Friday, June 23, 2017

If Pelosi Goes Who Would You Like To See As Leader, Crowley, Hoyer Or Wasserman Schultz?


The Dream Team-- for the GOP at least

I gradually stopped being a fan of Nancy Pelosi’s. I went from an admirer to a detractor primarily because of how she ran the DCCC-- an utter catastrophe for Democrats-- and because she imperiously declared an impeachment investigation of Bush was “off the table” after the Democrats won back the House. But my anger towards her has built slowly as the DCCC leaders she appointed went from bad to worse-- and lost more and more House seats. But, I’m not foolish enough to get onboard the train that is most eager to displace her-- the New Dem/Blue Dog choo choo-- i.e., the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- salivating at any prospect of kicking her and her progressive core values to the curb. She may be terrible, but everyone lined up to replace her is much, much, much worse. How many times do I have to say “much” to get the point across? K Street wants their man Steny Hoyer. Wall Street wants their man Joe Crowley. Those are the two most likely successors and Wall Street would as happily settle for Hoyer as K Street would for Crowley. Is there no one else? Not really… unless you want to rev up that ole Wasserman Schultz machine again-- a hopefully no one wants that, not even the members she’s still been funneling the dirty money to that she takes from all the wrong sources.

Late Wednesday afternoon two consecutive Politico pieces, one by John Bresnahan at 4pm and then another by Gabe Debenedetti at 5:30, raised the spectre of a revolt against Pelosi’s leadership over Ossoff’s loss. Before we get into them, I just want to remind everyone when House Dems whined and fulminated last year about how the caucus wanted to take control of the DCCC from Pelosi she granted them two concessions. First was that the DCCC chair would be elected not appointed. And second that 5 DCCC regional vice chairs would be elected by members.

So here’s what happened. Pelosi nominated the hapless and worthless failure who had been trained by the vile Steve Israel and had already proven himself absolutely incompetent and a detriment to Democrats ever winning anything. No one ran against him and he was unanimously reelected. I don’t think any of the DCCC regional vice chair seats were contested and the 5 members were elected: Joe Kennedy (Northeast), Don McEachin (South), Betty McCollum (Midwest), Jared Polis (Central), Ted Lieu (West Coast). From what I can tell the only one taking the job seriously is, predictably, Ted Lieu. I spoke with one of the other Vice Chairs and he confided in me that he doesn’t know why he ran and doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do. I tried going over some of the live races in his area and he was unaware of any of them. When I call a candidate in California, even really long-shot candidates in non-targeted districts, they tell me they’ve already had conversations with Ted Lieu or with his chief of staff. When I call candidates in crucial states like Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York they mostly say they never heard of a DCCC Regional Vice Chair. “What do they do?” Good question. But "nothing"-- other than in Ted's case-- would be a likely answer.

If the fish rots from the head, in the case of the House Democratic Caucus, the rot has spread really deeply… really, really deeply. The leadership is sclerotic; so is much of the membership. “There's a lot of grumbling by rank-and-file members, but no leadership change is imminent, wrote Bresnahan. “There is no challenge to Pelosi’s leadership, and none is going to happen at this point, said numerous Democrats. But it’s clear frustration is growing with the longtime Democratic leader following the extensive losses Democrats have suffered over the past half-decade. And the fact that Republicans spent millions of dollars on TV ads tying Democratic hopeful Jon Ossoff to Pelosi-- and the brand of progressive policies she represents-- shows that she will once again be an issue for Democratic challengers in the very districts that the party needs to win to make her speaker again.” Bresnahan, of course, doesn’t put who the members he quotes into any kind of real context. For example, his first quote is from ultra-conservative/ultra-corrupt Texas Blue Dog, Fielmon Vela, who has an ugly “F” rating from ProgressivePunch and who votes against progressive legislation more frequently than he supports anything worthwhile. The only Texans with (marginally) worse voting records are fellow Blue Dogs Vicente González and Henry Cuellar-- and in the current session Vela’s record is worse than González’s. He generally votes for whatever he’s paid to vote for and he doesn’t belong in Congress (or the Democratic Party) but here’s what he told Politico: “I think you’d have to be an idiot to think we could win the House with Pelosi at the top… Nancy Pelosi is not the only reason that Ossoff lost. But she certainly is one of the reasons.” (It’s unimaginable to someone like Vela that Ossoff could have lost because he failed to embrace a progressive narrative once he had sucked millions and millions or dollars from the grassroots vaguely pretending to be progressive when he launched his campaign.) Bresnahan found other garbage-crats to give him quotes too, like Long Island Wall Street shill, New Dem Kathleen Rice.
“There comes a time when every leader has to say, ‘For the good of the order and for the betterment of the party, it’s time for me to step aside.’ And I wish that that would happen right now,” Rice said in an interview. “This is not a personal thing. I want to get back in the majority.”

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who challenged Pelosi for minority leader in November, wouldn’t comment directly whether she should step down, saying only, “My position hasn’t changed.”

“I think it’s very concerning that that tactic still has some punch,” Ryan said. “Again, it’s part of the broader national brand that average people don’t feel connected to the Democratic Party. Walk up the street and ask 10 people what the Democrats stand for, you’ll get 10 different answers. That’s no way to build a national party.”
There was even a little anti-Pelosi cabal that Rice put together with fellow conservaDem Seth Moulton (D-MA) on Thursday. Louisiana New Dem Cedric Richmond, head of the Congressional Black Caucus, was one of the dozen attendees. Progressives aren't breaking from Pelosi... it's really just the very corrupted Republican wing of the party. Debendetti started by quoting a spokesperson for MoveOn: “There are definitely some real lessons to be taken from this: Democrats are going to have to do better and improve on things a lot in order to take advantage of the opportunity presented by 2018. It doesn't matter how much money you have if it's not clear to people what you stand for, and if what you stand for isn't change.”
But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee doesn’t believe it erred in the Georgia race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Karen Handell, or in its spending decisions in the surprisingly competitive South Carolina special election that also took place Tuesday. After all, each of those districts-- like those in Kansas and Montana special elections earlier this year-- swung aggressively toward Democrats, and the group has been testing messages and tactics for 2018 within those races.

In a memo to staff and lawmakers on Wednesday, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Ben Ray Lujan even declared for the first time that the House is in play.

But the morning was otherwise marked by finger-pointing reflecting some of the biggest divisions in the party-- including some that have been festering since the 2016 presidential primary. To many progressives, Ossoff’s loss was a symptom of the party’s insistence on running moderate candidates who try to appeal too much to Republicans who dislike Trump.

"So far this cycle, we've seen an underfunded, authentic candidate with a message lose and we've seen a well-funded candidate with D.C. talking points lose. Now it's time to focus on putting real resources behind candidates who can inspire progressives and give folks a clear vision for the future," said longtime Democratic strategist Rebecca Katz, referring respectively to Rob Quist in Montana and Ossoff. "Democrats have to stop focusing all our energy on winning over Romney voters and start figuring out how to bring more progressive independents into the fold.”

