Wednesday, October 31, 2018

From Pittsburgh to Florida to Kentucky to the Campaign Trail


The whole idea of a "court Jew" takes on new meaning

by Dorothy Reik
President, Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains

Let's start with Pittsburgh. I know a lot of Israelis. They think Trump loves Jews because he moved our embassy to Jeresulem. He is trying to start the final war! First all the Jews have to go to Israel so he's making it more attractive. Israelis don't get it that this is all about the End Times-- or the rapture or the apocalypse, or whatever phrase you prefer. Bottom line-- there has to be a conflagration in the Middle East so Jesus will come back and "rapture" all those "chosen" to enter heaven, leaving lakes of burning oil-- yes-- get that oil out of the ground! - a flaming holocaust which will consume the rest of us-- not sure if we burn forever of just until we are incinerated. Jared, I guess, and Ivanka and the kids will be offered the opportunity to repent and accept Jesus in time to avoid flames-- not so sure about MBS. That's why climate carnage doesn't matter! Got it? 40% of Americans believe this! That's why the book series about the end times was such a best seller. But there is another factor-- at least until now these Israelis have been making lots of money flipping houses and they give Trump the credit. So who cares-- so long as we are getting rich? I try to explain that it is blood money. I warn them about yellow stars being sewn on their clothes but they laugh.

So now that Jewish blood has been spilled, will the slaughter on Squirrel Hill change their minds? Only time will tell. Don't forget-- "nationalist" means "anti-Semite"-- "Jews will not replace us!" Steven Miller is not invited to "nationalist's'" homes which are "Jew Free Zones." The Squirrel Hill shooter had one complaint about Trump-- he was not anti-Semitic enough! Remember that Charlottesville thug who fumed that Trump "sold" his daughter to a dirty Jew! BTW that guy is in jail now as are a number of Proud Boys and Rise Again members are on their way to joining him. Bowen, remember, was especially incensed that the Jews at Tree of LIfe helped, of all people, Russian immigrants, charging that they were bringing in people who would destroy our country. Sound familiar? Trump is equating the caravan of Central Americans fleeing for their lives with the Jewish refugees running from certain death in the concentration camps of Europe. He is not sympathetic to either group, considering all immigrants inherently dangerous! The Jews were turned away just as Trump is planning to turn away the members of the caravan, but this time it will be a gunpoint. They will find one member of the caravan to be a danger and that will be an excuse to turn them all away just as we turned back the Jews. The Smithsonian Magazine explains that one refugee named Bahr, who was a spy,  gave the U.S. an excuse to turn all the Jews away. "What Bahr didn’t know, or didn’t mind, was that his story would be used as an excuse to deny visas to thousands of Jews fleeing the horrors of the Nazi regime." So will one Honduran with a tattoo be the excuse for turning back thousands or migrants including the children? Or will we steal the children... but don't get me started!

In Florida, Cesar Sayoc was a failure at killing but he succeeded in proving that Trump's rhetoric can be deadly-- if there is a competent killer. Of course the victims would have been employees of the targets who would never open their own mail-- but no matter. The message would have been clear. Each and every one of his targets was on Trump's hit list and most were pictured on his van with their faces in crosshairs. Trump is continuing has attacks today honing in on Tom Steyer and CNN after the network interviewed him. Soyac's van, which was his home, is covered with Trump memes-- pictures and quotes from the hate rallies-- he attended. Maybe Soyac was disturbed-- but most killers are and that is why sane people try not to set them off but Trumpf cannot be considered sane-- not by a long shot. Of course Trump is not only aided and abetted by Fox-- MSNBC and CNN are also in his corner, playing clips of his rantings over and over again so as to implant his hateful lies in our brains until the connections are made and cannot be reversed. By the time the "panel"gets to comment listeners are on to something else having absorbed Trump's version of events. I have to keep the remote close by to mute him as soon as his orangutan face shows up. One Trump fan in Kentucky did get his targets-- they weren't famous people but they were Black. The killer was a white supremacist who tried to get into a church but failing that he found a couple of targets in a Kroger's supermarket!

But lest you think these murders and attempted murders would slow down the Trump campaign train, think again! Trump hosted Black Republicans in the White House while the bodies in PIttsburgh were still warm, encouraging them in their anti-Soros chant just in case anyone missed the point of "globalism" in his remarks. Rothschild used to the the anti-Semitic dog whistle for international Jewish bankers but now Rothschild has been replaced by Soros who was one of the recipients of a bomb this week. And he repeated his call to Black American-- "What do you have to lose?" After Kentucky they have their answer-- their lives. Saying that the stock market opened the day after September 11th - it opened Sept. 17th-- Trump continued his lying, hate filled campaign on schedule. The caravan is off the front page for now along with Trump's campaign-- except for the incessant clips on cable TV-- and Trump is angry about that. But he exhibits no real anger at the Bowen and Sayoc. He blamed Tree of LIfe for not having a security guard as if that would have helped-- the first police who came on the scene were shot! It took the SWAT team to arrest him! And that killing in Kentucky is not even on his radar.

So I will continue to monitor House Hunters International looking for a place to land when even California becomes unbearable. As of now, the report is that Becerra won't enforce our new net neutrality law until Sessions finishes suing us! Which of our laws is next? 100% renewables? Immigrants rights? Wait-- we won that one already! How about car emissions? Who is to say?

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A Corrupt Detroit Establishment Is Desperate To Stop Rashida Tlaib


I thought Rashida Tlaib was out choosing furniture for her new office in DC. After all, she won the 6-person August 7th primary and there is no Republican running next week. And why should one? The PVI is D+32 and Hillary eviscerated Trump 78.8% to 18.1%. Progressives-- in Detroit and across the country-- are very excited that an experienced and skilled state legislator and community activist with a powerful cutting edge working class agenda would soon be in Congress, serving with freshmen like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Ilhan Omar (MN), and, hopefully, Randy Bryce (WI), Jared Golden (ME), Kara Eastman (NE), Katie Porter (CA), Lisa Brown (WA), etc. On Monday, writing for Jezebel Esther Wang reported that "Tlaib’s victory was hailed as part of a new wave of unabashedly leftist women of color who are challenging the establishment wing of the Democratic Party--from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York City to Ilhan Omar in Minnesota-- and winning."
Tlaib isn’t a newcomer to the political scene, nor is she new to the brand of progressive politics that is increasingly gaining traction, much to the dismay of centrist Democrats. As Medicare for All and a $15 minimum wage become banner policies for more Democrats, the prevailing political winds are finally catching up with her.

Tlaib is an activist-legislator whose defining, reputation-making moment was taking on the Koch brothers by trespassing onto private property to get a sample of petrocoke dust-- a byproduct of extracting oil from the tar sands-- to test for toxicity. Months before the 2016 presidential election, she and other women had disrupted Donald Trump while he was giving a speech in Detroit. She called out Immigration and Customs Enforcement years before #AbolishICE was part of the mainstream political debate; far from being inspired by Bernie Sanders’ presidential run in 2016, she has long clashed with local business elites while railing against the city- and state-level tax incentives being handed out to developers like so much candy; and years before the hashtag #MeToo drew widespread attention to workplace sexual harassment, she publicly alleged a prominent Arab American civil rights advocate had sexually harassed her on the job, leading him to resign.

