Friday, May 25, 2018

Is The Democratic Big Tent Big Enough For Homophobes? What About KKK Members?

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Anti-LGBTQ Democrat, Blue Dog Colin Peterson (MN)

On July 7, 2011, notorious and deranged homophobe Virginia Foxx offered an amendment to There were only 19 homophobic Democrats who crossed the aisle to vote with the anti-LGBT Republicans. Most of them have been driven out of Congress but these are the 5 still serving
Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN)
Dan Lipinski (Blue Dog-IL)
Colin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Foxx's intent with the resolution was to prohibit funds provided by a Defense Department funding bill from being used to violate the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law that barred the federal government from requiring states to legally recognize same-sex marriages.

Even earlier, in 2009, Louie "Crazy Louie" Gohmert, offered an amendment --which failed 185-225-- to exempt the armed forces from Hate Crimes legislation. There were 16 Republicans that voted against Gohmert's ugly bigoted bill, but 25 Democrats voted for it. Again, most of them have been driven out of Congress. But these are the 4 repulsive Democratic homophones still serving:
Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Bill Foster (New Dem-IL)
Dan Lipinski (Blue Dog-IL)

Why bring these up now? A new Gallup poll finds that approval for same-sex marriages hit an all time high of 67%. Back when Gohmert's anti-Hate Crimes bill was being voted on only 40% of Americans supported same sex marriage. Gallup:
Sixty-seven percent of Americans support same-sex marriage -- the highest level in Gallup's trend. In each of the past three annual polls, Gallup has recorded three-percentage point increases among Americans who say same-sex marriages should be legally valid. The current figure is up 40 percentage points from the 27% who supported gay marriage when Gallup first polled on the question in 1996.

Some of the increases in support may be due to greater numbers of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults getting married in the U.S. Using data for all of 2017, Gallup has found that more than 10.4% of LGBT adults are married to a same-sex spouse. This means that Americans are more likely to know someone who has married a same-sex partner, and the visibility of these marriages may be playing a role in overturning some folks' previously held opposition to their legal status.

Gay marriage became legal nationwide in 2015 upon the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision. This came more than a decade after the first state, Massachusetts, had legalized gay marriage. In the years leading up to the decision, a patchwork of state laws were created for and against same-sex marriage.

Democrats remain the most likely to support gay marriage among party groups. The 83% of Democrats in favor of legally recognized same-sex marriages is the highest level of support recorded for this group.

Democrats are nearly twice as likely as Republicans to support legal recognition of gay marriages-- less than half of the GOP favors legal gay marriage (44%). The latest figure for Republicans' views on gay marriage is similar to the 47% recorded in 2017. The GOP has seen growth in the percentage of Republicans who favor legally recognized gay marriage over the years, but has yet to reach majority support.

Meanwhile, independents' opinions on the issue are closer to those of Democrats. Currently, 71% of independents say gay marriages should be recognized by the law as valid, matching this group's previous high from last year.
Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) are still very much in Congress-- and as homophobic as ever-- if not more so! And the Republican conference is as crazy and out of step as ever. The party has gotten narrower and narrower and less and less mainstream. The further right it gets, the more homophobic and bigoted it becomes. As far as the anti-gay Democrats, there are very few left but no one should be voting for Blue Dogs like Jim Costa (CA), Henry Cuellar (TX), Dan Lipinski (IL), Sanford Bishop (GA) or Colin Peterson (MN), not in this day and age. In fact, no Democrats should be voting for any Blue Dogs. There day has passed and we should allow them to continue drag the Democratic Party down with them.

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Danger For Democrats: The Blue Dogs Aspire To The Freedom Caucus Role If The Dems Take Congress

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DC's trade paper, Roll Call ran a p.r. piece for the Blue Dogs Wednesday, The Blue Dogs Are Barking Again, the premise being that what Jonathan Miller mistakenly refers to as "moderate" Democrats-- they're conservatives, nor moderates-- were nearly wiped out in 2010 "have hopes for a comeback this year." In 2006 there was a Democratic wave and the DCCC (under Rahm Emanuel) recruited lots of really terrible Blue Dogs who got swept into office by the wave. 2008 was Obama's election and the Democrats extended the wave. Then in the 2010 midterms, Democrats noticed that their Blue Dogs weren't voting like Democrats, they were voting like Republicans-- so the voters stayed home and the Blue Dogs were defeated. Ben Ray Lujan, the DCCC chairman is a moron who is following all of Emanuel's lame ideas-- recruiting Blue Dogs (and New Dems) who will all be wiped out in the next midterm, 2022. I asked a DCCC staffer about that and he laughed and said, if we can just get the gavel for those4 years, we can do so much good."

One of the non-Blue Dogs-- who was actively opposed by Emanuel-- in 2006 was Jerry McNerney. Despite's Emanuel's opposition, he won his primary and the general election-- against one of theist powerful committee chairmen in Congress-- and is still in Congress. Isn't that a better model for Lujan than Emanuel's proven failed model? When Pelosi picked him to lead the DCCC, she ticked off 2 identify politics boxes: Hispanic and gay. She wasn't concerned with the intelligent or competent boxes.

That said, the Blue Dogs aren't doing that great. Last Tuesday, their aggressively recruited Blue Dog in Kentucky, Jim Gray, was defeated by a more progressive candidate, the much less known, Amy McGrath:
Amy McGrath- 48,859 (48.66%)
jim Gray- 40,684 (40.51%)
Reggie Thomas- 7,226 (7.20%)
The Tuesday before, another Blue Dog they went all out for, ex-Congressman (and "ex"-Republican) Brad Ashford, got beaten by Berniecrat Kara Eastman in Omaha. Maybe Lujan and his feebleminded staffers should have taken into account that Bernie won the district in 2016 and that the Democrats who voted for him would probably not be too excited to support someone significantly to the right of Hillary.
Kara Eastman- 20,239 (51.43%)
Brad Ashford- 19,113 (48.57%)
But probably the most embarrassing of all the hilarious Blue Dog/DCCC failures in recent weeks was in the TX-23 primary. The DCCC's horrible candidate, Jay Hulings, was endorsed by the Blue Dogs, New Dems, the Castro Machine in San Antonio and everyone the DCCC could round up for their wretched candidate. Despite spending  $554,903 in the first round, he didn't make it to the 2nd round, the runoffs, because he came in fourth. Second place went tp Judy Canales, a progressive, who spent $33,472 and second place went to Rick Trevino, an avid Berniecrat, who spent $35,170. Hulings had nothing to offer anyone-- just his unimpressive bio that only sounds good inside the Beltway, while Trevino and Canales campaigned on policy that TX-23 voters want: Medicare-for-All, a living minimum wage, free public universities... you know, all the populist stuff that has made Bernie the most beloved political leader in America, while congressional Democrats have a favorability of 37% (almost as bad as the congressional Republicans' 31%).

