachout.

"Teachout has borne the brunt of it - the Congressional Leadership Fund, which is tied to the House leadership, has spent $3.1 million attacking her, its biggest investment in any race," Novak said.

Though outside money has overshadowed the race, candidates have raised substantial sums as well.

Faso brought in about $2.3 million since he kicked off his campaign in July 2015, and has spent about $2 million as of Sept. 30. About $1.9 million, or 84 percent of that, has come from individual contributions, and about $328,000, or 14 percent, has come from political action committees.

Faso said that money his campaign has raised has largely come from the district or within New York. Center for Responsive Politics data shows that about 81 percent of his cash came from New York and 21 percent came from the 19th District. About 60 percent of Teachout's campaign cash came from New York, and 12 percent from the district.

"I have much more local support," Faso said, adding that he said he can't control what outside entities spend.

But Alexis Grenell, a spokeswoman for Teachout, said the average contribution to Teachout's campaign has been $19, and that she has the highest number of small contributions of any congressional candidate. About 63 percent of Teachout's cash has come from small donors, according to Crowdpac, a political data company. Grenell said Teachout is an "independent fighter" who will put "people before powerful interests."

"Her campaign is all about raising up the voices of people throughout the district," Grenell said.

Teachout has outraised Faso, collecting about $3.3 million since January this year. About $3 million has come from individual contributions and about $242,000 from PACs. Teachout's funding has also piggybacked off the funding infrastructure of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has been sending out fundraising emails on Teachout's behalf for months.

Combined, the race for the 19th has become a $13.1 million barnburner.

With a little more than a week until the election, Novak said spending may not be over yet.

"If the polls show things are close, I wouldn't be surprised to see a gusher of further outside spending on both sides between now and Election Day," Novak said.
As of Sunday morning, hundreds of Blue America members had contributed $15,463.94 to Zephyr's campaign. There's always a chance Pelosi will snap out of her delusion about Blue Dogs and start helping Zephyr, but I just made another personal contribution to Zephyr's campaign today. If you can, please do the same... because if we've learned one thing over the last 3 or 4 years, it's that counting on Nancy Pelosi is a death knell for progressive politics America-- and we need leaders like Zephyr Teachout, Pramila Jayapal, Payl Clements, Ruben Kihuen, Tom Wakely, to pick up the ball that Pelosi dropped when she threw her lot in with careerist crooks like Rahm Emanuel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Joe Crowley. Please tap the thermometer below and give what you can to Zephyr Teachout while it can still make a difference. Thanks.
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Sunday, October 30, 2016

West Virginia-- Its Own World Politically


National Democrats-- as opposed to reactionary "Manchin Democrats"-- have largely given up on West Virginia. In 2012 not only did Romney beat Obama 412,406 (62%) to 234,925 (36%), one of Obama's worst performances in America, but Romney won every single county in the state. This year doesn't look much better, although Hillary is ahead of Trump is Jefferson County (closest , and commuter-distance, to DC) and Monongalia counties and closing in on Kanawha, the biggest county in the state (Charleston) where Romney beat Obama by 12 points but where Hillary is just 4 points behind Trump. Still, the only two relatively recent polls of the state show Trump winning by either 18 points or 27 points.

The big turnout in the primary for Bernie, was just that-- a turnout for Bernie and his populist positions, not a turnout for the Democratic Party and not a turn out that's going to do much for Hillary a week from Tuesday. More Democrats (241,016 votes,) voted in the primary than Republicans (202,880). Bernie won every county (as did Trump). Bernie beat Hillary 123,860 (51.4%) to 86,354 (35.8%). There's been a ton of anecdotal evidence that many Bernie voters will either vote for Trump or skip voting for president altogether.

That said, there is also a gubernatorial race we've talked about before between a billionaire Trump-like fake-Democrat, Jim Justice, and a hack Republican careerist, Bill Cole. Justice won his primary with the same percentage as Bernie (although with more votes-- 131,845. Over 10,000 more Democrats voted in the gubernatorial primary than in the presidential primary. And polling shows Justice up over Cole by about 6 points.

