Feb 18 2020

Cartnoon

Banksy

Feb 18 2020

The DSCC Really, Really Hates Lefties

Really.

Democrats fear Republican sabotage in key Senate race
By JAMES ARKIN and BURGESS EVERETT, Politico
02/17/2020

Democrats are growing alarmed about Republican attempts to prop up an insurgent liberal candidate in North Carolina — fearful that GOP meddling will undercut the party’s prospects in a key Senate contest.

What seems like a generic campaign ad pitching Erica Smith, a North Carolina state senator, as “the only proven progressive” in the state’s high-profile Senate race is actually part of a multimillion dollar investment from a mysterious super PAC — the innocuously named “Faith and Power PAC” — with apparent ties to Republicans.

The ad campaign, which began last week ahead of the March 3 primary, immediately disrupted the bid from frontrunner and Democratic leadership favorite Cal Cunningham to emerge from his primary and face incumbent GOP Sen. Thom Tillis in November.

The North Carolina race is critical: Without beating Tillis, Democrats’ path back to the Senate majority is nearly impossible. Cunningham, a former state lawmaker and military veteran, lost a Senate primary in 2010, and Democrats are eager to avoid the same result this year. But things are getting messy — and expensive.

Smith, whose low-budget campaign has otherwise posed little threat to Cunningham, has denounced the intervention. But the episode threatens Democrats’ hopes of getting the better-funded, more moderate Cunningham through the primary unscathed.

Well, good. I’m glad. No ConservaDem should go unchallenged just as no Republican should go unchallenged. What are you afraid of? Finding out Voters think your ideas about stealing their money for your Billionaire Buddies suck? If that’s all you have to offer you deserve to lose because you’re no better than they are and arguably worse because you know you’re a mercenary hypocrite and don’t have the refuge of delusion.

Privately, Senate Democrats have been discussing the matter internally, with one fretting that Smith is “unelectable” in a general election and will be painted as a Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) acolyte. Few in the party want to criticize Smith publicly since no matter who emerges as Democrats’ nominee, North Carolina is a must-win to take back the Senate.

But the GOP infusion of money is increasing worries about disarray.

“You want your strongest candidate. And if she’s not the strongest candidate, yes, it makes it much tougher,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who supports Cunningham. “There’s just too much money in politics, and they spend it on trying to get the weakest candidate to run against” Tillis.

Democrats have used similar tactics in past Senate races in Missouri and West Virginia to elevate weak Republicans but decry the practice in their own internal politics. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who referred to Tillis as “extremely weak” in his reelection campaign, said the GOP is “known for voter suppression and playing games with voters, and they are taking it to new heights here.”

Consider the source (ConservaDem Tester) and anybody can beat a Senator who’s head is so far up Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio’s ass the only way you can see their head is when the Puppet opens its mouth.

The public polling in the race is scarce, though Democrats’ believe months of heavy spending laid the groundwork for Cunningham to prevail. VoteVets, a group that supports Democratic veterans and endorsed Cunningham’s campaign, has spent $6 million between its super PAC and an affiliated nonprofit on positive ads for his candidacy. Cunningham has spent six figures on TV, and his campaign is also running TV ads with coordinated spending from the DSCC. Most of those efforts were underway before the apparent intervention from Republicans, but the spending has increased in the past week.

Another mysterious super PAC — “Carolina Blue” — was created last week and has spent $1.1 million backing Cunningham, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. The group has ties to national Democrats: It uses the same media buyer and bank as Senate Majority PAC, a top Democratic outside group. A Senate Majority PAC spokesperson did not return requests for comment.

“Cal Cunningham has never won a federal race he’s ran for. To suggest that this is an unbelievable recruit that Chuck Schumer got? He has no proven track record and is not known in the state,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). “Schumer has funded 100 percent of the Cunningham campaign. Why would they complain if somebody else funded the opponent?”

Cunningham, who represented an area north of Charlotte in the state Senate for one term nearly two decades ago, is an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran and has the endorsement of the DSCC, as well as a variety of North Carolina politicians and organizations.

Smith was first elected in 2014 to an eastern North Carolina state Senate seat. She’s struggled to raise money, hauling in only slightly above $200,000 last year, with just $94,000 in cash on hand at the end of 2019. Cunningham entered January with $1.7 million in the bank.

Smith expressed frustration at the idea that she is a weaker general election candidate, saying in an interview that there is there is a “certain privilege that exudes from these statements.”

