Saturday, December 16, 2017

Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

When FDR's funeral train was making its way to his final resting place in Hyde Park, NY, a man who politicians like to refer to as an "ordinary American," famously said "I didn't know him, but FDR knew me." Judging the FDR quote in today's meme, FDR knew scum like Donald Trump and Paul Ryan, too, even though he never met them.

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Friday, December 15, 2017

#MeToo Caught Up With Itself Today... In Kansas


Pelosi's closeted DCCC chair demands purity, but not due process

Yesterday, repulsive Texas sex predator, Blake Farenthold, finally felt enough pressure-- both from his district and from his congressional colleagues-- to raise the white flag and announce his retirement from Congress. Obviously, he should resign at once, the way Trent Franks was forced to do last week. Ryan and NRCC chair Steve Stivers repeatedly told Farenthold to resign. Pig man still insists he's not guilty; his excuse: "I'd never served in office before. I had no idea how to run a congressional office. And as a result, I allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional. I understand fully that this issue has become a political distraction and I would be forced to engage in a monthlong campaign for personal vindication. Quite simply, my constituents deserve better... Therefore I'm announcing my decision not to run for re-election... It accommodated destructive gossip, offhand comments, off-color jokes and behavior that in general was less than professional. And I allowed the personal stress of the job to manifest itself in angry outbursts and too often a failure to treat people with the respect they deserved. That was wrong." Too bad he didn't wear his ducky pjs when he made this pathetic video, a classic case of denial and typical patriarchal, conservative misleading:

Next up: Wyoming's Secretary of State-- and, until today, a probably candidate for governor-- Republican Ed Murray, sexually assaulted a young female intern, Tatiana Maxwell, in his law office.
Maxwell said in a Facebook post Monday that she was working at Dray, Madison and Thomson during the summer after she graduated from high school in Cheyenne. She said Murray was five years older than her and had taken a job at the firm after recently graduating from law school.

“He was older, handsome and from an old Cheyenne family but I didn’t really know him,” she wrote.

According to Maxwell, Murray invited her to meet him at the office after working hours and said she sat with him in the reception area of the law office. She recalled there being Domino’s pizza and beer.

She said that Murray put his hands on her and attempted to kiss her but that she resisted, told him she was a virgin and stopped him from taking off her pants.

“Ed wrestled me down to the carpet in front of the receptionist desk, opened his pants, lifted up my blouse and ejaculated on my stomach,” Maxwell wrote. “I was disgusted and horrified.”
Murray (R-Denial): "This baseless claim about an encounter from thirty-five years ago is unequivocally false. There is no basis to this falsehood whatsoever and it is deeply hurtful to me and to my family, as well as to everyone I serve." (Maybe we'll find his body on a bridge tomorrow after he blows out his brains.)

And that brings us to one of the worst stories of Thermidorian Reaction yet-- the DCCC's conservative corporate recruit to run against Republican Kevin Yoder, Andrea Ramsey. KS-03 (all of the Kansas part of Kansas City plus all of suburban Johnson and Wyandotte counties and part of rural Miami County) is a swingy district that Trump lost to Hillary 47.2% to 46.0%. The DCCC ran one of their terrible GOP-lite candidates, Jay Sidie, and he lost in a rout. He's running again, but the DCCC found another Republican-lite corporate shill instead, Andrea Ramsey. Maybe-- just maybe-- the DCCC should have been paying attention when Bernie won every district in Kansas, including KS-03, where he beat Hillary 62.1% to 37.9%. Maybe that indicates what Kansans what in their candidates. Maybe? And EMILY's List candidate Andrea Ramsey isn't that. No worries, though. She withdrew from the race today after a Kansas City Star reporter asked her about accusations in a 2005 lawsuit that she sexually harassed and retaliated against a male subordinate who said he had rejected her advances. Her statement sounds uncomfortably like Farenthold's: "In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero tolerance standard. For me, that means a vindictive, terminated employee’s false allegations are enough for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to decide not to support our promising campaign. We are in a national moment where rough justice stands in place of careful analysis, nuance and due process."
Multiple sources with knowledge of the case told The Star that the man reached a settlement with LabOne, the company where Ramsey was executive vice president of human resources. Court documents show that the man, Gary Funkhouser, and LabOne agreed to dismiss the case permanently after mediation in 2006. 
...The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has not endorsed anyone in the race, said in a statement that members and candidates must all be held to the highest standard.

“If anyone is guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault, that person should not hold public office,” said committee spokeswoman Meredith Kelly.

Emily’s List said in a statement on Friday that the group supported Ramsey’s decision to drop out of the race and wished her well.
Happy to see her out of the race-- but not over these probably bullshit accusations. I don't care that the DCCC is driving Ruben Kihuen out of Congress-- because he disappointed me politically... but this lynch mob mentality is the completely wrong way to go about this. And now there are widespread rumors inside the Beltway that the Washington Post is about to drop a story about accusations against between 30 and 40 members of Congress-- of both parties-- and that there was a prostitution ring being run out of the Capitol Grille. Sounds more plausible than a child prostitution ring run out of the basement of a pizzeria. No one gains from any of this but the Koch brothers and Bannon, who want to destroy everyone's faith in government and democracy. Great job, Kirsten Gillibrand; you will never be president.

UPDATE: State Senator Tony Mendoza

Tony's an old friend who has been a stalwart progressive in Sacramento, one of the best. Now he stands accused of inappropriate behavior towards 3 women and the Senate president, Kevin De León, once Mendoza's roommate, has asked him to take a leave of absence while the allegations are being investigated. Mendoza has demurred. My instinct is to believe the accusers, especially because there are 3 of them and because I know the culture in Sacramento has been fast and loose. But I detest the lynch mob mentality that is sweeping the country and I agree with Mendoza that he is entitled to due process. Eventually every straight male politician-- as well as gays and even some women!-- will be accused. People should start standing up for due process. Below is a letter I got from Tony Mendoza yesterday; I haven't discussed the accusations with him but his letter sounds reasonable:
I am very disappointed that certain Senate Rules Committee members are apparently asking me to take a leave of absence or resign before any investigation has even begun and without giving me an opportunity to defend myself. This is contrary to the very concept of due process which is a pillar of our American system of fairness and judicial prudence. These actions bypass any process in a rush to judgment.

The Senate Rules Committee made a public commitment to a new, open, transparent and fair process which would be independent of the Senate. I have welcomed the Committee's decision. However, I am disappointed with the statements and it leaves me concerned about the independence, transparency and fairness of the new process.

I have been diligent in adhering to the rules of the Senate and in following direction from the Senate Rules Committee in refraining from making any comments on the allegations against me.