However, there's another factor that isn't being accounted for in most polling. There is an actual Democrat in the race-- Mountain Party candidate Charlotte Pritt. The Mountain Party is the local Green Party affiliate and Pritt is a real life progressive Democrat who served in both the state House and the state Senate and once ran for governor as a governor, beating Joe Manchin, who-- to put it mildly-- holds a grudge and is doing everything he can-- and he totally controls the state Democratic Party-- to undercut Pritt on every level.

Thursday the Charleston Gazette-Mail endorsed Justice with an observation that they couldn't remember "a more uninspiring set of choices for West Virginia governor." The endorsement points out how excruciatingly bad both Justice and Cole are but then summarily dismissed Pritt as a protest vote that would only serve to elect the greater of two evils (Cole). A careful read of the endorsement would certainly be encouragement for anyone to stay home. But that would be a mistake. Pritt would make a great governor and she's worth supporting. I love the letter she wrote to the Gazette-Mail editorial board in response to their insulting endorsement of Justice.
I was shocked to see your endorsement of Jim Justice coming from the Gazette especially in light of the reports of Jim Justice’s mine safety and water pollution violations, and his default on taxes that could be used for dire educational needs.

It seems that a NON endorsement was in order for the Gazette, if you were unable to endorse Charlotte Pritt, the only candidate with “hands on” experience balancing the state budget (four years on the finance committee in the WV House), or the candidate with more legislative experience than all the other candidates combined, or the one with a 100% voting record on environmental issues like clean water, and fighting out-of-state toxic dumps coming to WV, or the only candidate who is against hydro-fracking and MTR, or the only candidate with a career voting record of 100% promoting senior citizens and AFL-CIO issues!

Perhaps the reason for the falsehood is that I am the ONLY candidate with the skill set needed to address the “budget crisis” and the ONLY candidate with a specific diversified economic development plan (See: What is most disturbing about this Gazette endorsement is the unprofessional and unethical creation of a false position that was NEVER discussed with me. That smear was your excuse for NOT endorsing the most qualified candidate for governor? [The paper realized they were wrong and removed the smear from their website.]

To say that I would not be a unifying presence for the state reveals either your ignorance of WV political history or else a complete misunderstanding of who West Virginians are. And more particularly, what we are capable of. According to Arch Moore, the 1996 Charlotte Pritt gubernatorial campaign was the most successful grassroots campaign in WV history: the 10,000 plus army of Pritt volunteers in my campaign were from ALL parties.

Only the most politically naive believe that there is any real difference between Jim Justice and Bill Cole. Both are Republicans and both will be controlled by ALEC/Koch Brothers. Jim Justice, Joe Manchin’s handpicked successor to Tomblin, will have a closer tie to ALEC/Koch Brothers because of Joe’s own close ties with ALEC since the early 1990’s. Both Justice and Cole are in an income bracket completely outside the range of those they would be governing.

As a Mountain Party governor, I represent ALL parties of WV because our members and those who vote for us are ISSUE oriented rather than LABEL oriented. In fact, a Charlotte Pritt governorship would be a mandate for governorship that empowers all West Virginians. My cabinet would consist of the best appointees from ALL parties. I would work with Senators, Delegates and citizens of ALL parties because my party and my base would come from BOTH and ALL party affiliations.

Despite your unfounded claim that I “would not be a unifying presence,” the only logical conclusion is that I am the only gubernatorial candidate capable of unifying our state.

Your opinion that “a vote for her is a vote for Bill Cole” not only underestimates my candidacy, it could have been directly lifted out of the Democratic party dirty tricks playbook used earlier this the campaign season.

A vote for Charlotte Pritt is a vote for my voting record and my principled stands for the eight years I served in the WV Legislature. A vote for Charlotte Pritt is a vote of trust by the people of WV!  A vote for Charlotte Pritt is a vote of principle not protest. They are voting for me because they have someone and something WORTH voting FOR!