“Traditional D.C. says that the strength and the weakness of a candidate is based on their money. … We know that their theory is wrong,” she said. “Time and time again, the DSCC and D.C. — they’ve backed well-financed candidates, only to have them lose.”

Still, the Republicans’ tactic may be a boon for Smith’s campaign, which hasn’t spent any money on TV. Harrison Hickman, a pollster and consultant for former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), said Republicans were “astute” in boosting Smith because what an unknown candidate “needs more than anything else is name recognition and popularity.” But he said there could be “backlash” if voters are aware of the group’s GOP ties.

Gary Pearce, a longtime Democratic strategist in the state, said Cunningham had a “very comfortable” lead in the race just a few weeks ago. Now, he said, it’s “no sure thing.”

In this particular case a little “both-siderism” is warranted.

Feb 18 2020

The Breakfast Club (Safeguards)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ is first published; Jefferson Davis is sworn in as President of the Confederate States of America; ‘Chicago Seven’ defendants in court; Dale Earnhardt, Senior dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

I do not think we should be trying to save our freedom by killing the safeguards that keep our liberties.

Eliot Engel

Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 17 2020

Move Over Joe Biden

These Republican Lite ConservaDems are just a laugh factory. Uncle Joe is losing mojo to Mayo Mike not just in the Polls, but also in the contest for 2020 Gaffe (Gaffe defined as accidentally telling the Truth as opposed to politely lying about what you really think) Champion.

Seriously Mike, Farmers and Factory Workers? There are not enough people on the Upper West Side to get you elected no matter how much money you spend.

Michael Bloomberg dogged by more past controversial remarks
by Richard Luscombe, The Guardian
Mon 17 Feb 2020

Speaking at Oxford University’s Saïd business school in the UK in 2016, the former mayor of New York appeared to question if blue-collar workers had the skills necessary to adapt to the information technology age. The comments were reported by Fox News.

Also on Monday there was increasing scrutiny of 2013 Bloomberg speeches, made in his final year as mayor and reported by Politico, branding local members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and New York’s teachers’ union as “extremists” and likening them to the gun lobbying group the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Did I mention he has Dual US/UK Citizenship? Thus not puzzling all for him to be making remarks at Oxford.

In his 2016 Oxford remarks, delivered during a distinguished speakers’ forum, Bloomberg was asked if citizens of middle America could be united with those living on the coasts.

“I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer,” Bloomberg said.

“It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. You could learn that. Then we had 300 years of the industrial society. You put the piece of metal on the lathe, you turn the crank in the direction of the arrow and you can have a job.

“Now comes the information economy [which is] fundamentally different because it’s built around replacing people with technology and the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze, and that is a whole degree level different. You have to have a different skill set, you have to have a lot more gray matter.”

He continued that it “wasn’t clear” if “students can learn,” even with subsidized housing and education.

Bloomberg’s apparent attack on civil rights workers and teachers in 2013 came when, as mayor, he was battling his city’s chapter of the ACLU over the New York police department’s “stop-and-frisk” policies, which the group claimed was disproportionately affecting young black males.

“We don’t need extremists on the left or right running our police department, whether it’s the NRA or the NYCLU,” he said in the video obtained by Politico, which explained that the civil liberties group was pursuing legislation at the time that would make it easier for those targeted by the policy to sue the city.

Other Bloomberg comments the same year, just months after the Sandy Hook massacre at a Connecticut elementary school claimed 27 lives, outraged the leadership of the New York’s united federation of teachers, which had also been critical of stop and frisk.

“The NRA’s another place where the membership, if you do the polling, doesn’t agree with the leadership,” Bloomberg said.

Randi Weingarten, the leader of the national teachers union and a former head of the New York chapter, described the comments as “disgusting” at the time. “By comparing the NRA and the [union], it cheapens his advocacy about gun control at a time when we need his advocacy to be sharp,” she said.

Feb 17 2020

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Sally Yates: Trump thinks the Justice Department is his personal grudge squad

The department is not a tool of any president to be used for retribution or camouflage.

The imperative of Justice Department independence from political influence has deep roots. After the Watergate scandal, Attorney General Griffin Bell sought to reestablish Justice’s independence and ensure that the department would be “recognized by all citizens as a neutral zone, in which neither favor nor pressure nor politics is permitted to influence the administration of the law.” The nation had lost faith in the Justice Department and the rule of law, so during the Carter administration Bell instituted strict limits on communications between the White House and Justice to prevent any “outside interference in reaching professional judgment on legal matters.”

