Saturday, March 17, 2018

Lipinski's Campaign Of Filth And Smear Ends Tuesday-- Hopefully With His Disgraceful Political Career


This Tuesday is primary day in Illinois. There are several crucial battles going on between progressives and corporate Democrats but there are4 none where the contrast is clearer than in the Chicagoland seat which pits Marie Newman against right-of-center Blue Dog Dan Lipinski. The DCCC has sided with Lipinski of course, but progressive Democrats from Jan Schakowsky, Luis Gutiérrez and Ro Khanna to Bernie Sanders and Chuy Garcia are strongly backing Marie (also endorsed by Blue America). Yesterday new Spanish-Language TV and Radio Ads Hitting the anti-immigrant incumbent started running for his vote against the Dream Act in 2010. The ads blast Lipinski for voting out-of-step with his constituents on immigration issues and urge voters to back Marie Newman.

While independent groups are running ads educate voters about Lipinski’s actual voting record, Lipinski and his supporters are making up crap to smear Newman, the latest implying that she's a Holocaust denier. Lipinski's campaign is targeting Jewish voters with texts from a woman identifying herself as "Leslie Benjamini" from the Washington, D.C.-based No Labels group-- a shady conservative group that backed Trump in 2016 and backs Lipinksi and other right-wing Democrats now. When voters reply to texts by saying the plan to vote for Newman, "Benjamini" states that Lipinski's opponent is a Holocaust denier. "His opponent is a Holocaust denier among other things," the text claims. "Please educate yourself before you vote. All I ask."

After Newman beats Lipinski she will have an opponent who is a Holocaust denier, Nazi leader Arthur Jones, a lunatic Republican, running unopposed in the GOP primary. Marie's response:
"Dan Lipinski is playing politics with a tragedy in human history that cost the lives of millions-- and which deeply affects those of Jewish heritage, including my husband and his family. I did not think Dan Lipinski could stoop any lower than the dishonest machine campaign he has been running, but this is a new level of moral bankruptcy. He should issue a public apology immediately."
Late Thursday, Politico reported that Obama alumni in Chicago were meting out some payback to Lipinski for his non-stop opposition to President Obama.
A collection of former Obama aides and supporters banded together to deliver some Chicago-style payback, just days before the embattled congressman faces a tough Democratic primary challenge that could end his career.

A campaign mailer from a super PAC backing Lipinski gave the group the opportunity to pile on Lipinski at the worst possible moment. The mail piece featured a photo of the former president on one side, and the words, “Known for Leading.” The flip side offered a picture of Democratic opponent Marie Newman under the headline, “Known for Misleading.”

The idea that Lipinski-- who voted against the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature achievement, and declined to endorse Obama’s reelection in 2012-- would try to use the former president’s image resurrected such deep feelings of betrayal that the group of former staffers and supporters quickly assembled for a news conference to call out the congressman for what they called hypocrisy.

Goal Thermometer“It’s time to reveal the truth, Congressman Lipinski,” said Obama’s 2008 national field organizer Jon Carson. “You are no Barack Obama.”

The ad wasn’t from the Lipinski campaign. The group behind the direct mail, United for Progress, has funded TV ads attacking Newman, who is threatening to topple the Lipinski family’s storied political regime in the Chicago-based 3rd Congressional District.

But once the ad reached mailboxes in the district this week, it drew strong reactions. Over Twitter on Wednesday night, former Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod called the move “galling.”

In fact, Obama loyalists were so steamed that 10 former aides and volunteers stood in Axelrod’s old offices for the Thursday news conference-- the very place they said Michelle and Barack Obama made their decision to launch a 2008 presidential bid.

The group recounted the difficulties of corralling enough votes to pass the Affordable Care Act eight years ago-- and lamented that Lipinski was the only Illinois Democrat to vote against it.

Organizing for Action National Finance Committee member John Atkinson recalled watching the roll call vote in 2010 with “tears streaming down my face,” from the pride he felt in the moment the landmark health care act passed.

...“I was stunned to watch Dan Lipinski vote to deny 20 million Americans the very coverage that he and I both enjoyed, while defying a president and members of Congress who put their careers on the line to pass this health care reform in this country,” Atkinson said. “We will not allow Dan Lipinski’s hypocrisy to stand.

“Congressman Lipinski was never a supporter of President Obama when he needed him most,” he said.

The mailer raised questions about Newman’s professional claims and experiences as a business owner.

At the news conference, Jennifer Warner, national organizing director for OFA, read from a 2010 Chicago Sun-Times newspaper article recounting Lipinski’s vote against ACA, despite the fact that he would receive the benefits attached to own pre-condition as a diabetic.

“To add insult to injury, Congressman Lipinski refused to endorse Obama,” Warner said. “It’s shameful, and we’re calling him out.”

In 2012, Lipinski had commented to Medill News Service that he would not publicly endorse anyone in the race for president. That report was picked up by The Huffington Post, amplifying the surprising news that a fellow Chicago Democrat declined to publicly support the president’s reelection.

“He voted for Barack. He supported Barack in 2012,” Mayer explained Thursday, but wouldn’t expand on how he supported Obama.

Supporters said their efforts to call out Lipinski had nothing to do with preserving Obama’s legacy.

“I don’t think we need to do anything to preserve the president’s legacy, it stands on its own,” Atkinson said. “This is about calling out hypocrisy, frankly. And letting the voters know what their representative’s actually doing in Congress and the fact that lying to them about his record and about his allegiances is not going to be tolerated.”

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Will Lamb And Saccone Wind Up Both Serving In Congress Next Year?


The old gerrymandered map is on top and the new ungerrymandered map is below

When the Pennsylvania Supreme Court moved to ungerrymander the state, the Pittsburgh area changed considerably. The city itself, PA-14 didn't change too much other than being re-numbered from PA-14 to PA-18. The PVI went from D+17 to a still very safe D+13, extra Democrats going to the newly created PA-17 which was formerly Republican Keith Rothfus' safe red seat (PA-12). The old PVI was R+11 and the new PVI is a very competitive R+3. That leaves the sprawling PA-18 district Conor Lamb just won. It's been cut down quite a bit and one of the areas cut out of the district is Lamb's hometown, Mount Lebanon. So what was a blood red district with a PVI of R+11 is now... and even worse R+14 (re-numbered PA-14).

The incumbent in the new PA-18 (Pittsburg's old PA-14) is Democrat Mike Doyle and he should have zero problem being reelected. Technically the incumbent in the new redder PA-14 Is Lamb but no one thinks he'll run there again. And the incumbent in the very red old PA-12 (now the competitive PA-17) is Keith Rothfus, basically a dead man walking. And that's where Lamb's home in and where Lamb will run, even though very few few of Rothfus' constituents were part of the old PA-18 who just participated in the election that put Lamb into office.

Right now there are 4 Democrats campaigning against Rothfus in the new 17th,  Elizabeth Tarasi, Aaron Anthony, Raymond Linsenmayer and Erin McClelland. The district includes Beaver County, part of Cranberry Township in Butler County, and northern and western portions of Allegheny County; it would have gone for Trump by just 2.5 percentage points. Lamb filed papers Wednesday seeking the Beaver County Democratic Party's endorsement in the new 17th. The Beaver County Democratic Committee plans to endorse a candidate next Thursday.

