Saturday, September 30, 2017

How High The Wave? How High The Wave? How Many Republicans Will Drown In It?


You see that chart up top; the GOP is desperate to get it done-- and get it done fast. They sense what's coming. It's called a wave... and it's already building. If it's like one of the recent mega-waves-- in 2006 the Republicans lost a net of 30 seats. Their congressional vote went from 49.4% of the popular vote in 2004 to 44.3%, a precipitous 5.1% drop. In 2010 the shoe was on the other foot. The Democrats had netted another 21 red-districts when Obama was elected in 2008 but two years later was catastrophic for them. Largely because the DCCC had recruited so many lousy Blue Dogs and New Dems who proved so disappointing to Democratic voters, the Democratic congressional share of the vote dropped from 53.2% to 44.9% in 2010, down 8.3 point! They lost 63 seats, more than they had picked up in 2006 and 2008 combined. To this day, the DCCC denies they did anything wrong by recruiting all those Blue Dogs-- and one of the stupidest people to ever head the DCCC, Ben Ray Lujan, is doing the exact same thing again-- proudly and blatantly. He's counting on a wave to make him look like he knew what he was doing. But what will happen in 2022 when the Democrats lose all those Blue Dog and New Dem seats? No one cares-- literally. Since they're all basically a bunch of career pols with no experience in the real world, none of them think beyond what's in front of their noses and do absolutely ZERO planning for the future-- other than buying plenty of booze.

Brian Stryker and Zac McCrary, partners at, ALG Research, a Democratic polling firm, penned a fascinating post on the building 2018 wave. They see all the indications in the special legislative elections that have occurred since Trump occupied the Oval Office. "Over 29 contested special elections at the state level," the wrote, "Democrats have substantially over-performed both Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance and Barack Obama’s 2012 performance. If that continues apace, it will be enough to flip almost a thousand state legislative races, give Democrats control of more state houses than Republicans, and most likely have similar impacts on up-ticket races like Congress/Governor/Senate... In those 29 elections, Democrats have substantially overperformed past results. To be more exact, since Trump’s inauguration Democrats have run an average of 12.1 points ahead of Hillary Clinton’s margin and 6.0 points ahead of Barack Obama’s 2012 margin. That includes Democrats flipping 8 of 20 Republican-held districts while holding all 9 of their own open seats." Sound good for a late Saturday night? Keep reading.
Almost without exception, Democrats are punching well above their usual weight in these races. If this pattern held across every state legislative election in the country in the next three and a half years, Democrats would:
Add about 850 legislative seats, going from their current ~1100-seat deficit nationally to a ~700-seat advantage
Take control of 20 new state chambers, moving from total control in only 12 states to total control in 25 (1 would be split, 23 would be GOP-controlled, and 1 is non-partisan Nebraska)
Additionally, many Beltway pundits continue to debate whether Democrats should target so-called blue-collar Obama-Trump type districts or more white-collar, suburban Romney-Clinton districts. The answer so far on the legislative level, is “Yes”; Democrats need not acquiesce to that false choice.

...[A] lean Obama district that swung heavily to Trump is just as ripe an opportunity as a strongly Romney district that shifted to Clinton. Republican legislators who hold either of those types of districts--  as well as a much broader swath of GOP districts--  should be very worried by what has occurred at the legislative level over the past several months. Likewise, Democrats do not necessarily need to choose between targeting state houses in places like Iowa where Trump did well in 2016 or states like Arizona or Virginia, where Trump is generally weaker than other recent Republicans.

For example, in Iowa Democrats have already done well in special elections with a 45-point rout in HD89 (Clinton +11, Obama +28) and a hold by 9 points in HD82 (Clinton -21, Obama +2). If Iowa Democrats continued to perform at the national 2017 average compared to Hillary Clinton, they would gain 5 seats in the State Senate and 12 in the State House by the time every seat is up. Under this scenario, the State Senate would move from a 10-seat GOP majority (20 D / 30 R) to a two-seat advantage (24 D / 26 R) and an 18-seat Republican advantage in the House (41 D / 59 R) to a 6-seat Democratic lead (53 D / 47 R).

More alarming for Iowa Republicans would be if legislative Democrats continue their ability to outpace not just Hillary Clinton’s 2016 share but the average of that and Barack Obama’s 2012 performance at the rate that’s been happening nationally. In Iowa, in the next three years this would leave Iowa Democrats with a 20-seat lead in the Senate and a 22-seat lead in the House. That’s not meant to predict Democratic dominance of the Iowa legislature, but it does show the expansive playing field available to legislative Democrats playing offense as well as how well Democrats have done in special elections to this point.

Another state that drives home Democratic opportunities is Virginia, which will be an early test with State House of Delegate elections in November 2017. Virginia Republicans currently hold a roughly 2:1 House advantage (34 D / 66 R). Using the more conservative baseline of outperforming Barack Obama’s 2012 vote share (whose margin was slightly more narrow than Clinton’s) would result in a 10-seat Democratic majority (55 D / 45 R). Using an average of the outperforming 2012 and 2016 would provide Democrats with more than 60 State House seats (61 D / 39 R).

There are numerous reasons why special elections may not translate to on-year elections, including the distinction between open-seat versus incumbent/challenger races and midterm turnout dynamics versus largely one-off special elections. We’re also not making race-by-race or even chamber-by-chamber predictions. State dynamics will be meaningful: so far in 2017 Democrats have flipped three deep-red seats in Oklahoma where GOP Governor Mary Fallin is unpopular, but in Connecticut Democrats have performed below Clinton’s and Obama’s performance on average. Other factors including the number of open seats, top-of-the-ticket performance and campaign spending, make specific projections a fools’ errand. A look at two of those specific factors:

1. Incumbency. Unlike special elections which are open seats by definition, incumbency will matter in 2018 and beyond. Republicans hold about 1100 more legislative seats than Democrats nationwide, so they benefit more fro incumbency. Many Republicans have already survived elections in blue/purple seats, and they’ll be tougher to knock off than winning an open-seat race.

...2. Turnout. There’s no question that Democrats are turning out at higher rates than Republicans right now, and a theory goes that this gets negated or attenuated in higher-turnout midterm elections compared to very-low-turnout special elections. So far, the average special election has had 44% of the total votes that were cast in the same district in 2014 (calculated for districts had contested 2014 legislative races). Democrats have overperformed less as special-election turnout has climbed.

