Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Right-Wing Snowflake Roy Moore Is Now Threatening To Sue Alabama's 3 Biggest Newspapers For Exposing Him


I have no idea how many Alabama voters even read newspapers, let alone factor their endorsements into their decision-making, but the 3 biggest newspapers in Alabama have a message for the voters there: "Stand for decency; reject Roy Moore." All three-- the Birmingham News, the Mobile Press-Register and the Huntsville Times-- endorsed Democrat Doug Jones. And they all put the endorsement on the front page of the Sunday papers. The 3 share the state's top website, AL.com and they're featuring it as well. The papers had already pointed out that Moore is ""grossly unfit" to represent the state in the Senate but this was the first time they endorsed Jones. Moore says he's suing them. Excerpts from the editorial:
This election is a turning point for women in Alabama. A chance to make their voices heard in a state that has silenced them for too long.

The accusations against Roy Moore have been horrifying, but not shocking.

Every day new allegations arise that illustrate a pattern of a man in his 30s strutting through town like the cock of the walk, courting and preying on young women and girls. And though Roy Moore has denied the accusations of these women, his own platform and record is hostile to so many Alabamians.

Unlike the national party, the Alabama Republican establishment has chosen to stand by him, attacking and belittling the brave women who have come forward.

As a news organization, we have independently investigated stories of several Alabama woman who have spoken to us and the Washington Post about the abuse they say they suffered at the hands of Roy Moore decades ago.

The seriousness of these incidents, including one involving a 14-year-old child, cannot be overstated. Nor can the growing number of accusations-- from the women who were at the receiving end of unwanted adult male overtures as teens, to those who say they were physically assaulted--  be parsed with talk of statutes of limitations or whether proof has been recorded on a stone tablet. In the American system, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a consideration for the courtroom, not the ballot box. It is our job as voters to look closely at the candidates and make up our own minds.

Do not let this conversation be muddled. This election has become a referendum on whether we will accept this kind of behavior from our leaders.

Alabamians have never cared about what the rest of country thinks of them. And we do not expect all the handwringing from national pundits, conservative or liberal, to make much of a difference. This election isn't about what a late-night comedian may think of Alabama or whether Sean Hannity can sell advertisements; it's not about Saturday Night Live or Mitch McConnell. It's not about Breitbart or National Democrats. It is about the moral values of the people of Alabama.

Do not make your voting decision based on who it will affect on a national stage. Vote based on who it will affect in your hometown... A vote for Roy Moore sends the worst kind of message to Alabamians struggling with abuse: "if you ever do tell your story, Alabama won't believe you."

Or, worse, we'll believe you but we just won't care.

To be clear: it's not only his record on women and children that disqualifies Moore. If we vote for Roy Moore, Alabama will also show that we don't care about you if you're gay or Muslim or Catholic. If you're an atheist or an immigrant. We'll show each other that we only care about Roy Moore's definition of Alabama. And that there's not room for the rest of us.

...Despite what you may have heard, Doug Jones is a moderate Democrat and a strong candidate for all Alabamians. As the son of a steel family, he understands the concerns facing working class families as factories close and jobs disappear. He's been an active member of Canterbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham. He has built a platform around issues that will define Alabama: job creation, small business development, child healthcare, criminal justice reform and, perhaps most needed of all, compromise.

By bringing justice to four little girls killed at Birmingham's 16th Baptist Church, Jones helped Alabama move forward from the sins of our past. But unlike some national Democrats, he isn't interested in shaming Alabama voters because of their history. As a Red State Democrat, we expect Jones would have a larger seat at the table crafting policy in the Senate. Neither Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nor Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would be able to take Jones' vote for granted (for relevant examples look to West Virginia's Joe Manchin, Montana's Jon Tester or North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp). That would put Jones in a strong position to work with Sen. Shelby to secure policies that benefit Alabamians.

While Jones is a vocal Christian, despite Moore's claims to be the sole Christian in politics, we know his pro-choice stance may be a deal breaker for some Alabamians, but his stance only advocates the law as it is currently written. After a year of complete control of the White House, the Senate and the House, we are skeptical that this Congress plans to pass any relevant legislation on abortion. Jones' commitment to affordable healthcare for women and children will improve the lives of Alabama's families, and, for us, his pro-choice stance is not disqualifying.

What is disqualifying is the conduct of Roy Moore against women and children. It was disqualifying for his party leaders. It was disqualifying for Alabama's senior senator. And it should be disqualifying for his state party.

By the various misdeeds, miscalculations and mistakes of its voters and leaders, Alabama has left itself with few options. Alabamians must show themselves to be people of principle, reject Roy Moore and all that he stands for.

There is only one candidate left in this race who has proven worthy of the task of representing Alabama. He is Doug Jones.
Moore sent the parent company, Alabama Media Group, a cease and desist letter. Their attorney responded with a letter of his own telling them will will neither cease nor desist and that they'd be happy to see Moore in court, urging him to preserve all "materials, documents, writings, recordings, statements, notes, letters, journals, diaries, calendars, emails, videos, computers, cell phones, electronic data, and other information" and warning him that in court that would certainly "reveal other important information about" the child sex predator and his campaign... "Which is to say: Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Moore."

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is a woman who knows what she wants and what she looks for in a senator. She wants the best her party has to offer! That's why she supports Judge Roy Moore!

If Moore wins, I wonder if she'll bring her granddaughters to the victory party. Well, it is Alabama, so, probably, yeah.

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Monday, November 20, 2017

The Secret Lives Of Republicans-- In The "O" States, Ohio And Oklahoma


Are ALL ultra-conservative Republican state legislators child rapists?

Last week I professed bewilderment as to why Ohio state Rep and rising star Wes Goodman-- heir apparent to Jim Jordan-- faced political erasure after he was caught having consensual sex with another adult male in his district office. If Republicans fired every officeholder guilty of gross hypocrisy, there would be virtually no Republican officeholders left. Sure, Goodman, was a hypocrite for living in the closet while wracking up an anti-LGBT record but there are dozens of Republicans in the same boat, including Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Patrick McHenry (R-NC), David Young (R-IA), to name a few prominent ones. But Ohio Republicans didn't force Goodman to quit over the hypocrisy. Fondling a supporter's teenage son without the kid's consent is a much bigger deal.

Over the weekend, the backstory came tumbling out of Goodman's closet: this was no one-time faux pas-- he led secret gay life, made unwelcome advances to younger men. Jackie Borchardt reporting: "In public, Wesley Goodman was an up-and-coming conservative who championed pro-family and anti-LGBT causes and aspired to someday run for Congress. In private, he exchanged salacious texts and emails with gay men he met on Capitol Hill, and sent sexually suggestive messages to young men he met through conservative circles who were too intimidated to publicly complain, according to three people who knew him when he worked in Washington." It wasn't just the "inappropriate behavior" he was just outed for.
The married, 33-year-old was elected to the 87th district seat in 2016 after working for the Conservative Action Project, a network of economic, social and national security conservatives. He previously worked for conservative U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, a Champaign County Republican.

