Monday, January 20, 2020

New York Times Endorses Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar

The New York Times chose two candidates to endorse as the Democratic candidate, for the first time in history, which in and of itself is a reflection of our fragmented political landscape going into the primary and the 2020 election. The Times sees Elizabeth Warren as the standard bearer for the left, the “radical” choice and Amy Klobuchar as the face of the centrist portion of the party, the “realist.” And the Times comments on the other front runners. New York Times: Few men have given more of their time and experience to the conduct of the public’s business than Joe Biden. The former vice president commands the greatest fluency on foreign policy and is a figure of great warmth and empathy. He’s prone to verbal stumbles, yes, but social media has also made every gaffe a crisis when it clearly is not. Mr. Biden maintains a lead in national polls, but that may be a measure of familiarity as much as voter intention. His central pitch to voters is that he can beat Donald Trump. His agenda tinkers at the edges of issues like health care and climate, and he emphasizes returning the country to where things were before the Trump era. But merely restoring the status quo will not get America where it needs to go as a society. What’s more, Mr. Biden is 77. It is time for him to pass the torch to a new generation of political leaders. Good news, then, that Amy Klobuchar has emerged as a standard-bearer for the Democratic center. Her vision goes beyond the incremental. Given the polarization in Washington and beyond, the best chance to enact many progressive plans could be under a Klobuchar administration. The senator from Minnesota is the very definition of Midwestern charisma, grit and sticktoitiveness. Her lengthy tenure in the Senate and bipartisan credentials would make her a deal maker (a real one) and uniter for the wings of the party — and perhaps the nation. So much for the state of the center of the Democratic party. This is what the Times had to say about the left faction. Mr. Sanders would be 79 when he assumed office, and after an October heart attack, his health is a serious concern. Then, there’s how Mr. Sanders approaches politics. He boasts that compromise is anathema to him. Only his prescriptions can be the right ones, even though most are overly rigid, untested and divisive. He promises that once in office, a groundswell of support will emerge to push through his agenda. Three years into the Trump administration, we see little advantage to exchanging one over-promising, divisive figure in Washington for another. Good news, then, that Elizabeth Warren has emerged as a standard-bearer for the Democratic left. […] Her campaign’s plans, in general, demonstrate a serious approach to policymaking that some of the other candidates lack. Ms. Warren accurately describes a lack of housing construction as the primary driver of the nation’s housing crisis, and she has proposed both increases in government funding for housing construction, and changes in regulatory policy to encourage local governments to allow more construction. She has plans to sharply increase federal investment in clean energy research and to wean the American economy from fossil fuels. She has described how she would reduce the economic and political power of large corporations […]

Trump’s Dingell In Hell Crack May Have Just Cost Him Michigan’s 16 Electoral Votes