...A wave election is already building, judging by the dozens of races that have already taken place. These elections also indicate sizable Democratic gains are on the table at the legislative level that could dramatically reshuffle the map of national partisan control ahead of redistricting. Our recommendation for Democratic legislative caucuses is that at minimum, anywhere either Clinton or Obama ran within single digits or better should be on their 2018 target lists at this early stage. And while these state legislative elections are crucial on their own-- they play a big part in redistricting in many states-- these results also should spook Republican candidates and operatives at the statewide and congressional level.

This is no time for complacency... and, rest assured that there won't be any on the GOP side. The DCCC is stupider and far less competent than the NRCC, which isn't exactly populated by brain surgeons either. But this is a time to get involved with primaries and to make sure the worst of the garbage the DCCC and DSCC are trying to pass off as real Democrats-- Blue Dogs and New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- do not get party nominations. We've been exposing them and we'll keep exposing them... but it's up to people in their districts to make sure they are defeated. And it's important not to fall for the DCCC identity politics claptrap. Vote for her because she's a veteran or because she's a woman or because she's this color or that religion-- all a crock. Vote for her because she's got a good record of accomplishment and an honest character and would make a great member of Congress. As I like to remind people, the Democrat with the best voting record in Congress this cycle is Pramila Jayapal (WA), a woman. The Democrat with the worst voting record in Congress this cycle is Kirsten Sinema (AZ). Pramila's ProgressivePunch crucial vote score is 100%. Sinema, who votes far more with the Republicans than with the Democrats on crucial issues, had, until Schumer picked her as the Democratic nominee for the Arizona Senate seat-- sorry Arizona-- had a 19. Pramila is an "A." Sinema is an "F." They're both women.

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Grimm Day On Staten Island Mañana


Blame Trump?

Mafia thug Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm was convicted on a plea-bargain and given a slap on the wrist sentence because he had so much dirt on so many FBI agents. Now he's out of prison and feels he is entitled to run for Congress again and pretend the only thing he ever did wrong was about paperwork. The GOP deserves Grimm as much as they deserve Roy Moore-- the two very different, but not unrelated, extremes that make up the modern Republican Party: greed and corruption meets unhinged hatred and bigotry. Tomorrow Grimm starts his primary campaign against relatively popular mainstream conservative Dan Donovan. The big question: will Grimm be able to get the backing of the fascist machine Bannon and the Mercers have put together? Donovan did, after all, refuse to back TrumpCare.

That was fast!

Rachel Shapiro wrote at Staten Island Live that "Grimm will kick off his campaign on Sunday morning in New Dorp hoping that the strong voter base that handed him a re-election in 2014 while he was under indictment is solid enough to defeat an incumbent and member of his own party.
Grimm served eight months in federal prison beginning in 2015 after pleading guilty to a single count of tax fraud related to a Manhattan health food restaurant he co-owned before taking office. He had won re-election against former Brooklyn Councilman Dominic Recchia, but resigned before taking the oath of office for the new term.

While many former Grimm supporters now back Donovan, others remain loyal to Grimm and are hoping for a come-back for the man whose re-election campaign, indictment and guilty plea were the subject of news coverage all over the country.

Many dismiss Grimm's prosecution as politically motivated, as similar offenses have been punished with civil fines. Others say as a congressman, Marine and FBI agent, he should be held to a higher standard of conduct, and thus deserved the punishment.

Now, having paid off the $139,000 in restitution, having the undying support of mentor Guy Molinari, and possibly that of Jim Molinaro, Grimm is seeking his old seat.

He'll make his announcement at 11:30 am at 2271 Hylan Blvd.

Donovan has the support of the district's elected Republicans -- both on Staten Island and on the Brooklyn side of the district -- as well as the local and state chairmen of the party.

As Newsweek pointed out last week, "Even in this political season of the astonishing, the improbable and the dismaying, the return of Michael G. Grimm, a former Republican congressman of Staten Island, is one of those ominous signs that the body politic is wracked by ailments more grave than we have known. For if this cancer returns, what others loom? Usually, nuance is necessary in politics. But not always. Grimm is probably the biggest embarrassment to afflict Congress in this strange, young century of ours. And that’s saying a lot for a institution led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, a hapless duo whose superpowers are confined to inaction, dishonesty and cowardice."

Newsweek isn't aware of the Mafia connection that goes way back into Grimm's sordid life. But, they know more than most Staten Island voters care to know:
Trying to actually describe Grimm’s manifold malfeasances is challenging, since there are so many... Tax evasion and campaign fraud are damning stuff, but a little dull. So how about the time he allegedly had sex with a woman in a Brooklyn bar? Or the time he plagiarized as speech from A Few Good Men to trumpet his own military service? Or the time he grandiosely claimed that his campaign offices had been infiltrated by political enemies, when it was really just the target of some teenaged vandals? There was also the time he brandished a gun at a nightclub, in plain abuse of his authority as an FBI agent. Also probably not kosher: Grimm’s investments with disgraced FBI agent Carlos Luquis. There was a shady trip to Cyprus, where he visited a businessman later arrested in Brooklyn on corruption charges. Grimm tried to hide evidence of the trip but ultimately failed. And there was something called “donor swapping,” a practice whose name hints at its blatant illegality.

...“Grimm doesn’t think he did anything wrong, isn’t really remorseful, and he appears to see the seat at his,” says Rachel Shapiro, who covers politics for the Staten Island Advance. “Donovan has some unpopular stances with his very conservative base,” she told me, pointing to his lack of enthusiasm for an Affordable Care Act repeal, as well as his moderate stance on immigration.

That Grimm would even consider pondering another run for office is a sign of a political climate so obscenely partisan that voters will consider deeply flawed candidates, as long as those candidates have the right letter next to their names. In Alabama, for example, incumbent U.S. Senator Luther Strange is defending his seat against Roy S. Moore, the shameless former chief justice of the state who treats the law as subservient to his own retrograde beliefs. Meanwhile, Robert Menendez, the Democratic senator from New Jersey, is on trial on a litany of corruption charges. The sordid stuff he stands accused of could send Menendez to prison, but he has deftly managed to raise more than $5 million for next year’s re-election campaign.

Grimm must see this and smile, especially since Staten Island is already predisposed to his political inclinations. Trump, clobbered in the four other boroughs of New York City, won 57 percent of the vote on Staten Island, the same share he got in Kansas. In other words, his incivility and dishonesty played well there-- or at least well enough to win.

