Monday, February 17, 2020

Can Congress Save America? Not This One, Hopefully The One We Elect In November


Today is Presidents' Day... but we'll forgo taking about that until we have a legitimate president in the White House again and, instead, say a few words about the legislative branch of government that was created with the power to check a possible tyrant in the White House. Political parties were not taken into account by the framers of the Constitution, particularly not one as supine and cowardly as today's GOP working hand in hand with a would be tyrant to undermine that constitution.

A substantial number of people would likely agree that the biggest problem facing mankind right how is the Climate Crisis. The GOP's response has largely been to deny there's anything to worry about-- let alone do anything about. Conservative Democrats generally agree with them to some extent, playing ostrich and hoping the problem will just go away or that when the full force of the problem becomes manifest, they'll be dead and gone anyway. Right now there are only 98 members of Congress co-sponsoring the Green New Deal resolution, all of them Democrats, a dozen of them freshmen.

Last cycle saw the election of 87 new members of the House and 9 new senators. All 9 of the senators have accrued voting records that have been graded "F" by Progressive Punch. Almost all of the House freshmen have also been graded "F"-- that includes all the Republicans (no exceptions) and 40 DCCC Democrats. These are the Democratic freshmen-- listed from best to worst in terms of the ProgressivePunch scorecard:
Andy Levin (D-MI)- 100 A
Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)- 100 A
AOC (D-NY)- 98.33 A
Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)- 98.33 A
Chuy Garcia (D-IL)- 96.67 A
Joe Neguse (D-CO)- 96.67 A
Ilhan Omar (D-MN)- 95.00 A
Veronica Escobar (New Dem-TX)- 93.33 A
Sylvia Garcia (D-TX)- 91.67 A
Tori Trahan (New Dem-MA)- 91.67 A

Debra Haaland (D-NM)- 90.0 B
Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA)- 89.23 B
Madeleine Dean (New Dem-PA)- 88.33 B
Jahana Hayes (D-CT)- 84.75 B

Donna Shalala (New Dem-FL)- 85.00 C
Mike Levin (D-CA)- 81.67 C
Chris Pappas (New Dem-NH)- 78.33 C

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (New Dem-FL)- 81.67 D
Greg Stanton (New Dem-AZ)- 81.67 D
Sean Casten (New Dem-IL)- 78.33 D

David Trone (New Dem-MD)- 78.33 F
Jennifer Wexton (New Dem-VA)- 76.67 F
Steven Horsford (New Dem-NV)- 75.49 F
Joe Morelle (New Dem-NY)- 75.38 F
Tom Malinowski (New Dem-NJ)- 73.33 F
Dean Phillips (New Dem-MN)- 73.33 F
Gil Cisneros (New Dem-CA)- 70.00 F
Jason Crow (New Dem-CO)- 70.00 F
Lizzie Fletcher (New Dem-TX)- 70.00 F
Kim Schrier (New Dem-WA)- 70.00 F
Haley Stevens (New Dem-MI)- 70.00 F
Susan Wild (New Dem-PA)- 69.84 F
Lauren Underwood (D-IL)- 68.97 F
Harley Rouda (New Dem-CA)- 68.33 F
Collin Allred (New Dem-TX)- 67.80 F
Ed Case (Blue Dog-HI)- 67.12 F
TJ Cox (D-CA)- 66.67 F
Sharice Davids (New Dem-KS)- 66.67 F
Josh Harder (New Dem-CA)- 64.41 F
Susie Lee (New Dem-NV)- 63.33 F
Lucy McBath (New Dem-GA)- 63.33 F
Katie Porter (D-CA)- 63.33 F
Antonio Delgado (New Dem-NY)- 61.67 F
Chrissy Houlahan (Blue Dog-PA)- 61.67 F
Andy Kim (D-NJ)- 60.00 F
Max Rose (Blue Dog-NY)- 58.33 F
Ann Kirkpatrick (New Dem-AZ)- 53.64 F
Mikie Sherrill (Blue Dog-NJ)- 50.00 F
Angie Craig (New Dem-MN)- 48.33 F
Abby Frankenauer (D-IA)- 46.67 F
Xochitl Torres Small (Blue Dog-NM)- 46.67 F
Elaine Luria (New Dem-VA)- 45.76 F
Elissa Slotkin (New Dem-MI)- 45.00 F
Cindy Axne (New Dem-IA)- 40.00 F
Jared Golden (D-ME)- 35.00 F
Ben McAdams (Blue Dog-UT)- 31.67 F
Abigail Spanberger (Blue Dog-VA)- 30.00 F
Kendra Horn (Blue Dog-OK)- 28.33 F
Joe Cunningham (Blue Dog-SC)- 23.33 F
Anthony Brindisi (Blue Dog-NY)- 21.67 F
"Progressive policies are popular." That was how AOC began an e-mail to her supporters over the weekend.