...Another conservative with Ohio ties told cleveland.com that Goodman engaged in predatory behavior toward younger men after leaving Jordan's office, sending inappropriate material and propositioning them via text message and Facebook messenger.

The conservative operative said he'd target college kids who wanted to have him as a mentor and were scared to report his sexual advances because they didn't want to damage their own careers. A former co-worker shared screenshots of messages Goodman sent him that the operative likened to the lewd texts that derailed the congressional career of New York's Anthony Weiner.

"It was suggestive 'I am here in my underwear' kinds of stuff," the longtime GOP operative recalled.

Goodman was seen as a rising conservative star and a good networker who could help young people get jobs in conservative organizations, the Republican activist said.

"People never really wanted to come forward against someone in power," the operative added.

On Friday, the Washington Post published an account that described a 2015 incident where Goodman was accused of inviting the teenaged son of a Republican donor to his bedroom in a Ritz Carlton hotel. The young man awoke in the middle of the night to find Goodman pulling down the zipper of his pants, and ran from the room in a panic at around 4 a.m., according to the account in the Post.

According to the Post, the incident triggered Goodman's departure from a conservative group called the Council for National Policy, whose president, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, urged Goodman not to run for public office and severed ties with him upon learning of his state legislative campaign.

Goodman had served as managing director of an offshoot of Perkins' group that was formed to counter President Obama's agenda, such as the Affordable Care Act.

Another former GOP congressional staffer, Chris Donnelly, told cleveland.com that Goodman replied to a Craigslist post on a board for men seeking men, and the two had a sexual encounter in 2008. In a response shown to cleveland.com, an email account using the name Brady Murphey described himself as a "straight/curious" guy who needed to be discreet.

"Maybe we can hang and see what's up, no expectations really," the response said. "But your post seemed cool so let me know bro."

Donnelly said Goodman was "all over Craigslist" and responded to several ads posted by Donnelly and other gay men.

"It became a running joke between me and my gay friends on Capitol Hill," Donnelly said. "It's not like it was some one-off thing."

Hadlock and Donnelly reached out to cleveland.com because they were disappointed Goodman would push anti-LGBT policies while secretly seeking out and being intimate with other men.

Donnelly said the last time he saw Goodman was at a conservative event in 2009. Goodman was there with Jordan to urge support for the congressman's D.C. Defense of Marriage Act, which would have overturned a local law allowing recognition of same-sex marriages. Goodman was handling the issue for Jordan, Donnelly said.
This morning Caleb Hull, who Goodman had unsuccessfully tried to seduce, rounded up 30 sources attesting to Goodman's predatory sexual behavior. He interviewed over 2 dozen men "who experienced Goodman's inappropriate behavior, and their stories almost all start the same way. Goodman began his inquiries with college students as if he wanted to be a friend, asking what they wanted for their careers. The victims were almost always political activists who simply had mutual friends with Goodman. He would then escalate the conversation, often sending several messages a day. Eventually, the conversation would move past small talk, and Goodman would start sending suggestive messages." This is part of an interview from one of the sources describing how Goodman tried seducing a young straight conservative:
"He also repeatedly invited me up to Ohio so I could job shadow him and tour the Ohio Capital. Then in November 2016, one night, he started a conservation about how his wife was asleep and he was bored. I didn't reply for about 30 min after opening the Snapchat. Then, he sent me videos of him masturbating as well as d**k pics. He also sent another Snapchat asking how big my penis was. I immediately blocked him. He later [messaged] me on both Instagram and Facebook leading me to block him on both apps as well."
These were from some the chats he was having with teenage conservative boys:

He also sent boys pictures of his penis, always talked about penis size (a common trait among conservative closet cases who are absolutely always obsessed about penis size) and talked one teenage boy into sharing his hotel room at an event and, while the boy slept, unzipped his fly and started playing with his penis.

Fredo Trump doesn't spend all his time shooting elephants and plotting with Russian spies

Now, think back a few months to Oklahoma state Senator Ralph Shortey, head of Trump's Oklahoma operation, who's caught and charged for soliciting prostitution of a minor; prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church (my favorite charge for Oklahoma Republicans); and transporting a minor for the purpose of prostitution. And the minor was a 17 year old boy. Shortey was forced to resign from the state Senate and in July, Oklahoma voters replaced him in a special election-- with Michael Brooks-Jimenez, now the only Hispanic Democratic state Senator in Oklahoma. A very Republican district, Shortey's former constituents rejected the GOP 55-45%. An update to the story was reported Saturday for The Oklahoman: Shortey agreed to plead guilty to a child sex trafficking offense. "In exchange for his guilty plea, U.S. prosecutors have agreed to drop three child pornography counts against him. His jury trial had been set to begin Dec. 5 in Oklahoma City federal court. He is now scheduled to plead guilty Nov. 30 instead. By making a deal, Shortey, 35, hopes to avoid being locked up for most of the rest of his life. Still, he will be required to serve at least a 10-year prison term, the mandatory minimum time for child sex trafficking. The maximum time for the offense is life in prison. U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti will decide the punishment at a sentencing next year."

This is what happens when people decide to spend a life living a lie in the closet instead of embracing their own nature. Living in the closet drives men insane and they do crazy things, like Shortey and Goodman did.
Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, was first elected in 2010 and was known for his offbeat legislative proposals that at times attracted national attention. He resigned March 22.

Shortey-- who once planned to be a missionary-- was investigated first by Moore police and then the FBI after being found with the teenager at the Super 8 in Moore about 1 a.m. March 9.

The teenager's girlfriend had followed them to the hotel after seeing Shortey pick him up. She then alerted the teenager's father who called police.

Police reported Shortey and the victim had carried on a conversation about sex using the messaging app Kik before going to the hotel. Their conversation had turned graphic when the teenager wrote, "I need money for spring break," according to police.

Shortey had replied, "I don't really have any legitimate things I need help with right now. Would you be interested in 'sexual' stuff?" The teenager then wrote, "Yes," according to police.

Officers reported finding an open box of condoms in Shortey's backpack and a bottle of lotion in the teenager's backpack.

The victim "confirmed that he and Shortey intended to have sexual contact and that they had agreed Shortey would pay him for the contact," an FBI agent reported in a court affidavit. Both beds were described as unmade.

The two had met a year before through a Craigslist ad.

The investigation of Shortey uncovered evidence he had led a secret life. The FBI reported he used fake names to post Craigslist ads seeking sex with young males and on an email account to send and receive pornography.

"Shortey used those pseudonyms almost exclusively for illicit and illegal sexual interests or encounters, several of which included communications and exchanges of pornography with underage males, and/or the sharing of child pornography," the FBI agent wrote in the court affidavit.

A federal grand jury indicted Shortey in September.

He was accused in the child sex trafficking count of knowingly recruiting the underage male to engage in a commercial sex act.

