Friday, July 29, 2016

Hillary's Convention Pulverized The Donald's So Trumpy-The-Clown Blames Reince Priebus


Over a million more people watched the Democratic Convention than watched the Republican convention. The L.A. Times reported that "the Democrats have drawn larger audiences than the Republicans on each night of their convention so far, despite GOP nominee Donald Trump’s ability to draw strong TV ratings throughout the campaign season." Most people who watched agree with the NY Times assessment that "Hillary Clinton put on a better television show in Philadelphia than Donald J. Trump did in Cleveland." Trump's response was typically self-centered... and deceitful-- "I didn’t produce our show. I just showed up for the final speech." Really? Who picked Chachi as a prime time speaker? It wasn't Reince Priebus or Paul Ryan. Who inserted passages lifted from a Michelle Obama speech into the address by a certain former high-priced call girl from Slovenia? It wasn't Reince Priebus or Paul Ryan.

As Ezra Klein put it at Vox last night after the convention, This election isn’t just Democrat vs. Republican. It’s normal vs. abnormal. "What we just witnessed in Cleveland and Philadelphia," he wrote, "defies our normal political vocabulary. We are used to speaking of American politics as split between the two major parties. It’s Democrats versus Republicans, liberals versus conservatives, left versus right. But not this election. The conventions showed that this is something different. This campaign is not merely a choice between the Democratic and Republican parties, but between a normal political party and an abnormal one.
The Democratic Party’s convention was a normal political party’s convention. The party nominated Hillary Clinton, a longtime party member with deep experience in government. Clinton was endorsed by Bernie Sanders, the runner-up in the primary. Barack Obama, the sitting president, spoke in favor of Clinton. Various Democratic luminaries gave speeches endorsing Clinton by name. The assembled speakers criticized the other party’s nominee, arguing that he would be a bad president and should be defeated at the polls.

...The Republican Party’s convention was not a normal political party’s convention. The party nominated Donald Trump, a new member with literally no experience in government. Ted Cruz, the runner-up in the primary, gave a primetime speech in which he refused to endorse Trump, and instead told Americans to "vote your conscience."

The Republican Party’s two living presidents, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, declined to endorse Trump or attend the convention. The party’s previous two presidential nominees, Mitt Romney and John McCain, declined to endorse Trump or attend the convention. The assembled speakers-- including Chris Christie, a prospective attorney general-- argued that the other party’s nominee was a criminal who should be thrown in jail.

...America’s main political cleavage is between the Democratic and Republican parties. That split has meant different things at different times, but in recent decades it primarily tracks an ideological disagreement: Democrats are the party of liberal policies; Republicans are the party of conservative policies.

But in this year’s presidential election, the difference is more fundamental than that: The Democratic Party is a normal political party that has nominated a normal presidential candidate, and the Republican Party has become an abnormal political party that has nominated an abnormal presidential candidate.

Simply saying that will raise people’s partisan hackles, but it’s not a partisan comment. Republicans know that Donald Trump is not a normal nominee. They know this isn’t what their 2012 convention looked like or how their 2008 convention felt. And while most Republicans fear Democrats keeping the White House enough to unhappily support Trump, it’s worth listening to what they’ve said about him.

Ted Cruz called Trump a "pathological liar," "utterly amoral," and "a narcissist at a level I don't think this country's ever seen."

Rick Perry said Trump’s candidacy was "a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised, and discarded."

National Review, the flagship journal of American conservatism, said Trump "is a menace to American conservatism."

Rand Paul said Trump is "a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag. A speck of dirt is way more qualified to be president."

A list like this could go on, and on, and on. But here’s the point: These aren’t normal political condemnations. This isn’t normal political language. Republicans know they’ve nominated a dangerous man. They tried to warn their voters in the strongest terms possible that Trump is unqualified, untrustworthy, and amoral.

Michael Bloomberg, the former Republican mayor of New York City, put it simply in a speech endorsing Clinton. "Together, let's elect a sane, competent person," he said. That is what an endorsement sounds like when the choice shifts from left versus right to normal versus abnormal.

There are some differences in politics that transcend ideology. This is one of them. Clinton, say what you will about her, is a normal political candidate who will operate within the normal boundaries of American democracy. Donald Trump is an abnormal political candidate; we have no idea which democratic boundaries he would respect, which conspiracy theories he would believe, which political enemies he would punish, which treaties he would honor.

...We are a nation protected by norms, not just by laws. Our political parties should be held to certain standards in terms of the candidates they nominate, the behaviors they accept, the ideas they mainstream. Trump violates those standards. By indulging him, the Republican Party is normalizing him and his behavior, and making itself abnormal.
Last night's Democratic convention, as Matt Stoller pointed out on Twitter, just as it was wrapping up, celebrated Ronald Reagan and Alexander Hamilton. Others noticed that stylistically it emulated Reagan but that the substance veered, at least on the surface, more towards Bernie and FDR. Team Hillary was making a concerted attempt tp appeal to progressives on policy and conservatives and moderates on values. NY Times reporter Josh Barro put it like this today: the Democratic convention "is co-opting Republican tropes while maintaining Democratic ones because there is now only one political party for grown-ups." A few hours ago on Morning Joe, when asked if Trump is a fascist, Madeleine Albright said "it's hard to label him anything except weird."

You're probably aware that when Hillary tossed Wasserman Schultz out of the DNC, she didn't toss out her new policy inviting corrupt corporate lobbyists back into the heart of the party. That's because no one wanted that policy reversal more than Hillary. Zaid Jilani nailed it yesterday for The Intercept:
By quietly dropping a ban on direct donations from registered federal lobbyists and political action committees, the Democratic National Committee in February reopened the floodgates for corruption that Barack Obama had put in place in 2008.

Secret donors with major public-policy agendas were welcomed back in from the cold and showered with access and appreciation at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

Major donors were offered “Family and Friends” packages, including suites at the Ritz-Carlton, backstage passes, and even seats in the Clinton family box. Corporate lobbyists like Heather Podesta celebrated the change, telling Time: “My money is now good.”

What was going on inside the convention hall was also reflected outside, at costly events sponsored by the  fossil fuel industry, technology companies, for-profit colleges, pharmaceutical companies, and railway companies, to name a few.

Craig Holman, an elections financing expert at Public Citizen, said that the end of the lobbyist contribution ban as well as Congress’s 2014 termination of all remaining public financing of the party conventions has served to undermine democracy. “The implications of these changes are that we have opened up access to the parties and the conventions to just the very, very wealthy,” he said.

...[A]n overwhelming majority of Democratic lawmakers we spoke to at the convention didn’t seem troubled by the rule change at all.

At a posh event hosted by The Atlantic and paid for by the American Petroleum Institute oil lobby, Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, shrugged off concerns about the influence of special interest groups.