Douglas Muzzio, a political scientist at Baruch College, put the matter plainly: “The guy who admitted to grabbing pussy and all that is the president, so...” Grimm’s encounter with Scotto of NY1 seemed astonishing back in the innocent days of 2014, when Americans still valued a free press and the democratic process. That, of course, was before Trump turned the Fifth Estate into a fifth column trying to undermine the American project, before he branded journalists dishonest enemies of the people; before his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, assaulted a female journalist; before the Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body slammed Ben Jacobs of The Guardian; before since-dismissed White House chief political strategist Stephen K. Bannon decreed that the media should “keep its mouth shut.”

At the same time, Grimm must look at Congress and think, I can do this. And he probably can. While it’s hard to call him an accomplished statesman, Grimm did assert that climate change was real, in contravention of Republican dogma. He showed a willingness to work with Democrats and, after Hurricane Sandy devastated his district in 2012, did worthy work in helping Staten Island recover. Congress today has an approval rating of 16 percent. Despite the many despicable things he’s done, Grimm isn’t going to harm that dismal reputation. Hell, he might even improve it by a point or two. At least the guy knows how to dress.

Shapiro of the Staten Island Advance doesn’t think that he can win against Donovan in 2018, but Richard Flanagan, a historian of Staten Island politics, is less confident that Grimm’s run would be quixotic. That’s not to say that such a run would be a good idea. “His return would most likely be an embarrassment to the congressional leadership,” Flanagan wrote in an email.

Muzzio has been watching New York politics for decades, and he doesn’t think Grimm is just another colorful New Yorker, a decent fella who takes it a little too far but always means well. Grimm is a “thug,” in Muzzio’s estimation. “A sophisticated wise guy.”

“There may be limits,” Muzzio told me, to what the American voter may be asked to countenance. “And this may be one of them.”

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Can Trump Bullshit His Way Into A Tax Cut For The 1%?


By the end of the week, a lot of people were saying Trump's tax plan would fail because of Republicans in New York and New Jersey. They're flipping out because Trump wants to eliminate the federal tax deduction of state & local taxes. The Wall Street Journal noted on Thursday the the Republican Tax Plan Quickly Hits First Hurdle, pointing out that "GOP lawmakers from high-tax states oppose repealing individual deduction for state and local taxes" and citing Republican members from New York and New Jersey. NY has 9 Republicans and NJ has 5 and it's great if they really are fighting this injustice. But what about California, which has the most to lose. There are 14 Republicans in the California delegation-- same as NY and NJ combined and that includes Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and, along with deadwood with no influence, like Duncan Hunter, Dana Rohrabacher, Ken Calvert, Mimi Walters, Steve Knight and Doug LaMalfa, powerful senior members like Ed Royce, Devin Nunes and Darrell Issa. But, is far, there hasn't been a peep out of any of them.

McCarthy wants to eliminate the estate tax and cut corporate taxes and taxes on the wealthiest 1% so badly that he's ready to screw over middle class California taxpayers by offering a $1.3 TRILLION offset by eliminating the state and local tax deductions. California gets hit the hardest, although the other states that will be screwed are New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Oregon, Illinois, Minnesota and, interestingly, Wisconsin, Paul Ryan's home state. (How much is this worth to individual taxpayers? In NYC-- the average deduction for state and local taxes is $25,000 a year... so real money.)

7 Republicans signed a letter to Mnuchin urging that the itemized deduction for state and local taxes be retained in tax reform: Leonard Lance (NJ), Tom MacArthur (NJ), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ), Claudia Tenney (NY), Chris Smith (NJ), Peter King (NY) and Frank LoBiondo (NJ). Lots of Californians signed on as well, but only Democrats, not one Republican. Same in Illinois and Wisconsin-- no Republicans. The Republican majority in the House is 46, the number of Republicans in states that are going to get creamed if this ever passes: 52. They have the clout... if they want to use it.

The California Republicans may seem uninterested in stopping Trump's anti-California plan, but their progressive 2018 challengers are very interested. In northeast Orange County (CA-39), Sam Jammal is running against the Republican who should be in position to stop this kind of thing, Ed Royce, a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee. And Sam is calling Royce out in a big way that is resonating with his district's voters: "The new Trump tax on California families that's to the proposed changes to the state and local tax deduction should be enough for any Californian to oppose tax reform, but the appeal of helping the uber wealthy and Trump seems to be too much for Ed. It's a shame but not surprising when you consider where he stands on every other policy Trump proposes. He just doesn't represent any of us down here in the 39th."

Just south of the 39th, also in Orange County, consumer advocate Katie Porter today ripped her rubber stamp opponent, Mimi Walters (CA-45), for "actively supporting Trump's new tax plan. Walters is openly backing the plan despite new reports showing it would raise taxes on thousands of families in the 45th district-- all to fund tax breaks for billionaires and big corporations. It's clear Mimi Walters will back virtually any policy-- no matter how harmful it is to her constituents-- so long as it has Trump's seal of approval," said Porter. "The Trump/Walters plan would raise taxes on thousands of families in her district and pile up trillions in debt-- all to fund giveaways to billionaires and huge corporations. It is just reckless. Just as we saw with Walters' zealous defense of the Trump's attack on health care, the President's wish is her command, and Walters has a 97.8% record of voting with Trump to prove it."

Laura Oatman is the progressive candidate running against GOP crackpot Dana Rohrabacher in the wealthiest of the Orange County districts (CA-48). Several other Orange Co. candidates from different districts-- AND Mimi Walters who supposedly represents CA-45-- live in Rohrabacher's district because its so beautiful. But people there pay a lot of taxes and eliminating the state and local tax deduction is going to hit the middle class in that district especially hard. Rohrabacher hasn't had anything to say about it. Laura has though: "At a time when income inequality is already out of control, Trump’s tax plan will do everything to help himself and his billionaire friends, who are already doing very well under this economy, and nothing to help working class and middle-class families who are struggling. Trickle down economics has never worked, but particularly not now when huge corporations are utilizing automation, not people, to maximize their profits. We need to close tax loopholes and ensure that corporations are paying their fair share-- not slash taxes for Donald Trump’s billionaire buddies. Trump’s tax plan is simply a rich man’s tax break. Targeting Orange County taxpayers by ending the state income tax deduction is something Mr. Rohrabacher should be pushing back against. If he doesn't, I will. People in these communities deserve a representative who fights for them, not for Paul Ryan and Donald Trump."