Several other DCCC-favored Blue Dogs were quickly vanquished. None of that would ever stop Roll Call's nicely-greased p.r. machine. They start with a Blue Dog who won an Illinois primary, Brendan Kelly. Kelly, though, had no serious primary opponent. He sounds a lot like a Republican too, always blaming both parties for everything and loudly tells everyone that an assault weapon ban is taking things too far. His motto is "I’m not your cookie-cutter Democrat, that’s for sure." He brags that he won't vote for Pelosi as Democratic leader. The DCCC is so excited about him that they all pop boners whenever his name comes up.
[M]any are now eyeing 2018 as the Blue Dog’s comeback tour, its path back to relevance. In 2017, the group hired a full-time communications director for the first time since 2014.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has teamed up with the Blue Dogs to identify candidates in districts where Trump prevailed. They are quick to point out that of the six seats Democrats picked up in 2016, four of them are current Blue Dogs. So far, the Blue Dog PAC has endorsed 14 candidates for 2018 (though some have already lost), and more endorsements are on the way, members of the group said.

In March, one of their members, Illinois’ Daniel Lipinski, turned back a determined challenge from a more liberal opponent, Marie Newman.

Conor Lamb, who stunned everyone in March with his special election win in Pennsylvania, is the newest member of the group. Many candidates now are starting to emulate his campaign: pro-union, Trump-curious, anti-Pelosi.

...[T]he group is now starting to think big. Jim Costa, the California Democrat who co-chairs the group, has no doubt there will be growth in the ranks.

“I think the only question is what the number will be,” Costa said. “Will it be seven or eight?”

If that were the case, the Blue Dogs would once again be players at the table.

“If they were to be a caucus of 30 members and they were able to institute rules like the Freedom Caucus”-- the far-right group in which members vote as a bloc on legislation-- “they could have leverage,” said Danielle M. Thomsen, a professor at Syracuse University who has studied the decline of moderate candidates for Congress.

As the group plotted its comeback last year, it tapped a moderate diaspora that is now sprinkled throughout D.C.

Kristen Hawn, who once worked as communications director for the group on Capitol Hill, said that since the 2010 wipeout, the Blue Dog mafia, as she and others have been calling it, has kept in close contact. “We’re a tightly knit group of people. Not just colleagues, but close friends,” she said. The group she co-founded after she left the Blue Dogs, Granite Integrated Strategies, is helping train moderate candidates on messaging, issues and interacting with the media.

The Blue Dog PAC, which has raised nearly $1 million so far this cycle, is poised to exceed its fundraising efforts from 2014 though will likely fall short of 2012, when it raised $1.8 million. The PAC “double maxes out”-- meaning candidates receive $5,000 in the primary and another $5,000 in the general election.




Many contributors who have hit their contribution limit to the PAC have been steered to individual candidates, Hawn said. And even though many Blue Dogs are staunch defenders of gun rights, the group did run into some rough waters when the McClatchy news organization discovered in April the PAC had accepted $9,950 from the National Rifle Association.

While the PAC had accepted NRA money in the past, Hawn said that following an objection from Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Florida Democrat and a Blue Dog, the money from 2017 was returned and the 2018 money was refused. Going forward, the PAC won’t accept NRA money, she said.

The co-chairs of the PAC, Reps. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, screen potential candidates, asking open-ended questions on fiscal issues and national defense, the group’s top two priorities. The candidates get questions about the size of the national debt and whether they think it’s bad that China is holding so much of it.

Schrader said he’s been telling candidates that in his recruitment pitch there will be opportunities to work with Republicans on “meat and potatoes issues,” no matter the outcome in November.

He cites some of the regulatory rollback that’s been happening using the Congressional Review Act as an example-- many moderates and Blue Dogs have joined Republicans in supporting resolutions striking down Obama-era regulations, including one that prohibited mentally impaired Social Security recipients from purchasing firearms.

Schrader said that when he was recruiting Jeff Van Drew, a Blue Dog-endorsed candidate from southern New Jersey with an A-rating from the NRA and who is running for a seat being vacated by GOP Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo, the Democrat told him he was having a tough time getting things done in his own state legislature. So Schrader encouraged him to set his sights on Congress, “because frankly with Republicans in control, you’re going to find you’re going to have a lot more opportunity than you did back home.”

And should Democrats take over in November, Schrader added, “you’ll be the decision-makers, because you’ll be the swing vote.”

But Thomsen is less sure of such a scenario. “Until there are more moderates elected they aren’t going to be able to galvanize and be able to leverage the votes that they need to have any influence,” she said. “And until that happens, other moderates aren’t going to view the job as particularly attractive and thus are not going to run.”

In the meantime, Blue Dogs are eyeing candidates for potential future endorsements.

Let’s say Blue Dogs deliver in a big way in 2018. What will they do with that newfound power?

That is not entirely clear. One scenario that seems most likely: Democrats take control of the House, the Senate retains its narrow Republican majority and Trump is still in the White House. What legislation could get passed?

Blue Dogs say they remain open to working with Republicans and the White House on issues like immigration, infrastructure, trade and the opioid addiction crisis. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat and co-chair of the group, met with Trump last year when Republicans were scrounging around for votes on the tax overhaul. (He ultimately voted against the bill, saying that the Republicans weren’t interested in incorporating his ideas.)

Cuellar said the group reached out to the administration early on to signal they were willing to work on issues like taxes and trade. He’s met with Trump multiple times, and has even been to the home of presidential daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, both White House advisers. Of the president, he insisted: “I’m an optimist, I hope he still gives bipartisanship a chance. I will always have my door open.”

Molly Reynolds, who studies Congress at the Brookings Institution, thinks infrastructure would be a likely candidate for action. She also thinks there’s an appetite for overhauling the appropriations process. “That’s another place where there is bipartisan support for reform,” she said.

In March, the DCCC commissioned an internal poll in 52 swing districts on Trump, taxes and the economy, along with a memo prepared by the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. It concluded that candidates should feel free to oppose Trump where they disagreed with him “but must express a willingness to work with the President when his agenda might help the district.” And why is that? “Blanket opposition to Trump closes the door for many voters in these districts.”

Schrader acknowledges that type of approach is a balancing act. “To run in those districts you’ve got to be threading the needle on a regular basis,” he said. “You’ve got to show Democrats that you’re good on creating opportunity for everybody. A shared prosperity. I think that’s a great Democrat message. I don’t think it’s an anti-Republican message.” And on appealing to Republicans? “You have to talk about personal responsibility. Again, everyone has to have some skin in the game. And businesses aren’t evil, they’re actually the job-creators.”