In her race, Tlaib had received the endorsements of a slew of Bernie Sanders-affiliated groups, from Justice Democrats to Our Revolution, as well as the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, of which she is a dues-paying member. Glowing media coverage has praised her civil rights bonafides and her ambitious plan for a green economy. No profile of Tlaib fails to note that she will become the first Muslim American woman in Congress (along with Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar if she wins, as she is likely to do), and the first Palestinian American woman. There is an excitement surrounding her candidacy that is wholly warranted-- “Rashida Tlaib is the left’s way forward,” proclaimed Politico, days after her primary victory. (Some of this is not new: In 2016, she was included on a list of Democrats who, looking ahead to the 2024 presidential campaign, “just might be poised to break out eight years from now.”) It is clear that America’s progressives are ready to anoint Rashida Tlaib as one of the new national faces of the left flank of the Democratic Party.

...[W]hen she says that she wants to, in her words, “kick ass” and fight against corporate greed, you really believe her—a rarity for politicians. And while much has been made of her ethnicity and her religion, Tlaib credits her victory in large part to her message, pointing out that less than five percent of her district is Arab American. “It was people that were tired of the same old politics and tired of the same kind of people getting elected over and over again,” Tlaib said.

...The traditional black leadership... includes people like Bishop Edgar Vann II, the pastor of Detroit’s Second Ebenezer Church, a former member of the Detroit police department’s civilian oversight body and a member of the executive committee of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, a public-private partnership that has worked hand-in-hand with business leaders and local elected officials to reconfigure the downtown landscape.

When I asked Vann if he believed Tlaib’s win showed that residents in Detroit were on board with her brand of politics, Vann pointed to the crowded field. The four black candidates, he said, split the black vote, opening the door for Tlaib to eke out a victory. (Vann also expressed alarm over her unabashedly left politics, telling me, “My concern, personally, I would say, is that I am not a socialist. I have concerns about certain factions of the Democratic Party that are becoming ultra-left.”)

“Had one of those people not been in the race, then she wouldn’t have won the race,” Vann said. He noted that Jones had beat out Tlaib in the special election, held on the same day and with fewer candidates running, to fill Conyers’ vacated seat. “As historic as it was, when we look at the numbers, we recognize how it really happened,” he said.

It is impossible to discuss Tlaib’s historic victory without acknowledging the complicated role that race played during the primary. The district has had a black representative and a civil rights champion as its congressperson for more than half a century. Despite a growing perception that Conyers had stayed for too long, in Detroit, whose residents are more than 80 percent black, having a black representative still carries weight. Tlaib herself had grappled with the optics of running to replace Conyers. “I felt like, ‘Am I taking it away from my families?’” she recalled. Her decision to run was based on her sense that the district needed a candidate closer to the movements fighting for the city at the ground level.

The notion that the crowded field-- which included Jones as well as Ian Conyers, John Conyers’s grandnephew, and Coleman Young II, the son of Detroit’s first black mayor—would split the black electorate had alarmed Vann and other members of Detroit’s black political establishment. In March, he and other clergy, as well as union leaders and Democratic Party activists, met and decided to collectively endorse Jones. Jones, who was the president of the local chapter of the Communication Workers of America before being elected to city council in 2005, was widely viewed as a capable and reliably progressive candidate who preached about reaching across the aisle (in her campaign, she staked out support for some of the same policy positions as Tlaib). As Jonathan Kinloch, the chair of the 13th District Democratic Party put it to the Detroit Free Press, the prospect of a non-black candidate replacing Conyers was “a very, very, very big concern.” One long-time political commentator and consultant, Steve Hood, expressed it more bluntly: “I’m not a racist, but I’d rather see an African American.”

...During a time when identity politics has largely been emptied of its original, liberatory meaning, and women running for office are often celebrated for simply being women, without an interrogation of whether their policies support the real needs of other women, poor people, immigrants, and people of color, Tlaib’s expansive vision of an intersectional politics rooted in organized movements points to a way forward for the Democratic Party. “I know that if we don’t support the movement work, we’re never going to pass Medicare for All. We’re never going to pass the environmental justice protections that we need,” she said. “Going and pressing a button, great. But man, we need more than that.”

And, sure enough, on Monday, the centrist establishment candidate, runner-up (and City Council President), Brenda Jones, launched her last-minute write-in candidacy-- mostly race-based-- against Rashida. As an independent. Jones won the separate election to finish John Conyers term (which expires January 3rd) but "Jones' final decision to complete the rest of the Detroit Democrat's term would come down to a pending ruling from the House Committee on Ethics on whether she can legally serve in both roles (City Council president) at the same time."
"Many voters felt that the process-- there was some concern with the process. I received several-- many, many calls from voters who said to me, 'I'm writing your name in,' and that was before I even decided I was running a write-in campaign," Jones said.

In a confusing twist during the August primary, Jones won the race to finish Conyers' term, but Tlaib won the race to fill his seat for the following two-year term. Jones said that voters were worried about the primary's integrity after seeing fluctuations in online voting counts.

But voting equipment executives at the time said the display problem had nothing to do with accuracy.

It's not clear whether Jones will even serve the term she won, as she is waiting on a decision from the House Committee on Ethics as to whether she can remain council president at the same time.

Michigan Democratic Party chairman Brandon Dillon said that Jones’ write-in campaign is a both a distraction for Democrats and a bad idea.

“Rashida Tlaib is the Democratic nominee and won her race outright,” he said. “The chances of it being successful are zero and Rashida’s going to be a great congresswoman.”

Tlaib has also received a swell of attention as potentially the first Muslim woman to be elected to Congress, which would be upended if Jones' campaign proves successful.

On Tuesday, Jones pushed back against potential criticism.

"I'm not here to distract anyone, and I've never tried to distract anyone," she said. "I'm here to help everyone, and that's what I'm doing launching this write-in campaign."

Not only is a write-in campaign a herculean task, it becomes even harder when 34,410 absentee ballots have already been turned in to the Detroit City Clerk’s office, said city elections director Daniel Baxter.

And Tlaib, who appeared on stage with Jones before former President Barack Obama spoke to a crowd of several thousand people in Detroit last week, pivoted to fundraising off of Jones’ announcement.

“We learned late Friday that a challenger is mounting a write-in campaign in next week’s general election. The voters in Michigan-13 don’t deserve any distractions,” she told supporters in an e-mail on Tuesday. “At a time when voters around the country need to be coming together to elect Democrats up and down the ballot to check Donald Trump’s hateful, racist agenda, the last thing we need is someone coming in and sowing division."

