Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Trumpanzee Doesn't Deserve Any Working Class Votes-- But Do The Clintonians Really Even Care?

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My interest in the post-Bernie presidential election season is tempered by my dislike of both candidates left standing. Trump as a human being isn't even worth considering and Hillary is too much of a classic Republican to ever be my cup a tea. What does keep me interested however, is the fundamental partisan realignment that is ripping apart FDR's New Deal coalition. It's the premise of Thomas Frank's new book, Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened To The Party Of The People? and accounts for Trump's seemingly unlikely inroads among the whole working class.

Friday, the Teamsters Union announced that it's board had unanimously voted to endorse Hillary. The Teamsters are the 4th biggest union in the country with nearly a million and a half members and the union has frequently endorsed Republicans. in presidential contests. So far this cycle Labor has put $41,511,506 into federal campaigns, $34,851,678 of it towards Democrats and $6,486,478 towards Republicans. Among the big GOP winners are, incongruously, Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey ($320,750), David McKinley of West Virginia ($237,500), Trumpist maniac Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania ($204,500), Ohio's right-winger David Joyce ($199,000), Paul Cook of California ($161,500), Long Island's Lee Zeldin ($145,500), Staten Island's Dan Donovan ($137,000), John Katko of Syracuse ($135,500), Long Island Trumpist Peter King ($127,300), Rodney Davis of Illinois ($126,700), California' Jeff Denham ($121,500 ). Unions have also given anti-union fanatic Roy Blunt of Missouri ($42,750).

Yeah, labor union bosses can be tools. Most backed Clinton over Bernie and look down at the Florida primary races being decided Tuesday. Union contributions to corrupt, self-serving, TPP-backing Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Wall Street and corporate shill have amounted to $173,000. Progressive champion of working families Tim Canova has gotten a grand total of $12,372 from unions. And in the Florida Senate race, corporate whore Patrick Murphy, Wall Street's top candidate nationally, has gotten $184,896 while Alan Grayson, a proven and effective fighter for unions-- perhaps the best in the entire Congress-- has only gotten from $63,482 unions. $63,482 for Alan Grayson; $320,750 for Frank LoBiondo!

I want to take a quick look at a few of the races Blue America is involved with where a champion of working families is in a contest against an enemy of working families. In each case, the unions have favored their own enemies with funds. In TX-21 unions have given far right fanatic Lamar Smith $12,500 and his progressive opponent Tom Wakely only $5,500. In CA-44, union have given the extraordinarily corrupt establishment candidate, Isadore Hall $164,300 and his progressive opponent Nanette Barragan just $2,575. In PA-07, unions have given Mary Ellen Balchunis $6,750 and her GOP opponent, Pat Meehan, $89,000. As we mentioned above, unions have wasted $127,300 on NY-02 Trumpist Peter King, while his progressive Democratic opponent, DuWayne Gregory, has only gotten $20,750 from unions. And in MI-06 unions have given one of their most dedicated enemies, Fred Upton $34,500 and his progressive Democratic opponent, Paul Clements just $5,000. This is a disgraceful pattern everywhere across the country.

Yesterday, Dave Jamieson had a more interesting report on how organized labor is making itself felt during the election. The AFL-CIO started Working America in 2003 and it has, among other things, campaigned to pass Obamacare, raise the minimum wage and stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Right now, it’s all-in against Señor Trumpanzee. They have 150 paid, full-time canvassers hitting the pavement hard in a handful of swing states, and plan to ramp up to 500 closer to election day. They're canvassing primarily in working-class, mostly white, former industrial strongholds where lots of Democrats have felt abandoned by a Clintionian party establishment that has increasingly left them behind for Wall Street money and for professional and white collar voters.
On a recent evening, [Joshua] Lewis was canvassing in Wickliffe, Ohio, the blue-collar Lake County town where he grew up outside Cleveland. Wickliffe, which went for Obama in 2012, is 93 percent white (Lewis is African-American), and has a median household income of $48,000, according to census data. It’s just the sort of Rust Belt area that pundits point to when they say Trump could potentially redraw the electoral map with his nationalist, anti-trade message, if he can get his campaign in order.

“There are folks who like Trump because his promises are appealing to them,” says Lewis. “A lot of them are concerned with the lack of good-paying jobs, and they think someone from the outside can come in and make those changes. But Trump doesn’t have a plan.”

The canvassing by Working America illustrates one of Clinton’s many advantages in the election. The former secretary of state has vastly outraised Trump throughout the campaign, and she is hammering her opponent with TV ads in battleground states like Ohio. But beyond her own campaign, groups like Working America are already running an ancillary ground game on Clinton’s behalf.

A pillar of the Democratic base, the AFL-CIO and major national unions have uniformly endorsed Clinton-- despite Trump’s proclamations that he is the candidate for union members-- and will run get-out-the-vote operations as the election nears.

Working America is particularly invested in the battleground state of Ohio, which Trump will likely need to win if he’s to prevail in November. As of the latest polling, Clinton probably holds a very slight lead in Ohio. Working America has 80 canvassers based in the state. Though it’s now ramping up, the Trump campaign had just 82 staffers nationwide in the month of July. (Clinton, by contrast, had 705.) Come October, Working America’s hopes to have 200 bodies in Ohio.

...As one would expect from the favorability polling, Lewis’ Wicliffe canvass turns up plenty of distaste for the Democratic nominee, some of it startling: “I don’t care for her.” “I don’t believe in her.” “I think she’s a liar.” “She’s a murderer.” Sometimes his goal is simply to warm someone to the idea of Clinton being president. “It’s tough to start out in a hole where you’re explaining that she wasn’t indicted,” he says.

On his nightly canvass, Lewis is aiming for what he calls pivots. There are two kinds. The half-pivot is when you steer an undecided voter toward Clinton’s side of the line. The full pivot is when you take a Trump supporter and flip him or her to Clinton. Not surprisingly, full pivots are much more elusive. The day before he met Craig, Lewis says he pulled off a rare feat-- half-pivoting a libertarian.

His proudest pivot came in Brunswick, Ohio, south of Cleveland. He was speaking to a single mother who said she had voted for Obama but now supported Trump. Her biggest concern was education. Lewis told her Trump has floated the idea of eliminating the Department of Education (true). By the time he stepped off the front stoop, the woman said she planned on voting for Clinton.

Before he can sway someone, Lewis needs them to explain what’s important to them going into the election.

“We’re holding up a mirror and letting them talk,” he says. “I just try to plant a seed. Give them a chance to verbalize their thoughts on the election and the working class. I want to have a polite talk with the facts, try to have people open up and have a conversation.”

Working America was one of the first groups to document Trump’s potential appeal in the Rust Belt in a general election. Back in the winter-- when most pundits and odds-makers were still writing Trump off in the GOP primary-- canvassers like Lewis were talking with people in Pittsburgh and Cleveland on their front porches, hearing their thoughts and concerns. They called it the “front porch focus group.”

