Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Night Sing-Along- Trumpty Dumpty


Phil Festa is happy to have a life outside the corporate music business. You can tell from his most recent music. "It's great" he wrote, not to have a record company in charge of your ability to be heard." I know what he means. Enjoy!

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Why Are There So Many Zombies Hanging Around Spokane?


The eastern Washington state congressional district (WA-05) is one of the hottest in the country. The highest ranking Republican woman in the House, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a pure Trump enabler and rubber stamp, is under pressure from former majority leader of the Washington state House and former Washington State University University (Spokane), Lisa Brown. The two candidates have raised $6,170,863 so far, far more than any other race in the state. As of the July 18 FEC reporting deadline, McMorris Rodgers had $1,232,499 left in her campaign account and Lisa Brown had $920,575 in her account.

Goal ThermometerPaul Ryan's Adelson-funded SuperPAC has set up office in the district and is spending a great deal of money to bolster a weak incumbent. McMorris Rodgers has turned to arch-villains like Devin Nunes, one of Putin's favorite comgressmen to help her raise more money. Although WA-05 backed McCain narrowly against Obama-- 51.2% to 46.3%-- Hillary was just the wrong candidate for that district. Bernie was a big winner in the Democratic primary there. Trump beat her 52.2% to 39.1%. Bernie took the 3 biggest counties by big numbers-- Spokane County 78.1-21.7%; Stevens County 80.8% to 18.4% and in Walla Walla County, 70.8-29.2%. If you'd like to contribute to Lisa's campaign, just click on the thermometer on the right.

The PVI is R+8, a point in the wrong direction from 2015. But there are enough independent voters in the district to give Lisa a great overcome the odds. She's running on a strong, forthright campaign embracing, for example, the idea of an economy that is more equitable for American workers. "True economic growth and jobs," she told us, "come from investing in people (through education) and in infrastructure."

One of the things I like most about Lisa is that she understands how to work across the aisle to find shared interests in order to get good, solid legislation passed. That's the advantage of electing experienced, skilled legislators to Congress, people like Ted Lieu, Pramila Jayapal, Karen Bass, Jamie Raskin, Judy Chu, Katherine Clark, Adriano Espaillat...

All that said, the way I first met Lisa was from Krist Novoselic, former bass player with Nirvana. He persuaded me to talk with her based on his own experiences with her. Lisa has always taken the arts seriously. In fact, in the state House, she sponsored the Washington State Motion Picture Competitiveness Program 10 years ago and just renewed last year. The bill helped lay the foundation for the creative economy in eastern Washington resulting in shows like Z Nation, which is filmed in Spokane. In fact, the show likes her so much that they sent a zombie to her campaign announcement event!

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Is The GOP Too Far Gone To Be Rescued From The Swamp Of Corruption?


A PPP survey released yesterday found that 61% of Arizona voters-- all parties-- want Governor Ducey to appoint someone more like John McCain rather than like Señor Trumpanzee, although 37% of crazy treanous voters do want someone more like Trump. Jesus! All they all on drugs? Or just stupid? Trump has aa 53% disapproval rating in the state; 44% approve.

Poor Ducey-- 42% of respondents said they be more likely to vote for his reelection if he picks someone more like McCain and 35% said they'd be less likely if he picks someone like McCain (a mainstream conservative). 35% want a neo-fascist bag of hot air like Trump. Half the voters polled said they’d be less likely to vote for Ducey in November if he picks a Trumpist.

With Trump almost certain to shut down the government right before the midterms, his corruption-- and the GOP's corruption in general-- will come into sharper focus over the next 2 months, as many Democrats campaign on it. Yesterday a conservative Democrat from the party establishment, Neera Tanden, published an OpEd in USAToday, about the GOP's cascading corruption problem. Tanden frames the problem well: "A basic and fundamental building block of our democracy-- the principle that our government should represent the people-- is currently under withering attack." Trump is certainly not living top to his promise to drain the swamp, though I'm certain that if you asked his brain-dead supporters if he drained it or not, they would all say he did. And that's despite the fact that his inner circle is stocked with criminals. Since he "assumed office," wrote Tanden, "a significant and growing number of Americans have increasingly recognized that the president, the members of his administration and Republicans at large have betrayed their trust. They say overwhelmingly that Trump has failed to set a high moral standard for his presidency and they have saddled top Trump administration officials with record low marks on ethics. They now see the Republican Party in its true light: as the Party of Corruption." Now, keep in mind that "they" refers to normal people, not Trump supporters. Tanden was a die-hard Clintonista and didn't understand that there were Trump supporters than and apparently still doesn't understand it. These people are impervious to the real word. Raised on reality TV, when we chuckle at the idea of "alternative facts," they eat it up as a way to explain their own miserable existences.
Our new research shows that more than 70 percent of the public want our government to take a more active role in solving the greatest issues confronting our nation. At the same time, more than 85 percent also say the federal government primarily serves the interests of large corporations, the wealthy, and campaign contributors.

It should come as no surprise that this crisis of confidence has worsened under the Trump administration. Just consider a small sample of their many suspicious and unscrupulous actions that have been performed by Trump’s allies since he entered the White House: Rep. Chris Collins, the first member of Congress to endorse Trump for president, was recently arrested for allegedly perpetrating an insider trading scheme while on the board of a foreign pharmaceutical company. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, the second congressman to endorse Trump, was indicted last week for illegally using campaign funds for personal enrichment.

Tom Price resigned as Health and Human Services secretary after spending $400,000 in federal money on private jet travel. Scott Pruitt stepped down as Environmental Protection Agency administrator amid a dizzying list of abuses. And Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, has confessed that while serving in Congress, he only met with lobbyists after they ponied up a donation.