I have noted that my adherence to Senate rules and the Senate Rules Committee's directive has put me in an untenable situation where I am unable to respond to various media reports without any opportunity to defend myself. This has been very unfair and unjust to me and my constituents.

I was not appointed to the position I hold but was elected by the voters in my District. I am grateful to the voters in my District and thank them for their trust and their continued support. The Senate owes them an opportunity to hear the truth. I assure them that I will vigorously defend myself to clear my name.

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The Terror Strikes Again-- Suicide In Kentuckiana


The other night, I was at a political fundraiser and some vanity candidate in another race in another state crashed the event. One of her supporters who came with her told me that another candidate in the primary race is a womanizer and strongly insinuated he harasses women. They apparently have every intention of destroying this guy's career, although he has already accomplished significant things and she... as far as I can tell, hasn't accomplished anything at all in the public sphere, nothing bad, nothing good... nothing at all. Vanity candidates are the strangest bunch. I Need to do a post about them. But that isn't what we're talking about tonight.

Instead we're here to note the passing of Dan "Danny Ray" Johnson, an evangelical minister and a crooked Republican racist state Rep. from the Knobs (Bullitt County, just south of Louisville). He narrowly won the seat against a Democratic incumbent, Linda Belcher, last year in the Trump landslide in Kentucky. He won by 156 votes, less than 1%. He shot himself Wednesday evening after being accused on Monday of of having molested a member of his church in 2012 when she was 17 years old. He refused to resign, insisting the allegations were false. Suicide followed.

In this lynch mob climate it doesn't matter if the allegations are false. Just that someone is accused is enough. A Republican pastor in Kentucky? If I had to bet, I'd bet he was guilty. And isn't a little due process in order? Even for a Republican pastor in Kentucky?
Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell says Johnson drove to the bridge over the Salt River on Greenwell Ford Road in Mt. Washington, parked on the north side of it and shot himself in front of his car.

His body was found on the bank of the river, just past the bridge.

Just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, Johnson posted the following message on his Facebook page:
The accusations from NPR are false GOD and only GOD knows the truth, nothing is the way they make it out to be. AMERICA will not survive this type of judge and jury fake news . Conservatives take a stand. I LOVE GOD and I LOVE MY WIFE, who is the best WIFE in the world,My Love Forever ! My Mom and Dad my FAMILY and all five of my kids and Nine grandchildren two in tummies and many more to come each of you or a total gift from GOD stay strong, REBECCA needs YOU . 9-11-2001 NYC/WTC, PTSD 24/7 16 years is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. IT Has Won This Life . BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME. “PLEASE LISTEN CLOSELY, Only Three things I ask of you to do,if you love me is (1)blame no person,Satan is the accuser, so blame the Devil himself. (2) Forgive and Love everyone especially yourself .(3)most importantly LOVE GOD. P.S. I LOVE MY FRIENDS YOU ARE FAMILY ! GOD LOVES ALL PEOPLE NO MATTER WHAT !
The coroner said police were alerted after someone saw the Facebook post. Officers then pinged Johnson's phone and found his body.

On Tuesday, Johnson held a press conference at his church on Bardstown Road, where he denied the molestation allegations. According to court documents obtained by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, the alleged molestation took place on New Year's Eve in 2012. The alleged victim, who was 17 at the time, told authorities that she was staying in a living area of the Heart of Fire City Church where Johnson was pastor, when Johnson, who had been drinking a lot, approached her, kissed her and fondled her under her clothes.

...Jeff Hoover, the former Kentucky Speaker of the House who resigned after sexual assault allegations, also tweeted a statement Wednesday night:

And now his wife wants to run for his seat. She's mad as hell: "These high-tech lynchings and half truths can’t be allowed to win the day. I’ve been fighting behind my husband for thirty years and his fight will go on." I wonder what she means by "half truth." No telling if she's as racist and crazy as he was; but I'd bet on it.

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Derek Cressman For State Senate-- Guest Post


Derek Cressman, a veteran of the voting rights movement best known for his work to overturn Citizens United with Common Cause, is challenging incumbent Democratic state senator Richard Pan. Only three senate Democrats have a higher ranking by the California Chamber of Commerce than Pan, one of the most conservative Dems in the California legislature. Those three, Cathleen Galgiani, Steve Glazer, and Richard Roth, come from districts more conservative than Pan’s deep blue Senate District 6, which has more Bernie voters than Republicans. This arguably makes Pan the Democrat most out of sync with his district in the entire California legislature. Pan, a physician who was elected with massive financial support from the California Medical Association and the pharmaceutical industry, is one of just three faux-Democrats in the Senate who have not supported single-payer healthcare.

Goal ThermometerThis greater-Sacramento region district sent two Democrats to the November general election in 2014 and the prospects are good for that again in 2018, setting up a showdown between a progressive Dem and one who relies upon corporate money in a real test for the new leadership of the California Democratic Party. State Democrats will decide early next year whether to endorse a candidate who will champion the party’s platform of single-payer healthcare, or stick with an old boys’ network that circles the wagons around incumbents who undermine the party’s principles. Read Derek’s guest post below and check out his website at You can donate to his campaign by tapping on the legislative elections thermometer on the right.

California Democrats Must Stand for Single-Payer Healthcare
-by Derek Cressman

Democrats in California have the power to enact a “Medicare for All” style of healthcare reform that would eliminate wasteful profiteering by private health insurance firms and provide basic healthcare to every Californian. Unlike at the federal level, where Senator Kamala Harris has joined Bernie Sanders and others to stake out a righteous policy position by co-sponsoring federal legislation only to be blocked by Republicans, our state legislature, which has a two-thirds democratic majority, could actually make it happen.

First off, it’s the right thing to do. If your house is threatened by wildfires, firefighters arrive within minutes with an implicit message that they are from the government and they are here to help. Even stingy conservatives are happy to pay for this important public service with our tax dollars because it’s the most efficient way to protect everyone. Yet if you are struck with a heart attack or cancer, you get help only if you can produce an insurance card and shell out big money for co-pays and deductibles. As the most prosperous society in history, California can and should meet our moral obligation to care for one another in the most cost-efficient way possible—government provided health insurance for everyone. Private health insurance companies add little value to our economy but exact huge costs with wasteful profiteering and outrageous CEO salaries. We know government provided insurance works from Medicare and Medi-Cal. In fact, the government is already providing funds for 71% of healthcare costs in California. It would be better, and ultimately cheaper, to bring that up to 100%.