“I don’t know, you’ll have to ask the DNC on that,” he said in response to a question whether lifting the ban was the right move.

“Do you think that lobbyists have undue influence?” we followed up.

“I don’t know.”

“What about energy lobbyists? What about oil lobbyists?”

“What about ’em?”

“Do you think they have undue influence in the United States?”

“I think they’re just like teachers, like firemen, like everybody who contributes.”

“What about the Koch Brothers, who spent $400 million on an election?”

“You’ve gotta go talk to the Koch Brothers,” he replied, ending the conversation.

Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia offered a Willie Sutton justification for lifting the lobbying ban. “The lobbyists, that’s where the money is,” he said.

...Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland ducked the question. “It’s above my paygrade,” he quipped.

Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said he would never have banned lobbyists like Obama did in the first place. “I wouldn’t have done it,” he said. “It’s not a matter of wrong or right. It’s a matter of making sure we have the resources to put on a convention.”

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, the chair of the DNC’s Host Committee, has refused to disclose donors to that committee until 60 days after the convention.

In an interview with The Intercept, Rendell insisted there was nothing wrong with keeping the committee’s donors secret until just a few weeks before the election, and he downplayed the influence of big donors. “I never made one decision where I was influenced by a campaign contribution,” he said.

“So why are lobbyists giving money to the DNC now again,” we asked. “Are they doing it just because they have extra money to give?”

“They want access,” he acknowledged.

...House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California stopped to talk to us, but after hearing the subject, briskly walked away as a fleet of staffers blocked off access to her.

A staffer for Rep. Adam Schiff of California asked the subject of our interview question. She then informed her boss, who told her, “I don’t want to talk about that.”

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said he was unconcerned with the policy shift. “Unfortunately, we’re in a world today where we have to raise private money,” he said. “I don’t get too concerned about who and what groups you take money from. It’s up to you.”
Martin O'Malley's speech at the convention was a try-out for the DNC chairmanship. Although when he was catering to primary voters and attacked Hillary for her "cozy relationship with Wall Street," when Jilani approached him about the change in DNC policy, his concern appeared to Jilani to have evaporated. "I’m really kind of agnostic on it," he said. "I really don’t care one way or another."

Even before the convention, a newly-released poll from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch showed Hillary leading Trump 41-40 in Missouri, a state that has gone red for 20 years. Romney beat Obama there, 54-44% and the congressional delegation is 6 Republicans and 2 Democrats, both the Dems in tiny big city ghettos long abandoned by the GOP. Now let's watch what happens when accurate post-convention polling comes out Monday.

Goal Thermometer

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Will TPP Be A Deciding Issue In The Congressional Races?


You think Trump is a traitor because he called on Russia to hack U.S. government and non-government agencies to find the Secretary of State's e-mails? Sounds like he might be too. But Members of Congress who vote for TPP absolutely are. Turning American justice and sovereignty over to international corporate tribunals-- ISDS (Investor-state dispute settlement)-- is out-of-the question for most Americans, grassroots Democrats, independents and Republicans. But last June 190 Republicans and 28 Democrats-- primarily from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party (New Dems)-- voted to do just that.

Do voters even know what Congress is doing by voting for these unfair and destructive trade deals that include ISDS? The AFL-CIO, which refused to back California congressmembers who voted for it (sleazy New Dems Ami Bera, Jim Costa, Susan Davis, and Scott Peters) explains the danger this way:
ISDS allows the foreign property owner to skip domestic courts, administrative procedures, city hall hearings and the like (all the processes that home-grown property owners use) and sue the host-country government before a panel of private “arbitrators” (like judges, arbitrators have the power to make decisions in cases, but they are not democratically elected or appointed, and they are not subject to stringent conflict of interest rules). Not only that but the foreign property owners don’t lose access to the domestic U.S. processes-- they can “double dip” to get what they want.

The risk is that foreign property owners can use this system of "corporate courts" to challenge anything from plain packaging rules for cigarettes to denials of permits for toxic waste dumps to increases in the minimum wage. For any law, regulation or other government decision that the foreign investor does not like, all it has to do is think of an argument for why the decision somehow violated its right to “fair and equitable treatment” or why it might reduce its expected profits and it’s got a case. And, sometimes, just threatening the case is enough for the proposed law or regulation to be withdrawn.
The AFL-CIO and other unions were lobbying Team Clinton hard to put a stake in the heart of the TPP by coming out firmly against the deal Obama and Paul Ryan are trying to cut to sneak it through Congress during the lame duck session where a good number of defeated congressmembers will have no accountability to their soon-to-be-former constituents and can be easily bribed to do whatever they're told. There were some questions going into the convention whether she really thinks the TPP is a terrible thing or "the gold standard" of trade deals. Basically the Democrats who crossed the aisle and voted with the GOP for the TPP fast track last year all all from the Hillary wing of the party-- in the Senate, corporate garbage Michael Bennet (CO), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Mark Warner (VA), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Tom Carper (DE), Claire McCaskill (MO), Chris Coons (DE), Bill Nelson (FL)... and, of course, Tim Kaine, who, like Clinton, has been suddenly transformed, he says, into an advocate against the TPP. I'll believe that when I see it in action. Notice Obama didn't say a word about it inches big convention speech Wednesday night. It would have soured the mood but fast!

Last night, Hillary didn't specifically mention TPP-- instead she said something non-committal and utterly anodyne about joining her effort (to win the election) and opposing unfair trade deals. She'd better start talking about it or Trump is going to win states he has no business winning.

All the Blue America candidates have been campaigning against the TPP. It's actually what motivated Tim Canova, over a year ago, to take up the onerous-- many said "impossible"-- task of running against TPP avatar Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Just a couple of weeks ago he wrote that "Rather than take a bold stance in opposition to the TPP-- which every Democratic presidential candidate eventually opposed-- Wasserman Schultz’s handpicked members of the platform drafting committee have refused to add a clear amendment in opposition to this disaster of a trade deal. Instead, they have focused on platitudes in the platform in the hopes it would be enough to placate the progressive grassroots of the party..." Many unions have abandoned Wasserman Schultz and support Canova, at least in part, because of his opposition to unfair and destructive trade deals like TPP.

Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory has made opposition to the TPP a one of the hallmarks of a campaign that pits him against Peter King, a long-time proponent of the TPP and the kinds of trade deals that have been devastating to Long Island working families. "America is strongest," he told us this morning, "when we protect American jobs from going overseas and weakest when we allow corporations to utilize trade deal provisions to usurp the American court system to their benefit. In supporting the TPP Peter King has sided with big corporations to the detriment of American workers and consumers. Our Congress needs leaders who will stand up for workers and against excessive corporate aggression."

