Sunday, June 25, 2017

Is A Deranged, Vengeful Trumpanzee Ready To Destroy GOP Hopes Of Holding Onto The Nevada Senate Seat?


Friday evening, we warned that by handing the Nevada Senate nomination over to worthless conservaDem Jackie Rosen-- who has already managed to stake out a claim as one of the worst freshman Dems in Congress (with a ProgressivePunch “F” score and a crucial vote rating of 33.33 for the current session, worse than conservative North Carolina Republican Walter Jones and tied with Michigan Republican Justin Amash, and the 4th worst of any Democratic first termer-- Schumer would be snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory in the best shot the Democrats have for picking up a Republican-held Senate seat. However, Schumer’s malfeasance may actually be matched by the Trump Regime’s. America First Policies is a shady big money SuperPAC intimately connected to the Regime. Pence personally raises big money for them from secret right-wing donors and they are an attack machine for he and Trump. Except now they’re attacking-- absolutely with Pence’s and Trump’s encouragement-- a Republican: embattled Nevada Senator Dean Heller.

On Friday, encouraged by Nevada’s Republican Governor, Brian Sandoval, Heller explained to Nevadans why he won’t vote for the Senate’s “healthcare” bill, TrumpCare 3.0. “This bill,” he said, “is simply not the answer… I will not support it. It doesn’t protect Nevadans on Medicaid and the most vulnerable Nevadans: the elderly, Nevadans struggling with mental health issues, substance abuse, and people with disabilities.”

America First Policies, judging Heller to be the most vulnerable senator-- and seeking to send a clear, ugly message to other mainstream Republicans who are wavering (primarily Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Rob Portman), pounced immediately. They vowed to spend a million dollars in TV ads against Heller, undermining his viability with Trump-supporting Republicans.

The NRSC, speaking off the record in fear of offending Señor Trumapnzee and his henchman Pence, allowed a spokesperson to tell the media "If true, it's totally insane. It will put them on opposite sides of the party, donors and common sense."

In the past the group has run attack ads in GA-06 against Jon Ossoff and has run ads thanking vulnerable Republicans like David Joyce (OH) and Martha McSally (AZ) for voting against their own constituents to back Trump on eviscerating the healthcare system. Most of the money for the dark money groups Trump and pence control comes from just two pro-fascist American families, the Mercers and the Ricketts and run by right-wing extremists Brian Walsh, Brad Parscale and two Pence operatives, Nick Ayers and Marty Obst.

One of the characters running America First Policies told the media that they plan to keep Republican members of Congress in line by cracking the whip in a big way. "You do not want to mess with Donald Trump’s base in a primary, particularly in a place like Nevada,” he seethed menacingly. “This kind of money in Nevada is real... This is a beginning." Sounds like Bannon is helping them design the anti-Heller campaign, which will paint the senator as "a typical politician" in cahoots with Schumer and Pelosi. McConnell is reported to be upset.

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TrumpCare 3.0 vs Medicare-For-All


Last night Bernie spoke about TrumpCare at the Pittsburgh Convention Center and this morning he’ll be doing the same at Express Live in Columbus, Ohio and again this evening at the West Virginia Civic Center in Charleston. You can get to the essence of his message by watching the short clip he released (above). Do you doubt anything that he says in his response to the Republican “healthcare” bill? All those assertions about what Americans want, for example? On Friday, the Pew Research Center released a new poll, senators might want to look at before they vote on TrumpCare 3.0. Top line: "a majority of Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. And a growing share now supports a 'single payer' approach to health insurance."
Currently, 60% say the federal government is responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, while 39% say this is not the government’s responsibility. These views are unchanged from January, but the share saying health coverage is a government responsibility remains at its highest level in nearly a decade.

Among those who see a government responsibility to provide health coverage for all, more now say it should be provided through a single health insurance system run by the government, rather than through a mix of private companies and government programs. Overall, 33% of the public now favors such a “single payer” approach to health insurance, up 5 percentage points since January and 12 points since 2014. Democrats-- especially liberal Democrats-- are much more supportive of this approach than they were even at the start of this year.

Even among those who say the federal government is not responsible for ensuring Americans have health care coverage, there is little public appetite for government withdrawing entirely from involvement in health care coverage. Among the public, 33% say that health care coverage is not the government’s responsibility, but that programs like Medicare and Medicaid should be continued; just 5% of Americans say the government should not be involved at all in providing health insurance.

The issue of the government’s responsibility in ensuring health coverage remains deeply divisive politically, according to the new survey, conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults. More than eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (85%) say that this responsibility falls to the federal government, while about two-thirds of Republicans and Republican leaners (68%) say it does not.

Still, most Republicans (57%) say the government “should continue programs like Medicare and Medicaid for seniors and the very poor.” Just 9% of Republicans say the government should not be involved in providing health insurance at all.

Among Democrats, 52% now say health insurance should be provided through a single national insurance system run by the government, while fewer (31%) say it should be provided through a mix of private companies and government programs. The share of Democrats supporting a single national program to provide health insurance has increased 9 percentage points since January and 19 points since 2014.

Nearly two-thirds of liberal Democrats (64%) now support a single-payer health insurance system, up 13 percentage points since January. Conservative and moderate Democrats remain about evenly divided: 38% prefer that health insurance continue to be provided by a mix of private insurance companies and government programs, while 42% favor a single-payer approach.

Overall, support for a single-payer health insurance system is much greater among younger adults than older people. Two-thirds of adults younger than 30 (67%) say the government has a responsibility to provide health coverage for all, with 45% saying coverage should be provided through a single national program.

Among those 65 and older, 54% say the government has a responsibility to provide coverage for all, with 30% favoring a single payer approach.

Both parties are divided by age in views of the government’s role in health care. Fully 66% of Democrats and Democratic leaners ages 18 to 29 say government health coverage should be provided through a single national system, compared with 48% of Democrats and Democratic leaners ages 30 and older.

Among Republicans, a greater share of those younger than 30 (39%) than those 30 and older (28%) say the government is responsible for providing health coverage for all; more young Republicans than older Republicans favor single payer (22% vs. 10%).
And the Senate bill certainly doesn’t do anything that Trump or the Republicans promised it would do-- like making medical coverage much more affordable or protecting people with bankruptcy-inducing “preexisting conditions.” More affordable, easier and cheaper for consumers? Not this bill!

Reed Abelson in yesterday’s NY Times stripped the bride bare:
[M]illions of Americans will pay more for an insurance policy that comes with a much steeper deductible under the new Senate plan, according to some health economists and insurance experts. It could also make it much harder to find a comprehensive plan covering various conditions ranging from heart disease to depression that would not be prohibitively expensive.