Yet it is not only the abuse of taxpayer dollars (or the rampant appearance of public corruption under Trump) that is eroding faith in our political institutions. Americans understand that Washington’s pernicious system of back-scratching produces policies that hurt working- and middle-class families. They know our elected officials are beholden to the corrupting power of their donors-- that they prioritize the interests of the top 1 percent by writing laws which mainly benefit these same donors.

The recent Republican Party tax cuts perfectly illustrate why such fears are completely justified. Even as Republicansstruggle to selltheir signature legislative achievement, they are reaping huge benefits from the law by collecting millions in donations from the rich donors and corporate interests who received its enormous handouts.

What’s clear is that the public is fed up with the status quo in Washington, and that this anger is transforming our politics. In many campaigns, we’re seeing that incumbency in Congress is a hindrance, not a help. Democratic candidates have successfully rallied support while rejecting donations from corporate political action committees-- from Conor Lamb’s shocking win in Pennsylvania to Beto O’Rourke’s surging momentum in his race to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas.

That is why, moving forward, bold political reforms must be central to the Democratic Party’s platform. Fortunately, there are three concrete steps our government can take to dramatically curb the insidious influence of donors and special interests.

First, lobbyists should be barred from fundraising on behalf of members of Congress.  This would end the kind of pay-to-play behavior embraced by the likes of Mulvaney, and prevent well-connected special interests and donors from playing the role of puppeteer in shaping the policy agendas of elected officials. Democrats in both chambers have already included such a ban as part of a sweeping proposal designed to strengthen our country’s ethics laws, reform our system of campaign finance, and empower American voters.

Second, members of congressional committees should not be allowed to accept campaign contributions from the same industries they are entrusted with overseeing. Until two weeks ago, Collins sat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was responsible for regulating health care companies-- even as he allegedly orchestrated an insider trading scheme involving a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Our current system gives too many businesses the chance to exploit potential conflicts of interests by donating to politicians willing to put personal gain over the common good.

Third, members of Congress should be prohibited from sitting on the boards of for-profit companies-- whether in a paid or unpaid capacity-- or from owning individual stocks in such entities. Sen. Elizabeth Warren included this type of prohibition in the expansive anti-corruption package she introduced last week. Her rules would finally stop many lawmakers from abusing their official positions for financial gain.

These three proposals can be part of a new movement to exterminate the culture of corruption festering in Washington under Trump, and take the first critical steps toward restoring the strength of our democracy. Voters are demanding that Congress dismantle the stranglehold special interests hold over too many elected officials, and put power back into the hands of the people. It is time for America's leaders to answer their call.
Another aspect of political corruption is what Greg Sargent dealt with this morning, noting that Trump is literally trying to stoke up violence, just the way fascist tyrants in Europe, trying to gain and consolidate power, did in the 1930s. "Periodically in this country," he wrote in the Washington Post, "whenever there is violence with a political cast, or whenever political rhetoric strays into something more menacing than usual, we hold debates about the tone of our politics and their capacity for incitement. Whether rhetorical excess can be blamed for violence or the threat of it is a complicated topic with no easy answers. But even so, in most or all of these cases, whichever side is culpable, most of our elected leaders on both sides have used their prominence to calm passions in hopes of averting future horrors. This time, something different is happening. At this point, there is no longer any denying that Trump continues to direct incendiary attacks against working members of the free press even though his own language is being cited by clearly unhinged people making horrifying death threats against them."

UPDATE: From the comments section

Mark Karlin's good-bye post for BuzzFlash is unsettling. I wish I could say he's wrong; I can't.

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Election 2018-- Pennsylvania


"An essential motivating force"

I wish I had a poll of every state like the one Franklin & Marshall just released about Pennsylvania. These kinds of polls mean so much more than the national ones we keep getting bombarded with. A tiny bit of background: Cook assigns them an even PVI, which is silly and should be more like a D+1 or 2. Obama beat McCain 3,276,363 (54.5%) to 2,655,885 (44.2%) and then beat Romney 2,990,274 (51.97%) to 2,680,434 (46.59%). The Democrats couldn't have picked a worse candidate than Clinton and, even with Russian targeting in the state, Trump only beat her 2,970,733 (48.18%) to 2,926,441 (47.48%).

Now, on to the new poll. "The August 2018 Franklin & Marshall College Poll finds that more than half (54%) of the state’s registered voters are 'very interested' in the 2018 mid-term elections; more Democrats (60%) than Republicans (53%) or independents (33%) say they are 'very interested.' At the moment, both Governor Tom Wolf and Senator Bob Casey hold comfortable leads against their Republican challengers, but a large portion of voters, notably Republicans and independents, are undecided in those races. Neither Republican candidate is well known yet among voters. At the moment, Democrats have an advantage in voter interest and turnout... Trump is an essential motivating force in the upcoming mid-term elections. More registered voters prefer the Democratic candidate for U.S. House (48%) than the Republican candidate for U.S. House (39%); two in three (67%) of those who plan to vote for a Democratic candidate are casting their ballot mainly as a vote against President Trump and Republicans in Congress, while three in four (74%) of those who plan to vote for a Republican candidate are casting their ballot mainly as a vote to support President Trump and the Republicans in Congress. Moreover, the most common reason voters provide for supporting their U.S. Senate choice relates to the President."

Casey seems safe in his Senate reelection bid. His lead over Republican Lou Barletta (a Trump-endorsed extremist) is 47-34% among likely voters. Tom Wolf is doing even better against state Senator Scott Wagner in this gubernatorial reelection bid-- Wolf 52% and Wagner 35%. It will be helpful to down-ballot Democrats to have these two at the top of the ticket.
Comparing 2018 electoral indicators to indicators from the prior three gubernatorial elections in Pennsylvania provides some context about what might be expected this year. In the 2006 election, Democrats retained the governor’s office, defeated an incumbent Republican U.S. senator, and picked up four U.S. house seats held by Republicans in a year that showed many favorable indicators for them. Conversely, in 2010 these electoral indicators showed Republicans had a real advantage and Republicans won the governor’s office, a U.S. Senate seat, and 12 of 19 U.S. House seats. In 2014, the electoral indicators gave no clear advantage to either party and this was reflected in the final vote: Democrats managed to recapture the governor’s office while Republicans captured 13 of the state’s 18 U.S. House seats.