Ossoff’s closing message in a district that routinely goes for GOP candidates by at least 20 points was largely about fiscal responsibility, rather than opposition to Trump or the offer of a broad economic plan. That kind of message is anathema to many liberal lawmakers and strategists.

“We need a bolder economic platform, our party needs to be for good jobs and better wages, [and] we have to have some bold economic ideas that are going to convince people that we get it,” said Rep. Ro Khanna of California. “There’s still a ways to go. The challenge is not simply a messaging issue or a branding issue, the challenge is a vision issue.”
Any wonder Ro Khanna is the very first member of Congress from anywhere in the country to endorse Randy Bryce for Congress? "We need leaders connected to the community who can speak with authenticity about the need for universal healthcare, better wages, and good jobs," said Ro. "Randy has a bold vision that is rooted in his life experience. It's heartening to see people like Randy step up to serve. That is what our founders envisioned."

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How The Democrats' Worst Enemy Is... The DCCC


Lottery winner Gilbert Cisneros

Yesterday’s Democratic operative quote of the day was "We no longer have a party caucus capable of riding this wave. We have 80-year-old leaders and 90-year-old ranking members. This isn't a party. It's a giant assisted living center. Complete with field trips, gym, dining room and attendants." I would just add that the younger leaders-in-waiting are even worse-- much worse than the ones on their way out. The shady Wall Street hustler who Pelosi and Hoyer have picked to take over leadership of the House Democrats once they’re finally gone— Caucus Chair Joe Crowley— told Fox’s Chad Program that though the Dems didn’t win GA-06, “2018 will be a different story.” Pelosi’s utterly worthless, zero value-add DCCC chairman, Ben Ray Luján, petrified the grassroots money he’s been wasting might dry up after the loss in GA-06, sent DCCC staffers a memo for them to leak asserting that polling shows the Democrats can win back the House in 2018 by taking seats from vulnerable GOP incumbents-- pointing specifically to Brian Mast (FL-18), Darrell Issa (CA-49), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), David Valadao (CA-21), Jeff Denham (CA-10),Kevin Yoder (KS-03) and Martha McSally (AZ-02). The clueless and ineffective chairman wrote that his pathetic committee has “a unique opportunity to flip control of the House of Representatives in 2018. This is about much more than one race: the national environment, unprecedented grassroots energy and impressive Democratic candidates stepping up to run deep into the battlefield leave no doubt that Democrats can take back the House next fall.” He added that the DCCC is out recruiting, something that should scare the crap out of all Democrats since all the DCCC looks for are uninspiring wealthy self-funders, Republican-lite misanthropes and identity politics garbage. Without a trace of irony, he wrote that the reactionaries who head the recruitment committee-- Blue Dog Cheri Bustos (a Rahm thing) and wealthy New Dem Denny Heck-- are looking for “top-tier candidates to fill the remaining holes in our map… We have our work cut out for us. Taking back the majority will not be easy. Despite the grassroots energy and the winds at our backs, we have a number of real structural disadvantages in these districts.” He should get a giant mirror for himself and his grotesquely corrupt staff if he wants to examine those real structural disadvantages.

Or maybe he could hire someone like the NY Times’ Nate Cohn to look into what ails-- and has been ailing for over a decade-- the DCCC, making it dysfunctional and an assert for Republican control. In a column after the Ossoff debacle, Cohn noted that the Democratic candidates outperformed but still lost in red open seats in Kansas, Montana, Georgia and South Carolina. Wutgout mentioning DCCC ineptness and lousy recruitment, Cohn wrote that “this contradiction is the heart of the challenge the party faces in 2018. Democrats will probably benefit from an extremely favorable political environment, as they do today. But the problem is that they’re fighting an uphill battle, even if the wind is strongly at their backs. The 2018 midterm elections will be decided in Republican-leaning terrain. Even a wave the size of the electoral tsunamis that swept Republicans out of power in 2006 and back into it 2010 would not guarantee the Democrats a House majority in 2018.”
Democrats did better in these special elections than would have been expected, based on previous election results and even supposing that the national political environment was as hostile for Republicans as it was in 2006. That’s even true in Georgia’s Sixth, where Mitt Romney and the outgoing representative (Tom Price) won by 23 points, even though President Trump won by just 1.5 points.

Democratic strength is not surprising, since all of the ingredients for a strong Democratic performance are in place. The president’s party just about always loses seats in the midterm elections, and it generally gets clobbered when the president’s approval rating is beneath 50 percent, much less beneath 40.

But alone, a strong national political environment doesn’t guarantee Democratic control of the House.

The Democrats just don’t have many top-tier opportunities to win Republican-held seats. This year, just 11 Republicans represent seats with a Democratic tilt in recent presidential elections. Back in 2010, the Republicans had 73 such opportunities.

The election in 2006 is a particularly relevant example, because Democrats had a somewhat similar, if better, set of opportunities. Those chances yielded 31 seats, just a few more than the 24 seats they need in 2018. But Democrats also had some good luck in 2006 that will be hard to duplicate: There were a half dozen safely Republican districts where the incumbent succumbed to scandal or indictment, including Tom DeLay, a House majority leader.

The Republicans have a real shot to retain control of the House in a political climate that would doom them under typical circumstances. There are a lot of reasons for this structural G.O.P. advantage, like partisan gerrymandering, the inefficient distribution of Democrats in heavily Democratic cities, and the benefit of incumbency.

To retake the House, Democrats will ultimately need to carry seats with a clear Republican tradition. This year’s special elections, including Jon Ossoff’s loss to Karen Handel in Georgia, are a reminder that it will indeed be difficult for Democrats to win in Republican-leaning districts, just as it was for the Democrats in 2006 or for Republicans on Democratic-leaning turf in 2010.

Recruitment and messaging are key. The Democrats are looking at candidates who are duplicates of the vile recruiters (think New Dem Heck and Blue Dog Bustos)… and worse. Worse? Oh yeah. Let’s look at CA-39 for a moment, powerful entrenched incumbent Ed Royce’s seat, predominantly in Orange County but with a chunk of L.A. County and a sliver of San Bernardino County. The DCCC has, for years, studiously avoided targeting Royce. Then Hillary beat Trump there 51.5% to 42.9%, her biggest win among the GOP-held Orange County districts the DCCC says they hope to win in 2018. Whites are a minority in this district and the DCCC should have been building a multi cycle campaign to win it back for years; but they’re way too lame, incompetent and unaccountable to have done any such thing. The district stretches from deep blue Hacienda Heights into La Brea Heights, La Habra, Rowland Heights, Brea, up to Walnut, Diamond Bar and Chino Hills and then south to Buena Park, Fullerton, Placenta, and Yorba Linda.