He was accused in one of the child pornography counts of persuading that teenager to send him an inappropriate photo in 2016. He was accused in the other child pornography counts of emailing sexually explicit videos to two individuals in October 2013.

The plea agreement calls for federal prosecutors to ask the judge at sentencing to dismiss the child pornography counts. Also, according to the deal, Shortey "will not be further prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Oklahoma for any crimes related to his transportation, possession or production of child pornography or child sex trafficking during the period from October 2013 through March 9, 2017."

Shortey had also faced a child prostitution charge in Cleveland County District Court. That felony case was dismissed after he was indicted in federal court.

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Nebraska Public Service Commission Approves Keystone XL Pipeline


As you probably know, the Blue Dogs, New Dems and DCCC are all furiously pushing Brad Ashford on Omaha voters again. Ashford, an opportunist who changes parties like normal people change underwear, was one of the 3 worst Democrats in the House for his one miserable term. Having been fired from his new job, he decided to jump into a race he can probably win in an anti-GOP wave, but not hold in a normal midterm. He's a big Keystone Pipeline proponent and normal Douglas County Democrats are happy to have a progressive alternative, Kara Eastman. This morning, after the pro-pipeline ruling, she told us that she's "opposed to today's decision by the Nebraska Public Service Commission approving the Keystone XL Pipeline." So are an awful lot of other Nebaskans, especially in the Omaha area. Kara:
For the last eleven years, I've has worked with Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance combating the devastating effects of lead poisoning, among other environmental hazards, in Omaha, Nebraska. Why was the organization started, you might wonder? Omaha has the nation’s largest residential superfund site where lead poisoning has affected thousands and has had an especially adverse impact on children. We now know what lead can do to water because we’ve seen the tragedy unfold in Flint, Michigan. In Omaha, the community has rallied around an organization to deal with lead-contaminated soil and a long-term health crisis. It was started because funds from a legal settlement from a large corporation had to be used to clean up a toxic, polluted Superfund site. The EPA also had to come in and spend hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up what a big corporation left us with-- lead poisoned soil. I know firsthand what unregulated industries do to our environment, our citizens, and our most vulnerable population-- our children. I know what can happen when concerned activists lose out to the possibility and allure of corporate profits and their well-funded campaigns to persuade people that their big business will benefit the community in the long run. I also understand that short-term thinking like that can and does lead to long-term catastrophic consequences and decades-long clean-up projects like the Superfund site in Omaha.

Goal ThermometerI oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline and its limited economic benefits to Nebraskans-- maybe 50 full-time, permanent jobs created in the long run. I oppose the pipeline because it will mostly benefit a large Canadian oil company. We don’t even need the oil in America-- we’re now exporting our oil surplus! We need to invest in renewables and new technology and not the old regime of dirty energy. I've seen regular people forced to cede their land and their rights to a foreign company so that construction can begin. I support the 10% of landowners on the proposed route in Nebraska who are still standing up for the property rights and won’t sell to TransCanada. But most of all, I oppose this project because of the potential for environmental destruction and the poisoning of our water due to small and large spills that can and do happen regularly-- about every other day on average in the US. An Iowa pipeline leaked over hundred thousand gallons of diesel fuel last year, and when a farmer found an undetected leak on Keystone 1 in South Dakota around the same time, the pipeline had to be shut down for 3 months! Finally, we've just seen 210,000 gallons of dirty tar sands oil leaking out of Keystone this past week in Amherst, South Dakota. Having dirty, tar sands oil seep into our soil and water-- as it will have 56 river crossings and be built over one of the nation’s largest aquifers-- is not a risk worth taking so that a multinational corporation can ship oil to Texas to refine and process for export overseas.
A few months ago, the Omaha World-Herald headlined a letter to the editor, Ashford's flip-flop on Keystone pipeline by Trent Cooper: "Former Rep. Brad Ashford’s change on the Keystone XL pipeline is the perfect example of why Democrats lose congressional seats and lost the presidency. I will never support him again. We need Democrats who will do the right thing for our state and country, not what it takes to keep their seat." No one likes a flip-flopper or an opportunist.

A couple of years ago Bold Nebraska was far harsher towards Ashford, when Jane Kleeb, now Nebraska Democratic Party chair, wrote that Ashford was siding "with a foreign oil corporation over Nebraska farmers and ranchers." Ashford, she wrote, "voted for a second time to approve the risky Keystone XL tarsands export pipeline, despite strong opposition from his constituents and a promised veto of the wrong-headed bill by President Obama."
“Rep. Ashford continues to support eminent domain for private gain with his vote for the risky Keystone XL pipeline,” said Bold Nebraska director Jane Kleeb. “To pretend this massive, foreign tarsands pipeline somehow does not impact climate change or risk our water discounts science and common sense. Farmers and ranchers can only breathe a sign of relief because President Obama will veto this reckless bill.”

Over 3,500 concerned citizens signed a Bold Nebraska petition urging Rep. Ashford to vote against the Keystone XL bill, and dozens braved a freezing January day to show up at his Omaha offices to protest and register their disappointment with Ashford’s staff after his first vote in support of the pipeline.

Rep. Ashford recently stated in a response to a constituent’s letter critical of his support of TransCanada’s Keystone XL that he “will be an active voice in Congress seeking to decrease our energy dependence on foreign sources of energy.”

Last time we checked, Canada is a foreign country. Furthermore, the tarsands piped through Keystone XL would be exported to China and the world market and do nothing to serve U.S. energy independence.

Rep. Ashford is also spreading misinformation to his constituents, claiming in a letter that TransCanada “would be held legally and financially liable for any damages incurred as a result of a spill at any point along the route.”

In fact, TransCanada advises landowners to take out liability insurance at their own expense, and does not have a bond in place in Nebraska to cover spill clean-up. Further, since this is a tarsands (vs. traditional oil) pipeline, TransCanada is exempt from paying into the U.S. Oil Spill Liability Fund. Facing huge costs from a spill, the company could conceivably file for bankruptcy in the U.S. and the federal government, landowners and the State of Nebraska would be left holding the bag.

Finally, Ashford makes a false claim in his letter that the 2011 re-route of the pipeline now “avoid[s] the environmentally sensitive Sandhills,” when the State Department’s environmental review of the pipeline even acknowledges this to be untrue.

Rep. Ashford’s constituents and Nebraskans fighting to protect our land, water and climate are deeply disappointed that Ashford has again opted to toss them under the bus and side with the Koch Bros., the GOP and a foreign oil corporation.

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Aside From Nancy Pelosi, Who Thinks Congress Needs More Clueless Multimillionaires Buying House Seats?