Meanwhile, Rick Saccone-- despite being blamed for his own loss on Tuesday, despite being derided for his "porn mustache" and despite not living in the new district-- is already circulating petitions to run in PA-14 (which includes half, including all the reddest parts of the district, he just lost). Republican State Senator Guy Reschenthaler is also running there. Reschenthaler doesn't live in the district either. The Democrat with the best-- the only-- chance to win in that race is Tom Prigg, who had been running against Rothfus, but decided to switch to the district he grew up in (Washington) after the new boundaries were announced and after Lamb made it clear he would take on Rothfus. (Prigg and Lamb are both veterans and although Prigg is much more progressive than Lamb, he had put a lot of time and energy into campaigning for him over the last month.) The establishment Democrat in the race, if she can get enough signatures by Tuesday, is Bibiana Boerio.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

Actually, Señor Trumpanzee has stated that he'll be running for "re-election" in 2020 several times. He's already been holding private fundraisers with the nation's finest sleazebags to entice those who want a piece of the action to cough up some dough. He's even said that he'd like to be "President for life." That would be fine with me if it meant that his life ended by the time I finish writing this. How fitting would it be if he choked on a piece of chicken or rodent bone from a bucket of his beloved KFC? Still, tonight's meme has a nice ring to it, and, can you imagine watching Trumpanzee literally trying to run from the law, 300+ pounds of fat shaking, bloodied knuckles dragging on the pavement, tripping over his bright red tie? Mueller would have to call one of those animal rescue trucks. Get out the guys with the tranquilizer rifles! Would the NRA approve?

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

The yesterday referred to in tonight's meme is, of course, Tuesday. Even though Rex Tillerson is such a close personal friend of Putin and was obviously chosen by Senor Trumpanzee to be his Secretary of State for that very reason, Trump wasn't going to tolerate Tillerson being critical of the man he fears most in the world. And, so, Tillerson had to go. Trump had to show Putin that there would be swift punishment if anyone in his chaotic crackpot administration dared say a word against him.

As I write this on Thursday night, it's worth noting that only today did the White House manage to issue a statement regarding the obvious Russian attack in England. I guess they just felt that they better say something. They also had U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley take some time off from studying up on Binomo and issue a few insincere words of support for England. But, have there been any stern rebukes issued to Russia coming out of the mouth of our so-called president? Not yet, and don't hold your breath waiting. The last thing Trumpanzee wants to do is piss of his master in Moscow.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Could Trump Stop Himself From Lying If He Wanted To?


Why would Trump be jealous?

Trump has told intimates that he doesn't want to fire Defense Secretary James Mattis because Mattis "looks" like a general. Appearances mean a lot to the imbecile illegitimate "president." I've heard from someone in the office of one of Trump's cosmetic surgeons that Trump is painfully aware of how ugly he's become over the years no matter how many nips and tucks he gets. That's why he absolutely loathes Justin Trudeau, who is both handsome and, unlike the lard-assed couch potato Trump has turned into, vigorous. On Wednesday evening at a private fundraiser for a right-wing goon, Josh Hawley, running for Claire McCaskill's Senate seat, Trump boasted to the enraptured donors that he just made up shit when he was negotiating with Trudeau.

Someone made a tape and leaked it and Trump told the morons in the room that he insisted that the U.S. had a trade deficit with Canada, but had no idea if he was lying or telling the truth. This is what the crazy orange pig said to the prime minister of our closest and most important ally:
"Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy. Justin. He said 'No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please,'" Trump said. "Nice guy, good looking guy, comes in-- 'Donald we have no trade deficit.'"

"I said, 'Wrong Justin, you do.' I didn’t even know... I had no idea. I just said 'You’re wrong.' You know why? Because we’re so stupid... And I thought they were smart. I said, ‘You’re wrong Justin.'"

"He said, 'Nope we have no trade deficit.' I said, 'Well in that case I feel differently,' I said, 'but I don’t believe it.' I sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, I said 'Check because I can’t believe it.'"

"'Well sir you’re actually right. We have no deficit but that doesn’t include energy and timber… And when you do we lose $17 billion a year.' It’s incredible."
Trump was lying again-- this time to the donors. The U.S. actually has a trade surplus with Canada, not a deficit. How can anyone deal with this raging psychopathic liar? Jeet Heer pointed out in the New Republic that Señor Trumpanzee is worse than a liar and that his clownish perforce for the Hawley donors "reveals the depth of his pathology." Heer asserts that Señor T is "a full-fledged bullshit artist. There’s a difference: Lying involves conscious deception, whereas bullshitting is a more insidious attempt to blur the lines between truth and falsehood."
“It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth,” the philosopher Harry Frankfurt wrote in his 2005 book On Bullshit. “Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all bets are off.... He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of truth than lies are.”

In 2015, I drew on Frankfurt’s work to argue that Trump, then in the early stages of his presidential campaign, had all the characteristics of a bullshit artist: He not only frequently made false statements, but was indifferent to whether they were false or not. In doing so, he undermines the very idea that the truth is relevant or even knowable.

There are several layers of untruth here. There’s the initial statement to Trudeau about the trade deficit, which Trump knowingly makes up (“I had no idea”). But Trump lied again when he said his lie turned out to be true. As The Post notes, “The Office of the United States Trade Representative says the United States has a trade surplus with Canada. It reports that in 2016, the United States exported $12.5 billion more in goods and services than it imported from Canada, leading to a trade surplus, not a deficit.”

In telling his story, Trump implied that his gut instincts are so good that he can, while talking to another world leader, invent facts that turn out to be true. That was perhaps the biggest fiction of all in his speech, and it is squarely aimed at his hardcore Republican supporters. It’s hardly an accident he said this at fundraiser.

After The Post broke the story, Trump responded with a tweet on Thursday morning that reiterated the lie about America has a trade deficit with Canada:

Before he became president, Trump’s bullshitting could be dismissed as a campaign tactic. That he continues to bullshit as president indicates that it’s more than a strategy; it’s a pathology. Trump doesn’t know how not to bullshit. This may stem from his career in real estate, where a certain poetic license is the norm, or perhaps he learned it from his father (a real estate developer himself). And now that he’s in politics, it means he’s always in campaign mode and never really governing.

Frankfurt’s paradigm is helpful in explaining why refuting Trump’s fibs on a case-by-case basis, as fact-checkers exhaustively do, has its limits. Trump is waging a more holistic war against a shared, objective set of facts, and it requires an equally holistic counterattack.

Trump’s bullshitting is integral to his success in fomenting tribalism and polarization. He has created a political movement where his followers will believe whatever he says, no matter how patently false, and disbelieve whatever his opponents say, no matter how objectively true. Only 20 percent of Trump supporters, for instance, believe that his lawyer Michael Cohen paid hush money to the porn star Stormy Daniels, even though that is an undisputed fact: Cohen has admitted as much.