“But this write-in opponent-- who we defeated in the August primary-- is a reminder that we need to work every day between now and Election Day to turn out our voters and win,” she added.
Goal ThermometerShe that picture up top? That's a drawing of Rashida-- a very limited edition signed print by Nancy Ohanian. Nancy gave me 10 to help us elect Rashida. If you'd like one, please contribute to her campaign by tapping on the Act Blue thermometer on the right. Usually we ask people to contribute any amount and then pick the winners randomly. This time it's different. We need to raise her some serious money to take on the full weight of the corporate establishment that is terrified of having to deal with a tried and tested working class champion like Rashida. So... we're asking for contributions that are at least $50 for a chance to win a print. If there are more than 10 people who contribute over $50 to Rashida's campaign, then we'll pick randomly between them. This is a quick one. The 10 winners will be chosen Thursday at 3 pm (ET). obviously, smaller contributions are welcome too-- but just from people who want to help Rashida win, not for the Ohanian prints. Wait, wait... i don't like the way this sounds. I have a personal copy of the print as well, so I'll toss that in and that one will go to a random donor regardless of the amount they contribute. I hope that's OK.

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How Big Will The Anti-Red Wave Be?


Joe Cunningham (SC) & Amy McGrath (KY)-- their races will be the 1st reported. If they both win, the  Republicans will lose 60 seats

Next Tuesday we may have an idea how big the wave is going to be because of something that happens in South Carolina. SC-01 is, generally speaking, the coast-- not counting the stretch from Georgetown to Myrtle Beach and the North Carolina border. It includes most of Charleston (the white parts of the city), stretches down through Beaufort to Hilton Head and takes in a lump of inland country northwest of Charleston to Summerville and Moncks Corner as far north as Lake Moultrie. The PVI is R+10 but Trump (53.5%) didn't do as well as either McCain (56.1%) or Romney (58.3%). I'll guess it's the least Trumpified of the 6 red districts in the state. And the Republican candidate for Congress this cycle, Katie Arrington, is pure Trump. With Trump's help she ousted Mark Sanford in the GOP primary and now she has to face Democrat Joe Cunningham. People will still be voting in most of the country when South Carolina polls close on Tuesday. If Cunningham wins, it will signal a humongous Democratic wave is sweeping the country. Can he?

Well... as of the October 17 FEC reporting deadline he had outraged her $1,908,175 to $1,313,382 and outside spending has been modest on both sides. A very conservative 538 underestimates his chances, which are not great to start with.

In June, soon after Arrington beat Sanford 33,089 (50.6%) to 30,428 (46.5%), she was in a serious auto accident suffering a broken ribs and a back fracture that have kept her from vigorous campaigning. There hasn't been any public polling since the end of August when PPP found Arrington leading Cunningham 49-42%. What's changed since then? Cunningham has become much better known. And Trump has become more disgusting than ever. This week the Post And Courier reported that Sanford won't endorse Arrington. "Sanford’s silence," wrote Caitlin Byrd, "comes as Arrington’s race with Democrat Joe Cunningham is showing signs of being much closer than Republicans envisioned months ago, with the National Republican Congressional Committee on Monday sinking $87,000 into TV ads on her behalf.
The buy signals the race could be more competitive than initially thought, experts say, in a district traditionally considered “safe Republican.”

“She’s in a fight,” College of Charleston political scientist Jordan Ragusa said of Arrington. “She is still likely to win that fight, but it’s going to be a tough battle.”

...The fact the NRCC is investing at all in this race is raising eyebrows among political watchers.
If Arrington wins in an R+11 district it won't say anything at all about the rest of the night's results. If Cunningham wins, the GOP nationally should be on suicide watch. J.D. Scholten's district is also R+11. But the next bellwether seat that will probably be reporting is KY-06 (with an R+9 PVI), where Democrat Amy McGrath has outraised Republican incumbent Andy Barr $7,767,610 to $4,778,302 and has him on the ropes. Ryan's sleazoid SuperPAC has felt that it had to jump in to save his seat and has spent $3,237,558 smearing McGrath. The DCCC and Pelosi's PAC responded weakly with around $1.3 million. If Cunningham and McGrath both win, Republicans waiting on line to vote in Orange County and the Central Valley will stop waiting and start to drift home, understanding that they've lost the House-- by a lot. Cunningham and McGrath victories will signal that the pundits and pros had it all wrong again and that the Democrats won't be taking 25 seats by closer to three times that number!

So what happened to all that GOP enthusiasm because of Kavanaugh? It motivated more Democrats than Republicans. And Trump's rallies? They're  motivating more Democrats (and independents) than Republicans. If anything, the hate rallies are actually turning off mainstream Republicans! The frontlines are mow deep in the heart of Republican territory... like the aforementioned districts in South Carolina, Iowa and Kentucky. No, Democrats can't wage plausible battles against Mo Brooks or Rob Aderholt in Alabama or in the Florida, Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, serious fighting in those districts would be like Republicans trying to win inner city districts in Chicago, Baltimore, Newark, Los Angeles and New York. Instead, there are no longer any safe GOP seats in California... and Orange County-- once the soul of the party-- is about to be free of Republicans completely. Washington state has 4 GOP-held seats. 3 of them are all but gone. Democrats-- if not the lame and short-sighted DCCC-- are fighting seriously for Amish country in Pennsylvania, for Wichita, Kansas, for severely gerrymandered Texas districts, for at-large seats in Alaska and Montana... even for seats in West Virginia.

It looks like this is the year that women take their revenge on the GOP for its anti-family agenda, its anti-education agenda, for its anti-women agenda, for its gun agenda, its pollution agenda, and for the divisiveness, bullying and immoral essence of its contemptible leader. Here's where they get pay-back for the enabling and the rubber stamp attitude just when a Congress with some guts and dignity is most demanded. You think Kavanaugh is going to help GOP incumbents with women in suburban districts.

And the #MAGAbomber Trump rally nut from Florida and the murderous #MAGAshooter in Pittsburgh... you think women appreciate that? Or independent voters. That was a last straw for many-- even in Republican strongholds in Utah, Kansas, North Carolina... where the party never expected to be forced to spend millions of Sheldon Adelson's dollars to defend incumbents in carefully gerrymandered seats Trump won on auto-pilot.

Writing for super-cautious RealClear Politics, Sean Trende reports the outdated conventional wisdom that even he doesn't believe: "The consensus view is that Democrats are favored to take the lower chamber. Analysts disagree on just how large a majority they are likely to win, and how likely that majority is. If you split the RealClearPolitics tossups in half, it results in Democrats gaining about 25 seats, for a narrow 220-215 majority. I tend to think that the tossups will break disproportionately toward Democrats, and see something more on the order of a 225-210 Democratic majority." It's hard to realistically see the Republicans with 200 seats.

He also admits that almost all their House polling comes from a gimmicky and totally unreliable source, the worst polling operation of the cycle-- sillier than GOP polling firm Rasmussen: "[M]ost of our House race polling has come from the New York Times, in partnership with Siena.  On the one hand, this is good, because without them we would have virtually no polling. On the other hand, polling is both an art and a science, and having a disproportionate amount of our data coming from a single view of what the electorate looks like increases the chances of" absurd assumptions and ridiculous mistakes. (My words, not his.)