Currently, optimism about the direction of the state is similar to 2006, and much better than in 2010 or 2014. The job performance rating for the incumbent governor is also similar to 2006, when the relatively popular incumbent Ed Rendell won re-election, and is much better than Governor Corbett’s job performance ratings were in 2010. The incumbent president’s popularity is similar for all these elections, which was an advantage for Democrats in 2006, a disadvantage in 2010 and 2014, and is again an advantage for Democrats in this cycle. President Trump’s relatively low approval ratings could hurt Republican candidates this year. At the moment, Democrats appear to have an advantage in voter interest and turnout
The generic ballot looks excellent for Democrats. 2006 was a good Democratic wave cycle and at this point in the wave Democrats were at +7 D. Today they are at +9 D. Right now there are 12 Republicans and 6 Democrats in the state's congressional delegation. It looks to me like January 2019 will see a Pennsylvania delegation with as many as 11 Democrats and as few as 7 Republicans. That's far bluer-- and more optimistic-- than anyone else is predicting. Race by race, these are the candidates I think will win in November:
PA-01- Scott Wallace (D)
PA-02- Brendan Boyle (D)
PA-03- Dwight Evans (D)
PA-04- Madeleine Dean (D)
PA-05- Mary Scanlon (D)
PA-06- Chrissy Houlahan (D)
PA-07- Susan Wild (D)
PA-08- Matt Cartwright (D)
PA-09- Dan Meuser (R)
PA-10- Scott Perry (R)
PA-11- Jess King (D)
PA-12- Tom Marino (R)
PA-13- John Joyce (R)
PA-14- Guy Reschenthaler (R)
PA-15- Glenn Thompson (R)
PA-16- Mike Kelly (R)
PA-17- Conor Lamb (D)
PA-18- Mike Doyle (D)
A couple of random findings from the poll (of likely voters):

1- 67% think the Russian government interfered with the 2016 Presidential election

22% feel Russia didn't

2- 71% think Russian election interference a threat to national security that the U.S. must address

25% think it isn't serious enough to worry about

3- What do people say their primary source of news is?
Cable TV (Fox, CNN, MSNBC)- 28%
Internet (other than social media)- 25%
Network TV (ABC, CBS, NBC)- 20%
Radio- 9%
Daily newspaper- 7%
Social media (Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat, etc)- 5%
Neighborhood newspaper- 2%
Other- 9%
4- A question just for cable tv respondents- Which cable network do you rely on most for news?
Fox- 43%
CNN- 22%
MSNBC- 20%
PBS- 3%
other- 7%

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Does Señor Trumpanzee Look Down On His Own Working Class Supporters? Looks That Way


I first heard about the Politico Jeff Sessions story that included a bit about how Trump hates Sessions' southern accent, on Wednesday evening on either Maddow's show or The Last Word. I instantly understood what that meant, what was behind it. This could be a lot bigger than all the previous things everyone thought would "bring Trump down." First a little background. On Thursday, one of the Cook Report analysts reported that "according to 2016 exit polls, Trump carried white, college-educated voters with 48% of the vote. Today, his approval rating among these voters is just 37%. More ominously, after voting narrowly for Trump in 2016, these voters overwhelmingly prefer a Democrat for Congress over a Republican (54% to 39%)." Keep that in the back of your mind.

Buried in the Politico report: "Seized by paroxysms of anger, Trump has intermittently pushed to fire his attorney general since March 2017, when Sessions announced his recusal from the Russia investigation. If Sessions’ recusal was his original sin, Trump has come to resent him for other reasons, griping to aides and lawmakers that the attorney general doesn’t have the Ivy League pedigree the president prefers, that he can’t stand his Southern accent and that Sessions isn’t a capable defender of the president on television-- in part because he 'talks like he has marbles in his mouth,' the president has told aides.

In the safe space of "his" White House, Trump imagined he could jump out of character without any consequences. This is what I snarkily tweeted while it was blaring out of MSNBC in the other room:

Then the next morning I noticed that Jonathan Chait had picked up on it as well-- Trump Is a Snob Who Secretly Despises His Own Supporters. BOOM! I hope that seeps down into the dregs of Trumpist support.
Conservatives have spent decades depicting liberals as coastal snobs. Entire campaigns were built from this theme, from Michael Dukakis’s “Harvard Yard boutique” to various Democrats failing to display the requisite enthusiasm for Nascar. Every image of Barack Obama in the right-wing media cast him gazing downward imperiously, a pose that conservatives seemed to think captured his contempt for the good people of the heartland.

Given the attention they have lavished on such picayune details as John Kerry’s failure to properly order cheesesteak properly, it’s not even possible to imagine what they would do with direct evidence of a president disdaining his attorney general’s University of Alabama law degree and regional accent. Imagine one of those scenes from a ’90s action movie where the bad guys are wearing night-vision goggles in the dark, and then suddenly faced with blinding light.

But as is so often the case, the accusation that was made falsely against Democrats turns out to be true of Trump. For all his vaunted populism, he is filled with contempt for average people in general and his own supporters in particular.

Trump has touted the mindless loyalty of his base, and when he marveled that he would not lose any support if he shot somebody on Fifth Avenue, he was not complimenting the discernment of his supporters. He has tried to turn that into a positive-- “I love the poorly educated!”-- but the association with low socioeconomic strata has grated on him. Trump is the ultimate snob. He has no sense that working-class people may have equal latent talent that they have been denied the chance to develop. He considers wealthy and successful people a genetic aristocracy, frequently attributing his own success to good genes.