How excited is the DCCC about winning CA-39 and ousting Royce? They’re already written it off. The powers that be in DC have decided to sell the nomination to someone they know will have no chance to win, a very wealthy-- but otherwise useless-- lottery winner named Gil Cisneros. Cisneros doesn’t live in the district and his preparation for announcing his campaign is trying to lose a couple of chins plus meeting with corrupt lobbyists at a resort outside of DC this weekend instead of meeting folks in the district the DCCC is selling him. (The Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s Bold PAC, run by Tony Cárdenas is brokering the deal and hosting the weekend event at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort in Cambridge, Maryland. Besides all the corrupt lobbyists, attendees include Tom Perez, Steny Hoyer, Ben Ray Lujan, Cárdenas, and reactionary Blue Dogs Jim Costa (CA), Vicente Gonzalez (TX), Stephanie Murphy (FL), Tom O’Halleran (AZ) and Lou Correa (CA). Among the lobbyists will be representatives of AT&T, the Pedestal Group, Goldman Sachs, Walmart, Microsoft, Charter Communications, Amgen, Concast, Pepsi, Pfizer, Sempra Energy, Primerica, Loews, Biogen, T-Mobile, Safeway, Johnson & Johnson, Astra Zenica, Sprint, PayPal, and dozens more.

So far Man-Khanh Tran and Philip Janowicz have declared for the seat and rumors are circulating that progressive attorney Sam Jammal will also run. But what I’m being told is that the DCCC is going along with Bold PAC to give the nomination to Cisneros in return for lots and lots and lots of that lottery money and then just give ups on the seat entirely. Works for Royce too, doesn’t it? I wish I could say this is a unique situation but this is the kind of crap the DCCC has been pulling for years and continues right now. I don’t see it ever changing without a major upheaval in the House Democratic Caucus. Last year when the rank and file threatened Pelosi if she didn’t let them elect the DCCC chair, she agreed and then no one even ran against incompetent loser Lujan. And people wonder why Democrats can’t beat Trump and the Republicans! Expect no changes until the sclerotic House leadership changes-- and that ain't changin' unless 2018 is another series of GA-06's and more cycles like 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

Labels: , , , , ,

Latest Mumia Abu-Jamal Book Asks A Provocative Question: Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?


-by Denise Sullivan

Following the shocking back-to-back police murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castille outside St. Paul in July of 2016, author and activist Mumia Abu-Jamal responded with what seemed to be an uncharacteristic loss for words when he ended a short lament titled "Killed By Cops Who Were 'Just Doing Their Jobs'" with this refrain:

And another one gone…and another…and another.

A few days later, in a piece called "What Happens To A Dream Deferred," he invoked the Langston Hughes poem in reference to Sterling, Castile, and a massacre in Dallas in which five police officers and others were injured.

A new stage has been reached in America's longest war with itself.

Capsulizing the history of white slave patrols, their relationship to today's police departments and a justice system that preserves immunity for officers who kill, Abu-Jamal goes on to suggest how and why we've arrived at such a horrific place in American history.

Oppression can drive people mad. It can turn calm brains into minds consumed by anger, rage, and resentment.

One year later, in the wake of recent worldwide terrorist events, mass shootings from coast to coast, and an entirely not unexpected not guilty verdict for Jeronimo Yanez, the cop who killed Castile, it is safe to say the tyranny of our brand of liberty has brought us to yet another new stage in the long war with ourselves. In his broadcasts, Abu-Jamal quotes Alexis de Tocqueville and Mao Tse-tung as he reckons with the civil war now in progress. In another titled, The Second Death of Philando, he concludes, "The jury believed once again, that a black life had no intrinsic value and that it could be treated like trash, burned up and discarded, like an old pair of shoes."

In his latest collection of essays, Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? published this month by City Lights, Abu-Jamal offers no easy answers except for what's undeniable: "Well, they certainly seem important enough to suppress and steal." Over the course of the book, he shines his light on a fraction of the Black lives sacrificed since 1998-- the cases that made it into the public eye-- while underscoring the fact: Living while Black in the US is in itself a traumatic experience.

Between waging his own daily struggle to maintain his health despite being denied care on the inside, and working continually to overturn his own wrongful conviction for allegedly killing a police officer in 1981, Abu-Jamal writes, and writes, and writes: Over the course of nine books including the previous City Lights collection, Writing on the Wall, countless essays and radio broadcasts, all created in prison over 30 years, (much of that time on Death Row), Abu-Jamal has rung the warning bells, raised and lowered the flags for freedom, and sounded its sirens with his words, in his efforts to defer the American emergency in progress. Stating in plain language what may seem obvious is an art, the job of a prophetic voice, and Abu-Jamal owns his. The view from the inside allows for his precision and laser-focus, to see and say things the likes of which we who are free to travel the world and the Internet cannot. And yet, his status or lack of it as a prison inmate has left his input marginalized and at times dismissed by society at large. Perhaps the sheer volume of work at this point is what daunts otherwise intelligent people to shun him, or maybe it's just that old white supremacy doing its number again...

There remains an inexplicable resistance within the so-called progressive left to regard Abu-Jamal as a poet and a writer of substance, much less a prophet or defining voice of the voiceless. Those who seem to have the time for revered prison writings from Jean Genet, George Jackson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela, just haven't gotten around to vigorous discussion of Abu-Jamal's vast catalog of material. Though his supporters may rest assured that long after we're all gone, these writings will stand as testimonies to a very strange time in American history and scholars of the future will likely shake their heads in disbelief at why more attention was not paid to his prophetic wisdom and why we did not heed its call. Therein these compositions are answers and valuable tools for the recovery of America's lost soul.

In a 2002 piece titled, "The Other Central Park Rapes," concerning the five young men wrongfully accused and incarcerated for crimes they did not commit in 1989, Abu-Jamal calls out Donald J. Trump, citing the vicious full page ads he took out proclaiming the men should've received the death penalty (the young men were later found innocent after serving from 6-13 years of their 5-15 year sentences). Of that miscarriage of justice, Abu-Jamal asserts that this was no isolated incident: That five Black men should be victimized by the justice and prison systems, scarred for life by its business as usual, is quite simply more evidence of Black lives cast aside. In this same piece he asserts Black, Brown, and Latino lives "don't matter."

A 1998 essay, "We Are Blind To Everything But Color," considers how people are treated in court: "…how they are charged and how they are sentenced are direct reflections of what race and ethnicity they are and how such traits are regarded by white America." He outlines an experimental exercise among law students in which whites imagined turning Black and agreed it was "a disability," worthy of millions in damage awards. "Why damages, unless color does matter?" he asks.

Of the 41 shots that killed Amadou Diallo, in 1999, Abu-Jamal noted the "predictable acquittal of his killers, four white cops," in 2002 and called for the formation of a movement to stop the violence. Some 12 years later, following the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, that movement launched, though Black Lives Matter does not claim inspiration from Abu-Jamal nor does he seek their endorsement, though anyone with eyes and ears can see he was the forerunner in regard to resisting police terror and naming white supremacy as a source of law enforcement's ills.

Read one by one like a daily reader, the essays, like the radio commentaries, are dense enough to reflect on for hours. Read all in one sitting, the evidence for bias presented by Abu-Jamal could potentially penetrate a racist mind and change it for the better, though sensitive liberals may find themselves sick with grief following the undeniable catalog of suffering here, some of it committed by our own hands (let this serve as your trigger warning). His critique of politicians is not reserved for the right: He notes the Clintons role in what he calls the mass incarceration boom as well as Obama's legacy of mass surveillance and systemic repression: "He left the horrors of mass incarceration fundamentally unchanged and in the hands of an ultra-right wing populist, endorsed by a known domestic terrorist group, the Ku Klux Klan."