They concluded that, out of the entire cluttered field of Republicans and Democrats, Trump was the single most popular candidate with the hundreds of people they spoke to. The group issued a splashy report essentially sounding the alarm: “Key white working-class voters have not made up their minds yet in the 2016 presidential race, but of those who have, Donald Trump is the strongest choice.” Once Working America endorsed Clinton, the group began actively campaigning against Trump.
Blue America doesn't contribute to Republicans or to the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- the Blue Dogs and New Dems-- just to progressives, like these:
Goal Thermometer

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Tuesday Is Primary Day In Florida-- Can Progressives Win?

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Tuesday is primary day in Florida and-- thanks to ActBlue-- it isn't too late to help progressive champions like Alan Grayson and Tim Canova overcome steep odds and beat the corrupt establishment candidates they're battling. Both Grayson and Canova are in the midst of intense Get Out the Vote efforts right now-- as are Blue America's other candidates in the state-- and any contributions made this weekend will go right into those efforts. Just tap on the handy Florida thermometer at the bottom on this post.

Meanwhile a pro-Wasserman Schultz SuperPAC-- the so-called Patriot Majority-- funded by a crooked hedge-fund criminal and by the Big Sugar interests poisoning Florida's environment, is flooding the district with an endless stream of anti-Canova smears-- $635,793 reported spent so far-- including mailings like this:

Wasserman Schultz garbage clogging up everyone's mail box


About 10% of the voters in the Broward/Miami-Dade district are African Americans and both the community newspapers have endorsed Canova against an absentee congresswoman who never acknowledges their community even exists except during election season.
Leslie Wimes, founder and president of the Democratic African American Women's Caucus, said the newspapers' endorsements prove not all eligible voters in the district are Wasserman Schultz's condo commandos. And she shouldn't count on victory Aug. 30.

"It's unfortunate that Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others like her feel that, rather than actually engaging with the black community, all she has to do is present other black people to secure our votes.

"We need representatives who are going to be accessible and present all the time, not just at election time," Wimes said. "That is not Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I'm glad the Westside Gazette and the Miami Times recognize that. I hope the voters will as well and vote for Tim Canova."
This is what the influential Miami Times said when then endorsed Canova:
Newcomer Tim Canova has mounted a strong challenge to unseat incumbent Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Wasserman Schultz is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for a seventh term. A law professor at Nova Southeastern University, Canova has made inroads with voters, saying that he has fresh ideas and would pay more attention to the eastern part of the district. It is an uphill battle for Canova, since Wasserman Schultz has the backing of President Obama and name recognition. He has support from Bernie Sanders, and has more campaign money than Wasserman Schultz. For his campaign, he is putting forth the “New Deal” for this generation. He wants the federal government to subsidize salaries for schoolteachers and he wants to expand the Social Security Income program. Wasserman Schultz, the outgoing Democratic National Committee chair, has held office since 2005, and previously served in the state House. She is supported by the Congressional Black Caucus and numerous other Democratic organizations. But residents in Hollywood, Dania Beach and surrounding areas say that Wasserman Schultz ignores their needs. Because of leaked e-mails by WikiLeaks, it was revealed that Wasserman Schultz favored Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination over Sanders. As chair, she should not take sides. She resigned as chair at the Democratic National Convention. Just as the DNC has new leadership, we believe the district deserves new leadership, too. Canova has been releasing ads that question Wasserman Schultz’s record. Perhaps he should use the airtime to focus on himself and why he is the better choice. But from what we know of him, the Miami Times recommends Tim Canova.
Goal Thermometer

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If Paul LePage Is Impeached Will Señor Trumpanzee Still Offer Him A Cabinet Position In His Alternative Universe?

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Remember when Maine's senior senator, Susan Collins, said she wouldn't vote for Señor Trumpanzee? It may see like months ago but it was just a couple weeks. At the time, I noted that she had endorsed, raised money for and campaigned with Maine's erratic far right governor, Paul LePage... twice. The clip from Rachel Maddow's Friday show opening (above) gives the background of the latest LePage outrage, starting with his crackpot and threatening call to state Rep. Drew Gattine's answer machine and his follow-up insane statements on WMTW-TV about dueling him and shooting him between the eyes.

Maine's state Senate president, Michael Thibodeau (R), who is up for re-election in November, begged LePage to apologize, an idea LePaul scoffed at. LePage: "I am enormously angry... I’m not shying away from what I called him (a cocksucker)."


Unlike Thibodeau, Sarah Gideon, the assistant majority leader of Maine’s House, was not calling for LePage to apologize. Like many Mainers, she thinks he should step down as governor-- or be removed. "We strongly and regretfully feel that he is unfit to serve as governor of the state of Maine right now." LePage actually offered to resign if Gattine agrees to do the same. What the hell has happened to Maine?

Let's go back to just before Susan Collins wrote her editorial declaring she wouldn't vote for Señor Trumpanzee-- the short August 4th interview Trumpanzee did with the Press Herald before he stepped onto the stage in Portland and tried to drum up racial animosity against Maine's peaceful Somali population. The reporter asked him if he planned to offer LePage, who will be termed out in 2018, a cabinet position. Trumpanzee: "I’ll tell you what. I don’t know that he would want that but he is a very talented guy, he is also a great person, a tremendous person and if he were available I would certainly find something for Paul because he’s done a great job up here, he’s not only popular, he’s done an unbelievable job so I would certainly say that he would be a candidate."

Saturday morning NYTimes reporter Trip Gabriel tweeted that "Trump has withheld his taxes and medical records. But his tweets are a pretty good X-ray of his mind," which recalled Hillary's Reno speech quoting Maya Angelou, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." One doesn't need to be Sherlock Holmes to see who and what Paul LePage and Donald J. Trumpanzee are. They both come from the same Know Nothing strain of one of the ugliest aspects of American politics, a strain that has been rejected tim and again by the majority of American people and will be rejected again in November. The video below, of LePage speaking to reporters, leaves nothing to the imagination. The man is a racist rabble-rouser who should be run out of town on a rail. "You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that. I just can’t help it. Those are the facts."



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Without Fred Upton, Manchin's Daughter Would Never Have Even Tried Murdering Patients By Astronomically Raising the Cost Of EpiPens

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Fred Upton's Committee will never allow Medicare to negotiate fair prices with drug manufacturers

Joe Manchin's daughter, the Mylan CEO with a pronounced and lifelong penchant for cheating in her personal and business life-- who caused a scandal by bribing a university official to lie and say she got a degree when she didn't-- gets all the blame for the EpiPen scandal. She profited the most from it but she doesn't deserve all the blame. As we pointed out Thursday (in that same link as the one just above), House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), a persistent pawn of Big Pharma, took legalistic bribes from Mylan and helped shepherd their greed-driven agenda though Congress in return.