Trump’s continued B.S. as president illustrates how he’s willing to sacrifice broader policy objectives for his short-term political needs. It’s also turning the president into an laughingstock globally. “The Donald and I, we are winning and winning in the polls,” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a speech last June. “We are winning so much, we are winning, we are winning like we have never won before. We are winning in the polls. We are, we are. Not the fake polls. Not the fake polls. They’re the ones we’re not winning in. We’re winning in the real polls. You know, the online polls. They are so easy to win. I know that. Did you know that? I kind of know that. They are so easy to win. I have this Russian guy. Believe me it’s true, it’s true.”

Trudeau and Turnbull know they can ignore Trump’s bullshit. Probably every world leader does. The fact that the words of an American president now count for so little, and are so easily laughed at, is nothing to brag about.

And A Little Message From Facebook Tonight

When will the Mercers go to Prison?

This is by Paul Grewal, Facebook VP and Deputy General Counsel
We are suspending Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), including their political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, from Facebook. Given the public prominence of this organization, we want to take a moment to explain how we came to this decision and why.

We Maintain Strict Standards and Policies

Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do, and we require the same from people who operate apps on Facebook. In 2015, we learned that a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan lied to us and violated our Platform Policies by passing data from an app that was using Facebook Login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica, a firm that does political, government and military work around the globe. He also passed that data to Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, Inc.

Like all app developers, Kogan requested and gained access to information from people after they chose to download his app. His app, “thisisyourdigitallife,” offered a personality prediction, and billed itself on Facebook as “a research app used by psychologists.” Approximately 270,000 people downloaded the app. In so doing, they gave their consent for Kogan to access information such as the city they set on their profile, or content they had liked, as well as more limited information about friends who had their privacy settings set to allow it.

Although Kogan gained access to this information in a legitimate way and through the proper channels that governed all developers on Facebook at that time, he did not subsequently abide by our rules. By passing information on to a third party, including SCL/Cambridge Analytica and Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, he violated our platform policies. When we learned of this violation in 2015, we removed his app from Facebook and demanded certifications from Kogan and all parties he had given data to that the information had been destroyed. Cambridge Analytica, Kogan and Wylie all certified to us that they destroyed the data.

Breaking the Rules Leads to Suspension

Several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted. We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims. If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made. We are suspending SCL/Cambridge Analytica, Wylie and Kogan from Facebook, pending further information.

We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information. We will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens. We will take legal action if necessary to hold them responsible and accountable for any unlawful behavior.

How Things Have Changed

We are constantly working to improve the safety and experience of everyone on Facebook. In the past five years, we have made significant improvements in our ability to detect and prevent violations by app developers. Now all apps requesting detailed user information go through our App Review process, which requires developers to justify the data they’re looking to collect and how they’re going to use it-- before they’re allowed to even ask people for it.

In 2014, after hearing feedback from the Facebook community, we made an update to ensure that each person decides what information they want to share about themselves, including their friend list. This is just one of the many ways we give people the tools to control their experience. Before you decide to use an app, you can review the permissions the developer is requesting and choose which information to share. You can manage or revoke those permissions at any time.

On an ongoing basis, we also do a variety of manual and automated checks to ensure compliance with our policies and a positive experience for users. These include steps such as random audits of existing apps along with the regular and proactive monitoring of the fastest growing apps.

We enforce our policies in a variety of ways-- from working with developers to fix the problem, to suspending developers from our platform, to pursuing litigation.

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Randy Bryce And Kaniela Ing Set The Tone For Progressive Democrats And An Environmental Agenda


Progressive candidates are starting to rollout impressive environmental platforms. Two of the greatest hopes for a stronger progressive future in Congress are Kaniela Ing in Hawaii and Rand Bryce in Wisconsin. Both have impressive plans that will make up for Trumpanzee's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords-- and then some. Let's start with Kaniela's 7-point plan, which he calls the most aggressive/progressive plan for climate action in the nation:
Net-zero carbon emissions by 2035
No fossil fuel powered cars by 2030
Escalating carbon tax, to fund dividend to households making under $150,000
$95 of all miles traveled required to be powered by electricity by 2035
End fossil fuel subsidies
Ban styrofoam containers and plastic bags at grocery bags and stores.
Federal Job Guarantee to efficiency refit appliances and homes/plant tree
It's worth noting that as a state legislator he already holds one of the strongest environmental records in Hawaii's State House and has a proven record of defending his state's air, land, and water. Watch:

He's the only candidate in his race who does not accept fossil fuel money or any corporate money. Hawaii Gas is a big donor there. He also holds an unrelenting record of standing up to corporate polluters and anti-solar electricity monopolies, and championing positive climate solutions on the state level like community solar and the nation's first statewide 100% renewable energy goal. One conservative Dem running against him, Donna Kim, and many in the corporate wing of the party, "supported the takeover of Hawaii's utility by an anti-solar mega-corporation, opposed the Obama-proposed expansion of papahanaumokuakea, and supported bringing in fracked natural gas from the mainland. I stood on the right side of all of these battles, and we won. That's the kind of leadership you can expect form me in Congress."

Goal ThermometerI'm eager to see Kaniela and Randy Bryce both elected in November working on environmental issues. Both guys are predominantly committed to the interests or working families Both are union guys through and through and both put the lie to the claims that environmentally progressive platforms work against the interests of working families. This week Bryce's campaign put out his own 10-point plan. Please read it over and see if it represents the kind of leadership you want in Congress. If you do, please consider contributing to Randy's and Kaniela's campaigns by clicking on the Blue America ActBlue congressional thermometer on the right-- and donating what you feel you can.
Fund a Green New Deal. As a Congressman, Randy would support a massive investment in green infrastructure that would generate tens of thousands of new jobs and transform Wisconsin communities into energy manufacturers. One model for this Green New Deal is the 100 by 50 Act, which provides a framework to move the nation towards 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Another is the Climate Change Adapt America Fund Act of 2017, which would create a fund administered by the Department of Commerce for green infrastructure and to adapt existing infrastructure for climate change. That bill would also provide Americans who want to take on climate change the opportunity to buy up to $200 million in “Climate Change Bonds.”  As an ironworker, Randy got to see firsthand how labor could lead the way on solar technology and other renewable energy sources. Watch this clip tp see why he thinks labor can lead in the way in creating good, family-sustaining green energy jobs.

End Subsidies to Fossil Fuel Companies. Each year, Washington hands billions of dollars in subsidies to oil and gas CEOs. These taxpayer handouts to one of the richest industries on earth are part of a “dirty energy money cycle” that must end. In return for their subsidies, the fossil fuel industry spends hundreds of millions per year in campaign contributions and lobbying expenses. Over his career, Paul Ryan has received nearly $2 million in contributions from this industry. Randy Bryce has pledged not to accept any contributions from fossil fuel companies and, as a Congressman, he would lobby to end corporate welfare for this billion dollar industry.

It makes little sense to prop up oil companies and create a competitive disadvantage for clean energy companies. In our region, we’ve seen GE do everything in its power to disincentivize community efforts to transition to clean and renewable energy sources. This utility company, like many fossil fuel companies, has not been a good actor in Wisconsin and we must not let them continue to stand in the way of progress.