But even if Democrats get their dream of a majority in the House-- would they really be willing to work on big-ticket issues while the national party attempts to defeat Trump in 2020? Costa further thinks that if Republicans retain a narrow majority, with, say Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California, they’ll need to come to Democrats for votes on certain issues. “Can you imagine McCarthy or whoever else trying to run his group with 225 [Republicans]? He’s going to have all the same problems and worse that [Paul D.] Ryan’s had and [John] Boehner’s had before him. They’re going to have to learn to work on a bipartisan basis.”

In addition, Blue Dogs say they are seeking more assurances to get to the front of the line for committee assignments. In years past, moderate Democrats sat in greater numbers on what are considered plum committees like Energy and Commerce, Finance and Appropriations. Costa said talks are underway with leadership on this issue. “Clearly that’s part of our discussion as we attempt to ensure that after the elections, we’re relevant in ways that we want to be,” he said. When pressed on whether he’s received any assurances, he allowed: “It’s still a work in progress-- we’ve had that conversation, directly and indirectly.”

One option that could be on the table is bloc voting. Blue Dogs could follow the lead of the House Freedom Caucus. In that group, if 80 percent of the members take a stand on an issue or legislation, the rest of the group must endorse it. Peterson, the Minnesota Blue Dog, said he’d be open to the idea. “It’s something to be considered,” he said. “On certain bills or certain times.” Most others in the group, though, are not terribly enthusiastic about it. “We’ve resisted that in the past,” said Costa, who thinks the group can use its leverage in other ways.

...In Virginia, Roger Dean Huffstetler outspent his opponents, but his campaign never seemed to catch on. Indeed, the PAC associated with the Blue Dogs donated $3,500 to Huffstetler-- $1,500 below what the group typically gives to endorsed candidates in their primary... Virginia’s 5th District [is] a massive, 10,000-square-mile area that stretches from the Washington suburbs to the North Carolina border, and includes the city of Charlottesville. In that race, Huffstetler squared off with Leslie Cockburn, a former journalist. Huffstetler checked all the boxes for this year’s strategy-- former military, entrepreneur, former chief of staff to Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, who has been recruiting veteran candidates. He outraised Cockburn by over $400,000, and seemed primed to challenge first-term GOP Rep. Tom Garrett, a member of the House Freedom Caucus who won his race in 2016 by 17 points, but whose fundraising has been weak.

But Cockburn, who supports Medicare for all, an assault weapon ban and repealing the tax cut bill that passed in December, said she never felt any pressure to drop out.

“They have not caused us any problems,” she said of the DCCC. “They’re being extremely helpful right now.” She defeated Huffstetler convincingly, not in a primary election, but rather in a caucus convention held earlier this month.

Still, some of her stances and history could cause unease for those eyeing the district for a takeover-- and the DCCC has put the race as a target for pickup.

Some Democrats fear that advocating Medicare for all will expose candidates to GOP attacks in the fall. “It would be a massive tax increase; it would make your individual plan illegal,” said one Democratic strategist not involved in the race.
These are the rest of the Blue Dogs with primaries coming up. Why bother to publish their names? Easy: so you can be sure to vote against them. There are no good Blue Dogs in Congress-- not one-- and there never will be. So don't vote for one and tell your friends and family not to vote for any as well. And, remember "Blue Dog" is not an adjective. It's a member of a right-of-center organization that is both venal and corrupt. It wasn't the House Republicans who killed the public option; it was the Blue Dogs and New Dems.
• Anthony Brindisi (NY)
Paul Davis (KS)
Gretchen Driskell (MI)
Ben McAdams (UT)
Max Rose (NY)
Jeff Van Drew (NJ)
Meanwhile, Alexis Levinson wrote for BuzzFeed that Progressive Groups Just Learned How Hard It Is To Sustain A Fight Against The Democratic Establishment. She reported about how fucked up the DCCC was about the Laura Moser campaign. "Progressive groups got a dramatic lesson in Texas this week: There are real limits to the power of anger to force a victory over the Democratic establishment. Laura Moser, an early cause célèbre for progressives this election cycle, badly lost a Tuesday night Democratic congressional primary in the Houston suburbs. Her loss, in part, was a function of the unique circumstance of the race. But it also showcased the shortcomings of the 'alternative infrastructure' that progressive groups are trying to build to help their candidates." The DCCC knew they were alienating Houston progressives and that their fatally flawed anti-union candidate can never win against Culberson. But the DCCC would Culberson keep the seat that see a progressive who refused to bribe incompetent, corrupt DCCC consultants win the seat.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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by Noah

Memorial Day weekend is here and, just in time for the weekend's picnics and parades, Republicans have some new hats!

If you're still shockingly naive and wondering why Republicans are working so hard to discredit and sabotage the Mueller investigation into Señor Trumpanzee's obvious high crimes and misdemeanors ("Russia, if you're listening..."), not to mention the subversion of our constitution and our rules of law through his attacks on the DOJ, the FBI, and a free press, it will all become much clearer to you once you make the hard admission to yourself about the horror of the fact that republicans such as the likes of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have converted their party into what amounts to House and Senate treason caucuses. Ryan enables agents such as Nunes and Gowdy. McConnell refuses to protect Mueller. They care more about protecting their beloved tyrannical anti-American president than they care about the country, its future and your future. Republicans have chosen to side with Putin. We were attacked in an act of cyber warfare by Russia and republicans offer Putin more cover than Mueller. So has any voter or media hack that still supports Putin's choice of president.

Can you imagine if, in 1942, one political party had embraced the wishes of Japan's Emperor Hirohito? Suppose, after Pearl Harbor, our politicians had decided not to rebuild the Pacific fleet just like today's politicians have decided not to act to prevent further Russian attacks in 2018 and 2020. Where would we be now?

Now, imagine where we will be in 50 years if continued pro-Putin Trump-led Republican treason goes unchecked and undefeated.

As for Pelosi-style Democrats, perhaps they feel the same hat also fits them just fine. Their continued silence is submissiveness and acquiescence. They all fiddle while we burn.