"The corporate media and naysayers," she continued, "might try to convince us that we should compromise our values, but the facts just don’t lie. In Iowa, 92% of caucus-goers said that they support the Green New Deal-- our plan to transform our energy infrastructure, reach net-zero emissions, and create millions of union-wage jobs for communities that have been left behind. But as we speak, many in the Democratic Party still refuse to believe it’s possible to rise to the occasion of the climate crisis... The Green New Deal was introduced just over one year ago. In that time, with the help of organizations like the Sunrise Movement, we’ve built an incredible consensus in the Democratic Party. But the Green New Deal isn’t just popular with Democrats. Huge margins of independents and even Republicans support it, because Americans from all walks of life understand the necessity of saving our planet. We can’t let fear goad us into inaction."

But fear is what has largely kept almost all the corporate-friendly freshmen the DCCC selected and elected last cycle from getting behind AOC's resolution. In her words, "Passing a Green New Deal is not just a plan to save our planet-- but a chance for us to come together, to improve the lives of millions, and to ensure a better quality of life for our children. Let’s get to work."

Goal ThermometerYes, let's get to work replacing members who do not recognize that the Climate Crisis must be a national priority, with challengers who are ready to devote their professional careers to enacting the Green New Deal. Alexander Kaufman wrote that "Sunrise Movement is pulling back from the presidential contest and redirecting its efforts toward a trio of March 3 congressional primaries in Texas, hoping a victory in the oil and gas industry’s mecca will add momentum to the two-year-old Green New Deal movement... [I]n the coming weeks, Sunrise Movement is sending its army of canvassers to knock on doors in support of [Heidi] Sloan, Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar’s left-wing challenger Jessica Cisneros and Mike Siegel, the progressive Green New Dealer running against two other Democrats in the race to take on Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX). The group plans to direct its nearly 350 local chapters across the country to make phone calls for the three candidates. 'For us, Texas is both the frontlines of the climate crisis and the extreme energy fossil-fuel industry,' Sunrise Movement’s political director Evan Weber told HuffPost by phone Thursday morning. 'If we can show that running boldly on the Green New Deal without moderating or hedging is a path to victory for Democrats, we think it can transform the entire conversation in this nation.'" I spoke to Jessica Cisneros about how she was endorsed both by the AFL-CIO and by the Sunrise Movement. "We know that a just transition to renewable energy," she told me, "will provide our first opportunity in decades to truly invest in the working people of our district. Coming from a border district in Texas, we have an obligation to be a voice for workers during the transition, one that brings thousands of good-paying union jobs to our communities and ensures a sustainable future for generations to come."

Like Jessica, Eva Putzova is also running against a reactionary Blue Dog-- Tom O'Halleran. "My opponent, the incumbent congressman," she told me, "opposes the Green New Deal, or any bold climate action for that matter. Yet large areas of my state consist of Native American reservations that have been poisoned by the fossil fuel industry-- namely coal and uranium extraction-- for decades. There is a burning need for renewable energy production on the reservation. Solar, wind, conservation and light rail transportation systems would rejuvenate the economy of the reservation and produce thousands of good paying union jobs. This is what is envisioned in the Green New Deal that my opponent refuses to support. We need to elect representatives with the political will to fight the fossil fuel industry and invest in the green infrastructure we so sorely need. I will be that representative."

The Climate Crisis and how it impacts the farmers and rural communities of Iowa was part of the impetus that led to J.D. Scholten running for Congress against Climate Change-denier Steve King. "The climate crisis," J.D. told us, "is already ravaging our communities and economy in Iowa. Farmers are losing profit, crops, equipment, and their homes and fields from record-breaking floods, droughts, and temperature changes and southwest Iowa has climate refugees who have lost everything from devastating floods. We don't need more scientific evidence, more studies, or delaying tactics-- we need action. We need to bring rural America including our farmers to the table to enact solutions that will avert this crisis, create jobs, update our infrastructure, and ensure the health and well-being of our people."