“This is going to be a very unstable market” where only the very sickest people resort to buying coverage on the federal exchanges at much higher prices, said Paul B. Ginsburg, a health economist and the director of the Center for Health Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Those likely to suffer the most under the Senate plan are people who would not be eligible for any remaining subsidies, he said, because they could be priced out of the market. Most worrisome to those opposing the Senate bill is that states could give insurers leeway to offer skimpy plans that cover a lot less and exclude people with certain illnesses.

…If the Senate version becomes law, insurers could increase premiums for individual coverage by at least 20 percent more than the double-digit increases already under consideration. By 2020, other changes are likely to result in plans with much higher deductibles. People now getting tax credits that allow them to purchase a policy with a deductible of $3,500 would get subsidies for a plan where the deductible would nearly double, without any funding to pay their out-of-pocket costs.

Many people will face a Hobson’s choice, said Craig Garthwaite, a health economist at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. They will have to choose between a plan with a premium they cannot afford or a plan with a deductible they cannot afford.

While lower premiums touted by Republicans could attract healthier people to buy coverage on the exchanges, other changes could still drive up prices, said Mr. Garthwaite, who is a registered Republican. “It could turn out to be higher premiums and higher deductibles,” he said.

One stark difference between the Senate bill and the Affordable Care Act is the decision to drop the mandate requiring insurance. That could inadvertently discourage the youngest and healthiest people from buying insurance, leaving a higher percentage of sicker people with expensive treatments on the exchanges, driving up insurers’ costs.

Thursday, conservative New Dem (former Blue Dog) Adam Schiff became the latest (and 113th) House Democrat to sign on as a co-sponsor of John Conyers’ Medicare-For-All bill (H.R. 676). The Blue Dogs and New Dems-- the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- have tended to stay away from the bill but as election season approaches and the popularity of the approach, particularly among Democrats and independents-- becomes manifest, even conservative politicians like Schiff are jumping on the train. Schiff is interested in running for the California Senate seat Dianne Feinstein told him she would be giving up next year. No one’s going to win statewide office in California without being committed to single-payer.

Over the past several months, you’ve read how all the Blue America-backed candidates are proponents of single payer health insurance. Some, like Illinois emergency room physician, David Gill, have been working towards it for many years. Our newest endorsee, Randy Bryce, the progressive Democrat running for the swing district Wisconsin seat Paul Ryan has been in, did an interview with the New Republic and explained why he favors single payer health insurance. This morning he built on his statement by telling us that “our very health is literally under attack. I am outraged by what I see going on in our government. When our campaign made our first video, I felt it was important to address the issue of health. It’s an intergenerational issue that affects us from birth until the day we die. Health care is a right. I can’t believe that they’re working behind closed doors to find that best way to strip away our ability to be well just so that their richest donors can become richer. When I begin to work in Washington D.C. one of the first things I look forward to doing is adding my name to the Conyers bill that will make sure every American has access to health care. We need to stop looking for excuses as to why it can’t be done and start figuring out how to do it. I plan on being part of the solution.”

Goal Thermometer The two North Carolina Berniecrats Blue America has endorsed for 2018, are excellent examples of how grassroots activism-- even in “red” districts-- manifests itself in dangerous times. Matt Coffay is campaigning for the wester-most district in the state, flat up against Tennessee, currently held by TrumpCare godfather and Freedom Caucus chairman, extremist Mark Meadows. You’re not going to ever hear Coffay degenerate into a Republican-lite establishment shill. That’s not who he is and not why he’s running for office in such difficult circumstances. "One of my first acts in Congress,” he told us, “will be to co-sponsor HR 676, the Conyers ‘Medicare for All’ bill. This bill has been on the floor of the House since 2003 with little in the way of support; now, though, there is a real opportunity to pass this bill and create a universal health care system in this country. I intend to use my voice as a Congressman to elevate public awareness of the benefits of universal health care, and work alongside folks like Bernie Sanders to create a health care system that takes care of every single person in this country." Jenny Marshall is running for the central/western North Carolina congressional district anti-healthcare fanatic Virginia Foxx operates out of. Foxx, who started off as a fiery extremist, sold out to the establishment long ago and is now a Ryan rubber stamp. Jenny told us that the bill the Senate Republicans unveiled “puts millions of lives at risk” and threatens households vulnerable to economic hardships. “In the 5th district 1 out of every 7 people will lose their healthcare. It is simply unconscionable. The GOP stands on free market principles claiming everyone has access to healthcare under their plan. I disagree. There is no access when people cannot afford to buy healthcare insurance and cover the out-of-pocket expenses. There is no access when people wait for far too long to seek care because of the rising cost of doctors' visits, prescription costs and medical procedures. People have been priced out of the care they need, but the GOP has turned a blind eye. I on the other hand support moving to a single payer program that covers not only medical, but vision and dental care as well. That is why I would add my name as a co-sponsor of Rep. Conyers' Medicare For All bill (HR 676) when elected to Congress. We must step up and do what is right for the people of this country, standing strong that healthcare is a human right. Millions of lives depend on it.”

At any given moment at this time in the cycle, Blue America is vetting at least a dozen candidates. I’m happy to say that right now every single one of them has expressed an eagerness to co-sponsor Conyers’ Medicare-for-All bill. Marie Newman is a good example. She’s primarying of if the most conservative Democrats in Congress, Chicagoland Blue Dog Dan Lipinski, a committed member of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. Lipinski, who tends to vote with the Republicans far more than any moderate Democrats, has adamantly refused-- even as other Blue Dogs and New Dems have signed on-- to co-sponsor Conyers’ bill. Last night Marie told us that “as a candidate so focused on fighting to expand health care for all, I would co-sponsor the Conyers bill in order to establish Medicare For All and put action behind the truth that ‘health care is a right'." You can support her tough primary battle against Lipinski here. We need more Democrats in Congress like Marie-- and far, far fewer like Lipinski.

Kia Hamadanchy worked as a Sherrod Brown staffer in DC before moving back to the Orange County district he was born and raised in. His opponent, Trump rubber stamp Mimi Waters, has repeatedly refused to move into the district and almost never goes there except to meet with wealthy GOP donors and for photo-ops. She was a prominent backer of Ryan’s TrumpCare bill, a bill Kia opposes. “At the end of the day,” he told us, “health care is a human right. No one should ever go bankrupt because a lack of health insurance, and every single person in this country deserves to have access to affordable health care coverage that's there when they need it. And while I don't want to see the Affordable Care Act go away and strongly oppose efforts to repeal the law, I also believe that enacting  single payer health insurance is the best way to ensure that we meet the healthcare needs of every single American. That's why when elected I will absolutely cosponsor John Conyers’ Medicare-For-All bill."