Since Bell’s tenure, attorneys general in Democratic and Republican administrations alike have issued largely similar policies to adhere to the course Bell mapped for the department to live up to its promise of impartial justice. All have observed a “wall” between the White House and the Justice Department on criminal cases and investigations. While it is appropriate to communicate about administration policies and priorities, discussion with the White House about specific criminal cases has traditionally been off-limits. Presidents and department leaders from both parties have recognized that for case decisions to have legitimacy, they must be made without political influence — whether real or perceived. Implementation of these restrictions has not always been perfect, but the department’s independence has remained honored and unquestioned.

Until now.

George Conway: There is no one to stop Trump now

When the subject of Attorney General William P. Barr comes up these days, it’s hard not to think of John S. McCain. Not the late senator, mind you, but the USS John S. McCain, the naval destroyer named after his father and grandfather.

It was an incident involving this ship that, as much as anything else, captures how the Trump administration — and its attorney general — operates. It explains Barr’s intervention into the criminal sentencing of Trump’s longtime friend and adviser, felon Roger Stone, and much, much more.

The McCain was docked at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan in May 2019, when the 7th Fleet issued a directive that had originated from conversations with the White House Military Office. The president was coming to Yokosuka on Memorial Day, and so, accordingly: “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight.” So sailors were ordered to hang a tarp over the vessel’s name, and they removed any coverings that bore the words “John S. McCain.” [..]

Anticipating Trump’s narcissistic whims and desires in just this fashion remains the key to survival in his administration, and outside the White House proper, no one does it better than Barr. It’s thus entirely believable, as both Barr and Trump have said, that Trump never gave Barr any instruction about Stone’s case.

Max Boot: This is how democracy dies — in full view of a public that couldn’t care less

The French philosopher Montesquieu wrote in 1748: “The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.” We are seeing his warning vindicated. President Trump is increasingly acting as a tyrannical (and erratic) prince. And yet much of the public is so inured to his misconduct that his latest assaults on the rule of law are met with a collective shrug. Public passivity is Trump’s secret weapon as he pursues his authoritarian agenda. “I have the right to do whatever I want,” he says, and the lack of pushback seems to confirm it.

So much bad has happened since Trump was unjustly acquitted by the Senate of two articles of impeachment on Feb. 5 that it’s hard to keep it all straight.

Trump fired Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman for complying with a congressional subpoena and providing truthful testimony about Trump’s attempts to extort Ukraine into aiding him politically. Also ousted was Vindman’s brother, who did not testify. This sends a mob-like message: If you turn stool pigeon, your family gets it, too.

Charles M. Blow: Democrats, Don’t Wish for Your Own Rogue
Bloomberg’s record and misleading statements make him a dangerous choice.

It is truly a devastating sight to watch liberals who have winced for years at Donald Trump’s issues on wealth, race and women allow fear, propaganda and influence mercenaries to push them into supporting a man who has his own issues concerning wealth, women and race.

It is jaw-dropping to see people who have long centered morality and conviction as their guiding light willfully say that they are willing to forgo all that. How many of them relentlessly chastised the religious right for supporting Trump, who openly disregards many of their tenets? Some of these very same people are now willing to do exactly the same thing as Trump.

How many people rightly complaining about kids in cages at the border are simply willing to overlook all the kids Michael Bloomberg put in cages as a result of stop-and-frisk? How many people, who stormed Washington during the Women’s March, cheered #MeToo and recoiled in horror as Trump was accused by multiple women of sexual impropriety, are now willing to ignore the accusations against Bloomberg?

And, for what? It’s not as if Democrats don’t have viable candidates to choose from, none of whom even come close to the scale of Bloomberg’s transgressions.

Feb 17 2020

Medicare For All!

John Oliver is finally back and he kicks off with a piece about ‘Medicare For All’.

He correctly points out at least 2 major points, one of which is ‘Medicare’ is kind of a misnomer because that program leaves out a lot of Health Services and requires Co-Pays while ‘Medicaid’, the one it most resembles, covers almost everything.

Paid for by Taxes of course because people don’t understand money and that brings up the second point.

It saves a ton of money.

It does so through 2 principal mechanisms- collective bargaining power putting pressure on Service Expenses and elimination of For Profit Health Insurance.