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Could You "Choke It Down" And Vote For Kyrsten Sinema? Let's Look At New Jersey


Hugin & Menendez-- living proof of why primaries are so important

Sinema (AZ) is the worst Democrat in the House-- the one that is most supportive of Trump and most opposed to a progressive agenda. She's the chair of the Blue Dog Cause; she's grotesquely corrupt-- soliciting money from Wall Street from her perch on the House Financial Services Committee (bribes amounting to $2,167,231 this cycle)-- and she's a crackpot who could easily do anything from abandoning the Democratic Party to sneaking a gun into the chamber and shooting a colleague who angered her. You have to take my word for it; I've known her for years; she is not just putridly conservative; she is c-r-a-z-y. Schumer selected her as the Democratic candidate for the open (Flake) Arizona Senate seat not despite all that, but because of it.

But the Democrats need that seat to take back the Senate. There's a good chance she'll win-- 538 gives her a 64.7% chance to beat Martha McSally-- even though the Democrats lose the Senate and then they're stuck with a right-wing sociopath who will constantly vote with the GOP and constantly work to water down all progressive proposals.

So... do Arizona Democrats hold their nose and vote for her? Choke it down? That's what the Newark Star Ledger says to do in their "endorsement of Robert Menendez, an ethics-free unconnected criminal. The brand new poll from Emerson shows Menendez leading-- despite a 53% unfavorable rating (and just a 34% favorable rating). His favorables are lower than Trump's 36% in the state but Trump's unfavorables (57%) in probably what's keeping Menendez alive.

The Star-Ledger editorial board calls the choice "the most depressing choice for New Jersey voters in a generation, with two awful candidates whose most convincing argument is that the other guy is unfit to serve... both candidates are slippery characters, even by Washington standards." But the editors want you to vote anyway.
Before he was caught in 2015, Sen. Robert Menendez broke Senate rules by routinely accepting expensive gifts, including private jets to luxury resorts abroad. He kept those gifts secret, breaking another rule. He then used his office to promote the personal and business interests of the man who paid the bills. All that was the unanimous conclusion of the Senate ethics committee, including all its Democrats.

It's a miracle that Menendez escaped criminal conviction, and an act of profound narcissism that he stayed in the race despite this baggage, putting a Democratic seat at risk while Donald Trump sits in the White House.

The Republican challenger, Bob Hugin, is no better. He's using the closing weeks of his campaign to spread the most vicious lie of this election season in New Jersey-- the suggestion that Menendez patronized child prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.

Hugin estimates that he earned up to $200 million at Celgene, a pharmaceutical firm known for its vigorous fight to keep cheaper generics off the market so it could repeatedly hike the cost of its expensive cancer drugs.

It gets worse. Celgene paid $280 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit charging that the firm deliberately deceived doctors by concealing potentially fatal side effects of its cancer drugs. If that shocking accusations is false, then why did Celgene pay such an enormous sum without a fight?

The suit also charged that Celgene under Hugin defrauded Medicare. If that's also untrue, then why did Celgene direct more than $250 million of that settlement to the federal government? Hugin has no credible answer to those questions.

Which candidate is worse when it comes to personal ethics? Ask a philosopher, because to us it seems neither man can claim much advantage.

And when you get past ethics, the central issue in this race is Donald Trump. The question is which candidate can best fight Trump's toxic policies, his grotesque appeals to racial and ethnic tribalism, and his corrosive attacks on the pillars of our democracy, starting with the rule of law.

That makes this an easy decision: Menendez is the better choice, by far. He has our endorsement... Our hope is that voters remember that Trump is on the ballot, that they choke down their reluctance and vote for Menendez. He's no gem, but he's better than Hugin.
Better candidate?!? Nonsense. Clearly he's the less horrible-- or at least the least likely of the two to enable Trump. Menendez is not fit to serve in public office. But that's the big tent Democratic Party which runs on one basic premise: "we suck but they suck more. Our candidate is the lesser evil." The Star-Ledger is correct to point out that "It's a disgrace that Democratic leaders like Sen. Cory Booker and Gov. Phil Murphy rallied to support Menendez early on, when a stronger candidate could have beaten him in a primary. This race is a rated as a tossup now, in a year when a generic Democrat could win in a walk." With the exception of Andy Kim, who appears to be a genuinely good candidate and is running against Trumpist Tom MacArthur, every Democratic congressional challenger in New Jersey this cycle is simply the lesser evil. Jeff Van Drew, going right to the bottom of the shitpile, is probably going to accrue and even worse voting record than Sinema has! These are all nothing but lesser evils:
NJ-02- Jeff Van Drew (Blue Dog)
NJ-07- Tom Malinowski (New Dem)
NJ-11- Mikie Sherrill (Blue Dog)
So... most New Jersey voters can forget about making America a great place when they go to the polls next week. But if they hold their noses and vote for this pile of human garbage that the DCCC has selected, they might be able to make our country less horrible than the United States of Trumpanzee. Wouldn't it be great if the Democratic Party was awesome and more than just a career protection operation for a bunch of corrupt politicians and a selection machine for lesser or two evils candidates? Can Bernie clean out our very own stinking Augean Stables?

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Are There Any Arch-Villains Who Could Lose Their House Seats Next Week?


Yes, "House," so we won't be talking about Ted Cruz, the only Senate arch-villain up for reelection this cycle. Every House seat is up for reelection and a case could be made that's they're all arch-villains since they all enable Trump. Do they? Well, yes... but some enable Trump more than others. FiveThirtyEight has Trump adhesion scores and there are only 5 "perfect" scores. Two of the perps, Troy Balderson (OH-12) and Michael Cloud (TX-27) just got into Congress and their scores aren't based on enough roll calls yet to be relevant; two others-- Ryan Zinke (MT) is now in the cabinet and Jason Chaffetz works for GOP-TV-- don't count either. And that leaves just one pure suck-up: Steve Scalise (LA-01), terrible but not especially an arch-villain as a garden variety far right pile of crap.

Next come the 38 Republicans who voted contrary to Trumpanzee just once-- the bill imposing sanctions on Trump amigos Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un. These are all bad guys-- really bad guys-- but are any worth going back in a time machine to strange them in their cribs? Debatable. Locals might feel the Stephen Knight (CA-25) is that bad and it would be hard to argue against them. He's been worse than puke for his whole career, but he was actually worse in the state legislature-- not in terms of voting obviously-- but he's pretty quiet and a total backbencher who just votes terribly. The good news is that he's going to probably lose his seat to conservative Democrat Katie Hill (New Dem). Same for closet case David Young (IA-03) in Des Moines, who is likely to lose to a nothing Democrat, Cindy Axne. Mimi Walters (CA-45) is also in the category and is likely to lose to progressive Katie Porter. David Valadao (CA-21) might lose to T.J. Cox if the wave is big enough and people stick with the DCCC lesser of two evils strategy. Mike Bost (IL-13) could lose to awful Blue Dog Brendan Kelly, I guess. And Michael McCaul (TX-10) might be beaten by Mike Siegel if everything goes right next week. But are there real arch-villains in the truest sense of the term in this 98.9% category? YES!

