Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Roving Ambassador To European Fascism Is An Iowa Congressman, Popular With His Ignorant Constituents


American fascist scum

Are there any full-on, real-life fascists in the House? Iowa just reelected one 61.4-38.6%. The biggest and least densely populated district in the state, IA-04 (Sioux City, Mason City, Ames and lots of farmland in between) gave Trump 60.9% of it's vote to Trump. They were even more enthusiastic about their longtime congressman-- since 2002-- Steve King, widely considered the most outspoken hate monger and bigot in Congress. In 2010, we asked our readers to pick the worst member of Congress. Unsurprisingly, Steve King was one of the finalists. King has been an icon of everything that's gone wrong with the Republican Party and it's slide into neo-fascist, ignornace-based dogma. His career-long ProgressivePunch score is 2.49 (out of 100); that's a shocking record of voting against the interests of the people who have voted him into office and against working families across America. So far this year, his crucial vote score is zero.

But he's been doing more than just voting badly. He's Congress' and the Republican Party's unofficial ambassador-at-large to the European fascist parties, cultivating relationships with the neo-Nazi parties all over Die alte Welt-- espaecially Islamophobes.
The Congressman --  who is infamous for accusing child asylum seekers of smuggling drugs into the U.S., keeping a confederate flag at his desk, and asking what contributions nonwhite people have made to society — has been openly forming political partnerships and personal friendships with a wide array of leaders on Europe’s xenophobic and populist right. Among his stated acquaintances are members of populist and nativist parties from Austria, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

King’s collusion with fringe right wingers, including many holding anti-Muslim beliefs, should come as little surprise. This is the same man who once said that Islam is incompatible with American values and called for the government to spy on American mosques.

King was recently seen palling around with the leaders of Austria’s Freedom Party. The Freedom Party, founded by a former SS officer in 1956, ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Austrian presidency last month. King tweeted out his condolences to Norbert Hofer, the Freedom Party’s candidate, at the time.

“The cause of freedom and our friendship remain,” he wrote. “Onward!”

But Hofer is just one of King’s many friends on the European far right.

The Iowa congressman also hosted noted Islamophobic Dutch politician Geert Wilders in Washington, D.C. in April 2015. Wilders, leader of the Netherlands’ Freedom Party (sensing a theme here?), is riding the international populist wave and could grasp victory in his country’s elections this March. Wilders has frequently and openly expressed a willingness to stem immigration--  particularly Muslim immigration--  to the Netherlands; among his myriad anti-Muslim statements are gems like, “the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam.”

At a rally in 2014, Wilders asked a crowd: “In the Netherlands, do you want more or fewer Moroccans?”

“Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” the crowd in the Dutch city of The Hague replied.

“Then I’ll arrange it,” Wilders said at the time. He was later tried and found guilty for discrimination and inciting hatred.

King was recently spotted meeting with Wilders alongside another far right-wing politician, Frauke Petry. Petry leads the Alternative for Germany party (AfD)--  an anti-immigrant party that reminds some in the country of the Nazi party. The New Yorker described the AfD as Germany’s “most successful nationalist phenomenon since the Second World War.”

In October, King met with Marine Le Pen--  a far right party leader in France who has had a surge in popularity in recent weeks and is considered a real contender in the French presidential election, set to take place in May. Le Pen is running on a platform opposing immigration and has repeatedly stoked fear of Islam to bolster support for her campaign.

King was the first elected American official to publicly meet with Le Pen, and the two are set to meet again, this time in Washington, D.C. in January.

Le Pen tweeted in October that she had an “interesting exchange” with King on France, the U.S., and international affairs.

Although King’s outreach to the European far right is exceptional, he’s not the only American politician currently trying to establish ties with leaders such as Hofer and Le Pen. Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the Austrian Freedom Party, said in December that he had met with President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. At the time, Trump’s transition team described the report as “fake news.”

And top Trump adviser Steve Bannon, now a member of the president’s National Security Council, turned Breitbart Media into a platform for boosting the European far right when he was the publication’s chief executive.
In December, Iowa Farmer Today published a shocking story about how King's constituents are committing suicide at the highest rate in history.
We tend to think of the 1980s as the most prominent mental health emergency in rural communities, marked by high rates of suicide and violence.

The events of the farm crisis were serious enough to mobilize statewide and national resources. For example, the Rural Concern Hotline, now the Iowa Concern Hotline (1-800-447-1985), was started as a direct response to help farm families experiencing economic and mental health challenges during this period.

The National Farm Medicine Center in Marshfield, Wis., tracked farm suicides during the 1980s in the Upper Midwest, the region most affected by the farm crisis, to try to better understand the relationships between the farm economy and suicide.

They found that 913 male farmers in the region committed suicide during that decade, with rates peaking in 1982 at 58 suicides for every 100,000 male farmers and ranchers.

Rates among the general population were around 31 suicides per 100,000 white males over the age of 20 during that same time period.

Compare that with this year’s CDC report, which found that current national suicide rates for people working in agriculture are 84.5 per 100,000 overall, and 90.5 per 100,000 among males. This means that suicide rates among male farmers are now more than 50 percent higher than they were in 1982, at the peak of the farm crisis.

...While some may appear to be depressed or uninterested in activities, others may be more irritable and prone to anger or rage or show signs of anxiety.

Suicide rates among farmers are now higher than any other occupation, and even higher than they were at the height of the farm crisis.
That also describes typical Hate Radio listeners, Fox News viewers  Trump voters and supporters of Steve King. It's not a coincidence. By its very nature, fascism is a high anxiety state and drives large numbers of people to despair and suicide. Steve King is the wrong man for Iowa's 4th Congressional District.

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So Who Is Neil Gorsuch-- Aside From Someone Nominated By The National Buffoon?


