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The Nation reports (with interesting details meriting a read) Breaking: Leading House Democrat Will Oppose TPP Fast Track

Thanks Donna Edwards, for subjecting Van Hollen to primary pressure to counteract the carrots and sticks from White House and big money, which certain pressured him in the other direction.

Looking forward to Donna’s perfect record on social security and other issues pressuring Van Hollen to disavow his history of willingness to sacrifice social security to grand bargain dreams.

Hollen has lots of money, which is Edwards main weakness. Progressives should contribute early and often, both to achieve the above pressure and because there will rarely be a better chance to elect a very Progressive Senator.

Did I mention that Maryland hosts the NSA headquarters? They too read election results, and fundraising numbers (along with everything else).


Thu Mar 19, 2015 at 12:43 PM PDT

Hillary Learning

by emorej a Hong Kong

Hillary is a famously good learner. She was educated from a 1964 Goldwater supporter into a 1972 McGovern campaign worker.  Since then, she has learned (from many years of insider experience) that winning the trust of rich people is indispensable to winning elections.

The only thing which could possibly persuade her that the rich on Wall Street have overplayed their hand, and must and can be reined in, is if poor people turn out and throw out other politicians for being too cozy with the rich.

If Rahm “f*cking r*tards” Emanuel is beaten by poor Chicagoans’ turn-out, and if poor people in swing states show they are preparing to follow Chicagoans’ example...

then – and only then  – will candidate Hillary unlearn many of her hard-earned lessons.
As for a legacy-focused President Hillary, perhaps she will learn even more (ideally faster than Presidents Eisenhower and Carter) -- especially if we give her a few more   consistently and unapologetically Progressive Senators.

Why aren't Illinois's Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and (2016-vulnerable) Republican Senator Mark Kirk happy at the prospect of a coalition of Latinos, Blacks and 'extreme un-electable Leftists' using the anti-Rahm Emmanuel mayoral campaign of Chuy Garcia to capture the Chicago mayorality and increase their influence in the Illinois Democratic Party?

Why do they fear this more than the monied 'fierce partisan warrior' Rahm Emmanuel (as shown by these links)?
Sen. Kirk: Re-elect Rahm or Chicago could end up like Detroit
Rauner has called Wilson to lobby for Rahm — twice

Asking yourself this question is important.

The answers below (copied in the poll below for those who turn out) may be helpful.

1. Republicans fear that a city government responsive to poor neighborhoods would FAIL – thus harming all Illinoisans and Americans.

2. Republicans fear that a city government responsive to poor neighborhoods would SUCCEED – thus setting an example for all voters, while increasing voter registration and turnout among Latinos, Blacks and anti-OnePercenters.


In response to right-wing Chicago Tribune's recent poll asserting that:

Now, Emanuel holds a 21-point lead among black voters, 52 percent to 31 percent.
Down With Tyranny mocks Tribune brass's
well-known and well-documented bias against progressive candidates [including] history of so-called "independent polling" ... pattern-- try to smother the progressive candidate with negative "polls."

...Chuy Garcia will be the next mayor of Chicago. With your help.

This race is good opportunity to ask Hillary to move beyond platitudes to demonstrate the depth of her appreciation that economic inequality resulted from the actions and omissions of particular politicians -- with Rahm serving as a prominent member of this club. Down With Tyranny frames useful questions pointedly, as follows:
Hill, ball's in your court:

• Will you disavow Rahm's advertising campaign against Chuy?

• Do you agree that the Chicago Tribune is being excessively polite by commenting as follows? "Emanuel's latest spot takes liberties with Garcia's positions on the issues and the numbers it uses, while including out-of-context video clips to build the attack."

• Will you condemn Rahm if he continues to do so?

• What will you do for Chuy's supporters that Rahm has not done?