Paul Clements, the progressive Democrat challenging Upton for the southwest Michigan congressional seat, talked to us when we were researching Upton's connivance with Mylan in the EpiPen scandal:
"What does a 10% cost increase mean to you? For many seniors a 10% increase in the cost of medication can mean the difference between this medicine or that one, between taking the whole pill, or half. Or it can mean the difference between food and medicine. Right now our laws put corporate profit above seniors' needs. A new independent analysis published yesterday says the cost of hundreds of medications in the Medicare Part D program rose by 10% since 2014. Even more, the cost of simply enrolling in Part D rose 13% over last year alone. We need to let the government negotiate drug prices. In Congress I will be a leading proponent for it, and Congressman Upton has led efforts banning such negotiations. That's why I'm running, because simple, practical changes to our laws can make life changing differences to millions of Americans."
Although, as chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, he's supposed to be protecting the public from Big Pharma predators, Big Pharma has been Upton's second-biggest source of campaign funds since 1989-- $1,332,156. So far, this cycle alone Upton has taken the 4th biggest amount of anyone in Congress in legalistic bribes from drug manufacturers:




Yesterday, Paul Clements was connecting the dots for Michiganders about the Mylan and EpiPen revelations and Fred Upton's legalistic corruption. "Upton," he wrote, "responded to the controversy this week, pointing to a 2013 law Congress passed to ensure schools have access to the medicine, and saying 'We have been concerned about rising costs patients are facing for some prescription drugs. We are taking a hard look at the specifics behind this and have pressed Mylan for concrete answers. [emphasis was Clements', not Upton's.) While you read Paul Clements' more pointed retort, please consider contributing to his grassroots campaign by tapping the thermometer on the right: Goal Thermometer
Unfortunately, Congressman Upton’s response does not address the underlying cause of the controversy-- monopolistic practices by the pharmaceutical industry. As head of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton has played a leading role in blocking a number of measures that could drastically reduce the price of many pharmaceuticals, including negotiating Medicare Part D drug costs, which one study said could save between $15-16 billion annually, and reimporting prescriptions from Canada. Upton voted against those measures in 2007 and 2003 respectively. Bills to do both have been introduced to his committee, while no action has been taken in this Congress. Combined, all of these measures, in addition to a much needed increase in pharmaceutical oversight of price gouging, will reduce pharmaceutical costs to consumers.

..."While making EpiPens more available to schools is important to protecting children, we need to do more to protect everyone. Congressman Upton needs to face facts. Drug company greed is forcing seniors to choose between splitting pills and eating. It’s forcing working mothers to choose between EpiPens to save their own life or putting lunch money in their child’s backpacks. Congress needs to act to make prescription drugs available at a reasonable cost and end the price gouging we have seen repeatedly in recent months. I don’t trust Congressman Upton, who has taken over $1.2 million in campaign funds from pharmaceutical companies, to do that. Fred Upton’s committee has jurisdiction over this issue, why is he only 'looking at' this now? It’s not a new issue."
California voters aren't waiting for the authorities to throw crooked congressmen-- from both parties-- like Upton in prison for taking bribes from Big Pharma. California health care and consumer advocates are championing a ballot initiative, the Drug Price Relief Act (Prop 61) in November which would prevent any state agencies from paying more for a prescription drug than the price paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which, unlike Medicare, is permitted to negotiate with the drug manufacturers (and pays around 40% less). This initiative is being backed by Bernie Sanders and the president of the California Nurses Association, Deborah Burger, said that "Nurses see the patients who are forced to make a choice: 'Do I get treatment or do I leave something behind for my family for after I die?' We see the patients with high blood pressure come to the emergency room with heart attacks because they did not fill their prescriptions. We see diabetics go blind or lose limbs because they chose to pay their rent instead of paying for their medicine. It is immoral for people in this country to go without the medicine they need." Big Pharma is spending big bucks to defeat the measure, so far around $70 million.

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Is There A Trumpist Split Between Ashkenazi And Sephardic Jews?

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It's no secret that Señor Trumpanzee isn't charming the socks off any minority groups. He's in single digits among African-Americans and not only doing far worse than any other Republican ever among Hispanics, his hate-filled campaign has inspired tens of thousands of Hispanics to get citizenship so they could vote against him and hundreds of thousands more Hispanics that normal to register to vote for the first time, voting against Trump the main motivation. Asian-Americans have been similarly repulsed by Trump's racism and extremism and by turning the fastest growing American minority off to the GOP, he is putting down-ballot races in California, Nevada, New Jersey and Virginia in jeopardy. Even traditionally Republican-leaning conservative Filipinos have been alienated by Trumpanzee bigotry.

So, what about American Jews? Since 1916, when most Jews voted for Woodrow Wilson, the majority of Jews have been a dependable mainstay of the Democratic coalition. The waves of Ashkenazi Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe were extremely progressive and tended towards assimilation. Jews who prefer separation from non-Jews and who tend towards religious immersion and fanaticism also tend towards conservative politics. Something like 90% of Jews-- a group that has the highest percentage voter turnout of any ethnic group-- backed FDR, the same percentage of Jews that subsequently backed LBJ against Goldwater (who was himself of Jewish ancestry). Popular Republicans-- like Reagan-- have been able to garner around a third of the Jewish vote. George W. Bush was supported by 19% of Jews in 2000 and 24% of Jews in 2004. In 2008, Obama took 83% of Jews but just under 70% in 2012.

The other day Roland and I had a business/social dinner with a 28 year old realtor, our first in-person meeting with the guy. He seemed very much like a hipster and is an enthusiastic world traveler and a dedicated foodie. At dinner it also turned out that he is a dedicated and enthusiastic Trumpist, which came as a bit of a shock to me. He's a Sephardic Jew, his family having come here from Morocco. That reminded me of an old friend of mine I had been talking to earlier in the week, also a Sephardic Jew (from Morocco via Israel) who is not just a Trumpist but who insisted that "the Jews are overwhelmingly going to vote for Trump." Both he and the young realtor are into the outwards appearances of religion--keeping kosher or, at least, kosherish, observing Shabbos, going to Temple occasionally and socializing primarily with other relatively new Sephardic immigrants.

One of my Sephardic friends told me Hillary is "weak" and wouldn't be good for Israel. The other one told me he "heard" Hillary hates Jews. I don't want to ask where they get their misinformation but I hope they hear about the report from a court case yesterday in the New York Daily News on the top fella Trump hired to run his campaign, Steve Bannon. Bannon's ex-wife, Mary Louise Piccard, avowed in a court declaration, under penalty of perjury, "that Bannon didn't want their twin daughters attending the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles because many Jewish students were enrolled at the elite institution."
"The biggest problem he had with Archer is the number of Jews that attend," Piccard said in her statement signed on June 27, 2007.

"He said that he doesn't like the way they raise their kids to be 'whiny brats' and that he didn't want the girls going to school with Jews," Piccard wrote.

"I told him that there are children who are Jewish at (a competing school), and he asked me what the percentage was. I told him that I didn't know because it wasn't an issue for me as I am not raising the girls to be either anti-Semitic or prejudiced against anyone," she wrote.
Unlike most Jews of European ancestry (Ashkenazi Jews) the Sephardic Jews are not especially progressive or educated or socialistically-oriented and their beliefs are generally lumped in with Orthodox Judaism. Several centuries ago, the Sephardic Jews of Spain and Portugal were considered the aristocrats of Judaism. That's a long time ago and is a very different ballgame from poorly educated Iraqi, Syrian, Yemenite and North African Jews. The Sephardic Jews from the very beginning of the split were more traditionalist and, one might say, socially backward, the split itself having come over polygamy, which the Sephardic Jews refused to give up, while the Ashkenazi Jews quickly jettisoned. The first Jews in America were Sephardic but the Sephardic community was quickly swamped by Ashkenazi Jews coming here from Germany, Poland, Russia. Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe. Post-Holocaust Israel was largely an Ashkenazi project as well but today the more conservative and socially backward Sephardic Jews are in the majority there. It's no coincidence that the socialist-oriented, forward-looking, idealistic and successful Israel of the country's first 3 decades is now a bitter, right-wing and increasingly backward apartheid country. And it's no coincidence that blue collar Sephardic Jews in America have tended to gravitate towards "the stupid party" and, lately, towards Hehr Trumpanzee.