Attempting to explain his penchant for appointing plutocrats to his Cabinet, Trump has said, “I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?” It makes sense if you assume a person’s wealth perfectly reflects their innate intelligence. Trump has repeatedly boasted about his Ivy League pedigree and that of his relatives, which he believes reflects well on his own genetic stock. He has fixated on the Ivy League pedigree of his Supreme Court appointments, even rejecting the credentials of the lower Ivys as too proletarian.

Trump has built a brand on attracting working-class strivers. But the relationship he cultivates is unidirectional admiration. Trump gives his supporters a lifestyle they can enjoy vicariously. He views them as suckers. The Trump University scam was premised directly on exploiting the misplaced trust of his fan base. The internal guidance for salespeople trying to drain the savings accounts of their targets explained, “Don’t ask people what they think about something you’ve said. Instead, always ask them how they feel about it. People buy emotionally and justify it logically.”

The declassé image of his fan base has rubbed off on Trump, to his evident frustration. He regularly proclaims that his supporters are the true elite, but his unconvincing attempts to make the case usually devolve into boasts that Trump himself is the elite. Here is a typical passage, from a rally in West Virginia:
We’re the smart ones, remember. I say it all the time. You hear the elite. They’re not elite, we’re elite. You’re smarter than they are, you have more money than they do, you have better jobs than they do, you’re the elite. So let them have the word elite. You’re the super elite. That’s what it is.

I always hate-- I always hate when they say, well the elite decided not to go to something I’m doing, right, the elite. I said, “Well, I have a lot more money than they do. I have a much better education than they have. I’m smarter than they are. I have many much more beautiful homes than they do. I have a better apartment at the top of Fifth Avenue.” Why the hell are they the elite? Tell me.
Obviously, the most elemental feature of populist politics is to associate one’s opponents with “elite.” But Trump is unable to maintain the pose because he cannot stand the stink of the people upon him.

Trump's "southern strategy" is greasier that Nixon's-- and, like everything Trump-related, more personal and self-centered... more about him. If Chait's narrative takes hold and doesn't get dismissed in Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle as "fake news," 2020 will see Bernie running up big majorities across the Solid South-- except in the gated golf communities, Trump's actual natural constituency.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

See, Donnie, there are witches, and not just the ones that have been caught so far. But, this witch, the one in tonight's meme, is a good witch. She's a witch that not only has the country's best interests at heart but yours as well. If you only had the mental capacity to realize it.

Come on Donnie, even with your severe mental illness, you surely must know that the time has come for you to resign. Lincoln said "You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time" and that thing has peaked for you, more than peaked.It peaked long ago and has been sliding down ever since. Are your delusions fooling you? You act so guilty. You act like the cornered rat that you are. No need to call others rats.

You will never have a better time to make a deal, leave, and drag your giant cellulite farm of an ass and your mail-order bride back to your laughingly tacky Trump Tower abode in NYC. If you're lucky, maybe you can cut a deal that will allow you to still play golf wearing an ankle monitor that will keep you from fleeing to Russia.

You've always claimed that you make the best deals. You even had Tony Schwartzwrite a book under your name called The Art Of The Deal or was it steal? Have you ever read "your" book?

It's only going to get worse for you and, the worse it gets, the worse any deal you can make to stay out of jail, avoid impeachment, avoid forced removal from the White House, avoid asset forfeiture, avoid a trial for treason and all those things that those who believe in justice would like to see, will end up being. I know you're counting on a free pass like Nixon got. He got the "Get Out Of Jail Free" card and even walked with his pension intact. In his case, even the investigation of his crimes was part of the cover-up. Like I always say, Washington takes care of its own and obviously your whole party is doing that for you already. But, can Washington protect you forever? Look how bad the last 10 days have been, and the way it looks now, one day you'll be looking back on the dog days of August 2018 as the good old days!

So listen to the message of the good witch Donnie. She's risked violating the airspace above the White House to deliver it. Maybe you should cut your coming losses, make a deal and get on with the rest of your ridiculous life as a con artist supreme. There will still be plenty of suckers out there for you. Personally, I would prefer to see you impeached, removed, tried, and hung along with all of your crime family and co-conspirators in Congress and the media. I know such a righteous thing will never happen, true justice is rare, but, it's sure looking like something is going to happen and it's not something you're going to like. Keep in mind that your co-conspirators like Ryan, McConnell and their troops of treason puppets like Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, and Devin Nunes would probably like you to leave before you take them all with you. What if that tipping point comes and it's too late for you? What happens if rats like that jump ship? Same with your staff? Your lawyer and your accountant are already singing. You've lost your guy at the National Enquirer. What about when you cabinet members get immunity? Think of the things your White House aides have seen and heard. Can you be sure that Omarosa is the only one who has taped the goings on in the White House? Can the shredders get everything? Who made copies? You think Pence is going to save your ass? He may be your version of Agnew, or worse!

If you really are a master of the art of the deal, then you already know that the best deal you will ever be able to make is the one you can make right now, today. Don't pass go.

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Is Genocide Inevitable Under Fascism? Let's Take A Look-See


Herero survivors 

Can you point to Namibia on a map? Señor Trumpanzee couldn't even pronounce it at a meeting with African leaders. But when he was a dumb little Trump, failing all his classes, it was much easier to find Namibia on a map-- because it had a different name, a name with an excellent hint: South West Africa. Presumably even a dumb little Trumpanzee could figure that out on a map. I collected stamps so I was always interested in other countries. Other has ever interested Trump except himself. In 1882 Chancellor Otto von Bismark gave a German merchant "protection" to set up in southwest Africa. Two years later the German flag was flying over the territory. Once diamonds, gold, copper and platinum were discovered, German settlers and military units started moving in in significant numbers. By 1886, Hermann's pappy, Heinrich Ernst Göring, was appointed Commissioner. He created a dual legal system there, one for whites and one for non-whites, leading to clashes and eventually to a series of full scale wars, which became a wars of extermination, also a way for the Germans to grab all the native peoples' land and to use them as slaves (calling them terrorists). The worst of the genocides-- with an actual Vernichtungsbefehl-- an extermination order-- came in 1904 against the Herero people and then the Nama. The Germans developed a string of concentration camps to lock up-- and exterminate-- the natives. The Germans were kicked out of South West Africa in 1915 and fter World War I, it became a protectorate of South Africa, In 1990 an independent country, Namibia, or, as Señor T likes to call it, Nambia.