Secondly, it’s imperative that Democrats strengthen trust with voters by standing firm on our beliefs. The California Democratic Party platform calls for “legislation to create and implement a publicly funded (single-payer), privately delivered, fiscally tractable, affordable, comprehensive, secure, high-quality, efficient, and sustainable healthcare system for all Californians.” But our overwhelmingly Democratic legislature has refused to enact this principle. When parties say one thing and do another, people stop believing in them. The rise in independent voters, the perils of the #DemExit movement and attraction among some voters to the Green Party can all be traced to the Democrats unwillingness to fight for what we say we believe in. At the federal level, a lack of trust in all institutions, including government, has paved the way for the politics of demagoguery and scapegoating. We need to combat that by showing voters that political parties stand for something and aren’t just posturing to keep their cronies in power.

Finally, California needs to come to grips with the new reality that we cannot count on the federal government to look out for our best interests for the foreseeable future. Even if we manage to rid ourselves of the Trump regime, we face a federal system that is rigged against the majority of people through a US Senate that overrepresents conservative voters in low population red states, a US House that is gerrymandered to such an extent that it cannot offer fair elections, an electoral college that denies sovereignty to a majority of US voters, and a Supreme Court that has been captured by a right wing cabal intent on cementing power for the one percent. While we must fight like hell to resist this federal onslaught even with the deck stacked against us, Californians need to forge our own future on healthcare as we are doing with global warming, marijuana, and justice for immigrants. We can no longer make excuses that we cannot provide single-payer coverage for our fellow Californians because the federal government won’t let us do it. We must find a way to do it ourselves by passing it at the state level and calling the congressional Republicans’ bluff on federalisms, state flexibility and block grants.

I became a candidate for the California Senate to give Sacramento-area voters and the new leaders of the California Democratic Party a choice between an entrenched incumbent who has undermined the Democratic Party’s principles around heath care and a Democrat who will fight for the party’s platform. How the California Democratic Party responds to this choice will tell us a lot about the party’s ability to hold on to progressive and independent voters in the years ahead.

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The Iowa Pendulum Is Ready For Another Swing Back Into Blue Territory


The Des Moines Register released a new Iowa Poll that bears out what many are taking away from the incredible surge in support for Democrats in beet red Alabama this week. Iowa is a purple swing state that had swung very blue in recent years-- and then swung back. Obama beat McCain in 2008, 828,940 (54%) to 682,379 (44%) and beat Romney in 2012, 822,544 (525) to 730,617 (46%). Last year however, Hillary gave up on Iowa early and didn't give Trump a real contest in the state, which backed him 800,983 (51.15%) to 653,669 (41.74%). The state PVI is now R+3 and each of the state's 4 congressional districts look-- at least out the rear view mirror-- redder than ever. Here are the PVI changes from 2015 to 2017:
IA-02- Rod Blum (R)- D+5 to D+1
IA-02- Dave Lobsack (D)- D+4 to D+1
IA-03- David Young (R)- Even to R+1
IA-04- Steve King (R)- R+5 to R+11
It looks scary, right? Looks can be deceptive and in Iowa's case, they definitely are. First of all, Iowans are over Trump. Other than with brainwashed evangelicals, he's pretty much toast there. Bottom line: Iowans believe the country’s headed in the wrong direction and that Trump isn’t doing a good job.
Sixty percent of respondents to this month’s Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll say the United States has gotten off on the wrong track, and 60 percent likewise disapprove of the job Trump, a Republican, is doing as president.

“It just seems like it’s one big mess,” said poll respondent Nick Ford, a Navy veteran and businessman from Cedar Rapids.

Ford, a 49-year-old political independent, lamented the “general craziness” of the country’s political arena and the “unprofessionalism” he sees in the White House.

The president, he said, “seems overwhelmed by the task. I didn’t vote for him, but I was hoping some things would change. I don’t think anything’s really changed-- for the better, anyway.”

Trump’s 35-percent job approval rating marks a sharp decline from earlier this year in Iowa. In the July Iowa Poll, 43 percent of respondents approved of Trump’s effort, while 52 percent disapproved, a differential of 9 percentage points. Now, he’s 25 points under water.

...Sixty-nine percent of women, 68 percent of Iowans making less than $50,000 a year, 67 percent of city-dwellers and 62 percent of independents disapprove of his performance.

“He’s not really a leader,” said Diana Fern, 56, a homebirth midwife from Fairfield. “Because he doesn’t have experience, he’s not really leading. I feel like he’s reacting to situations, and he hasn’t really stated a clear vision. And I think his integrity is in question.”

Fern described herself as a political independent, but said she favors female candidates and more often votes Democratic than Republican.

Across all the demographics recorded in the poll, just two show a majority approving of Trump: Republicans, at 78 percent, and evangelical Christians, at 51 percent.

...Iowans’ concerns about the direction of the country are even less optimistic than their views on Trump: Just 29 percent say the country is headed in the right direction.

That view is consistent across Iowans of different ages, incomes and locations. The only outlier is political affiliation: 62 percent of Republicans see the U.S. headed in the right direction, against 25 percent who say it’s on the wrong track.

Among independents, views are almost exactly the opposite: 26 percent say the U.S. is on the right track against 63 percent who say it’s on the wrong track.

After a wild 2017 that saw Trump take office, bruising congressional fights over health care and taxes, an ongoing investigation into Russian election meddling and, in recent weeks, rising attention on sexual harassment, a strong majority of Iowans say they’re increasingly repelled by politics.

Fully 61 percent of Iowans say they’re more turned off by politics now than they were at the time of the 2016 election, while just 33 percent say they’re more politically energized.

Poll respondent Jessica Thomas, a stay-at-home mom from Maquoketa, is among those feeling more turned off. When she engages with politics these days, it’s mostly with resignation.

“It’s gotten to the point now that you just ask, 'What has he done now?,'" Thomas, 38, a Democrat, asked. "What is he trying to do to us now?”

That distaste for politics is consistent across demographic groups: Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents alike say they’re more turned off than they are energized by the events of the past year.

The results run counter to a national narrative suggesting Democrats have been fired up and spurred to action by the early Trump administration. Indeed, 60 percent of Democratic respondents say they’re more turned off by politics than they were a year ago. Just 34 percent say they’re more energized.

A larger share of Republicans, in fact, reports heightened engagement in the Trump era. Forty percent say they’re more energized while 52 percent say they’re more tuned out. Among independents, two-thirds say they’re more alienated against 28 percent who are more energized.
So how does all this play out in the midterms? In Iowa, badly for the GOP. The same poll shows the Republicans are likely to lose at least 2 of their 3 congressional seats. It's very unlikely either Rob Blum or David Young will be members of the House when the new Congress is sworninin January, 2019. Jason Noble reported that the latest polling in the state shows 40% of Iowans would vote for a Democrat for Congress today and only 34% would back a Republican.
The finding is notable because Republicans hold three of Iowa’s four congressional seats, including two seen as among the most competitive in the country in 2018.