Michael Pettis asks:

When do we decide that Europe must restructure much of its debt?
...and answers that this should be done more urgently than Europe appears likely to do. His reasoning is very persuasive and illuminating.
Countries suffering from debt crises never regain growth until debt has been partially forgiven — explicitly or implicitly — and the uncertainty associated with its resolution has either been sharply reduced or eliminated.
This uncertainty is more important than generally appreciated, because:
When uncertainty arises about how sovereign debt is likely to be resolved, all ... stakeholders must alter their behavior to protect themselves from bearing a disproportionate share of the costs. Their effect in reducing growth is what is referred to in finance theory as financial distress costs.
typically the most sophisticated, who are often the wealthiest, are the first to protect themselves, and the least sophisticated are the last, with the result that the distribution of losses is asymmetrical in a way that maximizes the social damage.
This uncertainty is magnified by (Pettis's most-distinctive contribution to public discussion of these issues) inverted balance sheets
... in which [actual & potential liabilities] are structured pro-cyclically so that they reinforce external shocks by automatically causing behavior to change in ways that exacerbate the impact of the shock (unlike a “hedged” balance sheet, which automatically dissipates shocks).
A pressing example of such pro-cyclical inversion is that:
For the banks in peripheral Europe a substantial share of liquid assets consists of their government bonds, so that any deterioration in sovereign creditworthiness would cause enormous losses for the banks, but because the main source of contingent liabilities for the government is the banking system, losses in the banking system would immediately cause the sovereign creditworthiness to deteriorate.
An even broader inversion affects Europe as a whole because:
As soon as [European Central Bank President] Draghi made the statement to do “whatever it takes” ["to preserve the euro"], markets recognized that the ECB was in effect guaranteeing the bonds of EU member states whose credibility was in question, and yields [and financing costs] immediately dropped.

...[but consequently] European debt is locked into an intensely reflexive process in which the value of the Draghi [promise] is a function of the creditworthiness of the ECB, and the creditworthiness of the ECB is a function of the value of its total obligations, including its implicit guarantees.


Public safety requires that all police be persuaded to disregard this simple sequence of messages recently broadcast to each of them by St. Louis County District Attorney Bob McCullough:

1.    You are free to kill a man if
your sincere impression is that
he is a scary thug.
2.    Your impression’s sincerity will be more easily believed
if the man cannot testify
to his actions or character or
to his impression of your actions or scariness to him.
You can most reliably prevent his testimony by killing him.
3.    Remember points 1 & 2 whenever you suspect that a man's testimony might
“threaten the safety”
of your body, self-image, reputation, career, pension or staying out of prison…
These incentives need to be reversed, so that every policeman is always thinking, per Ian Reifowitz's diary here:
"I don’t want to shoot you..."
The universal police body cameras supported in that diary, and by Michael Brown's family, along with improving the outcomes of investigations and trials, and incentivizing better behavior by police, suspects and bystanders, might have their most fundamental impact in helping to reverse the above incentives.

Progressives cannot avoid addressing (either by action or by omission) it urgently now, as the 2016 Presidential nomination cycle rushes through its ‘invisible primary’ stages.

Republicans have learned from their electoral success that demographic tides can be beaten back through sufficiently funded ‘scorched-earth’ strategies and tactics.  Consequently, Republicans are likely to double down (again!) on these strategies and tactics -- tweaked to exploit whatever new issues arise or can be fabricated.

Do Democrats’ 2014 and 2010 electoral failures teach the following?

1.    That elections can be won, and legislation passed, by Democrats prioritizing attempts to appeal to swing voters?

(Does there exist a large group of swing-voters in swing-states who, having voted for Romney over Obama, will be swung by Hillary’s characteristics such as foreign policy experience, moderate policies and temperament, survival of vilification, or resistance to “War on Women”?)

2.    That Democratic Presidential candidates can rely on identity-based turnout?

(Will more women turn out for Hillary than minorities turned out for Obama – despite the fact that a higher percentage of women already turn out, leaving a lower percentage available to be added?)

3.    That the Republicans’ success in stoking voters’ suspicion, resistance and rage against President Obama was mainly enabled by Obama’s Black racial identity and by Whites’ anxieties and hostility towards Blacks?

(How many American voters harbor anxieties or hostility relating to women’s reproductive freedom, choice of sexual partners and activities, education, careers, reduced deference to men, failure to look like Playboy Bunnies or anorexic models, failure to perform sex with as much compliance or intensity as porn stars, weight gain after childbirth, wrinkling with age, ‘gold-digging’ for alimony, etc.)