First the good news-- Team Blue could take one out: Chris Collins (NY-27), the first member of Congress to have endorsed Trump, someone so corrupt that he was arrest by the FBI recently, indicted on a myriad of charges based around insider trading and is currently out on bail... and drooping in the polls so badly that his progressive opponent, Nate McMurray has just pulled ahead of him:

That leaves three more arch-villains, two of whom do not have serious opponents, murderer and gay-hating closet case Patrick McHenry (NC-10) and Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) and one that maybe, maybe, maybe could be defeated-- the notorious Devin Nunes. It's a very red district and his conservative opponent, Andrew Janz is very weak, but he has raised $8,252,310 (much of it stolen by consultants and now he barely has enough to compete with Nunes-- just $854,154 unhand to Nunes' $4,952,478. BUT... if the wave is strong enough and everything goes right for Janz on election day, there's a teensy weensy chance. 538 rates Janz's shit at 1 in 20 (5.1%), so... don't bet the farm on this one.

Here are the states of the race-- according to 538. so not terribly accurate-- for the rest of the 100% arch-villains left in Congress:
Pete Sessions (TX-32)- 7 in 10 election shot (68.7%)
Liz Cheney (WY)- better than 99 in 100 for reelection (99.9%)
Duncan Hunter (CA-50)- badly called 6 in 7 shot at reelection (85.3%); this more like 50-50.
Virginia Foxx (NC-05)- 19 in 20 reelection chances (95.7%)
Doug Lamborn (CO-05)- 49 in 50 chance at reelection (97.8%)
Greg Gianforte (MT)- 5 in 7 (72.1%); this is also a 50-50 race
STEVE KING (IA-04)- (see below-- and the video up top)
Scott DesJarlais (TN-04)- better than 99 in 100 (99.3%)
Mark Meadows (NC-11)- better than 99 in 100 (99.7%)
Dave Brat (VA-07)- toss-up (terrible Democrat though, Abigail Spanberger, not worth praying for)
Jim Jordan (OH-04)- 19 in 20 for reelection (95.8%)
Mo Brooks (AL-05)- 99 of 100 (99.9%)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48)- just 3 in 8 shot of winning (35.8%)
Louie Gohmert (TX-01)- 99 in 100 (99.9%)
Matt Gaetz (FL-01)- 99 in 100 (99.9%)
After Gaetz we're in Blue Dog territory, with Trump-loving faux-Democrats Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Conor Lamb (PA-18), Collin Peterson (MN-07), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Tom Halleran (AZ-01), Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Jim Costa (CA-16), Sanford Bishop (GA-02), Jacky Rosen (NV-03), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Dan Lipinski (IL-03), Brad Schneider (IL-10), Jim Cooper (TN-05) and Ami Bera (CA-07). The best of all worlds would see them all lose with the Democrats still taking enough red districts to win; but that's not going to happen.

Now, in terms of Steve King... this will be one of the big wins of the evening if everything works out. King is a real life genuine Nazi and the Democrat running against him-- with no help from the DCCC, of course-- is J.D. Scholten, a top notch progressive. Because the DCCC opposes Scholten, journalists and pundits give him the short end of the stick. But this is a winnable seat-- very tough, but winnable. Here's the inaccurate 538 forecast:

As of October 17, King had raised $736,629 and had $176,312 on hand. Scholten had raised $1,684,427 with $316,359 on hand. On Saturday, when the Washington Post questioned him after the slaughter of Jews in Pittsburgh about all his visits to Nazi rallies in Europe, he defended the revitalized Nazi Party in Austria (the Freedom Party), founded by a former Nazi SS officer. "If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans." That's correct, although other Republicans were uncomfortable with his statement. A staffer from the office of another Iowa member of Congress told me, on condition of anonymity that "most Republicans in Congress" hope the Democrat wins [and that] Steve [King] moves to Austria full time and gets himself the SS uniform he has always craved." King is a notorious Jew-hater but claims the proof he doesn't hate Jews is that he knows some personally and that he supports Israel.


Congressman Carlos Curbelo is a conservative Florida Republican. He told MSNBC this morning that he would never vote for Iowa's neo-Nazi member of Congress, his colleague Steve King. "His comments and his actions," said Curbelo, "are disgusting. And look, I know nothing about his opponent, but I will tell you this: I would never cast a ballot for someone like Steve King." So does that mean he won't be voting for Ron DeSantis in Florida's gubernatorial race?

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

A Happy Halloween to all DWT readers! Monsters come in many forms.

Generous sort that I am, I can't just give you a picture of Pumpkin Baby Trump, so, tonight only, a bonus showing of "The Muellerman" awaits you. All you have to do is click. It's worth it. Trust me! Believe me.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Trump Isn't The Only Anti-Semite In The GOP-- Missouri Republicans Embrace Them Too


Not a Halloween costume-- this is Missouri Republican candidate Steve West

Last August we warned Missouri readers about a Trumpist candidate in Kansas City, Steve West, a Missouri Nazi who the Republican Party has nominated for the General Assembly. "West," we wrote at the time, "is a hate-talk radio host, so it's not like Republicans didn't know what he was all about before they voted for him in Tuesday's 4-way GOP primary. District 15 is a pretty blue Kansas City (Gladstone) district and the incumbent is Jon Carpenter. He was renominated-- without opposition-- with 3,757 votes. The Trump Party primary drew 3,003 votes between the 4 candidates. West came in first with 1,485 votes (49.5%). His closest competition was Timothy Harris with 24.4%. People who listen to West's show would be the Q-Anon types. West babbles nonsensically about how "Jewish cabals" are "harvesting baby parts" through Planned Parenthood, which tortures and molests children and which runs run Republican Party. But instead of committing him to an insane asylum, Trump votes decided he belongs in Jefferson City representing them in the state legislature. Last year West told KCXL listeners that "Looking back in history, unfortunately, Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany. And who was behind it."His defense was that "Jews today are a remnant of the tribe of Judah that rejected Christ." He also suggested that "Maybe Jews shouldn't vote for me." Today his daughter said that no one should.

The Kansas City Star reported that "Emily West has a message for voters in Missouri House District 15. Don’t vote for her dad. "I can’t imagine him being in any level of government."
Her dad is Steve West, 64, the Republican candidate for the Missouri General Assembly who made headlines after winning the GOP primary in August when word spread about his radio show and website through which he regularly espoused an array of bigotry including homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and outright racism.

“A lot of his views are just very out there,” Emily West said. “He’s made multiple comments that are racist and homophobic and how he doesn’t like the Jews.”

She said she grew concerned when she drove through the Clay County House district over the weekend-- which covers Gladstone and a part of Kansas City, North-- and saw lots of yard signs in support of her father.

“I think it’s just insane that people are putting out his signs,” she said. “You see his signs everywhere. I don’t understand how people can put out his signs knowing the comments that he’s made.”

