In Trumpian Times, A Mighty Strange Resistance… [Updated 7/9/18] | #Dems Words on Blog#42
March of 2017 saw huge protests. By the end of April, the resistance had moved to social media and cable, where that’s pretty much all there has been. Fast forward a mere six months and we suddenly heard Dianne Feinstein shying away from talk of impeachment and professing a belief that Donald J. Trump can learn to be a good president.
Fast forward a little over a year, there still aren’t any protests. Republicans are openly doing everything they can short of impeaching Robert Mueller, and… there still aren’t any mass-protests.
I know for a fact that at least one, & likely many,
of the #TrumpTapes contain Mr. Trump’s voice. I know this from the work that we have done and through the assistance of true patriots. If I am wrong, Mr. Cohen and his atty should prove it. They can’t and won’t. #ReleaseTheTapes
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 31, 2018
What there is, however, is a curious mix of Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, calling for all kinds of new information to be publicly released while Democrats are suddenly begging off any talk of impeachment, for the darndest of reasons…
This audio is from AirTalk with Larry Mantle on Los Angeles NPR affiliate, KPCC, which aired on Wednesday, May 30th. Schiff not only talked about the Russia investigation, but also the Democratic efforts to retake the U.S. Congress and the effectiveness of House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. Schiff is on the Select Intelligence Committee and a ranking Democrat representing the Burbank/Pasadena, California areas. Germany
In this broadcast, Schiff took a nuanced tack, addressing the nebulous masses that are clamoring for an immediate impeachment, without waiting for Robert Mueller to conclude his investigation. Of course, such nebulous masses don’t exist, but summoning them is an artful debate tool to deflect from what is obviously going on. The Democratic leadership doesn’t want to talk impeachment, regardless of the fact that 7 in 10 Democratic voters want to see the Mueller investigation end with legal proceedings against the president. Nancy Pelosi, when reminded of her voters’ wishes, conjured up our nation’s motto:
There has been a daily parade of top Democrats all putting a damper on the idea of impeachment. Just today,Politico published this article:
Sen. Mark Warner warns that Americans may soon tire of the Russia investigation
“Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia moderate who would take over the Intelligence Committee should Democrats win back the Senate in November, played down the idea that he would devote the panel’s work to a renewed investigation of the president’s Russia ties.
“The notion for those who may be partisans in the crowd … ‘Well, gosh, if Democrats take control, they’ll be able to really ramp these up’ — I think the American public will be tired of it if this is not wound down in this calendar year,” “
The American public will tire? Really? Based on what? The daily avalanche of new revelations about this or that Trump crony and discoveries of new crimes and misdemeanors?
All we had on Nixon was the Watergate break-in and hush money. With Trump, we have hundreds of possible indictable offenses, beginning with collusion with a foreign power.
Just one raid on Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, yielded 1,000,000 documents from just three devices that were seized, with at least four more that haven’t yet been looked at. That doesn’t account for a year’s worth of investigation of a multitude of people, and 19 indictments that Robert Mueller has already initiated, and the agreements with several defendants to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
Article 2, Section 4 provides for impeachment for “Treason, Bribery or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
What would the founders have said about a president doing all three and Congress doing nothing about it?
Do we value democracy or not?
Now is the moment to decide.
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) May 16, 2018
Richard Painter was the George W. Bush ethics lawyer. He filed an emoluments lawsuit against Donald Trump last year. Clearly, Painter isn’t tired of impeachment talk. So, who’s tired of impeachment talk? Not the average Democrat!
While all this is ongoing, there have been primary campaigns ahead of the November mid-term election. Along with the campaigns, we’ve seen the return of DNC, DCCC and DSCC shenanigans, with the leadership of the party taking active part in attempts to either fail progressive campaigns or foist their own candidates upon state voters, choosing at times to back former Republicans instead of long-time trustworthy Democrats. Steny Hoyer was caught on tape telling a progressive candidate in Colorado how things work:
Stunts like these have been unfolding all over the nation, with wealthy candidates usurping the attention of the national Democrats.
IN LATE APRIL, a conservative Texas think tank sued the city of Austin to block a new ordinance that, starting October 1, would give employees the right to take eight paid sick days per year – a first for the state. That lawsuit, filed by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, sparked a dispute in an unusual space: the runoff in the Democratic primary in Texas’s 21st Congressional District.
On May 22, businessperson Joseph Kopser will face off against pastor and former math teacher Mary Wilson in a runoff election. Kopser happens to serve on the board of the Texas Association of Businesses, a powerful business lobby that is a lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.”