The results of a so-called “generic ballot” question provide insight into how Iowans’ views have shifted after voting heavily in favor of Republican Donald Trump in 2016, said Nathan Gonzales, an elections forecaster and publisher of the nonpartisan Inside Elections newsletter.

“It sounds like voters are more skeptical about Republicans going into the 2018 elections,” he said.

Democrats are favored among women, all age groups, those earning under $70,000 and people living in cities and towns. A narrow plurality of 31 percent of independents say they would back a Democrat, compared with 28 percent who say they’d vote Republican.

...The results are starkest in Iowa’s 1st congressional district, which encompasses 20 northeast Iowa counties and is currently held by two-term Republican U.S. Rep. Rod Blum.

Despite the GOP incumbent, 47 percent of poll respondents in the district say they would vote for a Democrat, while just 29 percent say they’ll vote Republican. Those represent the highest Democratic numbers in the state, eclipsing even the 2nd District, where Democratic U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack is a six-term incumbent.

...The generic ballot question isn’t the only indicator that the 1st District is tilting Democratic.

Sixty-three percent of respondents in the district disapprove of Trump’s job performance, and 62 percent say the country is headed in the wrong direction-- the highest readings of any district in the state.

The divide between supporters of Democratic and Republican congressional candidates is much narrower in Iowa’s three other districts. In the 3rd, which includes the Des Moines metro, 36 percent of respondents say they’d vote for a Democrat for Congress, compared to 35 percent who would vote Republican. The seat is held by Republican U.S. Rep. David Young.

In the strongly Republican 4th District, 39 percent say they’d vote for a Republican, while 36 percent would back a Democrat and 14 percent aren't sure. The seat is held by U.S. Rep. Steve King, an eight-term incumbent.

In the 2nd, where Democratic U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack has held office since 2007, 44 percent of respondents say they'd vote for a Democrat, compared to 34 percent who would back a Republican.
And Trump isn't the only factor weighing down the Republican incumbents in Iowa. Another poll shows that Paul Ryan's disapproval is absolutely stunning in Iowa. Take IA-03 for example-- the district that stretches from Des Moines through southwest Iowa right to the Missouri River Nebraska border and the suburbs east of Omaha. Trump's approval/disapproval is 43/53%. That's pretty bad, but the same folks have an even worse opinion of Ryan. His approval is just 24%-- and 65% of IA-03 respondents give Ryan a thumbs down. This is particularly important because David Young, the weak Republican incumbent, is widely seen as a lockstep Ryan rubber-stamp, which helps explain why Ryan is likely to retire. Yesterday I had a conversation with the most exciting candidate Iowa has had running for anything in years, Austin Frerick, the former Treasury Department economist running for seat David Young is temporarily occupying. Some excerpts:
David Axelrod likes to say that DC is the last place to get the news. The 2016 election made it clear that most Americans aren’t happy with the status quo, yet those at the highest levels in our corporate and government worlds don’t seem to notice this divide because they’re thriving in this 2nd Gilded Age. I saw this delusion up close at Treasury but unlike them, I also saw how folks are barely getting by here in Iowa, including my own family.

...Speaking of Gilded Age, remember the book The Jungle by Upton Sinclair from that era? Well, here’s another Gilded Age parallel, the meat industry is now more concentrated than when he wrote that book. I also want to share with you one of my favorite Sinclair quotes because it describes David Young perfectly. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” David Young may seem nice, but he’s hollow and corrupt and he’s not looking out for Iowans. His average donation is $1,638. Mine is $63. Do you think he’s going to address climate change when he took a $1,500 from Exxon Mobil last April? Do you think he’s going to be for raising the minimum wage when he took over $7,500 from Wal-Mart this year? Do you think he’s going to stand up for family farms when he took $5,000 from Monsanto last September? We all know the answer. No.

...The past doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. Don’t forget that the 1st Gilded Age produced that Progressive Movement. Now, let’s seize this moment to usher in the 2nd Progressive Movement and finally enact Medicare-for-All, take the money out of politics, and enact family friendly policies like paid leave and universal childcare. This economic concentration message is how we defeat David Young, and more importantly, how we defeat Donald Trump.

...The results of this election will reverberate far beyond Iowa’s 3rd District. The 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner for Editorial Writing, Art Cullen of Storm Lake, Iowa, articulated this point in a recent op-ed. “It is undeniable that Iowa is trending redder. Voter registration totals show that in 2017 the gap between Democrats and Republicans grew to 50,000 - twice what the gap was 10 years before.” He concludes, “As Iowa goes, so goes Ohio. And as Ohio goes, so goes the nation.” We can resist consolidation by promoting diversity. That's what our campaign is about. We want to diversify our perspectives, diversify the voices that contribute to our conversations, and diversify the avenues about which we can campaign for change. We need your support. Add it to this conversation. Together, we’ll create a more balanced future.

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Ajit Pi Alone Can't Kill Net Neutrality-- It Takes A Village... A Corrupt Conservative Village


Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you
Wu wu wu
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson
Jolting Joe has left and gone away
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey
Actually it's Lyin' Ryan who's gone away... or, at least, going away. And he's leaving behind the mess over net neutrality. "Oh, but it isn't Ryan's mess," you claim. It;'s just that horrid, slimeball lobbyist Ajit Pai. Pai, a former" Verizon lobbyist, was just doing his job, clearly for his "former" employer. It's Ryan who isn't doing his job, if you consider the people in southeast Wisconsin his employer. We'll get to that in a second. First a little update from Tom McKay at Gizmodo.
On Thursday, the Republican-dominated Federal Communications Commission and its chairman, Verizon BFF Ajit Pai, will hold a vote on whether to repeal Barack Obama-era net neutrality rules. If passed, the FCC would allow ISPs to begin setting up a tiered internet designed to suck as much money from customers’ pockets as possible while screwing with their ability to access competitors’ content, or really anything that might suck up amounts of bandwidth inconvenient for their profit margins.

The plan is immensely unpopular, even with Republicans. This type of situation would typically call for a charm offensive, though Pai has apparently decided to resort to his time-honored tactic of being incredibly condescending instead. In a video with the conservative site Daily Caller’s Benny Johnson [above]-- the dude who got fired from BuzzFeed for plagiarizing Yahoo Answers-- Pai urged the country to understand that even if he succeeds in his plan to let ISPs strangle the rest of the internet to death, they’ll let us continue to take selfies and other stupid bullshit.

...All of these claims on what users “will still be able to do” are actually questionable, seeing as under Pai’s plan, ISPs could easily hit up their customers with crushing fees to let them access any of these services at reasonable speeds-- particularly those binge-watching streaming services he claims to love so much. Strangely, Pai didn’t mention torrenting, one of the applications of the internet he believes ISPs should be able to turn off entirely to save on bandwidth.