The entire Industry is an Economic Leech by definition. The only way they make money is through denial of Services. Do you want your critical Health Care Services denied because they’re too expensive? Are you rationally choosing to die rather than spend a penny Scrooge?

Nothing rational about you. You’re a nut.

Even my sister who works in the Industry thinks Health Insurance is a straight up rip off (told you, the Liz waffle is what put her off) which is why she positions her cv more as a generalized developer of procedures and training applicable to any business. Before this gig she sold T-Shirts.

Bernie is somewhat correct in that in order to see the benefits a good portion of the Market is going to have to shift and the full effects will not be realized until participation is nearly universal. Above all young, healthy, invincible, immortals can not be excused from what is actually a Civic Duty.

I mean caring for Sick People, or are you one of those ‘shove ’em out on an ice flow’ types? At least have the decency not to admit it.

And he’s right on another front too- you don’t negotiate with yourself. So you have to compromise, you’ll get more of what you want if you actually, you know, ask for what you want.

Feb 17 2020

Cartnoon

Chocolate, how can you go wrong?

Feb 17 2020

The Barr Letter

February 16, 2020, Medium

We, the undersigned, are alumni of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) who have collectively served both Republican and Democratic administrations. Each of us strongly condemns President Trump’s and Attorney General Barr’s interference in the fair administration of justice.

As former DOJ officials, we each proudly took an oath to support and defend our Constitution and faithfully execute the duties of our offices. The very first of these duties is to apply the law equally to all Americans. This obligation flows directly from the Constitution, and it is embedded in countless rules and laws governing the conduct of DOJ lawyers. The Justice Manual — the DOJ’s rulebook for its lawyers — states that “the rule of law depends on the evenhanded administration of justice”; that the Department’s legal decisions “must be impartial and insulated from political influence”; and that the Department’s prosecutorial powers, in particular, must be “exercised free from partisan consideration.”

All DOJ lawyers are well-versed in these rules, regulations, and constitutional commands. They stand for the proposition that political interference in the conduct of a criminal prosecution is anathema to the Department’s core mission and to its sacred obligation to ensure equal justice under the law.

And yet, President Trump and Attorney General Barr have openly and repeatedly flouted this fundamental principle, most recently in connection with the sentencing of President Trump’s close associate, Roger Stone, who was convicted of serious crimes. The Department has a long-standing practice in which political appointees set broad policies that line prosecutors apply to individual cases. That practice exists to animate the constitutional principles regarding the even-handed application of the law. Although there are times when political leadership appropriately weighs in on individual prosecutions, it is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case. It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court.

Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice. In this nation, we are all equal before the law. A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President. Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.

We welcome Attorney General Barr’s belated acknowledgment that the DOJ’s law enforcement decisions must be independent of politics; that it is wrong for the President to interfere in specific enforcement matters, either to punish his opponents or to help his friends; and that the President’s public comments on DOJ matters have gravely damaged the Department’s credibility. But Mr. Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words. Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign. But because we have little expectation he will do so, it falls to the Department’s career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice.

For these reasons, we support and commend the four career prosecutors who upheld their oaths and stood up for the Department’s independence by withdrawing from the Stone case and/or resigning from the Department. Our simple message to them is that we — and millions of other Americans — stand with them. And we call on every DOJ employee to follow their heroic example and be prepared to report future abuses to the Inspector General, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and Congress; to refuse to carry out directives that are inconsistent with their oaths of office; to withdraw from cases that involve such directives or other misconduct; and, if necessary, to resign and report publicly — in a manner consistent with professional ethics — to the American people the reasons for their resignation. We likewise call on the other branches of government to protect from retaliation those employees who uphold their oaths in the face of unlawful directives. The rule of law and the survival of our Republic demand nothing less.

Feb 17 2020

The Breakfast Club (Make It Happen)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer gets life in prison; House lawmakers pick a president; Garry Kasparov beats IBM’s Deep Blue at chess; NBA star Michael Jordan born; The Eagles release their greatest hits.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.

Michael Jordan

Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 16 2020

Not A Rant

Merely confirmation bias.

Lucien is always kind of ranty and not necessarily a reliable narrator. He may say he’s never used this particular metaphor before but I can think of at least a half dozen other occasions off the top of my head.

