Monday, October 23, 2017

Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

I think we should all send this meme directly to Lord Tiny Hands. Tweet it, email it, snail mail it, skywrite it, stencil it on the sidewalk outside any Trump property in the world. Imagine a world... where 1 million of us surround the People's White House and recite this meme with bullhorns like a modern-day greek chorus from Trump's own personal Hell. Whatever it takes. Do I think he would follow our directions? No, absolutely not, but the abuse sure would get to his massive need for praise and his massive, well-founded insecurities! We have a power to irritate the living fuck out out this demon. He's already two-thirds on the way to being reduced to a completely unable-to-speak or function, screaming, stinking ball of orange-haired blubber anyway. Let's finish the job! Shame on us if we don't use that power.

Sure, we'll end up with Pence, Ryan or some other headcase, but did the allied D-Day troops go home after killing just one German? One step at a time. One step for mankind. It's a great way to start the week.

I don't want to kill this guy. I want him locked up, locked up for the rest of his days, fed nothing but cheetos, carrots and oranges; wearing an orange "Make America Great Again" straitjacket in an orange padded cell. In an act of generosity, I would let him have a gold toilet. Of course, that toilet would be lined with photos of him and his fetid family. Rolls of toilet paper with his grotesque own face would be a nice touch. If he bitches, take away the toilet paper.

Do you think my ranting is harsh? Fine. Just paratroop him and his family, cabinet, and whole white supremacy staff into Somalia and let them fend for themselves.

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

This Evening's Word: Kakistocracy... Trump Gives Understanding It A New Sense Of Urgency



Last week, ABC News' Avery Miller did a brief report on Republican commentator Charlie Sykes' assertions about how the Trump circus is turning America into a kakistocracy. Sykes was long Wisconsin's top right-wing talk show host-- who never tired of pushing the odious agendas of Scott Walker, Reince Preibus and Paul Ryan. And then Señor Trumpanzee waddled onto the national stage with his ever-growing and ever more grotesque menagerie of freaks and thieves. And Sykes was suddenly a #NeverTrump lamppost in the encroaching darkness. He has a new book out, How the Right Lost Its Mind, which seeks to explain "how conservative have strayed from their core values. He points a finger at the Trump campaign’s chief strategist Steve Bannon and what he describes as 'revenge of crazy town.'"
Sykes says, “Steve Bannon is so much a part of this Trump story. Here’s a guy who flirted with the ‘alt-right.’ Don’t pass this point-- he was in the White House. He had the ear of the president of the United States. Here’s basically one of the gods of dysfunction, and he was sitting in the White House.”

Now that Bannon has left the White House and returned to the right-wing website Breitbart News, the “worst people in the world” are becoming the faces of the GOP, Sykes says. “It doesn’t look like a strategy to me as much as an unfocused, vindictive rage. It doesn’t even appear to be ideological principled as much as it seems to be ‘Let’s burn it all down. Let’s tear it all down, and let’s see what happens.’”

...“Look at this from Donald Trump’s point of view. Part of the fact of Trump’s success is that he empowered the fringes. This is his base, and I think Trump was rattled a lot by what happened in Alabama because he cannot afford to let someone get to the more populist right than him. You see this back-and-forth, this tug of wanting to get things done but recognizing that these folks from crazy town are the ones that got you the nomination and got you elected. I think he’s going to ping-pong between the two of them.”

...“If I am a Democrat, I am delighted to see Steve Bannon burning down, trying to destroy incumbent Republicans and replace them with rather eccentric folks out there.”

Sykes says he “cringes” when he talks about Ryan, one of his former favorite radio guests, mentioning his “really profound disappointment.”

“I have known him for many years and really did see him as the intellectual leader of the conservative movement and very much the alternative path the conservatives and Republicans could have taken. He had no illusions about who and what Donald Trump was, but he’s made a Faustian bargain.” Sykes says Ryan is “all in” on Trump.

In his book, Sykes describes what he believes is the damage Trump has done to the conservative wing of the Republican Party.

“The reality of Donald Trump is that, even though for the moment he will occasionally adopt conservative values, Donald Trump is not a deeply principled, deep-thinking individual. He is not a lifelong movement conservative. He will throw them under the bus whenever it becomes convenient. And much of his base will go along with him.”
A couple of weeks ago, Norm Ornstein, writing for The Atlantic had gone considerably further pointing out that there’s a case to be made that the United States is governed by the least scrupulous of its citizens. That's the definition of Kakistocracy, "literally, government by the worst and most unscrupulous people among us."

His point is that America is experiencing kakistocracy and it as come into sharp focus this month as a parade of unscrupulous Trump Cabinet members and White House staffers have been "caught spending staggering sums of taxpayer dollars to charter jets, at times to go small distances where cheap commercial transportation was readily available, at times to conveniently visit home areas or have lunch with family members. While Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was forced to resign after his serial abuse, others-- including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, remain in place."
Awful as the grifterish mentality and behavior may be, worse is the other part of kakistocracy-- inept, corrupt, and disruptive governance. Impulsive, stream-of-consciousness communications from the president by tweet are one thing. Examples like a budget that aims to knock out our weather satellites and cut our ability to respond to a pandemic, along with the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) removing from its website information about the disastrous conditions in Puerto Rico while pumping up the good news, are another.

The misguided and reckless travel bans instituted at the beginning of the administration were a harbinger of indifference to norms and practices of government previously embraced by both parties. The moves undertaken now by Trump and his aides to sabotage Obamacare, after the embarrassing failures to enact a bill to repeal and replace it, are sadistic and outrageous. They include cutting off the funding to notify people about the period for enrollment on the health exchanges, and shortening the time to enroll, along with most recently ordering the head of Medicare and Medicaid Services to deny a critical waiver to Iowa which will result in many losing insurance and skyrocketing premiums for others.

More troublesome still is the danger to world stability reflected in the embarrassing contretemps-triangle involving Secretary of State Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Mattis, and Trump. Within the last week, Trump undercut Tillerson via tweet, taking diplomatic talks with North Korea off the table while his secretary of state was in China (after undercutting our vital ally South Korea by attempting to blow up our joint free-trade agreement). Then NBC reported that Tillerson had privately called the president a “moron.” Mattis then told the Senate that America should continue to certify the Iran-nuclear deal, as it is in our national-security interest-- after which the president threatened to decertify the deal, undercutting the credibility of his defense secretary...