This morning the Jewish Insider reported a poll showing that Florida's large and active Jewish voter base has made up it's mind on who it wants to see as president-- and it isn't Señor Trumpanzee. Jewish voters in the Sunshine State are backing Hillary against Trump 66-23%. She's up by 43 points-- and 71% of the state's Jewish voters have an unfavorable view of Trump.
The only group Trump is doing well is among Orthodox Jewish voters (6 percent of the Florida Jewish electorate). According to the poll, Trump leads Clinton 66-22 percent among Orthodox Jews. Among all non-Orthodox voters, Clinton leads Trump 77-22.

The Times of Israel is reporting today that even right-wing sociopath Sheldon Adelson-- who fancies himself the ambassador to the GOP from Israel's Likud Party-- is so irked at Trumpanzee that he hasn't spent a shekel on him yet. The toad-like Adelson is angry Trump hasn't visited Israel like he told him to and angry that Trump picked the neo-Nazi Pence as a running mate, instead of Adelson crony Newt Gingrich. Addison is spending his money on Senate and House races instead.

"Gonif" means thief, if your Yiddish is rusty

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Can The Democrats Actually Screw Up Winning Back The Senate? It Would Be Difficult, But Schumer's The One Who Could Do It

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The GOP could never inflict the kind of damage on the Democrats that Schumer does

Thursday night, the NY Times suddenly woke up to something we've been harping on all year-- only the Times referred to what we call DSCC incompetence and corruption as the Democrats weak bench. The reporter, Jennifer Steinhauer, asserted that the DSCC could accomplish the impossible: not win back the Senate.

Because the Democrats have only one-- or at the most two-- weak seats to defend, Nevada and Colorado, and the Republicans have 15 at-risk seats up in November, it would be really difficult for the DSCC to mess up. But accomplishing that kind of really difficult is what Chuck Schumer-- and Montana sock puppet Jon Tester-- are perfect for. There are 8 Democratic seats considered absolutely safe-- open seats in California and Maryland, as well as blue seats in Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. The Republicans have 8 senators seeking reelection who could walk back into office blindfolded: Richard Shellby (AL), Mike Crapo (ID), Jerry Moran (KS), John Hoeven (ND), Jim Lankford (OK), Tim Scott (SC), John Thune (SD), and Utah (Mike Lee). The Republicans have 18 seats with some level of vulnerability, from pretty safe Alaska, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Kentucky to time-for-the-challenger-to-shop-for-blue-curtains territory: Wisconsin and Illinois. In between are the states that will decide which party runs the Senate for 2017 and '18 (when the tables are reversed and the Republicans will have massive wins and send the Democrats back into the minority (if they do manage to win in November). These are the states that should be most hotly contested (aside from Wisconsin and Illinois):
Arizona
Florida
Indiana
Iowa
Missouri
New Hampshire
North Carolina
Ohio
Pennsylvania
An anti-Trumpanzee wave is building in most of these states and it would be a safe bet to assume Hillary wins Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and probably North Carolina and Iowa, with an outside chance of winning in Arizona and Missouri as well. As much as I detest Evan Bayh's politics-- he's the ultimate Blue Dog type and corrupt to his core-- he's what they like in Indiana and he'll probably win the Senate seat (and by a lot) despite Hillary's struggle there. As much as I hate to say so, it was "smart" as part of a short-sighted, short-term policy for the DSCC to recruit him. But it's the other contests that are worth discussing. In Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Schumer and sock-puppet have worked to make sure the nominees would be corporate whores resistant to any kind of populism or progressive agenda.

Steinhauer says the Democrats "find themselves hobbled by less-than-stellar candidates." Find themselves? How did that happen? Sounds very passive but it was anything but passive. At Schumer's direction the DSCC spent millions of dollars driving good candidates out of the races and replacing them with truly miserable ones or, as Steinhauer puts it "by less-than-stellar candidates." It's costing the DSCC and their allies millions of dollars that could have been used against Republicans, to burden the Democrats with, for example, worthless former fracking lobbyist Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania, possibly the worst candidate running for any Senate seat anywhere this cycle. And for that Schumer and his allies spent big to destroy the Democrat, Admiral Joe Sestak, who likely would have beaten Toomey. They installed hopeless and pathetic old Ted Strickland in Ohio and are spending millions to make sure talentless "ex"-Republican Patrick Murphy-- who, if he gets the nomination August 30-- will relieve McGinty of the "worst candidate running for any Senate seat anywhere" title. Of course, there's also Patty Judge, who Schumer bulldozed into the Iowa nomination and who has virtually no chance to win anything and the odious New Dem in Arizona, Ann Kirkpatrick, who is likely to be thrashed by John McCain, even if McCain dies before election day.

Steinhauer is only partially correct when she claims that "the Democrats’ problem stems from a depletion of their ranks in state legislatures and governors’ mansions over recent years" but hits it out of the park when she politely notes "a lack of institutional support for grass-roots-level politicians who represent a changing base."



“Democrats cannibalize each other when they lose those seats and don’t have new talent to fill them,” said Daniel A. Smith, a professor of political science at the University of Florida. “Here and in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and North Carolina are states that should have Democratic state-controlled legislatures, and the fact that they don’t not only marginalizes Democrats, but also makes it increasingly hard to build a farm team.”

Republicans, of course, find themselves in a fundamental conflict between Mr. Trump’s populist insurgents and traditional conservatives. But Democrats are mired in their own struggle, as they try to identify future stars who can appeal to a base increasingly insistent on a progressive agenda.

Florida’s Senate Democratic primary this Tuesday pits a bombastic, populist liberal, Representative Alan Grayson, against the establishment’s pick, Representative Patrick Murphy, in the kind of showdown that analysts expect to see in the party’s future.

“Democrats are going to have their own Tea Party moment in 2018,” said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor and Senate analyst for The Cook Political Report. “I don’t think they are going to put up with the party dictating who their candidates are.”

“The bench is not apparent right now,” said David Axelrod, the chief strategist for Mr. Obama’s presidential campaigns. “There are some impressive young leaders, but who among them is the next presidential nominee I can’t answer. A lot of them are not there yet.”

“Democrats have done a poor job, and I take my share of responsibility here, in not being as focused as Republicans have on building at the grass roots,” Mr. Axelrod said. “Look what the G.O.P. and their related agents have done with legislative and City Council and school board races. They are building capacity, and Democrats have paid the cost.”