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Thursday, May 24, 2018

How Far Will Trump Go To Avoid The Consequences Of His Criminal Behavior? We All Know The Answer

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This morning we looked at some polling data from Politico and Morning Consult but I was focused on Trump and on gun control and didn't get into the section of the poll that dealt with Robert Mueller. The pollsters asked how registered voters felt about some prominent figures who haven't been elected to office:
Melania Trump: Favorable- 48%, Unfavorable- 32%
Ivanka Trump: Favorable- 38%, Unfavorable- 41%
Kushner-in-law: Favorable- 18%, Unfavorable- 43%
Kellyanne Conway: Favorable- 21%, Unfavorable- 41%
Jeff Sessions: Favorable- 16%, Unfavorable- 47%
Robert Mueller: Favorable- 32%, Unfavorable- 31%
36% had either never heard of Mueller or had no opinion. The pollsters also asked a question about Putin-Gate. 1- How important of a priority should investigating some of President Trump's campaign officials for alleged connections or contacts with the Russian government during the 2016 elections be?
A top priority- 34%
An important but lower priority- 17%
Not too important a priority- 16%
Should not be done- 22%
Right afterwards I came across a new Navigator Research survey finding that 59% of Americans believe that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has not yet uncovered evidence of crimes. This is sad since Mueller has already obtained five guilty pleas and 17 criminal indictments. Writing for Vox, Matthew Yglesias commented on the finding: "That suggests that the press as a whole has not done a good job of actually conveying factual information to our audience, that Democrats’ messaging on the investigation has not been clear enough on the most damning point (Trump, even if otherwise innocent, is guilty of hiring crooks and trying to prevent an investigation into their activity), and that Trump’s counterstrategy of muddying the waters around the investigation has been fairly successful."

Yesterday Trump spoke at the dinner the anti-Choice Susan B. Anthony List gave and you can see how inevitable it is for Trump to muddy any water even when he isn't trying to:



Worse still that so many different people imply they speak for Trump, even Bannon who Trump fired, noting that Bannon had "lost his mind." Speaking on the record to the BBC in the U.K. yesterday, Bannon predicted that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could be fired "very shortly." He said that Rosenstein "either…is going to take the direct order of the President of the United States or I think Rosenstein will be fired."

2 fascists


And speaking of the BBC, their sources in Kiev claim that Trump's personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, "received a secret payment of at least $400,000 [another source said $600,000] to set talks between the Ukrainian president and President Trump... The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Ukraine’s leader, Petro Poroshenko, the sources said, though Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law." And sure enough the meeting between Trumpanzee and Poroshenko took place in the White House 11 months ago.
Shortly after the Ukrainian president returned home, his country's anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

A high-ranking Ukrainian intelligence officer in Mr Poroshenko's administration described what happened before the visit to the White House.

Mr Cohen was brought in, he said, because Ukraine's registered lobbyists and embassy in Washington DC could get Mr Poroshenko little more than a brief photo-op with Mr Trump. Mr Poroshenko needed something that could be portrayed as "talks."

...Avenatti said that Suspicious Activity Reports filed by Mr Cohen's bank to the US Treasury showed he had received money from "Ukrainian interests."

...As was widely reported last June, Mr Poroshenko was still guessing at how much time he would have with Mr Trump even as he flew to Washington.

The White House schedule said only that Mr Poroshenko would "drop in" to the Oval Office while Mr Trump was having staff meetings.

That had been agreed through official channels. Mr Cohen's fee was for getting Mr Poroshenko more than just an embarrassingly brief few minutes of small talk and a handshake, the senior official said. But negotiations continued until the early hours of the day of the visit.

The Ukrainian side were angry, the official went on, because Mr Cohen had taken "hundreds of thousands" of dollars from them for something it seemed he could not deliver.

Right up until the last moment, the Ukrainian leader was uncertain if he would avoid humiliation.

"Poroshenko's inner circle were shocked by how dirty this whole arrangement [with Cohen] was."

Mr Poroshenko was desperate to meet Mr Trump because of what had happened in the US presidential election campaign.

In August 2016, the New York Times published a document that appeared to show Mr Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, getting millions of dollars from pro-Russian interests in Ukraine.

It was a page of the so-called "black ledger" belonging to the Party of the Regions, the pro-Russian party that employed Mr Manafort when he ran a political consultancy in Ukraine.

The page appeared to have come from Ukraine's National Anti Corruption Bureau, which was investigating him. Mr Manafort had to resign.

Several sources in Ukraine said Mr Poroshenko authorised the leak, believing that Hillary Clinton was certain to win the presidency.

If so, this was a disastrous mistake-- Ukraine had backed the losing candidate in the US election. Regardless of how the leak came about, it hurt Mr Trump, the eventual winner.

Ukraine was (and remains) at war with Russia and Russian-backed separatists and could not afford to make an enemy of the new US president.

So Mr Poroshenko appeared relieved as he beamed and paid tribute to Mr Trump in the Oval Office.

He boasted that he had seen the new president before Russia's leader, Vladimir Putin. He called it a "substantial visit." He held a triumphant news conference in front of the north portico of the White House.

A week after Mr Poroshenko returned home to Kiev, Ukraine's National Anti Corruption Bureau announced that it was no longer investigating Mr Manafort.

At the time, an official there explained to me that Mr Manafort had not signed the "black ledger" acknowledging receipt of the money. And anyway, he went on, Mr Manafort was American and the law allowed the bureau only to investigate Ukrainians.

Ukraine did not terminate the Manafort inquiry altogether. The file was handed from the Anti Corruption Bureau to the state prosecutor's office. It languished there.

Last week in Kiev, the prosecutor in charge of the case, Serhiy Horbatyuk, told me: "There was never a direct order to stop the Manafort inquiry but from the way our investigation has progressed, it's clear that our superiors are trying to create obstacles."

None of our sources say that Mr Trump used the Oval Office meeting to ask Mr Poroshenko to kill the Manafort investigation. But if there was a back channel, did Michael Cohen use it to tell the Ukrainians what was expected of them?

Perhaps he didn't need to.

One source in Kiev said Mr Poroshenko had given Trump "a gift"-- making sure that Ukraine would find no more evidence to give the US inquiry into whether the Trump campaign "colluded" with Russia.

Mr Poroshenko knew that to do otherwise, another source said, "would be like spitting in Trump's face."
This week two good Trump-watchers in the media, Jonathan Chait and Gabriel Sherman have both finally let the cat out of the bag: Trumpanzee is-- as many have suspected-- is crazy and that Trump world runs of crackpot conspiracy theories. Sherman went first: "People in Trump’s orbit have become convinced that anti-Trump forces in the F.B.I. entrapped his advisers using informants to plant evidence about Russian collusion—and that former C.I.A. director John Brennan is somehow behind the plot. “If I were him, I’d break the capsule and swallow it now,” one longtime confidant says." Roger Stone told Sherman that "The F.B.I. thing really set him over the edge."
Trump’s scorched-earth strategy has been in place since Rudy Giuliani replaced Trump’s long-suffering lawyers John Dowd and Ty Cobb. At first, it looked as if it were careening off course, as Giuliani gave off a series of erratic and combative interviews. Some speculated that Trump might be unhappy with his performance, but sources I spoke to say Trump is pleased. This is the plan. “Rudy doesn’t do anything without Trump’s permission,” said one Republican close to the White House. The strategy grew out of conversations Trump has held in recent weeks with a group of outside advisers that include Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows, House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes, Sean Hannity, Dave Bossie and Corey Lewandowski, among others. “People think Trump is angry, but he likes the direction this is going,” an outside White House adviser said.