Señor Trumpanzee nominated Neil Grouch to the seat stolen by the Republicans from Merrick Garland. I doubt they will, but the Democrats should filibuster him and not allow him to serve on the Court. Why. Here's where I turn to my friends at People for the American Way, who know a great deal about this extremist Trump wants to put on the Court:
Judge Neil Gorsuch is an ideological warrior who puts his own right-wing politics above the Constitution, the law and the rights of everyday people.

Supreme Court justices serve for life, and President Trump's recent discriminatory executive actions that betray American values send a sobering reminder of how critical it is to have an independent and fair Court. Americans know we need Supreme Court justices who will protect the most fundamental American freedoms. Trump would like a justice who's a rubber stamp for the kind of anti-constitutional actions that we have seen over just the last week. We simply cannot afford that, and that's why the Senate should reject Judge Gorsuch.

Trump could have nominated someone who has demonstrated an understanding that the Constitution and our laws are there to protect all of us. Instead, he’s outsourced his choice to the right-wing Federalist Society and the oil billionaire Koch-supported Heritage Foundation, giving us a nominee who has protected the privileges of the wealthy and powerful, not the rights and freedoms of ordinary people.

Judge Gorsuch has spent his entire career pushing an extreme agenda that hurts ordinary Americans. He has made clear that he’s a patently unacceptable choice who’d push his own dangerous agenda from the bench. Over the course of his career, he’s turned his back on fundamental American rights, from shutting down claims of gender discrimination in the workplace, to trying to limit Americans’ ability to join class-action lawsuits to challenge corporate wrong-doing, to ruling in the original Hobby Lobby decision that corporations are people and can refuse to offer their employees birth control, to claiming that a police officer could not be sued for using excessive force when his stun gun killed a young man running from police simply because he was growing marijuana plants. That’s appalling.

Judge Gorsuch has spent years building an extreme record that makes him unfit for the Supreme Court:
        Gorsuch has consistently advocated and ruled against workers and in favor of big corporations. He’s argued for limiting class-action lawsuits against corporations and has ruled against women bringing suits that challenge gender discrimination in the workplace.  Such Corporate Court jurisprudence leads to the elevation of corporate interests above the interests of the people, who the Constitution was meant to serve and who the laws were written to protect.

        He was one of the original judges in the Hobby Lobby decision, in which the Tenth Circuit ruled that corporations are people and that they can refuse to cover birth control as part of their employees’ health insurance. The ruling that Gorsuch joined disturbingly allowed corporations to use religion as a guise to discriminate against women.

        He ruled that a police officer did not use excessive force when he killed a young man by shooting him in the head with a stun gun, contrary to his training manual. The man had been stopped by police after he admitted that some marijuana plants were his, at which point he ran off. At no point had he committed any violent acts.  At a time when the abuses of our criminal justice system are becoming a national crisis, we cannot confirm a justice who does not understand the role of the Supreme Court to protect the most vulnerable among us.

        Gorsuch has supported overruling the so-called Chevron doctrine, an established Supreme Court rule deferring to administrative agencies’ interpretation of ambiguous statutes. Even Justice Scalia rightly noted, “[I]n the long run, Chevron will endure and be given its full scope” because “it more accurately reflects the reality of government, and thus more adequately serves its needs.” Overruling this precedent would cause far-reaching repercussions and serious harm to everyday Americans. The doctrine is crucial for worker protections, scientific advancement, and more.
UPDATE: Nurses Union Is Opposing Trump's Radical Right Nominee

“National Nurses United will oppose the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court and called on Democratic members of the Senate to follow the standard set by the Senate majority last year in taking whatever steps they can, including the use of the filibuster, to block the confirmation of Gorsuch.

“With the refusal of the U.S. Senate to hold hearings on the last Presidential nominee for the Court, there can be no justification for a rush to judgment on this nominee. A new standard has been set that no howls of ‘obstructionism’ today can obscure,” said NNU Co-President Deborah Burger, RN.

“Gorsuch should also be opposed because of a far right record that is consistently hostile to the rights and protections of working people,” said Burger. "Last year in blocking President Obama's nomination, Republicans said the court could function just fine with only eight members. Let's hold them to that now."

Over the past 10 years with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Gorsuch has written at least 15 labor and employment rulings. Twelve of those rulings involved federal race, sex, age, disability and political discrimination and retaliation claims. Gorsuch's opinions aligned with employers in eight of the 12 cases.

Additionally, Gorsuch wrote three opinions upholding National Labor Relations Board rulings against both employees and unions.

Elizabeth Warren: "Before even joining the bench, he advocated to make it easier for public companies to defraud investors. As a judge, he has twisted himself into a pretzel to make sure the rules favor giant companies over workers and individual Americans. He has sided with employers who deny wages, improperly fire workers, or retaliate against whistleblowers for misconduct. He has ruled against workers in all manner of discrimination cases. And he has demonstrated hostility toward women's access to basic health care. For years, powerful interests have executed a full-scale assault on the integrity of our federal judiciary, trying to turn the Supreme Court into one more rigged game that works only for the rich and the powerful. They spent millions to keep this seat open, and Judge Gorsuch is their reward."

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Resistance, California-- Winter, 2017... Ted Lieu, Jimmy Gomez


Late yesterday-- just as 4 Senate Democrats were voting with the Republicans to shut down the filibuster that could have stopped Tillerson's confirmation-- Ted Lieu offered a theme for the resistance: "We should not give him a chance to govern. I believe he is a danger to the Republic." Trump's neo-Nazi supporters are going bonkers over Ted's ability to rally opposition against their Führer. These two tweets should give you an idea of the kind of reaction Ted is getting for his courageous stands:

Ted needs allies-- allies in committee meetings, allies on the House floor, allies when he's leading the resistance to Trump the way he did at LAX this weekend. I'm guessing that's why one of the first members of Congress to endorse Jimmy Gomez was... Ted Lieu. My district is right between Ted's congressional district and Jimmy's assembly district. I know them both well enough for dinners, lunches and intense conversation. When Ted was in Sacramento in the state legislature, he was the best member. Best? Why the best? Because he got the tough jobs done everyone else was afraid to tackle. He took that experience with him to Congress, immediately got elected by his peers freshman class president and is one of the most effective members of Congress now. And guess what-- today, Jimmy Gomez is the best member of the Assembly for the same reason-- taking on tough issues other members don't even understand and working and working and working until he puts together the coalitions that will pass them-- like an effective way to make climate change legislation work for people who can't afford to buy a Tesla and like an effective way to make Family Leave legislation work for the women who need it most, not just people making over $80,000 a year.