Many promising young Democrats in the House have been frustrated by the reluctance of Representative Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader, and her aging deputies to step aside and let new members ascend to leadership-- one of the few rewards for a minority party in the House. “I was on the recruitment committee, and a lot of candidates decided to take a pass,” said Representative Karen Bass, Democrat of California. She added, “There are people who are new to Congress and have a difficult situation because they are not going to be there for 20 years.”

...Democratic ranks have also been decimated in state governments across the nation, where new leaders tend to plant roots for future higher office.

After the 2008 elections, Democrats controlled 62 of the 99 state legislatures; today, Republicans control 68 chambers, according to Governing magazine. Over the same time period, the number of Democrats in governor’s mansions fell from 28 to 18. In both cases, Republican control is now at or near historic highs.

...Democrats have also complained that the party has not worked hard enough to promote an agenda that is appealing to the party’s growing base of progressive whites, nonwhites and millennials, fearing that such policies could turn off older, more traditional Democratic voters.

Stacey Abrams, the minority leader of the Georgia General Assembly, called that the “fear that is inherent in transitions.” She is considered one of the party’s brightest young stars, in no small part because she has unseated five Republicans in the Georgia legislature.

“This is a party that is comprised of what is being referred to as the new American majority,” she said. “Those are progressive whites, people of color and millennials. We have to focus our politics on turning out those voters.”
Instead, the Senate Democrats were manipulated into picking the absolute worst possible leader, Schumer, who is working to replicate a Democratic senate caucus beholden to Wall Street and resistant to anything the upcoming Democratic Party base is interested in. Schemer's career has been greased by $25,957,041 in legalistic bribes from the Finance Sector, more than any other politicians in the history of American politics who was not a presidential candidate. Schemer's corruption is far worse than even any Republican. By way of comparison, even the most contemptible Wall Street whores across the aisle haven't gotten the kinds of bribes that makes Schumer's clock tick. Not one of Wall Street's favorite Republicans got even half of what Schumer took in! Here are the 10 most bankster-corrupted Republicans and their hauls:
John Boehner (R-OH)- $12,215,498
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)- $11,806,876
Scott Brown (R-MA)- $9,178,994
Rob Portman (R-OH)- $8,722,092
Eric Cantor (R-VA)- $8,659,744
Richard Shelby (R-AL)- $8,380,358
John Cornyn (R-TX)- $8,235,516
Paul Ryan (R-WI)- $8,233,811
Mark Kirk (R-IL)- $8,159,335
Pat Toomey (R-PA)- $7,818,439


Schumer's mentorship of right-wing fake Democrat Patrick Murphy makes all the more sense when you understand that only Speaker Ryan and House Majority Leader McCarthy have taken bigger bankster bribes than Murphy this year and that there is no non-incumbent running for the Senate this year who has gotten as much Finance Sector loot as Murphy. Murphy just spent 2 terms in the House doing absolutely nothing but showing how utterly corrupt he is, but a promise from his wealthy parents and wealthy Saudi backers to help fund Obama's Presidential Library was enough for Obama to show his contempt for Florida's African-American voters by lying to them about what a "progressive" Murphy is in a series of ads that have all but killed Grayson's chance's to win the primary.

Blue America hasn't endorsed many candidates for Senate races this cycle. We only found 3 worth supporting (who are still in the running). You can help them-- and I hope you will-- at the thermometer below:
Goal Thermometer

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Friday, August 26, 2016

If We Don't Stop Billionaires From Buying Up The Political System, We Will All Soon Be Their Slaves

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I first ran across Houston hedge fund billionaire John Arnold and his wife Laura when I noticed them spending millions of dollars supporting California fake Democrat Ro Khanna, school privatization and charter school advocacy, of the kind John Oliver discusses in the video above. The vile Arnolds have made their fortune through fracking and charter schools and they happily push their greedy agenda by financing right-wing candidates, some Republicans but primarily Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, like, besides Khanna (their biggest candidate investment), corrupt characters Darren Soto (FL), Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Ami Bera (CA), and repulsive and power-hungry Rahm Emanuel protégée, Illinois Blue Dog Cheri Bustos.

This cycle they teamed up with a Marco Rubio operative, a dip-shit named Thomas Datwyler, to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in FL-09 in order to bolster Darren Soto-- a right-wing NRA-poster boy masquerading as a Democrat and running for Alan Grayson's old congressional seat in the Orlando area. The Common Sense Leadership PAC is running a barrage of independent expenditures against Dena Grayson and in favor of Soto-- over $200,000 so far, but with expenditures accelerating by the day. Ironically, their vicious attacks on Grayson have been augmented by the sleaziest and least trustworthy of all Democratic groups, EMILY's List, which has, over the last decade, become expert at spreading lies and distortions. Hedge fund criminal Donald Sussman has given EMILY's List $2 million to spend against Grayson and Michael Bloomberg gave EMILY's List another million, some of which is being used against Soto and some against Grayson. It's ironic that EMILY's List is spending their donors' money to smear a pro-choice woman doctor in such a way that could well result in the election of a virulently anti-choice, right-wing tool like Soto who has been publicly endorsed by the Wall Street-owned and operated New Dems.

The Arnolds, vampires
Although some of the Arnold's money ($44,917) has gone into pro-Soto efforts, the big money is all being spent tp smear Grayson, smearing being a John and Laura Arnold trademark whenever it comes to progressives. This is how predatory billionaires like the Arnolds seeks to advance their political agenda, by helping elect puppet candidates like Darren Soto who will support their bid to destroy public education, one of the long-term goals of these people. As Jeff Bryant wrote for CommonDreams yesterday, "[John] Oliver focused much of his attention on Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, three states with especially depressing charter track records-- including negligence in the approval process and school executives embezzling funds."
None of Oliver’s critics seriously refuted the crux of his argument that there might be something fundamentally wrong by design, rather than by implementation or intent, with the idea that  a “free market” of privately operated and essentially unregulated schools is a surefire way to improve education opportunities for all students.

Indeed, charter schools are “here to stay” has become a refrain among advocates for these schools, even though there’s no doubt the controversy caused by this new parallel school system is just beginning, and no one can predict what the ongoing conflict will lead to.

The charter industry is currently responsible for educating a small percentage of students-- just 6–7 percent nationally and barely measurable in many communities, especially more well-to-do metropolitan and rural areas. A minority of Americans and relatively few politicians completely understand what charter schools are. And most experts have mixed views on the purpose of the schools.

However, what charter advocates generally won’t admit is that many of the problems these schools cause are reflective of what inevitably seems to happen when an essential public service is privatized.

The charter industry claims its schools are “public” institutions because they get tax dollars, but that’s like saying a defense contractor is a public business because it takes in revenues from the federal government.

Numerous experts point out charter schools blur the line from what it means to be a public institution providing a public good and that, by their very design, they expand opportunities to profiteer from public tax dollars and privatize public assets.

People in communities affected by these schools are just beginning to see the conflicts these institutions cause, and it’s just a matter of time before government officials at all levels are forced to respond to the increasing concerns with these schools.

Just consider recent actions taken by the Department of Justice to curtail the expansion of the private prison industry-- a privatization trend that generally predates the rise of the charter industry.