Sam Jammal is considering running in another Orange County district, Ed Royce’s CA-39, the Republican-held district in the area that went most heavily against Trump last year. The DCCC has its own crackpot idea about selling the nomination to a rich lottery winner, but Sam is the progressive alternative to Royce and offers a coherent alternative to Royce’s reactionary and bigoted agenda."Ask any senior," he told us last night, "Medicare is great program. It makes sense to expand this for everyone. Imagine if a small business no longer had to budget in health care costs for their employees and could use those savings to hire more workers or a family knew that they wouldn't be at risk of losing their home just for getting sick. Our economy is changing and we need to take health care off the table as a political issue and focus on the economic benefits of getting everyone covered. If I were in Congress, I would be a co-sponsor of the Conyers bill."

 Although the DCCC is on the road to lose CA-10 again and give Jeff Denham an incredible run for a Republican in a blue district, grassroots Berniecrat Dotty Nygard, has different ideas. She’s not waiting around for another DCCC loser to run; she’s taking on Denham herself. She told us that when she makes it to Washington as an elected representative, she’ll "wholeheartedly co-sponsor H.R. 676, the Medicare for all Bill. As an elected I will have a duty and moral obligation to represent in the best interests of the people I serve, not in the interests of corporations or  Big Pharma. The American people deserve quality healthcare; they don't need insurance."

Elizabeth Warren took to the floor of the Senate to eviscerate the Senate bill. Brutal-- absolutely brutal:

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Crumbling Regime... Built On A Thin Tissue Of Compulsive Lies


“Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies,” wrote David Leonhardt in today’s NY Times. Does that statement seem odd, coming on the pages of one of the country’s most prestigious, and even staid, newspapers? But that was just the beginning. Leonhardt continued by warning that “as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office.” I’ve never seen coverage like that of a president by the media. But, of course, there’s never been a president like Trump, an inveterate liar incapable of being truthful. It would be safe to assume that everything he ever says is a lie meant to manipulate his audience. That’s who close to a majority plurality of Americans put into the White House. And even today something like 35% of American voters still fail to see his utter unfitness for the presidency… which says an awful lot, uncomfortably, about just over a third of our fellow citizens. What followed was the longest paragraph in the history of the New York Times: a chronological catalogue of Señor Trumpanzee’s presidential lies:
JAN. 21 “I wasn't a fan of Iraq. I didn't want to go into Iraq.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.) JAN. 21 “A reporter for Time magazine-- and I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.” (Trump was on the cover 11 times and Nixon appeared 55 times.) JAN. 23 “Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote.” (There's no evidence of illegal voting.) JAN. 25 “Now, the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive.” (Official aerial photos show Obama's 2009 inauguration was much more heavily attended.) JAN. 25 “Take a look at the Pew reports (which show voter fraud.)” (The report never mentioned voter fraud.) JAN. 25 “You had millions of people that now aren't insured anymore.” (The real number is less than 1 million, according to the Urban Institute.) JAN. 25 “So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can't have that.” (There were no gun homicide victims in Chicago that day.) JAN. 26 “We've taken in tens of thousands of people. We know nothing about them. They can say they vet them. They didn't vet them. They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don't know anything about them and you have no papers? How do you vet them? You can't.” (Vetting lasts up to two years.) JAN. 26 “I cut off hundreds of millions of dollars off one particular plane, hundreds of millions of dollars in a short period of time. It wasn't like I spent, like, weeks, hours, less than hours, and many, many hundreds of millions of dollars. And the plane's going to be better.” (Most of the cuts were already planned.) JAN. 28 “The coverage about me in the @nytimes and the @washingtonpost has been so false and angry that the times actually apologized to its dwindling subscribers and readers.” (It never apologized.) JAN. 29 “The Cuban-Americans, I got 84 percent of that vote.” (There is no support for this.) JAN. 30 “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage” (At least 746 people were detained and processed, and the Delta outage happened two days later.) FEB. 3 “Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” (There is no evidence of paid protesters.) FEB. 4 “After being forced to apologize for its bad and inaccurate coverage of me after winning the election, the FAKE NEWS @nytimes is still lost!” (It never apologized.) FEB. 5 “We had 109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers and all we did was vet those people very, very carefully.” (About 60,000 people were affected.) FEB. 6 “I have already saved more than $700 million when I got involved in the negotiation on the F-35.” (Much of the price drop was projected before Trump took office.) FEB. 6 “It's gotten to a point where it is not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it.” (Terrorism has been reported on, often in detail.) FEB. 6 “The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!” (It didn't apologize.) FEB. 6 “And the previous administration allowed it to happen because we shouldn't have been in Iraq, but we shouldn't have gotten out the way we got out. It created a vacuum, ISIS was formed.” (ISIS has existed since 2004.) FEB. 7 “And yet the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? Forty-seven years.” (It was higher in the 1980s and '90s.) FEB. 7 “I saved more than $600 million. I got involved in negotiation on a fighter jet, the F-35.” (The Defense Department projected this price drop before Trump took office.) FEB. 9 “Chris Cuomo, in his interview with Sen. Blumenthal, never asked him about his long-term lie about his brave ‘service’ in Vietnam. FAKE NEWS!” (It was part of Cuomo's first question.) FEB. 9 Sen. Richard Blumenthal “now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?” (The Gorsuch comments were later corroborated.) FEB. 10 “I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it. What report is that?” (Trump knew about Flynn's actions for weeks.) FEB. 12 “Just leaving Florida. Big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road that the FAKE NEWS media refuses to mention. Very dishonest!” (The media did cover it.) FEB. 16 “We got 306 because people came out and voted like they've never seen before so that's the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.” (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all won bigger margins in the Electoral College.) FEB. 16 “That’s the other thing that was wrong with the travel ban. You had Delta with a massive problem with their computer system at the airports.” (Delta's problems happened two days later.) FEB. 16 “Walmart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States just this year because of our various plans and initiatives.” (The jobs are a result of its investment plans announced in October 2016.) FEB. 16 “When WikiLeaks, which I had nothing to do with, comes out and happens to give, they’re not giving classified information.” (Not always. They have released classified information in the past.) FEB. 16 “We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban. But we had a bad court. Got a bad decision.” (The rollout was chaotic.) FEB. 16 “They’re giving stuff-- what was said at an office about Hillary cheating on the debates. Which, by the way, nobody mentions. Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates.” (It was widely covered.) FEB. 18 “And there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing.” (Refugees receive multiple background checks, taking up to two years.) FEB. 18 “You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?” (Trump implied there was a terror attack in Sweden, but there was no such attack.) FEB. 24 “By the way, you folks are in here-- this place is packed, there are lines that go back six blocks.” (There was no evidence of long lines.) FEB. 24 “ICE came and endorsed me.” (Only its union did.) FEB. 24 “Obamacare covers very few people-- and remember, deduct from the number all of the people that had great health care that they loved that was taken away from them-- it was taken away from them.” (Obamacare increased coverage by a net of about 20 million.) FEB. 27 “Since Obamacare went into effect, nearly half of the insurers are stopped and have stopped from participating in the Obamacare exchanges.” (Many fewer pulled out.) FEB. 27 “On one plane, on a small order of one plane, I saved $725 million. And I would say I devoted about, if I added it up, all those calls, probably about an hour. So I think that might be my highest and best use.” (Much of the price cut was already projected.) FEB. 28 “And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that.” (NATO countries agreed to meet defense spending requirements in 2014.) FEB. 28 “The E.P.A.’s regulators were putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands.” (There's no evidence that the Waters of the United States rule caused severe job losses.) FEB. 28 “We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials.” (They can't lobby their former agency but can still become lobbyists.) MARCH 3 “It is so pathetic that the Dems have still not approved my full Cabinet.” (Paperwork for the last two candidates was still not submitted to the Senate.) MARCH 4 “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” (There's no evidence of a wiretap.) MARCH 4 “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” (There's no evidence of a wiretap.) MARCH 7 “122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!” (113 of them were released by President George W. Bush.) MARCH 13 “I saved a lot of money on those jets, didn't I? Did I do a good job? More than $725 million on them.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.) MARCH 13 “First of all, it covers very few people.” (About 20 million people gained insurance under Obamacare.) MARCH 15 “On the airplanes, I saved $725 million. Probably took me a half an hour if you added up all of the times.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.) MARCH 17 “I was in Tennessee-- I was just telling the folks-- and half of the state has no insurance company, and the other half is going to lose the insurance company.” (There's at least one insurer in every Tennessee county.) MARCH 20 “With just one negotiation on one set of airplanes, I saved the taxpayers of our country over $700 million.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.) MARCH 21 “To save taxpayer dollars, I’ve already begun negotiating better contracts for the federal government-- saving over $700 million on just one set of airplanes of which there are many sets.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.) MARCH 22 “I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems.” (Riots in Sweden broke out two days later and there were no deaths.) MARCH 22 “NATO, obsolete, because it doesn’t cover terrorism. They fixed that.” (It has fought terrorism since the 1980s.) MARCH 22 “Well, now, if you take a look at the votes, when I say that, I mean mostly they register wrong-- in other words, for the votes, they register incorrectly and/or illegally. And they then vote. You have tremendous numbers of people.” (There's no evidence of widespread voter fraud.) MARCH 29 “Remember when the failing @nytimes apologized to its subscribers, right after the election, because their coverage was so wrong. Now worse!” (It didn't apologize.) MARCH 31 “We have a lot of plants going up now in Michigan that were never going to be there if I-- if I didn’t win this election, those plants would never even think about going back. They were gone.” (These investments were already planned.) APRIL 2 “And I was totally opposed to the war in the Middle East which I think finally has been proven, people tried very hard to say I wasn’t but you’ve seen that it is now improving.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.) APRIL 2 “Now, my last tweet-- you know, the one that you are talking about, perhaps-- was the one about being, in quotes, wiretapped, meaning surveilled. Guess what, it is turning out to be true.” (There is still no evidence.) APRIL 5 “You have many states coming up where they’re going to have no insurance company. O.K.? It’s already happened in Tennessee. It’s happening in Kentucky. Tennessee only has half coverage. Half the state is gone. They left.” (Every marketplace region in Tennessee had at least one insurer.) APRIL 6 “If you look at the kind of cost-cutting we’ve been able to achieve with the military and at the same time ordering vast amounts of equipment-- saved hundreds of millions of dollars on airplanes, and really billions, because if you take that out over a period of years it’s many billions of dollars-- I think we’ve had a tremendous success.” (Much of the price cuts were already projected.) APRIL 11 “I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve.” (He knew Steve Bannon since 2011.) APRIL 12 “You can't do it faster, because they're obstructing. They're obstructionists. So I have people-- hundreds of people that we're trying to get through. I mean you have-- you see the backlog. We can't get them through.” (At this point, he had not nominated anyone for hundreds of positions.) APRIL 12 “The New York Times said the word wiretapped in the headline of the first edition. Then they took it out of there fast when they realized.” (There were two headlines, but neither were altered.) APRIL 12 “The secretary general and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism.” (NATO has been engaged in counterterrorism efforts since the 1980s.) APRIL 12 “Mosul was supposed to last for a week and now they’ve been fighting it for many months and so many more people died.” (The campaign was expected to take months.) APRIL 16 “Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!” (There's no evidence of paid protesters.) APRIL 18 “The fake media goes, ‘Donald Trump changed his stance on China.’ I haven’t changed my stance.” (He did.) APRIL 21 “On 90 planes I saved $725 million. It's actually a little bit more than that, but it's $725 million.” (Much of the price cuts were already projected.) APRIL 21 “When WikiLeaks came out … never heard of WikiLeaks, never heard of it.” (He criticized it as early as 2010.) APRIL 27 “I want to help our miners while the Democrats are blocking their healthcare.” (The bill to extend health benefits for certain coal miners was introduced by a Democrat and was co-sponsored by mostly Democrats.) APRIL 28 “The trade deficit with Mexico is close to $70 billion, even with Canada it’s $17 billion trade deficit with Canada.” (The U.S. had an $8.1 billion trade surplus, not deficit, with Canada in 2016.) APRIL 28 “She's running against someone who's going to raise your taxes to the sky, destroy your health care, and he's for open borders-- lots of crime.” (Those are not Jon Ossoff's positions.) APRIL 28 “The F-35 fighter jet program-- it was way over budget. I’ve saved $725 million plus, just by getting involved in the negotiation.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.) APRIL 29 “They're incompetent, dishonest people who after an election had to apologize because they covered it, us, me, but all of us, they covered it so badly that they felt they were forced to apologize because their predictions were so bad.” (The Times did not apologize.) APRIL 29 “As you know, I've been a big critic of China, and I've been talking about currency manipulation for a long time. But I have to tell you that during the election, number one, they stopped.” (China stopped years ago.) APRIL 29 “I've already saved more than $725 million on a simple order of F-35 planes. I got involved in the negotiation.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.) APRIL 29 “We're also getting NATO countries to finally step up and contribute their fair share. They've begun to increase their contributions by billions of dollars, but we are not going to be satisfied until everyone pays what they owe.” (The deal was struck in 2014.) APRIL 29 “When they talk about currency manipulation, and I did say I would call China, if they were, a currency manipulator, early in my tenure. And then I get there. Number one, they-- as soon as I got elected, they stopped.” (China stopped in 2014.) APRIL 29 “I was negotiating to reduce the price of the big fighter jet contract, the F-35, which was totally out of control. I will save billions and billions and billions of dollars.” (Most of the cuts were planned before Trump.) APRIL 29 “I think our side's been proven very strongly. And everybody's talking about it.” (There's still no evidence Trump's phones were tapped.) MAY 1 “Well, we are protecting pre-existing conditions. And it'll be every good-- bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.” (The bill weakens protections for people with pre-existing conditions.) MAY 1 “The F-35 fighter jet-- I saved-- I got involved in the negotiation. It's 2,500 jets. I negotiated for 90 planes, lot 10. I got $725 million off the price.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.) MAY 1 “First of all, since I started running, they haven't increased their--you know, they have not manipulated their currency. I think that was out of respect to me and the campaign.” (China stopped years ago.) MAY 2 “I love buying those planes at a reduced price. I have been really-- I have cut billions-- I have to tell you this, and they can check, right, Martha? I have cut billions and billions of dollars off plane contracts sitting here.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.) MAY 4 “Number two, they’re actually not a currency [manipulator]. You know, since I’ve been talking about currency manipulation with respect to them and other countries, they stopped.” (China stopped years ago.) MAY 4 “We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world.” (We're not.) MAY 4 “Nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters.” (Polls show most Americans do care.) MAY 8 “You know we’ve gotten billions of dollars more in NATO than we’re getting. All because of me.” (The deal was struck in 2014.) MAY 8 “But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high-- highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.” (Colbert's “Late Show” debut had nearly two million more viewers.) MAY 8 “Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.” (Clapper only said he wasn't aware of an investigation.) MAY 12 “Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.” (The F.B.I. was investigating before the election.) MAY 12 “When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?” (Clapper said he wouldn't have been told of an investigation into collusion.) MAY 13 “I'm cutting the price of airplanes with Lockheed.” (The cost cuts were planned before he became president.) MAY 26 “Just arrived in Italy for the G7. Trip has been very successful. We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and millions of jobs.” (He's referencing an arms deal that's not enacted and other apparent deals that weren't announced on the trip.) JUNE 1 “China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020.” (The agreement doesn’t allow or disallow building coal plants.) JUNE 1 “I’ve just returned from a trip overseas where we concluded nearly $350 billion of military and economic development for the United States, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.” (Trump’s figures are inflated and premature.) JUNE 4 “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” (The mayor was specifically talking about the enlarged police presence on the streets.) JUNE 5 “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.” (Trump signed this version of the travel ban, not the Justice Department.) JUNE 21 “They all say it's 'nonbinding.' Like hell it's nonbinding.” (The Paris climate agreement is nonbinding-- and Trump said so in his speech announcing the withdrawal.) JUNE 21 “Right now, we are one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.” (We're not.)