Donald Trump campaigned by promising to run government like a business. Unfortunately, that business is Trump University. There are 602 key policy positions in the executive requiring Senate confirmation. Almost nine months into the Trump presidency, only 142-- less than a quarter-- have been filled, and nearly half, 289, have not even had a nominee chosen. The record here is starkly worse than under the previous four presidents, from George H. W. Bush through Obama. At the State Department, we have a secretary and two deputy secretaries in place-- but only two of the nearly 30 critical undersecretaries or assistant secretaries, with none even nominated for the vast majority of the positions. A slew of key ambassadorships remain vacant, including sensitive spots like South Korea, Congo, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Venezuela-- none of which even have a nominee! Rumors have circulated that Tillerson has proposed many experienced Bush hands for some of these posts, which have been blocked by a White House personnel office that screens for early support for Trump, and vetoes those who offered any criticism during the campaign-- which eliminates the vast majority of those with any experience in foreign affairs. [And any sense or integrity.]

...The kakistocracy applies as well to Congress. I have already outlined some of the failures of the confirmation process for Cabinet officers and the abysmal lack of oversight of kleptocratic behavior. Add to those the eleventh hour backdoor effort in the House in January to eviscerate its independent Office of Congressional Ethics and the outrageous attempts by House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes, unchecked by Speaker Paul Ryan, to collude with the Trump White House to mislead about allegations of its own ties to Russian officials during and after the 2016 campaign. Nunes was forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation-- but has continued to try to use his office to influence the process.

Then there is the ineptitude of the policy process in Congress. Despite Speaker Ryan’s boast that this could be the most productive presidency and Congress in our lifetime, the record of Congress in its first nine months is abysmal. Not one of the big goals set by the president or majority congressional leaders-- health repeal and replace, infrastructure, a wall on the border with Mexico, major tax reform-- has been achieved. While the number of bills enacted is about average for new presidents, the number of significant bills is extremely low, especially compared to George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Except for a series of narrow measures to roll back Obama regulations and a bill to increase sanctions on Russia, most of the enactments are minor.

Moreover, Republican leaders, especially Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have blown up most of the remaining norms about how laws are developed, debated, and enacted. The process used to attempt the single most significant congressional promise, repealing and replacing Obamacare, was an embarrassing jumble of ineptitude, casuistry, irregularity, and abnormality. After eight years of promises to offer an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, Republicans in Congress only slapped together careless and unworkable plans after they took the White House and both houses of Congress. In the Senate, the plan was crafted behind closed doors by a small group of older, white male senators without the involvement of experts from the two relevant committees, Health and Finance, and with no input from the most savvy health experts, conservative or otherwise, or any of the stakeholders in the health-policy world. The plan, and its even more embarrassing alternative crafted by Senators Cassidy and Graham after the first one flamed out, were opposed by every major health organization and provider group, and were ripped by Senator John McCain for violating every principle of deliberation and debate. The sponsors lied repeatedly to their colleagues and to journalists and others about what the bills did and did not do, and made ham-handed efforts to throw money or exemptions at individual senators in Maine and Alaska to induce their votes.

The failure to pass any health measure, or to send Trump any significant bills he can use to have lavish Rose Garden victory ceremonies to show how much he is winning, has led to another round of presidential insults aimed at his own party leaders McConnell and Ryan, and at apostates like John McCain and Jeff Flake. The latest is a round of ridiculous and counterproductive attacks by Trump on Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker, who responded with his own broadsides at an unstable president lacking adult supervision. Many observers are now writing and talking about a Republican civil war, with the latest battle being the Senate primary in Alabama that led to the nomination of radical Roy Moore.
Voters want the Democrats to take back the House next year-- by a large margin

So will the voters clean house-- especially The House-- in just over 12 months? Every indicator I look at says yes-- actually, says YES! Trump and his kakistocratic cabinet may be around for a bit longer but if you were to wager that major Republican power players like Paul Ryan (WI), Darrell Issa (CA), Ed Royce (CA), Pete Sessions (TX), Fred Upton (MI), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ), Lamar Smith (TX) and possibly even Devin Nunes (CA), will be missing from the festivities when Congress reconvenes in January 2019, you'll probably be whole. And the country will be a little less kakistocratic... at least in the legislative branch.

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Will 2018 Be The Year Democrats Break The GOP Strangle-Hold On Texas?


Over the years, Democrats let Texas slip away. When Democrats were firmly committed to representing the legitimate aspirations and interests of working families, Texas was part of their coalition. There are Texans today-- like gubernatorial candidate Tom Wakely, Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke and half a dozen outspoken progressives running for Congress who you could call modern day "New Deal Democrats" and aren't having any of the DC Dem bullshit.

Yesterday, Mark Jones, a political science fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, and Joseph Jamail, chair in Latin American Studies at Rice University, penned an OpEd for The Hill, Texas Democrats smell blood in the water for 2018. Like every Texas Democratic candidate I've ever talked to, they bring up that Texas is less a red state than a "no vote state." They wrote that "in non-presidential years, the Texas Democratic Primary tends to be a low-key affair, with statewide turnout involving only around 3 percent of the voting age population. Contested Democratic congressional primaries tend to be scarcer than grass around a trough, with a plethora of safe Democratic incumbents and a paucity of seats in play." But they sense that that's not going to be the case next year. They're especially high on the prospect of Democrats taking back Houston's TX-07, North Dallas' TX-32 and TX-23 in South Texas.
In 2018 that is changing, as a talented group of high-quality Democratic candidates are coming out of the woodwork to run for Congress across the Lone Star State. And, if Democrats are to have any hope of taking back control of the U.S. House next year, they will have to flip at least a couple of Texas seats presently held by Republicans.
Tom Wakely told us that his campaign for governor will focus on 4 main issues. "1- Income inequality. I will fight for a raise in the state minimum wage to $15 an hour along with repealing Texas’s right-to-work laws. I also want to scrap the Texas business franchise tax system in favor of a Business Income Tax. It’s way past time for Texas’ largest corporations like IBM, Wal-Mart, ATT, Toyota, Dell Computer and Exxon, to start paying their fair share of taxes. 2- Healthcare. Texans need access to healthcare not access to health insurance. I will fight for the establishment of a statewide network of health clinics and hospitals similar in nature to the VA healthcare system that I am a part of. If you have health insurance through your employer and our happy with it-- keep it. If you have health insurance through the ACA and our happy with it-- keep it. For everyone else, the statewide network of health clinics and hospitals that I propose will be there for you. 3- Gun Violence Prevention programs. I will fight to ban the sale and possession of military-style weapons like the AK-47 and AR-15 in Texas. I will fight to repeal our state’s open-carry laws. I also support limiting the number of handguns and long guns that a person can lawfully own. In addition, we should require background checks at gun shows.  4- Global Warming. Through policies and practices like instituting a carbon fee on the burning of carbon-based fuels (coal, oil, gas), the carbon fee is at the core of my policy to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels whose combustion is destabilizing and destroying our climate. I will fight to ban fracking and flaring in Texas. I will work to see that scrubbers are installed on all cement factory smokehouses. These are all meaningful steps to mitigating the harmful effects of global warming."