"CA-16 has the least breathable air in America, and this is not by accident," said Kim Williams the reformer and insurgent running for a seat occupied by reactionary Blue Dog, Jim Costa. "Our corporate-backed incumbent rides atop a rigged system using right-leaning media, plants in environmental groups, and Exxon dollars to push out a message that he’s climate friendly. He’s not. He’s a millionaire farmer who has directly profited from his own policy decisions. He placates the worst polluters in the Valley and America knowing that his own constituents will see their lives cut short. But his days are numbered. Voters in the Valley are waking up to alternatives and demanding a Green New Deal. They understand that he is both 'bought' and 'bossed' by giant corporations and that he will never deliver the change our residents so desperately deserve. This primary is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver the fundamental change we need. We all know Bernie is the champion who will fight for us in the White House and I’m committed to fighting alongside him in Congress. Because we’ll need more than him to bring thousands of worker-protected, green jobs to the Valley to solve our air and water crisis. We’re going to need a progressive wave of representatives to send the Green New Deal to President Sander’s desk."

Will County Board member Rachel Ventura, the progressive Democrat running for the Chicagoland seat occupied by New Dem multimillionaire and incrementalist Bill Foster has an excellent chance at replacing someone who does nothing but stand in the way of progress. "Winning this seat as a Green New Deal Democrat against a scientist who is taking fossil fuel money and supporting carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery," she said, "is going to send a strong message that other Illinois Democrats will notice. I am actively campaigning on the GND. I envision using healthy tax incentives or direct rebates for people to make their homes more energy efficient with weatherization and gut rehabs, incentives to buy EV’s or hybrid vehicles and incentives to use wind or solar when it makes sense geographically. The same tax levers could be used for businesses and municipalities who want to make their automobile fleets electric or improve the efficiency of the building envelope, or HVAC system. We can push municipalities to build large-scale, public power projects using wind, solar and hydro technology where it makes sense. We need to upgrade commercial and residential building codes to achieve the highest levels of energy efficiency. The focus is to reward people and businesses who make carbon-free decisions, and move to publicly owned over corporate owned utilities."

She also noted that the 11th congressional district "is home to two oil refineries and a converted coal plant that has left coal ash pollution leaching into our water.  Additionally, the district encompasses the second and third largest cities (Aurora and Joliet) in Illinois that are home to high poverty rates and dominantly minority communities. These people work in low wage, temp agencies with few workers’ rights. Most of them work at the warehouses in CenterPoint, the largest inland port in the world. The Green New Deal would put people in the 11th CD to work retrofitting homes for energy efficiency, and installing solar panels and wind turbines. These jobs would pay union wages and reduce our carbon footprint. The Green New Deal isn't just a solution to the climate crisis but also a solution to fixing our economy. Nancy Pelosi has replaced the Green New Deal with another framework piece of legislation called the 100% clean economy bill. This bill allows the fossil fuel industry to continue to generate carbon as long as they find a way to capture the carbon through carbon sinks or other means. This makes absolutely no sense when the rest of the industrialized world is making huge technological advances in renewable energy and energy efficiency advances. I want to see America be a leader in these technological advances, not keep pumping out carbon with unproven carbon capture devices. My opponent is supporting both the 100% Clean Economy Bill and the Use it Act. This is a danger to our generation and for those to come."

Robin Wilt is also taking on a do-nothing New Dem, Joe Morelle. She told us that "As the mother of three, ensuring that our future generations inherit a habitable world is of utmost importance. We need bold political leadership that will not settle for ineffective and inequitable solutions to the climate crisis that fail to meet the urgency of the threat posed. I support the Green New Deal because it centers the needs of frontline and marginalized communities that have been historically most impacted by polluters and are currently most vulnerable to the impact of the climate crisis. We must address everyone’s basic needs for clean air, water and soil in order to build a broad coalition for fighting climate change. While my opponent has sat on his hands, refusing to meet the demands of the planetary crisis and failing to support the Green New Deal; by contrast, I have led on a local basis, supporting the implementation of Community Choice Aggregation in our town, in order to pool our community’s purchasing power to allow for sourcing our energy from 100% renewable resources at lower prices. When in Congress, I will not only immediately sponsor the Green New Deal and the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, I will ensure that we price carbon at its source, remove subsidies for fossil fuel companies, restore the authority of the EPA, bring clean water to Flint MI, ban fracking, stop the TPP, and implement the measures and principles articulated by Paul Hawken in ‘Drawdown’, in order to create a just and livable world, with the promise of improved human health, security, prosperity, and well-being."