Every poll that has asked the question in the last 3 months has found that most Americans consider Trump a liar. And Leonhardt continued by pointing out that Trumpanzee’s “political rise was built on a lie (about Barack Obama's birthplace). His lack of truthfulness has also become central to the Russia investigation, with James Comey, the former director of the F.B.I., testifying under oath about Trump's ‘lies, plain and simple.’”
There is simply no precedent for an American president to spend so much time telling untruths. Every president has shaded the truth or told occasional whoppers. No other president-- of either party-- has behaved as Trump is behaving. He is trying to create an atmosphere in which reality is irrelevant.

We have set a conservative standard, leaving out many dubious statements (like the claim that his travel ban is “similar” to Obama administration policy). Some people may still take issue with this standard, arguing that the president wasn't speaking literally. But we believe his long pattern of using untruths to serve his purposes, as a businessman and politician, means that his statements are not simply careless errors.

We are using the word “lie” deliberately. Not every falsehood is deliberate on Trump's part. But it would be the height of naïveté to imagine he is merely making honest mistakes. He is lying.

Trump Told Public Lies or Falsehoods Every Day for His First 40 Days

The list above uses the conservative standard of demonstrably false statements. By that standard, Trump told a public lie on at least 20 of his first 40 days as president. But based on a broader standard-- one that includes his many misleading statements (like exaggerating military spending in the Middle East)-- Trump achieved something remarkable: He said something untrue, in public, every day for the first 40 days of his presidency. The streak didn’t end until March 1.

Since then, he has said something untrue on at least 74 of 113 days. On days without an untrue statement, he is often absent from Twitter, vacationing at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, or busy golfing.

The end of May was another period of relative public veracity-- or at least public quiet-- for the president. He seems to have been otherwise occupied, dealing with internal discussions about the Russia investigation and then embarking on a trip through the Middle East and Europe.

Trump’s Public Lies Sometimes Changed With Repetition

Sometimes, Trump can’t even keep his untruths straight. After he reversed a campaign pledge and declined to label China a currency manipulator, he kept changing his description of when China had stopped the bad behavior. Initially, he said it stopped once he took office. He then changed the turning point to the election, then to since he started talking about it, and then to some uncertain point in the distant past.

The Public’s Mistrust of Trump Grows

Trump has retained the support of most of his voters as well as the Republican leadership in Congress. But he has still paid some price for his lies. Nearly 60 percent of Americans say the president is not honest, polls show, up from about 53 percent when he took office.

I’m curious… in your heart of hearts do you think people who voted for Trump should forfeit their right to vote? I know its terribly politically incorrect to think this way but… how about if they get to earn back the right to vote by taking a basic junior high school level civics class? Oh, neither junior nor señor high schools teach civics any longer? How about listening to a Linkin Park song every day for a month instead?

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When Will The Drip, Drip, Drip Of Putin-Gate Drive Trump From Office?


Trump is obsessed with Putin-Gate-- and for good reason. He knows what he’s done. He knows it’s just a matter of time before Mueller exposes him. So he tweets away when no one’s around to keep him calm and he screeches and rages at the White House TV sets, even in front of witnesses. Now he’s blaming his chief White House lawyer, Donald McGahn for not containing Putin-Gate before it got so messy and so embarrassingly public. In it’s June 12 poll, PPP reported-- and other polls have corroborated-- that most voters think Trump has obstructed justice and is dishonest and do not trust the congressional Republicans to get to the bottom of Putin-Gate.

The special report that Greg Miller wrote for the Washington Post Friday night probably sent him into another breakdown-- Obama’s Secret Struggle To Punish Russia For Putin’s Election Assault. “Early last August,” wrote Miller, “an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried ‘eyes only’ instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides. Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race. But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives-- defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump… The post-election period has been dominated by the overlapping investigations into whether Trump associates colluded with Russia before the election and whether the president sought to obstruct the FBI probe afterward. That spectacle has obscured the magnitude of Moscow’s attempt to hijack a precious and now vulnerable-seeming American democratic process.”
Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year. In July, the FBI had opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks.

But at the highest levels of government, among those responsible for managing the crisis, the first moment of true foreboding about Russia’s intentions arrived with that CIA intelligence.