Yesterday I met a Catholic priest while I was waiting for a prescription to be filled at a Von's. He said he reads DWT but I didn't get the idea that he's progressive. He asked me a really strange question, especially for a man of the cloth. He wanted to know if I thought all of Trump's supporters should be consigned to Hell. I said it wouldn't be fair to punish people who were addicted to drugs or people with really low IQs, pretty typical Trump supporters, but the conscious ones, for sure. I couldn't tell if he agreed with me or not, but he certainly took Hell more literally than I do. I got back to him with a question about the Germans in South West Africa. During the genoicide German researchers back in Berlin wanted dead bodies or just heads to experiment on. Basically they wanted to prove, scientifically, that Africans are inferior beings, Untermenschen. What the Germans did in South West Africa was a precursor to what they did some years later in Europe, particularly to Jews, Roma (gypsies), gays and Russians. But what I asked my new priest friend is if what the German's actually proven was that they themselves are Untermenschen for the way they interacted with other mensche. I couldn't get an answer out of him on that either but he seemed touched when I read him a translation of General Lothar von Trotha's extermination order:
The Herero are no longer German subjects. The Herero people will have to leave the country. If the people refuse I will force them with cannons to do so. Within the German boundaries, every Herero, with or without firearms, with or without cattle, will be shot. I won’t accommodate women and children anymore. I shall drive them back to their people or I shall give the order to shoot at them.
You know how competent the Germans can be. They killed 80% of the Herero, many by shooting them but also many by preventing them from having any access to water, even poisoning wells. Holocaust?

Yesterday, The Times of Israel published a story about the descendants of the murdered Herero are trying to get a formal apology and reparations from Germany.
Germany on Wednesday handed back human remains seized from Namibia a century ago after the slaughter of indigenous people under its colonial rule, but angry descendants slammed Berlin for failing to properly atone for the dark chapter.

Herero chief Vekuii Rukoro, whose ancestors were among the tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people massacred between 1904 and 1908, said the handover ceremony should have taken place not in a Berlin church, but a German government building.

He also accused Berlin of taking too long to formally apologize for what is often called the first genocide of the 20th century.

...Many were murdered by German imperial troops while others, driven into the desert or rounded up in prison camps, died from thirst, hunger and exposure.

Dozens were beheaded after their deaths, their skulls sent to researchers in Germany for discredited “scientific” experiments that purported to prove the racial superiority of white Europeans.

In some instances, captured Herero women were made to boil the decapitated heads and scrape them clean with shards of glass.

Research carried out by German professor Eugen Fischer on the skulls and bones resulted in theories later used by the Nazis to justify the murder of Jews.

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Why Do Young People Have Such Contempt For The Republican Party? That's Easy


Last month Paul Ryan's corporately funded, sleazy SuperPAC ran thousands of dollars of really nasty radio ads beating up on progressive Democrat Kara Eastman for having been in a punk band, Pieces of Fuck, when she was in college. Ryan's PAC is desperate to save the Omaha congressional seat-- which is quickly slipping from their grasp-- for failed Trump rubber-step Don Bacon. That's why they've dug up something inocuous from when Kara was in school. What clowns they are-- and they pulled they same sort of silliness on Beto O'Rourke yesterday, in both cases to get voters' minds off the issues that contrast Kara with Bacon and Beto with Cruz.

Today, Philip Trapp, at Alternative Press, wrote about the GOP's rock'n'roll problem. The Texas Republican Party must have thought they were helping their pathetic U.S. Senate candidate-- and former mime-- Ted Cruz, by "tweeting photos of O’Rourke skating, rocking and just generally appearing relatable (as opposed to being a two-faced morality robot) in what seems a misguided effort to discredit the congressman and save Cruz’s [rapidly shrinking] lead."

Failed mime failed U.S. senator, Ted Cruz

Conservatives from both parties have always feared young people and feared and hated everything to do with young people. I remember spending too much time fighting with right-wing asshole Joe Lieberman when he started attacking one of the artists on my label, Ice-T. But it's usually Republicans who are the culprits. Now, they seem to believe that Beto can't be a senator from Texas because he was in a popular El Paso emo band, Foss, that started when he was in high school. One of his bandmates, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, became famous as the lead single for Mars Volta and At The Drive-In. Beto will be even more famous when Texans send him to the U.S. Senate. Here he is, more recently, playing with Texas music icon, Willy Nelson. Anything you want to say about that, Ted Cruz?

And it's not like Beto is the first politician-- or even first member of Congress-- to have been in a band. Probably the only nice thing that anyone can say about Dana Rohrabacher (R-Moscow) is that he was too. And when I asked someone in Palm Springs, some years ago, why they elected a goof ball like Republican Sonny Bono to the House, he said it was because everyone hoped Cher would show up in town sometimes. She didn't.

A few years ago, Blue America backed John Hall for Congress in upstate New York-- and he won. The fact that he had been a member of the band Orleans didn't play much of a part in the race but, if anything, it helped him with name recognition running against an entrenched Republican incumbent. People still love his song, "Still the One," which music-hating conservative Joe Lieberman tried appropriating as a campaign song, forcing Hall to serve him with a cease and desist order. It's still being payed on the radio today-- over 4 decades later. It had a positive impact on people's lives, more than you can say for most politicians.