Dr. David Gill is running for the central Illinois seat that starts up in Bloomington and Champaign and proceeds south and west through Decatur and Springfield and down to the exurbs north and east of St. Louis (IL-13). Illinois is one of the top 10 worst hit states if the state and local tax deduction is eliminated-- and not a single Illinois Republican member of Congress is complaining. Gill told us that "It amazes me that my opponent, Rodney Davis, supports the Trump Tax Plan. Our district is filled with people who will suffer real and significant economic pain with the elimination of the federal tax deduction for state and local taxes. Of course, I shouldn't be surprised-- virtually everything that Mr. Davis does is designed to increase the wealth of the already-rich and the large corporations who pour money into his campaign coffers. This leads to overwhelming hypocrisy on his part at times; I remember when I ran against him in 2012, he repeatedly screeched about our $18 trillion deficit and whined that 'It's not fair to leave such a deficit to my children and grandchildren.' Given his zeal to follow the marching orders of his party and his wealthy donors, and the furthering of the deficit caused by the Trump tax plan, it appears that Rodney has grown much less concerned about the future of his children and their children."

Yesterday Frank Clemente, executive director, Americans for Tax Fairness, said that "It is absolutely outrageous that Donald Trump and Paul Ryan would seek to increase taxes on middle class families while lowering them for millionaires and billionaires. It's doubly outrageous that while they're doling out extra yachts and private jets to the elite, their budgets make cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and public education, further lowering the standard of living for working families. That's no tax plan, that's a tax scam. The Washington Post stopped short of calling it a scam-- but just short. They quoted the Brookings Tax Policy Center: "Despite repeated promises from Republican lawmakers that the plan is designed to provide relief to the middle class, nearly 30 percent of taxpayers with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 would see a tax increase" and "the majority of households that made between $150,000 and $300,000 would see a tax increase."
Those trends were credited to the loss of itemized deductions, particularly the ability to deduct state and local property tax deductions from income. The loss of the personal exemption, which currently shields $4,050 of income from federal taxes for every household member also played a major role in increasing taxes for some households-- an effect that got worse over time, because the amount of the personal exemption kept pace with inflation.

Meanwhile, 80 percent of the tax benefits would accrue to those in the top 1 percent-- households making more than about $900,000 a year, who would see their taxes drop by more than $200,000 on average.
Separately, the Post ran it through their truth tester and found the Republicans are trying to sell this thing to the public with Pinochio-laden lies. "In selling President Trump’s tax plan," wrote Glenn Kessler, "his aides have resorted to making strikingly misleading statements to defend it." He lists the 2 whoppers coming out of the White House in this regard, first one from Gary Cohn and then one from Steven Mnuchin.
The wealthy are not getting a tax cut under our plan- The Trump tax plan drops the top bracket from 39.6 to 35 percent, and allows for the possibility of a 25 percent top rate through a pass-through entity. It presumably would also eliminate a 3.8 percent Obamacare tax on investment income that hits only upper-income taxpayers.

...Besides a reduction in the top tax rate, the tax plan would eliminate the alternative minimum tax (AMT). That in theory should be a boon for the wealthy as well, although it increasingly has snared families in the upper middle class, especially if they live in high-tax states or have many children.

...[T]he tax plan calls for eliminating the estate tax, although it is unclear on whether any tax would be required when someone dies. Currently, the estate tax is estimated to affect only about 5,500 estates out of nearly 3 million estates because as much as $11 million can be shielded from taxation.

We think this tax plan will cut down the deficits by a trillion dollar- Mnuchin is anticipating $2 trillion in revenue and Cohn is anticipating $3 trillion in revenue. But these are both very rosy estimates of the impact of a tax cut in economic growth. No serious economist believes that a tax cut boosts economic growth so much that the tax cut pays for itself.

The Congressional Budget Office, under Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a Republican, in 2005 estimated that a 10 percent reduction in federal income tax rates would have macroeconomic feedbacks of between 15 and 30 percent. In other words, a $1 trillion tax cut might yield $150 billion to $300 billion in additional revenue. That still means a reduction in revenue of as much as $700 billion.

“The big problem is that there is no fully specified plan,” Holtz-Eakin said. “Without one, you can’t gauge the growth or know the budget cost. I’m broadly sympathetic to the framework, but it is a start, not the finish.”

As Holtz-Eakin put it earlier this year in an opinion column for The Washington Post: “Proposing trillions of dollars in tax cuts and then casually asserting that such a plan would ‘pay for itself with growth’ … is detached from empirical reality.”

Indeed, contrary to popular perception, even Ronald Reagan predicted revenue would fall as a result of his big 1981 tax cut that reduced tax rates. That is shown in Reagan administration and Congressional Budget Office scores of the Reagan tax plan reproduced in a 2011 article for Tax Notes by Bruce Bartlett, who helped craft the 1981 tax cut as a congressional aide at the time. The estimates turned out to be wrong because the 1981-1982 recession was deeper than expected and inflation fell more rapidly than expected, so Reagan boosted taxes just one year after his tax cut.

William A. Niskanen, chairman of Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors, co-wrote a paper in 1996 that defended Reagan’s economic record but also said it was “an enduring myth” that Reagan officials believed tax cuts would pay for themselves. “This was nonsense from day one, because the credible evidence overwhelmingly indicates that revenue feedbacks from tax cuts is 35 cents per dollar, at most,” Niskanen wrote, noting that “the Reagan administration never assumed that the tax cuts would pay for themselves.”

A Treasury Department study on the impact of tax bills since 1940, first released in 2006 and later updated, found that the 1981 tax cut reduced revenue by $208 billion in its first four years. George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut led to a revenue loss of $91 billion, the Treasury paper calculated. (The figures are rendered in constant 2012 dollars.)

Both the Reagan and Bush tax cuts came during periods of economic stress, which is certainly not the case now. So there is less room now for a big swing upward in the economy, especially with the country’s aging workforce.

The Treasury Department did not respond to a query for an explanation of Mnuchin’s math. But frankly it is irresponsible for a treasury secretary to claim a certain amount of growth or revenue without even producing the details of a plan, as the details determine the impact on the economy.

Though the details of the tax plan are sparse, both Cohn and Mnuchin made statements that are simply false. Of course the wealthy will do well under the tax cut, even if certain deductions are eliminated, and it’s silly to pretend otherwise. And it’s a fantasy to claim that the tax cut will pay for itself-- and even reduce the deficit-- especially in an economy that already has low unemployment and a booming stock market.

Four Pinocchios

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Even Most Businesses Are Worried About Trump Ruining The Economy


Legislating Legislation by Nancy Ohanian

Everybody's picking apart Trump's eye-popping tax giveaway to the wealthy-- except for lobbyists. They are happy campers. As Think Progress put it yesterday, "Trump's signature tax bill drains the country's money right into Wall Street's pockets." The plan is designed to benefit wealthy business owners and powerful corporations that have spent, in some cases, millions of dollars lobbying for its own interests and filling the campaign coffers of the very people who crafted the bill. The centerpiece of the plan is a series of tax cuts for corporations that will likely mean less funding for the government to do its job and more money in the hands of the wealthy corporate interests who bankrolled their various campaigns. Most Americans-- and by a wide margin-- think corporations and the wealthy don't deserve the tax cuts and that they're already not paying their fair share.