Since the Gazette requires that those submitting letters to the editor give their names and telephone numbers, it seems only fair that the person who wrote the endorsement, including that smear, should follow the same guidelines that you demand from your contributors. The Voters and I deserve to know who on your staff actually wrote your Endorsement Editorial.
A poll from Global Strategy Group shows Justice ahead with 44% to Cole's 34% and with Pritt at 8%. Justice is winning self-described conservative Democrats 70-30%. Hillary is losing conservative Democrats to Trump 80-18%. Justice has said he won't vote for Hillary. Spending is pretty skewered towards the two reprehensible corporate party candidates. Justice has spent $4,361,913 ($3,274,403 of which is a loan from himself) and Cole has spent $2,557,341 (including a $500,000 loan from himself). Pritt has spent $5,176.

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Well, why SHOULDN'T the Wiener Guy be a playuh (THE playuh?) in these presidential election follies?


Oh great, just what these 2016 presidential follies needed -- the Wiener Guy is back!

"There must be some recognition that it is important not to allow an investigation to become hijacked by the red-hot passions of a political contest . . . . It is antithetical to the interests of justice, putting a thumb on the scale of this election and damaging our democracy."
-- former U.S. Deputy AGs Jamie Gorelick and Larry Thompson
in a WaPo op-ed,
"James Comey is damaging our democracy"

by Ken

Admit it, you thought this election couldn't get any wackier. You thought that if there was really an October surprise, it would be something, you know, of some election-tipping-worthy seriousness? Well, surprise!

And maybe it figures. What could be crazier, and therefore more appropriate to this election, than having it turn out that Anthony Weiner is a playuh, maybe the ultimate playuh, because the new e-mail follies are all about (or around, or somehow to do with) you-know-who. That's right, Anthony "Maybe I Can't Keep It in My Pants 'Cause I Don't Wanna" Weiner.

Of course the Billion-Dollar Loser knows that there's no "great crime" buried in the latest e-mails, any more than there was in any of the other e-mails that have bobbed to the surface in this weird election season. Of course he can hope. But as someone who is surely familiar with both crimes and great crimes (he probably tried to ensure that among the dozen or so crimes that the commits, or that are committed on his behalf, before he oozes his caracass out of bed each morning that there's at least one great crime.

And I suppose you can't blame a guy for hoping. But he surely knows better. Luckily for him, though, he also knows it doesn't matter, because in the swamps of human denigration where he's been slopping together his electoral constituency, reality doesn't count for anything. Has any presidential candidate ever had a lower opinion of the voters he's hoping to enlist? (If you're wondering how a man who may be the most thoroughly corrupt human in the history of the species dares to denounce Hillary C for "corruption," I'm afraid I can't help.)

Anyway, now with FBI Director J. Edgar Comey joining Russian Prexy Vladimir Putin and WikiLeaks Big Brain Julian Assange out on the campaign trail stumping for the Biggest Loser, it somehow seems only right that it falls to the Wiener Guy to push him over the top. Go, Team The Donald!

Speaking of Jimsy the FBI plodder, even making due allowance for the delicacy of the position he's been put throughout these serial e-mail follies, one notes that he seems to have found his way consistently to a mediocre choice -- and now to a fairly appalling one. Which, in case you haven't seen it, has inspired a pair of former U.S. deputy AGs, from administrations of both parties, to register a resounding dissent in a Washington Post op-ed (links onsite).
James Comey is damaging our democracy caption: "In this July 14, 2016 file photo, FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington."

By Jamie Gorelick and Larry Thompson | October 29 at 11:29 PM

Jamie Gorelick served as deputy attorney general from 1994 to 1997 and is a supporter of Hillary Clinton. Larry Thompson served as deputy attorney general from 2001 to 2003 and signed a letter from a group of former Justice Department officials in Republican administrations calling for Donald Trump’s defeat.

The Justice Department has a proud history of enforcing the federal criminal law without fear or favor, and especially without regard to politics. It operates under long-standing and well-established traditions limiting disclosure of ongoing investigations to the public and even to Congress, especially in a way that might be seen as influencing an election. These traditions protect the integrity of the department and the public’s confidence in its mission to take care that the laws are faithfully and impartially executed. They reflect an institutional balancing of interests, delaying disclosure and public knowledge to avoid misuse of prosecutorial power by creating unfair innuendo to which an accused party cannot properly respond.