As Mother Jones reports, after “a damning report on the safety, security, and oversight of private prisons,” DOJ announced it would stop contracting with these institutions.

Donald Cohen, who leads In the Public Interest, an organization that researches problems posed by privatizing public services, writes for Huffington Post, privately operated prisons are fundamentally flawed because the business model they must follow encourages the companies to “actively seek new prisoners to fill facilities they own.”

As ITPI has previously reported, “in an effort to provide the service with fewer resources while also maximizing profits, [private prison] companies often cut corners, reducing the quality, effectiveness, and accessibility of the service.”

“The more contractors can cut costs on running their facilities, the wider their profit margins,” writes Aman Banerji for the Roosevelt Institute. “No wonder … private prisons contracted by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) contain one or more security deficiencies, health service deficiencies, and a greater number of food grievances.”

This clear and obvious conflict of interest-- between serving the public and rewarding private enterprise-- led to a misalignment with DOJ’s mission to hold an essential function of government to the high standards the public demands.

If the charter school industry believes it can avoid this conflict, it’s kidding itself.

More than one attentive blogger has noticed the striking similarities between charter schools and the private prison industry. In one of these posts, Mitchell Robinson notes that charters, like private prisons, differ from the public counterparts by not being locally managed or controlled, not providing the same level of services and programs, and not answering to the same level or degree of regulation and oversight.

Over the years, the US Department of Education has rewarded charter schools with over $3.3 billion in federal funds, and with passage of the most recent federal education law, the every Student Succeeds Act, USDoE will send $333 million more to these schools before the current fiscal year is over.

Remarking on the actions DOJ took to end tax dollars going to the private prison industry, Banerji concludes, “It offers an opportunity to contest the privatization of state services beyond the prison system.”

Let’s hope reexamining the role of charter schools is the next step.

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In A Race Between Two Really Awful Senate Candidates, The Only Good Move Is To Refuse To Participate

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Chuck Schumer has managed-- along with Montana sock puppet Jon Tester-- to set up a series of lesser-of-two-evils contests that will determine which party controls Congress. Ted Strickland and Katie McGinty are obviously unqualified to be U.S. senators and nothing would ever get me to vote for either. But then look at the garbage each one is running against: respectively Rob Portman and Pat Toomey. Portman is worse than Strickland and Toomey is worse than McGinty, but that doesn't make either Strickland or McGinty any more fit for office. Schumer planted a series of discredited lies about Alan Grayson to guarantee his (and Wall Street's and Saudi Arabia's) choice for the Florida Democratic nomination, "ex"-Republican Patrick Murphy. A Murphy/Rubio race would surely force Florida voters to pick the lesser evil but this is a far tougher race than the ones in Ohio and Pennsylvania which it isn't clear which one is the lesser evil. Again, I'd never vote for either, but who do you even root for in a contest like this? Mothra? Godzilla?



Worse yet, in California, where the jungle primary has puked up two crappy Democrats to run against each other in a blue state saddled with a corrupt party establishment, conservative Blue Dog-- and dumbbell-- Loretta Sanchez faces off against corporate nothing and woman of mystery, Kamala Harris, neither of which is worth a vote. And what's a Republican to do. Well, the editors of the Redding Record Searchlight are Republicans and they're backing the moron Blue Dog. "For Republicans who can stomach the idea of voting for the more centrist of two Democrats," they wrote this week, "Sanchez is a clear choice."
Perhaps foremost on her list of qualifications for that role are endorsements — those that have gone to her opponent, California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Harris has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, for example, which cited its discomfort with statements Sanchez has made indicating that the discussion of water solutions for California must start with everything on the table-- including (gasp) the Endangered Species Act. Sanchez paints that as a pragmatic way to begin negotiating, and insists it's not fair to say she wants to alter the ESA, but her willingness even to talk about it causes environmentalists to shudder.

Goal Thermometer Folks who feel the current administration has America on the wrong track may also take note of Harris's endorsement by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Their interference in a two-Democrat race riled Sanchez, but it may prompt some Republicans to give her a second glance.

On the campaign trail, Sanchez emphasizes her experience with national security. She has served on the House Armed Services Committee throughout her time in Congress, where she says she "works on avoiding the conflicts of the future. If I'm doing my job right, you're never going to hear the names of the countries" where problems might break out.

Sanchez, a member of the House Blue Dog Coalition, spoke most carefully answering Second Amendment questions.

"The Second Amendment is the Second Amendment," she said. "If you're one of the people who wants to melt down all guns... there's a process to change the Constitution. I'm going to agree with the fact that people have a right to have a gun."

Still, she indicated that she favors background check restrictions and her campaign website lambastes Senate Republicans for blocking "responsible action on gun violence."

...In a two-way race, voters who look closely may my find Sanchez too liberal, but ultimately less problematic than Harris.
No, the Democrats aren't as bad as this GOP Senate candidate in Louisiana, but that's too low a bar for me. I'm done with lesser-of-two evils voting. In most of these races, the smart move is to not vote and tell the DSCC to eat their own shit because you're not that hungry.



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There Oughta Be a Law Dept.: Is there away around the horrors of drug price extortion?

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THERE OUGHTA BE A LAW (2/7/1946)

[Click to enlarge.]

by Ken

Okay, the cartoon feature There Oughta Be a Law (1948-84) was generally pretty lame. Still, isn't this what invariably comes to mind when horror stories like the latest drug price-extortion scandal break out? Of course, that's probably because the phrase predated the comic, unlike the comic it slavishly imitated, Jimmy Hatlo's They'll Do It Every Time (1929-2008), whose name -- as Don Markstein points out on Toonopedia -- became a common catch phrase in its own right.

And, sure enough, they will do it every time, just in pretty much the way that Mylan "has hiked prices for EpiPen as frequently as three times a year over the past nine years." to the dismay of allergy sufferers who count on EpiPens to bring them back from the life-threatening peril of anaphylactic shock -- not because of significant cost increases or such understandable economic reasons, but for the most compelling reason known to free-market enthusiasts: because they can.

Naturally, as is noted in the above-linked AP report, the company is trying to massage the wretched PR outbreak with some palliative measures. However, "there is no change in the price of the treatment, however, which is what has drawn ire both in Congress and from families that have had to shell out increasingly large sums for the potentially life-saving treatment." After all, aren't corporations bound by law, and possibly by God, to do everything they can to maximize profits?

It's not likely, though, that your average CEO relishes the prospect of having the company name featured alongside images of, say, kids dying from a peanut allergy. The trick, it seems, is to exercise just enough self-control over the price increases, and to do them sufficiently out of the limelight, to attract minimal attention. In other words, as is so often the case, the unforgivable offense here is getting caught. One wonders how much of the U.S. economy now consists of damage control.

The public-interest problem here is what kind of law there ought to, or even might, be to distinguish between allowable and unallowable drug profits. And Ian Welsh thinks he has a "Simple Fix for Intellectual Property Laws": mandatory licensing.

