Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Resistance Has Many Forms-- From Refusing To Work For The Fascist Regime To Voting Out Its Enablers


Showing up at congressional town hall meetings is sending a powerful message congressmembers are hearing. Marching and demonstrating against Trump and Trumpism is sending a message they're hearing as well. Supporting the voices of the Resistance inside Congress is another way of sending a strong, clear message. But nothing sends a message like showing up on election day and joining with your neighbors to make real change.

2018 is going to be the whole enchilada-- the one shot we have to stop Trump and Bannon in their tracks by taking the House of Representatives away from enablers like Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy and their toxic committee chairmen and knee jerk majority. However, as we explained last week, there are a series of special elections coming up in just over a month that the whole country-- the whole world-- is watching for some kind of a signal. One race is in a solidly blue district, CA-34, where 23 candidates are competing to fill the empty Becerra seat. Most of the credible candidates are good progressives-- although 2 shady characters, Sara Hernandez and Yolie Flores, are the puppets of the charter school forces-- and the race there isn't so much about sending a message as electing a strong, competent, proven leader who will join the resistance to Trumpism and fight against it effectively, the reason why Ted Lieu, Ro Khanna, Judy Chu, Grace Napolitano (as well as virtually all the unions, Planned Parenthood, Equity California, local and state leaders from Eric Garcetti to Kevin De Leon and Anthony Rendon, as well as Blue America have endorsed Jimmy Gomez.

The 4 other special elections coming right up are in red districts that all voted for Trump. Those are where messages can be sent. And the one with the best chance of flipping out the GOP and Trumpist establishments is in Georgia-- GA-06, the Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb county suburbs just north of Atlanta. Bill Barrow, writing for the AP, wrote recently that the race there is shaping up to be a referendum on Trump.
The scramble to succeed Health Secretary Tom Price as Georgia congressman may quickly become a referendum on the popularity and agenda of Price's new boss, President Donald Trump, while offering a preview of 2018's midterm elections.

Democrats are looking for an upset in the GOP-leaning district where Trump underperformed among the affluent, well-educated residents of the northern Atlanta suburbs. Trump narrowly topped Democrat Hillary Clinton, but fell shy of a majority even as Price cruised to re-election with more than 60 percent of the vote.

...Adding to the mix is a quirk of Georgia election law that makes special congressional elections a "jungle primary" with all candidates on the same ballot, regardless of party. If no candidate wins a majority on April 18, the top two finishers-- again regardless of party-- would advance to a second ballot set for June 20.

Businessman Bruce Levell, an African-American who led Trump's campaign diversity coalition, announced his candidacy this week, saying in a statement that he's running to be "President Trump's strongest ally on Capitol Hill."

Another candidate, Bob Gray, has hired the GOP operative who ran Trump's Georgia campaign, and the Johns Creek city councilman's aides say he is running "on the Trump agenda."

Other GOP hopefuls are more circumspect.

A state senator, Judson Hill, has been perhaps the most visible early Republican candidate. He casts himself as a "proven conservative" with "Georgia values," but makes little to no mention of Trump. The closest he comes to backing the president is promising in campaign materials "to help HHS Secretary nominee Tom Price repeal and replace Obamacare."

A wealthy former state senator, Dan Moody, mentioned Trump only indirectly in a Monday statement confirming his candidacy. Moody referred to Price as "President Trump's" health secretary. He otherwise stuck to the safe GOP themes of "tax cuts, job creation, repealing Obamacare and shrinking the massive size of the federal government."

As of Tuesday afternoon, Betty Price had not announced her intentions. [After Barrow's article ran, Price confirmed that she isn't running. A friend of hers told us that she expects Democrat Jon Ossoff may win and that she will be better positioned to challenge him in 2020.]

Karen Handel, a Georgia politician well-known to social conservatives nationally for her aggressive criticism of abortion-provider Planned Parenthood, is expected to enter the race, as well.

Georgia's 6th Congressional District spans from the wealthy neighborhoods of east Cobb County, northwest of downtown Atlanta, to the ever-growing suburbs of north Fulton and north DeKalb counties, northeast of the city.

Chip Lake, who has run previous campaigns for Tom Price, said Republicans trying to succeed the new secretary must "tread very, very carefully" with Trump. "It's risky aligning yourself with this president," Lake said, "but it's not easy to distance yourself from a figure like him either."

More than two weeks into his presidency, Trump's job approval rating stood at 37 percent among self-described moderates and 41 percent among independents in the latest Gallup polling.

Democrats will have at least one well-financed candidate.

Jon Ossoff, an Atlanta native and former congressional aide, insists he's trying to reach "every kind of voter" from anti-Trump liberals to disenchanted independents and Republicans.

Ossoff confirmed in an interview that his strategy is to make a runoff against the top Republican finisher. He will benefit from at least $550,000 in fundraising on the liberal Daily Kos website. He also boasts endorsements from Atlanta Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson, his old boss, and Ossoff emphasizes the importance of congressional oversight in the Trump era. Yet he also says the election should revolve around Trump.

"I think the divisiveness of the political atmosphere right now makes people hungrier for candidates who are willing not to play into lowest-common-denominator politics and instead offer solutions," he said.