I'm afraid that if Pelosi stays on as House Democratic Leader for another decade-- she'd only be 87, barely older than DiFi when she starts her next 6-year Senate term-- there will be no Democratic members of Congress who aren't multimillionaires. Pelosi's net worth is around $192 million. She likes-- and encourages-- candidates like what she sees in the mirror to run as Democrats. There are at least 5 Democrats in the House in that same super-duper-rich category-- Jared Polis (New Dem-CO- $476 million), John Delaney (New Dem-MD- $369 million), Scott Peters (New Dem-CA- $118.3 million), Suzan DelBene (New Dem-WA- $97.3 million), and Don Beyer (New Dem-VA- $79.8 million). Will you look at that! A bunch of conservatives from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- at least when it comes to economic issues. Multimillionaires tend to be that way. All these sickening New Dems who play footsie with the Republicans and the same corrupting elements who fund the Republicans.

But it's the crappy candidates Pelosi has the DCCC recruiting that get me going. I never saw so many multimillionaires running as I have this year. I want to throw up. See the nice "I'm Running!" video up top-- like from an undergraduate communications class? That was released yesterday by Sara Jacobs, the self-entitled heiress to the Qualcomm fortune. And there's already a completely pointless multimillionaire in that race, Paul Kerr, a crony of one of California's worst (and richest) members, Scott Peters, who persuaded him to run. This is a district where the incredible grassroots work by Doug Applegate and his team last year exposed how weak Darrell Issa is-- and nearly beat him. The final vote wasn't declared 'til January-- last in the nation-- and Issa squeaked through 155,888 (50.3%) to 154,267 (49.7%). So Applegate announced he would finish what he started in 2016. But a vile gaggle of predatory super-rich scumbags, like Peters, started telling their friends it would be easy to roll over Applegate and then let the wave sweep them to victory against Issa with no real effort. Worst of all is Pelosi crony Ira Lechner, a failed Virginia political hack who persuaded one of his pals, Mike Levin-- who never lifted a finger against Issa previously-- to jump in, promising him that a thuggish political operative in Pasasda, Park Skelton, could "deliver" Pelosi and force Applegate out of the race. None of these people were in the Marines and don't understand that you don't "roll over" or "force" a Marine colonel, which is what today's frontrunner, Doug Applegate, is. So now, you have a totally spoiled heiress-- another one who has absolutely nothing to do with the district and still lives in Brooklyn with a bunch of hipsters-- jumping in too. Consultants are getting incredibly rich over the Southern California cash cows they milking for all they're worth.

The plague of Pelosi's ridiculous multimillionaire menagerie gets worse as you travel around Orange County. After recruiting several shady characters to run against Dana Rohrabacher, the DCCC decided their favorite is Hans Keirstead, an immensely wealthy Canadian stem cell businessman with no knowledge of politics or anything else beyond how grateful the residents of coastal Orange County should be that he's decided to represent him. He looks good on paper, but completely flopped as a candidate. Other than the people on his payroll, no one likes him at all. But the DCCC had already chased a bunch of multimillionaires who live in the district out to run in other districts. The silliest one of all is Gil Cisneros, the "ex"-Republican Frito-Lay's potato-chip taster who won $266 million in a lottery and has been bribing lowlife Democrats in Congress to endorse him. Does that ever reek of Pelosi! So here's a guy living in a $10 million dollar beachfront mansion in Rohrabacher's district-- with all Republican instincts-- who the DCCC persuaded to run in Ed Royce's district. They also talked a wealthy doctor, Mai-Khanh Tran, also a CA-48 resident, to run in CA-39 too. That one was hilarious because one of the DCCC brain surgeons figured she would do well because CA-39 has lots of Asians, not understanding that Dr. Tran is Vietnamese and that the whole Vietnamese community lives in CA-48, not CA-39, which is heavily Chinese. And then there's another very wealthy guy-- who plunked down $2 million on the day he jumped into the race-- Andy Thornburn, who also lives in CA-48 but is running in CA-39. At least he's an independent operator and not part of the Pelosi/DCCC posse.

As though this wasn't funny enough, some super-rich attorney, Omar Siddiqui actually does live in CA-39... but he's not running there. A self-described "Reagan Democrat," he says he admires CA-39 incumbent, Republican Ed Royce (a far right bigot) too much to run against him so he went in the opposite direction and is running against Rohrabacher instead. Rohrabacher, though doesn't just have the clueless Keirstead, who was, of course, endorsed by the New Dems, trying to win the Democratic nomination to take him on. He also has to contend with a Keirstead type, but with a bit of personality to make of for Hans' total lack of any, Harley Rouda, another multimillionaire (and ex-Republican), also endorsed by the New Dems. Sounds like a circus, right? Good news in that district-- and easy to remember: vote for the woman. Laura Oatman, a middle class architect who's actually from the district, is a long-time activist and an actual progressive.

OK, I'm exhausted now, and you must be too. So I won't go through every damn district from coast to coast where Pelosi and her minions are recruiting these abominable multimillionaire zombies. But let me leave you with just one more clean across the country-- in Maine, but not in the richie-rich southeast coastal Maine district (Portland) but in the totally blue collar part of Maine where the last thing the folks want is some phony baloney rich kid who's mommy, Roxanne Quimby from Burt's Bees, wants him to run because... well, just because. And this guy, Lucas St. Clair, is tight with the Maine donor elite headed by Pelosi-super-donor hedge fund billionaire and slum lord Donald Sussman, former husband of Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. The folks in ME-02 hate nothing more than being told how to live their lives by the rich folks in Portland. And there's a solid blue collar candidate in the race too, Maine House Majority Whip Jared Golden, a Marine Vet and and an "of the people" kind of guy, who St Clair hopes to bury under a flood of Burt's Bees and Maine Donor Table money. The only chance Bruce Poliquin, the Republican incumbent, has of being reelected would be if Pelosi can somehow get St. Clair the nomination. But even the DCCC now realizes she's flipped her lid and is trying to keep her from screwing up a good thing in Maine.

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In Surprise Move, Norway's $1 Trillion Sovereign Wealth Fund May Divest From Fossil Fuels


A shot heard round the world? (source)

by Gaius Publius

Two broad points before the specifics of this story.

First, the Divest from Oil and Gas movement is a real threat to Big Oil as an industry in the same way the Divest from South Africa movement was a threat to South African apartheid — it hits them where the money sits, in the wallet and not in the reputation, the latter of which can always be papered over with expensive ad campaigns telling us how wonderful the industry is.

It's a real advantage having more money than any of your enemies, isn't it.

The Divest from Oil and Gas movement is as threatening to the industry as lawsuits, which are also going on. A divestment movement essentially threatens to collapse the price of oil and gas company stocks, which impoverishes the investing class and, more particularly, the industry's CEO class, since a good part of their pay is in stock.

Once stock prices fall below 50% of their value, it takes forever to build them back up, if indeed they ever recover.

Second, a collapse of oil and gas stock prices is, at some point, inevitable. Consider: If most or all of current in-the-ground fossil fuel reserves — a major basis of valuation of these companies — will stay in the ground as "stranded assets," at some point the value of Exxon, Conoco and Shell will and should be nearly zero.