The debate over net neutrality isn’t whether people are literally going to be unable to upload photos of cute puppies to the internet, but whether they’re going to be able to do so on fair terms or arcane, extortionate ones dictated entirely by a handful of ultra-wealthy service providers. But that’s beside the point; just like with a previous video mocking Twitter critics he filmed with the right-wing site Independent Journal Review, the intent seems to be finding friendly last-minute venues for Pai to publicly laugh off the intense criticism being directed at his plan.

He’s trying to buy precious cover by painting everyone who disagrees with him as a simple-minded idiot.
Beto O'Rourke, an ardent defender of net neutrality, is running for the Texas Senate seat held by the odious Ted Cruz, a fanatic anti-neutrality backer. He's been working on a bill and so has Sean Patrick Maloney. But no one is deluded into thinking Ryan-- who has taken oodles of cash from the telecomms; this cycle $59,195, more than anyone else in Congress other than Greg Walden (R-OR), chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology ($105,100).

Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), everyone's favorite congresswoman, also emphasized that "this fight is not over with today’s vote. In Congress, I am an original co-sponsor, with Rep. Mike Doyle, of the Congressional Review Act that will reverse the FCC’s terrible vote. It is a top priority for me to do everything I can, working with people across the country, to protect net neutrality and preserve an open internet for all."

Another member of Congress told me he called for a constitutional amendment on net neutrality 7 years ago! He said the "most likely reason why nothing has passed is that the phone companies and cable companies would try to jam up any effort like that, and the internet companies aren’t strong enough on K Street to neutralize their effort.  AT&T, for instance, has the single largest federal PAC in DC, if I recall correctly. So the New Dems stop it in the House, and the Schumer Dems in the Senate." Hawaii's progressive champion, Kaniela Ing came up with a very interesting solution he tweeted last night. What do you think of this?

Carol Shea-Porter, the progressive congresswoman from New Hampshire, told her constituents that the fight isn't over as far as she's concerned. "I strongly oppose the result of today’s shameful FCC vote, and I will work to restore the net neutrality protections American consumers expect and deserve. Net neutrality is the simple principle that lawful content on the Internet should be equally accessible to everyone, and that Internet service providers should not be allowed to discriminate against some content providers. Without the guarantee of net neutrality, the Internet superhighway’s rules of the road will favor big businesses over newer startups. The Internet has allowed the proud tradition of American ingenuity and entrepreneurship to reach every corner of the globe. Its openness has enabled a new generation of New Hampshire innovators to turn a bright idea and a laptop into a business. We can’t stand by as the FCC and big corporations steal our right to equal access."

Goal ThermometerAlmost all the Blue America-endorsed candidates sent out e-mails today campaigning on net neutrality. Wise. Sam Jammal (CA-39): "Ajit Pai and the FCC just voted to ignore the overwhelming majority of Americans who begged to save net neutrality. Too much of our economy is reliant on a free and open internet for us to stand back and do nothing... It's time to elect a Congressman who refuses to sell out his community." Derrick Crowe is our candidate in the Austin-San Antonio corridor (TX21): "The internet is ours-- the people's. But, the FCC sided with corporate America and voted to kill the open Internet. Send me to Congress and I will fight to pass strong legislation that will undo this terrible decision. This is what Donald Trump's appointees are here to do: sell us out to corporate America. The best way to fight back now is to take back Congress, and to put representatives in place who will force an open Internet policy on the FCC. I am refusing corporate-PAC money because you need to know whose side I am on." Katie Hill, up in the Santa Clarita Valley, got it perfectly: "Today, the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality, ignoring the millions of us who stood up in support of it. They allowed a handful of billionaires and corporations to control our access to information. Now, the best way for us to stand up and fight back is right here in the 25th district. Steve Knight has taken $60,000 from telecom companies, and has stayed completely silent on net neutrality. These telecom companies are emboldened by politicians like Knight, and they won't be stopped until there are leaders in place who can't be bought by special interests."

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

This meme should be made into stickers that we can place everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I imagine them plastered to the hallway, office, and bathroom walls of the White House, just in case there are any women who work there who would actually object to being grabbed by Señor Trumpanzee or one of his sons. It should become the White House equivalent of that "what to do for a choking victim" poster we see in restaurants. I'd also like to see it plastered all over and all around any Trump hotels, casinos, etc. We could even affix them to those huge dump trucks they use as barricades at Trump Tower here in NYC.

I realize the print instructions are small, but if someone printed the sticker up to bumper sticker size, that should suffice. Certainly the visual depicts what to do, but, if you, like me, have a little trouble reading the small print, here are the steps to take to protect yourself. Keep in mind that, given his reported diet, Trump's breath and body odor is probably so awful that you may faint before you can act. Best not to be in Trump's proximately anyway.

Step 1: Don't panic. Swerve to the right wile breaking perpetrator's tiny fingers. I would add that you can probably go for a full elbow dislocation fairly easily.

Step 2: Follow with a knee to the groin. Precision is required due to small target area. Hell, at this point, he's probably got a roll of protective blubber covering up his genitals. And, why do you think he wears such long ties?

Step 3: Spray attacker in the eyes with his own aerosol hair spray. I suggest that, if his hairspray is not readily available, you should look for his spray tan or just grab a can of his always present diet coke, shake it up and pop the tab.

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Let's Forget About Trump For A Moment And Think About Otto


Harvey Meets The Resistance by Nancy Ohanian

You may not think this is funny-- and you may be pissed because I'm not going to name any names-- but I'm going to muse a little on the guys I know who are getting busted for predatory behavior. I live in L.A, and have worked in the entertainment business (and in politics) for long enough so that it was inevitable that I'd know some of these creeps. And I don't mean having had an experience or two with them. I mean really knowing them. (Yeah, Warners had a corporate jet and I once shared a flight with Harvey Weinstein. But I don't recall ever saying anything more than "hi" to him, either on the flight or in the studio's executive dining room. That's not what I mean.)

What I mean is when a major scandal broke about one entertainment top name I had to recall that I knew him when he was just a kid and I figured out exactly why he thought he could get away with using his power inside the power dynamic to prey on women. He managed a band, wanted a deal and a predatory monster executive showed him-- still a teenager at the time-- how it's done: "You want your band signed, bend over... here's the lube." Poor kid, it must've traumatized him and-- decades later-- he was pulling the same crap on your women looking to get ahead in the biz.

Today my phone lit up and I must have had at least a dozen messages about an old friend of mine-- let's call him Fred-- whose name was splashed across the headlines for being a pig. I've known him since he was in college. I still think of him, fondly, as a kid. But a pig, first and foremost, a pig I don't stay in touch with much either. Do you want to play around with a pig? The first time I met him, I was managing a band and he was the chairman of his school's concert committee and booked the band. After the show, I wandered over to the box office and he was stuffing cash into his pocket. That was late 70's. He hasn't changed, although his field of activities has gotten way bigger.