Somebody should explain to Donald Trump that all politics is local, because he blew it bigly last night in Battle Creek, disparaging Michigan statesman John Dingell, and insulting his widow, Debbie, who took over his congressional seat when he retired. Trump’s big mouth might have cost him the state in 2020, and wouldn’t that be fine? In any event, he gave the Democrats great political ad copy, bravo Bozo. Trump insulted Rep. Debbie Dingell, “there’s a real beauty” for voting yes on articles of impeachment. He then went on to insult her late husband, John, saying “maybe he’s looking up” [at the impeachment vote] meaning from Hell, not looking down from heaven, after his death in February. Spectators were shocked and waves of boos rippled through the crowd last night, as a respected leader and military officer, not to mention an institution in Congress, was disrespected, in his home state, no less. Debbie Dingell was understandably crushed. Washington Post: “Mr. President, let’s set politics aside,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), whose husband, a World War II veteran and the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history, died in February at age 92. “My husband earned all his accolades after a lifetime of service. I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love. You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder.” She’s right, he can never imagine, because Trump is an animal. He’s a self centered sociopath and he is devoid of normal human feelings and certainly of common decency and compassion, as his crack about the Dingells proves. All relationships in Trumpworld are transactional. Trump was venting that Debbie Dingell owed him a nay vote on impeachment because he had given her husband, “A-plus treatment” i.e. ordered flags lowered to half mast when John Dingell died. Debbie Dingell wasn’t listening to Trump’s Battle Creek rally, but heard about all this later when a reporter contacted her, and she said, “I kind of felt kicked in the stomach.” No wonder. And she’s not the only one who took affront. For President Trump to come to Michigan and insult both Chairman Dingell and my friend @RepDebDingell is reprehensible. John was a WWII veteran and a true statesman. Both he and Debbie embody the best of Michigan. — Senator Gary Peters (@SenGaryPeters) December 19, 2019 John Dingell served in Congress longer than any other representative in history. He took office in 1955, when Eisenhower was president, and retired in 2015, when his wife, Debbie Dingell, succeeded him in the seat. John Dingell was an icon in Michigan politics and greatly respected. This was a moronic move on Trump’s part, and even his pals over at Fox News are saying it. Chad Pergram covers Congress for Fox and this is what he said. Multiple sources tell Fox Trump is playing w/fire by taking on the Dingells in the swing state of Michigan and suggesting that longest serving Congressman in history, late Dem MI Rep John Dingell is in hell. “He could lose Michigan alone on this one” said senior GOP Congressman — Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) December 19, 2019 Good. Let’s watch Trump blow it big time in a rust belt, swing state that he so desperately needs. Bring it on. And others […]

WaPo: ‘Trump Tries To Force Ukraine To Meddle In the 2020 Election’

The new president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has vowed to undertake a pro-reform agenda, including land reform, privatization of state companies, and cleansing of the judiciary. This is good news, considering that both Republican and Democratic administrations, and Western leaders have urged such measures in recent years, in an effort to draw Ukraine away from Russia. However, these ideas don’t comport with Vladimir Putin’s plans for Ukraine, so you know who Donald Trump is going to back, and it’s not Western democracies, right? Washington Post: …Mr. Zelensky has so far failed to win the backing of President Trump. Not only has Mr. Trump refused to grant the Ukrainian leader a White House visit, but also he has suspended the delivery of $250 million in U.S. military aid to a country still fighting Russian aggression in its eastern provinces. Some suspect Mr. Trump is once again catering to Mr. Putin, who is dedicated to undermining Ukrainian democracy and independence. But we’re reliably told that the president has a second and more venal agenda: He is attempting to force Mr. Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden. Mr. Trump is not just soliciting Ukraine’s help with his presidential campaign; he is using U.S. military aid the country desperately needs in an attempt to extort it. This is Trump and the GOP at their finest, trying to create an emails-level Joe Biden talking point in 2020, not only to smear Biden but to support Trump’s insane claim that Hillary Clinton was in fact aided by Russia in 2016. In a nutshell, Rudy Giuliani went to Madrid last month and met with a close associate of Zelensky’s to encourage an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Hunter Biden once served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, which was investigated by Ukraine. Then-vice president Joe Biden, along with several other senior Western officials, urged the dismissal of the prosecutor who investigated the firm, because he was accused of blocking anti-corruption measures. It’s a no brainer that Trump and Fox News will spin this to read that Biden urged the firing of the prosecutor to cover up some purported wrong doing on Hunter’s part. Mr. Giuliani also wants a probe of claims that revelations of payments by a Ukrainian political party to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, were part of a plot to wreck Mr. Trump’s candidacy. In other words, Trump associates want the Ukrainian government to prove that Ukraine improperly acted against Mr. Trump in the 2016 election; but they also want it to meddle in his favor for 2020. Mr. Zelensky is incapable of delivering on either demand. The revelations about Mr. Manafort came from a Ukrainian legislator who was fighting for domestic reform, not Hillary Clinton. And the Biden case, which has already been investigated by Ukrainian authorities, is bogus on its face. Bogus or not, watch for it to be prominently featured on Fox News, although we can only hope and pray that the New York Times does not give it even a fraction of the column inches that it devoted to Hillary’s equally bogus email drama. Meanwhile, the Trump White House claims that military aid to Ukraine has been suspended pending a Pentagon investigation of the matter. Trump is apparently oblivious to the […]

Vincente Fox Does Epic Troll of Trump and Flips Him Off In Terrific Election...