As we prepare for the long hot summer of American contradiction and its high holiday, the Fourth of July, Mumia asks us to consider what he and abolitionist Frederick Douglass asked: What does such an observance mean to a slave? As long as we remain a nation with the highest prison population in the world, with over two million serving time, we are not only a prison nation, but none of us are free. Time and again, the wrong people are warehoused when the real killers of American freedoms have yet to be tried, convicted, and locked away. "Until then," Abu-Jamal writes,"The Fourth is just another day."

The State of Pennsylvania has remained invested in keeping Abu-Jamal behind bars, despite a pile of evidence in favor of his innocence. In the eyes of a racist and fearful America this makes perfect sense, though in a more perfect union, where the deck isn't stacked and there is such a thing as a justice for all, Abu-Jamal's lifetime of incarceration would be the crime. Until that time, his writings provide companionship in the bleak hours of an American narrative that affirms, again and again although it's a lie, that some lives are expendable.

Denise Sullivan is the author of Keep On Pushing: Black Power Music From Blues to Hip Hop and an occasional contributor to DWT on arts, culture, and gentrification issues.

Labels: , , ,

Whither Thou Goest, Sean Spicer?


-by Noah

President Trump is reportedly considering limiting press briefings. Of course, he is. His desire to work his corruption and his incompetence in as much shadow and secrecy as possible should come as no surprise. Trump has taken note of how fellow Republican, $enate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is working on their Trumpcare bill in secret and he’s decided that turning Republican governance completely into a black hole of secrecy is the way to go.

Spicy, we hardly knew ye...

Remember when Trump said he had the best words? Well, the Trumpanzee’s ”Best Words” guy, Sean Spicer, is all but gone. The White House says Spicy is interviewing potential replacements.

Yeah, I know, Sean Spicer was always obviously, “gone.” Spicy is or was one helluva gone guy. He’s got quiet an imagination. He sees people, live people, people that just aren’t there. We realized that on his first day on the job when he spoke about the inauguration “crowd.” Spicer begat a whole cottage industry of memes.

Spicer is an unintentional master of the surreal and a court jester. But, he is gone, as in no longer in his job. The job he elevated to high Orwellian comedy. The job that he was born to fill! He was press secretary of the most famous lunatic asylum of all time. Looks like we won’t have him to kick around anymore.

Will Spicer ever face the press again? How long before Steve Bannon or Reince Priebus announces that Spicer has been sent to a farm in the country where he can happily play and frolic all day with all the other former press secretaries?

Soon, we will be wondering...

Has anyone seen my old friend Sean? Can you tell me where he’s gone? Did Kellyanne Conway cook him up in a big black pot in the Rose Garden and eat him? Has he been thrown in the dungeon on Elba to party with Napoleon’s ghost?

Has he been disappeared? Will Spicer be found buried in the concrete foundation of a Trump Tower in Swaziland, Fredonia or The Duchy of Grand Fenwick? Has he been quietly made President Trump’s new envoy to an isolated Amazon tribe, or emissary to the spirits of some off the map South Seas volcano? Will he return? Will he ever return? Will his fate remain unknown?

OK. I guess the world needs to accept the abrupt departure of Spicy, but did it have to be this way? Already, the Great White Asylum has announced that there will be no more live Spicy Shows. No More! Oh no! Instead, they said there would be “press conferences” with no audio and no visuals. It’s not just no Spicy. The asylum would control the vertical and the horizontal because reality is so passé in Trumpworld. I guess in the world of the outer limits, it was bound to happen. But, to never witness the surreal dark comedy stylings of Spicy ever again? That’s harsh.

You knew Spicy’s days were numbered, when Trump, knowing that Spicy is a devout Catholic, shafted him during the recent Trump Insult The Allies Tour by not letting him even meet the Pope and shake his hand. It’s a measure of Spicer’s foolishness that he didn’t quit then and there, but I guess he needed a ride home.

I know the Trumpanzee decided that Spicy was no longer up to the gig. It’s doubtful that any clown on Trump’s vast roster of wackos would be. Trump, himself, can’t handle the job. You can’t expect a person as insecure as Trump to surround himself with people that might outshine him.

But couldn’t they have been kinder to Spicy?

Instead of not letting him speak to the press anymore, couldn’t they have still let Spicy still come out to the podium. He could have referred all questions to his imaginary 6-foot rabbit friend Harvey.

Spicy himself, has experience as a bunny so that seems to fit. What harm would it do? We’re already way beyond that point. The bottom line would still be the same.

Who better than the rabbit Harvey to represent today’s Trumpian Nut House. An ephemeral, phantom spokesperson who doesn’t really exist drawing endless alleged “alternative facts” from some Rose Garden wormhole that leads to an alternate universe. SNL’s Melissa McCarthy? A mime? The Duck Dynasty weirdo? A Fox “News” intern? A Russian whore? Chris Christie still wants a job with Trumpy and he’s already proven that he’ll lower himself to any level. Perhaps you have a relative locked away in a padded cell who’d fit right in. Who would Putin choose?

Alas, for now, it won’t be Harvey. It will be the single digit IQ Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Meanwhile, Spicer and his imaginary rabbit friend, the only friend he has left, will interview those potential replacements. Who wants the job? Feel free to apply. If you include a picture of yourself with a screwdriver embedded in your forehead, your application will probably go right to the top of the pile.

Spicy’s future...

I expect that, in the distant future, Spicy may be found in a D.C. alley one night. He will have miraculously escaped exile, adopted a new identity, but failed as a FOX “News” host. His only friend, Harvey, will always be close by, even though no one else sees him; just like all those people no one but he and Trump saw at the 2017 inauguration, or all those 3 million illegal Clinton voters.

Labels: ,

Some people "would rather have 1st Class seats on the Titanic than change the course of the ship"


(Click to see original tweet.)

by Gaius Publius

"Change cannot occur if the displaced ruling class is left intact after a revolution against them. We have proof of this throughout South America. Every revolution by the indigenous people has left unmolested the Spanish ruling class, and every revolution has been overthrown[.]"
—Paul Craig Roberts, quoted here

Read the quote in the graphic above again. Insider Party consultants made millions off of Jon Ossoff's loss. Would those insiders take an Ossoff win if it meant no money for them? These people, Democratic Party elites, are not your friends and they're not the nation's friends. They are their own friends, period.

This is the other problem the nation faces. This is why the nation can't have nice things, like Medicare for All:
Hillary Clinton: Single-payer health care will 'never, ever' happen

Clinton stressed how difficult it is to stand up to the existing health insurance industry ... "I think it's important to point out that there are a lot of reasons we have the health care system we have today," she said. "I know how much money influences the political decision-making..."
an economy free of predatory monopolies:
Amazon is the shining representative of a new golden age of monopoly that also includes Google and Walmart.... In its pursuit of bigness, Amazon has left a trail of destruction—competitors undercut, suppliers squeezed—some of it necessary, and some of it highly worrisome. And in its confrontation with the publisher Hachette, it has entered a phase of heightened aggression unseen even when it tried to crush Zappos by offering a $5 rebate on all its shoes or when it gave employees phony business cards to avoid paying sales taxes in various states.)
and bankers who got to jail when they steal money ("The Untouchables: How the Obama administration protected Wall Street from prosecutions").