Mark Gamba, mayor of Milwaukie, Oregon, is another stalwart progressive largely motivated by the Climate Crisis. His opponent is treacherous Blue Dog Kurt Schrader. Gamba declared a Climate State of Emergency, making Milwaukie the first city in Oregon to do so. "There is no question it’s an emergency," he told me. "The Antarctic was 65 degrees last week. That’s an all-time record high temperature. Last summer the Arctic was on fire! The Amazon Basin is on fire! Australia is on fire and billions of animals have perished, potentially driving some species to extinction. Parts of the Midwest were underwater for months. Houston has had three 500 Year floods, three years in a row! Eastern Oregon is flooding-- that would be the dry half of the state. How is this not an emergency? We are facing the greatest existential crisis our species has ever faced. But the federal government, who has known about this for 35 years has not only failed to declare an emergency, it has not done a damn thing, because most of Congress and the con man in the White House are sold out to the fossil fuel industry."

He noted that states like Oregon are trying to do the right thing and that a lot of cities like Milwaukie are doing everything they can to fight climate change. "But the Oil Barons and the timber barons fear a different kind of existential crisis-- one that will alter their ability to amass vast fortunes. And so, they will spend millions lying to loggers, lying to farmers, lying to politicians lying anyone that will listen, telling them that their lives will get worse if we address climate change the way we need to. We need to engage the climate crisis, with the ferocious intensity and all out investment that we engaged in WWII. In the process we need to make sure that we leave no one behind. As a matter of fact we need to use the catalyst of this crisis to lift everyone who is suffering-- out of poverty. To Create millions of family wage jobs, union jobs, jobs with good benefits to do all the things we need to do, to stop Climate Chaos over the next 10 years. We know how to do this, we have all the tools we need, we just need politicians with the backbone to stand up to the billionaires and let them know that the time has come for them to pay up for the damage they have been doing to our planet for decades."

He concluded by reminding us that "our young people are counting on us. The young people from the Sunrise movement have been kicking ass all over this country. Young people are not going to put up with our incremental, profits first, suicide cult. They want to live in the beautiful world we all got to enjoy, and they can. We can do this, we can heal our home and heal our people. It is time to elect a new president and a new Congress, one that is made up of members that are not taking millions from the fossil fuel industry. People like my opponent, Kurt Schrader are not only taking money from all sectors of the fossil fuel industry but he takes money from the Kochs! We can’t have “Democrats” whose actions are as bad as the climate denying Republicans. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for humanity and the effort must be led by the country that has done most of the damage-- the United States of America. It is why I’m running for congress to be a relentless fighter for our future, for the very lives of our children and grandchildren."

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At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Progressives are fighting a two-front war. One front is against the Republicans and their massive voter suppression and electoral fraud efforts. The other front is against corporate Democrats and their efforts to suppress progressive influence of the the Party and its platform. Neither of these enemies (I use that word deliberately) is willing to surrender a single iota of their power and control for their faction's interests. That they risk great harm to all Earthly existence matters nothing to them.

These enemies only allow elections as a pressure-relief device, and to monitor just how much unrest exists. It is very likely that no further elections will be allowed if either of these enemies fear losing them.

At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nodding again in agreement with 1:17.

The title was so insipid that I didn't read it. There is no way the congress elected in 2020 will be different. Pelosi will still be there with at least 200 thoroughly vetted and corrupt heirs in succession. scummer might fall face first into a democrap senate majority. At best he'll be Pelosi's mirror but with 50 thoroughly and personally selected heirs. At worst, he'll be a deer in the headlights. probably a mixture of both is most likely.

for a congress to save the shithole, those 200 in the house need to be replaced and every single senator but maybe Bernie and Elizabeth must be replaced, as well as no fewer than 20 current Nazis. Not to mention having a progressive president who won't veto good lege.

short of that, no congress will save the shithole. it will continue to plummet, either faster or maybe a tiny bit slower... but still plummeting.

progressives know this. But only those who vote are dumb enough to think that the title is possible.

At 1:39 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Cheri Bustos talks about blacklisting candidates well those candidates with the C through F grades you listed Howie they're the ones who should be blacklisted & voted out see you in November Bitchstos.


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