According to people familiar with Trump’s thinking, his team is attempting to build the case that anti-Trump forces in the F.B.I. entrapped his advisers using informants to plant evidence about Russian collusion. The theory goes that the F.B.I. later used these contacts with the Russians to delegitimize his presidency. Trump’s advisers say the intelligence community believed Hillary Clinton would win the presidency, but in case she didn’t, they concocted this elaborate plot to remove Trump from office. “Just when you think it can’t get stranger, it does,” a Trump adviser told me. Stone claims the anti-Trump conspiracy includes senior intelligence officials from the Barack Obama administration. “The guy who will end up burning in all down."

...Trumpworld’s current mind-set makes continued extra-legal conflict with Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein inevitable, and the well-dissected dangers of firing one or both have not served to take this nuclear option off the table. Trump has been bonding over how corrupt Mueller's investigation is. “Rudy is telling him what he wants to hear,” said a Trump ally. But “it would be catastrophic if he fires Mueller.” In the past, many Republicans shared this view. Now, they might not be so opposed.
Chait pointed out that Trump's FBI spy theory is completely insane. Folks in he media should be using that word more frequently.
In the face of widening evidence of Trump campaign culpability in the Russia investigation, Republicans have churned through a frequently mutating series of conspiracy theories to defend him. The latest, and possibly final, such theory, involves an informant used by the FBI to report on the campaign’s connections to Russia, whom Trump has promoted to “spy,” or possibly multiple spies. “A lot of people are saying they had spies in my campaign. If they had spies in my campaign, that would be a disgrace to this country,” Trump told reporters yesterday. “That would be one of the biggest insults that anyone has ever seen.” Trump has mixed his insinuations with dark threats of revenge. “Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State,” he tweeted this morning, “They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around, comes around!”

Trump’s ability to comprehend objective reality is characteristically cracked. But his confidence that the array of forces are shifting to his benefit, and that he may turn the tables on his enemies, has a real basis in reality. He is bringing his party, and the powers it commands, around to his warped manner of thinking.

The spy theory holds that the FBI, working on orders from the Obama administration, implanted a spy into the Trump campaign in order to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

...Trump may be forming an even more radical theory. Gabriel Sherman reports that Trump’s team “is attempting to build the case that anti-Trump forces in the F.B.I. entrapped his advisers using informants to plant evidence about Russian collusion.” Let this roll around in your mind for a moment. Trump is not merely accusing the FBI of planting a spy, but of planting evidence.

“The president himself is convinced that the secret F.B.I. informant who reportedly met with several Trump campaign advisers in 2016 was not merely an informant, but an Obama political operative,” Sherman reports. “One administration official told me the theory has become so widely accepted that people in the West Wing are paranoid that the F.B.I. has multiple informants working to take down Trump.”

Planting evidence? Multiple spies? Obama political operatives? You might think this is all so unhinged Trump could not possibly believe it, but then, you would have to explain Trump’s longtime infatuation with the conspiracy theories he imbibes in his binge-watching of Fox News, where hours of air time can pass by without the appearance of anybody who is hinged. And you might also think Trump could not get his party to go along with this theory, to dismiss all the evidence of culpability as having been fabricated by a pro-Obama cabal in the FBI. But then you would be ignoring how far down the Trump rabbit hole the Republican Party has gone so far.
How many people have you heard saying, "At least Nixon was patriotic" lately. Trump would sooner engineer a civil war than step down or allow himself to be forced out no matter what Mueller finds.

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When It Comes To Sane Gun Policies, Who You Going To Trust? The DCCC? Gabby Giffords? Watch Out

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I'm not so sure about former Education Secretary Arne Duncan idea about parents pulling their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws. That would be alike a dream come true for conservatives who don't want kids from poor homes going to school anyway and who believe only kids from wealthy families need to be educated. I prefer a different approach. As the NY Times reported over the weekend, "The pace of new voter registrations among young people in crucial states is accelerating, a signal that school shootings this year-- and the anger and political organizing in their wake-- may prove to be more than ephemeral displays of activism."


Precisely a month ago, the Washington Post's Katie Zezima took this up as well, noting that the next battle over guns is at the ballot box. "The massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February," she wrote, sparked a renewed interest in gun control, with students who survived the attack leading rallies, marches, walkouts and pushes for gun legislation. People across the country, and the world, participated in hundreds of events demanding action on gun violence. Now, leaders are hoping the momentum from the March for Our Lives movement will lead to a more enduring next phase: getting young people to the voting booth in November, an effort to change not just policy in Washington, but the people who set it. Groups from around the country are hosting voter drives at high schools and colleges, including during widespread school walkouts on Friday, the anniversary of the 1999 massacre at Colorado's Columbine High School. They are setting up voter-registration tables at gun-control marches and are working to galvanize the nation's youngest voters around a single issue."
"By voting in the midterms, I will choose to vote for senators and representatives who do not support the NRA," said Kira Pomeranz, a senior at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, who registered to vote in February and will turn 18 in August.

The push started shortly after the Parkland shooting and was evident at last month's March for Our Lives rallies, where volunteers at numerous events, including one in New York, roamed around with clipboards asking people to register to vote. Organizations including Rock the Vote and Mi Familia Vota trained more than 400 volunteers at Georgetown Law School and then fanned them out to the rally in Washington, where they distributed federal voter-registration forms and then dropped off those that were completed. Survivors of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas also have joined voting drives across the country.

According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, 53 percent of respondents say students across the country holding rallies to call for stricter gun laws represent a lasting movement.

"Who here is going to vote in the 2018 election?" David Hogg, a Parkland survivor, asked at last month's rally in the District of Columbia. "We are going to make this a voting issue. We're going to take this to every election, to every state, to every city."