This is a large part of why the worst political party in 100 years — the Republican Party, if you're wondering — holds so much power. The other resistance is against Democratic Party policies like these. Democrats will have a very hard time winning until they change.

Which means, I think, that we'll have to make them change. It should be clear by now that the next revolution must be inside the Democratic Party, unless one wishes to scale the mountain of deliberate, structural impediments to forming a viable, 50-state third party.

No Time Left At All

Moreover, we don't have time for a 30-year project of reform. We have two years, maybe four, at most — après ça, le déluge. Here's why:

a. Climate change won't wait 30 years, while we elect sufficient climate-friendly Democrats and build sufficient Democratic political infrastructure to deal with it.​ Mother Nature is on the very verge of shrugging her shoulders at last and sloughing us to the floor of the historical past. Once that moment occurs, once we cross that line, we're doomed to end as a memory, though none will be left to remember us.

b. Nor will all the pissed-off, angry, dying middle class voters wait 30 years, those who live in states where pissed-off dying voters are most concentrated and who chose the worst presidential candidate in modern history, Donald F-ing Trump (yes, that's his middle name), over the "You can't have nice things" Democratic candidate our Establishment elites cleverly offered them.

Those people won't wait at all. They've totally had it. Students drowning in debt have totally had it. The jobless and homeless — and soon-to-be jobless and homeless — they've had it as well. Every independent ("I hate both parties") voter in the country, or most, have had it, and every study says so.

How many "I hate both parties" voters are there — or would-be voters if someone would just give them something to vote for? This many:

What does "they have had it" look like in practice? It looks like anything that looks like rebellion against a hopeless life, including putting a fool like Trump in office. It also includes horrors like these. (Nicole Sandler and I discussed this very topic, the collapsing social contract, recently. Click here for the interview. Start at 42:00 for that part of the discussion. Or start at 31:15 for the whole interview, where we discuss what's going on with Trump-Russia-Comeygate as well.)

"Tick-tick-tick," says the world-historical clock on the wall. By my count, with the Georgia election Democrats have just blown their fifth chance in a row to make a new first impression — all so that its entrenched politicians, consultants, service-providing infrastructure and media surrogates can make a larger pile of money, grease the skids on their own and their children's careers, and swan about DC like the minor-league queens and kings they think they are.

"We may be on the Titanic," I hear them all say, "but the service in First Class is terrific! Check out the lobster in the Oh It's You, Senator lounge."

Protecting Their First Class Seats on the Titanic

The quote in the title of this piece is from Bernie Sanders, said in a recent interview with David Sirota. Here's just a part (emphasis and paragraphing mine):
Sirota: The Democratic Party leadership has lost the White House, Congress, 1,000 state legislative seats and many governorships. Why is the party still run by the same group of people who delivered that electoral record?

Sanders: Because there are people who, as I often say, would rather have first class seats going down with the Titanic, rather than change the course of the ship. There are people who have spent their entire lives in the Democratic Party, there are people who've invested a whole lot of money into the Democratic Party, they think the Democratic Party belongs to them. You know, they own a home, they may own a boat, they may own the Democratic Party.

I mean, that's just the way people are, and I think there is reluctance on some, not all, by the way — I mean, I ran around this country and I met with the Democratic Party leaders in almost every state in the country. Some of them made it very clear they did not want to open the door to working people, they did not want to open to door to young people. They wanted to maintain the status quo.

On the other hand, I will tell you, there are party leaders around the country that said, “You know what, Bernie? There’s a lot of young people out there who want to get involved. We think that’s a great idea, and we want them involved.”
Those who said "You know what, Bernie? There’s a lot of young people out there who want to get involved. We think that’s a great idea" — they don't run the Party when it comes to its top layers of leadership. Not by a very long shot.

For the Message to Change, the Leadership Must Change

So what's a progressive to do? It should be obvious. The Democratic Party has to change its policy offering, from "You can't have what all of you want" to "If the people want a better life, we will give it to them."

Yet this is not so easily done. For the message to change, the leadership must also change.

Which raises the critical question: How do we depose Chuc​k Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and the rest of their kind and make people like Bernie Sanders and Jeff Merkley the Party leaders instead?

After all, if someone like Bernie Sanders isn't Senate Majority Leader, if a Sanders-like politician (Ted Lieu perhaps) isn't Speaker of the House, what's the point of electing more back-bench progressives, more "supporting cast" players? ​

If there's no way to do that — and soon, given the ticking clock — we're Sisphus pushing the same heavy bolder up the same high hill, year after year, decade after decade, till we die or the game is finally truly over. 2018 is around the bend. 2020 is coming. Après ça, le déluge. Not much time to solve this one.

Completely filling the Second Class cabins on the Titanic with our people (that is, populating Congress with progressives who are nevertheless kept from leadership and control) won't change what goes on in the Captain's cabin and on the bridge.

Put more simply, we need to control the Party, or when the clock truly runs out, all this effort will truly have been pointless. I'm not fatalistic. I assume there's a way. So here's my first shot at an answer.

Elected Progressives Must Openly Rebel Against Their "Leaders"

In order for the revolution inside the Democratic Party to work, our elected progressive congressional representatives senators, must work to depose Pelosi and Schumer (etc.) and take power. More — they must do it visibly, effectively and now, in order to convince the 42% of voters that someone inside the Party is trying to knock these people out of the Captain's chair.

We voters and activists have our own challenges. This is the challenge for the electeds we've already put in place. If our elected progressives don't do this — or won't do this — "tick-tick-tick" says the world-historical clock on the wall. And we can all go down together, steerage and First Class alike.

It's time to step up, elected progressives. It's also time to be seen to step up.  Read the Paul Craig Roberts quote at the top again. If the Party's failed leaders aren't deposed, the revolution will have failed.

It's a moment for real courage, and moments of courage bring moments of great fear. I understand that this kind of open rebellion, open public confrontation, a palace coup in front of the TV cameras, is frightening.

It's also necessary.

My ask: If you agree, write to your favorite elected progressive and say so. No more gravy train for Democratic elites. Meat and potatoes for voters instead. Complete the Sanders revolution by changing House and Senate leadership — now.

I know this puts some very good people on the spot. But maybe that's a feature, yes?


Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

TrumpCare 3.0-- The Senate Version Is Even Worse!


Everyone thought the Senate would get their hands on the really radical, really destructive-- and really hated-- House Republican “healthcare” bill, TrumpCare, crafted by Paul Ryan and Tom Price and bastardized by Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows and rogue Tuesday Group opportunist Tom MacArthur, and turn it into something more palatable and more mainstream. Why did anyone think that-- with people like Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz driving the show? Instead, if the Washington Post’s leaked report of what the Senate Republicans have come up with is to be believed, the Senate version is even worse than the House version. Not better, worse!