Goal Thermometer Fred Upton's vote for the TPP could wreck his chances for reelection in southwest Michigan, where Paul Clements is reminding voters there about Upton's dogged backing for the unpopular treaty. "In voting for the TPP," he told us, "Congressman Upton once again supports corporate profits over the well-being of American workers. We certainly do not need foreign corporations suing Americans for local labor and environmental protections in international tribunals! But we also need to forge trade and investment policies that build American production in areas of increasing demand, such as clean energy, fuel efficient vehicles, high tech services, and food. The TPP neglects this, and Upton still supports tax breaks, subsidies, and looser regulation of polluting oil and gas industries."

Down in South Florida, knee-jerk Republican Trumpist Mario Diaz-Balart found nothing wrong with backing Fast Track and TPP and voting in favor of turning American sovereignty over to international corporate tribunals. His progressive Democratic opponent, Alina Valdes, has been pounding him on the issue. "Unlike my opponent, I am against the TPP," she told voters in the Miami suburbs, "and definitely disagree with fast-tracking any trade deal without seeing the content. This is a dangerous deal that serves to undermine American workers and would outsource even more jobs while increasing the cost of many items, like medications, for many in the US. Knowing that the unions are against this horrible trade deal further reinforces my resolve to try all I could do to kill this bill if I get elected. Multinational corporations would have the opportunity to sue the US for possible lost income in international tribunals made up by these very corporations."

The TPP is political poison in Pennsylvania but that didn't stop Pat Meehan to back it, putting him at odds with the voters (and with Trump and Trump supporters), Meehan's Democratic opponent in the suburbs south and west of Philly (PA-07) this year in Mary Ellen Balchunis, who is a political science professor from, as she puts it, "the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party." Warren is one of the most outspoken critics-- along with Alan Grayson and Bernie Sanders-- of the TPP. Mary Ellen, who has been badly sabotaged by Steve Israel and Ben Ray Lujan of the DCCC, who generally oppose independent-minded, non-corporate candidates, told us flatly, "I am against TTP. I was against President Clinton signing NAFTA. I was worried then about our workers being hurt; and I am worried now about our workers being hurt with TTP." If there is no lame duck vote on TPP and Ryan brings it up after the new Congress is seated, voters in Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Berks counties will have sent a pro-TPP Meehan to vote for it or an anti-TPP Balchunis to vote against it. That simple!

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Is This Finally The End Of Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Malevolent Career In Politics?


Not high profile anymore-- at least not on TV

Before they changed the locks at the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was allowed in the building to address the staff she had hired and who helped her rig the primaries for Bernie (and use the DNC resources, illegally, for her own re-election efforts in South Florida). Many of them will soon be looking for new jobs. Here's the inspiring message the vulgar, contemptible and corrupt Wasserman Schultz gave them:
"And all those scumbags who are giving you shit on social media? Fuck them, they don't know the first thing. They don't know you."
What an inspiring leader, who just led her troops... right into annihilation? Or is she bringing them to her new job as head of Hillary's 50 state something or other, which, if it's a real job, will guarantee one thing: President Trump. Wasserman Schultz, long known throughout both Tallahassee and DC as a pillar of breathtaking corruption who would wind up behind bars one day, has more recently been widely exposed as the very picture of breathtaking incompetence. As Politico made clear yesterday, "the dysfunction within the DNC had been mounting for months... Wasserman Schultz accentuated an existing divide with Amy Dacey, who as committee CEO was supposed to have control over all operations. She was often left out of the loop of decisions by the chair’s staff, sometimes leading to contradictory plans. 'One hand didn’t know what the other hand was doing,' lamented one state party chair."
[T]he DNC was veering off the rails just as the presidential election was heating up. More than a dozen people inside the party apparatus, speaking in the wake of Wasserman Schultz’s resignation on Sunday, describe an internal culture in which few felt they could challenge an increasingly imperious and politically tone-deaf chair who often put her own interests ahead of party functions.

Last week’s WikiLeaks dump, releasing thousands of emails showing DNC officials sparring with Bernie Sanders supporters and with one another, was what finally got Hillary Clinton’s top aides to force her out Sunday on the eve of the convention.

Now, all DNC senior staffers seem to believe they’re on the verge of being fired-- and that’s before the next WikiLeaks release, which many fear is coming within days, and which DNC lawyers are bracing for. Several staff members have already been asked to prepare statements about their departures.

Staff members were briefed in a Tuesday afternoon meeting in Washington that their personal data was part of the hack, as were Social Security numbers and other information for donors, according to people who attended. Don’t search WikiLeaks, they were told-- malware is embedded throughout the site, and they’re looking for more data.

...“This [WikiLeaks release] didn’t peel back all the layers of the onion of incompetence,” said one person inside the DNC. “But it broke the fever.”

Neither the White House nor Clinton’s campaign made the moves to oust her earlier for fear of an untimely blow-up. Her support of the Iran deal and the Trans Pacific Partnership helped keep the West Wing from going too hard at her. But senior aides to Clinton and President Barack Obama had long out ago run of patience with what they saw as her attempts to constantly insert herself and clumsily try to ingratiate herself at Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters.

“It was an inch-by-inch battle for everything, and Debbie didn’t make it easy-- not because she was trying to stay neutral, but because she was trying to maintain control,” said one person familiar with DNC operations.

Wasserman Schultz refused, without direct explanation at the time, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s request to have three members of Congress testify at the first party platform committee meeting in early June, leading Pelosi to clear her schedule that day and show up herself to speak about House Democratic priorities.

When Obama agreed to do a DNC fundraiser in Miami in June-- and in the end, went out of his way in his public remarks to talk about why Wasserman Schultz needed to be reelected in his public remarks-- she for weeks hassled White House political director David Simas to get 10 of the 60 seats (which went for $10,000 each) at the event for her congressional reelection campaign’s biggest donors. She ended up filling the seats, according to people involved with planning the event, with family and friends.

...Frustration within the DNC, the White House and the Clinton campaign was exacerbated by Wasserman Schultz’s efforts to raise her own profile by appearing more often on national television.

Luis Miranda, the communications director whom Wasserman Schultz hired last September, pitched her hard in their interview on how he would get her on TV more often. He got the job over two candidates who were recommended by the Clinton campaign.

“The biggest problem with the communications department right now is that we don’t put Debbie out there enough,” Miranda said at his first staff meeting after coming on board in September, according to people in the room.

...But Wasserman Schultz’s increased television activity increased her problems. After the raucous Nevada state convention in May, she went on the attack against Sanders and his supporters, and an enraged Sanders responded by calling for her resignation.

Just at the point when Democratic leaders were hoping to shift toward more party unity, she’d inflamed the situation and put herself in the middle of it.

“The people who were willing to look the other way stopped looking the other way,” said another person familiar with DNC operations.