Hold Greif/ Mid-America Fully Accountable. This company, which operates industrial barrel refurbishing plants in Oak Creek, St. Francis and Milwaukee, has committed more than 70 environmental and safety violations, according to several different government agencies. These violations include serious worker safety violations, some of which led to injury, chronic health conditions, and even death. Mid-America was also cited for dumping mercury into the wastewater and for spewing extraordinarily high levels of toxic emissions into the air of the surrounding communities. Randy is calling on Mid-America to voluntarily establish a fund to pay for medical testing and treatment of workers and community members whose health may have been impacted, so that the victims and the taxpayers are not held accountable for these costs. As a Congressman, Randy will also push to aggressively enforce existing laws to protect workers and communities from environmental hazards, and he will also push to strengthen penalties and criminal enforcement for corporate violators of environmental law.

Prosecute Exxon for Lying to the Public. Records show that ExxonMobil knew about the negative effects of fossil fuels on the health of the public in both the short and long term, and intentionally lied to the public to increase their profits. As Congressman, Randy would support federal efforts to prosecute Exxon for restitution to those communities which have been most negatively affected. Often, those people most negatively impacted by pipelines, pollution and climate change have limited means.

Oppose Further Fossil Fuel Pipelines. It is a false choice to say we can have either good, family-sustaining jobs or a healthy environment. This myth is perpetuated by fossil fuel corporations to justify the disruptions and risks their pipelines bring to our families and communities.  We must make real investments in clean infrastructure, so that we can transform communities currently disrupted by pipelines bringing in fossil fuels from out of state or out of the country into clean energy manufacturers. As a Congressman, Randy would oppose further pipeline expansion, including all tar sands pipelines, and support major investments into clean energy job creation. Bryce would also oppose a proposal to replace the Enbridge Line 5 with a new pipeline through Wisconsin. (As an ironworker, Randy had the chance to work on a pipeline and he turned it down - here's why:

Lobby for Additional Air Testing Around Oak Creek Coal Facility. For too many years, We Energies has been responsible for coal dust contaminating the homes of its workers and surrounding community members. The coal dust is often visible on cars, schools and sidewalks. Despite demands from the community for years, only recently has We Energies considered increasing its air quality monitoring. As a Congressman, Randy would be a vocal advocate demanding that We Energies pay for additional air testing and regular independent monitoring to ensure the health of the community. Bryce also opposes Governor Walker’s request that the Trump Administration exempt Foxconn from laws limiting the amount of smog they can produce. Southeastern Wisconsin residents have  committed billions in taxpayer funding for that company. They should not have to sacrifice their health as well.

Protect the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Trump Administration has proposed reducing this fund, which has helped preserve the Ice Age Trail and numerous Wisconsin state and community parks. As a Congressman, Randy would fight to protect these lands, which in addition to being key to a healthy environment, are also essential to the health of Wisconsin’s economy.  Our state has a nearly $18 billion outdoor recreation industry. Additionally, conserving these lands is important to protecting Wisconsin’s proud hunting, fishing and recreational traditions. Randy fishes frequently with his 11-year-old son, and he wants his future grandkids to be able to share in those experiences. For these same reasons, Randy would also oppose all efforts to expand drilling on public lands.

Rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. By participating in this agreement, the U.S. would commit to reducing its carbon footprint as part of the global effort to mitigate climate change. The impact of climate change is already being felt in Wisconsin with  increased algae production, drought, flooding, and erosion, all of which can be devastating to the state’s agriculture industry. These changes also hurt homeowners, business owners and taxpayers who have had to pay the damage caused by flooding to basements, roads, bridges, sewer systems and other utilities. The state’s fishing and recreation industries have also been hurt by declining fish populations and decreasing snowfall. Wisconsin’s economy loses approximately $179 million during low-snow years. It’s time to secure our state’s economy and our community’s health and structural safety, and rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

Protect Federal Wetlands. Wisconsin Republicans recently passed a bill that will negatively impact an untold number of isolated and non-federal wetlands, in order to increase profits for wealthy developers. The destruction of wetlands hurts Wisconsin’s proud tradition of hunting, fishing, and recreation, and the jobs associated with it, for the benefit of a very wealthy few. As a Congressman, Randy would support expanding protections for wetlands and small streams under the Clean Water Act. The Obama administration had moved to expand the number and types of wetlands protected by the federal government, but the Trump Administration is currently in court fighting to reverse that progress. Randy would support returning to the Clean Water Act standards set by  the Obama administration.

Protect Funding for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. In 2010, the federal government launched an effort to repair, protect and preserve the Great Lakes and the communities and industries they support. When Donald Trump came into office, his EPA proposed eliminating the funding for this initiative, which has cleaned up toxic waste, stopped the spread of invasive species, and made other improvements benefiting communities on the Lake’s shore. As a Congressman, Randy would lobby to protect this essential investment in our Great Lakes. Randy would also oppose other efforts to disrupt the health of our Great Lakes, such as FoxConn’s current plan to pump nearly 7 million gallons of water a day from the Lake.

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Tough Love For The DCCC


Ever since Rahm Emanuel was handed the reins of the DCCC-- the beginning of Pelosi's downfall as a force for good-- this blog has spent a good deal of time exploring what's wrong with that organization. In the last few weeks the eruptions have been so frequent and vitriolic that DCCC-connected congressmen and staffers have been asking me to cool it and one even called a friend of mine and asked him what they had to do to stop. My friend was savvy enough to tell them if they stop the crap, like what they've been doing to Laura Moser and Levi Tillemann, to mention just two-- I'd have nothing to denounce them for. (Sure, sure...)

But don't get the wrong idea... the Republican dirty tricks are, at best, just as bad. In fact, the DCCC staffers don't have the brain power to think up their own dirty tricks and have been using the Lee Atwater/Karl Rove playbook to come up with how to savage progressives. But... the Republicans: horrible. I recall how Debbie Wasserman Schultz used to deploy this one when she was trying to sabotage the Democratic Party's efforts to dislodge her amiga, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Matt Volz reported on how the Republicans are employing it this cycle in their fervor to defeat centrist Montana Democrat Jon Tester from the Senate.On Monday Timothy Adams filed to run as the Green candidate in the Senate race that pits Tester against... well either Troy Downing, Matt Rosendale or Russ Fagg. Adams registered as a Green, which qualified as a political party in Montana 3 days ago, but he's was an employee of the state Republican Party’s-- on their payroll-- from 2013 to 2015. The GOP is clearly using Adams to siphon votes from Tester. He also heads an anti-tax "group," Montanans Against Higher Taxes. (Montanans Against Higher Taxes is a new legal entity formed to oppose a legislative referendum on the ballot this fall for a 10-year property tax extension for the state’s university system.)