Lillian Salerno, formerly Obama's deputy undersecretary of rural development for the Department of Agriculture, is running for a north Dallas Metro seat occupied by Trump rubber stamp Pete Sessions. She told us that since Trump’s election "much has been made of his rural, heartland voters, and how politicians can better serve them, with most discussion centering on international trade and globalization. But there is another political and economic disaster crushing the heartland-- one politicians could solve now, if they chose to. For decades, rural America has been punished by bad policy that places too much power in the hands of distant financiers and middlemen through the formation of monopolies, which undermines small, local businesses and drains communities of resources... Corporate concentration has hit farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers especially hard. Many markets are entirely monopolized by a single company that dictates the terms of business to suppliers... It is a myth that the economic challenges that rural and small-town America face are caused by forces largely outside our control, like globalization or improvements in technology. We have the ability to help restore competition and economic vibrancy in rural America and beyond. The government has the authority to ensure markets are once again open and competitive so that communities have a chance to shape their own economic destinies."

Goal ThermometerDerrick Crowe is the progressive candidate running for Congress in the very gerrymandered Austin-San Antonio corridor district occupied by crackpot Science denier Lamar Smith. "At my core," he told us. "I’m an organizer and an activist for nonviolent social change. I believe that we’re in a revolutionary time in the U.S., and that playing it safe could mean losing our democracy. We’re running a different type of campaign here in Texas 21, one that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with working people who are literally fighting for their lives under Trump and the GOP Congress."

The kind of economic populism Tom, Derrick and Lillian are campaigning about is a clear path to victory and for enhancing a blue wave in Texas. It would be nice if the DCCC and the Texas Democratic Party would catch on... but that's not likely. This cycle-- thanks to Republican overreach and Trump's abnormality-- we can do it without them if we have to. The Act Blue thermometer on the right is brand new. Today is its first appearance. Please click on it and help us inaugurate it. Turning Texas blue is going to take more than one electoral cycle; let's get started.

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It's As If Ryan And Trump Are Determined To Eviscerate The Middle Class With Their Tax Plan


On Thursday we looked at how the Trump-Ryan tax cuts for the rich will be toxic for Republicans in states where the elimination of the federal deduction for state and local taxes is significant and will mean as much as $20,000 annually flowing from the bank accounts of middle class taxpayers into the bank accounts of multimillionaires and billionaires. Since then, Maine Republican Susan Collins has told The Hill that she's not ready to commit to voting for the package. "Until I see the specifics of the bill obviously I’m not going to take a position on it," she said. One detail she's not likely to be a fan of is the sharp cut in the deductibility of 401 (k) contributions. Ryan is eager to cut that to provide bigger tax breaks for the wealthy. Saving though deductible 401 (k) plans used to be routinely supported by Republicans as an opportunity to help middle class taxpayers save for retirement. The Trump-Ryan GOP doesn't care at all about middle class taxpayers, other than as fodder for soundbytes.

Ryan and Trump and their teams are looking for short term gains-- regardless of how badly they hurt the long-term financial situations of Americans-- to help finance big tax cuts for their campaign contributors.
It is unclear if Republicans will ultimately include a cap on contributions in the tax bill that they are expected to release in the coming weeks. Such a move would almost certainly prompt a vocal backlash from middle-class workers who save heavily in such retirement accounts and from the asset management industry.

The proposals under discussion would potentially cap the annual amount workers can set aside to as low as $2,400 for 401(k) accounts, several lobbyists and consultants said on Friday. Workers may currently put up to $18,000 a year in 401(k) accounts without paying taxes upfront on that money; that figure rises to $24,000 for workers over 50. When workers retire and begin to draw income from those accounts, they pay taxes on the benefits.

Rumors have circulated for months that negotiators were debating including a cap as a way to help offset the revenue loss from a reduction in business tax rates that Republicans have put at the center of their plan. Reducing contribution limits would be, in effect, an accounting maneuver that would create space for tax cuts by collecting tax revenue now instead of in the future.

Such a move would be likely to push Americans to shift their savings to so-called Roth accounts, where contributions are taxed immediately, and not when they are drawn out as benefits. That would increase federal tax receipts for the short run.

The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that tax exclusions for individual retirement contributions will cost the federal government $115 billion for the 2018 fiscal year. That is just a fraction of the $1.5 trillion tax cut that Republicans are aiming to enact.

In addition to being politically problematic, including a cap could also complicate the tax bill’s prospects in the Senate. Under the rules of budget reconciliation-- the method Republicans are employing to avoid a Democratic filibuster of the bill-- legislation cannot increase budget deficits after a decade. Shifting revenue by lowering 401(k) limits “raises money early, but loses money late, and that’s exactly the opposite of what you want in a reconciliation bill,” said Rohit Kumar, a former Senate aide who leads the tax policy services practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, an accounting firm, in Washington.

Republicans drafting the tax bill have kept its details closely held, and they would not comment on Friday about whether 401(k) changes were under discussion. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee “are developing pro-growth tax reform policies that will encourage and support retirement savings for all Americans,” a committee spokeswoman said.

The tax framework that President Trump and congressional Republican leaders released last month promised to retain “tax benefits that encourage work, higher education and retirement security.” It left the door open to changes in the current system, saying that “the committees are encouraged to simplify these benefits to improve their efficiency and effectiveness.”

Democrats have seen firsthand the perils of proposing changes to savings accounts. In 2015, an outcry forced President Barack Obama to quickly back off his proposal to change the tax benefit of college savings plans known as 529 accounts.

On the Senate floor on Thursday, Senator Gary Peters, Democrat of Michigan, warned that the Republican majority was “keeping open the possibility of raising taxes on Americans who are trying to save for their retirement.”
Goal ThermometerRyan's opponent, iron worker and union activist Randy Bryce, was appalled by the GOP plan. "If this was something being proposed by Democrats," he told us today, "every city would have it’s streets filled with every working person who had enough gas money to get there."