If this Frankenstein’s monster of a bill passes, say goodbye to Planned Parenthood and say goodbye to Medicaid-- and say goodbye to healthcare for millions and millions of American families who have coverage now.
The bill largely mirrors the House measure that narrowly passed last month but with some significant changes aimed at pleasing moderates. While the House legislation tied federal insurance subsidies to age, the Senate bill would link them to income, as the ACA does. The Senate proposal cuts off Medicaid expansion more gradually than the House bill, but would enact deeper long-term cuts to the health-care program for low-income Americans. It also removes language restricting federally subsidized health plans from covering abortions, which may have run afoul of complex budget rules.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) intends to present the draft to wary GOP senators at a meeting Thursday morning. McConnell has vowed to hold a vote before senators go home for the July 4 recess, but he is still seeking the 50 votes necessary to pass the major legislation under arcane budget rules. A handful of senators, from conservatives to moderates, are by no means persuaded that they can vote for the emerging measure.

Aides stress that the GOP plan is likely to undergo more changes to garner the 50 votes Republicans need to pass it. Moderate senators are concerned about cutting off coverage too quickly for those who gained it under the ACA, also known as Obamacare, while conservatives don’t want to leave big parts of the ACA in place.

As a nod to conservatives, the Senate bill would give states more leeway in opting out of the ACA’s insurance regulations through expanding the use of so-called “1332” waivers already embedded within the law, according to the draft proposal. States could use the waivers to make federal subsidies available even off the marketplaces-- but they couldn’t go so far as to lift ACA protections for patients with preexisting conditions.

…[M]oderates are likely to be turned off by how the bill cuts Medicaid more deeply than the House version. But the biggest cuts wouldn’t take effect for seven years, a time frame that could be more politically palatable for members like Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

Under the Senate draft, federal Medicaid spending would remain as is for three years. Then in 2021 it would be transformed from an open-ended entitlement to a system based on per capita enrollment. Starting in 2025, the measure would tie federal spending on the program to an even slower growth index, which in turn could prompt states to reduce the size of their Medicaid programs.

In a move that is likely to please conservatives, the draft also proposes repealing all of the ACA taxes except for its so-called “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health plans in language similar to the House version. Senators had previously toyed with the idea of keeping some of the ACA’s taxes.
Andy Kim, a national security expert who worked in the Obama White House and is now running for the south Jersey congressional seat held by Tom MacArthur, one of the TrumpCare architects, told me this morning that "Senate Republicans are taking the baton from Tom MacArthur and the House by secretly working in back room deals that prevent the American people from knowing the impact on their health care and their lives. The people deserve better." David Gill, an emergency care physician in Illinois, is running for the seat held by Ryan rubber stamp Rodney Davis. He’s on the same page as Kim. "My opponent in the upcoming 2018 election, Rodney Davis, played a pivotal role in the development of TrumpCare, serving as an assistant to the whip in the U.S. House to help garner support for its passage, and also frequently appearing as an apologist for the bill on TV news programs. Accordingly, Mr. Davis bears full responsibility for the overwhelming pain and suffering that will be wrought upon tens of millions of Americans by the passage of TrumpCare. As an advocate of single-payer as a member of Physicians for a National Health Program for the past 25 years, I am essentially the antithesis of Mr. Davis: I recognize the many benefits in guaranteeing all necessary coverage to all Americans, and I look forward to leading the charge towards single payer once I get to Washington. It is said that it is darkest before the dawn, and I have little doubt that passage of this atrocious Republican healthcare bill will serve to ultimately open the door wide to single-payer; Americans will be looking for a solution to their healthcare woes, and the time will finally be ripe for the type of single-payer program that should have been instituted decades ago."

Goal Thermometer And Randy Bryce, the newest Blue America endorsee, is clear how he feels about the Senate “healthcare” bill that leaked as well. “What is it going to take,” he asked, “to get people who are supposed to ‘represent’ us to actually listen to us? How can anyone claim to make decisions on our behalf when they pull garbage like this? America has always been about taking care of each other-- not taking away from each other! I’ve had enough of us working harder but having less to show for it. Not even the people who are supposed to vote on this bill know what is in it. That’s no way to ‘represent.’ Please— call your electeds-- ALL of them-- and demand that they do the right thing. Make it crystal clear that you vote. Then keep your promise and vote. Don’t forget to take your neighbors-- this is for them too. We still have some power-- use it before it’s gone.”


Matt Coffay is up against the godfather-- or co-godfather (with Ryan and Price)-- of TrumpCare, Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows, one of the most dangerous extremists in Congress. Matt, a former Bernie organizer in western North Carolina offers voters in NC-11 a really clear choice for themselves and their families. "My opponent, Mark Meadows, negotiated the worst components of the House version of this bill. He's responsible for the loopholes that will allow insurance companies to price people out of care because of pre-existing conditions. It's largely because of his insistence that 23 million people will lose health coverage. As if that weren't enough, he's reportedly been in talks with the Senate to ‘negotiate’ their version of the bill, and is now calling for a cancellation of August recess so that he and the Freedom Caucus can ram the AHCA back through the House (or through committee) rather than returning to his district to hold a town hall. When I'm in the House, one of my first acts as a member of Congress will be to co-sponsor HR 676, the Medicare for All bill introduced by Rep. Conyers. Every person in this country deserves health care, and I won't stand idly by while the people of Western North Carolina-- and people all across this country-- are forced to suffer so that a handful of billionaires can get a tax break."

Ted Lieu (D-CA), who has been taking a leading role in the House on issues where a backbone is required, eviscerated McConnell’s miserable excuse for healthcare legislation. "Born from the most cynical kind of politics and raised in total secrecy, the Senate Republican version of Obamacare repeal offers very little in terms of health or care for hardworking American families. The Senate version tinkers with the margins of the heartless House GOP version of repeal but make no mistake, this new legislation still would deny health security to millions of Americans, while unconscionably making even deeper long-term cuts to Medicaid-- all in the name of giving those most fortunate Americans a gargantuan tax cut that they don't need and many don't want. The Senate Republican plan is not bold leadership with 'heart,' it's a cowardly and complete abrogation of the solemn responsibility to guarantee health security for each and every American."

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Meet The Hand-Picked Garbage Pelosi And Hoyer Want To Turn The Democratic Party Over To


A case can be made that Joe Crowley is the most corrupt Democrat in Congress. Here at DWT we’ve been making that case for years. Pelosi and Hoyer were able to pull some strings for him when he was looking like a goner in front of the House Ethics Committee and do a prisoner exchange-- a whole pack of corrupt Republicans in return for Crowley.