Yesterday, the American Federation of Teachers and Hedge Clippers campaign explored a very different perspective. They released a report that looks at the corporate 10K forms that companies file with the SEC to inform investors or potential investors on their businesses that have posted since Trump turned his popular vote loss into a win in November. The 10k's found that when corporations have to be honest with their investors about what the Trump administration means for them and their sector of the economy-- the majority view is that Trump Regime policies are just plain bad for business. Business is great for the burgeoning lobbyist "industry" in DC though, just not for real industries.
In their legal filings with the government,  when American corporations are required to tell the truth to their investors about the Trump administration, they are overwhelmingly negative and skeptical.

Overall, the data showed a consistent trend-- corporate America is wracked with uncertainty and fear over President Trump’s economic agenda.

Specifically, the results indicated that
Half of all companies said Trump was bad for business, and eight out of ten companies were negative or neutral.
193 (50.80%) of 380 companies viewed the Trump Administration as a negative force on their business
134 (35.26%) companies viewed the Administration neutrally, and
Only 53 (13.95%) companies indicated that the Trump Administration’s policies would benefit their business.
The largest consensus we found in SEC 10K reports is that Trump is creating fear and uncertainty in the business community, with more than half of companies describing the Trump Administration as a direct threat to their business success and predicting devastating effects on the future of their profitability.

This list was dominated by healthcare and pharmaceutical companies; comprising 27% of the list, who were largely anticipating damaging consequences to their business due to Trump administration’s plans to undermine and repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

The list includes companies like Healthcare Corp, a family owned business providing care for senior citizens in South Carolina, indicated that their business could face adverse effects due to the administration’s planned changes to Medicaid coverage and repeals to the Affordable Care Act.

Several other healthcare service providers (such as Healthsouth Corp), medical equipment producers, (such as Corindus Vascular Robotics and Insulet), and medical research companies (such as Juno Therapeutics), have also expressed concern about the negative impact repeal efforts would have on their ability to provide healthcare services to their customers.

  Diffusion Pharmaceuticals, producer of drugs that target treatment-resistant cancers, seemed to question whether President Trump’s attacks on companies on Twitter and other public forums might impact their supply chain, writing that it was “uncertain what impact the election of Donald Trump as President will have on our third-party suppliers in light of his public statements.”  In their SEC filings, ViewRay, Inc, which produces MRI-guided radiation therapy machines, pondered the detrimental effects of a possible ACA repeal and cautioned that “[a]n under-staffed FDA could result in delays in FDA’s responsiveness or in its ability to review submissions or applications, issue regulations or guidance, or implement or enforce regulatory requirements in a timely fashion or at all.”

Some financial and real estate companies also see their investments as threatened by the political and economic uncertainty surrounding Trump’s Administration and his inconsistent policy decisions.

The only industries solidly backing Trump in their truth-telling filings with the SEC are:

Big banks, which are looking at a $27 billion windfall from Trump’s planned deregulation.

Fossil-fuel firms, who’ve filled the Trump campaign coffers this year to help push elimination of regulations and rules that protect the environment.

Two industries, banks, and fossil energy, held a friendly view of Trump. Nineteen percent of positive expectations came from coal and oil companies, and 17% came from banks.

Many of these companies are relying on President Trump’s efforts to scale back environmental protections and climate change regulations.

Such companies include American Midstream Partners, a pipeline company that is closely connected to the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, and Peabody Energy Corp and Arch Coal, the two largest coal companies and polluters in the country.

Some private equity firms, bank holding companies, and financial institutions see the election of Trump as a loosening of Obama era regulations such as the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which increased regulation of banks deemed ‘too big to fail,’ curtailed predatory mortgages, and limited the speculative investment capabilities of financial institutions.

Firms such as Banc of California, which has seen massive resignations after an SEC investigation into insider trading and connection to fraud, support President Trump’s lax attitude towards banks. Multiple other banks expressed similar views in their reporting, supporting Trump’s attempts to roll bank “burdensome regulations” meant to protect consumers.

In fact, financial service companies used their resources to make sure these policies would come to light. Federated Investors Inc. donated over $400,000 to Republican Committees during the election, while Prudential Financial Inc., Genworth Financial Inc., and AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co., donated a combined total of $500,000 to a variety of Republican groups during the 2016 election cycle.
They conclude their report by reminding people that "While Trump ran on a platform to help the working class, his policies have largely focused on destabilizing the economic programs put in by the Obama administration and crafting policies that greatly benefit a few donors."


The GOP Civil War Is On-- What About A Much-Needed One Among Democrats?


Sinema-- This is how Upchuck Schumer defines "a Democrat"

There's no denying that Roy Moore is far less fit for office-- any office-- than even Trumpanzee. That said, I admire Republican Party insurgents for successfully derailing a swampy lobbyist who oozed his way into the Senate and represents, more than anything, the repulsive, soul-murdering corruption of the establishment. By defeating-- gloriously defeating-- Luther Strange (despite the blandishments of their beloved Trumpanzee), a right-wing populist base sent a chilling message to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and their coteries of swamp creatures. This week every establishment Republican in Washington was shaking in his or her boots. More of them are contemplating early retirement. Not shaking: Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. They feel confident that populists on the left will do nothing of the kind.

Shouldn't Democrats be working furiously to end the vile political careers of Joe Manchin (WV), Joe Donnelly (IN), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Clare McCaskill (MO) and Jon Tester (MT)? Maybe... but that isn't really analogous. You may-- you should-- dislike those conservative Democrats but those are really red states:
West Virginia- R+19
Indiana- R+9
North Dakota- R+19
Missouri- R+9
Montana- R+11
That is tough territory. And although the anti-Trump/anti-GOP tsunami may be big enough to defeat Moore in December and replace him with Doug Jones... well, that would have to be the biggest tsunami in history. Alabama's PVI is R+14. So Bannon and Mercer and that crew weren't really taking that big of a gamble they would give away a red seat. In fact, every poll shows Moore winning. (Google Consumer Surveys: Moore- 58%, Jones- 42%; Opinion Savvy: Moore- 50%, Jones- 45%.) We'll get to situations that are analogous below, but first, let me share some typical Politico conventional Beltway "wisdom": Bernie backers give Dem incumbents a pass in 2018. Gabriel Debenedetti reassures Beltway Dems that they have nothing to fear. No Democratic civil war brewing anywhere.
“What Democrats right now care about more than anything is winning,” veteran Democratic pollster Jefrey Pollock said of divisive Democratic primaries. “I don’t think the ultra-progressives have abandoned their principles-- not at all-- but I think they looked at the challenge and said, ‘This is not the right place.’”