The material was so sensitive that CIA Director John Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief, concerned that even that restricted report’s distribution was too broad. The CIA package came with instructions that it be returned immediately after it was read. To guard against leaks, subsequent meetings in the Situation Room followed the same protocols as planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid.

It took time for other parts of the intelligence community to endorse the CIA’s view. Only in the administration’s final weeks in office did it tell the public, in a declassified report, what officials had learned from Brennan in August-- that Putin was working to elect Trump.

…[I]n late December, Obama approved a modest package combining measures that had been drawn up to punish Russia for other issues-- expulsions of 35 diplomats and the closure of two Russian compounds-- with economic sanctions so narrowly targeted that even those who helped design them describe their impact as largely symbolic.

Obama also approved a previously undisclosed covert measure that authorized planting cyber weapons in Russia’s infrastructure, the digital equivalent of bombs that could be detonated if the United States found itself in an escalating exchange with Moscow. The project, which Obama approved in a covert-action finding, was still in its planning stages when Obama left office. It would be up to President Trump to decide whether to use the capability.

In political terms, Russia’s interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy. It was a case that took almost no time to solve, traced to the Kremlin through cyber-forensics and intelligence on Putin’s involvement. And yet, because of the divergent ways Obama and Trump have handled the matter, Moscow appears unlikely to face proportionate consequences.

Those closest to Obama defend the administration’s response to Russia’s meddling. They note that by August it was too late to prevent the transfer to WikiLeaks and other groups of the troves of emails that would spill out in the ensuing months. They believe that a series of warnings-- including one that Obama delivered to Putin in September-- prompted Moscow to abandon any plans of further aggression, such as sabotage of U.S. voting systems.

…Beset by allegations of hidden ties between his campaign and Russia, Trump has shown no inclination to revisit the matter and has denied any collusion or obstruction on his part. As a result, the expulsions and modest sanctions announced by Obama on Dec. 29 continue to stand as the United States’ most forceful response.

“The punishment did not fit the crime,” said Michael McFaul, who served as U.S. ambassador to Russia for the Obama administration from 2012 to 2014. “Russia violated our sovereignty, meddling in one of our most sacred acts as a democracy-- electing our president. The Kremlin should have paid a much higher price for that attack. And U.S. policymakers now-- both in the White House and Congress-- should consider new actions to deter future Russian interventions.”

The Senate this month passed a bill that would impose additional election-- and Ukraine-related sanctions on Moscow and limit Trump’s ability to lift them. The measure requires House approval, however, and Trump’s signature.

…The FBI had detected suspected Russian attempts to penetrate election systems in 21 states, and at least one senior White House official assumed that Moscow would try all 50, officials said. Some officials believed the attempts were meant to be detected to unnerve the Americans. The patchwork nature of the United States’ 3,000 or so voting jurisdictions would make it hard for Russia to swing the outcome, but Moscow could still sow chaos.

…Obama confronted Putin directly during a meeting of world leaders in Hangzhou, China. Accompanied only by interpreters, Obama told Putin that “we knew what he was doing and [he] better stop or else,” according to a senior aide who subsequently spoke with Obama. Putin responded by demanding proof and accusing the United States of interfering in Russia’s internal affairs.

In a subsequent news conference, Obama alluded to the exchange and issued a veiled threat. “We’re moving into a new era here where a number of countries have significant capacities,” he said. “Frankly, we’ve got more capacity than anybody both offensively and defensively.”

There were at least two other warnings.

Trump immediately tried to undo everything Obama did to sanction Russia. But he got caught and was forced to slow down… a bit. Putin got his primary objective-- the weakest, most easily controlled and most unfit, ineffective and ignorant leader in American history.

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DCCC-- Never Too Busy To Protect Paul Ryan's House Seat In Wisconsin-- It's In Their DNA Now


That’s an old Blue America radio spot we ran against Paul Ryan at some point in the distant past. As you may know, Randy Bryce isn’t the first Democrat to go up against Ryan. In 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 Ryan's Democratic challenger was Jeffrey Thomas, a retired orthopedic surgeon from Ryan's hometown of Janesville. The Ryan-friendly Thomas' only issue for his first three runs was healthcare and he never quite cracked a third of the vote, but in 2006 he ran against Ryan's shady relationship with Republican corruptionists Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay and went all the way to 37%. In 2006 Ryan raised over $1.6 million and Thomas, who always refused to raise money for campaigns, spent $5,000 of his own. He was the ideal candidate for a DCCC uninterested in offering Ryan any kind of a challenge.

In 2008 Obama won Ryan’s district, 51-48%. Predictably (albeit irrationally), the DCCC had refused to back the Democratic candidate that year, Margaret Krupp, and she was only able to spend $134,042 against the $2,251,389 Ryan spent. He took 64.0% of the vote to her 34.7%. The following cycle, there was a lot of excitement about building on Obama’s win and finding a strong candidate to the on Ryan. The DCCC, in no uncertain terms, told Wisconsin politicians that they shouldn’t waste their time. A progressive activist, Paulette Garin, a member of the National Single Payer Alliance and the Wisconsin state Coordinator for both Progressive Democrats of America and the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care, stood up anyway. Paulette spent almost all of her time campaigning for healthcare reform rather than for Congress but in August, 2009, she faced off against Ryan in the only contest he agreed to participate in-- a goat-milking event at the Racine County Fair. Paulette beat him.

Maybe that made the DCCC nervous, because they smacked her down like a ton of bricks falling on her head. How dare she! She had only raised $3,549 in the primary. The DCCC found their own candidate to run against her, someone they were quite certain would offer no threat to Ryan, and put up John Heckenlively, a hugely oversized unemployed man who lived in his parents basement. After the DCCC worked to sabotage Garin and deliver the nomination to Heckenlively, they promptly abandoned the district and “their” candidate, who went on to raise just $12,066 and accrue just 30% of the vote (two years after Obama had won the district with 51%). That's the DCCC. They've been protecting Ryan's reelection bids every 2 years since 2000. I'm sure there must be a great reason and maybe Pelosi will tell us in her memoir someday.

When we set out to recruit a candidate for the 2018 cycle, we were fully aware that the DCCC would, once again, do whatever they had to do to keep Ryan in his seat. And so were all the local elected officials. Each one of them passed on the race. Finally, progressive state Senator Chris Larson and former candidate Rob Zerban each suggested I call union activist and progressive stalwart Randy Bryce. So I did. He told me he was leaning towards running and that the Wisconsin Working Families Party was urging him to as well. I started to get to know him and I could see immediately that Randy was not going to be another childish, wishy-washy moderate in the Ossoff mold. This was a fully-mature, independent-minded working class family man with a life of experience that has shaped his political perspectives. No one was ever going to have to persuade him that a living wage is better than a minimum wage or that single payer health care is the way to go. Bryce had long ago come to those conclusions and he’s been doing the persuading for years. In 2016, he had been a Bernie activist and a Bernie surrogate-- and after Hillary won the primary, he was a Wisconsin state elector for Hillary.