4.    That “we’re No. 2 – in trading political protection for .01-percenters’ cash” is an energizing distinction to variable-turnout, non-turnout, low-information and misinformation-targeted voters?

(How many haters of banker bailouts and impunity failed to vote? How many supporters of minimum wage referenda voted for Republicans? Etc.).

None of the above are correct lessons to be learned from recent experience, which mainly teach precisely the opposite (as is suggested by the above rhetorical questions in parentheses).

Consequently, with Republicans doubling down on voter suppression, media dominance and demonization,

... Democrats’ recent failures are likely to be repeated if they center their strategy on Hillary running as an

experienced, ‘moderate’, “first-woman” President.
I acknowledge that
alternative strategies are not easy to select, to flesh out, or to implement.
They could easily fail for a long time, which is a risk that is particularly ominous when politics, technology and our very environment are visibly crossing irreversible tipping points.

But, although more Democratic business as usual might yield a few successes, the past three Presidential administrations have been largely a series of repeated lessons in the unavoidable shallowness and brevity of these types of successes.  With hindsight, these administrations appear to demonstrate largely

a one-way ratchet, converging into perpetually deepening trend towards failure, which appears guaranteed to continue for so long as Democrats refuse to match Republicans in learning from experience.

As reported by Dan Froomkin in the Intercept:

Soon-to-be ex-Senator Mark Udall is being urged to follow Mike Gravel's Pentagon Papers example, by using the

absolute free-speech right for members of Congress on the floor or in committee, even if they are disclosing classified material
While Mike Gravel urges Udall to sacrifice his DC-insider status (as Gravel himself did in 1972), in the face of
Senate ... rules that make disclosing classified information punishable by “censure, removal from committee membership, or expulsion from the Senate” order to serve the public interest in pre-empting, or at least watering down, the impending final cover-up of the Senate's CIA torture report,

...Dianne Feinstein, as chair of the relevant committee, should not be let off the hook.

If Udall doubles down on his previous courageous unilateral actions in pursuit of publicly disclosing this report, and if DiFi fails to back him up, then her moral failure should be called out for its historic importance.

Alan Grayson's tagline "A Congressman With Guts" has long been the only part of Grayson's political profile that I did not like, perhaps because "Guts" is so policy-free and subjective.  But, as we digest another failure of national Democratic leaders, attributable in large part to lacking the courage of their (stated) convictions, I am coming around to Grayson's implicit message that "Guts" is exactly what is most needed now by Democratic Senators -- and Presidential candidates.

Attention DailyKos commenters:

In anticipation of some comments being reflexively respectful of the CIA's (or the White House's) resistance to disclosure, I remind all readers of the following:

1. Once a report has gone through as many government offices as this one has, its contents are likely to be known:

(a) not only to many current and former US governmental officeholder, employees and contractors, but

(b) also to the intelligence agencies of China, Russia, Israel, etc., and to whomever any of these entities decide to share them with, whether for reasons of ideology, realpolitik, bureaucratic advantage, money or other self-aggrandizement.

2. Most of the world already assumes the worst, and only wonders about our honesty to ourselves. In this context, how can it be in the national interest to 'protect' US voters from the uncomfortable truth of what has been done in their name -- and one of the biggest real reasons...
"... Why They Hate Us"

The local election spending math was:
Chevron's $3,000,000 of (disclosed) campaign spending
divided into Richmond CA's 17,000 votes cast last Nov 4
equals = more than $175 per voter...

How was this money beaten? Explanation is in extracts from interview responses by Mike Parker, the Richmond Progressive Alliance leader who withdrew his candidacy for Mayor in order to avoid a split between candidates not backed by Chevron:

...this wasn’t just an election campaign. This was part of a ten year battle to change the nature of Richmond and politics in Richmond.

We had in place people who had developed roots in the community. We had in place people who had reputations so that when the hit pieces came out, we actually had already been door to door with many people talking to them.

...we won because Richmond really is much better now than it was ten years ago and people recognize that, and because we built an organization in Richmond to act politically throughout the year, not just at election time, and to help make some of these programs a reality...

This wasn’t just a spurt of activity at election time; this was consistent activity every day for the past, well, pretty much the past ten years. ...we were involved in all kinds of campaigns, helped various projects get going.