"Let's say," Ian writes,
that someone has genuinely created something new–and we’ll skip the fact that most drug research actually uses massive government subsidies. Let’s say we want them to make money for doing so, in order to encourage people to keep innovating.
How would mandantory licensing work?
If a company has beneficial control over the patent or copyright:

For X years (I’d suggest seven), anyone who wants to use their patent or copyright must pay them 100 percent of the manufacturing cost of making the product.*

[There are two footnotes. First: "When one looks at EpiPen, today, it is not a case of patents, it is a case that FDA trials would cost 1.5 billion.  Competitors should simply be able to copy the EpiPen design and forgo trials beyond confirmation that they have." Then: "This number would have to be different in industries like software and pharma where unit manufacturing costs are often close to zero. The principle is simple: you make back your investment and get a good profit, but your invention/idea is available for all to use at a reasonable price as soon as possible, so society benefits fully and you don’t price gouge."]

After that, anyone who wants to make their product must pay 10 percent.

You can fiddle with the numbers and years, and yes, patents are usually only small parts of final products and there are details around that which need to be fixed, but the principle of mandatory licensing is what matters.
If "beneficial control" is had by an individual rather than a company ("meaning most of the profits are actually going to them, not to a corporation"), Ian says he'd "extend the period by two or three times, to encourage individual innovators and to try and keep all IP from winding up in the hands of corporations." He notes that "an individual often needs more time to fully exploit a new invention or copyright item."

Ian argues that mandatory licensing would help achieve the purpose of patents and copyrights: "mak[ing] people more likely both to invent something and to share the details," by making sure that they're paid and that they're "incentivized" to share ("100 percent monopoly profits for X years is a lot of money, but it avoids the 'jack it up by thousands of percents' problem"). What's more, the plan --
makes markets actually work how they’re supposed to. In economic theory, competitive markets are supposed to drive costs and profits down because if anyone has high profits, someone else will enter the market. Strict monopoly intellectual rights make it impossible for markets to work the way they are supposed to.
Now "simple" as the proposal may be, it leaves us a lot to talk about, and really not much of it has yet been talked about in the comments left on Ian's post, which tend to dwell on things he's said along the way rather than the proposal itself. He's at least given us something to talk about.
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Mylan Didn’t Lower EpiPen Prices After All; They Just Appeared To

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Senator Joe Manchin's daughter Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan, and some of the work she's been doing. Note — the EpiPen price is actually around $640 at most pharmacies (source).

by Gaius Publius

These days have seen a number of stories about the Mylan EpiPen scandal, the essence of which is captured in the graphic at the top (note, though, that the graphic understates the EpiPen price; it's now around $640). Heather Bresch, Mylan's CEO, decided to increase corporate profit by increasing the price of a mature product, EpiPen, a device that delivers life-saving epinephrine to people who suffer life-threatening anaphylactic shock from allergic exposure to, for example, bee stings and peanuts. In the view of most observers, she did it simply because she could.

There's no economic reason for the price increases, any of them. Epinephrine (basically adrenalin) is not proprietary. As Dr. Lee Rogers notes in the first link below, "As a hormone, it's a product of nature and cannot be patented." And the delivery mechanism (the "pen") has been around since 1977. All of the R&D is done, and the medicine is cheap. All told, each EpiPen contains just one dollar worth of medicine. (And it seems the original EpiPen was at least partly developed with taxpayer money.)

Yet under Heather Bresch, Mylan has steadily raised the price from about $50, its price when Mylan acquired the 50-year-old product, to more than $600 — because they could. In 2009, the year Bresch became president, the price of the EpiPen was increased 19%, followed by 10% hikes each year from 2010 through 2013. Then:
After successfully pushing for legislation requiring all public schools to carry emergency epinephrine [devices], Mylan jacked up the price by 15 percent every other quarter from the end of 2013 to the second quarter of 2016 [emphasis mine].
And that's how the game is played.

A Shakedown Scheme with a Sidecar of Murder

As I noted here, this is basically a shakedown scheme with a sidecar of murder — "Got a peanut allergy? Pay my new price or the kid dies." In the meantime, corporate profit went through the roof, as did CEO compensation, as the graphic shows.

Dr. Lee Rogers, a medical doctor and a former progressive House candidate, broke the story here:


and DWT issued a follow-up story here:


Two side wrinkles and you're up to date:

First, CEO Bresch may have engaged in insider trading when she sold over 100,000 shares of Mylan stock in advance of the latest price increases. As noted in the second link above, the stock price fell drastically after Dr. Rogers' piece was published.

Second, Bresch has taken Mylan through a corporate "inversion," a scheme by which a U.S. company buys a foreign subsidiary, then becomes a foreign corporation, with nothing else changing but its U.S. tax status. LA Times reporter Michael Hiltzik has written a full report on Mylan's inversion here.

Shamed by the Scandal, Heather Bresch Pretended to Lower EpiPen's Price

Mylan's price-gouging on its EpiPen business is indeed a scandal, not just on the business pages because of the sudden stock decline, but in the larger press because of the "vulture CEO" angle. Even MSNBC, which tends to keep hands off of Democrats, covered it, and tagged Sen. Joe Manchin in the story. (For more on Manchin and his responsibility for his daughter's career, do read Dr. Rogers' well researched story. Manchin's been involved at almost every stage of it.)

As a result of the horrible press, Mylan responded. It was initially reported that Mylan would lower the price of its EpiPen package by 50% in response to public outrage. For example, from The Hill:
EpiPen maker lowers price after uproar

The maker of EpiPens announced Thursday that it is reducing the price of the device following an uproar in Washington over the cost of the treatment for serious allergic reactions.

Mylan, the company that makes EpiPen, said it will provide a savings card worth up to $300 for people who had been paying the full price out-of-pocket, effectively reducing the cost by 50 percent.

The company is also making it easier to qualify for its patient assistance program, which eliminates out-of-pocket costs for uninsured and underinsured people....

Mylan announced the changed a day after Hillary Clinton denounced the company for hiking the cost of EpiPens 400 percent in recent years. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill had also sounded the alarm, sending letters to the company and to the Food and Drug Administration pressing for answers.

Mylan also pointed to insurance companies in its Thursday statement, noting that higher deductibles have left patients picking up more of the cost of drugs like EpiPens.
I hope you noted that last sentence, in which Mylan says "higher deductibles have left patients picking up more of the cost of drugs like EpiPens." Remember, each EpiPen contains about $1 worth of medicine. Patients are actually picking up the cost of CEO Bresch's nearly 700% compensation increase.

But it didn't take long for that "50% reduction in cost" claim to be more carefully looked at. For example, from USuncut:
EpiPen did not actually lower their price — it’s just another Pharma scam

Mylan Pharmaceuticals is now running a slick PR campaign to try and convince Americans they lowered the price of the EpiPen. Don’t buy it.

On Thursday morning, it was widely reported that Mylan responded to consumer outrage by lowering the price of the drug by 50 percent. While that may be true on the surface, the company didn’t actually change the price at all. The drug company’s rollout of EpiPen price cuts only applies to uninsured and underinsured consumers, who are given a $300 savings card while still having to pay roughly $300 more for a [$640] package of two EpiPens.
The bottom line?
However, the market price of the EpiPen remains the same.
And that's how the game is played.