You probably know by now that he declared his candidacy last Monday. On Monday morning he had 7,200 twitter followers. His introductory video caught fire-- hundreds of thousands of views in the first few days-- and his twitter following rocketed past 85,000. Requests for local and national press started flooding in. The first member of Congress to endorse him was Ro Khanna, an economic populist, who said "We need leaders connected to the community who can speak with authenticity about the need for universal healthcare, better wages, and good jobs. Randy has a bold vision that is rooted in his life experience. It's heartening to see people like Randy step up to serve. That is what our founders envisioned."

But the DCCC wasn’t buying any of it. They immediately started looking around for their own “candidate” to set up as a shill to force Randy to spend his funds in a primary. Now there’s some stolen valor guy from somewhere-- Ohio or Florida-- that’s not WI-01 or even Wisconsin running and EMILY’s List quickly dug up one of their identity politics offerings-- a woman version of Heckenlively. Suddenly a battalion of silly Hillary dead-enders was swarming all over twitter spreading their poison. No one paid much attention and an interview with Randy by Sarah Jones in the New Republic made a mockery of all their lies.

Sarah: Tell me why you decided to challenge Paul Ryan.

Randy: I’m a lifelong resident of Southeastern Wisconsin. I graduated from public schools, went into the Army after that. When I came back, I was diagnosed with cancer and I didn’t have insurance, and now it’s considered a preexisting condition. I worked sometimes two full-time jobs to make ends meet. Finally, I joined the union, the Ironworkers Union, which had an apprenticeship. I got my journeyman’s card and I’ve been doing that for 20 years now. As I drive through the district I can look and see, “I worked on that, I built that.” So literally I spent the last 20 years of my life building the district. Looking over at Paul Ryan, I’m wondering what he’s been doing.

Things have been taken away from us. Autoworkers used to have a lot of great-paying jobs building cars. Right now they’re tearing down the UAW plant-- the General Motors plant-- in Kenosha, there’s a huge abandoned facility in Janesville, and some of the best-paying jobs in Waukesha County are going up to Canada.

People are working harder these days and having less to show as a result for it. Paul Ryan hasn’t been in the district for a town hall in over 600 days and it’s time to make a change. If I can’t perform my job I get fired at work. And it’s time to get someone who can do the job Paul Ryan was hired to do.

Sarah: How will your experience with the union influence your campaign?

Randy: I see this as an opportunity to create stewardship, to look out for the rest of the people in the community. Just like I’ve done as a member of the union’s executive board. It’s about taking care of people, and making sure that they’re heard, and that people are treated fairly. Nobody’s been heard, and that’s the biggest complaint right now.

Donald Trump won an area in Kenosha that had traditionally been Democratic, but people are waking up and they’re seeing that it was all talk. They have buyer’s remorse now. I’m a working person, I don’t play one in a video. That’s my life, and I’ve always stood with working people. That’s where I’m coming from. The majority of the people in this district are working people. They’re not corporate donors, and that’s who Paul Ryan’s been spending most of his time with.

Sarah: Do you support the Fight for 15 campaign?

Randy: I do, and I’ve been at numerous actions on behalf of providing people a livable wage. I feel strongly that anyone who works a full-time job deserves the freedom to be able to stand on their own two feet.

Sarah: Your first ad focused prominently on health care. Do you support single-payer health care?

Randy: I do. I am convinced we need to move towards single-payer. It works every place else. There are improvements that need to be done with Obamacare, but to completely remove it and the protections that are in place, I see that as the wrong way to go.

Sarah: Can you tell me a little bit about how you decided that your first ad would be about health care and that you would feature your mother?

Randy: Well, it’s one of the issues that’s intergenerational. The Ironworkers are self-insured, so it’s based on hours worked. So especially during the winter months, when there’s not a lot of work, it makes me, as a dad, concerned I might lose health insurance, which would affect my son. Do I make him stay inside in his room and wear knee pads and a helmet to eat dinner? Or can I let him be a kid? Parents shouldn’t have to worry about that. It also affects me personally being a cancer survivor. Luckily I’ve been in remission, but what if it comes back? How is it going to affect me? And with medical bills being the leading cause of bankruptcy I don’t want to be in that position. I don’t want to have to choose between paying my rent or seeing my doctor.

And it affects my parents: My mom, who is in the video, has multiple sclerosis. Luckily she has insurance that can get her the medication she needs, but there are too many people that don’t. If one person can’t get the medication they need, that’s wrong. My father’s in assisted living because he has Alzheimer’s, so that affects my mom too. Thankfully, she is able to have her independence due to the medication she takes, so she can go see my dad. Health care is a universal issue that affects all ages and all races-- everybody, regardless of economic status.

Sarah: What’s your position on abortion rights?

Randy: I am firmly committed that it is a woman’s choice to make decisions about what happens to her body.

Sarah: And you support LGBT rights as well?

Randy: Absolutely.

Sarah: For people who aren’t from your district: What do you want them to understand about it?

Randy: It’s a broad section of Wisconsin. There’s large urban areas, cities like Racine and Kenosha, which is now the third-largest city, and more to the west it’s all farmland. It’s a big cross-section of working people. You could pick up the first district in Wisconsin and put it pretty much any place on the map and it would blend in anywhere across the United States. It’s a lot of people, and it’s made up of different ethnicities, and it’s a melting pot of what America should be. We take care of our neighbors.

Sarah: How are you going to address the urban-rural divide in your campaign?

Randy: It’s easier to hit the urban areas as far as reaching more people, but there’s going to be emphasis placed on going to the harder-to-reach places. We need to pay attention to everybody in the district. It’s easier for me, living where I do, to reach out to the urban people, but there are concerns too for farmers-- like making sure that rural roads are taken care of, that they have access to things like broadband service.

I’ve always had such a healthy respect for farmers. I know the hours I put in are hard hours, but we have eight-hour days. Farmers work from sunup to sundown; they don’t get days off and they have to worry about their retirement. Maybe it’s getting them access to some kind of pension system, so that after donating the best years of their life to raising the farm they have some restful years to enjoy what they earned.

Sarah: Paul Ryan often appeals to his roots. But you seem to have a very different vision about what it means to be from a state like Wisconsin.