Crowley is a Rahm-like bag man for the New Dems whose modus operandi is basically to go to corporate lobbyists and agree to get progressive legislation buried or watered down in return for the pay-offs that have led to inside-the-caucus political power for himself. I would describe him as a mini-Steny Hoyer without the charm. His lifetime ProgressivePunch crucial vote score is a mediocre 85.28 but it's his behind the scenes wheeling  and dealing that makes him such an odious character. In 1999 he was one of the movers and shakers on the Democratic side who backed ending Glass-Steagall for Wall Street. And, although that was one of the primary reasons for the collapse of the financial system and the ensuing catastrophe for the economy, Crowley hasn't blinked. The Finance Industry has rewarded him handsomely for selling out his Queens constituents in Woodside, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and College Point and the ones who live in neighborhoods in the East Bronx like Throggs Neck, Morris Park, Co-op City and Pelham Parkway, people who would never think of voting for a Republican-- but who, in effect-- get much of the same greed-and-selfishness agenda. Since he sold out his constituents in the debate over Glass-Steagall, the Finance Industry has funneled a hefty $6,238,679 (more than any other Democrat serving in the House) directly into his political career in the form of legalistic bribes. He's used that money to build up his own political power inside the Democratic Party, exactly what Wall Street wanted him to do with it.

In 2005 he was one of the reactionary paid-off Dems who voted with the Republicans for Bush’s anti-working family bankruptcy bill (written by Crowley’s lobbyist pals). Crowley, a Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, where he regularly undermines the interests of the 99%, is one of the few Democrats who was not subsequently defeated for reelection after crossing the aisle that day to vote with the GOP, with Wall Street and with the 1% against American working families. Instead he managed to worm his way into the House Leadership,m first as the Democrats' Chief Deputy Whip and a Vice-Chairman of the DCCC and now as the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus— and leader in waiting after Pelosi and Hoyer finally disappear.

The bill, whose purpose was to make it more difficult for consumers to file bankruptcy, was originated in the Senate and the lead sponsor was deranged Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley. It was co-sponsored by a gaggle of Republican corporate whores like Jim DeMint, Orrin Hatch, Jeff Sessions and David Vitter (who, during the debate, was talking on his cell phone with a high priced call girl about what color diapers he would be wearing that night) as well as by two of the sleaziest corporate Dems in the upper chamber, Ben Nelson and Tom Carper. The banksters spent millions in lobbying and bribes (campaign "contributions") and it was widely considered their greatest victory against the American people at the time.

Sleazy legislators like Crowley who supported it parroted the banksters' lies that passage would reduce losses to credit card companies, who would then pass on the savings in the form of lower interest rates. The first half was true; credit card company losses decreased. But the rates charged to customers not only didn't decrease, they increased while the insatiably greedy credit card company profits went through the roof, a cut of which was given to the corrupt Members of Congress (like Crowley).

Crowley was also on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and he was one of the 81 Democrats who voted to authorize Bush to attack Iraq. 126 Democrats (and 6 Republicans) voted against the unprovoked aggression, which turned out to be one of the worst and most costly foreign policy blinders in American history-- costly for the taxpayers, but very profitable for the arms industry, which, of course, has rewarded Crowley very nicely. With their biggest bucks reserved for Republicans, arms dealers have bestowed a tidy $213,939 on Crowley for his support of their business interests.

Crowley has never had a serious opponent for reelection and, in fact, he was selected congressman in a very sleazy backroom deal with his predecessor, Tom Manton, who announced his retirement after the filing deadline and then, as head of the Queens Democratic Party, handed Crowley, a former staffer and a crony, the Democratic nomination. Crowley doesn't live in Queens; he lives in Virginia with his family. He badly needs a primary from someone who does live in Queens (or the Bronx) and who is more than just a Democrat in name.

A few days ago the Village Voice ran a feature onCrowley’s rise to power, and about the progressive young Democrat finally challenging him in a primary battle. Ross Barkan:
In the summer of 1998, Tom Manton of Queens shocked the city’s insular political world by announcing his retirement from Congress. Manton, 65, had petitioned to get on the ballot and showed all signs of wanting to run for another term. Aging politicians in his shoes usually said publically, much earlier in the primary process, they weren’t running again and endorsed a favored successor. Even in machine-driven New York, this was how the game was played.

But Manton, the chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, was a county leader par excellence. He wasn’t about to allow something like democracy to break out in his borough. By waiting so late to make his announcement, Manton ensured only one elected official could compete in the Democratic primary to replace him. Since petitions had already been circulated, a candidate needed to be picked by a committee within the Queens Democratic Party that, of course, Manton exercised absolute control over. The committee met secretly, not allowing other elected officials to submit their names for consideration.

By 11 o’clock on the morning of July 22nd, 36-year-old Joe Crowley, the newly-minted Democratic nominee, was on his way to Congress. Politicians in Queens were aghast.

“Had I known about the meeting, I would have put my name in,” a Queens city councilman named Walter McCaffrey complained to the New York Times. “Having been one of the people who helped elect Tom, and having been his chief of staff, it is a disappointment.”

Manton didn’t care. Crowley, then an assemblyman, was his protégé, and he would eventually hand over the Queens Democratic machine to a man he treated like a son. When Manton died of cancer in 2006, Crowley became county leader. Not content to just rule the roost in Queens, Crowley climbed his party’s ranks in Washington. Today, he is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the fourth-highest ranking position in the Democratic leadership. He is whispered about as one potential successor to Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader.

Before Crowley can get on with his ladder-climbing, he needs to do something somewhat unfamiliar: run a campaign. For the first time since at least 2004, he will be forced to compete in a primary in the overwhelmingly Democratic district spanning northern Queens and a chunk of the eastern Bronx. Since Republican victories are all but impossible, the primary is where the action is-- and where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 27-year-old former organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign, hopes to pull off her historic upset.

“What Joe Crowley represents is the floodgate between Wall Street and the United States government. He’s the clearing house, he takes millions and millions of dollars in funding from them,” Ocasio-Cortez told the Voice. “We see how he’s come to power locally-- it’s totally undemocratic, machine-run, dynastic. He’s trying to spread this same model on the federal level.”

Ocasio-Cortez, attacking Crowley from the left, is just one of about a dozen candidates running on the slate of Brand New Congress, a political action committee founded by former Sanders staffers to elect more progressive members of Congress. She is the only member of Brand New Congress running from New York. A resident of the Bronx neighborhood of Parkchester, Ocasio-Cortez organized Sanders’ campaign in the South Bronx-- Hillary Clinton, heavily favored in New York City, won the Bronx handily-- and started thinking seriously about running for Congress after Donald Trump’s election. She learned quickly that people usually didn’t even contemplate running against Crowley, let alone start an actual campaign.

“A lot of progressive groups are coming out of the woodwork. They’ve been trying to find a challenger to Crowley for years,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It’s literally political suicide for anyone with a semblance of a political career.”

While the Sanders wing of the party has derided much of the Democratic establishment as too beholden to the status quo, it’s hard to find a congressman more representative of that establishment than Crowley. The Blackstone Group is his second most prolific donor. Bank of America, Verizon, and Tishman Speyer, the powerful New York real estate developer, round out the top 20. He was an unflinching Hillary Clinton ally. Like many in his party, he supported the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. (His campaign argues that his donor list aligns with many other liberal Democrats, including Pelosi.)

Ocasio-Cortez’s platform-- built around campaign finance reform, renewable energy investment, and massive infrastructure spending amounting to a “new” New Deal-- is short on local specifics, something Crowley’s campaign is happy to point out. Crowley’s own record in D.C., for the most part, is that of a conventional Democrat. He was a loyal supporter of Barack Obama’s agenda, for example.