And guess who was at LAX this weekend, besides Ted, working diligently to free Trump's prisoners and. This is Jimmy:

Look, CA-34 is a solid blue district. Republicans don't even bother running around here. The district gave Hillary a massive 83.6% to 10.7% landslide over Trump. Voters rejected Trump by an even greater number than they rejected Romney by. After all, Romney got a full 14% in 2012. Although there are a couple of creeps running who are being financed by the anti-union charter school interests, most of the two dozen candidates know what to say to appeal to the voters. There are at least 4 people claiming they're Bernie candidates. But there's only one who's been getting Bernie's agenda passed in Sacramento. And that's Jimmy Gomez.

Ted's district is CA-33. If Jimmy wins the primary in April, his district will be CA-34. These guys are going to make a powerful bloc in L.A., not just of candidates who vote well, but candidates who understand what moving and shaking means. Today Jimmy, who had just been endorsed by the Nurses Union and the Electrical Workers Union, told voters in the district that "Trump’s executive order targeting immigrants and refugees on the basis of religion and national origin is unconstitutional, and it outrages me. It tramples on our American values of freedom of religion and equality and I will not stand for it-- and I hope you won’t either. On Saturday night, I went to LAX in solidarity with the protestors and to tell to our Muslim and immigrant communities here in California and across the world: You are not alone. We stand with you, and as the son of immigrants I will join my fellow Americans in fighting for you and your rights."

Ted's parents came to the U.S. from Taiwan. Jimmy's parents came here from Mexico. Both Ted and Jimmy embraced the American dream with fervor and both are dedicated and sincere public servants. "In California," said Jimmy as part of his statement about Trump's unconstitutional refugee executive order, "we don’t just tolerate diversity. We celebrate it and we know it makes our communities and our economy stronger. America is better than this ban, and while we made some progress yesterday-- with the action taken through the ACLU’s lawsuit and the strong show of solidarity at protests around the country. We cannot stop fighting and resisting Trump’s movement. We have the power to defeat them, but we have to keep organizing. I just got back to Sacramento and the first thing I instructed my staff to do was draft a resolution to officially put California on the record against Trump’s Muslim Ban. There's plenty that you can do too. Join a rally. Volunteer. Call your representatives. Our nation’s values depend on us and we owe it to our neighbors to protect them."

We need more people like Ted Lieu in Congress. And that's more people like Jimmy Gomez. Please consider contributing to his campaign by tapping the thermometer below. April 4th isn't that far away.
Goal Thermometer

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Resisting Arrest Can Now Be Considered a Hate Crime in Louisiana


Cops copping a feel. Is it a hate crime in Louisiana to react to this ... or complain?

by Gaius Publius

Just a brief note while I work on a longer piece about the bipartisan history behind the most obvious of the multiple coups we're experiencing, the Trumpian one.

This has trial balloon written all over it. From Jacob Sugarman at Alternet:
Resisting arrest can now be considered a hate crime in Louisiana

The bill empowers police to pursue more draconian punishments if crimes are motivated by animus towards the police

In May of 2016, Louisiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards signed the “Blue Lives Matter” bill, which protects police officers, firefighters and EMS officials under the state’s hate crime statute. The law went into effect in August, and now at least one police chief is ready to apply it to anyone resisting arrest.

“We don’t need the general public being murdered for no reason and we don’t need officers being murdered for no reason. We all need to just work together,” St. Martinville Police Chief Calder Herbert told a local ABC affiliate. “Resisting an officer or batter of a police officer was just that charge, simply. But now, Governor Edwards, in the legislation, made it a hate crime.”

While the bill does not specifically list resisting arrest as a qualifying offense, it empowers police officials to pursue more draconian punishments of crimes deemed to be motivated by animus towards the police. The Huffington Post’s Julia Craven offers a chilling scenario: “If a police officer grabs a protester’s arm during a demonstration and that person makes a movement the officer considers aggressive, a minor trespassing or disturbing the peace charge could be bumped up to assault and possibly considered a hate crime.”
The Trump administration has taken notice: "On WhiteHouse.gov, the Trump administration has vowed to make life uncomfortable for “the rioter, the looter [and] the violent disrupter.” It also pledges to increase the number of officers on the streets."

Again, a trial balloon, but in this cop-and-prosecution worshiping country, it's almost guaranteed to take flight. After all, given the current Congress, I'd be shocked if a federal version wasn't attempted.

Note also the provisional language in the write-up — "can be considered" a hate crime. This means, the charge is available if the prosecutor wants to use it, selective prosecution, in other words, used against selected targets. After all, if the cop tells a judge, "She called me a 'pig,' your honor," ("pig" being a hippie-era epithet for "cop"), that may be all it takes to get a conviction. And note, the charge doesn't even have to be true, just asserted by police (who of course, never lie).

As I said above, there are multiple coups going on, including an obvious one made invisible by the media and cheered by the Democratic Party (see "Who’s Blackmailing the President?"). There are also at least two counter-coups, one hidden and big-footed by the other (for a hint, see "The Sanders Conundrum"). But the coup one in plain sight should not be ignored. It really is happening.