15 year old me in the middle

Maybe I don't spend as much time attacking the NRCC, NSCC and RNC as I spend on the DCCC, DSCC and DNC because I don't give a damn about the Republicans and don't care if they reform themselves or not. I was born a Democrat, made it onto the front page of the New York Post with a sign about Brooklyn liking LBJ at the Atlantic City Democratic convention in 1964 (yep, above; I was 15), worked as an elevator operator for Bobby Kennedy when he was running for the Senate that same year, and was president of my college's Young Democrats the following year. I rode a horse into Kabul from the mountains once so as not to miss a chance to vote in a midterm election at the embassy. Yeah, it's tough love-- albeit no love at all for Blue Dogs, New Dems and others from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- like Brad Ashford in Omaha. We haven't held his feet to the fire for a while. This story below was written by one of his "ex"-staffers.
The gloves are off in the Democrats’ Omaha House race, well at least one set of gloves.

As Kara Eastman picks up the backing of the progressive “Blue America” group she has some choice words for her opponent, former Congressman Brad Ashford.

(Ashford’s) taken contradictory stands on almost every important issue over his long political career.

People in the district tell me they are unhappy with Ashford’s voting record.

And then there was this:

They also feel like he is not in it to win it.
Now, Ashford, the handpicked candidate of the whole Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- the Blue Dogs, New Dems and DCCC (EMILY's List is staying out of this one, for obvious reasons.) All he ever talks about is how he can work with the Republicans. No kidding! Why is the DCCC backing him? For the exact same reasons they're backing, another wretched Blue Dog, Dan Lipinski, in Illinois.

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Trump's Chaotic Regime Is Driving The Country Crazy-- They Told Him To Calm Down This Week By Electing A Generic Democrat In A Deep Red District


Every time I go out recently I wonder who Trump will fire by the time I get back home. And he's been hiring really bad ones again. Remember The Mooch? That bad. People he saw on TV, like the coke addict who took Gary Cohn's place and it looks like Pete Hegseth from Fox will be replacing Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Maggie Haberman reported in yesterday's NY Times that Trump's reveling in keep everyone off-kilter. Lot's of fun for him. Is McMaster next?

Remember when he had boasted at his first Cabinet meeting how he had assembled the greatest and most talented cabinet in history? Since then he's fired 6 of them. Haberman wrote that the purge at the top may not be over. Señor Trumpanzee is "famously fickle [and] appears to have soured on additional members of his senior leadership team-- and his frequent mulling about making changes has some people around him convinced that he could act soon."

And the really bad news for the country is that the imbecile now feels like he's mastered the presidency and doesn't need to listen to anyone about anything. Haberman wrote that the idiot "is relying more on his own instincts, putting a premium on his personal chemistry with people and their willingness to acknowledge that his positions are ultimately administration policy, rather than on their résumé or qualifications for the job. If people are unwilling to do what he wants... now believes that he can get things done himself."
“There will always be change. I think you want to see change,” Mr. Trump said, ominously, on Thursday. “I want to also see different ideas.”

John F. Kelly, his second chief of staff, and Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, are on thin ice, having angered the president by privately saying “no” to the boss too often. White House insiders predict that Mr. Trump could decide to fire one or both of them soon.

Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, and David J. Shulkin, the secretary of veterans affairs, have both embarrassed the president by generating scandalous headlines. Mr. Carson could be axed over an eye-popping $31,000 dining set, and Mr. Shulkin might be replaced over a 10-day, $122,000 European trip with his wife.

And then there’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose original sin-- the decision to recuse himself from oversight of the Russia investigation-- made him the regular target of presidential ire. The attorney general has threatened to resign at least once, but has more recently indicated his determination to resist Mr. Trump’s obvious desire for him to leave his post at the Justice Department.

Trumpanzee insists that reports of impending doom for more senior staffers are "a very exaggerated and false story" but in the next breath said that his choices for a cabinet might have been different had he known then what he knows now. Haberman wrote that he "has a long habit of musing about staff changes that he doesn’t enact. He does his own version of poll-testing different possibilities, asking aides what they think of one another and asking outside friends and top advisers whether different people would be better in specific jobs, but he often drops the topic without acting."
That was certainly the case with Rex W. Tillerson, whom he needled for months before finally firing him in a tweet on Tuesday. It has also been true of Mr. Sessions, who has had to endure a series of Twitter attacks from the president, each of which prompts new stories about whether Mr. Trump is about to dump his top law enforcement official.

“It’s devastating,” said William M. Daley, who served as former President Barack Obama’s chief of staff for about a year. “No business could handle this, much less the government. It’s supposed to be about stability and continuity. That’s just not in his lexicon.”

Just last month, Mr. Trump lamented that Mr. Sessions had failed to investigate the Obama administration’s handling of Russian election meddling, and later called it “DISGRACEFUL!” that Mr. Sessions was not investigating surveillance abuse.

“How Trump’s Saturday Night Massacre Might Start With Jeff Sessions,” blared a headline in New York magazine this month. Some White House officials believe that Scott Pruitt, an ambitious lawyer who is the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is behind rumors that he is in line to replace Mr. Sessions.

And yet, Mr. Sessions remains in his job, at least for now. Some associates speculate that Mr. Trump realizes that firing his attorney general would cross a red line for many in his own party, including Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader.

“When the shoe drops on Sessions or Kelly, no one is going to be surprised,” Mr. Daley said. “But the long goodbye totally deflates their ability to be effective.”

...Right now, Mr. Trump is surrounded by cabinet officials and a chief of staff who either have caused him negative headlines, such as Mr. Carson and Mr. Shulkin, or have declined to do what he wants, such as General McMaster, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Sessions.

Contrary to the notion that Mr. Trump is surrounded by sycophants, the president has also tired of staff members who frequently tell him no. Mr. Tillerson disagreed with the president on Iran and North Korea, and Mr. Trump viewed him as disdainful and disloyal. But Mr. Kelly repeatedly staved off efforts to get rid of him.

Mr. Trump grew frustrated with Mr. Kelly and those delays, and also for stalling on the president’s desire for tariffs. The president finally forced the issue a few weeks ago, announcing tariffs on steel and aluminum, and then forcing out Mr. Cohn, who had opposed the policy.

Mr. Trump also grew frustrated last year with Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, for refusing to enact a ban on transgender members of the military. Mr. Mattis essentially ignored Mr. Trump for several weeks, White House officials said, until the president finally went around him and tweeted it. But Mr. Mattis appears to be safe, even when he ignores the president, in part because he is a general who in Mr. Trump’s mind “looks the part” of a military leader.

Mr. Kelly, who is also a former general, has not fared as well.

A few weeks ago, when the scandal surrounding Rob Porter, the staff secretary, exploded into view, Mr. Trump began working the phones to old friends, telling them that he needed his former advisers back and complaining that he was surrounded by people he didn’t know. He told them that Mr. Kelly had badly botched the Porter issue (his language was saltier and unfit for publication, according to several people with knowledge of the calls).

Since then, he has mulled over a number of potential replacements for Mr. Kelly, but he has kept his own counsel about his plans, according to several people close to him.
Who he'd really like to get rid of most, of course, is Special counsel Robert Mueller who has now has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, bringing the investigation right to the Trumpanzee garish front door. Will Mueller's high approval ratings from the public keep Trump from lowering the boom on him? On his best day, Trump's rating have never gotten anywhere near Mueller's 61% approval. In fact, nearly half of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (46%) are very or somewhat confident Mueller will conduct a fair investigation.