She sometimes failed to show up at headquarters to make donor calls, or stay for long when she did. Key staffers couldn’t find her after her personal staff had stopped sending her schedule to all but two top staffers, which the DNC spokesperson said was due to security concerns as the email hack was being investigated

. More and more, the DNC staff, the White House and the Clinton campaign simply wrote her off.

“There was nothing we could do with her, so we just stopped pretending,” another DNC staffer said. “She became so ineffective for the building that we just stopped using her.”
Although she was ordered to not show her face in Philly, she was still there as of yesterday, "attending events day and night with her police escort, and having her assistant reach out aggressively to donors [for herself], urging them to see her in her suite at the Wells Fargo Center, her base while in town." Meanwhile, the DCCC has signaled that they don't plan to help rescue her floundering reelection campaign from a fired-up, ascendent activist and union base around Tim Canova. According to Roll Call, DCCC Chair Ben Ray Ben Ray Luján said she shouldn't be expecting any financial help from them. He told her to work hard and "reach out to the voters back home."

Goal Thermometer As of the June 30, FEC filings, she had raised $3,072,629, spent $1,832,788 and had $1,602,353 cash-on-hand. According to her chief political operative, Steve Paikowsky, the corrupt Sugar Empire run by the Fanjuls, has agreed to spend a million dollars on TV smearing Canova. Canova has raised $2,262,482, spent $1,276,137 and had $986,345 on hand. Please help him overcome Wasserman Schultz's advantage by tapping on the thermometer on the right. 76% of Tim's contributions come from small donations while only 23% of Wasserman Schultz's haul comes from small donors. Most of her campaign contributions are strictly pay-to-play. Her biggest single contributor so far this cycle is Comcast. She's notorious for taking money from booze companies (in return for her opposition to medical marijuana), from the private prison industry, from polluters, from lobbyists and from pay day lenders (which is how she got the nickname #DebtTrapDebbie). Ironically, Canova's single biggest contribution came from the Communication Workers of America, the union that was locked in a life or death struggle with Wasserman Schultz's Comcast bandits.

I started warning progressives groups about Rahm Emanuel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz in 2006. Few Virtually none were interested in hearing the evidence. It took almost a decade for progressive thought leaders to finally turn on Wasserman Schultz-- slightly less time to turn on Rahm. Today the same type of groups are ignoring my warnings about Chuck Schumer, who I've known since 1963 and who is far more dangerous to the progressive movement than either Emanuel or Wasserman Schultz. Replacing Wasserman Schultz on August 30 with Tim Canova will send a message beyond Broward and Miami-Dade counties. It will send a message that Democrats can do to crooks like Wasserman Schultz what the Republicans were smart enough to do to Eric Cantor. Just belongs in the same trash heap that he's in. Please help Tim with his difficult task. Most of the Democratic crooks (and most of the Republican crooks) don't even have plausible primary opponents. That's why we have to get behind real leaders like Canova and like Alan Grayson-- currently being aggressively smeared by Schumer and the worst of the media clowns. Heroic leaders like Canova and Grayson-- not to mention Bernie-- don't grow on trees and the establishment will do anything to destroy them.

UPDATE: Debbie Has Aroused A Lot Of Anger

A regular DWT reader and Blue America contributor in Weston, the heart of Debbie territory-- some even call her the "Wicked Witch of Weston"-- sent this in today and asked us to publish it.
A lesson of DWS’s downfall is that, to sustain a political rise:

You can love yourself, money and grudges

and love to show off,
but you can’t show off
your love of yourself, money and grudges.

The Spice of Lies: Debbie might not lie much more than Trump, Hillary, Bill or Barack, but she she does it with none of:
         Barack’s dignity or patience;
         Hillary’s intelligence or hard work;
         Bill’s charm or articulateness; or
        Trump’s showmanship or unpredictability.
Don't let sleep-walking Blue Dogs lie! Do Democrats require more than money and name-recognition in their elected officials? This will be put to the test in Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s August 30 primary contest with knowledgeable, articulate and public-spirited law professor (and expert on trade agreements and bank regulation) Tim Canova.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

So What Does Sweaty Little Marco REALLY Think About Trump?


Republicans embarrassed by Trump's boneheaded statements keep saying he'll stop all the crazy and dangerous talk once he is given the knowledge about... (fill in the blank, any blank). Last week it was Arkansas warmonger Tom Cotton trying to control himself after Trump said he might not defend NATO allies in the Baltic region from Russian aggression. Wednesday it was Sweaty Little Marco, a dishonest and deceitful former male prostitute, who tried assuring voters-- Florida voters-- that Trump's going to be just fine.

Yesterday Rubio, walking his silly electoral tightrope, told WGN listeners that Trumpy-the-Clown will refine his policy views once he begins having access to better information as the nominee: "[T]here’s something to be said for, once you’re actually in that position, once you’re actually working at this thing, and you’re in there, and you start to have access to information that perhaps you didn’t have before, especially for someone who’s never been in politics, I think it starts to impact your views a little bit." He didn't say how little. As little as Donald's tiny little hands? But when asked by the host "How concerned are you about his ability to do the job regardless of how you feel about Hillary?" Rubio couldn't keep up the front. "I view the Senate," he tiptoed through the tulips, "as a place that can always act as a check and balance on whoever the next president is." The host, aware of what Rubio really thinks about Trump, asked "How much of that though is hope?"

And Sweaty Little Marco started sweating profusely. "It’s an open question in some ways," he admitted, "but in the other way I would say to you we know exactly what we’re gonna get with Hillary Clinton. To me, that’s even more concerning."

What has Marco said about Trump in recent months-- when he wasn't worried about winning Trump voters who picked Trump over him in every single county in Florida except Rubio's hometown?

Well, aside from telling the whole world that Trump has a small or deformed penis, Rubio called him "vulgar" and a "con man" and insinuated he has "knowledge of commercial real estate and international beauty pageants" and nothing else. He pointed out on national TV that Trump is "always making things up. No one holds him accountable for it" and that "A con artist is about to take over the conservative movement and the Republican Party, and we have to put a stop to it. He is wholly unprepared to be president of the United States."