Jared Golden is the progressive candidate running for the sprawling northern Maine district occupied by Trump rubber stamp Bruce Poliquin. Jared is the Majority Whip of the Maine state House and he's not liking what he sees of the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy. He's not happy about the plans they're making to cut federal tax deductions on retirement accounts. "On the 401(k) savings," he told us, "Paul Ryan and Bruce Poliquin are destroying the middle class. They don't understand how hard we work for our wages and the fact that it's getting harder and harder to save for retirement. Their priority is to cut taxes for the rich even if it's at the expense of the middle and working class. I don't care what party label you have behind your name, if you agree with me that Congress should be helping working people save for a comfortable retirement then I am ready to work with you." (I think he was talking about Susan Collins there.)

James Thompson is the Kansas Berniecrat who nearly turned the Wichita-based 4th district blue in a special election this year-- and without a lick of help from Pelosi and her DCCC. They're not helping this cycle either. They hate progressives. Thompson saves his fire for reactionary Republicans harming working families. This was his take on the latest GOP shenanigans with the Ryan tax plan:
The filthy rich are not satisfied with paying poverty wages and overtaxing the middle class while cutting taxes for the top 1%. Now they want to rob us of our retirements too by limiting the amounts we can contribute tax free to our 401Ks from the current $18,000 per year to just $2400 per year. They are doing this in order to fund their tax cuts for their billionaire buddies and corporate lobbyists. The vast wealth of this country has already been re-distributed to the top 1% over the past 40 years through the use of "trickle down economics" thereby creating an income disparity the likes that has not been seen in this country. Yet, their greed knows no bounds. When trying to determine how to pay for their cuts to the filthy rich cronies of Donald Trump, the Trump Republicans decided to attack the retirement benefits of our middle class. If this attack on the middle class is allowed by the Republican controlled Congress, the middle class will be devastated, more people will be unable to save for retirement and putting an even bigger strain on Medicaid, Medicare, Disability and other social programs in the United States. When I make it to Congress in 2019, I will fight everyday to protect working Americans from these types of attacks on our middle class. The middle class needs tax relief, not the richest 1% of this country. It is time to stand up and fight for the middle class; fight for fair taxation, and fight for America.
Kia Hamadanchy is one of the progressives running for the Orange County seat occupied by Trump/Ryan rubber stamp Mimi Walters. He sure wouldn't be voting for this toxic tax plan. "Just the fact that the California GOP invited Steve Bannon to address their annual convention shows how delusional and out of touch they really are. I'm actually kind of surprised Bannon didn't have Sherrif Joe Arpaio opening for him considering the way the state party appears to be going about their business. There is a reason that it's very possible that there won't be any Republicans on the statewide ballot on 2018 and its because time and time again the California GOP continues to embrace the xenophobia and extremism of figures like Bannon. That's why they are going to lose every single swing seat in 2018 and why they are on the path to permanent extinction in the state of California."

The other outstanding progressive running in CA-45 is Katie Porter, who's worked with Elizabeth Warren on these exact kinds of issues. She told us this morning that "Trump, Ryan, and their staunch allies, like my opponent Mimi Walters, are putting tax giveaways for the rich ahead of retirement security for middle-class Americans. As a consumer advocate, I’ve seen firsthand the importance of encouraging middle-class families to save for their futures. This policy would hurt families and leave our nation on fragile financial ground."

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What Does Keynote Speaker Steve Bannon Augur For The California Republican Party?


Friday night, Bannon gave the keynote address at the California Republican Party convention in Anaheim where he savagely attacked George W. Bush in response to Bush's NY speech the day before about the fascism Bannon has brought to the GOP. He depicted Bush as bumbling and inept, faulting him for presiding over a "destructive" presidency. Bannon said "It was clear he didn't understand anything he was talking about."
"There has not been a more destructive presidency than George Bush's," Bannon said during his dinnertime address at the convention banquet of the California Republican Party. He said Bush had "embarrassed himself" with a "high falutin" speech.

..."He has no earthly idea of whether he's coming or going," Bannon said, implying that Bush had mindlessly given a speech written for him by a speechwriter, "just like it was when he was President of the United States."

Bannon's sharply worded takedown of the 43rd President, who disappointed many of his GOP supporters with his huge increases in government spending and lengthy military entanglements abroad, illustrated the deepening divide within the Republican Party, and foreshadowed what Bannon has described as a "season of war" on the Republican establishment a year before the 2018 midterm elections.

...The reaction to Bannon's scathing criticism of Bush was mixed. At first, some in the crowd had booed loudly at the mere mention of Bush's name. There was also scattered applause and some shouts of support. But others in the crowd remained quiet.

Asserting that his wing of the party is in the midst of assembling a grassroots army, Bannon issued a call to action to those who share his point of view.

...Bannon also dispatched an arrow at Karl Rove, who wrote what he called a "very unfriendly" piece about Bannon's plans for recruiting mid term candidates in the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal.

After an offhand reference, Bannon explained that he hadn't meant to utter Rove's name Friday night: "I don't like punching down," he said of Rove, "so I'm not going to say anything."

For a little context, Bannon's brand of fascism has been a catastrophe for the California GOP. Last year Trump did worse than any Republican in living memory. Let's go back to 1960, when JFK was elected president. California voted for Nixon with 50.1%. These are the GOP California results since then:
1964- Goldwater- 44.74%
1968- Nixon- 47.82%
1972- Nixon- 55.0%
1976- Ford- 49.35%
1980- Reagan- 52,69%
1984- Reagan- 57.51%
1988- HW Bush- 51.13%
1992- HW Bush- 32.61%
1996- Dole- 38.21%
2000- W. Bush- 41.65%
2004- W. Bush- 44.36%
2008- McCain- 36.95%
2012- Romney- 37.12%
2016- Trumpanzee- 31.62%
Last year Hillary beat Trump in the Golden State 8,753,788 to 4,483,810. Her margin was 30.11%, the highest since FDR's 35.25% margin in 1936, which was also the last time Orange County went blue until Trump showed up as the candidate. On primary day Trump had taken 1,665,135 votes. Californians gave Hillary the primary win but Bernie still outpolled Trump significantly (2,381,722 votes). Trump lost all the counties with big populations. These are Trump's percentages in the 9 counties with over a million people:
Los Angeles- 22.41%
San Diego- 36.57%
Orange- 42.35%
Riverside- 44.35%
San Bernardino- 41.48%
Santa Clara- 20.58%
Alameda- 14.66%
Sacramento- 33.93%
Contra Costa- 24.87%
Many of the Republican activists who made up the crowd at CAGOP17 booed both Bush and McCain. One screamed "Hang him!" when Bannon mentioned McCain. 2018 Is looking like a particular donnybrook for California Republicans. At this point I wouldn't bet on the reelections of Darrell Issa, Ed Royce, Dana Rohrabacher, Steve Knight, Jeff Denham, David Valadao, Mimi Walters or even Duncan Hunter, Jr.