The entire interview, by Malcolm Marshall, is published in the Richmond Pulse.

Parker's withdrawal and endorsement enabled the recent mayoral win by Tom Butt.

Also winning, in a clean sweep against Chevron-backed candidates, were the RPA's three candidates for city council:

Outgoing [term-limited] Mayor Gayle McLaughlin,

Incumbent Jovanka Beckles, and

Challenger Eduardo Martinez

...and RPA-endorsed incumbent Jael Myrick


Facing down Chevron campaign spending and Bank lawsuits was possible for the Richmond Progressive Alliance because of years of good and innovative government, including the following:

Per The Nation's Headline:

How One California City Began Bringing Its Murder Rate Down—Without Cops
While other cities have embraced heavy-handed policing tactics, Richmond, California, has offered mentoring and money to its most at-risk young men.
Text (by Heather Tirado Gilligan):
the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) ... defines high-risk as young men—as old as 25 and young as 13—who have likely been involved in previous homicides and shootings ... [and] asks them to sign up for an eighteen-month program called an Operation Peacemaker Fellowship. Over a year and a half, fellows develop and follow a “life map”—concrete steps they’ve laid out to build a different kind of life.

In exchange for an agreement that they will put their guns down, ONS helps them reach those goals, with assistance that includes a monthly stipend of up to $500 in the final nine months of the program for fellows who are following through with their plans. They also connect fellows to job opportunities and social services.

“They need structure,” [Neighborhood Change Agent] Muccular explains. “They love someone to tell them, ‘look, you are not going to do that. You are better than that.’”

Though the drive-bys and shootings have continued, the homicide rate in Richmond has dropped significantly since the fellowship program began in 2010. Shootings took the lives of twenty-one people in 2010, twenty-six people in 2011 and eighteen people in 2012, a huge reduction from 2009’s record-high forty-seven murders. “We have evidence here, now, in Richmond, that says that people have changed,”...
Richmond ... facing a $20 million budget deficit, ... will be ... cutting $580,000 from the ONS budget. At press time, Boggan had lost three of his staff as a result of the deficit. ONS now has only four outreach workers.

How did Alan Grayson do in the potentially swingy FL-09 Congressional District?

We won our election, by a double-digit margin.
Grayson 54%,
Generic Tea Party Republican 43%.
How did he do it?
Why did we win? Because of everyone who helped.

To the legions of volunteers who made 100,000+ live telephone calls for us, thank you.

To our 100,000+ contributors, whether you gave $0.01 or $5200.00, thank you.

To our tireless canvassers, who knocked on 80,000 doors in the last four months alone, thank you.

Grayson's team spent virtually all of their money on designing and implementing the above GOTV 'blocking & tackling'. The only money they spent on TV was on this:

OMG! Look! It’s a Positive Ad!

Of course it did not hurt to web-post an endorsement by Josiah Bartlett AKA Martin Sheen (to help raise the money for sustained GOTV) but how did he win this endorsement?


Expert commentary on Internet voting:

...there is no way to reconcile electronic images of ballots received with the version the voter intended to send. In other words, it is impossible to know if voter choices have been tampered with somewhere between the voter's computer and election official's machine, thereby making it virtually impossible to confirm an attack on an online election system.
AK-Sen: will we ever know who really won this close race?
...Alaska now permits all voters to vote over the Internet. ... Alaska's State Election Division ... website: "When returning the ballot through the secure online voting solution, your are [sic] voluntarily waving [sic] your right to a secret ballot and are assuming the risk that a faulty transmission may occur."
Actual risks are much broader:
...There are countless ways ballots cast over the Internet can be hacked and modified by cyber criminals. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, at the direction of Congress, has conducted extensive research into Internet voting in the last decade and published several reports that outline all the ways votes sent over the Internet can be manipulated without detection. After warning that there are many possible attacks that could have an undiscovered large-scale impact, the institute concluded that secure Internet voting is not yet achievable.
How expert is this commentary?
Barbara Simons is chair of the Board of Directors of Verified Voting and a member of the Board of Advisers of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. She is a former computer researcher for IBM and past-president of the Association for Computing Machinery.
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