So what's changed. Well, that map just above does help understand how bad it was for Little Marco in some parts of Florida. Rubio wasn't just beaten by Trump in his home state, he came in third in many counties and Trump just slaughtered in up and down the state. These are a dozen crucial GOP counties:

Dixie- Trump- 63.4%, Rubio- 11.8%
Gilchrist- Trump- 58.8%, Rubio- 12.1%
Hamilton- Trump- 56.8%, Rubio- 12.3%
Suwannee- Trump- 49.7%, Rubio- 15.0%
Wakulla- Trump- 43.1%, Rubio- 15.2%
Glades- Trump- 59.2%, Rubio- 15.2%
Levy- Trump- 57.6%, Rubio- 15.3%
Taylor- Trump- 53.5%, Rubio- 15.9%
Washington- Trump- 45.2%, Rubio- 16.0%
Lafayette- Trump- 52.0%, Rubio- 16.4%
Union- 52.3%, Rubio- 16.9%
DeSoto- Trump- 58.2%, Rubio- 17.1%
What do you think happens if Trump decides to go after Rubio the way he's going after Cruz and Kasich? If Rubio doesn't kiss Trump's ass, he's toast... but if he kisses it too much, his one bastion of support, Miami-Dade, will turn against Rubio if he's viewed as being too supportive of the vulgar con man.

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How Much Is Trump Counting On Putin To Help Him Win In November?


Last night Russ Feingold's campaign sent an e-mail to his followers saying that "Donald Trump just encouraged Russia to commit cyberattacks against Americans... Trump held a press conference on national security that reaffirmed just how truly dangerous he is-- and utterly unfit to be the president of the United States." He's the law and order candidate? That actually sounds illegal. I mean in Florida yesterday, he seemed to be calling on Russian spy agencies-- his allies?-- to hack American organizations to find dirt on Hillary Clinton. No, he really did, causing Leon Panetta to say that "No presidential candidate who's running to be president of the United States ought to be asking a foreign country, particularly Russia, to engage in hacking or intelligence efforts to try to determine what the Democratic candidate may or may not be doing...This just is beyond my own understanding of the responsibilities that candidates have to be loyal to their country and to their country alone, not to reach out to somebody like Putin and Russia, and try to engage them in an effort to try to, in effect, conduct a conspiracy against another party."

Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich said Trump was only joking but Pence, clearly embarrassed, ran to a microphone and said if the Russians do what Trump told them to they'd be in big trouble. What is wrong with this crew of lunatics? Trump, who is being financially supported to the tune of over $600 million by Putin puppets, used to brag about how he and Putin met in a 60 Minutes green room and got along famously. That was a total fabrication and yesterday Trump reversed himself and said "I never met Putin, I don't know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me." Remember when Trump lied to the American public by claiming, "I know him well" so definitively?

Still, Putin must have been delighted that Trump announced he may recognize Russia's seizure of the Crimea from Ukraine and withdraw from the NATO sanctions against Russia if he's elected. That might even be the kernel of a good idea, but not as part of a political campaign.

Now Trump says he was joking or being sarcastic. They Trump campaign is looking for an excuse that flies and takes off the pressure. Which looks right to you? His tired stand-up comedy shtik or sarcasm?

This morning, in his NY Times column, Nick Kristof explained why Putin is trying too make sure Trump is the next president of the United States, starting with 2 important quotes from Russia experts, first from Stanford Prof. Michael McFaul, U.S. Ambassador to Russia (2011-2014): "'It’s crystal clear to me' that Putin favors Trump. 'If I were Putin, I would rather deal with Trump, too, given the things he has said about foreign policy.'" And later in the column, from Brookings Institution security expert Benjamin Wittes: "I think the most likely explanation is that someone in Russian intelligence, probably very high up, decided to help Donald Trump."
The reason Moscow favors Trump isn’t some conspiracy. It’s simply that Putin dislikes Clinton, while Trump’s combination of international ignorance and catastrophic policies would benefit Putin. In particular, Trump’s public doubts about NATO renounce more than half a century of bipartisan orthodoxy on how to deal with Russia, and undermine the Western alliance that checks Putin.

One nightmare of security specialists is Russia provoking unrest among ethnic Russians in Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania and then using rioting as an excuse to intervene. NATO members would be obliged to respond, but frankly it’s not clear that they would-- and Trump’s loose rhetoric increases the risk of paralysis and a collapse of the alliance.

In that sense, Trump poses a national security risk to the West, and that’s reason enough Putin would be thrilled to see him elected president.
I don't always agree with my own New Dem congressman, Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, but he stated the foreign policy case against Trump appropriately enough last night: "When the rights of expression, religion and association are under growing assault around the globe, when the world needs a leader who can offer 'blood, tears, toil and sweat,' Trump offers only bluster, tirade, swindle, and threat. With malice towards all, and charity for none, Trump would separate us from the world, and divide us here at home. In Trump’s world, NATO is a relic, Putin an ally, Tiananmen an example, and torture our instrument. This is not leadership; this is calamity. It is not speaking hard truths or shunning political correctness-- but, instead, failing to see America’s greatness, its essential goodness, its unending promise. Like an easy mark at one of his casinos, Trump would have us throw the dice with America’s future. We will not do it."

DuWayne Gregory, the candidate Blue America endorsed for the South Shore of Long Island congressional seat on-again/off-again Trump ally Peter King holds, reminded us this morning that "King said Trump was morally and intellectually unfit to be President, but he put politics before the best interests of the country. Now today, Donald Trump proves, yet again, why he is too unstable and unfit to be the President and Commander and Chief of our country. His coziness with the Russian government should be a concern for everyone, even his endorser Congressman King. Both Trump and King have shown why their judgment is sufficiently lacking to hold public office."

Goal Thermometer Tom Wakely is a military vet running for the Austin/SanAntonio congressional seat held by the anti-science Chair of the House Science Committee, the man who'se ideological extremes is responsible for bringing the Zika virus to America. Last night after the convention he e-mailed us about Trump's latest obvious display of disloyalty to America:
I just recently heard that a concerned constituent in my district reached out to Lamar Smith's office to ask about Trump's invitation for espionage. From what they were told, Smith's office declared that 'they don't get into political election issues.' Seems a bit of a stretch coming from the office of the man who sat in Trump's VIP box on the very night Trump accepted the GOP's nomination. I'm not sure what's more political than a 30-year incumbent congressman falling into the waiting arms of the new Trump-branded GOP.

We already know that Trump's campaign manager has deep ties to Putin's political allies. The idea that we'd be soft on Putin, or simply allow citizens of our nation to be attacked by his cronies is flat out disgusting. All of this because what, Democrats play for the other major political team? And they have the nerve to complain that President Obama has been divisive.

If the reports of Trump's ties to Russian investors are true, coupled with Manafort's political past-- there should be no further evidence for folks in this nation to realize Trump's threat to our country has reached its boiling point. There has been a lot to laugh about regarding Trump, but this particular matter should be damn near disqualifying. It's certainly horrifying. If you're a member of the Russian oligarchy, there's a better-than-good chance it was only because Vladimir Putin allowed it. This is beyond a 'political election issue.' Vladimir Putin and his cronies operate solely on the basis of accruing wealth. Trump's been branding that trait as part of his appeal.