This is only one more instance of shenanigan. There have been many in recent weeks. In my neck of the woods and in all of California, a lot is being done under the cover of our states’ jungle election. Politico reports:
“Further inland, the DCCC endorsed millionaire philanthropist Gil Cisneros in the 39th District, where he is one of four Democrats running to replace Royce. But Cisneros isn’t the only self-funding millionaire in the race: Andy Thorburn, a Bernie Sanders-style Democrat running on free college and single-payer health care, has dropped more than $2.7 million of his own money on the race. Two other Democrats are also running: Mai Khanh Tran, a pediatrician, and Sam Jammal, a former Obama administration official.”
There are lots and lots of billionaires running in Democratic races. Soon, we will have the oligarchy in power and a competing oligarchy in waiting. In either case, Americans won’t have democracy.
One billionaire, Tom Steyer of California, has been gathering signatures from millions of Americans for his impeachment petition. Tonight, Steyer has criticized Democrats for not publicly calling for Trump’s impeachment:
“The Founders gave us impeachment to answer a reckless, lawless, and dangerous president and every day that his behavior is accepted, every day that you don’t oppose it, it becomes enshrined as the way things are done,” said billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer
Do we really need billionaires to intervene on the public’s behalf because their elected representatives are so beholden to other billionaires that they won’t?
On the other side of Tom Steyer, a benevolent “blue billionaire” stand the Kochs who are now openly supporting Democrats who broke rank, as thanks for their service. The New York Times reports:
Locked in a tough re-election campaign, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North Dakota, got a boost from an unlikely source: the Koch Brothers.
“Senator Heidi Heitkamp, the centrist Democrat from North Dakota who is fighting a pitched battle to save her seat, has gotten a lift from an unlikely source: the conservative billionaire Koch brothers.
Americans for Prosperity, the political advocacy group backed by Charles G. and David H. Koch, unveiled a digital ad campaign on Friday thanking Ms. Heitkamp for her support of recently passed legislation that loosened regulations on small and medium-size banks that were swept up in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
The ad is the latest evidence that the brothers, often at odds with President Trump, may be moving away from strictly partisan work on behalf of Republicans in favor of initiatives that will advance their libertarian-leaning legislative priorities, including free trade, immigration legislation and access to medicines, regardless of party affiliation.”
Does the American voter now need to find a billionaire to root for because voting no longer matters? Do you see how voters can feel so dejected they stop voting? What’s the point?
NBC News reported on John Boehner’s statement. Among the things he did as House Speaker to show his divergence from US policy, was to invite Bibi Netanyahu to speak to Congress. At the time, this move was widely regarded as a direct affront to President Obama. Where is Democratic resistance to Trump? What act of defiance have Democrats engaged in thus far?
Then, there is this from Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept:
Democrats Set to Re-Nominate Sen. Bob Menendez After Preventing Challengers, Showing How Calcified the Party is
“HOW, THEN, is this sleazy career politician – who just barely escaped a multi-count federal bribery conviction – running for re-election in a Democratic Party primary with essentially no opposition? The answer is clear: because Democratic Party leaders, both in New Jersey and in Washington, unified in support of Menendez from the start, and never stopped supporting him.
Even after the Obama DOJ indicted Menendez and detailed all of the behavior cited by the Senate Ethics Committee, the Democrats’ senior lawmaker in Washington, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, made his solidarity with Menendez clear, heralding him as “one of the best legislators in the Senate and is always fighting hard for the people of his state,” adding: “I am confident he will continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead.”
Their united front, along with the massive war chest of money Menendez has compiled from corporate interests, has made it essentially impossible for any credible primary challenge to be mounted against him.
For a very short time, it looked as if Menendez might face a credible challenger. In December, Michael Starr Hopkins (pictured, right), an African-American lawyer who worked on both the Hillary Clinton and Obama campaigns, signaled his intention to run, asking, quite reasonably, about Menendez’s sleazy behavior over years: “If what Menendez did doesn’t disqualify you from serving in the Senate, then what does?”
Touting his commitment to “fight for Medicare for all” and other progressive causes, Hopkins argued that re-nominating “a candidate whose name is synonymous with corruption only muddies the waters, making it easy for Republicans to cry hypocrisy and for voters across the country to say that ‘both parties’ are rotten.”
But a mere four months later, Hopkins announced he was dropping his bid. The reason? He could not raise anywhere near the money needed to mount a credible challenge because, as Politico put it, Menendez “has the support of virtually all of the top Democrats in the state.” In his letter announcing his withdrawal, Hopkins wrote: “In a campaign system such as we have that is stacked against the average guy seeking public office to challenge an incumbent, prodigious fundraising is practically the only way to get the traction needed to keep a campaign afloat.””