The only questions are when that will occur and what will be the triggering event. I've written before about the precariousness of Big Oil as an industry — see "Big Oil In Trouble, Enters "No Man’s Land" of Collapsing Balance Sheets" — and that reasoning still holds. Big Oil faces either death by government intervention (the world of power grows an aggressive conscience) or death by market (a permanent fossil fuel glut keeps prices unprofitably low).

Death by global panic as chaos overtakes our shiny, smart-phone world is also on the table. Death of the industry by one of those three forces will certainly occur, and sooner rather than later.

In the earlier piece I wrote:
But one of the unique ways of disrupting supply is to disrupt (degrade, destroy) the financial health of the companies doing the extraction, for example, Exxon. Divestment campaigns — making the holding of Exxon stock morally toxic for institutional buyers like universities — are a form of disrupting supply by disrupting corporate financing. Unfortunately, though divestment campaigns do work — witness the divestment campaign against South African apartheid — they can be slow and spotty, not broad enough to effect an entire industry.

Enter the "magic of the market." If the price of oil is so cheap that it's not profitable to dig it, because it's so plentiful relative to demand, companies will collapse, go bankrupt. We've already seen that with small and mid-size U.S. fracking companies, many of which are so highly leveraged that they can't make a profit on sales and they can't finance their debt.
I don't see the price of oil and gas recovering anytime soon, not with (a) the present market oversupply, and (b) a race to monetize remaining in-the-ground assets by frightened companies, large and small, a race that will guarantee the glut will continue indefinitely.

All we're waiting for is a trigger. Will this be it? Bloomberg (h/t Hunter Cutting via Twitter):
Norway’s proposal to sell off $35 billion in oil and natural gas stocks brings sudden and unparalleled heft to a once-grassroots movement to enlist investors in the fight against climate change.

The Nordic nation’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund said Thursday that it’s considering unloading its shares of Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and other oil giants to diversify its holdings and guard against drops in crude prices. European oil stocks fell.

Norges Bank Investment Management would not be the first institutional investor to back away from fossil fuels. But until now, most have been state pension funds, universities and other smaller players that have limited their divestments to coal, tar sands or some of the other dirtiest fossil fuels.

Norway’s fund is the world’s largest equity investor, controlling about 1.5 percent of global stocks. If it follows through on its proposal, it would be the first to abandon the sector altogether.

This is an enormous change,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a non-profit that advocates for sustainable investing. “It’s a shot heard around the world.” [emphasis added]
The fact that it's Bloomberg reporters covering this, the nation's business best, all with concerned looks on their faces, and not just the good people at Friends of the Small County News, is itself convincing evidence that the Norwegian move to divest, if it occurs, will indeed be an industry problem.

The Bleak Future of Oil and Gas

Norway as a nation is in a unique position. A great deal of its wealth — more than 20% of its GDP — is already tied up in oil and gas production. This by itself represents a large exposure to industry pricing shocks. For that country's sovereign wealth fund to also be owners of oil and gas stock makes no investment sense at all. Thus their discussion about divesting from that sector and diversifying, or even hedging by investing in the renewables sector.

But Norway's problem is a general problem for other investors as well. At some point no investor will want to hold those stocks, given the "poised to fall" nature of the entire fossil fuel industry. An industry doesn't have to falter before its stock prices falter; a price collapse could easily precede an unstoppable and escalating worldwide transition to renewables. After all, investors want either future growth or future dividends, or both, from their investments. "No growth on the horizon" plus "poised to collapse" is not a happy prescription for the price of any stock.

Call it "the magic of the market," working for you for a change.

You Too Can Divest

Feel free to accelerate that magic. If your college or university is still invested in fossil fuel, consider asking them to follow Norway's lead — and remind them that their money too could be vulnerable to a future "price shock."

If your mutual fund is invested in fossil fuel, at Vanguard, say, or Fidelity, say the same thing to their customer representatives.

And if you are invested in fossil fuel, directly or indirectly, give some thought to transferring your investment elsewhere. After all, that would not only make good financial sense, but good moral sense as well.


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Democrats Should Aim To Replace An Even 100 GOP Congressmembers


The DCCC launched an on-line ad campaign against something like 40 Republicans, including 9 California targets: Jeff Denham, Devin Nunes, David Valadao, Steve Knight, Ed Royce, Mimi Walters, Dana Rohrabacher, Darrell Issa, and Duncan Hunter. I'm sure there's a reason they're not including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the campaign (nor for that matter Paul Ryan. Oh, that's right, Pelosi doesn't believe in targeting Republican leaders; I almost forgot. Sunday's NY Times included an OpEd by David Leonhardt, The GOP Is Fooling Itself On Taxes about the corner the party has backed itself into on tax policy-- all in the name of "a win"-- any win. The theory is that "If they somehow fail to pass a tax cut, they will anger their base and their donors and look incompetent to swing voters. But," wrote, Leonhardt, "the actual bill that the House passed last week-- and the modestly different plan the Senate is considering-- is a dreadful piece of policy. It would cause the deficit to soar and, as a result, probably reduce economic growth. It would also raise taxes for millions of middle-class families. And most Americans realize that the tax plan is dreadful. Only 16 percent of adults said they thought the plan would reduce their own taxes, according to a Quinnipiac poll released last week. On the same day the poll came out, several Republican senators criticized the plan, which suggests it may be in jeopardy."
There is no easy way out for the party at this point. In coming days, Senate leaders will probably claim to take steps to fix the House bill’s flaws. But they won’t be able to, absent a complete rewriting. The core of the plan is the problem.

How did Republicans do this to themselves?

Above all, they refused to heed the lessons of 2016-- of Trump’s shocking romp through the primaries and even more shocking general-election win. In a time of deep economic dissatisfaction, among members of both parties, Republican leaders insisted on basing their plan around an enormous tax cut for the wealthy. Doing so pleased their donors and trickle-down true believers, but it is worth pausing for a moment on the cynicism of the plan. In substance, it is almost the direct opposite of the party’s middle-class rhetoric.

“The G.O.P.,” Henry Olsen, a conservative policy expert, recently said, “really wants to do nothing other than cut taxes for businesspeople and the top bracket based on what can only be called religious devotion to supply-side theory.”

Once Republican leaders filled their plan with tax cuts for the wealthy, they didn’t have much money left for the middle class. In the Senate, Republicans were so desperate to find money that this past week they released a new version of the bill that made virtually all of the middle-class tax cuts temporary. They expire before the bill’s final year, 2027.

An assortment of middle-class tax increases-- again, to help cover the cost of the tax cuts for the wealthy-- last for the full life of the Senate bill. As a result, it ends up being a tax increase on households making less than $75,000, according to the only rigorous analysis so far, by the Senate’s Joint Committee on Taxation. For families making somewhat more than $75,000, the tax cut is modest and likely temporary, given the deficit. The plan, says Martin Sullivan, chief economist at Tax Analysts, a highly regarded research group, has “stunningly meager tax benefits for middle class.”