And yet, my opponent endorsed him - and acts like he has no opponent this November. If my opponent stays silent on this matter then he, too, endorses a Russian hack of his own people. He certainly endorsed a hack of some sort in May when he threw his full support behind Donald J. Trump.
As I explained a few days ago, many Russian elites have long felt that the CIA turned Gorbachev and that he dismantled the Soviet Union at their behest. He lives in the U.S. these days. Putin has been financing right-wing parties in Europe and there's amply evidence-- although without Trump's tax returns it's hard to prove legally-- that Trump's bankrupt business is staying afloat because of Putin's cash infusions, to the tune of over half a billion dollars. Putin has pumped millions of dollars into Jean-Marie Le Pen's fascist-oriented National Front and now Le Pen's putrid and savage daughter Maine Le Pen is threatening to win the presidency. (Imagine, if you will, Ivanka or Barron Trump waiting in the wings some day as well.)

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Who Knows Patrick Murphy?


Patrick Murphy has been in Congress almost 4 years and he's telling his constituents "no one knows who I am." While it's absolutely true that he appears to be the ultimate, unaccomplished backbencher with no bills, no amendments, no legislative input and no accomplishments of any kind that any of his constituents might be interested in, young Patrick is being... modest. Appearances can be deceptive. Patrick Murphy has collected more money from Wall Street banksters this cycle than anyone else in the entire House other than Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. His $1,472,869 from the Finance Secror so far is almost double what they gave to any other Democrat-- that being another fake Dem, Arizona Ble Dog Kyrsten Sinema, who, like Murphy, exists to carry out Wall Street's orders. So, clearly, someone knows who he is-- and how much he needs to be paid to do what they want done, not in the public eye but behind the heavy closed doors in the House Financial Services Committee, where Murphy is a bridge between the predatory Republicans trying to dismantle Dodd-Frank and his own New Dem pals who Pelosi allowed to dominate the minority side of the Financial Services Committee.

Of the 23 Democrats on the committee-- easily the most corrupt committee in Congress-- 12 are notoriously corrupt members of the New Dems and/or the Blue Dogs, a far, far greater proportion than the number of New Dems in the House. This is the list alongside how much in bribes from the companies they're supposedly keeping from ripping off the public each has taken since being elected:
Gregory Meeks (NY)- $2,989,888
David Scott (GA)- $2,704,894
Ed Perlmutter (CO)- $3,306,006
Jim Himes (CT)- $5,380,877
John Carney (DE)- $1,581,328
Terri Sewell (AL)- $1,480,670
Bill Foster (IL)- $2,115,283
Patrick Murphy (FL)- $3,078,417
John Delaney (MD)- $1,919,952
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ)- $1,499,390
Juan Vargas (CA)- $1,226,802
Denny Heck (WA)- $982,842
But don't get the wrong idea; it isn't just the banksters who have invested heavily in Patrick. So have the Saudis, who are happy to have their own man on the House Intelligence Committee. Nasser al-Rashid is as near to the pinnacle of the Saudi monarchy as one can be without being a royal. He's one of the king's 3 top advisors and he has four sons in America who have helped get Murphy into Congress and helped him build power by contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars buying his allies and endorsements. The 4 songs-- Ibrahim al-Rashid, Salman al-Rashid, Ramzi al-Rashid and Mohammed al-Rashid (who often funnels money to Murphy and his allies under the name "Moose" al-Rashid) have been a the conduit for Al-Rashid wealth into Congress. (Nasser al-Rashid himself has given and promised millions of dollars to certain presidential libraries as a way of exerting influence without doing anything that is technically and legally overt bribery.) So, it isn't that no one knows who Patrick is. The banksters know and the Saudis know.

Ahoy, Matey
When Patrick Murphy powers up daddy's yacht, the SS Miss Cocktails, it costs over $100,000 just for the fuel and the day's staff. That's certainly one way to travel. The al-Rashid's in fact, brag that they have the most luxurious yacht in the entire world, the gold-plated Lady Moura (complete with it's own helicopter). But if you've read my travel blog, you can guess it isn't the way I travel. One of the ways I've bonded with Alan Grayson is through travel. He's been to even more countries than I have, and, like me-- and unlike Privileged Patrick-- he's an on-the-ground traveler. You learn more about the world that way. Which Grayson has-- and Patrick hasn't. I was moved by this e-mail from Grayson today and thought I'd share it:
I went to Kenya for around four months, when I was in my early twenties. (At that time, the world was in its early 80’s.) In Africa, there is an occupation that’s sometimes called “helper.” When you arrive, some young man (it’s always a man) attaches himself to you, and offers to help with errands and chores in exchange for pay. It normally begins when someone helps you with your bags.

So when I arrived in Nairobi, a helper attached himself to me, and helped me out. I understood the gig. But after a few days, I realized that he had never asked me for any money. (Normally, they ask right away, and repeatedly.) I thought that that was odd, so I asked him why he hadn’t asked me.

He told me that when he was a boy, in the countryside, his village had suffered a terrible famine. He ate grass, just to have something in his belly. One day, a plane flew overhead. It dropped a very large crate. In the crate was food-- lots of food-- in bags with American flags on them. That food saved his life, and the lives of everyone he knew.

So when an American came to town, he would help for free. It was his way of saying “thank you”-- as in, “thank you for saving my life.” In fact, it was the only way that he could say that.

I felt very proud to be an American. (And I paid him anyway.)
How about helping Grayson win the August 30 Democratic primary against Privileged Patrick, his Wall Street and Saudi backers and the corrupted and rotten Democratic Party establishment?
Goal Thermometer

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Assange: Trump Is Unpredictable-- Clinton Is Predictably Bad... But That's Nothing Compared To Chris Hedge's Analysis


Team Hillary despises progressives even more than they hate progressive ideas. So, sure, they've done a piss-poor job of reaching out to Democrats and independents who were animated by Bernie's revolution. They were more successful in reassuring the disgraced-- and highly destructive (something they still don't fully get)-- Clinton hatchet man, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, that she is still part of the team even if they had to force her to walk the plank for the sake of optics on the eve of the convention, seeming to reluctantly give her up, piece by piece, as the hours ticked by and the compromises they offered, just further infuriated the party's progressive base.

My guess is that a good 10% of Bernie voters are washing their hands of the Democratic Party altogether, sickened by the corruption, the manipulation, the tepid, highly transactional Clinton quasi-embrace of some progressive goals. Chris Hedges spoke for them yesterday in an inflammatory essay for, The 1 Percent's Useful Idiots. This is an indication of a progressive civil war that will further benefit party bosses like Schumer, Hoyer and Crowley even as it strengthens the chances of a Trumpist takeover in November. Hedges has turned his fury against Bernie. How many will follow?
The parade of useful idiots, the bankrupt liberal class that long ago sold its soul to corporate power, is now led by Sen. Bernie Sanders. His final capitulation, symbolized by his pathetic motion to suspend the roll call, giving Hillary Clinton the Democratic nomination by acclamation, is an abject betrayal of millions of his supporters and his call for a political revolution.