...[T]he relative peace on the left wasn’t preordained-- the divisiveness of last year’s presidential primary was widely expected to manifest again in 2018 statewide elections. Yet with next year’s Senate and gubernatorial races shaping up, it’s Democrats whose sighs of relief are echoing around the country.

Democrats have escaped the brunt of their own party’s populist fury largely because they’re heading into the midterms in a defensive crouch, with 10 of their incumbent senators on the ballot in states that voted for Donald Trump. So instead of going after their own senators, progressive activists are focused on gaining Republican-held seats in the House.

“There’s some reluctance to put a lot of time into [unseating Democrats], versus [building] a more progressive Congress overall,” said former Communications Workers of America union president Larry Cohen, a top Bernie Sanders advisor who now chairs the board of the Our Revolution political group that was spawned from the senator’s 2016 presidential campaign. “There’s going to be a lot more activity where it’s possible to change the makeup of the Congress.”

Not all statewide Democratic incumbents are home-free: Actress Cynthia Nixon has been encouraged to mount a long-shot challenge against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo from the left next year-- much like the one he fended off in 2014. Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has suggested he may take on first-term Gov. Gina Raimondo, criticizing her for not being sufficiently progressive on an array of issues.

And in California, fourth-term Sen. Dianne Feinstein has faced fury from the left for not challenging Trump more aggressively. State Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, who made the rounds in Washington this month, and liberal activist Joe Sanberg have gained notice as potential challengers... [L]liberal challenges to West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill have so far failed to gain traction... [N]one of the many Democratic senators running in liberal states in 2018-- such as Delaware’s Tom Carper, Maryland’s Ben Cardin, Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar, Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse, or Washington’s Maria Cantwell-- have seen any reason to sweat their own positions.

...Still, messy Democratic primaries are still expected in several House districts where vulnerable Republicans are running for re-election. One conservative Democratic House member-- Illinois’ Dan Lipinski-- already faces a primary fight.

That’s reason enough for establishment-oriented and moderate Democrats to avoid complacency, insisted a handful of party operatives.
What Debenedetti missed are the two Senate primaries in the two states Democrats expect to flip from red to blue. Schumer and Van Hollen recruited 2 of the absolutely worst, most abysmal excuses for Democrats to run, grotesquely corrupt Blue Dog Kirsten Sinema (who actually-- by voting record-- is the single worst Democrat in the House) and almost-as-bad-as-Sinema worthless Jacky Rosen. Arizona progressives haven't gotten their shit together yet, but Nevada progressives sure have-- and with a far more qualified candidate that the swampy establishment is offering: Jesse Sbaih. Schumer, Reid and Van Hollen ar doing everything they can to bury Sbaih's campaign but progressive voters in Nevada are taking note-- and seeing who he is and who Jacky Rosen is. (Shamefully, the imbeciles at HRC have endorsed Sinema on the day she announced. She may be right-wing on everything else, but went it comes to her own private parts...)

Jesse Sbaih is upbeat and hopeful, if wary. "Democrats across the nation have awoken," he told us. "The days of Super Delegates, interfering with primary elections, and embracing corporate money are no longer tolerated by the majority. The more the Democratic Party insists on pushing its anointed candidates, disrupting the democratic process, and advancing the interests of greedy corporations (not the people), the more registered Democrats refuse to come out to vote in general elections. The 2016 election cycle was a perfect example of such intolerance. As we approach 2018, it behooves the Democratic Party to change its old ways or it shall face the peril of continuing to lose elections."

And progressives need to pick off corrupt and Republican-lite reactionaries in blue district primaries. One of the most important this cycle is the Chicagoland seat occupied by Blue Dog throwback Dan Lipinski. He can be beaten because the Democrats have an extraordinary candidate-- a stalwart progressive with deep community roots and the right message for the middle and working class voters in IL-03, Marie Newman. Yesterday she told us that "We have to start upgrading the party to have members of Congress who have real ideas and are willing to both fight and collaborate to get things done. Mr. Lipinski is the epitome of Blue-dog, Do-nothing establishment Dems. This district deserves a real Democrat with real ideas who will actually work and get results."

Goal ThermometerNormally, it takes 2 cycles to dislodge an entrenched incumbent and progressive champion Tim Canova is on his second cycle to replace the odious Debbie Wassermann Schultz in South Florida. "It's crucial we hold incumbent Democrats accountable," he just told us, "when they've shown a repeated pattern of selling out voters to corporate interests and personal political gain. There are none more in need of scrutiny and challenge than Debbie Wasserman Schultz-- for her many failures when chair of the Democratic National Committee, for undercutting so many other Democrats in and outside of Florida, and for taking millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the largest Wall Street banks and big corporate interests. Wasserman Schultz talks like a liberal and progressive, but she shills for predatory payday lenders, private prisons, fossil fuels and other big business donors. She personifies all that's wrong in our politics and with the Democratic Party. Wasserman Schultz will remain a danger to democracy and drag down Democrats as long as she's in public office."

As Humanist Report host Mike Figueredo reported at HuffPo yesterday, Yes, Medicare For All Is Definitely A Litmus Test For Democrats, not for swamp creatures like Schumer or Reid or Van Hollen, of course, but for actual Democrats.
Medicare for All is absolutely a litmus test! Democrats that refuse to cosponsor Sanders’ or Conyers’ bill in the Senate or House, respectively, will not only lose support (read: votes) from progressives, but we will actively find primary opponents to challenge and defeat them. If incumbent Democrats won’t support Medicare for All, progressives will find somebody else that will. In fact, we’re already doing that. Our intentions have been quite clear from the beginning.