Former President of Mexico, Vincente Fox, is not a man to mince words and he has never understated his opinion of Donald Trump — which is on the low end of the spectrum, to put it mildly. You may remember Fox saying, “The biggest shithole in the world is your mouth.” That was the warm up act for this troll. Take a look. It actually gets funnier the second or third time through. OMG!! Epic Trump trolling by @VicenteFoxQue!! I love it so hard!! 😂😂😂😂 — Mystery Solvent (@MysterySolvent) December 14, 2019 HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Are you good and warmed up now? Si? Well, here’s another! This one too? — MOB=March on Blue🧢 (@MOB_to_POLLS) December 14, 2019 I hope Vincente Fox is prepared to keep these up. This is exactly the fighting fire with fire that we need. And what is Trump going to say? He’s part of the Deep State? Yeah, the world wide Deep State that sees Trump for what he is. I love this guy. Viva Vincente!

NYT: ‘We Are Republicans and We Want Trump Defeated’

This is some op/ed in the New York Times today. Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt, John Weaver (also a Republican strategist) and George Conway co-wrote a beautifully written, albeit blistering, take down of Donald Trump. They announced the Lincoln Project, an effort to protect American institutions and to hold accountable “those who would violate their oaths to the Constitution and would put others before Americans.” Ouch. There are a lot of Republicans whose ears are burning right now, as these Republicans take other Republicans, the ones who blindly march to Donald Trump’s drummer (and that’s the majority of them, alas) to task. New York Times: But this president’s actions are possible only with the craven acquiescence of congressional Republicans. They have done no less than abdicate their Article I responsibilities. Indeed, national Republicans have done far worse than simply march along to Mr. Trump’s beat. Their defense of him is imbued with an ugliness, a meanness and a willingness to attack and slander those who have shed blood for our country, who have dedicated their lives and careers to its defense and its security, and whose job is to preserve the nation’s status as a beacon of hope. Congressional Republicans have embraced and copied Mr. Trump’s cruelty and defended and even adopted his corruption. Mr. Trump and his enablers have abandoned conservatism and longstanding Republican principles and replaced it with Trumpism, an empty faith led by a bogus prophet. In a recent survey, a majority of Republican voters reported that they consider Mr. Trump a better president than Lincoln. Mr. Trump and his fellow travelers daily undermine the proposition we as a people have a responsibility and an obligation to continually bend the arc of history toward justice. They mock our belief in America as something more meaningful than lines on a map. These gentlemen are right about one thing, replacing conservatism with Trumpism is fatal and it is madness. Good for them for standing up to it. Here’s their plan of action from now until the election. Over these next 11 months, our efforts will be dedicated to defeating President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box and to elect those patriots who will hold the line. We do not undertake this task lightly, nor from ideological preference. We have been, and remain, broadly conservative (or classically liberal) in our politics and outlooks. Our many policy differences with national Democrats remain, but our shared fidelity to the Constitution dictates a common effort. Shared fidelity to the Constitution and protecting it from forces who seek to undermine it, here and abroad, is a worthy goal for all Americans, regardless of political party affiliation. It’s a shame that less than a handful of Republicans have to take the rest of the GOP to task to reinforce adherence to principals this basic, but evidently, that’s where we are right now. Hats off to these four for taking matters in hand and doing something about it. Good luck.

Numbers don’t lie.