This is as true of New Jersey as it is of all other states.
Outside the party, the labor movement, what’s left of it, is as disparate and disjointed as can be, with odd alliances and no coordination or cooperation with its most natural ally, the Democratic party. It was a very strange experience to hear a union representative in this interview with the BBC Newshour program. As an official of a steel union shop, this gentleman voted for Trump:
We have one party, the GOP, that is completely corrupt and the other, which, a year after the advent of Trump, is still incapable of making a strong positive public impression and signal domestically and to the world, that they can handle this new reality we live in.
Then, there is the DNC that, we were told all year last year, is being reformed. Is it?
Tom Perez’s endorsement of the New York governor — who’s facing a primary challenge from actress Cynthia Nixon — broke with the party vice chair and infuriated the left.
Not according to this NBC story… Who needs superdelegates? Right?
On Friday evening, the following announcement came from the DNC:
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) adopted a new rule on Friday aimed at keeping outsider candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) from trying to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
The new rule, adopted by the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, requires all Democratic presidential candidates to be a member of the Democratic Party, Yahoo News reported.
A presidential candidate running for the Democratic nomination must be a member of the party, accept the Democratic nomination and “run and serve” as a member.
Sanders, who has maintained his status as an independent, fought a tough primary race for the Democratic nomination against eventual presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.”
Of course, Randi Weingarten demurred that this act is not intended as a slight to Sanders. Of course not…
In, California group bets on ‘purple’ candidates, Reuters reports:
“Elissa Slotkin is running for Congress in Michigan’s eighth district. She supports gun rights and opposes single-payer healthcare, but she’s a Democrat. What’s more, she’s backed by decidedly Liberal donors, from some of the most progressive places in the country. She’s benefiting from an effort called Purple Project based in the San Francisco bay area.”
The vast majority of Democrats support single-payer health. The overwhelming majority of Democrats want gun control. How seemly is Silicon Valley money diluting Democratic values in Michigan? It isn’t.
Neither are any of the other direct involvements of the DNC, DSCC, DCCC, and any of the SuperPACs that insinuated themselves in the Democratic primaries ahead of the 2018 mid-term election.
Why would Nancy Pelosi, Schiff. Warner, Schumer, Hoyer and others all expend so much energy on dampening the calls for impeachment? Is it because their donors don’t really want Trump gone? Paul Krugman has spent a lot of time writing about healthcare lately. Bad things really are happening to it. But in spite of the fact that a vast majority of Democratic voters now want universal healthcare, the leadership of the party is steadfastly against it. Curiously, today, the New York Times published an article that harkens back to the beginning of the Democratic primary of 2016. It was a hit piece on Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and other progressives. So, if this is a redux of the preamble to the 2016 election propaganda, what happens once Democrats retake the Congress and the White House? How much of the Tax Scam Bill will be repealed? Last time Republican tax cuts were revisited by Democrats, they were made permanent.
Triangulation is alive and well… and as dangerous as ever. We are being taken for fools… The Democratic leadership, in essence, is telling its voters they can vote and they can run, but only as corporate Democrats.
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OUT OF POVERTY AND ONTO THE BALLOT: THE NEW WAVE OF WORKING-CLASS CANDIDATES TRYING TO TAKE CONGRESS
THE FIRST WEDNESDAY in August was a busy one for David Trone. In the morning, Trone, the co-founder of retail chain Total Wine & More, which has made him very wealthy, announced that he would make his second run for Congress.
Trone’s first bid for Congress had come the year before, when he had spent $13 million of his own money and still lost the primary in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, to the east of his current target.
This time around, he said, he would raise some money from supporters. That would perhaps shed the image that he was trying to buy his way into Congress.
By the end of the day, he and his wife had cut four checks to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, for a total of $267,200.
That was never an option on the whiteboard for Roger Manno, Trone’s opponent in the Democratic primary in Maryland’s 6th District.
Manno is now a Maryland state senator and the party’s majority whip, but it’s been a long road that has taken him through extended bouts of homelessness, unemployment, and other economic depredations rarely found in the biographies of members of Congress, who are much more likely to note that they are the sons or daughters — or even grandchildren — of millworkers or the like.
With an explosion of grassroots energy this cycle, however, the new class of candidates has swept in some whose populist anger has been earned honestly.
Read the rest on The Intercept