Decades ago, the department decided that in the 60-day period before an election, the balance should be struck against even returning indictments involving individuals running for office, as well as against the disclosure of any investigative steps. The reasoning was that, however important it might be for Justice to do its job, and however important it might be for the public to know what Justice knows, because such allegations could not be adjudicated, such actions or disclosures risked undermining the political process. A memorandum reflecting this choice has been issued every four years by multiple attorneys general for a very long time, including in 2016.

When they take their vows and assume office, senior officials in the Justice Department and the FBI become part of these traditions, with an obligation to preserve, protect and defend them. They enjoy a credibility established by generations of honorable public servants, and they owe a solemn obligation to maintain that credibility. They are not to arrogate to themselves the choices made by the Justice Department and honored over the years.

As part of that obligation, they must recognize that the department is an institution, not a person. As its temporary custodians, they must neither seek the spotlight for their own advancement nor avoid accountability for the hard decisions they inevitably face. Justice allows neither for self-aggrandizing crusaders on high horses nor for passive bureaucrats wielding rubber stamps from the shadows. It demands both humility and responsibility.

As former deputy attorneys general in the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, we are troubled by the apparent departure from these standards in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server. First, the FBI director, James B. Comey, put himself enthusiastically forward as the arbiter of not only whether to prosecute a criminal case — which is not the job of the FBI — but also best practices in the handling of email and other matters. Now, he has chosen personally to restrike the balance between transparency and fairness, departing from the department’s traditions. As former deputy attorney general George Terwilliger aptly put it, “There’s a difference between being independent and flying solo.”

At the same time, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch — nominally Comey’s boss — has apparently been satisfied with advising Comey but not ordering him to abide by the rules. She, no doubt, did not want to override the FBI director in such a highly political matter, but she should not have needed to. He should have abided by the policy on his own.

Events as they have played out point to the value of the department’s traditions. Having taken the extraordinary steps of briefing the public, testifying before Congress about a decision not to prosecute and sharing investigative material, Comey now finds himself wanting to update the public and Congress on each new development in the investigation, even before he and others have had a chance to assess its significance. He may well have been criticized after the fact had he not advised Congress of the investigative steps that he was taking. But it was his job — consistent with the best traditions of the Department of Justice — to make the right decision and take that criticism if it came. Department officials owe the public an explanation of how events have unfolded the way they have. There must be some recognition that it is important not to allow an investigation to become hijacked by the red-hot passions of a political contest.

As it stands, we now have real-time, raw-take transparency taken to its illogical limit, a kind of reality TV of federal criminal investigation. Perhaps worst of all, it is happening on the eve of a presidential election. It is antithetical to the interests of justice, putting a thumb on the scale of this election and damaging our democracy.


In response to questions from reporters, Republican presidential candidate Donald "The Billion-Dollar Loser" Trump confirmed that "obviously" he had quit the race when he announced that his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, is "obviously guilty."

"I didn't think that needed to be spelled out," he said. "Obviously it would be unthinkable to ever allow someone who could say such a thing to have any kind of involvement in the workings of the system of justice in the United States of America. That would just be unthinkable, obviously."

Asked suggesting that he had been quoting his friend Russian President Vladimir Putin, "The Donald" was asked when he had spoken to Mr. Putin, and he acknowledged, "Nah, he never returns my calls."

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It's Not Too Late To Make A Difference In A Handful Of Congressional Races


The new Reuters/Ipsos battleground state polls that came out this morning, show ties in the presidential match-ups in Ohio (45-45%) and Nevada (40-40%) but show Clinton with leads in Wisconsin (47-42%), North Carolina (48-44%), Florida (49-45%), Arizona (43-42%), Iowa (44-42%), New Hampshire (44-40%), Michigan (41-37%), Pennsylvania (48-46%), Virginia (48-39%), Minnesota (41-37%) and Colorado (46-43%). Trump is ahead in 3 reliably red-leaning states: Georgia (48-43%), South Carolina (49-44%) and Missouri (48-42%). But the most shocking polling news of the morning was from hard-to-poll always red Alaska, where Hillary is leading Trump 47-43%!