“Facts don’t lie. The numbers don’t lie.” Science doesn’t lie.” People keep talking about all of the things that never lie. Maybe that’s why they’re like sunlight to a truth vampire like Donald Trump. Or maybe there’s another reason why he hates some of them, especially numbers that don’t lie. Back in 2016, President Bone Spurs notched 62,984,828 votes, which was good enough for 46.1% of the vote. However that fell 3 million votes and 2% shy of Hillary Clinton’s vote totals nationwide. However, when you factor in those 77,000 clueless wonders spread across WI, MI, and PA, it was enough to hand him the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the electoral college. His Lowness absolutely fucking hates those numbers, but he doesn’t bother to try to deny them, falling back on the conspiracy theory drivel of millions of illegal immigrants that cost him the popular vote tally. Fast forward to the midterms of 2018. Forget about flipping the House, or losing ground in the Senate, forget all of that other shit. The critical takeaway in 2016 was that even though it was an unusually high turnout for a midterm election, it was not a Presidential year turnout crowd. And yet, in 2018, the Democrats garnered more than 6 million votes than the Republicans did. Here’s where I’m going with this. In 2016, Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 4 million votes, which assayed out to a 2% difference, she won 48-46. Oddly enough, that 46% that Trump got in 2016 was the high water mark so far for his presidency, and there’s nothing to indicate that this is going to turn around in the next 15 months. So, Trump hit his high water mark of 46% in 2016, and lost by 3 million votes, or 2% points. As we speak, Donald Trump is hovering right at about 42-43% in most major polls. Guess what? The Democrats won nationwide in 2018 by more than 6 million votes. If 3 million votes in 2016 was good enough for a 2% win, then logic would say that an extra 3 million votes in 2018 should assay out to another 2% points, right? And if 46-42 = 4%, than that dovetails almost perfectly with the difference in Democratic votes in 2018, 4% points, and where Trump is in the polls right now, 42%, or 4% points lower. Trump loves to boast that his unshakable base earned him the White House in 2016. That’s nothing more than the usual Trumpwellian bullshit we’ve all come to know and loathe. In fact, Trump cobbled together that measly 77,000 votes in those three states with a combination of “soft” GOP voters who held their noses, and disaffected independents and Obama Democratic voters who voted for change. That’s how Trump got to 46% in the first place. But i the last 2 1/2 years, Trump’s obnoxious behavior, and reprehensible policies have driven that 4% of voters away from him like a bunch of spring lambs when the Judas ewe farts in front of the barn door. And Trump has already signaled that he has no intention of doing anything over the next 15 months to woo them back, firm in his delusion that his “base” is enough to get the job done. Remember, Trump won in 2016 by 77,000 votes spread across […]
subfinitum / Flickr voting machine...

Russian Oligarch Bought Company That Controls Voter Registration System and Database. Smoking Gun, Much?

Charlie Pierce introduced this topic better than I can: There is simply no way to argue that the 2016 presidential election was a legitimate exercise in democratic self-government. There are too many bread crumbs leading in the same direction, somewhere north of the Vodootvodny Canal. If it wasn’t rigged, and I am entirely agnostic on that point, it was certainly vandalized to the point of uselessness, and all the vandalism was directed at one specific end: to make sure Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States. And we are now coming up on another presidential election with the 2016 election still lying on the slab, its autopsy unfinished and its cause of death not entirely determined. Against that backdrop, Pierce directs us to an article from last year, showing that Russian oligarch, Vladimir Potanin, owns AltPoint Capital and they have a financial interest in ByteGrid, a vendor which handles the State of Maryland voter registration database and candidate management operations. Maryland’s two Democratic senators got right on it. Roll Call: “As the Rules Committee prepares to mark up the Secure Elections Act, we respectfully request that you sponsor an amendment requiring that an election infrastructure vendor submit a report to the Chair of the [Election Assistance Commission] and the Secretary of [the Department of Homeland Security] identifying any foreign national that directly or indirectly owns or controls the vendor, as well as any material change in ownership resulting in ownership or control by a foreign national,” Cardin and Van Hollen wrote Monday. “We also recently asked Treasury Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin to review the acquisition of ByteGrid in his role as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States,” the Maryland Democrats wrote. “While we are hopeful that the Treasury Department’s review will be able to provide additional information about this specific transaction, we are concerned about the implications of this case for elections across the country.” “Currently, CFIUS is authorized to review foreign investments in U.S. companies that result in foreign control of the company. If an investment poses a threat to national security, it can be blocked,” the senators wrote in the letter to Mnuchin. “If either AltPoint Capital or ByteGrid did not file a notice with CFIUS, the Committee has the ability to look back at any completed transaction that results in control and threatens national security and take steps to address the national security threat, including requiring divestment.” It goes without saying that if the Russians just walk in here and buy up the firms that control our voter registration databases and other functions of our elections, that is something that sounds a note of concern; actually more of a cry of outrage and justifiably so. Here’s a link to the Senate Intelligence Committee on the “Russian Active Measures Campaign and Interference in the 2016 Election” report and here’s Pierce’s synopsis of same. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence dropped the first of the reports stemming from its nearly three-years long investigation into the Russian “active measures” as regards the 2016 presidential election. There will be others, but this one was quite enough. There were some astounding conclusions; for example, the report indicates that Russian ratfckers were prepared to raise holy hell all over social media if Hillary Rodham Clinton had won the election. […]
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Devin Nunes...