Anti-Semitism is again dominating the headlines after 11 people were killed Saturday in a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh that is being called the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U. S. history. Authorities said the gunman told a SWAT officer after he was shot and captured that “I just want to kill Jews.” The accused shooter appeared to have an extensive anti-Semitic social media profile, posting one threatening message just minutes before the attack.

West denounced the shooting on Monday, and said some of his comments in recent months have been taken out of context.

“I absolutely renounce what took place there,” he said. “I have never, never suggested anything like that. When stuff like that happens, it is a terrible travesty and injustice. I would never condone any violence against any people because of a specific race or religion or anything else.”

Karen Aroesty, regional director of ADL Heartland, said those who espouse hateful rhetoric bear some responsibility when violence erupts.

“I think anybody who’s willing to make hate public and willing to state formally and be out there with their hate-based identity, they’d better be accountable to how people respond to them,” she said. “When you put it out there, you have to know that you’re accountable in society today, and given the capacity of the internet to move information so fast, you’re going to be influencing people far beyond your neighborhood.”

Does West belong in the General Assembly?

“If somebody who is on the record as being hateful toward groups of people who they might represent if elected, is that something that society wants?” Aroesty said. “I would question how they make public policy for an entire constituency. But people are going to have to make that choice. I can’t make that choice for them.”

The Missouri Republican Party issued a statement in August saying that West’s “shocking and vile comments do not reflect the position of the Missouri Republican Party or indeed of any decent individual.”
Both the Missouri GOP and West himself, want to distance themselves from anti-Semitism. "Who, me????" is how they both responded. Just like Trump. But on his radio show last week, West claimed Jews are assaulting America. "They have been giving us gay marriage, pornography, abortion, everything that’s anti-Christian…This is what they do. This is how they corrupt a Christian nation, because they are an anti-Christ people." His Democratic opponent, Jon Carpenter, the incumbent, said "West has engaged in the most radical and hateful anti-Semitism and bigotry that I’ve ever seen. The events of the weekend were a tragedy. Clearly, hate and bigotry are on the rise in this country and it’s up to each of us to do our part to stand up against that... I’m deeply disturbed by his candidacy and it’s my hope that the voters of the 15th District overwhelmingly reject that kind of bigotry on election day." West's daughter agrees and told The Star that her father "has always been kind of radical and out there," and that his views have become more extreme in recent years.
She said her father’s actions have caused a rift between him and his children. The last time they talked, she said, was a couple of days after the August primary. West received about as many votes as the three other GOP candidates combined.

“I asked him to drop out and said, ‘I think it’s a really bad idea that you’re running and I don’t think this is going to end well for you,’” she said. “And he told me that this is what his life has been about and that everything in his life has come to this moment and it’s the most important thing. And I said, ‘OK, then I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t want you to be a part of my life.’ And I haven’t talked to him since.”

West blames his ex-wife for his daughter’s attitude toward him.

“I had a toxic divorce from my ex-wife and she’s poisoned my kids, and I have to live with that,” he said. “I’m sorry that she’s decided to make a political issue that doesn’t need to be.”

West said he thinks he has a good shot at being elected.

“I have a good reputation,” he said. “These people are trying to paint me as some monster. But I have been in this community for a long time, I’m very well known. A lot of people know me, and they don’t have those experiences with me. There’s a good chance I’m going to win.”
Still no endorsement tweet from Señor Trumpanzee, but still plenty of time. How about a Kansas City rally?

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Trump Family Crime Ring-- A RICO Suit For Scamming


A poll we talked about earlier, from the Public Religion Research Institute found that a majority of Americans say there is nothing that Señor Trumpanzee could do to change their opinions of him. More than four in ten (46%) say they disapprove of Trump’s job performance and that there is nothing he could do to win their approval, while 14% say they approve of Trump and that there is nothing he could do to lose their approval. Nearly four in ten (37%) Republicans say they approve of the president and that there is nothing he can do to lose their support. A slim majority (51%) of Republicans approve of Trump but say there is something he could do lose their approval." Everyone knows he's a liar, a thief and a cheat, so I assume the latest news reports on him and his family's latest investment scandals aren't going to change any minds. Still, Trumpanzee and his three eldest children were "named in a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing the family of targeting working-class Americans with investment scams. The suit was filed Monday in federal court in New York by four individuals who say they represent thousands of other victims.

The Trumps spent more than a decade operating a large and complex enterprise designed to cheat needy people seeking to invest in their education or start a business, according to the complaint. Victims lost hundreds or thousands of dollars each-- “losses that many experienced as devastating and life-altering,” according to the complaint.

...In the proposed class-action complaint, the Trumps are accused of helping to lure investors to a multi-level marketing company called ACN Inc., which allegedly promised business opportunities with little risk and was widely promoted on Trump’s The Celebrity Apprentice.

ACN’s flagship product was a “doomed” desktop video phone that could only connect calls between two ACN customers and which was quickly eclipsed by services like Skype and the advent of smartphones, according to the complaint.

From 2005 to 2015, Trump endorsed ACN in exchange for millions of dollars in "secret payments," despite telling prospective investors that his endorsement was "not for any money," the suit claims. Trump said in promotions that participants have a "great opportunity" without "any of the risks most entrepreneurs have to take," according to the complaint.

ACN was "massively boosted" after being featured on Trump’s reality-TV show, while ACN made it "crystal clear" that Trump’s endorsement helped attract investors and customers alike, according to the suit.

ACN paid Trump $1.35 million for three separate speeches in May and June of 2014 and February of the following year, according to his 2015 federal financial disclosure form.
Read this and you'll know how Trump is handling the new RICO suit and attendant accusations:


Xenophobe In Chief Wants To Change The Constitution With An Executive Order


For the first time ever, Trump is doing something as so-called "president" that hurts his own business. The Trump family makes huge profits by leasing expensive apartments to wealthy pregnant women from China, Russia and other former Soviet states so that their children are born in the U.S. and become automatic citizens. But as part of his xenophobic scare campaign in the last week of the midterm campaign, he announced Monday that he's signing an executive order to end "birthright citizenship." Since this defies the Constitution, it is likely to wind up in the Supreme Court. The 14th Amendment says "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

Axios, for whom Trump made the announcement, calls it "the most dramatic move yet in Trump's hardline immigration campaign, this time targeting 'anchor babies' and 'chain migration.' And it will set off another stand-off with the courts, as Trump’s power to do this through executive action is debatable to say the least... The Supreme Court has already ruled that children born to immigrants who are legal permanent residents have citizenship. But those who claim the 14th Amendment should not apply to everyone point to the fact that there has been no ruling on a case specifically involving undocumented immigrants or those with temporary legal status."

Lying as usual, Señor Trumpanzee said "We're the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States... with all of those benefits... It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. And it has to end." There are at least 30 other countries, including Canada, that have birthright citizenship as well. No one expects Trump to have any factual basis for his assertions-- even when White House aides brief him. He has gotten away with lying for his entire life and has no plans on stopping now. Polls show that by huge majorities, Americans are aware that Trump is a congenital liar who can never be counted on to tell the truth about anything.
The American Civil Liberties Union slammed Trump's proposal Tuesday morning.