Ted Lieu (D-CA) is the DCCC Regional Vice Chair for the West Coast. He's in Oregon this weekend, encouraging Democrats there to fight back against Trumpism and against the alt-right. Saturday night he gave the keynote speech at the Oregon Democratic Party's convention. Today he warned that, "Steve Bannon is looney tunes. He is so unhinged that even the Trump White House fired him. Now he is taking Republicans down the dark path of alt-right craziness. GOP Members of Congress in California need to either publicly disavow Bannon's dangerous and extremist philosophy, or they own it. I can't wait to plaster Bannon and his evil views all over Republican Congress Members during next year's midterm elections."

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The Curse Of Self-Funders Is Undermining Democracy


Democratic Party self-funders JB Pritzker and Gil Cisneros

Reuters began their report on this weekend's parliamentary election in the Czech Republic: "Czech billionaire Andrej Babiš won a thumping victory in Saturday's election as voters shunned traditional parties and gave a mandate to the anti-establishment businessman pledging to fight political corruption while facing fraud charges himself... Babiš has promised to bring his business expertise to government... Drawing comparisons with U.S. President Donald Trump for his business background and anti-establishment message, Babiš has maintained his popularity despite charges he illegally received a 2 million euro EU subsidy when he ran his food, agriculture and chemical empire, worth an estimated $4 billion, before entering politics." Worth noting though, is that this was the first time the country had put a cap on election spending-- 90 million korunas (something like $4.1 million) per party, taking away, at least in part, the personal wealth advantage.

Last week, The Economist looked at the 2018 Illinois gubernatorial election, which they termed a contest between bajillionaires. The candidate Blue America has endorsed, state Senator Daniel Biss, is up against 3 self-funders with bottomless pockets, J.B. Pritzker (D), Bruce Rauner (R) and Chris Kennedy (D). "Though the primary is not until next March," they wrote, "the election to be the next governor of Illinois is already on track to become the most expensive in state political history, overtaking the $280m fight for the governorship of California in 2010 between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman, a billionaire businesswoman. Election spending in Illinois has increased by 741% this year compared with the same period in the previous election, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, an NGO. The candidates burned through $15.6m in the past three months, led by J.B. Pritzker, a self-funded billionaire businessman running for the Democrats, who splashed out $11.1m, mostly on television advertising, followed by Bruce Rauner, the self-funding Republican incumbent, who spent $2.6m, even though he has not confirmed yet that he is running for re-election. Mr Rauner and Mr Pritzker have so far raised just under $100m between them. In the sort of twist that seems straight from a plot by Armando Iannucci, the lion’s share ($50m) was given by Governor Rauner to a group called Citizens for Rauner. Mr Pritzker gave his campaign a modest $28m."
Though an extreme example, Illinois is no outlier. More and more very wealthy men are running for and winning office as state governors. Tennessee’s Bill Haslam, West Virginia’s Jim Justice, Florida’s Rick Scott, Kentucky’s Matt Bevin, Minnesota’s Mark Dayton, Nebraska’s Peter Ricketts, Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, Michigan’s Rick Snyder, North Dakota’s Doug Burgum and Arizona’s Doug Ducey all have a net worth measured in the tens, and in some cases hundreds, of millions. The richest is Mr Haslam, a multibillionaire whose father founded Pilot Flying J, a chain of petrol stations and convenience stores. Mr Justice, a coal billionaire, is the richest man in the state he governs.

America has had wealthy governors before—think of Nelson Rockefeller and Franklin Roosevelt, both of whom governed New York. But their proliferation is new. In part this simply reflects increasing income disparity in the country, says John Geer of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. Candidates with little money are disadvantaged by having to spend more time raising funds from donors to whom they are then beholden. One of President Donald Trump’s most popular campaign lines-- that he was too rich to be bought by special interests-- works in state elections too. Given the opacity of money in politics, perhaps voters find self-funding campaigns to be refreshingly transparent.

...How good are self-funding governors at governing? Such candidates often promise to run their states like a business, but their success can depend more on whether they have previous political experience. The pragmatic Mr Haslam is well-liked in Tennessee even by Democrats, and boasts an approval rating of around 60%. He was a two-term mayor of Knoxville before he ran for governor.

Michigan’s Mr Snyder and Illinois’s Mr Rauner, on the other hand, are among the least popular governors. Mr Snyder has not recovered from the public-health crisis caused by lead-contaminated water in Flint. Mr Rauner has been unable to govern effectively with the Democrat-controlled legislature. As a result, the state of Illinois’s finances have gone from critical to catastrophic, with unpaid bills amounting to $15bn and the state paying as much as 10% interest on some of its debt.

In Florida, Mr Scott has not managed to do much of what he promised, such as expanding the state’s economic-development agencies or securing big tax cuts, says Aubrey Jewett of the University of Central Florida. The Republican-controlled legislature still considers him an amateur. He is uncomfortable giving speeches or presiding over public ceremonies. Some newly minted governors have found their first encounters with a hard-nosed political press corps to be a shock. In some cases this makes them less willing to talk, which in turn leads to even less favourable coverage-- a lesson Mr Rauner, who is now more talkative, learned the hard way in Illinois. Private wealth will not be enough to win him re-election next year, especially as Mr Pritzker is much richer.
And if you've been reading DWT for any length of time you're already well-aware that the cancer of self-funders is not just a problem in gubernatorial elections. This link brings you to ten posts about congressional self-funders written over the last 18 months. But it's becoming more and more common to read about candidates-- especially conservative candidates recruited by the DCCC-- to drop immense sums of money into their congressional primaries to drive working and middle class candidates out of the races. Last year it was a miracle that progressive champion Jamie Raskin beat out to especially vile self-funding multimillionaire conservatives in the MD-08 primary. Chris Matthews wife put $606,198 other own money into a race where Matthews was already hitting his MSNBC guests to contribute to his wife. That amounted to nothing compared to the cycle's biggest loser, beer seller David Trone, who put $13,414,225 of his own into the primary race. MD-08 primary voters weren't kind to the 2 wealthy self-funders:
Jamie Raskin- 33.6%
David Trone- 27.1%
Kathleen Matthews- 23.9%
Ana Sol Gutierrez- 5.5%
William Jawando- 4.6%
But Trone isn't finished. He probably noticed that worthless New Dem scumbag John Delaney first won his MD-06 congressional seat by putting $2,370,556 of his own into the race. As soon as he announced he would be running for president and giving up the House seat next year, Trone jumped in, announcing he would spend whatever it takes this time to win the seat. So far he's "only" put in $748,939 of his own... but we still have over a year to go and Maryland political observers expect him to spend between $10 and $15 million of his own. Absolutely devastating for democracy-- and horribly ugly for the Democratic Party, which is being ruined by an influx of conservative multimillionaires. Another candidate in the MD-06 primary, Nadia Hashimi, a pediatrician and best-selling author, has given her campaign $230,700, but she doesn't have the money to compete with Trone.