NextGen America, a liberal advocacy group founded by hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, and gun-control advocacy groups Giffords and Everytown for Gun Safety have announced an initiative aimed at getting 50,000 teenagers registered to vote ahead of the midterm elections in November.
Giffords, huh? Giffords is a pawn of the Democratic Party-- 100%. It's VERY politically incorrect to bring it up, but before she was shot, she was a reactionary Blue Dog. Is there a reason to think she has changed? She endorses right-wing Democrats... including right-wing Democrats who are sketchy on guns and even allied with the NRA. She will always pick a conservative over a progressive. In her old district, for example, she has fulsomely endorsed Ann Kirkpatrick, long Arizona's poster girl for... the NRA. Kirkpatrick, a northern Arizona conservative, is a carpetbagger running in Tucson, and she is clearly the most conservative of serveral Democratic candidates-- and the only one who has been in bed with the NRA. Kirkpatrick suddenly claims she favors sane gun control but her record tells a different story. She welcomed the NRA convention to Phoenix by telling the delegates that "as a gun owner myself, I firmly believe in the right of all Americans to keep and bear arms, and I am proud that my state is hosting the group that has protected that right for 138 years. This is a chance for Arizonans to show our nation’s leaders we will not let them take away our freedoms... People in Washington need to stop undermining the Second Amendment. That’s why I took on the Attorney General for his proposal to ban so-called 'assault weapons.' I will continue to work vigilantly to maintain and protect our Second Amendment rights against every challenge they face." 

Giffords endorsed her this cycle instead of any of the strong NRA opponents. Giffords herself-- before the assassination attempt-- was decidedly pro-gun and actively opposed efforts that the NRA opposed. I hope these kids registering to vote don't get fooled.



And it isn't just Gabby Giffords talking out of both sides of her mouth. The DCCC is far worse. They love beating up on Republicans for being NRA shills but... The DCCC has been recruiting-- not just supporting, recruiting-- NRA allies all cycle. Jeff Van Drew (Blue Dog-NJ), Anthony Brindisi (Blue Dog-NY), New Dem Ann Kirkpatrick of course, Lauren Baer (New Dem-FL), Elaine Luria (VA) and Paul Davis (Blue Dog-KS) are all NRA/DCCC candidates. There are others in Congress already who have had long records backing the NRA and, of course, the DCCC backs them too-- from Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA), Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX) and Colin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN) to Darren Soto (New Dem-FL) and Tim Ryan (would be Speaker-OH).
"This could be a turning point for us," said Mark Kelly, who founded [Americans for Responsible Solutions] with his wife, former U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) a survivor of a mass shooting. "If we're able to get 100,000 young people registered to vote and get them to show up in key places, in the right place, that could have a serious impact."

The drive will focus on young voters in 10 swing states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. Each state has candidates who are supported by the National Rifle Association on the ballot.

The groups plan to mail voter-registration forms to 18- and 19-year-olds on their birthdays, target them with online voter-registration ads and, where legal, preregister 16- and 17-year-olds to vote. The focus will be on students who will reach legal voting age by Election Day 2018.

Kelly said that after Parkland, young people are suddenly realizing that they have inherited a "pretty lousy set of circumstances" from their parents and grandparents and those who have previously been elected to office.

"And they don't like it. Who can blame them?" Kelly said.

A spokesman for NextGen said that the registration efforts are nonpartisan, but just appearing on the voter rolls would allow the groups to focus dissemination of gun-control information to the new voters and would allow candidates to reach them directly with text messages or on Facebook. The groups also are trying to do peer-to-peer recruitment, believing that the word of a friend or classmate will hold more sway than a targeted ad.

In many ways, the gun-control advocacy groups are trying to catch up with the NRA, which puts tremendous effort into elections. The group and its Institute for Legislative Action spend millions of dollars on campaign contributions, lobbying, political spending and getting its membership to vote. The group's political victory fund ranks candidates and politicians with a letter grade, and the website of the Institute for Legislative Action-- known as NRA-ILA-- allows people to check their voting status.

"Over the past few years, NRA-ILA members and the NRA have decidedly changed politics in America," the NRA-ILA's website says.

Now gun-control groups and the students who work with and support them believe they can counter that power at the voting booth.

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Trumpanzee Bails On Kim

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This morning the erratic Señor Trumpanzee (Adderol + finasteride) canceled his summit with Kim Jong Un, planned for June 12 in Singapore. As North Korea had noted, publicly, Mike Dense is a "political dummy," a statement that hurt the political dummy's feelings. Trump sent Kim a letter, ostensibly breaking their date. Trump was/is counting on the summit to get him a Nobel Peace Prize just like real presidents get. No one knows if this is some dumb Trump negotiating ploy or if Bolton is getting his way (war). The imbecilic Señor T says he's open to meeting in future, but only on his terms.

Last night North Korea had destroyed it's nuclear test site, which had already collapsed. Whomever writes the crap that Trumpanzee reads off his teleprompter cited "tremendous anger and open hostility" as the reasons for the cancellation. Bellicose as ever, the school-yard bully said that the North Koreans talk about their nuclear capabilities, "but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used." By afternoon Trump was back into his threaten stance, saying the U.S. military is ready to respond to any "foolish or reckless acts" by North Korea. And, of course, he started babbling about sanctions and how the "maximum pressure campaign is continuing."



At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, the Ranking Democrat, Bob Menendez blamed Trump's withdrawal on the regime's failure to prepare properly, pointing out that "the art of diplomacy is a lot harder than the art of the deal" and that Trumpanzee shouldn't have been surprised that that North Korea "is acting as North Korea might very well normally act... I’m not sure that constantly quoting the Libya model is the diplomatic way to try to get to the results that we seek in North Korea because that didn’t work out too well for Gadhafi."

Ben Sasse (R-NE) who has twisted himself into a Trump apologist over the last year congratulated Trump on making "the right call... [calling Kim] "a murderous despot and habitual liar."

The guy who put the whole thing together, President Moon Jae-in of South Korean, was caught off guard and is trying to figure out "what Trump’s intention is and the exact meaning of it." Well, since Trumpanzee was still behaving respectfully towards Kim-- referring to him as "his excellency" instead of insulting his appearance-- I guess there's still a chance the White House drama queen wants to get the whole thing back on track so he can take credit for something or other. Here's the crazy orange-hued monkey's letter:


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UNITY, Baby, UNITY!

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Don't forget Kara... and Amy McGrath

After her defeat Tuesday--even before the official runoff tally was announced-- Houston progressive candidate Laura Moser was urging her supporters to get behind her opponent, Lizzie Fletcher. And, in fact, Blue America had originally endorsed Jason Westin in that district but when Laura knocked him off the ballot, we immediately, even happily, endorsed her.