The best hope for stopping the bill is the handful of Republicans willing to think beyond raw partisanship. They include Susan Collins and John McCain, who helped defeat the health bill, and Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, who aren’t running for re-election and consider themselves fiscal conservatives. (Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin, has came out against the bill, although he did the same on the health care bill, before flip-flopping.)

True, another failed attempt at major legislation would be a big political problem for the Republicans. But passing a hastily written, deficit-busting bill that harms the middle class would not be great, either. It’s impossible for these senators to solve their party’s political troubles. They may as well do the right thing.
What the Republicans seem most worried about is that their wealthy donors will abandon them if the don't pass a tax cut for wealthy people. They assume people-- voters-- will forget the details and they can keep repeating over and over, "we cut taxes," as you hear Ryan already braying ad nauseum. All that has to happen for this to work is something that's never worked before: trickle down (what George H.W. Bush called "Voodoo Economics"). Last week, Paul Waldman reminded Washington Post readers that the theories that Mick Mulvaney was espousing on CNN's State of the Union Sunday (see clip above) are all wrong.
The new plan is meant to deal with two critical constraints. The first is that the budget resolution the Senate passed allows this bill to increase the deficit by no more than $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. The second is that the bill can’t increase the deficit at all in the 10 years following that. They need to repeal the mandate because doing so gives them $338 billion in savings to work with, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

But the CBO also says that repealing the mandate will result in 13 million fewer Americans with health insurance-- hence those savings, which won’t be spent on expanded coverage-- and increases in premiums of an additional 10 percent a year. Some people won’t realize that they’re eligible for free or heavily subsidized insurance and, without the mandate to prod them, won’t get it, and as young and healthy people pull out of the market, the remaining pool will be older and sicker, leading to premium spikes, the exit of insurers from the market, and a potential “death spiral.” There are some Republicans, including the president of the United States, who are actually dumb enough to think voters will blame Barack Obama for this.

But that’s just one element of this tax cut that is going to be incredibly unpopular. Remember that point about not being able to increase the deficit at all after 10 years? Because they want to make the corporate tax cut permanent-- since it’s the real centerpiece of this whole effort-- here’s what they’re going to do:
[Senate Republicans] also announced that the individual tax cuts in the plan would be made temporary, expiring at the end of 2025 to comply with Senate rules limiting the impact of legislation on the long-term deficit. A corporate tax cut, reducing the rate from 35 to 20 percent, would be left permanent.
In other words, if you happen to be one of the lucky people who come out ahead at first with all the complex changes to the tax code this bill makes, in 2026 your taxes will go up. It’s just getting better and better, isn’t it? So let’s review:
The Republican tax bill raises taxes on somewhere between 16 million (Senate version) and 47 million (House version) American households; the difference is mostly because the Senate bill doesn’t get rid of as many deductions as the House bill.
Most of the benefits of the tax bill go to the wealthy and corporations.
It may raise taxes on people with large medical expenses, and parents who adopt children, and people with student loans, and graduate students (these provisions are in the House bill, which ends these deductions, but not the Senate bill).
It raises taxes on people who live in states with significant state and local taxes, because it does away with this deduction (in both versions).
Because it eliminates personal exemptions, it raises taxes on many families with multiple children (in both versions).
It will increase insurance premiums and lead to 13 million fewer Americans with health coverage.
It could trigger a $25 billion cut to Medicare because of existing budget rules.

If you had to sum it up simply-- for instance, if you were writing a Democratic attack ad in the 2018 election-- you could say that Republicans are raising taxes on millions of Americans and taking away health insurance from millions more, all to pay for a huge giveaway to corporations.

Of course, Republicans argue that giving corporations a tax cut will make us all enormously richer. This claim is laughable, since corporations are already earning near-record profits and unemployment is low; it’s not as though they’re starving for cash and once they get this tax cut they’ll rush to invest, create jobs and raise wages.

We now have a vivid illustration of this fact. Gary Cohn, President Trump’s chief economic adviser, was at a forum, and the moderator asked how many of the business leaders in the audience planned to increase investment if the tax reform bill passed. Only a couple of hands went up. Cohn said with a pained smile: “Why aren’t the other hands up?”

If we’re considering the politics of this bill, it’s also important to understand that very few people buy the Republican argument. In fact, most Americans think corporate taxes should be raised, not lowered. So not only are the details politically damaging, but also the core of the bill is something the public doesn’t want.

None of this means the bill won’t pass. Republicans have convinced themselves that no matter how bad the bill is, not passing anything is worse, so the chances that they’ll allow it to fail are small. But when that day comes, Democrats will know that Republicans just gave them yet another powerful issue to run on in 2018. Expect to hear them say, “Republicans have had complete control of Washington for the past two years-- and all they did was raise your taxes and yank millions from health coverage so they could lard another giveaway on corporations.” Something tells me that might be a pretty effective message.
Forbes ran a piece by Stan Collender yesterday, GOP Tax Bill Is The End Of All Economic Sanity In Washington, asserting that Ryan's tax scam "will be the start of a decades-long economic policy disaster unlike any other that has occurred in American history... [It] will increase the federal deficit by $2 trillion or more over the next decade (the official estimates of $1.5 trillion hide the real amount with a witches brew of gimmicks and outright lies) that, unless all the rules have changed, is virtually certain to result in inflation and much higher interest rates than would otherwise occur... It will "be enacted without anyone who votes for it having any understanding of the damage it could do to the economy. They have wishes, hopes and prayers but in reality nothing beyond the economic equivalent of pagan superstition... [I]f the GOP tax bill is enacted, Congress and the president this year will give up almost all ability to deal with the U.S. economy for at least a decade even when, as almost certainly will happen, there's a downturn. No one else will be able to fulfill this role. That's almost a textbook definition of economic insanity." This is what Paul Ryan has plotted his entire adult life and even if Randy Bryce defeats him in 2018-- as seems likely (you can help make that happen by tapping on the thermometer below)-- it will be too late for tech country's economic well-being.

Early this morning, The Atlantic published David Frum's musings on the Ryan Tax Scam, and though he's a proponent of corporate tax reform, he noted that "It’s a scandalous expression of upper-class and Sunbelt chauvinism that will melt away within weeks of the next Democratic electoral success. Even if it becomes law, as still seems improbable in the face of the plan’s terrible poll numbers, what firm would venture a long-term investment based on tax changes so likely unsustainable?”