So, many years ago, I met this guy, Otto-- totally my... um, type. At least for a date. I wasn't his type at all. He was basically straight. But... it was late at night and he had no place to stay and it was cold and... one thing led to another. He never admitted he was gay but was sort of my on-again-off-again-on-again boyfriend for the better part of a decade. Otto was a smart guy... very, very smart-- an actual chess master in fact. But he got off to a bad start in life. Half German, half Japanese, he was recruited by a gang when he was 12 and he shot two policemen. The gangs used very young kids like that because the kids would get off easy. Otto had a rough few years but he didn't get the electric chair or even a real prison sentence and by the time he was 21 he was given a "fresh start" in life. Except whenever he did something wrong-- which he did-- they would throw the book at him. I used to send him chess sets to whichever prison he wound up in.

Anyway, one day, we were backstage at a Prince concert-- or maybe in was a Bangles concert that Prince was playing at as a surprise guest or something. It doesn't matter. Fred was working for the promoter and he was backstage too. No one else was around and he came over and started insinuating Otto was gay. He didn't understand that Otto could have killed him. Fortunately he didn't, but he did set his pants on fire. Bad, Otto! Bad, bad, bad. Fred thought putting Otto down wasn't like a "real world" thing-- just words-- and was totally shocked when the response was very "real world"-- being set on fire. Poor, Fred... recently, ladies who worked for him came forward with some pretty sordid stories that are laying his life's book open now. He's ruined. I wonder what ever happened to Otto though. I still have his letters that he sent me from prison. He was supposed to move with me to L.A. when I came down here, but he never showed up the day of the move. Eventually he wrote to me when he wanted another chess set and some Ramen sent to his new state-provided address. And then once he was out of prison I took him to see a Madonna concert. Never saw him after that and never heard from him either. Must have died. I wish I had a picture; I'd show it to you.


Marianne Williamson's Love America Tour


Our old friend and comrade in arms, Marianne Williamson, is starting a tour of the U.S. in which she'll be-- among other things-- introducing some of the Blue America candidates to her followers. She's just setting the dates now. In fact this morning she started working with Kaniela Ing to set up an event in Honolulu. So far though, these are the set dates:
Richmond Virginia, Huguenot High School Auditorium- Saturday, January 6, 2pm

Winston-Salem, Benton Convention Center- Sunday, January 7, 4pm with Jenny Marshall

Houston, Texas, Unity of Houston- Thursday, January 11, 7:30 pm

Austin, Wyndham Garden Hotel- Friday, January 12, 7:30 pm with Derrick Crowe

Las Vegas, Center for Spiritual Living- Saturday, January 20, 7pm

Miami, Unity of the Bay- Friday, March 2, 6pm

Phoenix, Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center- Friday, March 16, 7:30pm

Raleigh, Unity Church- Friday, March 31, 7pm

Denver, Mile Hi Church- April 20, 7pm
Jenny Marshall, in a touch battle with far right incumbent Virginia Foxx in North Carolina, has been getting tremendous help from Marianne. "We are thrilled," she told us, "to have the help of Marianne as we fight for change in the 5th district. Since meeting Marianne back in June, she has shown us unwavering support.  We were thrilled to be included in the Sister Giant slate of endorsed candidates and now Marianne is coming to North Carolina as our special guest for a fundraiser.  The event is called Ignite the Change NC with Marianne Williamson.  It will take place on January 7th, 2018 at the Benton Convention Center 301 West 5th Street Winston-Salem, NC 27101.  We are hosting a private reception from 3:00-4:00pm for select ticket holders. the main event will be from from 4:00-6:00pm. Tickets can be purchased at this link.

Inviting her followers, Marianne noted that "The times in which we’re living are dramatic and unstable, yet pregnant with new possibilities for a future released from the shackles of fear. At a time when fear and hatred have been turned into a political force, is it possible to harness the powers of love and decency for political purposes as well?" And she has an answer:
Our task is to create a new, whole-person politics, breaking free of a paradigm based on a decidedly outdated view of the world and embracing a more enlightened understanding of our relation to the universe. We need a deeper, multi-dimensional understanding of our national story: where we have been, where we are, and where we need to go now.

As with other extraordinary times in our history-- from our Founding to Abolition to Women’s Suffrage to the Civil Rights era-- it is time once again to break free of an old way of being and embrace a new story going forward. As in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “… we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

I will be touring the country this year, discussing how a revolution in consciousness paves the way to both personal and national renewal. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”
This just came in as an email from Marianne as we were about to publish. And just as David Feldman was telling me that Derrick Crowe (TX-21) was the most effective guest I had gotten him for his podcast:

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Odious Wisconsin Granny Starver Retiring-- Too Late For GOP Incumbents Bracing For A Tsunami?


Every Beltway insider who read the DWT predictions for the last couple of months-- once I started seeing the WI-01 internal polling numbers-- that Ryan would retire, rolled their eyes. Then, today, Tim Alberta and Rachel Bade went with the story at Politico-Pro: Paul Ryan Sees His Wild Washington Journey Coming To An End.

Last night I was at a fundraiser here in L.A. for Kaniela Ing. Kaniela told his life story and how that story turned him into a progressive. While he was telling it-- he came from a modest background and his father passed away when he was young and he was dependent on a then-strong social safety net to make it and, in his case, escape from the pineapple fields. Except for the part about the pineapple fields--and the conclusion-- it's almost the same as Paul Ryan's life story. But Kaniela internalized the struggle and decided to devote his career to helping others struggling the same way he ands family struggled. Ryan took a different approach, working tirelessly, after reading and internalizing Ayn Rand's simplistic adolescent novels, to pull up the ladder behind him and shred the social safety net that helped him escape from poverty.

Ryan's Tax Scam was carefully written to eventually end what's left of the New Deal and completely shred what remains of the social safety net, which, he has said many times, makes people lazy. Alberta and Bade were more generous about how they phrased it: "Having spent a quarter-century in Washington-- as an intern, waiter, junior think-tanker, Hill staffer and, since 1999, as a member of Congress-- he had never wavered in his obsession with fixing what he viewed as the nation’s two fundamental weaknesses: its Byzantine tax system and ballooning entitlement state... The speaker has since gone public with this aspiration, suggesting that 2018 should be the year Washington finally tackles what he sees as the systemic problems with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."
Tinkering with the social safety net is a bold undertaking, particularly in an election year. But Ryan has good reason for throwing caution to the wind: His time in Congress is running short.