"The president cannot erase the Constitution with an executive order, and the 14th Amendment's citizenship guarantee is clear," said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project. "This is a transparent and blatantly unconstitutional attempt to sow division and fan the flames of anti-immigrant hatred in the days ahead of the midterms."
"What makes America great," warned Judiciary Committee member Ted Lieu, "is that we are a nation of laws, not a dictatorship. Trump cannot change the 14th Amendment by fiat. Any such action would be struck down by the courts. Trump's announcement is little more than a political gimmick to distract from the real issues facing many Americans: rising health care costs, wage stagnation and the deep feeling that our nation is on the wrong track."

Trump lapdog Lindsey Graham, still auditioning for Attorney General, says he will introduce a bill in the Senate to end birthright citizenship. I asked around to some of the political leaders who have a better understanding of the Constitution than Trump and the aide who told him to do this, neo-Nazi Stephen Miller. Alan Grayson mentioned that "The only justification for that would be if Trump were illiterate.
ALL PERSONS BORN or naturalized IN THE UNITED STATES and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, ARE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES and of the State wherein they reside.
"That’s what the Constitution says-- the very same Constitution that Trump took an oath to 'preserve, protect and defend.'"

Ro Khanna (D-CA), one of Congress' most dedicated social justice leaders, went even further than Grayson, telling me this morning that "Trump, who claims to be an originalist, should read history. Lincoln’s Attorney General, whose thinking was the basis of the 14th Amendment wrote: 'I am quite clear in the opinion that children born in the United States of alien parents, who have never been naturalized, are natural born citizens of the United States.'"

Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who I first met when he was Counsel to People for the American Way and Professor of Constitutional Law at American University, is now the House's most progressive member and Vice-Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee. One day he is expected to chair that committee. A few hours ago, he told me that "Like dictators and authoritarians all over the world, Donald Trump now proposes to use the revocation of individual citizenship as a political weapon and a tool of racial demagoguery. As usual, his tyrannical instincts run headfirst into the Constitution, which guarantees, in the Fourteenth Amendment, citizenship to all persons born here. Birthright citizenship was a hard-won victory of the Civil War and the Radical Republicans who inscribed it in the Fourteenth Amendment to overturn the Dred Scott decision, which had determined that African-Americans could never be citizens within the meaning of the Constitution and had no rights that ‘the white man was bound to respect.’ Just as Trump’s ambivalent and disoriented response to neo-Nazis in Charlottesville put him on the wrong side of World War II, and just as his continuing collection of payments from foreign states, Princes and Kings puts him on the wrong side of the American Revolution, his new effort to isolate and vilify the immigrant community puts him on the wrong side of the Civil War. In any event, the Fourteenth Amendment means just what it says-- ‘All persons born . . . in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.’  The idea that Trump can make their constitutional rights disappear with an Executive Order is preposterous and laughable. Any Republican who climbs on this miserable train surrenders the right to call himself a ‘textualist,’ an ‘originalist’ or a respecter of precedent."

In an e-mail to her supporters this morning, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote that "Trump should take a high school government class before so confidently claiming he can eliminate the 14th Amendment though executive action. Constitutional scholars and even members of his own party agree-- this simply isn’t possible. This is nothing more than a desperate attempt to fan the flames of anti-immigrant rhetoric, sow division and distract voters from this administration’s very real infringements against working families. To Senator Lindsey Graham and anyone looking to encroach on basic citizenship rights legislatively: we will fight tooth and nail against any kind of regressive action, in the streets, in Congress and beyond. Our country’s fabric is stronger because of the protections provided in the 14th Amendment. These efforts are nothing more than attempts to harm children who are just as American as any other child born in the United States of America."

Mike Siegel, the progressive Texan running against anti-immigrant fanatic Michael McCaul in TX-10 put this into the perspective Trump is seeing this in. "Trump's announcement," he told me, "is a hateful, cynical ploy alongside the military buildup at the border and his attacks on the 'caravan' of asylum seekers. The President cannot revoke the 14th Amendment by fiat, just as he cannot reinstate slavery or restore the right of European men to take land from indigenous peoples. My sincere hope is that a majority of Americans reject this jingoistic white nationalism and elect a Democratic Congress. Until then, I'll be out here fighting for policies that will actually uplift working people, like Medicare for All and a living wage."

Florida state Senator, Annette Taddeo, an old friend of this blog, is originally from Columbia and now represents the Kendall area in southern Miami-Dade County, told me that "Trump must be confusing his presidency with the dictators he so admires as he attacks the press daily and now suggest changing a right that is protected under the 14th amendment of our constitution. Attempting to end this constitutionally protected right through executive order is un-American and downright ilegal."

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Enabling Trump-- That's What Congressional Republicans Continue To Do


Trump by Joel Peter Witkin

In 1790, the first president of the United States, wrote a letter to the congregants of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, which said, in part, that "the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support... May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig-tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy."

Sunday, Jewish community leaders in Pittsburgh sent a letter to the current occupant of the White House, an illegitimate, fake president who stokes hatred and bigotry to unite his violent, hate-filled, moron followers.
President Trump:

Yesterday, a gunman slaughtered 11 Americans during Shabbat morning services. We mourn with the victims’ families and pray for the wounded. Here in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, we express gratitude for the first responders and for the outpouring of support from our neighbors near and far. We are committed to healing as a community while we recommit ourselves to repairing our nation.

For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement. You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence.

President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism.

Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted.  You have also deliberately undermined the safety of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. Yesterday’s massacre is not the first act of terror you incited against a minority group in our country.

President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you stop targeting and endangering all minorities.

The murderer’s last public statement invoked the compassionate work of the Jewish refugee service HIAS at the end of a week in which you spread lies and sowed fear about migrant families in Central America. He killed Jews in order to undermine the efforts of all those who find shared humanity with immigrants and refugees.

President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you cease your assault on immigrants and refugees.

The Torah teaches that every human being is made b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God.

This means all of us.

In our neighbors, Americans, and people worldwide who have reached out to give our community strength, there we find the image of God.  While we cannot speak for all Pittsburghers, or even all Jewish Pittsburghers, we know we speak for a diverse and unified group when we say:

President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you commit yourself to compassionate, democratic policies that recognize the dignity of all of us.
Melania will go to Pittsburgh with Trumpanzee. I bet she doesn't wear that fetching "I Don't Give A Damn" designer jacket this time. It might unsettled the Adelsons and other wealthy kapos and court Jews.

Charlie Dent is a mainstream conservative-- albeit with a 93% Trump adhesion record-- from Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. He retired from Congress in May and the heart of his old district (now PA-07) will likely go to Democrat Susan Wild. On Thursday, Dent was on a CNN panel when he was asked about his former House colleague Ron DeSantis taking contributions from Nazis in his gubernatorial race. Steven Alembik, who once called President Obama a "Muslim nigger," has given DeSantis thousands of dollars. Dent's response was that he wasn’t aware of it "I certainly would’ve returned it... if he’s getting contributions from people who have this type of history, I would certainly just send it back. I don’t understand why he would hang on to it."