Let's move across the country to Orange County, where the Democrats are looking at 4 Republican-held congressional districts that Hillary won last year and where every indication shows voters are even worse repulsed by Trump than they were last year. Hillary's biggest victory was in CA-39, a middle class district in the northeast corner of the district that includes slivers of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties as well. Blue America has endorsed progressive Sam Jammal for the seat. But self-funders have been attracted to what looks like an easy district. The latest FEC filings shows 4 candidates with significant self-funding:
Andy Thorburn- $2,000,000
Gil Cisneros- $561,656
Mai-Khanh Tran- $200,000
Phil Janowicz- $112,518
The richest member of Congress is Trump ally Darrell Issa, a career criminal. Voters nearly kicked him out last year and his 2016 opponent, Doug Applegate, expected to beat him easily in 2018. But a bevy of corrupt local multimillionaires led by a shady Pelosi crony, Ira Lechner, put up their own crap candidate, Mike Levin, and started pumping significant money into his campaign. Then a shady real estate investor, a crony of sleazy New Dem Scott Peters, with eye-popping Trump financial connections, Paul Kerr jumped in with $262,728 of his own money. And now there's some young Qualcomm heiress, Sara Jacobs, who doesn't live in the district but who thinks, after working for Hillary as an advisor, it would be fun to be a congresswoman and who is being urged to run in CA-49 by the predatory EMILY's List, which loves nothing on God's green earth more than heiresses with nice big rolodexes.

Fake Dem Omar Siddiqui
Just up the coast in CA-48, Putin's favorite crackpot congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, has attracted at least half a dozen opponents, including several conservative multimillionaires willing to self-fund. New Dem Harley Rouda has given his campaign $230,500. The other New Dem in the race, Hans Keirstead, has only put $55,400 of his own money in so far but DCCC sources say he is willing to stick at least a million dollars of his own into the race if he needs to. Another "Democrat," Omar Siddiqui, an "ex"-Republican who describes himself as a "Reagan-Democrat" and doesn't live in the district, has put in $255,786 so far and a 4th Democrat, Nestle executive Michael Kotick, has given his campaign $130,452. Republican primary challenger Stelian Onufrei has put $200,000 of his own into the race against Rohrabacher to boot. All these big sums is making it hard for the middle class progressive in the race, Laura Oatman to compete in the "money primary."

Other big self-funding Democrats in House races around the country so far (over $100,000 in self-funding):
NY-02- Tim Gomes- $1,000,000
NY-19- Brian Flynn- $685,400
NC-02- Sam Searcy- $480,802
NJ-11- Tamara Harris- $302,300
MN-03- Adam Jennings- $280,805
FL-27- David Richardson- $253,207
NC-02- Ken Romley- $240,000
VA-05- Leslie Cockburn- $203,000
IL-06- Kelly Mazeski- $200,753
WA-03- David McDevitt- $200,000
IL-06- Sean Casten- $180,000
PA-07- Molly Sheehan- $170,000
KS-03- Andrea Ramsey- $138,534
NM-01- Damian Lara- $125,000
NY-19- Dave Clegg- $121,182
NY-11- Omar Vaid- $105,532
NJ-07- Lisa Mandelblatt- $103,931
NY-01- David Pechefsky- $101,100
TX-16- Dori Fenebock- $100,000
And speaking of self-funders, one of the richie-rich guys from Portland just dropped himself into the ME-02 congressional race, Lucas St. Clair, who's mommy, Roxanne Quimby from Burt's Bees, wants her son to have a seat in Congress. This is a rich establishment guy from Portland planning to blanket a working class district with expensive TV ads about himself and his good deeds. Maine's Donor Table will be right on top of it; he's one of them-- an establishment guy with money to burn, who will be the easiest possible target for Bruce Poliquin. Republican John Floyd is laughing already:
[A] seemingly endless amount of southern Maine politicos have been eagerly awaiting another chance to unseat Rep. Bruce Poliquin and push their brand of politics on us in the north. But as Democrat darlings Hillary Clinton and Emily Cain found out-- there is a lot more to Maine’s 2nd district than the liberal echo chamber of downtown Bangor.

St. Clair’s biography page on the Quimby Family Foundation website describes his rearing “in a hand-built log cabin with few amenities”-- a dismal attempt at likening his background to arguably the poorest and hardest working folks in Maine. Sorry, we’re not buying it.

What follows is a litany of educational and professional highlights such as attendance at elite schools and an appointment to the Quimby Family Foundation Board. Nowhere did I see his time spent in the frozen Maine woods swinging a saw, breaking his back in the potato fields of The County or raking blueberries Downeast for day wages. He’s led a charmed life indeed.

St. Clair lives in the city of Portland, not exactly a conservative stronghold. While recently purchasing a home in the district he plans on running in may be a requirement to appear connected to his would be constituents, he will never be mistaken as a stalwart for the outdoorsman by the blue collar conservatives whose traditions and roots run deep here.