No doubt the Democrats will continue to let Sanders be a member of the Democratic Caucus. No doubt the Democrats will continue to agree not to run a serious candidate against him in Vermont. No doubt Sanders will be given an ample platform and media opportunities to shill for Clinton and the corporate machine. No doubt he will remain a member of the political establishment.

Sanders squandered his most important historical moment. He had a chance, one chance, to take the energy, anger and momentum, walk out the doors of the Wells Fargo Center and into the streets to help build a third-party movement. His call to his delegates to face “reality” and support Clinton was an insulting repudiation of the reality his supporters, mostly young men and young women, had overcome by lifting him from an obscure candidate polling at 12 percent into a serious contender for the nomination. Sanders not only sold out his base, he mocked it. This was a spiritual wound, not a political one. For this he must ask forgiveness.

Whatever resistance happens will happen without him. Whatever political revolution happens will happen without him. Whatever hope we have for a sustainable future will happen without him. Sanders, who once lifted up the yearnings of millions, has become an impediment to change. He took his 30 pieces of silver and joined with a bankrupt liberal establishment on behalf of a candidate who is a tool of Wall Street, a proponent of endless war and an enemy of the working class.

Sanders, like all of the self-identified liberals who are whoring themselves out for the Democrats, will use fear as the primary reason to remain enslaved by the neoliberal assault. And, in return, the corporate state will allow him and the other useful idiots among the 1 percent to have their careers and construct pathetic monuments to themselves.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be pushed through whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. The fracking industry, fossil fuel industry and animal agriculture industry will ravage the ecosystem whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. The predatory financial institutions on Wall Street will trash the economy and loot the U.S. Treasury on the way to another economic collapse whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. Poor, unarmed people of color will be gunned down in the streets of our cities whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. The system of neoslavery in our prisons, where we keep poor men and poor women of color in cages because we have taken from them the possibility of employment, education and dignity, will be maintained whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. Millions of undocumented people will be deported whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. Austerity programs will cut or abolish public services, further decay the infrastructure and curtail social programs whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. Money will replace the vote whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. And half the country, which now lives in poverty, will remain in misery whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton becomes president.

This is not speculation. We know this because there has been total continuity on every issue, from trade agreements to war to mass deportations, between the Bush administration and the administration of Barack Obama. The problem is not Donald Trump. The problem is capitalism. And this is the beast we are called to fight and slay. Until that is done, nothing of substance will change.

To reduce the political debate, as Sanders and others are doing, to political personalities is political infantilism. We have undergone a corporate coup. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will not reverse this coup. They, like Barack Obama, know where the centers of power lie. They serve these centers of power.

Change will come when we have the tenacity, as many Sanders delegates did, to refuse to cooperate, to say no, to no longer participate in the political charade. Change will come when we begin acts of sustained mass civil disobedience. Change will come when the fear the corporate state uses to paralyze us is used by us to paralyze the corporate state.

The Russian writer Alexander Herzen, speaking a century ago to a group of anarchists about how to overthrow the czar, reminded his listeners that it was not their job to save a dying system but to replace it: “We think we are the doctors. We are the disease.”

We are here not to reform the system. We are here to overthrow it. And that is the only possibility left to restore our democracy and save our planet. If we fail in this task, if this system of corporate capitalism and globalization is not dismantled, we are doomed. And this is the reality no one wants to speak about.

We will have to be in the political wilderness, perhaps for a decade. But a decade ago Syriza, the party now ruling Greece, was polling at only 4 percent. This is what the Green Party is polling today. We will not bring about systemic change in one or two election cycles. But we can begin to build a counterweight to the corporate state. We can begin to push back.

We must find the courage not to be afraid. We must find the courage to follow our conscience. We must find the courage to defy the corporate forces of death in order to affirm the forces of life.

This will not be easy. The corporate state-- once its vast systems of indoctrination and propaganda do not work to keep us passive, once we are no longer afraid, once we make our own reality rather than accommodating ourselves to the reality imposed upon us-- will employ more direct and coercive forms of control. The reign of terror, the revocation of civil liberties, the indiscriminate violence by the state will no longer be exercised only against poor people of color. The reality endured by our poor sisters and brothers of color, a reality we did not do enough to fight against, will become our own.

To allow the ideological forces of neoliberalism to crush our ideals and our values is to fall into a deadly cynicism and despair. To allow the consumer culture and the cult of the self, which lies at the heart of capitalism, to seduce us is to kill our souls. Happiness does not come with the accumulation of wealth. Happiness does not come from possessions or power. These are narcotics. They numb and kill all that is noble and good within us. Happiness comes when you reach out in solidarity to your neighbor, when you lend your hand to the stranger or the outcast, when you are willing to lose your life to save it. Happiness comes when you have the capacity to love.

Our span of life, in the vastness of the universe, is insignificant. I will be 60 soon. The arch of my own life is beginning to draw to a close. We all will die. How do we use the miracle of this flash of light that is called life?

Albert Camus wrote, “One of the only coherent philosophical positions is revolt. It is a constant confrontation between [human beings] and [their] obscurity. It is not aspiration, for it is devoid of hope. That revolt is the certainty of a crushing fate, without the resignation that ought to accompany it.”

He said further, “A living [person] can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object. But if he [or she] dies in refusing to be enslaved, he [or she] reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object.”

There is only one way to rebel. You fight for all of the oppressed or none of the oppressed. You understand that there is no country. Our country is the earth. We are citizens of the world. Nationalism is a disease. It is a disease we must purge. As long as a Muslim family suffers in a refugee camp in Syria or an LGBT person suffers from the bigotry imposed by the Christian heretics in the Christian right, we all suffer.

There are desperate single mothers struggling to raise children on less than $10,000 a year in some Philadelphia neighborhoods. Many of these children go to bed hungry. There are unemployed workers desperate to find a job and restore their dignity. There are mentally ill and homeless we have abandoned to the streets. There are Iraqi and Afghan families living in terror, a terror we have inflicted on them, in the futile and endless wars waged to enrich the arms industry. There are men and women being tortured in our worldwide archipelago of secret detention centers. There are undocumented workers whose families we have ripped apart, separating children from parents, or imprisoned.

This is reality. It is the only reality that matters. It is a reality we must and will change. Because, as the great socialist Eugene V. Debs, who upon being sentenced in 1918 for violating the Sedition Act by defying the madness of World War I, said, “I recognized my kinship with all living beings. I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”

Augustine wrote that hope has two beautiful daughters, anger and courage-- anger at the way things are and the courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.