BUSTED: Devin Nunes Met w/Ukraine Official In Vienna To Dig Up Dirt On Bidens,...

The quality of Devin Nunes’ problems has just escalated out of the realm of fake cows and what he deemed the “circus” of the House impeachment inquiry. Congressman Nunes may be looking at an indictment for breaking federal law, by trying to solicit something of value to a political campaign from a foreign national. Rudy Giuliani’s henchman, Lev Parnas, is testifying that former Ukrainian prosecutor Victor Shokin met with Nunes in Vienna for the purpose of discussing digging up political dirt against Joe Biden. This is precisely what Fiona Hill spoke of with respect to Gordan Sondland, when she said that Sondland was doing a personal errand for Donald Trump whereas she and others were advancing a diplomatic agenda, and those two things had diverged, and were likely to “blow up.” Nunes was part of the contingent that was furthering Donald Trump’s personal political interests in Ukraine, not America’s. CNN: Congressional travel records show that Nunes and three aides traveled to Europe from November 30 to December 3, 2018. The records do not specify that Nunes and his staff went to Vienna or Austria, and Nunes was not required to disclose the exact details of the trip. – Nunes’ entourage included retired colonel Derek Harvey, who had previously worked for Trump on the National Security Council, and now works for Nunes on the House Intelligence Committee. Harvey declined to comment. – Bondy told CNN that Nunes planned the trip to Vienna after Republicans lost control of the House in the mid-term elections on Nov. 6, 2018. – “Mr. Parnas learned through Nunes’ investigator, Derek Harvey, that the Congressman had sequenced this trip to occur after the mid-term elections yet before Congress’ return to session, so that Nunes would not have to disclose the trip details to his Democrat colleagues in Congress,” said Bondy. – At the time of the trip, Nunes was chairman of the Intelligence Committee. In January, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff took over as chairman of the powerful committee, which is now conducting the impeachment inquiry. Here’s where we run into two other names recently in the news with respect to investigating the Bidens, journalist John Solomon, who attacked Fiona Hill, shortly after she exposed the false narrative and conspiracy theory of Ukraine having a part in the 2016 election, and of course Lindsey Graham, because he, too, now wants to launch a formal investigation of the Bidens, as does Nunes. [Parnas’ attorney] Bondy says that according to his client, following a brief in-person meeting in late 2018, Parnas and Nunes had at least two more phone conversations, and that Nunes instructed Parnas to work with Harvey on the Ukraine matters. – Parnas says that shortly after the Vienna trip, he and Harvey met at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, where they discussed claims about the Bidens as well as allegations of Ukrainian election interference, according to Bondy. – Following this, Bondy says that in a phone conversation Nunes told Parnas that he was conducting his own investigation into the Bidens and asked Parnas for help validating information he’d gathered from conversations with various current and former Ukrainian officials, including Shokin. – Parnas says that Nunes told him he’d been partly working off of information from the journalist John Solomon, who had written a number of articles on the Biden conspiracy theory for the Hill, according to Bondy. Nunes has been asked […]