What southern Maine Democrats can’t seem to get a handle on is the fact that we make our living up here with our hands, not with our mouth. We earned what we have by hard work, not by handout. We like it that way. We also like our way of living and don’t need another outsider coming north to impose their liberal values on us. How can the entitled son of a left-wing millionaire seriously expect to represent the values, wants and needs of a simple, conservative district? Has he never heard the term ‘carpetbagger’?
Poliquin adviser Brent Littlefield described St. Clair as a dilettante embarking upon “his next life quest” by running for Congress after spending much of his adult life out of the district-- the same criticism Democrats leveled at Poliquin when he ran in 2014. “From being an attempted gourmet chef through his college training in London, to a wine expert in Seattle, to spending his family’s money ignoring the will of local voters, he has moved on to thinking he should be a politician,” Littlefield said. You can see exactly where the attacks will be coming from and what an easy target St. Clair will be in ME-02.
[V]oters of the 2nd Congressional District have increasingly switched allegiances to Republicans, including Poliquin in 2014, Donald Trump in 2016 and a clear majority of legislative races. Poliquin first won the seat, which had been in Democratic hands for two decades, in 2014 as an underdog against Democrat Emily Cain of Orono.

Golden, 34, is viewed as the frontrunner in the Democratic primary. A resident of Lewiston, a Democratic Party stronghold, he was recruited by national Democratic Party groups in part because his status as a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq makes him a formidable opponent for Poliquin in a district where treatment of veterans has been a key issue.

...St. Clair said he was unsure how much of his campaign would be self-financed.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


-by Noah

To some, the kneeling football player thing is tired. Some see it as a distraction or even a diversion from "bigger issues." I don't see it that way so I'm posting about it again. To me, the story gets to the core of what Señor Trumpanzee is, a sadistic, racist psychopath who seeks out every opportunity to inflict pain upon others. Case in point: His obsession with undoing anything his predecessor did; anything, even if it benefited the health of American citizens, our reputation with our allies, the lives of our allies, or even our own national security. Even his tax plan is sadistic towards those he looks down upon and has cheated all his life in that it raises the taxes of working class families while cutting the taxes of those in his own bracket by 4% or more, while also cutting estate taxes for only the very wealthy.

Trump and his wingnut supporters see NFL players kneeling as a chance to do one of those things they most love to do, i.e. put down African-Americans who dare to make an effort to defend themselves from injustice, even death. Trump's supporters lie about the kneeling having something to do with insulting "the flag," "the anthem," or "the troops." Some of them may even believe that, having rationalized their bigotry into a cover story that makes them feel righteous. There's a ton of irony in that. After all, one of the key reasons the players are doing what they are doing is that bad cops have been doing the ultimate put down of African-Americans, with their guns. In denigrating the protests of the players, the wingnuts are protesting those who protest racism. That's not surprising. Republicans enjoy their racism. They embrace it as a motivating force in who they are. So, of course, they protest those who kneel. How dare anyone protest against racism! The severely mentally ill Donald Trump knows this. He knows who and what his supporters are. They are him. His money is just a different wrapper.

For this reason, the story of NFL players taking a knee during the pre-game playing of the national anthem is not a tired story to me. We can't let Trump's propagandistic message about this issue be one-sided. From Trump's continuing tweeting about it to his Mike Pence stunt, it gets to the essence of what a divisive cancer Trump is for our country. And, for him, it's not just about having yet another opportunity to wave his racist freak flag, the flag that means so much more to him than our country's stars and stripes.

There's even more behind Trump's attacks on NFL players. He is also attacking the NFL itself, trying to turn his wacko supporters against the league. Why? Yes, he can use it all to rally his "very fine people", but it's also a very personal thing for him to attack the NFL as a whole. It's not just the players, it's also the owners, many of whom actually contributed large sums of money to his hideous campaign. The reason for the attack on the whole NFL? Simple. The NFL wouldn't let him join their club. Poor, sick in the head Donnie has felt rejected by the other rich guys for decades.

Once upon a time, in the early 1980s, Trump had a professional football team. It was the New Jersey Generals of the upstart United States Football League (USFL), a league that he helped establish back in 1982. HIs marketing and legal"strategies" for the league's growth, such as it was, is usually credited with leading to the league's demise. It's yet another example of a Trump failed business: Steaks, Wine, Airline, Football, raising his kids, and now America. The man is a failure in everything. He surrounds himself with gold but he has demonstrated a reverse Midas touch. As the USFL was going down in flames, Trump even thought some of its teams, especially his Generals, could be absorbed into the NFL, not unlike the former American Football League had been in the previous decade. That might have happened, if not for the fact that the NFL owners of the time wouldn't touch Trump with a 20 foot pole. They couldn't stand him. They saw him as the scumbag huckster con man that he is. Many of the NFL owners are no prizes themselves, but, even they had some standards, and, low as they were, Trump didn't even meet them.

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Schumer And Gun Sanity-- He's Not On Our Side


If you've been following this blog long, you probably know that I went to James Madison High School in Brooklyn, famous for all the entertainment industry people who studied there-- Carole King, Cousin Brucie, Chris Rock, Aaron Spelling, Judge Judy, Andrew Dice Clay-- but it was also a high school that produced plenty of political figures, from Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Bernie Sanders from before I was there, to senators Norm Coleman and Chuck Schumer while I was there. Schumer was an asshole even back then; no one liked him. He's the same kind of dick he is now. As we mentioned Friday, Schumer has been pestering Senate Democrats to not bring up gun legislation after the Las Vegas massacre. As usual, Schumer is misreading the public's mood. It's his forte.

A poll that was released yesterday by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reiterates what polls have been showing for years-- that a majority of American voters favors tighter gun laws.
Six in 10 Americans support stricter gun laws in the United States, but many question whether tightening of regulations can actually prevent some forms of gun violence, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

This new survey comes in the wake of the deadliest shooting in modern American history. Sixty-one percent of Americans say they want gun laws to be made stricter, 11 percent would like to see loosening of gun laws, and 27 percent would like to see gun laws left as they are now. Though most would like to see more restrictions on gun ownership, few believe it will lead to a decline in some forms of gun violence. Fifty-three percent of Americans think increased gun control will reduce the number of accidental shootings and nearly half say there would be fewer mass shootings (49 percent) and homicides (46 percent). Fewer say stricter gun regulations would result in a decrease in suicides (40 percent) or gang violence (36 percent).

Owning a gun has marked influence on attitudes toward gun laws and their ability to deter violent crime in the United States. Seventy-six percent of Americans without a gun in their household support stricter gun laws compared with 38 percent of Americans who own a gun and 64 percent of Americans who live in a household in which someone else owns a gun. Gun owners are less likely than those who do not own a gun to say stricter gun laws will lead to a decrease in accidental shootings, mass shootings, homicides, suicides, or gang violence.