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I Doubt We Can Get Rid Of Him Before 2020-- But We Can-- And Must-- Then


The DWT art director is very intuitive. The date stamp on the Deutsche Bank Washing Machine money laundering gif is August 1, 2017, 7 months ago. We've been using it ever since. On Wednesday it would have thrilled us if the Martens would have used it to illustrate their incredible reporting on how the Deutsche Bank money laundering was what caused Nunes to pull the plug on the House Intel Committee Investigation. [The Intel Committee vote was secret and no one knows who voted how. Several Intel Committee Republicans-- including Trey Gowdy, Will Hurd and Tom Rooney-- have said they disagree with shutting it down, but they must've voted with Nunes because there are 13 Republicans and 9 Dems on the committee so the GOP could only afford to lose 2. So... what the fuck?] Oops, I wandered off track. Back to the Martens and Wall Street On Parade. So why did Trump order Nunes to shut the circus down? The Dems on the committee were "getting too close to Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Bank’s dealings with Russia."
The draft report released by the Democrats after belatedly learning that their Republican colleagues had abruptly ended the probe, included this paragraph:
“Donald Trump’s finances historically have been opaque, but there have long been credible allegations as to the use of Trump properties to launder money by Russian oligarchs, criminals, and regime cronies. There also remain critical unanswered questions about the source of President Trump’s personal and corporate financing. For example, Deutsche Bank, which was fined $630 million in 2017 over its involvement in a $10 billion Russian money-laundering scheme, consistently has been the source of financing for President Trump, his businesses, and his family. We have only begun to explore the relationship between President Trump and Deutsche Bank, and between the bank and Russia.”
Deutsche Bank’s “$10 billion Russian money-laundering scheme” which became known by the shorthand term “mirror trades,” was the subject of a May 23, 2017 letter sent by Maxine Waters, the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee and other House Democrats to John Cryan, CEO of Deutsche Bank. The letter began:
“We write seeking information relating to two internal reviews reportedly conducted by Deutsche Bank (“Bank”): one regarding its 2011 Russian mirror trading scandal and the other regarding its review of the personal accounts of President Donald Trump and his family members held at the Bank. What is troubling is that the Bank to our knowledge has thus far refused to disclose or publicly comment on the results of either of its internal reviews. As a result, there is no transparency regarding who participated in, or benefited from, the Russian mirror trading scheme that allowed $10 billion to flow out of Russia. Likewise, Congress remains in the dark on whether loans Deutsche Bank made to President Trump were guaranteed by the Russian Government, or were in any way connected to Russia. It is critical that you provide this Committee with the information necessary to assess the scope, findings and conclusions of your internal reviews.

“Deutsche Bank’s failure to put adequate anti-money laundering controls in place to prevent a group of traders from improperly and secretly transferring more than $10 billion out of Russia is concerning. According to press reports, this scheme was carried out by traders in Russia who converted rubles into dollars through security trades that lacked any legitimate economic rationale. The settlement agreements reached between the Bank and the New York Department of Financial Services as well as the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority raise questions about the particular Russian individuals involved in the scheme, where their money went, and who may have benefited from the vast sums transferred out of Russia. Moreover, around the same time, Deutsche Bank was involved in an elaborate scheme known as ‘The Russian Laundromat,’ ‘The Global Laundromat,’ or ‘The Moldovan Scheme,’ in which $20 billion in funds of criminal origin from Russia were processed through dozens of financial institutions.”
Waters has now come into Trump’s crosshairs. In a speech in Pennsylvania on Saturday evening, he referred to her as “a low IQ individual.” (The problem for Trump seems to be something very different: Waters’ ability to connect the dots and see a theory of the case that involves money laundering and quid pro quo.)

Also in May of last year, Reuters reported that “FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump, said the current U.S. law enforcement official.”

Waters’ letter to the CEO of a major global bank which has complex major dealings all over Wall Street might take one’s breath away unless you have been closely following the serial crime spree that Deutsche Bank has been conducting in other corners of the financial markets in the U.S. and abroad.

In January of last year the U.S. Justice Department announced a $7.2 billion settlement with Deutsche over its improper issuance of mortgaged backed securities and dubious lending practices. The Statement of Facts released by the Justice Department at the time of the settlement included the text of what those inside the bank knew about the fraud as it was occurring. DOJ officials wrote:
“Deutsche Bank also knowingly misrepresented that loans had been reviewed to ensure the ability of borrowers to repay their loans.  As Deutsche Bank acknowledges, the bank’s own employees recognized that Deutsche Bank would ‘tolerate misrepresentation’ with ‘misdirected lending practices’ as to borrower ability to pay, accepting even blocked-out borrower pay stubs that concealed borrowers’ actual incomes.  As a Deutsche Bank employee stated, ‘What goes around will eventually come around; when performance (default) begins affecting profits and/or the investors who purchase the securities, only then will Wall St. take notice.  For now, the buying continues.’ ”
Deutsche Bank was criminally charged by the U.S. Justice Department in April 2015 and allowed to enter into a deferred prosecution agreement. The charges were related to its role in manipulating U.S. Dollar LIBOR and engaging in a price-fixing conspiracy to rig Yen LIBOR. (LIBOR is an interest rate benchmark used to set consumer loan rates.) At the same time, a bank subsidiary pleaded guilty to wire fraud for manipulating LIBOR. The settlement cost Deutsche Bank $775 million in criminal penalties.

In November 2015, Deutsche Bank was fined $258 million by the New York Department of Financial Services and the Federal Reserve for using “non-transparent methods and practices” from 1999 to 2006 to move money in and out of countries on the U.S. sanctions list.  Emails showed that employees had discussed tricks for conducting financial transactions with Iran, Libya, Syria, Burma and Sudan.

In 2013, FHFA, the conservator of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, announced a $1.925 billion settlement with Deutsche Bank to resolve claims that the bank had misled the mortgage giants in the sale of mortgage-related investments. Deutsche Bank did not admit wrongdoing in that settlement.

In 2010, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $553.6 million to the U.S. and admitted criminal wrongdoing in a fraudulent tax shelter scheme that facilitated billions of dollars in U.S. tax losses.