How about in Chicago, where Blue Dog Dan Lipinski-- an anti-Choice, anti-gay Republican masquerading as a "Democrat?" Are we supposed to unify behind him now? Tuesday one of my favorite candidates, Lillian Salerno, lost the Dallas race she was fighting with Colin Allred. I would have loved to have seen her in Congress. It would have helped the whole country. I don't see Allred doing much of anything for anyone. But I don't see him as evil either. I'm not going to contribute any money to him but if I lived in the district I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to vote for him against far right and very corrupt Republican Pete Sessions.

Tim Canova was defeated-- if you call being cheated "defeated-- by Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I doubt anyone who reads DWT to ever imagine anything would get me to vote for her. In fact, I immediately called Canova and begged him to run again. When he did, I contributed to his campaign... several times.

I don't notice the DCCC getting behind the progressives who are beating their conservative primaries-- practicing what they preach-- and I sense it's a one way street. They want progressives to back their shitty corrupt conservative candidates but don't think they should back the primary winners who they didn't get behind. What the hell is that supposed to mean? Last week the grassroots progressive Kara Eastman beat a putrid DCCC Blue Dog, Brad Ashford in Omaha. Ashford, an ultra-conservative "ex"-Republican had already been in Congress and was rejected by NE-02 voters and defeated after one miserable term of him voting with the Republicans and against working families. But he's who the pig-headed party bosses wanted. Then this happened:
Kara Eastman- 20,239 (51.43%)
Brad Ashford- 19,113 (48.57%)
The DCCC immediately removed Ashford from their Red-to-Blue list. But they didn't replace him with Kara. Why's that? They've been crowing all cycle that NE-02 was one of the most flippable seats in the country. But not for a progressive? Not for a woman? No for someone with an independent mind? What's their problem? They're always winning about the money. But, as of the April 25 FEC reporting deadline-- and with their help-- Ashford had spent $397,194 and Kara has spent $284,880. But she won anyway. Does that mean she knew how to spend her money more wisely? Does it mean that her volunteer army is worth more than corporate money? Or should we look at what Pelosi had to say back in February when she barged in on the editors of the Austin American-Statesman and started babbling away about how the DCCC decides which candidates to back and which to abandon? Jonathan Tilove called it her "cold-blooded to Democratic primary voters." Pelosi:
[C]andidates know, this is almost like a competition. They have to do their share. This isn’t an entitlement program. We need people  to run, oh you’re good, you look good for the district, here’s the money, No, they have to work. How do you connect with your constituents? That’s the most important thing. First of all, it’s would you win, but even before that, chronologically, show how you are going to represent them. How are you going know them, how are they going to know you.

...Forgive me for using this word,  you have to be very cold-blooded about how you make these decisions about the races because everybody’s so great, but one in five children lives in poverty in America and we have to have our best fighters go out there to win.

...We have to be cold-blooded in what we do. In other words, if the wrong person wins-- well nobody’s wrong-- but if the person who can’t win, wins, it’s not a priority race for us anymore, because we’ve got 100 races.
Maybe if Pelosi and the DCCC and the establishment Democrats really did know which duly nominated primary winner can and can't win, they would not have lost hundreds of seats at every level of government over the last decade. Maybe if the DCCC stuck to using their resources to fighting Republicans and not to fighting progressives and grassroots candidates the Democrats would be in better shape today. I wonder if that thought ever crosses Pelosi's mind. I sincerely doubt it. I what kind of Democratic leaders are coming up behind her. She has certainly failed in nurturing a next generation of leaders. No one could be worse than Joe Crowley, reportedly her pick to run the Democratic caucus. He's even worse than Stenchy Hoyer-- and as bad as Wasserman Schultz. Where does it say in the rule book that the Democrats can't get behind someone younger and better suited to the newer century-- men and women like Ted Lieu, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal, Jamie Raskin, Mark Pocan?

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Trump In A Hole... But So Is The Democratic Party

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A sink hole-- no doubt a message from God that Americans wake up-- has opened on the White House lawn. It may be more than just the swamp inside draining too. And Politico reported another hole in Trump World yesterday-- a poll showing that Trump's reelection bis begins in a hole. Just 36% of voters say they would vote for Trump over a generic Democratic candidate in 2020, compared with 44% who would pick the Democrat, the poll shows. One in five voters, 20%, are undecided. The poll shows that while 86% of Democratic voters would support the Democratic candidate, just 79% of GOP voters would vote for Trump. Among independents, the Democratic candidate has an 8-point lead, 36% to 28%.
“While nearly four in 10 GOP voters say Donald Trump should face a primary challenge in 2020, no clear challenger has emerged, and Mike Pence’s appeal appears to be declining,” said Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult’s co-founder and chief research officer. “Today, 64 percent of Republicans say that they would prefer Trump as president, compared to 19 percent who pick Pence. That gap has grown since August 2017, when 58 percent picked Trump and 28 percent picked Pence."
Some other interesting points asked of registered voters: "If the election for U.S. Congress in your district was held today, which one of the following candidates are you most likely to vote for?"
Democrat- 43%
Republican- 37%
Let's see why. First let's see which issues motivate voters choices. The first question: "thinking about your vote, what would you say is the top set of issues on your mind when you cast your vote for federal offices such as U.S. Senate or Congress?"
Economic issues- 30%
National Security issues- 19%
Health care issues- 15%
Senior's issues- 17%
Women's issues- 4%
Education issues- 6%
Energy issues- 4%
The pollster then asked which congressional party the voters trusted on each of the following issues: The economy:

Democrats- 36%
Republicans- 41%

Jobs

Democrats- 37%
Republicans- 40%

Health care

Democrats- 44%
Republicans- 33%

Immigration

Democrats- 39%
Republicans- 39%

The environment

Democrats- 47%
Republicans- 25%

Energy

Democrats- 41%
Republicans- 31%

Education

Democrats- 44%
Republicans- 30%

National Security

Democrats- 33%
Republicans- 44%

Sexual Harassment and misconduct in the workplace

Democrats- 40%
Republicans- 24%

Gun policy

Democrats- 39%
Republicans- 36%

Later in the poll these ten questions were asked:

1- How important of a priority should passing legislation placing additional regulations on gun ownership be?

A top priority- 45%
An important but lower priority- 20%
Not too important a priority- 10%
Should not be done- 17%

2- Do you support or oppose stricter gun control laws in the United States?

Strongly support- 45%
Somewhat support- 22%
Somewhat oppose- 10%
Stronly oppose- 16%

3- Do you support or oppose requiring background checks on all gun sales?

Strongly support- 81%
Somewhat support- 9%
Somewhat oppose- 3%
Strongly oppose- 2%

4- Do you support or oppose banning assault-style weapons?

Strongly support- 57%
Somewhat support- 13%
Somewhat oppose- 9%
Strongly oppose- 12%

5- Do you support or oppose making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks?