On my podcast, The Humanist Report, I discussed a town hall that took place in Nevada’s 4th congressional district with newly-elected Rep. Ruben Kihuen. An activist named Amy Vilela showed up to ask Kihuen-- a self-proclaimed “progressive” and member of the congressional progressive caucus-- why he refuses to cosponsor Conyers’ Medicare for All bill. More importantly, Vilela’s question was accompanied with her daughter’s poignant story. Vilela explained to Kihuen that her daughter, Shalynne, died at the young age of 22-years-old because she was denied basic medical screenings that would have undoubtedly saved her life. Shalynne couldn’t prove that she had medical insurance and was instead told to go get insurance and find a doctor. But Shalynne’s story didn’t resonate with Kihuen, apparently. Not only did he refuse to commit to cosponsoring Conyers’ Medicare for All bill at that town hall, but even got arguably defensive, as constituents kept pushing the issue further. After reporting on the events that took place at this town hall, and how a so-called progressive couldn’t provide his constituents with one good reason why he wouldn’t support Medicare for All, my viewers submitted hundreds-- if not thousands-- of voicemails to both of Kihuen’s offices, demanding that he cosponsor Conyers’ bill. He still wasn’t moved.

[Note: Kihuen pretended to be a progressive to help him beat actual progressive Lucy Flores last year. Once he got to Congress he joined the corrupt, Wall Street-owned New Dems and quickly reversed his progressive positions and started running up a dreadful voting record. His ProgressivePunch Crucial Vote grade is a "C," far from what he promised when he sat in my living room and portrayed himself as a progressive champion. For Blue America, he was 2016's biggest disappointment.]

As a direct result of Kihuen’s unwillingness to do what he was elected to do (i.e. represent his constituents), he is now facing a primary challenger. His opponent is the mother he didn’t take seriously during that town hall: Amy Vilela. She announced her candidacy on July 19 on The Humanist Report, and she intends to cosponsor H.R. 676 herself since her representative refused to do it. But Amy isn’t the only progressive challenging an incumbent Democrat that refuses to support single-payer.

After months of putting pressure on Rep. Denny Heck in Washington state’s 10th congressional district, he’s now being challenged by a progressive named Tamborine Borrelli, namely because Heck refuses to cosponsor John Conyers’ bill.

...[C]onventional wisdom tells us that Democrats residing in relatively conservative districts-- or red and purple states-- shouldn’t get on board with an idea that presumably won’t resonate with more conservative voters. This line of thinking, however, is outdated. First and foremost, Democrats have lacked the courage to embrace bold progressive policies in conservative states and districts and have played it safe for years; and yet, they still managed to get wiped out at all levels of government. Playing it safe obviously hasn’t been a successful strategy for them.

Second of all, we’re witnessing a rapid cultural shift akin to the wave of social acceptance we saw in the early 2010s towards marriage equality. The “big government” and “socialist” boogeyman arguments just don’t work any longer. A majority of Americans now support single-payer. A recent Harvard-Harris poll found that 52% of Americans back Medicare for All. Some polls even find that single-payer is supported by a plurality of Republicans; that is, more support it than oppose it. Even in polls indicating single-payer doesn’t yet have a majority of support, attitudes towards Medicare for All are still becoming increasingly positive. Additionally, there’s overwhelming support for the general idea that “government is responsible” for ensuring citizens have healthcare. So even in polls that are less kind to single-payer as a policy, there’s still a great deal of symbolic support for it-- which is a strong indicator that Bernie is changing hearts and minds. In fact, Vox’s Dylan Matthews reports that even the alt-right “loves” single-payer, surprisingly.

But even if momentum wasn’t shifting towards single-payer among the general public, it would still be a winning strategy for Democrats. That may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s actually strategically sound. As Democrats have continued to shift to the right—in an effort to court moderates turned off by the Republican Party’s increasingly extremist right-wing views-- they’ve disenfranchised their core base that still exists on the left. America’s Overton window is almost exclusively right-wing, and the Democratic Party has abandoned their populist ideas in an effort to cater to what they think are more moderate voters. This is a strategy that has lead to the Democratic Party being completely annihilated at all levels of government. Moderates don’t like Democrats. When given the choice between a Republican candidate and Republican-lite candidate-- they’ll almost always opt for the real deal. The Democratic Party’s constituents have always been working class voters, and those individuals aren’t going to take time off of work and spend hours in line at the voting booth supporting a candidate whose neoliberal policies will only harm them slightly less than the Republican. They’ll just stay home.

If Democrats actually move back to the left and embrace a bold, progressive message, the voters they’ve abandoned just might come back to them and vote for the first time in a while. So, Democrats should be thanking progressives for making Medicare for All a litmus test because, if anything, it will help their electoral chances. Running away from progressive ideas is a losing strategy in conservative regions of the country because you need your base more than ever in these particular areas. Republicans don’t court moderate voters on the left because they know their core base on the far right won’t go for that; and in a time where Americans are incredibly polarized, it’s time Democrats acknowledge the reality of our current political landscape and opt for a strategy that will actually help them defeat Republicans. They must reinvigorate their demoralized base.

But everything I’m saying would be considered blasphemous to the Democratic Party’s overpaid strategists. Why listen to ordinary Americans when elites in D.C. and the media reinforce all of their bad decisions? More importantly, why alienate potential donors from the health insurance industry when Democrats know they only have to wait for Americans to grow so tired with Republicans and Trump that they’ll inevitably come running back to them even if they change nothing? That’s what the Party is banking on, which is why progressives have made Medicare for All a litmus test. We know Democrats won’t back Sanders’ or Conyers’ bills unless we force them to-- and that’s exactly what we intend to do.

Progressives (and left-leaning Democrats) would be dimwitted to not capitalize on the momentum and grassroots enthusiasm we currently see for single-payer. But besides Medicare for All being a practical and advantageous strategy for Democrats, it’s a litmus test because it’s the right thing to do. If Democrats don’t support a policy that would literally save countless lives, then what good are they? Really, Medicare for All is the easiest litmus test for Democrats to pass. If you don’t care about helping people, and only care about appeasing your donors, why did you run for Congress in the first place? If Shalynne’s story doesn’t tug on your heartstrings, then you’ve become too detached with the struggle of ordinary citizens. This is a moral issue.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

This is what a real anti-American coward and spoiled son-of-a-bitch looks like.