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DCCC Is Starting To Come To Grips With A Very Different 2018 Electoral Landscape


Most people agree-- it's time for this bum to say good-bye

Did you read Bill Moyers' piece Friday, Donald Trump's Demolition Derby. Who would disagree with him that "in just a few days, Donald Trump seems to have set out to wreck government and turn over the remains to his plutocrat friends?"
We’re a week into the Trump administration and it’s pretty obvious what he’s up to. First, Donald Trump is running a demolition derby: He wants to demolish everything he doesn’t like, and he doesn’t like a lot, especially when it comes to government.

Like one of those demolition drivers on a speedway, he keeps ramming his vehicle against all the others, especially government policies and programs and agencies that protect people who don’t have his wealth, power or privilege. Affordable health care for working people? Smash it. Consumer protection against predatory banks and lenders? Run over it. Rules and regulations that rein in rapacious actors in the market? Knock ‘em down. Fair pay for working people? Crush it. And on and on.

Trump came to Washington to tear the government down for parts, and as far as we can tell, he doesn’t seem to have anything at all in mind to replace it except turning back the clock to when business took what it wanted and left behind desperate workers, dirty water and polluted air.

In this demolition derby, Trump seems to have the wholehearted support of the Republican Party, which loathes government as much as it worships the market as god. Remember Thomas Frank’s book, The Wrecking Crew? Published in 2008, it remains one of the best political books of the past quarter-century. Frank took the measure of an unholy alliance: the century-old business crusade against government, the conservative ideology that looks on government as evil (except when it’s enriching its allies), and the Republican Party of George W. Bush and Karl Rove-- the one that had just produced eight years of crony capitalism and private plunder.

The Wrecking Crew-- and what an apt title it was-- showed how federal agencies were doomed to failure by the incompetence and hostility of the Bush gang appointed to run them, the same model Trump is using now. Frank tracked how wholesale deregulation-- on a scale Trump already is trying to reproduce-- led to devastating results for everyday people, including the mortgage meltdown and the financial crash. Reading the book is like reading today’s news, as kleptomaniacs spread across Washington to funnel billions of dollars into the pockets of lobbyists and corporations.
There's a lot more Moyers had to say and his essay with off into a direction disparaging of the new Trumpian plutocracy.

But today we're going to start the day with something more optimistic-- taking back the House in the 2018 midterms (and the 2017 special elections). Dan Sena is the new Executive Director of the DCCC. I don't know him but everyone tells me he's a lot better than the disaster, Kelly Ward, who ran the shit-show for Steve Israel and oversaw the evisceration of the House Democratic Party. Sena sent out a memo yesterday talking about the DCCC's early offensive. "Republican incumbents across the country," he wrote, "are damaged after unexpectedly close 2016 contests, dozens find themselves defending seats where Donald Trump is already deeply unpopular, and together the House Republicans and Trump Administration are pushing a wildly unpopular agenda that threatens their standing from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt." Rah rah... but he's not wrong. As he pointed out, "The American people have repeatedly organized this month in peaceful marches to resist the Trump Administration and the Republican vision for our country, from their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, to a tax-payer funded Mexican border wall and this weekend’s dangerous Muslim ban. This widespread backlash will only grow as Trump and House Republicans continue to ignore this loud chorus from their constituents, who so clearly oppose what this Republican-controlled Washington D.C. has to offer."

That's exactly the Blue America premise as we go forward. We've been working towards recruiting progressive candidates everywhere. Unfortunately, many are still so damaged from their or their colleagues' horrific and destructive past encounters with the DCCC that they're reluctant to run or run again. And, one of the architects of last year's disasters, Rahm Emanuel disciple and vile reactionary Blue Dog Cheri Bustos, is still trying to shove her loser candidates down the throats of the DCCC recruitment committee. But with Israel and Ward gone, Bustos is... well, let's say taken less seriously.

Send is defining the battleground very widely including the 23 seats that Republicans still hold but that Hillary won-- 7 of which are seats that Obama didn't win, "indicating," he noted, "a potential Trump-driven problem for these Republicans."

Had enough of this?
The Democrats need to win a net of 24 seats to take back the House. Sena identified 59-- not counting Paul Ryan's seat-- where he thinks Democrats have a reasonable shot. Below are the seats, with the incumbents and the results that Trump and Clinton had in each. Several are seats the DCCC never targets, like the Orange, County, California seats where rejection of Trump was very strong. And in Miami, it looks like the DCCC is finally ignoring the wretched Wasserman Schultz and preparing to go after her crony, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who sits in a nice blue district and only survives because of Wasserman Schultz's machinations. (The DCCC is still taking a Steve Israel-mandated hands-off approach to NY-02, his pal Peter King's very winnable seat.) Remember, this is a DCCC list and even they're in the process of healing, it's still an historically incompetent organization so there are insane targets included (like this first two) and also remember that the first number is Trump's performance and the second is Clinton's. The seats Clinton won are the bolded ones:
 AL-02 – Martha Roby- 64.9- 33.0%

AR-02 – French Hill- 52.4- 41.7%
AZ-02 – Martha McSally- 44.7- 49.6%
CA-10 – Jeff Denham- 45.5- 48.5%
CA-21 – David Valadao- 39.7- 55.2%
CA-25 – Steve Knight- 43.6- 50.3%
CA-39 – Ed Royce- 42.9- 551.5%
CA-45 – Mimi Walters- 44.4- 49.8%
CA-48 – Dana Rohrabacher- 46.2- 47.9%
CA-49 – Darrell Issa- 43.2- 50.7%
CO-03 – Scott Tipton- 52.0- 40.0%
CO-06 – Mike Coffman- 41.3- 50.2
FL-18 – Brian Mast- 53.3- 44.1%
FL-25 – Mario Diaz-Balart- 49.6- 47.9%
FL-26 – Carlos Curbelo- 40.6- 56.7%
FL-27 – Ileana Ros-Lehtinen- 38.9- 58.6%
GA-06 – Tom Price- 48.3- 46.8%
IA-01 – Rod Blum- 48.7- 45.2%
IA-03 – David Young- 48.5- 45.0%