The draft report from the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee also contains this bombshell:
“Moreover, as the Committee has learned, candidate Trump’s private business was actively negotiating a business deal in Moscow with a sanctioned Russian bank during the election period.”
Looks to me if you're looking for the low IQ people in this it would be Trump and Kushner-in-law, not Maxine Waters. My neighbor, Cynthia, asks me almost every day why we can't get rid of him already.She's mortified that he's in the White House. And she's not some hippie-- or, if she was, it was 50 years ago. But Cynthia-- and anyone else who's wondering why we can't get rid of him already-- there was an OpEd in the Washington Post yesterday by former Hillary spokesman Philippe Reines that you should read. "Trump," he wrote,"is the least-qualified person to ever hold the office and is cementing his ranking as the worst president in American history... Trump is a freak of political nature. He’s a political Weeble Wobble that never falls down. He makes Ronald Reagan’s Teflon look like Saran Wrap. He says whatever he wants, whenever he wants, wherever he wants. He could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot a porn flick." We all agree, right? Reines has some advice for whoever takes Trump on in 2020:
Go high when you can. But when he goes low, take advantage of the kneeling to knock his block off.
Don’t apologize. Ever. Not over money you took from Harvey Weinstein. Not even for attacking the pope. In fact, proactively attack the pope. Your kid is a shoplifter? You’re proud of them for exposing inadequate security.
A lot of industries are going to want to hedge their bets. Don’t declare you won’t take money from lobbyists. Take cigarette money. Counterfeit your own.
Swing at every pitch. Trump never says, “I’m not dignifying that with an answer.” He has no dignity. He leaves no attack unanswered. I spent 15 years recommending ignoring stupidity. “It has no legs. Don’t give it oxygen. There’s no pickup.” I was wrong.
Do it yourself. Every time. On camera. Online. Surrogates are no match.
Don’t cede Fox News.
Boast. Gloat. About your accomplishments. Your biceps. Your everything. You didn’t co-sponsor; you got it done on your inevitable path to Mount Rushmore.
Don’t wait for post-debate polls. You won. It’s obvious. Everyone saw. Say it onstage.
Work the refs. The media are going to mess with you. Don’t rely on them. Call them out. You’re running for president of the United States, not the National Press Club.
Don’t think you can spend as little as he did. The impact of political ads is waning-- but don’t be the first to experiment with ceding the airwaves. The Republican National Committee and his PACs won’t.
Say what you need to say in the primaries. Then say what you need to say in the general. You’ll make it right.
Bulldoze third-party candidates. Even if you can peel only 10 percent off, peel them off.
Resign your office. No distractions or ethical lapses. Run against your office.
Don’t hire anyone who says they’d rather lose than stoop to his level. If you say it, get out of the way for someone living in the real world.
Deride Clinton at your peril. Nearly 17 million people voted for her in the primaries-- 4 million more than the runner-up. And almost 66 million voted for her on Election Day-- nearly 3 million more than Trump. Focus on what she is, not isn’t: smart; savvy; tough; still beloved by tens of millions who don’t want to hear you trash her. Her endorsement is invaluable. If you think her loss was a missed layup, you’ll learn the hard way it was a three-pointer.

Lastly, if you don’t find any of this sobering, this should:

This time, he knows he can win.
Yeah... but, so do the American people. This time I expect we'll have the greatest turnout in American history to root Putin's kleptocratic stooge out of office.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

The problems of rampant greed and psychopathy that Robert Reich has expressed in tonight's meme have certainly existed throughout the history of humankind. That, of course, includes our country, especially during the robber baron period of the later 19th century. This disease has never gone away, but the likes of those in charge right this moment, from Jamie Dimon down to lesser corporate scum like Martin Shkreli and, on the political front, Señor Trumpanzee, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Chuck Schumer, just to name a few, will always do their best to keep the disease alive. That's especially easy to do when you pull the levers of the most powerful country on the planet.

Unfortunately, the disease grew so virulent that the arrival of Donald Trump as President was inevitable. The cancer that Robert Reich implies has metastasized and now grown exponentially. Trump is as good of a symptom, cause, and result of that as we get to see. The only questions now are: How much chemo, radiation, and surgery do we have to bear until we, as a country and as individuals, are healthy again? And, how bad will it get until this country either rejects the tumors or throws in the towel and dies?

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

DFA Moves Quickly To Make Sure Howard Dean Can't Disgrace The Group


Long before he sold out and became a Big Pharma lobbyist, Howard Dean started DFA-- then Dean for America, now Democracy for America, and run by Howard's brother Jim Dean. After Howard Dean embarrassed himself and everyone else by endorsing very right-wing Blue Dog Gwen Graham for Governor of Florida, DFA felt compelled to refute Howard Dean's outrageous bullshit about Graham being a progressive.

Like Blue America, DFA has endorsed Andrew Gillum, the actual progressive-- the only progressive-- in the race. Yesterday, Graham's campaign sent out an endorsement e-mail ostensibly from a hero-turned-lobbyist: "I got to know Gwen more than 10 years ago when she joined our fight for progressive values. We worked together for universal healthcare, to end the Iraq War, and to empower the American people. I am proud to give Gwen Graham my full support today because she has spent her life fighting for those same shared values. Will you chip in to help Gwen win the primary and take back control of the Governor’s Office? ... As governor, she will fight for a public option to expand healthcare, ban assault weapons, and defend Florida families from Donald Trump's attacks.

A congressman who served with Graham during her single term in Congress was nearly doubled over with laughter when he got the Howard Dean e-mail. "This is shocking to me," he said. "I have nothing against her personally, but Gwen even refused to vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. I guess that 'progressive' now means 'Blue Dog who wants progressive votes and contributions.' Dean says 'she will fight for a public option to expand healthcare.' She never did when she was in Congress.  This is disingenuous."

Goal ThermometerIt's also embarrassing. I mean I can see a centrist sell-out like Dean backing a conservative Democrat like Gwen Graham in November against a Republican, when-- if she wins the primary-- she's the lesser of two evils. But calling her "progressive" is just pure bullshit and demeans the word "progressive," the way people like Howard Dean watered down the word "liberal" and made it useless. But in primary season, there's no reason to back someone like Gwen Graham, and certainly not when there's a candidate like Andrew Gillum in the race, who, unlike Graham has a long record as a progressive, not someone who just calls himself one. I'd like to see her or the other crappy conservative dare to run on the kind of progressive platform Andrew is running on. By all means read it-- and if you agree with it, please consider tapping on the Blue America gubernatorial thermometer on the right and contributing what you can to Andrew's very grassroots campaign.

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Elizabeth Warren Marks The 10th Anniversary Of The Financial Crisis With A Proposal: Jail Criminal Banksters


Yesterday after months of careful vetting, Blue America endorsed the progressive candidate in the CO-06 race, Levi Tillemann. I was struck by one of the points on his website about making banksters-- not just bank shareholders-- pay for bank criminality. "[W]e need to ensure," he wrote, "that ALL Americans are treated equally under the law. This includes white collar criminals from powerful banks on Wall Street. The Justice Department's failure to prosecute the very bankers who plunged America into the Great Recession is a moral outrage and sends the message that you can break the law-- so long as you're wearing a suit. That's unacceptable. It's why I support Elizabeth Warren's Too Big to Jail Act to hold crooked executives accountable."

Goal ThermometerAnother Blue America-endorsed candidate, Michigan's Paul Clements (out in Kalamazoo) had a similar perspective when I spoke with him yesterday. "When a black man can be jailed for a year for smoking a j while a rich banker whose fraud helps to crash our economy goes free, something is terribly wrong. Our so-called criminal justice system is a travesty. For-profit prisons, lack of public defenders, guilt by plea-bargaining, draconian sentences for anyone who can’t afford a lawyer, a system rigged at each stage against people of color, draconian sentences, the school to prison pipeline… and a free pass for guilty bankers. Thank you, Senator Warren, for the Ending Too Big to Jail Act! For figuring out how those guilty for the 2008 crash, that hurt so many so badly, certainly in my state of Michigan, could be held to account, and drafting the legislation. We need to keep striving for the ideal of equal justice under the law. In my campaign I often speak of how we can move a million people from incarceration into the community, into productive employment, with no loss of public safety, increasing fairness, strengthening families, communities, and the economy, and redressing historic injustices. But equal justice also means accountability for the wealthy when they put profit above morality and self-interest above honesty."