The fight will be hard and difficult. It will require love and self-sacrifice. It will require anger and courage. It is the greatest moral imperative before us. Those who do not defy the evil become its accomplice. We may not succeed. But we must be among those of whom future generations will say: They tried. They dared to dream. They dared to care. They dared to love. They enabled those who followed to press on in the struggle.

Clinton's "I'm a woman and Trump is the greater evil" campaign is now pivoting strongly towards the same kind of Putin-is-Satan strategy that Putin himself used-- a U.S.-is-Satan strategy-- when he successfully last ran for president of Russia. And Trump, the candidate who knows how to stoke and capitalize on chaos benefits immensely from all this. If you're ready to see the collapse of American democracy-- if you think that's the only way to clean out the corrupt pig-sty of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid and Steny Hoyer-- then work against Clinton or vote for Jill Stein or sit on your hands. But be sure you understand what you're doing in terms of bringing Trump to power. You owe yourself that and you owe America that. The sure losers, regardless of outcome in November: the American people, of course. This video that was shown at the convention yesterday evening reinforces what I already know and what all Americans should be certain of-- that Trump is absolutely unfit to be President of the United States. But it doesn't really reassure me about the other candidate one bit.

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Who You Going To Trust On The TPP?


Terry McAuliffe is a long time crooked operator from the corporatist wing of the Democratic Party. Don't ask how I put myself in this awkward position, but Dick Gephardt once tricked me into shaking hands with him. But, of course, of course, of course, he's the lesser evil than whatever horrid diarrhea Satan crapped out in the form of a Republican opponent-- much lesser evil. So now he's the governor of Virginia and he gets to name the senator who will replace corporatist Time Kaine if Clinton/Kaine beats greater evil Trump/Pence. Appointed senators are routinely defeated for reelection so what;s in vogue now is to appoint a placeholder who pledges to not run. That way-- in this case-- McAuliffe can run. Feh!

when McAuliffe let the cat out of the bag Tuesday that his wing of the party need not worry because his very, very close personal friend Hillary will be back on the TPP side as soon as she and TPP fanatic Tim win the election, he really stepped in it and flipped out the Clinton Team who are working so hard to reinvent her as a quasi-progressive on trade. This is all about the lame duck session when Obama, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell will make their big TPP push. Clinton hasn't agreed to oppose that. Why not? That's the real battle over fair trade now.

Annie Karni broke the McAuliffe part in this story Tuesday night at Politico. "I worry that if we don’t do TPP, at some point China’s going to break the rules-- but Hillary understands this,” he told her candidadly, all pumped up after his dumb, empty speech about how personally close he is to the Clintons at the convention. “Once the election’s over, and we sit down on trade, people understand a couple things we want to fix on it but going forward we got to build a global economy." When Karni pressed him on whether Hillary would turn around and support the trade deal she opposed during the heat of the primary fight against Bernie Sanders, McAuliffe said: "Yes. Listen, she was in support of it. There were specific things in it she wants fixed." Not what Team Deceit Clinton wants out there... yet.
Later, McAuliffe’s spokesman sought to clarify the governor’s remarks after this story published, saying he was simply expressing what he wants Clinton to do if she is elected president. “While Governor McAuliffe is a supporter of the TPP, he has no expectation Secretary Clinton would change her position on the legislation and she has never told him anything to that effect.”

A top Clinton campaign official said the Democratic nominee never told McAuliffe she would be open to changing her position on TPP-- and campaign chairman John Podesta confirmed to Politico she never said anything like that to her longtime ally. “Love Gov. McAuliffe, but he got this one flat wrong,” Podesta tweeted. “Hillary opposes TPP BEFORE and AFTER the election. Period. Full stop.”

But Trump’s campaign immediately seized on the comments. “This should surprise nobody!” tweeted Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The battle over TPP was one of the most notable to erupt on the floor of the convention Monday, as Sanders delegates protested the fact that language opposing the trade deal was excluded from the party platform.

Sanders delegates started a cheer, “No TPP!” as Rep. Elijah Cummings was speaking and hoisted a banner that read “Economic Justice, Climate Justice, Trade Justice.”

And McAuliffe’s comments played directly into the image of Clinton that infuriates Sanders' delegates-- especially after her selection of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate, who vocally supports the Obama-backed trade deal. "I have no confidence she's against TPP," said Christine Pellegrino, a Sanders delegate from New York. "I haven't made up my mind about what options exist at the convention.”

McAuliffe said he feels confident Democrats will win back the Senate and even win back 30 seats in the House and be able to pass a tweaked version of the trade deal supported by President Obama. “If we get enough things done, enough opportunities to change TPP, I’m optimistic going forward,” he said. "We cannot let China write these rules for 11 other countries.”

Even as protesters headed for the exits of the Wells Fargo Center after the roll call made Clinton's nomination official, McAuliffe insisted the party was still on the road to unity.

"Sen. Sanders was a true champion," McAuliffe said. "He sent out texts, his speech last night said we have to come together. He's done everything we've asked him to do. This is a hard business, it just takes time. I think this convention made a lot of progress."

Just over a year ago, 158 House Democrats said no to Obama, Wall Street, Paul Ryan and the GOP on TPP. Only 28 Democrats crossed the aisle to vote with the Republicans, allowing fast track legislation to pass by 10 votes. These were the culprits:
Brad Ashford (Blue Dog-NE)
Ami Bera (New Dem-CA)
Don Beyer (New Dem-VA)
Earl Blumenauer (OR))
Suzanne Bonamici (OR)
Gerry Connolly (New Dem-VA)
Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)
Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Susan Davis (New Dem-CA)
John Delaney (New Dem-MD)
Suzan DelBene (New Dem-WA)
Sam Farr (CA)
Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)
Rubén Hinojosa (TX)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX)
Derek Kilmer (New Dem-WA)
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)
Rick Larsen (New Dem-WA)
Gregory Meeks (New Dem-NY)
Beto O'Rourke (New Dem-TX)
Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)
Jared Polis (New Dem-CO)
Mike Quigley (New Dem-IL)
Kathleen Rice (New Dem-NY)
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)
Terri Sewell (New Dem-AL)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (New Dem-FL)

Over in the Senate, it wasn't just Kaine who joined with the GOP to pass the fast track legislation for TPP. Almost all of the worst of the garbage Democrats-- Manchin is good on this issue, so he gets a pass-- were right there with Kaine and McConnell, from Rachel Maddow's favorite fake Democrat, loudmouthed reactionary Claire McCaskill (MO) to the richest slimeball in the whole Senate, Mark Warner. These, along with McAuliffe and the institutional Republican Party-- as opposed to the Trumpist crazy operation-- are pushing for a lame duck vote on TPP. Yes, these assholes, all on one lovely dartboard:

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