I'm pretty sure Orrin Hatch was in a band too. He's definitely a serious songwriter. Here he was (below) at a recording session for one of his hit songs, "Eight Days of Hanukkah." It looks like he's trying to be the producer. Maybe he was. He definitely was eager to show everyone he was wearing a mezuzah, at least for the session.

Not my cup of tea but I'll give equal time to another well-known senator who served with Hatch, John Kerry whose 1960 high school band, The Electras has songs all over YouTube. Kerry was the bass player. Give it up or "Guitar Boogie Shuffle":

Back to Utah for a minute-- former governor (and serial presidential hopeful) Jon Huntsman dropped out of high school in the 1970s to join a Salt Lake City band called Wizard. He sported a mullet and played keyboards while they did covers of REO Speedwagon and Led Zeppelin.

In 1978, Senate majority whip Robert Byrd released an album called Mountain Fiddler with covers of folksy West Virginia standards like "Rye Whiskey" and "Cripple Creek." Like Beto and Kara, he was proud of his musical roots regardless of what assholes like Ted Cruz have to say. Here he was on TV-- fiddlin' and singing while he was already Senate Majority Whip. Audience loved it too!

Republican senators Connie Mack (FL), Larry Craig (ID, later caught trying to blow an undercover policeman in a public toilet), John Ashcroft (MO), Jim Jeffords (VT) and Trent Lott (MS) were in a barber-shop quartet, more of a Republican thing than a rock band. They released an album, Let Freedom Sing in 1998. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) is always trying to jam with anyone and he was in a band called Capitol Offense, a band that mostly covered Boston songs, until Tom Scholz had him served with a cease and desist order for fucking up "More Than a Feeling" so badly. A video of them playing "Mustang Sally" can still be found on YouTube. Unfortunately, neither Mack Rice nor Wilson Pickett ever made them stop performing it.

Florida congressman-- now MSNBC host-- Joe Scarborough fronts-- to this day-- an eponymous nine-piece band, Scarborough, mostly performing covers of Prince and Eagles tunes.

I can't remember, but did the Texas GOP complain when Kinky Friedman ran for governor of their state? He sucked up 13% of the vote too. Others elected to office include Jon Fishman (Phish) who was elected a selectman (like city council member) in Lincolnville, Maine; Martha Reeves-- from Martha and the Vandellas-- who was elected to serve a term on the Detroit City Council; and Jerry Butler, the longest-serving Board Commissioner for Cook County, Illinois.

And still threatening to run for something or other every now and then are three somewhat crazy Republican crackpots, Ted Nugent, Kanye West and Kid Rock. Look, in the course of writing this, I was listening to a lot of songs and when I heard this song just below I literally could.not.keep.myself. from jumping up and dancing my ass off as if I was back at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater waiting to give Maxine Brown a kiss backstage.

One last thing-- this tweet by Dayna Steele, east Texas congressional candidate, absolutely owning the Republican Party of Texas:


Kara Eastman's Communications Director got me this statement, which is worth reading: "The Congressional Leadership Fund was quick to villanize Kara's membership in her college's performance art band, Pieces of Fuck. In high school, she was in a singing group called the All Americans (but you don't see the CLF talking about that band name). We find it ironic that the opposition would want to attack Kara, and Beto, for doing something many American teens do - join a band, sing songs about issues that matter to them, and express themselves through music. Congress would be a better place with more musicians, and while we were joking about a College Band Congressional Caucus, Kara is looking forward to working with politicians like Beto who lead with heart-- and music."

If you like music and free expression, you can contribute to Kara's campaign here.

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Trump Fires White House Counsel McGahn-- The Most Dysfunctional Government Ever


Yesterday, at RollCall, Walter Shapiro asked why the GOP still puts up with Trump's graceless vulgarity. Presumably that question will be speculated upon for years to come. "Why do his supporters put up with it? ... What is it about Trump that has the power to cloud the minds of Republicans who should know better? ... Common ground. That’s the part of American democracy that Trump will never understand. That sometimes you join hands with your former adversaries in the quest to make this a country-- to steal a McCain book title-- "worth the fighting for."

"Former adversaries?" Trump can't even join hands with former allies who he's driven off with the most unsuitable temperament and unsuitable set of ethical and moral standards that anyone has ever brought to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Today he swinishly tweeted that White House counsel Don McGahn would be leaving the White House either after Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court or after the midterms. That's how McGahn found out he was fired.

The Washington Post reported that one person close to McGahn said "'He was surprised.' While it had been an open secret inside the White House that McGahn planned to leave after Kavanaugh’s confirmation process concludes, he had not discussed his plans directly with Trump... That potentially puts a successor in charge of fielding a blizzard of requests or subpoenas for documents and testimony if Democrats win control of the House in the midterms. And if the White House winds up fighting special counsel Robert Mueller, an epic constitutional fight could lie ahead."

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) told Trump to keep McGahn. RollCall reported that "Judiciary Committee Republicans have joined their Democratic colleagues in urging the president to avoid any moves that would be seen as him moving to directly interfere with or end the special counsel probe. Many Republican lawmakers view McGahn and others around the president as barriers preventing Trump from firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Mueller, his entire team, and any other Justice Department official the president views as out to get him via the Russia probe."

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Are Millennial Voters The Keys To The Kingdom In November?


Do you know who the "Millennials" are, aside from "those kids?" At first they were called "Gen Y." and it's debatable about when they started being born and when people started being born into "Gen Z." But generally, Millennials started in the early '80s 'til around 2000. They're the children of the Baby Boomers, my generation. They tend to be more liberal though-- and more familiar with digital technologies. As far as voters, they're, approximately, the 18-35 year olds. That age group has tended to not turn-out for elections as much as older people. This year, according to a new NBC poll, might not be much different.