National Democrats' House campaign committee lists the Georgia district among its 59 targeted seats in the 2018 election cycle. Still, it's not clear how much the party will invest; the district was not among the 20 where the party recently dispatched full-time field staff members.

The chances of a Democrat winning the open House seats in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina are less likely than winning-- although as time passes, the chances of Trump turning off more voters grows pretty rapidly. By the way, did you see that OpEd yesterday from Ed Price, the former CIA agent from Kansas who decided to quit the CIA rather than serve the Trumpist regime? "This was not a decision I made lightly," he wrote, explaining how he had sought out a career in the CIA as a college student.
The CIA taught me new skills and exposed me to new cultures and countries. More important, it instilled in me a sense of mission and purpose. As an analyst, I became an expert in terrorist groups and traveled the world to help deter and disrupt attacks. The administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama took the CIA’s input seriously. There was no greater reward than having my analysis presented to the president and seeing it shape events. Intelligence informing policy-- this is how the system is supposed to work. I saw that up close for the past three years at the White House, where I worked on loan from the CIA until last month.

As a candidate, Donald Trump’s rhetoric suggested that he intended to take a different approach. I watched in disbelief when, during the third presidential debate, Trump casually cast doubt on the high-confidence conclusion of our 17 intelligence agencies, released that month, that Russia was behind the hacking and release of election-related emails. On the campaign trail and even as president-elect, Trump routinely referred to the flawed 2002 assessment of Iraq’s weapons programs as proof that the CIA couldn’t be trusted-- even though the intelligence community had long ago held itself to account for those mistakes and Trump himself supported the invasion of Iraq.

Trump’s actions in office have been even more disturbing. His visit to CIA headquarters on his first full day in office, an overture designed to repair relations, was undone by his ego and bluster. Standing in front of a memorial to the CIA’s fallen officers, he seemed to be addressing the cameras and reporters in the room, rather than the agency personnel in front of them, bragging about his inauguration crowd the previous day. Whether delusional or deceitful, these were not the remarks many of my colleagues and I wanted to hear from our new commander in chief. I couldn’t help but reflect on the stark contrast between the bombast of the new president and the quiet dedication of a mentor-- a courageous, steadfast professional-- who is memorialized on that wall. I know others at CIA felt similarly.

The final straw came late last month, when the White House issued a directive reorganizing the National Security Council, on whose staff I served from 2014 until earlier this year. Missing from the NSC’s principals committee were the CIA director and the director of national intelligence. Added to the roster: the president’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, who cut his teeth as a media champion of white nationalism.

The public outcry led the administration to reverse course and name the CIA director an NSC principal, but the White House’s inclination was clear. It has little need for intelligence professionals who, in speaking truth to power, might challenge the “America First” orthodoxy that sees Russia as an ally and Australia as a punching bag. That’s why the president’s trusted White House advisers, not career professionals, reportedly have final say over what intelligence reaches his desk.

To be clear, my decision had nothing to do with politics, and I would have been proud to again work under a Republican administration open to intelligence analysis. I served with conviction under President George W. Bush, some of whose policies I also found troubling, and I took part in programs that the Obama administration criticized and ended. As intelligence professionals, we’re taught to tune out politics. The river separating CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., from Washington might as well be a political moat. But this administration has flipped that dynamic on its head: The politicians are the ones tuning out the intelligence professionals.
A brief note on the brilliant and fabulous General HR McMaster who the media has been treating as the second coming since Trumpanzee appointed him to replace Flynn as National Security Advisor. How brilliant and fabulous could he be, going to work for the fascist regime? As brilliant and fabulous as General Kelly who just issued draconian orders implementing Trump's plan to drastically increase deportations, which are sure to be arbitrary and divisive enough to tear the country apart. Kelly is criminal scum-- as, no doubt, all Trump's collaborators will prove themselves to be.

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At 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't invest all hope in fucking Georgia voters. It's fucking Georgia.

McMaster might be pretty good, but he was hired because he will let the Nazis hire much of his staff with their own shills. I don't know if that will mean McMaster's orders will be distorted on their way down the chain into whatever der fuhrer (bannon/miller) wants or what. One wonders why ANYONE worth an ounce of dogshit would agree to work for that dumbfucktard... especially when he already has a pretty good gig.

At 6:19 AM, Blogger VG said...

Howie- you are such a great source for inside info!

[After Barrow's article ran, Price confirmed that she isn't running. A friend of hers told us that she expects Democrat Jon Ossoff may win and that she will be better positioned to challenge him in 2020]

Just my take- I live in the neighboring district- If Jon Ossoff wins Betty Price does not have a bat's chance in hell (mixed metaphor there?) of winning against him in 2020.

At 6:24 AM, Blogger VG said...

To anon at 6:15

Yanno, fuck you. You know fuck all about GA-06.

At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

VG, I am 6:15. I truly hope you are correct. But I've been to Georgia.

Again, I hope I'm wrong. Sadly, I haven't been wrong nearly enough since 1980.

Being correct, however, does not mean anyone listens. Clearly.


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