IL-06 – Peter Roskam- 43.2- 50.2%
IL-13 – Rodney Davis- 49.7- 44.2%

IL-14 – Randy Hultgren- 48.7- 44.8%
KS-02 – Lynn Jenkins- 55.8- 37.4%

KS-03 – Kevin Yoder- 46.0- 47.2
KY-06 – Andy Barr- 54.7- 39.4%
ME-02 – Bruce Poliquin- 51.4- 41.1%
MI-07 – Tim Walberg- 55.7- 38.7%
MI-08 – Mike Bishop- 50.6- 43.9%
MI-11 – Dave Trott- 49.7- 45.3%

MN-02 – Jason Lewis- 46.5- 45.3%
MN-03 – Erik Paulsen- 41.4- 50.8%
NC-08 – Richard Hudson- 56.1- 41.1%
NC-09 – Robert Pittenger- 54.4- 42.8%
NC-13 – Ted Budd- 53.4- 44.0%
NE-02 – Don Bacon- 48.2- 46.0%

NJ-02 – Frank LoBiondo- 50.6- 46.0
NJ-03 – Tom MacArthur- 51.4- 45.2%
NJ-07 – Leonard Lance- 47.5- 48.6
NJ-11 – Rodney Frelinghuysen- 48.8- 47.9
NY-01 – Lee Zeldin- 54.5- 42.2%
NY-11 – Dan Donovan- 53.6- 43.8%
NY-19 – John Faso- 51.0- 43.7%
NY-22 – Claudia Tenney- 54.8- 39.3%
NY-24 – John Katko- 45.3-48.9%
NY-27 – Chris Collins- 59.7- 35.2%
OH-01 – Steve Chabot-51.2- 44.6%

OH-07 – Bob Gibbs- 62.5- 32.8%
PA-06 - Ryan Costello- 47.6- 48.2%
PA-07 – Pat Meehan- 47.0- 49.3%
PA-08 – Brian Fitzpatrick- 48.2- 48.0%

PA-16 – Lloyd Smucker- 51.0- 44.2%

TX-07 – John Culberson- 47.1- 48.5%
TX-23 – Will Hurd- 46.4- 49.8%
TX-32 – Pete Sessions- 46.6- 48.5%
VA-02 – Scott Taylor- 48.8- 45.4%
VA-10 – Barbara Comstock- 42.2- 52.2%
WA-03 – Jaime Herrera Beutler- 49.9- 42.5%
WA-08 – David Reichert- 44.7- 47.7%
WV-02 – Alex Mooney- 65.8- 29.4%
Again, these are just DCCC preliminary targets, NOT Blue America targets. Some of them they have right and some look like they had a 5 year old throwing arrows at a dart board. I'm sure someone will straighten them out before they start shoveling money down some of these sewers.

And by the way, while Democratic congressmembers rushed to airports this weekend to help rescue Trump's prisoners, some of these targeted Republicans made their chances of political survival worse with statements like these:

Rod Blum (R-IA)- "The bottom line is they can’t properly vet people coming from war-torn areas like Syria and Iraq. If we can’t vet people properly, then we shouldn’t be allowing them into our country. I’m supportive of that."

Ed Royce (R-CA)- "[Barring] refugees from terror hot spots is the right call to keep America safe."

Pete Sessions (R-TX)- "Just as President Obama suspended the refugee program in 2011 for six months, the Trump Administration is working to protect national security by making adjustments in the refugee vetting process."

Scott Taylor (R-VA)- "While I do not agree with some of the rhetoric, taking a pause, figuring out if we are properly vetting people, and making changes if necessary to continue our American principles is prudent and needed."

David Trott (R-MI)- "Until we can adequately vet these refugees and ensure the safety of all Americans, I support President Trump's executive order to stay refugees from these terror-prone countries."

Lee Zeldin (R-NY)- "I support the temporary entry restriction from certain nations until the administration, Congress and the American people know with confidence that any individual being granted admission does not pose a threat to our security."

Anyway, the DCCC may be getting better but it has a long way to go. If you'd like to consider lending a hand to the Blue America House candidates already running against vulnerable Republicans, please tap the thermometer below:
Goal Thermometer

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Would You Work For A Fascist Regime?


According to Gallup, Trump's disapproval numbers continue to tick upwards every day. Yesterday it was at the unprecedented-- for a new president-- high of 50%. Today it's at 51%. It took Bush 3 years to turn over half the country against him; it took Trump a week. In England, in just a few hours, nearly a million people signed a petition demanding the government cancel his state visit to their country. [UPDATE: After two days, the petition had nearly two million signatures. Brits hate Trump.] That's a lot more people than went to his failed inauguration. The petitioners' demands will now be debated in Parliament. They aren't calling for Trump to be barred from the country, only citing his "well documented misogyny and vulgarity" as reasons to keep him away from the Queen. "Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US Government," the petition reads, "but he should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen. Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales. Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official State Visit."

Jeremy Corbyn has already called on Theresa May to put Trump's state visit on hold for as long as his horrific immigration and refugee executive orders are in place. Corbin's statement has had its intended affect and even May has reluctantly agreed that Trump's policies in these regards are horrible. "Immigration policy in the United States is a matter for the government of the United States, just the same as immigration policy for this country should be set by our government," she said. "But we do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking. We are studying this new executive order to see what it means and what the legal effects are, and in particular what the consequences are for UK nationals."