Only 16% of millennials say they have a great deal of interest in politics and elections and 38% say they have a fair amount of interest in politics and elections. 31% say they have only a little interest and 13% have no interest at all. So why have polls shown millennials so excited about Bernie? Far more so than another disruptor: Donald Trump? There's a sense of disillusionment for the establishment and for Trump, who, like Bernie. campaigned against the establishment. Many millennials are savvy enough to understand that Trump is very much a political insider, regardless of what he claims. The NBC polling released this week shows that "the candidate quality that matters most to millennials' vote in the upcoming midterms is someone who can bring about needed change, signifying that young people are still on the hunt for someone they feel can make a difference." That would be Bernie and candidates perceived as being like him-- Alexandria Ocasio (NY), Randy Bryce (WI), James Thompson (KS), Kara Eastman (NE), J.D. Scholten (IA), Rashida Tlaib (MI)...

Many in this cohort don't like what they're seeing so far in the midterm campaign. In 6 surveys starting a year ago, about 60% of them have an unfavorable impression of the GOP. About a quarter of them have a favorable impression of the Republican Party. Good for Democrats, right? Well... good for the Democratic establishment's theory that the party can't be any better than the lesser of two evils. It's what they aim for and the millennials see them that way. 44% of millennials approve of the Democratic Party and 42% disapprove. Sounds horrible-- except that it's better than the GOP. I don't know how much enthusiasm those numbers show will be generated in a little over 2 months. According the the NBC report "A plurality of millennials have consistently said they plan to vote for the Democratic candidate in the 2018 congressional elections in the past year, and around a quarter have said they plan to vote for the Republican candidate. A quarter have also said they don’t plan to vote for either party, or are not sure what they’ll do.

Despite Democrats maintaining higher favorable ratings than Republicans and being the favored party candidates for the 2018 midterms across time, Democrats still face a challenge when it comes to inspiring enthusiasm among young people ahead of November.

In 2014, voters under 30 made up just 13 percent of the midterm electorate, according to NBC News exit polls. In 2010, voters under 30 made up 12 percent of the electorate. Those numbers indicate that turnout among young people this year may be just as problematic.

Millennials have unfailingly had a more positive outlook toward the Democratic Party than toward the Republican Party in NBC News/GenForward survey trend data. They are not overwhelmingly enthused to vote in November, however.

While a majority (55 percent) of millennials say they will probably or definitely vote in the midterm election this November, 19 percent of millennials say they definitely or probably will not vote. Another quarter are uncertain about whether or not they'll vote.

...The latest poll finds that 42 percent of millennials say their midterm vote will be in opposition to President Donald Trump. Only 14 percent say their vote in this year's midterm election will be to express support for Trump. Just under a quarter (24 percent) say the president isn't an important factor in their vote one way or the other.
Over the years I've watched hopeful Democratic candidates put their eggs in the young voter basket-- only to be disappointed on election day... when seniors turn out massively and young voters... find something else to do that day.

David Keith, a millennial in his late twenties, was the brains behind the Jimmy Gomez victory in L.A. last year and, more recently, piloted Randy Bryce through the Democratic primary in southeast Wisconsin. Currently he's working to defeat a corporate lawyer hand-picked by Paul Ryan as his own replacement. Ryan's SuperPAC has been smearing Bryce with enormous amounts of negative advertising since even before the primary. Keith told me that Bryce has generated incredible support from millennials but that that isn't what the campaign is counting on to generate a victory in November. "There’s never been a doubt that Millennial voters are part of our coalition. But Randy’s campaign has focused on a message, and issue set, that reaches all ages and demographics-- unfortunately many campaigns don’t understand that concept and utilize a much too narrow focus. Randy has been campaigning on free public college education, for example, but he's also campaigning on Medicare-For-All. How could an 88 year old retiree in Racine not join forces with a U.W. Parkside 20 year old behind such a message? Millennials are sick of the status quo, which is part of the reason they are disproportionately drawn to Randy-- the ultimate outsider. However, seniors-- reliant on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security-- are no doubt the most reliable voting block, especially in midterms, period. Anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves or the candidate they are working for. Randy's policy agenda is very appealing to older Wisconsinites who have lived through a downturn in their standard of living since the Republicans managed to take over the state and disable the union movement. They believe in Randy's authenticity and know he's going to Congress to work for THEM for real, unlike professional politicians have in the past. It’s not about Democratic or Republican to these voters, as their lives are depending on the electoral outcome. It’s about real vs. fake. Bullshit vs. authenticity. They see themselves in Randy and his real life struggles. They see corporate America and more of the same lies in Ryan’s clone, Bryan Steil."

More or less a millennial himself (born in 1977), Mike Siegel is a Texas progressive running in the 10th district. "We know that Millennial voters are increasingly engaged in local politics in Austin," he told us today. "A November 2017 local bond election featured a massive upsurge in turnout for voters under 40, to the surprise of local campaign veterans. On the campaign trail, I am meeting tech workers who are usually disengaged from electoral politics, but who this year are voting because of the Family Separation policy and other hateful conduct coming from the Republican Administration. We also have a huge opportunity at local universities, including the University of Texas and Prairie View A&M University. My campaign is fighting for free public college education, a living wage, and infrastructure spending to provide rural Internet access. We are hiring full-time organizers to register voters and turnout the college vote. Young folks have the keys to our country in their hands. We will do everything possible to prepare them to vote-- while working with Texans of all ages between Travis and Harris counties."

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The GOP Wants To Repeal Obamacare Again-- How Will That Play In November?