Randy: It’s obvious who Paul Ryan is making his decisions for when he has time to go to 50 fundraisers throughout the country and not have one town hall in his own district. If I don’t show up for my job, I’ll get fired and they’ll get somebody else to take my spot. I can’t imagine asking somebody for $10,000 to have their picture taken with me. That’s unimaginable. It shows where his priorities are and they aren’t the people in this district. When he shows up there are breaking news alerts: Paul Ryan has been seen in the First Congressional District at such and such a place. It’s so wrong.
Goal Thermometer There’s no doubt the Pelosi and her DCCC will divert energy and resources from winning congressional races to, once again, throw whatever they can in to protect Ryan, this time against Randy Bryce and his already popular grassroots campaign. But Randy's put together an intrepid and experienced campaign committee that knows how to respond to establishment sabotage and won’t shy away from a fight, not even with all the powers that be inside the Democratic establishment. And... they need our help-- which is why I’ve included the Blue America congressional ActBlue thermometer on the right. Remember, there's no such thing as a contribution too small-- not when you're talking about a grassroots campaign. Please consider giving what you can. It’s a real shame about Mark Pocan though. I had such high hopes for him. We saw him as such a promising guy…

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Despite The Corrosive Effect Of The DCCC, There Is A Reason To Believe


Hard to imagine, but even today 42% of Americans still prefer to see Republicans control Congress. A new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows that just 50% of Americans would prefer Democrats take over Congress in 2018. NBC reports “that’s the largest lead either party has held on that generic ballot question in the NBC/WSJ poll since 2013, and the first time either party reached 50 percent on that question since 2008.” But still… this is the Republican Party those 42% want in control, the GOP so eloquently described by Charles Pierce for Esquire:
Today is not the day for you to ask for my understanding as to how you're going to afford Grandma's chemo now that she's busted the lifetime cap on her insurance. Today is not the day for you to ask for my sympathy for Grandpa who's going to get his ass hoisted out of his rest home and dropped onto the couch in your basement family room because his Medicaid ran out. Today is not the day for you to moan into TV cameras about how Cousin Clyde with the opioid problem has to go back to sticking up tourists for his fix because the little hospital up by the mountain closed.

Not today. Not this particular Thursday. Maybe by Monday.

The Senate unveiled its big secret tax-cut plan on Thursday morning. It also contains some elements dealing with healthcare that will make the lives of millions of sick and elderly Americans immeasurably worse, but, since it's actually a tax-cut bill, and it actually does cut taxes for the wealthiest among us, then I guess you can say the strategy was a success. And they say the Republicans can't govern. Hah.

Of course, it's as bad as we all thought it would be. It virtually zeroes out Medicaid down the line-- letting it "die on the vine," just the way Newt Gingrich recommended 20 years ago. It forces low-income people to pay more for policies once called "street-surance" back in the day. (John Grisham should sue these guys.They stole the entire plot from The Rainmaker.) There's a lot of "handing back to the states," which can be translated as "Give Sam Brownback more money to hand out to his donors." The bill is such a transparent sham that one of its provisions, the repeal of the tax on investment income for wealthy individuals and families, was made retroactive to the end of last year. There is no reason on god's earth to make this retroactive unless your main purpose is to shove more of the nation's wealth upwards. Which is what this bill is primarily designed to do.

Let me put it in measurements that are particularly of interest to me. By 2050, it is estimated that there will be 16 million people in the United States with Alzheimer's Disease. Right now, in 2017 dollars, the estimated costs of treating and caring for AD patients is $236 billion dollars. Of that, $154 billion is picked up by Medicare and Medicaid. Tell me now how that gap is made up by a plan that virtually eliminates Medicaid entirely by the time we get to 2025. Churches? Families? Winning the Lotto?

A cure?

Fat chance.

So, yeah, suckers. This is what you voted for. In fact, this is what you've been voting for, over and over again, ever since the Death Valley Days of jellybeans and missiles to the mullahs. This bill is the pot of gold at the end of Paul Ryan's personal rainbow. This bill is everything that every young conservative brought up in the luxurious terrariums of wingnut welfare is taught to revere from the first day of his political gestation, right down to its playing-to-the-cheap-seats whack at Planned Parenthood.

So far, four GOP senators have said they cannot vote for the bill. They are Ron (Shreds of Freedom) Johnson of Wisconsin, Aqua Buddha from Kentucky, Mike Lee, the konztitooshunal skolar from Utah, and Tailgunner Ted Cruz. They can't support it (at the moment) because it isn't repeal-ish enough for them. (Translation: The bill still coddles the poor and infirm beyond the limits God intended when He wrote the Constitution.) Now, as the redoubtable Digby often points out, if they were to torpedo this plague ship, it wouldn't be the first time the wingiest members of the tribe saved the day. But my money stays on the notion that they will find enough crazy ideas in the House during reconciliation to satisfy the likes of these four. As for the vaunted Republican "moderates," I have no faith in them whatsoever. I think Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia will get bought off by an increase in the bill's stingy provisions regarding the opioid epidemic. Some version of this creature will stalk its way into law.

I'm sorry, but I can't let the suckers off the hook on this particular Thursday, not when I know in my bones that, in a year or so, there are going to be more expeditions into The Real America in which we hear sad tales about the closing of rural hospitals, and medical bankruptcies, and children who died because the insurance company denied them a life-saving treatment. There will be all kinds of reasons postulated for this terrible state of affairs. "Culture" probably will be one of them, and it will be the stupidest one of all.

What will not be mentioned is that many of these people brought their tragedies on themselves, that voting has consequences, and that using a presidential election to hock a collective loogie at "The Establishment" and at Those People is a particularly dumbass way to participate in democracy.

But, as Nick Harwood pointed out in his NBC News poll reporting “Republicans retain some important advantages as both sides look ahead to 2018. By 18 percentage points, Americans say they prefer Republicans over Democrats for dealing with ISIS; they also prefer Republicans for changing Washington (by 9 points), dealing with the economy (7 points), and dealing with taxes (4 points).”

Now, about that map up top. It shows what will happen nationally if the same swing towards Democrats and away from Republicans that happened in the Montana special election, happens across the country in 2018. Yes, the GOP will still win in Montana… a 14.5% swing won’t be enough there. But… look at Orange County, CA, look at the suburban districts around Philly, look at the “untouchable” Texas districts around Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio and Austin, all 3 Republican-held swingy Iowa seats and, finally, O.K.L.A.H.O.M.A., Oklahoma-- OK! And say buh-bye to as many as 70 Republican incumbents-- not just poor doomed schlepps in blue-leaning districts, but GOP leaders like Paul Ryan, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Ed Royce, Virginia Foxx, Rodney Frelinghuysen, Lamar Smith… all those committee chairs flooding K Street with job applications at once! Sad!

And I’ll tell you something about that map-- it doesn’t take into account some special circumstances, like Duncan Hunter’s likely corruption indictment in a much redder southern California district or Devin Nunes’ little massive Putin-Gate problem up in California’s Central Valley.

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