Despite several landmark legislative wins this year, and a better-than-expected relationship with President Donald Trump, Ryan has made it known to some of his closest confidants that this will be his final term as speaker. He consults a small crew of family, friends and staff for career advice, and is always cautious not to telegraph his political maneuvers. But the expectation of his impending departure has escaped the hushed confines of Ryan’s inner circle and permeated the upper-most echelons of the GOP. In recent interviews with three dozen people who know the speaker-- fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists-- not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018.

...He would like to serve through Election Day 2018 and retire ahead of the next Congress. This would give Ryan a final legislative year to chase his second white whale, entitlement reform, while using his unrivaled fundraising prowess to help protect the House majority-- all with the benefit of averting an ugly internecine power struggle during election season. Ryan has never loved the job; he oozes aggravation when discussing intra-party debates over “micro-tactics," and friends say he feels like he’s running a daycare center. On a personal level, going home at the end of next year would allow Ryan, who turns 48 next month, to keep promises to family; his three children are in or entering their teenage years, and Ryan, whose father died at 55, wants desperately to live at home with them full-time before they begin flying the nest. The best part of this scenario, people close to the speaker emphasize: He wouldn’t have to share the ballot with Trump again in 2020.
The bad news for House Republicans is that Ryan is even less popular among voters than Trump and having him leading the House Republicans into the midterms is likely to be catastrophic. Sunday, we ran this polling data showing Ryan's approval/disapproval numbers in key congressional districts around the country:
VA-10 (Barbara Comstock)- 20/71%
PA-06 (Ryan Costello)- 21/70%
WA-08 (Dave Reichert)- 20/67%
AZ-02 (Martha McSally)- 23/65%
IA-03 (David Young)- 24/65%
MI-11 (Dave Trott)- 22/65%
CO-06 (Mike Coffman)- 25/64%
CA-49 (Darrell Issa)- 25/63%
MN-02 (Jason Lewis)- 29/62%
IA-01 (Rod Blum)- 26/61%
ME-02 (Bruce Poliquin)- 25/61%
PA-15 (Charlie Dent)- 25/61%
NY-22 (Claudia Tenney)- 26/52%
CO-03 (Scott Tipton)- 24/52%
PA-08 (Brian Fitzpatrick)- 30/52%
NY-27 (Chris Collins)- 29/51%
NY-24 (John Katko)- 32/49%
CA-25 (Steve Knight)- 26/48%
CA-39 (Ed Royce)- 26/43%
Randy's campaign manager, David Keith, just told us that "It is no surprise that Paul Ryan is contemplating going home. From day one of Randy's campaign, southeast Wisconsin-- and the nation-- has woken up to the sound of hope and a working class vision of fairness and justice. Paul Ryan has been spending too much time in bourbon-filled back rooms on Wall Street to hear that message, but clearly, it's loud enough now. He's more than welcome to apply for an iron working apprenticeship so he can learn a thing or two about how he'll spend his time during retirement."

Randy Bryce: "We knew Paul Ryan was too afraid to stand up to Donald Trump, but now it appears that he's too afraid to face the voters of his own district as well. Ryan must be seeing the same thing we are: his poll numbers are dropping, while our campaign has caught fire." Randy's campaign chief strategist, Bill Hyers brought up the new poll from Global Strategy Group which shows Ryan's poll numbers are tanking at home, with 47% of district voters saying they view Ryan negatively, compared to just 46% with a positive impression-- a net drop of 9 points since August. Despite having a fraction of Ryan's name recognition, Bryce is already within striking distance, trailing 46-40%-- and when voters learn about Bryce, he pulls substantially into the lead, which must have driven Ryan to make this decision to retire. Hyers: "Ryan would rather retire than be held accountable for what he's done, but one way or another, Paul Ryan will be out of a job in 2018."

Did the Politico story even mention Randy Bryce, the construction worker on the verge on defeating Ryan on election day? Is Ryan's plea to voters in Kenosha, Janesville, Racine and across southeast Wisconsin going to now be, "hey, I'm leaving anyway... don't embarrass me now? Have pity." Regardless of what he says this is the time to double down... triple down. Whether Ryan runs with the intention of retiring of doesn't run, the key has always been to replace him with a stalwart defender of the legitimate aspirations of working families... Randy Bryce. See that thermometer below?

Goal ThermometerThis morning, the folks at VoteVets alerted their members about Ryan's decision: "Moments ago, news broke that Congressman Paul Ryan is considering retiring after the midterm elections. But honestly, Paul Ryan doesn't deserve to retire with dignity, he deserves to be sent out with an embarrassing defeat... Paul Ryan thinks he is going loot the U.S. Treasury to rain cash on some of the richest Americans in this country and then leave out the back door? No way. No how. We're gonna beat him first." And by "we," they meant everyone coalescing around Randy Bryce to defeat Ryan. You can chip into Randy's campaign by tapping the Blue America Stop Paul Ryan thermometer on the right. One of the candidates we're eager to see working in Congress on behalf of working families alongside Bryce is Iowa's Austin Frerick, a former Treasury Department economist under Obama. "For once, I encourage Rep. David Young," he told us moments ago about his rubber stamp opponent, "to take Speaker Ryan's lead and retire at the end of this session as well. He can save himself the humiliation come November 2018."

Sam Jammal, who's running for Ed Royce's Orange County seat had a similar point of view today" "Ryan can announce he is retiring, but Ed's still stuck with him. Ed's a yes vote that Ryan has banked on for votes to raise taxes on families in our district, cut Medicare for our seniors , undermine our environment and push Donald Trump's reckless agenda that does nothing for our community. Just like with Trump, there is no running away from Ryan next year." And Katie Hill, running north of there for the seat Steve Knight has such a tenuous grasp on told us that "Ryan is less popular in the 25th district than any other elected official. CA-25 voters know that his tax 'plan' and his efforts to repeal the ACA hurt the residents of the district. Steve Knight has continually supported his corporate cronyism agenda. After Virginia, New Jersey, Alabama, and other elections around the country the writing on the wall is clear; voters have had enough. The 2018 elections will turn Speaker Ryan into the Minority leader. A blue wave is coming and I look forward to making the 25th district part of it." Doug Applegate, the progressive in the race to unseat Darrell Issa, saw the Politico story and reminded us that "Without Paul Ryan leading the GOP herd, Darrell Issa will be lost. Constituents of the 49th will see that the GOP only wants to make sure their government does nothing for working men and women of America."

And to quote Beyonce, "tell 'em boy bye"

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Campaigning On A Guaranteed Jobs Program Makes Sense-- And More Candidates Are Catching On, Although The DCCC Has Never Heard Of The Idea


The Guaranteed Income (UBI) proposals floating around, courtesy of the Silicon Valley aristocracy, is a dangerous trap, fraught with right-wing austerity dangers. Progressives who have put any time into it are far more interested in the Job Guarantee models, as we discussed here on Tuesday. In fact, if you missed Pavlina Tcherneva's explanatory video of JG, I've posted it again (just above).