Every poll I've seen and every focus group I've watched has shown that healthcare and the economy-- as in a more equitable one-- are the top two issues Americans will have in mind when they step into the voting booths in November. (I sensed that many don't want to admit to themselves that the only thing on their minds will be Trump.) When voters say the most important issue is the economy, for many, they mean this:

The Republicans have moved to guarantee that healthcare is front and center on election day by vowing a revote after the Midterms if they retain control of Congress. The most recent Real Clear Politics approval/disapproval average shows approval at 49.6 compared to disapproval at 40.2%. The latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll shows approval at 50% and disapproval at 41%. But even more important is the growing, growing, growing appeal not for Obamacare's flawed baby-steps but for Medicare-For-All. Although most Democrats in Congress back it, plenty of Democrats don't-- the Republican wing of the Democratic Party (including most DCCC recruits for 2018)-- and not a single congressional Republican backs it. But look at these numbers. These are actual American voters, not very status quo-oriented members of the ruling class establishment.

That's right, 70.1% of American voters now favor Medicare-For-All, including a narrow majority of Republican voters. Among Democrats, it's overwhelming-- almost 85%. The Republicans still fighting to repeal Obamacare are not offering to replace it with Medicare-For-All. In fact, Republicans-- and a small number of the worst and most corrupt Republican-lite No Labels Democrats-- would like to see Medicare replaced by a voucher system that would eventually mean that only wealthy people get medical treatment and that poor people... die quickly.

As Alexander Bolton reported yesterday at The Hill "Senate Republicans say they would like Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to appoint a successor to late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who, unlike McCain, would support GOP legislation to repeal ObamaCare. GOP lawmakers say they won’t have time to hold another vote to repeal the law in 2018 but vow to try again next year if they manage to keep their Senate and House majorities... A senior Senate GOP aide said the chamber would 'absolutely' vote again to repeal ObamaCare but cautioned it would depend on 'if we keep the House.'"

If the good fairy visits the DCCC and DSCC and waves her magic wand to create competence, voters will fill out their ballots in November with healthcare front and center in their minds-- things like pre-existing conditions, affordability, drug prices, etc. Although both the DCCC and DSCC have mucked this narrative up by recruiting die-hard conservatives who oppose Medicare-For-All as much as Republicans do, there are still progressive Democratic candidates who managed to win primaries despite the DCCC. I asked several who are campaigning on Medicare-For-All if voters in their districts respond to it when they're out on the hustings, especially since they're running against incumbents who have already voted to repeal Obamacare and to replace Medicare with a voucher system.

That description fits Kara Eastman to a "t." She took on a DCCC-backed Blue Dog in the primary and beat him and now she's battling an even more conservative Republican in the Omaha swing district that is essential to win if the Democrats are going to have any hope of taking back Congress. Yesterday, she told me that when she's out canvassing "the number one issue people talk about at their doors is healthcare. People tell me that like my own mother, they are facing outrageous prescription drug costs. One woman told me her family spends $18k a month on medicine! They also tell me their premiums have gone up. Many small business owners in the district have been forced to stop offering healthcare to their employees because of these premiums and the tax bill passed by the GOP that is hurting our small business community. Healthcare is a human right. Repealing a system that needs improvement is not the answer; fixing it is. Medicare for All would provide healthcare to every citizen in the country AND save the federal government trillions. Republicans like Don Bacon are so extreme in their ideology and refuse to see that Americans deserve healthcare-- this is completely immoral. It’s time we put people before party and create a system where everyone can afford to be healthy and safe."

Goal ThermometerHow about in the heart of Trump Country? Well, the heart of Trump Country, West Virginia, went strongly for Bernie in the primaries and in many counties Bernie got more votes than Trump! I asked Kendra Fershee, an old friend, who is running in the 1st congressional district seat (the northern third of the state) and she told me that everywhere she goes" on the campaign trail here, nearly EVERY PERSON I talk to says he or she supports universal healthcare. West Virginians have worked backbreaking labor for centuries with little to no access to healthcare. It's simply not fair to live in a wealthy country, work your body into a pulp, and not be able to get medical help. Taking care of working people, older people, young people, people in ill health, literally everyone, will not only help individuals, it will help every community in West Virginia. West Virginians are dying at twice the rate of all other Americans of drug addiction. We need help now. If the Medicaid expansion is rolled back, as it would be after the midterms if the Republican Congress retains control and gets its way, West Virginia will experience devastation. I don't know what it looks like for an entire state to collapse, but I fear we in West Virginia may find out if we don't get universal healthcare soon."

Mike Siegel, the Austin City Attorney, running for a congressional seat occupied by reactionary Trump enabler Michael McCaul in central Texas, won his primary and was immediately ignored by the DCCC, which looks at him as "too progressive." That's funny because even a majority of physicians-- a notoriously conservative cohort-- now sees single-payer healthcare as the way to go. Soon it will be just congressional Republicans and the DCCC who don't!

"I'm running on a platform including Medicare for All," Mike told us yesterday. "This week I've appeared with Beto O'Rourke at two town halls, each with overflowing crowds with 1,000 or more people, and when I say that I am fighting for Medicare for All, the response is overwhelming. It's what the people want. Once in a while, at smaller gatherings, folks ask me how do we pay for it. The answer is easy: the government can afford it, we are the wealthiest nation on earth. Just look at the $1.5 trillion tax cut for the wealthy. If we can afford that, we can afford health care for all.

"This election, what's the number one issue? 'It's health care, stupid.' A recent poll in our District tested 524 voters, and 81% said health care was the top issue. Democrats, Republicans, seniors, students, rural, urban. Everyone says health care is number one. In the rural areas, they also need infrastructure-- hospitals are closing, and they need quality local facilities. But everyone needs health care. We are running a hard campaign here in the Texas 10th. If this statewide movement, supported by Beto, continues to grow, we won't have to worry about Republicans getting a second chance to attack the ACA. Instead, we'll be talking about how soon we can get a vote on Medicare for All."

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