Joe Biden’s Attack Ad ‘The World Is Laughing At Trump’ Looks Like A Winner

The Biden campaign didn’t miss a beat getting this one out and up on the board. The world is laughing at President Trump. They see him for what he really is: dangerously incompetent and incapable of world leadership. We cannot give him four more years as commander in chief. — Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 5, 2019 This should hit Trump where he lives. He can’t stand being laughed at and it’s impossible to deny that these two events took place, the one at the United Nations and the one at the NATO summit. It will be interesting to see what Trump puts up as a counter-attack ad — Hunter Biden counting money on the beach, something like that? It’s going to be an ugly campaign, making 2016 look civil by comparison, but this is the level Trump has dragged us down to and we have to fight fire with fire. I think this is a good beginning. I admit to some trepidation recently when Joe Biden got his “no malarkey” bus rolling, but this, on the other hand, is a very smooth move. This is what we need more of.  

GOP: “All hail King Trump!”

It takes a big man to stand up to his enemies, and a bigger one to stand up to his friends   Albus Dumbledore Well, that’s like, a total bummer, man. Here I was, all ready to settle in for some cheap post holiday entertainment in 2020, circa 2016, GOP eyeball gouging and groin kneeing between Donald Trump, Joe Walsh, Mark Sanford, and William Weld. But it appears now that this will be just one more in a long line of unfulfilled fantasies in my life. This injustice will not stand, man. The Dude will not abide! According to new reporting in Politico, in meetings later this week, four states, South Carolina, Kansas, Nevada, and Arizona will finalize plans to entirely scrap any plans for presidential GOP primaries in those states, handing the state delegates to Trump by default, and making any serious primary challenge to his renomination even more remote. Trump advisers are quick to point out that the party of incumbent presidents regularly forego the primary process for renomination, but what they kind of sweep under the rug is that it normally occurs when the incumbent president isn’t facing any declared opposition. If you look closely, you may notice a kind of a common thread there. In 2018, South Carolina elected a Democrat to congress when a Trumpista defeated incumbent Mark Sanford in the primary. Arizona, which Trump narrowly won, elected a Democrat to fill Jeff Flake’s vacant seat. Nevada gave the Denver boot to GOP incumbent Dean Heller in 2018 and Kansas elected a Democratic Governor as well as a Native American, lesbian, MMA fighter to congress, flipping a seat long held by the GOP. All of these are states in which Trump may have been expected to show possible weakness in a primary battle. Now, to be sure, it is the individual states, and not the RNC that controls state primaries, so no outside interference by the White House can necessarily be inferred. You might remember that I recently wrote an article in which I reminded everybody that South Carolina had actually threatened to take this action just about 9 months ago, and now it appears that others are following suit. Let’s be clear here, I have trouble in conceiving that any of Trump’s challengers could pull off taking a single state in a primary, with the possible exception of Weld in New Hampshire or Massachusetts. But one can only imagine that these individual states internal polling must have shown enough weakness for Trump that the states were loath to risk embarrassing him with a challenger logging an unacceptable percentage of a primary vote. This has got to be the single most pathetic show of emotional insecurity I have ever witnessed. Sweet Jesus, Gerald Ford, who wasn’t even duly elected as President, but replaced President Sneaky when he took it on the lam, damn near ended up in a floor fight at the RNC convention in 1976 against Reagan, but he went through the process. It shows the stunning weakness of character that Donald Trump possesses, that he doesn’t even have to tell these states anything, they just instinctively know that he will be upset by any less than shining results from their state primaries, and take the necessary steps to appease his childish ego. This is a PR nightmare […]

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