If I lived in Allentown-- I used to live just north of there in Stroudsburg-- I would have admired Dent for that... but because I disagree with him on fundamental issues, I still would not have voted for him. Sure, good for ex-Congressman Dent. But... that's it. Look at that voting record linked in the first sentence of the first paragraph!

It gets worse. Trump and DeSantis are brothers from another mother-- and Trump got him the nomination and has two more rallies in Florida for him in the next week. There are no Republicans in Congress standing up to Trump's poisonous, divisive rhetoric, not even in the mild way Dent stood up against DeSantis. Monday, Bernie wrote to his supporters that "Trump is going to try to divide us in this final week before the election. He is going to try to pit us against each other by race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status and however he can do it. He is desperate to do it because he knows that if working people, young people, and people of color stand united, we are going to win. If he can divide us up, right-wing Republicans and the big-money interests will win. What I saw on my tour was a people who are united. People who know that real change is possible when large numbers of ordinary Americans speak out, get involved in the democratic process, and vote. Progressive change is coming." Not if Trump-- and his Republican enablers can stop it. And Trump doesn't believe in any kinds of boundaries. He's in it to win it. For him it's all "Fuck the norms; fuck the rules."

Chuck Todd and his crew noted that "Tragedy and terror have dominated the last 72 hours in American politics." It was all about the #MAGAbomber in Florida and the #MAGAshooter in Pittsburgh. "Both," they wrote, "appear to be products of our toxic political environment. Sayoc was a Trump fan who plastered his white van with Trump and 'Make America Great Again' paraphernalia. The accused shooter in Pittsburg posted conspiracy theories and messages about the migrant caravan walking to the U.S.-Mexico border."

But there is a fundamental divide about our current politics-- the overheated and demeaning rhetoric, the inability to compromise, partisanship all the time. While most politicians, Democrats and Republicans, see this as a problem, President Trump sees it as an opportunity. Something to exploit. Something to help turn out his voters.

Consider Trump’s rally in Illinois on Saturday just hours after the shooting in Pittsburgh. The president first addressed the tragedy and condemned the killings. “This evil anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us. It’s an assault on humanity. It will require all of us working together to extract the hateful poison of anti-Semitism,” he said.

But then he returned his attention to his familiar targets. On the caravan: “Republicans want no crime, and no caravans, right?... This will be election of caravans, Kavanaugh, law and order and common sense.”

On Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters: “Now I did a little tiny bit of research and Mike's opponent, Brendan Kelly, is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, and of course, Maxine Waters, and their job-killing agenda.”

On Elizabeth Warren: “We can’t use Pocahontas anymore, she’s got no Indian blood!” he said. “I have more than she does, and I have none. So I can’t call her Pocahontas anymore, but I think I will anyway, do you mind?”

On his critics and opponents: “You have the haters and they continue to hate. These are foolish and very stupid people. Very stupid.”

John Cohen, counter-terrorism expert at Rutgers University, told NPR this morning that this kind of political rhetoric is dangerous. “Our political rhetoric has become much more demonizing. Your opponent isn’t just somebody you disagree with; it is somebody who is corrupt, it is evil. Problems such as immigration are not simply problems of resources and problems of policy; but the people who are coming here are treated as criminals.”

Trump tweeted last night and this morning that it was unfair to blame him for the pipe bomb scare and the shooting in Pittsburgh. “The Fake News is doing everything in their power to blame Republicans, Conservatives and me for the division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our Country. Actually, it is their Fake & Dishonest reporting which is causing problems far greater than they understand!”

But how can the president participate in finding a solution to the division and hatred when he doesn’t see them as problems-- but instead conditions to exploit?

And while the president views the criticism of his leadership as an opportunity to showcase himself as a victim to fire up his base, the silence of the rest of the GOP is what’s so loud this time.

Compare this moment with the aftermath of Charlottesville. There haven’t been any Republicans who have distanced themselves from Trump. It shows just how much of the GOP’s elected leadership fears the divisive tone Trump has set is actually the KEY to stoking the base for the election.

Let that sink in.


With eight days to go until the 2018 midterms, it is very possible that the pipe bomb scare and shootings in Pittsburgh are the final issue-events of this campaign season. Of course, there’s still plenty of time for another event or story. But with eight days left...


The Washington Post: “President Trump and his Republican allies remained defiant Sunday amid allegations from critics that Trump’s incendiary attacks on political rivals and racially charged rhetoric on the campaign trail bear some culpability for the climate surrounding a spate of violence in the United States.”

More: “Trump, who has faced calls to tone down his public statements, signaled that he would do no such thing-- berating billionaire liberal activist Tom Steyer, a target of a mail bomb sent by a Trump supporter, as a ‘crazed & stumbling lunatic’ on Twitter, after Steyer said on CNN that Trump and the Republican Party have created an atmosphere of ‘political violence.’”

Vice President Mike Pence told NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard this when asked about Trump’s language: "Look, everyone has their own style, and frankly, people on both sides of the aisle use strong language..."


The New York Times: “The president has made clear he does not see national harmony as his mission. He mocks the notion of being ‘presidential,’ and the crowds at his rallies egg him on, eager for him to ‘tone it up’ rather than ‘tone it down,’ as he puts it. He reads the dutiful words of unity and grief and determination that aides put in front of him, but he refuses to stick to the script. His people want a fighter, in his view, and he plans to give it to them. If the mandarins of Washington and the cable channels tut-tut over his language, it is because they are out to get him.”

Best of luck with that attitude. A poll released yesterday by the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute found that a majority of Americans say there is nothing that Señor Trumpanzee could do to change their opinion of him. More than four in ten (46%) say they disapprove of Trump’s job performance and that there is nothing he could do to win their approval, while 14% say they approve of Trump and that there is nothing he could do to lose their approval. By contrast, four in ten Americans either approve (27%) or disapprove (13%) of the president but say that there is something he could do to change their mind. Among Democrats, almost eight in ten (78%) say they disapprove of the president and there is nothing he can do to win their approval, while 12% disapprove but say there is something he could do win their approval. By contrast, nearly four in ten (37%) Republicans say they approve of the president and that there is nothing he can do to lose their support. A slim majority (51%) of Republicans approve of Trump but say there is something he could do lose their approval."

This morning, though, the Washington Post reported that congressional leaders from both parties-- McConnell, Ryan, Schumer and Pelosi-- have all declined invitations to join Trump on his visit to Pittsburgh, where the city's mayor and most Jewish leaders have pleaded for him to stay away since his regime has fueled anti-Semitism through their rhetoric before and after Saturday’s massacre. CNN reported that "A spate of local and state officials also said they would not appear with Trump when he visits a hospital and pays respects to the 11 victims of Saturday’s massacre."

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed."

-Proverbs 31:8

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