A thousand people/minute are adding their names to the petition. Preparations are underway to make sure that if Trump does visit London, he will be made to feel massively unwelcome-- even if Theresa May is still willing to hold President Snowflake's hand when he expresses fear of walking down a gentle incline. (Downing Street officials claimed the president’s phobia of stairs and slopes led him to grab the prime minister’s hand as they walked down a ramp at the White House.) And there's more than just the grassroots petitions and Jeremy Corbyn that are putting Trump's trip to London in jeopardy-- "an extraordinary diplomatic row with the Prince of Wales over climate change."
Members of Trump’s inner circle have warned officials and ministers that it would be counterproductive for Charles to “lecture” Trump on green issues and that he will “erupt” if pushed. They want the younger princes, William and Harry, to greet the president instead. Royal aides insist that he should meet Trump.

Senior government officials now believe Charles is one of the most serious “risk factors” for the visit.

Trump’s team is also concerned that he will face a wave of protests, with thousands of people taking to the streets to denounce him.

Trump has repeatedly branded climate change “a hoax” and a “money-making industry,” saying it was “created by and for the Chinese” to damage American manufacturing.

Hours after he took office, references to climate change were removed from the White House website. By contrast, Prince Charles has been an environmental campaigner for more than 40 years and has described climate change as “the wolf at the door.”

Trump wants to abandon the international deal to tackle climate change that was agreed at a summit in Paris in December 2015. Charles delivered a keynote speech at that meeting.

A source close to Trump said: “He won’t put up with being lectured by anyone, even a member of the royal family. Frankly, they should think twice about putting him and Prince Charles in the same room together.”

...Trump’s state visit has also sparked concerns that the president will betray the confidence of the Queen and tweet about their exchanges.

Tensions between Trump and the royals could be heightened by a series of off-colour comments the billionaire once made about Diana, Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Cambridge.

Asked by the radio shock jock Howard Stern whether he could have “nailed” Diana, Trump replied: “I think I could have.”

More recently, Trump tweeted about nude pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge saying: “Who wouldn’t take Kate’s picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing.”

While the visit is expected in the first week of June, it is possible Trump could come in October instead.

Or never. Closer to home, David Frum, writing for The Atlantic dealt with the sticky question about what normal people of good will do when they're asked to serve the fascist regime.
Some 40 people were indicted as a result of the Watergate scandal. Among those sentenced to prison: the attorney general of the United States, the White House counsel, and President Nixon’s two most senior White House aides. A dozen men were convicted or pled guilty to a range of charges after the Iran-Contra affair.

White Houses can be dangerous places under leadership that does not respect the law. When friends ask me, “Should I accept a job under President Trump?” it’s not merely a philosophical question. Answer the question wrong, and they may find themselves two or three years later facing a congressional investigation or possibly even a grand jury. Even those who never face charges-- let alone conviction-- can see their lives up-ended: As the saying goes, in Washington, the process is the punishment.

So how should a public-spirited person respond to an invitation to serve the country during the Trump years?

Let’s start by assessing the four basic risks:
1) This administration has begun its career by shredding post-Watergate ethical standards. Trump has not effectively severed his connections to his business interests. He will not release his tax returns. The Trump Organization seems-- at best-- indifferent to appearances of commercial exploitation of the presidency. Anybody in the vicinity of Trump's finances, or those of his family, stands in danger of being caught in some future scandal, including tax and corruption investigations.

2) There remain disturbing unanswered questions about the relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian spy services. The new national security adviser, Michael Flynn, accepted payments from RT, the Russian state propaganda network. (He has refused to disclose the amount.) The legal hazards presented by clandestine contacts with hostile foreign governments are even more alarming than those connected to financial wrongdoing.

3) This administration lies a lot. Lying by public officials is usually unethical, but not always illegal. As White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said during the Trump transition: “Nobody on TV is ever under oath.”  But there are times when administration officials do speak under oath. Lying then becomes perjury. Lying to Congress is always illegal, whether under oath or not. People who habitually lie, lie habitually. Those who work with them can face trouble, even possibly obstruction of charges if they enable such lying: President Clinton’s White House counsel Bernie Nussbaum had to resign under fire in 1994 after other government officials alleged that his legal advice in the Whitewater matter amounted to the organization of a coverup.

4) Sometimes new administrations find themselves obliged to execute laws they disagree with. Changing the law can be slow. Ignoring the law takes much less time—but also opens the door to trouble. Ronald Reagan’s first EPA chief, Ann Gorsuch, entered history in 1982 as the first agency head to be cited for contempt of Congress. Gorsuch believed that the Carter administration had imposed excessive regulatory burdens. So she simply disregarded them. Convinced, for example, that the inherited rules on lead standards in gasoline were too onerous, she assured one refiner that she would leave the rule unenforced until such time as it could be amended. Gorsuch not only ended in disgrace herself, but embroiled two of her subordinates in perjury investigations.

So what is a patriotic American who’s been asked to serve to do? A few suggestions.

A law-abiding person will want to stay as far as possible from the personal service of President Trump. As demonstrated by the sad example of Press Secretary Sean Spicer spouting glaring lies on his first day on the job, this president will demand that his aides do improper things-- and the low standards of integrity in Trump's entourage create a culture of conformity to those demands.

A wise patriot might be wary of working directly for or near Flynn or anybody else tied to the Russian state, the entities it controls, or Russian business interests. The National Security Council staff has engorged itself to such an enormous size in recent years-- now some 400 people-- that there are many important roles to fill, safely firewalled away from Flynn.

...If confronted with an improper or unethical situation, nobody need rush into career martyrdom. One of the heroes of Watergate-- IRS Commissioner Johnnie Mac Walters-- was asked to investigate individuals on Nixon’s “enemies list.” Walters, and his boss George Shultz, refused. Good people can do the right thing even under pressure. But be aware: The pressure to do the wrong thing can be intense—and the closer one approaches to the center of presidential power and prestige, the more intense the pressure becomes. It’s easy to imagine that you’d emulate Walters when reading the book he wrote four decades after the fact. But in the moment? In the Oval Office? Face to face with the president of the United States?