Progressive candidates need to shut down the Pavlovian impulse to repeat Peterson’s talking points because, let's face it, there is no progressive agenda in a deficit-neutral world-- and, even if liberals aren't, the Peterson people are very aware of that, exquisitely so. Candidates who accidentally reinforce the idea that everything must be "paid for" in a deficit-neutral way are falling into a trap and killing the progressive agenda and any semblance of the kind of bold game-changing actions that will shake up the status quo. Several of the Blue America candidates have already been campaigning on Job Guarantee as part of their platforms. Dan Canon (IN-09), for example, has this up on his campaign website:
A guaranteed public-jobs program that provides meaningful work to those who are willing and able to take it, primarily in rebuilding and improving American roads, bridges, public transportation, energy grids, rural broadband access, and in environmental cleanup/preservation; ultimately the program would aim to result in 100% (voluntary) employment over time.
When I spoke with him yesterday, he told me that "Ultimately, I think we're going to have to come up with some kind of solution to the massive job drain that we are about to face due to the rise of automation. I don't hear very many politicians talking about this, but it's a huge concern. We're looking at millions of over-the-road trucker jobs disappearing overnight, probably within the next 5 years. This is a problem that we need to get out ahead of, and a guaranteed job program is one possible solution that we need to consider. The added benefit is that it allows us to make much-needed investments in our crumbling infrastructure; we could put people who want good-paying jobs to work rebuilding roads, bridges, and water systems, and expanding broadband access. Even if you're terrified of deficit spending, it's hard to see this as a losing proposition, since you're investing directly in the working-class and in America's infrastructure, and those investments will pay dividends for the economy over the long haul."

Goal ThermometerAnd Tim Canova, who's in a tight race with crooked New Dem Debbie Wasserman Schultz in South Florida has been a supporter of a federal job guarantee for many years." He told me that "In the 1990s, at the National Jobs For All Coalition, we called for this approach. The need for a federal job guarantee has been even greater since the 2008 financial collapse and the trickle down recovery that has followed. New Deal public works programs helped build so much of the country’s infrastructure while providing hope and dignity to millions of people. Today there are millions of Americans, particularly among our youth, who are unemployed or underemployed in bad part time jobs. We need to provide them with opportunities in public jobs programs, building our crumbling infrastructure, in conservation projects, and in service to others. This is a big part of our agenda."

But not every candidate feels they can campaign on the issue. One guy we're still vetting told me that he's "a big fan of the JG and agree with everything Stephanie and Pavlina have said on the issue. That being said, I don't plan on making it a part of my campaign just yet; I think it's still in the developmental phase and hasn't been widely publicized to the extent that any voters in my district would know what I was talking about. I see my current platform of payroll tax cuts and massive infrastructure projects as basically providing full employment/employment guarantee to people in the district, but I don't explicitly refer to it as a job guarantee. Same ends, different means. However I think in just a few years the JG could catch on in a major way, and if I'm elected to Congress I'd be its strongest advocate. Few things I or anyone could do as a member of Congress would be as progressive, powerful, and transformational as a JG because it totally upends the centuries-long power relationship between capital/management and labor. Given political realities I think it could start catching on after 2021, if things work well for progressives."

Another candidate who asked me to leave his comments off the record, told me that "Yes, a job guarantee is better than an income guarantee, and as a fundamental part of social justice, our social compact, and how to build a good society, we should have it. However it is foreign to most Americans' thinking and implementing it presents significant administrative and coordination challenges. In Congress I would push for trials in a few regions, in cooperation with state governments that want to try it out. But I don't see making it an immediate priority or a prominent feature of my campaign."

Kaniela Ing is very forward on this proposal and he's already working directly with one of Bernie's chief economists, Stephanie Kelton, on how to make sure Job Guarantee serves the needs Hawaii's working families. Last night Kaniela told us that "America’s promise has always been clear-- work hard and your family will prosper. Today, too many hard-working Americans feel that our leaders have gone bad on that promise. I talk to folks who tell me everyday, they grind and sweat, but struggle to get by. Wages are stagnant, unemployment and underemployment are rising, the threats of automation and globalization are becoming real, all while costs are skyrocketing. But just take a walk outside and look around at all the work that needs to be done in America. There are bridges to be built, highways needing repair, kids to be taught, aging folks needing care, oceans to be cleaned, trees to be planted. But private markets fall short. For every job opening in America, four people are gunning for it. This pits worker against worker and creates a power imbalance between workers and their bosses. It’s too risky for a worker to stand up to wage theft, inhumane working conditions, or sexual harassment, when they know there’s nowhere else to go. Our elected representatives must stop pretending that everything is okay, and that the job market will some home fix itself. It’s time for real solutions that will actually help working families across America. It’s time for a new New deal. Since the start of my campaign, I’ve been leading with a universal job guarantee, and I ask other progressive candidates to join me. Let’s remind the establishment that the ability to work for a livable wage is a human right that should be afforded to all. In these uncertain times, progressives will lead with real solutions that offer hope to the many, and just the privileged few."

Jenny Marshall is in a very similar district, North Carolina's 5th and she agrees that it's a great idea but sees the idea of Job Guarantee as something relatively easy to explain to voters. (Maybe that's because she's a school teacher.) She's campaigning for the seat held by a multimillionaire, Virginia Foxx, who has never exhibited any interest whatsoever in giving a hand to working families. "People," Jenny told us," want to work and give back to their communities in real tangible ways. They also want to provide a decent, secure life for their family. Think of all the New Deal programs such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Works Progress Administration that helped put people to work and which began to pull us out of the Great Depression in the 1930's. While those programs did not lift all out of abject poverty it did jump start our economy in a way that can still be witnessed today. Frankly, our infrastructure is long outdated and our national parks and memorials need tending to. Here in the 5th district we have national forest that needs trail cleanup, buildings that need to be repaired and programs that need to be staffed. We need to repair dams, bridges and other infrastructure projects. People need jobs and ones that pay a living wage. Why not offer work that would put an investment back into our communities?"

Our newest Blue America endorsee, Jess King (PA-16), has the same kind of perspective as Jenny. She told us that "We've known for a long time that stubbornly high unemployment not only hurts our economy, it also threatens our democracy. In 1944, as World War II raged, FDR observed that 'people who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.' He proposed a Second Bill of Rights that would establish a right to meaningful and sustaining employment. We need to renew that debate and decide how we as a nation are going to guarantee economic security in a rapidly changing economy."

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