Elizabeth Warren is marking the 10th anniversary of the financial crisis by introducing comprehensive legislation to hold banksters criminally accountable when the banks they lead break the law, the Ending Too Big to Jail Act. "Ten years ago today," she wrote, "the Federal Reserve announced action to try to save Bear Stearns from failing, marking the beginning of a financial crisis that would cost the U.S. economy as much as $14 trillion. Wall Street scams and risk-taking were a main driver of the crisis, but no senior executive from a Wall Street bank went to jail... When Wall Street CEOs break the law, they should go to jail like anyone else. The fraud on Wall Street won't stop until executives know they will be hauled out in handcuffs for ‎cheating their customers and clients. Instead of passing the Bank Lobbyist Act, Congress should be marking the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis by strengthening rules on banks and bankers so Wall Street can never again get away with cheating Americans and crashing the economy."
The Ending Too Big to Jail Act creates a permanent law enforcement unit to investigate crimes at financial institutions, requires senior executives at banks with $10 billion or more in assets to certify annually that they have conducted due diligence and found no criminal conduct or civil fraud within the financial institution, and mandates judicial oversight of deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs).

The Ending Too Big to Jail Act:

Creates a permanent investigative unit for financial crimes: The bill creates an investigative unit within the Treasury Department that is focused exclusively on investigating crime within financial institutions and conducting material loss reviews after institutions fail. The bill reconstitutes the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) as the Special Inspector General for Financial Institution Crime (SIGFIC) and expands its jurisdiction so that it can use its specialized skills and expertise, relationships with financial regulators and law enforcement agencies, and cross-jurisdictional view of the whole financial industry to investigate and help prosecute financial crimes.

Requires big bank executive certifications: The bill requires top executives of financial institutions larger than $10 billion to certify annually that they have conducted due diligence and found no criminal conduct or civil fraud within their institution. Bank executives often pled ignorance to wrongdoing during the financial crisis. Requiring executives to do due diligence will stop them from insulating themselves from accountability and force them to keep track of the conduct at their banks.  The certification will also help law enforcement hold individuals accountable because making a false sworn statement to the government is itself a crime.

Mandates judicial oversight of deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs): This bill gives courts authority to approve and oversee compliance with DPAs. After the financial crisis, the Justice Department often entered into unreviewable DPAs with financial institutions instead of going after individual executives. This bill mandates judicial oversight of these agreements, requiring courts to determine that an agreement is in the "public interest" before it can take effect and allowing courts to supervise implementation, request status reports, approve termination, and order that documents be filed on the public docket.  The Department of Justice would also be required to establish a public searchable database of DPAs.

The Ending Too Big to Jail Act has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO, Public Citizen, Americans for Financial Reform, and Professor Brandon Garrett of the University of Virginia Law School, author of Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations.
This is all giving Wall Street's most loyal puppet in Congress, Chuck Schumer, shpilkis. Yesterday, Politico reported that Schumer is trying to shut her up. Remember when McConnell tried that? It didn't work for either of them. Schumer has taken $26,754,908 in bribes from the banksters since 1990. McConnell has taken $12,338,704 from these characters over the same period. Schumer asked her to stop attacking Democrats in the Bailout Caucus or, as she refers to them, backers of the Bank Lobbyist Act.
For Schumer, the banking bill and its rollback of some of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law’s regulations has been quite the tightrope to walk. The minority leader has to balance the needs of moderate [conservative-- Politico insists on calling conservatives "moderate"] caucus members who are desperate for a bipartisan accomplishment heading into brutal reelection races, and the priorities of liberals like Warren who believe they are fighting for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. Plus, the New Yorker is already viewed with suspicion by liberals for his own ties to Wall Street.

Though Schumer opposes the banking bill [bullshit], the typically chatty senator has been remarkably quiet about it. He’s said very little publicly about the legislation since it was introduced four months ago, and privately has not whipped against it or tried to stop it, according to senators and aides. Instead, as he did with Warren last week, Schumer has been mostly listening and counseling his members behind the scenes [plotting].

...[H]e’s always been in a no-win situation and that trying to derail it now would serve only to trample on what might be his moderate members’ signature bipartisan law in an election year.

The minority leader has essentially been playing to both sides of the banking debate, caught between competing factions of his caucus and seemingly unable to head off the warring Democrats, according to interviews with more than a dozen Democratic senators of all ideological stripes. [Notice, Politico somehow forgets to mention the $26,754,908 in bribes Schumer has taken from the banksters, more than any other politician in American history other than a small handful of presidential candidates.]

...[S]ome liberals off the Hill questioned the political wisdom of Schumer freeing up so many Democratic votes to loosen bank regulations. As the party pitches itself to voters with a promise to fight for their interests, liberal activists say the banking bill sends the wrong, pro-corporate message and argue Warren's argument is in line with the Democratic base.
I remember talking a lot about this issue with Alan Grayson (D-FL) when he was in Congress during the financial crisis. He literally-- and vigorously-- exposed financial crimes that ran to trillions of dollars... and I kept waiting for people on Wall Street-- and in government-- to be indicted and prosecuted. Basically, none were-- and then the statute of limitations ran out. So none will ever be. Why didn't the Bush administration do anything? Why didn't the Obama administration? Today another progressive Floridian, Tim Canova made it abundantly clear where he stands on bundling criminal banksters off to prison-- but doesn't see it happening anytime soon. Without a trace of irony, Canova suggested that to pass legislation like what Warren is proposing "Perhaps first they will have to haul away those who have been rigging elections, from the New York City Board of Elections to the Broward Supervisor of Elections and everyone in between."

Tom Guild is running in Oklahoma's 5th district, primarily OK City. He's running on a progressive agenda geared towards working families, not as a Republican-lite conservative. Bernie swept Oklahoma during the primaries because voters wanted change. not more of the same old/same old. The DCCC pushes status quo candidates, but that isn't what voters want. Tom's message resonates with people who want change, including in the kind of change in the way crooked banksters are treated. "The recent financial crisis," he told us this morning, "often referred to as the great recession, was caused by reckless behavior by CEOs at big corporations and rampant Wall Street fraud. Hard working Americans who were harmed by this serious misconduct were then forced to pony up to rescue huge financial firms, while many of those same Americans were losing their homes and their savings and watching their investments melt down before their eyes. Laws must be strengthened and this out of control behavior must be punished by aggressively prosecuting misconduct and holding hedge fund managers, fraudulent actions by Wall Street and big corporate CEOs criminally accountable for their behavior. Innocent taxpayers should not be forced to add insult to injury and pay the bills of wealthy bankers, while miscreants escape unscathed. Americans are mad as hell and are not going to take this anymore!"

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