So maybe the very first thing to consider, if the invitation comes, is this: How well do you know yourself? How sure are you that you indeed would say no?

And then humbly consider this second troubling question: If the Trump administration were as convinced as you are that you would do the right thing-- would they have asked you in the first place?
We all know, Hitler didn't carry out the Holocaust and wage World War II all by himself. He had plenty of help. Some hung, others went to prison or fled. No one came out the better for working for his government. And Trump already has his eager, vile little helpmates, doesn't he?

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McCain: "Every American Should Be Alarmed By Russia's Attacks On Our Nation"


Trump must have been fuming when he launched his latest crazed, Adderall-fueled Twitter attack. It was against two senior Republicans though, not the millions of people protesting his unconstitutional Muslim ban over the weekend. Whether Putin hacked the electronic machines in Macomb County, Michigan, just stole and released embarrassing e-mails from Democrats or just wished Trump well, his stake in the 2016 election was primarily centered on two premises-- to weaken NATO and get them to stop threatening Russia and to end the painful economic and financial sanctions enacted when Russia launched a revanchist annexation of Crimea, both reasonable goals. When he had a chit-chat with his candidate this past weekend, things weren't going as smoothly as he might have hoped. Trump is well on his way to being the most despised president in history-- and in record time. He's toned down-- at least for now-- his campaign to undermine NATO. And, in light of mammoth bipartisan opposition, he's admitted it's "too early" to talk about dropping the sanctions against Russia.

Congressional Republicans have signaled him to forget getting rid of the sanctions. Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he's "absolutely opposed to lifting sanctions on the Russians. If anything, we ought to be looking at increasing them." A bipartisan group of senators have introduced legislation to extend and codify the sanctions, which would put Trump in an extremely awkward position, having to pick between what most Americans want and what his Kremlin puppet master demands.

A couple of weeks ago, in an OpEd for the L.A. Times, political cartoonist David Horsey, wondered aloud if Americans will be able to count on McCain to protect American interests from the strange, kleptocratic Trump-Putin bromance. Like many Americans, Horsey is thinking Trump's affinity for Putin might be even worse than it looks and he's not shy of using the word "treason."
The Republican senator from Arizona is a conspicuously honorable man in a profession filled with people who sell their honor rather cheaply. There is nothing more important than honor to a third-generation military man like McCain. He proved that through five years of confinement and torture as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. While many, if not most, of his Republican colleagues in the Senate and House are putting themselves through ideological contortions to get aligned with the erratic narcissist who is now their leader, McCain is resisting. He is a hero and he is a patriot and it is not hard to imagine that, right now, McCain’s righteous anger is rising to a boil as he sees the president-elect of the United States discounting hard evidence of Russian espionage aimed at undermining American democracy.

McCain has characterized Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election as nothing less than an act of war and he repeated that charge on Thursday during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that received testimony about Russian cyber-espionage from leaders of the intelligence services. As committee chair, McCain had called the hearing to inform the public about the hacking operation that stole data from computers in the campaign headquarters of Hillary Clinton and fed it to WikiLeaks, the rogue operation run by Julian Assange. The key witness, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, made it clear that the highest officials in Moscow, including President Vladimir Putin, approved the invasion into the American election and that the efforts extended beyond the hack into dissemination of false information through social media.

“Every American should be alarmed by Russia’s attacks on our nation,” McCain said. “There is no national security interest more vital to the United States of America than the ability to hold free and fair elections without foreign interference.”

One very important American, though, is showing no alarm at all — at least not about the Russians. Donald Trump has been playing a strange game in the weeks before he moves into the White House. He has repeatedly cast doubt on the intelligence reports, pretended he knows more about hacking than the intelligence experts and mocked the intelligence agencies themselves. Even as he sends out a steady stream of tweets slandering the people on whom he will be relying for crucial information when he becomes commander in chief, Trump has praised Putin, expressed agreement with the version of events offered by Assange and criticized the sanctions President Obama imposed on Russia in retaliation for the hacking.

What is going on here? Is this just one more defensive reaction from the hyper-defensive Trump? Is he obsessed with protecting the legitimacy of his presidency against the overblown rhetoric of some on the Democratic side who say the Russians skewed the vote and cost Clinton the election and from the more serious and unanimous conclusion of the intelligence agencies that the Russians’ actions were intended to help his campaign? If so, he is putting his own self-interest ahead of the national interest.

Is there something deeper? Is his affinity for Russia a product of his longtime business ties with that country? Why has Trump been such an ardent admirer of Putin? Does he see him as a role model?

Putin has stifled democracy in his homeland, shut down independent media, neutered rival political parties, subverted elections in other countries, seized Crimea, conducted a proxy war against Ukraine, overseen a savage slaughter of civilians in Syria and stands accused of ordering the killings of political enemies and journalists. Why is Trump drawn to such a person, even as he questions the value of America’s NATO alliance and the unity of Europe?

There is no question that if a Democratic president-elect were to show such a kinship with a Russian dictator while making so many disparaging remarks about the CIA and other American intelligence agencies, Republicans in Congress would be preparing articles of impeachment and the right-wing media would be screaming “treason!” Odd how that is not happening now.

Luckily, there is McCain-- plus other old-school conservatives like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham who have expressed their guarded concern. What about when they are unguarded? When they are talking privately, what are they saying? How great is their alarm? What will they do to defend their country from a man for whom “intelligence” is a dirty word? What will honor demand of John McCain?

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Are You Going To Remember Who Tried To Help The Refugees In November, 2018?