Goal ThermometerAnd, so far, Pelosi has been incredibly successful in holding her entire caucus together in opposing this crap. Not even one stinking Republican-lite Blue Dog or New Dem-- not even Sinema, Lipinski, Peterson, Gottheimer or Cuellar-- has strayed across the aisle. Why is that important? The Democrats often find themselves unable to deliver effective messaging against congressional Republicans because these very Democrats cross the aisle and vote with Ryan and McCarthy. If the Democrats attack the GOP for passing legislation that Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party help them pass, it creates a schism inside the party and could possibly help defeat Democratic incumbents in elections, considered, in DC, the end of the world as we know it. Now, if Pelosi would just tell the DCCC to stop recruiting more Blue Dogs and New Dems, things will be a lot less complicated for the party going forward. But that isn't going to happen. Of the 11 candidates for 2018 that the DCCC has thus far officially endorsed, at least 8 are from the Republican wing of the party-- gun freak and New Dem Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Blue Dog Brendan Kelly (IL), Blue Dog Paul Davis (KS), New Dem Elissa Slotkin (MI), New Dem Angie Craig (MN), Blue Dog Dan McCready (NC) and Blue Dog Anthony Brindisi (NY). And, although neither Jason Crow (CO) nor Susie Lee (NV) has been officially endorsed by either the New Dems nor Blue Dogs yet, I know that stink of Republicanism emanating from both of them. Help fight Blue Dog-ism by tapping on the thermometer on the right and contributing what you can to solid progressive candidates.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

Be assured. Be sooo assured. The so-called president has returned to the White Supremacy House at 1600 Pennsylvania from his "Sell America Out To China Tour." The tweet storms are back! There will be no interruption in Trump Chinese-made ties hitting the shelves! And evidently, there will be more styles in Ivanka's shoe line, and who knows what else!


Sunday, November 19, 2017

I'm Sure Kirsten Gillibrand Doesn't Want To Lead A War Against Men


Yesterday I was all excited that Kirsten Gillibrand had boldly endorsed progressive reformer Marie Newman against Blue Dog Dan Lipinski. It was probably the first time I've praised Gillibrand since 2006 when she was first elected to Congress-- with a little help from Blue America. (Watch that Rickie Lee Jones/Squirrel Nut Zippers video we produced and promoted on upstate New York radio for her above.)

But then I looked a little closer at Gillibrand's Off the Sidelines PAC, largely funded by the same Wall Street crooks and corporate monstrosities that have made her the #1 recipient of tainted Financial Sector money in the Senate so far this cycle ($1,368,153). Since 2006 she has accepted $9,093,866 from the Financial Sector, more than any other current members of the Senate other than a couple who ran for president (John McCain and Marco Rubio) plus Schumer, McConnell, Rob Portman and Pat Toomey.

I looked at the contributions Gillibrand's PAC had handed out last cycle-- $172,000-- and couldn't find any pattern to the giving in terms of ideology. She gave to some of the most rotgut conservative Democrats like Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ), Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-AZ), Gwen Graham (Blue Dog-FL), Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL), "ex"-Republican Monica Vernon, Blue Dog Gretchen Driskell (MI), Chris Matthews' conservative wife Kathleen (MD), and lots and lots of New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, like Terri Sewell (AL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), Katherine Rice (NY), Emily Cain (ME), gun fanatic Ann Kirkpatrick(AZ), Ann Kuster (NH), and Suzan DelBene (WA), but also to a few very strong progressives like Zephyr Teachout (NY), Carol Shea-Porter (NH), Pramila Jayapal, Joseline Pena-Melnyk (MD), Mary Ellen Balchunis (PA), Donna Edwards (MD) and Lucy Flores (NV). All over the map, right? Yeah... except for one thing. No men. Gillibrand only gives to women. Not even one man was good enough? And then I realized she was also  giving to really terrible women candidates in primaries against really excellent male candidates. OK, that's how she plays... nothing to do with how bad Lipinski was at all yesterday after all.

Same thing this cycle... all women-- awesome ones like Haley Stevens (MI), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Katie Porter (CA) and Elizabeth Warren (MA)... and really dreadful crap candidates like Sinema, Kirkpatrick and Dianne Feinstein. Does Kirsten Gillibrand think some kind of a war on men is what's needed now? Is that going to further her transparent goal your for the presidency?

Let me acknowledge-- with great vigor and greater enthusiasm-- the entirely justifiable rage women have now, not only at patterns of abuse that permeate a reactionary patriarchal society, but at Trump stealing the election from Hillary and that, in order to actually change things for the better, there may have to be a rational proportionate series of responses-- even a little EMILY's List type affirmative action. I know for me personally, if the woman candidate is better, I support her. If the man candidate is better I support him... but if the two candidates are equally qualified, I'll always back the woman candidate. Why? There aren't enough women in elected office-- and that is primarily because the patriarchal power structure has disadvantaged women as a class. That needs to be made up for.

Friday night, Politico went up with a post by Gabriel Debenedetti, Gillibrand remark on Clinton sends shockwaves through Democratic Party. "Going," reported Debenedetti, "where no other prominent Democrat had before on Thursday evening by declaring that Bill Clinton should have resigned the presidency during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the New York senator and potential 2020 presidential contender yet again found herself the face of a national conversation with the potential to dominate headlines and divide her party. At a time Democrats are desperate to keep the focus on accusations against President Donald Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, Gillibrand’s stand shocked even some of her close allies. They had no inkling that she was planning to make news-- let alone news that would invite questions about her own ties to a political power family that has dominated her party’s consciousness for nearly three decades."
The comment also put new, awkward distance between two women whose careers have been politically intertwined since Gillibrand-- then a second-term House member-- took over Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat upon her ascension to the State Department in 2009.

Yet it allowed Gillibrand to act as the tip of the spear on a position that many Democrats suspect will slowly become more popular in the party.

The longtime Clinton ally’s answer to the New York Times' question neatly encapsulated how Gillibrand has placed herself front and center on the dominant issue of the day, even if it forces a debate her own party is uncomfortable confronting. And it highlighted the political dexterity that her critics and rivals often deride as opportunism: A former conservative Blue Dog House member, Gillibrand has reinvented herself as a leading progressive [ROTFLMAO-- sure she is, Gabe] and face of the Trump resistance ahead of a potential presidential run.

"I admire her for speaking out and for being really honest and blunt and brutal about it, even when it comes to Democrats and even when it comes to President Clinton," said longtime Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, a former Hillary Clinton aide.

But, Cardona said, Gillibrand's fight is far from a straightforward one even within the party: "President Clinton is beloved."
So was Al Franken... but no longer. And perhaps he doesn't deserve to be. Perhaps Gillibrand can have a party free on men altogether. That seems brilliant... but unfair. She only wants a party without men who have oogled women or who have jerked off while talking to one on the phone once or committed some other sin against women. This is so touchy but, apparently, we're going to have to deal with it. Many men-- most men?-- are pigs and they're going to not do the kind of crap Bill Clinton and Al Franken did. Is what Franken did a political death sentence? It shouldn't be-- unless the voters of Minnesota think it should. I know one thing for sure... if I had to pick between Al Franken or Kirsten Gillibrand (or Kyrsten Sinema), I'd pick Franken any day of the week. I was never a big Bill Clinton fan but when Gillibrand was asked by the NY Times if he should have stepped down, after the consensual sex he had with another adult, she said, "Yes, I think that is the appropriate response."
A handful of aides to both Clintons declined to comment for this story, citing the political danger of weighing in on such a delicate matter between influential figures in the party. But Philippe Reines-- a longtime aide to the former secretary of state-- lashed out at Gillibrand on Twitter.