I ran into an old acquaintance, a Democratic operative, the other day. He's kind of Old School and when I asked him what good contributions do this late in the cycle-- after all there are only 10 days until all the ballots have been counted-- his response was sickening to me. "Walking' around money," he said... "You know, so we can stuff the pockets of the policiticeras or the black ministers or whoever can turn out some late votes." He's always reminded me of Joe Lieberman, now more than ever. (And... he mostly works for Blue Dogs and New Dems, so, yeah... that's what you'd expect.)

I decided to ask some of the Blue America candidates what they will do with the last minute money that comes in. I asked the ones I could find-- most are out knocking on doors-- what they would do with another $1,000 between now and Nov. 8.

Tom Wakely, who's running for the central Texas seat held by the science-denying chairman of the House Science Committee, Lamar Smith, would be one of the biggest stories on the cycle if he wins, a distinct possibility now as Trump turns off suburban voters in Bexar, Travis and Comal counties. "Our campaign," he told me, "has always been about our field efforts and making contact with folks in the district. My job as the candidate has been heavily focused on retail politics. Every bit of support we've received has been directed to literature, signs, gasoline, and the occasional breakfast taco for the hardest working volunteers in Texas. It's about having as many voters to meet or talk to our amazing team. The clock stops at 7PM on November 8th. We won't be stopping anytime before then. We owe that much to our family, our friends, our volunteers, and our supporters. There's no sleep when our future is at stake."

Mary Ellen Balchunis is in a similar position. The DCCC has starved her campaign of the money it takes to run a mass media campaign and she's doing it the old fashioned way-- the way she won her landslide victory in the primary: grassroots politics. "First, I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous grassroots support for my campaign from progressives across the country," she told me. "With only a little over a week left before the election, our campaign is running along at full speed. Our amazing volunteers have been knocking doors and phone banking, but they cannot do it alone. Later this week our campaign will be releasing a digital ad and a comparison piece with Pat Meehan and myself to get my message out to even more voters in the 7th District. With the support we've gotten from Blue America and other progressive groups and from our union friends, we will be able to keep our field team going to the last hour on November 8th and push our new ad out to as many voters as possible."

Mary Hoeft's district isn't just the biggest-- and most rural-- district in Wisconsin, it takes up about a third of the state! Door knocking only goes so far to reach voters there. And, like Mary Ellen's and Tom's campaigns, the DCCC hasn't given her a dime, even though the district voted for Obama in 2008 and, until recently, had a long-time Democratic congressman, Dave Obey. Mary is supplementing her field campaign with radio advertising and she told us that "with just 12 days remaining, every dollar I receive in donations goes toward another commercial. In this part of Wisconsin radio air time costs $15 for 30 seconds.  If you donate $15 to my campaign, another thousand people may hear my ad. It isn't too late to have the name Mary Hoeft for Congress heard!!!  And trust me when I say, YOU WOULD LOVE the nasty ad about Sean Duffy that your money will buy!"

Coincidentally, I just got an e-mail from one of the progressive candidates we're counting on to lead Congress in a more progressive direction, Parmila Jayapal from Seattle. Her opponent launched an attack ad against her this week and now a superPAC has come in with $285,000 in independent expenditures attacking her on TV-- "so that is a total of over $400,000 in negative TV attack ads on me in the days leading up to the general election," she told me. "We are fighting back in numerous ways, and have gone up with a spot of our own on TV to counter theirs. People have been amazing and stepping up, but I need help." Let's give it to her.

There's not much time left to do anything to help turn Congress in a more progressive direction. Doing what we can for the candidates on the page that come sup when you tap the thermometer below, will do just that though. Dig as deep as you can without hurting your own financial well-being. This really is it for 2016.
Goal Thermometer