The last time I drank a Coke (or Pepsi) I was barely 20; it was in 1970. There was no social media then (aside from postcards) and international telephone calls were way too expensive for someone like me. So, while I was making my way by land across the world I depended on letters from home for news. If you read the comments here at DWT, you've no doubt run across someone calling herself "Hone." She was a friend of mine in college and she sent me a letter-- to poste restante (I think in Kabul) which came to me months after the massacre at Kent State. Although she doesn't remember it today, her letter included a call to arms: American students would topple Coca Coca and Pepsi, two iconic American brands, as a response to the murders of the peaceful protestors. Foolishly I had been depending on Coke for hydration because the water was so dangerous to drink in countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India in those days. The U.S. consulates in Iran and Afghanistan would warn American travelers to boil water for several minutes, let it cool down and then boil it again before drinking it. So it was a great sacrifice for me to give up consuming soft drinks. But I did and never touched one again. Yesterday I deleted my Uber app and I'll never get in another Uber. It'll be taxis and Lyft for me from now on.

OK, how about a few words from Pope Francis? This is what he told a group of Catholic and Lutheran pilgrims yesterday: "[T]he sickness or, you can say the sin, that Jesus condemns most is hypocrisy... You cannot be a Christian without living like a Christian. You cannot be a Christian without practicing the Beatitudes. You cannot be a Christian without doing what Jesus teaches us in Matthew 25," a reference to Christ’s injunction to help the needy by such works of mercy as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and welcoming the stranger. It’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, toss out someone who is in need of my help. If I say I am Christian, but do these things, I’m a hypocrite.

Randian fake-Christian Paul Ryan, who can be eliminated, politically, in 2018, is still pissing off God by swearing that Trump's executive order is not a Muslim ban. He's lying. And most of the Republicans in Congress are right there with him. The relatively new congressman from Staten Island, Dan Donovan said the same thing a;most all the GOP members are saying, namely that "President Trump's decision is in America's best interest." Even the Republicans criticizing Trump-- so far Senators Susan Collins (ME), Jeff Flake (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC), Lamar Alexander (TN) and Ben Sasse (NE) plus House members Mike Coffman (CO), Carlos Curbelo (FL), Elise Stefanik (NY), Will Hurd (TX), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA), Charlie Dent (PA), Justin Amash (MI), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL) and Barbara Comstock (Va), all from blue-leaning or swing districts-- are bing very circumspect. Barbara Comstock, for example, one of the most electorally vulnerable Republicans in Congress, issued a tepid statement saying, "As I consistently have said, I don't believe it is constitutional to ban people from our country on the basis pf religion. However, I do support-- and the House of Representatives has supported on a bipartisan basis-- increased vetting based on national security concerns. The president’s executive order yesterday went beyond the increased vetting actions that Congress has supported on a bipartisan basis and inexplicably applied to Green Card holders, people who are legally within our country who have followed the rules. Green Card holders go through a detailed legal process and are vetted. They are required to register with the selective service-- many serve in the military. They pay taxes. I find it hard to believe that green card holders-- legal permanent residents-- were intended to be included in this Executive Order. This should be addressed and corrected expeditiously."

It was addressed expeditiously, thought not corrected. When Department of Homeland Security officials asked the White House for a clarification, the neo-Nazi who Trump has put in charge of this whole mess, psychopathic right-wing blogger Steve Bannon, said Green Card holders were very much meant to be included. No comment on that report from Ryan or Comstock or any of the other Republicanos enabling Trump and Bannon. The only Republican who seems sincere and principled in his opposition to Trump's unconstitutional mayhem is Justin Amash, noting Trump's executive order "overreaches and undermines our constitutional system... The president's denial of entry to lawful permanent residents of the United States (green card holders) is particularly troubling. Green card holders live in the United States as our neighbors and serve in our Armed Forces. They deserve better... Ultimately, the executive order appears to be more about politics than safety. If the concern is radicalism and terrorism, then what about Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others? Finally, we can't effectively fight homegrown Islamic radicalism by perpetuating the 'us vs. them' mindset that terrorists use to recruit. We must ensure that the United States remains dedicated to the Constitution, the Rule of Law, and liberty."

Politically, Democrats better follow the lead of resisters like Ted Lieu and Jerry Nadler and let their own base know they are fighting-- and for real-- and not let the story become a false narrative about a few"brave Republicans" standing unto Trump. But what Comstock and other Republicans are talking about when they refer to "bipartisan support" is the 289-137 approval of an ugly, bigoted anti-refugee bill by Texas' Michael McCaul. 47 Democrats-- mostly from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- joined forces with 242 Republicans to pass it. 135 Democrats and just 2 Republicans voted against it-- and one of the Republicans, Iowa extremist Steve King, voted NO because he didn't feel the bill was draconian enough. Over the weekend into today many of the 47 Democrats who voted with the Republicans are trying desperately to distance themselves from their own votes.

Take right-wing Blue Dog Jim Cooper, who represents (badly) a safe blue seat in Nashville. Yesterday he was trying to hide his bigotry with a tweet. Steve Israel, one of the leaders of the move to get Democrats to vote with the GOP against refugees, was practically rending his clothing today in sympathy for the immigrants. Here's a list of the worst of the traitors who are still in Congress:
Pete Aguilar (New Dem-CA)
Ami Bera (New Dem-CA)
Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA)
Julia Brownley (worthless coward-CA)
Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL)
Gerry Connolly (New Dem-VA)
Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)
Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
John Delaney (New Dem-MD)
Tulsi Gabbard (LOL-HI)
Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)
Steve Israel (Blue Dog-NY)
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)
Ann Kuster (New Dem-NH)
Dan Lipinski (Blue Dog-IL)
Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY)
Donald Norcross (Corrupt-NJ)
Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Kathleen Rice (New Dem-NY)
Tim Ryan (Would-be Leader-OH)
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)
David Scott (Blue Dog-GA)
Terri Sewell (New Dem-AL)
Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)
Filemon Vela (Blue Dog-TX)
There's only one group that has been working consistently to drive Blue Dogs and New Dems out of Congress for over a decade-- Blue America. No one else has dared. Want to help? You can here.

Since Mike decided to delete this tweet over the weekend, we decided to decorate it for him

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