“Ken Starr spent $70 million on a consensual blowjob,” he wrote, referring to the investigation into Bill Clinton. “Senate voted to keep [President Clinton]. But not enough for you @SenGillibrand? Over 20 yrs you took the Clintons’ endorsements, money, and seat. Hypocrite. Interesting strategy for 2020 primaries. Best of luck.”
I'm sure Gillibrand is aware that Bill Clinton was impeached for his crime. But that's not enough for her? Nope. This is a topic Democrats are going to have come to some consensus on-- and fast. I can't imagine a Democratic senator having a PAC that only gave money to men. Can you? Of course not; it's a ridiculous concept. There's probably a difference that needs to be recognized between what predators like Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Mark Foley and Roy Moore do and what Al Franken and even Bill Clinton are guilty of. But I would say that if Gillibrand and her single-minded friends keep this up, it will play right into Steve Bannon's hands and crash the anti-Trump wave real fast and do what otherwise looks impossible: keep the Republicans and Donald Trump in power.

And by the way, Gillibrand was once the poster child for the NRA in New York State and the voice of ugly, vicious xenophobia and racism against Hispanics. Should we dredge that up to and drum her out of the party? I don't think so. Is it as bad-- or worse-- than what Franken did? Make up your own mind.

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If Trump Is Willing To Stiff Texas On Disaster Relief, Imagine How Blue States Would Fare!


Dayna Steele virtually put her campaign for Congress on hold for nearly a month in the aftermath of the devastation Hurricane Harvey brought to the Houston area so she and her campaign volunteers could work with their neighbors on the immediate effects of the storm. Now Texans-- not to mention folks in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands-- are waiting for help from the Trump Regime. It's not coming. We mentioned the other day that Ryan's tax scam bill cuts out earthquake repairs deductions for Californians. Hurricane deductions-- primarily in red and purple states-- was left intact... but the White House doesn't want to come up with the money Texas needs to get the Houston and Gulf Coast fully back on its feet.

Dayna explained that "The goal of Trump and his fellow swamp dwellers is to eventually cut off as much government funding as possible. The less money the government needs to operate, the better off the wealthy and corporations are in this country. That means less help during and after disasters, the eventual elimination of Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, and the elimination of programs that help kids, the elderly, education healthcare, job training and more." Ironically, there are some very conservative Texas Republicans who are seeing it a lot like Dayna is. There's nothing to the right of Texas Governor Greg Abbott. On Friday he called Trump's $44 billion request to Congress for disaster relief for the effects of Harvey, Irma and Maria "completely inadequate... and does not live up to what the president wants to achieve. The president has told me privately what he’s said publicly, and that is he wants to be the builder president. The president has said that he wants this to be the best recovery from a disaster ever."

The White House told him to pay for his own disaster relief. Damage in Texas alone is estimated to exceed $180 billion. Huckabee's contemptible daughter: "We feel strongly that they should step up and play a role and work with the federal government in this process. We did a thorough assessment and that was completed and this was the number that we put forward to Congress today."

Trump doesn't want to spent more than $100 billion in federal funds. Nita Lowey (D-NY) is the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee. She's siding with Abbott. "This request does not come close to what local officials say is needed." And it isn't just Lowey. Texas Senator John Cornyn, the #2 Republican in the Senate, is fuming. He told Texans this week that "It’s really time for the federal government to live up to its responsibilities" and he's making common cause with Puerto Rico as well. "We are asking to be treated fairly. And we intend to fight for that."
There is no doubt the people of Texas and the entire Gulf Coast, + Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, need this money to rebuild their lives and our state's infrastructure, but it strikes me as a tad "interesting", that when it was Superstorm Sandy and the East Coast, some of the Texas GOP officials didn't seem to think that the money was really needed for them. Now that it is us, of course the Government should give us everything we need. There's an old saying, "You never need government until you NEED government," and I think these officials are getting a whiff of that. With President Obama, he was right there, ready to give aid, Gov. Christie even praised him for the work he did. It was Congress dragging their heals on Sandy. With these storms, we have a totally incompetent President who has no clue as to what is needed or why, so why should anyone be surprised that the offer is far lower than it will take to restore all? What was done quickly and well was done mostly because of the prep that President Obama had built into the emergency responses, and Trump hadn't had time to screw up yet.

This President is focused on tax cuts that will give his family a big "win" in the tax department. Time and again, he's showed his almost complete lack of compassion for others, so no one should be surprised at this. Angry, yes! But surprised, no. Also, a memo for Texas legislators and governor-- "you reap what you sow."
Earlier today, we met progressive Democratic congressional candidate Kathi Thomas. She suggested that "Perhaps in times of great need like this, we should forego tax cuts for the wealthiest and use some of that money to pay to get those areas sacked by this storm back to operation sooner rather than later. Might we have a time of shared sacrifice? Those on the coast have been forced to 'sacrifice' their homes and belongings, and some of their lives, too. Might we show compassion and work together to make our country stronger, instead of giving so much to the richest of the rich?"

Hector Morales, running for the open blue seat in the Houston-Pasadena (TX-29) area agrees with Kathi's perspective. "This," he told us, "is just another example of systemic failure by our government to put the well being of our citizens at the center of policy. Political agendas and special interests hinder the ability of ordinary people to get the help they need and is just yet another reason why we must elect people to government who have the people at heart and not corporate greed."

Goal ThermometerTom Wakely is Abbott's opponent for the governor's mansion in Austin this cycle. He's not putting all the blame on Trump though. He told us that "The irony of Abbott's claim of inadequate funding for Hurricane disaster relief is that he is sitting on $10.3 billion dollars in state funds that he could use to help his fellow Texans. Texas has the nation’s largest economic stabilization fund (ESF), commonly called a 'rainy day fund.' I guess the question is, how much more does it have to rain before we tap these readily available state funds. Right now there is a high school in southeast Texas, in Beaumont, that was completely destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. Central High School, which was over 100 years old, is located in an historically black neighborhood. They have been begging Abbott for funds to rebuild. Michael Cooper, who is running for Lt. Governor, told me, 'that kids are displaced and separated from their community and are now attending classes at two separate schools. Even if Abbott decided to allocated funds to rebuild this 39 acre campus, it would take 3-5 years. A lifetime for a 13 or 14 year old. But given that Abbott could care less about the Black and Brown students who attend Central High, we all know those funds will never come.' An additionally irony is that since 2009, the state of Texas has sued the federal government at least 48 times, the same federal government that Abbott is now asking help from."

As for Trump's $100 billion disaster relief ceiling... Puerto Rico has asked for $94 billion, Florida for $27 billion and Texas countered the Department of Housing and Urban Development's $5 billion allocation with a request for 10 times that-- and that's just for housing, not for infrastructure and, for example, for the projects meant to combat future floods.

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