But I’ve been there for years and as Europeans laugh (out of irony because it’s not funny), while the Shadow of Fascism always seems to be descending on the United States and landing in Europe, this time the angle of attack doesn’t look propitious.

Can we stop tiptoeing around the fact that Trump is behaving like a dictator?
by Lucian K. Truscott IV, Salon
February 15, 2020

There will come a time when we look back on this week as the moment in our history when we finally understood that we have a man as president who is acting like a fascist dictator. Just look at the headlines from one day’s New York Times alone: “Alarm in Capital as Axes Swing in Growing Post-Acquittal Purge,” “Justice Dept. Acts to Ease Sentence for a Trump Ally.” If either one of those headlines had run on the front page of a major American newspaper before now, not to mention both of them at once, we would have believed as a people, as a citizenry, that we were facing a national crisis. But this week? Wednesday was just another day in Donald Trump’s America.

The day before that, in what became known as the “Tuesday night massacre,” all four prosecutors in the case against Trump’s longtime friend and political bad boy Roger Stone had resigned in protest of the intervention by Trump and his attorney general, William Barr, to reduce the sentence recommended by the Department of Justice in Stone’s conviction for lying to congressional committees and tampering with witnesses.

All of this followed closely the “Friday night massacre” of last week, when Trump fired two of the impeachment witnesses against him, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman of the National Security Council and Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union.

But two “massacres” in a row was just the beginning. By mid-week, Trump was suggesting that Army officials with court-martial authority over Vindman should “take a look at” punishing him for testifying at the impeachment hearing.

Before this week, I would have thought it an exaggeration to compare Trump’s frequent rallies to the infamous Nuremberg rallies Hitler held during the 1930s. No longer. Trump’s rallies are unnervingly close to those held in Nuremberg. The MAGA hat has become a kind of Trumpian Nazi helmet. The denunciations of hated minorities are the same. As is his insane bellowing before a crowd screaming its slavish obeisance.

Let’s just stop for a moment and consider the angry chants of “Lock her up,” first directed at Hillary Clinton, now at Nancy Pelosi. What do Trump’s cheering crowds want his Democratic opponents locked up for? Neither of those women has faced criminal charges, much less been convicted of any crime. Neither is even under investigation for corruption or alleged criminal behavior. But that doesn’t matter to Trump and his rally crowds. This stuff has been going on for so long, it’s clear that they actually do want them locked up. When Trump stands before his screaming fans, raising his arms and smiling, it’s obvious he does, too. To call for the imprisonment of political opponents without trial is not playing with rhetoric for effect. It’s not political gimmickry. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s not clever. Let’s say out loud what it is: It’s pure fascism, plain and simple.

The man who stands before those rallies and encourages such idolatry isn’t merely running for president. He is calling, directly and without apology, for the kind of obedience and loyalty demanded by dictators. He is commanding worship and submission. It must be why he attracts so completely the support of evangelical Christians. He truly is the false idol their Bible warned them against. They have fallen for him in the same way the most conspicuously devout worshipers commit sins.

It’s hard to put a finger on the worst thing Trump has done since taking office, but right up there is the complete destruction of the idea that the person in the Oval Office is the president of all the people. He isn’t. He doesn’t want to be. If you didn’t vote for him, if you’re not out there wearing a MAGA hat and screaming at his rallies, you’re a non-person. If your state didn’t go for him in the 2016 election, forget about it. Just ask California, or Puerto Rico, still waiting for federal assistance after natural disasters. Or ask New York, which Trump is now extorting like a domestic Ukraine, by denying New Yorkers access to the “Trusted Traveler” program unless the state “stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment” [sic].

To divide the country into those Trump approves of and those he does not is inherently fascistic. That way lies the singling out of non-supporters and minorities for special treatment. With anti-abortion laws being contemplated around the country — almost entirely in red states that supported Trump — that would actually “lock up” women who get abortions, the day when we can sit back and review Trump’s “latest outrage” calmly is over.

Donald Trump is an existential threat to the virtues of the democracy we have enjoyed for more than two centuries. He is a real threat to the things we have thought we shared as Americans: the love of variety and dissent, and a belief in the consent of the governed. The capacity of all citizens to respect each other’s opposing positions, even amid vigorous disagreement. A respect for the disadvantaged and a scorn for the absolutism of the strong. A universal contempt for the public lie. Trump stands in outright opposition to all of this, and he is a threat to us all.

So, not the only one.

Older posts «

» Newer posts

Fetch more items