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Taking Back The House Is #1 Priority But Winning Open Blue Seats For Progressive Reformers Is Also Crucial


People aren't thinking much about the Albuquerque congressional district, NM-01. It's a safely blue district and the incumbent, dull backbencher Michelle Lujan Grisham is stepping down to run for governor, leaving 8 or so candidates vying for the nomination to take on some Republican destined for defeat (either Michael Hendricks or Janice Arnold-Jones). The candidates I've dug up so far are lobbyist Annie Chavez, retired law professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, attorney Damian Lara, former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez, former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Deb Haaland, physicist Dennis Dinge, Edgewood Mayor John Abrams and Albuquerque City Councilman Pat Davis.

Obama won the district both times, 60-39% against McCain and 55-40% against Romney. Even Hillary managed to win-- beating Trump 51.6% to 35.1%, his worst performance in the state. The PVI is D+7, unchanged from 2 years ago. The district is 49% Hispanic. DCCC chair Ben Ray Lujan, from the district just to the north, has pledged neutrality in the primary and, unlike in many districts, seems to be keeping his word so far.

The frontrunners in the money race are Antoinette Sedillo Lopez ($330,249.14), Deb Haaland ($262,098.06) and Damon Martinez ($211,001.49) who have all had strong fundraising quarters. Superficially all three seem to be qualified in their own ways, two of them come to the race with significant baggage.

Deb Haaland, as state party chair, has a checkered history with the local progressive base. As party chair last year, she committed to administering a straw poll at the state convention, only to reverse that decision and pull the straw poll at the last minute when she saw it would be a big win for Bernie. This decision infuriated local progressives, who saw it as a betrayal and an attempt to suppress Bernie support during last year's primaries. Needless to say, the decision resulted in a disaffected progressive base, and led to calls for her to step down as chair. An ardent Clinton supporter, her machinations led to her being called the Debbie Wassermann Schultz of New Mexico. Bernie went on to win Bernalillo County 38,247 (50.9%) to 36,937 (49.1%) despite Holland's bias and interference.

Former US. Attorney Damon Martinez has also recently gotten in to some hot water over allegations of racial bias in an ATF sting operation that took place during his tenure. In a recent interview with NM In Depth, a local journalist pressed him on the issue, and the former U.S. Attorney offered few answers on the allegations. Their analysis shows some significant over-representation in arrests made by communities of color. Earlier this summer, Martinez was also called out by the Santa Fe New Mexican for his refusal to prosecute bad cops. I suspect that Martinez will continue to have to answer questions surrounding his tenure as U.S. Attorney.

We'll be watching as the race continues to develop, but it does seem that at least some of the leading candidates in the race offer the Republicans needless and dangerous openings to exploit in the general. Meanwhile, it's worth mentioning that Antoinette Sedillo Lopez has been endorsed by New Mexico's former Attorney General Attorney General Patricia Madrid, local progressive icon Eric Griego and by national progressives Raul Grijalva, chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD).

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L.A. County Board Of Supervisors Decides To Go Down With The Leaky S.S. DiFi


Kuehl, Solis, Hahn, Barger, Ridley-Thomas

Thursday the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously dissed progressive Angeleno Kevin de León by endorsing conservative Democrat Dianne Feinstein for another 6 year Senate term. You would have thought at least former congresswoman, ex-Labor Secretary Hilda Solis would have had more sense. Kathryn Barger is an actual Republican, plain and simple. Feinstein is as good a pick for senator for someone like her as she's going to find. Sheila Kuehl would endorse any woman-- even a woman's corpse-- over a man, so no surprise there either. Janice Hahn has always been the epitome of the ambitious establishment politician; she is the closest thing to DiFi in Los Angeles politics. Mark Ridley-Thomas is in no position to cross a powerful incumbent-- and neither is his dad. You can check their contributors. And that leaves our old friend Hilda, whose personal trajectory is similar to de León's. Like him she came from an immigrant household and struggled against the odds to achieve incredible success. In 1992 she was elected to the California Assembly and 2 years later to the state Senate, representing an East L.A. district not unlike the state Senate district de León represents today. In the legislature, Hilda, like Kevin, stood out as one of that body's most progressive members and-- like him-- a champion for working families and of environmental justice.

In 2000 Hilda ran against a corrupt and conservative 18-year congressional incumbent Matthew Martínez. The party establishment had a collective freakout and slammed her mercilessly for barging in against an incumbent, no matter that Martinez was the same kind of Republican-lite dirt-bag Feinstein has always been. In fact, Feinstein refused to back Hilda in her race against him, even when Barbara Boxer did. Hilda kicked his ass anyway, winning the seat 69-31%, an incredible achievement against an incumbent with all the establishment support. (He switched parties and re-registered as a Republican.)

When Hilda got to Congress she was hailed as the harbinger of a generational changing of the guard in the Hispanic Caucus. She joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus and continued the work she had been doing in Sacramento as a champion of working families and of the environment. She took on conservative Democrat Joe Baca for acting like a congressional version of Harvey Weinstein and she rose fast in the Democratic ranks. Soon after he was elected, Obama asked her to leave Congress and join his cabinet as Secretary of Labor. The AFL-CIO rejoiced while anti-union groups were furious and Senate Republicans tried to derail her nomination-- and failed. She served for all of Obama's first term and retired in January, 2013 to run for the L.A. Board of Supervisors, which many saw as a stepping stone to higher office, something she just botched by joining with the more conservative Board members in backing Feinstein.

Sarah Wire's report for the L.A. Times emphasized that the unanimous endorsement by the Board members came "as factions of California Democrats begin weighing in on the Senate race... It's a snub for De León, a native Angeleno who has represented part of the city for more than a decade in the Assembly and state Senate... [T]he lone Republican on the board, 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, said in a statement that California needs Feinstein in the Senate.
“I’ve worked with Sen. Feinstein for many years. She’s extremely knowledgeable and always prepared on the tough issues we confront. She’s a problem solver we can count on now and in the future,” Barger said.

Feinstein already has the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which traditionally backs incumbents. Soon after he announced a challenge, De León was endorsed by Democracy for America, the progressive political action committee formed by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean in 2004.
This is a battle between a decrepit and corrupt past and a bright reformed future. I'd expect Barger, Ridley-Thomas, Hahn and what Kuehl has turned into in recent years to stick with the former. But Hilda Solis' backing of Feinstein over de León feels like a real betrayal of her progressive base. Big mistake!

left to right: past, future

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