Strongly support- 70%
Somewhat support- 15%
Somewhat oppose- 5%
Strongly oppose- 5%

6- Do you support or oppose preventing sales of all 􏰁firearms to people who have been convicted of violent misdemeanors?

Strongly support- 68%
Somewhat support- 16%
Somewhat oppose- 5%
Strongly oppose- 4%

7- Do you support or oppose banning fi􏰁rearms from schools and college campuses nationally?

Strongly support- 54%
Somewhat support- 13%
Somewhat oppose- 10%
Strongly oppose- 14%

8- How much do you blame Democrats in Congress for mass shootings?

A lot- 12%
Some- 21%
Not much- 17%
Not at all- 33%

9- How much do you blame Republicans in Congress for mass shootings?

A lot- 23%
Some- 20%
Not much- 14%
Not at all- 27%

10- How much do you blame the NRA for mass shootings?

A lot- 32%
Some- 13%
Not much- 10%
Not at all- 33%

The pollsters then asked about favorability for individual politicians. First up was Mitch McConnell (R-KY)


Favorable- 16%
Unfavorable- 47%
Never heard of/no opinion- 37%

Paul Ryan

Favorable- 27%
Unfavorable- 48%
Never heard of/no opinion- 25%

Nancy Pelosi

Favorable- 26%
Unfavorable- 50%
Never heard of/no opinion- 24%

Chuck Schumer

Favorable- 22%
Unfavorable- 36%
Never heard of/no opinion- 42%

Mike Pence

Favorable- 40%
Unfavorable- 42%
Never heard of/no opinion- 18%

Señor Trumpanzee

Favorable- 43%
Unfavorable- 52%
Never heard of/no opinion- 6%

Republicans in Congress

Favorable- 31%
Unfavorable- 56%
Never heard of/no opinion- 13%

Democrats in Congress

Favorable- 37%
Unfavorable- 50%
Never heard of/no opinion- 13%

I guess the Democrats would be doing better if they had some discernible economic policies that voters identified with them... and dumped Pelosi as the face of the party. That isn't that complicated, is it? Certainly not for Alan Grayson. Yesterday he pointed out to me that "Polls show that voters-- not just Democrats, voters-- overwhelmingly favor a minimum wage increase, paid sick leave, universal healthcare, Social Security and Medicare increases, lower taxes on working people, etc. You have to wonder how long Democratic 'leaders' are going to continue to wear the hair shirt."

"I feel like I’m being completely unoriginal" Paul Clements told me, "but still it should be said: people don’t know what the Democratic Party stands for. I’ve heard it time and again at house parties and Democratic events around the district. I’ve given my stump speech so many times: (besides Trump) economic inequality is the issue, money in politics the cause, yes fix taxes and raise the minimum wage but we need to fix the basics: health care for all, education, and criminal justice. Then I fudge a fourth one, calling it a forward looking economic policy, and include renewable energy, energy efficient technologies, agricultural research, and major infrastructure investments. Then, oh, of course, we have to deal with climate change or all of this is off the table. The details matter, but you can probably pretty much fill them in. I know that these planks and more are in the last Democratic Party platform, but, seriously, so what? The Democratic Party does not have a clear agenda and people don’t know what it stands for. I think the agenda should address the basics. It should speak to economic inequality. But at least there should be a vision, there should be a program, so in house parties and such we don’t have to do all the work."

James Thompson is the progressive Democrat running in the Wichita-centered 4th Kansas district. His primary is August 7. And then he'll be facing right-wing Republican Ron Estes. He's all about the issues that Democrats need to speak to the voters about. Here's what he told me today:
When I was homeless and struggling to make ends meet I didn’t give a damn about the stock market, I was worried about putting food on the table and keeping a roof over the heads of myself and my baby brothers. The stock market and trade agreements are important parts of our economy, but until Democrats get back to protecting the kitchen table economy it will be hard to pull people back into the Democratic Party. Before people can care about things outside their own circle, they must feel confident in their own financial situation, which means they must have a stable job with a livable wage. That means a guaranteed jobs program and affordable healthcare and education. It means expanding Medicare and Social Security not cutting it. It means taking care of the farmers who feed us. It is the basic hierarchy of needs. Democrats as a party need to return to being FDR Democrats looking out for working people rather than corporate shills for Wall Street. We must remember that this is a government not of corporation interests, but a government of the people, by the people and for the people. We can get there, we just need to keep moving forward with electing progressives.
Goal ThermometerSam Jammal, running in Orange County against a pack of carpetbagger multimillionaires trying to buy the seat, is also a progressive trying to talk with the CA-39 voters about issues. He goes everywhere-- even goes to the Republican debates that his fellow candidates avoid. "Democrats win," he said, "if we have a positive economic message focused on lifting up the middle class. This means focusing on the cost of prescription drugs, student debt, housing affordability and creating good-paying jobs so families can enter the middle class. We won't win by just being anti-Trump. We also won't win if our campaigns are not focused on people's pocketbooks. The reality on the ground is that families are still struggling. We need to be identitied as the party that actually has a plan for lifting people up."

Kara Eastman, the progressive Democrat who won her primary against a Blue Dog last Tuesday, won, in large part, because she campaigned on issues that real people are excited about. "It is time," she told me, "for policy makers to put people first. Common sense policies that prevent illness, ensure families can make a living wage and provide jobs should be at the core of what elected officials want to accomplish. Raising the minimum wage (which is actually supported by 74% of Americans) is one federal policy that would have a huge ripple effect in the nation. Universal healthcare (also supported by more than 60% of Americans) would also boost the economy by freeing employers from the shackles of being in the healthcare business. In addition, investing in infrastructure such as replacing lead service lines and creating green and healthy housing would create jobs while making our children healthier and safer."

Over in Maine Jared Golden, a proud working class progressive who understands what solidarity means, is running for Democratic nomination in a June 12th primary. "If America had its priorities straight we could fix our economy," he told me today. "We need to fight for a fair tax plan that doesn’t give away trillions to the wealthy-elite and multinational corporations that aren’t investing in America. Take that revenue back and put it to work rebuilding American roads, rails and bridges. We need to stand with unions for better pay, and healthcare and retirement benefits. And renegotiate and reject bad trade deals that undermine wages and safety for workers. We need to stop allowing corporations and billionaires to waste so much capital on buying elections, so they can instead put that money to work on Main Street, creating jobs and paying people their real worth."

This is Jarred's convention speech where he talked with the party delegates about the issues that are fueling his campaign. This is how Democrats need to talk to the voters, not all mealy-mouthed like the DCCC and their overpriced consultants insist they do:



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