This is Heather Manchin Bresch, by the way, in case you see her on the street. I'm sure she'd be glad to explain the numerous price increases at length. Maybe there's a nuance she can point you to that I've missed.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch (source; photo credit Joe Wojcik)

Or maybe not. This really is shakedown scheme, with a sidecar of "or your kid dies." Is predator too strong a word for this behavior? Or is predation just business as usual in drug company CEO suites and the DC political offices that take their money?

Hate the Drug Companies? Support California's Prop 61 Next November

If you think predator is not too strong a word for drug company "shakedown or death" profit schemes, consider supporting California's new Proposition 61, which will end Big Pharma's hold on unchecked and sky-high prices. Prop 61 is a serious attack on drug pricing, and it will work if it's passed. It will also appear in a number of other states if it's passed — hope for us all.

More on Prop 61 here.

GP
 

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If He'll Sell Them Out On Xenophobia, Can Trump's Fans Trust Him On Anything At All?

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Despite all the hubbub in recent days, Team Trumpanzee isn't grappling for a coherent immigration policy, just a p.r. approach that can appease suburban voters who shun overt racism, xenophobia and gratuitous viciousness while not turning off Trump's base among racists, xenophobes and the gratuitously vicious. Republican Party operative Stuart Stevens hasn't been impressed. He referred to the Trumpanzee Campaign as "utter chaos [and] a smash and grab operation, not a campaign." The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has always remained neutral in presidential races-- until this year. Because of Señor Trumpanzee's unending provocation against Hispanics in America they broken a nearly 4 decade long tradition and endorsed Clinton. Yesterday the president of the group, Javier Palomarez, told MSNBC that Trump's "new" rhetoric on immigration "is nothing more than an act of desperation."

Trump's patently insincere "outreach" to minority groups ins't moving minority groups, who see right through him and it probably isn't doing him much good with the suburbanites its supposed to mollify. As Greg Sargent's solid tweetstorm yesterday made perfectly clear that "by signaling a softening, Trump and Kellyanne Conway were testing whether they could have it both ways," trying to simultaneously assure suburbanites (and media patsies) they only want to deport criminals (like Obama does), "while also winking at hard liners by saying, 'don't worry, the 11 million still remain subject to deportation, and won't be legalized'."


Byron York made the case on the far right that Trump and Kellyanne are making a mess of things with what is being perceived as flip-flops.
One thing is certain in the current brouhaha over Donald Trump's immigration proposals: the candidate and his top aides are making a mess of things. What is the status of his old proposal to deport all immigrants who are in the United States illegally? After days of Trump and his senior advisers talking about it, the answer is entirely unclear.

The fundamental problem vexing Team Trump is that the deportation proposal was never really clear. Yes, Trump said it often last year, but he also pointedly left it out of many immigration discussions, as well. It went largely unnoticed, for example, that when Trump posted an immigration position paper on his campaign website last year, it had a lot about a border wall and enhanced enforcement-- and nothing at all about mass deportations.

...The strategy-- making strength on immigration Trump's signature issue-- worked fantastically well in Trump's march through the Republican primaries. But the general election campaign is different, and Trump has finally found himself under pressure to clarify his position. And in the last 72 hours Trump has lost control of the issue.

His new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, has said Trump's position on deportations is to be determined. Trump himself has said things that appear to be hardline and things that appear much softer. The problem will not be resolved until Trump lays out, in some systematic way, where he stands on the question and explains in turn where that position fits into his larger immigration policy.

Trump's deportation mess is troubling to some of the best-informed conservatives on the immigration issue because it creates a huge and damaging controversy over a matter that is not at the heart of solving the larger immigration problem. "The disposition of the 12 million illegals already here is not the core dilemma we face," writes Mark Krikorian, of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors tighter limits on immigration. "The core dilemma is how to make sure we don't end up with another 12 million illegal aliens."

What Trump does could have a serious effect on his campaign. Perhaps a new, more moderate position might attract some undecided voters. But a retreat from the deportation pledge, or at least what many supporters believed Trump's deportation pledge to be, could disillusion some who have supported and worked for Trump's candidacy. There are a significant number of Trump supporters who were drawn to him because of his stand on immigration.




Like Ann Coulter. The conservative author has written a new book, In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!, and in an appearance on MSNBC Tuesday said she hoped Trump is not, in fact, backing away from his positions on immigration.

Still, Trump's recent statements "sound very consultant to me," Coulter said. "I think this is a mistake." And she added: "This could be the shortest book tour ever if he's really softening his position on immigration."


Coulter has basically said it doesn't matter to the mass of Trump's brain-dead fans how much flip-flopping he doers on anything... except white nationalism. The Know Nothing position on immigration is not a bargaining chip for her and for at least a large portion of the most bloodthirsty of the deranged Trumpists. Embracing the Jeb-and-Marco amnesty plan is not something they'll take laying down. Nick Gass at Politico called Coulter's attitude shift a sense of disgust with the hint of Trumpanzee openness, as though she ever thought he ever really stood for anything at all beyond attaining his own personal goal of winning.
Speaking to Fox News' Sean Hannity in a town hall event broadcast Wednesday night, Trump floated multiple ideas for the audience's reaction, including one in which undocumented immigrants would pay "back taxes" but added, "there's no amnesty, but we work with them." Trump recounted meeting with "very strong people" who have told him "it's so tough" to throw out people who have been in the country for 15 to 20 years.

"It's a very, very hard thing," Trump conceded.
Goal Thermometer State Senator Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is one of the most accomplished and forceful of the Blue America-endorsed congressional candidates this cycle. She has never stood for the ugly bigotry and divisiveness behind the Trump messaging. Last might she told us that "Trump would do well to remember that the majority of candidates-- even at a local level-- who try to talk tough on immigration end up losing. That will certainly be true at the Presidential level-- and his recent vagueness and flip flopping seems to be admitting this reality. The majority of Americans-- both Republican and Democrat-- know that America needs humane and just comprehensive immigration reform that brings 11 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows, creates a path to citizenship, reunites our families and levels the playing field for and protects workers. Deporting 11 million people makes no sense and is inhumane-- and spending billions more on border security and building a wall is equally nonsensical. It’s also no formula for winning elections. I’ve fought for immigration reform for 15 years, and in 2013, the US Senate passed-- with 67 bipartisan votes-- a bill that would finally move us forward as a country. Smart politicians would do well to get on board with that quickly."

Nevada state Senator Ruben Kihuen, an immigrant himself, has a similar approach to Pramila's. He told us that Trump will be unable to pivot away from having called "Mexican immigrants rapists and drug criminals or calling for a mass deportation force. But these hardline policy ideas that demonize families like mine aren't just Trump's views-- they are representative of today's GOP. My Tea Party opponent, Congressman Hardy, plays right into this playbook: he fear-mongers about immigrants taking jobs, opposes a path to full and equal citizenship, and votes against President Obama’s actions that protect hard-working immigrant families from being ripped apart."



And in the midst of all this, we have a Washington Post/ABC News poll this month that shows a whopping 60% of Americans agreeing that Trump is biased against women and against minorities. Only 36% of Americans think Trump isn't biased.



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