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Friday, September 29, 2017

CUFF The Blue Dogs, CUFF The New Dems-- The Democratic Party Doesn't Need A Republican Wing


Blue Dogs and New Dems are, by nature, addicted to corruption

A Democratic operative texted me yesterday that he could smell another conservative shill the DCCC was preparing to unleash, Joshua Welle. "It's like he just rolled down the conveyor belt at DCCC shitty candidate factory they have in the basement at 430 South Capitol St." Let me guess, I replied, another centrist veteran? "Bingo!" Welle is the 3rd Democrat who wants to take on moderate Republican Chris Smith-- moderate on everything but Choice, which he opposes... with hysteria. NJ-04 may have been relatively swingy but the R+7 PVI of 2016 is now an R+8. Obama's 45% losses in 2008 and 2012 turned into a rout against Hillary, who lost to Trump with just 41%. The district is a mess for Democrats. Low consciousness Democrats gave Hillary big wins against Bernie in each of the 3 counties, Monmouth, Mercer and Ocean and then the two with most of the votes, Momouth and Ocean went strongly for Trump. Democrats would probably have better shots taking out Leonard Lance, Rodney Frelinghuysen. Tom MacArthur and maybe Frank LoBiondo than in defeating Smith. But Welle (and the DCCC) seem to think Democrats are too stupid to notice Welle's right-of-center orientation and that he can pick up disenchanted Republicans because he's a vet and a businessman. How lame a strategy is that? It's the core of how the DCCC has lost-- and keeps losing-- Congress.

Over the last couple of weeks the Blue Dogs and the New Dems, the two organizations that make up the Republican wing of the Democratic Party inside Congress, have announced their first batch of conservative candidates they're helping run in primaries (with help from the DCCC). Some of the candidates on the list have called me to either give me a heads up or to make excuses. Some claimed not to know anything about the organization that had just endorsed them, although they applied for the endorsement and-- at least in the case of the New Dems-- they have to sit down for an interview. And neither group takes just anyone. If they don't sense a "tolerance" for corruption and an innate conservatism, they don't endorse.

What I've tried to explain over and over is that the Republican wing of the Democratic Party is why there was no public option in ObamaCare. It had ZERO to do with the Republicans; it was 100% New Dems and Blue Dogs. When Ryan or McCarthy boasts that some crap bill-- like yesterday's CUFF Act-- passed with a bipartisan majority, they mean all the Republicans and a handful from the New Dems and the Blue Dogs. In fact, why don't we talk about the Control Unlawful Fugitive Felons Act (CUFF). It's Kristi Noam's bill-- co-sponsored bt right-wing crackpot Pete Sessions (R-TX) and yesterday it passed the House 244-171. All the Republicans-- other than 3 libertarian-oriented members-- voted for it and all the Democrats opposed it-- except for 21 of the usual suspects from the Republican wing of the party. Here were yesterday's aisle crossers:
Ami Bera (New Dem-CA)
Brendan Boyle (PA)
Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL)
Lou Correa (Blue Dog-CA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Josh Gottheimer (Blue Dog-NJ)
Bill Keating (New Dem-MA)
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)
Dan Lipinski (Blue Dog-IL)
Dave Loebsack (IA)
Stephen Lynch (MA)
Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL)
Tom O'Halleran (Blue Dog-AZ)
Jimmy Panetta (CA)
Colin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Jacky Rosen (NV)
Raul Ruiz (CA)
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)
Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)
Tom Suozzi (NY)
Eric Swalwell (CA)
New Hampshire Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter, who explains every vote she takes to her constituents, said she couldn't "vote for this bill because it would take Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits away from tens of thousands of elderly people and people with mental health issues or disabilities because they have outdated or dormant warrants that, in the majority of cases, law enforcement does not pursue. Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal says: ‘Despite the title of the bill, the seniors and people with severe disabilities who would be harmed by this bill are not felons, as the Chairman acknowledged at our markup."

Her office provided some background to a bill 168 Democrats voted against and 21 from the Republican wing of the party backed:
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is currently restricted from distributing any Social Security payments to those otherwise eligible if they are considered “fleeing felons.” Court cases helped settle the definition of what constituted a “crime of flight” in 2009 and 2010. Since that time, SSA has withheld benefits from those “fleeing to avoid prosecution, or custody or confinement after conviction” for a felony or violating a condition of probation or parole.

The CUFF Act would return to an older, outdated definition for “fleeing felons” that would effectively cut off tens of thousands of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients with outdated or dormant warrants that law enforcement generally does not pursue.  This change applies to SSI only, not to Social Security’s retirement or disability programs. SSI is a means tested federal income supplement primarily designed to help very low income older, blind, and disabled Americans meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.  As such, this change would directly impact the most vulnerable.

This is a fact that even the bill’s proponents have acknowledged. According to Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal: “Despite the title of the bill, the seniors and people with severe disabilities who would be harmed by this bill are not felons, as the Chairman acknowledged at our markup. They are people who have been accused of a felony, or accused of a parole of probation violation. They have not been tried or convicted of the offense underlying the warrant. In many instances, they are not even accused of committing a felony, as probation can result from a misdemeanor offense alone.”
This is an example-- there's usually more than one every week-- of why Democrats should not vote for Blue Dogs and New Dems, at least not in primaries, no matter how much they curse Trump.

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Why Is The DCCC Greasing The Way For Gil Cisneros To Buy A Congressional District He Doesn't Live In?


Lottery winner and "ex"-Republican Gil Cisneros wants more than just his $266 million lottery winnings and his $10 million mansion in tony Newport Coast. He wants the word "Congressman" in front of his name. Fancy! But his bought-and-paid-for "friends" at the DCCC told him they already have a candidate in his district (CA-48) and directed him to run in a completely unrelated district-- a solid middle and working class district (CA-39)-- that has no private beaches for $10 million mansions. Worse yet, that's a district with some candidates who are far more competent and qualified than Cisneros. Throughout his plagued campaign, he's played loosely with the truth-- he's lied about how long he's been a "Democrat" (since 2015), where he lives (Newport Coast); hell, he said he voted for Bernie... Doubtful when you consider his six digit contributions to the Hillary Clinton's primary campaign, which are proudly displayed on Hillary's own website and in FEC reports. But of course, he has an explanation for that too.

The "little" things that voters look for-- honesty, integrity, maybe not being a damn liar, knowledge of issues, are completely absent from Gil Cisneros and his consultant-heavy campaign.

It comes as no surprise that when I see the George Lopez Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tweeting out that they support Gil Cisneros and a link to his donation page-- that this would raise no red flag in Gil world. Again, the George Lopez FOUNDATION, a NONPROFIT, flagrantly violating the law by advocating for worthless, flip-floppy, "ex"-Republican Gil Cisneros, putting at risk their supposed mission to: "Create positive, permanent change for underprivileged children, adults and military families confronting challenges in education and health, as well as increasing community awareness about kidney disease and organ donation."

I would think there would be concern from Gil's team about this, but no-- THEY RETWEETED IT. They probably pushed for it! It doesn't take a huge logical jump to imagine this is the type of influence Gil's unearned "mega millions" can buy. In fact, he had the foundation post the same crap on Facebook and instagram as well. And this guy wants to serve in Congress? And the DCCC thinks he's a good idea as a candidate?

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