Lauren French, a spokeswoman for Crowley’s campaign, argued the Queens boss has proven his progressive bona fides. “Joe has been a top supporter of Democrats for years-- raising funds to boost Democrats into congressional seats, local office, and build state parties,” French said. “Joe has been instrumental in turning red seats blue, insuring there are more votes at all levels of government for immigrant and LGBT rights, affordable health care, Wall Street regulation, and creating better, high-paying jobs for all.”

Where Ocasio-Cortez and others can find much greater fault is in Crowley’s backyard, where his county machine keeps a tight grip on power and enriches his bosom buddies at the expense of everyone else. The day-to-day operations of the Queens party have remained in the hands of a trio of Crowley and Manton-aligned lawyers for three decades.

These men-- Gerard Sweeney, Michael Reich and Frank Bolz-- have a law firm that has earned millions in Surrogate’s Court, where the estates of people who die without wills are processed, and from representing banks foreclosing on people’s homes. The judicial system in Queens is effectively under Crowley’s control, since no one becomes a judge or receives a court appointment without staying in the county organization’s good graces. A scandal cloud now looms: Scott Kaufman, Crowley’s campaign treasurer, is facing a state probe for possible violations of court rules regarding lucrative appointments he received.

It was Sweeney, Reich and Bolz’s profiting off the foreclosure crisis that particularly galled Ocasio-Cortez, who lost her father to cancer at a young age. “My mom was running a single parent household,” she said. “She was cleaning homes, driving buses, and in the wake of the financial crisis and losing my father, we were on the brink of losing our home to foreclosure.”

Crowley’s spokeswoman didn’t offer any comment on the role Sweeney, Reich and Bolz have played, or the probe into Kaufman.

“Joe is proud of his tenure as chairman of the Queens Democratic Party,” she said. “He has worked hard to promote and expand diversity on the bench and within the party.”
Goal Thermometer About a month ago, Blue America started helping Alexandria Ocasio to raise campaign funds on a Blue America ActBlue page dedicated to the brave souls who take on the task of primarying entrenched corrupt Democratic incumbents like Crowley. It’s the only way we’re ever going to get rid of this crook and prevent him from poisoning whatever is left of the Democratic Party and making it completely synonymous with the corruption, careerism and greed that is at the center of his entire miserable career.

Labels: , , , ,

American Elites Need To Feel The Fear The British Elites Feel Today


It’s nice-- very nice-- that Macron pulverized Le Pen and her fascist party. In Sunday’s parliamentary elections, Macron’s party won 350 seats, an absolute-- and unassailable-- majority in the 577 member National Assembly. Le Pen’s fascists won just 8 seats. That, though, is different from having reason to celebrate a great progressive victory. Ultimately, the fact that Macron detests and reviles Señor Trumpanzee is just funny and admirable, not governance. Neither Macron, a centrist former banker, nor his prime minister, conservative Édouard Philippe, is remotely progressive. They literally define conservatism: preservation of the status quo. The turnout, its worth noting, was the lowest in living memory. I was in France for the election. People seemed motivated primarily to stamp out fascism, not to embrace Macron and Philippe. As the French used to say-- or at least the French Jews-- “feh!”

Now across the Channel, on the other had, there really is a reason for progressives to celebrate. Though Jeremy Corbyn isn’t Prime Minister yet, he smashed the Conservatives and sent waves of fear through the British elites. Last week, The Nation carried an interview with veteran British journalist Paul Mason, which you can listen to here:

The point that Mason wanted to get across though, is that Corbyn’s moral victory was something of beauty and something that shouldn’t be underestimated-- and something that can be imported into America. “What happened,” he explained, “has no parallel in modern British politics since 1945. Labour didn’t win a majority, but they won a moral victory because the government had called the election to get a bigger majority of its own. It was predicted on the night before that it would get a majority of 100 seats. In the end it got no majority. There is now what we call in Britain a hung Parliament, which would be as if Congress was controlled by nobody. Theresa May, the Conservative prime minister, is clinging on, but what happened was that really massive numbers of young people voted for Labour-- not just under-24-year-olds, but under-35-year-olds. Something like half of all under-35-year-olds voted for a party that was vilified by the media as a kind of terrorist-supporting threat to national security… [Corbyn] started out far behind, polling 25 percent. The first thing he did was claw back to about 35 percent by publishing the most left-wing manifesto of any Social Democratic Party in the world. It called for renationalization of the railroads, the postal service, and some energy firms. It called for what we call ‘Robin Hood taxes,’ taxing not just the incomes of companies and rich people, but also taxing the wealth of rich people. Taxing the unearned wealth, the property speculation, the stock-market speculation. This would bring in billions, which he said we would spend on free college education for everybody who wants it. That is revolutionary-- and it’s not surprising so many students came out to campaign for the Labour Party in the last few nights of the election. On some urban streets, people were opening their windows and saying, What’s going on? Is there some kind of disturbance? Why are 100 young people coming down my street and knocking on my door? It felt like a sort of velvet revolution in parts of Britain.”
Key figures on the right of British politics are now saying that, to stop Jeremy Corbyn, they have to be prepared to ditch everything. They have to be prepared to ditch what is called “hard Brexit,” which is walking away from Europe without a deal. They have to be prepared to ditch austerity. We’ve had seven years of spending cuts and attacks on the welfare state, and they’ve got to be prepared to ditch that. They’re in full panic mode. As a reporter on British politics and economics, I haven’t seen the ruling class of England in a panic like this for a long time. They realize that their defense lines are falling away. The normal defense lines for British capitalism run not just through the Conservative Party, but also through the Labour Party. But once Corbyn took control of Labour and decisively moved its political programs to the left, the only thing standing between the working class and young people on one side, and the minority and the elite on the other, is the Conservative government. And that just effectively fell apart. It’s a minority government, with no power to legislate.

…[I]t’s not enough to have the combination of a strong leader and a well-worked-out program. The left also needs a ground game. We have this movement called Momentum, a movement to get support within the party. That movement was able to have a million conversations with voters in the space of six weeks, talking to people on their doorsteps, just the way the Sanders people did. Then Jeremy Corbyn in the last days of the election campaign stepped out of the role of party leader and started to speak on behalf of the nation. He’d absorbed so much pressure, so much vitriol, and so many attacks—he assured people that it was possible to go beyond the pain barrier. I think the Sanders movement, or whatever comes after it, has to do popular politics. It’s not the same as populism. It’s like gaming. You go into the dungeon and you kill the boss. You need someone who can do that. And Corbyn proved he could do it.
Help Randy Bryce battle the elites of both wretchedly corrupt DC parties and get down into that basement and end the political career of Paul Ryan next year. No DCCC handler is going to talk Randy into "going centrist," the way they did with Ossoff in the final stages of the GA-06 campaign. Randy stands for deeply held values and beliefs, rooted in his life's experiences. After he wins in 2018, by campaigning on those beliefs-- not on a DCCC-dictated GOP-lite platform-- we’ll see if progressives have the strength to smash the conservative Dems and their donors and beat Trump with a Corbyn, not with a Macron.

Labels: , , , , ,